Monday, February 6, 2017

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." - Seneca






Another year has just flown by. It's true what they say, the older you get the fast time flies. What up with that?!

And what a year 2016 was.

Most of you who are around my age understand the real impact of all the celebrities that were lost because they were who we grew up with, who helped mark important childhood milestones. Also, the election... I'm not going to elaborate on that just because I just don't have the energy.

So on to more positive things.

I became an aunt! One of my best friend's Nina, and my cousin had baby boys and they are both as cute as can be! I still remember meeting Nina over 20 years ago in our freshman year of college and when my cousin was in diapers!


Last year was filled with several domestic vacations. Tahoe for snowboarding, San Francisco, Boston, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Santa Barbara... I was all over the country this year and I got to catch up with a lot of people that I haven't seen in quite some time. I'm grateful that the friendships remain strong, even if we are no longer living in the same area.

Manhattan
I ran my first 10K and was able to run the whole way through, so yay! for crossing one thing off my bucket list! It doesn't matter that I am around the middle of the pack, and that this year, I'll have to click a different box for age (egads!), this is the longest distance I've ever run and am happy about that.

I haven't been snowboarding in several years. Basically since 2009 and it was the first time I went to Tahoe. What a beautiful place! Before this year, I had only been snowboarding is Mammoth, so it was exciting to try another location, even though I'm super rusty!
Tahoe


I went to a conference and visited Philadelphia for the first time. There was an amazing Malaysian place there that was so good, that we went there twice in 2 days! We tried a few Philly cheesesteaks too, and enjoyed roaming around the city. My friend and I walked over 10 miles in the first day while we waited to check into our hotel. My fitbit counted over 30K steps!

I got to spend the 4th of July weekend in Manhattan. It was rainy but I got to try Shake Shack for the first time. Although it was good, I can't say I remember anything more than it being an expensive tasty burger. I still have to say that American Ale in Santa Barbara is still my favorite burger place. Speaking of which, I went back in October and it was as good as I remember... (tear...).

I took about 3 weeks off of work in December and went to Boston and Seattle. I'm glad that I used to live in cold because I layered and was totally prepared. They are such lovely cities and I'm glad that I got to visit some family and really good friends. So far I've been able to make an annual trip to Boston and I hope that I can keep doing that!

City of Brotherly Love
One of the nice things about being done with school is that I can read for leisure. A few friends and I have a "lazy book club" where we read 3 to 4 books a year and video chat to catch up and talk about the book.

Here's my short list of books for 2016:
  1. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
  2. Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
  3. Battle Royale - Koushun Takami
  4. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
  5. Hogwarts Houses Divided - Inverarity
  6. The Girl with all the Gifts - M. R. Carey
  7. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
I read City of Thieves again, which was on my list in 2012, I think. I forgot what the book was about but remembered pretty quickly. David Benioff is the author and when I saw that he was involved with Game of Thrones, I knew that they would make an amazing show. I have seen each season 4 times... at least. I know, crazy. But it's amazing what you notice when you watch it again. I always see something that I didn't see before.

2017 will be a good year. I am going to be moving to San Diego relatively soon. Not soon enough but hopefully within a month or so!! I left in July 2009 and it's taken almost 8 full years to get back. But it will be good to be home.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Things that go BEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in the night and make you say "WTH!?!?!?!?!?!" in the day

So, yeah... it's been an interesting week... actually one day in particular.

I know I've neglected this blog for a while. It's mainly because I couldn't think of any topics that were interesting enough to write about, but I definitely found one.

So, in general, this week has been crazy. I got a ridiculous request for a TPS report (because the actual content is not worth mentioning) that was a massive fire drill with a 24 hour turnaround time that I had to organize with minimal information. Equal parts frustration and confusion. All manual and in excel, and of course it involved gathering last second information from around 20 people.

That's not the "why" of this last Tuesday, October 18th was interesting... let me just count the ways.
Evil kitchen timer. But at the time it said 4AM

It's about 4AM. I hear a random alarm go off. Groggily, I wonder, "what the heck is that?!" After all, I already disabled BOTH my smoke detector and my CO sensor because I need new batteries...

I get out of bed and follow the sound... it's one of my kitchen timers. Odd, since I don't cook often and when I do, I don't use the timer! So I'm guessing I might have hit a timer that had a 16 to 20 hour countdown or something. Either way... UGH!

Then, after what felt like 30 min of sleep... my freaking digital radio started blasting at 5:36AM!!! I want to say I remember that it does this every so often, but I KNOW I turned it off the last time I used it because I transitioned from listening to the radio to watching tv. And it was off for at least 2 full days...
Haunted digital radio, but it said 5:36AM!

What a lovely way to start off the 2nd day of the 24 hour turnaround.

So I get to work, and of course, the usual happens. My computer freezes as I try to add an attachment to an email. I got a new computer a few months ago and it is ALWAYS freezing. I was patient and let it go. But after 20 min, I noticed that even the time had frozen on the computer, so I decided to force a restart.

Ok, yay, it's working! For now...

Should I expect the girl from Ringu to come out of this???
Not that long after, and I'm not sure if my chair touched the keyboard or not, but there is a window half flashing on my screen saying that I've been holding down the "Ctrl" button for a while and asking if I wanted to make some adjustments. So I try to push "cancel", then "ESC", but realize I just have to wait.

As I am looking at this POS, not touching anything, not the keyboard, not the mouse, not anything, my screen rotates 90 degrees. I look at it dumbfounded as I have not touched it!!

My coworker who has that set up purposely, walks by and I yell at him to help me fix this because, at this point... there is some weird energy around me.
#TBT to my Inktober days

He was able to fix it for me by using a shortcut, but shoot, that required at least 3 keys across the keyboard, so even if something was stuck, it didn't account for why the other keys would have been depressed without me touching anything.

So, yeah, if that wasn't enough... I go to my start menu and in the search box, I start seeing "-----------------------------------------------" as far as it can go and then some. I click out of it and then try my excel file, where again, I'm seeing "----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------" fill my cell, even though the only thing I'm touching is my mouse. I go into the IM system, and no matter where I click, you guessed it. I looked around to see if there was a something on there, but nope, nothing.

I think my computer is trying to tell me something...
The only way I can make it stop is un-docking my computer. I told my friend and he gave me a new keyboard. Funny thing is, the keyboard I had on there was also brand new. My cordless one ran out of batteries and I was using the corded backup. Just took it out of the box and plastic wrap just the week before.

So, technology has revolted against me. I had a ghost in my machines, following me. I'd like to say that all of it stopped on Tuesday, but I had a little more randomness on Wednesday too. Again, with the even  newer keyboard, (and luckily the TPS report delivered, so at least that stress was gone...), my computer started going crazy again. Again... without touching anything, my email kept scrolling to the bottom of my emails. I captured video of this, but decided not to post it just in case of any random liability.

And for some reason, the computer kept registering that the space bar was constantly being depressed. In the start menu search box, in my excel document... Only this time, when I un-docked, it kept going... (see blurry pic above)

I had to force a restart again. I know the full moon was just over the weekend, but it seemed to have residual effects for me...

Hopefully the poltergeist decided to haunt someone else today!




Monday, March 14, 2016

A particularly Manic Monday...

Today is one of the more challenging Mondays of the year. The Monday after daylight savings, where one hour disappears into oblivion... (come back!!!)

Anyway, as I walked into work with mist lightly dancing on my face, my knees ache a little from the tennis I played over the weekend and my eyes ache from not getting enough sleep. (That's what you get for getting home after 11:30pm, staying up to 12:30ish because you couldn't sleep due to your late afternoon coffee milkshake and waking up at 6:45 by your ALARM...)

Being woken up by my alarm is the WORST... I think I have unnaturally sensitive stress receptors so I usually wake up before my alarm in a mild fear of oversleeping. So when something unexpected wakes me up, especially in a middle of a dream, I'm lethargic all day.

Even now, being awake for 1.5 hours, sitting in my work chair, I feel like a clouded veil has been placed over my eyeballs, and even a straight up caffeine IV wouldn't take effect for another hour. (That's grammatically correct, right?) Then, the sloth-like brain activity may turn into a hummingbird pace, though can't say with any certainty that it will be with any useful thoughts.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fast forward to 15 hours later. I made it through the day. I even went to the gym after work and then headed to the beach for the sunset since it sets around 7pm now. (The one good thing about DSL, more daylight!)

It was another lovely sunset. I've been having beach withdrawals. It's been an entire week since I've been to the beach. I know, I know... ::I'm spoiled!::

Here are a few shots from today:



Monday, February 29, 2016

"Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of." - Geri Weitzman

So I've neglected this blog for a while. My bad!

I kinda feel like I don't want to post something unless there is something behind it. But then I realized something... that's too much pressure!

I have 4 drafts that I never finished that are just sitting there. Maybe I will post a few of those this year, maybe not. I guess we'll see.

In the meantime, this will be my "year in review" post, even though it's a bit late. (oops!)
Eldurairaj Union 

So 2015... yeah... as far as work goes, it is another one of those epic years of change. This year will not be any different but it's too early to digress on that topic.

As far as personal growth, it was another big one. I decided to really focus on my creative side. THAT blog got lots of love last year. I embarked on a year long #HumpDayHaiku journey that I'm proud to say I completed. And even though the writing of the haikus didn't improve my writing ability (though I'm beyond an expert of counting syllables on my fingers), the drawings that went with them definitely improved. I started out drawing stick figur-ish robots to many other things. I have to say, I found it challenging to find 52 really good themes, and I accepted that not every haiku would be better than the last.

Here are the ones I liked the best, even though others may have disagreed:


Top Left: I was inspired by the pictures of Pluto and have always loved staring at the evening sky trying to find constellations or planets.

Top Right: One of my friends took a picture of a bunch of windmills. I thought it looked cool and there you go. :)

Bottom Left: Baby elephants! 'Nuff said!

Bottom Right: Ninjas, nunchucks and ninja stars; need I say more?


 Top Left: I saw a graphic T with a whale on it and loved it. Whales are very calming, despite their massive size.

Top Right: Jase is big on lighthouses and he pulled me right along with him. I'm still looking for the one in OC. Hope it's not a myth!

Bottom Left: This is my girly side coming out. Unicorns and rainbows!

Bottom Right: This was inspired by an actual art exhibit where 1000 teddy bears were painted on canvases of all sizes. Philipp Jordan is the German artist's name. His paintings were much more vibrant than my drawing, but I still liked what I drew.

Top Left: The ocean was inspired by a drawing an instagrammer (whose profile was taken down) who actually drew a dress from a very similar pattern. I loved it and thought it would look amazing as water. This one may be my all-time favorite.

Top Right: What can I say? I love the rain. ;)

Bottom Left: I haven't been snowboarding in a long time, but it's one sport that I love. Especially when I learned how to connect my turns. (And got all the necessary padding that makes me look like I've gained 30 lbs. but shoot... at least I'm protected!)

Bottom Right: An instagrammer (anasteem) has so many amazing pictures of her daughter with heart shaped balloons. I thought it was beautiful and so I made an attempt to draw it.

Not bad, right? 12 of 52?

I also read a decent amount over the last year. The number of books may not seem like it but shoot, the number of pages show a slightly different story (3000+).

And in no particular order:
1. The Giver - Louis Lowry
2. The Martian - Andy Weir
3. Wind/Pinball: Two Novels - Haruki Murakami
4. Dance with Dragons (A Song of Fire and Ice, Book 5) - now I know you were waiting for this one if you have ever looked at my previous years' book lists!
5. Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan
6. Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson
7. Rivers of London: Peter Grant, # 1 - Ben Aaronovitch


Dessert Cooking Class
I didn't go abroad but I got to see a bunch of friends. Visiting San Francisco for fun and to take pictures, Seattle to have a mini cousin reunion, DC for my good friends' wedding, Boston to see old grad school friends, local trips to SB and SD...How lucky am I to have so many people to visit? ... Very!

I am grateful to always realize when I have good people around me. It doesn't happen everywhere, and I do my best to appreciate and enjoy it as much as I can. After all, the only constant is change, right?

We'll see what this year brings!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

“To travel, to experience and learn: that is to live.” - Tenzing Norgay

Hello there!

It's been a while since I've been on here. I've been keeping myself busy with my creativity projects and have also been neglecting that food blog I was working on. Oops!
The Couz and the Bro

Anyway, my brother, Stephen (but better known to his friends as "Steve") turned 40 a few months ago. I was planning on writing about that in May or early June, but my obsession with finishing the Game of Throne books kept me occupied. I finally finished the 5th book (A Dance with Dragons) earlier this month! So before I go and start rambling about the books and the HBO series, I will stop myself from digressing...

So, yeah, Steve just hit a big milestone in life. He may or may not like that I have called him out on this, but truth be told... he doesn't look his age. Nor, truthfully does he act it. :)
George Burns stated it well, "You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old!"
Heck, I'm not going to disagree with that! My previous irritation of getting carded has now been transformed to feeling a small joy from it these days!

Totem Poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver
While it may not have been the case when I was young, I am definitely grateful to have grown up with a sibling. Even though my first words were "Stop it!" due to his torment, even though his chant of "Kimmy's got a BIG ol' head!" still rings in my ears, even though he never let me play with his Star Wars toys... I'm still glad that I had someone to share my childhood with.

After all, no one else (aside from my parents) has been there my whole life. To know the growing pains, the challenges, and the good times. Who else can we call when our parents are driving us up the wall?
On the way back from Vancouver

For his birthday I bought took him to Seattle. We had so many reasons why we chose that city:

  1. Our cousin lives there, so mini cousin reunion!
  2. It's close enough to Vancouver.
  3. It's just a great city!
  4. etc...
We have travelled together before many years ago but it was time we did it again.
On the waterfront

While we were up there, we took a day trip to Vancouver, went to a Sounders game, visited the Space Needle and Chihuly exhibit, met up with some friends, and explored this beautiful city.

We truly, and honestly were going to go on a hike, as my cousin goes on them regularly. The breathtaking posts on her instagram account: https://instagram.com/chrisxxs were enough to motivate me to go! But, the day we scheduled it, the bridge was up due to Seafair, so we'll have to do that one next time. 

Happy Birthday Steve and happy mini cousin reunion! To many more!









Monday, January 12, 2015

WARNING: Reflections in this post may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of a happy life


So anyone who has ever read this blog knows that it's pretty normal for me to use quotes, or plays on quotes. This one is particularly awesome, me thinks, but let me just set the expectation now; this will just be a run of the mill reflection on the previous year. (So long to all of you who tuned out and clicked elsewhere!)

And what a year it was!

January - March:


For my birthday I got Lion King tickets. Lion King was my favorite animated Disney movie for ages (until they collaborated with Pixar) and I have been dying to see this show for as long as I could remember.


There are a handful of movies where I know every single line and this is one of them. (If you are curious about the others, they include, but aren't limited to: Jerry Maguire, Clueless, Friday, and Almost Famous. Talk about random, right?)

The show definitely did not disappoint. If you have never seen it, this is a ::MUST SEE:: in my humble opinion. The opening song is worth the ticket!

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I was lucky enough to travel to Hong Kong, Manila and Bali in February and March.
Even now, as I look through the pictures, I crave that meal after the bike ride that should have resulted in my first time getting stitches. (Didn't get any, but I neosporin-ed the HECK out of the gash on my hand. Healed decently, woo hoo!)

As it's raining and a wee bit chilly in SoCal, I would love to be reading under an umbrella on a beach chair in Bali. (That's right, RAIN in So Cal!) I also wouldn't mind having a piping hot bowl of noodles on Victoria's Peak in Hong Kong.

I am blessed to have found such great friends and traveling partners from grad school. Knowing us, there will be several more!

April to June:

I also got to see The Book of Mormon this year. If you've seen it, then you should really enjoy this rendition of its opening song "The Book of Mormon Comes to South Park":

I went to Boston for work, which is always a huge treat since so many good friends are still in the area. There is never enough time to see people, but I sure tried! :)



It was a good time to go since it was finally warming up. My colleagues and I were supposed to go in March, during a bad storm, while there was plenty of snow. I can't say that I'm not glad that our trip got postponed!

Another good set of friends from BU got married in San Francisco so we had another mini reunion that included a road trip and some wine tasting.

Since I was on the way, my friends picked me up, but the best part was that I was able to introduce another person to American Ale; home of the best burger EVER!

July to September:

My summer started off with a cousin reunion. It has been over 4 years since we have been in the same city. We had planned on going to Disneyland, but they were in Cali during the hottest days of the year. Ummm... no thank you! 

Instead, we roasted in my aunt's house in the IE (AC was on the fritz) and finally escaped the heat by gorging on Korean BBQ and going to a movie. It definitely doesn't compare to the Happiest Place on Earth, but with that heat, having a leisurely meal and catching up really just hit the spot. 


I also had a few visitors that actually came through Santa Barbara itself. This isn't the first time, as I had plenty of visitors that came to see me specifically in 2013 (love you guys!), but usually if they aren't there to see me specifically, LA is the closest they will get.  Not surprisingly, I also took both sets of friends to American Ale. (I wasn't dutchess on yelp for nothing! And believe it or not, it didn't take long to dethrone me... sigh... I can't wait to get back there!)

October to December:

Halloween is my favorite holiday. It's the time of year when people's inner creativity (and for some ladies, a inner something else, ahem) comes out. 


I've always been a huge fan of dressing up, but I can't always say I've executed well. Part of that is that I don't start thinking about it until late, but another is that I'm often reluctant to spend a lot of money on it.

There have been some really amazing costumes from my co-workers ranging from Brangelina to a group costume of Clue.

This year a group of us got together for a brainstorming session.
The ideas were flowing: Hunger Games, Star Trek, Phone Apps... we finally decided to be the US Women's curling team (coach and all!). We got brushes, created our own curling stone with a kettle, attaching it to wheels with duct tape and aluminum foil; we got brushes and even an American flag. 

It was so fun! We even won the costume contest!

Thanksgiving week was pretty exciting. My brother and I went to the Justin Timberlake concert, I went to my boss's retirement party and went to another good friend's wedding.  That was a darn good week! 

I ended the year in my favorite place... San Diego!


Throughout the year, I have been working on being more creative. Towards the end of 2014, I started doodling on a white board, mainly recreating superhero minions. 

My creative writing has slowed down a bit, but I got really good at drawing on dry erase boards! I even started getting specific requests. I captured most of them here

But recently one of my good friends at work and I have started writing haikus. My project for this year is to continue hump day haikus. One of many.


Books:


Of course I had to continue my annual list of books! While the number is quite low, the number of pages was a feat! (3000+) The authors have mostly been reoccurrences over the years, but at least I know what I like!

  1. David and Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell
  2. What I Talk About when I Talk About Running - Haruki Murakami
  3. Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin
  4. Sword of Storms - George R.R. Martin
  5. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling
  6. Dexter's Final Cut - Jeffrey Lindsay


Sunday, October 19, 2014

"The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance." - Alan W. Watts

So... yeah, change is a coming.

I am moving to the OC.

Egads!

I haven't "officially" lived there in 20 years! Two decades! Four lustra! You get the idea.

I recently took a personality assessment that says that I don't like change. I think there is a little bit of truth in there, but I feel like the nostalgia that brings about the reluctance.

I'll be honest, San Diego is the only place I've never complained about. I was even grateful to be unemployed there because I got rock star parking every time I went to the beach during work hours. And the museums were free to residents, so I took advantage of that too.

When I first moved to California, I mocked the weather ("What? No snow on Christmas?!" Give me a break, I was 10!); then when I moved to Boston for grad school, it wasn't the weather I complained about (I already had an idea of what I was getting into), I missed my friends and Mexican food. Not Tex-Mex, but California burritos stuffed with french fries (not sprouts!) and street tacos (cabeza, lengua? yes please!). When I got to Santa Barbara, I was totally surprised because I thought it would be like San Diego, OC, and LA. It's not. It's a quaint city of 90,000 and since Isla Vista isn't counted as a part of the census, it's diversity is pretty much non-existent.

The only place I have never been nostalgic for is the OC. The reasons for missing San Diego are too numerous to list. Boston? Boy, am I missing that excellent clam chowder and lobsta rolls! And the seasons? Fall is unbeatable. Unlike CA, if you drive for an hour, you can be in another state. After just one hour! I miss my friends there too of course. :)

Santa Barbara? It's like we're on an island of sorts. It takes about an hour just to reach a Target! Ok, not anymore, they have one in Oxnard now, so only 40 minutes, but it's still true to reach a decent Asian market that doesn't pillage your wallet!

Ok, so what am I going to be nostalgic for when I leave SB?

The same thing that most people mentioned when I told them... American Ale burgers. Some of the first words I heard were, "Oh no! That means I won't get anymore burgers!" Thanks guys...

The beach. Yeah, I know, So Cal has beaches a plenty. But here, even on the 4th of July and Labor Day, you can easily find a space on the beach. Parking may be a problem for some, but not for this gal who lives 1.5 miles away and usually just walks it.

The views. It's just darn pretty here.

Honestly, one of the biggest things I will miss here are all the great people I worked with. It took some time to get to know them, but it's always hard to leave good people. Especially when you have developed a really great working relationship and finally got things working somewhat smoothly.

The combination of it all is making nostalgic juices flow through my veins.

People ask if I'm excited about moving. I am. I have plans. Like piano classes, and salsa lessons,maybe even an art class or two. I even have a few friends in the area. (Family too!)