Wednesday, January 15, 2020

a scary gas leak

So we had a gas leak at our house. It turns out the person we hired to fix our furnace had turned the wrong valve while shutting off the gas. Imagine the shock when we noticed the unmistakable hiss of gas escaping the meter!

Obviously, the first thing we did was call 911. Although the local fire station is just a few blocks away, those few minutes were one of the most terrifying moments of my life. This definitely brought back memories from the 1998 tornado. After what felt like hours, the firefighters arrived and were able to shut off the gas for us. They even stayed to make sure everything was OK while we waited for the PG&E technician to arrive.

I truly appreciate the crew's professionalism and how lucky we were. We even gave them some of our home-cooked drumsticks afterwards. I'm definitely glad everything ended well. And this is why I have the greatest respect for firefighters.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

on entering a new decade

So this is the first day of a new decade. Time goes so fast these days. It's hard to believe the 2010s are already over.

I regret to say that the holiday season didn't really feel like the holidays. The main reason is that Dad recently hurt his back while gardening and couldn't really leave the house. Because even walking hurts, none of us went anywhere except to get groceries. It really sucks that we couldn't even attend my town's annual New Year's Day run. :-(

Another thing is that we have to work on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Although most people take time off during the holidays, I decided to work as there wasn't much else to do. Don't get me wrong — as much as I love my job — nothing beats relaxing at home. On the bright side, this allowed me to save some few vacation days. :-)

However, the holiday season had its highlights. For starters, my book club's annual holiday party was pretty enjoyable. Another highlight was my company's holiday party on the 19th. Everything was delicious, especially the desserts. It was also great to have Andrew and Cathy over for lunch and our family friend Lily over for dinner. Oh yeah, and I got level 99 Agility and Construction in RuneScape.

Also worth mentioning is that many family friends gave us well-wishes as my father was recovering. One friend even bought as a bunch of groceries. We truly appreciate everyone's support.

2019 in review

All things considered, last year went very well. The best part was definitely my cousin Cathy's wedding last summer. It was also fun to visit Reno and the Sierras with my aunts. That was one of my best summers ever. As for my career, everything has been going well at my job. Joining Intel was no doubt one of my best decisions ever.

As you could probably guess, the worst thing that happened is that my father hurt has back in December. Not only did this put a damper on the holidays, having to tend to him is demanding at times. The good news is that Dad has already started getting better. I definitely hope he fully recovers soon!

For those curious, my New Year's Resolution is to hopefully get a promotion at my job and make more real-life friends. I'm also hoping to get my max cape in RuneScape as I only need 99 in nine more skills. At any rate, I'm looking forward to see what 2020 has to offer. :-)

Side note: 2020 sounds really futuristic. I'm surprised we still haven't sent people to Mars or cured cancer. Hopefully we'll get personal quantum computers or flying cars soon!

Currently listening to: "Palisades Park" by Freddy Cannon

Sunday, December 22, 2019

two holiday gatherings!

Today was pretty exciting as we invited my cousin Cathy and her husband Andrew over for lunch. I had hoped to have them over for Thanksgiving as they were also in the Bay Area at the time, but we already had something else lined up. At any rate, this mini family reunion was something we had all looked forward to.

Mom made lots of great food as she always does. At first we were worried that Andrew wouldn't like the food due to cultural differences, but that turned out not to be the case. Our original plan was to play Spikeball afterwards as it was really fun when we did it at Cathy's wedding this summer. However, that wasn't an option because it was raining outside. On the other hand, the three of us had a great time playing the card game Sushi Go! instead. I had never played it before, but it was quite easy to learn.

Of note is that the couple gave us a gift basket from Harry & David. This was quite nice, especially considering that we don't often get gift baskets. On the whole, this get-together was quite enjoyable. I definitely can't wait to see them again when they visit the Bay Area next summer.

The fun didn't end here as we also had our family friend Lily over for dinner. She wanted someone to cook for her as her husband was out on business, and we were more than happy to oblige. Although we probably won't be celebrating New Year's Eve as my father has had back pain for a while, I certainly can't complain about two holiday gatherings!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

another great book club party

Today was my book club's annual holiday party and book exchange. It's hard to believe I've been with them for over two years. Time certainly flies.

The event took place at Dane's house again as Elizabeth was in Hawaii. Because it was a potluck dinner, everyone brought something to share. I really liked the quiches and meatballs. There was no shortage of snacks and candies.

It was then time for the white elephant book exchange. Although things weren't as heated this time, the party still had a lively atmosphere. I gave away Good People by Marcus Sakey and received Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. I've always liked her books and look forward to reading it soon.

Like last year, all of us then played Left Center Right afterwards. I had the most cash at first but soon lost it all after a few rounds. Although I later ended up being one of the last remaining players, the pot eventually went to someone else. Which is a shame because I was so close being $60 richer.

The party ended earlier than expected as most people decided to leave after the game was over. I took the time to chat with Dane and Che's friends while waiting for my parents to pick me up. On the whole, everyone definitely had a great time. A huge thank-you to Dane and Che for making this event possible.

In other news...

I got level 99 Herblore in RuneScape on Tuesday and 99 Dungeoneering two days later. Hopefully it won't be long until I get my max cape. :-)

Currently watching: American Sniper

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Thanksgiving weekend report

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break because I certainly did!

So we invited the Hsueh family over to our house for dinner. Mom baked a turkey as well as many other tasty dishes. The nice thing is that Aaron and Lily's sons Albert and Alan also came. Although it seems most young people don't want anything to do with their parents these days, Alan loves glutinous rice and had heard that Mom had made some.

Of note is that Albert is a criminal defense attorney working as a public defender. It was quite interesting to hear his stories. Albert and Alan left early because they had other plans, but we definitely enjoyed having them over.

The rest of the break was less eventful, although I did watch a few movies with my parents. There is also an event in RuneScape where you can get up to double XP until the end of the week - for up to a total of 36 hours. So yeah, the break was pretty nice.

Currently watching: The Kid (2019)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

first time volunteering in 16 years!

One great thing about Intel is that the company encourages people to volunteer. Although this is something I've wanted to do for a while, there was never much of an opportunity due to time constraints. It's definitely great to know that taking time out to volunteer is not only allowed but actively encouraged.

So my manager organized a volunteer event at a local church. I was actually pretty busy with work due to a release deadline but figured it wouldn't hurt to give up a few hours. Good thing I did because everyone else in my team showed up. Even my second-level manager joined us!

We arrived at the Cathedral of Faith in San José around 9 a.m. The pastor gave a brief speech before we went to our assigned areas. Our team performed two main tasks: filling the carts with food and loading them onto the delivery vehicles. It was physically exerting but certainly beats sitting in the office. :-)

Our plan was to have coffee at the church's café afterwards, but we decided to head back to the office after find out the café was closed. On the whole, this was a very wholesome experience. I think we definitely need to do this again!

Currently listening to: "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel

Thursday, October 10, 2019

a very happy 34th birthday

I just turned 34 years old. It was certainly one of my best birthdays ever!

One great thing is that our team at Intel regularly celebrates birthdays. They got me a pineapple cream cake and asked me to share my best birthday memory — which was my 20th for those curious. It's been a long time since I've celebrated a birthday with so many people. I definitely have the best co-workers. :-)

Although we didn't go to any restaurants this year, my mother made us a nice meal after I got home. Because we weren't sure whether the PG&E outages would affect us, she also made a delicious dinner for me yesterday as an early celebration. I'm blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.

Currently listening to: "Together Forever" by Rick Astley