Category Archives: Personal

The Start of a New Year…

Today is Tết or Lunar New Year in Viet Nam. Having been born & raised here in the US, I’ve only experienced Tết in Viet Nam once as an adult. There was nothing like it. It was a memorable experience to enjoy it with my young cousins. Truth be told, I was a little envious of the wild excitement in their eyes and very grateful that despite whatever needs they were in want of, they had the joy and hope that the birth of a new year brings.

Any day can be the start of a new year…a day to make a promise, to turn over a new leaf, to dream big, to live the best life you can.

I’m an auntie…

Ok, probably not much of a surprise for those of you who know I have 4 nieces and nephews and a fifth one on the way this year.  But it’s one thing when you’re brothers and sisters make you an auntie. If the circumstances are right, that could happen when  you’re way young and doesn’t have any relation to how old you really are.  It’s another when the general public at large recognizes you as old enough to be an auntie. 
I volunteered to help run the VNSF booth at Tet in Seattle and this year we did temporary tattoos for the kids.  So parents would bring their kids over and the more shy kids would need a little coaxing.  All day long, all I heard was moms telling their tots to let auntie (in vietnamese) put the tattoo on for them or "don’t you want a pretty tattoo like the one auntie has" (heart and cross bones).  Geez, when did I get elevated to auntie status?  It’s the equivalent of getting ma’am’ed and I feel far too young for that moniker.  Two years ago when I did this, I was "big sister".  I feel like I have to check a different age bracket box now.  My whole station in life has shifted and with it the vietnamese vernacular.  I’m now too old to be these kids’ sister; I’m old enough to be their mom!  Yikes! 
At least one woman thought I was still in school.  Probably thanks to the scrubby t-shirt and jeans. =)


Well, yesterday was my last day in the office.  I extended my stay there for a week but took two personal days, so really only worked 3 days this week (somehow I think I still managed to put in 40 hrs tho).  It’s pretty hard to leave a good gig.  When I think about my previous career shifts, they’ve had the mix of leaving behind something dysfunctional (for my own self anyhow) and moving towards something shiny, new and healthy.  I’ve never left a job a truly loved, so it’s been a bit difficult to check myself out.  I was conscious of my use of the word "we" as I discussed the future of my project… there I go again, it’s no longer my project anymore.  I guess everything has to end some time, and my next gig is going to be nothing short of… wait for it… AWESOME.
I’ve got a healthy dose of excitement, fear and anxiousness all rolled up in a tiny knot just dying to get unraveled.  As soon as I can sink my teeth into my new project (whatever it ends up being – a button or a menu – big or small I’ll take it!), I’ll feel more at ease. My first week, I’ll be spending 2 days at Gamefest learning up on Natal.  It’ll be my 101 crash course on the mystery that is Natal.  I can’t wait! 
But for today (pretty much my only day off what w/ Tet in Seattle this weekend and having to work the VNSF booth all day Saturday), I veg on my couch and I catch up on Farscape. =)

2010 New Year’s Resolutions

In no particular order:
  • Learn how to swim – this is going to continue to be on my list until it happens Smile
  • Get back in shape – I’m looking forward to having my ProClub membership again when I start back at MSFT.  Plus, the ProClub is on my way to and from work so I’ll have one less excuse not to go.
  • Better work / life / volunteering balance – read: play more volleyball
  • Read 20 books.
  • Complain less.
  • Eat more veggies.
  • Eat more steak.
  • Add 1 new recipe to my small culinary repertoire.

Goodbye 2009. Hello 2010

This past year has been fun, stressful, and extremely fulfilling. I was lucky enough to work with an awesome team to create an exciting new game (Bella Sara Adventures). It was hard work, lots of late nights and 60+ hour weeks, but it was all worth it. It was such an ambitious project and I’m very proud of what we created. We built a complete adventure game for little girls in 7 short months and the game just keeps getting better.
I’m still very active in my volunteer work with VNSF. Last year was my first year as Treasurer and boy did I learn a lot. My induction into the new office included having to file federal taxes for VNSF *twice*!  As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve taken over managing our Quickbooks accounting files… eek!  We also put on several fun and profitable fundraising events that will help us fund our programs.  VNSF continues help more and more students get the education they deserve.  I feel lucky and proud to be involved with such a meaningful organization.
I didn’t get to play as much beach volleyball this summer as I would have liked. At least I stayed in an in-door league throughout the year. I did make up for it a little during my awesome Kona Thanksgiving vacation. I think Hawaiian Thanksgiving should be a new tradition. =)
Looking ahead to 2010, I’m excited to share that I accepted a new challenge to work on Project Natal as a PM at Microsoft on the Xbox Shell & Platform team. Yep, I’m goin’ back! I’m sad to leave Hidden City Games and the Bella Sara Adventures Team. I consider myself very fortunate to have worked on something I loved with an amazing group of people and a supportive chain of management. It’s a tough combination to beat. But, the chance to be involved in something so ground-breaking and possibly revolutionizing is just too awesome to pass up. My first day back at Microsoft if February 8th.
Here’s to a great 2010!!

Out with the old. In with the new…

5 Things I Miss about my Corolla:
  1. Outside temperature gauge.  I realized after it was gone that I always check the temperature every time I get into my car.  It’s a nice thing to know
  2. Seeing both ends.  I miss being able to see the ends of my car — makes parking so much easier.
  3. Gas tank reserve.  Even when I was below E, I still had 2-3 gallons which could get me 50-60 miles before I really needed to gas up.  E means E on the Civic
  4. Silver.  Covers so much pollen, dirt, cherry blossom petals.  Black is hard to keep clean
  5. Auto lights.  I never had to make a conscious decision to turn the lights on.  It was so convenient.

5 Things I Love about my Civic:

  1. The sound of the engine… it almost sounds like an electric car. 
  2. Horsepower.  The civic glides up to 70mph almost gracefully — the Corolla huffed and puffed its way up there rather resentfully.
  3. Black.  It just looks so cool.
  4. Digital spedometer and blue interior lights.  Again, very cool.
  5. Storage. There are so many compartments for storage — love it!


Martha Van?

I’m snacking on organic vanilla yogurt topped with fresh homemade strawberry puree and homemade granola while I wait for my strawberry fruit leather to finish drying in the oven.  Yum!  There’s a little Martha Stewart in me afterall.  =)

My new baby…

So… I recently did my part to stimulate the economy by going further into debt with a new car!  Nothing special or extraordinary like a hybrid or a Smart car… just a reliable, safe Civic.   The morning after I bought the car, I was up til 1am contemplating my drive into work, where the best place to park is, etc.  I don’t know when I finally fell asleep but I was awake — bright and alert — at 5am.   I was on the road by 6am and driving it hard (to break it in properly).  Felt nice to floor it and go "full throttle".  It drives much much smoother than my old Corolla. 
What I can’t get used to is not being able to see the ends of my car.  What am I supposed to do?  Use the force?  I’m horrible at "knowing" my car and just "sensing" its dimensions.  I’ve never gotten into an accident or tapped a car or object and I think I owe that perfect record in large part to the fact that I could see both ends of my Corolla.  I can’t see nothin’ but road when I look outside my car.   Sure, that’s kind of cool, but it’s not like I’m driving a Smart car and there really isn’t anymore car beyond the windows.  Let’s just say, it’ll be a while before I parallel park anywhere that’s for sure.  I joked w/ my friend Kim that I should afix a banner or flag in the front and back so I can see where the car ends.
Et voila… my new baby…

New Toy

For over a year now I’ve been wanting to get a new laptop.   I finally parted with the money and bought myself one.  It’s nothing special (just a Dell Inspiron 1525) but it’ll suit my purpose and it comes with Vista.  I don’t care what people may say (including myself from time to time) but I like Vista. 

Yes, I said it, I like Vista.  I like the sidebar – gadgets in particular.  I downloaded the gmail and google calendar gadgets so now I can see it all at a glance.  I like the look – it’s much sleaker than XP.  I don’t know what they’re calling the bar at the top (that’s like the Mac toolbar at the bottom), but I’m even beginning to like that thing.  I’m a little bummed I only have the Home edition of Vista.  It doesn’t come with Aero so I don’t get the super cool graphics.  Oh well.