Category Archives: Personal

What a great weekend!!

Such a great weekend!!  As always, PK broght the sun when he came to town and boy did we take advantage!  We got in about 3-3.5 hours of beach volleyball on Alki yesterday, which was hot Hot HOT!  With a forcast of 70’s and sun, I eagerly rallied everyone for another 3 hours today.  Maybe a bit too eagerly seeing as how some people didn’t appreciate the text message at 7:40am.  But I knew they couldn’t resist.  This weekend was the first warm, sunny, rain-free weekends of the year and you gotta milk the sun for every drip of its rays when it comes.  First time out on the sand this year and it felt oh so GOOD!  We had 3 or 4 "last games".  Finally we decided we’d play until we run out of water.  I can already feel the addiction starting…
D commented we should try to play 2’s; I told him he was insane.  He rebutted that we’ve gotten a lot better.   And he’s right.  When I think back to our very first summer beach league 2 years ago and compare it to where we’re at now, we’ve actually come a long way from the "just get it over" strategy.  Granted, sometimes that’s our rally cry even now, but much less often. =)
Today, we started with 6’s, dwindled to 4’s and when we were left with 6 people total, we had to decide — call it a day or play 3’s.  Well… the sun was still out, so the answer was obvious… we play 3’s.  That court is SOO big when you look around and there’s only two other people on the court with you.   Boy did we have to hustle!  I was probably in the sand every other point.  I’ll pay for it tomorrow when I’m all sore & achy, but it was well worth it!
As if all the vball wasn’t enough, I got to have brunch with an old friend I haven’t seen in a while.  It was good to catch up again and hopefully we don’t go so long w/o seeing each other.  Ty & I made some good progress on our new biz idea.  And I even managed to get some VNSF work done!  A fun AND productive weekend.  Gotta love it!

Not for kids…

We went to see Margaret Cho after the ICHS benefit dinner tonight… HILARIOUS!!!
Her closing was a song… she’s got a pretty good voice!  Warning: the song isn’t exactly G rated, so if you’re near kids or co-workers you might want to put on headphones before clicking play.  =)


What is with this crazy weather??  I can’t believe it’s snowing in April!  Seattle better knock it off w/ this snow by May 17th.  I’ve got an outdoor tennis tournament fundraiser I’m planning for VNSF.  I’m sure everyone would appreciate playing in some sun and cool breeze.  =)

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

Today I witnessed how a less efficient means led to a more effective end.   I hear it over and over again and I understand the point of the statement but it wasn’t until today that I truly believe that sometimes efficiency does not lead to more effective results. 
Today I led the second in a series of year-long activities I’ve designed to help VNSF create, understand, improve, agree on roles, responsibilities, policies, procedures… basically improve and give more structure to our internal operational excellence.  I could have very easily drafted the document I hoped to create by the end of the activity… in fact, I had a template to work from and could have swapped out and adjusted the sample form/template to fit our needs.  It probably would have taken 30 minutes, an hour max.  Instead, I took probably couple days to design the group activity and review it over and over again to make sure it made sense, shop for the supplies, prepare all the materials, research and find suplemental reading material to help give context to the exercise for the rest of the board, and prepare myself to facilitate the activity.  Probably 20 hours of my own personal time, an hour from the entire board to go through the activity, and then probably another 2 hours for me to create the various documents that I expected to be an output from this exercise.  That’s certainly much more than the 1 hour it would have taken me to draft the docs to begin with.
At the end of the day, because this was something we all built together it’s something hopefully everyone feels they have ownership in and that they truly believe in what we created.  There’s also something very powerful about taking the time to formulate your own opinions and realizing everyone happens to agree then being presented with a view point or opinion and be pesuaded to agree.  Sure, you agree either way, but it’s such a strong statement when you realize you have consensus without anyone putting their opinion out their first and launching into a sales pitch to get everyone else to agree.  It’s pretty amazing.
On a separate note… today, as I was spec’ing and analyzing some data in a spreadsheet, I felt my OCD kick into high gear… to the point where I even commented jokingly to K (a friend & co-worker) that I could feel my OCD taking over and wished I had a pill to make it go away.  I just knew that as I was working with the data and going back and forth betwewen it and the spec that I wanted to reformat the tables of data and align everything just right and make the spreadsheet consistent with the spec document and vice versa.  But I also knew that the important thing was that all the data was there and even if it wasn’t alphabetized and it wasn’t pretty and may not be in the most readable format that fact that the info was there was what mattered.  I also knew there was SO much other stuff I needed to get done, SO much other work to do.  I couldn’t fight it though, my OCD nature had it’s grasp on me and it was holding on firm.  I caved.  It was well-worth it though; I feel much better now.  =)

I finally get it now…

I know a handful of people who have no interest in having kids.  I know a few people who have no desire to marry either.  I never understood it before.  Marriage and kids just seem like a given.  These are the goals, the milestones, everyone hits in life.  It’s only natural and not only that but expected.  It always seemed a foreign concept to me that anyone would think differently… that is until I started thinking differently.
The first time I ever questioned having kids was after I spent a week helping my brother & sister-in-law take care of their two infants.  Both kids were actually easy kids to care for and I love them to death.  When I stepped back to just observe the life of a parent and when I got a closer glimpse of it myself, I realized how much your life revolves around your kids and rightly so.  All your energy, your worries, your dreams, your money 🙂 gets invested in your kids.  If you’re going to have kids, that’s the way it should be. 
My mom’s reaction to the announcement I was going to quit Microsoft was, "Why don’t you move back home then?"  I wasn’t surprised by that nor the next 5-10 minutes of her listing all the wonderful things about living near family and the ultimate guilt trip — "I’m getting old and you should move home and have kids soon before I get too old to help you take care of them."  My only response, in my typical jokey manner was, "Well, maybe I just won’t have kids."  That was the first time I’d ever said that out loud or even to myself.  What shocked me was while I said it meaning to be completely smart-aleck and joking, I actually half-believed it.
When I evaluate my life, the priorities I have, how I spend my energy, worries, dreams and money, I realized it centers around helping kids in VN through VNSF.  That made me wonder, "If I have kids, would I be able to give as much of myself to these kids in VN?"  There’s an obvious answer there.  An even scarier thought then crossed my mind… I believe I can add more value to the world and help more kids through my work with VNSF.  That’s scary because it means something I thought was so fundamental to my future seems less and less a certainty. 
I can prevent a young girl from being sold into prostitution.  I can stop parents from selling their daughters into marriage to middle-age men overseas.  I can give children the opportunity to go to school, succeed and make a difference in the lives of their families, their communities and their country.  I can touch the lives of far more kids in VN than I could if I focused all my energy on raising kids of my own.  The more I think about it, the more I believe this world needs good parents but it also needs people dedicated to taking care of the numerous kids out there who are underserved, underprivileged. 
I’m sure there’s ways to accomplish both and I think there are people out there who balance both very well.  But with as with everything in my life, I like to devote myself completely to the things that are important to me and I’m, quite frankly, tired of living an ADD life.  I want to focus.  I want to concentrate.  I want to do the things I do well and make an impact. 
I don’t know everyone else’s reason for not wanting kids, but it’s not as foreign a concept to me anymore.  I can say I’ve finally come to terms with being undecided on whether or not I want kids.  Then again, lately my favorite snacks are vegan ice cream sandwiches and soy crisps (not together mind you) — certainly something I hope passes so I can go back to my Cheetos and Doritos (real junk food).  Maybe this band on having my own kids will pass too.  =)

First Day

First day on the job…
commute – about 35-40 mins (w/o traffic it would probably still be 25 mins)
parking – not too bad (w/in a block)
people – very nice & welcoming
getting up and running – email, internet connectivity and source tree enrollment and even building the site local on my machine… all achieved in 1 day!  unheard of at the big M.  =)
All-in-all, it was cool.  Unlike other changes in jobs, this change comes with a lot of familiar faces, so it’s a nice mix of new & old.
What’s nice about living on the Eastside and working on the Westside is no commute for after-work activities seems inconvenient.  I’m either already there or I have to head there anyways.  For example, I have VNSF meetings 1-3 times a week — half of which are right on Rainier.  That’s probably the best part of the location we’re in — it’s so much more convenient to make it to my mtgs.  I don’t have to battle an hour in traffic.  My volleyball league is down the street from where I live, so it’s right on the way home.  It’s great!
I do have to report one sad thing that happened this weekend… I fried my laptop.  The powersupply overheated and now I can’t even power up my laptop.  It’s a good thing I went through the exercise of transferring everything on the laptop to my new external HD.  I was making frequent props of the VNSF website redesign to our webhosting server, so most of that work is safe.   Probably the most fortunate thing is since I was sick this weekend, I actually did not do much work at all for VNSF, so didn’t really do much work since backing everything up.  The only thing I loss was the interview videos I was splicing up to be subtitled and posted onto YouTube.  It’s a pain to do but it won’t take all that long to replicate.  It just kind of sucks to be laptop-less.  At one point, I had 3 laptops.  I am down to zero.  You’d think it would be liberating, but really, not so much.  For instance, I have to write this blog entry from my office/spare bedroom when I could be doing it in front of the TV.  =)
Speaking of being sick… I’m still feeling not so great… especially after meals.  Not sure what’s going on since I felt fine yesterday.  Hopefully it’s not the precursor to something worse because that would suck.  I used to have an iron stomach… what’s happened?  How am I going to survive Viet Nam if my stomach can’t even hold up to meals here??? 

Unemployment Day 5

To-Do List Count:
   Items at start of day: 26
   Completed items: 5 
   Started items: 6
   Number of items added: 0
Saw Juno tonight.  It was really good.  Stomach not feeling so hot though… hope I’m not getting sick..  =(

Unemployment Day 4

To-Do List Count:
   Items at start of day: 32
   Completed items: 6
   Started items: 6
   Number of items added: 0
My external HD came!!  Yay!  I copied all my photos over from my old laptop and started in on the CD’s.  It’s gonna take a heck of a long time to copy all the CD’s over… my drive is ancient and slow has heck, but it’ll be worth it in the end. 

Unemployment Day 3

To-Do List Count:
   Items at start of day: 39
   Completed items: 11
   Started items: 5
   Number of items added: 4
Lookin’ good!  The major to-do is getting the new VNSF website redesign done and live by the end of the month.  So far, it’s looking good.  The online event registration feature needs to be tested more but all-in-all, most of the content is there and it’s nice and simple.  That’s all we need.  Simple, easy-to-find information.
While it looks like I still have a lot on my list, a lot of them are dependent on other things happening.  Most of the non-VNSF tasks are about cleaning my house… bleh.  I just need to bite the bullet, drop half a day and clean the house head-to-toe.  I did manage to do 3 loads of laundry yesterday.  =)
I wish I could stay unemployed longer.  It’s nice not to have a schedule.  It feels good to just work on VNSF and get so much done.  If only I could win the lottery and be independently wealthy… ah… the American dream…

Unemployment Day 2

To-Do List Count:
   Items at start of day: 44
   Completed items: 8
   Started items: 6
   Number of items added: 3
Hmm… trucking along slowly, but I just need to get past one hurdle and a bunch of items will drop like flies!  =)