Hopefully this is an oasis in the desert of my blog. Plenty of stuff to write about and so little time. And where to start? I suppose I can use my backlog of pictures as a guide.
Well WAY back in the middle of November Federica left to go back to Italy, and she was so sweet to throw herself a going-away party for all of her new friends. She took a lot of painstaking efforts to make special gifts for people -- she made me a really cute cardboard ping-pong table with a message on the bottom. Here she's giving the mom of the family with whom she stayed a Sponge-Bob she made herself. Very impressive.
Since returning home Fede has gone to Rome for some studies and we've kept in touch over email and chat and even Skype. The internet rocks.
Also in November we celebrated Chuck's 70th with a nice big get-together at Eric's home in Goodyear, Arizona. We had an all around great time -- Yong was an excellent host and the food was incredible. That is, except for getting chewed out for wanting to play PS/2 with Steven. Aw, c'mon, Mom!
Steven is my step-nephew, Brenda is Curt's girlfriend, and Kimberly is my step-niece. Steven is huge; hard to believe we're related. Oh wait we're not.
Tried to take Eric by surprise here.
George nails down some final details.
After the engagement reception we dropped by Yenchi's new venture, a quaint authentic Vietnamese cafe/restaurant. She decorated the place herself -- it was very nice and seemed to be putting the other Vietnamese place in the area out of business after only a month.
Joel and Joanne got married on December 11th, 2004! The whole week was a blast; I spent some time with the folks and Linda during the week and then it was a wedding-party extravaganza over the weekend. Even the footwork was exciting -- Joel managed to get into a tiff with the Men's Wearhouse guy; I don't know how he does it. With the wedding though, there was so much family and so much love, it was quite an amazing time. And of course Halo 2 at the bachelor party was quite fulfilling.
Are fortune cookies considered witchcraft? Even if the truth of its message is undeniable? ;-)
During the reception I had a conversation with a sister about how she was feeling in her congregation and it turned out to be a great opportunity to encourage her. I shared a lot of the struggles I had in trying to put together my group and how much it was worth it in the end. It was actually a very moving conversation for me; I do hope she finds hope in her circumstances.
As if all that wasn't enough, after the reception I went with Ming to her company holiday party. Company parties are always such awkward social situations. We had a good time though.
I visited the McCaa's after Christmas and spent the New Year there. Nice and cold there. It was great to see Tom and Jenny and Trey doing great. I found out I really like hush puppies too. Here Tom and I were walking by the river in Wilmington.
To anyone with sensitivity, please disregard this photo. This is intended for Alan, Dan, and Scott. Cool eh, Campbell?
Last week there was a singles church conference in Vegas. Some 1400 singles were there, about 35 of which were from San Diego. Eddy, Dave, Rey and I rode up together on the Friday and stayed in the Alexis where the conference was being held, along with Kris. I hope Eddy's chi didn't mess me up.
There was a message on Friday night, a message, two classes, and social events on Saturday, and a church service on Sunday. Personally I got the most out of the discussion part after the message on Saturday morning. We were handed some discussion questions and encouraged to group up with 4-6 other people and discuss for a bit. Finally! I actually missed the two classes -- Rey, Tasma, Faith and I got back pretty late from lunch, missing the first class, and by that time I was wiped out so I crashed through the second class. From what I heard it doesn't sound like I missed much. Speed dating is quite a trip though. I had a good time but I don't think it's for everybody. It's pretty much like it was portrayed in the movie Hitch. It really suited me well because I had a chance to talk to a lot of people that I wouldn't ordinarily have the guts to talk to. Another nice consequence of the format is that I don't get sucked into talking one person for the whole night, which I am realizing I am prone to do. I don't think that the women typically had a very good time though. I think that is mostly related to the fact the ratio is always so bad for the women at these events. Even though the ratio within the event was 50/50, there were a lot of women who wanted to be involved but couldn't find a "buddy" to make things even. I also wish there was a time of mingling afterwards. As it was, once the final bell was rung everyone cleared out of there pretty quickly. I think everyone was probably overwhelmed after meeting some 50 people within an hour-and-a-half. I know I was pretty drained mentally.
I ran into Jill at the conference and it was so good to catch up. I also met a cool sister named Nancy and we went to breakfast on Sunday morning before church. So overall I had a really enjoyable time. The weekend ended in somewhat of a bust though; Eddy had supposedly invited about 30 people to lunch, but for whatever reason no one showed up and it ended up being just Eddy, Rey, Dave and me at -- of all places -- Hamburger Mary's. Wonderful.
Fast-forward to the present. Today Michelle had her singing recital! It was lots of fun, and Michelle did great singing Sarah McLachlan's "Angel." Kids are hilarious. One girl, poor thing, made a mistake in the middle of her piano piece, stopped, and couldn't figure out where to start again. After about a minute of staring blankly at the keys, she abruptly got up and did a quick bow and left the stage. Ah, the good old days.
Last night we had our first San Diego singles devo, which the west hosted and organized. It was really impressive how many people were involved in it, actually. We had about 20 people from the west just in organizing and serving. I was really happy the way things turned out, although I thought my personal contribution to my group's skit was pretty pathetic. Plus our scripture was ridiculously hard to act out, much less guess. But anyway, at least the umpteen meetings we had putting it together really paid off. We had an "after-party" at Rock Bottom where I had a great time getting whipped on the pool table by a sister from Vancouver, Canada named Kathleen. Man, I haven't been that humbled in a long time.
Today I also had a fun phone conversation with Jill. Wake up, sluggard! ;-) Also got in a game of ultimate after two weeks off. Oh, the aches ... and I didn't even win. But it's not just about winning, it's about ... um ... wait, what else is there?
Last week was my last week with Silicon Space, Inc. It actually turned out to be more emotional than I thought it would be. Everyone there has been so appreciative of the work I've done. Now that I think about it, this is probably the job where I've felt the most appreciated so far in my career. Actually they even pleaded with me to work on Monday too, which I, being the sucker I am, couldn't refuse.
Unfortunately it was also Mike the QA guy's last week this past week too, but he wasn't planning on it. I actually didn't even get to say goodbye because he was let go Friday morning before I got in. I feel bad; he has two young kids but is himself no spring chicken. Hopefully he'll make the Personnel Logistics release party.
This Tuesday I start my new job at DivX! I'm really excited and nervous. I'm so afraid that I'll be so wiped out from ultimate Frisbee and my weekend schedule in general that I'll be nodding off through some orientation thing. Guess I shouldn't be staying up late to finish my blog, eh? Stay tuned, more deep thoughts to come. Shih out.