Sunday, March 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It feels good to be back home!! Back to my comfort zone. There really is nothing like it. Going away makes you appreciate who and what you have at home. I was in Vegas for 4 days where I attended a conference and right after getting back home, we traveled to Disneyland as a spring break treat to Cheryl.

Las Vegas, what a place. I have been to Vegas a couple of times before but both of those times were with my wife. This time around, it was just me with several colleagues from work. I am saying this because I just realized that I was seeing Vegas from a different point of view. I had the tendency to act like a single guy and I had to check my self once in a while because if you're not careful, you will get confused and lost in that place mentally and morally. So for all of you married people going there, please be very careful. You can still have fun but just be very careful. The commercial "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" can be so far from the truth. Because if you do something really stupid, it will not stay in Vegas. Worse, you will bear that in your conscience for the rest of your life.

Ok, having said all of that....I had lots of fun!!! I managed to reconnect with some ex-colleagues who are now working for other companies and also got to meet other people in the business which is good because it expands my network...really helpful when you get laid off or just want to move on. I managed to accomplish what I set out to do in the conference so it was fruitful work-wise. The last night of the conference was a blast. A special concert for the conference was held and the group that performed is The Bare Naked Ladies which is an awesome band. There was an open bar and we were invited by IBM as a V.I.P and we had access to an open bar and a special area of the concert hall. Food was also great.

At the end of it all, I couldn't wait to go home to see my wife and my kids. But, I am thankful that I work for a company that provides me an opportunity to stay in Vegas and have a great time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ear Piercing

Cheryl had her ears pierced today. We were so surprised that she started talking about doing it just 2 days ago. I guess she got the idea from some of her friends in school. We took her to the mall and that's where she had the procedure. She was so proud that she didn't cry at all. And now she can't wait to show off her earrings to her friends in school.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'll See You Later Joe...

I lost an hour of sleep today. It's Daylight Savings Time (DST) and we have to move our clock one hour ahead. I really don't mind because what this means is that sun will still be up when I get home from work which will allow me to spend more time outside with my kids.

I started Sunday the usual way, having breakfast with my family in Safeway. Weiwei, Cheryl and I share a panini sandwich for breakfast while Abby enjoys a doughnut. I have coffee with Weiwei and the 2 kids share a hot chocolate. Then after that they drop me off at church because I have rehearsals for the Sunday worship set.

The service started and we did the worship set. At the end of the set, I talked to Joe our interim worship leader and I found out that today is his last day as the worship leader. The church has found somebody who might be a good candidate as a full time worship and creative arts pastor.

I always feel a sense of sadness when someone leaves especially when it's someone that you have been working with for quite some time. Joe has been our interim worship leader for more than a year now and I really really enjoyed playing with him. I also got to know his wife Jenny and his 2 beautiful kids. I am going to miss them a lot. I know that God has something special for them outside of Fair Oaks Church and I will forever treasure the friendship that I have established with them.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Disney on Ice

We took our kids to watch Disney on Ice today. It's a reward for our oldest daughter who has been so diligent in her studies and her responsibilities at home. We make it a point to give her something every now and then to show her how much we appreciate her and the things that she does, big or small, to make our lives at home wonderful.

We didn't tell her until yesterday after school because we wanted to surprise her. She was so happy and excited last night.

The show was great for kids and Abby was screaming at the top of her lungs calling out the names of the different disney characters that appear on the stage. Cheryl had a wonderful time and they both loved the fireworks at the end of the show. Disney really puts on great shows and this is definitely one of them.

Cheryl bought a little mermaid necklace and some coloring books. She used money from her savings and it's wonderful to see that she just didn't buy it outright. She thought about it long and hard before making a decision. I am so happy that she now has this concept of spending money only after thinking things through and not just out of whim. I sure hope and pray that she continues to grow with this mindset.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Kids' First Bike Ride of the Year

It's that time of the year in California where the days start getting longer and the temperature starts getting warmer. So we decided it's time to start the outdoor activities for our kids. We bought Abby a bike for Christmas and it was time to take it outside and get our money's worth. We dusted off Cheryl's bike and we headed to our church's parking lot. It is the safest place we can find because the gates to the parking lot are closed so our kids could ride their bikes on the pavement without fear of getting hit by cars while we sat under a big oak tree and watched them have fun. The had plenty of space to ride around because the parking lot is so huge.

Abby was so happy to be riding her bike outside for the first time. Cheryl was having fun because she can just take off and not worry about hitting people or car like in parks. I was watching my youngest and all the time thinking that what used to be a tiny very dependent being yesterday has suddenly grown up into this independent toddler today in the blink of an eye. Time really flies and if you don't make an effort to spend time with your kids, you are going to miss out on a lot.

I can't wait for spring and summer to come. We are planning several camping trips and visits to natural parks. We have decided that this year, we would cut down on going to theme parks and spend more time doing outdoor activities like going to lakes, swimming, hiking and camping.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Back to Normal

I finally completed my project implementation. It has been 2 weeks since we went "live" with the new system. It was a tiring two weeks with several sleepless nights and a very highly charged implementation atmosphere. Problems did happen but nothing that was unmanageable. I was so proud and happy with the way my project team handled our implementation. The dedication, perseverance and commitment that they exhibited these past 2 weeks were phenomenal. We got a lot of kudos from the executive management and for our project's magnitude, we really did well with minimal impact to the business.

On a sad note, while we were busy with our 2nd week of implementation, a very unfortunate situation happened in our company. We had a reduction in force and I felt the impact of it on a personal level because I know many of those who were let go and how their job meant a lot to them. It was a sad week for me because I've worked with several of them for the past 10 years that I have been with the company as a consultant and as an employee. I pray that they will be able to cope with it and I hope that they will find better opportunities.

Moving on to the brighter side, I am so happy that I get to exchange messages with my high school buddies through our high school batch yahoo group. I wrote earlier in one of my blogs that I am so proud that my memory still works but oh boy...I was dead wrong. I was getting welcome messages from people that I thought I would remember and I am embarassed to admit that it takes me some time to dig into the deep crevices of my brain. Man, I was struggling but what I like about the messages was they gave me some ideas on how we knew each other back then. That really helped A LOT!!!! Another good thing was a file which is a compilation of pictures of our high school batch mates. What's cool about it is that it shows individual before and after pictures. The "before" is a picture from class photos and the "after" shows how the person looks now. This is such a great idea and I have to say well done to the person who took the patience and time to do it. At least now I would know if I bump into somebody from my high school batch. One thing I must say is that a lot of my batch mates really blossomed and will give celebrities a run for their money. Anyway, it's very fulfilling to reconnect to my good pals and learn about what went on and what's going on with their lives. Two of my close guy buddies are now established doctors and I am so happy for them. Several of my girl buddies are living happily married lives with kids. What's amazing is that there's quite a lot of us in the US and they even had a reunion in Chicago which I wasn't able to go because I didn't know about it. They also had a big reunion in the Philippines and again, I wasn't able to go because I didn't know about it. Hopefully I can go to the next one.

In closing, I would say that "life is good with all its ups and downs". We just have to do our best all the time with whatever life throws at us. I am a Christian and my faith helps me deal with life and the curve balls that come with it. I have no control of it but I can stand firm in my faith in God that things happen for a reason.