#236 (food for skeleton crew)

During the last couple weeks of the calendar year only few souls actually go into the office and work. The majority of the full time employees (like myself) take a few days of vacation during this down time. However there are some folks (workaholics) continue as if it were a typical day. I say enjoy the benefits and take the time to refuel your mind and soul. Then there are the unfortunate folks like our contractors who must work. They can choose to not work, but then they don’t get paid. 

Those who are in the office working during the holidays don’t have food options as the cafeterias and restaurants on campus also close during this time of year. So I started something last year that I think I’ll continue as long as I work there. 

Like I did last year, I brought in food to feed the souls who were in the office. I wish I could say that all of it comes from the goodness of my heart, but let’s face it I have an alternative motive in that it allows the opportunity for testing out new recipes for my upcoming parties. I figured it’s a symbiotic relationship where I get feedback by seeing their faces with either a grimace in disappointment or a smile and eyes lit up with approval. 

Regardless, I get feedback and they in turn get food. 

Unknown number of diners…

I’m not sure how many folks will be working as it’s the holidays. I estimate there would be a few employees (maybe 5) and the majority of the contractors, which I estimate to be around 15. Jackie texted me and said she would be in as well just to partake in the luncheon. 

Last year, they were so grateful and devoured my cooking. Even our VP was in the office and he also partook and consumed two of the ribs. Maybe he’ll be there this year as well. 

So I’ve made enough to feed 30 people. 

The grub…

On the menu this year and based on requests from last years recipients are their favorites from last – my slow cooked wings and my fall-off-the-bone BBQ pork ribs. In addition to those two favorites, I threw in my shrabacon (shrimp stuffed with crab and jalapeño and wrapped in bacon), and a vegetarian option.  Now I don’t usually do veggies, so this would be new for both them and me. 

My slow cooked chicken wings…

My slow cooked pork ribs…

My shrabacon…

My pickle chips…

My baked cauliflower…

My birthday present…

As I posted last Friday (http://wp.me/p70WJj-WR), it was my birthday and I like keeping things low key. The other thing I like to do on my birthday is to give back to my community. So as part of my birthday celebration, I brought my food into the office and the best part is they didn’t know it was my birthday. So I celebrated my birthday without them knowing it – I love that. 

I’m glad I’m able to bring delight to their taste pallets, especially since the cafeteria was closed. However, even if it were open, they do not have great tasting food. Our taste buds have been bored for many months now since they contracted with a different food company and have taken away the food truck options. 

So enjoy my office team!! Happy holidays!!

#bbq #chickenwings #bbqribs #stuffed #shrimp #baconwrapped #food #holidays #life #singleasianmale

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#234 (my last work day)

December 21st, 5pm finally comes around signifying my official start to my holiday vacation. The company I work for has allotted two days for Christmas (12/26 & 12/27) and two days for New Years (12/30 & 01/02). So this year there are two working days between Christmas and New Years. So if one is smart, they can use two acation days to get nine consecutive days off. 

I had to up that and took off 12/22 and I’m not planning to return to work until 01/4, which gives me 14 consecutive days. I hadn’t taken the last two weeks off for several years. As a consultant, I always took the last two weeks because I needed to take a mental break, but that’s been at least 4 years ago. 

Yeah I’m officially on vacation. I hope the days go by slowly. 

#vacationmode #vacationrime #nowork #life #dingleasianmale

#222 (lunch with the gang)

It’s been a long time since I’ve had lunch with my wing woman (Jackie and Lois) and my main man, Chad. Our work life have changed in that Lois is now in a different campus, Jackie has been promoted and busy doing other things, and I’m transitioning to another area away from where Chad works. So our work lives have changed. 

I was a bit late as I was coming from a demo with my new team. Chad was actually in my new team’s demo but he left early (smart man). I ordered my food and joinedthem. They were chit chatting about something as I sat down. 

Focus on my dating…

The conversation then turned to me and my dating life. “So you still dating?” Lois asked. I responded with a lowly, “yeah.” 

Chad began laughing and said questioning Lois and Jackie. “Haven’t you been reading his blog?” Then he chuckled again. 

“What’s going on?” Inquired both Jackie and Lois. 

Catching up the wing women…

I proceeded explaining my uneasiness of the Pisces sign. And how they are so emotional, always late, holds grudges, takes everything personally, and is either one extreme or the other (only black or white). Of course they wanted examples. I told the story of our first fight when S instructed (I meant forced me) to warm up her way. 

Jackie responded. “She’s just trying to help you.”

“Help me is fine but forcing me to warm up in a certain way – because any other way was not right.” I began my defense. 

Jackie was silently ingesting but Lois blurted, “why didn’t you just take your hands out of your pockets?”

“I was cold! But as I became warm, I did take my hands out,” I explained. Lois was listening and nodding but remained silent. 

Next item causing doubt…

Then I begin recalling the events of thanksgiving. Chad was already smiling from ear to ear. 

After I described and listed the menu items and the events that led to assumptions S made of my traditional Thanksgiving dinner, both said loudly and simultaneously, “No mashed potatoes?”

At this time, Chad was rolling as S and her daughter had said the same exact phrase as my wing women just uttered. I tried defending my situation that mashed potatoes were not part of my traditional thanksgiving dinner. Both were surprised and sided with S. 

“But she knew the menu and I asked if she wanted me to make something else,” I rebutted. Both were still shocked I didn’t have mashed potatoes. Jackie asked, “What about the gravy?”

I informed that she loved my giblet gravy, turkey stuffing, turkey and ham. “But no mashed potatoes!” Both chimed again. 

“Nope! That wasn’t part of my traditional meal my mom would make.” I answered. 

“That’s weird!” Jackie said in denial. But she did back me as she circled back to the fact that S was aware of the menu. 

Well I guess my wing women has sort of sided with S. But Jackie did confirm the traits of Pisces. Guess I’ll continue to observe and learn more about S…(for now)

#singleasianmale #friends #wingwomen #bestfriends #dating

#213 (a new world coming)

First day back after a break is always the hardest for me. Add the fact that I’m still fighting my upper respiratory issues, and pile on top of that the fact of it being Monday, which is the busiest of all days. Lastly since I’ve been out and haven’t checked email, my mailbox was more than it usually is. 

Also heard from my soon to be new boss that folks on the team I’m transitioning to have already formed an opinion about my lack of technology experience. He wasn’t sure where that originated but thought I needed to be aware of what I was walking into. 

“That’s great!” I thought. “The new team is already forming opinions based on what?”

Well I guess I’ll just have convince the new team that one doesn’t need to have all the knowledge to lead.

Some background…

About a month ago, the director approached me with possibly switching completely over to the system side of technology. 

I have been in the technology field for nearly 17 years. But my focus has been software development and specifically in the business intelligence area. It’s all about data and making sense of what that data tells us so that business decisions can be made, processes adjusted, or new steams of revenue can be implemented. 

The new world…same issues…

The systems side is new and unfamiliar as there is a plethora of new system tools that are foreign to me. It seems like every day, there’s a new tool that we are reviewing or thinking about how to bring into our space. 

My role for this new team is the same as what I’ve been doing for nearly as long as I’ve been in the business intelligence space. I would be managing and communicating when the team would make available the new systems, and iterations of those systems. 

Part of what I like about my role is that I can say,”No, we can’t add that now!” My other favorite phrase is,”Why does that have to be done now?” 

I was talking to S about the changes happening at work. I told her about my conversation with my director – the same director who wanted me to move completely over to systems. 

Basically I had told my director to not communicate or commit to delivering something without confirming the dates with me. The reason is I own (am responsible for) those dates. I can’t support dates that gets communicated without my knowledge or where I’m not aligned. 

She was amazed that I speak with my managers with such authority. Maybe taking ownership is why I’ve been successful. 

My transition plan…

I figure as long as I have the experts on the team, why would I need to know the intricate details. True I won’t be able to call BS (at the onset) but then again my management style is not having a single point of failure. I enable the team to manage and self-organize, work in collaboration, and instill team-managed decisions. 

It’s a simple philosophy – if the team owns the work and understand the timelines, the team will deliver. 

Now just when I first started in the data side of technology, I knew nothing. So eventually I’ll be able to understand their techy jargon but for now I’ll just do as I normally do – fail quickly, take ownership, keep the team moving forward, and protect the team from outside interference…

…until I find my exodus

#singleasianmale #newteam #worklife #management

#205 (finding my passion)

While I was sick last week, I worked from home. The note sent out to work team was I’m not well and staying home today and that they could reach me if they needed to. One would think the phrase “not well” meant I was sick and needed rest and was staying home to recuperate. 

It turned out I was working from home and didn’t rest any. Thus my illness probably lasted longer since I wasn’t getting the much needed rest.

This made me think…

I guess because I was called upon even when I’m home sick coughing up my lung (literally as I had an upper respiratory infection) that means I’m needed? I probably should feel good about that but I was more annoyed as I really wanted to just rest. 

Now I’ve been IT and managing IT projects for over 17 years. So it’s second nature to me and apparently I’m good at what I do (not bragging). But I don’t think I have the passion anymore. I mean I’ve seen it all even with the ever changing landscape of new software, new techniques, and yada yada yada. It’s generally all the same at this point – retrofit the new to the old or build something new. 

Now maybe if my job was to manage the build of something that was helpful to the general public, then perhaps I would still have more passion about my job. But our end product supports data for BI (business intelligence) reporting. We don’t even write the reports, we just provision the data – yep you’re right in thinking “how boring!”

Finding my passion…

My passion is definitely not provisioning data. But I do know I love to cook. I also like to build or work with my hands. And I have a passion for recycling, up cycling, and repurposing old items. I’ve flipped a house and enjoyed that and I’ve been in the antique trade since I was a teenager. I’ve also started and sold several businesses from printing to an accounting service. 

At least I know my time in IT is coming to an end as I’m not sure I will continue if I’m no longer passionate about what I do at work. 

Maybe I’ll give it one more year…

#singleasianmale #crossroads #mentalhealth #lifechanges

#202 (flu time)

Typically (well in past years) I have usually escaped the flu without taking flu shots. But the last few years, I’ve caught a bug twice a year. Once in the fall and again in spring. I’m still convinced my colds begin with bronchitis that turns into some severe cold that knocks me down and keeps me out for several days. 

Maybe I should listen to Jackie, “You need to get a flu shot! It’s just a small needle…OMG quit being a baby!..” I have received this rhetoric every time I get a cold. So at least twice a year a get the “flu shot” lecture. She’s even started the “Sam is afraid of needles” rumor. Actually I’m not but it’s hard convincing Jackie otherwise. 

Truth be told, I get pricked and blood culture drawn up once a quarter for my type 2 diabetes. So I’m not scared of needles. I just don’t like inoculations that may or may not work. 

I think the drug industry in the US is a political game in that there are probably natural medicines that could cure some of our seasonal ailments but in a sick mindset the powers to be wants us to be just sick enough so that we can continue buying the medicine. 

I actually hate medicine that are chemically created. I’d prefer a natural remedy, but that’s just me. So lots of clear liquids, rest (which is not happening because I’m still working from home), and natural immune boosting foods (local honey, fresh fruits, and always chicken noodle soup). 

You probably guessed, I’m writing this because I’ve been out sick this past week – but still working from home – which means I’m not getting the rest my body needs to fight the cold. And yes I got the “flu shot” lecture again and “Sam is afraid of needles” rumor is ramped in the office. 

The good thing…I’m working on my sofa in my PJs…

#singleasianmale #flushot #naturalremedies #menshealth #workingfromhome

#193 (why does WP publish my posts)

This is more of a bitch session as I’m noticing more of my scheduled WP blogs actually posting when I save them. 

User error?

I use the WP app to blog. I first few weeks when started this blog I was typing via my laptop, but I have since streamlined the work in writing, taking pictures, and updating / uploading all my postings from my iPhone. 

At first I thought it was me, but it’s definitely something wrong with their app. Before I save my changes I have to go into options and ensure a future date was selected. Each time I save, I have to go into the scheduling area. It’s a hit and miss. Some times it works as it should and schedules my post, but sometimes it doesn’t. So frustrated that this occurs more and more lately. 

Really??

How hard is it to make this change. Unfortunately I don’t tolerate this too well as this is my world in that I’m in software development and we constantly have to test our product to ensure the user experience is favorable and functions as expected.

I’ve confirmed before saving a future date was selected. It’s clearly marked and I clearly have scheduled them (usually 7am on weekdays). I typically write my blog post several days in advance so I’m not scrambling the last second to get my story out. 

Message shows scheduled, but it posts instead 

Lately When I save the updates, WP posts my article as published. The pop up message shows scheduled with the confirmation thumbs up icon. Then I get the notification that my blog was posted. And sure enough, it’s in my posted section which I then have to move it to draft then to scheduled. Why can’t things just work the way they’re supposed to. 

Anyone else having this problem? Please share here. I’m  hoping the WP folks will change their code to not publish scheduled postings. Something about their app incorrectly post things that are set as scheduled. 

Ok my bitching session is over…

#singleasianmale #menslife #Wordpresspostingissue

#190 (is it Friday yet)

Monday are one of my longest days because my schedule is normally booked solid from 9am to well past 6pm. This particular Monday was even worse as I had a lunch meeting. In the past, if we had a lunch meeting, we were given a free lunch. However since we’re on budget cuts no more free food for us. Well at least not my group. 

Mondays are also status reporting days, work planning, and a myriad of other project related tasks that have to be done in between the back to back and sometimes overlapping meetings. 

Most Mondays are also filled with some rapid firefighting on top of the project work and on top of the full day of meetings. It’s a wonder that I’ve not thrown in the towel and found a lesser paying job. 

Oh wait!! I did find a lesser paying job – my current one! 

That’s another story for another time…

#singleasianmale #menslife #mondayblues

#168 (happy hour)

Thursday night, the Fab Four (Jackie, Lois, Chad, and myself) went out for a happy hour after work. As typical for any happy hour, someone had a bad work day and needed to vent. It was Lois’s day. 

I have had unpleasant experiences before with the restaurant where we were meeting. I decided I would give the PF Chang restaurant chain one more try. I’ve been to this restaurant chain twice before and both times I’ve broken out in a severe rash from head to toe. The last time I actually didn’t eat at the restaurant. Instead Jackie, another coworker, and I were working late to complete a presentation for the next day’s team event.We  ordered take out from their To Go menu. By the end of the next day, I was literally covered by an itchy rash and was subsequently home for the next two weeks. 

Back to the happy hour…

She told her tale and we like great friends listened and gave her encouragement. As the second round of drinks arrived, the day’s stresses were also being lifted or reduced for the moment. I can tell all was well when Lois turned her attention to me.

She looked at me as I was seated to her right and blurted out, “are you gaining weight?” 

Jackie quickly yelled out, “Lois!”

Lois continued, “do you wear a large now?”

Jackie yelled out again, “Lois!!”

Because I wasn’t sure what Lois was asking, I asked, “what?”

Lois repeated her question even louder and slower, “do you wear a large now?”

Jackie yelled out once again, “Lois!!”

I turned to Lois while poking her semi-hidden muffin top, “no! I’m still wearing a medium.”

Lois continued, “are you happy being with S?”

I replied, “yes”

Lois finished with a smile, “well that’s the price of happiness.”

Once again Jackie yelled out, “Lois!!”

You know you’re with good friends when you can discuss weight issues without feeling badly for saying what was said to each other. 

I think I need to start working out again…

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #greatfriends #openness #truefriends

#159 (last half day Friday)

One of the perks at my current place of employment I can work a half day each Friday in the summer. Actually the benefit starts the Friday before Memorial Day and ends the Friday before Labor Day. Of course this means you still have to get your work accomplished within the adjusted 4.5 day work week. It’s also up to your bosses but it’s highly encouraged to take advantage of those benefits. 

This past Friday was the last of my half Friday work days – it also marks that sad last days of summer feeling. Funny how this benefit also correlates to longer days and shorter daylight hours making it also the start of the vitamin D deficiency season as this also is usually when the gray clouds and constant drizzle begins. 

Ugh!!!

One of the goals each year is for me to drink at least one beer a month. This is especially true during those warm sunny Friday afternoons.  Last two years I failed miserably as I think in only consumed 10 beers collectively in that 24 month timeframe. 

Now I don’t typically drink by myself and since I live alone I’m not one that would break open a bottle of beer or drink a glass of wine during my dinners. However this year, I’ve tried to be better in reaching that goal. 

During this summer, I found this awesome brew that taste uncannily and surprisingly like root beer. There are several on the market but the one that tastes the most like root beer is aptly named “not your father’s root beer “. There is another one on the market that’s just okay. That one has an after taste that ruins it. Not that I’m a root beer expert, but I do know what I don’t like.

So here’s to all of you. Enjoy your last days of summer…Cheers!!! 

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #life #summertime #lastdayofsummer #notyourfathersrootbeer