Posts Tagged ‘work’

Our first Halloween

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s our first Halloween as homeowners and you can tell by the massive bags of Sour Patch Kids we gave out (along with Rice Krispy Treats too). The Sour Patch Kids were a hit with pretty much ever kid who came to our door. I think we had a total of twenty-some-odd visitors over the course of about half a dozen doorbell rings. A mostly quiet night, but that’s probably partly due to our neighborhood still being new and many condos still standing empty. It wasn’t easy to tell whether people were home and/or living in each unit, plus with our condo style, the doors are down a sidewalk between the walls of our buildings. The other style condos in the area have the front doors all along the front facing the street, so it’s easier for the kids to run from one to the next.

We made sure to turn on our front door light and we lit up fairy lights in one of the windows facing the road. Inside the front door, we lit up the tiny pumpkin I got from my recent HelloFresh box. Panda originally wanted to shine a light on it to cast a shadow like the bat signal, but the shadow was either too small or too blurry, so we decided to light the mini pumpkin instead. Next year we’ll have to make sure we carve a pumpkin and light it up out by the end of our sidewalk to get more people to our door. It also took use some time to hop off the couch and run down the stairs, so maybe we can read books on the stairs or something to be closer to the door.

Overall it was a fun Halloween, not too crazy, but it had its moments (especially at work). Here are some highlights:

laughing girl dressed up as waldo for halloween blending in with whiteboard with red stripes drawn on

This idea for Where’s Waldo sounded much better in our heads, but still provided for some great amusement today.

halloween trio dressed up as lumberjack with axe, shark, and waldo

In no other scenario would you find a lumberjack axing a shark attacking a Waldo. What fun!

mini pumpkin held in the palm of the hand

Fits in the palm of my hand.

light shining on mini pumpkin inside window by door

Our makeshift lighting for the “pumpkin signal” that didn’t quite work.

mini pumpkin inside window by door lit up by lamp

From the outside, I think you get the idea that we’re open for business, right?

cat chewing on bag of candy in basket of halloween candy

Smokey tried to dig in as soon as the kids were gone and the doorbell stopped ringing.


laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gosh, I meant to share this a month ago right after Chalkfest occurred in Reston, but somehow the time just flew by! There are always a ton of activities happening in the town center and this was one that my company, Canvas, decided to participate in. They got a space for our graphic designer to to add her contribution to the event. Check out what she drew starting the day before the event and a bunch of other chalk art from that day:

chalkfest reston space on ground for professional artist drawing

This is the space for Canvas, right as things were getting started.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of colorful owl in progress

A few hours later, I took a break from work to check in on things. Making good progress!

aerial view of chalkf art drawing of owl for chalkfest reston

As my colleagues were leaving work for the day, they stopped to admire the drawing.

Here are some of the entries from people of all ages and artistic abilities… what’s your fav?

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of woman's portrait chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of festive cultural people and halloween items chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of woman in dress and hat chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of star wars characters

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of dolphins and maze

On the right, the maze was drawn by a 42 (or was it 47?) year old man, which was amusing.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of green and red snake or dragon

Someone went rogue and drew in the pathway, just to make their mark.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of silhouette of girl blowing dandelion chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of alice in wonderland scene

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of rainforest animals

This was one of the professional artist entries. I believe it won first place!

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of colorful owl with canvas logo

Woo hoo! The Canvas owl got third!!

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of cat holding light saber riding unicorn over rainbow chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of landscape picture on artist's chair of landscape drawn for chalkfest reston chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of flower design with candle in middle

high score of 8058 in game of threes on ipad

We wandered into the Apple Store for a break and discovered the game of Threes. I’d say we did pretty well.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of octopus holding astronaut bear chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of host rcc

lady walking around reston town center with snake at chalkfest reston

There was a random lady walking around with her snake, which attracted a fair share of folks.

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of silhouettes of buildings in dc

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of starry night trampled over rudely by inconsiderate people

It was so sad to see people had trampled all over this and messed it all up! #rude

chalkfest reston chalk art drawing of crunch fitness logo

Biweekly, bimonthly

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Today I was putting together a spreadsheet to compare offerings from some companies we’re evaluating. As I was listing the frequency of something they do, I was going to put biweekly, but then I wasn’t sure how that would be interpreted. One thing that has always frustrated me (and confused me to no end) is this term with its conflicting meaning. Let’s take a look at the definition:

adjective & adverb
  1. appearing or taking place every two weeks or twice a week.
  1. a periodical that appears every two weeks or twice a week.


I mean, is this somebody’s idea of a joke? How do you allow one single word to simultaneously mean two things that don’t jive with each other? They differ mathematically by a factor of 4. FOUR! What if I demanded my paycheck (paid out biweekly) twice a week? After all, that’s biweekly too. Then I’d get paid four times as much, given each check amount is the same. So if I agreed to pay you $100 biweekly, would you expect $10,400 by the end of a year or just a paltry $2600? That’s a staggering difference, isn’t it?? I just don’t get how this so often and so easily overlooked.

The same goes for the similarly infuriatingly vague “bimonthly” term that runs along those same illogical lines. When I say bimonthly, how do you know if I mean twice a month or every other month? There really is no true way to tell without using other phrases… and doesn’t that rather defeat the purpose of a word that is supposed to have a meaning that people understand? Can’t we assign only one definition to it or get rid of the word??! What if I said I’d meet you at noon, except noon meant either 6 in the morning or 10 at night? When would you show up?

So ultimately what did I decide to do for my conundrum at work? I used the term fortnightly.

A fun day at work

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recently, Canvas decided to do a Shark Tank initiative to gather ideas from across the company for what we can do to increase the trial subscriber volume. Everyone was invited to partner up and present an idea to five Sharks – a panel of decision-makers at Canvas. I was interested in participating, but didn’t really have any good ideas. One of my coworkers had reached out to me to partner up and just as we were about to get together, he found out that another guy one our team had already signed them up as a team. I kept an eye out, wondering who else I could team up with, but nothing really presented itself.

Today rolled around, with pitches scheduled throughout the afternoon. Right before lunch, a colleague who is a good friend started talking about it because she’d just learned about our Shark Tank (she didn’t get the emails). She needed someone to work with, so I offered to join her. After lunch, we met up with our coworker with the idea – he had to leave early and didn’t want to present anyway, so we took the idea and ran with it. He acted as our adviser and really helped make sure we had a ton of great information, so we were well-prepared. We took all that content and broke it into a bunch of slides, then started practicing. We even rehearsed walking in and greeting the Sharks. It was hilarious and so much fun!

I signed us up for the first time slot at 3:30 under our chosen team name: Double Trouble. After about an hour, we were pretty confident in our presentation. We had the entrance, presentation flow, and even synchronized moves all ready. We did a practice run in front of the idea man before he had to run and he loved it! Just as we were looking forward to going first, the Sharks came over to ask us to move to 4:10, the second slot. They had to postpone the start to 4. While it was sad we wouldn’t be first up, it did give us extra time to rehearse! I then booked a meeting room so we could practice clicking through the slides.

When it finally came time to pitch, we went through our presentation nearly flawlessly. Our high energy and funny moments really captured the Sharks and they had a great time with us. We certainly had the most memorable and entertaining presentation! The idea was a hit too, and we finished off on a fabulous note. I think the Sharks were not only impressed with how prepared we were (especially considering we’d only prepared for about an hour and a half), but how enthusiastic we were! I think some of them know us both to be more quiet, and not nearly as goofy as we turned out to be. Wins all around for team Double Trouble!!

We were still high from the rush of joy after that fun experience when we were told about the free food in the kitchen for a “Christmas in July” Happy Hour. Check out the awesome spread, including some super cool Australian dessert – pavlova – and an assortment of fruit as well as cocktail shrimp. We had a fabulous time enjoying the food before I decided to get back to work. I’d lost about half a day due to all this Shark Tank and Happy Hour fun, so it was time to get crackin’ again.

australian pavlova desserts, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and other fruit for office happy hour

Homemade and oh so delicious!!

watermelon, blueberries, cocktail shrimp, and tim tams spread out on table for office happy hour


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I was going to write a review of my newest subscription box, Love With Food, today, but I am just pooped. Between a day at work that required quite a bit of effort and a night that just kept going, I don’t have enough energy left to finish that post. Tomorrow, perhaps.

cat and person lying on ground sleeping

Felt much like I did this Sunday afternoon, when we had a little impromptu nap time.

I’ve been running a series of webinars at work to train partners on the features and benefits of our product. It’s surprisingly tiring to talk for an hour and explain things via a presentation, demo, and Q&A session. On top of that, I’m trying to manage follow-up for a set of events that occurred over the past two months, which required a lot of navigating websites that wouldn’t load due to some awful internet connection quality. There are a bunch of other projects I’m supposed to manage too, but those were put on the backburner while I focus on the webinars and events. I’m starting to have trouble keeping up with things.

I left work just before 6:30 and headed off to yoga class. I’m not sure why I’m so tired coming out of it because it wasn’t very difficult and we even spent half an hour meditating. I always fall asleep during meditation, so I got a nice nap out of it. Perhaps the physical exhaustion is from my attempts at headstands after getting home today. I an easily get up into one by the wall, but can’t quite seem to find the strength required to balance straight up on my own. Before I got into that, I had to jump on a call with another partner (out in the Philippines) the moment I got home. After we synced up for the week, I was finally able to eat dinner (but not before I tried those headstands).

Have you ever eaten a light salad on an empty stomach? If you’re hungry enough, it’s kind of nauseating. So I asked Panda to make me some ramen, which is helping. But boy am I absolutely knackered! Not even mentally, mostly physically. So much exertion today. I hope I can get up tomorrow.

Would you rather: career vs. family

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

I just watched the feature on Barbara Walters now that she’s retiring and something she said struck me – how people don’t look back and regret spending too much time at the office, but they do regret not spending enough time with their families. However, I don’t think it’s as simple as that. That’s coming from a career woman’s perspective, but what about the flip side? What about someone who spent their whole lives dedicated to their families? Do they have no regrets? My greatest fear of potentially deciding to stay at home and being a homemaker is that I’ll regret not living up to my potential in a career. So what’s worse – feeling like you wasted too much of your life working away and not being a good family member or feeling like you wasted too much of your time focusing on family and not contributing your skill sets to the labor force?

As it is, it’s tough enough staying home to take care of the family. But then people often think that the home life is just full of daytime strolls and shopping sprees and other fun things. They don’t seem to respect homemakers they way they probably would if they truly understood the challenges (not that I do, but I certainly have seen a glimpse of it and it’s not something I’m confident I can pull off). How would you feel if you worked your butt off for days on end only to have people think you’re lazy? Even worse than that for me is the thought of people thinking you’re somehow less intelligent because you’re not working on some career path. Just because you choose not to be employed doesn’t mean you’re unemployable and neither does it give any indication of your capabilities. Yet inevitably, it comes into question… Did you stay home because you’re not good enough? After all those years away from the workforce, are you somehow less intelligent or hardworking?

So I’ve got to say, at this stage, much as I want to not focus on work so much, I do because I’d rather look back and wish I had taken more time away than wish I had accomplished more in my life. I still grapple with the decision to stay in the workforce and how long I plan on being here. It feels wonderful to be good at a job, be productive, and contribute towards some greater goal. I don’t know if I’d feel as rewarded in terms of my self-esteem when it comes to family life. I can certainly see myself feeling great about raising good kids, helping Panda advance his own career with less stress because of my presence at home, and other less tangible results that have a less direct connection to my contributions. Ultimately, I think I’d want to settle on a part-time opportunity that would give me even greater flexibility in my schedule. For now, since home life is pretty simple without any kids, I’ll stay concentrated on my work.

Would you rather focus on your family if you could give up your job? Have you chosen that path? Or are you determined to pursue a long career?


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: ,

What a draining week it’s been! I feel like it’s been two weeks and I barely have enough brain power left to operate. In fact, I’m pretty much out of juice to do much more than free-write. No capacity to paint the nails on my other hand. No strength to eat despite being insanely hungry (so much so it makes me nauseous thinking of eating). No memory reserves to keep track of all I meant to do.

I filmed some videos this weekend that I was supposed to upload to a shared account so we can get the Yuzen summer box video up. Even that became too hard. Last night after washing my face I meant to put on lotion, but completely spaced out even as I held the bottle in my hand. Thank goodness Panda isn’t traveling again or I might just be neglecting to feed the cat and clean her litter box.

All I want is to lay here and vegetate. Listen to the rain outside. Zone out as my mind tries to unscramble itself. I found myself having trouble with speech this evening. Words got stuck in my head but didn’t come out right. My ears feel like I’m in some high pressure area. And then on my drive home I realized I had some more work to do. Bleh. But now I am done and contemplating between sleeping earlier and zoning out to a show.

Is this week over yet?

So tired. Tonight we had a launch party for the co-working space and had a good showing despite the awful weather. There were times I looked outside and it was completely white from the heavy rain. Couldn’t see a single building or tree out there. But still the people flocked in and it was nice to take a break from work to meet some new people. Wish I could have actually joined in the festivities, but alas, duty called. I’m going to be so glad when I don’t have to stare at these spreadsheets anymore!!

Good Friday

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

Last night was the first time in a long while that I actually fell asleep unintentionally. I woke up at 2 something in the morning to find the lights still on, my laptop running, and the cat dozing away. I thought about getting in a blog post, but that required too much effort to wake up from a fog, so I turned off the lights and settled back to sleep. I’m pretty sure I had a dream in a world that I’d dreamed of before. It was like a hybrid of SF and Georgetown and (much like last time) parts of it were flooded. I even recall a house that I’d admired last time. This time I decided to sneak in with Panda and another friend (I think it might have been Ninja) to check it out.

Such was my exhausted state of mind last night, so I’m very glad that we get today off. I’ve got to say, I’ve never had Good Friday off (nor have I had Earth Day, which I also get this year). It’s quite nice and I hadn’t realized how much I was trying to cram in before my long weekend (I’m taking Monday since Earth Day is Tuesday, so I get 5 days!). I guess it all caught up to me last night as I finally got a chance to decompress from it all. It’s also the perfect time for me to be able to go pick up my volunteer badge for the Smithsonian. Their security office is only open weekdays so I haven’t had time to go all the way out to DC to get my badge.

I’m also looking forward to swinging by a macaroon shop that closed before Panda and I could go buy anything last time. I might just get some Georgetown Cupcakes or Sprinkles too.

365great Day 363: living abroad

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

365great day 363: living abroadWhether working, studying, or just plain living abroad, it’s the type of experience I think everyone should try at least once. I’ve done them all, like visiting family in China for summer break (and going to school for that year when I was 9), doing an exchange program in England, and working overseas in Singapore. This was from my last night in Singapore, as I packed up my desk and bid farewell to my coworkers. It had been quite an immersion into their culture, completely unlike anything I was used to yet familiar in many areas. It’s amazing what you learn in a few weeks of entering a different society. It’s easy to stay closed-mind in a bubble if you never leave your home country, but normal travel doesn’t quite change you the way living abroad does (even if it’s only for a few months). I really value all of my time abroad in the various capacities that I was there for. Spending extended time in any other country opens your eyes to other ways to view the world and it’s a great learning opportunity for all.

When the internet is down

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,
people in office sitting and standing around chatting

Some chat it up.

people in office sitting playing video games on wall projection

Some get their game on.

guy sitting in server room working on laptop

And some get to fixin’.

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