Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas at Mammoth and June

10 Jan

We finally made it to Mammoth for Christmas! Last year our flight kept getting cancelled but this year we managed to get ahead of the storm (we also got upgraded! Yay!)

I always love de-planing at Mammoth. The mountains are so pretty and the air is so cold and crisp. =)
IMG_20161219_162507On James’ birthday his aunt and uncle took us out for a fancy meal which was super nice of them. We had a couple of sunny, not-too-busy days to get our snow legs back before the storm. Plus lots more eating and drinking!

On the day of the storm it was cold, wet, and the visibility was pretty bad.
IMG_20161223_120034Storm days are always my favourite because the snow keeps getting refreshed and hardly anyone is on the mountain, and everyone who is there is so happy! It was definitely the best day of the trip. =)

The weather was pretty cold this time – I wore five layers most days. My gloves are pretty ratty now, so for the next trip I bought a bright pair of mittens so I’m nice and easy to find.
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All the days leading up to Christmas were pretty decent crowd-wise – last year the Christmas to New Year period was awful, so we were pleasantly surprised.

This is James looking majestic on Christmas Day.
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The highlight of the day had to be meeting up with Woolly and a random Santa!
IMG_1116 (2)It was a great way to spend Christmas morning/afternoon – the snow was nice, the sun was out, and everyone was in a good mood.

But then … disaster! As we were walking back from the resort James got paged. =( He spent the rest of the day (4pm-1:30am) on a work emergency. Here he is, looking very depressed with his festive hat and champagne flute.
IMG_20161225_184938Poor thing. =( We were all eating our delicious Christmas dinner and he was in the corner on a conference call with a plate of food.

The next day Ian, James and I headed to June Mountain to escape the Boxing Day crowds. It was busier than the last time we went but not too bad.

This is the view from the resort – gorgeous!IMG_20161226_141636I can’t remember which run I took this photo on – it was a green run that had beautiful views all the way down which made up for the fact that the snow was fairly crappy.
IMG_20161226_140628Last time Ian and I were at June we took the ski-back trail, but there wasn’t enough snow this time so we had to take the chairlift back to the parking lot.

Going down was a very different experience to going up! I was holding my snowboard and had the bar down because if the chairlift suddenly stopped I didn’t want to go tumbling down the mountain.

The most nervewracking part was when I took my phone out for some photos – the board was wedged between me and the bar, and I had a death grip on my phone … which I couldn’t even feel because my hands were so cold.

No regrets!
IMG_20161226_142151Then our last day we spent at Mammoth again, and that was our Christmas holiday! I snowboarded seven out of the eight days we were there, which isn’t bad.

It was great seeing James’ relatives again, and I’m looking forward to our next trip out!

Google Christmas Party 2016

31 Dec

The holiday party this year was Peter Pan themed. Weird, but it could have been weirder I guess – Anne Marie’s party theme was Mythbusters!

It was in the same location as last year (though no oyster bar, boooo!) and everyone agreed that this year seemed much more crowded. The food and bar lines moved quite quickly though, so it wasn’t inconvenient – just busy.

Helen got there right as it started so was able to take this photo with almost nobody in it:

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photo stolen from Helen

As usual the party had casino games, cigars, bourbon tasting, various food stalls, wandering entertainers and foosball/ping pong/shuffleboard games.

The new stuff they had included a room of giant teddy bears to chillax in, a lovely lady with a snake and caricatures (apparently the line was crazy long so we didn’t bother).

The food and booze were much better this year! I did miss the oyster bar, but the sushi bar helped make up for it.
IMG_20161217_202123(Wow, red-eye – haven’t seen that in awhile!)

The sushi bar only provided teeny tiny plates but we used larger ones from one of the other food stands – people kept coming up to us and asking where we’d gotten them from.

The evening’s signature cocktails (though they could make other stuff if you wanted):
IMG_20161217_194701I also met James’ manager. He was very nice and introduced James to his wife as “the guy whose coattails I’m going to ride to get promoted”. =D

This snake was called Lola and she was my favourite part of the entire night:
IMG_20161217_215513She was so docile (which apparently they are bred for) and her scales were surprisingly moist. And here we are with her handler:
IMG_20161217_213905 (1)There was a big pirate ship in the middle of the hall, with lots of comfy seating next to it:
IMG_20161217_223855Which I didn’t need because I swapped to ballet flats about 3/4 of the way in.

There were the customary photo booths. This one took three photos in quick succession:
Google Holiday Party 2016 with Nick and KellyLook at that expert prop exchange. It took a lot of planning.

And here we are in the giant pile of teddy bears at the end of the night. It was hard to get too comfy in them because I saw a guy leap into the bears, and as he did, a huge layer of dust went up in the air like a mushroom cloud.

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photo stolen from Alex

We caught up with friends, ate and drank in moderation like responsible adults, and had a really great night. =)

A Christmas Coastal Trail Hike

19 Jan

This year for Christmas we were supposed to be at Mammoth with James’ family but our flight and replacement flight both got cancelled so we were stuck in San Francisco. Booooo!

Most of our friends were out of town, but luckily a few were going for a hike on Christmas Day so we were able to piggy back on their plans. We all headed up to Rodeo Beach in Marin.
IMG_20151225_135715It was a gorgeous day. We started along the lagoon (which you can see part of in the photo above) and headed to a dirt trail. It wasn’t steep steep but it was a long, unshaded uphill segment and we were pretty impressed by the cyclists that occasionally passed us.

Then we turned onto Wolf Ridge trail, which had beautiful hill views and was quite steep in parts. At what we think was the summit (or at least the turnaround point of the hike) there was some sort of army base with abandoned buildings and great views of the Pacific Ocean.

I saw this structure and said to James “you want to climb that don’t you?”

Of course he did.
IMG_20151225_130117And a rare behind the scenes glance at how the magic happens …
IMG_20151225_130152The rest of the hike was easy and just descending, though James has a bad knee so descents are actually the difficult part for him. I think it must have joined onto another hike because it suddenly got a lot more populated (though that could have been because it was later in the day – on the drive back to San Francisco we saw that outbound traffic was completely snarled).

The second half of the hike had a lot of stuff to explore.  There was this cool artillery thing.
IMG_20151225_134521And a couple of creepy abandoned buildings that I didn’t go into but James did, taking this photo for posterity.
IMG_20151225_131739 (1)And here I am holding everyone up with my wanderings.
IMG_20151225_133826The hike alternated between views of the headlands and, as we came to the end, the Pacific Ocean.
IMG_20151225_140419We spent some time here just chatting, snacking and watching the surfers.

James has long arms so is always on selfie duty.
IMG_20151225_132537And strong legs and core so also on piggyback duty.
IMG_20151225_132653(Why do my teeth look so … golden?)

Then afterwards we had dinner and played games until 3am. It was a really nice day with friends and it totally saved us from having the most depressing Christmas ever. Like seriously, we didn’t even have any food in the house.

Last year we wouldn’t have been able to do something so last minute for Christmas and I feel really fortunate that we made some really great friends in 2015. I still prefer Seattle as a city but I love, love, love our friends here.

Google Holiday Party: Under the Sea (Unda da Sea! Unda da Sea!)

13 Jan

This year the Christmas party was held at one of the event venues along the SF pier. We found our friends almost immediately which was great, since last year everyone kept wandering around and missing each other. We claimed a couple of big tables and just kept refilling it with food and booze. Because we’re pro.

A lot of stuff was the same as last year’s party, like the green screen photos:googleholiday002Cheesy but fun! They had props this year too.googleholiday001They also had the same casino games that they did last year. We played a little bit but it’s hard to keep interested without money involved. They seemed quite popular though.

And also like last year they had booze tasting (bourbon this year instead of scotch), cigars and a dance floor.

One thing they had this year that I don’t think they did last year was a game area with ping pong tables, shuffleboards, billiards, foosball, corn holes, and even a fishing simulator.
IMG_20151219_192743(In the background you can also see one of like, seven open bars that night)

And here are some freshly shucked oysters! You can bet we kept coming back.
IMG_20151219_194018You could also put on 3D glasses and walk through this colourful corridor. The line was non-existent which was nice because it was kind of meh.
IMG_20151219_200821No wait, apparently I found it amazing. IMG_20151219_200932Also the food was great! I mean, I mainly had oysters but I did sample stuff from the other buffets. Later they packed up the buffets (though they kept the taco stations open) and brought out a dessert bar with little cakes, mini root beer floats and teeny tiny cones of spiced popcorn. Heaven!

Last year there were more things to do at the venue itself (aircraft simulators, multiple ship tours, photo ops inside jets, etc). I think that’s why they had more performers and acrobats this year, to keep everyone entertained. But this year I had more fun since we got to hang out with our friends. =D

PS – I’m not sure this link will work, but check out James’ colleague’s photo album. You can see us in a couple of photos and he did a much better job getting photos of the food and entertainment. Probably because he wasn’t stuffing himself with oysters all night.IMG_20151219_193831

(No regrets)

 

The Google Christmas Party

4 Mar

3 months late is better than never! And blurry photos are better than none!

Last December James and I went to the Google Android Christmas party (the company is too big so they have to split the parties into different departments). It was 1940s themed and held on the USS Hornet, an old aircraft carrier.
IMG_20141206_192403There was a lot going on as soon as we entered the carrier – music, food, drinks, games, etc. There were also tours of the ship but we didn’t sign up for those in time – bummer.

We both got some silly press-on tattoos to start the night.
IMG_5016There were lots of food and booze stations. James was drinking Old Fashioneds all night but I was more excited about the sushi.
IMG_5020 And the fresh donuts!
IMG_5021We met up with James’ coworkers and it was awesome to see how well-regarded he was, even after only a couple of months. One of the managers was introducing James to someone and was like “this is one of our new hires – and what a hire!” =D

We also rode in a fighter plane simulator and got to look at various exhibits. Here I am clutching my fresh donuts (also you can see my flaming skull bicep tattoo):
IMG_20141206_204423And here James is in one of the planes!
IMG_20141206_213213We also played some casino games like craps and blackjack with fake money.

You could walk up and down the (very narrow and rickety) levels of the aircraft carrier, and on the deck they had a band, some scotch tasting and souvenir cigars.
IMG_20141206_202642Of course, James and his friends decided they had to smoke cigars and drink scotch the rest of the night. =P We bummed some matches from some other people but it was really windy on the deck so they kept sputtering out. James eventually managed to light his cigar by using one of the lanterns inside.
IMG_5027Look at Jamesy. He thinks he’s so cool with his cigar, face tattoo and little hat.
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It was a fun night (aside from James feeling a bit sick on the shuttle ride home). I’m looking forward to this year’s party because I have a couple of friends whose husbands work in Android so I’ll know some people in my own right. Plus I won’t be as crazy homesick as I was last year, so it will be even more fun! =)

Disaster at the Amazon Post Holiday Party!

19 Jan

Amazon doesn’t have a Christmas party because December is a really busy time, but in January they have a post holiday party. This year was our first one – we didn’t go last year because we were sick and James was so bummed because Imagine Dragons were playing. They also had casino games for charity and international buffets, so it sounded pretty cool.

This year’s party was held at the event center at CenturyLink Field. Each hall had different kinds of entertainment – pinball machines, foosball/air hockey/shuffleboard tables, dueling pianos, palm readers, karaoke, a band (Vampire Weekend), magicians, and a laser game (more on that later).

Here people were shooting marshmallows into buckets for charity – look at PeculiarPus finding love with a snowman!

It was surprisingly difficult. James was taking photos and captured my childlike glee.

There were also multiple stations where you could get food (unlimited) and drinks (2 per person). The food was varied and nothing really stood out as being particularly good or bad.

All of Seattle is football crazy at the moment, so of course they had 12th man cookies.

We also got to see an Amazon drone prototype.

We wandered around with friends for awhile and then we saw it: the laser game.

It was a corridor that you had to run through as fast as possible while avoiding the static green lasers. You pressed a big button at the start, then another one at the end when you finished to time how fast you went – every time you touched a laser it added 5 seconds to your time. You can’t see all the lasers in my photo but it was very intimidating standing at the start of the room (James said it was like being in a spy movie).

The fastest time was 1.62 seconds but most people were getting 15+ seconds with the occasional person getting 5 seconds. Mike went through and did this amazing flip in mid air that had everyone cheering! His time was something like 2.6 seconds.

The line wasn’t very long so you could go through multiple times and there was a big crowd of people watching. Here is James on his first run-through:

I failed pretty hard on my first go but on my second try managed to get 1.92 seconds!

I got too competitive and decided to go again. The second run looked a lot like the first (marginally slower – 2.3 seconds I think) but I cracked my chin on the concrete floor. =(

You can’t even tell the moment of impact in the video and I didn’t even notice except afterwards when randoms were coming up to congratulate me (James at the hospital later:  it was especially impressive because you went after a couple of really shit people) I realised that something warm and wet was dripping. I left this giant pool of blood on the ground so James, Mike and one of the staff took me to the first aid station.

James and Mike kept looking horrified, and eventually James took a photo to show me what they were seeing.

I have a second mouth!

James said it was even worse when the medics moved my chin cos it flapped open. There was a dull ache but it didn’t hurt that much. The first aid guys patched me up as best they could, took an accident report and called me a cab to go to the hospital (which took awhile because all the taxis kept rejecting them because they assumed we were drunk).

I figured we’d be waiting at the hospital all night (which was our experience at the Box Hill hospital when James had to get his appendix out) but it was actually really fast – we were in and out in under an hour.

They asked what happened, cleaned the wound, gave me a tetanus shot and stitched me up. Here I am hooked up to one of those machines you always see on TV.

Everyone at the hospital (Swedish in First Hill) was very nice. The doctor and nurses were friendly and joking around with me. One of the nurses let me check how the lines changed when I held my breath. =) They also gave me an ice pack for my knee. I was starting to ache and feeling pretty stupid at this point – I mean, I threw myself onto concrete for no real reason. That is not a smart thing to do.

But anyway, I got seven stitches and here is the final result (the doctor was very pleased with his work):

I have to get them taken out in 5 days. A friend said the hospital bill should be pretty cheap since we’ve already met our insurance deductible this year.

So yeah, that was the Amazon post holiday party. It was a bummer cos I couldn’t go snowboarding today (the Seahawks are playing for a place in the Superbowl so it would have been nice and empty at the snow).

Lying in bed last night I was feeling sore – my poor knee was super bruised – but popped a couple of ibuprofen and this morning I woke up feeling great. My chin doesn’t even hurt – I thought that when the adrenaline and painkillers wore off the stitches would be painful, but nope. So yeah, I have learned not to be competitive over stupid things. Actually I don’t even know if I’ve learned that; unless we get a massive hospital bill or the organisers got in trouble for my stupidity I’d say that the night was pretty fun. The cheering … the cheering!

(Also James took me to get consolation salmonella buns today)

Post Christmas Wrap-Up

28 Dec

Merry Christmas everyone!

We had a bunch of Christmas orphans over to our place for a pot-luck meal (hot-pot, roast, ham, mashed potatoes, stollen, Tim Tams, cookies, stuffing and other stuff that I’m probably forgetting). No snowboarding, unfortunately – no fresh snow for a few days so we didn’t think it was worth going up.

Present-wise I got a dress from James’ grandma, a silk scarf from James’ parents and a snowboard binding multitool from Cat (with the other half of her Christmas present to arrive in the new year). James got a wallet from his grandmother and some scotch glasses from his parents.

We also did some self-gifting (which, according to several articles I’ve read, is a Christmas trend). I bought a trench so I have a non-bummy coat option:

image from Banana Republic

Also a belt, merino wool scarf and noise-cancelling earbuds (that James steals whenever I run the Roomba or Vitamix).

James decided to go back to skiing because even though he prefers snowboarding it was hurting his knee too much. He got Atomic Savage TIs packaged with some bindings on sale and Lange ski boots:

image from Evo

Man, ski gear costs sooooo much more! But we figured it was worth it so he could still come out with the group and not completely wreck his knee. We got his snowboard stuff pretty cheap last year, so only paid a little bit more than a season’s rental, and it was worth it for the convenience and money saved. Now we have a spare in case a friend needs it and he still has the option to take his snowboard out for powder days.

Hmm what else has been happening? We’ve been going out a lot since everyone seems to be in a social mood. James is enjoying his week off – lots of Playstation, computer games, TV and bumming around. We’ve been eating a lot (mmm Christmas pudding with brandy butter …) and skipping gym so will have to tighten up on that next week. Though it doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world to have a lazy end to the year. =)