Happy Spring to everyone!  As usual, we’ve had a busy month and we thought we would provide just a General Update on what’s been going on in the Yen Clan.

Getting Dry in Scottsdale

We headed down to Scottsdale for a week to get away from the rain and warm up from the Seattle winter.  It’s the second consecutive year that we’ve spent our “ski week” vacation in Arizona and we took advantage of the warm weather by hiking, swimming and spending time outdoors.

Mathew got to enjoy his “water time” and spent numerous hours on the lazy river at the resort.  Eugenia and I regret not signing him up for the swim team as he truly is a fish in water…
20170220_224825936_iOS

Eugenia and I went on a couple of hikes during our trip.  Camelback Mountain lived up to its challenging reputation as the ascent was one of the more strenuous hikes we’ve done in a long time.  We probably should have heeded the Double Diamond sign before starting up the mountain but fortunately we made it up and down safely.  On our way down, we learned that some of our fellow hikers were not as fortunate.  We came across multiple First Responders and Firemen hiking up to provide medical attention and  heard the sounds of a helicopter landing for an air-evac.  We later heard from locals that air-evacs are unfortunately a common event at Camelback Mountain!20170222_012954367_iOS

Despite the steep ascent, the payoff was great as the views from the top were amazing.  We made it almost completely down before the sunset and managed to take a quick shot.  We’re lucky that we didn’t drag Keaton and Mathew out on this hike!

20170222_011957218_iOS

While in Scottsdale, we held our Second Annual Mini-Golf Fun In-The-Sun Tournament.  For the record, although Keaton won’t admit it, Bennet won the First Annual Mini-Golf Fun-In-The-Sun-Tournament last year by almost 30 strokes.  Our friends Jong, Janie and family along with John, Sarah and family participated in this year’s highly competitive event.

20170221_185853644_iOS.jpg

Arizona + Spring = Spring Training.  Yes, the real reason why we love coming down to Arizona in the Spring is baseball.  We were a bit too early for Spring Training games but we got to enjoy the casual atmosphere as we watched our Mariners practice and took a few photos…  Pat Venditte – the ambidextrous pitcher (who unfortunately got traded just a few weeks later).

20170223_170346788_iOS

We also paid a visit to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture and his winter home where we learned all about the master architect and his architectural philosophy.

 

20170222_175100390_iOS

And on the last day, we finally dragged the boys out on a hike and as you can tell by Keaton’s facial expression, he was thankful and grateful to his parents for this wonderful experience connecting with nature…

20170224_181537554_iOS

Brewmaster Bennet

I recently got to spend a full day at the Bellevue Brewing Company as “Brewmaster For The Day” an auction award that we recently won.  To be truthful, when I was bidding on this award, I had the followBrewmastering picture in mind.  Bennet, the brewmaster going around to the different kegs, pouring glasses of beer, analyzing tints of color and then, leveraging my years of experience, tasting the beer and triumphantly yelling, “That’s good, pack her up!” or “Give it a few more days!”  So needless to say, I was a bit perplexed when the folks at Bellevue Brewing Company instructed me to wear clothes I didn’t mind getting wet and dirty.

Turns out, being brewmaster isn’t necessarily the glorious experience I had in mind.  I arrived at 9am sharp and proceeded to cut open and empty thirty bags of barley into the grist mill.  From there, it was mashing the barley in the mash tun which I learned is a fancy word for adding water and ensuring that all the grist (milled malt) is wet.  And after the mashing was complete, we moved to lautering which meant that all the used grain had to be removed from the mash tun and emptied into large barrels.  And on and on the process went.  I spent almost every minute of the 8 hours working, whether checking water temperature, attaching hoses and pipes from one large container to another, or cleaning out the container to get ready for the next batch.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted but I experienced a true, day-in-the-life of a Brewmaster and I did get to drink some excellent Pale Ales.  The Scotch Ale that we made that day will be ready in 21 days, so if you find yourself in the area on April 10th, go order a pint of the Scotch Ale.  Despite my initial delusionary expectations on the Brewmaster Experience, I had an excellent time and learned so much.  Thank you Bellevue Brewing Company for the hospitality and a wonderful day of learning.

Good-bye Microsoft!

On my birthday, March 21st, I submitted my resignation to Microsoft.  After close to 10 years of working at Microsoft, it was time to move-on to my next career as a Senior PGA Golf player.  Given that I haven’t golfed in over 8 years however, not sure what the success rate of my new career willMSFT be.  As I reflect on my decade worth of work, I’m most proud of one achievement that I have single-handedly been responsible for.  No other employee at Microsoft can lay claim like I can to impacting the stock price.  When I came on-board the stock price was at a measly $32.92/share.  With my vision and leadership, I turned the stock price around and now leave the company knowing that I alone, have been responsible for the staggering 97.75% stock return based on a share price of $65.10.

Okay, all sarcasm aside, I’ve had the pleasure to work for a great company alongside hardworking, intelligent colleagues and supportive managers, leveraging the most innovative technology to make a difference in how businesses are run.  It’s been a fun ride and I’m looking forward to my next challenge which I’ll provide an update in the coming weeks.

 

Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon

Inspired by Eugenia and Keaton’s Half Marathon Run in Disneyland this past January, along with our New Year’s Resolutions to Exercise More, Eugenia and Bennet signed-up for the Seattle Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon.  By registering and now putting this up on our blog, we’re committed with no way to back out.  We’ll be joined by Eugenia’s cousin Mary who will fly up from Dallas for this event and we’re inviting others to join us if you can.  It’s going to be a fun time!

360x240-course-map

The Little Rascals

As the daylight picks up here in the PNW so do Keaton’s and Mathew’s activities.  Keaton is on his high school’s Junior Varsity Baseball Team and despite the rain has been practicing and playing daily.  He also recently obtained his Driver’s Permit and now can be seen driving through the streets of Bellevue and Redmond.  We should all be very scared!

After a heartbreaking loss in the Flag Football Semi-Finals to Tillicum Middle School, Mathew has bounced back from the traumatic experience and is looking forward to his upcoming baseball and soccer season.  He continues to enjoy playing in his school orchestra and recently participated in the Northwest Orchestra Festival held in Gresham, Oregon where his school orchestra won first place.  Pretty talented group of young musicians.