Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pictures from our Christmas Party

More KOA Party-goers. My boss, Eugene Kao and his Thai wife Ohn are on the right.

Veronica and Barbara were in charge of the door prizes.

Here I am in my 10 yr-old Christmas dress, which has seen better days, accepting my doorprize from Joel Falter and Juan Gutierrez, our CFO. Whoo-Hooo! A Gift Cert to Target. There were 30 gifts, some of them quite expensive.

More Pictures of our night on the Queen Mary

The Dancers performed the Rhumba - the girl reminded me of Edyta - she was barely dressed! The dress sure moved beautifully with her, though.
For the first number, the girl wore a beautiful dress with a flowing skirt. I wasn't able to see them perform as well from where I was sitting, though, as I did the second number. They were limited by the tiny dance floor, too.

Here is the one side of our table (from left to right): Joel Falter, our COO, and his wife Karen; Emma Sorto, corporate marketing; Veronica Martinez, accounting; Veronica's brother in law, Ulises Ramirez, our IT guy, is crouching between the girls), next to him on the right is his wife Barbara, our office manager and Veronica's sister. Their father worked in the movie industry until he retired recently. His artwork graces some of our downtown LA buildings.

Here I am with the corporate Marketing Director, Desiree Hamilton on the left, and Jasper and Grace Domingo on the right. Grace has a beautiful voice and used to sing professionally. Jasper is one of our engineers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fun Party on the Queen Mary

My company, KOA Corporation, had their annual employee Christmas party on the Queen Mary in Long Beach this past weekend.

I'd been to the Queen Mary before. Years ago Meldee Perry's mom splurged on the three of us and gave us a lovely night's stay on the ship, with a dinner in one of the premier restaurants onboard. [That special weekend was a such real treat for me. We took the ghost tour and really enjoyed our stay. I remember that it also brought back many memories of my five trips across the Atlantic as a child. I've been on various ships of the now defunct Norwegian-American Line: The Stavanger Fjord, The Oslo Fjord, and the Bergens Fjord.]

I hadn't been back to the Queen Mary since that special weekend, and it was fun to go at night (though a little creepy as I was wandering around by myself) for a party.

Everyone was dressed in sparkly evening clothes! There were several parties going on there Saturday night (December 6, 2008). As we were going up the front elevators, one of the hotel guests, newly arrived with a big suitcase, remarked, "Oh, All of you look so beautiful - um, and Handsome!" That elicited some laughter.

I'm new to my company, KOA Corporation, so this was my first employee Christmas party. I've heard that they go all out for these events, and this was no exception.
We had the stern of the ship to ourselves, and the whole of an area called the "Veranda Grill" for a really nice dinner/dance.

It was quite a hike into the ship from the parking lot - and then another hike from the center of the reception areas down to the stern of the ship. There was absolutely nobody on the port side of the ship - everyone was on the stern side because of the spectacular view of the lights of Long Beach visible from there.

The Veranda Grill is surrounded by windows and gives a panoramic view of the Long Beach coastline.

Here is a view of the main dance floor of the Veranda Grill. the doors on the right open onto the veranda. A few steps further down is the whole stern Sun Deck of the ship.

Bits of the original Wall Murals have been carefully preserved along portions of the walls. It is fun to imagine what the place originally looked like. Of course, we were there at night - imagine the areas surrounding the dance floor full of round tables set for full dinner service, with colorful red and green linen napkins and bustling waiters wearing white jackets with the ship's insignia on them.
Dinner consisted of cocktails and hors d'ouevres, then ceasar salad followed by a filet mignon/chicken breast for each person accompanied by a potato au gratin and fresh green beans with julienne carrots. Dessert was white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce. It was all pretty yummy!

We were treated to a ballroom dance show by a couple of dancers from the downtown Los Angeles dance studios that you see every week on "Dancing With The Stars". They performed two numbers and gave guests a quick lesson in the Cha-Cha-Cha - breaking the ice and getting people onto the dance floor where a DJ kept things pretty lively.

I got to meet all my various bosses' spouses, which was great (although these little tiny Asian women with their beautiful hair and flawless skin always intimidate me. They are so lovely!). I also got to see and meet many people from our other offices, some of whom I had never met. KOA has offices in downtown LA, Ontario, Orange County, San Francisco Bay area and San Diego, in addition to the Monterey Park office where I work.

There were close to 150 employees and their spouses there and they gave out 30 door prizes. I won a gift certificate to Target. Some gifts were really spectacular, such as GPS systems and other electronic gadgetry.

It was a really fun evening, marred only by having to go alone. It was a very romantic evening that would have been much better shared with someone special.