Almost there...

Monday, September 30, 2002

Went to Fred's annual birthday bash yesterday. It was as much fun as ever. Munching, chatting, fireworks, dancing, and a nice piece of Belgian chocolate to end the evening. It doesn't get better.

Bill and Alex made an appearance. Alex is getting bigger, but he's still cute as can be, and still easy to toss around. He was quite satisfied to entertain himself chewing on my glasses until an unexpected sneeze on my part caused me to head butt him. It was a pretty good knock to me, and he was really surprised. Crying ensued, but he was back to his cheerful self in about five minutes. Bill got official word from Arthur that yes, oh yes, he really wants him to be understudy for Mr. Fezziwig this year, so he feels a lot better about that. And the innuendo shall fly between us about our new father/daughter relationship. It's not as twisted as it sounds. He's playing a man 10 years older than himself, and I'm playing a girl 10 years younger than myself.

The four sisters (of three daughters, beaming and loveable fame (long story)) sat down on the stairs and tried to figure out what differentiated us and how that would impact our interactions with each other and with the customers. Between the distractions of a party and a baby, we didn't get much done, but it's gotten us all thinking on it. Thankfully, I know Miss Emelia pretty well. She's the adventurous one. She loves the idea of travel. She loves exotic places like Egypt and India and won't be satisfied to live a quiet domestic life here in London. I rather expect that this will be Emelia's last year, unless I end up as the eldest Miss Fezziwig next year. But either way, her tenure is winding down. Time to pass the torch to someone who is less than 10 years older than she.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Okay, so really quick.

I chose door number two, and the net result is that I'm spending all day in meetings this week. Nine to five doing technical design sessions. It's fun. I actually know stuff walking in. It's cool. I chose wisely (methinks).

So I decided that on Friday, and went to Sacramento that night. Just as I was heading down Sunrise Boulevard, Phil called to ask me if I was going to make it to the "ice-breaker". I said, "Yep, almost there now." He said, "Good, 'cause this is just like a sit-com, and you gotta see it." It was much like a sit-com. There was one girl who had come from Illinois for the reunion, and though we didn't really remember her, she remember us, and was very happy to glom onto us. Her and her video camera. Amber, the reunion organizer, came and sat with us at one point. She asked Shannon about high school, and Shannon described it as "an experience. Not exactly the best period of my life. I didn't have a lot of friends. Heck, Phil here was probably my best friend in high school." Phil was, well, stunned. Really, neither of us could remember who she was. He went and looked her up in the yearbook later, and still couldn't remember.

So my big moment of vindication came when I found out what happened to the one guy who I just hated in high school. Jason Hilton was loud, annoying, in the honors classes, but really not qualified for them, and he was a baseball jock. He was the kind of baseball jock who really thought he had a shot at the big leagues, and chewed tobacco to prove it. And he was mean to me every opportunity he got. So when it turns out that he works at a wrecking yard, I have to admit that it gave me a sick sort of pleasure. For someone who called me a nerd and lots of other unflattering things, it felt really good to be a happy, successful person when he was still just as much of a loser as I always thought, only now he didn't have his crowd to prop him up.

Okay, gotta run. The Buffy season premier is tonight. Athena is coming over. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

I love the wild world outside my window. A bird just launched itself at the corner of my window, snatched the spider living there, and sat in front of me noshing away on his little spider guts. Go nature.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

So I've been offered a job on the Workflow team as the Campus Readiness Lead. It's a good opportunity, but it's two steps above my current classification, and I've seen people on campus make that leap before, and most of them have done about as well as Evil Knieval jumping the Snake River, with about as much infamy. On the one hand, I think I could really positively contribute. On the other hand, I may end up looking bad no matter what I do right or wrong and prematurely end my career at Stanford. Or, I could really shine and have a long satisfying career. I don't know.

So basically, the three options before me are:
1. Stay in my current job. My boss is currently working on reclassifying me as a 4P3, which would involve an undetermined raise. I would see the project through. I would continue what I've started. I would be the voice for the distributed user. I would be their guide. I could learn a lot from my team members and have an opportunity to work on personal career development over the year, especially learning SQL querying from Gary and polishing my communication skills through training classes and with the support of the team. I know and like my boss, and she thinks I'm a valuable, highly contributing member of the team.

2. Take the Workflow job that I was offered on Monday. It's a 4P4 position that would be a big promotion, including an extra $11k a year. I'd be working with a very small project team (four people including me) and would basically get to touch every aspect of the project in some way or another. I would be personally responsible for all working groups, communications, training, support, job aids, and curriculum.But I would be the front line. If things went badly, it would reflect directly on me and only me. It has a lot more personal responsibility than my current position, and I would have to interact with some of the scariest bigwigs on campus, some of which are known for eating those they deem their lessers alive. Still, if things go well, this project has a high probability of being extended to do the same thing for other systems on campus, which could mean long term job security.

3. Wait for the PeopleSoft 8 Campus Readiness jobs to be posted. I've already talked to Javier, the project manager, and it's pretty clear he'd take me if I'd have him. He is in search of a Campus Readiness Lead that would also be a 4P4 job (and would also be an $11k a year raise). This would be more in line with what I did on the Persona project. I already know PeopleSoft, and it would just be a matter of updating existing materials, retraining on navigation, and integrating the Workflow piece. I already know enough about it that taking the lead would be less intimidating. This would be a strictly fixed term position though. It would be great to work with Javier again, and it would be great to work on PeopleSoft again, and it would be a comfy safe environment that would end just like Persona did.

So, the more I think about it, door number two seems the right answer. Guts and glory. But doors 1 and 3 are so very tempting. I already know I can shine in the context of Delphi even if Delphi continues to be lame.

Frankly, getting the CR Lead offer from the Workflow folks was a big surprise. I feel like I'm about a year off from being ready for that kind of responsibility. Maybe two years. So do I take it now and see what happens? Or do I play it safe(r) and stay put? Or do I take the ultimate maybe behind door number 3? Oy. At least every option includes my continued employment at Stanford, because after this decision, I'm going to need a vacation. Or at least a hot shower.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Looks like a cinch to get cancer. By the time I left Sacramento, I apparently got 317 times my total toxic dosage. Add to that the two years in LA, and I'm doomed.

Friday, September 13, 2002

What do you get someone for a wedding gift when they live in another state, you're not sure exactly what stores they have there, and they have registered anywhere? No really, I'm asking! I'm down to just maybe stuffing cash in a card. Sigh. This would be a lot easier if I knew Anna. I've only met her once. And Rick didn't even think about bringing a gift until I mentioned I was having trouble finding one on Wednesday. Blarg.

We're going to Seattle this weekend for Rick's friend Anna's wedding. The major plus is that we get to visit Dirk and Tracey and Camryn in the process. The downside is that the wedding isn't actually in Seattle; it's in Port Orchard on Bremerton Island. I called Dirk this morning to get his address so that I could get driving directions from the net, but after 20 minutes on the phone, we've determined that whether we go via the Bremerton ferry, or the Bainbridge ferry, or just drive around the long way, it's going to take 2-3 hours to get there. That puts a bit of a kink in plans for Saturday, since we'll be needing to be headed for the five o'clock wedding about two o'clock. Oh well.

Looks to be beautiful weather in Seattle this weekend though. Can't wait to go.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Oh my life is on the edge of turning upside down. In the next month there's a strong chance I'll be moving (buying or renting a new place), and my job will be changing one way or another, probably with a nice raise. Right now, I'm feeling a bit anxious about it. It's a good sort of anxiety, but it leaves me a bit edgy nonetheless.

I will of course say more as soon as I know what I'm talking about.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Odd weekend. It came together very nicely considering I had no solid plan going into it. The highlights:

Peanut Butter and Jam - A festival celebrating Skippy peanut butter in Alameda. Tempest was playing, and I'm always up for going to a Tempest show, so I figured why the heck not. Do some dancing, have a PB&J, stroll through Alameda. Sounds great right? The dancing was fun. Bronwyn was the only other Irish dancer to show up, but she threw herself into my improvisations with gusto. We strolled down the street in Alameda afterwards looking for PB&J sandwiches. But there were none. There was one place that had sold them earlier in the day, but they were sold out. I went for PB&J, and sadly ended up with Taco Bell. Oh well.

When does a fake party become a real party? We thought the answer was when the camera turns off, but I think it was a party well before then. Emily called Saturday morning asking if we could come over to simulate a party for Chris to shoot for a thing he was doing for MTV. After several gyrations, it ended up working out. So by 7:30, Fred, Cy, Athena, Mice, Wendy, Rick (who had driven most of the way to Sacramento without calling anyone only to find that no one was available to do what he wanted, so he came back), and I were all standing behind Emily's sofa, while Emily interacted with a non-existent Emperor Penguin. Trapped in a small space and forced to interact, we had a great time. It was great just having time to catch up and hang out with everyone. Every now and then, Chris would interrupt us with some sort of direction, but then we went right back to where we left off. Such fun. When all was said and done, we ordered some pizza, and eventually ended up watching The Royal Tennenbaums.

Add to this Athena's breakfast gathering on Sunday morning and Friday Night Waltz, and my spending Sunday afternoon cleaning house (specifically the bedroom), and it was a pretty darned nice weekend.

Next weekend: Off to Seattle!

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

I talked to my old friend Phil earlier today. He was wondering the same thing I was. "Hey, are you going?" So we decided to go to the "ice breaker" on Friday night, then go out to dinner, just the four of us (him, me, and our respective S.O.s), and if we were really still wanting to go, we could just go at 9:00 for the post-dinner party. He and I both independently called the reunion company. I found out that the post-dinner party is just $45 per person (just!). And he called and found out that out of 300+ in our class, just 40 have signed up for the reunion so far. I'm thinking we'll be quite done after Friday and dinner together. It'll be really nice to see Phil. We were too much alike in high school. Both Drama geeks. Both honors kids. Both not quite fitting. Me, just a little bit edgier. Net result: we both ended up doing training for a living. Go figure. He works for Apple in Elk Grove. The difference: he's got 2 kids and a wife. It'll be great to see him and meet the family.

So I have to decide today (tonight) whether or not I want to go to my 10 year high school reunion. I've been expecting to do it all year. I think it will be nice to see how other's lives are turning out and see where people have gone. I never felt particularly close to most of my high school class, but I would really enjoy seeing my old friend Phil and his wife and kids.

But then I went hunting around recently to find out about it. A class reunion company is arranging it, and they're charging $74 per person to attend (or $148 for Rick and I to go). They have me listed as one of those they couldn't find, which is ridiculous since my mom still lives in the same house we lived in when I graduated and I'm registered on and and The first thing they say they're charging for is for hunting down all of the class members. So immediately, I'm kind of put off by this whole thing. The ticket is only one dollar less than the cost of my tickets to Baz Luhrman's La Boheme, and that's a full scale Broadway production opera directed by a world class director. So let's see, that's a night in Sacramento reliving old times or a night at the opera. Well, it's not a fair comparison. I've already bought the tickets to the opera. But when I bought those tickets, I gasped at how expensive they were.

So I'm torn. Is this a worthwhile endeavor? Is there any reason to rekindle old friendships that never really were friendships? Heaven knows I didn't even remotely begin to bloom until college. High school was little better than torture to me. But will I regret not going?

It's prom all over again. I went to prom thinking I'd probably regret it if I didn't. The dressing up was fun. The going out with Nick and Beth and Ron was fun. The going to Rocky Horror afterwards was fun. But prom itself wasn't any particular fun. Overpriced and underwhelming. I'm sure it will be just the same. Nevertheless, I'm curious. And that curiosity will probably end up costing me $148.