Almost there...

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Okay, I admit it. I'm sick. Wretched timing as far as work is concerned, but oh well. My body has set itself on low simmer, somewhere between 99.8 and 100.8 for the last two days. I called the advice nurse to see if there was anything special I should be aware of. Got the standard reply. Take some Tylenol, get plenty of rest, and drink lots of water. Weeeee!

I came home from work mid-day yesterday, helped one more person from home, then melted into the sofa until midnight. On the way home I stopped for my favorite cold remedy - won ton soup. Didn't seem to work it's magic this time though. Oh well. Crawling back to the sofa now. I really don't want to miss Friday Night Waltz, but that it looking more and more likely. Stupid mortal body. Sheesh.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

The funny thing about a blog is how time sensitive it is. It seems like if I don't write it down within say, 48 hours of the occurance, then it no longer seems like this is the correct place to write it.

Last night I found myself really really sick suddenly. I woke up Tuesday morning with a productive cough. By 6pm as I was leaving work, I was feeling way funky. I came home and immediately hopped through the shower, which turned out to be a great choice. I came downstairs to grab dinner, but the only thing that sounded remotely good was my leftover broccoli soup (chicken broth, rice noodles, and broccoli - simple, quick, and goes great with Trader Joe's pot stickers). I heated that up, but only ate about half of it before deciding it was time for bed. I gave Tigger her meds, and hit the hay. I was so cold and shivery. I spent the next 3 hours dozing, and eventually getting really really hot. By 11:30, Rick had come to bed, and I was a sweaty mess. Change of clothes, and temperature at 100 degrees, I crawled back into bed. But by then, Rick was snoring. Harumph. And the bed seemed way too squishy. I headed downstairs to the sofa, but quickly abandoned the sofa (too squishy) for the floor (just right) and finally fell asleep there. Tigger woke me up about 7:55, just in time for her meds. Weird little cat. So I medicated her, checked my temp (down to 98.0 degrees), shrugged and headed off to work. Now my cough is still hanging on, but I guess it was just the fastest flu in history.

This was a great capper to a lousy day. They had interviews for Delphi yesterday. I conspicuously didn't have one. Then I went to a presentation for all the layoff candidates by Resources Connection. I was thinking they were a placement firm. Nope, they're a consulting group that takes experienced technical, functional, and project management staff. None of these fit my job description, but I politely sat through their presentation anyway. It ran long. I missed both the going away party for those that are being laid off March 1st, and my last free massage. Then I went back to work, started beating my head against a stupid problem, which I finally manage to figure out with Javier. Once it was all said and done, I mentioned that this was some sort of bizarre torture. So says I, "At least you have a job after all is said and done." He says, "Yeah, but maybe I don't want it." It didn't occur to me until I was driving home what the difference was. He gets to choose. He gets to choose whether or not he wants it, and he gets to do it on his timeline. Me, I'm out on the streets come June 30th. And suddenly it all really got to me again.

Anyway, chalk yesterday up in the "days that suck" pile. It goes right next to the day I hurt my knee (which does seem to be healing, slowly) and got my layoff notice. Blarg.

Friday, February 22, 2002

About a month and a half ago, Tigger's diabetes came back. We've been treating her with insulin, but she's not showing signs of recovery. For the last ten days or so, she's taken to throwing up regularly. We thought it was the antibiotic she was on, but she's been off it for 2 days and is still yakking. In fact, last night was the worst yet. She's lost about 3 1/2 pounds, and is looking really weak. I'm not sure if she's going to make it. She's headed back to the vet this afternoon. We'll see what the vet says. In the meantime, think happy thoughts for my little angel. She's such a sweet girl, and I can't quite imagine life without her.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

I don't know how it happened. Somehow Rick and I threw all caution to the wind and became massive consumers for the last 3 days. On his way to work yesterday, he had to stop at Frys for a part for work. While there, he noticed a bunch of "Open Box Buys" (which is remarkably enlightened for Frys, who is notorious for slapping a sticker on the box and trying to sell returned/used items with missing parts as new). In amongst those was the Nikon Coolpix 775 we'd been daydreaming about. He asked what the price was, and bought it quickly before they changed their minds. Bought it, and a 2 year extended warranty, still bringing the camera to just about the price we could've gotten it for at the lowest priced places online, but significantly cheaper than any reputable dealers.

So now I've finally got the little digital camera I've been dreaming of. And a new mattress. And the coat of my dreams. And a great new coat for Rick. And plane tickets to Seattle. Okay, I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to spend any more money at all this year. Yikes! But I've also managed to acquire everything I wanted, most of it at significantly less cost than I was expecting to have to pay. Best deal: my new coat. Definitely. Followed closely by the camera. We'll see how the bed ranks by the end of next weekend. Hee hee!

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

This spunky little article was definitely a nice reminder of why I don't actively campaign against shows like 7th Heaven. Other than laziness. And Tivo.

Yes, my remote works nicely thankyouverymuch. I've used it to avoid watching all sorts or shows that make me groan in agony. 7th Heaven. Touched by an Angel. Baywatch. Beverly Hills 90210. Thank god there's variety in this world. Where would my entertainment world be without vampire love(?) affairs, lesbian sex, demons, witches, space dramas, and Scientific American?

The haircut was successful. I look much better than I did on Friday. Whew.

On Saturday, we wanted to get out of town and do something, but we couldn't go far because we had to be home in time for Tigger's medication, so we went to Niles. Niles is part of Fremont, but it's like a little old Gold Rush era town stuck in the middle of the bay area. There are probably forty different antique stores crammed within a five block strip. It's a quaint little place, blemished only by it's own awareness of its quaintness. We walked up and down the main street, and managed to almost escape without buying anything. I gazed longingly at the 1930's English Walnut furniture in one store, but manage to contain myself, mostly helped out by the absolute adorability of the store cat, who I reached down to pet, and who then decided we were cat people so he followed us. Rick picked him up and snuggled him through the rest of the store. I'll have to check back there again in a few months to see if they've gotten anything new.

What I did end up buying was a coat. In another store, there was a rack of vintage clothes, which I typically glance at, and then move on. The first two dresses I glanced at were fabulous though. Then I noticed a coat laying over a bench in the back. It's a heavy black wool coat that has a wide curving collar, buttons and is fitted at the waist, and flairs into a full skirt that ends just below my knees. It was the closest thing to what I've been looking for in a coat that I'd ever found. And it fit me. I coyly asked the clerk if the price was firm, knowing that it was the end of the winter season and they were probably looking to move the coat. He took $33 off the price and I made it out of there with a fabulous new coat for $130. Weeeeee!

But yesterday was our big day to be consumers. We had two items on our mission statement. The first one: a new coat for Rick, was something we had to get immediately. Between the fact that he hasn't had a haircut in four months, and the frayed sleeves on his old coat, he was starting to look like a homeless guy. After some preliminary shopping in the last few weeks, we headed back to Nordstrom Rack to discover their coats on sale for 50% off. Unfortunately, they were out of the one we wanted to try, but Rick picked up a leather coat for the first time. He's always sworn he's "not a leather guy" but he picked this one off the rack all by himself. Turns out, it was a great fit. We went upstairs to the Burlington Coat Factory to browse there, found a nice London Fog microfiber rain coat, but he still liked the leather coat better. So we went back downstairs and decided to go ahead and get the leather coat since it was the last one and we could always return it. We went and browsed a few more coat places, but we didn't find anything bettter, so it looks like Rick's new coat is going to be a nice leather jacket. And he looks so cute and sexy in it. Hee hee.

The second shopping adventure yesterday was the culmination of the mattress shopping experience. After four months of shopping, we finally decided on a bed. We had decided long ago that we wanted a Simmons Beautyrest, and that we would prefer to buy it from Sleep Train. We had more or less settled on a couple of models, but the one we really wanted wasn't offered at a reasonable price, and the one were were going to settle for wasn't perfect. So then Simmons distributed their new line. We instantly fell in love with two of the new models - The Baymont, and The Reginald. It's called different things at different places, but what's different about them is that the Baymont is the less expensive model. After a marathon shopping trip involving shopping at eight different stores, several creepy sales guys, and more time than we had intended to spend, we finally decided on the Baymont, and brought the lowest price we found to Sleep Train and they beat it by $50. We're getting the new bed delivered on Friday afternoon, and I'm hoping for a wonderful chance to sleep in on Saturday to really test it out.

What's ironic about this weekend is that I ended up spending A LOT of money. It definitely wasn't my plan going into the weekend, but it just kind of worked out that way. I guess I'm not feeling as scared about losing my job as I was before (or probably should be). Oh well. And the spending spree doesn't end there. The next two things on the buying list are a digital camera (which may wait for a while yet) and tickets to Seattle to see Camryn (and Dirk and Tracey). She's just about the cutest thing ever, and now she has teeth!

Friday, February 15, 2002

Just made an appointment for a haircut at Hair International with Diana. I miss Jennifer, our old stylist in Sacramento. She got my hair just right every time. And Rick's hair always looked good, even when it got long-ish. She had a baby at the end of last year, and it's been imposible to get in touch with her. I tried using Athena's stylist last time, but it ended badly. I have the most ridiculous looking layers right now. I'm getting them cut off tonight one way or the other. I had said to the stylist, "I want to keep most of my length, but the really important thing is to keep the length in the front, because I need to be able to put my hair up for Dickens Fair" Then I showed her the Dickens Fair flyer. Then I showed her how I put my hair up for Dickens. Then she promptly cut the front so short that I couldn't pull it back into a pony tail, let alone do the braids I had planned. Grrr... I just hope it goes better tonight. I'm hoping for something akin to a little Gosford Park style bob. I should know by Tuesday if it's good or bad. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 14, 2002

Now there's something you don't see everyday

You know, as someone who gave up caffeine a long time ago (long story, maybe some other time), I still crave coffee every day. I drink decaf, but what amazes me really is that I always end up desiring the same amount of coffee each day. Every morning at work, I fill up my travel mug. I'm not 100% certain how much it holds, but something in the neighborhood of 12-16 ounces. I drink down the first cupful, then I always want a second cup. Some days it's already made so it's no problem. When it's not, I just skip it. When it's there though, I pour the second cup, drink half of it, and the rest sits on my desk until I do something about it. I guess I've just got to learn to only pour half a second cup, but it just amazes me that my body has it's own recommended daily allowance of decaf coffee. Very very strange.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Currently, I'm enjoying the feeling of balance returning to my life. The HelpSU request volume has thinned a bit so that I can almost single-handedly answer the tickets myself during a normal 8 hour workday. It leaves little time for anything else at work (like writing this!) but I've gotten home in time to make a nice dinner for the past five weeknights running. Of course, things aren't totally balanced and mellow yet. It just occurred to me today at lunch that this is a 3 day weekend. And I have NO plans. Maybe Rick and I will be able to make a day trip up to Quintette to see the snow or something. Too bad the stupid knee is still aching so darned much. I officially let Jocelyn know that I won't be back to Goat Hill this year. Hopefully the leg heals and I can keep doing other types of dancing.

I've just realized that I've forgotten everything I was going to write about today. I hate that. Oh well. Time to go home, obviously.

Monday, February 11, 2002

I'm still waiting for my durned leg to heal. Seems like this is more than just the little ache I was hoping for. Bummer. Meanwhile, the party went quite well this weekend. We ended up with about 15 folks, and very few of the usual suspects. Bates and Dawn spent the night after the party and Cy and Athena called the next morning offering to make breakfast. We made waffles and eggs with sausage and onions and cheese and coffee and generally had a really great American farm breakfast. Once everyone headed out around 3:30, Rick and I let lethargy take over. I caught up on a bit of what Tivo had recorded for me, including finally watching The Land Girls and Patch Adams, neither of which is particularly great films, but make for good mindless Sunday entertainment. I justified my utter laziness with the thought that it would be good for my knee. Unfortunately, it didn't manage to miraculously heal it, so I'm going to stay home from the Plough tonight and try again. One thing is certain though, I'm going to have to give up on Morris. It's just too hard on my body.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Just for the record, I'm feeling a lot better today. Going to the Plough on Monday was the right answer. I got to dance a few waltzes, hobble through the Haymaker's Jig, and gimp through my very favorite dance, A Trip to the Cottage. Probably shouldn't have done that, but it's my favorite. What was more important than just the dancing was being hugged and snuggled and loved on within an inch of my existance. Everyone took really good care of me. I love the feel of Monday nights at the Plough. I've been to the Plough on other days and times, and most of the time it's just a grubby little corner bar. But Monday nights, it's a magical place. Rollie and Bates and Dawn and Chris and Anthony and Will and Christyn and Josh and Paul and Sean all listened to me, hugged me, and confirmed for me that it was just awful what they were doing to me. Somehow, having everyone else be part of my experience as well made it okay for me to let it go.

Anyway, I think I've finally had a chance to process it all and I'm just not feeling so depressed as I was. I'm ready to start taking action again rather than just melting down. The next step is to re-do my resume. I want to make it more accomplishment based rather than job history based. Once I have that done I'll start sending it around. In the meantime, I've got some good tasks to do for this project that I'm actually looking forward to that are something besides just being the queen of tech support. I also went to lunch with my current manager today and told her where I was at, and filling her in helped me feel more at ease in my skin, and it helped her feel better too. Anyway, things are starting to look less black, even if it's only because I'm recovering consciousness and seeing the world again instead of just the inside of my eyelids. Whew!

Monday, February 04, 2002

I can hear Wynn in the office next to me. He's fighting the fight for me, trying to get me a spot on the Delphi team. It's not going well. Jackie knows what she's heard from the A2K team who apparently took an almost instant dislike to me. I'm not sure why other than I dived in and learned PeopleSoft quickly enough that I began teaching their classes two weeks after I arrived. I'm not sure why that made them hate me, but from that moment we seemed to be on the wrong foot. It makes me feel like I'm back in high school, being punished socially for not playing dumb. I thought those days were behind me. I certainly thought it wouldn't be like that at Stanford. It's breaking my heart. I guess I'd best get serious about revising my resume and getting it out there. I really thought I'd be here for a long time. I thought I'd finally found a place that fit. Looks like there is no such place for me.

So I felt much better all around on Saturday night after dinner and a movie with Tom & Kim. We went to see Amelie because they hadn't seen it and I really wanted to see it again. It's such a great little film. And Amelie was wearing my shoes. I noticed it early on and then kept marveling at it throughout the film.

Another odd thing I noticed was that of the three films I've seen in the last two weeks, two of the same actors were consistently present. The chap who plays Nino in Amelie, also played Alexei in Birthday Girl. The other bad guy in Birthday Girl is also the bad guy in The Brotherhood of the Wolf. Anyway, my cinematic experiences for the last couple of weeks have been both overwhelmingly influenced by the French, and particularly by these two actors. I find them both impressive, although Mathieu Kassovitz really amazes me in how he can be so meek and retiring in Amelie and so extroverted in Birthday Girl. I really didn't recognize him when I saw Birthday Girl. It wasn't until I saw Amelie again that Rick pointed it out. I still had my doubts even at the end of the film.

Sunday was spent with Cy and Athena in a perfect sort of Sunday way. Cy and Athena celebrated their four year anniversary Saturday night, and they seem as happier than ever together. We went to a late breakfast at the Original Pancake House and stuffed ourselves senseless, then skittered across the street to Wolf Camera for a look at the digital cameras we've been considering. At breakfast, Athena had mentioned what great deals they had gotten at JCPenney the day before. Cy bought a bunch of pants for $7 each on clearance. So we headed over to Vallco and rummaged through the racks and found Rick some new clothes, then wandered the rest of the mall, then on our way back through Penney's to the car, we stopped by the petites section for Athena and I. There I found 3 cute little plaid skirts that fit very nicely, plus a couple of other work skirts. Five skirts for $46. Very nice. I'm wearing one of my new ones today. Nothing like some retail therapy to cheer me up.

Unfortunately, back at work today, I'm still feeling very beat down. The problems that we're having keep hanging out there with now resolution in sight. The new problems are either more of the same, or caused by users who just don't get it no matter how many times we try to explain it. Then there's the whole layoff thing hanging over my head. I need a vacation in the worst way, but there's no hope of that any time soon. Probably not until this time next year. As much as French cinema has permeated my life for the past couple weeks, that's as close as I'll get to France this year. And boy do I miss it. I wish I could just jump a plane tomorrow and go veg out at a cafe in the Latin Quarter. It just isn't going to happen though.

I'm hoping to go to the Plough tonight, but my knee gave me such fits walking the mall yesterday that I'm pretty sure I shouldn't dance tonight. Still, I could really use a few hugs from my friends.





Saturday, February 02, 2002

Well, my knee looks like it will be fine. The doctor seemed to think that for some reason the knee cap moved sideways and pulled on some of the stuff to the right and yanked it.It feels a lot better today, so I suppose he's right.

Body is repairing, but soul is feeling weary. I'm mad at myself for letting myself think I was safe and valued at Stanford. I dove into doing the work rather than covering my ass. Now that openess has left me feeling quite surprised when the blow came.

I planned to do everything it took to get back to Europe this spring and to take Rick there for his first time. If I take a job on the Delphi team (which seems my only refuge since 2 other avenues are closed to me now), then I won't have time for a vacation until this time next year. Of course, I don't know why I thought things would be any different. I can't even get Rick to be bothered to get his passport.

It's almost hard to imagine now that I was momentarily perceived as arrogant. If their goal was to make me less arrogant, it sure worked. No arrogance, no confidence, no drive. I think I'll spend my day vegging in front of the TV.

Friday, February 01, 2002

Oh, and by the way, to add injury to insult, last night I went to Morris practice and just at the end of Old Number Five, my right knee suddenly had a very sharp pain that felt like I'd been stabbed with a fork. I don't know what it is yet, but one of my teammates suggested that it might be a tendon tear, in which case, I'm done dancing again for a while.

Yesterday was just a really really bad day.

I keep getting angry in different ways about the situation at the office. The one that crept up on me last night in the shower was what a fantastic job of crippling the success of the project they have just done.

The reason I had to interview for a job now rather than closer to the end of the project was because the other PeopleSoft project on campus was ending on March 1st. My project doesn't end until April 30th (which is when I get laid off). What they failed to consider was that 2 months in the lifetime of a project is an eternity. Now everyone is either moving into other jobs as of March 1st, or is so thoroughly demotivated that they can't be bothered to work the hours necessary to the success of the project. We have another major rollout in March, but I have to wonder who will be left to do the work. On my team's end alone there's a new training guide that needs to be written, tons of new job aids, new classes to be taught, and then we also need to keep up with the existing tech support load (which is currently a 12-16 hour a day workload). I for one am looking for a job elsewhere and could move off the project in as little as two weeks if asked because somehow my loyalty to the project kinda went down the toilet yesterday. I know Maria is also looking for a job and could jump ship at any moment. Barb is really looking forward to the end of the project, and I think she's out of here as of the end of March. Jo-Ann moves over to the AS job on March 1st. So that basically leaves Val to do all of the above mentioned work.

So my gripe is that they really needed to continue treating these two projects as two projects, and by treating them as one, they've managed to seriously cripple the second project. If I were the project manager, I'd be having some serious words to say about doing that to the team. When I think of the difference between where we were at the end of October vs. the end of December (we were writing the training materials in October, but by the end of December we had 85% of the staff retrained) or the difference between the end of November and the end of January (we were just starting the training at the end of November, firmly convinced that it was too soon (and it was), but by the end of January we'd been live for four weeks and had accumulated 1400 support tickets), it just loudly points out how very long 2 months is in terms of a project. If they'd had any sense of just how long that is, they would've hired the PeopleSoft Student Administration folks now, and would've waited on even talking to us about it all until at least March 1st to put us on the same basic schedule as the other team (one month to do interviews, then one month of notice before being laid off). Now with 90 days notice, I guarantee that this building will be a ghost town well before those 90 days are up.

And that's a damned shame, because there is a lot of really really important work left to be done.