September 28, 2007

Random Friday

Last week and this week are huge crunch times at work. We have two shows to design that are going up the same day.

All that is to explain my radio silence and to tell you why I don't have time to tell you more about:

-going to Bay Meadows horse track for my company picnic. I wanted to start my gambling addiction, but neither of us brought cash. Best part? The race where Horse #7 scraped off the jockey at the starting gate and trotted around after the other horses.

-Bringing Muttola into work after dinner Wednesday night. We hung out til 11 pm and had a couple chase games around all the desks and cubicles. Stressed-out Eeyore was still here and seemed amused by our capers.

-Figuring out whether it's worth it to have a Mary Kay rep who is a friend, but who is also long-distance and bi-polar. Sometimes she's great and other times, not so responsive... Which leads to thoughts about how we're all just wired differently and why as a society we think it so necessary to medicate everyone to sameness.

-Seeing "Becoming Jane". I enjoyed it, but I like Jane Austen and I love the actor. He was also Tumnus and in The Last King of Scotland. Brilliant. Not a handsome guy, but becomes compelling in every movie he's in.

-Flipping around last night to catch premiers of Ugly Betty, My Name is Earl and Grey's Anatomy. Why oh why does GA have to jump off the ridiculous soap opera angle when all they need to do is let the characters live and interact?! They have an amazing cast and compelling characters, but they keep forcing them to do bizarre and stupid things. Ugh. Despite the annoyance, I keep thinking about the characters. I miss Burke. Sigh.

-The follow-up post would be how we took the summer off from TV and how wonderful it was. We're trying to just pick two shows to follow for the fall. Heroes is a given. We both missed the premier of Bionic Woman, but that could be fun. I'll have to give it and GA a couple weeks to figure out who 'wins'.

-Yesterday while discussing what capital investments the design department needs for the fall, the best recommendation was a foosball table. We're billing it as a carpal tunnel prevention device. Think it will work?

September 21, 2007

The Ignorant Question

This morning at work we had a ‘town hall meeting’ for all the staff. The VP in charge of our branch of the company did a good job inspiring us with the fact that we are uniquely positioned in the market. Many companies are moving away from traditional advertising and marketing and are moving toward doing conferences, team building, and fun events to build their brand—and that’s what we do.

Then he opened the floor for questions. A few people asked very intelligent questions. During the VP’s initial speech and throughout the high level Q&A the word ‘silo’ kept coming up. It was used to talk about no longer being segregated into silos, that we should move away from a silo mentality, etc.

I’ve always been fascinated by group dynamics. I often experiment with them. I love to go into a museum and just stand and examine a neglected painting. After a while a whole crowd gathers because they think they might be missing something. I was impatient with the tentative Q&A. I’d been introduced as a new person early in the meeting, so I figured I could get away with anything.

I raised my hand, “What’s a silo? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

As they answered the question (a silo is a group of people who only worry about their area without involving other members of the company), the whole room loosened up and people started asking much more gut level questions.

Tonight they implemented one of the suggestions that came up in the meeting. On Friday afternoons the managers bring around a drink cart for anyone who’s still working at 4:30. After my ignorant ice breaker, someone suggested having everyone gather around the drink cart instead of it traveling. Another person suggested moving it to different departments so we could get to know each other.

I just got back from mingling. I know I did a couple doom and gloom posts about work, but the last few weeks have been getting much better. Ever since finding out that Eeyore is not my supervisor, I’ve been better able to manage her and my clients and my projects. I’m really enjoying the job now. Drinking and chatting with more of the people who work here has just reinforced that impression.

So get out of the silo, people, drink up and ask the stupid question!

September 18, 2007

WAY too much info for the men...

I'm telling you now, Dad, Uncle Quip, Uncle Deer Slayer, move away from this blog post. Do not proceed any further...

(though, Uncle Quip, as a family doc, this might be good to pass on to your patients)

Saturday morning, Snickollet mentioned The Diva Cup in this post. I checked out the website and decided I should try it. An easy bike ride gets me to a Whole Foods which sells it. However, as a woman skilled at Good Intentions with little follow-through, I would have normally have forgetten about it by Sunday.

Friday night I'd called Workaholic's Wife to see if she had time to hang out on Saturday. This new friend is married to a guy who runs a start-up company. She's struggled a great deal with what marriage is supposed to look like when an 'early' dinner is at 7:30 pm. Hey, welcome to my world, sistah! Needless to say, she was quite happy (and available) to hang out.

Now, SHE's the one who suggested window shopping at Anthropologie and wandering around Palo Alto. The fact that we walked by Whole Foods on the very same day as my Diva Cup Discovery meant that she had to endure my quest to procure it. I told her what I was looking for and was surprised she'd heard of it from another friend. She said, "You have to let me know if it works. They must be really popular if I've heard about it from more than one person," she paused as a thought struck her, "Oh wait, we live in California."

[Gentlemen: Don't complain that I didn't warn you.]

All that is to tell you that my cycle started today and I LOVE The Cup. You only have to change it twice a day, no risk of Toxic Shock, no leaking, no more land-fill contributions, no risk of running out of supplies and no smell. I can't really run around work and evangelize my new discovery, so I'm inflicting it on you. As Snick said, 'you have to be comfy with your girly parts, but then, shouldn't we all be comfortable with them?' I feel like I've entered a whole new era of freedom from the tyranny of Bloody Bondage!!

OK. Sorry. I got a little carried away there. Um. What I meant to say was, you should check it out. NOW! I mean, that is, if you want to.

September 13, 2007

In response to the commenter who questioned my geek status

I saw this over on Sandra's website: says I'm a History / Lit Geek.  What are you?  Click here!

I would also have to offer into evidence what I look like leaving for work in the morning:

-Dorky helmet that flattens my hair and causes it to flip out in very weird ways by the time I get to work? Check.
-bike clip lovinging tucked around my right pant leg? Check.
-padded bike shorts? Check.
-matching bike gloves (hey, they were on sale at REI, the matching color is coincidental. Really. No, I mean it.)
-Water bottle filled with Gatorade mixed from powder? How could I ride in this desert without it?

I don't qualify for nerd status. I would define a nerd as someone lacking social skills who hides behind technology. Geeks, however, are proud to be passionate about things that the 'norm' aren't into. Things like growing up without a television. Reading in bed with one's spouse. Exploring exotic food preparation. The socio-economic study of dog-park attendees. Reading while walking the dog.

I'm happy to be a history/lit geek. That sounds about right. Unless you ask my Dad, my husband or my brother-in-law. They are the REAL history geeks. I just trail along and peer at their discarded books on occasion. In fact, half the questions I was able to answer in the affirmative were because of Jrex, my Greek major husband, indoctrinating me.


A couple nights ago, a friend called from Rochester. As we caught up on each other’s lives I asked about her in-laws. I’d been in a small group with her mother-in-law during a healing retreat. At the time her MIL had recently confronted her husband about his affair. She was in process of figuring out whether to stay with him or not.

It turns out they ended up divorcing. I never knew her husband, but based on what I’d learned of her that weekend, I could imagine it would have been difficult for her to choose to forgive.

As I thought about that situation, I had this thought about forgiveness:

In order to truly forgive, you have to die. You have to give up your right to be angry, bitter, or hurt, you have to die to your pride or self-defense. The reality is you DO have a “right” to those emotions because you were wronged. There is no forgiveness without death—that’s why it’s so difficult to do. None of us want to die. Volunteering for it seems highly counter productive. Yet the mystery at the heart of my faith is that without death there can be no life. Through death and then resurrection we can experience a new, deeper/higher, more joy-filled level of life.

I know that I’m struggling with places where my self-preservation/comfort instinct is at war with the need to just lay down and let God have access to my attitude. I KNOW how hard it is to forgive, but I’ve also seen amazing fruit in my life and in other’s lives when they were able to make that choice.

My friend’s MIL did the ‘logical’ thing: she didn’t die. So her marriage did. I can understand her solution, but I wonder what new marriage might have been born had she been able to forgive.

September 10, 2007

The Plot Thickens

We never had the knock-down staff meeting I feared. HeroMan, our absentee Creative Director, also known as Captain Chaos, kept being unavailable. He's good enough at the game to make it a fair assumption he's waiting for the fire to die down.

This morning the traffic manager (Stressed-Out Eeyore) got an email from Captain Chaos informing her to expect a new hire today. None of us have ever met this guy nor did we have any idea he was coming.

Turns out he’s a creative director with a writing/acting/theater background. Not someone who can actually design from his own concepts. He will therefore be someone like Captain Chaos who will create a need for content creation without the means to aid in it.

The four of us who were in the office today took him out for a welcome lunch. He’s a great guy.

My overall thought is that Captain Chaos has hired his own replacement.

September 5, 2007

Good Conversation

One of the wonderful things for me here has been that I've very quickly developed some great friendships. One of my new friends picked me up for lunch today.

I've mentioned before my need to be asked questions. Some of that is because it's hard for me to be sad in front of someone else. It usually happens only if someone asks a question that probes into my quiet, dark, underground river of sorrow. I barely want to visit it on my own, I certainly don't take tour groups down there.

This friend, Smart Girl, is very good at questions.

At one point she mentioned, "When you talk about your vision for your future it seems separate from an 'us' vision with your husband?" I hadn't even thought about it before. In some ways, because he's reached a point of survival, he doesn't really think in terms of goals, dreams or visions. If I'm going to think about those, it's within the context of what our life together has become, but isn't something we usually discuss much together.

Other questions (all asked from a place of understanding, quiet listening, and caring):

"What do you think the Lord is trying to reach in you?"

"Usually when the Lord closes a door, He opens something else. Do you think you're just staring at the closed door? What do you think He's leading you toward?"

"What frustrates you most about your life at this point?"

Let's just say it was a bit embarrassing to keep tearing up at a sidewalk cafe!


In return I asked her lots of questions. I love finding out about people's lives. Some might see this as a bit 'nosey', but my intention is not to pry, just to discover.

I asked her about the fact that, despite being an only child with no cousins, she didn't seem spoiled.

"Oh, that's cause no one noticed me. When I was 9 they gave me a credit card, and when I was 11, I started running away to Europe."

"What?!! As in getting on a plane alone [nod] and actually getting there? [nod] Alone?! [nod] For how long?"

"I would usually go for a week."

Total shock in my voice, "And just stay in a hotel and walk around?"


"What happened when you came home?"

"Nothing. They didn't say anything. It was like I never left."

"And they just paid off the bill?"


"You never got molested or bothered by anyone there?"

"No. Total miracle. I remember wandering around alone in Paris at 3 a.m. drunk and no one messed with me."

All of a sudden my ghetto fabulous childhood filled with roaches, foodstamps and hovering parents seemed like the wealthiest childhood I could have ever had.

September 3, 2007

The Calm Before the Storm

When I was being interviewed for my current job there was a woman who often came out to tell me ‘they’ would be with me shortly. I assumed she was the design department administrator. However after I started working she was the one who gave me a to-do list for the day. If I got up and chatted with other people in the department she would inquire, “OTRgirl, what are you working on now?”

Um, obviously, nothing at the moment!

I didn’t know where I stood in relation to her. She acted like my supervisor though that didn’t seem right. Our creative director (HeroMan) is someone who lives in LA and comes into the office two days a week. For those two days he’s usually in meetings or pitching things to clients, so he has very little interaction with those of us in the department.

I call this woman, “Stressed-out Eeyore”. She creates negative spin and can make a tempest in ANY teapot. Throughout the day she gets up to tell every single person in the whole department every single detail of the latest installment of whatever drama. And then often repeats herself. I can’t tell if she does this until she gets the answer or the sympathy she wants, but it drives me CRAZY! I feel like I’ve been slimed by the end of most days.

On Friday, she took a day off. I felt like the holiday weekend started early! While she was gone the two other designers both pulled me aside to tell me that she’s NOT my supervisor and I need to stop letting me treat me as if she were. She is just the traffic manager and is stepping into HeroMan’s void. She needs to be told to Back Off. They both said a variation on, “You are a fully qualified designer, you can manage your clients however you want and she should not be telling you what to do. I haven’t wanted to interfere but I can’t stand to see how she’s treating you.”

The day before she left, Eeyore created a show-down with the creative director. We’ve all been frustrated that he isn’t around much. She called for an all-staff meeting with him and fought with him over the phone about how neglected we all feel. She pulled everyone in the pit with her. I’ve never complained about him, I’m just riding it out and trying to let things sort out on their own, but she started telling him how I would need extra help because I have these two shows coming up, blah blah blah. Huh? I can ask for help if I need it and so far, I don’t. Thank you very much.

I’m concerned that the meeting where she expects all of us to jump on HeroMan is going to turn into all of us jumping on her. It feels like she’s setting herself up for a pick me or pick him option. None of us plan on going down with that ship.

Ahh, conspiracy theories, gossip and back-biting, what would an office be without them?