January 30, 2008

I'm alive!

I have all sorts of ambitious posts in my head, but haven't been able to sit down and put words on them. 

In addition to developing the look and feel for a big show, I've been put onto a second show that piggy-backs off the first. Long story, but there were lots of politics involved and lots of potential weirdness. In essence, the client likes me and didn't like what they experienced of one of our other designers last year. However, we need to use our in-house talent and I don't have time to lead two concurrent shows. Given the concerns with her, they put me on as the 'face' of the design department, but in the end, the idea will be that I start it off and gradually step back.

I was nervous about the dynamic between the two of us, but she's been very professional and I like to make room for other people's ideas, so it's working out well. Phew! Obviously, that drama has been consuming my hours at work. At home, I've often been just collapsing and reading a book rather than doing anything on-line. Long hours staring at a computer means I just don't want to do that in my free time. Today is finally a little slower, so I can breathe and check into what's happening in the blogosphere.

One of my co-workers just found this video of amazing soccer stunts.

And here's a chat with the person who designed the Google logo.

January 21, 2008


Dad left Saturday morning. He was here for a week and, as usual, we did lots of adventuring:

DeYoung museum in SF for a Louise Nevelson retrospective (fantastic!), lunch with Baltimore friends and a grotto in the middle of SF called the Stern Grove. From the street you see a long block of Eucalyptus trees. We wandered in assuming it was a little city park. Instead the ground dropped away and we wandered down, down, down into redwood trees and a concert pavilion with gardens.

Friday night, he picked me up from work and we crossed over to the East Bay to check out an Indian movie theater. Buried in an old strip mall, surrounded by sari shops and Pakistani take-out, there's a theater with eight screens, all showing movies from India with English subtitles. I felt like I was able to drive around the world in just 25 minutes. We saw a FABULOUS movie. The English name is "Everyone is Special". The story of a dyslexic boy: the first half is a glimpse of how amazing and how hard his life is, the second half is his relationship with an art teacher (who also produced and directed the film). It's long, but well worth the time.


The Big Drama. I saw my neighbor's car in her spot on Thursday, so I knocked on her door. The bullet-point summary:
  • After leaving our place, Ex called her and left a slurred message about how he'd tried to get in. Turns out, he'd been evicted that day from his apartment and was sleeping in his car down the street.
  • She's received a 60-day notice from the landlord due to Ex's various disturbances. 
  • I clarified that I hadn't called the landlord. In my mind, Ex is his own problem, not my neighbor's fault. Which means that one of the other neighbors (who certainly weren't helping the situation...) 'told' on her.
  • She was planning to leave anyway--needs to move where Ex doesn't know she is.
  • Ex had been sober for years. After they broke up, he started drinking again.
  • He checked himself into rehab this weekend.
The thing that makes me really sad, is that, for three months before Ex moved out, I had a pounding hammer in my head of thoughts like, "If you just divorce Jrex, your life will be better. If you weren't together, everything would be simpler. He's no fun, go find someone fun." I prayed a lot for our marriage, focused on being grateful for what was good in our relationship, prayed some more; what I never thought to do was check if there was someone else I should pray for. I've had this in the past, if I'm near someone who has intense stuff happening to them emotionally or spiritually, it affects my emotions. God uses that quite often to help me pray for other people. 

Three months of a mental hammer full of emotions that weren't 'normal' for me to have. And I never thought beyond myself. I know I'm not responsible, I don't feel guilty. It's just that there was a tipping point, and I'm thinking we/I were supposed to be part of it, and I missed it completely. It makes me sad for all the stuff that's happened since. I keep thinking of the Yeats quote, "The world's more full of weeping than we can understand." I still don't understand why God chooses to work through us, since we're such frail, faulty vessels for the love he wants to express. 

January 13, 2008

Why there will be bags under my eyes at work


I opened my eyes into shadowy darkness.

“Grrrrrr…rrrooOOFFF! GROOFF!!”

Muttola hunched at the door to our bedroom, growling. Two thoughts jump into my sleepy brain at the same time: my Dad is probably in the kitchen vs. a burglar saying, “Don’t worry about dogs, people just tell them to shut-up!”. I open the door. The hall is dark, I hear no movement. Muttola springs ahead of me and trots toward the front door. She’s growling from deep in her chest, yet at the same time, her tail is wagging slightly. Hunching over, she sniffs the edge of the door, then trots over to the patio/balcony door for another round of sniffs.

“Grrrrrr…rrrooOOFFF! GROOFF!!”

I can’t see anyone through the glass panel on top of our front door. Dad is nowhere to be seen. I’m so sleepy I want to just tell the dog to shut-up, but I imagine some burglar laughing at me. I open the patio door.

Muttola rushes out, lunges upright with her paws on the top edge of the balcony, her barks are even louder and more frantic as she tries to peer over.

“Grrrrrr…rrrooOOFFF! GROOFF!!”

I look over the edge.

A man stands below with a wooden ladder.

I don’t have my glasses. I can’t be sure, but I think it’s Ex, my neighbor’s ex-husband.

“What are you doing?” I ask loudly over Muttola’s growls.

He glances up, then looks at the ground, “I know this looks bad, but I promise you, it’s not. I know they’re out of town, but it’s ok. Don’t worry about it.” I was right, it’s Ex. What I can’t tell through my blurry vision is if he’s as drunk as he sounds.

I hurry inside and go to Jrex. He’s still in bed, I’m sure he’s assumed, like I did, that the dog had lost her mind. As I fumble around looking for my glasses, I tell him what’s going on and ask what to do. He’s not super-awake and I don’t have time to waste. I cross the hall and knock on my Dad’s room. He’s sitting at the desk and working, so he’s more alert. “My neighbor’s ex-husband is out there with a ladder, should I call the cops?”

Dad exclaims, “Of course! That’s breaking and entering!!” I hear a crash. Muttola resumes her barking.

I grab the phone and rush back out to the balcony. When I look over the edge, the ladder is on it’s side and Ex is on the ground, hunched over it.

“Ex, you need to leave or I’m calling the police.”

“Don’t call them. I just have to put this ladder away. Don’t call. I’m going.”

I wait. Muttola and my Dad come and stand behind me in the doorway. We wait. I hear Ex scrape the ladder upright. I glance over the edge again. He’s upright, clinging to the ladder, swaying. Definitely drunk. I wait a little more and hear him drag it under my neighbor’s balcony and into the car port. I hear fumbling noises.

“Ex, you need to leave the premises right now or I’ll call the cops.”

“I’m just trying to put this away. Don’t call. I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine where it is, I need you to go now.”

“I’ll leave it here then, I’m going. I’m sorry.”

He emerges, hands in his pockets, slowly stepping down the driveway like a crab. Sideways is forward. I call out, “Do you need me to call you a cab or give you a ride?”

“No, thank you. I have a place to stay just down the street. Thank you. I’m sorry” He’s steering straight towards a tree, but corrects course and shuffles toward the sidewalk. I wait, dreading the sound of a car starting. Silence. Dad stirs behind me, “We don’t need to wait out here for him, if he comes back, Muttola will let us know.”

We slide the door closed and then pet the dog, “You handled that very well,” he tells me.

I shrug, “Thanks. It’s all the training with emotionally disturbed kids: clear expectations, clear consequences, clear time limit. He was drunk enough to be the same as a two-year old.”

Dad shook his head, “You were much kinder than most people would have been.”

“Well, when he lived next door, he was such a nice guy; I didn’t want to do that to his kid.”

Jrex was standing in the dark of our room, swaying a bit himself, “I’m sorry. What you said barely registered. Is everything ok?”

“It’s fine. We’ve wondered if Muttola would be any good as a watchdog, I guess she proved herself!” Muttola sat proudly between us as we praised her before collapsing back into bed.

January 10, 2008

Winter is the new spring

One of the signs that I'm adjusting to California is that, when I see the gravel along the road being misted with fresh greens, I think, "It must be winter, there are weeds!"

In the last two weeks it's been raining every few days. I love it. Our office is on the third floor overlooking the San Mateo County airport and a National Wetlands area. If I turn away from the computer, I can watch egrets stalking or pelicans flying past. I love seeing their silhouettes emerging from the misty rain that has enveloped us. Yesterday we all crowded the window as a rainbow appeared over the runway--end to end touched down just outside our window.

I've developed a superstition. If I see one of the little planes coming in for a landing, I have to watch it finish. My fear is that I might turn my back and not see it crash. Our staff meetings are often punctuated by horrified gasps as a plane wobbles down toward the runway.

Now that it's an exception, only appearing for two months a year, I love the rain. The frantic pace of life seems to slow. Commutes clog up even worse, people are late for work, it's easy to curl up with a good book and there's cloud action instead of a blue bowl overhead.

January 9, 2008

Sojournering Lite

Well...I'm not bored anymore! The clients are all back and are panicked about the fact that their big show is 16 weeks away. So we're running full-tilt, boogy towards the goal. Unfortunately, it seems to involve going to endless meetings as well as trying to hit their hurry-up and wait deadlines. I get to the office and the day goes by in a blur with no time to check blogs or email or facebook. Look at me, whining that there's no time to goof off while being paid!

IN any case, I miss reading what's up with y'all. It should be a new Hallmark card, "Just cause it's sporadic, doesn't mean I don't care."

January 2, 2008

I've drifted through two weeks at work with most of my clients and many of my co-workers out of town. The days are never so long when I'm busy. This is BORING! (I'm sure I'm going to be eating these words and kicking myself later) I thought everyone would be back today, but it's even worse than last week

You can always tell there's not much going on at work when I have time to "clean house" on the blog.


Our CD player (read: boom box from 10 years ago) finally died two weeks ago. I finally caved and rode to Target on Monday (I have a cousin who works for them, have to 'keep it in the family') to get a new box. Once there, I discovered it's impossible to find a quality CD player anymore! It's all home theater systems or iPod docks. I found a cheap one with both a dock and a CD slot, got it home, and found out it sounds awful.

To my shock, Mr. Thrifty (I tend to be the spender in the family compared to his saver) suggested we look into getting a Bose system instead. Hey, I'll spend the money, babe, just say the word! He suggested I check the reviews on Cnet first. They actually preferred a mini-system that plays DVD movies, CDs, MP3/WAV files, etc. Better sound, separate speakers and available at Amazon (one of my close friends works there, see above...). In fact, Amazon was having a sale so we were able to snag the system with an iPod dock for $100 less than a Bose player.

In many ways this isn't that big a deal. I know that, but it feels similar to when we bought a washing machine the first time: we're not in college anymore, Toto! It's very silly, but I'm excited. We skipped all Christmas gifts this year, so I guess this makes up for those savings... It's not "fair trade" though, is it?