February 26, 2008

Some good news for poor Jrex

He gave lab meeting today. Based on the preliminary results of this experiment, it looks like he might have something worth publishing. Finally!! The light at the end of the tunnel isn't big enough to run through yet, but at least it's visible.

Of course, Jrex has had a virus for the past week. Miserable. I chatted with my MIL on Saturday. Anything I tell her she prays about. I told her that Jrex was sick and was worried about his mice. Since he was running an experiment on mice genetically modified to not have immune systems, he was worried they might catch his virus. (I think I mentioned this recently...) Anyway, she started laughing really hard. Through her giggles she said, "I have never prayed for mice before! I pray for mice now?" More laughter. I told that story to Aunt Bird on Sunday. She laughed as well, "Hmm..." she said, "Since mice are some of my least favorite critters, I'll just pray for his experiments to go well."

Looks like the prayers have worked. Thanks!

February 25, 2008

Friday was a weird day. As mentioned before, this is my first corporate job. First time at an international company. First time dealing with an HR department. What can I say, I've enjoyed being in quirky jobs.

At 1:30 our creative director (who was up from LA for the day) called us all to join him in a conference room. Emergency meeting. It was the whole design department, plus the VP who supervises our creative director. The only person missing was Stressed-out Eeyore. I was a little confused and right as I was about to ask, "Where's SEO?" our creative director, Big Man announced that as of that instant, SOE was no longer with the company. She was in with the HR woman finding out the details. We all had to stay in the conference room while she was given privacy to clear out her space. We don't have cubicles in our department, everything is fairly open so the only way to guard her dignity was to make us all leave. After an hour and a half of chatting, brainstorming some stuff, we HAD to get back to work. I came back in to send an email and she was still here.

I made a sad scrunch-face as I passed (she was on the phone) and she teared up a bit. She pulled it together and kept tidying up as many loose ends as she could in a couple hours. It's a sign of her character that she was more worried about leaving us in the lurch than about being fired. We all did hugs and exchanged business cards before she left.

That being said, I was happy as I looked ahead to work today. As much as she had a generous, care-giving heart, it was covered up by a very abrasive personality. I don't have to worry that every time I get up from my desk someone will bark, "OTRgirl, what are you working on now?!" I'm sure my work-load will increase, but I'll take it for the overall peace that will be in the department. Yet I feel guilty for being relieved she's gone.

In other sad news, on Saturday I found out that Aunt Ruby's husband died of a massive heart attack. Of all my seven uncles, he's the one that I personally knew the least. As we all know though, funerals and memorials are for the living as much as for the dead. Aunt Ruby came out to help while my Mom died of cancer and I want to go to the funeral to thank her for that and to see her kids. Her daughter is the cousin closest to me in age. In the midst of tragic circumstances, it will be good to see my family again. As Aunt Bird said, "The next time we all get together it better be for a wedding! I can't take anymore funerals for a while!!"

February 22, 2008

Total randomness

Working with a peer to co-design a solution for a little one-day show, it's getting a bit sticky. She comes from the advertising world where everything has to be edgy. We're designing for a corporation with a developed brand. On the whole, I love her thinking and what she comes up with, but it's not on-brand. I'm the 'face' of this assignment, so sort-of in charge, but we're peers. So, when I love the base elements she's designed, but then say, "What if you tried it this way?" in an attempt to get it to work, she resists. Logical response. I'm asking her to bastardize an elegant solution, but I know the solution will be thrown out without the brand elements. Ugh. I'm not her supervisor, so I can't say, "show me three variations with this, this, and this."

I feel her pain. I'm getting bored with the design I created for the bigger show. I keep trying to break my own brand! However, different for different sake is not always the best solution.

It's been raining all week and I have a few lingering flu elements, so I haven't been on the bike. I start getting really twitchy and achy when I haven't exercised. After walking the dog, I totally intended to do the boring Pilates video for the 537,356th time. But, I'm back here writing to ya'll instead. Priorities are obviously in order. I actually took a cab to work twice in the last two weeks. It costs $24 + tip to go 8.2 miles. Yuck.

I'm getting ridiculously addicted to Scrabulous in Facebook. Poor Jrex has to hear me blab about how I managed to use "ax" and get 34 points! He's amazing because he makes me think he's interested. Love him.

He caught the same flu. He's injecting immuno-compromised mice. He's 12 days into a 30 day experiment. Can't stop, has no one who can 'cover' for him so he can be sick, and is totally nervous that he's going to give the flu to the mice. I can see his scientific publication now, "The chemo seemed to be working great on the cancer tumors, however, they all died of the flu." (May it NOT be so!)

I'm putting in PTO requests for the next few months. A day to go up to Seattle for a weekend. An afternoon so we can go somewhere for our anniversary. A week so we can drive to LA, see Jrex sister and her family. We'll pick up his parents there, then drive to Yosemite for four days with his parents. Jrex found a loft condo for us to rent. That means we'll be on the fold-out couch in the living room with no walls separating us from the 'rents. I'm SURE you'll hear more about that later. Then his sister bought us (just the two of us!) two nights in a Napa Valley hotel for Jrex's 40th birthday at the end of June. That should be very fun.

Two of our friends, let's call them Lovey and Dovey, are planning a trip to New Zealand. I'm excited for our little trips, but would love to get out of the US for a 'real' adventure. Our passports expire this year and I've only got two stamps. Ah well, perhaps I'll eventually retire overseas and have so many stamps I'm sick of it. All in all, really, I have very little to complain about.


That's all I know for this morning! Hope you all have splendid weekends in store. Any adventures I can live vicariously?

February 18, 2008

Because Conspiracies DO exist

I just did a post for this woman, but when asked to join a conspiracy of kindness for her, how could I say no? I'm amazed how real these on-line relationships become. How much I care for a woman I've never met, and how much true community is possible among people whose faces I've never seen.

MN, you are loved, cherished and respected. We're proud of you.

February 15, 2008

Thoughts from the sickroom

I took today off to indulge the cold that's been attacking me since Tuesday. I should have stayed home yesterday, but I had to put out a few fires at work and make it relatively guilt-free to stay home today.

I love sick days. Ignore the congestion and general mental stupid/foggy brain and it's a great way to spend the day. When we were little, we had a Mom who veered toward the Mother Earth side of life. Meaning we never had sugar or candy or soda. Being sick meant we actually got 7-up and crackers! Best ever. The dark room, the quiet visit and the cool hand on my forehead, the pile of books and the cool fizz of pop in my face as I greedily drank it down--all mean I have a fond enjoyment of being ill.

This morning, I lay on the couch as the sun poured through the sliding glass doors. Against the painted brown wood of the balcony wall, the green leaves of my juniper bonsai glowed. In the diagonal strip of sun, Muttolah dozed in an acrobatic variety of contortions. At one point she lifted her head and half-sat up. She began panting while looking a little ill. "You ok, mutt?" I asked her. Panting, she turned her head and glanced at me, then sat there panting a little more, her black fur gleaming in the heat. "Get out of the sun, crazy dog," I laughed at her. She glanced at me again, then laid down with a happy sigh. Crazy Mutt! (Sorry, I do realize most of you are still deeply ensconsed in winter. I have to justify the Bay Area's cost of living with posts that remind me why it's theoretically worth it to live here.)

The phone rang numerous times. Clean the heater? Clean the carpet? Is this Wells Fargo? I almost didn't answer the fourth time. It was Jrex, so I'm glad I did. He picked me up for lunch. We were on our way to Stacks (home of American style breakfast and lunch) when we saw Sultana. Mmmm...Turkish food instead? Yes, please! He's in the midst of a month-long experiment where he has to inject mice twice a day. Yup. 30 days. Morning and evening. NO DAY OFF. Which meant my Valentine's Day was spent alone on a couch watching Ocean's 11. I was sick and brain-dead though, so that was fine with me. It was a wonderful surprise to go out for lunch. Don't worry, I coughed a bit and wore a scarf, I AM sick after all. This isn't just a mental health day...

I don't think that helped in any attempt to dissuade me from my love of sick days.

Do you have traditions/rituals that you do when you're sick? Memories of childhood illnesses? Do you hate being sick or enjoy it? My impression is that having kids means sickness is just pure torture with no room for self-indulgence, am I wrong? (lie to me, people!)

February 11, 2008

The truth, the whole truth...

OK, the truth is this. Sure, I've been busy. Sure, I've been so overwhelmed by the daily dramas and minefields at work that I've gone into hibernation mode at home. All true, but not the real truth.

I'm intimidated.

Mama Nabi wrote some really cool stuff about me in response to my previous post and so I've been getting lots of visitors from her site. Every time I try to think about what to post it seems trivial.

-What NOT to do when a biker is taking up the lane: Don't pass on the left with a foot to spare in your H3 just so you can get to the on-ramp 3 seconds before the guy in the next lane over. Perhaps she's only trying to make it across the intersection to the safety of the median that's wide enough for two bike lanes. Perhaps she's a malicious wench who is only trying to piss you off, but she'd like to live to see another day!

-How to successfully confront your boss in three easy steps. Take the opportunity given by the annual SWOT analysis demanded by the company (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Follow up two weeks later with another topic. Go into his office and shut the door. Avoid "you" statements and focus on what's needed for productivity. Find out that he responds well to criticism. Find out that his good intentions only last a week or so.

-Meeting at the dog park with my friend and former dog-sitter to see if the dog she and her hubby got will be compatible with ours. Hoping we can continue with free dog-sitting and now be able to return the favor. Finding out the dogs seem to get along, "Best Friends" we kept calling to them. It worked out well: Muttolah chased down the frisbee followed by their stubby-legged corgi who tried herding Muttolah. Muttolah brought back the frisbee and to get praised and then the panting corgi trotted up proudly to be petted and praised for bringing back Muttolah.

-Speculate on why I'm completely anti-social right now. It's hard to check-in with on-line friends and I definitely haven't been doing much socially in the 'real' world. I've never been this committed to a job before. I don't know how Jrex has done it for so long. Working four 55-hour weeks in a row has just about killed me and he's done years where an 80-hour week was considered a kindness (Internal Medicine Residency and Oncology Fellowship). I realize I don't have half the strength or emotional reserve that he does.

All good posts. Yet they seem a bit small after the set-up that I'm like a mountain. I know there are people stopping by who've never come here before. I want to run around and fluff the sofa cushions, close the bedroom door so you can't see the unfolded laundry, run the vacuum and then pose in the living room thinking deep thoughts.

So, ahem. Welcome visitors. We mostly stay in shallower waters here on Sojournering. Try not to be too disappointed.

(phew. Now hopefully I can move past that hurdle and happily blog while only picturing all my aunts and uncles reading. I mean they're somewhat mandated to care what I have to say...)

February 3, 2008

Still not sure how to write about all this...

This is one of the posts that's been rattling around in my brain. I'm still not sure the right way to write about it. The short version is that one of my blog friends, Mama Nabi, is going through a really hard time right now. You can read more about her story if you're interested.

In response to this post on her site, I emailed her and offered practical help. I'd already told her I was praying for her, it seemed like it might be nice to back that up in a tangible way--God with skin on, so to speak. She had very valid reasons for saying 'thank you VERY much, but no thank you'; I respected her response. The neat thing was, despite her skepticism about the whole God/Christianity deal, she suggested I do a 'prayer-raising' instead of the on-line fundraising I wanted to do for her.

So, if you are a person of prayer, please hold up Mama Nabi, her daughter, and her alcoholic husband. She needs practical help, wisdom, and guidance for all the tough decisions she's having to make right now. In a life where her family has rarely backed her up or loved her unconditionally, it's fairly logical she's skeptical about a loving God. My prayer for her is that despite all the circumstances, she would find a peace that passes all understanding and find out how passionately she is loved.

February 1, 2008

I'm considering bulemia as a viable solution

For a client presentation on Monday, we had to assemble six 'flavor' sets. From jelly beans. Meaning, we had to taste Jellie Bellies. Dozens of combos. By the end we were biting them in half, then in thirds. We made some fun combos: for example, to represent the creative department we found red, blue and green jelly beans (pomegranate, blueberry, margarita) and called that blend "The Spectrum".

I have a client presentation here in another forty minutes and I don't know if walking in with a green face will be acceptable...