April 29, 2010

It's party time!

I just sent out my very first evite. SO exciting [note sarcastic tone . . .]. As I think I mentioned, Jrex finally published his paper. Our friends Lovey and Dovey (Dovey HATES strongly dislikes these pseudonyms...) have graciously agreed to let us invade their home. I'm looking forward to doing a party again. Living in a smallish apartment with no spillover zones has cramped our style. We've done a couple supper clubs, but having six other adults in the apartment really filled it up. No way could it handle fourteen (plus two kids).

I'm so proud of him and all the hard work he put into making this paper something worthy of a good journal. It will be fun to honor him.

Of course we're going to do a wine tasting. I'm thinking a contest for who can name the varietal. We'll have a list and they'll just have to match the numbered bottle to the list of wine types (Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc, Reisling, Gurvertz for the whites). That sort of thing. There's a grill at the house, so we can fire up some flank steak, chicken, portobellos and grilled veggies to add to a big salad. Have smelly cheeses, fancy meats, breads, and crackers.

Any other ideas? I'm feeling a little rusty on the hostess front. Suggestions for prizes for who guesses the most wines? Easy, but fun decor ideas? Best party you ever hosted?

April 26, 2010

It's all working out for the best

When no news is actually good news
After my third interview at "New Job", I really had a sense I wouldn't get it. Every single question had to do with internet skills. Mine are rusty, so I can't compete with someone fluent if that's the main focus of the job. I could tell that for him, that was the main focus.

A couple other things made me hesitate. I was willing to override my concerns, but they nagged at me. After the interview, I went over to chat with two friends who were contracting at New Job. They were in the back of a big room that is the office space. My interviews were in offices that rimmed the edge of the space. A gray cement floor, gray ceiling, gray cubicles and orange accents hemmed in my friends. In my current job, when I need to brainstorm or sketch, I turn away from my computer and sit at a drawing table that overlooks the bay and Mt. D1ablo. I pop in my headphones and listen to music while watching pelicans, herons, egrets, hawks and migrating birds. It's easy to sketch in that setting. I wondered where I could escape in that gray world, but figured I'd come up with something.

Then, a week after that interview, my friend who worked there IM'd me about only sleeping 2-3 hours a night for three weeks, how insane everything is there, how the Creat1ve D1rector looks like she's going to cry most of the time. Again, I'd have been willing to give it a try, but those factors were in my head.

After two weeks of nothing. I emailed the CD. Four days later she emailed back the most enthusiastic rejection letter ever: We loved your stuff!!! You'd be awesome to work with. So sorry that we had to choose!! That sort of thing.

In a way, the pattern of me having to initiate all contacts after the first interview was the final nail in the coffin. I'd been afraid of feeling set up and disappointed, but in the end, it felt like a relief.

Back at my old job, I had my performance review last week and found out I was the only person in the company getting a raise this year--it helps that my hard work has been seen and rewarded.

In the end, I know what skills I need to build for the next phase. I know I need something else, but I can survive where I am for another year (or so), until Jrex lands a job.

When no baby is actually good news
This is TERRIBLE to admit, but...

One of my good friends here got pregnant the week after me. It was painful to see her belly photos on Facebook since she was pretty much EXACTLY where I would have been. She'd had two miscarriages prior to this baby and was given progesterone to help this one to 'stick'. Anyway, the tragic news is that my friend's baby is 99% likely to have Downs Syndrome. She and her husband are working through it emotionally and are doing ok, but for me, it just made it feel fine that our life paths diverged.

Is it awful to admit that I'd rather have miscarried than ended up where she's at?

When a cracked tooth changes your life
You may remember my little faceplant back in January? Well, I now have a $1700 front tooth and the dentist shaved a couple of my other teeth in order to mask a chip in one of my incisors.

What you may not know is that I've chewed my nails my entire life. When I was really little and flexible, I'd even chew off my toenails. I've tried all the bad tasting nail polish (you get used to it), the squeeze balls, getting manicures, and having other fidget worthy devices. Nothing worked long term.

Well. After my dental work, none of my teeth match up well enough to chew my nails.

I guess it IS all working out for the best, huh?

April 15, 2010

So much going on...

So...I just texted Smart Girl to see if I could return the guitar she loaned us in February (when I went to Mendocino with my friends). Jrex was playing squash and I wanted to drop it off after he got home. She starts texting me about bring Jrex and coming over to catch up and celebrate Jrex's paper coming out*. Her husband has also just launched the product he's been working on for the Rainbow Fruit company. Yep, he was the eng1neer on the famous 1P@d. As is usual, being around Smart Girl can feel like being swept up into a very energetic yet lovely whirlwind. She's opening wine and making fig jam as I type. Jrex just got home and is taking a super fast shower. I'm actually exhausted, but it will be nice to see her and her husband.

I guess that means I should go change out of my pajamas, huh?

*Published in C@ncer C3ll magazine which is prestigious if you're in the science world. He didn't even get a full copy of the magazine, just a PDF in his email. If you want to read it, we can send you a copy!

April 13, 2010

Movies and Books

I was buried alive last week at work. By Friday, I had nothing left. I'd thought Jrex would be working late that night, so I'd planned to walk the dog and then go see a movie at the local theater. When it turned out he'd be home, I asked if he wanted to see "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" with me. He wasn't up for it, but was fine if I wanted to go by myself.

I'm glad he didn't come with me, but it would be good to have someone with whom to process the movie. You see, it's based on a book by a Swedish author. The original book title was "Men Who Hate Women", and boy, is that an accurate title! There were three scenes of graphic sexual assault. Two by one man against the same woman, the third is her vigilante justice: which included leaving him hog-tied naked on the floor while she played the tape she'd recorded during the second encounter. Then she tatoos his stomach with "I am a Sadistic Pig and a Rapist".

That's just a side story, though!!! The real story starts with two parallel lives: a reporter, and the woman I've just mentioned. Their story lines merge a third of the way through the movie. They are trying to solve a 40 year old missing person case. In the course of their discoveries, they find links between a series of old murders.

The reporter and the woman develop an interesting, compelling relationship.

Glimpses into the woman's past hint at why she's secretive, self-protective and yet powerful. The author and director create a character that you respect even as she watches clinically observes a man die instead of trying to help him out of the burning car.

Disturbing, yet compelling. I can't recommend that anyone see the movie, yet I don't regret that I did. The question now is, do I read the book series?

April 6, 2010

Weirdly Asian Weekend

Saturday morning, Jrex and I headed northwest. We swung through the Anderson Valley for a series of wine tastings. First stop, Peay. Jrex told me the vineyard was run by two brothers and that one of their wives was the winemaker. They'd invited Jrex to come for an open house with library wines, sausages and cheeses for lunch. I wandered through their facility while he gabbed with various other enthusiasts. Most tasting rooms are a dark vaulted space cluttered with dollies, hoses, gloves and other sundry items tucked among looming towers of barrels. At Peay, there were gleaming metal surfaces, every hose was labeled, you could have eaten off the floor. I'd never seen anything like it.

Back outside, Jrex was in line to get wine from a table with two women who were serving and discussing the wines. One was a Caucasian woman wearing a cute hat, leather jacket, knee-high boots and a funky skirt. I assumed she was the winemaker. The other woman was Asian and wore a grey sweater and jeans with a scarf looped around her neck. She was soft-spoken and gentle compared to the brusque, quick movements of the white woman.

Then, Jrex told me the Asian woman was the winemaker. I LOVE when my assumptions are turned on their head. And that really threw me. Let's face it, the wine scene everywhere we've lived has been pretty white. Cool. Also, it explained the clean facility! (which would be another one of my assumptions...)

THEN, we got up to our motel in Ft. Bragg (north of Mendocino). Now, I was up in the area back in February with two Caucasian friends. We saw one Asian man the whole five days we were there. It's a white, white area. I'd found the motel online and it looked clean and nice given our budget. As we drove in, there were four hapa boys playing in front of the lobby. When we walked into the lobby, there was an Asian woman behind the front desk. She beamed when she saw our last name. "K! My last name is K, too!" In her happiness, she upgraded our room. Then we found out that the entire motel was FULL of Koreans. Apparently they come out to harvest Abalone. The older men clustered outside smoking cigarettes while the women prepped and cooked the harvest next to the motel. They talked and laughed late into the night.

When Jrex walked outside of our room, they smiled and bowed. Then, when he was followed by a white woman, and then a black dog, they looked puzzled.

How did I find the only motel in an entire county that was filled with Koreans!? It was a fun surprise, but a bit bizarre.

Off topic, but that basketball game last night was amazing! I don't like sports, but I caught the last five minutes of the NCAA final between a tiny liberal arts college and Duke. Wow. If ONLY that final hail mary shot had gone in!

April 2, 2010

Because there IS life outside of this bizarre job hunt

I haven't heard anything. They seemed busy, so I'm not expecting anything until next week. I don't know if I'm just trying to prepare myself for the worst, but I just don't think I'm going to get it. All his questions were about my web experience--which is old and not up to speed. As a company they are heading in a more virtual/digital direction. Sigh.


This weekend should be fun. Jrex and I are taking the dog and heading up the coast. We're going to taste our way up the Anderson Valley (3 vineyards), then spend the night in a motel near Ft. Bragg (north of Mendocino). If we're not suffering from alcohol poisoning by that point, we might go to a micro-brewery for dinner. Then Sunday, we'll hike along the bluffs and explore state parks and the town of Mendocino. Easter sunrise along the ocean sounds lovely. We'll do our own Easter service of some sort.

I'm going to the Good Friday service tonight at my local church. I do love Holy Week, as this time of year is called. It's rich in symbolism, relationships, and memories. I like the quiet and dark of Good Friday. Remembering that there can be profound meaning in suffering and hope in the midst of the darkest of times. A few years ago, I prayed for months that God would make the cross meaningful for me. Having grown up in a Christian home, I'd always heard about Jesus dying for me, blah, blah, blah. It had become meaningless. Since that prayer, I now cry every time I think about Jesus and his death. It's been transformed into a personal and profound act.

The fact that God (the Father) had to say "no" when Jesus begged that the cup of suffering/forsakeness pass from him. The pain that must have caused the King of the Universe--to say no to his perfect child. How could he be strong enough to do that? That Jesus experienced the most profound aloneness--being cut off from his beloved Father--so that I never have to be. The amazing truth that the joy set before him that allowed him to endure the cross and scorn it's shame was ME?! Was each person who would be able to know love, peace, joy and hope in a very dark world.

Sometimes candles seem small and old-fashioned amidst all our electronic brightness. When the Bible calls Jesus the light of the world, I used to think that meant he was like the sun: bright, obvious and overwhelming. I think now that it's more like a candle. The darkness tries to overwhelm the light, we easily overlook it in its humble state, we let it sit and gather dust in the corner and wonder why the room is so cold and lonely. Yet, in a dark room, that slender light fills the space with warmth and hope. It's been too easy for me to keep rushing along and forget to light that candle. To take time to just sit and connect with my source for peace and joy. I'm hoping this weekend is a time to do that.

May your candle burn brightly in the coming year.