Thursday, August 31, 2006

The story of my life...

...in a nutshell...

So.
Today I got to the Smithfield office.
Why?
Because my boss asked me to.
The president of the BIGGEST Business Unit was going to be there for the day.
She was having round tables and meetings and lots of people were meeting with her and I was asked to represent our division.
So there I am.
The meeting is at 1pm.
At 12:43, I quick-step it over to the other building.
I stop at the security desk.
"Where is the Narragansett Conference Room?
Hmm... never heard of it.
"uh... 500 Sal...?
This is 100.
"WHAT?"
It's 100. 500 is the other building.

GAH!!!! 500 is the building I just came from.
What do you mean "the other building????"
I look at my watch... 12:50...
I turn around and hoof it out of the building.
I RUN into the garage.
I run up some stairs.
I run back down those stairs.
I ask someone how to get to the other building.
Go up the stairs and go through the gate and go to the road and you will see it.
ARG! I look at my watch. 12:54...

I go back UP those same stairs.
And I see cars pulling into the garage and cars driving along the road.
I get to the corner of the driveway out of the garage and the main road and I see a gray SUV truck-like vehicle that is about to turn into the 500 building parking garage.
I shout and scream and wave my arms about and say "stop stop stop" and he stops.
All I can think about is... this is [our company]... thank goodness everyone driving around works here ... we're one big family even though it's a huge company... thank goodness he stopped...

I run around to the passenger side, open the door, and say "Can you drive me to the other building? I have a meeting in 5 minutes!!! and I am meeting President of the BIGGEST BUSINESS UNIT AT COMPANY!!!" And I get into the cab of the truck.

I tell him between gusts of breaths what happened and he understands.
Instead of turning, he drives straight down, guns it, goes from 0 to 60 in like 10 seconds which is pretty good for one of those SUV truck vehicles... he careens around the corner, then around another corner, tells me he will get me there on time, and drops me off at the front of the building. I thank him. Thank you! ThankGod!

I get out of the truck and run into the building.
I run around looking for the Narraganset Conference Room.
I ask a few people and they have never heard of it.
ARG!!!
I say it's on the first floor...
"OH! This is th GROUND floor."
Huh?
"The first floor is upstairs."
"The second floor is really the first floor."
Wha... FINE! GAH!!!

So I run down the hall, someone sees me coming, she opens the door for me with her badge and I run up the stairs whil thanking her, taking the steps two at a time...
I get to the top, and I see Scott (who works for me and always thinks I am doing something or up to something nutty and crazy), casually walking along to the same meeting.

I am finally there.
I am sweating like a pig, breathing like I ran a five minute mile, which I probably almost did.
And he is looking at me like I have three heads.
I tell him what happened, a grin slowly spreads over his face... and I say, "What do they think, that we're in &^%$! EUROPE??? We're in the USA! The FIRST FLOOR should be on the FIRST FLOOR, not the second floor!!!"
He says, "Damn French." Not that I mentioned anything about the French. It's a typical response from him.

So, he says, "Why didn't you come find me?"
I DID! YOU WEREN"T THERE! So this is YOUR FAULT! HAH!

While I am ranting and raving, some perfectly dressed and perfectly coiffed woman comes over, sees me sweating a river, looks at Scott laughing at me and leads us to the conference room and of course... they are all there except for me and Scott. But then President of the Biggest Business Unit isn't there either. In fact, she arrives late enough that the person delivering water and fresh flowers who is late, is actually there and gone before the President of the Biggest Business Unit arrives. Oh, and she always demands fresh flowers in her office and in every room she meets in every single day. Thus the fresh flowers. I sat there during the meeting wondering if anyone would notice or care if were to take them for myself after the meeting...

Anyway...
And that guy in the truck?
An employee at the company.
His last name is Bonder.
No idea what his first name is - he told me but I can't remember.
I'll have to look him up and do something nice for him...
A random act of kindness should always be awarded.
After all, I did sort of car-mug him, sort of carjack him, uh... took him hostage... well... he was amazingly calm and I knew I could trust him.
After all, we work for the same Company.

And was it all worth it?
Absolutely not.
Sheesh.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

US Government HR Department

Did you know they have one?
It's the Federal Bureau of Personnel or something like that.
They are in Virginia somewhere.
And they are supposedly huge.

I got interviewed by a Federal Investigator today.
One of the guys I work with needs top secret clearance into the military for some guard or reserve stuff that he is assigned to.
So this guy interviewed me, my boss, and is off to interview other people to find dirt on this guy.

And let me tell ya... this guy is B-O-R-I-N-G.
In fact, he and I talk about how boring he is.
He doesn't have time to do ANYTHING because all his kids take up his "all [his] damn time." And he only has two. You'd think he had a dozen. Or so.

Anyway, the guy comes in and the first thing I ask is who he works for, what he does, where is he from, yadda yadda yadda. And he looks at me and says, "I'm supposed to be interviewing you." I told him that "I don't trust anyone and [he's] no different". Anyway, he pulls out his credentials and that's how I found out that the federal government has an HR department and he tells me that they are a huge organization, to which I replied, "so, do you think that's a problem? That the federal government has a HUGE HR department to take care of all the HUGE amount of hiring for the federal goverment which is sucking the system bone dry with its beauracracy?"

He sort of just sat there and looked at me.
Blink blink blink...
And I sort of just sat here and looked back at him.
Blink blink blink...

So, he then says, "What's your title?"
And I tell him and make a few editorial comments...
A little later in the coversation, he says he is going to go back and change my title to comedian.
Hmph. I told him that I am a very serious person...

So anyway... I gave the guy I work with flying marks...
I means, why tell the goverment anything?
I love this guy he was asking about - he is the only person I trust to share my office with me when I am not using it... and that's doesn't come lightly, believe me... I mean... you need a background investigation for me to just consider that maybe I should consider that you might be someone I might consider trusting...

Got that?

Anyway, the investigator seemed nice but totally humorless.
Just the facts, ma'am.
Whatever...
I'm probably going on a list somewhere...

Don't have a title for this entry.
Hard being creative these days.

Yesterday was a good day since I started it off with running.
I was nutrition aware, too.
I had two peaches and over 2 liters of water.
A handful of nuts on schedule.
Lunch was basically leftovers - three korean dumplings, and some rice and soup.

Dinner was good. Green beans southern style, baby onions in a little cheese sauce, a couple of chinese dumplings, chinese eggplant with ground pork, jasmine rice.

Um... okay. So that seems like a lot.
HOWEVER, I only had half the serving of rice that I usually do.
And most of it was veggies and I didn't really have a whole lot of it.

Besides, I didn't have wine.
And THAT is the biggest news of all...

Exercise Note:
Today is a rest day. I could have gone swimming with my Hunny Bunny but we had someone coming to the house at 8am and I wanted to sweep up the tumbleweeds ... errrr... the dog fur... all over the floor that was driving me crazy.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Fat Lady is singing...

...and it's loud and clear...

The weight is up.
The middle is starting to flop around.
Joseph isn't even rationalizing or arguing with me anymore.

So, the Fat Lady started singing early this morning.
I booted out Inertia and bolted out of bed.
Went for a run this morning.
It felt good at first until the vestiges of what Inertia left behind reminded me that.. well... I am outta shape.
Yup.
I am.

2.95 miles in the cool crisp dawn.
And the sun is noticeably rising later and later in the mornings these days.
You know it's gonna be a tough winter when Fall arrives about two months early.

Fat Lady is not only singing about running, she's singing the Weight Gain Blues.

I had cereal this morning.
I plan on a pretty good lunch.
Tonight - just protein, limited carbs, half the portion I'd normally eat.
Oh, and no wine...

I'm gonna take this one day at a time.

Monday, August 28, 2006

An unwelcome visitor...

...came to me last week and overstayed their welcome...

Inertia.
It sucks.

I can't seem to get out of it.
It's like quick sand.
Once you step in it, it grabs at your ankles and won't let go.
It pulls you down and the long you struggle with it, the hard it is to get out of it.

Maybe that's the key.
Don't struggle.
Just calmy and quietly, step out.

And then it will leave as quiet as it came in.

I have four miles scheduled for tomorrow morning.
The rain will not be an excuse.
The colder weather will be welcome.
NOT running won't be a thought.

I must get out and DO something.

Besides, my weight is up.
Again.
It keep losing and gaining those same five pounds.

So. Frustrated.

Wish List

More additions to the ole wish list...

A workout room big enough to have a double ballet barre attached to one wall, complete with large TV screen and the NYC Ballet Workout videos, and a real wood ballet floor and mirrored walls

An inversion table

A back arch bridge

A Smith Machine and a Cable Crossover Machine are all you need besides a bench and dumbells...

Happiness is...

...finishing up Season 4, Disc 2 & Disc 3 of Six Feet Under over a weekend...

Next on the Netflix list are The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Six Feet Under - Season 4: Disc 4.

I love Netflix!

Labels:

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Battle

Our friend Liz has cancer.
She has recently had a turn for the worse.
She's 40 years old.

I cannot begin to express how I feel about this.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Just beautiful

The beauty of a 3x a week running schedule is that you can miss a day if you want to and not get all anxious and worried about it. Having said that, I did not go out for my run this morning. And I am still happy. Go figure!

Last night, we had our friend Abby Wabby and our upstairs tenant neighbor Sharon down to dinner. We have homemade Korean wontons, aka mandu... We had pan fried (yakimandu), and soup (murl mandu or mandu gook). It was so good. I made a hundred and between the four of us, we had about 3 of the yaki mandu left, and a goodly portion of the soup consisting of around, oh... let's say about 7 mandu left. I brought some of the soup for lunch. Yum yum yum...

My thighs are still sore from Tuesday's run. The good news is that my upper body doesn't hurt from the swim - unlike the first time when I couldn't even lift my arms parallel to the ground without.

Tomorrow I will run my 4 miles. Tonight I will stretch.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This morning's swim

Let it be noted here and now for those who don't know it already that I hate water.

I hate it touching me.
I hate the feel of it.
I hate how it spreads over you without control.
I hate its "all-pervasiveness."

Other than the usual hygiene & hydration stuff and the washing of dishes (for which I use rubber gloves), I avoid water at all cost. Therefore, you will not see me ever doing a tri. Never. Ever. There are far greater issues with tri's than mere water touching my person... Anyway.


I went to the pool today.
10 laps.
Didn't stop between lengths except to turn around.Each length was about 35-37 seconds, even when I tried to slow down.I was conscious of my form - which is interesting because I really don't know what a "swim form" should be.

Anyway... I did take a 20 sec to 50 sec rest between laps.
And I noticed an elevated heart rate. I will see if I can wear my polar in the water to see what the ole heart rate gets up to next time.

And in the locker room afterwards, I noticed I was sweating.
I never knew that one sweated after swimming. Who knew.

Okay. Tomorrow I have a 4 mile run in the morning.
My thighs are hurting from yesterday's effort.
Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.
I am in another good mood today.
So far so good.
We might be onto something!

First Run on the New Plan

In accordance with the new plan, I ran 4.10 miles yesterday. Much more comfy with the MaxHR I found a couple of weeks ago in the heat. I still think that I haven't found my max yet. That 106% was really hard but it wasn't a killer. Yesterday, I was running hard but not dying at 93% of my max. Hmmm...

By the way, that translates to an 8:02 pace. What scares me is the thought that maybe just maybe I've trained myself to run slow all these years by underestimating my max from the beginning - oh, about 9 or 10 years ago. Given that training, I knew how "hard" I felt I was running and would sort of stick to it - all mental, ya know... Anyway, now that I know that 93% is good and I won't die, I won't mind taking my HR up that high. It's another mental thing. Does that EVEN BEGIN TO MAKE SENSE??? Or am I crazy here??

The key is to take that 8:02 pace, make it 8:00, see if that 93% max is really 85% and practice practice practice... And maybe just maybe see that 8:02 become oh... 7:45? But then, I have to maintain maintain maintain...

Lessons learned...


Warning: This is a long one...
So. I've learned a lot from running.
Most notably, I've learned that I am stubborn, that I don't give in as easily as I think I do, how to handle pain. It has taught me about heart and courage. About perseverance and humility. And it has taught me that I suck at running.

I also know that I am mentally castrated for some reason when it comes to running. Let me explain. Basically, I am a "superlative" person. Okay. That doesn't mean, I rule supreme or anything as self-centered as that. It means that I live my life in superlatives. Everything - the way I talk (things are awesome or FANTASTIC - not just fine (that's reserved for days when things are bad)). I am either exceedingly loyal or totally indifferent. You're either in my world or you don't exist. You're either my friend or a stranger - no aquaintances for me. I either love it or I hate it.

This translates to the fact that I tend to want to win at everything. Or be in the top 10%. I don't want average. Above average isn't good enough. I need to win, because otherwise, I am losing. I am fiercely competitive with myself (key words). [BTW, lest you think I am unreasonable. my personal standards for myself belies how I handle my outside world - there is a definite line between what I expect of myself and what I expect of the world around me... and I know that this is an unreasonable standard to hold everyone up to. The only thing I demand of my friends is that they not be stupid. I am intolerant of stupid people. Can't help it. Can't change. So I just deal with it. Yes, I am an imperfect, fallible, human, work-in-progress, so shoot me.]

For example, with biking, I was pretty good. I used to go out and hammer; every ride, I was rockin' 'n rollin'. I was mentally tough, too. Going all out at 42mph on a steep downhill never phased me. But with runnning, I am a mental wuss, waiting for the next ITB pain or calf pain. On the bike, I could keep up with the big dogs and that was only after three months of training. And the Big Dogs were all men. I had no problem reeling it back if I had to because I knew I was good. I screamed on the bike.

Now, I am spending all my time running to the exclusion of almost everything else. Why? Because I am slow. I would like to start lifting, but I am spending too much time running. I would like to get back on the bike, but I am spending all my time running. I would like to get into the pool to fight with the water, but I am spending too much time running. I am stressed out at work and running weighs heavily on my mind adding to it because, well, I take too long to run. And I'm not not getting any faster at it. Getting the picture?

When I swim, I also suck but then so do most people except those weird ones who actually like water touching them. Anyway...

In running, I suck so bad, in addition to being mentally feeble. Ugh. I have no explanation for the years of running and having nothing to really show for it. With the miles under my belt, my understanding of the antomy and awareness of my body, with my typical mental toughness, you would like I'd be better.

To make matters worse, a few years back, I did a lab stress test. They said that at the time, my VO2Max was 39. I don't know anything about this other than they said for my age (hrumph), it was excellent. I think my VO2Max is really higher because they stopped the test early and undercalculated my MaxHR. Anyway, even if the VO2Max is under by a 1/2 point, it makes a big difference in performance projections.

Anyway, I did a little research and found estimates for running times associated with VO2Max. It showed that with a 39 VO2Max I should be able to run a 3:50 marathon (or something really fast like that), and I should be able to run a 6:00 mile. After the initial shock wore off and I stopped calling the researchers idiots, I did recall that I ended up getting shinsplits about 4 years ago by running a 6:00 pace all out for a bit.... It was hard but I didn't die. Anyway, the whole point is that all these predictors point to the fact that I should be running faster and I am not.

So the other day, Joseph says to me that he thinks he knows why I am not getting any faster. I am running too much. Huh?? Well, it's not so much running too much as I don't now how to run slow. Okay. What? I am already slow. Yes. But I have the potential to be faster. I can sprint a 200 meter pretty well.

It has to do with my personality - that "superlative" personality. It's the desire to win at everything. The desire for speed. The desire for adrenaline...

Anyway, I've been running 5 days a week and that may be too much but for someone who can't reel it back, someone who can't run slow, which is critical on the recovery days that are meant to give your body a break. 5 days of running means I'm running hard, or somewhat, hard 5 days a week, and with all that pounding from which I don't recover quickly (which is why I always got better on the bike more quickly - no physical impact - that whole aspect of recovery is missing). Anyway, 5 days of running means that without knowing it, I am overtraining. I get injured. I get tired. I get slow and sometimes, I get even slower. Huh. Interesting.

So, the nut of it all is that I am going to go against the grain of traditional wisdom and advice and run only 3x a week.All high quality runs - hills, tempo, LT, whatever you wanna call quality runs. It's good that my job gives me the flexibility to go out and run 10 miles on a work day - yes, even at my speed. If I can't today, then I may be able to tomorrow. I can always fit 3 runs into a week.

We are going to see what happens with 3x week running intermingled with heavy cross training. The other days, I am swimming or biking. Those are my "recovery runs"... I can make up for my sucky swimming by concentrating on technique - long easy strokes, good extension, follow through - non-violent kicking for propulsion - a balance of the right effort for the most distance. I know I can't be fast but by golly, I am going to execute the most perfectly! :o) (Of course, in my own vision.) And if I have good technique, I will get faster.

This is worth a try. Maybe it will work... It fits better with my personality. And I actually look forward to this new routine.. if it makes me get out there and makes me happy, then this is much better than any sage advice from those who might believe this is wrong or crazy.

And there will be more lessons to be learned along the way...

A note on marathons...

Okay. For those who wrote in alarm or curiosity about my not running marathons anymore, most notably, my not running marathons in 50 states any more, I say, "Fear not!"

Let me explain.
This is "for now".
That means I need to get better at this running thing, most notably, the running fast thing.
Once I do that, I will go back to marathoning.
And I will finish up the 50 states.
But it will be easier to get faster with the half marathon than the marathon.
It's half the distance, and half the chance that something will go wrong.
And I won't have to take tons of time off in recovery and I won't be injured as much.

Also, I will kindly point out that I also have a goal of running a half marathon in every state. In fact, I am halfway through - I have already run in 25 states!

But Kansas City this fall?
Ummm.... yeah... probably not. Maybe next year.
Let's hope I get faster real fast....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Watermelon Bug...

Never eat a bad watermelon.
Never even TASTE a bad watermelon.

So. Last week, I tried the watermelon I forgot about.
I had a small bite and swallowed.
Wasn't sure about the condition.
So I had another little bite and it was bad.
So I almost swallowed and spit it out.

OMG.

That night at 2:30am I got up out of bed and threw up my entire stomach contents. Not because I was compelled to, but because I wanted to - it was a totally voluntary action. Sometimes being the daughter of a physician makes us do things that most people would be averse to. Anyway, as I knew I would, I felt so much better - but I still slept poorly and my stomach interior was raw, inflamed, and totally gurgling - NOT HAPPY!
I felt like I did the week after I got back from India earlier this year.
When I carried back a stomach bug from the food there - breaking the one rule of India travel which is to EAT IN HOTELS!

Anyway, this happened on Thursday.
And here it is Monday.
I am JUST NOW feeling better.

It's been a weekend of bloat - inflammation holds water - and I could just feel the liquid DRAIN from my belly into the bladder and sure enough, 5 minutes later, I'd be running for the bathroom!
Last night was the first meal I had eaten since the watermelon incident where my stomach didn't cramp with every little digestive action!

Well... at least that's one more bacterium I am hopefully resistent to.
I did manage to lose 2 pounds, though.
All water, I'm sure.

Sigh...

The Blue Screen of Death...

There's nothing quite like it to put the fear of god in you.

I get into work this morning and I boot up the laptop.
ACK!
Blue screen.
Application Error.
Hard shut down.
Reboot.
ACK!!!
Blue screen.
DISK ERROR!
GAH!!!!

When was my last back up?
think think think...
WAH! Too long ago to remember...

Hard shut down.
Reboot.
Pray to God.
Pray to Jesus.
Applying security setting...
Pray to Buddha.
Pray to Krisha.
Running log on scripts...
Pray to Mother Mary.
Pray to Ganesh.
Applying personal setting...
Pray to...
I get the log in screen.
Enter password.
Wait wait wait.
Cross my fingers.
Squeeze my eyes shut.
GAK! It worked.

I spent the better part of the morning backing up ALL my files to the shared network driver under my personal folder.

Phew!
Weekly backups of unimportant things.
Nightly backups of my daily use items.

New resolve.
I hope it lasts.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Restaurant: Lala Rokh

Every summer for two weeks in the city of Boston and surrounding towns, restaurants participate in Restaurant Week.

This year, Restaurant Week is this week and next week.
Lunches on a pre-set three course menu are $20.06 and dinners are $30.06.
Some restaurants participate in only lunch while others participate in only dinner.
Still most participate in both.

Since Boston restaurants can be pricey, and with so many good restaurants around, you tend to stick to your neighborhood or repeatedly go to the same few you know you will like. Trying a new place can feel a little dicey - you wonder if it will be worth that extra block you have to walk, or that cab ride to the next village, etc.

This is a good time to sample various new and different things at a price that's right.

Last night we tried Persian.
Lala Rokh is located on Mt. Vernon Street.
Mt. Vernon Street is the same street that Joseph and I run our HUMVEE hill workouts.
It's at the base of that same hill, only 3 storefronts up on the left, with a purple awning.

It was larger on the inside than it seemed on the outside. The bar was about 5 stools long but it held a goodly selection of higher end single malts. The bartender pointed out the Oban, and we said we had it, the 32 year, and the 28 year at home - the latter two we brought over from Scotland last year.

The service was brisk but slow - kind of a weird paradox. The menu's three courses had three choices each.

For the appetizer, I order the cucumber yogurt soup with raisin, some sort of nuts, and dusted with freeze-dried crushed rose petals. Beautiful presentation. You didn't taste the flowers. It was a cold soup and very refreshing. Elizabeth the Niece had a spinach disk with carmelized onions, some sort of cheese. It was DELICIOUS. Joseph the Unadventurous had a garden salad.

For the entree, there was chicken, lamb, and vegetarian. We all chose the braised beef with Okra and Tomatoes served with Basmati rice. It was wonderful. The beef reminded me of a very lean short rib that had been braised slowly all day. The okra was whole and the concentrated tomatoes in self-sauce gave the whole thing a tangy flavor. The basmatic rice was a nice plain offset to the mouthful of flavor from beef.

The desserts featured Tiramisu, Baglava, and a rice flour custard with rose water and nuts. Joseph the Unadventurous chose Baglava. The Niece and I chose the custard. It was interesting. Very white. Very firm but gelatiny - more like a white gelatin than a flan. No sauce. And it tasted like roses. Very weird. I couldn't get past that flavor. I won't order this again as I am not a fan of eating roses. I should have been Unadventurous and picked the Baglava - a pastry that I love love love!

The coffee was very European - dark, even after you dumped in a half pitcher of milk, but still very mild yet flavorful.

The wine was a Wild Horse Pinot Noir.

The whole thing was excellent. I would definitely go back to this place - it's a mile from our house so it's a nice leisurely walk away.

If you're in the area, go visit and tell them that their participation in Restaurant Week brought them rave reviews from the South End.

Mending fences...

So, because I've been so cranky and because I can't really take it out on the person who is making me cranky, I've been taking it out on my staff.

I realized this on the way to work this morning.

So, I spent the better part of my free time between meetings this morning calling up various and sundry people who make up my core team and apologizing to them for being such a raving, lunatic bitch for the past 6 months.

And you know?
They already knew why.
And that's why they've been stepping up more - to help relieve the stress.
And as long as I am there, they are there.
It almost made me weep.
It's a good team.
We've been together a long time.
If I left, I know the group would fall apart.
Those who keep the group together will be the first to leave.
I have no intention of leaving anyway...

I told them to tell me if I was getting bitchy again, and I will keep it all in perspective.
And sometimes, a little perspective is all you need.

The Boss Saga

After last night, I realized suddenly why I've been in such a cranky bad mood lately.
The Boss.

It's not that I don't like him.
I do.
What's there to dislike?
He's bright, nice, well-liked, respected, stable, trustworthy, ethical, etc etc etc.
But to set the record straight, that's the norm at this company.
Not only that, you have to like change, work hard, be willing to do more than you signed up for, be a team player, and smile through all of it.
Some of us do that better than others, but those who survive the company do all of this better than most.
So let's set the record straight. It's a level playing field.

The problem with the Boss isn't the Boss, or me. It's our fit.
He likes detail. Lots of it. He is very much "in the weeds."
He second guesses decisions (even his own) and acts much more slowly than I would (ok... I know I act much faster than most people). Good or bad? Neither. It just is.
He likes to play devil's advocate. For every answer he has another question. For every detail, he has more to add. For every reason "why", there is an equal and opposite reason "why not". You always take a step forward and a step backward and you never end up going anywhere...
He's also a LIFO processor - Last In First Out. That means what happened last week is usurped and supplanted by this week. Even if it means that last week and this week are parts of a whole, he only remembers this week.

I am a fast acting person. I process input quickly. I am not an expert on anything; my people are. That's why they are here - to advise me and to be the experts. I make decisions. I am a classic INTJ - when I make a decision, I am at rest. I like to be left alone but guided. I need a boss who collaborates positively instead of pushing back negatively. I need a boss who knows how to develop and mentor instead of making me find ways to work around him. I need a boss who knows how to complement my weaknesses with his strengths and how to utilize my strengths to their potential. I don't need a boss who dictates and jerks me to and fro without understanding the big picture. I need a boss who is a partner...

Every little thing is rolling a rock up hill.
And because he does this with all the departments that report to him, he is totally in the weeds.

We have had two blow outs. The first was about 6 months ago. The second was two weeks ago when I was so angry that I told him he was a micromanager. The funny thing is that after all this, he still puts me as the highest rated person in his group!

Yes, there are things I need him to do for me and he does them.
Just stop right there... don't go any further... don't try to do my job for me in addition to...don't try to run my group for me... it's not your group, it's mine... and I've been doing this a lot longer than you have and I will continue to do it a lot longer than you will be my boss.

The good news is that every time I think about quitting, 6 months later, I get a new boss. Every boss is different but this one is more work for me than most have been in the past.

I am fully aware that the grass is always greener...
But I am so unhappy, I think I'll take my chances...
Bring on the next bungee boss....

Scheduling results...

So, I attended the meeting this morning.

The good news is...

  • We got everything approved
  • The new EVP was there - the same guy I scheduled a meeting with and who accepted tentatively explaining that he had so much to preparation to do that Friday would be better, and to whom I replied that Friday was no good (so there!) and we would just have to wait...
  • I got to explain some things - sliding in a few comments that would trigger a pet peeve with the new EVP which might help us later
The bad news is...well... nothing really other than having to go in and then come back home.
Which I would have done anyway but this was a work at home day... it's the principle of the thing...

The interesting thing about New EVP is that he asked some interesting questions. Now if I hadn't had some initial insight to what his philosophy is, I probably wouldn't have thought twice about them. But having some knowledge already about what he thinks is a good way to manager a division... well... I felt he was accumulating more information to confirm his growing impressions - and based on the few pet peeves of his I know about, these impressions may make him make some changes...

Gawd, I hope so!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

UP-ENDED SCHEDULE!

GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So. I get this email on the way home from a nice dinner at Lala Rokh.
Can I please come to a meeting for my boss to represent some items that he was supposed to represent for me, but he went on vacation, without asking me to go to this meeting to represent those items?
It's at 9am.
Tomorrow.
I am ill-prepared.
I am emailing back and forth with one of my managers whose request I will be representing at this meeting.
Information which I didn't need to know about because I wasn't going to this meeting, my boss was.
And as with all things... he dropped the ball, and I am scrambling around like a lunatic trying to get this right so I don't look like an utter fool at the meeting. And if I do, I will screw it up and we won't get the people to do the work after all the overprocessed work we had to do in the first place to get it to this point - months and months!!!

And I was supposed to be working from HOME tomorrow.
After I went for my first run of the week.
Because all other runs were usurped by my work schedule.

GAH!!!!!!!

I cannot begin to express my irritation, annoyance, pissed-offness at this turn of events.
HOW can you go away on vacation, which you knew about for months, without transitioning your work that 4 business units, 2 managers, and 4 projects teams are relying on? HOW???

I've been in a bad mood for months.
I am starting to figure out why I've been yelling my staff.
Why I've been aggravated to NO end.
It might be Time. To. Act.

Early retirement...

...from marathons...

I've had it.
I am finito. Done. Caput.
As my friend Cher says it best, "no mas marathons."
But unlike her, I am serious.

So serious in fact, that I've cut back on my training the last two weeks to almost non-existent, allowing my terrifying work schedule dictate when I run, how long I run, and how far I run.

How does it feel?
One word.
Liberating.

In any marathon training schedule, the first few weeks of training never bothered me. In fact, I loved it. I had a goal race, a date I was training for, the runs were short, and I was at my best. Then the run would get harder, a little longer, a little hiller. That was okay. Then the mid-week runs got even longer and getting into work by 10 was a sweat-inducing challenge. And the long runs also got longer. And then the love fest would become a chore fest. It got to be another-thing-I-must-do.

You see, I am slow. In some races, I am solid mid-pack. In others, I am solid front of the back of the pack. And in just a few, I AM the back. But I never signed up for too many where I would be the last 10 people to the finish line. And since I am slow, my runs take a long time. And no, one does not speed up as you run more and longer... you have to do speed work - another thing which I needed to do during the week but never did - because well... I never had a year of solid running. Why? Because I'd get some gawdawful injury. Or after a marathon, I'd be so burnt out that I have to take 8 weeks off. And at this rate, I will meet my 50-state marathon goal when I am about 100 years old.

So, the runs got longer and I'd be out there on the weekends, gone for 2, 3, sometimes 4 hours. And then I'd come home, hungry and tired. And I would shower, dress, eat. And then do errands. By the time all that was over... well... it was time to go to bed. If it was Saturday, I had to worry about Sunday's run. If it was Sunday, I had to worry about work in the morning.

I enjoy running. I really do. But not when it is a chore. And not when I am not really good at it. I am better at the shorter distances. Joseph is convinced (and deep in my heart, I know it too), I should be doing the 200 meter on a track. With a year of solid training, I bet I could come close to placing somewhere - depends on the venue and the field, of course. Anyway... NOT that I want to actually do this. In some ways, this type of training is MUCH harder than training for the marathon. BUT, then again... it's MUCH better for weight loss...

So, I've decided to concentrate on the half marathon. My best time is 2:04:03. I want to break 2:00. No. I don't just want to break it, I want to SHATTER 2 hours. My lab-measured VO2 max was 39 a few years ago... and something tells me that it might be higher because I think the test was not very good - meaning, I think they ended the stress test much sooner than I would have. Their lab-measure MaxHR for me was 177. My 106% using my HRM was 183. But anyway... according to a VO2 max of 39, I should be running a sub 4 hour marathon! And accordingly, I should be running about 1:40 half marathon. YIKES! I can't imagine.

So, with the new HRM in hand, with a new MaxHR, with new resolve, and a new outlook... I am renewed. Renewed vigor. Renewed resolve.


Maybe now, I'll have time and energy to actually get myself to the gym...

Dream Report

One of the things I've been meaning to write down are the dreams that I remember having. And I have some really weird dreams. I dream in color - vivid color - and there are people and animals and plants all over the place usually. And most telling of all... the interactions between species is usually very weird.

So, last night I had another one of my typically strange dreams.

The people involved:
  • my brother, looking the same as he always has
  • my father, looking younger by about 30 years - he looked to be in his 40's maybe
  • my stepmonster, the one who absconded with the family millions upon my father's death
  • val, an ex-friend (long story, and I still consider her my friend even though she doesn't reciprocate)
  • a couple of strangers
  • people on horses - not sure if they were policemen or what... they were sort of blurry "backdrop characters"
The animals involved:
  • horses - giant ones... like 10 feet tall giant ones
  • giraffes - sort of blurry - maybe I am mixing them up with the giant horses?
The setting:
  • indoor in a retail store - probably discount - like a Target and a Filene's basement all in one
  • outdoor of the retail shop - parking lot with trees, lots of animals
The dream:

So... we are all in the store. I don't see my father and step-monster at all but my brother is with me. I do know that my father and step-monster are there somewhere inside though. After looking around, I see a handbag I like and I check it out. I decide to buy the bag. I am not sure if time passes or if it's time to go right then. My ever-patient brother is with me and doesn't say a word. He just hops back and forth on one leg to the other, one hand on his hip, not saying a word, being patient, like he usually does.

I take the bag to check out. My father and step-monster are checking out. They finish, and go to the car. I am next in line. So I start checking out and the cashier picks up my bag and says that I can't buy that one because the tag says it's a store copy (or something like that). So I have to go back to the department and get another with a different tag.

I dutifully comply, bag and brother in tow, and I ask one of the people if they have a copy. That's when my ex-friend Val shows up - she is another sales person in the department. She asks me about Pam - another friend who disappeared off the face of the earth after she met her boyfriend and married him - and we chat. The other person goes to the bag and brings back another bag that is different. So Val goes back and brings back a BOX of bags which are all different from mine.

By now, it's been more than an hour and lots of waiting is taking place. Val goes through the box, showing me different bags and I keep telling her it's not the same. Then she asks if it has to be the same colors and I say, "well..." I am partial to black and she is showing me a bag that is a puke brown and it's not anything like the one that I have. Anyway... the last bag is like mine only it's not all black - it's got some sort of leather trim, which seems okay to me. So I buy it.

Then we get outside and my father and step-monster are standing there. I apologize profusely and my father says it's okay and that they didn't have to wait that long. In the meantime, these giant horses are around, the wind is blowing, leaves are blowing around like debris, and one of these horses starts leaning his head down toward my father - and he doesn't seem to mind at all or notice. I look up and start freaking out a bit, but then my father walks away, and I look at him to notice he is walking away with two men.

The giant horse above me has walked off, and there are other horses and a couple of giraffes but my father doesn't seem to notice or mind. So I turned to my step-monster and she says they had to wait a long time, and it was really miserable in the heat (it is a cloudy day), but no one minded because they shifted a lot and moved around a fair bit so it wasn't as tiring as one would think that waiting in a car for four hours would be. FOUR HOURS???

Then I woke up. I have no idea what any of it means. My father's patience? My step-monster's brutal honesty? And what is it with Val and the bags - her trying to palm off something on me that was SO OBVIOUSLY different than what I wanted, only to have the other sale person find the last remaining bag which I eventually bought?

I also had another very different dream two nights ago but that would upset too many people...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

HR training status

Well.. it's been a while with the HRM and I love it.
Love it love it love it.
Not only does it tell me how far I've gone, but it beeps every 5 minutes like my TIMEX did, and it also keeps track of a bunchaother things. So far so good. But in using the HRM, I've found out a few things.

First, I've been running easy runs much too fast. And recovery runs? Uh... what are those again??? Anyway, for the first time, I've gone out for a run and haven't wondered why my legs are so tired. For the first time, I've actually noticed my surroundings. I don't mean watching for red lights and watching out for cars. I mean really noticing the glint of the morning sun off the Charles River and thinking how beautiful it was, the 3 or 4 eights from various schools in the area practicing for the fall season, the way the geese take off from the water, smelling the cut grass, and really noticing the faces of the drivers as they sleepily make their way to work in the mornings. I've always heard of stopping to "smell the roses" and I never knew what they meant until my easy and recovery runs enforced by the HRM. Of course, these runs have been wayyyy too slow.

Second, I've been running with a low MaxHR. Well... I set my MaxHR based on a complex calculation. There are many ways to calculate this and I chose the formula that gave me the highest heart rate. I'd been using this for a long time. Everytime I went out, my pace was so slow. I attributed this to the heat and my weight gain. (BLECH!) Anyway, about two weeks ago, on a hot hot day, I go out for a long run... I decide to run as fast as I can... so far so good... maintaining in the 80-90% range ... a nice tempo-ish hard-ish sort of run... then my HRM beeps... I look down... 100%...

100%? Hmmm.... well, now.... so I back off a little and start maintaining around 90-95%. Then it beeps again... I look down... 106%...

106%???? Uh oh... hmmm.... I know that at 100% I should be dying - unable to breathe and move my legs any faster but even at 106%, I have a funny feeling that even though it's wicked wicked hard, I could maintain it for a little longer and if I had a monster chasing me, maybe I could go a little faster... DANG! Maybe it's the...uh...HEAT?? Maybe my HR isn't that high? But there it is... 106%...

I get home... I tell Joseph... he looks at me... shakes his head... sets his mouth straight... and says... "I told you your MaxHR is much higher than you think it is..." Hmmm... Maybe it's the heat? But the point is that my heart beat at that rate even with the heat... doesn't matter... Ugh.

So I reset the MaxHR on my handy dandy Polar and I went out for a run the other day - hadn't run in a week due to work travel which I posted about earlier - and ya know??? ARG!!!!! My easy run just got a tad bit less easy! ARG!!! Well... maybe my pace won't be off by like TWO WHOLE MINUTES!

Now if I can just lose a few pounds...

Strange but nice...

HWINLIML sent me an email this morning.
He said he knows he is typically late but that he did think of me on my birthday.
And that he wanted to wish me a happy belated one.

I thought that was very nice.

In response

To Paul...
Pretty soon, we're gonna have to travel nekkid and even then, not without a thorough body cavity search.
This is one person who will not be flying at that point. Ahem.

To Kim...
I love it when new people visit my blog. I love it better when they respond. It's a good way to track down new interesting people to link to.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

California Report

Ever wonder why I haven't blogged in a while?
Well... you're getting a good taste of the reason today.
Other than doing the budget and going crazy over it for the last month or so, I also had to travel to California to Redwood City to Oracle Corporation to the CVC (Customer Visit Center). Okay. That was really long...

I go every year.
It's a long trip there and a long trip back and a long trip while I'm there ... just L O N G in general.
This year was no different.
And because of the budget and the fact that the good ole days of boondoggling are long gone, I left on Sunday afternoon, got into San Jose around 8:30 and made it to the hotel at around 9:30 PM.

The route back wasn't too great either.
I ended up taking the redeye on Wednesday night on Jet Blue and landed at 5:30 am on Thursday. I came home around 6:30 and went right to bed for about 4 hours. Then I got up and worked from home last Thursday and Friday. I think I've just caught up on sleep. Amazing how a night of bad sleep just screws up the next few days for you. The good news is that I was supposed to have traveled on Thursday night but since nothing was happened (last minute schedule changes) I moved my flight up. Jet Blue has Direct TV. And as we were flying, I watched CNN and all the hoopla about the terrorists in the UK... OMGOODNESS!!! I had not rescheduled my flight, I would have been all caught up in the rigamarole at the airports!

Anyway, while at CVC, the vendors takes us to dinner and all sorts of good stuff. This year, we went to dinner on Monday at Spiedo in San Mateo. There is one in San Jose as well. Italian food. It was wonderful! We had a great wine and desert was tiramisu (which I passed on because I was about to pass out from exhaustion).

On Tuesday night, have the group went to Oakland to see the A's play the Texas Rangers. Having been there, I opted to go to dinner with a different group. We ended up traveling to San Francisco in a Hummer stretch limo. Wow. It was a high step to get into. And it was very long - almost as long as a 18-wheeler - or seemed it. It was black inside, with purple lights under the seats, the seats were leather and curved, there were a couple of skylights, and built in drink cooler things with ice, beer of all sorts, and champagne (yes, from France). Very nice. We did notice that a lot of the drivers and passengers on the highway to San Francisco gave us a good stare.

When we pulled up to the restaurant, Aqua, the owner met us outside. And out popped - US. What a disappointment we must have been. Anyway... he gave Carol, our vendor rep, a ton of attention and gave her lots of attention.

Aqua has been written up in Zagats and is known for the quality of their food and service. It's been written up in the local papers as the top 10 restaurants in San Francisco, I heard. We certainly had nothing to complain about ourselves. We had a five course meal, wine with each, and the serving sizes were perfect - not too large, not to skimpy and the quality was superb. If ever in that area, I would certainly go there again.

Oh, and one word about Jet Blue. The Direct TV is great. However, they don't sell any kinda food and if you are on the redeye, forget about sleeping. Their seats recline by about a half inch. Ugh. WHY BOTHER?? Bring food, water, and don't take the redeye. Unless you are a night owl.

More adventures in Brookline

So, we are expanding our local universe.
Today, we went back to Brookline and went visiting.
We tried Rami today.
It's a tiny little place on Harvard Street next to the Arcade in Coolidge Corner.
They have Falafel, Hommous, Baba Ganoush, pita, salad plates, shawarma (which is a turkey thing - I thought it was lamb at first), and kabobs, and some puffy pastry type thing - can't remember the name.

OMG.
It was delicious.
Joseph and I both ordered the Falafel and Hommous salad plates (we wanted the Baba but it wasn't ready yet). We got it with everything. It was amazing. The last time I had pita an falafel and hommous that good was a little local joint in an alley way in Granada, Spain. Yes. Spain.

We are definitely going back there again.
I think it's quickly become my favorite cheap eats place!
I wish it were closer.

Tooling around Brookline

So... the day after my birthday, we decided to go up to the Relax the Back store in Brookline to pick up an ergonomic laptop carrier/backpack of some sort. Nope. Didn't have any. Dang.

While we were there, I also droped in at the Wild Goose Chase which is only a block up from the Relax the Back store. Primarily because the Relax the Back store had a sign on it saying they'd be back in 30 minutes. Dang. So... off we went.

The Wild Goose Chase is one wild store. I run by it a lot. And every single time, I want to stop and browse, which of course, I can't since I am running. And I promise myself that I would go back and in the many years I've been running by the store, I've never been back.

They have awesome stuff. And if you need a gift, this is the place! Seriously. We ended up with a small something for a future gift (can't say what right now), a couple of child-size chopsticks, and a plant holder that is green and has a cow-head on it. Of course, Joseph immediately grabbed it out of my hand and declared it his for his ivy plant in the kitchen that has like ONE LEAF on it... Ugh. That plant. I can't even speak of it. He's so proud of that Plant with the One Leaf. Anyway...it's sitting in the kitchen right in the cow plant holder. It does have more than one leaf on it right now. Miracle of miracles. Now all it has to do is grow a little. I should take a picture so everyone can see it.

They also have some awesome lamps. And I promised myself that if and when we get a new house, we will definitely go back and take a look at those lamps!

We also picked up a cupla CD's of Grace Kelly playing the alto sax. Turns out that she is Korean, and was adopted by her stepfather, and they live in the area and her mother owns the Wild Goose Chase and her sister was the person who was helping us. Small world...

We also took a look in the real estate agent's window to see what was available. Of course, after declaring that I could never live anywhere but inside Boston City Proper, Joseph immediately took me around Coolidge Corner in Brookline to show me how much of a city it is. Okay. So I have to admit that I could live in Brookline - but only in Coolidget Corner. It's diverse, well educated, lots of stores and restaurants, and busy. One side is Comm Ave, the other is Harvard Ave, and another is Beacon street. So right there. And within a mile or less of the Marathon Course so that finding a good running route isn't an issue. The only issue with Brookline is that it's on the Green Line. Ugh. Slow and too many stops. But Coolidge corner is only 3 stops out of Boston - but it would still add another 20-30 minutes onto my commute to work in the morning - making it about 40-50 minutes instead of the nice 20-25 minute walk I have today. And of course, the Green Line has it's own set of issues - crowded, smelly, hot, icky sticky germy people... what have you...

We had lunch at Zaftigs. We were going to go to Rami but they were closed for the Sabbath. Zaftigs was awesome. We'll definitely go there again.

A tri of my own

Okay, My Hunny Bunny did a tri.
Hmm... do you DO a tri? Doesn't sound right.
How about... hmm... you swim/bike/run a tri?
That's a bit long and a little too contrived...
How about...
My Hunny Bunny did a tri.
Ah.
Much better.

Okay. It was on a FRIDAY.
A work day ... when one works if one must work for a living.
And that wouldn't have been so bad if one hadn't had to leave the house around 3pm in the afternoon, fight traffic to go to the NORTH SHORE (GAH!) because the race starts around 5:30 (and which they are always late).
Don't people WORK for a living?
Joseph said I didn't have to go.
Uh... right.
It's like the first tri anniversary.
How can I miss that?

Anyway, it starts at the beach.
It has sand.
Have I mentioned I hate sand?
Yes. Tactile Hell.

So, I walked Joseph up to the start of the swim, about a half more - maybe more.
They took off and I quickly lost sight of him. But I strolled along with the swimmers until the finishing corral.
OMG! GAH! There are people EVERYWHERE inside the transition area.
ACK!

I found Joseph's things and then went to stand in the crowd to try and find him.
About 5 minutes later, I turned around and GAK! There he is! Changing!
I had missed him because of the STOOPID CROWD IN THE STOOPID TRANSITION AREA!
So I ran outside the ropes and went over and watched him change and take off.
Our friend Maureen (of Maureen and Doug) came over and tapped me on the shoulder to say hi.
I grabbed all of Joseph's swim gear (wet wet wet) stuffed it into separate bags, including the wetsuit (yuk yuk yuk), and I noticed wet sand (GAH!) in the gear bag so I had to wipe that clean...

Then I huffed it all the way back to the car, with the gear, some of which was DRIPPING (did I mention I hate getting wet?), over the sand (did I mention I hate sand?)... OMG! I had to stop I was panting and sweating so hard... It's HARD walking in sand...and it was a LONG WALK back to the car... over the sand... and the dune... and more sand... SOB!

Then I drove the car over to the bike area - where Joseph would be finishing his run. It's only a quarter mile walk or something but I couldn't stand llet alone walk, after carrying all that gear over the sand... Joseph came running down... yikes! He's doing this FAST! Thank goodness I drove... He changed out of his running shoes and into his bike shoes and off he went...

In the lull, I ran into the transition area, grabbed his running shoes which were wet (GAH!) and slung them into the car. I then drove the car out closer to the finish area. Okay, so this was only about .35 miles and I could have walked but who's counting...

I waited around and finally ended up helping to spot the numbers on the finishers as they rode through. We were looking onto the glare of the setting sun so the more eyes spotting the better. And a group of bikers came up. I turned my head with the first one.. called that one out...then the next one... called that one out... oops, missed the approach of the next one...turn my head to catch their back... number 4.

Huh? Number 4?
Hey! That's my HUNNY BUNNY!!!
ARG!!! I did it again this year... totally missed his approach to the finish!
I am a bonehead.

Well... it's also partly his fault for being much faster this year. Hmph.
It was hard to gauge his pace as a result.
He did great. I am so proud.
But I'll tell ya. I ran around so much - it is hard work supporting a tri-person...
When I got to the beach before the event, I had only 2.55 miles on the pedometer.
That night, I had 7.33 miles on it.
Unbelievable.
Whoever thinks watching a tri is easy never ever supported a tri-person.

After the race, we hung around with Doug and Maureen, and Derek (who also did the tri), and we headed out to Woodmans for lobster. I got the big ole fisherman's combo. O. M. G. That's a lot of food. Brought half of it home, for cryin' out loud...

Random Thought:

Ugh.
So much to blog about, so little time.

So. Frustrating.

Labels:

The music is back!

For my birthday, my wonderful Hunny Bunny bought me another iPod.
It's blue. Happy happy.
It's not exactly the same.
It's a first generation, not a second.
And it has 4 gigs instead of 6.
But no matter.
It's blue and my Hunny Bunny gave it to me just like the first one.
Had I gotten it myself, well... it just wouldn't have been the same. Ya know?

Anyway, I spent the last few nights load software, unchecking music to fit it onto a 4 gig, synching it up with iTunes, and wah-lah... good to go.

So, I used it to run this morning.
That's about the only thing that got me out there - it's been a week since I last ran.
And wouldn't you know...
I found another few songs that I was to get rid of.
Sheesh.

20,000 steps

My friend Paul walked 20,000 steps yesterday.
Huh?
20 THOUSAND?

That's like uh...hmmm... 10 miles.
Okay, the longest I've walked is around that but it was HARD and I didn't try to do it or anything. It just happened.
But INTENTIONALLY??
Gawd...

Walking is HARD!
Jeeeeeeez...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Birthday Report

It's been a while and I don't want to forget to write about my birthday.
I took the day off.
Yes.
I have never take by birthday off, except when I was a kid. And that doesn't count because it was always summer vacation on my birthday; I always had my birthday off back then...

In my entire working life, I've always worked on my birthday.
It was always another ordinary day.
Another day... another dollar... that sort of thing.
Until I went to a Women's Leadership Networking session a few months ago.
One of the speakers said she never worked on her birthday.
She did whatever she wanted to do. Clean the closet, go for a hike, take a long drive, etc.
And her family and friends just know that she isn't to be bothered by anything.
It's HER DAY.

Well... I thought that was rather novel.
And I finally decided that I was actually WORTH a single day off in the whole year that I could claim as my own, to do with as I pleased, without any stress or pressure of requests of my time.
So, I announced to my Hunny Bunny that I would be taking my birthday off and that I would do with it all that I want to do with it, even if at the time I didn't know what I was really going to do with it.
Of course, he said he'd take the day off, too.
Hmmm....
"It's my day..."
"I know."
"I'm gonna do whatever I want."
"I know."
"And I can do nothing if I want to."
"I know."
"And I don't want to be bothered..."
"I know."

Hmmm... okay, then...

So I made the announcement to everyone at work:

"Friday is my birthday and I am taking that day off. I will not be pageable, I
will not read emails, I will not have my Blackberry with me. I am finally going
to have that nervous breakdown I so richly deserve."
And having been through a couple week so fht e*&^%$!!! budget, no one seemed to bat an eye.

For breakfast, we went to Flour on Washington Street. I had heard so much about it for years. It was goodbut I don't think I'd go out of my way to go there again. It's very nice and seems like a crisp, trendy-ish sort of spot but it's been around for years and the reputation is known far and wide, so it's really good. But then I am not a real bakery-and-cafe kinda person. In the end, I was happy I went. Finally got to see what all the hoopla is all about.

After breakfast, we went to the Museum of Science to see the Bodyworlds 2 exhibit. Now, this was something I had heard about from Kelly the Miracle Man when it was only showing in Germany! With my love of anatomy and maps and understanding how things work, this was perfect!! We went early to beat the crowds (thankfully), and it was an amazing exihibit. In the corner of the museum, everything about it was subdued, the focus was the bodies, and it was done with a quiet reverence to those who donated themselves for the sake of science. So for all those so called ethicists out there, don't worry. There were no neon arrows, blinking lights and no was placed in a compromising position. It was awesome to see all the muscles, nerves, vessels and organs inside us. And since I run, I was really interested in the psoas and ITB. I'll tell you, now I know why the ITB gives us so much trouble! It's huge! It connects to the sheaths that cover our abs and our backs. And THOSE are huge, too! GAK! Needless to say, last night, I spend considerable time massaging both ITB's.

After lunch, we went to the Super 88 Food Court. This is another place I had heard off. It's on Comm Ave in the Brighton/Allston area and is connected to the Super 88 Market - awesome chinese grocery. Anyway, there were Thai, Korean, Chinese, Dimsum, Indian, Indonesian food places all gathered together in typical food court fashion. I ended up with Vietnamese from one stall which was excellent and a watermelon juice from another stall, which was phenomenal. I will go back to this place for that watermelon water, most definitely. As for the food, it's good but definitely fast food. Some restaurants are just as fast as serving you and quality is better.

After lunch we had some time to kill so we went back home, sat around and did nothing. I was so happy!

For dinner, Joseph took me to Mortons Steak House. It was awesome as usual! Of course, I took home half my dinner since they give you so much food.

There were a couple of places I wanted to go that day so we decided to go the next day (Saturday). I was soooo happy!

What a great day. I think I must take all future birthdays off to do as I please.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Book review #8

One Man's Leg by Paul Martin was an interesting read about a guy who becomes paraplegic at the age of 22 due to a car accident.

Basically Paul Martin is one of those guys who gets into doses of trouble with a lousy attitude and can't seem to catch a break, even when he tries to pull himself up by the bootstraps.
Paul Martin is definitely a brash young man, the kind of kid and guy you just want to shake, hoping that something will get dislodged in his idiot brain so that it get set right.

In his early life as a below-knee amputee, you can still see the stubborness in the guy. I got more and more frustrated and I am not sure that I wouldn't have actually given up on him.
In the end,he seems to come around and he is into triathlons, etc. He delves a lot into his mistakes and frustrations but you don't really know about his life - where does he get his income, how does he survive, etc. There are big gaps if you are detailed oriented and want a coherent picture of his life.

I do know that he is married and he probaby has a child by now; when I met him, his wife was visibly pregnant. He doesn't really mention her in the book.

I liked the book but I walked away strangely dissatisfied. Interestingly, he comes across as approachable, very human, etc. which is certainly was when I met him.

I would recommend this book to get a insight into the challenges of the disabled athlete.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

ARG!!!!!!!!! PIECE OF CRAP *&^%$!!!!!

STUPID FRONT END!!! ARG!!!!
I THINK I JUST LOST ALL MY LAST SET OF CHANGES!!!!!


I want to shoot something...

Book review #7

Okay. I tried fiction. One word. Boring. Don't like that one? Okay. Here's another. Dullsville.
I guess my life is so full and interesting that I don't need to live vicariously through other people's make believe...

So Book #7 for the year is definitely non-fiction and a divergence from my usual religion-oriented stuff.

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents by Deborah D. Gray was an extremely interesting read.

First of all... no, I am not a parent. But that's a small detail. I think that any parent, whether they are adopting or not, should pick up this book and give it a good once over. Then they should pick it up again and again for help and reinforcement.

To set the stage, most of the book is about children who are placed into foster families or adopted families at varying ages. It addresses varying degrees of problem children who come from problem backgrounds. It doesn't cover too much on infants except to give you the history and the etiology of why, say, a five year old is who he is today.

It covers things like fetal achohol syndrome, older international adoptions, drug abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse and a whole suite of other things that affect a child from the child's point of view.

Attachment is interesting. As I read further and understood further, I suddenly got te picture that maybe, just maybe, the dual income, go go go society and family is not quite conducive to raising content, secure, loving, confident, trusting children. Maybe that's why so much is so screwed up with our youth today.

It seems that a to be a parent, one must really be child centered; loving them, understanding them, talking to them as humans is all a part of the package. It seems so easy. All common sense. But extremely difficult in practice. And that doesn't mean you have to reduce yourself to some sappy syrupy ball of unintelligible flesh without a life beyond your child.

I highly recommend this book if you are at all interested in the basis of our society, our future generation, how a small piece of our civilization is shaped and how each of us has a part in it. And I think if we all read this book and really look deep, we can recognize a little of our upbringing in some of the scenarios...

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Budgeting time...

...as in budgeting headcount resources...

It's budget time at work.
This means that I have no life, no time, and no mind at the end of it all.
Every year, this is a nightmare. I basically have to forecast 80 people in four different locations across over 200 projects in monthly increments over an 18 month period.
I could go on and on into the idiocy of the process, but I won't.

Not to mention the extremely slow front end where we enter all the numbers... which is why in between my last set of updates (a day late, I might add), I am blogging - it's the wait time between updates and saves...

The bottom line is that we start too late for the amount of work we have every single year.
So this year, I started four weeks early.
Wouldn't you know... the rat bastahds moved up their timeline by 3 weeks. Which means, instead of four additional weeks of ramp up time, we only added 1 week. It may not sound bad but it is... we never got more than a 2 week notice before... sigh...

Anyway, this year was a little different. I actually DELEGATED to my staff. They got a taste of why I am a raving lunatic bitch for the 2-3 months it takes to finalize the budget for next year. Of course, I was a raving lunatic waiting for them to finish up --- GAH!!! What is TAKING SO DAMN LONG?? ---They have been working late - red-eyed and teary from not enough sleep - disheveled from long nights and no exercise - zombie like from the weight of the additional work load... their success is also their bane. For every customer they bring in, they have to add them to the budgeting list... and in the past year, they've been very aggressive about bringing in customers.

They are also realizing that when finance says we have to balance to ZERO, that they mean ZERO. What that means is not .01 or .05 of a person can be nuried or fudged. No. In fact, if you do that, they make you go back and find the discrepancy. And if you can't find it, if it adds up to a single person... well, you have to get RID OF A PERSON. Kapish??? Comprende??? Got that??? Good. We've passed budgeting 101.

For me it's been liberating, even with the ranting and raving and screaming about it means when they say "The head count MUST BALANCE!" Which word was unclear???. For them... let's just say it's been a learning experience.

I have a feeling they appreciate me just a tiny little bit more.