Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Moving into the kitchen

Now that the entry way and the space behind the stairs (butler's hallway and pantry, bathroom, wetbar) has been mapped out and framed, we are now moving into the kitchen.

Last week, I had given Scotty the contractor a rough drawing of the kitchen, complete with sit-at island. This morning, the kitchen design guy came out and the final review came back "no can do." Dang.

Well, it's just as well. I kinda knew that the island probably wouldn't work but it was an alternative if I could get a desk into the kitchen. Instead, the fridge is moving to the middle wall (just like I originally thought), the table will go against where the chimney is (just like I originally thought) and everything else will be same (just as I originally thought. Ahem). The guy also left me a whole bunchabooks on the various cabinets and stains and finishes. After he is through with his rough plans, then Scotty the Contractor will give them to Plumber who will add his two cents, and then hand them back to Scotty who will hand them back to the Kitchen Man, who will hand them back to Scotty and Scotty will then tell me what the final final what is do-able. That should be in a coupleofweeks.

In the meantime, I am going through the books to see what I like and we've been directed to go to this place where Scotty has an account to get the vanity and sink for the bathroom back behind the butlers hallway.

It was really nice to talk to the Kitchen Man and Scotty at the same time. They both could know exactly what I had in mind (in general since I am leaving most of the implementation details up to them after I okay what they present). We also changed the look of the back window a bit and we will add a crescent to the top to make it bigger. And if we can't find a nice drop leaf table to go agains the chimney, Scotty said he would make one for me. Cheap. I emphasized that part.

In addition to picking out the vanity and toilet, we will take a quick glance at tiles and make some decision on whether to go with hardwood flooring or tile in the back bathroom. We definitely want to go with tall wainscoting.

Decisions decisions decisions...


Morning runs should be easier

I forgot to mention that this morning the Cybex guy came to look at the treadmill.

The connection on the display panel had come loose. This wasn't due to the latest move to the New House by the guys from Gentle Giant. Nope. It was from 2 years ago when we put it into storage. I remember that Joseph had loosened the top and I was all worried about the innards getting pulled out and tossed around and sure enough, that's what happened.

I hope it was not that expensive to fix. I gave the phone person my credit card when I made the arrangements for them to come out. It's like $135 for the travel alone.

The good news is that it works and he cleaned it and did the recall thing that I got a notice over 2 years ago. AND...he also sells used gym equipment on the side. So if I need a multi-gym, weights, benches, etc., I can just call him. If anyone is looking for good used equipment, let me know and I'll pass his info along to you.

But the BEST news is that on cold lousy mornings I don't have to spend 20 minutes walking back and forth to the gym. I can just walk up stairs! Yahoo!

The only things left to do is to get a one inch thick workout pad for underneath and to make sure that it's on a 20-amp dedicated electrical line - I don't think that's the case right now. It's a bummer since we just through painting the lower half of the walls in the room. Blast.


More DOSHing While HUSA

Okay. Two days of inactivity due to the early morning meeting times and late evening ending times of the offsite I had.

This morning, I got out and ran up Summit Ave.
I was scheduled to do 4 but I was secretly harboring desires for 5.
This time, I almost made it to the top of the second block where it turns upward sharply.
On the 5th repeat, I thought I was going to make it but the previous 4 really did me in.

I saw my Hunny Bunny out there toward the end of his run (still smiling of course...*&^%$%!!!) and he slowed down and grabbed a drink from my gatorade bottle before he went on to continue his set.

I saw a woman who was doing HUOSA (Hills Up and OVER Summit Ave) which is not to be confused with my HUSA's. I think the HUOSA's are probably harder. The other side of the hill is different - not easier or harder, just different. It's LONGER and that might make it harder, but it depends on how you feel about short sharp hills or long slow hills. Me? They all suck.

Tomorrow, I might be going out for a 30 minute run in the morning - depends on how this sore throat incubates. I am really tired now as it is and it's not getting better - I would say that it's a tad worse since this morning.

Just when you think you have it licked for the winter, the damn thing just sneaks up on ya! ARG!



I got up this morning with a *&^%$ SORE THROAT!
And it's been 8 hours later and it's still there!!!

And I am so tired.


Restaurants and work

On Monday and Tuesday, I had an offsite with my management team.
This is the first time that the new team (since the most recent organizational change) has come together.

First, it was a terrific couple of days and we got a lot of work done. Actually, we got a lot of work started since there's a lot of work left to do by May 1, the first firm cut off for what we are trying to produce.

Second, the two days gave me an opportunity to observe team dynamics and how each person worked in the context of the larger group. In a word, they were awesome!

Third, the place we had it - the Metro Meeting Center - was TERRIFIC! If you are in Boston and need to schedule a meeting of practically any size, give them a call. They are easy to get to, centrally located, very accommodating, feed you breakfast, lunch, and all the snacks you can eat, and they also have very efficient and dedicated technology people to get the AV equipment going. We are going to use them for our mid-march follow up meeting!

Anyway, whenever we have an offsite with people traveling to and fro, we try to do a dinner event. This time was no different.

On Monday night, we went to Vinalia, right around the corner from the Metro Meeting Center. Terrific food and very accommodating, with a decent wine list and not over priced. I had the beef tenderloin tartare and the short ribs. Yum! The service was a bit on the slow side but the group was quite large and I think they were trying to time it so that we weren't feeling rushed. My boss was there so he grabbed the check - one less thing for me to have to expense. Yahoo!

Last night, for the few people who were interested, we went to Montien, a Thai place in the Theatre District. They not only had Thai food, but a sushi bar as well. Of course, we had the sushi/sashimi appetizer followed up entirely too much Thai food. But it was well worth it! I have been wanting to try this place for a while and I am definitely going to put it on my list of places to visit again. And it was close to the Green Line so I didn't have to take a cab to get home afterwards.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Week 8 Training Recap

Monday - Run 30 minutes
I can reporting on this already. Forget it. TOO COLD! It's like ANTARCTICA - SUB ZERO DEGREES! GAH!

Tuesday - Bike 40 minutes.
Nope. Ran 20 minutes instead.
Still no bike set up. Whatever. I ran this morning what was supposed to be yesterday's 30 minutes. But I only ran for 20 minutes because I didn't know I had to run for 30 minutes. Ugh. I should take a look at my schedule at the beginning of the week instead of 2 days in.

Wednesday - Run 60 minutes (4 Hills Up Summit Ave - HUSA's)
Nope. Went to the tax man instead.
So much for good intentions. I got up in time to un-creak myself for a 6:30 start. Then Joseph comes in around 6 am and asks if we had an appointment to get our taxes done. ACK! Yes, we do, and I forgot all about it. So, instead of HUSAs this morning, I HUSTLED out of bed to get ready for the tax appointment. I suppose I will have to do this tomorrow - when it's colder and when I have to drive to the RI office in the morning. Nothing like living in chaos!

Diet note: I managed to stick to 1270 calories. I had dinner at work and got so busy that I forgot that the dinner I had was inadequate and I was hungry. I looked up and it was almost 8pm and I scrambled to get home! Took a cab - love the cab stand at South Station!

Thursday - Bike 40 minutes (Hmmm... probably won't have a bike again)
I did HILLS today. HUSA's (Hills Up Summit Ave). It was ugly. Amazing since I had to drive an hour to the Rhode Island office.

Friday - REST
Yup. Put my feet up and rested. I about died from the hills. Died.

Saturday - RUN 4 Miles
Yup. Ran 4.11 miles at the gym. Had a good run, too. I decided to put away my so called Fears and just run. And I did. I took it up to about an 8:30 pace and had a good time with, especially towards the last mile. Did Abs. Increased it by one more rep to make it 7x20 instead of 7x19. (I do abs 7 different ways.) Then the floor stretches. I felt good. But I could tell that I need to massage my ITB.

Diet Note: Well... it's working. I've lost another .4 pounds
Sunday - RUN 14 Miles
Actually, it was 14.12 miles and these long runs are not getting any easier. There was a slight headwind out and a barely-there tailwind back. Same as last week. Around mile 5, Joseph and Josh pulled up. They had gone running that morning with the BAA and it was chance they came to look for me and luck that I was actually out there and that they found me! A lot of runners were out - you always know when Boston is approaching. Scads of runners passing me (of course I wasn't passing them) and running by me, some smiled, some frowned, but everyone out there had a purpose. I felt proud being out there with them. Of course that lasted only a few minutes.

I also did Abs and stretched. I added another rep to the 7 directions on the ab exercises for a total of 7x20. I think I have to start doing some side stepping lunges to help the stabilizer muscles on the downhills. And maybe some upperbody weights to help propel myself up the uphills...Heck, why not just move right into the locker room at the gym!

The next week will be a little tough since I have a two day offsite on Monday and Tuesday. Hopefully, I can schedule around it or make those days up toward the end of the week.

Coming up:
Monday - Run 30 minutes
Tuesday - Bike 40 minutes
Wednesday - Run 60 minutes with 4 hills
Thursday - Bike 40 minutes
Friday - Rest Day
Saturday - Run 2 miles
Sunday - Run 16 miles

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Indian Outfit Update

Last night, I wore one of the Indian outfits to the TomorrowNite gala.
There are names for these and the ones I bought were salwar kameez and the scarf is called a duppatta.

Lots of people commented on how beautiful the dress was.
And I looked good!

The only issue was that the duppatta kept shifting. Now I know why the Indian women pin it at the shoulders.

I am now looking forward to the opportunity to wear the other one!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Painting the workout room

Just so we know...

While I am at work WORKING (HFFFF!), my Hunny Bunny is painting the Workout Room. He is so wonderful.

The other night he brought me BEEEEUUUUTIFUL FLOWERS! A MYRIAD of them. So many that I had to smash them into the vase. Yup.

I suppose he figured if he didn't get me a replacement bouquet, I'd never throw out the roses he gave me for Valentines Day. They were kinda dry and droopy.
Now, I have Beautiful New Flowers in the kitchen.

Not to mention a Starting-to-be-painted Workout Room.

Happy Happy Happy.



Tonight, we are going to TomorrowNite.
It's an event to benefit St. Jude Childrens Hospital.
I am supposed to be getting ready for it now, but I am at WORK, WORKING LIKE THE DOG THAT I AM because I am DOING THE JOB OF THREE PEOPLE!!! GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway... while I am printing out 5 more copies of my 39-page presentation, I was surfing
their website and I read this:

"At St. Jude, no family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. "
Wow. I never knew that.

And in this day and age when healthcare is less about treating people than it is about the business of making drugs and running a hospital, this touched my heart. Beyond that, even. It touched my core (wherever that is, but I know it's deep inside and hard to get to.)

A friend of ours, who I will call Paul, is heavily involved in St. Jude. His father started the whole thing with Danny Thomas. His father passed away a year ago and now he and his brother are trying to fill some big shoes, and enthusiastically wearing a heavy mantle.

I was glad we supported this event, even though it as only on the fringes through the silent auctions and things like that. But now that I know that "At St. Jude, no family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. " I am proud to know that man who's father helped start it all. And now, maybe, I might have a cause.



It's a warning

I was on my way to work this morning.
Yes. On a Saturday.
Why? Because I am doing the job of three people right now. Three. People.
It happened right in front of South Station - right after the Bus Station.
Followed too close behind a truck and ran a *&^% RED LIGHT!
ARG! There goes my perfect driving record!

The State Trooper was there magically.
I mean, not a second to lose.
Where do they hide? How do they materialize?
Where do they get their cloaking device and I want one, too!

I pulled over.
He walked up.
"License and Registration."
I hand both over.
He looks at it.
Hmmm... why did I get pulled over? I seriously didn't know at this point.
"You ran a red light?"
I did????
"Back there."
ARG!!! OMG! I didn't even see it! WAH!!!

He walks back and gets back in his car.
Some dodo yahoo comes over and chats with him. Ugh.
Cars are driving by and staring!!! GAH!!!

He comes back over.
"I gave you a warning."
"You have to be more aware."
"You were following that truck too close..."
"...if you couldn't see the red light."
"So, I gave you a warning."


I don't have to pay a fine.
I think it goes on my record for 3 or 7 years or something like that BUT I don't think my insurance will go up. Not sure. But it's better than a TICKET!

It pays to have a perfect driving record. He must have seen that and had pity on me.

Gawd...I hope this isn't another start of "Bad Luck Happens in Threes..."


Cutting Back on Calories is working

Can I just say this?
I think it's working.
I've been limiting myself to 1200-1300 calories a day and exercising just as I normally would.
Since Tuesday, I've lost 4.0 pounds.
Mostly water but you have to go through that phase first.

Next week will be the most telling.

I thought about this on the way back from the gym today.
I would like to lose the following increments:
7 pounds by April 16th (Boston Marathon).
5 more pounds by May 27 (Vermont City Marathon)
8 more pounds by September 14 (
Reach the Beach)

People might think that I am crazy BUT, I remember that when I was 14 pounds lighter than I weight today (about 3 years ago), I felt really good but I was always on the edge. I knew that any little thing would topple me over into the wrong side of the optimal weight. 3 pounds less and I would have been comfortable. But I remember when I weighed 20 pounds less than I do today, I FELT GREAT! I want that feeling back. And I'm gonna work hard to get there now that this Cutting Back on Calories thing is working.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Restaurant Report: Top of the Hub

A week has come and gone and I keep forgetting to write about this place.

Would I go back? Most definitely!

The Top of the Hub is on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building.
Our reservations were for 5:30pm, knowing that dinner wouldn't be served until after 6pm and not liking to eat too late, it was perfect. And the dress code was business casual. No jackets required for the men.
They seated us right away. Right up next to a big picture window.
It was a cold clear evening and you could see clear into tomorrow.
And as dusk turned into night, we counted the airplanes and watched the lights of Boston, Revere, Lynn, Marblehead, and maybe clear all the way to Gloucester, twinkling like stars at our feet.

The food was wonderful. We had the 5-course tasting menu. The portions were more like a taste and a half; a couple of the courses were probably at least two tastes worth. And the wine pour was generous. Our waiter, Luke, was terrific. Timing was perfect, the food was served at the right temperature, and the service was warm and friendly. It's not a cheap place. We had a $250 gift certificate and we still spent about another $100 on top of the including the tip. But we'd definitely go back.

This isn't a kid's place. But we did see a young boy - maybe 8 or 9 years or old - two tables over. He was fascinated by the views and spend 90% of the dinner looking out the window. Of course, the two adults he was with managed to have a wonderful time with adult conversation because they had a built-in babysitter!

If you can, definitely go.
The views alone are worth it.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

First HUSA's

Hills Up Summit Ave. HUSA.
Josh says USUCK. Up Summit You Can Kill.
I so cannot relate to that.
Hmmm... although KUSH sounds pretty good.
Maybe one day, when I can make it all the way up a few five or six times, I can say I am KUSH'ing.
But now? I am HUSA'ing. It's that HOOSHING sound I make as I gasp for breath. Uphill AND DOWNHILL. Seriously.
At least I am not DOSA'ing - Dying On Summit Ave. Or DOSH'ing - Dying On Summit Hill.
Oh, I got a good one... JOSH'ing. JOGGING ON SUMMIT HILL! That's one for my good friend Josh, The Flash, Gordan who probably thinks this sort of thing is fun fun fun... along with my husband, who likes to LAP me while I am DOSH'ing during my HUSA's. Got that? Yeah. You can say I've been mentally pureeing the whole event.

So, let me tell you about Summit Ave. It's just shy of a mile from the house. Forget the warm up run there. It's only about .2 of a mile long. After that, it's a steady incline to Summit Ave. I live in Brookline. Little did I know that it is built on a damn hill.

I found out today that Summit Ave is about .45 miles long (because I measured it using my wonderful Polar R200SD) and that it it's three blocks long and it goes from 7% to 10% to 6% include (but by the time you reach the 3rd block, you are practically DEAD so what does it matter?).

I did FOUR of these things. The first block was okay. I tried to think of myself running on the treadmill, which I did last week at a 6% grade. The next block was "fuggedaboutit." I hit the beginning of the 2nd block and WALKED. At the 3rd block, I started running again. That was the first repeat.

The second repeat, I made it to the no parking sign on the 2nd block.
The third repeat, I made it to the first driveway on the 2nd block, right after that no parking sigh.
The fourth repeat, I finally ran up past the second driveway and to the first tree on the 2nd block.
It's gonna take me a YEAR to make it running all the way up this hill! The only thing harder than this was Hurricane Point at Big Sur. My first Boston Marathon DEBAUCLE is a close second.

Anyway, next week I get to look forward to another 5 HUSA's unless my Coach tells me otherwise. I am hoping he will have pity on me. HUSA's can turn into DOSH's real fast.

Diet Note: Lost 1.0 pounds since yesterday. It's probably just water. Cheerful, ain't I?

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Catching up on Pictures

I have been remiss in posting pictures of the house demolition and reconstruction.

These pictures show the continued demolition and prep for rebuilding the main stairway in the center of the house.

These pictures show the rebuilding of the stairs - the framing, the set up prep work, etc.

It's a mess.

Kitchen plans are complete. I am happy with the latest draft. I gave them to Scotty the Contractor and as always he and I are on the same page. The tin panels are also going behind the stove as a back splash as opposed to using tile. It will match the ceiling; very nice. Next phase is the bathroom plans. I hope to finish these over the weekend.

All I know is that most of this needs to be ready by the Bagel Brunch on April 15th, in time for the Marathon Weekend Encounters.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Day one of A Diet for a New Life

So, yesterday, I did good.
1270 calories.
This morning, I got on the scale and was weight about 2.5 pounds less.
Of course, Joseph immediately told me that the 1270 calories the day before had nothing to do with it.
Gee, thanks.

I survived day one.
I did not die.
I did not starve.
I did not have a brain meltdown from lack of glucose to the adequately fuel the sulci.

And most importantly, I did not run out of energy.
And the food did not float off the plant. Wow. Imagine that.

This morning, we scrambled to get to the tax man - yes, I forgot all about it and of course, I was most disorganized, which Tom the Tax Man pointed out to me. Sigh...

And that meant I did not get my run in - will do it tomorrow... I must do it tomorrow. And I didn't have sufficient time to pack my lunch and dinner. So I scrounged around and I found...

  1. 1 box of Green Giant Corn in Butter Sauce (whole box has about 280 calories)
  2. 1 box of Green Giant Cauliflaur in Cheese Sauce (whole box has about 150 calories)
  3. left over stuffing from the night before
I will split up the stuffing between lunch and dinner and have one of the boxes of veggies for lunch and the other for dinner.

I love these "yuppie vegetables, " as I like to call them. So convenient. So Tasty. So lo-cal. I love the corn poured over a small baked potatoe or a cup of rice. Add a few cubes of Tofu for protein and it's an awesome meal for about 450 calories. Of course, I did not have time to prepare the Tofu this morning.

Did I ever mention that I hate taxes?
They were supposed to repeal the tax law after they paid for the revolutionary war.

Hmmm... a little pork here, a little pork there, and everyone thinks it's one big happy party...


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Oh, and another thing...

1200 calories is NOT a lot of food.
Just so we're clear.

So far... 1080 calories today, including the stick of gum I had about an hour ago...



Okay. I don't have much of a relationship with food to begin with.
I was told that by a nationally known very reputable sports nutritionist I went to a few years ago to see if:
  1. I was eating right for the activity level
  2. I could lose any weight

Well... it seems that nutritionally speaking, my diet was very sound, mostly due to my heavy vegetable diet from eating Korean style.

The second thing she noted is that I don't care for food enough. I don't hate it and I don't love it. In fact, I find it mostly a chore and a waste of time. Halfway through a dinner party, I will get bored with the whole thing and want to leave. I'd rather take a pill. The only time I enjoy eating with when I am with my Hunny Bunny because it's about spending time with him.

The third thing she noted is that because I have no relationship with food, I have issues of portion control. I eat when I am hypoglycemic, which means I will stuff down the food. I go to the grocery store when I am hungry so I buy a bunchastuff I don't really need. I bring it home and don't really eat it all - which means a lot of it goes from the store to the fridge to the trash.

So, I've been struggling with my weight as it has crept upwards more than downwards and of course, we all know that I am at an all-time high. I am really tired of hearing myself complain and I think my Hunny Bunny is, too, because he has stopped telling me I look fine. Anyway...

This weekend was sort of an epiphany. Of sorts. I finally admitted to Joseph that I need to put myself on a calorie restricted diet. It all came about because I've been noticing lately how sleek and svelt my Hunny Bunny looks and I mentioned it a few times. And so, I finally asked once again what he did and he said he cut back. Portion Control. And when I mentioned hunger, he said, "yes, you get hungry and you move on." Sigh...

And so, I am on a 1200 calorie diet. Give or take a 100 calories. And I've been hungry today. Not the kind of hunger that I usually shrug away because I am too busy to attend to it. But the type of hunger that makes you open up a package of cookies sitting on your desk, which you had to consciously throw out this morning. Ahem. Anyway... I am giving it two weeks to see if:

  1. I can make it through
  2. I will lose even a pound
  3. I can get motivated through the process

This is day one. It's not over. And for someone who has no relationship, I have been thinking about food and eating all day long. I cannot imagine living like this. I know people do it and struggle every single day. I suppose I should be grateful that this is, hopefully, a temporary phase.

Day one.

13 more to go. After midnight. Sigh...


Weekly Recap for Week 7 of Training

Last week was a tough one because the weather pretty much... STUNK!
GAH! I HATE the cold. I HATE the WIND worse. I HATE being out in the cold and wind more than I hate the cold and wind. I don't mind cold and wind, actually, if I don't have to touch it or feel of it. Got that?

So, last week's recap:

Monday - Planned: run 20 minutes
I ran for 20 minutes, and did abs and my stretching routine just for the fun of it.

Tuesday - Planned: bike 30 minutes
- the bike isn't up so I might do the elliptical at the gym
Yeah right. Did not bike, did not go to the gym and therefore did not do the elliptical. Instead I sat on my fat arse and did nothing. Actually, Joseph picked me up at work. The weather is COLD and of course, I thought I would late, didnt' bring dinner, got hungry, left work early, blah blah blah - in a nutshell, things were a mess. So. After Joseph picked me up from work in the nice toasty warm car, we went to Tasca, a local tapas place. We ordered a LOT O' FOOD because I was hungry and it was ALL GOOD! I am glad we have a good tapas place around the corner from the house! It's about a mile - of course, Joseph and I had to debate about the distance all the way home.

Wednesday -
Planned: run 45 minutes and 2 hills up Summit Ave (it's a quarter mile of the steepest hill I've ever seen - GAH!!!)
Actually, it was 3 hills up Summit Ave and it so cold out that I walked to the gym and HOTS (Hills on the Treadmill). I cranked that baby up to 7% grade and ran. I about died. And I was more "slogging" than "running." It was an awesome workout. I also did abs and the usual stretching routine to make sure I don't shrivel up from over contracted muscles as a result of the hills. If you don't think hills work, well... My HR went to 91% of max. And afterwards, I ran and ran and sped up and sped up and it all seemed EASY. In fact, I had it cranked to an 8:50 pace and it felt GOOD. Go figure.

Thursday - Planned: bike 30 minutes - again, I might do the elliptical at the gym
Never mind. I rested.

Friday - Planned: rest
I rested, of course. It was ON THE PLAN!

Saturday - Planned: run 4 miles
(we are moving some furniture in the morning - not sure when I will be doing this)
I rested. What can I say. I had to move the furniture from HWINLIML's and then to storage to clean out the storage unit that I've been paying $125 a month for. Then to the grocery store and then the day was practically over. The good news is that I brought back the treadmill from storage. The bad news is that it's a gigantical paper weight right now. Actually, it's on top of a tarp in the soon-to-be exercise room. We plugged the thing in and... NOTHING! The Big Fat GOOSE EGG! ARG!!! I called yesterday and they will come out next week to take a look. It's not through eating through my pocketbook yet.

Sunday - Planned: run 14 miles (oh, joy...)
It had better be warmer than today or I am going to get out my surgical masks
This was all in all a pretty good run. I ran from the house, backwards on the marathon course. And on this day... it was all uphill. Quite literally I felt like I was running up hill. BOTH WAYS! Later on, Joseph pointed out there was a good steady low-grade headwind out with some tailwind back - but then you are climbing the Newton Hills and it's still uphill. I was exhausted after the first 8 miles! It was all I could do to keep it going. The last two miles, I walked a bit but who cares. I am not out to set any stoopid records, ya know? Anyway, I also did abs and my floor stretching routine.

Another observation I want to make is that it's hard to do 14 miles after 3 days of no running. I do remember this lesson from last year.

I am having a hard time convincing myself that I will be able to run Boston and stay upright and not bleeding. So far, I ran only 61 miles in January. And there are only 8 more days in February and I've only run just shy of 75 miles so far this month. Not sure how I am going to ramp up for Boston so quickly and the 14 miler hurt.

This week's schedule:
Monday - Run 30 minutes
I can reporting on this already. Forget it. TOO COLD!

Tuesday - Bike 40 minutes. Still no bike set up. Whatever.
I ran this morning what was supposed to be yesterday's 30 minutes. But I only ran for 20 minutes because I didn't know I had to run for 30 minutes. Ugh. I should take a look at my schedule at the beginning of the week instead of 2 days in.

Wednesday - Run 60 minutes (4 Hills Up Summit Ave - HUSA's)

Thursday - Bike 40 minutes. Hmmm... probably won't have a bike again.

Friday - REST

Saturday - RUN 4 Miles

Sunday - RUN 14 Miles


Help requested: posting pics to blogger

Okay. Blogger has a lousy help site. So...

I can download the pictures into my blog entry.
I can rezise those pictures.
But HOW do I MOVE them around?
I do a CLICK and DRAG and NOTHING happens.
And when I download the picture, it always goes to the beginning of the blog!

What a PAIN!

Anyone know the Secrets of Blogger?

Thanks for your help.


What is old is new again...

These are two curio cabinets sort of arranged perpendicular to each other. They are being stored in our second floor storage room, soon to become the master bedroom.

This is the main entertainment unit, big enough to hold a 37" TV. It think. Can't remember.
So, a few weeks ago, I get an email from HWINLIML. He's just got a 54" plasma screen TV and it won't fit in the entertainment unit.

He was trying to sell it and after some research, he figured people would be willing to pay around $600-$700 for three pieces. But he thought, he'd offer it to me first, and if I wanted them, he would take $500 for all three just for saving him the hassle of getting it off his hands.
Uh....sure. I love that set and it will fit very nicely into this house.

When we bought it about 8 years ago, it was on sale and still pricey even at that. It is solid cherry and from
The Cabot House - one of the pricer furntire stores in the area. So...

On Sunday, I met the movers (Gentle Giant) and they hauled that thing out of HWINLIML's into our house. Of course, we took this opportunity to clean out the Extra Space storage unit we had in Somerville. All told, it took 6 hours and about $1300. But the furniture alone would have cost much more than that.

The big piece will go into the guest room on the second floor. We will put a TV in it and use the bottom cabinets for storing blankets and extra pillows.
The two smaller curio cabinets will go on the first floor somewhere. Don't know where yet. Haven't decided.
And for those are wondering, yes, HWINLIML and I are on very good terms. And why not? I can't see spending that many years with someone only to turn around and hate them. And that would be a life wasted, in my humble opinion. We had a very nice chat as we watched the movers pack things up and he would like to come by to see the New House once construction is done. And he would like to be the first on the priority list if I ever decide to sell the Little Red Bean. Which might come in handy as Hunny Bunny and were discussing the possible purchase of a BMW Z4 convertible. And of course, the roadblock was the keeping of the Little Red Bean. For Joseph, the roadblock my refusal to sell the Little Red Bean.
Yikes. Scotty the Contractor is here doing damage and destruction. Gotta go.


Monday, February 19, 2007

New shoes

Brooks Adrenlines.
I bought 3 pairs.
Yes, they are RED.
I've seen prettier.

But they were on sale for $58 a pair and shipping was free.

Yup yup yup.
Can't beat a good deal.

And yes, I'll be posting my weekly recap soon.
Patience patience patience...


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Book Review: The Blind Side

...Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis...

First, let me say that I read about this book, and an excerpt, from the New York Times Magazine, which is so much more useful and much better than the Boston Globe Magazine. Anyway, lest I digress...

The NYTM article was so engaging that I couldn't put it down.
Then, our nutty friend
Abby came over for dinner and raved about the book.
And so, I got it for Joseph, knowing that I would get to read it, too.

It's about football.
Actually, it's a lot less about football than a single football player by the name of
Michael Oher (said like "oar") and the rich which Christian family whose hands he fell into and all the adventures and life changing events that occurred for everyone involved. And that includes the coaches, the schools, the scouts and agents, and the leagues, inaddition to the Touhey's who took in him and made themselves guardians - sort of. Oh, and there is quite a bit about football and the evolution of the passing game and the left tackle. And the whole thing is so darn
engaging that you don't mind all the football mumbo-jumbo. Jeez. I almost sound like I know what I am talking about...

Anyway... It's about Michael Oher. Lots of other people do the talking - Michael is a man of very few words, but you get a good sense of his character, one which you wish all your kids could have parts of. You also learn about charity and what that really means - not just writing a check but investing your life in in it. You learn about old money and new money, and new money that is so old money, you think it was old money. If you are from The South (as I am), or anywhere where there are ladder climbing wannabees, you know what I am talking about when I say "new money" and "old money."

The writing is fluid, the style is simple.

This is a terrific read, engaging and fast.
I highly recommend it for all genders, and football fans and non-fans alike.



Happiness is...

...eating a whole bowl of freshly made ramen noodles with pungent
chong-gak kimchee and making all the slurping sounds you want...

And no one else around to complain about it.

I love working from home!


Snowy Valentine Morning

I will be working from home. At 5:45 am, there accidents all over the place.

Joseph is getting ready to GO OUT and run and I am sitting under the covers in my warm toasty bed contemplating breakfast.

I have hill repeats today. Up Summit Ave. In the slipper snow. Yah. It's like 12% grade. I think I'll go to the gym and do HOTs instead (Hill on the Treadmill).

On the other hand, it's a lot warmer this morning than it's been the last couplaweeks.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentines Day

It's tomorrow.
I just ordered my Hunny Bunny's gift. :o)

And yesterday, I got my gift from my Hunny Bunny.
I got home from work. Late.
I walked upstairs and noticed a slight smell of Murphy's Oil Soap and since I haven't used that in quite some while, my brain translated it to Pledge, which I had used just this past weekend.
I didn't think much of it until the onslaught of dust I braced for and the resulting surge of allergies never materialized.
I looked around and there wasn't much dust.
Hmmm... Scotty the Contractor had been working that day so I know there had to be dust. There was only a slight dusting on some shelves but that's about it.

Then I saw it.
A small yellow sticky in that familiar uniform script.
"Dear Joe and Julia,
I cleaned everything just like I did the last time, the kitchen counters...
blah blah blah....
See you on the 26th.

As in The Houseboy?
Jonthan the Houseboy was there to clean?


The initial excitement died and then I thought, "uh... clean WHAT? The CONSTRUCTION PILE? EGADS!"

But he was there to clean the two upstairs rooms (the guest bedroom and the office), the second floor space where we are living (the hallway - he mops it, MOPS IT!, the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room and our bedroom).

All I have to say is POOR JONATHAN!
And last but not least, I HAVE THE BEST HUNNY BUNNY IN THE WORLD!!!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dust Bowl

Oh, and another thing...


Saw Scotty the contractor this morning.
He assured me "only one more day of dust."
HAH! Like I would believe a lie like that.
He was just taking down some studs and putting up some new ones and I could see the dust flying in the sunlight, even before I made it to the front door on my way out of the house this morning. And I was glad to be leaving.
There is only one room left in the basement that they have to take the ceiling down in (now this is an awkward sentence, But you get my meaning, I hope...)

Anyway, it looks like I will be working from WORK all week because of the damn dust. Sigh... Just as well... I haven't been getting much done at home lately so maybe a change of venue back to the office will do something to help me out of my inertia.


Another new max

Did I mention that I have a new MaxHR?
Well, I do.

Yesterday while I was running my long run, somewhere along the allergy-ridden, tired and beaten, huffing and puffing on one of the slowest long runs I've ever run...

I hit 101% of my max.
This happened last summer.
And now, again!

This means that my easy and tempo pace is lower than I thought, which means I have to run a little harder to hit the range for those types of runs, which then means that I have to run fast, which in turn means, I have to work harder.

Is there no quarter? No relief?

Didn't think so.



Reluctant late adopter

Blogger forced me to go to the New Blogger.
I am tired of recreating my stoopid links.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A new place to try in Dallas

I might have to give this place a try.
Looks good from the website.
And it comes pretty well recommended.

Weekly Recap

What a week.
Did not run as much as I would have like because work got in the way. Again.

So, this is the week in a nutshell:

Monday - planned: run 20 minutes
Nope. I landed in the USA at around 12:15pm. I got home around 2pm. I unpacked and got settled. Then I set about to resting and trying not to fall asleep

Tuesday - rest
Yup. Rested. I worked from home and had a lethargic day. It's amazing how little you get done when you are tired. I am always reminded of this right after I travel internationally. No matter how much I try to stay alert, my brain and body demands attention.

Wednesday - run 45 minutes
Yup. But I only ran for 20 minutes. That was Monday's scheduled run. Went to the gym, did weights, abs, and stretched.

Thursday - rest
I went to the gym and ran for 45 minutes. This was Wednesday's scheduled run. Went to the gym, did abs, and stretched. It was a very good run.

Friday - run 30 minutes
I wanted to rest. Thought I would do the run on Saturday which was the epitomy of "best laid plans."

I worked from home. The workers were here again. They were pulling down the rest of the ceiling in the basement. I was in the third floor office. When I was on the phone, looking at my desk lamp and watching the dust dance before my eyes, I knew I was in trouble. Ugh. I am allergic to dust!!! When I say that, most people just sort of roll their eyes... sure you are... but if there were any doubters, by about noon, they would have all known that it was for real. Red bug eyes. Stopped up nose. Sore throat. Misery.

I went to my scheduled massage appointment with the misery. Got a nasal lavage kit - my doctor had recommended it for allergies last summer. Met Joseph for drinks and dinner. And short of a nasty-gram to someone who worked for me due to my general misery. I was in the right but I know I went a bit overboard. Whatever. Still not in the mood to think about it.

Saturday - rest
This is exactly what I did. General overall misery from my allergies. Will it never end?? ARG!!! Sigh... Had dinner at The Dish with my Hunny Bunny after a small scotch tasting at Brix and the subsequent wine and scotch purchase. I wish I wasn't so tired. The jet lag is still hanging around and none of it is helped by the allergies.

Sunday - run 12 miles
This has got to be one of the worst, hardest runs ever. First of all.. my allergies! ARG!!! Then it was about 23 degrees when I started. The combination of the cold and my body working overtime from the allergies really screwed up my body. I think my HR was up anyway due to my body fighting off the allergies so I couldn't get into a rhythm until about 9 miles into it. And the COLD! GAH!!! I could barely breathe! I saw someone running with a surgical mask and I thought if I wasn't so conscious of how stupid it looked, I might have done the same. I could never quite get warmed up. My body was cold and my face is rough and chapped. I've been putting on oil, hydration serum, and caviar cream on my face and it was still rough afterwards. It stung almost as if I had gotten windburn. Which is impossible because one does not create a breeze at my pace. Anyway, my legs and hips started hurting around mile 10, which isn't surprising since 10 miles is the longest I've run in a long time before today's run. Anyway, I did do a fair bit of walking at the end but when I logged my run, my pace wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Next week, I'll get back into a rhythm. The schedule for the week is:

Monday - run 20 minutes
Tuesday - bike 30 minutes - the bike isn't up so I might do the elliptical at the gym
Wednesday - run 45 minutes and 2 hills up Summit Ave (it's a quarter mile of the steepest hill I've ever seen - GAH!!!)
Thursday - bike 30 minutes - again, I might do the elliptical at the gym
Friday - rest
Saturday - run 4 miles (we are moving some furniture in the morning - not sure when I will be doing this)
Sunday - run 14 miles (oh, joy...) It had better be warmer than today or I am going to get out my surgical masks

There is supposed to be SNOW mid-week.
There. I said it.
I don't feel any better.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Travel in March

Oh, btw, for those who are interested, I will be traveling to Dallas March 5 through the 8th. I will be staying at the Four Seasons Resort and Spa.

Vacation in Naples

As in Florida.
Not Italy.

I'll take it.

We are going there in May and staying at the Ritz.
That will be just about the time I start to implode because of too many long months of bitter cold, where I am chilled to the bone and either want to do myself in to escape or move to warmer climes. At that point, anywhere will do. And I think the Ritz will do nicely, thank you very much!

Now. I have to decide on the spa activities...


"This card confirms your acceptance into the 111th B.A.A. Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2007 provided the information you submitted is correct."

There ya go.

It arrived while I was in India.
I am going through the mail and there it was, at the bottom of the pile.

Glad I made it to the gym to get my workout in this morning.
In spite of the 13.7 degree temps.

Labels: ,

House re-construction can now begin

Yesterday, we met with Scotty the contractor.
We talked about the stairs and how they will be laid out.
We agreed that the bottom steps will be flanged out and it will have a fancier, curving banister around the newel post.

We agreed on the cubby in the wall below the stairs. It will have nice doors hidden by the wainscoting patterns.

We agreed on the closet placement, hallway into the butler's pantry.
We talked about the bathroom and how the shower will have an overhead rain shower and the stall will be lit by two lights in the corner toward the back of the stall.
We talked about the butler's pantry itself and the wetbar.

We agreed on the front door, the side lights, and that when the time came, we could also talk about the shoe closet and the bench by the door, curved seat, custom made by Scotty himself.

We talked about a lot of things, including calling the inspector and trying to get a permit to start the work of re-construction. We didn't know what would happen, they could ask for a variance and make it kinda difficult. We wouldn't know until Scotty called the inspector this morning.

Scotty and I agree on a lot of things. He understands my personality and how I like to delegate, that I like entertaining ideas from more skilled and experienced people (sort of what I do at work every day). We both know that the ultimate decisions lay with me (and Joseph) but I can't do it in a vacuum and I need information to do it well. Scotty understands that. He trusts me and I trust him.

Seems like the inspector agrees with us and trusts him, too.
This morning, Scotty the contractor got an okay to start work.
Wow. There must have been an easy button sitting around!

Hopefully they are at work today. If not, hopefully tomorrow. If not, then I will yell at Scotty. He takes that well, too.

At least the pictures going forward will be more interesting...


Isn't a Cobb a Goose?

It sits in the back of my mind somewhere, sort of shivering in the breeze of my thoughs. I always think that when I think of Cobb Salad.

I am gonna try out my friend Paul's recipe this weekend.
I read about it and my mouth started watering.

I will, however, add the avocado.

How did I get here?

I don't get it.
I just had a meeting with my managers.
I recounted for them some of my experiences while in India.

One of the things is that I automagically added another group to my India team.
This group has one manager and 40 people.

Then I interviewed another manager in northern India who might also be added to the team. He would bring 3 people. And that would open the door for another 2 people in Bangalore and another 4 in Delhi from yet another organization.

So, when I left India, the group pretty much doubled in size from the time I got there to about 3 days into my trip.

Now we have almost 100 people in India.
And we have almost 40 in the USA.
And we are rapidly growing in both locations.
And I don't see an end to it.

I don't get it.
How did it come to this?

We also have a waiting list of people from the USA who want to come into the group. They only need an opening to apply. One guy we are extending an offer to this afternoon has been waiting over a year. OVER. A. YEAR. He has had two job offers already and turned them both down. He was waiting through the end of January and if nothing happened, he had made the decision to leave. And God came through. All the waiting and wishing and praying, the timing was right and it happened.

This guy is a happy man. He has pledge his allegiance to me.
To me?
Egads! I hope not.

I told him that it's all about the people.
It's not me who makes this group great.
It's the people.
He needs to make his allegiance to the people he will work with. Those that make this more than a job. The ones who make this place a second family. The people who work in the trenches day after day, and find time to make time for each other, even when they've been up for 30 hours attending to calls and production operational things.

I just don't get it.
How did it ever come to this.

A long time ago, in a space and time so distant from today, I only wanted to manage 5 people. Five.

What happened?


So, My Company is going through a re-badging exercise where the only thing on the badge is our face and our name. The goal is to maintain our anonymity in order to achieve a greater level of security.

However, the clip we use to adhere this new badge to our person has our very well-known logo emblazoned on the face of the clip.

Is it just me or is this just plain ironic?
Another word comes to mind but I won't publish it here, being the good corporate citizen that I am.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

90 degree change in temperature

... with the windchill...

And the wind was blowing yesterday when I go to Boston.
I was met by the Boston Coach coordinator at Logan Airport.
The first thing he did was tell me to zip up my coat.
Then he took my bags.
Then he second thing he said was to zip up my coat.
He was really concerned because the wind was blowing and the Limo car park is right across the terminal street and I would have to walk out side.
And my coat was just a thin marathon jacket I got from the NYCM a few years back.
Anyway, the walk over to the car took only 2 minutes, and it was cold, and it was blowing, but I had been so hot for so long that I kind of welcomed the cold. Longer than 2 minutes and I am sure I would have been cursing it.

The first thing I said to the customs official was: Thank God I am home. There is NOTHING like American soil!!
She just laughed!

Anyway, made it past customs without paying any duty on my purchases.
Of course, I conveniently forgot some of the things I bought and of course I can't do math so converting from INR to USD was difficult at best, especially considering the lack of sleep.

I also found out that as a Business Class person, I can check in two bags and each bag can be no more than 30 kilos. Hmmm... Next time, I might buy myself a suitcase while I am in India instead of cramming everything into a single suitcase and sitting on it to close it and hoping and praying that the zipper doesn't come apart. Ahem.

Last night I fell asleep around 7:30. I tried like heck to stay awake and I just couldn't do it. Joseph woke me up at around 8pm and put me to bed. He had also made the bed with the sheets I had put in the laundry yesterday afternoon, due to the dust from the construction.

Speaking of construction, here are some pictures I took.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I have a sunburn!
No wonder my face feel sting-y and looks red.

India time: 11:03am, Monday, 2.5.2007

It's done

I just finished packing my bag.
It's tight.
I had to muscle it.

I hope the zipper doesn't pop.
This trip might be the right time to get it "security wrapped" in saran wrap.

India time: 4:46pm, Sunday, 2.4.2007

Learning Chinese

I think I can do this one.
My friend Cathy had a goal to learn one new word of Portuguese a day for a month.
She said she needs to do better but as she is an overachiever, that could only mean that he learned 6 words a week instead of 7 word. Ahem.

Anyhoo, I think that if I did the same for Chinese, I can really learn the language. It's all vocabulary. It's an easy language in terms of syntax and sentence structure.
Other than the 5 question words, you add "ma" at the end of a sentence to make it a question. Easy, unless you are like me and tend to interrupt people. And then there is the future, and past. Same thing. You add a small ending. Unlike most of the Germanic and Romance languages, there are no declensions and conjugation. And most importantly, there is NO SUBJUNCTIVE!!! You have no idea what this means. Most of the world lives in the subjunctive about 80% of the time. Why is it that if this is case, we all learn present, future, and past tenses before the subjunctive. And then when you get to that, your brain is so full that you can't get another thing into it.

Not so with Chinese. Subject-verb-object. I think sometimes there is a subject-object-verb combo. I can't remember. There is no such thing as "he" or "she". No articles. No pronouns, prepositions, object of the preposition, on and on and on. Simple. All vocab. Of course, the vocab is really hard because of the tone. There's always a catch.

If I learn, let say... 1 word every other day and try to remember it and use it (that's the tricky part), by the end of the year... let's see... hmmm.... this is math... UGH! I HATE MATH!!! Okay. It's Feb 4...there are 330 days left in the year.... hmmm... divide by 2... hmmm...160.

I could learn 160 words by the end of the year!

160 words.
Hm. That doesn't sound like a lot.
Can I carry on a conversation with that?
Maybe I should learn a few sentences, too.
One a week?
That's like.... umm....dang... oh...47 sentences.
Is that enough?
I talk a lot. And I use long words.
I suppose it's a start, anyway...

India time: 11:52am, Sunday, 2.4.2007

Random thought: Fingernails

ARG! I cannot wait to go home and clip my fingernails!
They are driving me crazy.

How LONG can they grow in 10 days? Seriously??
My typing speed is down from 12o wpm to about 90 and it's making me nutz!!!

Note to self: when traveling, pack fingernail clippers.

India time: 11:42am, Sunday, 2.4.2007


Weekly Recap

This is my last day in India.
I am leaving for the airport at 11:45pm local time.
The flight is at 3:05 am local time.
I am due to arrive into Boston around 12:00 local time.
Nothing like traveling backward in time to really mess up your rhythm.

I am proud to say that I think I did pretty well on this trip - other than the 1 pound net weight gain. Grrr... I think I have to do what I've been avoiding for the last year and that is watch my caloric intake. Aka, cut down on the food. Period.

So this is how the week looked:

Monday - Plan: Run 20 minutes.
Ran for 25 minutes on the treadmill at the hotel.

Tuesday - rest.
Yup. I did that.

Wednesday - Run 45 minutes
Yup. Ran for 45 minutes on the treadmill at the hotel.

Thursday - rest
Yup. Did this, too.

Friday - Run 30 minutes
Ran for 22 minutes on the treadmill at the hotel.

Saturday - Run 2 miles
Yup. Ran 2.01 miles on the treadmill at the hotel.

Sunday - Run 8 miles

Yup. Ran 8.28 miles on the treadmill at the hotel.

I made some observations on my long run today.

First, if I concentrate on the time and the distance on the display, my HR goes up. It's weird. But probably not surprising since there is some level of stress when you think and then monitor the time because it is sure to elicit some sort of subconscious response from you.

Second, I can go faster and faster, and my HR will blip up by about 5-10 bpm and then come back down. My Long run average 73% of HRMax and it had gone up to 90 at one point. It would go up to 150, and then hover around 140. It was odd. I would gradually increase but my speed had to be increased a lot. Even then, the HR would come down somewhat.

Third, I took it up to a 7:56 pace at one point. I didn't die, I didn't fall off the treadmill, and if I hadn't run 8 miles, I felt that I could sustain this pace for a bit. Odd.

Fourth, the last mile, I was pretty much up between a 9:30 and 8:00 pace. Very odd considering the weight that I have put on.

My conclusion is that if I can just get it out of my head that I am slow, and if could just lose these 15-20 pounds and just run for cryin' out loud, I think I could be pretty fast.

Next week will be interesting. The week back from a long trip is usually hell and Monday is a wash, Tuesday I'll be sleeping on and off to try to get back to EST timezone, and then on Thursday, I have an all-day offsite.

So, the schedule looks like this:

Monday - run 20 minutes
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - run 45 minutes
Thursday - rest
Friday - run 30 minutes
Saturday - rest
Sunday - run 12 miles

Somewhere in there, I need to go to the gym and maybe hop on the bike a couple of times.

Oh, and that stoopid diet. I gotta get myself on an eating plan. ARG!!!

India time: 11:35am, Sunday, 2.4.2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Packed in tight

I am not sure that I will be able to get everything into my suitcase. I brought over a suitcase that had not been expanded and with some room inside.

I just finished phase I of packing for my trip home only to find that I still have half a suitcase I need to pack. I bought a collapsing "bag in a bag" at the airport and I am starting to use that. I still have to pack running shoes, toiletries (a lot of it), spare set of clothing tomorrow that I will wear until I head to the airport when I change into traveling clothes, my buckey pillow (it's big when you don't have space for it), my heavy leather backpack, food, and all sort of myriad snacks, along with 3 sets of Indian style tunic, pants, scarf sets that I have to pick up tomorrow from the tailor. What to do what to do what to do. As it is, I think I am over the weight limit and will have to pay a fee. In fact, I am sure that I am over the weight limit.

L and I went shopping with someone who works for us here in Bangalore. A young woman by the name of S. S took us to the places she shops. Let me begin by saying that I did all of my summer clothes guerilla shopping that I usually do every 3 years. But instead of spending about $2500-3000, pretty much spend about $300 - including shoes, and shirts, pants, Indian tunic sets, etc. This place is really cheap. Of course, you can't really find the kind of winter clothes that we need in New England, but the summer clothes are amazing.

Of course, you have to pay for the flight over here.
And you need a big enough suitcase.

Sigh... speaking of which, I think I'm in trouble.

India time: 11:10pm, Saturday, 2.3.2007

Random Thoughts

Ugh. Jetlag stinks. No matter how you think you might be over it, you're not.

In the room, there is water heater. It sits on a platform with a heating element in the middle.
The heating element then fits into the pot and plugs into the wall.
You push this lever at the base of the handle to turn it on.
Water boils in about 45 seconds.
I gotta get me one of these!

Indian people hover all over you. Makes me crazy. But you get used to it. Especially the butler, the driver, and the room boys.

Okay. I clipped my fingernails the day I left for Bangalore on the 25th. And now they are too long for comfort. I can't even type well. Jeez, they grow fast.

Indian people provide lots of good service in all the stores I went to. I wish it were true in the USA.

If you lose 2 pounds at the beginning of a trip by eating vegetarian food, it is easy to gain it back a week later by eating vegetarian food. Sigh...

India time: 9:00pm, 2.3.2007


Preparing for the Central Staircase

There are pictures that Joseph took of the work that's been in preparation for moving the main stairs on the first floor back to the center of the house, all while I've been in India. Unfortunately, it hasn't been completed and I will be arriving on Monday to dust and dirt and grime. At least, the bulk of the work has been done. I hope.

I told Joseph that I had said it was all going to be taken down to the studs. And of course, I reminded him that he was more optimistic than I. Which, of course, is typical.

Anyway, I've captioned the pictures as much as I could.
Here they are.

I wanted to post these before heading out to see more sights and do more shopping...

India time: 11:05am, Saturday, 2.3.2007


Friday, February 02, 2007

The other side of the road

So. The two pounds I lost when I first got here is back. ARG!!!
It does surprise me given the eating we've been doing.
I now know how vegetarians can get fat. Especially if you subsist on tasty food as opposed to salads and steamed veggies like they do in the states, which would turn any sane person off from vegetarianism in the first place. But... I digress.

Yesterday was an interesting day.
While we are here, we take the top performers to lunch.
It seems that bringing in food is a lot more efficient because the New Company Location is in the outskirts of Bangalore and to get to the nearest hotel is a hair raising, 35 minute ride. On a good day. And believe me. There are not that many good days. Unless it's after 10pm. Ahem.
We left late... I had an all hands and tried to cram 1 1/2 hours of info into 1 hour, which meant it took about 1 1/4 hours, which mean that we were 3o minutes late. Getting ready takes time, too, and I tend to forget about small things like that.

We asked one of the guys where to go. He used his own standards of things in his little microcosm and told us the Taj Residency. He said our hotel is on one side of the road and the Taj Residency is on the other side of the road. To an American, you think "across the road" when you hear "the other side of the road." Right? RIGHT??

Well. It took us about 1 hour and 5 minutes (not that I am counting) and we had to take two cars because there were 7 of us and if you have ever tried to follow the car in front of you in Bangalore traffic, then you what I mean when I say that we lost them in the first 10 minutes. And five of those were just sitting and going nowhere. And I KNEW it was going to be BAD when Anil the Driver SHOOK HIS HEAD when I told him what had happened! ARG!!!

The Taj Residency turned out to be located right next to the Hotel Oberoi, which is CLEAR ACROSS TOWN and has Ram Naam Restaurant and had I known that I would be traveling that far, I'd be going to the Ram Naam at the Hotel Oberoi. ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GAH GAH GAH!!! If he had been there, he would have been FIRED!!!! Not happy.

The food was exceptional, however, and I would definitely go back there, but for dinner and not lunch when you have to go back to the office. Also, it's right around the corner from where we were going bowling that afternoon. And since we left all our stuff at the office, we would be going back to the office and gathering our stuff, and then returning across town to go to bowling! We finished lunch at 3pm. And then we went back to the office and got there around 3:50pm. We milled around for 10 minutes and drove back across town for bowling. Those 10 minutes gave me just enough time to give a lecture to the said employee who sent us clear across town.

Turns out that when he said "across the road" he meant "at the OTHER END of the road." He drew a line and said, "This is where we are... this is MG Road... and they are across the road..." and pointed to the OTHER END OF MG ROAD!!! Talk about a scism in semantics. And THAT is part and parcel in a nutshell of the problems with communication with Indians.

I told him he had a lot to learn about the American language. It applies to his work. And I explained how it all applies to his work and that the lunch issue wasn't the point but that in a job where you need to understand user requirements, he didn't ask enough questions, made too many assumptions, didn't use the right language, and therefore, we got there but it was late, overbudget, too much stress on too many people, unorganized, and clearly not well communicated. The fact that the lunch, which he kept pointing out was exceptional, is not the point. If you deliver an exceptional system but you are over budget, your intentions not well communicated, took too much time and was delayed, and took too many people and phone calls to straightened out the confusion during the process, no one is really going to care that the work was exceptional. In fact, people are going feel that it had better be given the aggravation everyone was put through. And I told him that he was so confident!!! And he provided a solution right then and there without asking enough questions. It's a wonder that any of us got it right.

I still don't think he got it because at bowling that night, he was clearly uncomfortable and tried to explain it to me again. I told him he was not going to win, that he needs to think about this more and to get over it.

Anyway... if you are in Bangalore and happen to get lost at the wrong side of town, try the Memories of China restaurant at the Taj Residency. The food is exceptional. Especially when the head Chef, who is from Beijing, comes out personally to the table to take the order only to discover a Cantonese (W) and a Mandarin (L) and is able to order and converse in their native languages. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu. And of course, the group we took out went back to the office and bragged about how they had the BEST LUNCH of all the lunches that we had taken people to all week. Sigh...

Anyway... we went to bowling. I did poorly as always but everyone had a good time and this time, unlike last time, I remembered to bring socks. Afterwards we went to Ebony for a group dinner. The food was excellent but of course, since I had eaten lunch at 3pm, I wasn't hungry.

Well. If nothing else, at least we got to the bottom of the issues with this particular manager and the issues we know exist but just can't put our finger on. Well, it landed on our heads like a brick today.

India time: 10:31am, Saturday, 2.3.2007