Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Good Days back

So, here I am again. 2 days in a row! Woohoo!

Things are going much better today. I got up at the usual time, found my keys and badge and made it out of the house on time. So early in fact that I was able to stop by the post office and the bank and still get into work by 8AM. That is so nice because it means that I get off at 4:30. Woohoo again! In all my hi-tech working years, I could never have a day like that where I could get off at 4:30 guilt-free even though I had already put in an 8 hour day.

The job from hell has now become more like a job from purgatory. I am still not a SOX person, not a compliance person and not a corporate finance person but have learned enough about all three to understand and complete this project. Somehow, these are the projects that bring in a lot of satisfaction. You know nothing and are totally frustrated and challenged and then, all of a sudden, things come together and you are successful. Not that I need that kind of satisfaction all of the time. There is something to be said about doing projects in the field that you know and love. However, it is nice to face these kinds of challenge once in a while.

So here I am on Tuesday and the project finishes on Friday. I am already 90% of the way through and may finish by today in which case I can work on phase two through Friday which should really make them happy and look good on my record.

Was happy to get home early yesterday, play with the dogs and enjoy the new look of the garden. Can't wait until it is all done but that is going to take some time because I am getting to the stage where the hard scape needs to be done - fence, gates, spanishtile patio, maybe a fountain and re-doing the slate walkways. It would be really nice to finish this summer and then buy a barbecue and have a really nice barbecue for family and friends. However, we are already up on July so I am not sure if that is a reality. It is nice to have goals though.

And, now, it looks as if they might send me on a project in Austin, Texas. Not permanently of course but for a couple of months (with visits home). Still in the talking stages but we will see. I am hoping that it is a stepping stone to a project in Japan but, who knows?

And..........still waiting for my soulmate to pop up his head. I must say that I have met, randomly, some more single guys lately. Nothing happening yet but it beats the time when I didn't know of any single guys at all. Send some more my way!

Monday, June 25, 2007

not even 9:00 and has been quite a day

This morning was one of those mornings. The weekend was beautiful and active, as usual. I continued to work on the yard and am starting to see some progress. The ripping out and re-planting of the front planter area went well and looks beautiful- lighter, airier and more colorful. Just have to keep the watering schedule until all of these drought resistant plants get themselves established - about 1 year.

Saturday, I paddled with the team and we had a nice practice - lots of long paddles to try to build our strength and coordination. No more caterpillaring in races. :) We were to meet up with the coach for lunch afterwords but a car squished its way in between us on the way to the restaurant and then we hit a red light and coach was gone - she had no place to pull over and wait since we were on an overpass. After about 20 minutes of driving up and down El Camino, we decided to have a look into one place that seemed likely and, luckily, she was there! After lunch, I headed home where some wine, popcorn and a movie topped off the day.

Sunday, started off with a nice vigorous yoga practice. I was feeling strong and made it through all 12 sun salutations without a break. Didn't make it through the rest of the practice without breaking but that was okay. Making it through the sun salutations was a big step back to wellness for me. After practice, I shopped the farmers market - had a yummy strawberry, apricot, peach crepe, bought vegetables and yummy chocolate and some herbs to plant along the front walk (African Basil, Multi-colored peppers and golden thyme). Once home, I started to work again on the garden. The first order of business was to pull out the plants along the front walk and prepare the dirt. Fortunately, I still have mulch left from the 3 yards delivered for the front yard. The plants were all put in and fit perfectly into the space. I trimmed up the other plants along the porch and headed for the backyard. That was a much harder chore. I wanted to get the weeds cleared out along the back fence so that I could fill in with the dirt/mulch and bring the ground back up even again that had been sinking into my neighbors backyard. Their year is lower than mine and when the fence was put up, no proper retaining wall was built so my yard constantly sinks into theirs causing my slate slabs to slip and break. The back of the pine tree went fine and I was able to clear it quickly and refill with the dirt mulch. There was such a nice little space in back that I decided to get an azalea plant to put back there. I love azaleas and have been told they like shade and my yard is too sunny. Well, there was a nice shady place behind the pine tree. I hope it does well. Next came the front of the pine tree and the rest of the back fence. That was a nightmare. Somehow, the weeds were actually grass and had the same intertwined, matted rooting of a lawn. They were nearly impossible to pull and I ended up having to get a shovel and dig them out, causing dirt to get into the leaf bin and make it very heavy. There was also an anthill somewhere in that area and I was soon covered in ants. ugh! I grabbed the hose and rinsed off before they could get too invasive.

9 hours later, I was tired, dirty and a little sunburnt but the area around the pine tree was cleaned out, filled in and mulched. I also managed to clean out and fill in a little area by the back fence but still have about 20 feet more to go. Unfortunately, the leaf bin is full and I have to wait another week before it will be emptied. Yards are really a lot of work. Needless to say, my house is still horribly neglected with dog fur and dust all around. The kitchen is fairly clean since I do get the dishes done and counters wiped. I seriously need a good maid.

Anyway, I would say that the yard still needs at least 5 more weeks worth of hard work before it is back in shape. I have a good gardener helping out but, unfortunately, after Smokey's panic attack took out part of the fence, the backyard is too blocked off for him to get into unless I am there.

Well, I have certainly drifted from my original topic which was the events of this morning. After a fairly good night's sleep, I was awakened way too early by Smokey Bear when something panicked him this morning. No damage done but I had to get up to make sure he was okay. Afterwards, I went back to bed, only to oversleep. After checking all of the plants and feeding the dogs, I made my lunch and ate my breakfast, took a shower and proceeded to try to put my contacts in. For some reason, my eyes were not cooperative this morning. After 4 or 5 attempts at getting the first contact in, I dropped it on the floor and had to write it off - couldn't even find it. I opened another one and after another 4 or 5 attempts and a good round of cursing, it finally went in. The second one was no easier. This all delayed me another good 20 minutes.

After getting dressed and thinking that things were getting better, I grabbed my purse, lunch and portfolio only to find that I had no car keys. I thought back to the last time I drove the car and my steps since then. Finally, about 15 minutes later, I found them in my pants pocket. By this time, I was nearly an hour late. I hopped in the car and took off. Fortunately, the traffic was fairly light and I made good time. Getting better, I thought.

I got to work and..........no badge! Some places this is not a big deal but, here, it is. I searched the car because I usually leave it in the console - no badge, searched my purse - no badge. Finally, another 15 minutes later, I had to give up and go get a temporary. And, here I am, at the assignment from hell, at last. I wonder if my subconscious was saving me from having to face this this morning? Well, it delayed me, but, I am here and better go now to see if I can get through it and make some progress today. Only 4 more days after this.

Oh, but first, across the street to Starbuck's for a coffee! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

30 year reunion

Yes. It is 1:15 in the morning and yes, I am here blogging. Just came back from my 30 year high school reunion. Amazing! It just doesn't feel like that long at all. It was only with some trepidation that I went. All those old feelings of being an outsider, not fitting wih any one group, insecurity, etc. came washing back at me . So much so that I didn't even want to think about it until today. So......I didn't go shopping for a dress, go to the salon for a pedicure or anythng. This morning, I just went shopping in my closet to find what fit and was somewhat fancy. Then, I had to dig around in my makeup to find some more dramatic eye shadow, lipstick and mascara that matched the dress - something more than my everyday 5 minute makeup job. Then, shoes. Tried on the fancy ones that matched the dress and then decided it would just have to be the comfy ones. They were still okay but a little less formal. The same with the purse. The fancy evening bags wouldn't hold my wallet so I went with a black leather one that would.

Finally, at 7:00, I was all showered, shampooed, made up and dressed in my fancy black and silver cocktail number with my silvery pink toenails, black hematite necklace, real pearl and diamond rings and faux diamond earrings and tennis bracelet, eye shadow, liner, mascara, blush, lipstick, etc, etc. The cocktail hour was at 7:00 so I knew that I could be fashionably late at 7:30.

I arrived, parked and forced myself to go in. The feelings were all washing in. I kept telling myself that I was a perfect human being and lovable, not that insecure 17 year old but here were those folks again.

I walked in, got my badge with my name and photo from the high school yearbook and walked into a room of strangers. Suddenly, right next to me was Reid Tanaka, my rival and number one competition in math. I am proud to say that he never managed to beat me though he gave it a valiant effort. He seemed much shorter than I remembered. Shorter than me in fact. I guess I got taller. We talked and he is a 26 year Navy veteran specializing in submarines. We discovered that another classmate, Arnie Brown was not there because he is now serving in Iraq (I thought we were too old for that). Next, I saw my friend, Bill Petrie, and met his wife again who I had met 20 years before. Things weren't so bad. I stood in line and got a drink at the bar and things got better. The reunion was a combination of the graduation class of our year and the year after ours. It was nice to see folks from the class of '77 that I hadn't seen in 30 years.

Many folks had become unrecognizable and we all spent a lot of time peering at each others name badges to figure out who they were. Many of the women had "rounded out" to middle age and the guys had paunches and bald heads. Many others still looked really good and some folks looked just like in High School. There were people that came looking for me that I didn't necessarily remember having a connection with in high school and there were those that I thought I had a connection with that just sort of said hi and didn't really remember me as anyone special. The nice thing was talking to folks that I hadn't really associated with and making a new connection. Interesting.

Some of the women had breasts way to big, solid and high and tummies too flat to not have had work done but they were in the minority. I have to say that I was proud of having my flat tummy and weight down (even with the extra 20) and thought I looked pretty good. From some of the looks I got, I guess that others thought I looked good too! Just had to throw that in from the insecure 17 year old inside of me.

Some of the personalities were the same. Sonia was there with all of her friendliness, good will and very short dress (as usual). When she danced, her dress crept up revealing her semi bare bottom (I do believe that she had underwear on but not sure). With my usual ability to blend into the wall and not be noticed, I was able to hear the cattiness of some of the women as they watched her and made comments about her perhaps forgetting to wear her pants that night. Sandy came in and just wanted to dance. Kristi looked wonderful as usual with only a few wrinkles to hint at her age. David, the class clown was wild and crazy and, as usual, the best dressed person in the room.

My old swim co-captain, Linda, very excitedly searched me out and we discovered that we both have two dogs and continue to love water. She also has a daughter and a husband but that is another story.

We all danced the night away and it turned out to be very fun. As we went to take the class photo, I ran into a guy that I had known but not well and he told me that he is now a fireman and had never been married or had any children. I mentioned that I hadn't either and he told me that was because I was always too picky. I was shocked and laughed and asked if that was what people really thought and he mentioned remembering Willy Thomas always pursuing me and me turning him down. That is not exactly the story but Willy and I were good friends. I laughed again and told him that I was much less picky now.

Then, it was off to the class photo and most people left. Some of us stayed and talked and danced and many stayed overnight at the hotel. It is fascinating to see how everyone ended up 30 years later. I think that, overall, everyone turned out fairly normal and were more relaxed and less pretentious than 30 years before. There were many folks that were divorced and joking about it. There were two friends, Kristi and Ramona, whose kids had met at high school, not knowing their moms were friends from high school and had hooked up and had a baby and now the two moms are friends and grandparents-in-law. The spouses or significant others also had badges letting you know who they were with and one female classmate had her wife with her - a big step for us oldies since that wasn't discussed in high school except for a few of the more open guys. Nobody cared or noticed and we all just kept on dancing.

I headed home feeling good and happy that I went after all.......

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ohhh, the things that we worry about

For me, it is the pile of dirt (mulch) in front of my house. It seems that now that I am working again and actually earning a living wage, I thought I would have the bright idea to spend that money. So...... I am re-doing the planter in front of my house which has been bothering me for sometime now. There is this big overgrown bush that I have never liked right in the center. That is going. Yeeeaaahhh! and the ugly marguerites which look so pretty when they are in the delicate 4 inch pots but which become big tangled bushes with little appeal. The hedge is staying because it hides the automatic sprinkler system and is a nice guide to my front door. The rose is staying because I love roses. The sage and geranium are also staying with their lovely dark purple and bright orange flowers. The rest is all going.

Which brings me back to the dirt/mulch. The planter is very low on dirt and has been for some time. It hasn't been fertilized in 10 years although it has been mulched so, needless to say, before further planting, some dirt needs to be put back in. The best place for clean dirt (is that an oxymoron?) is Wheeler Farms, a truly mom and pop operation that, supposedly has magic soil. Their minimum load to deliver is 3 yards which is about the size of a Mini or a small Volkswagen. They only deliver on Tues, Wed or Thurs. My gardener/digger/planter/dirt mover can only come on Monday so that left me with a dilemma. I explained to them that I couldn't have this load of dirt in the middle of my driveway because then I couldn't get my car in and out of the garage. They said, "no problem, you live in Mountain View. we can dump in the street there without you getting a ticket" so I said okay. I asked when since I wanted to be home to see this and maybe still guide them to dump on one side of the driveway. They gave me a 4 hour window which of course I couldn't make since I am now a working gal so they gave me a 2 hour window and then finally said how about 12 - 1. So, on Thursday, I dutifully came home from 12 -1 and no truck. I went back to work. Who knows when they came? I got home at 9:15 and there was a big pile of dirt in the street, extending all the way to the middle of the street! I thought that was too much of a hazard. I could not block the street for 4 days. So, I got my shovel and started shoveling the mulch towards the curb until it got too dark to see. By that time, it was about as wide as 1 big SUV or 1 1/2 regular sized cars. I thought it would be okay.

Nonetheless, I got up early this morning to try and move some of it on to the driveway. I went outside to see that someone had run over the pile, no easy feat since it is a bout 4 feet high. The dirt was spread down the street. I got my broom and swept it back towards the big pile. Then I got my shovel and a bucket that could hold 3 shovelsful and started moving dirt to my driveway. After about an hour, bucketful by bucketful, I was about 1/4 of the way through the pile and had gotten it back to the curb enough that it was only as wide as a small car. I felt like I was doing one of the stunts on Survivor.

After my day laborer job, I still had to shower and go to my regular job. Just a little sore and managed not to stiffen up over the day.

Then, I began to worry that someone would see the dirt and think that it was free and I would come home and my $200 pile would be gone. You can imagine my relief when I got home and everything was just where I left it. Guess I will go out and put in another hour of labor tomorrow to move more to the driveway. If I did that every day, I am sure I would be much thinner.

And speaking of weight, after going back to work and gaining (big look of horror) 25 lbs. despite watching what I eat and walking daily at lunch time (the change in activity level and schedule was just too much for my system), I am finally back on track and have lost 5 pounds. Lets just hope that keeps up for the next 20 pounds and I can get back to normal. Dirt pile, here I come!

So what else has been happening? I finished my project this week (today) and am taking Monday off to take care of the house, get the new plants in and take care of the million other things (health care, insurance, house maintenance, etc) that you have to be home on a weekday from 9 - 5 to take care of since that is when the other people are working. I soooo need a wife (or househusband would do).

Then, on Tuesday, I start a new job at a fund management group in San Mateo for two weeks and then off to a major retailor we all know in San Bruno for about 3 months. Somewhere in there I plan to take off a week and go to Aspen for a little vacation. After next week, I will have my 500 hours in and start accruing vacation and get my holidays paid which means that I now get to take the 4th of July off and get paid for it! Yeahhhhhhh! Oh, and the overtime is paying for all of the extra work around the house and hopefully soon, a new refrigerator and carpeting. Maybe not so soon - 6 months or more. There is still a lot of work to be done on the yard.

The rest of my week was rather challenging. I had a meeting for the startup I have been involved with for about 4 years on Monday and it went about as bad as it could go. I emailed the CEO about the lack of courtesy certain members have for the rest of the team and her response was that "we can't be nice to each other or nothing gets done". That was about it for me. I had actually written my resignation letter the day before and was ready to turn it in but felt compelled to complete my project reconciling the books and stock for them and then turn in my resignation letter with a clean slate. That should happen the second week of July. The letter is written and waiting. I had been thinking to resign anyway since my life is way too full and I really need more time for my personal life and family. After evaluating my many activities, I decided to give up my position on the Board of the USC Bay Area Alumni and to resign my position at the startup. After finally making those decisions, I breathed a big sigh of relief.

What else happened this week? Tuesday was actually fairly good. I went to my painting class and finished my portrait of the sealions. It came out very well. Lots of emotion and very cute.

I have been trying to get my gate replaced but having trouble having the companies come out to give me an estimate. One guy was very rude to me and didn't want to do the job because I have dogs (even with me home). He said that he would come out on Tuesday but never showed. The other guy was very nice and said he would try to get out Thursday but he also never showed and I was really hoping to get the new gate on Monday while I was at home so that I could have the dogs in the house while it was being done. This means that I will have to be home and off another day from work when I finally do find someone to give me an estimate and get the work scheduled.

I ordered new contact lenses and, of course, they are also only open during regular working hours requiring me to take time off to pick them up. I tried online but they were just as expensive and you have to pay shipping. I was also not relishing the thought of my delicate Contacts sitting on my porch in the sun until I got home. I ordered from my Optometrists office (who wrote my prescription) and left work early yesterday to pick them up only to get there and find that they were the wrong Contacts. The receptionist blamed me (?!?) when she had my prescription sitting right there and I had told her I wanted the ones from my prescription (aargh!).

Then, today, I ran int the curb and scraped my magnesium rim on my car wheel - a big, long, crushing scrape........(aaargh).

Needless to say, I am glad the week is through and it is the weekend. Time for some good energy.

I have been paddling (get your minds out of the gutter please) with the dragon boat team every weekend which has been loads of fun. Mark your calendars because Aug 18-19, we are paddling in the American Cancer Society Paddle for Life Event in Foster City. If you would like to support our team and the American Cancer Society, you can make a check out to the American Cancer Society and give it to me. I will turn it in at the event. And, it should be a fun event, so, if you have time, bring the family or friends and come out to watch us paddle.

Tomorrow, I have my 30 year (count them) High School Reunion. I was hoping to have lost all of the 25 lbs by this time but guess I will have to settle for 5. Better than gaining 5 more.

Needless to say, I have not made any headway on my letting go project and my study is still quite full of papers needing shredding or filing. The desk is getting piled up with new "papers" needing going through and this despite the piles of junk mail, etc. that never make it to the study and go right to the recycling bin. I am so wanting to continue this project but have had no time.

Well, if you are still reading by this time, Congratulations! I am sure this was a real snooze but, heh, I am back, at least for now and here is my blog.......

Happy, Sunny Day!