Friday, December 29, 2006

Are you like me? or not?

The other night, I was listening to two people talking about morals and how you might be bothered by something on a moral level without realizing that this thing goes against your morals until someone you care about crosses the line.

I was listening to them thinking about whether or not I could identify. And I realized that I couldn't. I realized that I don't think anything has ever crossed my "moral" threshold.

Is it because I am immoral?

I think I am a very understanding person, I think that's why I am not easily offended.

And so I started thinking (during that sleepless night - remember that?) what does tick me off? do I have any lines?

I do have one....
but even that is flexible.

Take my brother. I know that he changes his mind often, I know that he may not always do what he says he is going to do, I know that in some situation he can be unreliable. Do I say that he has lost integrity? no. because he has integrity in the way that he lives his life. These factors are just things that are a part of him. They ARE his integrity.

I know this is probably confusing. But there you have it. That's just me.

and, if you were wondering...
its tough for me to sympathize with people sometimes because something that is B.U.G.G.I.N.G them can seem to be a non-issue for me.
Its not that I have no ability to be empathetic.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

DONE - for now

My cooking for crowds is over Yay!
I enjoyed putting the kitchen though its paces, and I think we were successful.
Here was the post-Boxing Day cocktail party/open house menu.

cheese coins
crab cakes
mushroom phyllo thingies (also MSL, can't find recipe due to annoying new "search" system)
eggplant dip (also MSL, can't find recipe due to annoying new "search" system)
baked brie-recipe from a friend
orange-yogurt cake (also MSL, can't find recipe due to annoying new "search" system)
brownie bites-from a box

I also put out guacamole from TJ's and See's chocolates.
Jen brought salmon tea sandwiches and an apple pie, and Adrian made baked beans with kielbasa.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

One thing we didn't fix

Through all of this holiday cooking, I've realized that there is one thing in our kitchen that is wrong - that we didn't fix. Although, I don't think we could have fixed it.

The oven is at the short end of the island.
In itself that is not an issue.
But for some reason, people like to stand in that spot. So if you need to open the oven, you have to ask the people to move. And for some reason, people forget that you just asked them to move, so as soon as you close the oven, they are back standing over there.
Now add to this that the oven temperature varies, so you have to keep looking at the thermometer inside... so when you are baking or cooking in my oven, you need to open it a lot!

on the left is the location of the oven in relation to the island; on the right is how much space you have to stand there with the oven open. Since I am fairly small, you can see the issue.

In my sleeplessness of the other night, I was pondering this issue. Mostly, I was wondering why people stand there. If you are paying attention to where you are in space and there are things going on around your back - THAT close to your back - wouldn't you move, and stay moved?

while I was taking those photos, I realized I could capture the reflection of both skylights in the counter:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sleepless Nights

I could NOT sleep last night. I thought about this, and that, and this again.
I had all these ideas for things to post on my blog... and then composed them. Complete with spellcheck! I actually contemplated getting up and typing... but thought, well - if I lie here still I might fall asleep - three hours later...

anyway, its morning, I did sleep, and now I'm waiting for a 10:45 vet appointment, and I have to stop Max from peeing before then so that they can do a urine sample and make sure that his "inappropriate elimination" is not due to medical reasons. Yea, we know its behavioral, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt - first.

So, I'm going to do some typing, cleaning, things where I will be still, so they will just lie with me and not want to be outside or wandering.

That's all for now, but stay tuned for some "dailies".

Monday, December 25, 2006

Holiday Season

Well this has been a very different holiday season.
Usually, we have some sort of gift experience, a lot of family time, and a few social events.

This year, we had LOTS of social obligations before the holidays.
We planned a cocktail party/open house here for all our friends as that one social event.
But all those plans went awry.
We only made it to one pre-Xmas party, and we’re hosting THREE.
I was talking to a friend about getting together on Xmas eve, and decided we’d host a dinner. On Sat, the guest count went from 6 to 8, to 12, to 13, to 10. Luckily, our menu was planned to feed an army, so we are just eating the leftovers for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow I start shopping & cooking for the party, and then or New Year’s Day we do a small gift exchange. Those are all the social events.

In the meantime, I’m using the days to catch-up on errands. Today, we rented a carpet cleaner! and removed the evidence of “kitchen” from the porch “carpet”! How’s that for “spirit?!”

Thursday, December 21, 2006

are your worries really that bad?

An old Jewish saying goes:

if you and everyone else hung your worries on the worry tree, and then you could pick the ones you wanted,
you would select your own.

Monday, December 18, 2006


... an email about my credit card bill.
aaaah... so THAT'S why I put up with it!
yup - in my values, that is a good reason.
WARNING: this post contains 100% sarcasm.

Such a Challenge

Its getting to the breaking point,
the tipping point,
where I just can't take it anymore.
I wonder all the time if it is more because of me, or more because of the nature of the business.
I wish there were women leaders out there who were able to mentor, and assist the rest of us in these blatant chauvanistic experiences.
Sometimes I think about writing to Martha Stewart and asking her to write a book, or something other than magazine froo froo, about the realities of being a female leader.
I wish there was someone I could talk to, to say, this is what happened to me right now; how should I respond.
I am pretty sure that being surrounded by male managers means that in an adapt-or-die kind of way, I take on the traits; which of course make me rejected because I am behaving out of the expected form.
If I was in an environment where there were other, like even just one other, technical lead who was a woman, we could at least band together to try and make change.
When you talk to upper management about it, they just think you're whining.
I realize that I have 2 options, take it or reject it. If I take it, they will think that they can treat me that way; so I try to assert myself, I try to not accept the derogatory. And then I get labelled as ... (I can't even think about the words right now - I make a concerted effort to use positive words instead of their negative counterparts; the positive words would be strong, direct, assertive). This is not how their wives behave, and so why do I?!
Today, a guy (a peer - sorry, that's not true, in a strict examination of the office org chart, I am actually above him) told me, basically, that I was not to talk to this, like, administrative person at a prospective client ever again.
I am the person who has submitted proposals to this person, I am the one who has talked to her about our company, I am the one that she calls. And because of something completely out of my control, he has decided that I am not qualified or good enough or smart enough to ever . talk . to . her . again. He said - send me the person's contact info, and I'll call her.
How do you respond to this.... ??? do you just do it? or do you put up a fight?
I told him not to treat me like an idiot. I said, how is it going to look, you who she doesn't know and has never even heard of, calling out of the blue to tell her that I am wrong and that she shouldn't talk to me anymore? No matter how you phrase that, you are communicating that Lisa is not competent - ie in the future when she submits a proposal to you, don't trust it.
His response "don't get defensive" "this is water under the bridge" and then in the next sentence he says: "in the future, when she calls you, it is not about your field. It is about my field, and you should refer her to me."
I'm sorry... when did he become psychic? when did he suddenly know everything that is going on in the mind of this woman that he has never met? at this client that we don't work for.
I'm going to stop now 'cause its just making me angry.
and Martha Stewart, if you have snoops out there searching for your name in random contexts, please! please! please! share your experiences. We don't care if you were called a bitch. We don't care if they say you are cold and uncaring. We don't care if they chastise you for putting business first, and your personal life second.
Because they have called us those things too.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A theory on a new topic - "terrible" twos

Here's a thought.
When your kid is a baby, not communicating intent, only demanding fulfillment of basic needs, you make all the decisions. You can pick the kid up and move it, you can feed it what you like, you give it something to play with, you are calling all the shots.
Once the kid starts to think, it wants to have more autonomy. Ok, so I know that's the definition of terrible two... kid claiming independance. But usually people put that on the kid... the kid is naughty, the kid has a temper, the kid is demanding, the kid won't do what its told.
My thought, is maybe this is really about the parent. You are stuck in a rut, you are used to a type of behavior, you are not used to letting your kid call the shots. Think about a six year old. You allow the kid autonomy, and you talk to them about things you want them to do. "Please will you put on your shoes" - whereas with the 2YO, YOU try to put on the shoes.
So maybe an idea would be to start reasoning with your kid early on so that when you hit that autonomy age, the kid has the feeling of decision because you are talking to it, rather than just doing.

Perhaps you've already figured this out, and I'm the one who's lagging.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another Theory about Management

Do you know how to tell when the employees of a company suck, ie they are not very good at doing their job?
When the management give you instruction, they explain every . tiny . d.e.t.a.i.l.
this is another one of those self supporting cycles. They treat you like you can't do anything without explicit instruction, you keep getting explicit instruction, so you stop thinking for yourself, they think you can't do anything without them, so they give you explicit instruction, and the cycle continues.
If you want examples, let me know (via email) 'cause I'm not making those public.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My dream Job!

For the past couple of days, I've been talking a lot about my thoughts on a piece of technology. The discussions have been with a couple of different people; they are engaged and interested in my answers, and I get completely taken away by how exciting it is to talk about my opinion on the subject.
I feel kind of weird that I enjoy the conversation to much, and I started wondering last night why it makes me so excited.
I think one of the factors is that when someone is paying attention to your opinion like that it just gives you lots of energy. You are getting complete attention, you are engaged, and you are connected. The other part is harder to understand...
I think it is because I like to figure things out; I like to solve problems; I like to look for the problems, and think about ways to solve them. I also like to put things together, think about efficiency, think about process.
I remember when we were kids, my parents would always buy my brother model airplanes. He used to throw them together, getting glue everywhere, ripping the emblems. Sometimes they would sit there unmade. I don't think it was something that excited him, it was just something that he'd been given to do and occupy his time. I LONGED for those airplanes. I wanted them SO much. I wanted to carefully take apart the pieces from the frame, carefully follow the instructions, carefully assemble them. I am pretty sure that I must have asked for one because I wanted them so badly. But I know I never got them.
When I could buy my own things (!) for myself (!) I bought the model of a Dodge RAM and put that together.... but I have found something that is even more fun than a stupid useless airplane, or a silly car............. IKEA FURNITURE!
I think that stuff is worth the money just for the enjoyment of assembling it !!!!
so, I figure I have always enjoyed the process and the problem solving. And technology changes so much all the time, there is always something to figure out. This current trend of discussion about my thoughts and opinions.... I am LOVING it!!!
I wish I could make it my JOB!

Monday, December 11, 2006

the season

I have been pretty behind on my blog reading and writing this past week.
My new workout regime has kept me pretty busy, and tired/drained.
I caught up on my reading this weekend, and realize that everyone is getting ready for the holidays with decorating, and cooking, and shopping.
I plan to make all my gift purchases online because I am in NO mood for parking and malling!
A couple weeks ago I went to the mall on a Sat afternoon with the intent of running into the Gap and replacing a pair of jeans that had ripped. I drove through half of the parking lot and there were no spaces! Plus there were people stalking the mall leavers to follow them to their parking spaces. So I said, screw it, and left. Its not like I needed those jeans NOW! I starting thinking that 10-noon on a Sunday would be a good time to go 'cause all those people would be at CHURCH! ha ha.
Anyway.... I am behind on doing my cards! I am behind on doing my online shopping! I am only not behind on my kitchen! which is all moved in and ready to function.
This weekend is the cookie baking extravaganza. See archives for past editions (posting from email therefore no quick access to link links).
I have so much going on, I actually think I'm going to take a calendar and write it all down!
Its probably not as much as the past, but I have a harder time getting things done now that I'm OLD!
I'll let you know how it all goes.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kitchen - at 98%

Before, During, and After
We are 98% done with construction - and 100% moved in!

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm thinking about it

(the kitchen is move-in-able, so I just washed just about everything I own - note to self, wear gloves! - and I'm waiting for it to dry; this is not easy!)

What is it that I had in my 20s that I don't have now.

I don't think I understood about being a woman when I was in my 20s. I wouldn't say I was a tomboy, but I didn't see any difference between men and woman. I didn't know what it was that made me interesting or appealing as a woman. I do now, but my body is starting to look its age. If you don't know me, that may be a strange statement, but I have always looked very young. In fact, about 6 years ago, someone asked me if I was 18, and 2 years ago, someone asked me if I was 24 (I will be 40 in 2 years), so that's some real young looking. But, I think over the last year, I have started to look my age. This is one of the reasons I got the PT... I want to be in shape when I turn 40. I want to be firm, fit, and energetic. I am REALLY worried about the progression of the metabolism slow-down. I don't want it to upset me as much as it did in my 20s.

I also think that when I was younger I had a confidence with serious blinders, and through time, I've been "hit" by confidence busters. I was definately more carefree in my 20s, more confident, and I think I was "lighter"...

I look at all the young-uns at the gym and I think, I used to be that confident; I wish I could tell them how to hold on to it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


When I was in my 20s, I wanted to be the person that I am today.
Today, I want to be the person I was in my 20s.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

December, the month of missing

When I was a kid, we lived in a very rural part of South Africa... all of the people around us were Christian. Like here, all the ad's, media, and talk in Dec was about being festive. Keep in mind, that being in the S'rn hemisphere, South Africa was in the middle of summer during the Christmas holidays.
So, American and British TV were going on about snow, decorations, trees, presents, spicey smells, apple pie, roast dinners, and all things warm, cuddley, homey, and cozy.
We didn't have any of that.
It was sunny, hot, this was the season of the beach holiday. There were no pine trees, and being Jewish, there were no presents (exchanging gifts at Hannukah is not a universal amongst the Jews, its pretty isolated to the US materialistic capitalistic culture), family gatherings, big roast meals, or applie pies (definatly also a US phenomenon).
I felt very left out.
Another factor, I suppose, was that I don't have a big family, so there were none of those "home for the holidays" overflowing house experiences of idiosyncratic relatives and all of that were not occurrences of December. Yes, we had that WHOLE experience, complete with incredibly delicious food at the annual Seder at my Dad's cousin's... but you know, TV, movies, and the media didn't really go all out for that like they did for Christmas.
Now, my parents, being all caring, would give us a token little celebration. We would get a few presents... all in the name of "this is for your grandmother's sake"... and she would have a little tree, and we'd go over to her house and open up the presents... but for me, it wasn't the same without the big dead pine tree, the decorations, the smells, and the hordes of relatives (my mother's sister had kids when I was older, so even on the maternal side, there wasn't a lot of family running around these little gatherings).
When I went to college, there were a couple years where I spent the holidays with friends or boyfriends, and I really enjoyed those. They were also small family gatherings, but it was cold and snowy in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. There were trees, and family ornaments, and presents.
As I get further away from having the need to experience organized religion, I still miss that feeling of home and cozy in December. Having my own home would seem like a good reason to do the whole thing.... but when you don't really practice a Christian religion, it just seems weird to do the whole thing. One year, my aunt and uncle came over from South Africa, and that seemed like the biggest reason of all to go ALL OUT. I got a tree that was as high as our ceiling. My first! I didn't want to buy ornaments, so I baked gingerbread cookies, and had friends help me string popcorn cranberry garlands. I added lights and some candycanes. It was very beautiful.
...but after all was said and done, my mom started having horrific allergy attacks, and the only thing we could figure caused them, was the tree... so out it went.
Over time, I have found a compromise. I still live in a snowless environment, although it is cold here... at night. But I can make my home have that cozy feel, and I fill my house with my friends by having at least one holiday "party", and I'm over presents, although we do them on a very small scale. a result, I don't "miss" so much in December anymore.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my Mom's birthday.

She has always been a creative person. Mostly using fabric as her medium. When I was young she was always doing an embroidery or tapestry of some sort, and I remember applique became the rage for a while, combined even with the embroidery. When we moved to America she made the obligatory geometric quilt, that oh so American of handiwork traditions. But my mother is not ordinary, and she is not geometric, so that wasn't going to do. She has been playing with different types of concepts now that all of these fabric and thread art forms have smoldered inside her left brain, and they have emerged from her into an expression of original creativity. She has become making fabric art. Since I think sometimes that I am the guinea pig receipient of the first try, like the first pancake in the batch, I would like to say that it started with a tapestry she made for us and our first home. I don't know that we ever hung that up in that house, but our new house had the perfect spot.





...and then she told me she wanted to try crazy quilts, and wanted to make me pillows, so I said, make them like Sassy toys.


...and then it just evolved into a fabric art craziness!!!

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.... and now... someone saw her art at the coffee shop and she's having exhibits all over the place!!

So - in homage to my Mother...
happy birthday, and may the creative force be with you propelling you into retirement from one career, and into another that motivates, releases, and invigorates you.


Getting into the spirit of the season

Its more sparkley in real life. And it does what I wanted... Tannenbaum that represents winter and desert. Do you think this works?

It kinda makes the house feel more festive.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Plans for Sat

yes, you can tell me I'm a nut!
I am glad that its Sat... and I have plans! G. has a training thing at work, and so I'm going to regrout the bathroom sinks 'cause the current grout is coming out and the water is leaking down into the cabinets.
Then, I'm going to cut a dead branch out of a tree and put it in the house to create a festive feel... yup, in my mind, that has the potential to be festive!
We are planning a "boxing day" cocktail party... a lot of our friends who live in other parts of the country will be here, and so we're doing this to have everyone in the same place at the same time... I have "decorating" plans to make the house feel "wintery"... see... dead branch = winter. I'm going to make cutout snowflakes, we'll make fires (and recommend the guests come in T-shirts!), and have spiced cider and things that smell good. It just sounds all warm and homey thinking about it... I think that I need to think about "nesting" things since I still don't have a KITCHEN!
Wed the cabinet people put in some of the trim that was missing, but they still need to put handles on the drawers (they need spacers), and one of the doors was so badly damaged.... that they took it away!!!!! I have no idea what was wrong with that door 'cause it looked fine to us!
They come back on Monday to finish the cabinets - and RUMOR has it the granite will be here on Tues. I left a message for the contractor saying that I need water and clean cabinets by Dec 14 because I am going to take off the 15 to wash everything and put it away. I have the annual cookie baking insanity on the 16th, and I need my kitchen in working order! I'm looking forward to this baking extravaganza as the initiation of the new kitchen. With hope, there will be a ding and a mess, and flour everywhere... I do this with 2 friends - K. is the opposite of me... I'm meticulous and measuring, and planning, and focused; she's all over the place, and three cookies going at once, and faking the measuring and we have learned to work around each other; B. is completely different to both of us. She makes things up! and totally does her own thing... its TOTALLY exhausting! Anyway... I want my kitchen to be done for that.
I looked at my calendar today and kinda blocked off when I'm going to do what for this holiday season... one thing that makes me sad every year... we don't have a lot of cocktail parties to go to. I believe there are three on the schedule this year (including our own!), so that's two more than usual...
I don't know why more people we know don't do open houses or cocktail parties... and then I wonder, even if they did... would we go?
and maybe they do... but because we don't go, they don't invite us anymore.....
and then I also think that the issue isn't the lack of parties, or where they are... the issue is that I want those TV/Movie cocktail parties that are always happening in NY or Washington... so I'm missing something that doesn't even EXIST in the desert!
December has always been a month of missing things for me, maybe that's the root of the issue....

first things first

Kate was cold.



Friday, December 01, 2006

random thoughts

I had a lot of thoughts on the way to work this morning, let's see if I can remember them
- note to self - figure out the speech thing on the umpc so you can dictate in the car !
CONFIRMED: lisa is a GEEK!
gym.... once, I read on someone else's blog, a really funny thing or two about the ladies locker room at the gym. It was super funny because of how real it was... come to think of it, I might be able to find those posts - sidetrack! found it This morning, I thought of those observations because the locker room at my gym is hysterical. Its very nice! Like, spa nice! carpets, cherry-like lockers, hairdryers, kleenex, big mirrors, little mirror stands that aren't by the sinks, marble tile, lots of towels !! They have soap dispensers in the showers (which are separated by walls and have curtains), which I use (is that wrong?) because since everything at the Lifetime is from MN, and the Lifetime SPA is all Aveda, I kinda thought they would have nice soap. I like it... it doesn't dry you out and all that... anyway. I get there just before 7am, which is when the RUSH is getting ready to leave, and its ridiculous... all these woman naked or in bras and towels like they are at home... prancing around, is smells like perfume, hairspray, and deodorant! After my workout, its much quieter... like all the stay-at-home moms are in there at 8am... This morning, there was a woman walking around in a green silk bathrobe! with little white flips, which she TOOK OFF to weigh herself... I have expected the robe to come off too... then she went in the shower and came out later with shaving cream, razor, soap, shampoo, and one of those puffy plastic buffy things!!! I mean, come on! this is a GYM... and please note, that there are NO permanent lockers, which means she carts all this stuff back and forth every day!! geez louise! I was speechless.
listening to Slate podcast about Girth Control... the author was comparing birth control methods to weight control methods - very funny, but one line got my attention:
The benefits of birth control:
"You get the orgasms without the organisms."
I've been watching brothers & sisters... mildly entertaining... but my favorite thing about it is the writing for the Calista Flockhart character.... There have been some serious gems, and I'm thinking of starting to take notes! I can't actually remember any of them now, so, I really should try to find those one-liners!
BTW - thanks D and R for the congrats!!