Wednesday, January 31, 2007

scraping the bottom of the barrel

I want to make sure that I paint a clear picture of my inner workings here on this blog... so here is the email I sent to my coworker (actually she works FOR me), on this rainy day (very rare here in the "oven")
"I hate you right now!
to think that you are all cozy at home with your sleeping baby (or sucking baby, same concept of coziness)... perhaps a cup of tea or hot choc.... listening to calming music, or NPR.....
yes, I'm hating you right now....
and - for the record, my soup was very delicious, but not filling or satisfying in a nutritional way. I needed the "corn and peas", or PROTEIN!"

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

HB 2 me

I'm so tired.

I shouldn't be, because I just had a WEEK LONG vacation!

I WISH I had energy to do things in the evening!
I have not been able to do more than 2 workouts in the week; that's LAME considering that BEFORE I went on vacation, I was able to think about THREE!

could it be, that today I'm 38, and being older makes me s l o w d o w n. I n e e d t o t a k e n a p s to h a v e e n o u g h e n e r g y to m a k e i t t h r o u g h t h e w e e k.

I am now OLD!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Costa Rica

The magical river

The view of the Pacific from the top of our hill

The Apprentice jumps the shark

ok, so I watch The Apprentice. And mostly, I find it entertaining. I like to see how the teams work together and I think about their choices. Having an MBA and working as a project manager, it has interest to me.

But this Los Angeles season? - SUCKS!

here's why:
1. its all the FLUFF stuff and none of the decision making
The give very little time to how the teams work out their approach etc, they are only highlighting the things that happen that you need to know to understand the boardroom, which means:
The way they are editing completely sets it up so that you know which team looses.
3. the loosing teams camps out in tents in the backyard
I would LOVE to have such a set-up campsite! but really! this is NOT survivor! its about BUSINESS! geez)
4. There is none of the business decision making process that there usually is...
Are these people just BORING? useless? or do they have a new editor/producer person who wants it to be superficial, like LA?!
5. Who CARES if the one team hears what the other team is talking about... these people are not STRATEGIZING against each other! Again, this is NOT survivor!!

come on! bring back the business!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

one more Folb in Tempe than there used to be

I have three brothers. Actually, two are half brothers from my dad's 2nd marriage - but since we are a patriarchal culture, I just call them brothers.
The oldest, who is 20, is doing a semester at ASU. He says he picked ASU because its close to me, but I think that its rank in the top 5 "party" schools contributed to the decision. Either way, he's here.

He and his friends (there are 4 of them altogether) arrived the week before we left for Costa Rica, so we didn't have much time to be together. I did offer to take them to Walmart (god!) on Thursday 'cause they still hadn't purchased sheets, blankets, towels, and pillow (oh to be 20 and not care about pillows!). I also talked them into buying some breakfast items and treated them to some vodka. The drinking age in Australia is 18, so they are having a hard time dealing with this 21 thing. It didn't take them long to learn that the US is a lot more lax on rules than Oz (lesson 1).

That shopping spree was an interesting experience. They are less mature than I was at that age. I think it may be because they live in a close, closed, strong community of ex-pat south africans. They all still live at home, and they are all mid to upper middle class, so no stress about money, things, or responsibilities. I think this was the first time in their lives they ever thought about why they might like the pillow they use at home and what characteristics they should pick in the purchase of a new one.
I don't plan to see this gang of boys very often, but I figure every now and again, I'll offer them a home-cooked meal, and the sanctuary of a house and car transport for errands. I don't mind being a mom-sister.

The most interesting part about this is that when I drive around downtown Tempe now, a place I have called home for about 8 years, I see it in very different eyes. I have never really thought about the college community that is its mainstay. Now I notice how far the dorms are from food, how far they are from Mill, how hectic with cars the streets are, and how different this college is to any of the ones I attended. Its also crazy to think that my brother might be in that restaurant over there, or walking down that street, and when I drive past his dorm I can see his door, and imagine that he's asleep or watching TV, or hanging out... right there!

I have invited them over for BBQ this Sunday. I still haven't had confirmation that they are coming. I told him that I knew it was a tall order to invite him to an activity where there was absolutely NO chance that any of them would get laid, but hoped they'd take me up on the offer anyway... 'cause I could guarantee alcohol!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

response to Aaron


to make a HUGE life-changing choice, or not

I have some new friends. The husband works with me, and when they moved to Phoenix, they chose a neighborhood very close to our house. They have 3 kids - 10YO daughter and two younger boys. The husband went on about how his daughter was having a hard time about the move before the family made it, and I sort of reached out to her and have invited her to join us in some of our more kid-friendly antics. She seemingly enjoys the distraction, and its blossoming into a "connection". However, that's not the point of today's musing.

Yesterday, the husband told me that there is a small family at the elementary school of a sister (10YO) and brother (7YO) who's father is out of the picture, and the mother is going to jail for a year. My new friends have had the kids over to dinner at their house, and feel the difficulty of their lives. They understand that the children will enter the foster system for this next year, and they are concerned. They are thinking of adding the daughter to their family. They have a small house, and their boys already share a room, but it would be easy to add the girl in with their daughter. She was resistant at first, but apparently, understands why she should make this compromise. My friends are concerned about the boy because he is less "adapted" than his sister, and needs a lot of attention. They don't feel that they can extend themselves that much, and they are also concerned about the impact it would have on the friendship and behavior of their two boys. I understand. And I applaud them. But of course, my first thought was about that "needy" boy who will be separated from his mother and sister. I thought, "how easy if we could take him; he would still be able to go to the same school; he would be able to visit with the family of my friends, thus seeing his sister, etc"... my next thought was, But. my friends already have a family "infrastructure" that supports having a child. I don't. I don't have an arrangement for after-school care, dropping off, picking up, homework, dinner routines, after-school activities.... and am I willing to add them?

yikes! on the one hand it seems so do'able, but on the other.... very not.

I completely forgot to talk to Greg about it last night - which I had intended to do - the after-work tireds? or a sign?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

home from "home"

Just got back from 8 days in Costa Rica. Trip number 3. This one was very different. Instead of feeling like a tourist in the unfamiliar, it felt more familiar and "home". That might be because instead of us as the initiates, we took along Beth and Aaron, so we were the experienced and they the novice. When you are showing and telling and explaining, you have a feeling of familiar that you don't have when you are observing and commenting and absorbing. It was really nice, though, to feel like we were "home" in an unfamiliar place where we own land.

We also went through a different travel experience on this trip than usual. Our typical MO is to fly in to San Jose and take the first available flight to the Nicoya and reverse the operation on the way back. In other words, we hadn't ever seen any other part of the country.

This time, we rented a car, stayed a couple nights in San Jose, walked around, got a feel for the capital, drove to the ferry, ferried to the Nicoya, drove to Santa Theresa, beached, reversed the drive and went north to see Arenal volcano, and back to San Jose.
Yes, it is a beautiful country. Its green, lush, tropical. I'm glad that we toured around a bit, but I think that my heart is on the southern Nicoya, and in the future, I'm happy to do the plane hopping to get to the beach ASAP.

The other thing I have to say, is that our land is INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL. It was really great to be able to walk around and experience it. We mapped all the features with a GPS. The river is so magical (will post pics later), and the most incredible part is that since this land was used by the previous owner for his horses, and not as cattle grazing, it was never clear-cut. There is an obvious line between our land and that adjacent, because ours is a JUNGLE. In the past, someone planted tree fences and so there is a line of huge trees that marks the boundary - in case the jungle was not obvious enough. We saw monkeys, coati, and lots of lizards/iguanas.

Travelling on vacation with other people was also a new experience for us. We usually go on vacation alone or with my family (except for a trip to San Carlos, Mexico, but that was with SO many people that it was an experience unto itself). Anyway, I learned things about our friends that I hadn't known or realized before, and I learned things about us that I hadn't realized before - mostly, that we are pretty quiet people. I mean, I know that our home and life is pretty peaceful, but I had never really realized how much that is a result of who we are. I always thought it was because we didn't have kids, have cats (which are fairly calm, at least calmer than dogs), and because we spend our time at home trying to be relaxed to recover from all the crap and stress that goes on at work. But on this trip, I realized that Greg and I are innately quiet. We have times of excited, energy, passion, activity, but at the core is peace, quiet, and calm, not a lot of energy.

I've also known, through learning in my relationship, that Greg does not like anything that is a hassle, or more energy than the minimum; like crowds, or bustle, or confusion. He likes to be able to quietly process and absorb. This characteristic can be frustrating to me because he gets flustered in an airport, or mall, or doesn't like to make a complicated plan. But it also creates and perpetuates the quiet and calm. I found myself wondering if I have become more quiet because of it, or if the quiet it also an intrinsic quality of me. Probably it was there, and in my experience with Greg has become emphasized.

We are also pretty go-with-the-flow people, which is kind of ironic because we are both very Type A, independent, assertive; but in a group, we tend to allow others to call the shots. Don't get me wrong, if we have needs, we make them known; but overall, we allow others to direct conversation, topics of interest, and the general flow. I've seen how we do this with my family, but then, I have always done that with them because the rest of my family all like to be the center of attention more than me. On this trip, I realized that this is actually who we are, its not isolated to family experiences.

Anyway, that's all on Costa Rica for now, have to finish laundry, do groceries, pay bills, and finish unpacking. Then, I can download distribute and share the photos!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

just so's you know

I've been sick.
and still have to work
on a proposal that's due tomorrow.
I'm also packing and making lists and buying things and running errands in preparation for our trip to Costa Rica.
It's not that I've gone away or anything, just using energy on other things.
for now

Friday, January 05, 2007

how to figure it out

in thinking about this whole what do I want to do for work thing, there are all these thoughts that swarm through my head. I feel like they are mosquitoes and I'm trying to swat them and missing and they buzz in my ears some more.
Finding a company where you fit is like finding a relationship that works, except that with relationships, there are things you can do to get to know each other before you commit and sign the W2. How do you get to know who a company is before you make the commitment? and even if you do a ton of due diligence, management could change, and the whole atmosphere be different.
I think I have a pretty good idea of what my skills and strengths are, and unfortunately, I don't think that they relate to a particular specialty, like a do'er, I think that I am better at management and making things happen, planning, organizing, motivating - making things happen. So, how do you define a job that captures the directing rather than the doing?
as an aside - I was thinking last night, I committed to a personal trainer and working out, like a new year's resolution, TWO MONTHS ago. So, my "planning radar" is two months ahead, I think you can say.
anyway - today I am documenting the challenge of figuring out what is right for you. The challenge of figuring out what kind of working environment fosters your growth and helps you excel.
Of course, some people may just be happy with a job that pays them money. But when you have committed (money and time) to an (advanced) education to contribute to the workforce and something meaningful, or that gives you meaning, then, by golly, you want it to happen!
I think sometimes that if you are a parent, you can always say that your contribution is the mentoring and fostering of this other person that can be your legacy. But when you are not a parent, you need to be contributing more than just changing all your stupid lightbulbs to CF and driving below 3000 RPMs !
I am scared to apply for a job at another company.
I am scared of the rejection if they turn me down.
and I am scared of finding myself in this situation of being frustrated and not knowing whether its me or them.
I want someone to want me, I want someone to say - Lisa, you are what we want, your skills match our need. Come and work for us.
But there are no "bars" where "seasoned" professionals can go and "meet" prospective employers. Just stupid college fairs and internships for those young moldable idealistic sub-30's greenies.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Musings: a series: intro

We have our reviews at work in a couple of MONTHS. but my supervisor has asked that we all start a) talking to our staff and b) start thinking about ourselves.
There is a LIST of things they want us to think about, and honestly, I just . don't . know.
So - I have decided to ponder here amongst the musings.
Exhibit 1
The Questions

1. Current Job title or Role:

2. Vision Statement:

3. Business Competency Development Need:  Project Management; Industry Knowledge; Functional Skills.

4. Behavioral Competency Development Need:  Communications; Leadership; Problem Solving; Customer Focus.

5. Technical Competency Development Need:  Architecutre; Construction; Engineering; Finance; GIS; Human Resources; Marketing; etc.

6. Why were these selected for development?

7. What will be done to develop them?

8. How will success in each be measured?



how much fun in one place!


Exhibit 2

my supervisor's way of explainging things

Imagine two sets of three circles set one represents your Need, Desire, Skills set two represents the company's Opportunity, Desire, Skills

We want our people's intersection to match the company's intersection.


for the record:
there will be two contexts....
context 1 = the actual answers to the questions
context 2 = what I can actually put on my review.
because I can tell you now, if I asked them to use me the way that matches all these answers, I know right now that there is not a job for me here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Blog Review

I have recently dedicated some time to Sweet Juniper.
This is a site maintained by the Parents (Dutch and Wood) of Juniper.
It seems that they may have started the site to keep in touch with each other when he went back to work (?) - maybe.
Anyway.... I noticed it in the past through links, and I was intrigued by the photography. They take photos of interesting things always with Juniper in the frame. The photos are interesting because its not a photo of Juniper, so she is always somewhat distracted, or not posed. But she is ALWAYS wearing something interesting. That's what hooked me first. The incredible outfits they have on this child.
They don't have the site on a feed, so I never "watched" 'cause I rely on my feed reader.
Then I visited again, and noticed a post by the dad, Dutch, on Christmas presents for the daughter. And what they did for year 1, and maybe also year 2, is instead of buying her toys - which she didn't need - they spent her present money on clothes from people who sew and sell their wears/wares. This hooked me even more because I thought it was an interesting value to a) not want to buy your kid pounds of plastic and b) put value on what she wears by supporting small time manufacturers.
So - I gave the site some time the other day, and I have to say, he is a GOOD writer - hooks you, keeps you hooked for LONG passages, and these people believe and act on their values.
I have never felt a blog worthy of musing... but this one is - I think.

Posted By Musing to Musings at 1/03/2007 09:34:00 AM

Monday, January 01, 2007

A New Adventure

The endless adventures of Bogie Van.
Yesterday, we decided we'd resurrect the Boogie to make a New Year's celebration.
We had to get a new battery, vacuum, & Greg HAND pumped the tires.
We went the 4 miles to pick up our friends - no problem.
And then we went the 1 mile to the restaurant.
Oops Greg went right by the turn, now why was that?
No brakes!
We slowed & Greg turned in to an empty parking lot and put on the emergency brake.
Whew! no issues!
We walked the 1/4 mile to the restaurant & some other friends took us to get another car.
Today, Boogie got towed.

"Dude, what happened to you last night??"