Friday, February 23, 2007

Cats or Dogs

I am not a dog person.
I just don't like them.
I think its because they are too needy.
Believe me, I have had my fair share of dogs. And as an adult, its just not something I want in my life.

When I was growing up, we had LOTS of dogs. Big, small, german shepard, mutt, daschund, dalmation, collie, you name it. We lived on 5 acres, so the dogs just ran around... in the house, out the house, none of them were necessarily assigned to a person, they were just all "our" dogs. I remember the process of house training them when they were puppies, and I remember them sleeping outside or inside, whever we happened to be. After we moved to the city when I was 12, my parents got me a dog. This one was identified as mine. It was a miniature maltese who I named Mickey (after Mickey Mouse). I loved that dog. It would spend the night in the kitchen, and when it was let out in the morning, it would RUN to my bedroom. It was little, cute, cuddly, and mine. It got through the security gate of the front door and was killed on the road. My parents got me another one the same night (probably not a good idea, they probably should have let me grieve), this one was names Mouse, it was not a miniature, and it was never really mine. It was just one of our dogs.

So - am I not a dog person because I had a traumatic dog experience associated with attachment?

Yea. I think my aversion is more than that.
I don't like needy/clingy people either; and I can't say that my best friend from high-school with whom I blood-swore friendship forever died... so there's no residual Freudian anti thing going on... although I can have other theories there which I won't go into here....

I have also always liked cats. And when I was VERY little, I had a white cat called Queenie. Now this cat was mine. I don't know what happened to her, she probably died, and I still like cats, so there you go, theory of dog trauma blown.
Here's how I know that Queenie was "mine" (besides my mother telling me so): there are photos of me pushing her around in a pram all covered up with a blanket. Yip, the cat let me play "baby" with her. Now, a cat would have to be "yours" to let you do that!

We have two cats now. Max and Molly Goldberg (the cats are married even though we are not).
I know that with cats they are different creatures to their people than they are to friends and family of those people. Our cats do things with us that they don't do with other people. Those little things that indicate attachment and make you feel mushy inside and love for your pet.
When I come home, they hear the garage door open from the bedroom (they sleep on our bed all day), and they are waiting for me at the door in to the house when I walk in. They will greet Greg if he comes home first, not when I'm home already, but they always wait for me. Then, Molly will RUN to the bedroom closet because she knows that the first thing I do is take off my shoes inside the closet. Then I usually pee - so her next stop is the bathroom. When I comply with her expectations, she PURRRRRRRS! Crazy loud purring!
When I am home, they follow me from room to room. They find spots to sleep close to me. If I am on the computer, Max will lie in the same spot on the carpet next to me. When Greg and I watch TV in the evening, they come for pets, and then lie on the couch with us. When we go to bed, they follow us in and curl up on the bed.

When you are in the presence of a cat that gives you attention and is obviously attached, you value and treasure that connection. They are not in your face, they are near; they do not DEMAND attention, they make subtle requests infrequently. They keep you company, and they give you affection when you are distressed. Our little family feels very purfect when we are all together. The two quiet self-contained people, and the two quiet self-contained cats.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"The story of the dishwasher"

I love Lowes
Once upon a time, there was a couple who's dishwasher broke. They went to Lowes and asked the salesperson: which is the quietest one, you see our kitchen and living room are all in one. They bought the recommended Bosche. The Lowes installer went to their house and they all noticed that the old dishwasher was stuck in on the top by a tile counter top and stuck in on the bottom by retro-installed real hard wood floors - ie 2 inches. Oh my, can you get that thing out? they asked the installer. No problem! he said, and after some pushing, pulling and really creative angles, out it came. He installed the new dishwasher and mounted it with an L-bracket to the counter.
Oh how they loved their new dishwasher. They couldn't tell when it was on it was that quiet. The dishes were all sparkly and clean.
A year later, they decided to remodel their kitchen. Now that was a whole saga of its own. But during the remodel, the lovely dishwasher waited in the garage to be reinstalled. Once it was back in its space, they came home to find that it hadn't been attached to the counter, so when they closed the door, the whole thing pushed back in the hole under the counter. Wazzup with that? they asked the contractor. What? you want it attached? But there's no bracket. Huh?! they replied, 'cause the Lowe's installer attached it to the counter. The contractor replied: There was no bracket, but I can make something up.
Now the couple had a new kitchen surrounding their lovely Bosche. They did a couple loads of dishes as they moved their stuff back into the kitchen, and the next day, noticed that the dishwasher was still draining. Huh? 12 hours later? that's not right? The contractor said it couldn't be how he installed it, and the customer service rep suggested that it may be a mechanical issue. So Mr. Appliance came to see. Look here! said the repair man. There are two holes on the inside tub! They look like they've been made by a screwdriver. Wha ?! And look here, inside the base, here is a screw and a bracket! Double Wha ?!
Of course the contractor denied any liability. But said he would work with the manufacturer to get a replacement. After a LONG drawn out back and forth with letters and serial numbers, ie THREE months. The manufacturer sends a replacement dishwasher. The couple decides that they will have a licensed Bosche installer do the work instead of the contractor and calls Mr. Appliance back. The first thing he does is take off the electrical cap to undo the wires. Guess what he finds? no, not some nice clean wires twisted together. He found a melted, burned, mess of wires! Oh my god! its a fire waiting to happen. The couple is furious!
Mr. Appliance obviously doesn't really know what he's doing. Pushing, pulling, he didn't know about the handy screw up front that allowed him to adjust the legs in the back, no he had to call his dispatcher to find out about that. He is flumuxed. He cannot get the dishwasher out of the space in the counter. This is strange to the couple because the hole is bigger than in the old kitchen's, the contractor got the dishwasher in the hole, how difficult can it be to get it out? Mr. Appliance gave up. He couldn't do it. Ok, say the couple, they didn't really want this man installing their dishwasher anyway.
I know, says the woman, I will call Lowes and have the same guy who did the original install come back. And that's what they did. Not only did Lowes figure out which company they had used previously, they also found the actual guy! Now that's customer service.
When the man came home from work that night, the couple decided to see if they could remove the dishwasher. They each took a side. Let's tip it up, the woman said. Snap! The dishwasher is out.
no, the dishwasher is not installed - yet. The old dishwasher is sitting outside of its hole, still connected to the sink drain, and the new dishwasher is sitting in the hallway ready for the installer. The couple are still waiting for the installer to call and schedule an appnt. Therefore.... be continued.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Late Weekend Recap

Spent this weekend in the AZ desert watching a bunch of INSANE people ride mountain bikes on a 15 mile loop, over and over for 24 hours. Some of them were more insane than others. Here's how I rank the insanity:

5. 5-person teams - insane because they think riding in circles is a fun way to spend a weekend.
4. 4-person teams taking turns doing laps. Yes, I think this is insane, but at least there are 3 other guys in it with you.
3. duo - two people taking turns. Either doing double laps to give the other guy at least 2 hours of rest, or switching every lap. And some of these guys were doing laps in 1:15, which means you only get about 1/2 hour to rest/eat/fix bike
2. solo - its all up to you. Noone else to help get those lap times up
1. single speed, no shocks, solo - yup, 24 hours of riding a hard bike with no gears to help; your number 1 insane person

My conclusion was that the Duo was the hardest to pull off. If you're solo, and you decide to take a break, you are only working on your own time/result, if you are 4 or more, there are other guys to catch the slack. When you are 2, and you feel crappy, you are letting down your teammate. You have this incentive to keep pushing on.

Anyway - our guys did pretty well. They were aiming for 16 laps, but did 15 due to leg exhaustion. The did some incredible lap times and were happy with that.

They REALLY need support - people to keep the fire going so that they can cook food (soup being the item of choice), help them get back to camp (very dark and maze-like out there), and help them get up and to the start in time for the other guy's arrival.

But supporting SUCKS. You can't really get in a block of sleep, there is NOTHING to do while you wait (you can't watch 'cause the course is pretty sprawling). So Beth and I volunteered a SEVEN HOUR shift (I was in shock at the length of that!). It definately improved the experience, but we weren't around to help our guys. Maybe next year, we can take turns supporting and sleeping... that way there will always be someone up to help the guys. But can you imagine how boring it would be awake at 3am BY YOURSELF!

the frustrations of having an "active" partner!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

impending burnout

its been 5 days since my last post.

Man! Am I a lame blogger!
Well, I just haven't had anything worth musing about.
Until right now... that is.

I have been feeling the grip of work pull me back in. For the first week or so of being back from vacation, I was more of a 20%er than an 80%er. I still felt relaxed, oh yes, and sleepy, for some reason. I started putting some effort in to things that were my responsibility to initiate and while I was waiting for them to come back, other things started popping up. The next thing I knew, I was forced into being a 100%er... and since I have some work to do this weekend, I suppose its actually 110% !
I am making a concerted effort to get out of there at 5pm everyday. Actually a little before 5 so that I can get out of the parking garage before the traffic. So that means that I have to stay focused for the 8+ hours that I'm there.

I've kind of been watching how it works this time, that vortex of sucking in. And I realize that its about focus. When you're doing the 20%, you let your focus go sloppy, its not really there. But when you are sucked in, you are focused. And that's it. For as long as you are there. For me, focus means multi-tasking, emailing on the phone, asking people to do things while checking email, following up with people while on the phone, making lists and post-it ('cause when I hang up the phone I don't remember what I just said I'd do), and throwing them away.
This is VERY hard to leave behind.
I wish I had a peaceful drive to help me transition. But the traffic and STOOPID drivers I have to deal with means that I am still focused on the drive. So, get home, and I'm still wound up. Yesterday, yes Friday, I got home, and got a work call at 6:30. So of course, its hard to let go.

And this is the driving force of the burnout!

Monday, February 05, 2007

is it denial, a skill, or just irritating?

I have found that there are two groups of people, those that accept and embrace reality and those that live in a dream world of their own creation.

Let me elaborate.

You have a meeting with someone where you express that you are having an issue, you explain what it is, and you talk to them about how they are going to help you fix it. Then, you go away. Now, technically "fixing" is happening. Then you see the person on another day, and they interact with you as if n.o.t.h.i.n.g is going on. "My, what nice weather we are having"

Now - is this a coping mechanism? is it denial? or is it a clever skill to help deal with those awkward moments in the elevator when you have run into each other and you don't know what to say because the ISSUE is such a LARGE elephant?!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Review of Superbowl Commercials

the only ones I found remotely entertaining where the ones created by the general public...
let's see, I don't even remember what they were for.... ummm......
Doritos, right, especially the one with the lady at the checkout.
The budweiser ones SUCKED!
and Revlon made a case for the "not fade away" wherein I actually consider using it.

Friday, February 02, 2007


...and I told her...


...I'm not gonna...


...we don't have time...


...and she goes...and I go...


...that's what they told us...


...nya nya nya nya...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

for the record

1. Tues was my birthday.
I think that this week lived with a pallor due to the impending Wed personnel review that I was dreading !
but let the record show that I EXPECT a HUGE bash for my 40th! yes, you over, there... no, mom, not you.... take a note and mark your calendar for June '08 'cause its gonna take you at least that long to plan my smashing 40th bday CELEBRATION; I am not hinting subtley here that it will NOT be me planning it - get my drift?!
Highlight of the day:
took cupcakes to Flamenco, after class offered them around, and one of the very shy, new, guitarists asked me if I had "broken the back of 20 yet" !!
ha ha....
I said "yes, quite healthily!"
2. Wed was my personnel review
it was a 180 to what I was expecting. They (my boss and HR) were all "you're great, we see and value your strengths, ... "
and I think all those positive things sent in by the people I actually work with did their trick (thank you all the people!)
in the end... I will be given someone to team with to do business development so that I can continue focusing on managing BIG projects and programs.
so, maybe I won't quit.
this month