Friday, April 29, 2005

April 29th, what a day!

Two things make today a momentous day. One is that Leif is 9 months. 3/4 of a year. This was discussed in yesterdays blog. The other is that 3 years ago today I drove to this lab, filled out a bunch of paperwork, sat at a computer and read all the rules and regulations for working here, sat and waited for my mentor to pick me up, sat and waited for my mentor to pick me up, sat and waited for my mentor to pick me up...

(I should have known then what was in store for me.)

He finally did show up, an hour and a half late, took me to lunch at "Dog" (the *best* Chinese food in the area - name changed to protect the so called innocent from the health department). Then drove me out to our building and sat me at a computer. Where I sat until I wisened up, oh about 7 months later and realized that "post-doc" does not or should not equate to "administrative assistant" or "technician".

In the larger and more important scheme of things, today starts my new life of earning 3 weeks of vacation a year.

I also find it incredibly ironic that 3 years after I started here and being assured that my husband would have absolutely no problem finding a good job in the area, that Hans has been offered yet another job in his quest for something that is a decent fit, reasonable hours and reasonable pay. I guess the good news is that he has consistently found better jobs each time he has set out. So let's hope this job is better than SCBID. (Which was better than throwing salmon around... which was better than unemployment...)

I am tired today. I shouldn't be because we had a fantastic night. Before I jinx myself, fantastic would be like just say IF Leif fell asleep at 8:30pm and IF he didn't wake up fussing in the night searching for a binky, and IF he only woke up once for food at 3am and IF he slept until 6am when he nursed again and slept then until 7:30am. These are all IF's you realize. All these "IFs" would equate "fantastic night".;)

We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Tonight we need to pick up the house some. We will probably order take out in an attempt to avoid a repeat of last Friday night out to eat. I also need to finish up getting garage sale items ready. I did the easy stuff last night, price stickers on clean, items. Tonight I have to find the rest of the stuff, hidden away in boxes somewhere, clean it up, and label it. Tomorrow morning we have swimming lessons with Vanessa and Cate. Brunch afterwards where Hans is anxious to make swedies (Swedish pancakes - his specialty). I have a recheck appointment for my contacts tomorrow afternoon and then we will haul stuff to Kent and Vanessa's house for the garage sale on Sunday morning.

Of course I have found other things to spend $$ on. Some I have already spent $$ on and just need to make sure I make enough $$ to pay for them now! One being my third diaper bag. I have been not so secretly coveting the Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag since my first trimester ended and I felt confident in getting excited about a baby and buying "stuff" for my baby. I saw it in Steamboat over New Years 2003-2004. I was *almost* turned off of it when the saleslady told me that Kate Hudson had registered for one. However, the shiny pretty material clouded my brain and I immediatly went home and searched for the best price I could find. At $155, Hans (my ever practical husband who insisted on Polk speakers for his surround sound system) responded "you have got to be kidding me" followed quickly by a "I won't carry that thing". I settled for a $25 Graco cutesy print diaper bag I found at Target... telling myself "it isn't *that* bad". *Sigh*

Well yes, it was *that* bad. Too small, no organization, and just ick. It quickly became stashed in the back of the closet and I set out on a search for something new. After some online advice I ended up with the black Lands End diaper bag ($40). Very functional, large, very nice, lots of pockets and gasp... organization! But alas, it's a backpack. It is a black, boring, yes very functional, backpack. I need something frilly and shiny. Something that says "I am a girly girl, even though I have a little boy and the ultimate boy scout husband". All of this was prompted by a diaper bag discussion on Delphi, of course. To which I stated that I wished there was a PPB knock off. Well lo and behold... the Kecci! At 1/3 the price of the PPB diaper bag ($58), I could almost justify it. But hey! Next weekend is Mother's Day! What better occasion? So into my online shopping bag it went (steel blue brocade in case you are wondering).

Let's add it all up... $25 Graco, $40 Lands End, $58 Kecci for a grand total of $123. You know... I should have just bought the PPB from the start...

So the list... I must earn enough money from this garage sale to pay for my Kecci, a nice pair of close toed flat shoes for the summer, the Cuisinart Grind and Brew with carraffe and 3 shirts from Lands End and one skort from JJill. And no, I don't remember saying ANYTHING about the purpose of having a garage sale was to get a jump start on debt in case my husband ended up without a job and living life as a SAHD/student in a few months. Boy is it good he got a new job...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The latest Leif antics at 9 months

Leif is such a happy baby, we are so blessed. He is now 9 months old as of tomorrow. Some of the things he does lately just kill me. I can't believe how fast the 9 months has flown by. Just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital and he was a fragile little 7 lb 9 oz'er. Now he is 21 lbs about and as rough and tumble as a 9 month old can be.

He has knees made of steel from all his crawling. We have to be careful not to leave the door open when going in and out because he will crawl right out onto the sidewalk - ouch! And he is fast! He books it, wherever he is going, but especially when he is striding towards the dog bowls and hears mom yelling from behind "LEIF NO!!" Then he puts it into high gear and moves extra fast... to the dog bowls.

I am "mama", said usually when he is tired, hungry or whiney. Hans is "he-da". ?!?! Said usually when he is smiling and having fun. Winny so far seems to be "ooooh" said with awe and wide eyes as she saunters by, attempting to stay well out of his reach. We frequently see Winny scrambling away with fear in her eyes and Leif left sitting with a big handful of black hair and a grin on his face.Success!!

Leif is getting a little more into food, but it is still hit or miss. He has two favorites that he will eat pretty much no matter what, flour tortilla strips and applesauce. Everything else he could leave. And he is very opinionated when you give him something he doesn't like. Rapid shaking of his head in a "no" manner results with his lips pursed together. He thinks it is really funny when we shake our heads "no" imitating him. We can sometimes get one or two more bites of icky stuff into his mouth by using this trick and invoking a smile.

Spaghetti is the funniest thing to eat, it evokes giggles every time. American cheese and string cheese is kind of fun too. Leif seems to like carrots and peas also, but *hates* sweet potatoes (smart boy) and green beans. I send those to daycare for them to feed to him. ;-)

He likes daycare for the most part. When we get there in the mornings he goes and immediatly starts playing. Lunches when I go visit are hit or miss. He might sit and nurse the entire time I am there, he might want to play with me the entire time, or he might just give me the complete cold shoulder because he is playing with the other kids. Then when I leave he is sometimes alright with it, and somedays there is a meltdown.

His favorite toys appear to be anything that isn't really a toy. The empty Tang jug, the empty grapefruit juice bottle, tupperware, a wooden spoon and ANYTHING that makes noise when hit with the wooden spoon. He prefers all these things to his toys. But given nothing else, he will resort to playing with his toys. Favorites are his stacker from grandma Carbaugh that he has mastered and shows off this mastery at daycare regularly. He also loves his little push car from cousin Celeste, his Elmo cell phone from grandma Charlene - appropriate ;-) and his PB Kids finger dinosaur puppets.

Leif loves balls at daycare. Balls of all sizes. At home we don't have many balls because Winny ALSO really likes balls. Dog slobber and baby slobber on the balls doesn't mix according to mama. The other day Leif was taking a long stick thing and trying to hit the ball with it. I am sure he is striving to take after grandpa Rick and play golf... it will still be a little while before we let him play with his golf club from grandpa... mommy would like to keep her head attached.

Leif likes to pull up, but isn't real eager about it. Maybe we just don't have many things that are the right height for him to pull up with. He loves the laundry baskets and stands up in those given 15 seconds to try. He seems more interested with trying to stand by himself. Crawling position to straightening out his legs and trying to bring his hands closer to his feet - then tumbling over on his side. But that never hurts and he will try again almost immediatly.

Who knew I could fall head over heels so much for a little boy. He is abolutely perfect and I can't imagine life without him. I love you Leif!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wednesday - hell day

*Almost* made it through Wednesday... just a little more to go. What was I thinking signing up for a running class? It is blowing like 50 mph out there, dust and gross stuff flying. I don't want to go dodge tumbleweeds, like at all. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

We are having a garage sale this weekend with our good friends. I am excited to not only purge, but to also reclaim my formal dining room (aka sewing room) from the useless items that have been stacked there awaiting their new owners. Oh and the money will be REALLY nice... mama needs new pair of shoes! No, seriously, I do. Hans would, of course, maintain that there is a difference between "need" and "want"... to which I would maintain that I NEED a pair of close toed flats to wear during the summer when I don't want to look like a hippy chick in my 5th, yes 5th, pair of Birkenstocks since high school. There... "need" has been defined.

Oh yeah, I also NEED the Cuisinart Grind and Brew with stainless steel caraffe. Hans is much more on board with this one, until he finds out the price. Thank goodness for those 20% off one item Bed Bath and Beyond coupons.

Teleconference was today. It went well. I bailed on my horrible project meeting that I am sure was most likely cancelled, or so I tell myself, in order to stay at the entire thing. I had to, my telecon presentation was 37 pages long. Gack. About midway through I could hear the monotone setting in and felt my own eyes glaze over. I lost my place, it all didn't make sense anymore, what was I even talking about and why would I do the analysis this way, what was I thinking?

Stop, deep breath, pause. Look at the presentation again, crack a joke about how I was glazing over myself and so I am sure I was doing the same to everyone else, and get back to it, subject them to more before they have time to think... Last week our results showed 100% perfection. This week, 80% or so, which is more in line with what is expected. So you can imagine that the client wasn't thrilled that I hadn't pulled off a miracle with another 100% run. I did have to pause and remind them that this is still better than we have seen in the more distant past and this was ONE run. See what happens here... I start showing indications of my perfection and they expect perfection every time. ;)

So yesterday was a weird day. I was sitting in my office, writing an e-mail, working on my telecon when the lab director walks in, introduces himself and shakes my hand! I was with it enough to jump up, shake his hand and say "Hello Dr. "Smith", my name is April... " Ok, this is like Bill Gates walking into a measly little programmers office at Microsoft. We talked about my research, what I was working on, my son's pictures hanging on the wall and details of him, where I went to school, how long I have been at the lab... We had a nice discussion, then he moved on! I could hardly breathe after that! I called Hans, but I am not sure he "got" the whole magnitude of the experience.

Then I was paranoid to leave for my eye doctor's appointment out of fear he would a) come back to tell me I was employee of the month (ha ha) or b) he would see me duck out early and remember my name. LOL. So I was late to my eye doctor's appointment. No biggee... they were late to get to me once I did get there.

Which brings me to the next topic in my rambling long ass post. I got contacts. I may have annoyed the crap out of the technician yesterday trying to teach me how to put them in my eyes. But I now am a contact lens wearer instead of glasses. I have always adored cute glasses and have viewed them not so much as an instrument to overcome an impairment as much as a fashion accessory. So passing over those cute Dolce & Gabbana frames was VERY difficult and it was that point where I came *this* close to wavering and sticking with glasses. Then I thought of Leif... and how heartbroken I would be if he broke the cutest D&G glasses shortly after buying them... and then I would be stuck with having to replace them completely out of pocket since insurance would not. Which would mean some no name, thick, fugly plastic frame... Oh yes... contacts it is.

Only took me 15 minutes to get them in this morning. :D (Says the girl who can't even put eyedrops in her own eyes.)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Winny can rejoice! My running class for tonight was cancelled.

Appears that my brainiac of a trainer locked her keys in her car and can't make it out here on time.
(Nooo, I have never done this myself...)

Georgette and Frederick

I had the wackiest dream the other night. Just cracks me up.

So we have very temperamental electronics in the lab. They are *always* messing up and crashing. (Funny how you can put together electronics that don't work and get promoted to a 3... )

I dreamt that Justin told Cari and I that the electronics work a whole lot better if you talk to them like they are people. And to emphasize this he named each box. The box attached to my system was named "Georgette" and "Frederick". And Justin was quite insistant that we call the electronics by their formal names now.

Monday already? And why the service industry in the area sucks.

So we decided to do our typical Friday evening out to eat dinner. Headed to Rattlesnake Brewing Company only to discover that we are *the* only ones there. Ok, well duh, the place is closed for remodel. What now? It only took us 3 hours to decide on RBC. We head to TS Cattle Co as we were feeling carnivorous. Get there, get seated and the waitress starts ooh'ing and aah'ing over Leif. Nothing new there.

Then it comes "oh I am pregnant and due in November... my boyfriend... so now I am going to be a single mom..." Service was crap, unusual for this place. Sooo slow. Everyone around us was done before we even had our meals. Leif was fussy and not dealing with nobody around us wanting to be entertained by a 9 month old. He really does thrive on attention. So he was doing the full on body flail, not wanting to eat, general fussiness. Ugh. So a 2 hour dinner was *not* what we wanted.

We could NOT get our ticket. Finally Hans goes up to the front to get it and pay it. He comes back, we pack up and leave, annoyed as hell. "What did you tip her?" I asked in the car thinking to myself that 10% was awfully generous.

Silence. "20%" said Hans.

"What? You are joking." I said.

My sucker of a husband (yes honey, I love you very much) "well she is a single woman, pregnant, it didn't sound like a good situation..."


Swimming lessons went well on Saturday. Leif was a little fussy as he slept so poorly on Friday night. He didn't want anything with laying in the water on his back. But we got through it. Then we get home, dead tired. Leif and I both went down for a nap and slept almost 2 hours. Life was better after that.


So I took my company up on their offer. A 4 week class to get myself back running. I need it, bad. I just have no time. So when the class was offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:15-5:15pm, I jumped on it. I never have anything at 4pm and I can be 15 minutes late to get Leif.

Wednesday was my first class. I am hating it already. I was lectured to for over one hour on the benefits of "wellness". Yes, I get this. I should eat well and I should exercise more, I should also sleep more and drink more water. I did also catch the little blip in there about there being no study that indicates a correlation between breastmilk production and exercise - umm yeah ok. Let's move on. But no, 60 full minutes and a stack of papers over an inch thick on references from the web and crap like that. I have seen most of this crap. I signed up to exercise, not be lectured to about how out of shape I am. And really... considering I had a baby last year and haven't kicked my exercise up to anything more than walking the dog, I am doing pretty damn well. So then the 60 minutes is up and she.keeps.talking. I said I had to leave, I had to pick up my son at daycare. "No stay 5 more minutes, please, I need to get this in." Stupid me, I stay. 5 minutes goes by. This time I stand up and leave, she insists only 5 more minutes. Sorry lady, my son is waiting at daycare for me.

I am dreading my class tonight. We will be walking. I would far rather go walk my dog at home. She needs it more too. I am holding out for my free 60 minute sports massage coupon upon completion of the class though. Sorry Winny.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Goal accomplished

My shirt... entirely free of coffee stains. Applause please...

Today is Friday. I love Fridays. I just got through visiting with a woman I work with, Cari. I think when we first got to know each other she found my rantings about project hell maybe a little far fetched. She now appreciates them. She walked into my office and plopped down in my comfy leather chairs. (I feel like such the psychiatrist when people do this.) I loved it... she said without whispering "People whose names begin with J are really ticking me off". That would be horrible project manager and one of our coworkers. Hallelujah, I am NOT the only one.

I seriously used to think it was all me. *I* was just the one incapable of getting along with everyone on this project. *I* was the one who was stupid. *I* was the one who just couldn't understand my part on the project. Nope, it isn't just me! Now I am just convinced it is women working on this project... ;-)


Hans is home today. He decided to take the day off to write a paper for class. It is due next week. The idea is that he will get the paper done and be able to spend the weekend hanging out with Leif and I. Maybe we would even go to the Spring Barrel tasting. I would like to head home early, but I don't want to cut into paper writing time... lest I be the bottle neck in the flow of words from his hand to the computer.


I have a ton of planting to do this weekend. And it should be the weather to do so. It is supposed to be sunny and 80 tomorrow! Wohoo! I want to get the yard in shape and get the garden in.

Friday's Goal

Coffee stays IN the cup. NOT down the front of my shirt as has happened for the last two days.

Concentrate... this will be difficult.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"Nice job"

Watch me fall over. The project manager from hell called me - yes I just about fell over right there. I had only been e-mailing him and copying him on every issue we were having so far today with shipping rad sources offsite. This is his project, you would have thought he would be concerned. But no, he is off somewhere taking the afternoon off. So you can imagine my shock when he actually called me!

I told him the problem had been taken care of, he wanted to know the issue, reitterated it to him and stated again it had been taken care of, don't worry about it. And he said, "nice job". I am floored.

(P.S. I still want off his project.)

Why am I surprised?

So it is Wednesday. My hellish day. Every Wednesday starts out with my booking it in here. Drop Leif at daycare and get to my office so I can print up approved presentations for my teleconference with the client and my team at 9am. (This is my shiny, happy project.) I get in (I have no coffee because I was a dork and forgot to make it last night), I am dragging, but I get things printed out.

I have my telecon presentation in hand as I hurry out to my car hoping to make it to the site of the meeting a few miles away with enough time to grab coffee. I make it. I have 7 minutes to spare so I run to the coffee shop and order my latte. I am waiting as she rings it up. You would think she might then go make it? Nope, she takes the guys order behind me - he wants a bagel sandwich, special ordered. Then she takes his money, counts it back, and walks, ever so slowly back to the kitchen to put his order in. Tick tock tick tock... telecon starts in 2 minutes now... I notice that I do have MY telecon presentation thank goodness, but I left everyone elses sitting on the printer so I can't follow along. Oh well, I have to leave early anyways.

She finally makes her way to the espresso machine and brews up my mocha. THANK YOU. I run halfway BACK down the 1/8 mile long hallway to the conference room. Yes, the hallway is 1/8th of a mile, made that long specifically to be the longest stretch of straight hallway in Washington state. I wish I worked in this building, I would walk the hallway at lunch... anyways.

I get to teleconference and am the first one there. I get the room setup, pull the phone over, connect up the conferencing device and sit down. The phone rings, it's the client. Hello, this is April, I am the only one here... no problem, they wait.

Finally we get going. My presentation goes well. Mean guy from the client lab tries jumping on me, but I jump back. My project manager was rolling his eyes at mean guy getting ready to tell him how he is wrong. You know what? It is just easier to give him what he wants. Yes, I will send SEMs you want (I think it is stupid and you aren't going to see what you are looking for, but I will send them). Hey, mean guy is happy! He apologizes for not being clear last week! Project manager is elated to have avoided having to explain why he is wrong. Ok, he wanted to still tell him why he was wrong, but no use going there. Give the guy what he wants... he gives us $$. (And he may give me a job.)

I finish my presentation and RUN out of there at 9:55am, drive to my office. Grab my stuff for my ultra-important meeting at 10am for the project from hell that *everyone* has to be at this week. Preparation for the deployment and we all *need* to know what is going on. (grumble, grumble... I am just glad to have wormed my way out of this deployment.)

I arrive at the conference room. Is it any surprise at all that the conference room is empty? Did I really think we were going to have this ultra-important conference. Stupid girl am I. While leaving the conference room I trip over the crack in the floor and spill my latte (or the remains of it) down my front. DOH!

So I walk back to my office, making a quick stop at the restroom and an attempt at scrubbing out the latte spill (now I just have a big wet spot on my front). Bonus, now I can pump. I sit down and start my work for the day. Why am I at all surprised?

I have GOT to get off this project ASAP. It makes me crazy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

So far, Leif seems to only have one little bump on his tush. He is warmer than usual, although not "feverish" and inordinatly fussy. One of those days when I didn't mind so much dropping him with daycare... and then running out. My gut says it is his teeth. He has that one bottom tooth that has yet to pop through, though it is *just* about there. So I am not thinking he has chicken pox, but we never know. I am certainly no expert.

One thing I *hate*. Telling someone they are doing something wrong and I need them to do it right. I hate trying to walk that line between being the pushy person saying "this is wrong redo it" and the trying to be really nice "you know I was looking at these and they might not be right, I am not sure here, but maybe you are measuring them wrong? What do you think?". Wishy washy or a "bitch", how to balance?

The situation, I got a boat load of SEMs this morning to start analyzing. Yay, I have been waiting for them. The SEM technician has been analyzing these types of samples since Jan 1st for me. Why is it that just now he has decided to measure a particular feature from back corner to front corner instead corner to corner across the face, like I instructed him from day 1? Maybe he just forgot, maybe he is getting sloppy, I don't know. I hate cracking the whip. But I did, whip was cracked and his manager copied on it. I hate doing that too, but his manager insists upon it. I would really rather take it to the tech first and if it isn't corrected, THEN involve the manager. Oh well.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A mentor, a stupid woman and chicken pox?

I have selected a mentor. I even went up and talked in person to him instead of sending an e-mail... how unscientist of me! To actually walk up the two flights of stairs to his office as opposed to sitting in my quiet secluded little office. I chose Dave. Mullet man. If I suddenly cut my hair into a really bad mullet, someone inform me that my mentorship has taken a turn for the worse.

Dave is a really great guy, a newly promoted Scientist V. He is young-ish (early 40's I think). From Idaho, married with two sons. Great guy. Hard worker, but down to earth. And fun to be around and talk to. My only hesitation albeit minor is that he knows a lot of the people I might happen to talk about, and I might not talk about them with the acolades that he might expect. If this comes up I will have to remind him that we do have a confidentiality agreement. He was quite excited to be presented with this prospect to mentor a young scientist. He went further to tell me that I really should feel free to come and talk to him whenever I want, be it through a formal mentorship, or not.

I feel as though I have made a good choice. I am happy with my decision and I hope that Dave can help me work through a lot of my work confusion I am dealing with now.

Then there is stupid chick I work with. Wanders into my office this morning. She just wanders from office to office to talk to people all day long. I will *never* have her work on my projects because she does NOT work. She just yaps with people So she plops into my comfy leather chair and starts yapping and yapping. One of the last things she touches on is that she talked to my former team lead Tom the other day and told him exactly what I thought of the reorg... ok, what exactly did I think of it? I don't remember talking to stupid chick about it because she was out on maternity leave. She had it dead wrong! So here she is blabbing to my former boss about how I was forced into it - and he knows that isn't true. Is he smart enough to realize she is talking out her ass?

Then there is the chickenpox... I went to see Leif in daycare today at lunch. He nursed, was a little fussy, we are both sick with colds. Then he played on the floor some. His teacher went to change his diaper and showed me a little bump on his bottom. There have been three cases of chicken pox in daycare, everyone was exposed most likely. Is that little bump the start of a week at home for Leif?


I have become my parents

When I was a teenager there was a rule in the house, no calls after 9pm. I thought this rule was absurd, to say the least. My other friends didn't have this rule as was evident by the number of calls for me after 9pm. My friends usually got Rick's wrath if he got to the phone before I did. I was quick though. But my quickness to pick up the phone before 1/4 of a ring was complete didn't preclude him picking up the phone and telling us to get off it... in not so many words.

Now as an adult, I think this rule should be the rule of the land. Let's just go ahead and legislate it. The only calls that should come after 9pm should be emergencies. And you know, most adults realize this. ESPECIALLY when you are calling a house where a baby resides.

There are two whole people in the world who have missed this common courtesy in life. Who will consistently call our house after 9pm, and it won't be an emergency. Or at least, not a "real" emergency. Sure it maybe an emergency to them that it just dawned on them that they need to know where someone is, and that we - the ones who live 2000 miles from everyone - might know. To which I would respond, "probably in bed like the other sane people of the world".

Ok, I know, seriously now. No, I am not in bed at 9pm. We have, in our house, at 9pm usually just gotten Leif down at 8:30pm and are looking forward to some adult time. Adult time being watching a TV show together, starting a movie, talking about our day, basically winding down. We ease into our evening, Leif asleep, but not deep at this point... yes, anything WILL wake him up after going through our 45 minute ritual to get him down. That INCLUDES the phone ringing!! And let it be known that I can shoot daggers with my eyes at Hans when the phone rings. This puts him on my shit list. A place he finds very unpleasant.

And yes, sometimes I *am* asleep. Hans - rarely so. Any idea how it feels, 9 months pregnant, sleeping soundly (very rare at 9 months pregnant) and the phone jolts you awake at midnight? Oh it happened LOTS last summer. Plain R.U.D.E.

So this weekend, the phone rings at 9:30pm. Leif isn't feeling well, I feel horrible, and had just dozed off on the couch while watching a movie. Hans had started dozing too. When *jolt* - I am awake, Hans is awake, Leif wails, daggers are piercing Hans skin as he sprints to the phone... This person's response to Hans saying "can we talk tomorrow?"

Classic... "Why are you sleeping at 9:30 on a Saturday?" My question back would have been - had I been the lucky one who answered the phone... "Does it matter if we were sleeping? Is 9:30pm on a Saturday night the best time to try and reach someone? THINK ABOUT IT!"

So when you pick up the phone to call someone, things to think about.
1. Does this person have a small person in the house that is likely to be asleep?
2. Is this person you are trying to reach likely to be enjoying his/her time with the small person asleep?
3. Can it wait 12 hours? Oh hell, can it wait 8 hours... our small person is up at 5:30am on weekends.
4. What else MIGHT the person you are trying to reach be doing? Would you like to be interrupted doing that? (Watching a movie, snuggling with spouse...)

Vent done.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Hans, answer your phone!!!

I am bubbling over! I grabbed my old team lead in the hallway. Tom put me on a project a year and a half ago. Initially, I hated it. I have grown to love it. It is my favorite project, my shiny, happy project. With people who are nice and friendly. It is an 1831 project, meaning non-govermental work. Which is supposed to be done in my "free time". I make sure I have a lot of "free time" now.

We have recently gotten some really spectacular results on this project. The project is in its third year here at the lab. It was set up for three years, each year renewable depending on the success of the year before, up to three years. After three years the company would make a decision whether or not to pick this lab up as their R&D lab. Things so far, look good.

So I snaked Tom into my office to show him my latest telecon that the client went nuts for on Wednesday. Man was he thrilled! He was beaming! He stated that not only had I most likely made Rick happy, but that our client now had great stuff to take to her boss! I am not sure I have seen Tom beam so much EVER! He was thrilled. I told him also that the client indicated that even though she wants to demo this to a client by July (!!!!) that there will be PLENTY of stuff for me to do on a return to bench scale next year. (!!!!) This actually had been one of my concerns... was I just going to fade away once my project is completed. It scared me actually.

So all indications were there, they are going to path forward to year four with us as their R&D lab, the client is happy not only with my project, but with me. And then Tom added in the kicker, "[She] is so happy with you on this project, don't be surprised if they offered you a job."


Hans and I have kicked around the pipe dream of *if* this project went really well for me what could happen. Well I already bought stock in the company just in case I happen to revolutionalize the way computer chips are made or something like that... I own a whole 3.2 shares. (That's big for a government scientist.) Hans had mentioned before "well what if they offered you a job". My response was always "well they would never offer me a job", they will keep me working here. Well apparently Tom doesn't think that is what is going to happen. So maybe there has been some real talk of this... Tom always has the inside scoop...

Would we move to Fremont, CA? Would we become Bay Area-ites? Might we get to fall in the ocean with all the other Bay Area-ites when the big one hits? Might we actually get to eat good food out on a regular basis? Could we afford to live in the Bay Area?

OR, if this lab becomes the R&D lab, would I just become their offsite employee? Would I work here in podunk-ville and visit the Bay area regularly? (IDEAL) How much would I get paid? Would it be competitive with my job now? I would so jump at the opportunity to do this aspect - stay here and work for the client. I could always get hired back on here later.

I am so psyched up I can hardly sit still.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

My 8 hours is almost up.

I made it through working on that horrific project today. It was made slightly better by having Cari shadow me on it. I am not exactly sure why... but I thought maybe she might have been there to take over for me and no one would tell me. Because that is how things work on this project... seriously. I never really got that impression, but at least we got some good chat time in.

I chatted with Cari and Vanessa about this. I am really struggling with the selection of a mentor for my Scientist and Engineering Development Program. It is a formal mentorship, where the mentor actually attends a training/expectations class and we set up a schedule and the whole works. I am having an enormously difficult time deciding who should be my mentor. So here I am going to hammer out my options as I see them.

1. Dan. He is a very young (2 years older than me) rising star in another section of the lab. He has offered me good advice in the past. He has kids and his wife works, so he understands the challenges of working families. We work on a project together and so he has an idea of how I operate and I think could give me good advice. Drawbacks - he is young, not much life experience, he is likely to be asked to be a mentor by MANY people in the program I think.

2. Dave. He is in his early 40's, transplant from an Idaho Lab and recently promoted to a 5. Rising star most definitely. Fun to be around, he is in my group, I know him, he would love to be a mentor I think. He has 2 boys, wife is a SAHM. Drawbacks - he knows a lot of the people I work with quite well and I worry I might be hesitant to talk to him frankly, even though they have to agree to confidentiality, I don't necessarily want all my struggles getting around.

3. Clem. An older chemist, nearing retirement who looks like Sean Connery, lol. I get along great with Clem and he has been very helpful to me recently in outlining my teleconference presentations, what to present, how to present it and what to say. How to handle an obnoxious client when he jumps down my throat. He is in a different group. Drawbacks - we just come from different places. He would probably balk at an "official" role and not like the "process".

4. Tom. My former team lead. He knows me alright, is familiar with the SEDP program and knows from a manegerial point of view, where I should be going. But now he isn't management anymore. Drawbacks, older single man, no family, no kids, he has no idea where I am coming from.

5. Mary. She has pretty much dropped off my list after talking with Cari. I really wanted a woman with at least one child as a mentor. I just can't seem to find that.

6. Karen. I barely know her, just joined a project she runs. But she is going to be a team lead in my new group. I can't have management. Even though she won't be *my* team lead, I don't want management knowing all my secrets, lol.

7. Barb. Vanessa suggested her and I shunned it at the time. I don't know her, like at all. But Cari reinforced that it might be best to go with someone like that. She has kids.

You can note that pain in the ASS project manager, post-doc "advisor" is NOT listed. Neither is Justin, who has served as an informal mentor for me for quite awhile. But phasing off of his projects and all, I don't think he is thrilled about that and doesn't really understand where I am coming from.

You know I do have one other option...

8. Phil. Or for that part, the other Mary. They are both TGMs, but not MY TGM. Phil knows a lot of background. Oh wait, forget it, I can't divulge any info because I still work significantly on projects within his group.

Who to pick, who to pick? My gut tells me Dave... I will sleep on it again tonight.


Yay, now everyone can leave comments even IF they don't have a blogger account! So leave comments!

It is Thursday just after 1pm. I am having a rough day. I am working on the project I despise. I have a ton of other things to do, but I *need* to do some work here. I just hate it. So much so, it almost brings tears to my eyes, seriously. I went and saw Leif at lunch and didn't want to come back. And I am resisting the urge to work on shiney happy projects that make me feel good and with people that are nice.

So here I am , counting the minutes till this day is over and I can say I put my 8 hours into this project...
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Monday, April 11, 2005

Leif's new found mobility

Life has changed in 4 short days. From a baby that would move around, but would take 15 minutes to get 2 feet, to one where I turn my back and he is in another room going through the garbage can.

I am flat out convinced that he sees something interesting, senses my desire to *not* let him play with said object even though I say nothing. He has got to be feeling my change in pulse rate or body temperature as I glance down and see the lamp cord dangling all the way to the floor. He remembers. And then he makes a beeline to the item that might have caused me to pause.

I rewound 2 rolls of toilet paper, emptied garbage cans daily to keep anything from accumulating and subsequently being dumped on the floor, picked up one shredded magazine, closed all of the drawers on the coffeetable 54 times each. Put the stuff that WAS in the coffee table drawers BACK in 54 times. Picked the lamp up off the floor - see lamp cord dangling above... why is a lamp cord 2 feet from a bucket of toys far more interesting than said colorful, noisy toys? Pried 103 doggy kibbles, deposited by the dog that can't chew up a mouthful of food anywhere near her bowl of food, out of a tiny little fist that is incapable of picking up Cheerios, yet can pick up doggy kibbles. Removed him from the tile entryway, where I am *positive* he will fall and crack his skull open, 306 times. Dog sleeps on the tile entryway... see any correlation?

Yes, we are babyproofing. WHY does he not go into the kitchen and try to open the cupboards that Hans so diligently babyproofed?? Hans would really feel some sense of mission accomplished if just once Leif crawled into the kitchen and tried to open one of those cupboards. WHY is he finding everything that doesn't have an immediate fix?

So how do you balance... teaching "No, don't pull that lamp onto your head." With simply making our home into a padded house that no one ever gets hurt in? Sure, the things that are dangerous are getting babyproofed. The cupboard full of plastic bags and kitchen garbage, the cupboard full of food processor and blender parts. But does the toilet paper *really* need a gadget to keep it from unrolling?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Watch out world!

Leif is on the move!

He has been going forward about 2-3 steps to the point. Then he flops to his belly and does the fishy. All that changed last night when something clicked. He was on his blanket in the living room, you know, that imaginary boundary that baby can't possibly get off the blanket and onto the carpet.

I was in the kitchen getting dinner going, Hans was walking Winny. We didn't go since it was horribly windy, which is Winny's favorite weather. She will stand outside "smiling" in the wind as it penetrates her deep coat to her skin. So last night was an especially neat treat for her. Me, otoh, *hate* the wind. After living in Wyoming as a child, one learns to despise the wind. Especially as a preteen when how your hair looks is oh so important. And you get to junior high with it sticking every which way. No amount of Aqua Net saved my hair from wind destruction in Wyoming. I worked hard to achieve that helmet head thing though...

So anyways, I am in the kitchen and I look down and there is Leif, entering the kitchen, moving at a pretty good rate, with a "Naw-some" dog treat he picked up along the way that Winny left especially for him. He sits at the edge of the kitchen and promptly sticks the thing in his mouth! He was QUITE proud of himself.

And he didn't stop there... when Hans got home and sat down in the living room, Leif turned around and crawled back.

I thought maybe he would have forgotten his new found skill this morning. Nope, I walked into the living room to find him sucking on one of those big brown Filbert (I think) nuts that I stupidly left in my fish planters, which flank my fireplace.

Hans got his long awaited wish, the terra cotta fish planters have been relegated to a position up high in the library. No more tripping over them daily... despite the fact that they *never* move and have been in the same place for over a year now.

Our chore this weekend... babyproofing.

4-7-05 post

I couldn't get in yesterday, so here's my entry from yesterday:

It is 4 o'clock on Thursday. What better things are there to do than write a proposal? I am sure there are plenty.

What should I blog about today? Not work. I updated on Leif yesterday. I could talk about how badly I need to shave my legs. Thank goodness I have light leg hair. I am wearing capri pants today and I have a mild forest growing on my shins. Yikes.

I really think I need a night of pampering. By the end of the day lately I am just too tired to hardly even take my make up off. This probably isn't horrible since I wear so little. But if there is no time to remove makeup, then there is definitely no time for laying in a bath, giving myself a facial or dealing with the unruly eyebrows. Oh well. just really makes no sense to me. We joined. Great idea, send out movies and keep a list. Love it. We opted to do that over Netflix because we would get the 2 free in store rentals. Well started out that the service was SLOW. It took a week to turn around a movie. Then one day they speeded up. Then we were getting crap for movies. You know the ones that are WAY down on your list that you probably wouldn't pick up given the choice of anything else. But still they are on your list of "oh I will sit through that I guess". There are a lot of those on our list, The Village, Harold and Kumar... (Hans put that on, what is it?), Shall We Dance... you know those ones.

Couple that with they *never* upgrade their website. I had no idea what the newest releases were. I figure they didn't want me to know... they didn't have them. I had to go to Yahoo, find out the new DVD releases and then search them on PITA.

So I gave up, I went to cancel after that last straw of being sent the #8 thing on my list and *never* having received a brand new release. When I hit the "cancel" button a screen popped up asking if I was canceling due to a lack of movies being sent. Why George, you hit the nail on the head. I clicked. They offered. I accepted. One more month, free, to see if they can turn things around.

Well and in 5 days have things changed or what? First I got the notice that Sideways shipped. YAY! Then Spanglish, then The Incredibles, then Closer... umm wait a second... I still have "When Will I Be Loved"... that makes FIVE movies that we have out now. The limit was three. I just don't get it.

Have I flittered away enough time here? I guess I should get back to that proposal now...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Leif, 8 months and 7 days

I don't want to clean my office TOO soon here you know... gotta spread this out a little.

Leif just cracks me up. I hurried to see him at lunch today because, 1. I can't wait to see him at lunch, 2. I wanted to make up for being late the last few days (yes, 5 minutes is late to me) and 3. my boobs were full and about to spring a leak because I had teleconference all morning and couldn't go pump.

I get there and do you think he wanted to eat? Nooooo! He wanted to play. He wanted to show everyone around us how high he can jump. But he can only jump this high when mommy is there. (My arms are so sore...) He is such an attention hound and starting to get a little possessive.

I get there and all of a sudden the world is good again. He smiles at everyone like "see here, my mommy came to see me and play with me, watch us play!" He is nothing if not persistant in working to earn your attention. And the possessive side is starting to show. Ashley crawled up to say hi and Leif shot her a look that said, "don't you dare touch my mommy, she is mine and she is here to see ONLY me".

It is so cool to know that I was so missed. That I make his world go round. And that he doesn't forget who I am when gone.

He doesn't care a lot about being given a bottle. Will take them at daycare. But given the choice, he would rather not eat, than have to eat from a bottle. Which raises the issue of feeding at daycare. I have to write it into his chart EVERYDAY to feed him 3 bottles. Otherwise, he just will go without, waiting for the boob.

He is now forward crawling. Hasn't quite figured out its effectiveness, but is going forward and not just backwards. However, he seems limited to 3-4 forward crawl motions before he is flat on his tummy doing the fishy.

Leif is far more motivated to stand and walk. Hold his hands and he will walk across the room with you. He is a smart kid, he sees this as far more productive and less labor intensive. Just think if you had to crawl everywhere you went!

Food. The newest love (yes, he finally has a few food loves, very few) is tortillas. Strips of flour tortillas are just the coolest things. And the actually make it to his mouth! Where he gums it to death until it disintegrates. Then he moves down to the next untouched piece. Last night he ate about 1/3 of a tortilla! So far his food likes include squash, peas and carrots. Loves apple berries, pears, spaghetti (we think) and tortillas.

I do have my concerns though about food and Leif... my pickiness as a child has most likely doomed me to have picky children. I am not picky anymore, for the most part, but I still stand by my likes and dislikes as a kid and I do get pickiness. However, *I* don't want my child to be picky!

Proposal writing

I am brain dead. What do I write about? What will convince someone to give me almost $2 million dollars to do research with.

If history is any indicator it will go like this:
Pretty soon my office will be clean. (I can't write with all this stuff stacked around me.) Oh wait, maybe I should just write at home where I won't be interrupted by everyone walking by my office... Ok, we are home now... hmmm, what should I cook? How about cookies? Or maybe banana bread. Or cookies AND banana bread. Oh wait, can't forget about dinner... what are we having for dinner. I could make a fantastic Indian feast complete with naan, vindaloo, chutney and spiced rice.

Then I will be here tomorrow, stuck, because now my office is clean. I can't go home and work because that DOES NOT work for me. And I am one day closer to the proposal due date. Great.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Busy busy busy at work!

Why does everyone want stuff all at the same time? I am convinced that some project managers like to assign you things that *have* to be done, knowing all the time that you have a lifecycle plan due. I think it is attempted sabotage. If I don't get funded then I will continue to be a grunt on their project.

Part of this I did bring on myself by taking on a lot recently with my most favorite non-governmental project by willingly and eagerly doing all sorts of experiments. And here it is a few weeks later and all my results are rolling back in. So in the midst of my writing a lifecycle plan for the first time, I am trying to analyze data and set up a presentation to report to the client.

The presentation I finished today. 40 pages to present in teleconference tomorrow plus a 3 page written report summarizing a statisticians report. I am spent. Completely.

So now I guess I can focus on my lifecycle plan. Remember I said it was going to be $500K. Wrong. After meeting with all my collaborators and the program manager we settled on my asking for about $1.9 million dollars. It is spread over 4 years. I have just started managing small tasks ($100K), here now I am asking to manage a project with over a million dollars. Excuse me while I am sick here.

I struggled to maintain control of this concept paper. I originated the idea and submitted the concept paper while pretty much everyone ignored it and never responded to my inquiries. Now here we are with the "go ahead" and everyone wants a piece of it or to manage it. I gave up a section, or at least agreed to share my lead with a man I had never met before. But has experience in the area. He has been helpful. Much moreso than my "mentor". *$&#)#@

If funded I am a shoe in for a promotion and will be hiring a post-doc. I am freaked. How can I possibly make this work? Scary.

Busy busy busy at home!

I have been so busy lately, my blog has gone neglected. So quick recap on the home front:

Leif woke up Easter morning with conjunctivitis, lovely. Quick, or not, trip to Urgent Care Easter morning. We were way-layed in our "quick" part of the trip by a man with a fish hook in his hand and another man with an embedded piece of steel in his eye. That's ok, I will sit in the waiting room with a very fussy and very contagious 8 month old... I know, I know... I would want to be seen if it were me. But those both seem like ER things, not urgent care. Oh well.

Ok, chalk this one up to "I should have known..." Monday morning I wake up with conjunctivitis. I pick it up so easy, it isn't surprising. So I call the doctor. How about a full repeat of my experience previously with this doctor. Hello, can you manage an office? Obviously not. This has led me to the conclusion (after going to Urgent Care myself on Monday), that we need a new doctor.

OH wait, now it is Tuesday and Leif has bronchitis. Yes, we need a new doctor, and I left a mad voicemail message on our doctor's voice mail. She probably hates our guts. But what do I do when our son needs a doctor? Tell my husband to call the doctor. ;)

So Leif is on antibiotic eye drops and antibiotics. I am on antibiotic eye drops? What next? Well after another round of trips to the Urgent Care this Sunday morning, Hans and I have tonsillitis and are also on antibiotics.

But wait, there's more! With the purchase of antibiotics for your child, yourself and your husband you are eligible to receive an eye infection for yes, you guessed it... your dog. Winny made her trek to the vet yesterday afternoon for diagnosis of an infected eye. And lucky dog, she gets antibiotic eye drops and oral antibiotics too.

I am wondering if our house shouldn't be marked biohazard.

Despite feeling crummy on Saturday, while Leif napped, I managed to get out and work in the yard. The garden is well on its way to being ready to plant. Seedlings are started. Grow grow grow!