Wednesday, August 31, 2005

It just keeps getting better!

Ok, this doesn't top the proposal being funded, or the patent being filed really. But let's just add it to the stack.

Today after teleconference, which was a hoot but I will go into that later, we had our usual 30 minute project management meeting. We found out some neat things. First off, despite the client's boss's statement to the effect that "industry interest is waning" on the topic of our research, my project will continue and one other project will "most likely" continue providing they show significant advances this calendar year. Three projects were cut. The room was dripping with sweat... however, not mine! Home free for another year and at the same level of effort as this year! Wohoo!

Then the kicker... my wonderful project manager told us that the company we work for is scared, they are dead afraid of losing this client. So he has a meeting with the higher ups next week to talk about furthering business development. He was told in scheduling this meeting that $200K in IR&D money has been held back for our use to ensure that the client knows that the company is commited to this relationship.

Cool, but it gets even cooler. Project manager approached our client contact and asked her what she would like to see our company invest in, it can't be anything ongoing, it has to be a need that they see and would potentially invest in. What does she say??


She wants a project that is parallel to my current project, will provide the concept. As well as one that is parallel to the other ongoing (most likely) project. She wants the same task managers (Clem and I). Wohoo! So it appears that to please a client, I will get IR&D money.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Hope you have a super day! And congratulations to Patty!

So proud of my boy!

Last night was a super sleep night. We have been following The Sleep Lady's advice in her book. Well only so so, thus far. The idea was to not really start until Wednesday night, when our mornings aren't so rushed. But I figured we would "practice" a little first. Last night, Leif went into his crib at 8pm, a little later then I wanted, she suggests between 7-8pm they should be asleep. But you know what, most evenings it is just me and getting the dog walked, dinner cooked for Leif and I, getting Leif to eat, bathing Leif, pajamas, stories... and I don't get home until 5:30 typically. Well it is crunch time to him that 7-8pm deadline.

So he is in his crib at 8pm, and fairly happy about it. He scootches and crawls around, walks around a little, puts his head down, lifts his head up, puts his head down (repeat ad infinium)... Finally at 8:25pm, the head didn't poke up again. Nope, he was out. Put himself to sleep. Ok, so yes, he had a crutch, the pacifier which we still haven't abandoned completely. But the Sleep Lady says this is ok for now.

He was up ONCE, where I spent 40 minutes trying to get him back down with the Sleep Lady's recommendations. I admit, I screwed up the process to start by picking him up and snuggling him. But when it was obvious that it was going to take even more time. I was tired and had teleconference early this morning... so into bed he came with us. We are, after all, still practicing.

Leif had a great night! We were so happy. And I am typing with crossed fingers so I don't jinx myself and have a hell night tonight.

We got to school this morning and Leif hit the ground running. He was ready to get down to business. He went straight towards a cup of yellow stuff, to which I started to redirect him. His teacher says, "oh no, he can go paint". Go paint? Doesn't that require like massive supervision? She tells me, "he knows how". Umm yeah, I know he can paint, he can paint everything given the chance...

So I stand by to watch. Sure enough. He dips the brush into the paint. Walks the 3-4 feet over to the big piece of paper hanging up and paints. He runs out of paint and goes BACK to the paint, dips again and returns to the paper. I was so impressed. My son is an artiste! He is the next Michealangelo!

Of course, then another boy, Atticus, saw that Leif was painting and came over to help. This resulted in Leif deciding the paper was no longer good enough to paint and that it was better to paint Atticus. It was at this point that I made a quick exit...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


My horoscope today: "They have to invent a whole new metal to describe your strength of will now."

Willpower... I have it, Hans has it and Leif inherited it from both of us evidently. Man, he is a willful little turkey. Why screaming at the top of your lungs for 70 minutes is preferential over sleeping I will never understand. Winning the battle is NOT everything, dear Leif. (Well to Daddy and I it is everything right now.)

Leif is in his crib, in his room. Ok, most of the night. Until 3:45 am when we are so fed up and tired that delirium sets in and he is carried back to our room to ride out the rest of the night. So right now we are "practicing". Come Wednesday, it is the real thing bubb. Daddy will finish up month end reports, mommy will have survived another weekly teleconference and preparation. It is a long weekend, so by next Tuesday morning, you WILL be sleeping the night in your crib. Resistance is futile. (April=Geek)


I had a "run in" with my former post-doc advisor (aka PPM - pissy project manager) last night. 4:50pm he walks into my office. I now have to pick Leif up at 5pm - hard timeline, now that he is in a different school and not the more flexible daycare. So deviating from this schedule does not thrill me.

He asks for status on the two tasks I have on his projects. I repeat essentially the same words I said last week, we are waiting on some vacuum adaptors that should ship anytime now, once I have those I can pump the system down and see what the ultimate pressure is, which will dictate how accurately we can measure the leak rate. He reminds me that there are 5 weeks left in the year and that he needs measurements done. Yes, I know. We talked about this last week.

I took the opportunity to say "did you see my proposal was funded?" I knew I had to leave, but needed to hear congratulations come out of his mouth. *My* needs were not met. The jackass instead started talking about how when *he* thought up this project he had a different concept, we missed the mark on so many levels and well, the proposal didn't come out how *he* envisioned.

Right there, point 1, *I* went to him with the idea. He walked me to the relationship manager and said, "tell him what you told me". I remember it, as does the relationship manager. He wrote up a statement for my SDR to this effect. It is in writing. So this statement from PPM, should do no more than just annoy the crap out of me.On that level, he succeeded.

Point 2, the proposal went to him for comment no less than 3 times and was never returned with comment.

He goes on to tell me that he doesn't think I have an idea what a big project this is, afterall it is over 2 FTE's. How am I going to find people to work on it? What is your plan to direct something like this?

Point 3, I scoped the project I *know* it is 2 FTEs, you self-riteous SOB.

Point 4, I will find people to work on it just like he does, put the word out that I have $$ to spend. He actually has trouble finding people to work for him based off of how he has treated people in the past. I have met a big list of people who say they refuse to work on anything he manages (add me to the list). Me, otoh, just yesterday I had a post-doc in another group come talk to me about working on any projects I might have available.

Point 5, the lifecycle plan details how it will be managed, broken up and tasked, read it.

Then the straw that broke the camels back, he says, "I really want to direct this project, but I am not sure I can find the time."

Ok, I admit it, he got my goat there. This was what killed me. But reality, first off he doesn't have the time to direct his own projects between those and his team management duties. Second, the project was "tasked" under another, outside of our division, lab fellow/manager. PPM will, under no circumstances, stoop to running a task under this guy. Why would he? He has his own program! He is just pissy it wasn't tasked under his program/projects. Leads me to think that the relationship manager actually DID know what he was doing by letting this project go under this other one.

Yes, post doc advisor and I have our pissing matches. It used to be every 6 months or so we would blow up. Now it is when we speak to each other. I think back to my desperate-ness to get a job, to avoid an academic post-doc, post 9-11 when positions (other than academic post-doc) were scarce. I got a post-doc that was not in academia, it paid well and it lead to a permanent position where things are going well now. In one sense I think about what a mistake it was for me to come and post-doc here under PPM - the signs were all there it wasn't a good fit, but I didn't listen, I was enticed by the big money post-doc position. I think about how well things are going right now and how it was ME that turned them around, that did what I needed to do to be hired on, and have worked myself onto projects I enjoy. So I guess maybe in the long run, I wouldn't change anything. It has been a learning experience.

Come October 1, I am going to have a hard time waving bye to PPM with all 5 fingers up.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday again

As always, the weekend flew by. It was a nice weekend though. Saturday Leif slept for 3 hours and then played in his new pool with Cate. I bought the pool on clearance for half price. I was so excited about it, but it isn't living up to expectations. First off the slide floats all over the place, making it a touch dangerous, and there was no step included that we could find. The ring toss game does not stand up and the basketball hoop hardly stands up. Sunday morning one side was completely flat too and I have a hard time believing that it popped in that time. Overall, not the best $29 spent I suppose for this purpose. However, Leif loves the spraying frog, which as Hans put it will literally spray halfway across the yard. And he also likes crawling on the slide inside the house, although it is less easy to slide on when not wet... maybe a good thing. ;-)

After a playdate we went to a Caribbean restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised. I had ropa vieja, smash and Caribbean style mushrooms. All was great and Leif loved it too. The black bean soup before dinner was to die for though. Hans didn't make out quite as well. His plantains were awesome but he was less enthused by his jerk pork (disappointed in the quality of pork and the lack of spice), thought his dill pickle cheddar soup was mediocre (after the waiter raved about it) and just wasn't impressed. We will try it again and hopefully it was just his selection. Leif otoh, was a handful the entire dinner. He is just getting so difficult to take to restaurants where we might have to sit for longer than 20 minutes.

On Sunday Hans worked in the morning, then came home so I could go to a baby shower. By the time the baby shower rolled around I was regretting having RSVP'd I would go. I would have really rather had the afternoon to spend with Leif and Hans. Anyways, I headed out and arrived at the house. It was about 2/3's the mom to be's friends from high school. She is 30, but grew up in the area and never moved. I adore Brandy, and throughout her pregnancy, have actually become closer with her. But there are a few things that bug me about her.

I guess this goes back a few years ago when she told me that she was "from the popular crowd in high school" and she was quite happy and proud to exclaim this. I think it is probably different growing up and never leaving your hometown, and especially a small town, but this struck me as an odd thing to say. Or maybe it was just because I was *not* from the popular crowd, that it struck me as irritating. Nonetheless, I have grown to like her and have been enjoying following her pregnancy along. I was one of the first people to find out she had tested positive. She was told by her ob/gyn that she would have a hard time getting pregnant due to her ovarian cysts. Well 4 weeks later and blammo, she was sick at work and so excited about the prospect that she *could* maybe be pregnant, she went and bought a test, came back to work and peed on the stick in the women's bathroom. After much squealing she debated how to tell her new husband, who would be ecstatic.

I loved what she did, and her husband's denseness just cracks me up. She had put a "bun" (aka hamburger bun) in the oven and told her husband she couldn't cook dinner because the oven was broken. He said, "well we will go out". She had to practically pull him by the hand into the kitchen and open the oven by insisting that he check it out instantly. He thought she was a little nutso, but finally opened the oven... peered in and said, "I have no idea how to tell what's broken, I will call a repairman tomorrow". Brandy insisted "no, no if you just LOOK at it". He finally said, "fine! I will call a repairman now". Brandy, "no, no, no!" He thought she seriously flipped her lid. Finally he said, "well the repairman will think you were nuts for putting a hamburger bun in the oven". She was so excited he said it "bun in the oven", but did NOT get it. Finally she admitted failure and repeated until he got it... "bun in the oven, bun in the oven".

Anyways, so there were a few of us from work at the shower including two of THE most annoying women I work with. We all ended up sitting together - 6 of us from work. One annoying chick I work with, and have complained about before, just yapped and yapped and had a comment for everything.

I failed miserably at the babyfood contest. I should have won this, but evidently the nuances of the babyfood consistency and color evaded me. I will claim though that they were Beech Nut and Leif never ate Beech Nut, only Gerber. Annoying girl from work won it though and went on and on about how she doesn't even feed her son jarred food. Well la de da.

Next game I failed miserably at too, melted candybar in the diaper game. Guess what kind of candybar. I am not a candybar person, so it will come as no surprise that I got 0/10 correct. I mean what is an "Idaho Spud"? I have never even heard of one. Of course though, annoying girl is completely jipped by the fact that she misnumbered two, and she would have won had she not misnumbered them because if there is one thing she knows it is candybars as she proclaimed 48 times... and her ass shows it too.

Last game is the door prize. Bring a jar of food, diapers or wipes and be entered in a door prize. I realized this was on a card in the invitation as I was headed out the door to leave. I picked up one of Leif's old Stage One Squash containers and brought it with. Drum roll please, number 7 was picked and it was me. Ok, only like 3 people remembered to bring one of the three things, so not a big surprise that I won it. What did I win? Well I won a set of 5 Mary Kay creams. Oh yay.

This is probably bias carried over from working in a dermatologists office for 5 years and hearing the four dermatologists I work with repeatedly tell women not to use Mary Kay and recommended everything but. So here I am, sorry but I cannot do Mary Kay. I really should have just handed it over for a redraw. The person who brought the diapers should have won, she put more $$ into the door prize. I guess what I find most humorous is the girl in charge of the prizes is an Arbonne sales consultant and *hates* Mary Kay. Regift anyone? I am so not criticizing, because it will make another round of "re-gifting"!

I am not huge on etiquette, but there are things that you just don't do, IMO. Like handing out envelopes and making guests address their own thank you card envelopes. Tacky, tacky, tacky. I was *this* close to writing a snide remark on the envelope, but fear of being busted overcame me. Then I thought about addressing the envelope to the couple who never sent me a thank you card for the $50 in towels I bought them for their wedding 3 years ago... ok, I played sport and put my name and address on the envelope.

And while I am here, I am still tossed up on the whole 3rd baby shower thing. Yes, I went to the shower, and I am happy for Brandy. But just because one dumps all their baby stuff after #2 a couple years ago, does not mean that friends should pick up the tab. And her registry was extensive. I gave her a small newborn outfit and a Haba rattle. No one is there making a guest buy the gifts, people love to buy gifts for babies. And well sure, I can buy the "every baby deserves a party" argument, but maybe then it should be a "come meet the baby" party. I just can't help but feel that the shower was a ploy for "I need the new fun things that are on the market now".

I was disappointed that one friend opened the cards for Brandy (didn't even read them), while Brandy plowed through the gifts, half the time not sure who bought what. And that they didn't even pass the items around. Then they were adament about separating the cards into a stack and pulling out the gifts and putting them all into a box so that she didn't have all the bags to carry. Risky really. I guess she trusts that the person keeping track of gifts wrote everything down and got the names right.

Reciting to myself... "just because it isn't how I would have done it does not make it wrong"...

I blazed out of there once she said, "thank you" to everyone. Got home and Leif was just waking up from his 3 hour nap. Shortly after that one of my former students and her mom came by for a visit. Cynthia is in grad school at Harvard and was home for a week long visit. I adore her and her family, so it was great to see them. Leif entertained. He danced for them, provided refreshments (soggy graham crackers) and smiled. Cynthia is doing well, albeit struggling more with the catty, competitive students in grad school. Sounds like she is succeeding well at the classwork. This spring she was considering switching to get her Masters and leave asap she was so unhappy. This made me so sad. She is one of the smartest people I have ever met. She is finished with her 1st year in grad school and will turn 21 in October. Being young has been hard on her I think. She has been alienated by her fellow students because of her young age it sounds like - although she will not say that. I really hope she can stick it out for the next 4 years.

Well so that was the weekend. Hans made his fabulous flank steak burritos for dinner. We watched Rome, which was NOT a good trade fo Six Feet Under. It just didn't interest me. I read instead. Then we went to bed, Leif in his room, us in our room and had one of the worst, hellish, nights we have ever had since his birth.

Friday, August 26, 2005

What a week!

It has really been a great week. Monday came and my patent was filed. I went down and signed away my rights to it to the company. Part of me balked at this, but that's the way it works here. In exchange I got a nice "silver eagle" coin, one ounce of fine silver in a little case. Was busy Tuesday and Wednesday with projects and then Thursday hit.

Yesterday I got an e-mail stating that my big proposal was funded, I am still shocked. It is a little funky how it was done and I am still not sure the reasoning and have heard a few different things. It was placed as a task under a mega-project/program. Deal is that we are using a detector developed under this mega-project, so evidently they thought they were well enough related I suppose. Why, we have asked ourselves would they do this at this point. They weren't tasked together during the creation of the lifecycle plans, which would have made a whole hell of a lot less work for me. I am thrilled they weren't because there goes my credit for writing a lifecycle plan out the window.

Thoughts and statements I have heard are here:

From the mega-project manager: "They want this funded, but it is a small project. Small projects are dangerous because when money is needed elsewhere they are the first to go. Putting it under a big project, protects it."

(I buy this a little... but the mega-project manager is notorious for swooping in like a vulture. It scares me.)

From the program manager: "The PIs are quite young and inexperienced not only in project management but especially in management of a million dollar plus project. Putting this under the other project takes some of the management load off of them and they can stick to getting the science of the project done."

(I buy this a little more. But give us the chance. Hell who am I kidding, they aren't going to take a risk with a half million dollars a year, where they would at a $50K project.)

From the DC office (my thought of what went through their heads): "Hey this looks like that, in fact, that word is the same. It must be the same. Wow, you've made a match, look what you found, you've made a match, hear a sucking sound!"

(What I really think happened.)

Who knows. And frankly, I don't really care. This project does a few things for me, it practically insures a promotion for me be it task or project. It is a slightly bigger issue to be a task for my co-PI since he is a level above me and needs that "project" status for a promotion. Somewhat importantly, it gets me out from under the thumb of my former post-doc advisor. I do not have to work for the asshole again after Oct 1. The other thing it does for me is validates me as someone who CAN come up with ideas, formulate proposals, and have them recognized as valuable. It puts me out there not only to the program managers, but also to my coworkers.


It is Friday, thank goodness. I dropped fussy Leif off this morning. I was worried about leaving him since he was bawling when I left. He never does this. He has been so tired at nights, falling asleep by 8pm the last two nights. Then he isn't sleeping well. Things have GOT to change, and tonight, they are going to. Stay tuned because I refuse to jinx myself by detailing our plans.

I went by daycare and "peaked" in at lunch. He was done and wandering around, playing on the ramp/platform thing. He loves that. Supposidly he ate some lunch, about 2/3 of it! I didn't tell, although the teachers could probably tell, that I sent horrible processed pasta and sauce for kids. I hate feeding it to Leif, but he loves the stuff. And he eats it willingly, when nothing else will work. Ok, so he eats blueberries. So many that his butt was stained blue. TMI? :-/

I need a weekend to unwind. We have few plans, which is nice. Maybe a trip to Farmer's Market. Setup Leif's new "water playground" and have Cate over to play in it with him. I need to pick the plums and either can them or make jam, or both. We don't have a ton of plums, albeit once I get to picking them I am sure it will seem like a lot more. The tree is sparsely populated though.

There is a ton of yardwork to do. The yard is scary. Although my garden is looking fabulous and raspberries are in their second go around with bigger, plumper berries than the first harvest. Must pick some! I am thinking a golden raspberry ice cream would be fabulous.

I have a baby shower to go to Sunday. But aside from that not a lot.

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thank you taxpayers

I promise to do my very best with your $1.8 million over the next 4 years.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Things that make it all worthwhile

  • The phrase "I am putting you up for promotion" coming from my manager's lips yesterday as I worked hard to state my case (yet again). (Testing that squeaky wheel gets the grease philosophy.)

  • Running Leif's bath and he is SO excited to get in the bathtub HE starts trying to take his clothes off. But those darn snaps! Ah well, who cares, he will just get in the bath clothes and all as his leg is flung over the edge of the tub... (I was rolling on the floor laughing.)

  • Watching Leif do the "Hokey Pokey". The "turn yourself around" part is hi-larious. Arm in and out looks more like an elephant dance, but now that I know what he is doing it makes sense.

  • Having a project manager that loves you enough that even though you didn't finish the client's presentation by the time you have to pick up kid at daycare, he tells you to go and don't dare come back in to work on it. Then the next day it is done because he has finished it, yet praises your efforts to the client. I so owe him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Monday, August 22, 2005

Where did the weekend go?

I assume we must have been busy, which is why my house is a bigger pit than it started on Friday. Gah.

Friday night, Hans got home from work late. We took Leif to his favorite restaurant, Inca. Leif loves Mexican food. (I had Mexican cravings when pregnant with him, coincidence?) He gets extraordinarily upset about not getting chips (I worry about the sharp corners) or margarita (I worry about the brain freeze). ;-) But aside from that he chows on rice, beans, beef, chicken and tortillas. And the fact that every.single.waitress in the joint comes over to flirt with him makes it "his" place. He is a MAJOR ham. He lives it up.

We go home, and Hans does the Friday night sci-fi thing as I work on my book, The Time Traveller's Wife, that I am LOVING so far.

Saturday, Leif does a quick morning nap then we head to Costco where we spent gobs of Hans' hard earned paycheck. We needed a Costco trip. We were due for one last week, but the excess tuition payment, daycare payment and school deposit rendered us poor until Friday when Hans got paid. We bought, among other things, clothes.

Not just any clothes either. I bought a pair of size 10 jeans. The mark of really having lost weight is being able to buy a pair of jeans in the new size and have them fit. Yeah sure you say, anyone can find a pair of baggy jeans in a size smaller to squeeze into. No, no my friend. I bought Nautica Slim fit, bootcut jeans. It's for real. And they look good!

We got home after eating lunch there and shopping for an hour-ish and Leif was konked in the car. We unload and I run off to be defiant at FedEx Kinkos while Hans picks the nectarines off the tree. I return (a little more than miffed) and was calmed by Vanessa's call telling us not to hurry over for dinner. Phew.

Dinner was fantastic, rottisserie chicken, lots of fresh vegies, margaritas... yum. Lemon bars, yum. Leif was great aside from him asserting his hit or miss pickiness at the table. I will not complain, I was the exact same. I know I drove my mom and dad insane. I had reasons why something was fine one day and the next it was not. I can't illustrate them today, thankfully, I have grown out of it. Cate, despite the fact that her gums look like a warzone from those God awful molars, was doing well and Leif was thrilled to see her.

Saturday night, home again, Leif is in bed and we put on a movie, Birth. Snooze...

Sunday, I sleep in (glory), Hans makes crepes with nectarines and make a piggy of myself. Leif tastes it and resorts to licking the sugar off the crepe. Nice. I clean the house and Hans heads to work. Leif needed a nap before swimming so after 30 minutes I succumb, I put him in the car and drive for 10 minutes. We are home and he is out like a light. He sleeps for 45 minutes (better than nothing) and then is up. I had just enough time to pick up the kitchen and start laundry.

He had a fabulous time at swimming. The pool temperature was acceptable. It was the last day, so a "fun" day. Leif had a super time as did the other kids. Leif cracked me up when he decided he was going to "blow bubbles" like daddy. He stuck his mouth in, lifted his head up and then blew. And apparently that technique required refinement as he kept repeating this. He was too cute.

Sunday afternoon Hans decided he didn't need to go back to work and so we went home. Got rinsed off and headed to Petsmart (Hans) and Michaels (me and Leif). I raided the Halloween section pretty seriously. I also bought Leif a small step stool I plan to paint (along with the table and chairs he already has that need paint). I bought picture frames and then some neat fall garland. I always have intentions of doing some wreaths, but never any idea on what to actually put into one. We went to check out and had the nicest ever checkout guy. But man was he slow. Everyone started complaining. Hans was quite sure he was beyond baked.

We got home and I put out the clearance coloring book and knock off crayons I bought at Michaels for Leif. He thought that was really neat. But I learned a lesson, pay 4x as much for the real Crayolas. The wax actually flaked off of the coloring book pages, AND with Leif's long, far reaching swoops with the crayons, they actually DREW on the carpet fibers. And he doesn't push down hard. According to Abby they taste better too, although Leif found the knock offs to be quite tasty.

Hans dried a huge batch of nectarines and shortly afterwards got the food mill out and pushed the remainder through that with the intention of making jam/jelly. Yes, I know there is a difference, but this concoction out of the food mill is somewhere between. Solids were pureed, but it was still thick. Anyways, food mill was a very wise investment. It took Hans about 10 minutes to mill 2 bags of nectarines down to 13 cups of purree. I made a quick run to Albertsons when I realized I had no pectin. Got the jars cleaned and at about 6pm we had 21 jars of nectarine jam/jelly.

Leif had pasta and sauce for dinner, Hans and I had salmon fish tacos. I cleaned while Hans walked the poor, very neglected Winny-dog. We got Leif down for bedtime JUST in time for Six Feet Under series finale.

How sad. This was the best thing on TV for a long time. Now there is nothing. Well there is Entourage, which I love (cracked me up last night), but it isn't the same. Anyways the series finale was good. I was actually OK with it being over. Hans was 100% wrong, he was sure everything would be left hanging and that Claire would become a little main stream conformist. I hates him saying those things. And I was afraid he could be right. But ah ha! He was not. He was dead wrong on all accounts and somehow, they managed to wrap up every single storyline and not leave anything hanging.

Hans thought the last 10 minutes was a little on the hokey side, but to me, it made the end, ok, I guess. I knew that Claire would live happily to be 102, etc. It made sense. And it was NOT all left hanging! HA!

So, that's where my weekend went. I need another, now.

Deviant of justified annoyance?

I have a number of old photos I needed to get reprints of. Of course, I don't have the negatives. So on Saturday, Leif was napping, Hans was hanging out, and so I ran to FedEx Kinkos to copy and print them on one of those kiosks.

After 30 minutes, I had 30 of the 40 pictures scanned in. Each one took about 30 seconds to scan and it took me about another 30 seconds to reset it for the next. I was in the rhythm though. It was going well, that is until a "failure notice, scanner not recognized, contact customer service" message came up. I finally attract the attention of Derek, dorky Derek, the only service person in the entire place on Sunday.

He comes over and after telling me 5 times, "this has never happened before", does a Microsoft reboot. I ask him to "pull my pictures up please". No dice. He doesn't know how to do this, they are gone according to him, which I still don't believe that the computer has no short term memory. At this point 40 minutes down the drain. But I need the pictures. So I start again. Dorky Derek tells me once again that "this has never happened before". I snapped back, "yeah, that's what you said five times before, count this as the first time it has happened because frankly I don't care that it hasn't happened before". (Ok, probably bad move to piss off Dorky Derek.)

I got smart this time and did the pictures in batches of 10. Scanned in 10, printed 10. At the printing of picture 36 (1 hour and 20 minutes into this endeavor) another error message. "Out of paper, replace paper PS###, contact customer service". Dorky Derek returns, annoyed with me I can tell. I am on the phone with my mom and I just point to the screen, while I continue jabbering.

He opens the front of the machine, pulls out the paper and this appears to be a quick thing that probably "has happened before". He can't find the right paper. The paper he brought over is too small, he leaves and returns with paper too large. He is looking, and looking. I am looking at the clock... 4:15pm, we have dinner at our friends at 5pm.

These two stupid 19 year olds walk in and start talking to Dorky Derek. He leaves to help them photocopy a flyer, I mean who can't run a frickin' photocopier. But I am livid that he was helping me and just quits and goes and helps someone else for seriously 10 minutes, all the while chatting and never making eye contact with me. 15 minutes has ticked by since the "print error". I am now on the phone with Hans, bitching up a storm. He says "just leave". (I have the temperament to go with my red hair, but it is rarely seen... it was starting to rear it's ugly head.)

Dorky Derek is nowhere to be found. The 19 year olds are gone. I wait a few minutes, then I pick up my stack of 36 reprinted photos, 40 originals, my purse and keys and I leave, without paying.
I have never stolen anything in my entire life. I felt guilty in high school when one of the kids I babysat stuck a yellow big crayon in my purse and I took it home on accident. I was so afraid the parents would think I stole it. (As a parent now, ha ha ha ha!!)

I got home with the pictures and Hans is dying when I said, "well here are my 'hot' pictures"! He says "I didn't mean to take the pictures with you!" Well no way in hell was I just leaving them (after my 1 hour 45 minute ordeal)! They would have just tossed them in the trash. But no way in hell was I paying for the ridiculousness I endured either.

I still have four pictures to copy. But I have to find a new kiosk, because I can never again show my face in FedEx Kinkos.

My sister will be so proud of my little streak of deviance.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Change in the seasons?

For the third time this week, when Winny and I went on our morning walk I put on my running pants (ok, not like I actually ran or anything) and a sweatshirt over my t-shirt. It is quite brisk lately! We are enjoying 40-50 degree temperature swings in the day, love that!

So we went on our walk this morning and Win took off into the field to run. I was looking and as she was flying through the field (I am above her on a small hill), I see movement in the field. One coyote, not a big deal. Then I see a second trotting towards her. (Ick, I start to get nervous. But she has dealt with two before...) Then I see a third. Ok that's it, I "run" off into the field (so I did run a little...).

I am calling her and I hear the howling start. Not her, but the coyotes working hard to entice her over. I got to the bottom of the field and here she comes running back to join me. I have always said that the minute she didn't come back when I called, her field running was done. I have added a second clause to that, being that it is done now since the number of coyotes appears to have increased. Yes, she is a shepherd and bred to ward off animals like coyotes from livestock. She is significantly larger than the coyotes. But she is domesticated. She is not a farm dog used to dealing with this. Plus the fact that she is over 6 years old now. She isn't a young dog anymore. And well, I also don't need to be yelled at by scared little old ladies who hear the coyotes barking and see my dog in the field. Yes, I do know that there are coyotes out there, I am not deaf.

Today is Friday. Yay. Aside from the usual weekend chores and a much needed (now that we have $$ after a difficult week transitioning to the new school with deposits and payments to two places) Costco trip, I would like to do some crafts. I know Leif is little still, but I want to do some fun things with him.

He fingerpainted at daycare yesterday. Apparently he not only fingerpainted, but WAS fingerpainted. (His back of his outfit was covered with paint.) We will see what fun stuff we find.

Not a whole lot of news on the work front. I have had a nice day with a couple pleasant meeting. One was a project meeting that went well. The other was a meeting with a statistician who is doing a little work for me on a project. She has a 4 month old and so we had to compare notes. No word on the proposal status yet. Patent is being filed on Monday. I did lots of stupid training this morning. Now I have put into my time card that I will spend 2 hours working in the lab on one of the painful projects I have. So to keep true to my timecard, I will head over and put in my time. (Grumble, grumble...)

Oh yeah, Sears finally got their act together and posted our pictures on the website, only a week late. They are ok. I like the family pictures. Leif was fussy and so the others aren't great. But we got a family picture to update our library picture with. Amazingly I like the one of us all on the floor, despite the fact of my big old hip sticking up and my boob protruding forth. But you know, we all are smiling and don't have doofy looks on our faces (a major accomplishment for me). The photographer kept commenting on Leif being so "photogenic". He is, really. Note that she did not comment on Hans and I being photogenic!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tiring week

I have spent much of this week in both a 2 day workshop and a one day review. Phew. I am tired.

This morning just about killed me. The review started at 7:30am, meaning I had to leave home by precisely 7:05am. Which also meant that it was up to Hans to get Leif to daycare. Leif was still sleeping when I left his morning and I am such a sap. It just about killed me knowing that he would wake up and I wouldn't be there. And he would go to the new school (daycare) on his second day without mommy. What in the world am I going to do when I return to the world of business travel that I have so successfully ducked out of for the last year and a half?

Today was excessively boring really, and to be honest I went to the entire review to have my face there. The chairs were uncomfortable, the room was too small, and listening to the repetitive talks was misery. But on my way out with Cari, we were leaving for lunch. Our division director asked if he could join us.

This was quite a privelege and completely unexpected. So Division Director is above my manager who is above my team lead, who is above me. He does know who I am, he was once my manager and was the person who hired me on permanently. But getting face time is difficult.

We had a nice, long lunch. We asked a lot of naive, Scientist 2 level questions, like why does our ALD ask for money and what is that money used for... and what is your role within the management structure really... it was nice. He talked so much that we didn't give him time to eat. We also talked about my background, how I ended up in Reno in grad school, what my research was... etc. I left happy.

This afternoon was nice. I finished up some SDR inputs for fellow staff members. All got glowing reviews for the most part with the token "this could be worked on". I also wrapped up an experiment for my counterpart on my 1831 project. He does the full scale system and I do the bench scale. We commiserated over the fact that our runs are successes. We were both being a little of the paranoid pessimistic type (I am usually just paranoid and not pessimistic) and were concerned that our results were positive because we did something wrong, not because our method actually worked. I was sure I must be dipping my samples in pure water that does nothing, as opposed to HF. So I got smart (gee, I am a chemist afterall) and tested the pH of my HF solution. It was very, very, very acidic. I can now sleep tonight.

Leif's second day at school is today and I am really anxious to go pick him up. Hans is working late tonight again. I am just excited to see Leif awake. I have a bunch of things to take care of tomorrow. I need to go through the final draft of my patent, the lawyer has scheduled the application to take place on Monday. I truly don't know what that means to me other than a date I can put on my contribution report. I have a meeting with a statistician to do some work for me. And I really need to review the proposal I was assigned to review.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

All hope might not be lost

I was in a workshop today and decided to ditch the breakout sessions. I hate those. The topics today interested me so little, that I couldn't bring myself to stay. Tomorrow I will need to go to one. The workshop so far has been interesting. Cari and I were sitting together and midway through the morning section she confessed that it was all Greek to her essentially. I have to admit that this made me happy. I adore Cari, she really is a neat girl, and very smart. But I (a physical chemist) am struggling to run a nuclear physics task on her project. I know I was selected for this task by she and the program manager, both nuclear engineers, because they have confidence in me and I have proven myself proficient. But I have worked my butt off and I continue to work my butt off to keep up with them.

The morning section was my former field of graduate study, ab initio molecular dynamics and cluster modeling and calculations. I was at home. I even felt the need to point out to Cari that one of the collaborators was someone who provided input to me on my dissertation research. I was at home hearing about density functional theories, hybrid orbitals, wavefunctions, Green's functions, the Dirac equation and Schrodinger's equation. (Enough being a show off...)

So I could follow along most of the sections this morning and there were a few I could have presented. Then this afternoon I had a Tabletop Safety training meeting and so I missed out on the sections I really needed to attend to learn about how the stuff I know is applied to stuff I don't know. Oh well.

One thing that made me smile inside today was when Mary, a level 5 I work with, came and cautioned Cari and I on who we talk to about our proposals. She told us there are sharks in the group of people and not only that, but sharks with money and post-docs to toss at projects. She wasn't so concerned about our nonlinearity experiments, but she mentioned in particular the "cute little project" that I proposed, that has not been done before and to make damn sure I don't even mention it. I know better, really I do. I was scooped in grad school by a damn Stanford group big time and it almost affected my ability to graduate in a reasonable amount of time. I learned my lesson and I don't say jack about proposals I have out now.


The Safety training was an ominous experience. I am one of 6 people in my building who have roles in case of emergency. We got our bomb threat cards, someone made light about them and we were reminded that it isn't a joke, that there are many many more bomb threats than we would imagine. When pressed the presenter said that we don't want to know how many there are a week. (April sitting there thinking about tending her resignation...)

The safety topic today was about violence in the workplace and handling employees gone postal. I got an eery feeling. I have been there. When I was a TA in grad school I had a student threaten me by e-mail. I sent the e-mail to the prof and the head of my department. No one really took it seriously until he showed up pounding on my lab door screaming. It was all regarding an e-mail I sent out asking my students to turn in their lab notebooks by the end of the day. He misread it, thinking I was "accusing" him of not turning his notebook in. ?!?! His fellow students nicknamed him "the postman" from his first day as a freshman in the dorms because the guy was whacked. He was a senior in my PChem lab class.

Anyways, the day he showed up in the hallway screaming that he was going to kill me and take anyone with him who tried to stop him... well they started to take him seriously. The police were called, he took off. I was sent home where I sat shaking and crying most of the afternoon. Hans came home from work to be with me and man was he ticked. The guy was arrested that night. Spent the night in jail. All the time professing I was just "confused" by his intent. Oh yeah, that's it. What *killed* me was that he was allowed (by Judicial Counsel) to remain enrolled because he "only had 6 months more to get his degree and agreed to counseling". He was booted from my class with an F, from me, which was then re-evaluated by the professor of the course who gave him his grade to that point, a D. Mainly so he didn't have to retake the class. The experience still gives me shivers.

Anyways, I digress...

After the Safety Tabletop where we talked about how to handle different situation I went to see Leifer at daycare. It broke my heart. There were tears, hugs, and Miss Reca told me repeatedly what a neat little boy he is and what great parents Hans and I are. Today is Leif's last day at his daycare. The day I have been in denial about for sometime now. I can't believe what a sap we were all being, but it seemed like the end of an era, lol. Leif had no idea what all our deals were and was just wanting to play.


After running back to the workshop and hanging out chatting with some people I know I realized I didn't want to do a breakout session and came back to my office. Deb had made progress on a task I assigned her (so now I am not completely fibbing when I fill out her SDR input sheet... the vast majority of her work this year was for her husband and she didn't want to use him on her input). She had asked me and I agreed to do input for her since last years input, well she worked through the end of September for me, but I did her input sheet in August... Anyways, I had agreed to do an input for her this year even though by the book she didn't work on my task. Now she did a days work on a different task for me, so it isn't a stretch!

Then the title of my post, all hope might not be lost. I mentioned yesterday that my proposal was "on hold" and not expected to fund. Well turns out that one of the other projects, which my project uses technology from got an unexpected increase in funds for the first 3 years and some money for years 4 and 5, that was not requested. My co-PI (and co-PI for the other project) looked at the numbers and realized that the $$ was exactly the amount he and I requested. He called his co-PI who also found it odd... called the program manager, who knew nothing. They called headquarters and haven't gotten a response back. But the program manager said he was shocked our project didn't get funded because he had heard there was a client already. He also said that our project was little and that is a concern. (Little projects get dropped when $$ gets tight.) So it appears preliminarily that our project was funded, but placed as a task under the larger project.

This for me is still success. For my co-PI, notsomuch. He is striving for his 3 to 4 promotion and needs that funded proposal and project manager (co-project manager... it was *my* proposal to start) status to get this. For me (going from 2 to 3 hopefully) this meets my needs more than adequately. So divying up the cash is then the question. And where do I fall. I might have to work hard not to get squeezed out... But man, anything not to have to go back to my former post-doc mentor and ask for work...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Another thing I said I would *never* do

That would be let Leif watch more than one Baby Einstein DVD in a row. But he was too cute, and I was cleaning out the pantry and fridge and really enjoying NOT having help with this. He was sitting on his quilt watching World Animals (his favorite), then pretty soon he was laying on his quilt watching, close to dozing off. I put in Language Nursery when it finished. He only lasted about 10 minutes before he realized that learning to sing songs in different languages was far less neat than helping mom clean the pantry.

He is such a helper cleaning the pantry too. I found my Zoom hot cereal in the library, his carrot juice under the coffee table and graham cracker box was opened and contents emptied on the kitchen floor.

We had a low key, relaxed weekend. Friday, take out Thai. Saturday was salmon. We picked up the house, Hans dried nectarines. I made two batches of zucchini bread and froze 3/4 of it. We went to Target and spent way too much money. Went to the grocery store and didn't spend near enough money evidently since I have a long list of things to get on our way home.

Swimming lessons was on Sunday and Leif had a good nap beforehand. Thanks in part to our new technique, i.e., go drive around town and look at available view lots before swimming. We still haven't found anything that we like more than our favorites, but it is good to look. The swimming pool was freezing, so being the wuss that I am... really it is proven that redheads nerve endings are closer to their skin surface than non-redheards, I stayed out and "let" Hans take Leif. And evidence of his redheadedness was apparent by the large level of wailing we endured and his scrambling for the side and the stairs at every opportunity.

I cooked crab cakes last night with red beans and rice. Yum. We watched Six Feet Under, I really don't know how they will ever wrap up this season in 75 minutes next week. I am dying here to see it and knowing that next week will be it.

This morning I took Leif to daycare. He has a cough again and is wheezing, ugh. This afternoon we will visit the Montessori school for an hour or so. His teachers are already expressing their sadness at him leaving, which breaks my heart.

I got in this morning to "the e-mail" in my mailbox I have been waiting for. Preliminary feedback on the proposals. Mine is "on hold". I am thoroughly ticked because they advertised that a significant portion of the funded proposals would be new starts. There was ONE new start slated for this portfolio, which is less than a typical year. I know, while it is "on hold" I can't rule it out. But it isn't looking pretty.

So, I have my LDRD task, which will likely be doubling in value (I hope). Then I have my 1831 project thru the end of December for sure, and the continuation is up in the air. We got fantastic results and so it is looking like commercialization is in our future. But what my role will be beyond Dec 2005 is up in the air. I can't count on anything based off the review in July and knowing that interest in the technology is waning. I expect the client to pull funds and run with the technology they have.

Ah well. Here we are, another week. Hoping for a good one. I will be in a workshop tomorrow and Wednesday and so will be scarce.

Oh yes, some current Leifer pictures...

Leif loves to carry things across the house. I know there must be some order to which he does these types of things. I keep imagingin, "stupid mommy, doesn't she know that boxes go in the library?" Also a couple birthday presents, Leif loves his tent with tube from our extended family here locally. The other was a gift from mom and dad, the water table. The boat serves as a great means to transport water from the table to the floor.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Yay, I need a Friday.

This week has been pretty mellow. Not a lot really going on. Next week will be different. Too much next week. Monday afternoon we will do our second transition appointment at the Montessori school. Tuesday and Wednesday I am participating in a workshop that my one over one manager has organized and that I am feeling very fortunate to have been included in. So that means that on Tuesday, Hans will go to Leif's third transition appointment with him over lunch. Wednesday Leif starts at the school permanently. That sucks. His first day and I will be scrambling to get him in, dropped off, settled in and running out the door. Maybe that is good? Oh and then I will also miss teleconference, I missed this week too. That isn't like me, but it is fiscal year end and things are crazy on my 1830 projects.

So we had our first transition appointment today. It went well. We walked in and Leif held my hand and watched things for about 3 minutes. Then he dropped my hand and went and joined all the other kids at the snack table where he proceeded to try and take other kids food. That didn't go over well and food of his own soon appeared in front of him along with his own chair and place to sit at the table. He looked like such a little boy sitting there with his food in front of him.

Ok and go figure this... Leif hates bananas, yet I persist in putting them in front of him regularly. He picks one up and wrinkles his nose and won't touch it. What is the snack? Bananas and graham crackers! Do you think he hesitated at all to eat the banana? NOO! Little turkey dove right into it. I am sure every parent of a toddler can attest to a similar situation and is sitting there nodding right now.

Leif played and played in the room, he was so busy. The room was calm, quiet (except when Leif persisted in pushing a squeaky chair across the room). The kids were amiable, they went where they were called, the sat still while getting their sunscreen on. I was amazed watching these kids.
Leif knew two kids from daycare, Jonathen and Theresa. Three more he knows will join him at the end of the month. Leif went outside and played some. Then he came in and all the kids gathered around for story time. Leif decided to be the rogue (had to use that word) here and go play with toys instead (all the other kids stared!).

His new teacher, Miss Sufia, said that he will transition very easily. Most kids spend the entire hour attached to mom's leg. Nope, not Leif. (Just break my heart instead...) He fit right in and I am really pleased.

What I am NOT pleased about is my idiocy in scheduling his first day, next Wednesday, the day he would have transitioned to the toddler room. Ugh. That means, and I obviously didn't think about this beforehand, that we will pay Kindercare for a week, then we will pay Montessori for a week, then we pay the $30 registration fee, then we pay TWO weeks tuition as a deposit. And well, $800 later... and it appears my shopping expedition has been pre-empted.

Oh well. I really should stay around the house and *help* Hans with his spaghetti sauce making expedition. I want to make and freeze some more nectarine scones, and some zucchini bread. So I have enough on my schedule this weekend without trying to fit in a shopping trip.

Although we do have a portrait sitting scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Sears. I will probably have to venture into just a few stores in search of bargains...

Everyone have a super weekend!

*Rogue. As opposed to rouge, learn it. I am reviewing a proposal right now and the PI's keep using the word "rouge" instead of "rogue terrorists". I keep giggling at "rouge terrorists". What are they going to do? Run up to someone and spread rouge on their cheeks? Ha ha, you look like a clown! Hey, it would probably be easier to get a signature of the terrorists that way... yes, this terrorist used Maybelline's Just Cheeky!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Stupid students

One thing I love about working here is getting summer students. We get the cream of the crop too, or at least have access to the best and brightest for the most part. (As compared to the vast majority of undergrads where I went to grad school.) They have to apply for internships and be accepted. Not like in teaching at the University where you were stuck with a class where 75% are wasting your time and theirs for 9 months of the year. And bonus, here, you only have them on your back, coat tails, in your ear for 3 months of the year. What could be better? Cheap labor (oh, excuse me, inexpensive) for the busiest time of the year, then the disappear!

What gets me is the way most of these students walk in here like they are the hottest shit around. My students don't behave like that of course. I pick the good ones. And if they want to mess around with me I will assign them reading as opposed to research or experiments.;-)

I have had some great students in the 3 years I have been here. Cynthia was *my* best and brightest. Ok, so I can't really claim her. She was passed off to me one summer. Then I had her back for another summer and whenever she could do Christmas break. She is now at Harvard in grad school. Writing a letter of recommendation to Harvard was one of my career high points!

And Erin, (a he), he is good. I gave him a task to research and he returned with more information than I really needed.

Then there were "the others".

There was Claire. She wasn't my student, but she needed a project and was therefore pawned off on me for half of her summer. My butt she "needed a project". Ha! More like she needed to get out of Glens hair. This tiny, skinny, little college freshman (who was majoring in English - hmmm... daddy work at the lab?) bent a freakin' 8" solid steel conflat flange. To this day I have no idea how.

Kate... oh Kate. The single biggest gossip in the group. If she just learned how to close her flippin' mouth on occasion. The girl thrived on gossip. Oh I mean "thrives", she is still here and seems to have wormed her way into a getting a permanent position listed for her.

Then there is Donald. He is the inspiration for this post today. Mom is the secretary to the lab director. So he was quickly ushered in last year with open arms. He was a student shared with one of my project managers and another woman. He was to work with me and take over some detector testing because I was going out on maternity leave last summer. I sent him repeated requests to come and learn what he was supposed to do, but he was always "too busy". Excuse me, doing what? You are supposed to be busy working for me. Finally I was at my wits end and sent him a note explaining I was going out on leave on Friday and needed him to meet with me. The following Monday he e-mailed me saying he was available. I just about went ballistic on him. It was probably good I only had e-mail access to him.

So imagine my surprise that Donald is back this year and not only that assigned to work on my LDRD task. I did not ask for this. My naive project manager took him on. He irritates the living daylights out of me. His manager has offered up instruments to my LDRD task left and right. Donald however, feels it is up to him to guard these instruments with the vigor or a lioness over her cub. So imagine my surprise when today after telling Donald (college undergrad sophomore) I needed the instrument, he e-mailed me (Ph.D. research scientist) saying that he could let me borrow it, but had to be assured he would get it back. Umm, bite me.

To which I responded. "Bring it over by the end of the day, this e-mail serves as evidence that you left it with me" and copied it to his manager.

Students are sometimes the stupidest things around. Man am I glad I am not in school anymore.

One year well baby

Hans was too busy to come. After this experience I called him to put the 15 month appointment onto his calendar, because I will be damned if I am doing this alone again with Leif at this stage. I don't know how SAHMs do it? Tell me, how do you do it.

I picked Leif up and we get to the appointment and all is well. He plays with the toys in the waiting room and smiles at everyone.

The nurse comes and takes us back, I get him undressed and we wait, and wait. Leif doesn't want to sit on my lap or on the table (he would prefer to jump OFF the table), so on the floor he goes. Thank God it is sparkley. Then the games begin:

1. Hide behind the table (not a problem except he isn't just hiding he is trying to dislodge the cord from electric table). Remove him.
2. Play with the electric outlet. Remove him.
3. Pull the hanging power cord out of the wall assembly housing the instruments 14 times. Remove him.
4. Grab the spinny top stool and spin it while holding on, fall down crying. Remove him.
5. Run to the door and hit it with your hands as hard as possible. (Fear that someone is going to open the door sets in. I could care less about the noise.) Remove him.
6. Play next to the table and reach up and pull the paper down, tear off a piece and put it into mouth.
7. Repeat starting at #1.

Yes, I had toys, I had books, I had shoes, bibs, wipes container, a blanket as well as a cell phone and sunglasses to attempt to use as toys. No dice.

I wait and wait.

Advice to doctor's office staff. Do NOT put a young, just mobile, child in the room only to wait. We would really RATHER be in the waiting room with the toys!

Finally, the nurse comes back, length, weight, head measurements... then the doctor comes in and she is super. Leif adored her and she was quite thorough and we talked a lot about developmental stuff. More than I EVER got from the previous doctor. Then he gets his 3 shots. We will come back for a 15 month appointment to get the chicken pox and another shot. The doctor prefers to spread them out a little around this time since the MMR is a difficult one for kids.

I went out to the desk and Leif is still full of energy. Upon checking out they tell me that Leif's insurance has been discontinued. Umm, no, it hasn't. Yes it has the old hag says. No, it hasn't I tell her. She asks for his card (again) and takes a copy and tells me to call them when I get home. Leif is on the floor at this point RUNNING down the hall. So I retrieve him. [I looked it up online, it has not been cancelled. Ten to one they ran the old card since it was cancelled as of 01-01-05. Yep, I switched insurance then. In the last 8 months Leif has most definitely used his insurance and it was not cancelled.]

Then she takes her sweet time scheduling his appointment... .... .... I am this close to leaving and telling her I will call for an appointment. Leif is once again racing down the hallway. She gets it scheduled. Phew.

I was starved and no sign of food in the future. So I stopped at Florentynas for a panini on my way out. Again wrestling with the wiggle worm while we wait. But they have superb paninis. Although I was a little irked when I ordered my favorite panini, the Roma. Foccacia, fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, pressed and cooked. Yum. Evidently it is "seasonal". Ok, I said when she tells me it is seasonal. Then she tells me "it's seasonal meaning we aren't making it right now".

Ok, umm, what exactly is seasonal for tomatoes and basil? It is nearing peak season here. If you don't have it or can't make it, say that. Don't tell me it is not available because it is seasonal.

I leave carrying my sandwich, Leif, purse and diaper bag, 2 hours after I set out on this escapade. Oh and I trip walking out the front door, flailing but manage not to nosedive into the asphault carrying Leif. I get to the car and just want to start crying. I am worn out. I am tired of saying "No", I am hungry, and I have missed my entire teleconference.

But on the bright side, I have one very healthy, very active, little boy.

Weight 23 lbs 12.5 oz (33%)
Height 30.25" (55%)
Head 47 cm

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tearing my heart out

So I went to see Leif at 2pm. He cracks me up, he was chowing down. Evidently he was on his third meatball (large ones, not small) and third helping of rice pilaf. Of course, he had yet to finish his FIRST helping of green beans.

I talked to his teachers about the fact he will be leaving and they were so sad. He was going to be leaving his class anyways on Wednesday. Something I was in complete denial about until this morning. But him leaving the daycare for good, seems to be especially brutal on his two absolutely wonderful teachers.

Miss Alysha told me that next Tuesday is going to be a very sad day and that she will likely be crying all night long. This tore my heart out. What wonderful people to take care of someone else's child so well that they become so attached. I want nothing less for my child and for my money. But what pain, to remove a child from the care of someone who loves him so much. I want to tell them that they are part of our family, they are so important to us, that we will not abandon them!! It *almost* makes me want to go have another baby so they have another wonderful baby to take care of. *Almost*, but not quite yet. ;-)

Leif was busy entertaining, as he usually does, and she told me that next week is going to be so quiet and boring. She told me what a rarity it is to have such an entertaining child. Awww!

Miss Reca is a touch different. She is a tough older woman. She has been around the block a time or two and pretty much runs the place. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her. She is the one who has really encouraged us towards the Montessori school, so this comes as no surprise to her. But I won't even try to fool myself into thinking that him leaving isn't going to bother her. She told me from day one that these kids are her life. She keeps in contact with them all as long as parents are receptive.

This move is difficult for me too. I see what a great little boy Leif is turning into and I can't convince myself that he is an infant anymore. He is 100% little boy. Montessori stresses independence and self sufficiency. Miss Reca has told me I will be amazed at what he is really able to do for himself. They are going to make my baby grow up.

He's in!

I came in this morning to a voice mail message from the Montessori school. Leif is in! He starts Wednesday!

I am excited for him. I really think this will help Leif channel some of his energy and his "willful-ness". Sometimes he just gets so frustrated with being "redirected"... which usually doesn't work, so the redirection turns into "removed" that coincides with a meltdown. I was actually more confident about the toddler room at daycare as of yesterday when Leif and I went down to visit. Leif had a great time and I got to talk to the teacher more. I was feeling OK about things and transitioning him. Then the call came.

Hans is excited too, albeit a little more concerned. Part of the reason he really wanted to work out near me, which he now does, is his proximity to Leif. He wanted to be able to go and see him, which he now can. Except that at the Montessori school they don't encourage parents to visit. There are peepholes instead. I do understand that there is the need eventually for him to learn independence and be there all day, and that day is probably nearing, but it still feels a touch soon. But we will all learn and it will be a good thing. And if it doesn't work out, we aren't happy, we will move him back to daycare.

Our biggest disappointment is that there is only one spot and that Cate won't be joining Leif immediately. However, there is one child between she and Leif on the waitlist and the administrator assured me that things have really been changing around in that room and that it is possible that Cate will be offered a position soon as well. We are hoping.

I talked with Leif's daycare teacher a little about this. I really value her input and suggestions as she is a Montessori teacher. She said that Cate and Leif, while their interactions are adorable and they are such good buds, that they would probably benefit from being on their own to a certain degree. They tend to "gang" up on other kids and defend each other (ok, so Cate defends Leif...). But it isn't a bad idea that they each have their own transition times and an opportunity to meet and interact with other children on their own. And well she is right. I don't want Leif or Cate growing up dependent on the other, or feeling that there are expectations placed upon them with regards to the other.

Anyways! Leif has his 1 year doctor's appointment tomorrow. Then Friday we will take a break to go down to the school and I will spend about 1-2 hours there with him. Monday and Tuesday we will transition a little too and then Wednesday he will be there! Yay!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Procrastination miscellaneation

I am a little annoyed, ok a lot annoyed, at one of the engineers I put to work on one of my projects. I was having trouble with an instrument and asked him to look into it since he built it. He charged my project (that has very little money already) 8 hours of his time (about $800) to tell me he couldn't figure it out. I went over today and it took me 30 minutes to figure it out. I grabbed the manual and went to "troubleshooting" and the first line listed the compatible components, which did NOT list any of the component part numbers he hooked up to it. Well no wonder it didn't work. Sheesh. I e-mailed him that I figured out the problem and asked him to fix it, replace the components. Of course, he has very little time this week but will *try* to get to it next week. I hope he remembers that he submitted my name as someone to do his annual performance evaluation…

One of Hans' childhood best friends, Brian, is swimming the English Channel this week. Hans and I are really enjoying reading his daily updates. He arrived yesterday in England and has been hanging out. He gets a window of time from August 11-18th to swim the 21 (as the crow flies) miles and expects to complete it in between 12-16 hours. He has a crew (his dad, mom and our friend Josh) to help him and a boat to guide him.

I am in awe, seriously. I remember to graduate from the highest level of swimming classes and to qualify for the team I had to swim for 30 minutes straight, no stopping. It was SO hard, and I was just a kid! And to top it off I was a great little swimmer!

Cheers Brian!

Vanessa gave me a call this morning, she and her husband and daughter are off to her parent's house today. She called to tell me that one of Leif's daycare teachers who we adore talked to her yesterday about quitting. She is pregnant and due in November. She gets a whole 4 weeks maternity leave (barbaric IMO). Evidently she doesn't NEED to work, but loves the babies. She told Vanessa that she is thinking she might quit, stay home with her baby, but take on 2 kids in an effort to continue doing what she loves and that if Vanessa knows anyone who might be interested...

So if the wee todds room doesn't work out, and the Montessori school doesn't take them this year, there is something else out there.

I adore Alysha, the kids adore her. What is weird though is that Hans and I just hadn't really given much thought to in home daycare. I have mentioned the possibility of hiring a nanny once we have a second, to which Hans poo poo'd. (Daycare will make them TOUGH!) And I have to admit that I like all the activities, options and programs available in a professional setting. I know, to each his own.

My biggest concern with in home daycare is a lack of social interaction, lack of activities, and these (I am sure very incorrect) images of in home daycare teachers sitting on the couch watching soaps while the kids run amuck in the streets. But with Alysha, I *know* that wouldn't be the case.

We will play it by ear. Who knows, we have to see how Alysha handles her newborn after the birth. How the wee todds room is going. And where the kids stand with getting into the Montessori school.

The pangs are still there. I didn't go this weekend. My quick trip into Bed Bath and Beyond in search of a food mill didn't even touch the pangs, even though I bought a few other gadgets.

The pangs were crippling last night as I thumbed through the newest IKEA catalog that arrived in the mail yesterday. Crippling I tell you. I want, I want, I want... Shall we talk about "need" again? It was cruel. It was painful. As I turned the page and found the niftiest gadgets and furniture and tools at ridiculously low prices. (Except for the rugs, those were expensive.)

I need, need, need, a trip to Seattle soon. We are planning a trip to the coast in September to stay at the cabin by ourselves. I think a day trip by ferry over to Seattle is well justified. We could go to the aquarium, hit Pike's Market, have lunch and spend the afternoon wandering IKEA.

And moving on...

So I feel relieved, yet a little bad about my vent post. Relieved because, there, I have said it, it is off my chest. A little bad because it came off harsher than I intended. Oh well.

Let's see, so after a mediocre lunch at Olive Garden and dinner at friends house on Saturday night I got back into the groove and cooked both Sunday night and Monday night. Sunday Hans made filets, I made a bourbon gorgonzola cream sauce to go with (Iron Chef Sauce is back), then I made a salad with garden ingredients (except the lettuce, those fresh picked, never refrigerated tomatoes are heavenly) and also picked a spaghetti squash out of the garden and cooked that. Leif loved the spaghetti squash and the filet mignon (minus the bourbon gorgonzola sauce) , spoiled little turkey.

My garden seems to have also gotten it's groove going. It was sucking earlier in the year but we covered the crappy, (might as well be nonexistant) weed fabric with grass clippings and the weeds are dead and the garden is thriving. We will be doing this from day one next year. I pulled out of the garden 3 good sized zucchinis, 1 spaghetti squash, 6 tomatoes, 1 Anaheim pepper, and some fresh chives. I pulled off the trees 3 plums and 6 nectarines. The nectarines are going nuts. They are so delicious. I have never had a nectarine that is so ripe that not only is the interior red, but I have red juice dripping down my arm. Virtually indescribable.

Sunday I made nectarine scones that were fantastic. I still need to get to my zucchini bread. I love, love, love zucchini bread and will be making and freezing a ton. We also bought a nice food mill this weekend for doing our canning and freezing. Hans has high hopes of the 2005 inaugural batch of spaghetti sauce happening this weekend.

Monday night Hans was donating blood and so dinner was up to Leif and I. Fish is always a quick thaw and quick cook. So I panfried halibut and made a wasabi yogurt sauce and a Sambal vinaigrette then served it with angel hair pasta in a light cream sauce. Whipped together with a cranky toddler underfoot in 30 minutes. Yes, I think I have my cooking groove back.

Late summer with the wonderful harvests really kicks cooking into gear for me. Seeing the produce at the Farmer's Market and picking produce out of my own garden is so cool. It inspires me to cook wonderful things. This is a feeling that carries me through the late summer, into fall and winter.

Late summer, the abundance of fresh fruits and vegies is inspiring. Fall for pies, even though I suck at making them, and the start of comfort foods... roast chicken, mashed potatoes, chili (and football), cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Then towards the Christmas season with cookies and fun stuff like that and into full blown winter where hearty soups and crusty breads are the way to go. Once spring starts wandering around my gears shift to salads and fresh peas and asparagus, but those don't spark the cooking bug in me for some reason. Or maybe I am just tired by Easter where I usually finish off my cooking season with an Easter dinner and a retreat to easy to cook, lack luster dinner ideas until late summer again.

Speaking of holidays... the tentative plan is as such. We will be spending Thanksgiving at our house. I love taking the week off and preparing and cooking, and well, we think we make a mean Thanksgiving dinner. Interested in joining us? Let us know. Christmas we will be trekking to Alaska to see Hans' dad, sister and grandparents. Hans feels strongly about wanting to Leif to meet his grandparents soon and so that was what kicked us over that way. Someday... someday... we will have Christmas in our own house. But I suppose while we can still travel with Leif for free, we will do that. When the day comes (next year) that we will have to purchase a seat for Leif, we will be reassessing things and then maybe, I will get my Christmas in my home.

Monday, August 08, 2005

My vent

For 10 days now, I have said nothing. But I am still steamed. So here I am writing about it. Maybe I can get past it if I put it out there. Or maybe I will just get a number of calls telling me what a bitch I am. Well, my response to that will be that you are reading *my* blog, i.e., journal. So here goes.

When I was growing up birthdays were big in my family. My family always made a point to remember them, to recognize and to celebrate them. They still do. You will at minimum, get a card from all of my immediate family if you are related to me.

I know full well that not everyone else feels this way. And before I had a child I remember telling myself that it wouldn't matter. It doesn't matter on my birthday that my husband and my immediate family are the only ones who remember. Therefore, my child being an extension of me, it wouldn't matter to me if my child was forgotten, ignored, or just not recognized on his/her birthday. I truly felt this way. People told me my feelings would change, once it happened. But I disagreed, it wouldn't matter, because all my child would need is to know that *I* remembered and that for that one day, he/she was the most celebrated individual in my life.

I was wrong. It has, for 10 days now, irked the hell out of me that some people, who are seemingly so close to us, could not or would not, try to even pick up the phone, send a card or even a quick e-mail acknowledging the fact that one year ago a wonderful, smart, adorable little boy came into the world. And some people were even reminded ahead of time, through either my blog or phone calls (often more than one).

And it isn't about gifts either. Leif is a wonderfully privileged little boy with plenty of toys and clothes. It is about the thought.

E-mails, phone calls and cards were all wonderfully appreciated. I printed the e-mails all up and will put them with the cards in his one year scrapbook. I had a friend once who told me that every year for her kids birthdays, she would buy things and say that they were from grandparents, so that her kids didn't feel like they were forgotten, when they were in fact. I thought this was ridiculous - why hide the true nature of the person from the child? But here I am, having given serious thought of buying a bunch of cards and signing them with names, so that when Leif is old enough someday to look through his photoalbum, he doesn't ask me, "mommy where is a cards from X?" When/If it happens, I will lie. "Hmm, I must have misplaced it" or "oh honey, they called and you talked on the phone to them, but you were too little to remember".

I know, the first birthday is for the parents, not the child. So maybe I am making this all about Hans and me instead. Maybe. But if you need to make that excuse, well let's just leave it at that, an excuse.

Once again, to those of you who wrote, called, e-mailed, it was SOO appreciated. It is sometimes hard being away from family and friends, but especially on holidays or other important days. Your contact with us made our day. I was truly stunned at the array of people who DID remember and made an effort, people I haven't seen in person in over 3 years, and some in over 5 years.THANK YOU!

The epitome of mediocrity

About every 6 months I get the strange desire to venture to our very, very large Olive Garden for some soup, salad and breadsticks. Hans usually jumps at my showing interest because that means he can get his monthly intake of fried foods in one sitting by ordering the appetizer sampler platter with three choices. It is also getting to be that point where it is becoming increasingly more difficult to take Leif to restaurants. He is just way too busy. We have to time it just right and it has to be quick in, quick service and a quick out.

We arrived at Olive Garden on Saturday at about noon. Quick in? Ha. The restaurant is humongous, yet there was a good 15 minute wait. This is apparently THE gathering place of the area. We turn the flashing beeper into the hostess, and Leif starts wailing at the thought of surrendering this most fantastic toy.

We sit down at our table and the waitress finally shows up, taking no less than 5 minutes to explain her situation. She is a sub, our waitress is on lunch, she will be taking care of us until our waitress finishes eating, then she will be off to relieve another server, so when there is a switch she will let us know ahead of time... yadda yadda yadda. I mean seriously, was that really necessary? Just do your freakin' job, it's 100 degrees out, I would like some water. We wait seriously 10 minutes, I am parched, finally she shows up with ONE, yes ONE, glass of water for the three of us. Umm thanks.

We place our order and I ask for at least one more glass of water. She inquires, would we like the water before the soup, or after? Umm, how about you just go get a glass of water, will it take you more than 60 seconds to fill up a glass? Whatever, we tell her, just bring our food and bring our water.

Hans opts for a glass of sangria, berry Sangria, which tastes like white zin with cherry syrup and red food coloring. Kind of gross. But it is cold and wet, he is unimpressed yet it satisfies his thirst in the absence of H2O.

We were dolling out Cheerios for Leif and we got our soup, salad and breadsticks for an army. Always ironic since we don't care for their breadsticks, I wanted one for Leif. Leif apparently didn't really care for them either and was far more happy with my Pasta Faggiole soup. Which yes, I really, really, do like. (Water is nowhere in site.)

Dingdong waitress arrives to tell us that she will be rotating to another section and that our waitress will be available to help us now. She DID bring the water with her. Gee thanks.

Our waitress refills Hans soup for him and then asks if we already ate our appetizer? Umm no, haven't gotten it yet. So she goes to check on it.

Despite the fact that this restaurant is really huge, they pack the tables in. Everytime someone goes past me they squeeze between my chair and the one occupied by a man behind me. I have trays of food going over my head, and I have been bumped enough to jostle the soup off my spoon umpteen times. Our waitress was rather large, and the only way she could get past was to put her hands on my chair and push gently. Now really, is this completely necessary? (Apparently it was.)

I would have moved except that I wanted to be by Leif. And I did NOT want him in the position where I was in order to accomplish this. And putting Hans in my spot would have only made things worse.

Finally the appetizer comes. By the time Leif's chicken finger is there he is completely stuffed on Pasta Faggiole and eats maybe a bite. Hans relished his fried appetizers. I am sitting there thinking he better be enjoying this because it will be a cold day in hell before we come back. I say that everytime, but in 6 months we will be back I am quite sure.

Finally we ask for a box for the remainder of the chicken fingers for Leif and our check. Leif is at his breaking point and is trying to rock the high chair. Our server notes this but it takes another 5 minutes for the box and another 5 minutes on top of that for the check. :-/ At which point, Leif is in full meltdown. I got up and held him standing up, hoping that would draw attention to the server that we needed to get a move on.

She walked by every so slowly. Talks to the other table. Then wanders back over to our table where she opens up her bill holder onto the table and sorts through the tickets right there and then. Hans hands her the credit card after taking a brief glance to make sure it was correct. Another 5 minutes to run the card.

Hans inquires as to the proper tip amount. I tell him 15% is awfully generous IMO. So he goes with 20% given "the Leifer factor" i.e., two whole cherrios and a small piece of bread on the floor, soup residue on the table (that must be wiped anyways).

Oy vay.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Boogey boy

Leif just cracks me up. He has started dancing. The groove just takes over his little legs!

And what does he groove to? His Leap Frog Farm Animals Barn. So he grooves to "She'll be comin' around the mountain" as well as the increasingly annoying "you made a match" song. He is such a riot dancing that WE have even taking to activating the songs ourselves when he is in the kitchen just to see him get up and boogey. Hans was hurrying out the door to work early today and he paused, laughing at Leif's boogey.

We have a new rule in our house going on. No singing the songs on electronic toys or regularly played DVDs (i.e., Schoolhouse Rock). This was placed into action because last night I busted Hans singing "You put a pig in front, you put a cow behind, put them together and what do you find? A pig-cow! That's silly!" Then onto all the other combinations... Apparently the usual songs he sings Leif to sleep with just weren't going to work... "Stars" from Les Miserables, "Swinging on a Star" by Bing Crosby, "Dreams" by Barenaked Ladies, and "St. Judy's Comet" by Paul Simon (my personal favorite). Nope, he resorted to the match songs. New rule has been instated.

It is Friday. I need a weekend bad. Hans is cleaning the garage and taking it easy otherwise. I am shopping. Leif is going to have spectacular naps. And Winny only thinks she is going for long walks (in 100+ degree heat, I don't think so).

Hans has an interview this afternoon. One thing he was excited about with getting his current job is NOT looking for a job and NOT interviewing. Before he was offered this job he had applied for a state chemist position with the Department of Ecology. He passed the test, wrote essays and interviewed, but did not get the job. Instead he got his current job and has been thrilled with it. Flash forward to Wednesday when he got home from work. There was a message on the answering machine saying that the position was open again and asking him to come and have a second interview. His gut said no, head said yes. Head won out and he is interviewing this afternoon. It would really have to be a spectacular opportunity though I think, for him to jump ship. He gets good pay, possibility for significant upward mobility with his current company, he can go to school and the benefits are all comparable to mine. We will see what he thinks after talking to them...

Things are fine, the same, on my work front. PPM just sent one of his naive underlings to ask me to order chemicals for them... he walked into my office a little scared looking. Makes me wonder what he has heard... Oh he got me though. I could not tell this nice guy, who is subject to PPMs evil reign that I am a Ph.D. scientist and not an administrative assistant thank you very much. I will order them... when I have time.

I finished my "Contribution Report". I have decided to in addition to the "Contribution Report" to bullet each of the requirements for a level 3 scientist that my manager gave me. And list the accomplishments that I feel I have met under each of these bullets. This was recommended to me by my mentor to support my bid for promotion. Next step is to make another appointment with my manager and sit down to go over all this in person with her and ask her frankly "given this, am I on your list for promotion?"

It is a quiet Friday. Fridays are often quiet here, many people work 4 day work weeks. But in the summer they are even quieter. I like it. I am supposed to have lunch with some of the women I work with today, but I am feeling like bailing. I would rather work through lunch and then pick Leif up at 4pm instead I think.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I want, I want, I want

Ever go through phases where you just want stuff? Some women get bored and rearrange their houses (ummm mom...). Others do things to their hair (that would be Ang...). Me? I shop.

I don't always want to shop. I have my days. But last night as I was flipping through the umpteen catalogs I get in the mail (why I tempt myself I don't know), I wanted everything. I wanted those cute shorts on sale for $19, I wanted the Pottery Barn buffet that has been beckoning me for 3 years now, I wanted a new rug for the kitchen, and while I was at it a new entryway rug and back door rug. And oh, let's not forget about a new set of bedside tables. And well really now, can anyone ever have enough tea towels from Crate and Barrel? Orange is finally in stock everywhere.

I am going to go shopping this weekend. Shopping here is a small consolation though. We have a small mall, with a few acceptable chain type stores. We have a Macy's. But aside from that, the shopping situation is bleak here, yet still acceptable to sufficiently dull my shopping pangs. I am *dying* for a fall trip to Seattle to shop. (Hans rolls his eyes...)

The nice thing is that it is also late summer, which means that the summer sales are starting up. I need to go and browse and prove my prowess as a bargain hunter. (But honey, I SAVED 50%!)
I am finally getting back to my smaller clothes and you know, they are all old, out of style, dated. The tapered ankle thing is killing me and knowing that they make your behind look large, well they have all been pushed to the black hole section of the closet.

I need some new fun clothes. (And shoes.) Don't shoot me, but the vast majority of pants in my closet are baggy. They look funny. Hans says that I am really getting into that baggy pants thing on all the "kids"... except that my pants weren't made to be baggy... and I have no desire to show off either my underwear or my belly button.

On the other hand, all my shirts are, well "form fitting". And right now I am not enjoying that either.

See now, I have justified it all. I have admitted my weakness. Now can I go shopping?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

One confusing Wednesday

Today is a confusing day. I don't know how else to describe it. Everything seems clouded.

After assuming (and basically being told) that Leif won't get into the Montessori school this year, the possibility has sprung up again. They moved some kids up, got some siblings in and still have one space it sounds like. This is confusing to me on what to do since Leif is about next on the waitlist.

1. On one hand, he and Cate appear inseparable at daycare and are real buds, I do want them to stay together. It would be really nice for them to be able to transition to new classes together. I know they stress independence at Montessori and so this may not be a selling point to them... i.e., please, please, please let Cate start too?

2. On another hand, Hans is "uncomfortable" at the notion that we can't go visit. We can go "look in", but visiting the classroom isn't allowed. I am not thrilled, because I love my Leif breaks. But at the same time I really like the Montessori ideaology and practice. And then a sibling comes along some day (not anytime soon mind you), I want to be able to spend my lunch hour with the new baby. So it is just a transition I will have to get used to. Additionally as Leif gets older I do think that he will need that predictability of when I come we go home and not when mom comes we might play and then she leaves again or we might go home. Oh and, Hans for being quite opinionated on this, rarely goes to visit Leif at lunch, but he does want the option.

3. And then there is the frightening aspect of the toddler room at daycare. They went down today for a visit and Leif fell and split his lip right off it sounds like. Some "big" kid took a toy away from Leif, which Cate proceeded to deal with that for him... Stories of humongo one year olds that don't crawl yet frighten me. Leif isn't tiny, but he isn't big either. He is right in the middle of the Gaussian.

Teleconference was today. My project manager caught me outside the room and updated me before going in. Apparently there is talk that they will make a decision in 3 weeks as to whether or not to do a client demo on my project. So here it is, the very real possibility that the client could say "well thanks for doing all this research for us, but we aren't interested", when they have given all the indications of otherwise to this point. So confusion here on what do we do in the next 3 weeks, how do we approach this? How do we get the results to sway them? What can we do differently? Do I have to really explain the research issues yet AGAIN to my well meaning team members who keep suggesting alternate experiments?

Then there is my tasks on the project I hate. One task of mine, a controller doesn't work, we have 8.5 weeks to get results and the damn controller is broken. I e-mail project manager to see if there is a replacement available. (Like I really thought he would consider e-mailing me back, silly me.)....wait...wait...wait...

So switch over to that other stupid project task... I made a list of things that need to be done and asked the mech engineers to tackle them. Stupid PM reads the list and notes that one of the items is to modify some bolts, i.e., cut them off because they are too long. He e-mails me (*gasp*) and tells me the bolts are in the lab. Umm yeah dipshit, those are the ones I have that are.too.long. But gee thanks for that *insightful* pile of horseshit. Did you ever think to read the e-mail to see what the problem was??

I e-mail him back making some vain effort to be nice and subtract out the words "dipshit" and "pile of horseshit" and pulled *most* of the sarcasm.

I really think that he is doing his best to make sure I don't succeed. From "stealing" (my words) components off of my task setup... things he doesn't need, we look all over for, and then they are found sitting on his desk. To never returning my e-mails. To doing the bare minimum to complete the things I ask. Example,

Me: "I need the pump to hook up to the system".

Him: "Sure, I will get it tonight."

(Repeat the above daily for 2 weeks.)

Then I go into the lab and see the pump sitting there as I think to myself: 'Oh looky, he brought the pump in! I am going to hook it up! Oh wait here! There is no connector.'

Me: "Hey, I need the hose that connects the pump to the system."

Him at each of the attempts today to convey the issue: (silence) (no response to e-mail) (on the phone when I stop by his office) (on the phone) (doesn't even look my way as he is headed to his car and I am waving). You know, some might have even interpreted my wave as a friendly wave, and not an attempt to flag someone down. In which case, most people would wave back. No, not PPM, he pretends to not see me as he walks faster.

Does this sound like someone who is trying to enable success on projects? Or maybe I just don't have enough experience in project management to have any idea how annoying it is to have people work for you and do things for you, yet still need your assistance on a rare occasion.

My solution now... I am going to ask once and keep record of it. Then when he comes storming into my office wondering why I am not working on his project and why it isn't going anywhere? I can pull out a folder and say "well I asked you for the pump connector on August 2 and August 3rd, both in person and by e-mail. I am waiting for you to get it."

I know, it is a sucky, non-self starter attitude to take. But frankly, it's ridiculous. I can spend a day ($1000 of taxpayer money on that project) to go look through his labs for something I have never seen before. Or he can tell me where it is for a lot less $$ and quit wasting my f'ing time when I, like he and everyone else here, have a boatload of things to do before September 30th.

There. I am still confused.