Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Perfect Antidote to Stress...

Lots and lots of beer. Planned to go out with Ellen & Ken tonight, but somehow we had a great time and never really managed to actually go out (still not even sure how it ended up being 3 AM or whatever). And can anyone explain why my jeans are falling off of my ass? It's not like I've been exercising or dieting or watching what I'm eating or whatever. I guess we can chalk that up to stress too...

btw, I really love my ipod. And Lola must be the most patient dog in existence. Sheesh! oooofffff!

Friday, December 30, 2005


I wish I could stop freaking out!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Heh! Something Else from Today

Sometime during the morning J stopped by my cube to assign yet another project to me that he doesn't feel like working on (he really must think he's my boss). I looked at him without saying anything for a beat or two and then said, "I honestly don't know when I'll be able to work on that." He just looked back at me. I resigned a couple of hours later. Heh!

So... I Quit My Job Today


I've had a fantastic job offer, from a fabulous company to work for their Southern New Hampshire office. This is really something that just fell into my lap, it's been this thing that has been quietly progressing in the background of my life. There were spurts of time when there would be little or no updated information and I just figured it wasn't going to pan out, but it always seemed to come back up to the fore-front. Still, it's an opportunity that I never seriously thought would come to fruition, that is until about a month or two ago. All of a sudden everything heated up, I had a conference call with the project manager for the client side of project I would be working on and all of a sudden they really wanted me. Information flew back and forth, HR got involved and this morning I had the actual offer letter. It's almost surreal. The job represents about a 50% salary increase for me, I will be living in a lower cost-of-living state (in a place where there will be a higher quality of life for me) with lower taxes (no income taxes) AND the company will pay relocation costs and put me up while I'm selling my apartment down here. And one of the best things is, the company is a customer of my current company -- I will be stepping into a role that is similar to what I do here, only it is higher-end, more growth potential, etc. Very, very exciting. Very, very scary.

My friend and sometime manager Lou is back in the office this week after months on disability for a devastating illness and I had drop this bomb. I apologized over and over for the timing (when is the timing ever good for this sort of thing) but he was just incredibly gracious and really, sincerely, thrilled for me. When I described the opportunity to him, he basically said, "oh you HAVE to take it!" He later beeped my former-currently-temporary-maybe-permanent manager (who was my former manager until this past Spring and who had been my interim manager again while Lou was on disability) and told him that he should call me (I had originally really wanted to tell them both together, but former-currently-temporary-maybe-permanent manager was unexpectedly out of the office for a few days). And so he then called and I told him and he was also unbelievably thrilled and supportive. He basically said that he was really sad to see me go because I've done a fantastic job for him for
years and that he would really miss me and there was no way he was going to be able to replace me. Awwwwwwwwww. We had a really good, long talk about the opportunity and the logistics and various other related stuff. I felt really good about everything after speaking to both these guys. Lou thinks that my current company will try to counter-offer, but I doubt they can come up with the money that the new company is offering. Besides, a big part of this is the opportunity to relocate out of NYC and also about the job itself. This is not an opportunity I would be likely to have at my company. Time to move on. Of course you never know what last minute thing could throw a monkey wrench into the works, but so far it's full steam ahead (and it's wonderful to know that my company would try to jump through some hoops to keep me).

Now I have to worry about all the logistics (getting up there, getting my driver's license, packing my stuff, dealing with mail and bills, figuring out what to do with Lola, selling my apartment, finding a place to live etc. etc. etc.) And I'll have to buy some stuff, like proper footwear and a car. At least life will be pretty interesting for awhile.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

To Christmas, Or Not To Christmas...

Every year I go through this big dilemma with Christmas, just ignore the holiday, or make some desperate attempt to celebrate and enjoy it. Even though, at this point, I have pretty low expectations, I still somehow end up disappointed each year.
Last year was a pretty depressing affair and I vowed to myself that this year I wouldn't be going out to my father's place, yet here I sit with plans for my father to pick me up in Manhattan tomorrow afternoon. I've already received my Christmas gift from him -- a check signed by him inserted in a Christmas card written & signed by his wife, along with a picture of their new house. It just all seems so, I don't know, anti-climatic. Certainly, realistically speaking, a check really is the best thing he could have given me (and I'll probably put it towards a purchase of this, just as soon as I can come up with the balance), but it just seems so... I can't quite put my finger on it... depressing, I guess. Like I was an obligation that could be easily resolved by taking two seconds to write out a check. And (I realize that this is really petty but) couldn't he have seen fit to write out and sign the card himself? I don't know, I just hate Christmas, every year a little bit more. I have friends who get impatient with my bah humbug attitude, but they also usually have wonderful holiday seasons to look forward to. I just have this sense of unease until it's all over.

Anyway, before I had decided what I was going to be going for Christmas Day, I had bought a chicken to roast, so that Lola and I would have something special for that day. Since I'll be out in Jersey tomorrow, I'm cooking it now. I even stuffed it, which is all very ambitious of me considering that I pretty much never cook. I'll post about how it comes out, should be okay (I'll have lots of leftovers, but I don't mind).

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Cost of Things

Every morning I buy a large coffee at Dunkin' Donuts. Last month the cost for this was $1.75. And then earlier this month the cost went up to $1.80. This morning it cost me $1.90. What gives? The price goes up twice in one month? It's almost like they just make up what the price is going to be for today or something. Sheesh.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Transit Strike: Day 3

Well, it looks as if the strike may come to an end shortly, although, at this stage, I think much damage will have been done to the NYC economy. I'm sure it's no mistake that this was timed for the most important week in the month that most retailers (not to mention restaurants, etc.) basically need to make their year. Watching the local news here and hearing some of the individual stories really brings the enormous scope of people and services and businesses affected by this strike to light. Along with it, the mind boggling selfishness of the TWU really hit home for me. My own minor inconveniences are nothing in comparison. A few highlights:

* Saw an interview with a representative for the Red Cross who said that because of this strike, they have had to cancel every blood drive they had had scheduled for this week. Basically, the NYC blood supply is currently nil. I wonder how many people in hospitals, or with life-threatening illnesses have suffered or died as a direct result of this.

* Saw an interview with this low-income man suffering from cancer and some other illnesses who relies on the City transportation system to get to various medical appointments. He of course has not been able to see the much-needed medical professionals during this time. Additionally, he relies on a volunteer organization to bring him his meals. This organization has been shut down by the strike, and as a result the man (as of last night when his interview aired) had not eaten in two days. I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds of similar stories out there.

* Saw a news report that highlighted this man who works as a waiter for a diner in Brooklyn. He (unfortunately) lives all the way up in Westchester and relies heavily on Mass Transit to get to work. He had to walk to a Metro North station up in Yonkers and then take a train to Grand Central Station, from there he had to walk from midtown Manhattan to downtown Brooklyn. He said that his shifted ended at Midnight when he would do the reverse commute back home, he expected to get there sometime after 3 AM. I'm sure there are many, many other similar stories out there.

I can't imagine how any business that was perhaps on the fence about moving it's operations out of or into NYC wouldn't just throw in the towel and say forget it, it's not worth it. Certainly we lost businesses in a similar vein after 9/11. When I think of how much you have to pay for the "privilege" of running a business or living here, between the exorbitant taxes, through-the-roof insurance rates, transportation costs & complications, and a continuously rising cost of living and then the worry about this sort of thing that can really just completely wipe you out, you've got to say, "is it really worth it all?"

My personal experience with the strike actually hasn't been too bad. Penn Station can apparently get pretty dicey closing on the evening rush hour (apparently, especially if you were attempting to travel home from there around 4 - 7 PM on Tuesday), but yesterday I left in the mid-afternoon and just logged back into work from home and so had absolutely no trouble. As long as my company is willing to let me do that, I'm pretty happy about it. Otherwise, they've closed off a street next to Penn Station and have set up police barricades to corral people through a serpentine line into varying entrances, depending on the commuter's destination. Think of some massive line worthy of Universal Studios or Disney World on a NYC street. If I can avoid that (not matter how fast the line supposedly moves) I will be all the happier and more relaxed and stressfree. The morning commute hasn't been much of a big deal either, although yesterday was a bit stressful when the train I was on stopped at the Woodside, Queens station and about twice as many people as should have trying to shove their way on. The screaming and cursing and yelling was rather unsettling (and I used to take the Westside subway line during rush hour to work every morning, so I'm generally used to this sort of thing). I ended up being one of those people with their faces smooshed against the door window of the train. Lovely. But I got here, so it turned out okay in the end. Still, all things considered, I will finally be happy to sad goodbye to this gd-forsaken evil strike.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Transit Strike: News Reports

I've been watching dribs & drabs of the News to catch up on what they're saying about the strike and the commute and I have to laugh when the talking heads say that the LIRR is running "on or close to a normal schedule, but expect ridership to be up. Leave yourself extra time to get to where you're going". Yeah, okay, duly noted. I mean, I left my apartment at five thirty AM. The train station is one long block from where I live. How much extra time should I have given? "Ridership is up" HA! the understatement of the year. Bastards.

Oh and then the other thing! They keep talking about the traffic in Jersey and what's going on in Hoboken, etc. Well there are no subways or MTA buses from Jersey, so who gives a F? Yes, the traffic is heavier because of people driving out of Staten Island and the Bronx and coming around to Jersey to hop on a train or bus or ferry from there, but so what? It certainly seems like the lesser side of the story. They were just interviewing this Jersey woman who was coming in from Hoboken, NJ via Path (which is not affected) to Manhattan and was lamenting about what she would do once she reached the Manhattan side if she couldn't catch a cab. She sighed and said, "I might just have to walk the whole 25 blocks" and the news caster exclaims, "25 blocks??? WOW!!!!" Uh, hello??? 25 blocks in Manhattan = 1 mile. I think you can handle it (and if you can't, I really feel sorry for you). Sheesh! At least she can get into Manhattan in the first place! Amatuers.

Transit Strike Update: My Experience So Far

Since I knew pretty much right away that the transit strike was on, and since I literally did not have even one minute of sleep all night long, I finally gave up, turned on all the lights, took my shower, got ready, took care of Lola and was at the train station by 5:30 AM. I had double-checked the MTA website again and confirmed there that they did not expect to have their shuttle service in place until 24 hours after the start of the strike, I was shooting for a train scheduled to arrive in Kew Gardens headed for Penn Station at 5:37. Already the platform was packed with an unbelievable number of people. A train finally arrived, but it was so packed (before they even opened the doors) that peoples' faces were all smooshed up against all the windows and doors. The conductor stuck his head out of his little window to tell us that nobody was going to be able to get on (frankly, if getting on had even been an option, under those circumstances, I don't think I would have done it). I asked him about the shuttle service (on the chance that maybe they were getting it up and running early), but he didn't seem to know anything. There were 100s of people left on that platform with more people arriving to take a chance on getting on a train every minute. The next scheduled train wasn't for another hour (and it is about 20* outside). I turned around and came back to my warm apartment, where I was easily able to get a connection and am now ready to tackle some work. If my company wants to force me to use a vacation day for today, fine, so be it, but having to put up with a commuting situation like this when you are all set up at home is ridiculous.

Transit Strike!

Since I'm awake anyway with my usual insomnia, I decided to turn on the TV and see what happened with the transit negotiations, since this will affect my commute for tomorrow. Well it looks like
the strike is ON! I can't even believe this! Sometimes I just really hate living here. It's probably going to take me hours tomorrow to go about 8 miles (and you know I'm not getting up early if I'm sitting here still wide awake at 2 AM), and my guess is, getting home will be even worse. NYC, I used to love you, but I think the honeymoon is now over.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Odds & Ends

Moroccan for Christmas

Last Thursday we had our annual Holiday Christmas lunch thingie at a kosher Moroccan restaurant (only in NYC, I tell you). It was actually kind of fun and it sure was nice to have the afternoon off. Some highlights:

Lou came to the lunch and he looked really, really good! I was completely prepared to be shocked by his appearance (he has, afterall, been through Hell and back and it's not even over yet), but he looked just like himself, skinnier, but himself. That was a relief. I sat next to him for the whole afternoon and, God, was it great to just be able to talk and laugh with him like nothing had ever happened. He's still got a lot of recovery to do and most likely is looking at another surgery or two down the road when he's stronger, but he slowly seems to be getting there. Since company policy dictates that he would have to be back at work by the end of this month, he is going to start easing back in, rather than be terminated. I think he's probably going to start with working from home. I just hope he doesn't push himself too hard.

Got to sit across from Patrick & Mark, which I really enjoyed. Even though my cubicle is across from Patrick & Marks cubes, I don't usually end up talking to them much because we generally work on completely different projects. The three of us are pretty quiet at work, we all sit in our little holes working away with headphones on. Ever since The Giggler went on Maternity leave (and the chick who sits across from her has also been on Maternity leave for something like six months) it's been so nice and quiet and peaceful there. Anyway, it was very nice to talk to them, they're both great guys.

Carol, the director of my department, had somehow convinced one of the guys from the Event Marketing department (Terry) to show up at our lunch dressed in this jingle bell elf costume, complete with red & white striped tights and jester hat (all of which I'm sure was really appreciated at the kosher restaurant). Anyway, he ran a little trivia contest about various members of our department, it was kind of funny. Of course I committed the biggest faux paus when the question was asked, "who in the group has an '80s hair style?" I shouted out, "J!" because, believe me, he is the biggest '80s throwback you've ever seen, complete with the over-sized glasses, high-waisted, pleated pants, cheesy moustache and poufy hair (he really could use a makeover). Well it all gets a bit quiet and J, who, of course, happens to be sitting on the other side of me, turns to me, "whaaaaat?" and then someone, thank GOD, shouts out "Sean!" (who, in my opinion, doesn't really have an '80s hairstyle, he just lets his hair get too long sometimes) and everyone gets to move on. That was a squirm-worthy moment. I'm hoping J won't remember it too much, ack!

Transit Strike = Work from Home? Not so much

We, in NYC, are threatened with a transit strike this week. It actually was meant to happen first last Friday, but the deadline for the negotiations were pushed back to tonight. I didn't think that the LIRR was going to be too affected until I received a pamphlet on the train that explained the contingency plans. It's going to be a complete nightmare. I then assumed, well, I can just work from home, surely if ever there was a good reason, this is it. Not so much. Talking to my Former-currently-temporary-maybe-permanent manager about it and he said that I was expected to come in. I then went into a rant about our (whether it is the Company's or our Department's, I've never been able to quite understand) policy about working from home (or non-policy, I should say). He went on to say that well, there would be people who would take advantage, etc. And I said that, that is just BULLSHIT! First of all, it's up to the individual manager to determine whether he is being taken advantage of. Secondly, at least in our department, the work is pretty much project-based, so if a project is getting done, what difference does it make if it's happening on the premises, at home or whatever, and certainly that is the barometer whether staff is taking advantage, is the work freaking getting done??? It really insulted me, I had just spent every weekend for the past month working from home to take care of stuff for other people in my department. That week alone I had additional work I had done from home in the evenings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I was even checking and responding to work email during my vacation week, yet you're going to infer that I can not be trusted to work from home? I told Patrick and Mark about this conversation later and said, "what it really shows is a lack of respect for your staff." I mean, it's like we're little children or something. Pisses me off.

So, it looks like there's going to be a strike tomorrow. I'll try to get to work, I just hope it's not the complete nightmare it sounds like it's going to be. This is one of the things that I hate about living and working in NYC. Everything is so complicated.

Busy Day? Have a Heineken

On Friday I had a really, really swamped crazy day. It was the day after our department holiday thingie, so first of all, a lot of people weren't even in. And I was feeling very special after all the red wine I had consumed. Plus, I'm just generally busy these days anyway. So, at the end of a bad insomnia week, an afternoon of partying the day before and a stomach bug/flu on the way (not that I knew it at the time) I was pretty strung out. Frantically trying to get some work done and the Dept Director calling me multiple times during the day to handle special points reporting issues for field Sales VPs. I was stressed. Strung out and Stressed. Marketing was having a holiday party in a training room around the corner from our space and Former-currently-temporary-maybe-permanent manager did some reconnaissance work, as he always does when he finds out there is food for a meeting or such around. Next thing I know, he is in my cube and handing me a Heineken. "Whaaaa...? Can I just drink this here?" "sure". So it's sitting on my desk and a bit later I hear the Director's voice, so I hide the bottle around behind the monitor. They are outside my cube and Former-currently-temporary-maybe-permanent manager says, "I gave Debbie a Heineken", I pipe up and say, "I heard Carol's voice, so I hid it". She says, "You hid it? From me??? You should know better than that, if anything, I would give you a gold star!" heh.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


I've got some kind of stomach flu, of the sort you are prone to when you're a kid. You know the type, complete with prolonged periods of throwing up and other bodily functions you'll thank me not to go into detail about (I think all those sleepless nights have managed to catch up with me).

Here are some thoughts:

* Even a mild fever (100.4) makes you totally feel like crap.
* It is amazing how even the most innocuous food commercial or scene on TV can make you feel like hurling.
* It's almost inconceivable how the task of eating just one piece of dry toast seems insurmountable.
* No matter how much you plead and cajole, no, your dog is not going to go out and buy gingerale and Gatorade for you.
* The dog will still have to go out.
* That same dog knows to otherwise leave you alone.
* Nausea and stomach cramps take away most worries about work (but is not recommended as a cure for work stress).
* Where the F is the F'ing heat to my F'ing apartment??? Sheesh!
* I miss my mother.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Why is it with men, they hear a woman mention "hormones", they automatically assume we're talking about pregnancy? The other day I was in the hall talking to a girl friend at work and we were both complaining about how much trouble we're having sleeping lately. I said, "I guess it's stress. Although, it could also be hormones." My friend laughs and says, "probably hormones." My former-currently-temporary-maybe-permanent manager a bit later said to me with a significant look and a smirk, "is there anything you're not telling us???" I said, "No, do
you have anything you're not saying???" I swear he was fishing around thinking I was pregnant (as IF!!!) He tends to do a lot of skulking around and probably overheard my conversation.

Monday, December 12, 2005

What a Day!!!

ARGH!!!! Came in this morning to major problems with our Commissions database. On the morning of a big, mucky-muck sales meeting too. What a complete nightmare, made even worse by the fact that I was the only one in the office that could even deal with it. I was able to restore Friday's file easily enough, but it was the re-running of all our reporting extracts that took all morning (and were very critical to all the various people who live or die daily on these numbers). Can you say stressed?

And then I had two completely separate client groups decide this morning that their projects needed to move into red-line emergency status and would be needed today. Somehow I managed to get it all done, although I have to do some further work with our Commissions d/b tonight (hopefully I won't come in to another major nightmare tomorrow morning). Oh yeah, and I didn't fall asleep last night until 4 AM. ACK! Four AM!!! Sheesh!

On a good note, I finally (FINALLY!) got my iPod today! It's charging up as we speak. No more Christmas music for me, yay!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Friday Night Movie Night

Was over to Carolina & Janos's last night for pomegranate martinis, which were delish, to watch the "Fantastic Four" which completely sucked. I don't much recommend the movie. It was perfect though, for talking throughout. Certainly there was a lot to mock in this flick.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My and My Big Mouth

This afternoon I was over in J's cubicle to ask him a question.

While we were talking, he says, "oh, actually, I'm glad you're here, I wanted to talk to you about our commission databases. I had to add a column to the files, so the files will have to be rebuilt and the programs compiled... "

I then opened my big mouth and say, "oh, if it's okay, I'd like to do it over the weekend. I usually prefer to rebuild production d/bs over weekends when I have more time, in case something doesn't work out right... "

J then pauses for a beat just looking at me and then says that oh, he was just telling me in case I happened to currently be working on a program that uses one of these files. But since I volunteered to take on this task, he thanked me very much and was happy to turn it over to me.

I freaking volunteered to do his work for him!

I just stood there gaping at him for a moment and then sighed and said, "just send me the updated files and an email noting the applications that will need to be recompiled."

I must be the biggest ass in NYC! What an idiot. ARGH!


I'm having a really frustrating, non-productive day. I've got so much to do and my lack of progress today is making me anxious. The director of my department has pulled me repeatedly this week to do super-special-year-end-regional-VP-reporting projects and the constant interruptions to do all this last-minute (and urgent) work have gotten me off-track of the regular projects that I need to be working on. GAH! And then, as I was saying to Carolina earlier, sometimes this cubicle gets to me and sucks my will to live, thus interfering with my creativity. I just wish I could cut my losses on a day like today and go home, perhaps the change of venue (and some natural light) would give me fresh eyes for my work and liven up my motivation.

Note to Self

When you own a light-colored dog that sheds, wearing a black fleece top perhaps isn't the smartest idea.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

iPod Woes

So, I ordered an iPod for myself for my birthday and I am still waiting for the thing a month later. When I placed the order online I didn’t see the option to change the shipping address (I need to ship it to my office where there will be someone to sign for it), so after submitting, I right away called Apple. For some reason they couldn’t change the address at that point and told me that I would have to wait until I received the Fedex tracking number and have Fedex reroute the package to the new address (Apple would have to authorize). So the next day I get the tracking number and call Fedex only to be told that they don’t reroute Apple packages. I call back Apple and they confirm this (why someone the day before told me that they would authorize a reroute is beyond me). So, then the only option was to have the package sent all the way back to Apple (in China!) and then re-sent to the new address. Only, the package never again showed up on radar. So, after numerous calls to Apple and endless visits to the Order Status page, they finally decided to send me a replacement. That was last Thursday and I’m still waiting.

I was really sure it was going to come today (I spoke to Apple yet again yesterday and they said that it was leaving the warehouse then and was being sent overnight). I’ve been waiting for over four weeks now and am completely pissed off! What I don’t get is, when I originally ordered the iPod, it was out of that warehouse and at the Brooklyn fedex location within two days. I don’t understand why it’s taking so long this time.

I feel like the least they could have done was offer an upgrade or a credit for some accessories or something. Sheesh! Should have just gone to BestBuy. Rat Bastards.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


First snow of the season - Woo! Don't think it'll stick around too long though, it's awfully wet and sloppy out there.

Innocence has Many Meanings

I've been downloading many songs over this past year and have found myself somehow drawn to music from a time in my life when the possibilities seemed endless, when the vague future ahead of me was almost like an enticing new novel I was just about to read. I look back at that time as one both of boundless optimism and enthusiasm combined (contradictorily) with an absolute terror that nothing meaningful was ever going to happen, that I would never have a relationship with a man I could count on, that I would never manage to find a career that was fulfilling. Now, all these years later, I can hardly bear to look at pictures of myself (even though I was far more pleasing to the eye) from that time without bringing tears over the courageous, happy, yet vulnerable look in my eyes. My heart almost breaks for my former self with the knowledge of the things to come (both good and bad, but most unexpected). Some of the music that I have rediscovered from that time brings some of that innocent emotion rushing back to me, if even for just a moment.

Oh, and it's true. I never have been able to find that man that I can count on, but I guess two out of three isn't so bad.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

War of the Worlds

(WARNING: Spoiler)

So, I saw "War of the Worlds" on DVD this weekend. It was an okay enough movie, for what it was. Sufficiently scary and suspenseful with decent special effects. But there are a couple of things that I just have to point out.

First of all, I'm damn sick of that Dakota Fanning kid, talk about over-exposed, ugh. Anyway, as far as the movie is concerned, I know that for this type of Science Fiction flick we're pretty much supposed to suspend reality and allow a certain amount of artistic license, but do they really expect us to believe that a huge jet could crash to the ground in a neighborhood, decimating all the surrounding houses, littering metal and debris everywhere in sight, yet the mini-van parked in the driveway would remain completely unscathed? As well as a clear path through all the scraps of metal and engine parts for the van to drive through? Additionally, throughout this entire movie all the people are forever talking about how all other parts of the World are currently also under attack, yet for some reason there seems to be this exodus to Boston. Once the main characters get to Boston, they see, that yes, the city has been attacked like everywhere else, yet they show up at the completely unscathed brownstone (in a more or less unscathed neighborhood, Back Bay, I think) of these kids' grand-parents. The grandparents and the kids' mother all step out of the brownstone all dressed up like they've been sitting around having brunch all weekend or something. I mean, WTF?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

You Know You've Lost You Mind...

...When listening to a Lenny Kravitz song, you turn to your dog and say conversationally, "This song really has a '70s sound, don't you think?"

I think I've lived alone for far too long...

So Inspirational

Does anyone watch The Biggest Loser? As much as I hate to admit it, I was really hooked this season. I found that I could identify with most of the stories and just about all of the final results were completely inspirational. The results were basically almost crazy, in many cases 100+ lb weight loss. We're talking gastric-bypass style weightloss on diet and exercise alone. I realize that this is probably not realistic for the average person (I mean, how many people can sign out of their lives for 3+ months and go live on a ranch in a vacuum), but even half of these results would have been impressive. It just makes me both inspired and disgruntled with myself all at the same time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

this is getting rather ridiculous

After 1:30 AM and not anywhere closer to dropping off than I was when I went to bed around 11, I finally decided to just get up. I feel like a ghost that has been wandering around my apartment at night lately.

Maybe I'll just do some work. Or something.

(sidebar: wow, it is really pouring down rain outside)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Still No Sleep

Saturday Night/Sunday Morning: Up until 5 AM
Sunday Night/Monday Morning: Up until 3:30/4:00 AM
Monday Night/Tuesday Morning: Up until 2:30/3:00 AM

At least I'm headed in the right direction. By the end of the week I should almost be getting a normal nights sleep. I wonder if I should call my doctor and try to get a prescription to Ambien or something. Sheesh!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Unbelievably Hot

Okay, it's the butt-end of November and it's about 70 degrees in NYC tonight. I'm about ready to burst into flames!

and the stress starts again

Coming to the close of my week off and the stress of work is starting to build in my brain again. Last night I was up all night. Literally until 5 AM, thinking about all the work currently loaded on my plate. During my week off I received numerous emails from various different people in my group requesting my involvement in various unrelated projects. It's gotten to the point now where I almost feel like I'm reporting to about eight different people. Now that I'm due back to work tomorrow morning after a week off, I am anxious about all this stuff I now am responsible for. The list seems to grow with each day. Hopefully, I'll at least be able to sleep some tonight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Mission Accomplished

The finished product. Don't know how it tastes yet, but it sure does smell great.

A Precious Commodity

So I told Carolina that I would bake an apple pie for Thanksgiving. I'm actually cheating and using that pre-made, uncooked, pie dough that you just have to unroll. I used to make my own crust many years ago. My mother loved to cook, and she was a particularly fine baker. I think this came from the influence of her Scottish grandmother. So I grew up enjoying home-baked from scratch apple pies. I was never much of a fan of cakes, but any kind of apple pastry has always been a weakness for me. So, I learned to make my own crust and used to bake a pie now and again, but that was all many years ago. This year I'm cheating, my mother would frown, but what can you do?

Anyway, I went to the store today to pick up most of the ingredients that I would need and once again I was confronted with a spice section in the grocery store with no nutmeg to be found anywhere.

I ended up at check-out and I happened to mention to the cashier, "You guys don't carry nutmeg?" English wasn't her first language, so it took me a couple of tries before she really understood what I was asking for. I finally said, "Nutmeg. It's a kind of spice." She then opens the drawer under her register and pulls out a tiny container of nutmeg and says, "You mean, like this?" DOH!!! "Exactly!!!"

So, they're hiding the nutmeg under the cash register like it's some precious commodity that is going to walk out of the store. Well, come to think of it, this tiny thing cost $5, so maybe it would after all. But, SHEESH!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rant of the Day

People who litter.

Crossing the street in front of my apartment building this afternoon, there are two teenage boys in front of me. One throws an empty plastic juice bottle into the street. There is a trash can about five feet to their left and a dumpster a few feet in front of them. I am so mad, my blood practically boils.

Me: "Do you have throw trash in the street???!!!"
Punk Teenager: "What difference does it make?"
(Is he kidding? What difference does it make???)
Me: "What do you mean, what difference does it make? All this trash makes this a terrible place to live! Besides, there is a trash can right in front of you!" (how lazy can you possibly be?)
Punk Teenager: "So? there's already garbage on the street!"
Me: "so? You've got to add to it???"

Teenage punks go on grumbling about "who cares?" etc. I pick up discarded plastic bottle and toss it into the dumpster.

Punk Teenager: "Why don't you pick up the rest of the garbage around then? What are you, a Park Ranger?"
Me: "Damn lazy punks" (assholes).

These are among the same assholes who stand around on the street outside my apartment all the time whooping and yelling and playing bad, loud music that the entire neighborhood is forced to endure.

I just. don't. get. it. Any time I call someone on littering, they are always completely incredulous that anyone would even care. I can see catching someone in the act, and they then acting guilty or defensive about it, but everyone I've ever spoken up to around here has seemed to be completely convinced that they've done nothing at all wrong. What are the parents teaching these kids? Both of these punks were wearing nice, new and fashionable coats. Obviously someone is looking after them. So they're well-dressed, but are the parents nearly as concerned with their morals and their futures? Between the litter thing, the complete disregard for community and the fact that all these kids are regularly out on the street after 11 PM, regardless of the day of the week, I would think that the priorities are somehow screwed up.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why is it?

Why is it that I always have a good hair day on a day that is basically spent at home? For some reason I had a terrific hair day today, not that I've encountered anyone to admire it in all it's glory. Except my dog, that is, not that she would notice (or care).

and I don't even mind doing a little work on Sundays...

I had a few things that I had to finish up for work this evening before I can enjoy my week off, but I don't even mind it really, not when I can sit here enjoying the music I've got playing on my iTunes, with a friendly pug snuffling around at my feet. There is something relaxing and satisfying about being able to work away in my own environment, playing my music and being able to get up and stretch, take a minute to pet the pug or even take a walk outside, if I need to.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Are They Kidding Me?

Stopped in the store on the corner tonight and they had a stereo in there blasting "Frosty the Snowman" and "Jingle Bell Rock". I mean, it's not even Thanksgiving yet! Every year the holiday season just becomes more & more annoying to me. Sheesh!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's not a very comforting sight... come home from work and find the street next to your building closed off to traffic while some guys jack hammer into the middle of the road next to a truck that declares they are from the "New York City Department of Environmental Protection". At least there weren't a bunch of guys in those EPA suits (that look like giant condoms) milling about. Now that would be a cause for concern.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Something Else...

Oh, I forgot to add this to yesterdays post...

Yesterday a colleague in my office was interviewing this guy for an open programming position in my group. Anyway, I guess after he had asked all the pertinent programming-related questions, the interview went this way:

Colleague: "so, let's say you've finished up with your current work, what do you do then?"
Job Applicant: "try to look busy in case your manager happens to walk by. er, I mean, because you really wouldn't want him to catch you playing games, etc. at your desk."

I thought that perhaps he was joking, but apparently he was serious. Can you imagine? And he comes up with this in an interview, no less? I guess there are all kinds of idiots out there these days. Mark my words, we'll probably end up hiring this guy...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

bits & pieces

First, a picture of The Necklace:

Gawd, I just had the craziest day today. Yesterday most of my day was tied up with meetings and presentations (funny how I don't really get nearly as nervous when I'm presenting my own work), so today was a real mad scramble to get some actual work done. Most of my morning and part of my afternoon was spent assisting the director of my department with this reporting project for one of our regional sales managers. Actually, I did all of the actual work and she most of the liaisoning, but who wants to split hairs? Anyway, this all set me back for the day and made my afternoon a bit frantic to get the stuff done for today that I had wanted to get done. A little bit stressful, but it all worked out in the end.

Was speaking to my former-currently-temporary-maybe-permanent manager this afternoon and he kept going on & on about what a great job I'm doing. That's a great compliment, I guess, but I don't feel like I'm working any harder or better than I ever did before, it's just being noticed somewhat more because of a few factors:

A) A bunch of my projects have reached critical phases where they've graduated to the stage where higher-ups are more involved and the projects have thus become higher profile and I (as a result) have also become higher profile. Higher-ups are pretty quick to express their pleasure (or displeasure) to people who matter. And their input is taken more seriously too.

B) With the situation with Lou as it is, there is very little buffer between directors in my department and myself and my willingness to chip in and help out anywhere and everywhere (while it's always been there) is more noticeable because it is desperately needed, now more than ever.

So, I don't know whether to be complimented or insulted, so I'm a little bit of both. Mostly complimented though (but a small part of me can't help but be the tiniest bit peeved). I'm not one to honk my own horn at work, I really hate all that phony crap, so I guess it's nice that some of my honest good work is finally being recognized a bit without me having to jump up & down about it all. Former-currently-temporary-maybe-permanent manager told me this afternoon that they want to send me to our yearly User's Conference Summit thingie next year. I've always wanted to go and it is a bit of a perk, but not a fantastic one. You have to share a room and work all the time and proctor labs and since I've written all the business intelligence for the app that runs the event, I will mostly have to be on-site to trouble-shoot, do adhoc reporting and other last minute work as it comes up during the event. Frankly, I hope this is not my "reward" in lieu of a raise or something. Sheesh.

Unrelated comment: if someone "compliments" you by telling you, you look like Elizabeth Taylor, it's not really a compliment at all, but "nice" way of telling you that you look fat. Of course, it could be worse, I've been compared to A) Rosie O'Donnell and B) Roseanne in the past. But Whatever.

Lastly: I order an iPod today!

(Lola, staring at a cookie)

Friday, November 11, 2005

It Happens Once a Year

(Lori & my father in front of the restaurant last night)

Had my annual "Birthday" dinner with my father & Lori (his wife) last night (my birthday isn't actually until tomorrow, so there's still time to shop! heh!). This was the second year in a row that we've gone to this restaurant. Last year we were impressed with the food, service and the charming little place (and the fact that it's not a huge hardship for me to get there from work and back again to the train) that we decided to go again. So, I had my annual ration of Escargots and Duck ala Orange, which are some of my favorite things (all so rich and decadent, but oh so delicious).

Things were a little screwy, however, as my father & Lori were about an hour and fifteen minutes late. One. Hour. And. Fifteen. Minutes. As I sat there alone at the table reading (thank GOD I had a book) by candlelight and drinking glass after glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. But it all turned out okay in the end (except I could have done without the getting home at 11 PM on a "school" night part, but at least it's Friday now).

Additionally, the biggest surprise of all was that they gave me an actual gift. A beautiful silver & opal & aquamarine necklace (I just love necklaces), usually I just get a scarf, or something for Lola. It actually scares me a little bit to consider that they could have been reading my blog! My father also gave me a check (which he always does), with which I am going to buy THIS! Finally! heh.

Anyway, for once I had a meal with my father where I didn't feel like I was on a job interview. Maybe the four glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon had something to do with that.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Harriet Runs the New York Marathon (11.06.05)

Harriet has an affiliation with the Achilles Track Club (although I don't think she technically qualifies as an Achilles athlete) and was thus able to take the limited early start on Marathon Day. This allowed her to run next to the elite women for a brief few seconds when they passed her on the course a couple of hours later. Luckily someone had a camera.

Congratulations to Harriet and all the NYCM runners!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Other Side

Well, I'm on the other side of the presentation that had my panties all in a twist and it went pretty well. I feel much better now. I think I'll have a beer...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Work Rant

(this is a picture of my office building that I took this afternoon).

So, I've been really busy at work lately. Lots of project work, and more & more various and sundry stuff to come my way, whether it be a real project, debugging and fixing stuff, helping someone out, it pretty much runs the gamut. And I'm happy to do it, especially if it means exposure to an area that haven't previously been involved in, or if I am a contributing member of team or someone honestly needs my help. What I do resent however, is having work foisted off on me by people who just don't feel like doing something.

There is this guy I work with, let's just call him J. He is senior to me, he's been with the company in general and my department in particular for something like 20 years. He built many of the old, legacy mainframe applications that we still, to some extent, deal with today. Additionally, he heads a number of business intelligence projects. Our work overlaps quite bit, I am basically the lead contact for our main company Sales d/b and apps, an application that he was the architect of. Many of the business intelligence projects that I've worked on have been sister projects to some of his. I am basically the expert in my various areas and he is the uber-last-say expert (if I ever have a doubt or a question, I come to him for clarification). So he is essentially senior to me, but he is not my boss. I generally get along with him very well. Nice easy-going guy, very approachable, I always come away from a meeting with him completely enlightened, etc.

Historically he has come to me for quite a lot too. Whenever there is an enhancement needed for the Sales app, some data to be fixed or a reporting project that he is not going to have time to do, I am his first choice. Fine, I am happy to do it. I drop stuff all the time to help him whenever I can. But, what drives me crazy is that it is never reciprocated. A couple of examples:

* Every month/quarter there are always some tricky scenarios with commission points that need to fixed and re-loaded into our points d/b. 9 times out of 10 it is a relatively simple data fix, but you have to know what you're doing because you're changing Sales data and also deleting bad commission records. Sometimes it takes more debugging work to really figure out what is going on, so all-in-all, it's generally not work that just anyone can do. Anyway, I get a lot of this work and he is pretty much the only other person who can do it. One day not too long ago I was taking some vacation time, but being at home, I always check my email anyway. So I see I have an email from the marketing staff about a commissions problem that needs to be fixed. So, I forward the call to our help desk and J and ask if someone can help this person out, to please get back to her either way (I mean, we're talking commissions here) and if J can't fix the problem, then I will do it the following Monday. Lo and Behold I come back in on the Monday and contact the user. User says the help desk contacted her initially, but never heard anything back from J (yay or nay) that he could work on it, or anything about the issue from him. While I am in this conversation with the user, J forwards the original email to me with the note, "sorry, I didn't have time to do this". First of all, it would have taken him a total of 15 minutes. TOPS. Secondly, you don't get back to the user and say, hey can this wait til Monday when Debbie will be back??? At the very least, he could have responded right away to ME and I would have followed up from HOME. But no, he waits until X amount of days when he knows I'm back in the office. It just pissed me off because this would have been nothing for him to fix and I am always dropping stuff to help him out with far more involved stuff.

* We had a call about a week ago about a Sales exception report that needed some product category changes. The note was sent to our help desk and J and I was cc:ed. It was J's report. Help desk tries to assign it to J, J tells them to assign it to me. Because he didn't *feel* like doing it. Without even checking with me first to see what my workload is, or even just sending me an email, nothing. Normally it's not a huge deal, but A) it's not my report, so it takes some more debugging on my part to become familiar with it, and B) he really hit me on a day that I was completely swamped. Anyway So, I make all the fixes, but things are not sorting out the way expected. I end up spending additional time debugging to finally determine that a database value actually also needs to be changed. A fact that (I'm sure) J was aware of (but never mentioned). Whatever.

* I do this monthly/quarterly sales rep new hire training demo on how to use the various web reports and other apps my department has designed to help the field people both service their customers and prospect for new business. It's a little harrowing for me because I end up having to present on a lot of stuff I haven't worked on, or been involved with, in addition to the stuff that I have (I always feel a bit insecure about the stuff I haven't actually written). Anyway, J is just finishing up on this big project to build these role-based dashboards that will load default templates onto each rep's homepage. So, they want to present this to the new hire reps instead of my traditional demo. Great. So, rather than presenting his own project himself and letting me observe so that I can have the salient points for the next time this comes up, he decides that he just doesn't want to do it, so it's going to be completely my responsibility. Even though I had not even SEEN this thing before this past Friday. And the demo is TOMORROW. Of course I'll do the best job I possibly can, but seriously. Wouldn't you think he would want to present his own work in the best possible light? Particularly when it's (basically) for the first time to this community? I mean, really. So, it pisses me off.

I have no problem taking on more work and responsibilities, pitching in, helping someone who is over-loaded, or who isn't making progress on something. What angers me is when I feel that someone is just trying to take advantage. Surprisingly, I have a really, really great working relationship with J. I am always pleasant and willing to do whatever. And I'm (as I said before) always his first choice for any tricky problem or issue. But still, GAH! Anyway, nice that I have this blog on which to rant, so I won't explode at work -- ha!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Lola Likes TV

These pictures are a few months old, but they illustrate how Lola likes to watch TV.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This is just wrong!

It's November 5th and it's 70 degrees in NYC. It just ain't right.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Things are Crazy Here...

Since I haven't had any time at all to really blog and since I just wrote Lou a letter, I thought I would post that instead of a traditional blog post.

ETCFBR = Edited to clarify for blog readers

Friday, November 4, 2005

Dear Lou,

I’ve been meaning and meaning to write you a letter and have been extremely remiss. A few years ago I probably would have had a ton of gossip to tell you (since my life outside of work was so much more active than it is now), but these days things are pretty dull. Still, I think a letter might be more entertaining to you than a simple “Get Well” card.

Let me start first by saying that everyone here is pulling for your recovery. Carolina and I have been talking about trying to come visit you, but at the moment visitors are being dissuaded. Certainly, once we get the okay, we’ll have Janos drive us over. In the meantime Carol (ETCFBR: Director of our deparment) has been sending periodic updates about you to people in our group and I have been forwarding information on as I have it to Carolina, Chrissy, Paul, Luminita, Julian, Chris O*, Lares, Sandra and Craig B*. All are concerned for your speedy recovery.

Carol had John (ETCFBR: work colleague) & me laughing this morning with stories of a roommate you had (or maybe still have) in the hospital. Some old guy who wanted to throw himself out the window? I said, “Wow, I’ll bet Spiro (ETCFBR: former colleague) isn’t looking so bad as a roomie right now, naked ironing and all”. Apparently Carol and your dad get along very well too, she keeps telling us about what a character he is.

Nothing major is new here at work. Things are incredibly busy for me at the moment, but mostly in a good way. TJ (ETCFBR: Consultant, sometimes from Hell, with whom I've been working on this crazy project for far too long), for the most part has been “behaving” and there has been some very good and continued communication with the Education people, so that’s all working out well. Of course, sometimes the communication is too good – yesterday I got stuck in a two-hour meeting in Bob D*’s office while Bob & Maria argued about how branches were being defined. This was all while TJ and I just sat there and looked at each other helplessly. It was like a surreal version of “Who’s On First”. I’ve had a lot of other work come my way recently and it’s all good. The project with Tim (ETCFBR: VP of our division) finally got kicked off, so I’ve been working with him on that as we move forward. Event Marketing is also a project that has been heating up, but it’s all good stuff and I’ve been enjoying the work. Also, now that Maitri (ETCFBR: The Giggler) is on maternity leave (btw, she had a boy the other day), I’ve been asked to pick up some of the Cosmos reporting effort, which I gladly said that I would do. Carol sent me a note the other day that said that she wants me to know that she really appreciates my level of effort, that I’ve been doing a good job and that she has noticed. Dare I hope for a raise this year? We’ll see.

What else is new around here? Scott is the same, harried and running around like usual, you know how he is. I think he’s been trying to monitor your stuff as much as possible and has been helping Will (ETCFBR: Lou manages Will, who also dispatches our Help Desk) figure out how to distribute the work. Poor Will I feel is (between you & I) a little lost without you around. I’ve been trying to help him out as much as I can and I know Fanny does as well, but I’m sure it’s not the same for him.

At home I’ve made a project for myself to try and clean up and organize my apartment somewhat. Painting it has really lit a fire under my behind to make my space as serene as possible. I’ve gotten rid of boxes of crap and old clothes, bought a shredder and have been getting rid of old papers, I had a poster that had been rolling around under my sofa for the past three years framed (finally) and hung that on the wall. I’ve got a couple more to do, but things are getting there. I find that it really does make a difference to come home to a nice space. It helps take away some of the stress. Once I have some money saved (when that will be, I have no idea), I plan to replace my bed with a low, platform-style one. Since I live in a studio, I feel that it will streamline things a bit. Isn’t this just The. Most. Exciting. News. EVER??? Sheesh! This is how boring my life is.

I’ve decided to take Thanksgiving Week off, even though I have no plans at all. I figure that it’s a great way to have a block of time off, without the investment of a lot of vacation days (more bang for the buck, if you will). Three vacation days for nine days away from here, what’s not to love? I’ve never looked forward so much to doing absolutely nothing in my life. My father and his wife plan to be out in Oregon at my sister’s, so I’ll be going to Carolina’s for T-day. Just happy not to have to travel.

Carolina & Janos brought their kid (Roland, he’s two) over to my place on Halloween. He was dressed as a purple dragon and it was absolutely hysterical. He spent the half-hour or so that he was there chasing Lola around. At one point they were both running around and around my round coffee table so fast that I couldn’t even tell who was chasing whom. I was laughing so hard, I was crying. Lola basically collapsed once they left (need to have that Roland over more often),

My father closed on this stupid, dilapidated farm house in Wyckoff (I know I told you about this, not sure if you’ll remember). Why a 75 yro man wants this falling down piece of crap is beyond me, but I ran around in the weeks before his closing to make sure he had all the notarized signatures he needed from me to make it happen anyway (he needed this because I am the trustee of the estate). Anyway, his wife is so ditzy, I called the day before the closing to make sure that he had everything from me that he needed for the next day. He was not home, but his wife (Lori) answered. This is how the conversation went:

Me: “Oh, hi Lori. It’s Debbie”
Lori: “Betty? Oh, hi Betty!!!”
Me: “No, Debbie!”
Lori: “BETTY???”
Me: “No, Debbie!!! DEBBIE!!!”
Lori: “Oh, dddddddeeeeeeebbbbbbbbiiiiiieeeeeee!!!”


I’m supposed to have dinner with them in Manhattan one night next week for my birthday. I wonder if there is some why I can get out of it.

The NYC Marathon is this weekend and last night I had my annual gathering of running friends for our Wings & Beer Night at Blondies on West 79th Street. It was a lot of fun, but I was out far too late and am just not used to that kind of drinking anymore. I was also a bit sad listening to all the running war stories and everyone’s speculation of their race expectations for this Sunday. I really miss having running a part of my life. I’ve just found it so much harder to keep up with it in Kew Gardens. When I lived in Manhattan I was close to Central Park. In KG I have Forest Park, but it’s not safe after dark. Additionally, I recently gave up my gym membership because I really just can’t afford it at the moment. It’s frustrating, I’m so tired every night that I end up just sitting on the couch watching whatever I have T-Fauxed, but then I stay up too late reading or putzing around that I just can’t get up early enough to work out before work. This lifestyle is making me old and I need to shake it off somehow, find a balance. With me it always seems like I am either kicking ass at work, or I’m kicking ass working out (running, whatever), but both worlds just don’t seem to be able to coexist in my life. I need to figure this out.

Anyway, I’ll just bet you’re SO happy that I wrote you this long-ass letter all about all this bullshit in my life. Aren’t you glad I did??? Hahahahaha! I just wish I had more interesting stuff to tell you. Maybe for the next time I’ll make some shit up, just to make it more entertaining.

Listen, if there is anything at all you want or need, please let me know. I would be happy to get it for you. Carolina & I were talking about maybe putting together a care package or something for you, maybe with magazines, cross-word puzzles, that sort of thing. Just get word to me – someone in you family can call me or whatever. In case you don’t remember offhand, my extension here at -my company- is xMyExtension (MyWorkPhoneNumber xMyExtension), or anyone can call me at home: MyHomePhoneNumber or email me: I am happy to help in any way I can.

I want you to know that I am thinking of you constantly and hope (I’m not really the praying type) for your return to good health. Please let me know if there is anything at all I can do for you or for your family.

With Best Wishes,


Monday, October 24, 2005

Things That Make Me Cringe

Sitting in a meeting at work and colleague next to me says, "irregardlessly... ". ACK!

I Just LOVE this Time of Year!

Fall is my favorite time of year: the crisp weather, the long, slanting sunlight, the changing leaves, apples, root vegetables, wearing a sweater and a light jacket... I love it all. Yesterday I was in a particularly Autumn-y mood so I went to the grocery store and bought some Macintosh apples and an Acorn squash. I also picked up some cinnamon but, alas, the store did not have any nutmeg (rant: what kind of grocery store does not carry nutmeg?!). Baked me up a delicious Acorn squash along with a chicken breast for my dinner. I really missed my mother for a few critical minutes when I wished I could call her to find out exactly how to cook the thing, but I made do with my "Joy of Cooking" cookbook. It got the job done alright, however, and it was delicious (and my apartment smelled great afterwards too). Maybe I'll have the left-over half for dinner tonight, yum!


Finally a sane (and amusing) response to copious breeding couple.

Friday, October 21, 2005

So This is What Has Been Going On...

My friend Kellee came to NYC to visit me for a whirlwind trip in mid-September. The plan was to paint my apartment and try to get Kellee around to see some of NYC (she had never been here before). But we really only had about three days to do everything! Believe it or not, we actually managed to get the painting done, and while she maybe didn't get a chance to see everything she would have liked to in Manhattan, there was some amount of sight-seeing done as well as a couple of dinners out & about in the City. And now, I have to say, my apartment looks FABULOUS! Between the paint job, finally organizing some of the cluttered corners, having the Neighbors-from-Hell move out and New-Dream-of-a-Neighbor-Guy move in upstairs, my apartment is now actually a pleasant place to in which to live. I still wish I had a bedroom though, on the other hand, I'm happy enough not to have to pay the added maintenance and mortgage costs having a bedroom would bring. My housing costs are pretty reasonable by NYC standards. I will have to post some pictures of my refreshed place at some point.

Anyway, so I had a call recently from my father regarding this old, decrepit farmhouse he's buying. Apparently, he was "illegally" named trustee of the estate that he shares with my brother, sister and I. It turns out that my sister and I are actually co-trustees. This screws up all the logistics to him selling his condo and buying this disaster, I mean, property. So, I had to take a day off of work last month and go running out to the county courthouse in NJ to sign all this legal paperwork and have been shuffling paperwork regarding powers of attorneys and bridge loans, etc. back and forth via Fedex and Express Mail for the past week or so. I've probably signed away all my rights to any inheritance at this point. But, dammit! My 75 yro father is going to buy this falling-down piece o' crap. I also have to laugh at the irony of a bridge loan for over 500K being taken out in my name, when I can barely afford to pay the electric bill in my two-room studio apartment. But whatever.

Horrible thing happened here to my very good friend and manager at work. This was actually the day I was out of the office signing paperwork for my father. I get home from NJ, log into work and am checking email and I see an email from my former manager that just says, "Call Me!" So, of course my immediate thought is, I'm getting laid off and he wants me to call him so he can give me a heads up (because it is, after all, ALL about me!). Anyway, so I call and he says, hold on and I hear him get up and shut the door to his office, and I'm thinking, "oh shit!" He starts with, "I don't know how to tell you this but... " and then launches into the story of what happened to Lou (friend/manager). Apparently he went into the hospital over the weekend that had just passed because he hadn't been feeling well. He left a voice mail message for our department director to say that he had to go into the hospital, but that he expected to be back at work by that Wednesday. Well, the department director next gets a call on Monday afternoon from his family to say that things went very badly in the hospital. Somehow he had become septic and the infection had spread very fast throughout his entire body, causing all his organs to fail. He was in ICU on full life-support (as well as dialysis) and they didn't even know if he was going to make it. As of this weekend, this all happened four weeks ago. He's made some slow progress and was finally let out of ICU this past week, but they still don't know what kind of permanent damage might have been done (I know that he is still on dialysis). It's been a very surreal time, these past four weeks. I feel as if I've been kind of walking around in a sort of state of shock. In the meantime, work, which was crazy to begin with, has gotten even more so as we all try to pick up the pieces and cover work that would normally fall to Lou. So, it's been crazy-busy at work and emotionally taxing at the same time. All I've wanted to do at the end of each week is crawl home and have a beer and watch some silly movies or TV shows with the Pug draped across my lap. So, that's been the past month for me.

I've decided to take the entire Thanksgiving Week off to have some good quality relaxation time. It will be especially nice knowing that I don't have to travel anywhere!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Abandoned Blog

I know that I've basically abandoned my blog. Work has been crazy and my computer at home died and I just haven't really been inspired at the times when I maybe could have scraped together a few minutes to write something. Maybe when I have a little more time I will write about the comedy of errors it has been dealing with Dell to fix my computer. It's been an ordeal and it still is not fixed yet. But anyway, if there still are people out there, hang in there, I hope to get back to updating this space shortly...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

No Blogging...

Yet another long period of time goes by with no blogging.

Work has been picking up for me in the past couple of weeks, getting busier and busier with more projects falling my way. It seems that even projects that are assigned to other people are falling into my lap. It's all good, I need to be busy at work, but it's also beginning to get a little crazy. And now, today's development: I received a voice mail this morning that apparently everyone on our help desk is out today. So now, in addition to all this project work I have to do, I also have to check for, and respond to, help desk messages. I've already fielded one call about this old mainframe system that I haven't worked on in probably 10 years. Sheesh!

Let's see, what else is new? I have a friend coming to visit this weekend (and into next week) who is going to help me paint my apartment. I'm not really looking forward to the work and the PITA of physically painting and dealing with it all in a small apartment (while trying to live on top of it all), but it otherwise should be fun. I want to make sure we leave enough time to take her around and enjoy NYC somewhat -- she's never been here before.

On a related note, Carolina ran into the president of my co-op board recently and she was telling her how one bedroom apartments in my building are now going for around 240K. Yikes! I live in a studio and have been wondering how much mine is worth lately, I know the people above me got 140K for theirs this past Spring. I paid something like 65K for mine and now have about 48K left on my mortgage. Which means that theoretically I could walk away with around 100K if I were to sell and leave the area. It seems just inconceivable to me, but that just illustrates the state of the real estate market in NYC right now. Great if you want to take the money and run, leaving the area. But if you're looking to live here, you had better be ready to spend some money. Anyway, $100,000 would sure go a long way towards paying off my debt, buying a car and providing a down payment on something in another state somewhere (or being invested somewhere in a retirement plan, or whatever). As much as I complain about Queens, buying this apartment was probably the smartest financial decision I've ever made. Of course, I haven't made too many smart financial decisions otherwise, but whatever.

I've been watching the Katrina aftermath with horror since last week. It all just makes me feel incredibly helpless. I sent some money to the Red Cross, but it seems so minor, compared to the masses of homeless and suffering people who need to be assisted. I will at least continue to send money as I can. The lack of response of our government has been one of the more disturbing aspects of this disaster. To me, it illustrates the greed and out-of-touch mentality of the present administration. Certainly Bush's decision to continue his vacation while people were suffering and dying in the streets sums up his attitude for me, such disregard of the well-being of the citizens for whom he is responsible shows him to be the soul-less, scum-sucking, monkey-faced, smirking bastard I always knew that he was. And I'm not even going to go into the diverting funds during his administration from FEMA and into that bullshit Homeland Security program. It all just makes me SO. DAMN. MAD! ARGH!!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Frustrating Week

I seem to be having the most frustrating week. Constantly being pulled into meetings, or having long, drawn-out phone and email conversations about one problem or issue or another, I am not getting a whole lot of work done. I mean, all of this stuff is making me incredibly busy, while at the same time, not terribly productive. And, for the love of GOD, will the manager (you know who you are) who keeps warning me about the "high profile" (shit detail, data clean-up) project that is supposed to come my way just shut up about it and give me the actual assignment (complete with specs) already??? I mean, all of these hints and "heads-ups" are just infusing me with urgency and nervousness and I don't even have the damn thing to work on yet! Sheesh!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I know this may be Earth shattering news to some, but...

...I actually worked out yesterday.

20 minutes on the Elliptical and 20 minutes on the treadmill (mostly walking, but with spurts of 1-minute running intervals, all at 1 % incline) in my apartment building gym. Had the place to myself too, since there is no A/C down there and it is ungodly hot. Actually wasn't horrible if I had two fans blowing directly on me. Sort of. Followed the workout with a completely sleepless night. ARGH!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Why is Shoe Shopping meant to be "Every" Woman's Fantasy?

For me it's always a nightmare-ish ordeal.

I went to the shoe department at Macy's last week in the hope of finding a pair of brown shoes for Fall. As I wandered aimlessly amongst the different "boutique" shoe areas, I was overwhelmed by the lack of abundance of mid-heel brown shoes that were not a mule or a sandal. Don't get me wrong, I like both mules and sandals, but I don't really want a sandal for Fall, and I still cannot figure out how a mule is meant to be worn in the colder months. I think they would be a bit funny with stockings or socks (plus, I would think your feet would slip out of them) and there is just a point in the year when I am no longer willing to go "sockless". But the main thrust of my rant is really about being waited on in a shoe store. Or more specifically, not being waited on. As I wandered about the huge shoe floor at Macy's I was struck with a shoe here or there that I may have wanted to try on, but which I was too overwhelmed to even attempt. First of all, you pretty much have to shop in each section of the shoe floor as if it was a separate store. So, if I was to find a nice brown shoe in, say, "Joan & David" and then I wandered about and found another likely shoe in "Bandolino", I couldn't just plop down in, say, "Nine West" and ask to see each shoe. You have to pick a designer and try to get waited on in each section. And then trying to get a salesperson to stop for you -- yeah, good luck. As I wandered around the store I witnessed a lot of very lost-looking, potential customers either wandering vacant-eyed in the aisles clutching examples of shoes they hoped to try, or sitting on the edge of the random stool or chair or cube looking like they were about to grow cobwebs. The few salespeople to be seen seemed to move at the speed of light with heads held high and eyes focused on some distant, inanimate point far out of range so as not to inadvertently catch the eye of some hopeful shoe shopper. Maybe it's just that I don't have the patience to sit around and wait to be helped, or that I'm not aggressive enough to tackle a shoe salesperson as they flit past, but for me, shoe shopping is always unbelievably stressful. No wonder I wear all of my shoes into the ground and they always look completely like shit. I've been known to wear the same pair of shoes every day for months on end. Seriously.

Friday, August 26, 2005

You Gotta Love NYC

Well, maybe not. This afternoon I was at one of the Duane Reades in Penn Station to pick up a prescription and on my way out through the front I passed a woman who was ranting loudly to the store manager about one of the cashiers who (apparently) had not treated her well. Loud-Ranting-Woman exclaimed, "I swear, next time I'm going to reach across the counter and slap the shit out of the bitch!" Well, okay then. I did not stick around to hear what the manager's response was.

Another Week Flies By

And I haven't done much about blogging. Been kind of in the doldrums this week and I'm not exactly sure why. I spoke to my sister over the weekend and she was bubbling over with enthusiasm and happiness with their move to Bend, Oregon. She couldn't say enough about how wonderful the area is, the community, the scenery, the climate, the outdoorsy nature of the inhabitants and all the bike & running, etc. trails that are available all over the place. She kept saying to me, "and tell me why you're living where you are again?" I know, I know, the quality of life here sucks (unless you make a lot of money), but my job is here, you know? And she kept reminding me that I'm not getting any younger, if I'm going to make a change, I should do it. I KNOW!!! Sheesh! It's so easy to become complacent in life, making a huge change is very hard. It's both harder and easier (at the same time, if that makes any sense) when you are all on your own. Granted, I don't have kids, so I wouldn't be uprooting anything much, but I am my only resource -- financially, emotionally, whatever. I think my biggest worry is being able to find good employment, earning enough money to pay my bills, save for retirement, have a home and have a life, while actually liking what I do, hopefully even (at least most of the time) looking forward to coming to work every day. I actually have that here, as much as I complain about it in my blog, I actually (usually) like my job. I've worked for this company for sixteen years, so looking for a position outside of it is hugely daunting to me. But when I lay everything out, this job is really the main thing that is keeping me here. I have friends here too, yes, but most of my friends nowadays are busy with children or other endeavors, so my social life has really fallen to the wayside in recent years. So, that is not holding me here. Everything else is just logistics, I would need a car, I'd have to sell my apartment, I would have to transition smoothly enough so that I could continue to pay my debt without interruption. Anyway, lately I've just had this feeling of time running out. People all around me are making big changes in their lives, moving on. I feel like I am stuck in limbo and my window to make a change won't be open for forever. This is what has been keeping me awake at night.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Yet another example of rudeness...

This morning I am at a Dunkin' Donuts counter ordering coffee. Woman beside me who already has her coffee or whatever decides that she needs something from a container on the other side of me. So, rather than walking around me to get it, she reaches across behind me, in the process pushing me up against the glass counter and wacking me repeatedly in the back with her backpack. No apologies or even an acknowledgement that I was actually there. Even the woman waiting on me gave a little incredulous laugh, like she couldn't believe it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Amazing what some people consider "Business Casual"

Seen today on my floor at work :

Chick (who works in the Accounting Department at my company) wearing... skin-tight (so tight she must have had to lie down to put them on), neon-bright fushia pink, cropped pants with a crocheted, neon-bright fushia pink (complete with glitter!) poncho thing on top (and a white tank top underneath). I literally did a double-take.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

is it just this city, or are people getting ruder?

Examples of rudeness from today alone:

- Chick sits next to me on the train, flops the jacket she is holding onto my lap and leaves it there. For the entire ride.

- Train chick repeatedly flips her (long) hair into my face. I mean, she did see me sitting there, right?

- Go to give blood in our office building today and the blood guy repeatedly orders me around (sit here, sit there, get up, move turn this way, do this, no NOT like that, etc.) with no please, thank you or even just a friendly tone. Er, he did realize that I was donating my bodily fluids and asking for nothing in return, right?

- Get on crowded elevator this afternoon and the chick behind me can not move even one inch (even when she clearly has a lot of space behind her) so that I can comfortably stand.

- At the Au Bon Pain where I buy my wrap sandwich for lunch, I am at the register, cashier is in the process of ringing me up, while one man to my left is trying to push me out of the way, while waving his money at the cashier for his damn danish, while one woman on my right is waving her sandwich and trying to shove her money in front of the man's. Can't they see that I am currently in between them and being waited on????

- I'm second in line at the Duane Reade when they open up another register, new cashier speaks up to call over the next customer and the chick on line behind me jumps out of line and runs over there. I speak up and say, "Uh, I was next!" She looks over at me and says, "Oh, do you want to go?" "Well, YES!!!" dumb ass.

Maybe it's just my tolerance for this crap that has changed, but it is wearing me out. Gotta get out of NYC.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

And Sometimes there is Vindication...

I had a nice compliment yesterday from (of all people) the director of my department. I happened to be over by the admin's desk to get a bandaid and she heard my voice and so asked me to stop in. She told me that she had met with the director of another department for whom I'm spear-heading this big business intelligence project and she said that this director made a point of telling her how happy they've been with me and with my work for them. Apparently she feels that the quality of the work has been excellent, as has been my communication and responsiveness to them. Cool, nice to have your efforts recognized once in a while anyway.

Monday, August 15, 2005

LIRR Strikes Again!

I know plenty of people who can run 8 miles in an hour or under, and so I am so NOT impressed that it took the LIRR just that long to take me that distance this evening. Bastards.

Highlight of the Summer

It's pretty sad when the highlight of one's Summer is having root canal. Ech. I got the bad news about a month ago, had appointment #1 at the end of July -- had a lot of jaw pain the first day, but had some vicadin knockoff to take the edge off and make me feel all sleepy, dizzy and loopey. Followed by a couple of days of headaches, but nothing too severe. Had my second appointment at the end of the day last Thursday. Dentist gave me the same prescription for the same vicadin knockoff after the procedure and I took my (un-air-conditioned-on-a-100-degree-90-something-percent-humidity-day) subway home. Got home, popped the pain pill, ate some pudding and tried to cool off and recover from the subway ride from hell (and subsequent 3/4 mile walk). Around 10 PM or so it hit. Violent puking ill. UGH!!! Driving the porcelain bus like the worst drunk. My mouth didn't even hurt at all, I was just a complete mess from all the drugs (I assume the injections I had during the procedure must have contributed, one little pill could not have made me that sick). Anyway, sick night, red swollen face with broken blood vessels around eyes and mouth and an uncomfortable night lying on my bathroom floor, I decided to call in sick to work on Friday. I think it was the right thing to do. I don't know how bulemics function on a day-to-day basis. One episode and I was a couple mess. Anyway, I feel better now.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Oh, I do have one thing to say...

Best Summer Breakfast Ever:

"Natural" peanut butter on 9-grain toast, with a drizzle of honey. And, lowfat yogurt with fresh strawberries and blueberries. (oh, and coffee of course!)

Almost makes it worth getting up in the morning. I like it so much, I may just continue with this breakfast once the weather becomes cooler. Screw the damn oatmeal.

Alright, Already!

People have been giving me crap because I haven't been blogging. I really have no excuse other than that I really have had very little to say. I suppose I could bitch endlessly about the soul-sucking heat we've been enduring in the North East all Summer. Or there is always my old fall back, complaining about the LIRR. But just the thought of continuing to write on these subjects even bore me, so I haven't bothered.

I think this has been the dullest Summer I have had in years. Even the dullest year, really. It's been so unrelentingly hot day after day, week after week, month after month, that being outside for any length of time is just a miserable experience. I haven't been anywhere, or done anything much at all. Work has been the same, I'm busy, but working on the same projects I've been working on for awhile, so nothing has changed there. I just seem to spend my time shuttling back and forth between the air-conditioning of my apartment to the air-conditioning of work. So, I apologize to any who were looking for something interesting, or at least mildly entertaining, to read. There is nothing to see here, just move along. Will try to be better about updating this blog about the daily minutiae of my life. If I don't fall over from boredom in the process, that is.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I Just Can't Take This Weather, I Just Can't!!!

One more day of this impossible heat & humidity and they're going to have to lock me away in some padded (and, hopefully, air-conditioned) room. I can't do anything in this weather. Even rushing around in the morning getting ready for work is a miserable experience. Just standing outside on the train platform is worthy of suicidal thoughts. GAH! Luckily the weather is supposed to break for tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2005

this weather is DISGUSTING!

Nothing like a 95% humidity, 90+ degree Monday morning to start me off for the week in the worst possible spirits. The air is so thick in NYC today that I swear you can see it and, no, it is not from pollution! And it seems like it's been like this for weeks. The last reasonably comfortable day I can remember was over Fourth of July weekend. This must be what it's like to live in Louisiana or Mississippi or some such place, it's like constantly trying to move through a swamp. This morning I was standing in the street waiting for Lola to pee while mopping my face with a papertowel and this random woman pulling away from the curb in her car rolls down her window and says to me, "You KNOW it's bad when you're standing still and can't even stop sweating!" Yeah, thanks for pointing that out for me.

This weather makes my fingers blow up like sausages.

On a positive note: I saw a pug puppy on the train into work this morning. Her name is Olivia and she's adorable.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Forgotten Gift(s)

I've written before about losing my mother to cancer a few years ago, and I've mentioned here and there about what it's now like to deal with a father who seems to have generally eschewed what is left of his family, in favor of his "new" wife's family. Being a grown adult with my own life and issues, I should be able to just "get over it", but sometimes it still hurts. Last Christmas I remember sitting in his living room while his wife's daughter opened gift after gift, many of which were items of jewelry that had been purchased on the various trips my father and his wife had taken that year. I remember feeling very forgotten and sad that the same consideration had not been made for me (or for my sister) while they were on those trips. All especially in light of the fact that I used to receive gifts (usually of jewelry) purchased while he and my mother had traveled (usually the gift would be saved throughout the year until Christmas). It was hard, cold reality to realize that those days are over. I guess it wouldn't have been so obvious or painful had I not had to sit there and watch another open the types of gifts I used to enjoy. Anyway, recently I discovered a couple of pieces of jewelry among my possessions, items that, for one reason or another, I had forgotten that I had. One is a long necklace of alternating silver and lapis beads and the other a small silver cuff bracelet with a sliver of turquoise inset across the top. I don't believe I had ever worn either piece much, which is probably why I didn't remember them. The necklace maybe was longer than the way I usually like to wear a necklace and the bracelet, well working on computers all day, I tend not to wear bracelets much. However, recently discovered, I was flooded with memories of receiving these two as Christmas gifts from my mother. Gifts of the type that I regularly used to receive and of which I shall most likely never receive again. All of a sudden I love these pieces and I've been wearing them both quite a bit. The length of the necklace now seems to make it more unique. And the bracelet I love the most, it's of the cuff variety and wears very close to the wrist and thus does not interfere with a computer keyboard at all. It's almost like I've received an unexpected gift from my mother. Each time I wear one or the other, I remember her and realize that there once was someone out there who cared quite a bit about me.