Archive for May, 2007

Serenade

Stopped by J2’s office Thursday evening. He whipped out his…. guitar. Get your mind out of the gutter, you sickos! You are the same sickos that think “I have to go walk the dog” is a euphemism.

He played for me and I loved every moment of it. He just started playing guitar two months ago. He is an excellent pianist, so it isn’t a surprise that he is picking this up so quickly.

It reminded me of my youth. As strange as they were, I miss the days where the whole family would drive to Portland. All the aunts and uncles and cousins would be there. The adults would drink and smoke and sing and play guitar until all hours of the morning. Regretfully, us kids would make card houses, fear the nicotine stained clowns in the bathroom, and be frightened by the life-size Bartles & James cardboard cutout at the top of the stairs. None of us learned to play guitar.

Things haven’t been the same since Nana and Grump became ill and passed away. There is no one place where we all gather. We used to know where to go to see our extended family, but the house on Elm Street has been sold and the family has spread further apart.

I guess this is the point in life when our parents become the head of the family. And instead of playing guitar, someone brings a Wii and we play Wii tennis and bowling, then go to LL Bean in the middle of the night.

I miss the music.

Oatmeal & Margaritas

Do you ever wonder how a girl like me winds up spending a Saturday night at home eating oatmeal and drinking margaritas? Well, grab a drink and let me tell you a long tale. (If I’m lucky, you will bore early and not read this at all)

First it starts with an overachieving, workaholic manager who works so hard he manages to come down with the flu on the day our project is due. I’ve been sublimating my overachieving tendencies into slacking for years with great success, yet here he is, trying to wear me down. So Friday, I went into overdrive, desperately trying to make up for his absence.

I’d submitted our project on Thursday night, but found out Friday morning that I *might* have submitted a horrible regression. It was impossible to tell if this was true, and so I frantically submitted again.

By noon, I had finished, but that is when I start to panic. It has been true all my life. I am never nervous before acting in a play, I am nervous after. I didn’t scream when I stuck my arm into a bucket of ants—I brushed them off, killed them, cleaned out the bucket and then sat on the back steps and cried. Nothing has changed.

I also am a typical Irish girl. I can’t express emotion to save my life. My family has a difficult time talking to each other about any subject, and so we use humor. It is how we deal with death, with life, with love. My siblings and I—and their significant others—have all been making a concerted effort to talk more, but it isn’t easy. I, being the typical single, oldest daughter, due to my strong disposition and innate sense of independence have no one to practice with, so I talk to you. Even then, I hide a lot of how I actually feel and just tell you what is funny.

A neighboring manager stopped by my office while I was having what I wish had been a panic attack (wish because at least then I would be showing some emotion) and I told him that I was stressed out. He asked why I was laughing and smiling and looking so comfortable stretched out on my couch with my computer. I explained that this is my coping mechanism.

He took some Belly Flops (I provide a container of reject Jelly Bellys for the office). I told him they are magic and would make him feel better since he too was stressed out. He thought I was crazy.

During lunch time, while still on my stress-high, I decided to email Mr. Peeps. As I just said, I prefer to use humor over any other coping mechanism, and so instead of dealing with rejection, I decided to do something that I could write to you all about. If I’m going to get turned down, I might as well have a good story out of it.

Hey [Mr. Peeps],

Okay, curiosity gets the best of me every time. At least I’ve waited almost a week before bothering you again. Just wondering what I should read into you not being able to come by and watch tv last sunday. I’ve made some options for you to choose from…

Choose all that apply:

1. ___: I was just too busy, but I’d love to ______________.
1a. ___: … have dinner
1b. ___: … stop by to play your Wii
1c. ___: … swing by the driving range
1d. ___: … find an open closet in ten minutes

2. ___: My manager says_____________.
3a.___: you are just trying to use me to figure out our secret project
3b.___: sex brings down my productivity
3c.___: he’d hold the door for you anytime, and I should take you up on your offers.
3d.___: I work too much and need to find some other activities (see 1.)

3. ___: My girlfriend(/boyfriend) wouldn’t approve because ________________.
3a.___: She’s only interested in a ménage à trois.
3b.___: (S)he is a transgender ex-sumo wrestler named Bertha. I’d suggest you hide. Now!
3c.___: She was horribly disfigured in a car crash that I caused a year ago which killed her entire family and now I am her sole caregiver and feel too guilty to leave her.
3c.___: She says no.

4. ___: You are
4a.___: insane. Please stop contacting me. (Usually people choose one of the other options just to be nice.)
4b.___: sweet, but really, this isn’t a good time. I’ll have my people call your people if it ever changes.
4c.___: a bit crazy, but I’m intrigued. Try again in [ a week | a month | when hell freezes over]
4d.___: funny. I can’t stop laughing from this long enough to see the screen and reply. Who says this stuff?

5. ___: [Make your own]

~ K

Hopefully, you are laughing at me as hard as I was laughing at me for writing that. Sadly, he hasn’t replied, so I’m guessing that his answer was 4a. Too bad, because I actually find him interesting. I have a bad habit of sabotaging myself. I don’t even do it subconsciously. Wouldn’t possibly want anyone to think that I’m anywhere even close to normal.

The day continued. The manager who had eaten the magic Belly Flops came back and said, “Strangely, I do feel better.” I told him that he should have believed me to begin with. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. They are magic. I don’t eat them though because I don’t like jelly beans. No magic for me.

Our projects all had to be submitted by midnight. By five, I had everything I could do done. I had two more projects to submit, but they weren’t ready yet, so I did my usual evening routine. I rode my bike home, walked my dog, and came back to work for dinner.

The previous day, I had stupidly told a friend that I could go to a house concert with him. I had to cancel. I managed to finish submitting the projects by 10 pm, but I would have been too late for the concert. So, I came home and went to sleep by midnight.

At 7 am this morning, I woke like every other day. I fed the cats, walked the dog, then headed a couple miles down the road to help Ying move. (BTW, she has some good photos of our Bay to Breakers walk last weekend.) It was one flight of stairs down, a drive to the city, then two flights of stairs up. Needless to say, by 3pm, I was tired and sweaty. We drank large bottles of water and a couple beers. Then Coworker J called.

He asked if he’d be able to follow my submission directions because we needed to submit the project again today. I said he should be able to and to give me a call if he needs help. At 5:15 pm, he called and asked if I could come to the office to submit before 7 pm. Not being capable of saying no to Coworker J (even after I’ve been practicing saying “No” to everyone for the last two weeks), I said I could.

Fastest trip back from SF, I submitted from home. My poor pets were pissed off, especially Perl who really needed to go out. I put everything together as fast as I could and hit the last command at four minutes to seven. Then it hung for half an hour.

I wasn’t sure if I could resubmit. I didn’t know what would happen if I submitted after seven. I really started to flip out. Well, flip out in the only way I know how—I sat uber-patiently, hoping that it would work. Then I took Perl on a super-short walk. Then I saw it was still hung. At 7:30, I started the command from another computer and it took two minutes. I was pissed.

I was tired, sore, sweaty, hungry, and now highly disappointed in myself for something I couldn’t have done any differently. But this submission was at the request of our Director and I wanted everything to go smoothy. I wanted to show that I could drop everything and be the overachieving workaholic like my manager. When I think about it, I don’t want these things, but when I’m not thinking, and just doing, then I fall right into that pattern.

So, I drowned my self-disappointment in the shower. Too lazy to go out to hunt and gather, I picked through the remains of my cupboards. They are pretty bare since Meine Schwester moved out a year ago. However, I did find some raisin oatmeal and ingredients for a margarita, including some frozen strawberries I used instead of ice.

And there you have it—how a girl like me comes to be alone at home, eating oatmeal and sipping margaritas on a Saturday night. It isn’t really all that much of a surprise now is it?

Damsel in distress

Last week I didn’t bike much, until Friday and Saturday. Then I biked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Well, Wednesday morning. I was riding along when it felt like my gears were shifting all on their own. So I pulled over and started looking at it. The my knight in shining armor showed up.

He had a bike link tool and knew how to use it. He made a good faith effort to fix the kink in my chain. Come to find out, he works in my company. Sounds about right. He would have stopped for anyone just to help solve a puzzle. I appreciated the assistance. It worked for a little while, but then started acting up.

At work, I found another guy who had a bike link tool and was willing to get his hands dirty. He too made a good faith attempt, but no success there either. He did tell me that I really need to oil my chain occasionally.

So I took my bike in for a tune-up. It is quick again. I also got a computer for it so that I can see how far I go and how fast. I think my max speed so far is just over 19 mph. Not as fast as if I had a road bike, but still, nothing to complain about.

Bay to breakers

I walked in Bay to Breakers today with a group for Y’s 30th birthday. It was a blast. Lots of costumes, naked people, and kegs. All the runners were in the front and we never saw them. I’d like to run it some year. Or wear a costume. Or drink. All would be entertaining. We were lucky today. Sun shining, weather was beautiful. My feet hurt now.



Bigger birdies

The birds on Neighbor S’s lanai are growing. There only seem to be two now. We thought there were three earlier. Natural selection.

Guitar recital and automated eyes

J2 invited a bunch of us from work to his first guitar recital tonight. It was in the Historic Adobe Building in Mountain View. Cute little venue. The guitar recitals were given by people of all ages and skill level. I was quite impressed with how well J2 did considering this is his first. He played three pieces by John Anton Logy.

I recognized a number of pieces, but the one that really struck me was In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg. It bothered me because I couldn’t come up with the name of the video game that it was in. J2 had a reception at his place after, and considering the number of geeks there, I was surprised that no one could remember. I knew it was an Atari game, and other people remember hearing it in movies, but no one could remember where exactly. I remember it being a game that was underground with a king at the end. I just looked it up, and boy do I feel dumb. Mountain King. You’d think I could have guessed that name. I just didn’t think it was actually named after the music that they used!

While at the reception, I re-met a few of the guys who moved onto our floor at work. They are the whole reason that I had to move offices recently. One of the guys is originally from Pennsylvania. Come to find out, he used to work with candy before he started working with computers. I guessed Hershey, but I learned there is more than one candy company in the state. Turns out, he was the guy who put the eyes onto the Peeps. That is, until they automated his job and he landed out here. Mr. Peeps says that the machines were never as accurate as he was. Sometimes the machine would accidentally put the eyes too low. How embarrassing.

He also says that Peeps on the production line haven’t quite solidified yet and aren’t all that great for eating. We joked that you would have to eat all of your mistakes. J2 used to make Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Those are supposedly fabulous hot off the line. I said that they should partner with Krispy Kreme so that you could go into the store and get them straight out of the oven along with a hot donut!

Four out of Five

I managed to ride my bike four out of five days this week. I missed Thursday because I forgot that I promised The Kid a ride to the airport. Somehow I didn’t think it was going to work to carry luggage with someone on the handlebars. Funny that.

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