Monday, April 30, 2007
Last weekend, on the phone with my parents, I was recounting everything that I remembered about our trip to Disneyworld--which turns out to be quite a bit, especially considering that I was only four years old. My memories of Ukraine are a similarly strange mix. I remember eating peanut butter out of a gallon-sized container that we had shipped over; I usually ate one spoonful as a snack. I remember my mom making homemade bread, and we'd always eat a whole loaf as soon as it came out of the oven. I remember teaching myself algebra at the kitchen table, listening to Voice of America radio. I remember playing the original 'Civilization', or getting motion sickness while watching my brother playing 'Wolfenstein 3-D'. I remember the strange benzene/gasoline smell of my comforter, and the time that grease came through the water pipes and ruined a load of clothes in the washing machine. I remember how toilet paper with the consistency of brown paper towels was still worth hoarding, which meant we usually had six weeks' worth on hand. I remember our epic Christmas Eve dinner in this freezing-cold restaurant, where one of the dishes was beef tongue in aspic jelly. I of course also remember the ridiculous Christmas program that my brother and I put on for our parents and aunt, and how the gifts we got the next morning (cash, trapper keepers, pepperoni, and oranges) were some of the best Christmas presents ever. I remember the buckets that my dad used to haul water from two blocks away.
It's no wonder I grew up crazy--I remember watching a funeral out of our apartment window (since funerals start at the dead person's house, and they carry the open casket out into the street before loading it and all the funeral guests into a bus), hearing the sickening sound of someone's skull cracking in the street during a brawl outside our hotel during those first few weeks, paying $3 for a head of lettuce the size of a fist at a hard-currency store, ordering pizza to be delivered to a phone booth (since the pizza delivery company apparently wouldn't deliver to anywhere other than that particular phone booth for safety reasons), buying a piglet and listening to it squeal in the trunk on the way back to town before eating it that night, watching my parents get smashed on vodka at various official and unofficial functions--I really remember quite a bit, but I'm looking forward to seeing it all again with more adult eyes.
Anyway, I should go to bed, so that I can get up early tomorrow and do all the things I should have done tonight. I didn't accomplish much this weekend--I was supposed to make some major decisions about work this weekend, but I haven't come to any definitive conclusions. I managed to do some laundry, sort my closet, have brunch w/Terry, and entertain Claude and Vidya with pizza and the Discovery Channel, but I wasn't as productive as I should have been. Tomorrow's a new day, though--and in three nights, I'll be getting on a plane for Iowa! Yay!
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Okay, my laptop battery is about to die, and I want to go to bed. I'll blog more this weekend!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
After work, I was much in need of some relaxation, and I found it in the form of two back-to-back dinners. The first was a margarita and some nachos w/Kim, who just returned from Ann Arbor; the second was a glass of water and some emotional damage with Sri, Vidya, and Claudia. The first involved a lot of venting about work (I need to stop venting and adopt a more zen-like approach, since anger doesn't do anything other than make me more angry), while the second was weird - the four of us were more obnoxious towards each other than usual, and not really in a good way.
This is where I'm supposed to go off on a tangent about how Claudia and all of my other friends are moving away, and how sad I will be when that happens, and how I'm growing up, etc., but you've read it all several times before, so I shall refrain. I am concerned in general about my future, but it's mostly because I don't know what I want, not because I'm really worried about being lonely (although part of the question of what I want is whether/how to find a partner in crime, how to prioritize/balance work vs. life, etc.). My most immediate concern, though, is going to sleep so that I can get rid of this headache, so, goodnight!
Monday, April 23, 2007
I should probably pursue this course of action more often--it was nice to have time to eat breakfast and check email before going through my endless stream of meetings. Even better, I got tons of compliments on my hair--which either means that it looked really nice today, or it normally looks like crap. It's probably a combination of the two, since I usually drag myself in with wet hair jeans and a sweatshirt, and minimal makeup approximately one minute before my first meeting of the day. Today, by contrast, I arrived an hour early, with hair that I had prepped using root booster, mousse, and styling gel (and two different sizes of round brushes while drying), a very cute crocheted sweater over a camisole w/lace trim, and my bling-bling Versace sunglasses. Whether I can keep this up remains to be seen, but it was nice to feel like I looked nice, so perhaps I'll put in some effort going forward.
Now, though, it's time for bed - I hit the wall around 2pm today and didn't really recover, so I'm going to crash. Goodnight!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Dublin was fun--I'd forgotten how much I liked the city, and now I'm vaguely regretting all over again that I had to come home after only three months last year. Then again, it's nice to have a life, boring though it is--although my life was nicer back when more of my friends lived around here and I spent less time working. I was thinking about my life on the plane yesterday, and I think that at this stage in my career development, when I'm still undecided about business school, writing, becoming a hermit, or switching fields and going into government or academia, what I really want to learn is how to be an effective leader. I'm not sure that my current position is going to teach me that--I'm managing people, but I have so many of them that I don't feel like I get to do a lot of active mentorship, and I'm not in a position where I have to direct them towards a common concrete end goal. I think if I had one or the other, I would be happier--working toward a common end goal (with an actual end) would give more milestones and a sense of checking off lists, while having fewer people and doing more mentorship would make me feel like I actually had some positive influence on their careers. Instead, I sometimes feel like I'm there just to make sure that they all show up and don't inadvertently or maliciously do something disastrous.
Regardless, I think that learning how to lead people is a valuable skill that can serve me well in whatever field I move into--particularly if I get to become a dictator someday, but even if I just stay in more traditional lines of work. At some point I'm going to have to decide what the next step is, since I want to feel like I'm choosing my life rather than stumbling into it, but we shall see. Now, it's time for bed!
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
I just watched three episodes, including "the passion of the jew",
which was hysterical. Now I should be packing, but instead I am trying
to make something coherent on my tiny keyboard.
The end of the summit was bittersweet; the summit was productive but I
am technically moving off this team after over three years, which is
extremely weird. I should have gone loit with the summit people after,
but instead I went out with Matt; true to form, I intended to go for
one drink, but I ended up having a steak and five glasses of wine
instead. This isn't a surprise at all, given now often this happens
when I go out with him. Anyway, it was great to hang out with him, and
we talked about all sorts of things...work, India, Dublin, personal
lives, politics, history, etc. Too bad that I digby say goodbye to
some of the dubliners, but I love Matt, so it's all good.
Now I should stop watching TV and pack my bags...the morning will come
all too soon. Tomorrow, I will be back in the US!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
and listening to the Irish talk is an absolute joy. My favorites are:
It was grand, like
Having a laugh
You're taking a piss!
Have a think on it
There are more, but I can't think of them now. I had plenty of time to
listen to them talk today...we did all sorts of high-level, important
discussing today, and then left at four pm to take a tour of the
Guinness storehouse. Funny that I didn't make it there the last time I
was here...they speculated that I was the first American to come to
Ireland and not go on that tour. Fair guess, since it gets the most
visitors in Dublin (900000 per year). It was pretty cool, particularly
the bar at the top overlooking the city.
After the tour we had tapas for dinner, which were delicious, and I
followed up my free guinness with several mojitos, so I am quite happy
now. I should go to bed, though...I am getting calloussed thumbs from
writing on my blackberry (or swampberry), I have to go to work
tomorrow, I have plans to go out for a drink with my friend Matt
tomorrow (and one drink with him inevitably turns into ten), and I
have to leave the hotel at eight am on Saturday to fly home. Crazy!
So, farewell, and I shall write again soon.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
and a slight touch of nausea, so I apparently didn't have meningitis
:( We had a v. productive day at our summit, full of much fun and
contentious arguing, which is my favorite thing to do. After work, I
had indian food at the place I always ordered takeout from; Lauren,
Jenni, and I reminisced about hyderabad, which tolu, bethany, and sean
seemed willing to listen to, and we ate copious amounts of food. It's
nice to be living the expat lifestyle again, if only for a few days. I
also saw the strangest toilet seat ever, which I will have to post a
picture of someday...words do not do it justice.
After dinner, we successfully found temple bar, where I had a baileys
and a baby guinness, which was just enough to make me feel warm
without making me feel fuzzy. Then we came back to the hotel, and now
it is time for bed!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
So anyway, I hope I feel better tomorrow, because I don't want to have to deal with finding a doctor here. I'm banking on the fact that my neck hurts because I slept so much, and my head hurts because I'm seriously short on caffeine - I usually drink 32oz of iced tea, 20oz of Diet Coke, and at least one cup of coffee during a workday, and so the fact that I'm both dehydrated and low on caffeine can't be helping matters.
Anyway, I should really go to bed, since I have to go into the office tomorrow. I must say that despite my miserable headache, I'm enjoying being back in Dublin--I'd forgotten how much I liked certain aspects of it. Too bad I'll probably never be able to swing another stint here. I hope all is well in the States - it's time for bed!
Sunday, April 15, 2007
From: Sara Wampler
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 13:18:37 -0700
Subject: Smirnoff escaped the revolution
I took my coworkers all over Dublin today, retracing many of the steps
that I took about a year ago this time. We went to Christ church,
Dublin castle, St. Patrick's, and trinity college. I dumped them at
the book of kells and did some shopping, which resulted in me buying
the waterford crystal wine glasses that I had coveted a year ago.
Silly me. Then I had a late lunch, where I ran into my friend Matt, so
we hung out. I met up with everyone again for dinner, and took them to
the schoolhouse, one of my favorite restaurants near the office. Now
it is around nine pm, but I am wiped out, so I think it is time for
First, though, please note the esteem that I have for both you and the
written word--I typed this relatively long post on my tiny blackberry
keyboard. Hopefully it doesn't cause a debilitating wrist condition
before I have to put my mobile blogging skills to the test in Ukraine!
Okay, enough for one night...I hope all is well in America!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Ireland, but since I have been on the ground for seven hours and have
already had two pints of Guinness and two baileys on the rocks,
perhaps my liver isn't safe in Ireland. Ah, well, that isn't a
Tomorrow I am doing the same tourist things I did a year ago around
this time, so I should go to bed. Goodnight!
Friday, April 13, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I wish that I had anything else to talk about, but I don't, so I suppose I should take this opportunity to go to bed. I hope my aunt had an appropriately scandalous birthday!
Today was fine...I spent a lot of time in meetings, but took a timeout to have lunch with Lauren (aka Subz) in the glorious sun of the courtyard. Once they finish the cafe in my building, it's going to be truly spectacular; right now we're scraping by on (free) sushi, (free) sandwiches, and (free) barbecue every day, but the cafe will exponentially increase our options, and the barbecue will expand and offer live music once a week. I'm so spoiled. I left work around 7pm and did some laundry (and was frustrated that one of the washing machines didn't actually rinse my sheets, so I had to dig them out of the barrel of suds and rewash them, delaying everything by 25 minutes). I also talked to my brother on the phone for a few minutes--he sent a message asking if I was ever going to reconnect to the grid, since I haven't signed on to any instant messaging technology in days, so I felt the need to check up on him. After the laundry was done, I came home and worked from 10pm to ~1:15am. Now it's time to go to bed...of the 18 hours that I technically should be in the office over the next two days, all but 2.5 of them are already booked for meetings, which means that I'm going to have to work late both days to stay on top of emails, tasks, etc. Oh, well, I love whining about how busy and important I am, so things are pretty good right now. Goodnight!
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
So, true to form, when I finally broke down and signed up for Netflix this weekend, the movie that ended up on top of my queue was 'The Family Stone'. Not 'Million Dollar Baby', not 'Crash', not The Last King of Scotland' (although I haven't seen any of them)...but 'The Family Stone'. I thought that Luke Wilson would redeem it, but he was slightly too grubby and greasy for even my rather dubious tastes (Tammy, I know, will be shocked). And, any lust I may have felt for him was not allowed to flower beneath the withering hatred that I feel for Sarah Jessica Parker. My favorite gossip blog calls her My Little Pony Parker, which makes sense, since she does have a rather horse-ish face. How she ever ended up famous is beyond me. Every single person in the family, with the exception of the deaf brother and his black life partner, and possibly the pregnant chick, was annoying at best and detestable at worst. And the storyline, which involved two brothers and two sisters conveniently swapping to end up paired with the right person, was just stupid. And I couldn't for the life of me understand how Luke Wilson's character could fall for SJP's character--nor could I understand how the real Luke Wilson could decide that it would do his career good to be in this movie, or how he could cuddle with her without bringing along an apple or some carrots to give her afterwards.
Ugh. Now I've just spent 10 minutes reliving my loathing for it, which makes it even worse! The other two movies that I received were 'Casino Royale' and 'The Prestige'--I should have watched one of them instead, but I was in the mood for something light. Bleh.
It doesn't help that I spent twelve hours at work today, came home, watched the stupid movie, then worked for another hour, but c'est la vie. I leave for Dublin on Friday, which means I have an endless amount of stuff to get done before then, so I should probably go to sleep!
Sunday, April 08, 2007
The haircut looks really nice; similar to what I got in Cape Town, but a bit less mullet-y. I think that I look better with short hair--I had been enjoying the ability to pull my hair into a ponytail, but I never bothered to do anything else with it, and I think it makes me look younger and less professional when my hair is all frizzy and half-wet at work. So, maybe I shall try to keep it trimmed--but I'm always too lazy to make an appointment for a trim, so it's quite possible that I'll just grow it out for nine months and then chop it off again.
I got up early enough this morning to meet Claude and Sri for a ten a.m. brunch in Menlo Park. The food was delicious, and the conversation was even better--we discussed many things, among them Hinduism, Christianity, and temples v. churches. Afterwards, I went to Crate and Barrel (where I succumbed to weakness and bought a new duvet cover for springtime), came home, and cleaned my apartment. Then, Salim and Heather came down from the evil city, and I spent the afternoon driving around Mountain View and Palo Alto with them--they're interested in moving down from the city to shorten Heather's commute, and I'm always willing to help people who have come to their senses about living in San Francisco. We drove past the hovel that I shared with Walter oh-so-many years ago, which brought warm memories to my heart.
I haven't really done anything else to speak of, except read a romance novel; now I should really go to bed, so that I can accomplish something worthwhile tomorrow. Goodnight!
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Speaking of being an idiot, I left work, went to the mall, and spent waaay too much money at Sephora. I think I vowed a couple of months ago to stop buying lipgloss, but I bought some anyway. I watched 'Scrubs' when I came home, which made me happy, watched 'Andy Barker P.I.' and 'My Name is Earl' while working, which didn't make me happy, and now I should consider going to bed!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
That reminds me of the analogy of climbing to the top of the ladder only to realize that you set the ladder up against the wrong wall. The problem is that I can't sort through all of the possibilities in front of me and find the one that I want the most; I could stay and have a nice, conventional, comfortable life, with enough money to travel frequently and live safely. Or, I could leave, write novels, and potentially starve to death, without enough money to travel to the places I want to see or enjoy the various activities I like to pursue.
Anyway, none of this has to be decided tonight--but I keep saying that and have been saying that for years, and so I stay sort of quietly annoyed with myself for not making a decision, so I need to come to some conclusions at some point soon. Beyond the brooding, though, I had a pretty good day--I had a few hours without meetings today and so I didn't feel overwhelmed, and I left around 6pm to get a manicure and a pedicure with my former team (all girls, except one guy, but he was on vacation this week). I came home, watched 'Scrubs' reruns, read some news online, and now I'm going to go to bed. Goodnight!
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Not that I would necessarily mind living in a dome city--I've always thought geodesic domes were the bombdiggity. However, I do like going outside occasionally to rapidly burn my pasty white skin, so hopefully they have tanning beds in our geodomes of the future.
Anyway, 'Planet Earth' is pretty cool - there were some dudes who spent an entire year living in Antarctica just to film some penguins. There were also some dudes who spent two months scouring the Gobi Desert looking for a rare type of dromedary. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to be on one of those production crews. The very thought makes the blood sing in my veins and lures me into thinking about suitcases, airports, and adventure in the far-flung reaches of the world.
Today, I went to work, stayed at work until ~9pm, came home, watched some tv, did a bit more work, and now it's time to go to bed. The good news is that I got through a ton of things on my to-do list, and tomorrow looks relatively empty (I have five whole hours in which I don't have meetings! Shocking!), so I could get even more caught up. And that, my friends, is a v. good thing. But for now, it's time for bed!
Monday, April 02, 2007
Afterwards, the glycolic peel was also mildly uncomfortable--I mean, I expect the acid part of it to be uncomfortable, but the woman did some extractions first, and she was pushing so hard on my nose that I was afraid she would shove it up into my brain and kill me instantly. Luckily she didn't quite reach that point, so I left mostly intact (except for the top two layers of my face, which were sacrificed on the altar of vanity). I came home and did nothing else except read a romance novel the rest of the day.
Today my blackberry played an April Fool's joke on me--I set my alarm for 8:20, woke up feeling less rested than expected, showered, and was about to leave for the city when I discovered that my blackberry had sprung forward as though daylight savings was starting today instead of a couple of weeks ago. So I sat, surly, on the couch watching music videos for an hour, bitter at my lack of sleep.
I followed my lack of sleep up with a trip to the city, which was surprisingly fun given how much I despise that place. I met up with Heather, Salim, and Lauren, and we had a delicious brunch, and then I hung out with Heather and Salim in their apartment for a couple of hours. It was great; then I came home and cleaned my apartment, did laundry, talked to my parents, welcomed Vidya (who's staying over), turned on my laptop at 10pm to discover that I completely forgot/avoided to do two things that had to be done this weekend, so worked until 1am. Great way to end the weekend, eh?
It's amazing how much you can get done on a weekend day if you wake up before noon--I never realized what I was missing. Now, though, what I'm missing is sleep, so it's time to go to bed!