Sunday, July 29, 2007

love is drowning in a deep well...all the secrets and no one to tell

I'm back from Tahoe, and I had a great time - but now I'm utterly exhausted. When I got back in the area, I drove straight to Lauren's place for her birthday dinner - I missed the dinner part, but I got to hang out for a couple of hours, which was very nice.

However, it's time for me to go to bed. I should update you on the entire weekend, but this post is meant to serve the express purpose of letting you know that I'm alive. Details will have to wait until tomorrow. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tahoe

I am back to blogging on my crackberry, at the request of Vidya. I am
in Tahoe, and I have nothing in particular to share...we had a nice
drive up, and now we are just relaxing. I will post more later!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

you're the one that i want

What a crazy day! Today was the first day of a two-day management training offsite related to management and communication styles; one of the catchphrases of this executive coaching company is 'building value through values', so you can guess what type of training it was. We spent a lot of time walking through various conversations and better ways to have approached the situation, how to be responsible for one's actions and behaviors, etc. I'm more looking forward to tomorrow, where we get into our personality tests - today contained a lot of stuff I'd heard before in mini-trainings from this company or in the book that I read from them a few months ago, and I was having trouble staying awake in the afternoon due to my constant low level of exhaustion. But, it was good to get out of the office, and it was thought-provoking, and there are a couple of conversations that I've had recently that I now want to revisit.

After the offsite got out, I met Vidya, Sri, and Claudia for coffee at Starbucks. That's an exaggeration - I had a couple of sips of iced tea, and they didn't have anything at all. We also sat in what Sri called the worst table in the entire place, given that it was in the the middle of this very sticky puddle, near a swarm of bugs. Also, the conversation was rather stilted. It was quite strange. Sri and Vidya both had other dinner plans, so Claude and I went to Naomi Sushi in Menlo Park and had a delicious dinner - I love eel, and crunchy shrimp/crab rolls, and raw tuna. I can't believe that I grew up in Iowa and then came out here to ended up loving raw fish. Then we met up with Adit at Cafe Borrone, where we spent around an hour and a half reminiscing, discussing life, etc.

So, it was quite a nice evening - I'm really trying to make more time for my friends. However, that doesn't mean I'm balanced. The training this morning included this discussion of the relationship between 'I', 'We', and 'It' - if you conceptualize these as a three-legged stool, all areas have to be equally weighted in order for the stool to be stable. When I drew the three circles representing my I/we/it, my 'it' circle was huge - I am quite satisfied with what I'm working on right now. My 'we' was also fairly big; while it was much smaller than my work circle, it was big because I'm trying to spend time with my friends and forge new connections at work. However, my 'I' circle was tiny - while I'm happier in the short term because I'm spending more time with my friends, I'm able to do this because I'm sacrificing sleep/self-reflection in order to have time for everything else. Then again, right now I'd rather have friends than sleep, so it's all good.

Okay, it's time for bed!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

i remember...i remember everything

Two things I'm excited about:

1) I can't freakin' wait for the new Bourne movie!

2) I forgot how awesome 'The Cosby Show' was - I just watched four or five episodes on Nick at Nite while I was doing some work, and I was laughing out loud at much of it. How many shows make you laugh out loud these days? They were just so great together, even if none of them really went on to have fabulous careers.

Anyway, I worked all day today, then went to the grocery store and ended up breaking my long-standing prohibition against frozen meals. For one thing, I never have time to cook or shop for ingredients, so I end up eating crap. For another, frozen foods have gotten much better than they used to be. So, I bought about eight various frozen things that I can eat, as well as some bread and other essentials. Then I came home and did some work while watching television.

Now I should go to bed - tomorrow I have an all-day offsite in which I'm supposed to learn all about my personality and leadership style, in an effort to make myself a newer, better swampler. I can't wait! Please expect a post tomorrow night in which I am kinder, gentler, more effective, less sarcastic, etc. Goodnight!

frisky monkeys

I'm really tired, but in a pretty good mood. I had a good day at work, even though I had boycotted my laptop all weekend and so was really behind. Around eight p.m., I walked by Laura's office to say hi, and ended up having dinner w/her, which was entertaining. Then I came home and worked from 9:30pm-1:30am, which means that I'm sufficiently caught up that I can go to bed. Yay.

The best thing about staying up, though, is that I get to see Craig Ferguson and lust after him to an unholy degree. Perhaps all lusting is unholy, but I like the phrase anyway. I should really go to bed now - I have to get up in time to go to work and prep for a presentation that I have to give, and I'm driving Adit's car, so I can't drive quite as confidently/wantonly as usual. He had to pick up his drums from wherever they were, and they wouldn't fit in his smaller car. Now that I've gotten used to driving my RAV4, it's really hard to drive a road-hugging sedan, but I will most likely survive. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

say a prayer but let the good times roll

It has been a day full of driving. I woke up this morning and went up to Millbrae to have dim sum with Heather and Salim - we ate soooo much, and so when I came home, I promptly fell into a shrimp coma and took a nap for about forty-five minutes. Then, I talked to my parents for awhile, and then Vidya lured me up to the evil city with promises of dinner. I hadn't seen her in awhile, wanted to procrastinate on the work I should have done this weekend, and preferred to be in my air conditioned car over my stuffy apartment, so I drove up. I definitely don't regret that I went, but it took much longer than anticipated - I got up there around 7pm, but it was almost 10pm by the time we ate, because we had to wait for Claude to get done w/a movie, then decide where to go, then stand in line at that place for >30mins, then wait for our pizza for another 45-60mins. The pizza was definitely good, and it was nice to catch up w/Adit, but I didn't really talk to Vidya so much, and I had intended to be home by 10 at the very latest. Now it's midnight and I need to go in early to make up for the stuff that I absolutely should have done this weekend.

Anyway, I could say many other things tonight, but I think I shall go to bed!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

when you breathe, i want to be the air for you

I had a reasonably enjoyable day at work today, although I have a lot of work to do this weekend that I intend to put off until at least Sunday. After work, I met up with Claudia, and we drove to Millbrae to have dinner at Peter's Cafe. Yes, we love that place enough that we drove the 3oish minutes each way just to have diner food. I had a steak and a baked potato, and I tried to eat the half-ear of sweetcorn that came with it, but it tasted like death. I'm sure it would have tasted fine to anyone else, but I just cannot abide by the sweetcorn here - it cannot compare to even the bleakest ears of my childhood.

After dinner and much catching up, we came back to my apartment and watched 'The Devil Wears Prada', which had been sitting on my tv stand for a month and which I had wanted to watch ever since it came out in theatres. Watching it was a mistake. For one, all of the talk about how size-6 girls are fat made me feel hideous. For another (and this was much more devastating), the movie, albeit hilarious, essentially highlighted to me that I've completely sold out and betrayed my earlier ambitions, and that even though I know that I've sold out, I don't have any intention of trying to redeem myself. This realization was building throughout the movie as I watched the main character being seduced by glamour, and came crashing to a head towards the end of the movie, when it was pointed out that she was turning into the devil herself. The awful realization I had during that scene was, regardless of what she did in response (I won't ruin the ending by saying what or whether she did anything), I probably wouldn't have taken it as a sign to change my life - I probably would have acknowledged it and kept going.

And that, my friends, is devastating. Life is essentially one fast slog towards death, and what does one want to take along on such a march? Versace sunglasses? Luxury spa treatments? Or a sense of adventure, an awareness of life and humanity, and an ability to see all the beauty in the world before one's life is snuffed out? I'm in the process of choosing Versace, of bleeding all of my creativity and desire into a corporate job that I despised four years ago, of betraying the girl I was by embracing the seductive allure of the fast-paced, comfortable, California life. And the problem is...I'm okay with it. And given how long I've brooded over this, you would think that I would be happy to have some sense of peace over the choices I've made, but now I'm just ashamed of myself for being happy with the fact that I turned my back on who I was and what I wanted.

Then again, you know me, and I can be rather melodramatic. And there is a lot to be said for using your talents to achieve things, and while I may be ignoring certain talents while in a corporation, I am exercising several others to achieve a lot of great things. It would be easier if I was a one-trick pony, but right now my analytical/managerial side is trumping my creative/academic side, in a way that is challenging enough to keep me engaged.

So I'm pretty committed to staying in my current position for awhile, but it's the 'what comes next' that scares me. It doesn't help that I've whined to my friends for years about how I don't want to be a sell-out, so now they ask uncomfortable questions about when I'm going to quit, or suggest that I should be applying to schools, and it just makes me sad. Perhaps I deserve it. Anyway, now that I've fully brooded for one night, it's time to go to bed!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

mud like burning

I bought this fancy Hungarian herbal mud masque, which is supposedly all organic and stuff. It also contains cayenne pepper, which made my face feel like burning. However, I love it - my skin feels all smooth afterwards, probably because the top layer of skin was burned off. Yay!

In other news, I finally broke down and took a 12-minute nap at work today; I was completely exhausted, to the point that I couldn't think clearly, and so I shut my door, placed my hand on my mouse (to look like I was working), set my phone's alarm, and closed my eyes. I wasn't fully asleep, but it was one of those awesome trance-like naps where 12 minutes feels like 12 hours. I returned to the living feeling much, much better, and was able to stay in the office until 7:30, come home, and work until now. That may not sound like a good thing, but given that I got through 300+ unread emails that I now won't have to respond to over the weekend, it was actually a win for me. If I get truly bold someday, I'll take a nap on the comfy couch in my office, but I'm not quite that desperate yet.

So work continues to be brutal, but I love it. I'm also trying to do fun things this weekend, in addition to working - I'll probably hang out with Claude tomorrow night, read the last Harry Potter book on Saturday, and have brunch w/Heather and Salim on Sunday. Doesn't that all sound lovely? Now, though, I should really go to bed.

I'm going to leave you with a poem that I had forgotten I liked; the other night, I reread one of my journals from several years ago. It's amazing the realizations that I had come to and then promptly forgotten - I could be so wise if I would just listen to myself occasionally!

'La Figlia Che Piange
O quam te memorem Virgo.'

Stand on the highest pavement of the stair -
Lean on a garden urn -
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair -
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise -
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.

So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.

She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon's repose.

-T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

the fact that i can't think of a lyric shouldn't stop me from blogging

I'm thoroughly exhausted, so I think I'm going to go to bed immediately. It's been a crazy couple of days - I stayed up pretty late Monday night working, woke up early yesterday, and then stayed up really late because I went up to the evil city to see the new Harry Potter movie in IMAX 3-d with John and Jess. The movie was pretty great, particularly the 3-d part; the entire climactic battle in the movie was in 3-d, and so it was rather awesome to feel like things were flying towards you. It got me psyched for the release of the last book this weekend; I'm going to buy it Saturday morning and avoid all internet, tv, and phonecalls until I finish it so that I don't spoil it for myself.

Work continues to be completely hectic, but that's fine. I currently have a raging stomachache that has been ongoing for the past couple of days, so if it continues much longer I should probably get it checked out, but I'm just going to ignore it for now. In an effort to help it out, though, I think I'm going to go to bed.

Monday, July 16, 2007

if this old heart could talk, it'd say 'you're the one'

I had a pretty decent weekend, all things considering. When I finished up with my executive coach on Friday, she said 'what's one fun thing you're going to do this weekend?' and I completely blanked - I had absolutely no plans other than to work. She was v. disappointed in me and said that the next time we talked, I needed to have a plan for one fun thing.

Luckily the weekend didn't turn out quite that bleak, mostly because I was feeling lazy. It was still productive, just not productive for my job - I spent most of yesterday afternoon cleaning up my apartment and sorting my clothes, and I did laundry and washed my car today. I also did not one, but TWO fun things - I had dinner with John and Jess last night, and I had dinner with Terry tonight. I guess I did three fun things if you count talking to my parents, who have suddenly turned into my grandparents before my eyes - they now have multiple cordless handsets for their phone, and so they were both on the line listening, just like my grandparents used to do. Weird.

Granted, I went into the office for a couple of hours this afternoon, and when I got home from dinner, I worked until now (not v. productively, because the task I was doing was boring and unpleasant, but it was still work). However, the weekend was much more relaxing than it could have been, even if I'm not exactly looking forward to the week ahead. Now I should really go to bed so that I can get into work somewhat early and accomplish some of the things that I should have done this weekend. Goodnight!

Friday, July 13, 2007

seasons don't fear the reaper

Today was my first meeting with a woman who is going to give me some professional coaching (similar to a life coach, except in this case, it's a woman w/actual professional experience, rather than Tammy, who would probably on coach me into subsiding on sarcasm and cigarettes - not that there's anything wrong with that!). The coaching is part of a larger program that my company pays for, which involves a two-day training in a couple of weeks on conscious leadership. It also includes one of those absurdly-long (in this case, 250-question) surveys which require you to rank how you feel you are on a wide range of attributes. Not only does the participant fill out a survey, but each participant nominates up to eight coworkers to fill out the same survey. Today's session was the pre-training debrief, and included a discussion of how my personal ratings compared to my peers' feedback.

This is all v. interesting stuff to me - while I may be an ENTJ on the Myers-Briggs test (which makes me a fieldmarshal), I still have a high desire to make sure that I play well with others (a trait that was probably beaten into me because I went to a rural school - if I had gone to an elite private school on one of the coasts, I probably would have turned out completely bitchy and spoiled). So I recognize the areas where I have a tendency to perform badly, and I'm interested in improving them. The interesting thing was that I was harder on myself than my peers perceive me in most categories; after reading through a ton of stuff tonight, here's how things fall out on the 12 categories:

Positive/Constructive Styles:
1) Humanistic/Encouraging (ability to see good in others) - unrecognized strength
2) Affiliative (ability to work on teams and make relationships) - confirmed strength
3) Achievement - confirmed strength
4) Self-actualizing - blind spot (I know myself pretty well and have a 'rich inner life', but don't always share this with others, so they think I'm weaker in this)

Defensive/Passive Styles:
5) Approval (seeking it from others) - unrecognized strength (I seek it more than people think I do)
6) Conventional (conforming too much) - confirmed strength (so strong it might circle back to weakness - I hate conforming)
7) Dependent (depending on others too much) - confirmed strength
8) Avoidance - border between strength and stumbling block

Defensive/Aggressive Styles:
9) Oppositional - stumbling block (my coach said this may be a result of how sarcastic I am; sarcasm can be seen as opposing things even when I just intend it to be funny)
10) Power (seeking power to make oneself feel better) - border between strength and stumbling block (others don't see me seeking power, but I think I do - but it's probably a good thing that my peers don't see me as a power-grasping bitch)
11) Competitive - unrecognized strength (internally I'm pretty competitive, but my peers don't see it as much)
12) Perfectionistic - on the line between strength and stumbling block

So the goal of all this is to get yourself as high on the positive/constructive styles, and as low as possible on the passive and aggressive defensive styles.

I wasn't surprised by much; I was sad to see that my sarcasm comes across as oppositional (I need to stop calling people monkeys when they do dumb things, apparently), but I was relieved to see that my competitiveness and my sometimes-driven approach to tasks isn't seriously impairing my work relationships. But, I'm very interested to take this two-day workshop, and I think the coaching sessions will be incredibly useful in terms of learning how to develop my leadership style in the most effective way.

It's amazing how satisfied I feel at work, even though my responsibilities and headaches have grown exponentially over the past few weeks. I guess I feel like I'm finally in a position where I have so much to learn and so much that I can contribute - if I intend to stay in business, then there's probably not many other places I could be right now where I could be learning this much, this fast.

The one concern is my complete lack of work-life balance; when people asked me today what I'm going to do this weekend, I had absolutely no answer, because the real answer was that I intend to work all weekend, but I don't want to say that to the people who report to me because I don't want them to think that I expect them to work this hard. Sure, I'll probably do a couple of random fun things, and I desperately need to clean my apartment (it's getting to the point where I'm thinking about hiring a cleaning service, I just can't keep up with my household chores, but I also abhor a dirty apartment), but it used to be that I would have my weeks and weekends booked solid, and I no longer make many plans. It's fine - I have hermit-ish tendencies anyway, I have a strong desire to excel in my current role, and I do see friends when I need/want to see them, but I don't want to become a hermit too quickly since I'm still only 25.

Anyway, that's what's going on with me right now - life is good, albeit stressful, and I know that I'm not taking care of myself, so I need to start setting some boundaries so that I don't burn out and/or die from the pressure. I suppose that contradicts the 'life is good' statement, but I am genuinely happy right now, despite everything. Probably because I like to be 'x despite everything', since that implies a challenge overcome. Anyway, I'm going to try to put my apartment in some semblance of order before going to bed - wish me luck!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

instead of clowning around let's look for some common ground

Hello friends. I have returned from my long sojourn in manager-land, although I have brought with me additional tasks and responsibilities. The conference that I was at was very interesting - the highlight was a session led by a Harvard Business School prof, who taught a case study on customer satisfaction at a major East Coast bank. She was amazing, and it was probably a bad idea to have her there because now anyone who hasn't gone to business school yet will want to apply immediately.

The lowlight was that we had a minor emergency back in the office, which I had to deal with via cellphone during the cocktail party after the first day of the conference...not one, but two directors tracked me down, as did my director's admin, to find out what was going on. In fact, my director asked me to give him the scoop while also encouraging me to get a drink, which led to me having two rather strong margaritas and almost no food, which was rather silly. At that point the issue had been handled as best as possible at that time, so I wasn't impacting my own performance, but still. Then I did the whole 'schmooze with important people' thing for awhile, before grabbing my laptop and sending out some emails regarding the emergency. The next day, the VP of our whole department also found me at lunch to ask what was going on, which was rather intimidating--but then again, I seem to thrive on stress, so it's probably good for me.

All in all, though, it was v. nice - I got to spend some time with the Irish and Alaska Matts, the discussions at the conference were v. interesting, and the bed at the hotel was extremely comfortable. I was thinking tonight as I was leaving that I could probably be happy in my current role if I let myself be happy - despite all the stress, this is the first time in awhile that I am satisfied with both the level and type of responsibility that I have and the management team that I'm working with/reporting to, and that's a good thing. So that probably means that the chances of me applying to school this fall are becoming increasingly remote. Too bad the chances of me turning 26 in the fall are approaching 100% :(

Okay, I'm exhausted from all this business-y stuff - it's time for me to go to bed. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

i ain't missing you at all

It's a good thing that I like my job right now, since I was in the office again this afternoon. I woke up at 8:30 because I was expecting a furniture delivery; they actually showed up early (9am) and were out of here in <5mins, so I took a nap on my couch for an hour and a half or so. Then I got up, slathered on some makeup, and had a nice brunch all by myself at Mike's Cafe. I got the veggie casserole, which just wasn't the same without all the fresh tomatoes that I'm allergic too :( But, it was still delicious. Then, I went to the office, where I did about three hours of work.

Claude came to break me out, and we went to a barbecue hosted by the head of her former lab. Those people were clearly all at a different stage of their life - the prof and another guest there had kids, so we pretty much talked about kids the entire time. The kids were adorable, but I'm so glad that I'm not a mother yet - I would like to have kids someday, but I definitely don't want them right now. We went back to my office around 5pm, where I worked for an hour while Claude read a magazine. Then, we met up with Sri - they were going to see 'Ratatouille', but I was too busy to commit to seeing a movie. We decided to get coffee before they went to see the movie, but then we ended up going to the 7-11 in Mountain View that has been turned into a Kwik-E-Mart from 'The Simpsons'. I had noticed yesterday that there were hordes of people at this 7-11, which was very odd - I went to get a sandwich at Quiznos, and normally that little strip is completely deserted, but I actually had trouble finding parking. There were people swarming everywhere, security guards posted, people taking pictures, etc. Turns out that 7-11 has turned 12 stores across the US and Canada into Kwik-E-Marts as a tie-in with the premiere of 'The Simpsons Movie' later this month, and this particular store was one of them. They probably more than made up for the cost of all the decorations by all the crap they were selling - Sri and I both got slushies (renamed Squishees), which never would have happened otherwise, since we would have just gone to Starbucks. What an absolutely brilliant marketing campaign...I have to admire them, even if there was this white guy who was trying to pretend that he was Indian (although I doubt that it was in line with corporate policy).

So Sri, Claude and I hung out for awhile, which was nice; Sri claimed that I would not see him again until November, which I sincerely hope is not true. I went back to work briefly, then started talking to my parents, so I decided to come home. I did a bit more when I got here (including baking a cake for someone at work), but now I'm tired, so I think I'll go to bed. I hope everyone is having a lovely July!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

talk is cold and burns like the sun

So the first 18 hours of today were pretty miserable; I was still at work at almost 1am last night, came home, got around five hours of sleep, and was back in the office around 8am. Then, I sat in meetings all day, and for most of them I was projecting from my laptop, which meant I couldn't IM with anyone without it being seen by everyone in the meeting.

Strangely enough, after 6pm, things suddenly got much, much better. This week has been extremely stressful at work for a multitude of reasons, and by this evening I was feeling somewhat downtrodden about everything. Not in an overwhelming way, but definitely not good either. However, I swung by one of our directors' offices to say hi, and ended up spending an hour and a half making crafts and talking to her. She has all sorts of craft-making supplies in her office - cool paper, ribbons, special cutting tools, lots of pre-scored ready-to-make stuff, etc. And she seems to genuinely care about what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, and what can be done to better support my team, which is great. She's pretty new to my organization, but she has tons of industry experience. She also assured me that I'm in no danger of getting fired (not that I really thought I was, but it's nice to hear), and she said lots of nice things about my performance so far.

One interesting side piece is that I asked her briefly about business school, and she thought that it would be redundant for me, at least for now. I think I agree with her - I can't imagine being in any other organization of this level of influence and scope where I would be allowed to do the job I'm doing now with less than four years of experience and no advanced degree. She said as much herself, and said that in most other organizations I probably wouldn't even get the chance to talk to her at all, let alone spend an hour and a half with her. That being said, a vacation from work would be nice, and I guess that's what I see business school as - although that would be an extremely expensive vacation, and I could probably live someplace for a couple of years for the same price and have more fun.

Anyway, I was going to go home, but when I went back to my office, Gyre and Matt were waiting for me - even though it was 7:30, they were hanging out because Gyre had come up with a great idea to help me out, and they were trying to cheer me up. So we talked about work for a little while, and then went to the room across the hall from mine, where they've installed a flatscreen tv and a Wii. I mainly watched them play, but I did try boxing, and it was a lot of fun. I had intended to stay longer and work, but Claudia and Vidya made contact with me around 9pm, and we ended up going to Peter's Cafe so that we could all hang out while I had dinner. I still can't believe that Claude's leaving in a month - she's one of my absolute closest friends at this point, despite the original wariness that we had toward each other when I saw her as some weird urban goth girl and she saw me as some hick from the backwoods. But hanging out tonight was nice, and definitely left me feeling more relaxed.

Now it's time for bed - I'm going to sleep without setting an alarm, since whenever I get up, I need to go to work and plow through the 134 unread work-related emails that came in over the last 10 hours. Yay. I hope you all have more exciting weekends than I will!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

today is our independence day

I'm not going to write much, because I have to go to bed so that I can get up super early tomorrow and catch up on all the work that I should have done over the past two days. However, today was v. nice - I slept in, and then Claude and I went to the airport to pick up Adit, who was returning from a trip to India. We then proceeded to the evil city, where we picked up Vidya, and the four of us had a tasty and enjoyable late brunch in a cafe that was near the puddle of urine that I parked my car in. Vidya insisted upon studying after brunch, so we dumped her back at her apartment. We then proceeded to circle around the Fisherman's Wharf area for fifteen minutes or so, before getting lucky and finding free parking (as opposed to the $30 parking that they were trying to sell in the area, since the fireworks were being held there tonight, which gave the parking lot operators and opportunity to price gouge). We hopped on a ferry and went across the bay to Sausalito, where we hung out and watched the ocean and had ice cream for ~1.5 hours before getting on the ferry back to SF.

When we got back to Palo Alto, Adit decided to take a nap, but Claude and I went to my place of employment, where we were able to park my car and go to a nearby park to watch the fireworks at Shoreline Amphitheatre. The fireworks were nice, although I've come to realize that I much prefer fireworks when they are only one per minute (as they are at home)...it builds up more anticipation. Also, the sky doesn't get dark enough here. The fireworks tonight were nice, but suffice it to say that they didn't make it into my top three - the best display was at Incline Village in Tahoe in 2003; the most entertaining was for my birthday in India in 2005; the most nostalgia-inducing were at home, maybe in 2000 or 2001, when Katie, my brother, and I laid out on the dock at the reservoir and watched the fireworks from there.

Now I really must go to bed. However, I have some things to ponder - Adit asked me if I want to move in with him, but that would require moving to the evil city. I like my apartment here, and I love that it only takes 10-15 minutes to get to work...but after Claude leaves and Shedletsky moves to the city, Sri is my only remaining non-work friend on the peninsula (and even most of my work friends live in the city). Given how lazy I have become at making plans, and how much I hate driving up to the city on the weekends, it seems like a recipe for me becoming a recluse before my time. Adit had me drive through the neighborhoods that he's considering and they look v. nice - but that would make my commute at least an hour each way, and I would have to pack up all my stuff, and then I would be living in the evil city. Then again, I've always wanted to live with Adit, and this is my last chance. Decisions, decisions. I have a bit of time to decide, so for now I'm going to bed!

under the summer rain we burned away

Sorry I haven't blogged the past couple of days; I have no good excuses, although I didn't have my computer last night, so I suppose that might qualify. Sunday, I had a v. nice day with Claudius and her brother Marco - we went up to Millbrae with the intention of having dim sum, but when we got there, we realized that we didn't want to restart our dim sum addictions. So, to stay on the wagon, we went to Peter's Cafe instead, where I had steak and eggs - the steak was so rare that it was almost cold, which was delicious! Then, we spent a leisurely couple of hours buying toys for my new team. After wandering around Toys 'r' Us for far too long, we struck gold in the form of three different types of spy toys. We got night-vision binoculars, spy gloves (one glove has different lights to send coded messages, the other has a voice recorder), and message-bearing blow darts. I kept a package of darts to myself, and they are great; you can put a piece of paper with a message inside the nerf-style dart, then use the dart gun to shoot the dart to the person you want to give the message to. The gifts seemed to be popular with the team as well, so it was v. nice all around.

After parting ways with Claude and Marco, I did several loads of laundry, talked to my parents, and then worked for a couple of hours. Yesterday morning, I had to be in the office by 7:40 to put out the presents, and then I spent all day running around and putting out (figurative) fires...but yesterday was a major deadline/crossroads in the projects that have been keeping me so busy lately, and everything went surprisingly well. Granted, in the 24-hour period between yesterday at 5pm and today at 5pm, I got nearly 300 new emails, probably 100 of which require a response, so I'm not thrilled about that - but things could be much, much worse.

In fact, things were much, much worse this morning, when I woke up wishing that I was dead so that the pain in my head would go away. I made the fatal mistake of drinking two bottles of champagne last night, so this morning was unpleasant at best. My former manager (Lauren) had invited me and the other managers who use to report to her to come over for dinner. There were ten people there in total, including significant others and Lauren's roommate Jenni, and some dude who was visiting Lauren...and between us, we consumed 9 bottles of wine or champagne, and several 40s of beer. Lauren and I were the only ones drinking champagne, so I had roughly two bottles. Bleh. I have not read a single business or management book that recommends plowing through two bottles of champagne at a work-related function and then spending the night on your manager's couch, but that's exactly what I did. Luckily, Lauren is definitely the type who leaves work at the office and encourages hardcore socializing; if she wasn't, I never would have gotten so ridiculously intoxicated. I'm really going to miss working with her, but last night was a great sendoff.

Today, as you can guess, was pretty much a wash; I didn't get a lot done during the day, although I got to spend a lot of quality time with Excel, which I love - I've taught myself all sorts of random things, like conditional formatting and vlookups, and they came in handy today. Around 6pm, several of us (including Lauren and Jenni) used the leftover money from a team offsite and went to Benefit Cosmetics in Los Gatos - we paid them for a private party after their normal closing hours, and they gave us back $500 worth of cosmetics, split across six of us. I got all made up, and they threw in eyebrow waxing (which I've never had done before - she also trimmed my eyebrow hairs, which was nice since mine are curly and I'm afraid they're going to turn into old man eyebrows). I ended up spending more than my alloted $85 on cosmetics, but it's all good. Then I came home, watched some 'Scrubs', and played with Excel for the past three hours.

Tomorrow is going to come all too soon - I get to sleep in a bit, and then Claude and I are picking Adit up at the airport. Happy independence day!!!