Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Simple Plan

I'm sick, which is my excuse and justification for this latest bit of insanity.

I ran out of the house this morning to meet my carpooling co-worker. I agreed to go with him if he promised to get me home soon after 5, since I knew I'd need a nap. Simple. I don't know how I made it through the day, since by my own generous standards I was fairly 'loopy'. But I did, and I was mostly silent on the way home. About a mile away from home, I had a moment of panic because I couldn't remember picking up my keys on the way out of the house this morning. Silly me.

Except by the time I got to the house, I realized I didn't have my keys with me and I was locked out. So I am currently writing this little post of frustration sitting on my patio, unable to get a hold of my husband, out of kleenex for my runny nose and alternately sweating/trembling. I would look pathetic if I weren't growling and listening to The Clash. Now I just look crazy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Lying in bed hacking this afternoon, I had a weird thought: was necrophilia acceptable at some point in European society? Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are both technically dead (or in an eternal sleep) until they are rescued by love's true kiss. How many guys were wandering around willing to kiss a dead woman? And no matter how pretty you were back then, lying dead in the forest/remote tower for a while could not have been pretty.

Obviously, illness does not suit me and I need rest.

Which reminds me of another necrophilia moment:

We have dinner parties every once in a while and when our Iranian friends come over, we occasionally start playing board games. A couple of us are decent, most of us suck at all board games and American pop culture references and we're all VERY competitive. So imagine when we were playing Cranium and a member from each team had to play out the word on the card (basically Charades). My team member was kneeling, hands-clasped and praying. I peeked at what the other team was doing and there was our friend on the floor, writhing and gyrating her hips.

"Exorcism!!", I screamed triumphantly. The other team stopped in shock and looked at me, while my teammate continued with her praying gestures, stifling a grin. I realized, the other girl wasn't possessed at all, she was supposedly in the throws of passion.


At which point everyone looked at me, SHOCKED! that those were my two contributions.

The word was 'Missionary'.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Favorite Scientist

The results of the last few years of my husband's work has just been accepted by a scientific journal. After MANY months of writing, editing, submitting (re-submitting), waiting and hand-wringing, the paper has been approved.

I don't write about him often--he's much more private and shy than I am--but every once in a while I want to run around and tell the world he's brilliant. I have had the opportunity to work with and meet many, many scientists in my past career and now through his work. One of things I love so much about him is his attention to detail, precision and sense of ethics. He will not cut corners or accept shortcuts in his work--something that has pitted less diligent co-workers against him and made his work more difficult.

Today though, is a victory for him. He is first author on a published project that he designed and mostly executed.

I wish my favorite scientist all the success and recognition in the world.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

People are Giving ME Credit

It is a well known fact among those who know me well that:

a. I like being the center of attention. Sooner or later it's all about me. I have tried to change, but it's impossible hard.
b. I like being credited for all great things. I don't like taking credit for them as much as being given credit for them. It is always nicer to receive than to take.

This morning we ran the San Diego Blood Bank's Naked Juice 5K. It was fun, despite my bumming knee. Actually, the knee didn't slow me down too much, for which I was grateful. I finished the 5k (3.1 miles) in 40 minutes--which is a slower pace than I used to run a few weeks ago, but I feel better overall.

I had a couple of teary moments, which made me realize that the bright young age of 35, that I'm little bit like a teary geyser. If I haven't been able to change yet, it's probably not going to happen anymore.

First, I got all teary when one of the regular blood recipients came to the stage and thanked us for saving her life and listing the things she can now do that she couldn't before. Half an hour later, I teared up during the National Anthem--which happens just about every time I hear it.

Towards the end of the run, I saw the same homeless man I have seen each time we train/run Downtown by the Bay. He is always there, toothless and missing fingers, cheering on any group of runners at just about any event. He sits close to the end of the finish line in the park and calls out the runners numbers as they pass by. Almost everyone I know likes seeing him. As I got close, he started reading my bib number, stopped and instead yelled, "GO TEAM! GO TEAM! IT'S ALL ABOUT THE TEAM!" (Go Team! is the Team In Training motto and I was wearing my TNT shirt). I got a little misty smiling and running past him. He stopped his counting to give me a toothless grin and a fingerless waive. After I crossed the finish line, I grabbed some free goodies and food. Since M also grabbed a couple of sandwiches, I thought it would be a good idea to give the extras to our cheerleader. Plus, M wanted to take his picture for our friend who couldn't join us for the run. As we headed toward him, one of the runners started coming towards me and said, "You guys saved my life! Thank you so very much!"

Now, it's one thing to have people say that LLS is helping them (which I have heard from a number of survivors and their families) or that TNT has helped them improve their lives in some way. But for a complete stranger to run up to you and say you're saving their life because you're running? I can honestly say I have never done less to get credit for so much. And I have never been so moved by someone's sense of gratitude toward a cause that I am blessed to be a part of.

So once again, a perfectly well intentioned, seemingly selfless thing has become all about me. I can only say I'm humbled by it all I try to fight back the tears a few hours later. I pass on that sense of gratitude to all of you, my very generous donors and supportive friends who have helped get me to this point. Your generosity is truly changing lives.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Night at the Movies

Last night, we watched Once. We loved it. I was a little worried M wouldn't like it, because he occasionally teases me about the movies I like (and my strong preference for anything with British accents). But I'm pretty sure he loved it immediately. He has been trying to sing along with it all day, has been listening to the songs online and keeps watching his favorite parts of the movie.

I recommend it for it's lovely simplicity, quiet and music. And thinking back, I think I love Jon Stewart even more for giving Marketa Irglova her moment at the Oscars.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I have been a little tired and impatient lately. I think dealing with crazy co-workers and retarded customer service personnel is exhausting. Especially if it goes on for weeks at a time. Just last night, I was thinking that I need to take a couple of days off. Unfortunately, with our vacation policies and work and the projects I'm working on, I couldn't imagine asking for this time off until at least late next week.

So you can imagine my glee when I checked my email early this morning and had an email from Sherry (my manager), telling me I deserved a day off and to start my weekend on Thursday. I tried to think of what I have could have done to impress her so much in the past few weeks. I couldn't think of anything before paranoia (experience) kicked in.

You see, my previous employer insisted I go to Iran to attend my brother's wedding five years ago. He kept saying how I HAD to go, despite the fact that we were beyond broke and I couldn't afford the ticket home, much less the gifts, clothes, etc. that would be necessary as part of the trip. The worst part was, about 10 days into my two week trip, my generous employer called during the day and left a message on the answering machine saying my services were no longer needed. I have reason to be paranoid.

I called Sherry later in the day and after some small talk, asked her if there was anything she wanted to discuss with me. "No. Do you know how you're going to spend your day off?" I thought a moment and said, "Not yet. Are you sure you don't want to tell me anything? Because the last time something like this happened I was unemployed after my relaxation." She laughed and told me to enjoy the weekend, not check my email, voicemail or project updates.

I really like my manager.

What will I do with myself tomorrow? Run, donate blood, pay bills, have lunch on the beach with M and hopefully cook.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Everybody Knows, the World Is Full of Stupid People

The last two days have been trying my patience. Yes, you're right, patience has never been one of my virtues--so you can imagine how delightful I am when I people go out of their way to test my patience. The worst part is, they weren't confined to one place. EVERY call I made yesterday and today spiraled into new circles of hell. I won't bore you with the story of the travel agent that yelled at me for telling her the numbers on our receipt didn't add up before she hung up on me. Nor will I bore you with the story of the lady at the bank who told me there was no way to prove an electronic payment had been processed. I will start with the crazy woman who started all of this.

I called our HOA to ask them why they keep sending me statements with past due fees and multiple monthly charges when I make my payments each month. After getting passed around to everyone in their building, I was eventually 'helped' by Cathy. Below is a sample of our conversation:

"Hi Cathy. My bank statement indicates that I have made my monthly payments on time, but every month, my statement has late fees."

"Ok. Do you have the canceled check to prove you made the payment?"

"Well, no. I make pre-scheduled electronic payments each month."

"So you don't have a check number or canceled check?"

"No, it's an electronic payment that get's deposited to the HOA's account each month. I've been doing the same thing for the past four years."

"Well ma'am, if you haven't sent a check on time you will be charged late fees. Do you need the address to send us the check?"

"No, Cathy. I have already sent my payment electronically. There seems to be a misunderstanding. What kind of documentation do you need me to provide you to remove these charges."

"Ma'am, if you haven't paid, we can't remove the charges. If you had sent us a check--which you say you haven't--you would have to provide a copy of the front and back of the canceled check."

"Well, how do you handle electronic payments?"

"MA'AM, you need to send us a copy of the the front and back of the canceled check. Otherwise, you have to pay your monthly fees, plus any extra late fees."

(As a side note, I was quite irritated early in the discussion, especially since one of my co-workers kept laughing at my explanations.)

"But Cathy, there is no canceled check. I'll have to ask the bank for some kind of document. Could you please tell me what I can provide to resolve this problem?"

"I have already told you, you need to send a copy of the front and back of the check you say you have sent us."


"I see. So once I get that document, should I mail it, fax it or email it to you?"


"Which one?"

"The front and back of the canceled check."

"So a copy of the canceled check emailed to you?"

"Front and back to us immediately."

"Thanks, Cathy."

It was around this time that I missed having the old fashioned phones that you could bang on the holder. This woman literally made me wonder how she has made it alive to her workplace. I mean, don't you think she would have died trying to figure out the toaster?

The worst part? Of all of the people I have spoken to since talking with her yesterday, she wasn't the dumbest or the rudest. Do you feel my pain?

I am hoping my week gets better, but I'm not very optimistic.