29/30: RUI

Jun. 29th, 2013 07:44 pm
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
Here's something you don't see every day: a drunk post from [personal profile] darkemeralds.

Okay, not, like, super drunk. After the stupidly annoying Saturday I had to spend at work today (two hours that turned into seven), I rode home in the 90 degrees (dear Phoenix and Las Vegas: I'm not complaining! Really!), then had to put every garment I had on into the laundry basket, take a cold shower, and re-do myself in order to go meet my sis for dinner.

I ordered a drink when I got there. "Gin 'n' Juice" was the homey name of the delectable cocktail that tasted of lime, grapefruit, rosemary and...um...something else yummy. Then I ordered another one.

I'm a cheap date. Two drinks and I'm ridiculous. My sister, a long-recovering alcoholic with a keen eye for "problems" was probably beginning to have doubts about my being the immune family member.

But you know what? It was fun. I talked more readily about more things than I usually do, and it probably doesn't hurt me to over-share a bit with my own sister. Right?

I slowly pedaled the ten or so blocks home on traffic-free back streets. Which, okay, Riding Under the Influence. Inadvisable but not the end of the world. And I did combine the gin with positively prodigious amounts of delicious dinner.

Note to self: balance, locomotion and control are pretty much autonomic: the problem is judgment at intersections.

Home without incident. Now for an evening of dumb TV and knitting. And hydration.
darkemeralds: Photo of espresso with caption "Straight Up" (Espresso)
A meeting with the Big Head Honcho this morning confirmed my belief that yesterday's dismissal of my boss was politically motivated. But I was wrong about their giving the position to some Friend of People In High Places. The new guy is a surprisingly good choice.

In fact, he applied for the job five years ago. I was on the evaluation committee, and my current boss edged him out by a very slim margin. He would have been an excellent choice then, and he's had five more years of very relevant experience since. He knows the region, he knows public sector, he knows technology management in general, and he knows our technology in particular. I'm no longer distressed about who my new boss will be.

The actual presentation of the news, however, was some of the most inarticulate, waffling, verbal-tic-filled political probably-lying I've heard around here in ages. Very uncomfortable meeting. I escaped immediately afterwards to eggs and bacon and a good conversation with my pal Todd, which helped put everything into perspective.

That perspective is "Two more years and it will all be irrelevant."

Oddly, as we were sitting there at breakfast, another old friend of mine in another department strode up and said, "I've been laid off. I had two years til retirement and they cut my position."

darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
They fired my boss today.

He called us into an all hands meeting and dropped the bomb into a shocked silence. Only a couple of people in the room had the faintest idea that this was coming, and I certainly wasn't one of them. There were tears. It's possible that a couple of them even sprang to my own eyes.

Now, I've had my quibbles with him, notably around the steady, unspoken pressure to work extra hours. But he's been an extraordinary manager in many ways. Under his leadership, I've probably stretched to more achievement and knowledge than I have in any other job. He's been instrumental in shifting the fossilized bureaucracy I work for towards 21st century technology and management standards. It's been exciting to be part of that.

His dismissal seems to be of the honorable bailout variety, rather than the "take your hands off the keyboard and come with us, sir" kind. Nevertheless, it was not voluntary and not happy. He announced at 3:00 and was gone by 5:00. It's pretty clear that this is political pissing-in-the-corners by some of the new brass. Scapegoating. Something like that.

He wasn't free to say who's been appointed in his place (and NOBODY on my longstanding grapevine around the place had a clue), but "appointed" is the key word. They're going to use the position as a political favor to someone, and it's obvious from the short timeline that they haven't gone hunting for expertise in the field of high-tech project management.

We'll Meet The New Boss at a 9:00 tomorrow. Gonna be an interesting day.


Dec. 31st, 2011 10:48 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
One of my many sources of motivational and self-help material posed this good exercise the other day: sum up your year in a newspaper headline.

Mine was easy. )
darkemeralds: Screencap from Life on Mars with caption Welcome To The Team (Welcome to the Team)
The post-project-stress-release-immune-system-breakdown has hit, and on what should be my first quiet day in seven weeks (not to mention my freakin' birthday!), I've got a crappy head cold.

It is, however, a perfectly gorgeous cold day in Portland, all sunshine and frost, and I'm grateful for Kleenex and for my sister who gave me a ride to work this morning when the trouble tickets started appearing, and for the four-shot extra-hot latte that the beautiful coffee people made me, and for my merino wool baselayer items, and for the lovely bottle of 15 year old Laphroaig I've got at home, and for the fact that only 760 days now stand between me and retirement.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I went out for a mojito with a coworker friend of mine last night. We sat outdoors at the Brasserie Montmartre and watched Friday evening people going by in their fancy clothes. The mojitos were perfect, and the Bra' serves these teeny little pommes frites done in duck fat that are from heaven. It should have been a stellar wind-down to the week.

Alas. )
darkemeralds: Photo of a glass of whisky on ice with caption On The Rocks (Whisky)
It's pretty rare that I drink alcohol, and really rare that I have more than one drink. It is also pretty rare that I have a conversation that's relaxed enough and enjoyable enough that signaling the bartender for another round seems perfectly natural.

A colleague and friend of mine, who a year and a half ago lost his partner of 25 years to a sudden illness, is taking early retirement and leaving our common public sector place of employment in a matter of days. When I heard the news I suggested meeting for a drink at the Veritable Quandary.

They were avid world travelers, my friend and his partner, and my friend, recovered enough from his period of mourning to look around, has decided to take off and try the world again for several months. I drank Laphroaig and he drank zinfandel, and we laughed and cried a little, and he told me stories of how they'd met, and what it's like to be alone, and where he's going (pretty much everywhere, it sounded like).

We talked travel, and bikes, and retirement (I'm unbearably envious--he gave me the name of his financial adviser and I'm so gonna call her), and the whole conversation was really about freedom, and sorrow, and the spark of joy that can't replace what's been lost but which is, after all, still joy, and it was wonderful, and we parted at the bike rack on the sidewalk outside the VQ with heartfelt hugs, and rode off, he to the west and I to the east, in the late sun of a beautiful May evening.
darkemeralds: Photo of a glass of whisky on ice with caption On The Rocks (Whisky)
For a Wednesday, this was a damn good day. It was, for one thing, bright and clear. And Groundhog Day, which is a favorite of mine among minor holidays.

I became a great-aunt this morning at about 6:00, when my niece gave birth to a healthy baby boy. While I'm not a goo-goo-ga-ga baby person, I'm pleased for my niece, her husband, and my older sis, who relishes the grandmama role.

Work was kind of fun, too. )
darkemeralds: Photo of a glass of whisky on ice with caption On The Rocks (Whisky)
...the one that unwinds this coil of tension between my shoulder blades?

Good god, I've discovered a new circle of hell. It exists on the 14th floor of the World's Tallest Basement. It is overseen by Norm, whose instruments of torture include Rev-Proc 2010-26 and data transfer files for the Internal Revenue Service that have to be analyzed--by a highly-paid human being (such as myself, for instance)--in detail, across rows 175 columns wide.

I was ready to tear my hair out--I mean, I was literally clutching at it. We're too slammed to take time to develop a more efficient way of getting done what needs to be done, and I suspect that Norm really likes to work this way. I don't mind detail work, and I don't mind a little drudgery, but I hate the kind of gross, slogging inefficiency baked into the system by a workaholic who needs to feel important.

My temper got the better of me around 6:00 this evening after losing my place for the fifth time in the Rev Proc 2010-26, and I said, "God! There has to be a better way of doing this!"

Norm: "I haven't found one."

Me: "Yeah, well, that doesn't mean one doesn't exist."

I'm not the world's most courteous person, but really, I try to be more contained than that. I'd just had enough. Since October 17 when I started eating 2000 calories a day, I have not been tempted to eat 3000--or 4000--until today. This evening I want to eat the world. The whole wide world, which I understand has a creamy truffle filling.

I'm giving serious consideration to a 140-calorie double shot of Laphroaig as a moderate alternative.
darkemeralds: Screencap from Life on Mars with caption Welcome To The Team (Welcome to the Team)
Something kind of interesting just happened here in the World's Tallest Basement.

Norm, my co-[over]worker, just told the boss that he's been having some very bad low-back problems and will be seeing a doctor tomorrow and might take the day off.

After the boss left, I turned to Norm and I said, "Norm," (I said) "Let me give you the benefit of a small piece of advice. I was once out of work for 18 months because of a low back problem..."

This is a true story. I described how a high-powered but sedentary job finally stressed me out to the point where my body took over and laid me down. A year and a half: that's how long it took me to recover. I didn't describe the more lurid aspects of the L4-L5 Herniated Disc Tango, such as having to literally crawl on my hands and knees to the toilet. But I will if I think he needs to hear it.

I also didn't actually say to Norm that this is a large part of my reason for taking a moderate and easygoing attitude to my job today. I think the message was clear.

I did remind him that everything currently on our shared plate of All You Can Eat Work will keep for a few days longer.

Maybe it's a turning point. I hope it's a turning point.

Hot toddy

Oct. 19th, 2010 08:44 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of a glass of whisky on ice with caption On The Rocks (Whisky)


Once again, because I have lots of lovely new friends here on Dreamwidth who might not have seen it, I shall share my recipe for a hot toddy. It soothes the savage breast, warms the cockles of your heart, chases the blues away, and several other clich├ęs having to do with comfort.

DarkEmeralds' Hot Toddy Recipe

Put the kettle on.

Into a mug, place:
  • A generous tablespoon honey*
  • Half a shot of peaty single malt Scotch whisky--or a whole shot, if you're so inclined**
  • A piece of fresh ginger about the size of the first joint of your finger, well crushed with the side of a knife***
  • The juice of half a lemon
Fill the mug with boiling water.
Stir, let steep a couple of minutes, and sip.


*Lavender honey is sublime in this if you can get it.
**I am partial to Laphroaig. Very partial.
***A shake or two of ground dried ginger will work every bit as well
darkemeralds: Hellfire and tormented faces with caption Yay Hell (Yay)
The only time I've ever enjoyed shopping for clothes were those couple of ten-minute periods long ago when I managed to starve and pound myself down into a "normal" size range.

In the faint hope of finding...you know, something, I stopped at a shop this afternoon where I occasionally find a suitable casual item or two.

It's not that I expect to look actually good in anything I buy--there is not enough magic in the world for that--but I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility for me to look relatively good. Better in some styles than others.

But no. The best I could say about today's look through the racks was "not too heinous." And that applied only to a few items, none of which was not-heinous enough for me to actually spend money on.

So I came home purchaseless and, having saved a ton of money on my wardrobe, dropped it all at the liquor store on a bottle of 15-year-old Laphroaig. Coupla shots of that, and I look marvelous.
darkemeralds: Screencap from Life on Mars with caption Welcome To The Team (Welcome to the Team)
[personal profile] lamentables was generous enough to share some excellent insights this morning about how different working styles are rewarded differently in the workplace. She's helped me see my trying work situation much more clearly.

I can't say that I love what I'm seeing, but the clarity is good. Let me see...A little rantlist )

Waah! I want to go home and curl up with John, Tristan, and either a rainstorm or mineral hot springs...

ETA: OMFG OMFG OMFG I was just about to shut down and leave when Norm came back to our cubicle. He's still talking. Telling me what he's going to tell me, going over what he's going to do, thinking out loud at me, ignoring me saying that I'm an hour late leaving and need to go home OMFG I AM GOING TO SCREAM.

I scream... Mmmm. Ice cream...

SPN 5.14

Feb. 11th, 2010 10:04 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Supernatural)
I sort of...hated tonight's Supernatural.

Spoilerish )

Also? Jared, seriously. Is it steroids?


Feb. 3rd, 2010 04:05 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
It's interesting how much you notice about a thing when you return to it after a long absence. In my case today, it was retail.

It's not that I never go in stores. I do. I sometimes buy things other than groceries. But I haven't been in a department store for YEARS, and I wandered into one this afternoon. Macy's, to be exact. The fancy downtown one.

Crap. )

I managed to sneak invisibly back up the street to my office, where I've buried myself safely in difficult work all afternoon. Now I have to go ride my bike home in the dark.

Damn Macy's.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I got a little New Year's email this afternoon:

On a day just like this one (dark and rainy) 58 years ago I was standing outside the window of a travel agency on Broadway in downtown Portland. There was a beautiful poster of Hawaii and the Lurline. You know the rest. Have a wonderful life!

Love, Mom

I know the rest. )

What does this have to do with 2009 or my hopes for 2010? Not a thing, really, except that New Year's Eve seems like as good a time as any for a jaunt in the Wayback Machine.

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou, everybody. Happy New Year.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
When the days are short and nasty, and the evenings long and chilly, just remember:

Put the kettle on. Pour 1 shot of single-malt Scotch whisky into a mug.

Add a generous tablespoon or so of good honey. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and add a bruised slice of fresh ginger root or a couple dashes of powdered ginger.

Fill the rest of the mug with boiling water. Stir, let sit for a minute or two, add something good to read or watch, and sip at your leisure.

It's good for what ails you, if what ails you is a dry scratchy throat, chilly fingers and toes, restless cabin fever, or a great desire to feel cozy.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
...there is no bike parking at the liquor store.

Yet here I am with a nice shot of 15 year old Laphroaig single malt at hand, because where there's a will, there's a No Parking sign that you can lock your bike to for a few minutes.

And that's one more thing I never would have predicted doing by bicycle: booze run.

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