Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Quiet Prep Day

Since I didn't have anything else on the docket today, I could intersperse packing and trip preparation with reading and cat maintenance*, making for a pleasantly non-rushed day. And the weather was perfect for making me appreciate my destination, since 70 and rain moving in is not my idea of summer weather. I painted my toenails, and my feet got cold before I could put slippers back on: ridiculous.
*They have no idea that I was trying to give them extra attention, of course; they take it in stride, and want more. Cats.

Other than the morning things, I just have to zip up the suitcase and put away a few things I didn't use, and I'll be set to go. I'm going to have dinner, wash a few dishes, and take out the trash, things like that, then get ready for bed.

Leaving, on a jet plane... Have a good week, everyone!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Of Hockey and Not Much Packing (yet)

Well, the Bruins have made some interesting moves today, if you define interesting as "only time will tell if they make any sense whatsoever".
  • Since they couldn't afford to re-sign Soderberg, they traded his rights for draft picks.
  • They couldn't come to terms with Dougie Hamilton, only one of their best defensemen (and man, I think he's only 22, too), so they traded him for ... draft picks.
  • And then they traded Lucic to LA for an AHL player, a prospect, and  ... a draft pick. (And Lucic went on record that he was happy to be going to a team that knows how to win, which, ouch, dude, that is so tacky.)
The thinking was that perhaps, with the three draft picks they had mid-first round this year, perhaps they were planning something to move up, but either they weren't, or they couldn't make a deal, so they picked three guys (including one, picked at #15, who was estimated to go at #40, so way to pick down, guys. Lord.) who might, with luck, play in the NHL in a couple of years. Man, I hope this comes to make more sense sometime.

Meanwhile, I did some laundry, ran a few errands, went for a walk, and otherwise piddled about doing this and that. Tomorrow I have to buckle down and get to packing, as I leave Sunday morning at oh-god-hundred.

Speaking of the trip, I remember thinking when I made the reservation, early in May, that "by that time, it will be warm here!" Which it has been, at times, and then it gets cool again, and then warmer, and hot, and almost warm, and ... what we have not achieved is consistency. So I am delighted to be spending a week where I can expect the same weather every day.

And the fact that it's hot doesn't bother me a bit, thank you.

Plus, you know, my mama.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Accolades for my Favorite

Guess who was the only Bruin to win an award at last night's show?

And won it for the third time in four years!

Guess which shirt I was wearing today?

That's my boy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The House of Sleeping Cats

At 2 AM, when Carlos decides he needs food, and gives a soft "mrp" every ten seconds until I get up, I am ready to kill him.

At any time, when Belmont decides she needs ... something ... and screeches "RAOW" over and over, I want to kill her.

But sometimes, peace descends.
Simultaneously, even.
In other scenes from around, I had to look up what the F L T on the Odd Fellows sign stood for (it's friendship, love, and truth, according to Wikipedia).
My dad was an Odd Fellow!

Next: spacing and why it matters, exhibit A.
Unless you can tell me what a "carec" is and why it has its own entrance.

And finally:
How much do you have to love toast to get it on your license plate?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Report

Earlier today I went for a nice walk with one of my recent coworkers--it was a beautiful day, warm and with a breeze to take the edge off the humidity--and then we went for ice cream. Because why exercise without celebrating it properly? My feet are a little tender now, they're such wusses, but overall je ne regrette rien.

Then I was off to a friend's house to hang out with her kids while she went to a doctor's appointment; at 10 and 7, they could take care of themselves, so it really wasn't babysitting so much as being there in case of anything weird. (For that matter, she could have brought them and had them wait in the waiting room for her, but this way she didn't have to think about them; I was free, so why not?) She and I had a nice chat afterward, and agreed that we should get together regularly while we can. Looking on the bright side of unemployment!

I also heard from a recruiter today, through LinkedIn, and while it may come to absolutely nothing (it wasn't about a specific position, just generally), it still feels encouraging. I need encouraging. Don't we all, one way or another?

Tomorrow I'm going to visit my friend with the baby (to be honest, anyone who will let me hold their baby is a friend!), and get some mood enhancement that way. Then I have my haircut, and the macabre pleasure of telling the hairdresser about the layoff. I'm also going to go back to the layers; we were trying to grow them out, so still short hair but more all-one-length, but it's been getting on my nerves (and, in the car with the windows down, in my eyes, which Will Not Do), and just now, I need my hair to be quiet and not cause trouble.

I think that's all for today.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

More Ups and Downs

To answer the burning question, yes, I did do laundry yesterday, but I also did other things.

I went for a walk. It was pretty.
And involved me getting off the couch, going out, and moving for 45 minutes. Go, me.

These vines twining together caught my eye.
And there were pretty flowers.
Then on a whim, I drove up to the north shore and had lunch at Woodman's. No photos of that, though I did see a truck with a huge tailpipe, what's up with that?
I refrained from going to Coveted Yarn, since yarn would have been too tempting (and I have plenty of loveliness, I don't feel deprived), but I did expand on the treat a bit.
After all, as the sign says:
So it was an overall good day. Still down moments, of course, but nothing major. And today I got the last of the laundry put away, a task I often postpone, and made brownies to take to a father's day gathering, and that was nice. I'm kind of feeling in the dumps now, for no particular reason, but it will pass. We can be sure of that.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Being Kind to Myself

I don't know that the five stages of grief are exactly right for being laid off, at least for me, but I'm definitely moving through stages. And the first one, last Thursday, was absolutely Denial: all day, I kept saying, "I can't believe this is happening." After that, I spent a couple of days in whatever you would call "I don't want this to have happened"; maybe that's just the second part of denial? I remember going through it (much more strongly) after my father died, when "I want him back" drummed through my head for the longest time.

Now, I guess I'm coasting through Emptiness: I find myself sitting and looking at nothing, thinking about nothing. Not even "I should be..." but just nothing. It's weird and blank. It's not like I do it all day long, mind you; I'm reading (so much) and running errands* and patting cats, but periodically I realize that I'm just ... sitting there. If my brain is saying anything, there's just that background refrain of "12 years, 8 jobs, 4 layoffs" bouncing around with other bad thoughts. (At dinner Sunday night it came up that one friend has been in her current job for 6 years; she was in the one before that for 15. I can't even imagine that. My longest stretch is almost-three.)
*Being able to run them during the day is another one of those little perks of being out of work.

So I'm trying to be kind to myself. I imagine one of my recent coworkers coming to me and saying, "I know I should be spending more time job searching, but after about 10 minutes I can feel myself getting so depressed I have to stop." I wouldn't tell her to snap out of it and get to work, because she needs to get a job, doesn't she, and there's no time to lose. I would say, "Well, 10 minutes is better than nothing; maybe you can build on that, but meanwhile, don't be too hard on yourself. This situation is hard enough." So I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. And I'm reaching out to others, from the lunch and kitten break yesterday to a planned walk on Monday with someone else. And I'm totally looking forward to my trip, which is a sort of deadline; I'm going to try to build up more and more time spent on job-search stuff over the next week, but then I get the restorative week with mama before things get serious back here.

It's funny, isn't it, how we're harder on ourselves than others sometimes. I broke something this morning, small and meaningless, I wasn't even upset, but when I went to throw the pieces in the trash one missed and fell on the floor. If someone I loved had done that, would I have apostrophized them in that tone as an awful klutz, How like you? No, I would not. I caught myself, and gave myself a little pep talk ("You are a smart and good person who is going through a rough time right now. And yes, you are a klutz, but that's not a big deal, really.") and moved on, but still.

No plans for tomorrow yet; what shall I do with myself? It ought to be laundry, but will it?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Natural Mood Enhancement

While I am not going out and getting a kitten myself (poor Carlos, he has enough to deal with), I have to agree that it is hard to be depressed around one. So tiny! So energetic! So cute! So unaware of things like the law of gravity.

A rare still moment by the track ball.
A lot of the pictures I got of Mr Perpetual Motion were blurry, what a surprise.
He was fascinated by my shoelaces.
As well as the camera cord, my jeans, my socks, the toy I brought, toys he had ... it's all fascinating.
We played with him for about half an hour, then went out to get lunch. When we got back, we learned that we had worn him out.
He woke up, but was not interested in getting up. Hand for scale.
I tore myself away and ran some errands, including to Wilson's for more peas (must enjoy the season while it lasts). Driving on, I realized that my folding chair was still in the trunk from Sunday, and since it was a beautiful day, I stopped at a pond and sat in the sun for a few minutes, enjoying it.
Being out of work does have a few bright sides, after all.

Plus, I inspired a woman finishing up a walk as to what to do about dinner; she was pretty funny. She told me about her grandmother, shelling peas from her garden, and how for a woman with 15 children, sitting down to the task probably felt like a vacation!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Another Day

Today had its pleasantries:
  • knitting with Mary Ellen over coffee
  • going to the chiropractor
  • making plans to have lunch tomorrow with a (former) coworker, and meet her new kitten
  • pizza for dinner--and salad!
It had its successes:
  • turning in the paperwork the parent company needed, and overcoming tech obstacles to do so (with only minimal snark)
  • buying a plant hanger
  • updating my resume on Monster and Indeed
And it had its failures:
  • I got the new bike seat onto the bike, but though it should be secure as far as I can manage/tell, it is clearly Not Right, and I Cannot Deal Right Now

Meanwhile, I saw this on the road today:
And I keep wondering, who is Ed and why do drivers want him? Ideas?

(I also saw a Ford pickup truck with a BMW logo where the Ford should be, so alternate question: who does he think he's fooling thereby?)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All Right, Where Was I?

You know I'd rather be writing about the weather (so inconsistent), hockey (did Chicago have to win the Cup? yuck), or my haircut, but hey, let's get the layoff crap out of the way, and then I can discuss more fun things.

So, Thursday morning the guy at the parent company who is the boss over our office showed up, which didn't initially worry me because the word didn't always get out that he was coming in, but he arrived along with a woman who turned out to be the VP of HR, and as soon as I heard that, I got very nervous. A VP*, and especially HR, doesn't fly 3000 miles for no reason, right? It's got to be a big reason. We all stood around in nervous groups, guessing, while they were in with the boss, and after a while, we got the invite to a meeting at 11.
*I mean, I think he's a VP too, but that's not the same.

That's when they told us that they were suspending operations, and we'd all get 2 weeks notice (though few of us have enough loose ends to tie up that we would need to work that long, we get paid for it anyway), and six weeks of severance pay. Which, honestly, is nice, given that we've almost all been there just a year. And they're paying for our healthcare through the end of the year, too, which I also much appreciate. Basically, they could have done a lot worse by us, but oh, I wish they had given us more time. It isn't a year and a half since they bought the company! And they're giving up already? I know I don't understand big business decisions, I can't say they are wrong for the big-big picture, but at ground level, it really hurts.

It hurts in a lot of ways, actually. I'm sorry for myself, sure: 4 layoffs in a dozen years seems like particularly bad luck. I don't want to job-hunt again! (Do I even know how? My last two jobs have found me, but I can't count on that.) I'd actually really enjoy the time off, if I could be sure I'd get a job in August or September, but without knowing that, there's just a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Plus, this was such a good group of people, who largely worked really well together, and I did not take that for granted. How to find it again?

I'm also sorry for the people who founded the original company, who had this idea and nurtured it until it was successful enough to be bought, and now have seen it die before their eyes. And for the younger ones who haven't gone through layoffs before, the older ones who worry about the harder job search at their age, the ones with kids or student loans or whatever makes it particularly hard. For all of us. It just sucks.

Anyway, back to Thursday. We all had 1-on-1 meetings with HR, but we'd been told to stop working on everything, so there wasn't much to do until then*. Two of us went over to Starbucks for a break, and sat there in disbelief for a bit. They brought us in sandwiches, so I tried to eat one. I wandered around talking to people, who were all as shell-shocked as I was. Finally I had my meeting, and kind of took in what she was saying, and took all the paperwork, and didn't even snarl when she wished me a good evening on my way out, which, yeah, not likely I'd have a good evening, is it, dear? Think before you talk.
*Some people started packing up their desks, and I'm not blaming them, but I couldn't bring myself to take things off the walls and then sit staring at blank walls, so I did a little, but didn't get much done.

I went home, and called my mom, and sat like a lump, and hugged the kitty. I went to bed early, and though I took a unisom, I still didn't sleep that well. Or late, and I really wanted to, since I could! But my brain wouldn't stop, so I got up, but didn't go in until around 10. Packed up my desk, talked to people, then waited around since the boss was taking us out for drinks/lunch. After that (which was nice of her, but about as merry as you'd expect), I picked up the last of my things, and went shopping for peas and ice cream.

Friday night was a little better than Thursday; Saturday wasn't a great day, but I got a few things done around the house. I also almost killed Belmont when she thought that my beloved office plant, Seymour, had been brought in for her to chew on, but I managed to let her live (barely). Seymour is currently living in the hall outside my door, but I'm going to try getting a hanging thing and see if she'll leave him alone way up in the air, instead of on the kitchen table.

Sunday I already had plans. First, Mary Ellen had invited me to join her, her husband, and their guinea pigs at a pignic in Wellesley, and on a nice summer day, who could resist that? I don't know a lot about the piggies, but they're cute, and this thing was very well organized.

One pen for boys:
And one for girls:
Apparently mixing them is not a good idea. And if you're wondering, the dust pans are there for breaking up disputes. Who knew?

Piggies investigating.
A good time was had by all. Later on I went to dinner with friends, which was also very pleasant, and since I didn't have to get myself home early for work, I went on to the ice cream after, yum. It was a big enough group that I didn't get to catch up with everyone, which is always too bad, but still it was very pleasant.

Monday I slept in, then went off to have lunch with someone I worked with before: we'd been trying to coordinate our schedules for dinner, and hey, look, my lunchtime availability just increased! It was good to hear how he's doing, and get to talk a bit about the current situation. (I both do and don't want to talk about it, so I'm kind of hard to please right now.) I ran some errands after, and then it was stitch and bitch, a good distraction too. Today I only went out for a few errands, but I've been trying to chip away at all the Things To Do, too. And I'm working on setting up daytime meetings with friends who are available then, since after all, why not? I may as well appreciate the opportunity.

Trying to look on the bright side, anyway. Mixed success.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

You Know

It's been a bad day. Not unexpectedly.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. I have some plans out of the house, afternoon and evening, which should help. And Monday I have lunch plans, and stitch and bitch, so I just thought I should pop in now and say if I'm not back here before Tuesday or so, don't be alarmed.

Friday, June 12, 2015

I'm Okay (for being not okay)

The computer is moving like molasses tonight*, so this will be brief. I just wanted to let everyone know that I am seeking consolation in the usual ways.
*My favorite is when it tells me it is Not Responding, like I hadn't noticed that. Paging tech support!
Happily, tis the season! Yum.
And the classic comfort for when adult life sucks.
Which I totally needed after fighting for half an hour trying to get that much into the computer before I moved to the iPad. I hope it just needs something defragged or some such nonsense; it has been a bit slow lately, but not like THAT. Lordy, talk about the absolute worst time for it to die. How do electronics know?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fourth Time Unlucky

Yup, laid off again. Fourth time in a dozen years.

The parent company decided we weren't going to make a profit for too long, and "suspended operations," which means shutting the office down, apparently. Wham. Out of the blue.

Damn it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Get to the Koala

The weather was gorgeous today, which, while slightly painful to be inside during, meant that I could eat lunch outside, blissfully, in the sun, and when I got out of work, take the long sleeves off and drive, windows open, in the sleeveless shirt. So that was good.

Also good is that we're almost done with the (depressing, depressing) oncology conference at work, finally.

What, you want more? Even though I have a hockey game to watch? Well, fine. Here. Go look at pictures of the baby koala, hanging onto mom while mom has emergency surgery.
All together, now: Awwwwww.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Briefly, While Sweating

I did not ride the bike last night, but I've ridden it tonight (she said, distastefully). Here's hoping that a new seat is more comfortable. Owie.

Meanwhile, I have a couple of pictures to share. The first one was of a bush I noticed when stopped in traffic the other night.
I was puzzled that it seemed to be dying in the middle, healthy near the house, and thriving farther out. How, and why, was it dying only in the middle?

A little while later, though, I passed a similarly sized grouping that had three different colored flowers, and thought, a-ha! The one I photographed may have appeared to be a single bush, but in fact have been multiple bushes, of which one was dying. I think that's the most likely, but any other theories?

Second, stopped at a traffic light tonight, I saw this in my rear-view mirror (so it is a reverse view).
I happen to love driving barefoot, but if I tried to stick my foot out the window while driving, I think I would dislocate my hip. Perhaps it depends on the model of car?

Right, I want to get to bed sooner than later. I will leave the topic of my haircut for another time.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Brief Report

Head: better.

Monday: was still Monday.

Cats: still being alternately amusing and annoying.

Shoulder: sore for some unknown reason.

Sweater: progressing nicely. Almost done with the front. Soon it will be sleeve time!

Hockey game: on in the other room. Must go watch.

Bike: I really ought to get on it tonight. Will I?

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Getting Through It

I woke with a bit of a headache today; it isn't awful, though it is persistent, and I've been able to get a few things done:
  • Laundry, except folding the towels, and that may yet happen.
  • Balancing the checkbook, to make sure there are no snags approaching this week.
  • Catching up with my mother.
  • Reading the paper.
  • Petting kitties.
Well, maybe that isn't too much, but head-impeded, it isn't that bad. I have hopes for the towels, and maybe a little clearing of the kitchen, this evening. For now, I will husband my strength, and prepare mentally for the upcoming week.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Here She Is

Miss Mouth.
I don't know how such loud noise can come out of such a small cat, but there we are.

I also don't know how I can be this tired, when I spent most of the day at a bridal shower, but here I am, yawning and creaking. It was a really nice shower: I love happy occasions, I got to (very, very briefly) hold a three-week-old baby, and look at the lovely and unusual flower arrangement.
Isn't that cool? Some people are so talented.

Off to watch a hockey game. I don't get to say that many more times this year...

Friday, June 05, 2015

Stream of ... Non-Coherence

Was it a long, long, weird week for everyone? I know it wasn't just for me, my whole office seems to have gone through that this week, but wow. Happy Friday night, squared.

It was nice to see the sun today. I hope it comes out tomorrow, too.

Tomorrow I'm going to a bridal shower/brunch! That should be fun, and it isn't super-early, plus will leave me much of the day to do other things. Followed by a hockey game to watch at night. Perfect.

We got free lunch at work today. No such thing? Well, a lunch that I had to neither prepare nor pay for, but that I had to eat awkwardly in a conference room with all my coworkers.

And at the same time, we learned that one of my coworkers has given his notice--actually not someone I ever worked with (although we were in the same office when I started), but one of the learn-to-knitters, and a really interesting guy, so the group will feel his loss. (He's decided to get out of graphic design; his explanation sounded a bit like what I imagine mine did when I gave notice to get back into editing. [And to get away from the specific company...but also to get back to editing.])

Goosefairy asked yesterday if Belmont is still around, and the answer is yes. Generally either mouthing off, or sleeping; little in between. Perhaps she will sit for a portrait sometime soon.

...Was there something else?

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Picture Time

I haven't been putting enough pictures up lately. Such as the baby!
What happens to a banner on a really windy day.
Do you think the top of this building is communicating with aliens?
That's a lot of antennae.

For some reason, I've been noticing lots of license plates. Do you suppose this one means "go more"? Or maybe the dog's name is Mo.
I assume this is "blarney".
And the bumper stickers clarified that this was a "girl runner".
My favorite car-related item wasn't a plate, though, it was this, seen the other day.
I always thought the new beetle looked like a toy.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Gratitude at the One-Year Mark

I started this job a year ago.

I went out to lunch today with the woman who started the day after I did, to celebrate our anniversary.

This week, I have worked on articles dealing with psychiatry*, ulcerative colitis, and prostate cancer. And it's only Wednesday. (Should be all cancer the rest of the week, though.)
*Antidepressants! Faked hallucinations! Suicide risks! What a cheery subject.

Most of the people I work with are really nice, we work well as a team and chat at the coffee machine, and some of us even have lunch together on Fridays and do crafty things.

I hope the next year only gets better, but for right now, basically, it's awfully nice to feel appreciated, and that the move was not a mistake, and all that good stuff.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

A Time to Whine, and a Time to Moan

So, I was in bed at 7 last night. If I hadn't also closed the window, Carlos would have had his Best Night Ever. Even so, he was pretty happy about it.

I didn't fall asleep right away, but just lying there with my eyes closed felt so incredibly good, I had no impulse to get up again. In fact, I woke up out of a deep sleep to go to the bathroom, and it was 9:15 (that was disorienting). Clearly, there was a migraine hangover element to the exhaustion, though today I was also thinking about how ready I am for vacation; I think that's part of it, too. Everything irritated me today. Let me vent:
  • I went back to the doctor's office to give blood, again (remember how I said I hated fasting?), because when I gave it before, they didn't test it for the right thing. So because of their mistake, I had to fast again. This time I brought a smoothie, and carried it in with me; I drank half of it before I even got back to the car.
  • I'm finishing up a conference at work, and am at the stage where I am so sick of the subject matter, I want to puke. (I actually finished it today, but still.)
  • There's a thing with my boss that I won't go into, and it's supposed to be addressed soon, but so far it hasn't been.
  • At a meeting today, there was discussion of yet another issue that the production department has come back to us with: they seem to thrive on finding problems for us to fix. I am so sick of these discussions, where "we" have to try to figure out what exactly their problem boils down to, so we can see where in our workflow we can fit a solution to it. And then, when that still doesn't work, or causes other problems, change it again. And again. (No one expects me to fix it, not that they would mind if I did, but just hearing about the problems stresses me out.)
  • On a side note, I sometimes think that the parent company bought the little independent company (which is what caused the expansion that led to my job, so I don't want to run it down) by saying, "Wow, what you do is so different, this is great!" and then we constantly have to deal with Production saying, "You do this differently, we can't handle that, please change."
  • It's cold, and raining, and it's June. At this rate, when I do go to Florida, the change will be much more dramatic than it should be in summer. I mean, by the end of June in Boston, I feel like it should be in the 80s, and it will be in the 90s in Florida. Considering that today, the beginning of June, was, again, 50 degrees here...
  • Also, since my condo has shared heating/cooling systems, I don't have direct, personal control over my temperature (had I thought more about that before I fell in love with the place...). And a few weeks ago, someone decided that it was now time for air conditioning, and switched us over. Which means that, even with all the vents closed against the cold air, it is 65 degrees in here right now. Brr!
  • And though I was hoping that all this rain would wash away a lot of pollen, my allergies have actually been bothering me more in the last few days than they were previously.
Whew! I think that's everything. It feels good to get it out. So how are you?

Monday, June 01, 2015

Ugh. Urp.

I woke up with a bit of a headache/stomach thing, but not bad enough not to go to work (though, with the rain and the sub-50 temperature, not to mention Senor Pathetic and his guilt trip, I was sorely tempted). It was extra unfortunate, therefore, that I had the kind of day that would have given me a headache had I not already had one.

The head did get better as the day went on, but the crippling exhaustion did not abate. I sent my regrets to stitch and bitch, and I am going to eat something (bland) and go to bed, more or less now.