May 24, 2008

Early Awakenings

Lily is visiting with us and woke up around 7:30 this morning, long before the rest of us were ready to move. She curled up on my pillow and put her head on my shoulder, so my cheek rested against the top of her head. This would have been infinitely more adorable had she gone back to sleep. As it was, she was wide awake and jerked her head up at the smallest movement or sound.

May 20, 2008


Saturday morning, we lay in bed enjoying the luxury of waking up without an alarm, and Alex looks at me and says "we have absolutely no plans for today." And then we grinned at each other liked fools. Wow it felt good.

A couple of hours and cups of coffee later, we leisurely headed to the farmer's market for our Saturday morning breakfast and I grabbed the quilt so we could have an all out picnic.

Of course, by the time I got back from buying vegetables, Alex had talked to a friend who told us about his really cool plans for the evening. A Homelessness Awareness Rally in the early evening followed by the Fringe Festival. We managed to fill up our day very quickly after that.

But, I did start cutting the blocks for a new quilt. I know!

May 19, 2008

Photo Monday

The Desert Rose in my front yard is blooming profusely and making me smile.

May 13, 2008

Never Get Too Comfortable

I thought I had learned the lesson that, just as soon as you get comfortable in your job and think you know what you're doing you'll get a curve ball that sends you scrambling for the books feeling like the biggest novice ever.   I really thought I knew that - I was prepared for the little quirk that makes this case different from every other case you've handled, this person react dramatically different from all the others you supervise or today's schedule completely different than you thought it would be when you walked in this morning.  Stay flexible, think on your feet and avoid the routine that becomes a rut because it will mess. you. up.  Got it, lesson learned.

But, there was one area I hadn't counted in to that equation.  The one place I'd gotten a little too comfortable  - our technology.  I'm fairly computer literate and definitely comfortable getting around our programs, and I've always easily adjusted to changes and quickly figured out how to get what I needed.  So,  I wasn't worried when they came this morning to take my computer away and replace it with a brand spanking new one.  A laptop in a docking station?  Portability, for someone who works outside of the actual office a good half the time, if not more?  Cool!  The newest version of Windows Professional XP looks different than what we've had?  Eh, not a big deal.  Heck, I move between a PC and a Mac every time I go from work to home.  I'll be fine.

Famous last words.  I spent five minutes - literally five minutes - trying to figure out how to "save as" today.  Not to some strange document type - just saving it to a new location. Five minutes.  My legal assistant came in and looked over my shoulder trying to see what she should do.  (They haven't spirited away her computer yet.)  Finally, feeling like a dunce, I clicked on help and asked the computer how to save my document.  Turns out that to find most of the functions that used to be under 'file' I now have to click on a symbol that I took to just be a logo.  O-kay.  Not feeling so computer literate now.  And so it went all day.  Can't figure out where the find function is to look for that name in the Excel spreadsheet?  Help.  Need to strike through a name in that chart?  Help.  And I didn't even have to do anything that would have caused me to stop and think in the old version.

Half way through the morning I walked in to my colleague's office and told her not to let them touch her computer until we finish the Brief that's due next week.  We need at least one computer where we know how to set up the Table of Authorities, and the fact that I'm still figuring out how to save is not a good sign.

May 10, 2008

Summer Crafting

Have you noticed the lack of crafty content around here recently? Yeah, me too. I seem to be in a bit of a crafting lull at the moment - spending a few moments on a project and then immediately wandering off. In part its the gorgeous weather and the long days, which have me playing with my plants much more than fabric or yarn. But, I can't explain why I'm not working on anything once it gets dark.

I have, however, been making progress on my take along knitting. I am a slower knitter so the progress isn't all that impressive for two months, but still it is starting to really look like the shawl it will be. I'm enjoying the rhythm of the simple pattern it makes. And the yarn is linen, so I'm really looking forward to how soft it will be when its finished, washed and dried. But, since it will likely look much like this for the next several months as it grows repeat by repeat, I'll have to hang on to the theory that slow and steady finishes the piece.

May 08, 2008

Celebrating 50

My Aunt turned 50 last weekend, and so she held a weekend-long birthday extravaganza. Summer comes early here, so where better to have an extravaganza than at a condo on the beach? Friday night was just her and her girlfriends (and sisters), and then Saturday night and Sunday the family descended for our turn to help her party. So, we welcomed her fiftieth decade and summer with a great day on the beach.The dogs came along to keep a watchful eye on those crazy humans.
Point in case, those crazy boys who think its never too cold to go in the ocean. (I may think summer is here and enjoy a day at the beach, but that water isn't getting any higher than my ankles thank you very much.) Alex had his first chance to commune with the waves all summer.
He even took a stab at learning to surf.My sister and I preferred walking on the beach and admiring the art left by nature.
Gwen, not a fan of the sand or the salt, very much preferred sunbathing on the balcony. Of course, she still had several long runs on the beach and 24 hours worth of dealing with two young dogs. When we got home Sunday night, she was so tired she couldn't even go for her walk. She just sat down and looked pitifully at us. You could tell from the way she walked that every muscle in her body was protesting.

It was a lovely way to celebrate 50 years. And even the wildlife came out to wish her a happy birthday.Oh, hello. Happy Birthday to ya.Is there cake around here somewhere? I'd sing for cake.It's your birthday; it's your birthday. We're gonna par-tay, par-tay.

The mockingbird had a little too much sugar. Some people just don't know when to stop with the cake.

May 05, 2008

I Take the Strategies Where I Find 'Em

Somewhere along the line, trying to describe my day at work, I made the comment that "supervising can be a lot like parenting."  (Mind you - in a lot of ways its not, too.  There is an escape clause in supervising - one that noone can arrest me for.)  It's an analogy that has occurred to me often since I first made it, and I've decided its a lot like parenting a teenager, specifically.

Today was another perfect example.  I spent 15 minutes listening to "Jane" vent her frustration with her secretary under the guise of asking me how to help handle the situation.  Recognizing that she really just needed to be heard, I refrained from pointing out that I told her last week how we were going to handle the situation and what steps she needed to take for us to be able to do so.  She wasn't ready to problem solve; she just needed to say it.  However, after I allowed her to vent, I pointed out something we are going to have to handle slightly differently because of a problem she has had.  She abruptly ended the conversation by saying "I just need to go home," throwing open the door of my office and walking out on me... Alrighty then.  I suppose I'll add that to the agenda for our meeting later this week, right along with the fact that she is a month late with a report - which is ironically similar to the problems she has with her secretary.  

Of course, I will have to spend some time figuring out how to address these issues in a way that she can hear and respond to.  I spend alot of time doing that, too, trying to figure how to give feedback in a way that will work for that person.  Mentoring them towards new skills or a change in approach, without lowering self-esteem or creating a feeling of hopelessness.  Finding the approach that works for this person, because goodness knows what worked for that other person won't be it.  (Again, with needing the parenting skills.)

Last week it was the peacemaking and ensuring good communication.  I spent a good half hour of my day sorting out a problem that turned out only to exist because two people who work as a team had a (thankfully rare) communication breakdown.  Once I sorted through the tangle with them and got them each to settle down, neither actually had a problem with how the other wanted the situation handled and there was an easy middle ground that they cheerfully took.  But, they needed help slowing down and listening to each other - and saying what they meant rather than just assuming the other person would understand.

And its very important that I somehow do this while still completely respecting that they are capable, intelligent, fully individualized people.  I can't baby them - its not good for them or me - nor can I (or should I) go behind them to ensure every little thing is done just so.  But, I have to keep tabs on what is going on well enough to know before a minor problem becomes a major disaster.  And I have to be able to tell when I should leave it alone and let them resolve it (because often they can) and when I need to step in.  Though, at least they often ask me to step in when the problem is building.  A teenager would never do that until its way too late... Boy, do I owe my Mom an apology for my teen years.  

(And, just for the record, I work with a team of talented, perfectly well adjusted adults.  It just adds up when there are a bunch of them, and a bunch of personalities having to work very closely together in stressful situations.)

Photo Monday