Monday, April 28, 2008

Matt and Sandy came over for dinner last night. We haven't seen them in a long time. Their house was flooded a while back and they have been dealing with the repairs and construction.

Most of the evening was a good ol' fashioned bitch session-- who thinks they are A-list but are not, who is playing with who on bear 411, who has a big penis, who has small, who was seen at a cruisy park and who has diseases, syph, HIV, hepatitis, etc.

I stay quiet during these conversations. Seattle is small and word gets around. RO, Matt and Sandy all spend a fair amount of time chatting on bear 411. They don't have to intentionally say anything for word to spread. All it will take is for one of them to say "Oh yeah, I heard that" to someone who is fishing and a rumors will spread. In someones mind the little tidbits will add up to a story that is only remotely fact based.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The big maple is dead. Long life the maple.

Well, it's not fully dead. A couple of branches have sprouted stunted leaves. The rest of the tree is barren.

A soil fungus is going around killing maples. Most of the maples in my neighborhood are gone. My big maple was fine until last year. Then one day in mid summer the leaves turned brown and fell off. This year, with the exception of a few small branches, the maple didn't bud.

We've asked around. The soil fungus is a death sentence for maples. All you can do is cut them down, which helps stops spreading the disease.

The big maple was holding up the hill in the back yard. To replace the maple, RO and I planted three trees -- two cherry and a plum.

I'm looking forward to the fruit.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Steven is becomming a real estate agent. I guess he's left his job and is starting over. I wish him the best. These are uncertain times for the real estate market, but I think he has the skills, personality and energy to see it through.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Last night we saw McKay's film. Two years ago McKay filmed a team that participated in Race Across America. The four man team bicycled across the U.S. in just under eight days-- From California, over the Rockies, the Great Plain, the Appalachians, to Atlantic city. McKay filmed the whole experience.

It was a good film. It did have a few faults-- it wasn't always easy to tell who was who especially since the cyclists dressed the same, wore helmets, sunglasses and had the same build. But nothing that couldn't be fixed with a bit of narration or subtitles.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Friday night RO and I went to Anne's wine party. We had fun.

Wend was at the party. Wend and I had an interesting conversation. We are both managers at the same company. Recently one of his employees left his group to work for me. We talked about the transfer and why our boss allowed it. It puts an important project of his at risk and it makes my group a bit top heavy-- the engineer who moved is a star performer. Neither of us are sure. It may be as simple as our director wanting to keep his star performers happy.

On the way home from Anne's party, RO and I had a fight. We were discussing possibilities about the store and RO asked me, hypothetically, about closing the store for good.

I told RO that as long as the store was closed professionally, that would be OK.

RO asked me what "Closing the store professionally" meant. I said it meant liquidating the inventory and paying off our debts.

That scared RO. It scared him because he didn't realize that I had though through closing the store. And he wondered how solid my support for him was if those were the sort of things I was thinking about.

He didn't want to talk about it. RO left me at home and he drove off to think. He returned about 4am.

He apologized the next morning and so did I, though we didn't really talk more about the incident.

He was hung over the next day. He spent most of it in bed.

Finding a balance in our relationship his hard. RO wants me to be open and tell him everything that I am thinking. At the same time often he can only stomach neutral and positive thoughts and praise. I have learnt to hide my darker thoughts from him. Not that I often have dark thoughts. It's just that there is no point in discussing them if I am only going to depress RO.

Such is life.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

RO and I are at the store today. It's quiet. Very quiet. There is definitely a recession going on. Sales are down at least 15%.

It is hard to discuss this with RO. He needs to run the store a certain way to achieve the pop and polish that we are known for. That costs though, more than the store earns.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I had lunch with Steven. He is going through very uncertain times. He regrets leaving Vic and has ended things with the man he started dating post Vic.

He is also taking a leave of absense from his work. He wants a month or two to sort things out with him self, and maybe reconcile with Vic. He is not under the impression that Vic will trust him again, but he feels that a big apology is in order.

We took a walk after lunch. The cherry trees are in bloom. The sun was out. It's a good day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My organization, in particular my boss, sometimes flexes or breaks company policy. My boss always gets away with it. The reason is he gets away with is that he breaks company policy to make things better-- to cut through red tape, to hire better people or to get more work done.

Every now and then HR will reprimand him for his actions. Publicly our VP will do the same. But, then, behind close doors, he will be congratulated for getting the work done, for hiring better people.

He also has a 'chicken' philosophy to resources. You know chicken, the game where two people drive straight towards each other and the driver who doesn't swerve wins? Another way of saying it is "Try to use opportunities that others don't grab."

He knows that most teams won't fully consume their budget for new hires or computers or patents. So he always has a few extra requests in the queue. "Oh, I'd like to patent such-and-such, but I'm out of patent budget for the year. What's that? Another team hasn't used up their patent budget? If I had that budget we'd have another patent..."

Thanks to him, I personally have earned two patents and landed two new-hires.

Is it politics of I use these tactics to get more work done?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Last night RO and I went to "Taste Washington", a large all-you-can-drink wine tasting. There was much good food there as well.

I had a great time, but RO's evening didn't go over so well. RO had to go back to our truck to get his cell phone. However, the event has a "no re-rentry" policy. It took RO and hour to get permission to leave and reenter. When we finally met up again he was very angry.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I've been going through the photos from Palm Springs. As much as I loved the sun and the partying, the photos remind me how much those vise's can age you. The locals all have bags under their eyes and deeply wrinkled skin.

RO and I took a photo of Andy and touched it up in photo shop-- made Andy look ten years younger. We printed the picture as a post card and mailed it off to Andy as a thank you note.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm back to work again. Much is happening here. It looks like I have hired two new people for my team. There is still some paperwork and HR review that needs to happen. And, of course, the new people can change their minds any time up until they start workinging for me.
lol, RO and I were actually good in Palm Springs. We talked about playing around, but never followed through with it. We saw the petty jealousies start so we didn't follow through.

Now the rest of the sights and sounds... Palm Springs has a great factory outlet mall-- the kind that has Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana factory outlet stores. We bought a lot of clothing there.

We also spent a lot of time at the art galleries.

We spent a day at Joshua Tree Park. The landscape is beautiful and otherwordly. Andy called it "Seussian"

We ate at many great restaurants. I was a little dissapointed though. Great food and service costs about double what it costs here in Seattle. Thankfully the rest of the vacation was not as expensive.

And we drank. Palm Springs is a drinking town. People go there to party and drink. Cocktail parities happy every day. The bars are hopping every night.

RO and I have stopped drinking for a while. We want to let our livers rest for a few days.

Finally, we spent much time laying in the sun by the pool, listening to music or playing with Andy's dogs.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

RO and I are back from Palm Springs. It was wonderful. Sunny and 80's every day. Andy was a great host.

We ate wonderfully, drank heavily, and saw the sights and sounds.