Thursday, October 29, 2009

Convert

I would just like to announce that I am a Sarah Vowell convert.
Facebook has heard it...Twitter got the message...now it's on my blog.

See, when I was reading "The Wordy Shipmates" all I felt was judgment judgment judgment

But then I heard the author read some passages from the book, interjected by her own occasional commentary and realized that she's sarcastically funny and devoted to her characters in a strange but endearing way.

I am going to have to put my name in for "Assassination Vacation" now.

In other news, I have recovered from yesterday's madness and am back in the dull snail-paced routine of data-entry. I have Anne of Green Gables to keep me company for the next 6 hours or so, thank goodness.

Also, I have the weirdest urge to carve pumpkins tonight. And to buy Jamaal a pumpkin and carve it for him. LOL. Why I do not know. I think it might be best to put the pumpkin carving to rest till next year as far as Jamaal goes, since I'd either have to lug a pumpkin to NYC or find one there on Halloween morn. Then who would even see it? Yeah, not so much. But maybe tonight between 30 mins of cardio, possibly weight-lifting, packing for NY, doing a bunch of wedding shizznit (Jamaal has requested a wedding folder/binder) and BOOK CLUB I will find the time to carve something as artistic as the years past when elaborate jack-o-lanterns graced the doorway of my parent's home:

Amy's Red Sox Pumpkin

Mini Faces

My Pumpkin

Glitter Lineup

Fancy Eyes Pumpkin

Slightly Childish Pumkin

pumpkin by amy_c.

allison's pumpkin by amy_c.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wedding Wednesday 5/54 wherein I swear, am rude, and make references to....you know...

Wow. It's only 10:30 in the morning and already I've been made more angry in the hours since the alarm went off than I would normally be in an entire week (ok do I sound illiterate when I blog? I think I might).

Of course there's nothing that makes you feel like a self-absorbed a-hole than coming to work in the medical area. There are ambulances screeching into the three surrounding hospitals with an ER, one of which is a Children's Hospital. Why feel so bad about my morning commute when I could have a sick or injured child? JERK. Then I get to my hospital, a cancer hospital, and let me tell you, I feel guilty as hell for ever wallowing in self-pity when I step across the threshold and see the many balden heads and faces swollen from prednisone and decadron, given in attempts to shrink disease or lessen the toxic effects of chemo. Double JERK. How could my morning have possibly been that bad?

Well, to be fair, it kind of sucked - probably not as much as those that three subsequent ambulances in as many minutes have ferried to the doors of the ER across the street from my office windows, but it did suck more than usual, as evidenced by an enraged email to Jamaal:

"hey baby

how are you today?
I am ok.
Actually. I am f*cking mad as hell...my commute was 2.5 hours. The trains were all f*cked up. I got to Braintree and the garage was CLOSED. I had to get on the crowded, crawling highway and go to Quincy Adams, where people were stopped in the "T parking only" right lane. I took forever for that stupid train to come. Then when I went to get off the train, this little tw@t was blocking the door, staring at me stupidly (um hi I want to EXIT) with her leggings and long sweater and oversized purse with many dangles and pieces of sh*t hanging off it snagged my ipod, and as I tried to untangle my headphone wires, she jerked her bag backward, like I was trying to steal something from it, thus ripping my headphones out of my ears and sending my ipod sliding down the wet and rainy floor of the train. Some guy caught it and gave it back to me, which was nice, and the doors of the train remained opened because, oh, huge surprise, there were 25 minute delays this morning, so I was able to get off the train in one piece....but only enough time to watch my bus pull away. I waited for 20 minutes for another bus to show (all the while having to stand under the insufficiently sized rain shelter while he SANG out loud to his iPod), and then waited another 20 minutes while the last of the passengers trickled in. THEN I get to work and it sounds like a F*CKING TB WARD in here. My coworker, and I know I should be patient with her allergies and asthma, is sniffing ever 20 seconds. YES I timed it. GET A G-D TISSUE. WTF. And the minion I want to fire? Yeah, she emails me today wondering why I took so long to send her her documents back. I fire an email back saying I HAVEN'T HAD THE TIME because I have other sh*T to do than her lameass document review and I get a friendly exclamation point- peppered email saying she's out of the office today. I am also getting sh*t from the stupid woman in California who is barely hanging on to her job about the numbers from the database. I don't know you dumb@ss YOU insist on generating your own numbers....so don't ask me why they're negative.
alsdkfjal;sdkfj;askldfjl;ksdfj kldfj AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
And the author of the book I'm reading pissed me off by saying JFK channeling John Winthrop and ancient Greece in his "city upon the hill" speech is arrogant and rude while she calls NYC "the greatest city on Earth."
WTF.

I am going to drink some green tea and listen to soothing music.
This is when I'm p*ssed we don't live together; I could really stand to get laid tonight.
LOL."

Was that last bit an overshare? Probably. I apologize.
So what has this got to do with weddings?
Nothing.
I actually intended to write a little bit about weddings today, plans that have fallen into place, a funny wedding nightmare I had where my mother cut a hole in the middle of my veil with a pair of scissors, but I just don't feel like it. Also, I have really accomplished next to nothing wedding-related since I started this little wedding Wednesday bit....oh except my sister has put some amazing work into our website. That has been HUGE...but then again that wasn't me, that was my sainted sister, who patiently html'd sh*t while I stood there and was like "ew don't use that picture of me blah blah blah."

I have a feeling that next week I might have some progress. But then again, no guarantees. I might only have more rage to offer. LOL.
Stay dry everyone.

ETA: Another thing annoying me today besides weather, transit and minions: I am very happy a college acquaintance had a beautiful baby boy a couple of weeks ago, but people are continuously commenting on the lone photo of him saying "Well done you two!" as if the child's parents had any control over the merging of their genes to produce fairly attractive (for a newborn) offspring. C'mon people!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MIA

I've sort of been out of the loop these past few days, especially compared to the regularity with which I'd been posting.

Yesterday was one of those days where the demands of people far outweighed the demands of the workplace. I usually try to keep myself focused at the job, especially with the vanquishing of AE growing larger on the horizon, but yesterday didn't allow for much vanquish-planning.

It started with oversleeping - though that was rewarded by the many puns and jokes on the radio about the meat truck fiasco on the Mass Turnpike.

I make it to the 8am train and I check twitter and facebook while I have my phone out to pay for parking. I get a message from my sister saying that my cousin's gf's status has change to "single." Panic ensues - we LOVE his girlfriend a TON. Actually, I told him if they ever broke up, I'd be on her side. He laughed...perhaps because he didn't realize I wasn't joking! So I added that to my to do list for today "figure out what's going on with K and A and get the status" because honestly if it's for good, I really need to mentally prepare. I know it sounds dramatic and all, but my family is small and pretty tight, and we had easily incorporated K into our circle, sooo, yeah, if they break up it's akin to losing a family member at this point, especially since they've been together four years.

So there was that. Then there was a message from my fabulous eyebrow/skin lady basically saying 'my mother has cancer, help, I need links to websites where I can learn everything there is to know about cancer.'

THEN a text from a family friend "My dad is at BIDMC and we would really like for you to visit if you can."

PHEW.

Now I don't begrudge anyone in these situations my time whatsoever. I would be offended (ok that's not quite the right word, but you get it) if someone was at one of the Longwood Medical Area hospitals and didn't call/email me (if they wanted company that is). Likewise, I'd be offended if someone's family member was diagnosed with cancer and they didn't call in a favor to get information or a consult at the hospital. I may have little power or pull, unless you happen to have lymphoma, but I can at least get a person in touch with the new patient coordinators as well as hook them up with some clinical information that is password protected and inaccessible to the general public. (Note: my powers end there LOL)

So anyways, that was my morning. Extensive email to cousin's gf to get the story, then extensive reply with words of support.

Next, sorted out my eyebrow lady with about a million articles on endometrial cancer, how to choose a treatment that's right for her mom, how to access clinical trials, etc.

Then many texts to family friend, who I met for lunch...followed by an hour + visit with her dad, who looked uncomfortable as HELL but was in good spirits. We even coaxed some laughter out of him, though I will say that it wasn't too hard as the conversation revolved around his weird brother who had come out of the woodwork all the way from New Mexico to make sure his brother's issue wasn't hereditary. Me, my friend, the patient and his sister all plotted to pay the surgeon off to tell the weirdo brother that the condition was hereditary and in older siblings, terminal. And that the only cure was the hot dry air of NM, so he'd best get the heck out of Boston asap and get home.

I love evil plotting.

Needless to say, very little was accomplished yesterday, but I somehow squished in a meeting with this lovely med school resident who liked my socks. Then I dragged myself to the train, tried not to fall asleep, and then drove home while trying not to fall asleep. I panicked at the realization that tonight is my last weeknight home before my sister and I depart for NYC and instead of doing laundry or packing, I collapsed into bed with my homemade afghan so I could watch Gossip Girl and crochet the edges. Totally fantastic coping solution.

Today must be more organized. But it's 11:30 and I fear that time is slipping out the door.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ok, who emailed my blog post to People?

Ha ha ha

I know no one did...I know I was hunted down on Weddingbee.com.

I was contacted by a stringer for People yesterday.
The email sounded sooooo attractive.
They're looking for brides getting married in less than a year - about six of them, spread throughout the country - who want to lose weight before the "Big Day" (ps this phrase never fails to annoy me. "Big Day." Hmm. More like "Single Most Expensive Day of Your Life." Whatevs).

So I read on, because it sounds interesting. It goes on to say that the magazine will pay for a personal trainer to help meet your fitness goals and then, obviously, you'll be featured in the magazine. I started imagining myself doing that thing I do to make myself look pregnant, and how I'll have to do it in spandex for the magazine...then I imagine myself as a willowy, toned bride, sweeping down the aisle as confetti is thrown at me and Jamaal by our warm, smiling guests. Hooray!

Then I read "So if you're in the market to lose at least 50 pounds, if not more..."
Oh.
Hmmm. Right. That kind of takes me out of the running.
Because in that last post, when I said "lose some weight" and "get toned" I meant like....no more than maybe 10 pounds. Because if I lost 50, I probably would not have the strength to walk down the aisle.

Dreams of a People feature - gone. Shattered by the fact that by some miracle, my Dunkin Donuts fanaticism and my penchant for buffalo chicken burritos from BoLoCo have not made me sufficiently obese. Darn. Maybe I should've gained that 75 pounds the platelet donor clinic asked me to gain....* OK. Probably not. eh. I have to say that next October when this sh*t goes to press, I might actually be first in line to buy People...just out of curiosity!

*they didn't really. A guy who works there, who thinks he is hil-A-rious asked my to gain 75lbs so I could give a triple unit of platelets; my platelet count is so high I can give a double in 45 mins, so he knew I could do a triple in a bit more than an hour, but alas, this is one thing for which I do not weigh enough!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wedding Wednesday 4/54

I thought it was 3/54. Yikes!

So now that there's 50 weeks to go, let's talk about exercise.
Oh hells yeah. It's another ugly truth, second only to my credit card debt.

Last night I half-heartedly did some pilates. Then the DVD skipped and froze with about 20 minutes left in the workout and I gave up to go downstairs and eat my weight in orzo tossed with lemon juice and feta cheese (one of the few perks left of living at home is my mother's cooking! too bad it is served with a helping of drama almost every night!!).

I actually planned to wake up at 6 this morning and work out some more. My alarm goes off at 6 anyway and I usually laze about in bed for 45 minutes, thinking about how I should get on the 6:43 train, but I'm just too tired and there's one at 7:38 which gets me to work at a respectable 8:30. I figured I could just get up at 6, do some exercise and get on the 7:38 as usual. Right?

Well this morning the alarm went off and I had this vague sensation that my uterus was trying to expel itself from my body. Too much information? Eh, sorry. Seriously though, I was felled completely by these cramps - I felt like lying prone and motionless in bed was the only way to remedy them. I laid like this until 7, thinking I could get up and dressed in 15 minutes and get out the door. Yeah right. The first draft of air to hit my midsection was torment. "aaaffhhhhgggg" I groaned. I started to make my way to the bathroom at a snail's pace, came back at a snail's pace, began dressing...maybe a turtle's pace: slow but deliberate. I had laid out my outfit the night before - black tights, dependable black skirt, new gray silky blouse from Ann Taylor Loft and my short sleeve cardi, best clothing investment of 2009. The tights were freakin' CONTROL TOP or some sh*t because they took a full 10 minutes to get on. That's when I realized I'd have to take the 8:03 train, no way was I gonna make the 7:38.

I proceeded to dress slowly (oh and you may ask why I didn't take a NSAID like any normal girl, especially given the jumbo bottle of aleve I always carry in my purse? I'm supposed to donate platelets today and can't take anything except tylenol 48 hours before donation. And tylenol is too weak to cross the threshold of our house apparently. And because I enjoy pain, I suffered instead of cancelling my donation and throwing three aleve down the hatch. Honestly, I know I am way better off than the people who actually need my platelets to, you know, SURVIVE! I just like being dramatic about my punctuation. ahahaha.). I decided that I would put on makeup this morning, even primer AND foundation, the works. When I stepped back to look in the mirror I decided I looked like a demented cross between Madame Audel, the octogenarian widow in Chocolat and Emma Pillsbury, the neurotic but lovable school counselor on Glee. I tucked in my shirt. It helped. About a .05% improvement. I put on wedge heels. Another .05% improvement. Then I stopped caring and left for work.

I thought I looked decent until I encountered "Statuesque" She's this girl who's worked on my floor for the past 4 1/2 years but has never spoken to me (ok she spoke to me once. She got engaged the week after me and was talking about it in the kitchen, and my boss at the time said "Oh! Everyone's getting engaged! Allison got engaged last week!" She turned and said, "You're engaged?!" I mean she could've just said, "Who the hell would marry you?" because that's what her tone was like. Anyways) so she's never spoken to me despite our mysteriously similar daily pee schedule. She got married last weekend and my coworkers were like "OhMAHGAH I bet her wedding was beautiful and she was beautiful because she is so tall and so skinny and so statuesque" OK. While none of this is untrue, it makes it hard to encounter her sometimes.

So here I am looking like a cross between a French widow and someone with way too many embellisments on their blouse and I encounter statuesque, who of course, looks like a rockstar. She is wearing pants that look suspiciously like the elastic-waistbanded pants to which my sister and I lovingly refer as our "turkey pants" - you know, the pants you bring to Thanksgiving at your grandma's house so you can take off your cute outfit after dinner and change into something that accomodates your gut, temporarily expanded by your food baby? Yeah, you know. So yeah, she's in turkey pants and this really ugly purple sweater. Except she looks beautiful. Because she's statusesque. Next to her, I look like a very short....whatever. Meh.

The thing is for the most part, I'm not totally unhappy with my general physique. I am not tall and I am not skinny, but I look "athletic." Yes there are some things that are a bit wobbly. I wouldn't mind toning them up in the next 50 weeks. I have already revealed that I will be wearing a spanx under my wedding dress. My friend turned up her nose. "You are supposed to look hot as hell under that dress" she said. Uh, "hot as hell" for my fiance, who is not only of the male species (ie appreciates lingerie for about 2 seconds before wanting to rip it off) but has already seen my naked, for the minute or so after I take my dress off at the end of the day, OR "uniform silhouette" for the potentially hundreds of pictures that may be snapped and put on facebook within 24 hours? UM I CHOOSE HOTNESS FOR PICTURES.

Back to the bod, so yeah, the spanx will help out, but all in all I probably should try to be a little healthier in general. A diet alone probably won't work. Why? Because I've tried that sort of thing and I just end up cranky and weighing the same. I have weighed 160 since I graduated college 5 years ago and have not fluctuated since. I trained for a half MARATHON and did not lose any weight. Though as Jamaal pointed out, I probably lost fat and gained muscle, because I did like how my booty looked after that experience. But being 5'6'' and 160 (and yes, I do lie every week at platelet donation and say I weigh 150. Why? Because Jamaal is 5'6" and weight 160 and weighing as much as he does depresses me and I can get away with 150!!!) puts me, according to my doctor, in the first little box on the "overweight" graph. Every year at my physical she raises and eyebrow, pops her hip out of the side of her five foot nothing 100-pound frame and says "for health reasons, you could stand to slim down."

UGH.

I've avoided her for this long, but maybe I should actually try it this time? Honestly, I probably didn't lose weight when I was training for the half marathon because I used that as an excuse to eat just about anything I wanted. I thought that training for the Boston Marathon in 2010 might help me achieve the wedding-worthy physique I was seeking, but shin splints sidelined me two months ago. There is no way I could build up my strength in time to train for the marathon (which makes me sad, I really wanted to run it) nevermind what my orthopedist would have to say about doing something like that now. What to do, what to do.

I'll tell you what I'm gonna do.

I've started the Couch to 5K program. Yeah, I hate starting from square one. I used to think of myself as a runner, no matter how slow I had become over the years. I used to be able to just decide that I was going to train for a race and go out and hit the pavement for a six mile run. Not so anymore. My orthopedist told me that if I ever wanted to run again, I had to take teeny tiny baby steps. No more big stuff till the shin splints are healed, because if I don't respect the 'splints, my tibia will break. So I started Week 1 on Monday, alternating jogging and walking. I felt the gnawing pain in my shin, but got through it without any after effects, so I think this could work. Maybe I will even run a 5K at the end of the plan and once again, feel like "a runner."

I'm also doing some pilates. I bought a pilates ring a while ago after seeing one on the Martha Stewart Show. Martha showed how it was great at toning the inner thigh (which was almost too much info for me, personally). The DVD that it came with was good, but as I mentioned about, it skips. I downloaded this for $9 yesterday. Normally I wouldn't pay for something like this, but downloading it meant that I could watch these ladies on my computer AS WELL AS put the vid on my iPod, which is key. The pilates ring is portable and you can throw it in a suitcase easily, so when I go to visit Jamaal in NYC, I can bring it along and get the workouts in.

I also dig MTV pilates and MTV yoga with Kristen McGee, so hopefully I'll integrate those into my workout as well. I also have this really quick and easy strength-training circuit that I ripped out of Real Simple that actually works. I know this because I was getting a facial and while D was massaging my shoulders and arms she was like "damn. you been working out? I can feel your muscles!!" That will have to be worked into the routine too.

We'll see how it goes. I'm not so obsessed with losing weight, though it might be nice to drop those pounds to get my doctor off my back. Personally I'd rather lose inches and get into some of the clothes I've been keeping year after year thinking I'll get them back on. I'd also love to have a routine where I do the pilates and yoga in the morning and come home and just have to do cardio. I have a hard time with motivation though.

Jamaal promises that when he moves up here, we'll work out together, which I know is true. When we're alone we tend to just do our own thing, but I know together we will kick each other's asses. I've promised not to make him run, but he's the type of guy who will prod me at 6am to get up to go to the gym, and I can work on the treadmill while he lifts. Or does whatever those guys do who are always at the gym and not running or on the elliptical. Maybe I will solve a mystery there. Until then, I do need to do something, for my own health if not for anything else. I have noticed since I stopped exercising my blood pressure slowly creeping up for 90/60 to 110/70 - not necessarily bad at all, but I know it's from doing no cardio. And like I said, stuff is flabby. These types, despite being control top, do not suck the thigh meat in sufficiently, and the whole hall can hear me walking to the bathroom as I swish swish swish my way there. Perhaps this explains Statuesque's disdain for me. Ha ha ha.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some Things

My Dream:
Two nights ago I had a dream I was pregnant. It was VERY vivid. Then I had to move back home (but it was my Holbrook House) and turn my old bedroom into the nursery. Then I gave birth to a cute but white baby. The whole time I was rambling on about how this made no sense and where was Jamaal, etc. Jamaal, given his enthusiasm for dream interpretation, believes that this means I will conquer my archenemy at work. Or at least he did until I explained the dream form start to finish last night. Now he thinks that it has to do with him moving to MA. But more about this work situation..

My archenemy:
The hospital employs 3600 people. With the exit of my coworker Anorexia nearly two years ago, I have virtually no enemies/people I dislike in the ENTIRE hospital. You could argue that this is because I don't know everyone in the hospital, but let's put it this way: I know and work with just about as many people as I need to, and right now I like all of them....except one. There is one woman, with whom, thank GOD, my interaction is limited to an hour a month.

She is the effing devil, I kid you not. She is my archenemy (AE).


Her favorite things are: belittling you in front of superiors, belittling your work and education, suggesting that she could do a better job at it, suggesting your data are weak and have nothing to stand on, suggesting she should become your boss, suggesting that the hospital wastes money on your job and project in front of others, kicking her own employees down and finding out that they're doing a smidge better than the competition and then kissing their asses like there is no tomorrow. Get it? She's a grade A b*tch.

I said to my former boss once "I went to a women's college, ok? I have dealt with every type of woman you can imagine, from the sweetest, nicest person to the meanest, rudest type of woman there is. F? She is off the bitch scale COMPLETELY." Normally I am not this candid at the office. I was worried about the long silence that followed until my former boss said this: "What I just can't get over is that she's a mother....and that she got those kids...you know...the "natural" way...who would want to?" I stopped that thought by yelling loudly that I didn't want to think about it.

I don't think of myself as an ultra-competitive person, unless we're playing Thanksgiving Pictionary or it's 7:30 on a weeknight and the family has gathered for Jeopardy. At work I tend to be pretty chill. Do I want to be the best? Of course I do. I have first-born overachiever syndrome! Do I try to pull a Blair Waldorf and take down people along the way so I emerge victorious? NO. I'd rather bust my ass to be the best and get credit for hard work. I'd rather know who my competition is and know their work and best them by working secretly in my own little corner, instead of giving them a public dressing-down in front of their superiors. This is why I hate my archenemy. She's just not my style.

That being said, I have no desire whatsoever to "bring her down." So not worth it. Unpredicted success is the only way to vanquish her, and I realized this in our last meeting when she suggested that she take over the entire project. She sees me as not totally failing at my job, but not succeeding either. A doctor I work with, who tends to be totally wishy-washy (i.e. I have seen him side with archenemy when it's been convenient/beneficial to him) had my BACK when she suggest I wasn't working hard. Actually, he kind of flipped out. There was shouting across the table and at one point he said "YOU NEED TO LISTEN" to AE. It was glorious. The doc proceeded to tell her that in the mere 8 months I had been project manager we had pushed three concepts through, all of which are likely to make it to publication, one of which is likely to be a significant paper in terms of lymphoma treatment (that's the one I'm 4th author on. BITE IT, TUFTS). He went on to say that I'm also responsible for the follow-up of over 1,000 patients. That I'm still doing my old job, as well as the project manager's job AND work for the hospital for which they are not paying me, but I'm doing it anyways because I am "nice." AE tried interjecting many times, but he was on a roll. He was like "FURTHERMORE I don't want Allison to quit because she hates her job, because we are stretching her is so many directions that she can't bear the thought of coming to work in the morning - why wouldn't she leave to find a job where her roll is clearly defined and she is receiving fair pay for what she's expected to do?!"

That shut her up. For a second.

Then AE went off on this tangent about how her staff does this, how she knows their schedules in her head and knows how to prioritize for them, how they're doing MY work (excuse me b*tch?), etc. Anything to deflect the fact that I am basically underpaid and overworked.
Finally, the doc had to use the final and most devastating weapon in his arsenal. We were both hoping it wouldn't come to this point, that we could handle AE by ourselves. It was not to be...Dr. A finally had to interrupt AE and say "in the end, this is irrelevant, because Dr. L wants Allison to be prioritizing XYZ."

Done.

The magic words "Dr. L" put AE into a frenzy of "well I don't know how YOU do things but if that's what DOCTOR L wants done, well I guess I don't have anything to say about it."

So all that screaming and yelling and fighting for what? Not much of anything in the end.
We didn't particularly resolve anything and everyone, except AE I am sure, walked away from the meeting royally pissed off or terrified (her staff). I thanked Dr. A profusely for having my back, especially considering how unexpected it was. He just shrugged and said "well. I tried."

"You did GREAT!" I insisted. "No one dares to take her on and you did, and you did it for me, and I can't tell you how fantastic that was." He shook his head as if he had failed. Then we went to my former boss to gossip about the meeting. J, my old boss, who is as much AE's nemesis as I am told me not to bend to the whims of AE. I insisted that I won't. I also told both Dr. A and J that AE does not scare me. I don't react to her (which makes her super angry) and I'm not afraid to say something controversial to her ("I am doing work I'm not paid to do." This may have been a mistake.) What this woman needs is not to be taken down; perhaps that's why no one has succeeded in quieting her yet. She needs to have no ammunition to throw at you. When she's out of ammo, she'll have nothing left to say. You can't trap or trick her or even weaken her defenses. You must outsmart her.

Thus

THE ACTION PLAN

I am 69 patients behind on my data entry. This has been de-prioritized due to other, bigger, more important, and more public projects. New priority? Make two days a week data entry days. Do not allow for distractions. Do not answer emails of staff, only superiors, then only if essential.

I am 25 patients behind on THEIR data entry. Prioritize the consults, which take about 20 minutes each to enter. Choose a call-free meeting-free day to enter these. Then attack the most complex, the previously diagnosed, treated patients coming here for a bone marrow transplant. Rate these from most to least difficult, approach in this order. Then enter the rest of their data.

Continue to rock other priorities. Get ready for huge meeting. Get Dr. L ready for ASH.
Be badass.

Meet with AE and staff on November 19th, completely caught up. Show certain amount of pity for amount of work other staff has. Offer to help. Make it known that catching up wasn't easy, but necessary to get AE off my back (in a nice way.) Wish everyone a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Walk out. High five Dr. A.

There's my plan. And if you've made it to the end of this painfully long and rambling post, I will let you know how it goes. If it continues to be a piece of crap however, I'm going to have to insist an additional staff member is hired. This is tough for a control freak like me though. I told the various docs to give me a month. I'm going to figure this out. Somehow.
Grrrr. I'm going to whip it in it's ass and emerge victorious. It's really my only option.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Picture Wh*re

I bought a new camera.
Hells yes. And it's red...and sexy...




I have a Canon DSLR that I absolutely love love love.

Though it is several years old and megapixels behind the flashy stuff that's out there, I'm not sure I could ever get rid of it. I often think of a camera as an extension of my body. When I was in Africa, both the first and second time, I was rarely photographed without it (and rarely photographed, as I usually was the one taking the pictures:






I know it's extreme to think about it like that, but I realized once that when I am looking through the lens of my camera I see the world in an *entirely* different and more detailed way. Having a camera nearly constantly attached to my palm has meant that I've been able to capture photos from what I consider the sublime to the most mundane, hilarious to intense...and most of the time, the just plain ridiculous - as Dr. Bailey would say "the little joys and tragedies that make you who you are."

That's why my sister was shocked when I announced that I would not be taking my camera to New York with me. "WHAT?" she exclaimed, as I declared at midnight, hot and sweaty and frustrated that it "took up too much room" was "too bulky to fit into a purse" and "needed it's battery charged." She raised her eyebrows skeptically, but I was so tired and fed up with packing and laundry, was faced with a 5AM wake up call and half a day with work before I was granted the freedom of the leather reclining seats on the Limo Liner I thought "F*CK IT. Jamaal will have his camera."

When I arrived in NYC Jamaal and I were casually chatting and I said "Oh yeah, I didn't bring my camera. By the way...." He responded with a somewhat shrill "WHAAT?! YOU?! You didn't bring your camera? But you bring it everywhere."

It was at that moment that the panic ensued. I felt this horrible anxiety. I am supposed to capturing the little joys and tragedies that make me...me....how could I NOT have a camera at a wedding?! I plan to have a camera in my purse at my own wedding!! How could I do this. Jamaal must've felt my anxiety because he downplayed the situation. He told me not to worry, he had his camera.

I couldn't shake it though. Through dinner, on the subway ride back to his apartment I went back and forth between trying not to care about the camera, to figuring out how I could get one - maybe on the street in Brooklyn? They sell lots of stuff streetside in NY, surely someone had to be selling cameras, bootleg or not, to quaff my shutter-snapping addiction, no?

Luckily before I was reduced to street shopping, I had a flash of genius (or perhaps just common sense). We were headed to Middletown, NY, which I knew, from my googling proclivities, contained a very large shopping mall. And where there is a large mall, there is usually a Best Buy. I scrambled for my laptop (which weighs seven times what my camera does, yet I still lugged it to NYC) and consulted BestBuy.com...and there it was. A slim, sexy, lightweight RED camera for under $100. 10 megapixels (.1 shy of embarrassing my beloved DSLR...which is why I didn't go for the pricier 11 mpg one, LOL). I ordered it online for in-store pickup. The camera-less jitters started to reside.

I wish I could say that in-store pick-up was simple, but of course it wasn't. Jam doesn't have a functioning printer in his apartment, and because he's slowly starting to pack it up, getting the printer on its feet for the sole purpose of printing my Best Buy confirmation slip was dumb. I have a Blackberry dammit, with email pushed to my homescreen! What's better than a printed slip? The actual confirmation EMAIL in the flesh! Of course the woman with five o'clock shadow at Best Buy did not agree and I had to wait...forever....for her to find out what to do from a supervisor...who then yelled at me saying that as long as I had ID I could get my camera. Oh well, I might also be angry if I worked at the BB.

I ripped into the box as soon as we settled at the sweet Holiday Inn Jam had reserved (and I'm not being a sarcastic ass by calling it "sweet;" the room actually rocked - the bed must've had Ambien woven into its fibers because I literally fell asleep just looking at the pillow-top mattress). I took some test shots:


decent portrait setting

nice color saturation; note the richness of the green purse handles, the view reaching into my cavernous sinus







Nice sunset setting








Status: camera approved.

Of course I had to learn the hard way that you should never bring a brand new hardly used camera to a capture a "life-event." My first few pictures of the wedding looked like this:


Damn you party/indoor setting, luring me in with your siren song of perfect pictures in a not-so-perfect lighting situation! Argh! I basically botched the entire wedding ceremony. This is why brides have professional photographers. I finally found the automatic setting (not the easy automatic setting, which is messed up to heck!) and even got in a decent self-portrait of Jamaal and I. This makes a total of six pictures in which we both look half-decent. We take awful pictures together. I have actually taken individual picture of us and photoshopped them together because of notoriously bad pictures. This is ok though:
I'm a bit pale, but what else is new! After that I was even able to capture some nice shots of the bride and groom and friends



not to mention priceless video (the sound sucks, but check out those moves - oh and yeah, I right the camera once the video starts):


video

So. My camera anxiety was killed. I captured some of those special life moments...like a small child burning the dance floor with sweeter moves than I will ever have:
I even got some foliage and NYC shots, including some interesting pics of the Columbus Day parade (note, NEVER try and cross 5th Avenue on foot during this parade. It's worth the one subway stop to get under that hot mess):



So my impulse buy was worth it in the end. I'm still tweaking the various settings and such, but all in all, it is so nice to have a point and shoot at my fingertips again...you know, just in case another golden-winged roller skating Miss Italy crosses my path.

I am missing the Pats game

Because I am off to my church's Jr. High Fellowship meeting.
Because my minister thinks Amy and I are good role models for 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
Wow.
I just hope these kids don't try and friend me on facebook...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wedding Wednesday 3/54 aka Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

ha ha.

Remember that witchy bride to be from last Wednesday?
Gone!**
yaaayayayayayay
Why?
Because I sucked it up and made a budget for Jam. And a DIY wish list as well as decoration/accessories list for ceremony and reception list that itemized each element of whatever so I could get exact costs. I wrangled Jamaal into sitting down on Sunday morning, before T&K's wedding, to crunch the numbers. He looked at the "bottom line" and said "oh. seriously?"

"Yes" I said nervously, internally freaking out...."uh of course this has not calculated in the cost of the honeymoon, the rehearsal luncheon/picnic, and, if we choose to have one, the friends and family next morning brunch at 12.75 per person, estimating approximately 30 guests...."

"Oh" he said. I watched his eyes scanning my excel spreadsheet.

"One great thing," I prattled on, "is that the estimated decoration cost made by the budget generator was way off...I put everything I could want and more onto this wish list and only came up to $500, which is great. It would require us to do a lot of work ourselves, but I think it's a reall cost-effective solution. The only thing is we'd have to see who could help us hang paper lanterns...oh wait, that is, if you want paper lanterns because..."

"I like this" says Jamaal.

@@#$*(&##$_(#*$)#$(*^(*$&#!!!!

"What?" I ask nervously.

"Everything! I really wanted paper lanterns (who knew?!) and the budget looks great. It's $20,000!"

"That's what I promised" I said.

"I know," he said, "but I didn't think you'd actually pull it off."

Oh ye of little faith!

So there it is. We agreed on the budget. Which has now dropped below $20,000 because a friend has agreed to do the videography for the cost of a night's stay in our hotel block. This is incredible because it's not like a guy with a flip video camera (which I thought sounded fine if we needed to cut costs in the end LOL) but Steve has legit equipment, mikes, booms, heavy-duty camera, etc, and is just about the most unobtrusive person I could think of. I did not want him to feel pressured, as he and his wife will be invited guests, but Jamaal was up front about asking and working out a deal and it all fell into place. This means that all of the vendors/people most important to me are done: reception, ceremony, minister, photographer, videographer. YES. Now we have to work on Jamaal's duties: transportation, DJ, cake. Flowers too, guess that's me.
We are getting a lot done and it makes me happy!

I also want to formally ask my bridal party. I made these cute cards that I started to fill out. I did one and gave it out to one of my ladies. Though I spent a lot of time on them, after reading wedding blogs I thought they could have been better, but decided to stop beating myself up about it and just go with it....then I made the mistake of trying to do the rest on a moving bus. Wow. Nothing takes the charm out of a cute card like wobbly, messy handwriting. I'm going to have to redo two or three of them this week. Oh well. I think I have plenty of paper.

After I do that it's off to work on the invites. Why? Because we are probably going with the fantastic A Printable Press and I want to order invites, save the dates and thank you's in one fell swoop. This means organization. And ordering early. Yuppers.

Maybe I should work on a wedding registry too. I dunno though. I want to, but it's frustrating because I don't know what Jamaal and I will need. But then again, we'll "need" pretty much everything since he's leaving his furniture and stuff for his brother, who will be taking his apt in Brooklyn.

And even though I've heard it's crazy and stupid and pointless, I am registering for china. You betcha.

FINALLY
I think I have bought my last wedding magazine. I spent 6.99 for one last night that lured me in with its glossy images and heavy paper, but it turned out to be a bust. I got about .30 cents worth of inspiration. Dang! I am imposing a self-moratorium on wedding mags from here on out. DONE!







**this is not to say I won't be witchy about other things. like public transportation. or how I hate ham. or how the Red Sox and Pats lost in the same weekend! grrrrr!!!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Ummm

Can we just look at that obnoxious little counter thingie?
1 year to go.
YIKES. YIKES x 10.
Some people would be like 'shut up and calm down a year is plenty of time'
BUT
when you've been engaged for 1 year and 7 months (as of 10/13) that amount of time is scary.

The good thing is we've accomplished a lot of "big things."
My hairdresser said yesterday "well of course everything is done, you've been engaged forever"
Aha ha ha ha. ha. HA.
NO.

Unrelated: I am at work obscenely early to head to NYC. Ok that really made no sense. I am at work early because I needed a ride to the T so I wouldn't have to leave my car anywhere til Monday. My mom works 6am-2pm and passes right by the Braintree T stop. Thus the early arrival to work. I had a stroke of genius (or maybe just common sense) that the commuter rail would be coming through and then stopping at JFK. Perfect! Then halfway down the ramp to the commuter rail (the dark, creepy, unLIT ramp) I remembered my train didn't stop at Braintree that early. Luckily another train did. Whatevs. It was sooo nice at that hour. Quiet, only half full. I thought "I could do this every day....I could get on the 5:4something train, get to work at 6:30, leave around 3:30 or so, catch the 4:28 train at JFK and be home by 5pm. Then I could work out and.......

and...then I remembered how much I hate to get up in the morning and thought
"Nah."

Ha. Slacker.

OK, this post has no point at all really.

I am going to get all the documents I need to work on my way to NYC - I hope I'm not the only person on their cell phone, because I really don't want to be "that obnoxious girl" but I have to be on a call at 1pm. Forgive fellow passengers!

Also, I am very excited for the wedding I'm going to this weekend. The couple is actually friends with Jamaal (I think he introduced them to each other!) and have been together for a loooong time. Of course my hater coworkers were all "They'll be divorced in a year because those things never work out." Those women are so b*tchy sometimes. UGH. I am excited for them because it has been a long time coming!! I'm also excited because it'll be one of the few weddings I've been to where I've known more than the bride, groom and Jamaal with a few other people thrown in. There will be lots of familiar faces at this one. YAY! Also, now that I am planning a wedding, I love going to them to see people's ideas. Not that I would be an idea-stealer. Oh heck no. :)

OK. It's coffee time.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Scary hair!

I always put off going to the hairdresser's. Not cause it's inconvenient, or even expensive. I just slack. I dunno why.

I think I last went about 6 months ago when Jamaal "graduated." Yikes. I was pretty nonchalant about it, not too worried. Plus my scalp is like, FREAKING OUT about the summer-fall weather change and is all flaky. Ew. Is that an overshare? Probably. But I hate to subject my sainted hairdresser to such grossness, though I am sure he sees it at least 10 times a day. Plus I go to a fru fru Newbury St. salon and try to only go there when 1. my hair looks good 2. my scalp is appropriately moisturized 3. I have on a cute outfit 4. I have on makeup.
Those are my not to be broken rules. Not bad considering I only go there two or three times a year.

Today I am breaking the rules. The hideousness must end. I am wearing my hair loose and curly today, and it flopped over to on shoulder, all dead animal like. As I looked down I noticed it is FULL of split ends. And not just like 'oh poor little overworked hair end, you are about to give!' These are like full on half-inch splits. Yikes! I had to bite the bullet.

I called and my hairdresser, cause he rocks, can fit me in in an hour and a half. Yup. I'm going to go there with my ugly outfit, no makeup, zit on bridge of nose (should I hide it with my glasses? oh, I'll have to take them off anyways, screw it) and no makeup. And dry scalp and busted hair. LOL. I hope he'll forgive me. And I hope there aren't any women in there with their fancy jeans and prada bags and gucci glasses to make me ashamed of my Vera Bradley owl wallet.

Oh who am I kidding? Of course those women will be there! Of course I will feel toolish! But I DO LIKE MY OWL WALLET. And I'll feel pretty when it's done. And I'll leave work early tomorrow and get a pedicure and feel highly satisfied with life. Yes. SEIZE THE DAY!

But for now, I have to spend the next hour talking about lymphoma (what I research; I have metioned this, yes? well there it is.)

Ok, off to work I go.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Feelin' Squirrely!

So I made this:
You can make one too! Just click here to share in the celebration of the invention of the barcode.
Nerdilicious good fun!

Wedding Wednesday 2/54

I have to get this out before I get busy doing, you know, my real job.

We have wedding budgetary issues.
Yup.

**before I get into this, I do want to write a disclaimer. In the following post, I will b*tch about a conversation I had with my dearest fiance. I am writing this to vent. Once it's out, I'm going to be mostly over it. Just so no one comments and is like 'wow you are a b*tchasswh*re' or "you should not be getting married." LOL I love him, we're going to make this happen no matter what, even if we have to cancel everything and just get married in the church we booked and call it a day and just continue to live our lives together forev' and totally love each other every day. It will be fine. But I need to get this off my chest. WHEW**

Not budgetary issues in the sense that one of us has lost our job, or has suffocating medical bills or even insurmountable credit card debt. Ohh noo. Nothing tragic or bad. It's just that last night, there was flippage over our proposed wedding budget of $20,000. I told Jam that I had used a budgeting tool that put us at around $22,000. He kind of freaked (which if he is reading this, which I doubt, would DENY! but I heard the pitch of your voice raise!) I said "I thought that was decent, only $2,000 over what we budgeted, and certain things will be eliminated from this budget, or greatly reduced, like the cost of the wedding night bridal suite (we get it for free if we book 20 rooms at the hotel and so far we've already booked five!), the cost of invites, flowers, blah blah blah." Jam was like "Oh but it could spiral to $27 or $28K!!" I tried to stay calm. I hope I didn't sound like a biatch because there were a lot of things I wanted to say. But I didn't because they were mean and spiteful and after all, we are talking about 1. a lot of money 2. one day. Ok. I tried to calm him. So much of this stuff isn't even going to come from our budgeted money. Example, I have budgeted to save $15K so we will have enough to go on a honeymoon. This is mostly to cover the large expenses, like reception, dress, flowers, cake, DJ, maybe videographer, maybe musicians. That won't touch 10K ea, according to my budget, if we're splitting down the middle, which leaves us with 5K + for a rehearsal dinner and honeymoon. Jam was all "I can't SAVE 15K!!!" I said "That's fine, but can you save the 10K you agreed on?" Silence.

Sigh. It's so much money, I get that. And I also get that I live with my parents and can save what I do from week to week. But to renege on the agreed sum with a year to go? And with me frickin' BUSTING my ASS to do more DIY stuff that I can handle (and I am not so deluded to call it "DIT" do-it-together" because we all know who is going to be cutting and pasting for the next 12 months). I internally freaked. I have done so much to reduce the cost to both of us AND my parents offered to pay for the pricey photographer to get our cost down, and now he's worried he can't hold up his end of the bargain? YEAH. THAT MAKES ME FREAK OUT. *deep breath*

I told him to cut his guest list by 20 people - the first round was supposed to be 10 each, but for maximum savings? Yup, 20. I B- and C-listed 20 people of my own. Half are my parent's friends, and I'm going to show them the list and if they feel strongly about it, they are more than welcome to offer to pay. I don't want them to feel pressured, or like I'm asking them for money, and I don't think they will, but that was the best option for me to cut 20 people - that way I keep my family and my personal friends in my budget and offer the parent's an option. All good yes? And that candy bar you wanted that sounded so awesome? CUT CUT CUT. Ok. So maybe not that.

The thing is, I never wanted to be this type of person. I wanted to save my pennies and have enough to invite who we wanted and to have everything run smoothly. I didn't want to be the harpy who is all "cut 20 guests and don't you dare complain because I am making sh*t to make this day beautiful." Because everyone says it's not about the day. And it isn't. But in a way, it kind of is. And if I can't be happy getting there, what is the point of having an effing wedding day?
BLAH.

Of course we're going to figure this out. Of course. And I'm going to bring up the fact that me doing everything so far only to be checked at the door makes me resentful and were this a joint effort this would not happen. I've had free reign about 99% of the time, so to get pulled back without any offer to help out is tough. I'm going to lay it out there this weekend. I need participation here. I'm the only one googling, researching, budgeting, frickin' CRAFTING like mad, and because apparently we can't have a joint bank account for the wedding, I'm the only one seemingly saving. I know (hope?) this can't be true, but it's high time for an honest conversation. You know, so I don't lose my mind. To be fair, planning a wedding long distance is not easy. I'm sure people think that after nearly 5 years in a long-distance relationship we should be able to pull this off easily but alas, tis not the case.

In happier, lighter news, google reader fed me a fantastic post Budget Savvy Bride had on her blog, a "Real Wedding" post (side note: I realized today that I really like BSB b/c 1. it's realistic 2. it is not preachy 3. it's fun and full of great ideas. I read a couple of wedding blogs and some are great but I'm like "oh please stop preaching to me about xyz" This one, never the case.) The couple's budget was, GASP, 20K! The wedding looks goooorgeous (take a look at the pics!)! The bride had some great advice about asking for help, making a DIY priority list, not seeking approval (something we're both totally guilty of even though we try to be all "we don't care what people think...") so yeah. Great advice. I'm going to reread the post and try to chill. And start those lists - what I want to DIY, where it lands in the priority queue, who can help. I know one lady (EE (: ) is totally willing to partake in wedding crafting. Maybe we can get together and do a few crafty weekends, EE? My sister is a willing crafter as well, and I am sure I could rope my mom into it. We can do this and save, we can do this and meet our budget goals, and we can figure it all out so that my fiance isn't having a financial heart attack and we can still go on that honeymoon he's been dreaming about and I can have that wedding full of homemade and wonderful thoughtful details that I'm dreaming about. Yes we can, Yes we can.

We can do this.

See how I talked myself down?
Totally.

And I am not even pissy about last night's phone call. LOL.

Monday, October 05, 2009

I think

Fish homicide happened in our work tank. I am 99% sure of it.
Why?
Because when I left on Friday we had five fish and now there are only four.
Missing?
The mangy-looking guppy.
Culprits?
The fat little platys no doubt.
They started out all sweet and innocent and quickly grew into giants (ok not giants, as they were still smaller than the guppies!) thanks to my coworker's overfeeding during my sick time from work.
They seemed a bit nippy. Were they biting? It looked like the black-tailed guppy had a chunk out of his tail. I thought maybe it was ich, but none of the other fish had it, and the symptoms weren't quite right. Then I thought it was fin damage due to water change, and planned to remedy the situation with an aquarium salt regimen I found on a guppy-breeding website.
But then today, he's gone. Just like that!
I picked up the cave/rock decoration he used to like to hide under, and nothing. Weird bits of stuff came out of there. Was it his remains? I don't know - nothing was intact enough to make a positive ID.

He's not in the filter. He didn't jump out of the tank.
He disappeared.
And I think he disappeared into the fat bellies of my two little seemingly innocent platys.
Little bastards.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Missed it!

You know how I said "oh blah blah blah I'm going to blog on Wednesdays about wedding plans and call in Wedding Wednesdays blah blah blah"?
And then I didn't blog on Wednesday at all?

Yup. Total fail.
LOL.

Truth is, I am totally swamped at work. I am busting my rear to get some serious stuff in order to meet an October 15th deadline. Also, my sister and I have been flying solo at the homestead as the parentals are away on a Mediterranean cruise - not that it's not awesome to have a house to yourself, but we've been switching off making dinner. I get home around 6:15 or so and get to it, then exercise, then eat around 8pm and flop in front of the TV - blogging hasn't really factored into the schedule.

I am also plugging away at a crafty project that rocks my world, totally ignoring a wedding knitting project I'm supposed to be working on (ooops) so yeah. That's what I've been doing.

I will say a bit about wedding junk though.
It's been a productive week.

I found a church - a UCC Congregational church which is an "Open and Affirming" church. That meant a lot to me - I guess just because I believe if you want to get married, you should be able to, no matter what (ok within reason, it would not be cool for a guy to marry his sister, but you know what I mean). I had emailed eight churches looking for one that was willing to host our wedding and allow our pastor to perform the ceremony - I got seven "sures" and one rambling "we can't do it because we are not O&A and your marriage wouldn't be legal in Connecticut so if you live in another state blah blah blah so you can't use our church.....oh, unless your fiance is a man." Um yeah, well, he IS, but forget it, we don't want to use your church!
So yes, church done, and only blocks from the hotel and an 8-minute drive from The Barns.

Today I reserved the bridal suite at the Inn at Middletown for three nights. Take that bride who took our original church! mwahahahha. Ok that's mean. BUT TAKE THAT!

Umm what else - not too much really, but this weekend I need to sit down and sort through all my wedding junk and work on "the big picture" a bit more, as well as some details. I've got so much in my head that needs to come out, because once it's all in one accessible place, the planning process is going to be pretty straighforward because I have concrete ideas, which is great. I think I scare Jamaal sometimes when I email him midday with an email all in caps being like "CAN I BUY THESE BIRD STAMPS ON EBAY - THE AUCTION ENDS IN 3 MINUTES. THESE WOULD BE GOOD FOR OUR INVITES" and he's all "uh whatever, just go for it" but I think once he sees the plan he'll feel better, knowing I'm not just gathering random sh*t together. Or maybe I am, ha ha ha. Who knows. We have a year to get it together and everyone keeps telling us how that year is going to fly by and be barely enough time, but I'm hoping it's more than sufficient to get everything done and relax the few days before the wedding so I'm not a grumbly mess on our honeymoon.
Plenty of time to worry about that though, right?

Anyways, I am off to do my pre-weekend chores at work (feeding fish, watering plants, doing dishes) before I jet out of here to stop at the yarn store and bring my grandparents some pumpkin bread. My grandma had lithrotripsy and is down down down :( I'm hoping a visit from me and Amy and some pumpkin bread will lift her spirits. Oh that and a print out of wedding-related info because she will not let it go. This way, my grandpa can look up everything on the computer to his heart's content and show her pictures of the church, hotel, etc. Can you tell I'm the first grandchild getting married?!?!

Off I go. Happy weekend all!

P to the S
I could not be in love with these any more if I tried - I'm hoping the budget will have room for one of these in the end!