21 December 2009

Sibling Rivalry

Many events and new learnings with the girls have come and gone. Its too hard to keep up any more. They really are like little people who just have a lot to learn. Such as last night, when I showed them how to hold a spoon they all of a sudden starting eat much more neatly than before. There is one story from this morning, however, that I thought fun. It illuminates the love and hate that exists between siblings.

After breakfast this morning the girls were still a bit hungry. We keep a bottom drawer in the kitchen unlocked and stuffed full of snacks for the girls. They regularly raid this drawer looking for goodies. Today, Alisa scored a box of animal crackers. She brought it over to me and asked me to open it (her request was to hold up the box and say "Me.") Inside there is another packet sealing in the cookies. After I popped open the box I handed her the packet to let her play with it a little bit before eating. Leia jumped to hand and grabbed the other side of the packet. A tug of war ensued where both girls were literally leaning way back, pulling frantically at the packet of animal crackers while eyeing the other with fierce jealousy. When I tried to take the packet to stop the fight they wouldn't give up and both started tugging against me.

I finally got the packet open and they each had two crackers. Their favorite pet is a kitty and, as luck would have it, they both got a kitty for their second cracker. Leia, however, had tired of the animal crackers by then (she's not much into carbs) and dropped her kitty on the floor. Alisa became concerned, picked up the cracker and gave it back to Leia - evidently thinking Leia had accidentally dropped the kitty cracker. Leia looked the cracker over, decided again she didn't want it, and gave it back to Alisa. This time Alisa gratefully took the cracker, smiled and said "Nya Nya" (the Japanese children's word for kitty) and ate the cracker.

19 December 2009

Back to the Front!

Its been a really f'ng hard week. As I write this, at 6:30am on a Saturday morning, my hangover is just starting to kick in. God I hate booze. Give me weed any day of the week. An old colleague from Pune, India dropped by on Friday and we went out for drinks. Among many other things, we discussed the brutal nature of off-shoring jobs and emotional nature of our own roles. It got me to drinking way too heavily.

To give you some sense of what its like, my team has lost 30% of its individual contributors over the last year. A similar percentage of managers have become individual contributors. Every step I personally make has an effect on whether or not one of my friends & colleagues has a job next year. And still our jobs relentlessly disappear. The pressure is intense. After I came home last night I just sat on the kitchen floor and broke down.

Now at last I feel a little better. The tears are gone and, once this headache is gone and Sunday rolls around, its back to the front. Although next week is holiday, there really is no chance to stop working anymore. Holidays and days off are used to prepare for another battle in trying to keep jobs here in the US.

14 December 2009

Baked Beans: Twitter Edition

Life is more than hectic right now and will be until mid-April. So here's a bunch of one-liner status messages.

- Alisa had her first three word sentence today. Hirono took her dirty diaper flushed the contents away. She responded by saying "Poopoo go away."

- I still think there may be criminal activity with individuals in the 2008 financial bailout; but, to suggest there is a conspiracy is going too far. Obama may be tragically misguided but I don't think he or most of his cabinet are actual evil like the last batch of goons in the White House.

- Work is nuts. Focal review period, still dealing with layoff ramifications, getting close to ship, lining up the next projects, fighting for funding, trying to make the teams take another step toward process perfection, planning the holiday parties and getting ready for a 2 week vacation all at the same time.

- Hirono and I are starting to have a real life again. We can spend up to ten minutes communicating at one time while the girls play together. There are now moments when its easier that the girls are twins because they can play with each other.

- Alisa likes to always play with another person. Leia likes to play alone half the time. That leads to trouble sometimes and entertaining chase scenes as two diaper clad wee ones go careening around the house in a badly balanced game of tag.

- Music! We can listen to music again. I even got in a real practice session on the alto recorder yesterday for the first time in over a year. I learn once more that playing music and playing D&D are the only things that unfailingly keep me away from weed.

08 December 2009

Short Stream of Consciousness Post

The illnesses this winter have been relatively mild. We're now in the second cold of the season, with post nasal drip, sniffly noses, nightly coughs and general sleeplessness. I'm working from home today to try to recover from a sleepless night. I won't get the chance to nap; but, at least it will be more relaxing so that I can deal with 2 hours of sleep (interrupted multiple times.)

To heighten the sense of being pampered today, I've walked downtown to have breakfast and my weekly cup of java. There's a cafe downtown that serves an excellent Eggs Florentine and has Peet's on the premises. There's a full bar in the afternoon/evenings and televisions silently showing European soccer. A bevy of older Italian gentlemen hang out here most days to watch soccer and drink wine. The sound of them arguing over the game in Italian is surprisingly calming.

The lasagna here rocks, too.

07 December 2009


Outside my office window I can see snow on the hilltops weirdly juxtaposed with the palm trees on the street below. If the sun comes out I'll take a picture.

06 December 2009

Long Night Ahead

The girls are finally down. Its been a difficult weekend with them both being slightly ill and four shots each (including a booster for H1N1) at the doctor on Friday. They do continue to grow and learn in leaps and bounds. Leia was walking around on her tippy toes tonight, quite a feat in balance for someone who only learned to walk a few months ago. Alisa's vocabulary is up to about 35-40 words and growing. Her ability to put words together for new meaning is increasing. They both have really taken to pretend play, such as feeding their stuffed animals or tucking them into bed. Alisa is also starting to really sing songs rather than just random rhythmic noises. Best of all, they're almost to the point where I can read a real story to them rather than a very simplistic board book - that's when the real fun begins!

The title of the post refers to work. I'm just sitting down to work. My first meeting is in 15 minutes. 1 hour of meetings tonight, about 250 emails to catch up on, its the end-game in our (truly massive) product cycle and - on top of it all - is focal review season. I've got about 6 hours of work that must be completed before tomorrow morning. Ugh.

Now if only I could find where I lost my motivation. The weak kneed leaders in the Senate don't help.

03 December 2009

18 Months

The girls are 18 months old today. The experience has been intense. Its starting to relax a little and I'm beginning to find myself with more energy to do other things. Work cries out for attention. So does my home life. Getting a balance between the two isn't easy.

Alisa uses two word combinations regularly now. Leia responds correctly to amazingly complex sentences. Their biggest problems now are phonics and vocabulary. This calls for a trip to the bookstore!

Leia is the ringleader. She's the one who always has an idea for something new to do, some new game to play. Alisa follows along joyfully. If Leia does anything to hurt Alisa, she tells on her. For example, Alisa will come complaining to me saying "Leia" and slapping herself on the head.

You can always tell when the girls enjoy their food. Leia is quiet and eats prodigiously. Alisa smiles and says "mmmmmmmm".

Alisa likes playing the recorder and the piano. Leia likes drums and dancing. These are some of the last photos of the girls before they turned 18 months. They are clearly no longer babies; but, budding individuals.