To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Still having fun on my new job. I have a whole bunch of stuff to figure out, more all the time as people off-handedly mention things that I realize I will need to bring into my sphere of influence, ha ha. We're getting the lab squared away. It's starting to look nice. Quotes on equipment we'll need. I'm looking at electronic notebooks for data capture, archival, and reporting. I described how I think that's going to work and my boss was very pleased. He will have access to real-time data, from his office, of all the lab results, including in-process testing. This will be so cool.

When I said that the week would be work-and-home, I forgot about choir last night. We're working on Christmas music, which could be irritating except that it's good stuff. We're doing some of the Robert Shaw "Many Moods of Christmas", including Patapan, and a new setting of "The First Nowell", which is pretty cool; and "Ding Dong Merrily On High", and Vivaldi's "Gloria" which I have not done before. This last is very satisfying to me. I am a complete sucker for baroque music. I suppose that we will do "And the Glory" from "The Messiah" for the first Sunday of Advent, as we usually do. Never get tired of it. Lyrics: "And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed. And all flesh shall see it together. For the Mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Short and sweet. The music is spectacular.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Second week on the new job started today. I did go back.
: )

Yesterday afternoon R and I started out to go to the grocery store. But the day was so nice, cool and bright. R said we really ought to go to Shelby Farms instead. I said, "Let's do." So we u-turned the truck and went out to Patriot Lake, and parked, and walked around the lake. That place always reminds me of "Saturday In the Park". Kids, grownups, old folks, bicycles, kites. One guy had a contraption that R and I guessed must have been a para-ski - he held a huge sail-like kite and was dragged across (and occasionally into) the lake on a cross-ways ski. We had a wonderful time. Plenty of time to go to the store when we were done.

This evening after work we went to an American Chemical Society meeting, had dinner and then heard a very interesting talk by a former ACS president about patent medicine and the first FDA legislation, around the turn of the last century.

I guess the rest of the week will be work and home, work and home. R is slowly but surely getting the house painted. I need to do some housework. I have been doing housework for several decades now, and it is beginning to get a bit tedious to me.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Well, I failed my pre-employment drug test (that I took post-employment) due to a prescription medication that I am taking. Got that all straightened out, they reported me negative for drug use this morning. Immediately afterward I got a phone call from my OBGYN's office, that I failed my mammogram of last Saturday. I've been expecting that, it happened last year and the ultrasound tech who ultimately cleared me said it would happen again, but I still have to go for followup. Next is my dental checkup on Tuesday morning. Let's see, should I have degraded fillings to refurbish, or what? Because nothing can be simple and uncomplicated.

But I'm having fun on my new job. I have embarked upon a very steep learning curve and I always enjoy that. I like a challenge. And everybody is still being extremely nice.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Today I got an email from the company I interviewed with on August 16:

"Prior to your interview, please complete and submit the attached employment application."

Um, it's too late, guys.

I was sent for steel-toed shoes today. I've never had steel-toed shoes before. They're actually pretty comfortable, and it's nice to know I could kick the crap out of anybody who bothers me. Alas, there is no spike on the toe.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I know the entire world is waiting to see how my first day on the new job went.

It went OK.

It's kind of strange going from one job to another so quickly. I worked at the previous one pretty hard until about 4:45 on Friday, when I got to a reasonable stopping place and told my boss that I was rapidly losing interest. So I had one weekend for the anxiety dreams (don't remember one last night, fortunately) and now that I've actually started at the new place maybe I can skip ahead to the next set. Probably I'll dream about finding myself at work in my underwear tonight or tomorrow night.

But I had some thinking time today, to think about the issues I probably need to start with and how I'm going to handle stuff, and questions I have for various people. Everyone is still being very nice. I hope that continues. I see them being nice to each other, so it probably will.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I start my new job tomorrow.

Had an anxiety dream last night. On my first day, I went to the old place very early to just take care of something. I looked at the clock and it was 9:00. I had meant to be at the new job at 8:00. They would think I had abandoned my job. They would not want me. I was helpless to call, or leave to go over there right away. Then I woke up, thank goodness.

The thing is, I had that EXACT dream when I left the previous job, repeatedly. It's really pretty irritating. No more anxiety dreams, OK? I will be at my new job at 8:00 sharp. I will. Not going back to the old place for anything.

At the grocery store today an old man saw me and came toward me with a happy look of recognition and greeting. I flipped rapidly through the mental index cards and could not place him at all. It turned out that he was convinced that I was his physical therapist. I have never been a therapist, physical or any other kind. He was so sure that was me that he kept trying to think of my name so he could tell me who I was. And hadn't I just had a baby? Dang, I'll be 46 next month. He was really kind of rattled that I wasn't who I was supposed to be. That happens to me ALL THE TIME. I guess that I am a type. I usually just laugh it off and tell people no, they don't know me, and that I'll add them to my list.

Friday, September 15, 2006

So, last day today. I'm unemployed until Monday.

On Wednesday they gave me and Vickie, who left for a job with Homeland Security, a potluck lunch. It was really nice. I enjoyed the spinach dip, although if I'd known about the e. coli thing I probably wouldn't have; and the chicken salad, and the meatballs, and the pasta salad, and the strawberries with desert. That would really have been enough, but today I was taken to lunch at Molly's La Casita in Overton Square. It's one of my favorite lunch spots. I've had cards and hugs and sad looks for the past two weeks. I've promised to stay in touch. And I've promised to meet anybody who wants to at Starbucks on Saturdays to work on their resumes.

But I'm looking forward to the new job starting Monday. New people to get to know (they've been very nice so far) and new challenges.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Here's a funny article about a parent showing off on a bus by bellowing at his "taciturn" four-year-old.

Dad: Now Benjamin, would you like to keep playing I Spy or shall I teach you to count past 100?

Benjamin: Count

Dad: Okay. Now you already know how to count to 100 and it’s surprisingly easy after that. What do you think comes after 100?

Benjamin: Silence

And so forth. The other riders are irritated. They look away, sigh, snap their newspapers, but they don't know how to shut this guy up.

For future reference, here's what you do: Identify another rider who sits not too far away and looks fairly irritated, and engage him/her in loud conversation, as loud as the obnoxious dad: "EXCUSE ME. DO YOU MIND IF I ASK YOU WHERE YOU GOT THAT SWEATER? I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR ONE THAT EXACT SHADE OF ORANGE - I HAVE A PAIR OF TAN PANTS AT HOME..." This works when people are shouting into their cell phones too. I used to feel vaguely irritated at being tricked into being quiet while somebody else carried on private conversation in public, but not anymore.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

This morning the preacher said (among other things) that you can't legislate morality. That statement is mildly irritating to me. I know what he meant, (and disagree with him on that particular issue,) but we legislate morality all the time. It's immoral to murder, steal, beat people up, abuse or neglect children, etc. It's even immoral to cheat the taxman so that other people have to pay your share. Taking this not-legislating-morality idea to an extreme causes you to end up with this: Teen nudity exposes town's bare-bone rules. According to CNN, teenagers in Brattleboro, VT have taken to public nudity and the town fathers are unsure about what, if anything, they can or should do about it. Is it not OK to set community standards for acceptable public behavior and codify them?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Birthday party today, for my husband's sister's youngest, who is four. She has three older brothers, so it's her turn to say, "Thank you, Aunt Wauwa." That just slays me, every time. Pronouncing "Laura" is just very problematic for the three- and four-year-old set. It was a nice day. After the cake and ice cream we went outside. Sarah and her daddy kicked/pushed/threw a ball back and forth for a long time. The ball was almost as big as Sarah. Her dad would kick it very high in the air, and she would run around and try to figure out where it would land, and when she caught it, she sent it back to him with her whole body. Beautiful, exuberant child.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I looked up Sara Teasdale the other day, because it crossed my mind to wonder about her poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains", and the Ray Bradbury story it inspired; and to wonder whether she was thinking about nuclear holocaust when she wrote it. It turns out she died in 1933, so most likely not. But I ran across this little thing she wrote:

The Look

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.

- Sara Teasdale

And it reminded me of this, by A. E. Housman, included in his collection entitled A Shropshire Lad:

When I Was One-and-Twenty

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

- A. E. Housman

Teasdale was American, and Housman, English. But their lives spanned the same time period: 1884 - 1933 for her, 1859 - 1936 for him. I think the poems' similarity has to do with the simplicity of the language and the wry, gentle humor each has, as well as the fact that there's obviously a story not being told here.

There's a terrific discussion of Bradbury's story here. I like the part about how the story parallels the poem.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I told everybody I was leaving yesterday. They all congratulated me and wished me well, and hoped they would be next. My boss was happy for me, but as she was smiling she said "We are so screwed" through gritted teeth. Because it's not just me; other key people will be leaving too. She's got her feelers out there, herself.

I have two weeks to get everything buttoned up, because I want to leave them in good shape. My group is to go to designated people when they have questions, so that I will be there if questions come up that no one anticipated they would not be able to answer. So my last day is 9/15 and my first day on my new job is 9/18 because they really need to get this show on the road. And even during the next couple of weeks there will probably be things I need to do for my new employers.

I have not taken off work more than a day at a time since the first four days of the year. R says we need to lie on a beach for a week. I'm afraid if I did that I would never come back.

But my new job looks pretty cool. It's a departure for me. I thought I'd segue what I currently do (animal health) into pharmaceutical lab work. Instead, I'll be setting up a QA lab for a manufacturing plant that's bringing out a new product. Most of the actual lab work will be fairly low-tech. Karl Fischer moistures, ash, acidity, and so forth. There will be some GC and HPLC stuff. The big thing is that they want to go for ISO certification and it will be my task to get them there. There's an ISO consultant for me to work with, so I won't be guessing about requirements. Keeping ISO certification is a real plus on a resume, getting it is even bigger. Setting up a lab is pretty good, too. So while it will be intense for a while, and always when we are audited, I believe this will be a good career move, whether I stay with the company for a long time, or end up leaving after a few years.

And the people seem really nice and happy that I'm coming on board. That counts for a lot, too.