Friday, February 20, 2009

Alert the fashion police!

They had Italian Wedding Soup on the menu today. Delicious fresh and tasty.

I promptly spilled it on myself, from head to toe. My blouse and pants were, literally, soaked. And not salvagable.

So here I am, getting ready to do a busines meeting, wearing surgical scrubs and a lab coat...and black patent leather pumps.

Should be festive.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


For many reasons, I signed up for Facebook this week.

Good freakin' gravy! What a time suck! It's a wonder that the entire US economy hasn't been brought to its knees by this thing!

Hey, waitaminute...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gonna miss you, Julie

For a variety of reasons, I haven’t made a lot of close “work friends” in the six years I’ve been here. I mean, I have a lot of people here who I enjoy talking to, and I've always said there are few I wouldn't willingly have dinner with. But I'm talking about the kind of friends I can go shopping with at lunch time or grab a drink with after work. The environment here keeps everyone slightly on edge, like you never know who might be working for the KGB, so you never disclose too much.

However, one of the few people here who I genuinely enjoy is Julie. She and I have worked together on a bunch of projects and we can spend as much time giggling as working sometimes. Our husbands get along well enough that the four of us make a point of sitting together when we have to attend those deadly-dull awards dinners. Our offices are nearly a 20-minute walk apart, so the unwritten rule is: If you’re “hosting”, you have to have a decent cup of coffee waiting when the “traveler” arrives. And none of that cheap crap from the machine down the hall. She drinks decaf cappuccino; I drink nonfat vanilla latte.

Today, she told me she’s leaving. I’m totally bummed, but I’m also totally psyched for her. It’s a great job working for great people and I know she’ll be happy.

I’ll miss her, though.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Life is That Thing That Happens When You're Making Other Plans"

Hey all you out there in Blogland. I have unfortunately had to temporarily remove this post -- was attracting some unhappy and unwanted commentary. Hopefully, I can put it back up later.

Much love to all of you who comment and wrote offline.

Madame Universe, sorry to break your link, luv. Appreciate the shout-out with all my heart.



Friday, February 13, 2009

The importance of the mute button -- part II

My phone rang at 8:03 this morning.

It was the leader of the consortium that holds the 8:00 Thursday night phone call. We'll call him "Joe".

Joe: Oh, good; you're in the office. I need to ask you a question.

Bean: Good morning Joe. Yes, I had a pleasant evening. You?

Joe: I'm late to a meeting. Listen, did you hear what I heard on that phone call last night?

Bean: I think we all heard it, Joe. That's why I said something.

Joe: What do you think it was?

Bean: Clearly, it was someone forgetting to hit the mute button.

Joe: No; I mean what do you think was going on?

Bean: Um...either one of our participants was watching a blue movie in the background, or he

Joe: It didn't sound like a blue movie. No cheesy 70's music. Nope; that sounded pretty much "live and in color".

Bean: Fair enough.

Joe: So what should I do? I mean, is it appropriate for team members to have sex while on the management calls?

Bean: You want me to answer that?

Joe: OK; so what do I do about it? I mean, I think this requires some action.

Bean: I think, if you wanted to join in, you needed to mention that last night. *icy silence* OK; seriously? I think it was embarassing enough last night that it won't happen again. I don't think you need to do anything. Besides, sending out a memo that says, "Please refrain from knocking one off during the management teleconferences." probably won't go over well.

Joe: Thanks. I have to run.

Bean: Any time.

At 1:30 this afternoon, attached to the meeting minutes, is a reminder:

We realize that holding this meeting after 7 pm means that most team members are at home, and that members are subject to normal hometime disruptions. As a reminder, we request that, unless you are speaking, you should keep your phone on mute. That way, if there are any background noises from children or pets, or if you need to "multi-task" while on the call, you will not disturb the other participants.

I'm taking this as tacit approval to "multi-task" during next week's call.

But I'll make sure to keep my phone on mute.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The importance of the mute button.

So, every Thursday night, I have a conference call from 8 - 10:00pm for work. We typically have about a dozen high-level researchers on the line.

Tonight, we were having a presentation by one of the groups via webinar, and the discussion was very serious. During the course of the discussion, I slowly became aware of a female voice in the background, moaning. Sexually. The volume of this moaning gradually increased, with interjections of "Oh, god; that's so great! I love you!" The conversation on the conference call became stilted, as she continued to carry on.

I couldn't take it. I finally said, "Wow, it sounds like we have a bit of cross-talk on the line."

The female voice said, "You're not on mute????".

Then there was silence.

I'm dying to ask. I really am.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Superhero Alter Ego is...


Ha! I want to thank Ms. Creek for giving me a good laugh today. Most days, I feel about as useful as a sporked spatula...

Wanna make your own?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Training Day

Yesterday, we went out to buy my beautiful girl a training bra, because…well, because she’s going to need one really soon.

She’s quite young for this – the first in her class to get one, by my reckoning -- but she’s always been a precocious kid. She’s both the tallest and the youngest girl in the class, and she prides herself in being able to beat all but one of the boys, 2 takedowns out of three. The lone boy who can kick her butt is apparently also chasing her tail, which at her tender age would normally have me considering a third-grade smack-down. Given, however, that he’s 5’ tall, handsome and well-mannered, I’m instead considering negotiating an arranged marriage. I figure this will save me a lot of time and energy later, not to mention giving me a perfectly legitimate reason to forbid her from spending time with boys until she’s married.

We walked into the girl’s underwear section of JC Penney, my husband in tow. K's dad has always considered himself a liberated man and he volunteered to come along on this assignment. Or maybe not. Actually, I think he just wanted to go to Bob Evans for breakfast and considered this a tiny side excursion that would only temporarily delay his returning to doing preventative maintenance on his motorcycle in my family room. (This final point is the subject of a later blog post.)

You should know, right up front, that I hate to shop. Mr. Bean? He loves to shop. Doesn’t care what it is. He loooooves spending money.

This was not going to be a quick trip. Not that picking out a first training bra for a precocious almost 9-year-old is a particularly daunting and time-consuming experience. But I’ve found that training bras are at once simpler and more complicated than I remember.

Let me explain.

In 1976, when my mother took me out to buy my first training bra, we went to Higbee’s. Because that was where you went for these things. I was introduced to the sales lady in the lingerie department, who was described to me as a “Ladies’ Fitter.” This woman took my mother and me back into the fitting room, where I was made to strip to my white, slightly baggy, brief-style underpants (because little girls did *not* wear colors or bikini underpants in 1976, unless they had stolen them from ill-reputed older sisters). I was then measured for my bra size. Which was embarrassing enough, but then the Ladies’ Fitter dashed out onto the floor to fetch both of the two styles of training bras they had. They were white. I had my choice of scratchy, stretchy lace or baggy cotton. I was made to try both on, and then to walk out into the main area of the fitting room to jump up and down in front of the single, shared mirror, while the other women in the fitting room smiled with amused, knowing smiles. It was, in a word – mortifying.

I left the store fifteen minutes later, with three white scratchy stretch lace bras, each decorated with one minuscule pink flower. I think we paid about $3.00 each for them.

Now, of course, things are different. Training bras are sized in kid’s sizes and are simple, bandeau-type things. No more lady with the tape measure. Woohoo. And they now come in a dazzling array of colors and styles! We had pinks, and greens, and hearts, and flowers, and paisleys and pink camouflage and cheetah prints and little faux-diamond thingies, with matching panties and socks! I grabbed a couple different sizes and K and I retreated into the fitting room. I suggested that Mr. Bean head over to the shoe department or perhaps housewares.

We found the right size and discovered that they were on sale, 3 for $9.00. My daughter walked back out onto the sales floor.

It was then that she and her father lost their minds.

K: “We found the right size, Daddy! How many can I get?”

Dad: “Well, sweetie, you can get as many as you want at this price! Ooo! Look! And they have matching unders, too!”

Wrong answer, Dad. K lit up like the Fourth of July. She is, if nothing else, her father's daughter.

An hour later, we were in possession of 12 matching ‘tween bra and panty sets, in festive colors and patterns. I was $85.00 poorer. Dad was in a shopping frenzy, checking out sleep sets and skirt and legging combinations.

I looked at him. “You’re gay; you know that, right?” He stuck his tongue out at me, “I’m just supporting my beautiful little girl growing up.” Then he stopped dead, looking horrified. “Gawd! What did I just say? OK, that’s it; we’re stopping at the auto parts store on the way home! I gotta buy an oil filter or somethin’.”

But K was delighted, and thanked her dad and me with a big hug and kiss for “being so cool about this.”

I’m looking at a bright pink, eyelet lace bandeau and matching panties, remembering that Saturday afternoon in 1976.

And I’m trying not to be too jealous.