Category Archives: jobby job job

general what I do to pay the bills topic. and by general, I mean GENERAL. I sure as heck don’t want to get fired here!

Tortured by traffic

I’ve been having a terrible traffic week. This time of year always seems so dire as the day gets dramatically shorter – it’s been dark the last couple of days when I left the house. And the traffic! At least when it clears up I can enjoy lovely sunrises.


These days I really feel my 1.5-2 hr commute. It’s so clear as I sit in dark traffic all the things I could be doing if I wasn’t in the car – all the emails unresponded, all the knitting unknit, all the canning I’m behind on, all the running I don’t do! It is what it is, but dark and trafficy makes me restless.

Today I left at 6AM and rushed to central NJ for training. I took to the streets after my particular highway was jammed up and barely made it in time. I’m sitting here 105 miles from home learning all about my next big professional certification. Lunch is provided and the tea service seems to be ample. Learning hat on!




I made a field visit to my big project job site this morning. I didn’t do a field walk today but took this picture a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to impress Thirteen with my awesome job. He was just moderately interested. My sweetheart, on the other hand, showed off the picture to his coworkers saying “hey! Look! It’s my wife!” apparently responses were split between “what does she do?” and “no, it’s half of your wife.”

Big Sky New Jersey


I was out at a job site today and snapped this photo. I couldn’t see at all because of the sun, but I still managed a striking photo. the sky was incredible!

I work in environmental remediation, and this site is contaminated by lots of bad stuff. We are in the process of implementing a remedy to control the risk to humans and the surrounding ecology. It won’t be cleaned up, but it will be maintained and controlled.

I know a lot if people get pretty depressed when they find out about environmental contamination. I’m by nature an optimist, but even considering that, I’m not upset by these old messy industrial sites. I mean, look at that photo: it may have impaired function, but generally, nature perseveres. That’s a wonderful thing to know.

I’m blogging a photo a day for the month of February. You should too! #29in29



It’s rain-snowing.
It’s dark.
Gots no chance to ride in months.
Mr Mike is at a firehouse meeting.
It’s chilly in our house.

Gots no excuse.
Better open that work laptop up and finish that stuff up that I didn’t get done at the office.


I’m blogging a photo a day for the month of February. You should too! #29in29

San Diego

I’m in San Diego for a conference this week. Holy cow, southern California is a crazy place. It’s warm and sunny and clearly the most pleasant place to be in February.


I went for a run down to the beach in La Jolla this morning. It was beautiful. You know, I’d I lived here I would probably be active every day. PROBABLY. I would hope!

I would also ride my motorcycle every day! It’s 70 degrees and sunny every day this week with a low in the mid 40s. Magical. And there are still so many people in cars. What’s up with that, San Diego? Is there a motorcycle eating monster or a daily dust storm or something?

I’m already secretly planning a trip back out here some cold northeastern wintertime. It’ll include motorcycle rentals, toes in the chilly Pacific, and my sweetheart.

I’m blogging a photo a day for the month of February. You should too! #29in29

Conference room

I was thinking I should do daily photos again – notmartha recently started, and I’m so glad she did. I keep getting hung up on my last try in 2005 – when I did a selfphoto project on flickr only, and felt so intimidating that my awesome and stylish urban friends had much more interesting days to photograph than I did, commuting by cage through suburban New Jersey to and from my 40-60 hour a week desk job.

Of course not much has changed, except I’m throwing in commuting by cage in pseudo-rural NY to suburban NJ into the mix. Oh and I guess EVERYTHING has changed, what with having a yard and a partner and some little stepdudes (in no order of importance, I promise). Oh and maybe I was limited by my subject, too, as sad as I am to admit it. Perhaps I am self-limiting.

I’ve had a long week of lots of deadlines, conference calls for one, and a wracking cough. I’m thankful it’s Thursday, except this week I am also forced to deal with the fact that it’s THURSDAY and there’s a boatload of things on MY DESK that aren’t done yet. eeps.

heading to the beach…

tonight I’m picking up ruthie and michelle at the train station and we’re driving south for 5 days at assateague for a vacation starring my friends and family. not as many friends as there usually are, which bums me out, but it will be incredible for different reasons, namely: daniel james will be there, and maybe I’ll teach him to body surf. maybe. if he’s ok with getting his head wet.

there’s another reason why I’m so much looking forward to this vacation, and that reason is WORK. now, I have a really horrible track record for getting out of work and onto a beach vacation, at least at this job. but this week was really crummy for another reason: I kind of got demoted. Oh, everything is just the same except for my role on the Very Big and Important Project that has been FILLING my days for the last year+. On that project, I’m demoted. Just a tiny bit, and I am supposedly very important to the project still, but. But! demoted. my ego hurts. I’m kind of ticked off. and I feel like I’m in the uncomfortable position of trying to convince everyone around me (especially upper management) that I am NOT a screw up, but that there may be some politics involved. Obviously I’m not going to get into the details here, but I feel uncomfortable in general. and ticked off. and hurt feelings. did I mention the hurt feelings?

So you can see why vacation looks so beautiful to me right now! and you can be assured I am NOT going to be leaving late for this trip.

trenton makes, the world takes


seen from the train this morning on my bidnez trip to baltimore. I kind of feel like trenton right now. sigh.

busy busy week

man, but this week was so killer.

  • monday: normal day. mostly. busy but normal. meetings at work etc. to make things seem stagnant and unproductive.
  • tuesday: in normal time, out at 5:30 to meet serena for dinner in nyc. home and worked on stuff while sitting on couch.
  • wednesday: in to work by 6:30, leave at 3:45 and dash to NYC to try and buy worms from green market. thunderstorms have scared everyone away. head to alumni council meeting at 5:30-8. Home and more work while on the couch.
  • thursday: in to work by 6:30, leave at 4:45 to attend on the rooftop party. after party home. work on train in and out of city. work on couch for 45 min. until keep dozing off over keyboard. sigh.
  • friday: in to work by 7AM. trip to Trenton with client to the state for a meeting. back to work. tonight I need to make a dolly hand-off in n. brunswick after work so I need to stay here until 5:30 or 6 or so. I am so tired already! I think I might start drinking some coffee this afternoon.

on the upside, I did clear a lot of things off of my plate. on the downside I’m still behind on a couple of projects, and I have a deliverable to the state next friday. on the other upside, it’s friday! and I can get some rest tonight! bu7t on the other downside, I don’t know if I can sleep in tomorrow b/c for the last 3 weeks in a row there have been noisy men repointing my building.

I have to say, though, the friday thing trumps a lot of downsides. Thank GOODNESS I don’t have to come to work at 6:30 am tomorrow. THANK GOODNESS.

under water

after a long couple of drizzly days, yesterday evening everything looked like it was underwater. today was fine and dry and sharp, yesterday was dark and damp and soft.


it seems so inappropriate that today, the dry, almost sunny day, was the day that I felt like I couldn’t stay ahead lf the game, that I was paralyzed by stress, that I couldn’t even keep my head above water. I went for a quick drive to drop off my glasses frames for new lenses and felt the stress melt away. by the time I got back work I had a hard-knock afternoon, and had to put my head down on my desk and try not to think about how great it would be go to home to bed and curl up underneath my covers and stay there for two weeks. I can’t believe it’s only tuesday.


it’s a good thing that mariss keeps reminding me that I am The Man, because I’m at work still and it’s 11:21. there were several events that culminated to this occasion: dude who does figures never did them, even though I constantly reminded him of the deadline and he constantly assured me that he’d be done with them “tomorrow.” also lovely lady who is normally totally on top of things apparently blew off my project in the face of louder and more masculine blowhards, and we are both at work refining the calculations. also, I have a confession that many of you may be totally jaw-droppingly shocked to learn: I am a big fat procrastinator. so when I say I am at work at this time of night, you should also know that I just exhausted the internet and am finally ready to get down to work. (though in my own defense I did have a meeting from 6:30 to 11 with the lovely lady, and we did have order-in chinese food. so it wasn’t all goofing on the internet. just the stuff I should have done during the day. shoot.)

responsibility, etc.

I was awfully pleasantly surprised in my year-end review to receive a “very good” rating and to get an additional small raise. When I got my promotion and raise in september, they’d told me not to expect an end of year raise because it was included in my 3/4 year increase. and then? I got another one! I am so excited. I guess I am holding things together pretty well. and on top of that, my boss really values the way I’ve been trying hard to mentor staff and create a pleasent working environment. (though I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to create a work environment as best they can in which they want to work.) I feel, well, incredibly competent. that is a wonderful feeling.

and then on the other hand, yesterday I bought toilet paper after being out for just over 5 days. Nice way to be responsible, no? Kleenex and work bathrooms, you are my friends.

life as a suburban nj resident

today I got to take the train into work in nyc. I have a client meeting at the very cool new york times building, and am meeting some people after work on the west side, so thought it behooved me to, instead of driving to edison, training to ny, training to edison, driving to the path, training to ny, training to my car, and driving home, I took the train in to nyc and worked from the nyc office all day with a break for my client meeting. this way I save a lot of time moving around the ny-nj area but also get to pretend like I live the typical nj commuter lifestyle.

I’m not very good at trains, by the way. this morning I forgot my laptop power cord and had to run back and get it, so I didn’t have time to get a ticket on the platform and lived in FEAR that they would collect tickets on that one day, and then ! I didn’t know what I would do! because I didn’t have ANY cash in my wallet. I DID have an old ticket that had never been collected between my town and hoboken, which is for the same amount of money as a ticket between my town and secaucus, but I didn’t want to have to talk the conductor into taking it. luckily it’s only 10 minutes between my town and secaucus and they rarely collect tickets. so, yeah. I almost missed my train and then stole a train ride into secaucus. sigh. not a good commuter at all.

but! I’m sitting in 1 penn plaza looking over the very weird circular roof of madison square garden and am so happy to not be in nj for the day. I mean, nj is ok, it’s definately not as bad as I thought it would be. And the whole train commute thing is probably very hard to do every day what with having to make a certain train on schedule. but it’s a nice break from the turnpike drive down to edison, that’s for sure.

pre-cocktail party list to do

in prep. for my very exciting traditional cocktail party full of interesting people this sat., I have a serious list of things to do. so serious that when a PM in the MD office asked if I could come down for a day this week I said “HECK NO” and then had to straighten my schedule out before I called him back and said “oh, how about Wednesday?” Which, luckily, isn’t good for him, so I won’t be traveling this week.
of course, now that my couch is covered I’m feeling kind of awesome about the other stuff I have to do. no big deal, right?

  • clean the kitchen, including the mopping of the floor. I have put away most of the china/dishes from gramma’s house so that’s something.
  • donate clothes that are in my hall
  • finish cleaning the living room. areas that are outstanding are small, but include: the stuff on one of my end tables and a bunch of magazines on the floor. also a box of crafty things that will go to the basement until I can find a place for them to live in my apartment.
  • clean my bedroom. this is bigger. will take some serious work.
  • hang things on the walls: old photo of my family, pressed metal stork, tin-can flower paintings, mountain dulcimer, ceramic horses head, gramma’s weaving.
  • laundry, including two new sheet sets.
  • sew cocktail dress. I have the fabric (repurposing some fabric we’d bought for curtains in pgh and never used) and the pattern (a butterick vintage reissue of a sheath dress with an interesting open neckline.
  • shopping and making of horse doovers. I will ask for help to do this on sat.
  • hairs cut. sat. also.

all this, and then there are the following work functions that I need to squeeze in:

  • Tuesday: dinner with co-workers?
  • Wednesday: drinks with new company we’re merging with?
  • Thursday: making a diaper cake for a coworker who is going out on maternity leave this week?
  • Friday: office party
  • Monday-Friday: working my day job.

So. Not too bad. [insert sound of manical laughter here.] the way I think it will work is today after work I will do beauty things (I am having my legs waxed for the first time! eee!) and I’ll clean the kitchen for real. Tomorrow after dinner I will cut the dress and start sewing. See also Wednesday, Thursday. Thursday I will do laundry and clean my bedroom. The plan is to have everything done by Friday morning so I can wake up on Sat., get a hair cut, and go to market for appetizer supplies. And then I can spend the day mixing drinks and piping soft cheese onto crackers instead of finishing my dress, cleaning my house, AND piping soft cheese.

can you imagine?

Four years ago on November 2nd I started my lame webpage using msword and an ftp portal to my server. it was unwieldy and huge and hard to update, but I was putting in serious hours at a thankless job and was almost compelled to find a productive way of taking breaks through those 12 hour days. Now blogging software is not only free, but also super easy to install. it’s as easy for me to update this site as it is to write an email.

I’ve copied all of my old journal pages into wordpress but still haven’t take down the old pages. my new job is busyifying (but not busy work) and I don’t have nearly as much to complain about. Four years ago I was kind of vaguing around, and while I wanted to suceed, I didn’t really have any ambition to reach the level I am at now.

So, my mom still reads this thing (hi mom!) but I’ve also got a few friends who do as well, seemingly regularly. I’ve managed to figure out how much of the private to make public, and feel pretty confident with where my boundaries are (especially after having to figure all that out more definately during the summer). I don’t eat as many fish sandwiches as I once did, but am considering adding sardine reviews to the fish sandwich category. I’ve moved to pittsburgh and then to nj. I’ve rolled with some punches. I’ve crafted lots of things. and now we can all refer back to it in excrutiating detail – ha!


I was on-base for work training today, and was sitting in my car during the lunch break checking my messages when there was a big BOOM of an explosion. Well. I listened for a few minutes to see if there were any sirens, and when there wasn’t I assumed they did it on purpose.

it IS an army base, and they ARE actively testing munitions, but still. BOOM.

office party

sat. michelle and I drove down to philly for their office party. it was on a boat, and I’ll do just about anything that is on a boat. we got a hotel room and planned to make a weekend of it but got a late start on sat. and didn’t sleep much on sunday. anyway, I’m not sure what the highlight of the evening was but it might have been me arm-wrestling with a colleague. it was a tie. and MAN does my arm hurt today! I’ve been talking about arm-wrestling for a long time at work, you know, as a method of conflict resolution, but I’m not so sure anymore. my muscles! they are aching!


I have been so busy at work that I don’t get much of a chance to post lots of stuff. But I keep thinking: hey, that would be a great blog post. So I’ve started to make a list of posts in my wordpress admin window, and that’s a good start. I just worry that I’ll put up, oh, 10,000 posts on one day and then go for 3 weeks without posting, and that’s no good!

Speaking of work, it’s been going very well. I’ve been working extra hard and have been getting good results. my biggest problem is, I think, my tendency to take things personally. Like having to tell a client about newly discovered contamination at a site – I take that kind of personally. it’s not like I’m carrying around a sack of PCBs and sprinkling it around, but I am overly invested in the issues, maybe, or I just want to make everyone happy.  I’m trying to let go of things like this and it is sort of working… I am not woken in the middle of the night anymore, anyway! but it’s a long struggle to revise the way you approach a problem.

Big Red Balls of Sun

there are two reasons why it’s nice to get to work at 6 or 6:30 in the morning:

1. my regular 45 min. or 1 hour of goofing off gets packed in before the day starts, and

2. the sunrise over edison is awfully pretty.


Excitement is being asked to choose a dinner location for a group of out-of-town work colleagues close to the office, even though you’re not really a local, and finding out that the thai restaurant you’ve picked and said was “nice” is not the one you’ve brought everyone to at all. At least the one we did end up at was very wonderful, with a menu in both thai and english and really fantastic food. not so much with the ambiance, though the napkins were cloth. my coworkers took a photo with their camera phone and promised to reciprocate with an equally exciting dining experience the next time I was in baltimore. heck! I bet that photo makes it into a presentation sometime.

in other news, what are the odds that me having thai food 3x in 4 days contributed to the coup in thailand? when a butterfly flaps its wings, that’s what I say. anyone got any special food binge requests for me?