Saturday, December 29, 2007

Crazed Cleaning Woman

Christmas was very nice this year. Both kids were thrilled with their gifts. Jason's were mostly Playstation 3 related. He also liked his skateboard - a pretty cool one that I picked out for him - had to pick the board, the trucks, the bearings, the wheels and a bunch of other parts I can't describe to you. A 20-year old skater dude told me what size board to get, but the rest I did myself (although he did put it all together for me!) Jason is a little upset that I won't let him use it unless he has his helmet on, but that's life. ;-)

Sam, being in college, got a laptop as her big gift. I am so proud of her - she barely made it through high school, but earned a 3.75 in her first semester of college. Don't see her much these days as her other friends are home for semester break and she is hanging out with them as well as working.

My job is really stressing me out. I'm probably worrying more than I should about, but I even dream about it at night. Need to take a yoga class or something. Was talking to one of the guys in NJ who is working on a project with me. He was taken out of the office the other day on a stretcher because he had chest pains - turned out not to be cardiac-related, but probably just stress the doctor said. We talked about how we should just try and relax and go with the flow because there is nothing we can really do about it anyway.

So, what can I control? My surroundings - so I am cleaning out everything this week. I'm going to start the New Year with a clean and organized house. So far, today, I've done the computer desk, kitchen junk cabinet, the oven, one bathroom, two closets and a general clean-up of the kitchen. I think I've mentioned before I can be a bit of a packrat. People say my house is clean, but I'm finding things that should have been thrown away a long time ago - medication that is outdated, toddler aged computer games, even set-up CDs for the computer I had years ago.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Traditions

When my ex-husband and I were together, we at first tried to keep both sides of the family happy for holidays. That meant we would drive 3 hours to his mom's house and have Thanksgiving and/or Christmas there and then drive back home to my mom's house and do it again. Of course, that meant that Santa also made the dual visits which got trickier as the kids got older.

We eventually stopped the dual Christmas visits, but kept up the dual Thanksgivings until we divorced. When we separated and during the first few Christmas' after our divorce, I offered to let my ex sleep on the couch so he would be there Christmas morning. I have full custody so don't have to worry about splitting or alternating holidays if I don't want to. As I look at other people's custody arrangements, I am glad that one, I have full custody, and two, that my ex and I have kept things very positive for the kids. I see so many parents fighting over their kids and making everyone's life miserable.

My ex never did take me up on that offer, but he would generally come over around 6 am and make coffee and anxiously wait for the kids to wake up. Most years, we had to wake the kids up although there was the one year, they woke up at 2 am and refused to go back to sleep until I let them open presents at 4:30 am. When the kids woke up, they opened their stockings and waited for their grandmother to drive over to watch them open their presents.

The year before last, my ex asked for the children on Christmas. He had asked for them the year before, but the kids didn't want to go with him. This year, he asked for them again and they decided to sleep over there and then come to my house in the morning. I was instructed to stay in bed until they got there and woke me up.

Last year, we went to the Pittsburgh Steelers game on Christmas Eve. We went out the day before the game and spent the night in Pittsburgh. We watched the game, had a great time, and then drove home Christmas Eve. That year didn't quite feel like Christmas as we changed our traditions that year.

This year, my ex and I have bought some shared presents and also built on each other's presents. So my son can't open my gifts until he opens his father's. My daughter can't open her gifts from her dad and some of my gifts until she opens the shared gift we bought her. So, this afternoon, I took all the presents and stockings over to my ex's house. After church tonight, I will drop the kids off at my ex's house where they will spend the night. In the morning, they will call me when they wake up and I will drive over there to watch them open their presents. My mom will not be with us this year as she has gone to California to visit my sister and niece for Christmas. Again, Christmas won't feel quite the same. But we are all well and happy so we will have a great time regardless.

Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Predicting the future doesn't seem very easy these days. Week before last, the weather forecaster predicted a dusting of snow for our area - we got 3". I was the carpool driver that day. The turnpike was ok, but the main highway I take to get to the turnpike was miserable. Lots of cars were sitting in the grassy median, rather topsy turvy as they slid off the road.

This week, I was also the carpool driver, on a day when they were predicting freezing rain and terrible conditions. I had chosen that day as I had a farewell luncheon to go to. Turns out the woman of honor didn't come in that day as her child was sick. Also turns out that the weather forecaster got it wrong again - just rain, not cold enough to freeze the road, although there was ice on the trees.

Took a vacation day Monday to finish (start) my Christmas shopping. Didn't pick a good day as I see meetings are being scheduled throughout the day to share the results of the latest reorg at work.

Also didn't predict the re-org end results very well. Was surprised to find that my boss, his boss, and the boss above him are all "impacted" by the re-org. By "impacted", I mean they no longer have jobs. The impact to me has also been surprising and perhaps, alarming. I have three new direct reports who I don't know and they are located over an hour from my home office. I lost a direct report and responsibility for that particular area. While I don't mourn that loss, it may impact the global project I was doing that I've become rather attached to - put a lot of time and effort into it, thought I was finally making some headway after some major setbacks and am reluctant to see it turned over to someone who is having difficulty completing two other global projects he is responsible for right now. I really wanted that project to succeed and will be sorry to lose control of it if that means it will not be implemented. Of course, that may just be my personal feelings of not wanting to let go of it.

My new boss is someone I already know and have worked with in the past. That is not the alarming part. The part that really concerns me is that they are breaking things into Demand and Supply. What that means for me is that Demand builds the IT applications or new functionality and hands it over to Supply to support. That may work well if Demand and Supply are tightly integrated, but the way it has been executed in the past is that Demand builds it and then throws it over the wall to Supply to fix it and keep it running. I don't want to be responsible for fixing someone else's issues or for maintaining a system to certain standards if the Build team is not also invested in those standards and levels of quality. As an FDA-regulated environment, they won't be the ones standing in front of the auditor answering the questions about how something was developed and implemented. I'll be the lucky one.

The environment I am inheriting is currently going through four main project releases. The project release was a relatively minor implementation - the Supply side had over 200 change controls submitted to fix the Demand team's incomplete or incorrect implementation in the first 8 weeks of the go-live period. Release 2 also had issues. Release 3 has been pushed back in timeline several months, but Release 4 is still "on schedule." But Release 3 and 4 will be extremely large implementations, definitely prone to difficulty in supporting them. Release 4 is officially designated as being out of design mode and already into build mode. But at the meeting I went to last week, the build team couldn't tell me how they were going to pass my company the data we get today nor could they tell me how they were going to build a data warehouse repository for the data we access today or even if they were going to do so. Yesterday, that build team insisted to our management that we had all the answers we needed to develop our own concurrent implementation team. I had to be the one raising my hand saying we didn't. The high-level PR spin for this Build project is that they are on-time, on-schedule and doing extremely well. The word on the ground is that they are struggling, throwing planned deliverables out of scope, pulling all the Release 4 resources back into Release 3, and that things are not being done correctly.

Before the re-org, in my company, I had both Demand and Supply responsibilities. In the future, I'll only have Supply and I'll have several companies to support in that area. If they execute well and we have a tightly integrated Demand/Supply, it could work. But for the five years that I have been here, we have proven execution is not necessarily where we exceed. We are known for our ability to succeed in a crisis. But crises have a way of burning you out when they become a way of life. I also want to be in a position where success is possible based on your own results and your own hard work.

Guess we'll see how it all shakes out. More news is coming out every day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bad Blogger

I have been too busy lately to do much fun things on the computer. To add to my overload, I just realized how close Christmas is!

The other hindrance to my blogging more regularly is that my son has found MySpace and he wants to spend all his time checking his MySpace to see what mail he's gotten and who is online. It is all the rage now with his friends. Had to kick him off the computer this evening so I could work on my church website and since I finished that up, I figured I would check out my site and some others.

We did some more downsizing at work today. I think everyone in my group was spared, except for one. I have referenced someone in the past who wasn't doing his job very well causing more work for me. I believe he was downsized today, but I am not 100% sure. One of my good friends had been hoping to get downsized and she got her wish today. She hadn't been happy with how things were going at work, particularly in her area, and she was thinking it might be better to get back into consulting and teaching. Another woman I work closely with has submitted her resignation and will be leaving at the end of the year. I will miss her, but she is going off to better things - moving to Texas and spending time with her family and maybe changing fields, from IT to perhaps Marketing. There is a mandatory meeting for us tomorrow to learn about the latest re-org in our area. They did a re-org last year but didn't get the efficiencies and synergies they thought they would, so they are re-orging their re-org. I told my VP the other day that I knew the people at the top were smart people, but I was having trouble understanding what they were trying to do and it was rather difficult at the tactical level to try and execute upon their decisions. He just laughed and said you hope they are smart people and know what they are doing.

I'm starting my New Year's resolutions early this year. I'm starting to do more for me and acting on what I say is important to me. I say I want to get in better shape. And, I say I want to play the piano better and perhaps pick up the guitar next. But I don't always make the time to exercise and practice. Now, I'm forcing myself to do both every day. I'm organizing my house better and getting rid of things that I don't use. Simplify! I'm doing more volunteer work. Next week, I'm spending the night at a overflow homeless shelter. It's at the same church where I help with the breakfast once a month. I'm starting a new worship service at my church - a praise and worship service. That will take 6-9 months to get off the ground.

Hope everyone is well. Haven't been visiting people's blogs lately. Need to do that, maybe tomorrow. And,maybe I'll start doing my Christmas cards tomorrow.....