Friday, December 20

Oh Fridays, how I love you

What a week.  I usually mean work week on a Friday, but I'm going to go right back to last Thursday I think...

Let's start with the good things that have happened at work.  I'm not good at bragging.  I'll be quick to point out a group effort, or minimize my contribution, it's just the way I am and my mental health of the past two years have made it harder to see the good things without thinking of how much better it could have been if I tried harder.  When I do get praise from others, well, it often leaves me flustered.

We have a process to get feedback from clients.  I get the point of it, but it never seemed to fit well with my work - I'm often consulting or providing a puzzle piece, not the big picture.  On Wednesday I put in for feedback on a project and I got 5/5 on all 4 questions (it's a REALLY short survey, we don't want to piss them off).  An average score of 3 is considered a bad score, but people make a big deal of 4.75's.  5 is something I can brag about internally.  Even more than the score was the commentary that my client wrote in.  I think my cheeks were pink for the whole morning.

On Monday, we had a team meeting.  The organizers made it a really neat wrap up for the year.  Each of us were asked for one or two things that we were most proud of from 2013.  They took these specific things and made up awards for each of us.  I was proud of the help I gave others and their success with the skills I saw developing.  I was also proud of how my relationship with a sub-group at my client site has improved, that they are following up on my recommendations and appreciate my opinion.  So my award?  Most Influential with Others.  And what was super-cool was the introduction they gave me and afterwards a team mate saying that as soon as the award was put up on screen, she knew it had to be me.  Aw, shucks.

We also did a cookie exchange.  We were given someone on the team to bake for.  The person I was baking for is in a social curling league with his wife.  I made thumb print cookies and melted red and yellow chocolate wafers for the top (instead of jam) to make them look like curling stones - 8 red and 8 yellow and used little silver balls to represent the handle.  It's a bit of a stretch to say they look like curling stones, but we were allowed to introduce our cookies and set up our reasoning.  The person making cookies for me had asked what flavours I liked.  I listed off a lot of things I like but I did say that grapefruit makes me happy.  It taps into being 5 and having either my Dad hand over his breakfast or being at my grandparents.  He found a grapefruit cookie recipe believe it or not and then made a HUGE treble clef  as a nod to my love of house concerts and music.  It was probably 16" of treble clef cookie.  It felt... wonderful.  I'd highly recommend doing this as a team building exercise, it was really neat to see where people took it.

The weekend was insanity.  We had tickets to see the Raptors (NBA) on Friday night, a party to go to on Saturday night, family brunch on Sunday and a pot luck prior to a concert on Sunday night.  Somewhere in there I had to make my curling stone cookies, buy a few family gifts, make two gifts, wrap everything and make salads for the brunch and pot luck.  It snowed, so we didn't go to the party.  Good thing too, in the morning I had a little cry because I didn't think I could get it all done, I was making cookies at 9pm, still appliqueing humping reindeer at midnight, and finished wrapping at 3:30 am.

The family brunch went well.  My youngest brother was home. It's been a year and a half since all 5 of us were together, far too long.  My brothers liked their humping reindeer shirts, although there was some discussion as to where you can wear a sweater like that.  But that's not the point, all of us laughing at the shirts was enough.  At some point we'll have to get a picture with all three shirts.  My niece is still adorable although a bit overwhelmed by adults she didn't know.  I would be too.  She'll warm up on her own schedule.  She did let me feed her a banana while "Nana" (my mom) was holding her.  There was only once that Mr. Lina and I left the room because of pregnancy talk that was making us sad.

Back to the crazy part of work...

So Tuesday and Wednesday I was scheduled to teach a class on the software I specialize in.  I was looking forward to it but maybe a bit unsure about the advanced "Day 2" portion.  Not from a knowledge position, but there isn't really a format to follow because it's driven by what the client needs to learn, you aren't going to learn it all in two days.  That makes total sense but the client wasn't narrowing what to cover ahead of time.  Monday I left work after 7pm because I was still getting materials together.

Mr. Lina tends not to give me grief when I work late, occasionally sending a "are you coming home?" text if I have not said I'm working late.  Monday night, we were suppose to go and buy a Christmas tree.  I forgot because I was worried about looking like an idiot with nothing to talk about the next day.  This was made worse by the fact he's a bit homesick and not having a tree rolled up to bigger issues.  He really wanted to go back home for Christmas and while I heard the words, I didn't hear the meaning behind them ages ago.  So a little talking happened after dinner to clear the emotional air and at 10pm we were out buying a tree at the grocery store.  At 11pm, he was swearing at the tree trying to get it to stand straight (a fight we are losing I might add).

As much as I tried to prep for the class, lots of things went wrong
  • It snowed over night. 
  • I set my alarm to go off earlier but forgot to turn it on so I woke up a bit later than I would have if I left it alone.
  • I had to shovel to get the car out, adding time to my departure.
  • I got behind snow plows and averaged 35km/hr, my employer is 54km away.
  • I was half an hour late for my own class.
  • We gave tickets for lunch in the cafeteria, they weren't serving hot food so the options were rather limited
  • My software is web based, it wouldn't open on a single computer in the training room, but worked fine on my laptop, thus proving it wasn't the entire system that wasn't working, just the computers where I needed it.
  • The phone in the room didn't work so I couldn't call help desk.
  • The desk I was using at the front of the room broke.
  • I broke a nail to the pink when zipping up my boots to leave.
It honestly felt like anything that could go wrong did go wrong.  On the plus side, the class members were awesome, full of questions, enthusiasm, and patience with every technical issue I was facing.  Wednesday went much better and by the end of the course I was really pleased with how they were applying what I taught to their business issues.  I think it's going to stick.

Last night I didn't sleep very well.  I woke up multiple times - dreaming, too hot, thirsty...  It's not surprising I woke up with a headache.  I think part of it is more than physically tired, I'm mentally tired and ready for the weekend.  I've packed in enough thinking this week.  We have plans to go to the movies tonight with my brother and SIL and that's it for the weekend.  I am so glad.  I just want to snuggle with Mr. Lina and clean my house and just... be.

And I'll end it on a Mr. Lina plug.  As much as I don't brag about myself well, I do speak highly of others.  In October, we filmed "Who Says Guys Don't Communicate?" at a pub in Waterloo, ON.  He's posted the video on Funny Or Die and last I checked it was 75% Funny and 25% Die.  This has no dialogue so no offensive language, no fake blood, just 2.5 minutes of comedy.

Wednesday, December 4

Personal Choices Vent - Hair

I have mentioned a few times that I don't dye my hair.  I used to, I suck at the maintenance required for it to look good, and I don't really mind my white hairs.  When my hair is down, I feel like Rogue with her white streak of hair (and side note, the link for Rogue is an awesome blog post).
It's kind of hard to find a picture where she doesn't have cantaloupes attached to her chest, but she's got spunk and personality and a streak of white hair.  When I pull my hair back, those whites at the front are more noticeable because they cover the non-whites underneath.  I'm less fond of that, but I like having my hair out of my face so practicality usually wins.  Today is one of those days.

At my client site, there is an older fellow who works security.  He's generally crotchety and grumpy, but he usually calls me beautiful and I giggle and smile and my day starts off right. 

Today, I had lunch with a friend.  I'm wearing a skirt that makes me feel corporate-powerful and pretty.  I was feeling pretty good.

As I walked in, my security friend asked if I was sick.  No, not sick. 

Why don't you dye your hair? 

Seriously?  What?

You know his daughter is also young and has white hair and she dyes her hair.  White hair is for old guys like himself.  I'm too young to have white hair.


I laughed, I said I liked my white hair, it's too much hassle to dye it, I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  Not interested at the moment. 

When I got to my desk and reviewed the conversation, it hurt.  I was angry.  I'm still angry 4 hours later.

I don't really know why.  He can have his opinion on my hair.  It's my hair and I'll do what I want with it.  I might consider if Mr. Lina would like something (his vote would be long and red, but to paraphrase his attempt to cheer me up, he wants to ah... play with my lady parts regardless of what colour my hair is) but in the end, it is my head and my hair.  I said I like my white hairs.  If that's true, then the laughing it off is where it should end.

I get comments on my hair from time to time.  Sometimes from people who say they like the whites and how they mostly frame my face.  Lately it's been on the length, particularly if I haven't seen them in 6+ months and they notice the difference.  Sometimes it's on how healthy it looks for being so long. 

Other times it's about the existence of hair dyes.  As if I didn't know there were entire aisles in drug, grocery and mass stores.  Perhaps they think I don't see it when I'm buying shampoo.  Or never noticed when I had a hair care manufacturer as a client for two years.  Or that I assume that all those people with orange, pink, blond, black hair came by it naturally... 

I wonder sometimes if I would get fewer comments if my hair was dyed purple or blue.  Am I that strange that I want to age naturally?  Am I that odd that I don't mind if my hair makes me look my actual age?  Maybe I am fooling myself when I say I like my white hairs if I'm upset that someone thinks I should hide them.  I don't know.