redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jan. 11th, 2012 01:55 pm)
I've just been laid off—along with, according to the email, 10% of the staff. My boss's boss, who was in the room with the HR person, assured me that it's not a reflection on the quality of my work. I have a probably incomplete list of things I need to do, some more urgent than others. I am doing okay for the moment, and not worried about finances in the short term (we have been living well within our means).

I'm looking for editorial work, including editing, copyediting, or proofreading. I'd prefer full-time/in-house work in New York City or by telecommuting, but am also interested in freelance assignments.
A little before 4:00 this afternoon, I lost my connection to the Internet. I couldn't find either of the IT guys, and since the first thing they generally advise is to restart the browser (which I'd already done) and then the computer, I figured I might as well try that. Fortunately, I did my usual "back up the current project to the server" first.

My machine shut down smoothly, and then wouldn't come back up. I could tell it was drawing power (a green light on the case, and the fan was running). I talked to my boss, who emailed IT (since I couldn't). About ten minutes later, Rondell (the junior IT person) came over, poked around, and got the machine to make some disconcerting noises and display a "check cable connection" message on the monitor. After a little while of that, he said he would have to call Dell.

Fortunately, I won't be stuck until he can fix my machine, because he had a just-delivered Windows 7 machine, still in its box, which will be on my desk tomorrow morning. (No word on whether that's temporary while he tries to fix the current one, or permanent: the one I have been using was second-hand, sent to us after they closed my company's Florida office.) At that point, my boss said I might as well leave for the day if Rondell didn't need me, so I stopped by his desk; he asked for my username and password, so I wrote them down, then headed to the gym.

there are advantages to getting to the gym at 5:00 instead of 5:30 or 6 )
redbird: a butterfly, wings folded, resembling the letter V (leaf)
( Sep. 8th, 2011 10:49 pm)
Apparently part of my job is assuring people that no, the world is not going to end next year.

Today it was one of the designers, who came to me because I'm a science editor; he had heard some garbled thing about a "dwarf star" that was approaching Earth. It took me a moment to figure out what he was talking about, and that he didn't need an explanation of what a dwarf star is beyond "old and dim, and they're all a long way from here." (Not a long way in astronomical terms, but a long way for the purposes of this discussion.) I did my best, and pointed out that anyone can put all sorts of nonsense on the Internet. My analogy was that I can't even sing, but I could put a video of me singing on YouTube and they wouldn't stop me; someone who knows no science can put nonsense up there claiming to be a scientist.

The friend who had told him this also said something about a Russian, or maybe Chinese, scientist; I pointed out that if it was a real danger, they could point to something in English, and it would be from someone at a place like Harvard, not a random Russian newspaper. (The last I looked, which was a few years ago, Pravda was trying to be the Weekly World News but without Batboy.)

A few weeks ago, I got to do something similar right after the Virginia earthquake; in that case the movie threat was the Yellowstone caldera.

What's explicitly in my job is answering science questions; that's mostly in order to keep errors out of the English/Language Arts books. This means that if someone comes over and says "I have a science question" I will do my best to answer it, including using my Google-fu if necessary (though once or twice when swamped I've suggested they talk to Chris or Marilyn instead). I will freely admit that I mostly enjoy doing this, so I'm not going to start asking whether/how the questions are work-related.
I have results back from my bloodwork, and everything is normal, i.e. no signs of diabetes. The doctor at the walk-in clinic thought I should get checked because the infection took longer than he expected to heal. My GP thought it was unlikely, but that there was no harm in checking; I can spare 10 mL of blood.)

I got my slightly belated annual review at work (no more delay than one expects in American business generally), and I'm getting a nice raise. There were no major surprises in the evaluation, because my boss believes in giving us feedback at the time. One minor surprise: I was praised as "organized" despite a cluttered desk.

I have tried a new vegetable: burdock. At least, I don't think I'd had it before. This was in a sushi roll, along with mackerel, ginger, and cucumber. The main thing the burdock supplied was texture; I can take or leave it. I mention this because I don't taste many new ingredients these days, a combination of some adventurous eating in previous years and having limits on what I will try. That was in Cambridge with [personal profile] adrian_turtle; we had a quiet weekend in, partly because of rainy weather, but I'd been promising myself sushi for weeks.

I skipped going to the gym today because my knees were sore, but I have rolled out the IT band and other leg fascia, and did a bit of balance and hamstring stuff here at home.

I've remarked before that sometimes my company pays me to solve quadratics. Today I was asked to check/fix the distance labels in a diagram, which meant applying the Pythagorean theorem (automatically, in my head, we turned out not to need that value), measuring the actual sides as distinct from what the labels said, and then playing with ratios. And I realize most people don't find the idea of getting paid to do this fun, which is part of why this landed on my desk.
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 10th, 2010 10:32 pm)
It's been a good birthday, with a number of delightful cards and plenty of mushrooms. For lunch, I had mushroom soup and some (leftover) salad which included raw mushrooms. Dinner was duck with a wild mushroom and lingonberry sauce, at Henry's End, which we've been going to for occasional celebratory dinners for a quarter century. (I'd been thinking of a bistro near [personal profile] cattitude's office, but they've gone out of business.) It meant a bunch of walking; the nearest subway stops to the restaurant do not have elevators, but Borough Hall and Jay Street/Borough Hall are within walking distance for me. So, nice food, and I probably walked about 2.5 miles today, mostly in bits of say 1/3 to 3/4 mile each.

Also, things at my job seem to be flowing a bit more smoothly; this may be an illusion, but being back to the work I'm more used to helps.
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I went to bed at a reasonable time by the clock last night. Unfortunately, I woke up by what time my body still thought it was, on Daylight Time, so I am short between an hour and an hour and a half of sleep.

And then, on the way in to work, I encountered mixed precipitation: sleet, rain, and snow. All of it light, but I was not pleased. On the other hand, it's my birthday in two days and we haven't had a frost yet. Sleet, yes. Freezing temperatures, no. I'm hoping for sunny and a high around 12 C/55 F for Wednesday.

I have finally gotten to go back to working on one of the books from our normal schedule. Which left me looking at a file last touched on 27 September and wondering, literally, "What was I thinking?" I'd forgotten to include identifying information, and couldn't find the material I wanted to use (by hand or with Google desktop), so I had to come up with a different approach. Ah, well. With a bit of luck, this will go out on time, or at worst a day late, not two weeks late. This is at the cost of pushing back editing on another book, but production is backlogged, and our writers may have other things on their schedules, so my boss agrees that this is the right way to do it. I don't think decisions on the schedule beyond that have been made yet; I have plenty of work to do, though.
In today's editorial episode, no, we are not going to tell the eighth graders to hit liquid nitrogen with a hammer.

This gym renovation stuff is getting old: everything is crowded, and I have to waste time walking the long way around to get from the stairs to the locker room, and then from the locker room to the areas where I can actually exercise.

Nonetheless, I saw Emilie. I was grumpy at the beginning, because I was already stressed from work. and then Emilie kept me waiting, for an indeterminate (and longer than expected) period when I couldn't really go off and find something else to do except wait, and I'm not good at doing that calmly without a book. (If I'd known, I might have done a bit more cardio, or lifted something.) But we did good balance stuff, and some other good stuff, and one (lat pulldown) that I hope doesn't prove bad for my shoulder in a day or three. She says I am getting toned. Some of what she's noticing is stuff I had a year ago, before the knees got awkward and I wasn't exercising much for a bit. Specifically, I have visible back muscles again, and my legs, including hamstrings, were looking good. Details at the end of the post.

The problem isn't that it rained today. The problem is that my raincoat is too big, so I was dry but not warm. I think it fit better last year; there are disadvantages to a shifting body weight or shape, even when it involves being more toned. And this coat doesn't have a belt, or even belt loops. It does have really good pockets and a zip-in lining, both of which I am glad of.

My left shoe also leaked a bit, but I've been planning to retire this pair of shoes; I already have the replacement, I've just been wearing them alternately while I break the new ones in. (Alternating is supposed to make the shoes last longer.) These might still do for dry days; I'm not going to throw them away immediately.

workout details, such as I remember )

The problem isn't that it rained today. The problem is that my raincoat is too big, so I was dry but not warm. I think it fit better last year; there are disadvantages to a shifting body weight or shape, even when it involves being more toned. And this coat doesn't have a belt, or even belt loops. It does have really good pockets and a zip-in lining, both of which I am glad of.

My left shoe also leaked a bit, but I've been planning to retire this pair of shoes; I already have the replacement, I've just been wearing them alternately while I break the new ones in. (Alternating is supposed to make the shoes last longer.) These might still do for dry days; I'm not going to throw them away immediately.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 2nd, 2010 09:52 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I voted this morning on our way to work. We had to wait in line a few minutes, but everything went smoothly once we got to the front. I was voter number 58, which is higher than usual for a non-Presidential election, though not incredibly so. Then we walked to the subway, chatting with the woman who had been right behind us in line to get our ballots, and then between me and Cattitude to have them scanned. We then had a brief conversation in the elevator down to the station mezzanine, with someone who had heard us say something about voting: he wanted to know when voting had started. I told him it had started at six, and he had until 9 p.m. Very basic voter education (and a reasonable question, as it differs from state to state).

I was a little late to work, and then stayed a bit late: we have a lot to get done by Friday, and a three-member team, one of whom may be out for part or all of Wednesday-Friday for a family emergency. So I may be working late again tomorrow. I think my plan for the next couple of days is work; gym with Emilie on Thursday; and possibly stop off for tea (leaves) after work on Friday, since the deadline is 3:00 Friday, not "as late as you are willing to stay Friday." This means not seeing [journal.com profile] pecunium and other people tomorrow. (Some other week, I'd ask to take a long lunch and stay late; not this week, alas.)
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We have renewed the lease for another year, which involved signing an assortment of things, three times each, including a form with the statement that "a child under six years of age does not live in this apartment" (reference to lead paint) and another that no child of ten or younger lives here, and we do not want window guards (which we could have in any case, but are required if there's a child present). There was also one intended to serve as notice that they have applied for a rent increase because of the "major capital improvement" of installing security cameras, but with the amount, date, and docket numbers all blank. I carefully wrote "zero" in percentage: if they want me to sign it with something else, they can provide the data.

[livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I have played a lot of Scrabble this weekend.

I have also spent some time this weekend on the massive project at work (which is eating everything else for the moment, at least in editorial).

We're getting some good fall colors in the park. Cattitude and I went for a walk, and looked at pretty leaves and random birds; we also saw two turtles, but just heads poking up above the surface. I am now fiddling with some photos I took, this afternoon and earlier in the month.

The other cool thing this week was taking Cattitude to Ido Sushi for a birthday dinner. Thank you again, [personal profile] roadnotes, for introducing me to that restaurant. They had really good mackerel and melt-in-your-mouth sashimi. The only problem was that an appetizer that I asked about and was assured wasn't spicy turned out to be so; our best guess is that the sauce the deep fried soft shell crab and bits of mango were sitting on had hot peppers in it. It was on the edge of okay for me, and sort of snuck up, because not everything was in contact with the spice. I ate all the crab and about half the mango salsa, and told the waiter about the problem. For me, this was an annoyance. For someone else, it could be either reason to send the dish back (I still have some tolerance for capsicum spice, but not everyone does) or a more serious problem. So, I enjoyed the meal, and will be going back again, but am going to be cautious about bringing people with allergies or other food sensitivities.
The holding company that owns the company I work for has bought a company that makes educational software, and is merging the two. They told us all this at a meeting offsite this morning, an hour after the paperwork was signed.

The meeting was longer on generalities and statements about growth than about specifics. We're promised more detail next week; there's another meeting Monday for just the editorial department, with time for questions. What we know so far is that they want to take content from our existing books and use them for the software stuff, and that the company we're being merged with makes what is supposed to be a supplemental curriculum, broader than our test prep and review material. The new company will have our company name, but the founder and CEO of the other one is, effective immediately, CEO of the combination. They have an office in Jacksonville, and the plan is to keep that, our New York office, and the Massachusetts warehouse space more or less as is. The CEO is going to be spending a lot of time flying back and forth.

Other than that, they were talking about growth and opportunity and having stuff out in the cloud, and that there will be no layoffs. And about working hard and learning new skills, all of that unspecified. I am hoping that this means they will scuttle the dubious-looking still-in-development content management system and use whatever the other side already has and is using. Several days ago we were told that we (editorial) would all be put into groups for training on that, but no schedule has been announced yet, and I suspect it may not be. One can hope.

(I also have a leak in my kitchen sink; I noticed water on the floor this morning, and mopped some of it up before dashing out to the meeting this morning, but neither I nor [personal profile] cattitude identified the cause, and we probably won't be able to get the super in until Monday.)
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[livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I have tickets for a trip to Montreal to visit [livejournal.com profile] papersky and [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel in a couple of weeks. We'd made the basic plan for this a while ago, but it took a while for me to pull myself together to find flights, and then a few days for rysmiel to get back to me and say "yes, that works." And that was just long enough for me to start fretting, partly because I was afraid that the airfare would go up suddenly (airlines are like that, and it's now just over two weeks until we're traveling) or the seats wouldn't be available, and partly because I like having this sort of thing settled.

(I don't know the details of what I'm doing 36 hours from now, but that's local and more about trying to figure out whether it's feasible to meet people in Brooklyn at 1 p.m. and get something sensible to eat first; I have bought our tickets for Bellona, Destroyer of Cities for Saturday night.)

That was tangled in with fretting/annoyance about the 401k thing at my job. The result on that is that no, they cannot make my 401K enrollment retroactive to when I actually signed up (or will not, I'm not sure where the lines are between "it's against policy" and "not set up that way" and "we don't want this enough to take the time to figure out if it's possible"). They are (this was their idea, but it seems reasonable) going to take more out of my next few paychecks, to at least catch up my contributions, and then starting in June take out the percentage I originally signed up for. (The amount I am putting in long-term is slightly more than the company will match in any case.)

Of course, at this point I will believe it when I see evidence on my pay slip, and log in to the system and see that the deposits have been made. Because so far, what I have is someone saying "yes, we'll do this" with a system that I know has failed to enroll me once, and that issues "confirmation numbers" that appear to be entirely useless: there's no way to call ADP (the payroll etc. company that runs this for my employer and quite a few others) to check anything or get help, and it transpires that my employer also couldn't find anything based on that number. And of course there's no mechanism for the system to say "there was a glitch, you're not actually enrolled" (how would there be?) nor for it to notice that someone has been shown as having n (>0) taken out of her paycheck for two months, totalling zero, and send that information to someone who could do something useful. The general lack of error checking is, alas, unsurprising, but I'm genuinely annoyed at the Potemkin confirmation numbers.

Work (as distinct from paperwork) is going pretty well, at least in terms of me getting a reasonable amount done, albeit a chunk of the last couple of days involved fixing things that should have been caught a lot sooner. (Given that this manuscript went to an outside editor who we know can write, I don't want to look at the original unedited MS. Also, granted bird taxonomy is non-intuitive, but that's why, if you're going to use birds as an example for family, order, genus, and species, you should look it up, not blithely write down what makes intuitive sense to you. I'd be willing to forgive them for thinking that "ducks" was a genus if they hadn't decided that "birds that can fly" was an order.

*deep breath*

It has been absurdly warm (yesterday set records not only for warmest April 7 all over the region, but for earliest day in the calendar year that it was 90F or above in Central Park. (The high was 32C/92F; today was a much pleasanter 25 or so.) I haven't taken as much advantage of it as I might have liked, because my left knee and quadriceps have been sore, but plenty of open windows, and spring is bouncing merrily along.
My boss Marilyn came back to work Thursday. We had a brief team meeting yesterday, during which she thanked me and Jon for doing so much extra while she was out. I said "You're welcome" and added that Jon probably deserved a lot of the credit, since I'd been out for a week; he said no, he'd only done his own work. I think she will think we were both being polite; who did what is recorded in a number of places, and I'm not concerned about not getting credit.

Julie in HR got back to me about the 401K enrollment. She said there was no record of me signing up, and suggested I do it again. I spoke to Marilyn about this; she spoke to Wendy, and they suggested I get in touch with the main company HR person in Massachusetts, so I have done so. There are two issues here. One is that we have 401K matching: if my end-of-January signup gets processed as early April, that's two months of matching money I'm not getting. So I asked if she could make it retroactive. The other is that Julie may not be able to find a record of my enrollment, but not only do I have the confirmation number, I can log into the system and see that it believes it should be taking out 7% of my salary, but has so far taken nothing. Which isn't just evidence--my earlier email to Julie might count there as well. It also has me a bit worried about possible confusion and problems if I do sign up again, and the system notices that it has two employees at the same company, with the same name and social security number. Does it flag this as fraud? Does it go ahead and process them both, with the possibility that at some point it decides to actually start handling the first one properly? (Best case there is I have to tell it to stop taking the money out for one, and hope it doesn't then cancel both. Worse, if it tries to match both, someone might get upset or think I'm trying to cheat the company. Or does it just refuse to enroll me on the grounds that it already has that person in its system? It may be that this is the right answer, but I'd like some reassurance here (even if they won't make it retroactive).

It is most thoroughly spring here: the trees are just starting to bloom (the drooping cherries are bright pink, but the apple tree nearest us is just starting). We still have crocuses and scads of daffodils, but we also have a few dandelions and our first violet, tucked in next to a tree stump (which was a perfectly good tree before the last rain-and-windstorm, *sigh*).

At some point, I may do a book post, instead of just updating the list I started at the beginning of the year. Averaged over the year to date, I'm reading a bit over one book a week.

I went to the gym after work yesterday. It wasn't very crowded, probably because it was a very nice day out. The workout went well, and I am pleased. numbers cut to avoid boredom )
I am feeling a bit more like my usual competent self than I was a week ago: grief can be draining, and I was also short on sleep. Time and doing the work have me more confident of my ability to do it. My group at work are juggling things and having to revise schedules, but that's less from my having been away for a week than from my boss being away for significantly longer, also unexpectedly, both on top of some problems with contractors earlier in the winter.

[personal profile] rysmiel pointed out, yesterday, that I haven't been posting a lot; this may continue for a little while, as I think about stuff from the trip to England, not all of which is mine to share. I also owe at least one of you email.

I went to the gym today, so here are some numbers. Read more... )
This is probably the first of several posts about Simon's death, and being there with Mom, and my reactions then and after. (Mom, you don't have to read these; if I write anything I think you'd rather not read, I'll flag it/use a cut tag.)

It took me a few days after my return to realize that I wasn't jet lagged anymore, and it wasn't just tiredness from missing sleep while traveling: grief is draining. I'm feeling a bit slow, mentally. I'm still doing good work, I think, but it's taking me longer than usual. Fortunately, my boss Wendy is understanding of what I've been through, and how it's affecting me. (My direct boss, Marilyn, is out sick right now, so a less sympathetic person than Wendy might be leaning on me: of a team of three, two of us were out all of last week, and Marilyn is still out and we're not sure when she'll be back.)

When I realized some of what was going on, I emailed my beloveds, partly so they'd know and partly because writing things down helps me remember them. I got a thoughtful and sympathetic reply from [personal profile] adrian_turtle, who pointed out that being present at a death is hard. I don't know if that's always true, but it seems to be here. In some ways, it's not something we're prepared for, culturally. On some levels, yes. I knew enough that when Mom asked me if I was sure that Simon had stopped breathing, I first thought of the old idea of seeing if the person was fogging a mirror, and then realized that I could check for a pulse at wrist and neck. And in the minute, where patience and compassion were needed, I had what I needed: from my family, and choices since. (Adrian and I were discussing this in another context, the last time I was in Massachusetts, and she suggested that compassion may be partly inborn, and partly upbringing, but we keep making choices, and mine tend to be in that direction. Not all of them, but enough.)

On my way to buy lunch today, I noticed myself blinking away tears, and thought "It's okay to cry." I haven't cried, much, over this: a little bit last week, while [personal profile] rysmiel was visiting: no specific trigger, just a minute of "hold on a moment, I need to be hugged" and then the tears ebbed and we went on with what we'd been doing.

[personal profile] cattitude has been holding me, and encouraging me to cut myself slack, and I'm basically figuring that I will go to work (and concern myself more with doing the work well enough than with how fast it gets done), go to the gym, and otherwise take it easy: read some, play scrabble if we're up for it, play with the cat, be glad it's finally spring.

On the practical side, I called Delta Airlines today, with the ticket number (I called yesterday and was told I needed that), and got a helpful person who looked at the records she could see, called in her supervisor (who can see older information), and told me what I would need to do to get a refund. This is a relief after the dismissive people I'd gotten on the phone when I called to change the return flight while I was in London.
redbird: me with purple hair (purple)
( Mar. 4th, 2010 09:57 pm)
I spent most of the workday on a low-priority project because I'd done my higher-priority stuff for now, and then last two hours on something that my boss has been working on, because, having called in sick this morning, she called our boss back in the afternoon to say she didn't expect to be in by Monday. So, I may or may not finish this, but I will get some useful done.

This particular task, what we call 1Rs—reading the first round of proof pages for a book as if it was a fresh manuscript, looking for errors and infelicities but fixing only what's actually necessary, and also accepting or rejecting anything from the proofreader—is something that my boss wanted me to start doing sooner or later, but she wasn't planning on that being this week. (I think the original plan was for me to read the 1Rs for a book she'd edited; luck of the draw got me one that the newer editor, Jon, did.) It's entirely likely that Monday morning either Marilyn or, if she's still sick, Wendy will take them.

I think I'm doing reasonably well at taking care of myself and [personal profile] cattitude (who has had a very long winter). As part of that, I went to the gym after work. numbers )
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It is a snowy morning (which you know, but next year I may not remember), with a blizzard warning until something like 6 a.m. tomorrow. Yesterday afternoon my boss said I could work at home today if the storm did happen and if I wanted to, so I brought home necessary files and am doing so. There is some distraction, including from the cat, but it's working better than I'd feared for me and [personal profile] cattitude to be working from home simultaneously, at computers about 2 meters apart.

I am also drinking green Darjeeling tea, as an extra not-very-caffeinated hot drink, because I coughed up enough phlegm to have me afraid I am getting a cold, possibly the one Cattitude just had. (And that's another reason to be glad I stayed home: the basic reasoning was that it would be easy enough to get downtown, but unpleasant if not dangerous to come home in late afternoon. (The city schools were closed preemptively.)

On the other hand, important things are still running: not only is the Sanitation Department plowing the streets, we had a knock an hour ago from a city housing inspector, asking if the heat was okay. Apparently they got an anonymous complaint, so instead of going to a specific apartment, he was going door to door. I told him ours was fine, and he reminded me of their phone number in case of any problems.
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One of my coworkers runs a Super Bowl pool. She encourages people to participate whether or not they follow or understand football. It's set up so that knowing more about the game doesn't actually help: prizes are given for matching the last digits of the scores at various points, and the numbers you're matching with are assigned at random.

For vague social reasons, I participated last year, and won nothing, and decided to play again this year. I handed the organizer my money (she was pleased not to have to make change), wrote my name in a box, and didn't think much about it.

I came in yesterday and found that my numbers had matched the third-quarter score, so I have won $100 on my $10 bet. This feels like free money; I probably should not spend it all on chocolate.
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jan. 6th, 2010 07:40 pm)
Our company handed out bonuses earlier than usual, namely, yesterday. I think the timing had to do with the holding company doing a "prepackaged" bankruptcy, under which the people to whom they owe lots of money will get stock, and the current stockholders will get zilch. (Since the debt is from leveraged buyouts, this is unsurprising.) And we did better than expected, so I have been given 6.25% of my annual salary (the money I actually got yesterday is about half of the total, because the withholding is high on this, and I'll get some more back in 14 or 15 months when I file my 2010 income taxes).

Having gotten this, I was thinking "I should pass some of it along," and then an hour later had email from the people who run the summer math program I attended 30 years ago. So, $51 to Hampshire College, earmarked for the Summer Studies in Mathematics. I haven't decided yet whether to just put the rest in my savings account (which is what I did last time) or come up with a suitable fun/indulgent thing to do with all or part of it.

They have also reinstated 401(k) matching, so I need to find the paperwork and sign up for the 401(k) plan. (Matching was suspended a few weeks before I was eligible to join the plan, so I didn't, and put money in an IRA for 2009.) And we may get raises this coming year, since the salary freeze is going to be ended in March (making it one full year, so it should hit everyone exactly once). Most of this was announced at a meeting on Monday, while I was on an Amtrak train, but my boss filled me in. (The 401(k) stuff was actually announced at the holiday party, which I also wasn't at for unrelated reasons.)
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 4th, 2009 07:05 pm)
[personal profile] cattitude had to get up early today for an 8:30 medical appointment (routine testing), and I woke around when he did, so we both left the house an hour earlier than usual. That meant, of course, that I got downtown an hour or so earlier than usual. I used that to walk from Columbus Circle to my office—a reasonably brisk walk across Central Park South and down Sixth Avenue, just under two miles, I think, and the sidewalks didn't get crowded till the mid-40s, and not really bad until that last two blocks along 32nd Street, which is always heavily trafficked. With that, I still got to work earlier than usual.

I spent about three and a half hours in meetings today. That's more time than I spent in meetings in October. One of the things I like about my job is that they don't make me go to pointless meetings. That's still true: the discussion was sensible and I think, and hope, productive, and it was appropriate for me to be there. Appropriate enough, in fact, that I invited myself to the second meeting. Both were with outside contractors/vendors, who are apparently going to be implementing a content management system for us. Jon and I were at the first meeting because our boss, who is on vacation, asked that at least one of us sit in on her behalf. I took the second because I've been there long enough to know about how we handle art, and how we (the science team) would like to be handling art. Afterwards, I went into Wendy's office (she's my boss's boss, as well as the person who hired me to be an editor here), talked a bit about what was said, and then went back to my desk and wrote an email summarizing both meetings for Marilyn (cc'd to Wendy and Jon). The 3.5-hour number counts the time for writing it up as meeting time (I have to track what projects I work on, in rounded half-hour increments; "meetings" are a category on the spreadsheet). Having gotten in early, I didn't leave early, so a bit more time than usual. I'm on salary. Nonetheless, I actually fill out two timesheets. One is a very broad "worked/vacation/holiday/out sick/other" sheet of paper, in day or half-day units (and I do like being able to take personal time in half days); the other is the half-hourly one, which someone uses as information for budgeting.

I also stopped on the way home to pick up a prescription, and I think that's enough for one day on which I woke up early. I don't think this would have been possible if I were all the way on standard time.
I had forgotten I have dental coverage as part of my health insurance. So, clean teeth, reassurance that I have no cavities, and no out-of-pocket cost (it counts as preventive care). This still doesn't make me want to schedule extra dental appointments. This was just the regular checkup/cleaning, but I'd had intermittent twinges in one tooth, so they took extra X-rays (which took three tries, since it was way in back), and the dentist also did a visual-light inspection of the outer surface, finding no problems. He says he wants to see me every six months, though his office seems to be sending me reminder postcards only half that often.

Work was slow and irritating: nothing about my coworkers or the like, just that I'm working on one of the pieces of my job I don't particularly enjoy (nor, as far as I can tell, does anyone, so even if this weren't the most urgent thing, on which all three of us science editors are working on, I couldn't really ask someone else to do it while I did something they disliked). On the other hand, the bit that was looking like a bear is at most a bear cub, since while this particular state standard is weird, it's not unique, so we can tell the writer to base some of those lessons on a previous book. (When possible, we repurpose existing material; things like lab safety don't vary that much from state to state.) Someone I like left today, but cheerfully, and may be back to do some freelance stuff. She's going back to school full time: at the moment, the remaining prerequisites so she can apply to study to become a Physician's Assistant.

The latest appointment the dentist had available was at 4 (I think he stays later some other days of the week), so I was at the gym a little before five, meaning I had a good workout and was still home by 7:30. It rained while I was having my teeth cleaned, and was pleasantly cool as I was walking. I was rained on for about three blocks, not counting the half block where it was raining enough for me to open my umbrella.

Two small losses: A bakery I used to go to semi-regularly, on Ninth Avenue (near my dentist, whose office is near where I used to work) is no longer in business; I am now in that bit of Hell's Kitchen seldom enough that all I know is that a new business has moved into the space (so, it didn't close down last week, but could have been 2 months or a year; I think I walked south from the dentist last time instead of north). It was a perfectly nice Italian bakery, which filled cannoli to order, did some nice cakes if you pre-ordered (for example, if you didn't want chocolate, vanilla, or one of a variety of fruit fillings between two layers, you could get cannoli filling between layers of chocolate cake), and made decent biscotti. And had been there since the 1950s; that's long enough that I wouldn't be astonished if, rather than this being a casualty of the recession or a greedy landlord, the owners decided to retire and the third generation of the family, if any, wasn't interested in running a bakery.

Also, the tree I've been posting happily about as it sprang for the sky has fallen, or been knocked, sideways; tying it to a good, sturdy stake might help, if we had such a stake available. (It's possible the park workers will do this; they have been mowing around it this summer.) I miss it more than the bakery, though it's arguably a smaller loss, because it's right here and I've been paying attention to it.

gym numbers )
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