Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thoughts on Goodbye

Earlier this week, I attended a company dinner party styled as a roast of the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, whose jobs have ended in the wake of the just-completed merger.  The evening was great fun as the team creatively pulled out all the stops.

It started off with a few girls and I doing a rendition of Gloria Gaynor's "I will Survive," complete with feather boa props, somewhat synchronized choreography and lyrics revised to suit the occasion.  This was almost as much fun to develop and rehearse as it was to perform, so I was pleased to have been invited to join the ladies - all of whom I could previously claim more as acquaintances than friends.  I kept waiting to get nervous to perform in front of an "audience," friendly as it might be, but I never did and we were well received by the crowd that evening.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...

... to bring you this message:

More than a foot of new snow has fallen on Mount Hood in the past 24 hours!  Woo-hoo!

In a move sure to impress the new bosses, I'm skipping out on work to go snowboarding today; the conditions should be epic.  Some might say that I should get my priorities straight.  I would argue I already have.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Loving Mae's garden

I know it's terribly uninteresting, reading about other people's weather.  But if the facebook posts of my Oregon peeps are anything to go by, I'm not the only one that can't help gushing about how much I am loving the sunshine and mild temperatures.  Well, mild in the afternoons anyway.  This morning when I left for work, it was 29 degrees outside and I had to scrape ice off the car.  Because I abhor being cold, I was dressed in a wool coat, hat, scarf, gloves, etc.  Then when I left the office at the end of the day, the most efficient way to carry all of that was to don it once again and head out into the warm afternoon sunshine.  I felt vaguely ridiculous (though not as ridiculous as when I had to arrive at work wearing snowboard pants); but I am definitely not complaining.

The garden is declaring that it believes spring has sprung, although rain returns mid-week.  I'm hoping we don't get a last blast of winter or the fruit trees are going to suffer.  Usually, clear skies in February are accompanied by highs in the 20s, not the 50s.  Our trees have been tricked into believing we've fast forwarded to April.  Could be a bit of a shock if March roars in like a lion.

We are blessed with literally thousands of daffodils inherited from the old dear, Mae, who was born in this house and lived here for over 70 years.  Well, I'm not sure if one can refer to her as an "old dear," since she was a firecracker who swore like a sailor, liked her whiskey straight up and is rumored, in her day, to have entertained gentlemen in the upper rooms of a nearby tavern in return for remuneration, but she kept a beautiful garden.  Here's a little taste of its exuberence:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meet the Menagerie

I share my home with two cats adopted from a cat rescue organization 2 1/2 years ago.  I had wanted to adopt two kittens forever, and always knew I wanted to call one Yoda and the other Kismet, because I thought they were great kitty names.  These two are a never-ending source of amusement.  Indulge me a little as I show them off.

This is Yoda.  Yoda was born in a cat rescue foster home, where his mom, Bubbles, arrived pregnant.  She only had the one kitten, so the shelter introduced our other cat, Kismet, who arrived as a tiny stray that still needed a mom to nurse, and these two became brothers.  When we adopted them, I felt so guilty that we didn't take Bubbles as well that I couldn't even look at her after we packed our little guys into the carrier.  It didn't help that the kittens were crying, scared and confused.  The husband was sympathetic to my emotional plight, but held firm that we did not need three cats.  Her foster mom told us, "It's okay, I'll give her extra love today and she'll even be allowed to sleep in my room tonight."  Bless her - it made me feel a little better about ripping away Bubbles' little guys.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Note to a season, from a place

Dear Winter,

You must be losing your touch.  There is bright sunshine and that 65 degree reading is an outside temperature.  There are freaking cherry trees in bloom.

Are you feeling okay?  Has this global warming malarkey got you down?  Because I don't know if you realize, but this is Oregon... in February.  There have been 4th of July holidays where I would have been thrilled with this kind of weather.

Perhaps you are just exhausted from stomping on all those good citizens in the South these past few weeks.  Maybe the pressure of performing for the Olympics was just too much and you decided to get out of town and lay low for a while... go someplace where no one would think to look for you, like say... Texas. 

Well, never you mind, everybody needs a break when they've been working hard, including you.  I'm just going to put my shades on, kick back and enjoy the sun, and I'll be here waiting when you decide to come back and rain on my parade.  Then we can dance together until May or so, just like old times.

Much love,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sucker-punched by my own damn sentimentality

“They’ve filed the Form 25 for you already, so you have no responsibility to report the [insert confidential topic here]. In fact, you have no responsibility to report anything to the SEC anymore,” the attorney told me.

And with that, my role here at [Anonymous Company] is finished. You see, I was hired to prepare the financial reports required by the SEC to be filed for a publicly traded company. I was on the phone with one of my favorite attorneys from a firm who actually are no longer our attorneys because [New Anonymous Parent Company] gets to have everything their way. That’s how it goes in a “merger” that’s really a takeover.  Not wanting to look stupid uninformed, I googled Form 25 while still on the phone with her.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And I well up at long distance commercials too...

Just watched a replay of Alexandre Bilodeau receiving the first gold medal ever to be awarded to a Canadian on home soil. The crowd was going wild and he looked like he was in another dimension while his anthem was played.  Absolutely brilliant. 


Moments like these are why I love the Olympics... I'm a total sucker for the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and a touching athlete back story.  I must be a TV producer's dream viewer because it takes about 0.11 milliseconds for me to get sucked in.


Know what else I love about the Olympics these days? Blitzing through 5 hours of coverage in less than half the time courtesy the magical powers of the DVR FF> button.


Getting sucked in, easy.  Staying sucked in... not so much.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Valentine's Day Grinch

All is well on the home front, but I am just not feeling Valentine's Day this year.  I'm particularly glad that it falls on a weekend, so I don't see great bunches of roses being delivered to co-workers.  Honestly, that might sound like sour grapes, but ever since we started sharing a checkbook, I haven't wanted a bunch of flowers sent in an overpriced delivery to my office.  Sometimes I've seen those bouquets being delivered and I've thought, from what I know of the women receiving them, that they are "fear bouquets" sent because the gentleman in question knows the consequences if he doesn't.  It seems so ostentatious... though I have watched friends receive a truly unexpected delivery and it really is a sweet and meaningful gesture.  Those I like. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We've had a strange winter - record cold temperatures here for a few weeks in December, but one of the warmest Januarys on record.  Spring, that fickle tease, has shown her face on a few lovely days here and there.  Yet I see pictures from friends and family buried under the second blizzard in a week on the east coast, and I'm a little jealous of the snow... much as they are probably a little jealous (or a lot) of our mild weather, after the novelty of snow wears off.  Grass is always greener...

Snowdrops are the first sign of the coming season in our garden.  These little beauties started blooming on the first day of February.

Monday, February 8, 2010

End of an Era

Big sigh.  The shareholder vote has passed successfully today, and the merger transaction in which my company will be acquired closes in a little over a week.  I started working here almost two years ago.  At the time I joined, the company was struggling after some tactical errors, and just as we got back on our feet, the economic tsunami hit in fall 2008 - torpedoing our results for another year.  However, this team has worked really hard and made a lot of improvements and we all have some ambivalence about decision to accept the acquisition overture and put it to shareholder vote.

I had another job offer at the time I was first considering whether to work here, and I was concerned about the long term viability of this company so I seriously considered turning them down.  But, if I had then a crystal ball and knew when I accepted the job that it might only last two years, but also knew that I would have SO MUCH FUN during those two years, I would make the same decision over and over - no question about it.  My only regret is that I might look back at my career in another few decades and realize that I never had such a good time working as I have had here, and isn't a shame that it only lasted two years.  But on the other hand, I shall always count myself lucky to have had a position I enjoyed so much because of the people I worked with.

We all got together for dinner at a swanky hotel in Oregon's wine country on Saturday night as a last hurrah before everything changes and our CFO's position is eliminated in a couple of weeks.  Our CFO actually deserves the credit for coining and propogating my nickname, Keenie Beanie - you can see it there on the little placecard his wife wrote up.  He's a great guy to work for.  He got up and said some lovely things about each of us, and I'm fairly certain that he welled up a bit there at the end.  In the immortal words of Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias, "I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence," and as such, I welled up a bit too.  But we were also all laughing, as per usual, which took the edge off a bit.

I'm not sure what's going to happen with my employment with the merged company, only that my current position will be eliminated and some of the people I've enjoyed working for aren't going to be around. So here we are, at the end of an all-too-short era and I'm feeling pretty melancholy about it all... raise a (mental) glass to it for me, folks.

Friday, February 5, 2010

No Wucking Furries

I come from a background that could be considered economically disadvantaged.  My parents provided for four children as best they could, and I didn't grow up feeling poor, even if we technically met the goverment's definition of poverty.  But I know the stress of raising four children on a limited income took its toll.  As I matured into my teens, I became more aware of the things I didn't have and I was determined to improve my lot in life.

I was fortunate that school came easy to me, right up through college graduation.  I worked my way through university, including a full-time job my senior year.  I had abandoned any creative pursuits in return for perceived job security and majored in accounting.  It's not a sexy career choice, but I had an affinity for the work and have met with success along the way.

I went into adulthood wanting all the trappings of "the good life."  I sold my soul to a big-4 accounting firm, worked my way up through the ranks, and eventually achieved a manager title, a comfortable income, a sports car with a big monthly payment, a nice house, fun vacations, toys and gadgets, and a fair few thousand dollars of credit card bills that stuck with me, growing gradually through most of my 20s.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's raining duck

I live on a quiet country lane among the farm fields surrounding Portland’s western suburbs.  My nearest neighbor is over ¼ mile away.  However, this pastoral life in the country is occasionally interrupted by strange goings-on.
Recently a very large old tree fell over nearby, destabilizing the road I use for my daily commute into work.  The road was shut for nearly a month.  I found out just how ingrained my habits are when I had to turn around at the blocked road repeatedly for the first several days of the closure… and then on average about once per week throughout the roadworks.  Although I found an alternate route, it involved taking a different freeway exit, which for some reason I overshot last Friday on my afternoon commute (must be the blond effect).  No worries, I could carry on to the next off-ramp and make my way home on the country back roads. (Trust me, I am going somewhere with this…)