Thursday, October 30, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
After a couple of nights in bed with my ankles above my head, I am walking better. Not that kind of nights, the recommendation was to elevate my sprained ankles above the heart. My feet have been propped up on one very large pillow. It seems to be helping, the swelling is down and I am moving somewhat better.
To minimize walking I drove to the office yesterday, and will again today. To take the subway I have a couple of large stations I need to navigate, including a change of lines that requires changing levels in a very busy station. I seldom drive to work, like 4 or 5 times over the past six years. But it is much less walking, the car is parked near the door to the condo tower, and there is valet parking in the office building ($12 a day plus a tip.) It is about 10 miles from home to the office, it took me just over an hour yesterday morning, I can ride there on my bike in 55 minutes (when my ankles are not messed up.) Coming home last night, the first three miles took me 32 minutes - Ms.Garmin took me across through Georgetown. I HATE driving in Georgetown, it has the worst traffic in this complicated city.
Monday, October 27, 2014
The wrong body type and 10 years of running, my hips, knees and ankles are a mess. Even on a good day, I walk funny, and not for the reasons a man might wish for.
When did emergency rooms replace walk in office hours at the neighborhood physician? I grew up in a rural area, there were two doctors in town. The one my family saw had walk in office hours four or five afternoons a week. You could make an appointment, but if you walked in, the doctor would see you before he went home for night. He lived in a brick home next door. I hated sitting in the waiting room - but only now know how lucky we were to be able to walk in. Today, appointments take weeks to get, and non-emergency care fills emergency rooms, with hospital level care and cost for things the old country Docs treated as it came in the door. For Dr. G medicine was a calling, he lived well, but money was secondary to caring for the people in the community. His church in California paid for him to go to Medical School (late 40's early 50's) and when he was done asked him to go to an undeserved community whose only doctor had died (reportedly in his office between patients.) When my family started spending winters in Florida in the mid 70's, I could sense that he missed living in cities and warmer climates. But his commitment to the community kept him there until he retired.
In the end his skills were a little dated, he missed a diagnosis on my grandmother that was life threatening. She was having some trouble and was a bit of a hypochondriac, so she had been to see him and he had told her it was nothing to worry about. The next day she as visiting my father who was in the hospital with a kidney stone. His doctor came in, looked at her and said, "do you mind if I look in your ear?" 24 hours later she was in a teaching hospital with the head or neurology doing surgery to remove an infection the size of a tennis ball. No one is perfect, he provided a great service to the community. I miss the corner Doctor.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Another crazy busy week. I sorted out the top of my desk yesterday for the first time in months. Now I know what archeologists feel like, digging through history layer by layer. The bottom layer was January, actually one folder for the shredder was from August of 2013.
Board meeting today. Tomorrow I spent the day interviewing students for next summers interns.
I am almost done with site selection for next year's big conference.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Why is the immediate reaction to my pointing out a mistake to look for an excuse, rather then to admit that someone made a mistake? I know we have a generation of "everyone gets a trophy" soccer players, but in the real world we all make mistakes. The best course of action is to say, oops, sorry, let me see if anything can be done to fix it. If it is your mistake, to take ownership of it. Doing so keeps me from going from Mr Nice Guy to Mr Asshole in 1 second or less. I like Mr Nice guy better.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I am back home. Three long days of work. Wednesday was an annual project meeting, followed by two hours of emails. Thursday and Friday were the national conference I have been working on since January. The conference was a major success. Other then three fire alarms and some av issues, everything went better than expected. It is nice to be home.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Columbus Day is a day off. I am normally in Lexington visiting my sweet bear this weekend. But I have a couple of massively busy weeks ahead and the bear has a special decennial-birthday coming up the first weekend in November - so I am going to Lexington for that instead this year.
Wednesday is the annual partners meeting for the project that funds 80% of my work. There are five grantees in the project. Once a month we have a conference call, once a year we meet for a day in person. The money is here in DC and has difficulty traveling, so we always meet in DC. The five partners take turns organizing the meeting. But only two of us have meeting space that works for hosting. Actually my office conference space is the largest and most accommodating. I provide the space and one of the other partners plans the agenda and pays for lunch. I also organize and host monthly conference calls for all of the partners.
Thursday and Friday I am hosting a National Conference. I have mentioned this in the past, again to keep the content of this blog, from becoming the intellectual property of my employer, I can't mention the name of the conference. Putting the Conference together has been a massive project, starting last December. We have over 140 people registered, we would be well over 150 but we ran out of space. The attendance projections were maybe 100 people would attend. We went with a venue that holds 140 maximum, and sold out six weeks before show time. We have an agenda of four plenary sessions and 19 workshops. There are about 70 speakers, some new voices, and a couple of superstars. I have a MacArthur Genius award winner as a speaker (pain in the ass I will never work with her again - she has no idea what a deadline is - let alone how to meet one.) I have two high ranking government officials, an assistant cabinet secretary and the second in command at a federal bureau. It will be two long and intense days. Oh, and J and I's anniversary is on Friday.
Next week we have our quarterly board meeting, that we hold three times a year. Only a bunch of lawyers would hold a quarterly meeting three times a year. And then on Saturday I interview students for next summers' internships. I need to finish that process up and make offers before I can leave for Thanksgiving in Florida.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
"Across Virginia, county clerks are readying for an influx of marriage license applications now that same-sex couples in the commonwealth are allowed to marry. The new marriage licenses, which contain spaces for spouse and spouse instead of bride and groom, became available around 1 p.m. Monday."
From my point of view, the Chief Justice is trying to keep the Court from being politicized. He can't always do this, but he has done a much better job then most expected.
It can also be inferred that the Justices didn't see any fundamental flaws in law or logic used in the Circuit Court Decisions.
I think some of the Justices want to avoid the issue, so they can avoid agreeing with same sex marriage or writing an opinion not easily supported by Constitutional law. I can just imagine a couple of them writing that the authors of the Constitution had no more intention of equal protection protecting same sex marriage then they did people marrying their pet ducks. Equal Protection, full faith and credit, apply today to a lot of things that the framers could not have imagined. It was un-imaginable when the Constitution was written that you could talk in Philadelphia and be heard in New York, that a machine could could be read around the world instantly, that you could take the heart out of one man and use it to keep another man alive, women voting, women owning property in their own name, a great deal has changed in 225 years. The essence of a common law system, the basis of our Constitutional law system, is that the law is a living thing that changes and grows as society and technology change.
Friday, October 03, 2014
Thursday, October 02, 2014
This started with looking at a calendar and sending an email request. I have a big meeting coming up on October 16 and 17th. We will send a last minute details email to the attendees, normally three days before the meeting date. Looking at the calendar, that would be Monday October 13th, Columbus Day, we are closed. So I emailed the person responsible for sending the email and said, we need to send the attendee emails on Friday October 10th. She replied that she would send it on Tuesday October 14th. In a moment of supreme "kitchen sinking"* I replied in an email with 5 numbered paragraphs, each expressing my opinions on a different screw up relating to this meeting. Paragraph number 3 went something like this:
"The attendee emails MUST BE SENT ON FRIDAY OCTOBER 10th. About 1/3 of the 140 attendees will be attending a meeting on October 15th, I know this because I am hosting that meeting in my office. If we send the email on the 14th, they will get it when they are at the airport, making it impossible for them to print the 17 pages we are asking them to print before they leave for the conference. When I asked for the 10th, I had thought through this and didn't expect to have to argue or justify my request."
I went to far, I am told I scared people because a couple of paragraphs had passages all in CAPITAL letters. Yes I was shouting, be glad you weren't in the room with me. The above passage, sent someone blubbering to her boss, that "he thinks I am an idiot." Opps, I didn't mean that. I think one of her coworkers is an idiot, but the unfortunate target of that passage is actually one of the best people I have worked with on this project.
I get frustrated with debating or being asked to justify minor decisions and requests, and my collaborators on this project specialize in sweating the small stuff. I think I will send them the classic book, "The Peter Principle" for Christmas. One of the principles is that people spend too much time on the little decisions, because they understand the little decisions, and too little time on the major issues, because big decisions are frightening and hard to understand, so they quickly agree and move onto things within their comfort zone. How can people not know this and understand that the big issues deserve time, and on little shit, it is easier to do it the way the @sshole wants then it is to argue with him.
I don't do this often, but sometimes feel bad when I do, I write a great apology email (took a class in how to do it.) I hope I did a good job today - she was talking to me again this afternoon. In six years I have only eviscerated two people that I felt bad about. I did it again, I wish I hadn't, I should have let someone else have the full treatment in a couple of the other paragraphs in that email - I was tired of dealing idiots.
*Kitchen Sinking, is throwing in everything including the kitchen sink when frustrated, mad or upset. A simple rule of dealing with an angry person is to let them talk until they throw in the kitchen sink.