Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In defense of lethargy

Watching the economic melt down this past week, I’m a little bit happy about my laziness of the past year or so. I kept meaning to go talk to someone and do some responsible, forward-looking planning for retirement--which I am fondly dreaming is coming very, very soon. But it meant all that paperwork. Making an appointment. Doing all that stuff first.

And I never quite got there. So my savings (from selling some of my stock from work) just stayed there in that brokerage/savings account. Over the past few weeks, I’m not so unhappy about that. I’m almost ready to stuff the money in my mattress--it’s just that I’m not entirely sure whether I should stuff dollars, euros, rupees. . . . . . . Gold? Now that would take more goal-oriented behavior than I seem able to manage. And my 401K--responsibly invested in stocks et al. Well that seems to be under water.

I’m left not sure exactly what next. I remember my father--who was so defined in crucial ways by the depression. That always seemed so much in the past for me. And now I think. Could my hard-won savings not be worth what I thought. That’s not the present, the future, but the past. How can that be?

Left a bit breathless. But also mostly glad I’m lazy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Living with someone who is depressed

My husband has a decades long bout with depression. Currently he is in deep trouble. He quit taking his medication. On one hand, this is admirable because it took a great deal of determination to do this. And decades on anti-depressants is a scary thought. But now he is a depressed mess. He doesn’t have a doctor/ professional he is talking to. And here’s what it’s like to deal with him:

  • He’s very irritable. Everything makes him annoyed.

  • He’s very negative. He puts a negative spin on everything.

  • He’s paranoid. Everything that I do is somehow personal, limited, at least something to make him feel bad, if not worse.

  • He’s very trapped in a personal world. He interprets things very personally. If he feels bad, then folks are hurting him. If he can see no other view, there is no other view. If you talk about yourself, you are being selfish.

  • He’s paralyzed by his misery. Nothing matters. Nothing is good. Nothing can be done.

  • If you are silent, you are ignoring him. If you agree, you are patronizing. If you speak and don’t agree, you are arguing.

  • No one loves him. No one cares. No ones understands. Nothing matters.

If you read any book about depression, you’ll see a set of symptoms emerging here. I’ve not exhausted the story.

He is a sweet man whose depression overwhelms the sweet, smart, quirky, kind, funny man I have seen and love. Occasionally I still glimpse this man.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another night at the convention

I realize I have no hard judgment. I can't respond objectively to the democratic convention. Here's where I'm left after 8 years of the Clintons and 8 years of the Bush Republicans.

Bullets follow, the signal of random thought:

  • I was sick of the Clintons, their approach, the nasty heat that followed. That led me to Obama as much as anything else.

  • I'm sick of Bush and the Republicans being in charge. Just plain nasty (do you see my mindless mantra here). I've hear too much of that. The nasty liberals, the nasty elitists, those bad folks who aren't really Americans like us. I've had my fill of that too. And too sure of what "right" belief is. I'm a skeptic on folks who know what is right. And that's a long story for me, but a deeply felt one.

  • So where can we possibly go from here. Obama is obviously young, inexperienced, someone not quite with what we expect as the one who might be president . But to a certain extent I'm okay with that, though worried. I suspect that the transformational figures were mostly there when they popped onto the national scene. (Lincoln, T Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton, for better or worse.) I see good signs with him (smart, pragmatic, decent). But I worry about some things--especially global economy. But I tell myself he's smart, pragmatic, decent. And what are my choices. I think I'll go with smart, pragmatic, decent, open. I do think he's open, not dogmatic.

  • I'm starting to get old. Not hugely old but 5 weeks older than Hillary Clinton. That makes me think that McCain really is pretty damn old for someone we're thinking about electing President. And that worries me. Because I spend a good deal of time these days thinking about what it means to get old. There are other things about McCain that worry me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hope? How?

I've been watching the Democratic convention over the past few evenings. This sort of thing does leave me interested and discouraged:

  • Why are the Clintons so damned good, talented, smart, moving, when I can't trust them?

  • Things will be nasty again. I especially hate the way it will be nasty against the Obamas. Why is this part of American politics?

  • I don't see how we can be against global economics. This is a fact and mostly good. Our politics needs to find a functional way to deal with this.

  • Obama. I basically like him and his wife. What a weird combination of black and too educated (read elistist), who could have imagined his combination.

  • I'm not against educated (even graduate school educated folks). Why is this unAmerican. It should be that person is impressive, or annoying, scary. Just like everyone else.

  • I seem to be in the gut a Democrat. Not always easy with a son who interviewed to work for Clarence Thomas and a husband who listens daily to Rush Limbaugh, et al. . .

  • I do listen nightly to PBS, CNBC, CNN, Fox in an attempt to have a spectrum. I also read the Economist.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When yes may mean no

My hunch for some time now in working with my colleagues in India is that folks always want to be accommodating and positive. This means that pretty much no matter what I say, my colleague in India--I'm thinking in particular of the editorial manager most parallel to me in the food chain--will agree with me. And then he starts talking. Rapid-fire, India English. A very specialized dialect, discourse. It's hard to track in detail. But invariably I come away with the deep hunch that this yes was a yes, but. . . . . . A qualified yes. Perhaps very close to a no.

Communicating with a team in India is a challenge. Some things to know about India. All of India is in one time zone. At a general level this means two time zones have been combined and halved. This accounts for why meetings with India or either 12.5 or 13.5 hours off times in Pacific Standard Time--Seattle or San Jose or San Francisco ( the main crowed I'm dealing with right now). The .5 is accounted for by the fact that India decided they wanted the country on one time zone, took the two main ones and cut them in half: that's the .5. And then the 12.5 or 13.5 hours--that's because India has no daylight savings times. At the equator this makes sense. There really isn't time to "save" with the seasons.

So communicating. It means that in meetings with India you can meet 7:00 a.m. PST (which is night time in India) or 9:00 p.m. PST (which is morning in India). I found that my colleagues, as a rule, arrive at the office between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. (India time) and leave between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. (India time). My colleagues in India want to be home by 9:00 p.m. or so--when the evening meal generally occurs in homes in India, so I'm told.

Lots of details here. But realize that the bottom line means that there is basically an hour at about 7:00 in the morning and another hour at about 9:00 at night that a person on the west coast of the USA can communicate in real time (meetings, back and forth with e-mail) with colleagues in e-mail. Other than that you send an e-mail--get an answer 24 hours later.

So here's the trick. Communication is very indirect. Yes probably means no. You need to negotiate. Figure out where you are. Be positive and supportive. (Not particularly direct.) And you have an hour a day to do this. Not particularly quick.

And so my trip to India Amazingly useful. 7 working days, face to face, 8+ hours a day. What an useful, productive run of hours, discussions questions, answers, concerns. I think my company probably got it's money worth.

And I had this amazing encounter with this weird, scary, wonderful country.

A missed opportunity

I feel bad that I didn't have enough energy, enough character, to write while we spent our almost two weeks in India. That was the most intense experience I've had visiting a place that is "other." This experience had such highs--and such challenges. I didn't capture the moment. I will do what I can to recover what still lives in my body, my memory, my waking and sleeping dreams, about that amazing, sad, wonderful, overwhelming country.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

In Noida

We arrived in Delhi last night--which was really yesterday morning Seattle time. A pretty uneventful flight. We flew from Seattle to Newark. Transferred to another flight and flew from Newark to New Delhi.

I have definitely learned the benefits of flying business class on a long flight. Courtesy of Adobe. Don flew passenger. And was very miserable. The business class was like some sort of bizarre game. Lots of room (my own overhead bin) to spread out and relax. Good food. Lots of drinks, snacks, etc.

Very warm when we got to the airport. We had arranged with the hotel to send a car, but we couldn’t find it at first. So we changed some money and got ready to hire another taxi. But finally I found our driver. Very busy and chaotic roads. We made it to the hotel shortly before midnight.

We were both tired enough that we didn’t find it that hard to go to sleep. We are staying in a Radisson which is very nice and air conditioned. This morning we got up and had a breakfast at the hotel--an interesting mix of American, Indian, and British breadkfast (with beans, roasted tomatos, etc.). Then we walked around the area. Some very run down shops and streets. And two huge, modern malls.

We are off this afternoon with Pawan from work to Agra. We will stay over night and tomorrow see the Taj Mahal and the old fort. Then back to Noida. It is about a 5-hours drive I’m told. Pawan has hired a driver and car. That seems to be the way that folks travel. And he has arranged for a hotel in Agra. I’m glad that we have someone to arrange things for us and show us around.

At one point Pawan had talked about bringing his wife and son. But I think at this point he is travelling alone with us. We’ll see. Either way I’m okay. But Don was concerned about too many people. We’ll see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On my way to India

We’re leaving tomorrow. Don is coming too. It’s for work. Noida, the Delhi area. I’m checking out whether this posing works on my new computer. I want to write about what I’m seeing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A follow up

Since I have no readers--and pride myself in some ways on nurturing this. I now enter into a somewhat weird task. Oh well.

I posted to a friend's blog, and here was the deal. I posted a memory about her, and in return I ask you (oh you gazillions of readers) to post a memory about me. Here are the rules from her blog. I posted my memory of her here:

My friend's rules:
1. As a comment on my blog, leave a memory that you and I shared. It doesn't matter if you know me a little or a lot, anything you remember! If we're only blogging friends, write about a post that is most memorable. If you don't have a blog and don't know how to sign in, please comment as anonymous.

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your own blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's a lot of fun to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I promise to write one about you... either on your blog, in my comment box, or I will email you back!

and . . .

3. If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all.


I'm getting ready to spend two weeks in India for work. So I guess I am involved in "outsourcing." From what I can tell that's an evil activity. Especially for someone who on occasion thinks of herself as "progressive," "forward thinking." I try to recycle, I have a hybrid car (mostly because driving is a hobby and I feel guilty), I'm not real thrilled about Iraq or Guantanamo.

But what about the global economy? Outsourcing? First I don't see my company Adobe as "shipping American jobs abroad." The jobs that go abroad are the jobs that would end otherwise. And ultimately folks back home benefit because the company thrives and makes money where otherwise they wouldn't have (we get stock options; more folks don't lose jobs; we get profit sharing, etc.). So India definitely benefits--a growing group. But back home we benefit as well. A profitable company. And with the American dollar and economy sputtering a bit, tech companies have managed to keep on a more even keel than some companies because of how much our products are sold abroad. In other words, the global economy can keep a company afloat even when America falters on some fronts. Lots of folks buying software in Europe, South America, Eastern Europe, India, China. . . . And helping to create software too.

And then there is just the delight of working with a whole group of talented, interesting folks in India. I'm enjoying my work of helping to create a strong group there. And I get to go spend two weeks in hot, sultry, rainy, miserable summer Noida. What could be better!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

So long since

I've written. That isn't good. It does provide an indicator of how much I am in control of what really matters to me--at least what I tell myself matters.

The summer has been tricky. I broke my wrist about six weeks ago. That means I couldn't type, and so on. Couldn't even cut my own meat. Or take a shower. I have the cast off now. And I found a keyboard today that makes it possible for me to type. So I can't use that as an excuse any more.

I broke my wrist gardening--running up and down the steps on my deck. Sad. Because now my yard has been taken over by the morning glory. I should just declare defeat, and find someone to work on the yard.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Whisperers: dog and otherwise

Don and I spent a good part of our evenings over the holidays watching a Dog Whisperer marathon. Not much else thanks to the writers strikes--except for old movies (we watched lots of those too, another story).

I had never watched this show. But I had heard of Caesar from my daughter-in-law and son, who have been rehabilitating an enthusiastic (and adopted, because previously rejected) black lab for a year or so now. I met Maggie a year ago, she is now a much more charming pet (based on the evidence of two consecutive Thanksgivings spent in Williamsburg).

I previously posted about how what Heather (the daughter in law, aka DIL) introduced me to the Dog Whisperer and helped me to make sense in my quest to live with Bev, my darling idiot girl (Bevin Whisperer). I have now met Caesar, and I’m impressed. I am now considering whether Caesar may be the key to life. Certainl I’m considering whether Caesar may be the key to life with my husband. An entity to be dealt with. Unique. Can be charming. Can be not charming. Perhaps I need to become the calm, above-it-all, alpha. Quiet, patient, watching, determined (oh so not me, at least the quiet, patient part). A 2008 resolution.