seventhe: (Rosa: pray)
  • in 10 days I get the keys to my house. I am sort of in disbelief-land still.

  • talked to the dr about my neck on Thursday. Turns out the news is better than I'd thought; the dr said that any kind of improvement is a good sign (I had been evaluating a 50%-75% improvement as "not 100% and therefore failure"; he said that 50%-75% is actually very promising), that he wants me to have a series of three shots with additional focused PT following the second shot, that whatever activity I can give it without pain will be good for it, and that he also wants me to stay on the painkillers until it is 100%.
    So the forward plan right now becomes using gentle exercise to remind my neck/shoulders/back what it's like to not be all fucked up, then to have another shot ~end of March/early Apr and a third ~end of Apr. He seems really hopeful that since it did respond to the first shot that subsequent ones will be even better. I'm trying to take hope from his optimism.

  • I'm very happy to have been "cleared" to get back to working out, and am trying really hard to take it slow and gentle rather than just diving right in (and probably hurting myself again because my body is a jackass). I've been feeling very broken and lumpy lately - a very complex and complicated feeling, but generally not a good one - and I think this will help.

  • meetings this week with the Japanese Overlords. I have my project review this morning; at the advice of a few of the managers I've added a slide pretty boldly and blatantly requesting the targets and direction we still lack in two main areas; I am not sure how this will go over. send help

  • I've been playing FFIII. For now - until I make an official post - you can watch me here on tumblr. Basically this game:

    Yup.

  • I still really want to write.

  • DOINK! Final Fantasy Exchange 2013 is coming up. That's right, stay tuned for your yearly dose of "Sev has officially lost it". Timing this round: impeccable; sign-ups open the day I get the keys. clearly I am a professional

  • what else do I even do anymore?

seventhe: (Rydia: power)
I've been awake since 2:30am.

It's really seriously disconcerting to walk into work having been awake for >4 hours prior. It feels very strange, like I'm coming in on a day off, even though it's my usual schedule. I imagine it will feel even stranger this afternoon.

The thing about insomnia for me isn't that it happens - I've more or less come to terms with the fact that I'm shit at sleep and I've figured out ways to deal with it, like sleeping in on weekends and taking naps whenever I can. I don't like it, but I can deal with it - I can manage. I can make my life work around that.

The thing about insomnia that I really hate is how it strikes at exactly the time in your life that you really need your sleep the most.

I'm exhausted - physically, emotionally, interpersonally - and I'm being pulled in 20 different directions right now. I'm going to the plant next week, which I can't avoid; I'm training my minion, who will be worse than useless to me until he is trained; I'm coordinating a million other things that won't move without my attention; I've got a lot on my mind outside of work (I'm waiting for the phone call today to know whether or not I am going to talk about it); my back/neck/shoulders herniated disc old friend is killing me. What I need most right now is sleep. Which, of course, means this is the perfect time for insomnia to hit.

My poor stupid body.

Sooooo I guess I'll mainline some coffee and try to hit today running. After 3 hours of lying in bed staring and reading and trying not to think.


(on an unrelated side note: I've decided to call this minion Rubicante, because [livejournal.com profile] salarta suggested my professional goal should be to become Lady Golbez. I like this plan. I thought about naming him Scarmiglione since he's the first one, but he's a permanent hire, and I hope he'll be a little more effective than Milon was. Thus, Rubicante. If/When I get a co-op, that one can be Scarmiglione.)
seventhe: (Rydia: calls the monsters)
Turns out I've got a herniated disc in my neck. My C5-C6 has been janked out of alignment with the rest of my spine. Because it's herniated/bulged, it's pinching the nerves around it, which accounts for the pain radiating out of the spot (into my neck/back/shoulders).

I'm oddly--- relieved? about the whole thing. It's not that a herniated C5-C6 is great - it's not - especially when you're 30 and arthritic it's really not - but it's an actual diagnosis. Based on data, rather than "I think it's this" or "from the way you describe the pain, this" (who knows if I'm saying the right things?). Based on data. I'm a research engineer to the core.

I actually don't have a lot more information than that. I've been referred to a neurosurgeon who will take a look at the MRI and give me some more detail (my GP basically said the neuro could give me far more understanding of what was going on than he could) (also, of course, there's some kind of weirdness in the MRI (can anything about me ever be normal please), because the report said "herniated disc versus a bulged disc", which will need to be clarified with a neurosurgeon specifically). After that I'll have more details and the beginnings of a path forward.

Also I fucking passed out in the doctor's office because I don't know why. This has already kind of been an emotionally stressful week (month) (year) due to some assorted 'other stuff' and maybe I'm just more worked up about my body than I realized? Or just general stress/relief/shock...? I don't even fucking know. I felt totally fine. Then I was standing at the check out station waiting for my referral and I started to feel all flushed and skitty, started to feel that awful head rush coming on like I do when I black out (this has, unfortunately, happened enough that I'm 'used to it' and can recognize the signs); so I said to the nurse, I need to sit down like right now and she gave me her chair and I sort of made my way into it (had blacked out at this point but fumbled my way over there with some help) and apparently just passed out in her chair? Came up a couple [moments?] later, and of course when you KO in the doctor's office, holy shit. They took me over to another room to lie down and I had a blood sugar test and an EKG and a bunch of other shit and they gave me a lollipop and eventually pronounced I was fine (I kept saying, this happens enough that I'm pretty sure I'm okay, and the looks the nurses gave me like, uh, what? were awful and hilarious).

I don't even fucking know; I took the rest of the day off too and sulked in bed and accidentally a 2 hour nap with Marzy to ward off the splitting headaches I usually get when I pass out.

I. D. E. F. K.

So yeah, that's that. It's really gross right now in my head -- usually I do a ton of research on medical stuff (when I am on a prescription I always look it up in detail, even if it's a fucking antibiotic) but I can't even bring myself to read a lot of the stuff about herniated discs because I'm just like, ew, oh god that's in my neck. I swear I feel it more - like, it hurts more - now that I know what it is, which is great. Vicodin already doesn't really work; just what I need, more body weirdness. I'm so fucking depressed I'm at the point where it's easy to pretend I'm not depressed because I don't have any feelings right now, I'm a big blank empty sack, so it's pretty easy to fill it up with fake "I'm okay"s. askdja;lsdk;alskd;alsk;;;;;;;;;

So we'll go from there. The doctor said I don't have to limit any of my activity - he basically said, "The damage is already done; activity is up to your discretion; if it doesn't hurt, and you feel okay, you can do it" - so maybe I can just move forward here.

OKAY THEN

Oct. 10th, 2012 04:20 pm
seventhe: (Burger King: In the butt!)
As of tonight, I am off to NYC/NYCC for a horrifying/fabulous weekend. (horrifabulous?) I'm going to a convention on ankles that can't walk or stand for more than 5-10 minutes without feeling like stabbing bruises, with a lingering cough that both sounds and feels like I'm hauling the grossest parts of my lungs up through my throat, on no less than 7 prescriptions (4 of which say, dude, don't drink alcohol)--

--and it's going to be awesome. Or, I might die, but hey.

See y'all.

PS: COMMENT HERE IF U WANT SOOPER CLASSEY POSTCRAD
seventhe: (Life: stress out and die)
1. I have figured out, through some intense reflection during a boring meeting I wasn't involved in but had no chance to escape, that the answers I actually need to manage my project are an entire layer underneath the questions that I have been asking. (WORKCEPTION????) I've been asking for targets; what I actually need is a more clear fundamental understanding of the way work is supposed to flow from conception into production, and the role my project plays in the entire process, where communication goes and where priorities are. There isn't a process, by the way, and that's why I always feel so goddamn lost, and why even asking for clear targets isn't going to fix the mess I'm wading through. I actually need to go deeper.

I've set an appointment with the visiting Overlords on Monday and I plan to basically bang heads against a table with my newfound understanding of the situation I am in until someone cries uncle and gives me what I want.

2. I just emailed my advisor. I am back in the game. Thesis complete and Masters Degree by spring semester 2013.

Because fuck everything.

3. I am super stressed at the moment. :(

4. Icon (DW) has never been more relevant.
seventhe: (Rydia: reversed)
Thanks to everybody for their wise words on yesterday's entry -- this is a very thinky-time for me, and I appreciate all the kindness and the suggestions/advice.

Today I ended up - unplanned - talking to both my boss and his boss about the situation. And there's some tentative hope on the horizon.

I've been reassured, multiple times, that the amount of frustrating stress and overwhelming workload I've been facing on this project is not usual. This is a very new project, but carries stuff from some older projects which were divided out and shut down, so it's a really complicated place to be: I got caught in the middle of a really, really tough situation, combining super aggressive short-term timelines with vague and nebulous future roadmaps, which is why I feel so lost. It involves relationships with four internal branches of the company that don't usually all talk to each other, which is why there are so many meetings. Most of what I'm suffering from isn't indicative of "a project leader", but of being this project's leader in specific.

(Dear management: Thanks. You fucks. Love, Sev)

Even just hearing that this isn't normal was a little reassuring for me. If I'm crumbling under pressure, I like to know that it's super!!!amazeballs!~!!badass pressure, not Everyday Joe Baloney pressure. I feel better that way.

One of the things that has been so frustrating about my current project is that we are working on undefined things without any really clear targets. I'm going to do an analogy here, to try to explain: let's say you work in a kitchen and you have a cookie recipe that's problematic. It's a flavor a lot of your customers want, but you have trouble baking it just right. The Chef Overlords give you this project, and they say, "Develop and improve this cookie recipe." So, okay.

You start looking at your cookie recipe. But no one told you where exactly you are supposed to go improving it. Do you want the cookie to be healthier? To taste better? To be easier to make? To have less expensive ingredients? If you replace one ingredient with another and it improves the taste but is less healthy, is this an okay tradeoff, or no? If you can make the cookie easier to bake, but then it's more expensive, is that okay, or no?

But no one will answer that. You ask the people who sell the cookies, and they say, it has to taste good and be cheap. You ask the people who do maintenance, and they say, it has to be processable, if we can't bake it you don't have a product. You ask the customer, but each one says a different thing, and no one's sure who is actually buying these cookies anyway. You think, well, I'll try to improve all of the things. But first you are not actually made of time, and second there are some trade-offs -- like tastiness vs health, and you don't know how to decide what's a worthwhile balance there.

You ask your Chef Overlords, and they just say, "Improve the cookie." Then they say, "Oh, we want you to look at all our cookies." And there are some cookies made with vanilla, and some with chocolate, and some are gluten-free and some are low-fat and some are bargain cookies and some are designer cookies and some are really simple and some are super complex and they say, "Improve all the cookies."

So you're stuck fumbling around with 8 different directions to go in, and you can't focus your work forward, because any or all of those things could be target improvements - and maybe should - but no one will tell you what's a good range for acceptable trade-off and what's a target range for final product and maybe where you should start first.

That's my project, except that it's worse because there are no cookies here at all.

The first piece of good news: So right now, because I made a really good case / big stink about this at the meeting with the Japanese Overlords, the project is in somewhat of a holding pattern / waiting period, while the Overlords do some internal investigating and discussing and decide what our targets are on both short- and long-term. (I threw a very professional and polite fit and 'refused' to work on a lot of this stuff until we know where it's going, because I feel like we're wasting our time. We spent six months basically looking at a special baking soda until somebody (who wasn't the Overlords, even -- but since the Overlords were having fun with their thumbs up their asses, I decided that any guidance was better than joining the thumbs-up-asses club) decided what they really wanted was tastier chocolate chips, and then we spent six months looking for better chocolate chips before this somebody changed their minds again and said, fuck, we do still want the better baking soda, the chocolate chip taste may not be important and actually what we really want is not better tasting chocolate chips, but ones that don't melt.

Fuck. My. Life.)

The first bit of this decision is deliverable to me by September, according to our agreement. So for the next ~3 months, possibly longer, I get a bit of a break, because there is a lot of work that will be put "on hold" until we have some targets with which we can prioritize and determine direction.

The second piece of good news is, my boss has put things in motion for me to get a co-op of my own, hired by me, working specifically for me, in my lab. And not just a co-op, he is working to get a co-op position installed there, meaning when one co-op goes back to school I will have hired another to take his place, and I will basically always have a set of hands to support me, until I move on to other responsibilities.

The baddish news is that that won't be able to happen until January, because it's the end of the school year and most engineering students who want to co-op have already lined one up.

The goodish news is that if the workload actually decreases for the next couple months, I think I can survive until January. And if the workload ramps back up at the end of the year, by January I'll have a co-op to help me with some of it.

Sure, it isn't an immediate solution. And I need to have a more serious talk with my boss about my Masters degree and this workload in general. Before I continue to commit myself to this job, for example, I'd like to make sure I don't get handed a SURPRISE!!!!COOKIE!DISASTER project every two years, or there will be no vodka left in the world. But as for right now I really do feel like maybe there are some paths out I can take to help deal with all of this shit a little bit better.

One other thing I realized today is that I need to learn to delegate better. I need to stop looking at things other people have done and deciding that I could do them better and that that means I should just do them so that it's done right the first time. I need to stop claiming lots of work for myself because I want to do it my way. I need to learn to better trust people, and let them work on things in their own way -- and if I think they're fucking up, I need a better way to deal with it other than ripping it out of their hands and finishing it myself. (Sadly, sometimes this is the easiest way to do it, because I work with a lot of equally stubborn assholes who think they're right - this is Research - which means they don't listen to me; doubly so because I don't have a ~sacred PhD~.) Even if it takes more time, even if it seems like more work having to redirect and guide people, I need to learn how to do it. I need to learn to let go. I need to learn that even if someone else doesn't do something 100% perfectly, that maybe 85% is actually okay. I'm very invested in a lot of the things I do and I need to take a couple steps back.

The problem here is a) I am a control freak; b) I don't work well with others (despite the surprising trust of my management) and I don't like talking to people; and c) I actually legitimately don't trust about half of the people I work with, because they are either c1) idiots or c2) ambitious backstabbing assheads. But I need to find a system I can work with, and learn to delegate more.

But, yeah.
seventhe: (Cats: I LIKE THEM)
Cities/States I was in: 9/8 (Akron, OH --> Denver, CO --> Boise, ID --> Las Vegas, NV --> Tusayan (Grand Canyon), AZ --> Las Vegas, NV --> Phoenix, AZ --> Houston, TX --> Lake Charles, LA --> Houston, TX --> Detroit, MI --> Akron, OH)
Different time zones I inhabited: 4
Flights: 7
Drives: 4

In a 14-day period:
- Longest time period in any one time zone: 3 days
- Days on this trip I had to be up at 4 am: 3 (ugh)
- Days I actually got to sleep in: 1
- Days spent hermiting in a hotel room during which I spoke to no one except the Chinese food delivery person: 1
- Days that were technically vacation that I checked my email and worked: 5/7

Suitcase weight: 50 lb
Specific styles of dress contained in suitcase: 6 (formal dress for wedding; casual nice for rehearsal dinner; casual and hot for Vegas; hiking clothes for Grand Canyon; one business casual for plant visit; working casual for plant days)
Computing power brought: 3 pieces (laptop for work; iPad for DOINK; iPhone)

- - -

I won't call it a vacation. I'll call it a trip. It was fun, but it wasn't relaxing. But it was fun. The wedding was gorgeous, Vegas was fun, the Grand Canyon was amazing, and the week of work blew ass like I expected. XD

Maybe I'll put up some photos or something.

I am terrified to go to work tomorrow. Even though I've been checking my email and following work, I know I'm still behind because I haven't been in the office for two weeks. And the biannual meeting with the Japanese Overlords starts Thursday. UGHHHHHHHHHHHH

No wonder I've been playing so much FFXIII. I am in hiding mode.

HECK YEAH

Jun. 1st, 2012 10:03 pm
seventhe: (FFEX: In the shadows)
DOINK 2012 IS LIVE.

right now I'm just reading / looking through and basking in another wonderful year of fabulous, amazing, awesome content. I don't have the brains to do anything more than leave Kudos right now, because I'm coming right off the back of the least relaxing vacation of all time (not *bad*, just not relaxing), I've gotten 10 hours of sleep total in the last two nights, and I'm slowly but surely working through a 12-pack of beer in a Houston hotel room for recovery -- so if you get a Kudos from me, it's not an insult and I'll be back to comment as soon as I can string words into a sentence.

<3 <3 <3
seventhe: (FFEX: Doink!)
I'm always surprised at how many hours there actually are in a day.

I really shouldn't be, because I've experienced this phenomenon once before, when I was still working my full-time long-day 40-hr-week job and also attending a 20-30-hr-week graduate lab class: if you literally spend every spare minute you have doing something, it's a lot of work. (And I mean it. Sometimes I see people posting, "I'm soooo busy~!" but if I've seen you posting 10K in fic in the last week, or reblogging tons of stuff on Tumblr, or otherwise hobbying-- maybe you're busy, but that isn't actually spending every legitimate moment you have on work-like things. I realize this makes me a judgmental ass and I'm sorry.)

But really, I'm still continually surprised at how much you can actually work in one day. Because I have basically spent every free hour I have had in the last 7 days helping to basically remodel a basement which is my responsibility to fix. I don't even have time to tell you everything handyman that I've done. But I'm just still for whatever reason surprised at how BUSY you can actually get. When you come home from work at 6:15 and change and eat and then drive up to the house at 7:00 and work until 11:00 and then come home and make a lunch and do the dishes and go to bed at 12 and get up at 6:30 and go to work at 7:30 and then do it all over again, for an entire week? I mean it, there is busy and then there is, "life sat on me." They aren't even really in the same order of magnitude.

Had I known the level of fucked this problem was, I wouldn't have started it now. But you don't know what's under the carpet until you pull up the carpet.

I thought I was busy before. Turns out, there were plenty of hours in my day that could be filled up with things that make me miserable.

I am stressed as fuck, I have gotten absolutely nothing done this week, my exchange ends this weekend, I am leaving tomorrow afternoon and I have not yet finished packing. This week has been just awful.

Some day I will turn this experience into a "Handyman How-To" post because I've actually learned a lot of fun shit. Today is not that day.

- - -

I just printed out all my itineraries and reservations and flight info and blah blah and it's basically a short novel, I've killed a tree doing it, it weighs more than my laptop, etc etc.

This trip-- I am not even looking forward to it. i'll be honest. Work is so awful right now, and there are a bunch of due dates WHILE I AM GONE, so I have to work ON my trip, and just. ugh ugh ugh first world problems etc but.

I carry my stress in my shoulders and neck, and I nearly can't drive a car right now. I am pretty sure my back is about to leave me for another woman.

Whirlwind tour of the US is as follows:
- to Boise this weekend for my cousin's wedding
- fly to Vegas Mon with family, night in Vegas
- drive to Grand Canyon Tues, two nights in GC
-- work due Wednesday, have to work Mon and Tues to submit Wed
- return to Vegas on Thurs, night in Vegas
- Fri, fly directly to Houston, spend weekend weeping in a pillow fort
- Sun, pick up Japanese BFF at airport and head off to the plant
- Mon, tour of plant with guest
- Tues-Wed, work at the plant
-- work due Tues, will have to work the previous week to compile it
- Thurs, return home

- THE FOLLOWING MONDAY, submit a report of the work I did on the plant trip to the Overlords because
- THAT WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY, our biannual meeting with the Overlords begins

- probably every day forever: cry into beer, from stress and frustration

- date of freedom: 20 June
- 21 June: lose self in Diablo III for three consecutive days

I am trying for serenity now and I'm not sure I'll make it. OH GOOD. When can I give up on everything and be a crazy cat lady hermit hobo who never goes anywhere?

ON THE PLUS SIDE, I now have an app on my phone that can send a postcard photo from anywhere for $0.99, so if you want a really dumb postcard from Vegas or the Grand Canyon, email me your address.

ADDITIONALLY ON THE PLUS SIDE, I've written 4 Korra drabbles in the past few days. On my phone. While in meetings or otherwise working. Seeing as I haven't written a thing since December, this is cool.

I HAD ANOTHER PLUS but I have forgotten it so.

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