Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Adventures of Michelle Little Black Sweater

A few weeks ago I invited a bunch of girlfriends over for a ladies wine potluck, the price for admission? A bottle of wine and an appetizer to share. After guzzling 53 pitchers of Sangria my girls staggered off into the night. Well we actually did it at 2 o’clock in the afternoon so we could all pass out immediately following dinner. In addition to scoring a few extra bottles of wine, thanks to one friends Costco size bottle somehow I inherited a black sweater. Now as everyone knows, black sweaters and yellow Labradors are a bad mix. Since it’s a teeny tiny sweater, it can only belong to my drinking buddy Michelle. But I’ve been able to keep her sweater entertained.

Waking up in the morning

Having a little workout

Doing a bit of housework

Picking up groceries

Playing with the dog

Checking Facebook

Enjoying a glass of wine

Hanging with my new BFF

The next time she comes for the Ladies Wine Potluck I’ll make one of my Mom’s favorite appetizers.

Rum Raisin Spread
160 ounces cream cheese softened
8 ounces golden raisins
8 ounces rum
12 ounces chopped walnuts
8 ounces sugar

Mix above ingredients, refrigerate overnight. Serve with crackers. Nothing like carrying the alcohol theme forward to the food too. Enjoy!!

Friday, October 22, 2010


I’ve had the same performance evaluation for the last 15 years. Clients think you’re amazing. You can take those projects going down in the tubes, beat them into submission and get them out the door. But……perhaps you’re a teeny tiny bit impatient, please don’t hit me. I used to skulk back to my veal fattening pen and try and be more “sensitive” to my fellow worker bees. What would eventually happen is I would reach to point where my head would detonate like a ticking time bomb.

A few years ago I finally had a Kumbaya with my supervisor about what makes a successful project manager. I told him, “Look, the same personality that makes you pick me to do the dirty, ugly projects is the same thing that makes me a little more ummmm …….direct.” Here I gave an example. If the plane was going down in flames, do you want to be with that person over there wringing their hands or me, who’s saying, People, this way, put on your parachutes. Don’t be a hater.

Here is a little pumpkin recipe in honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday.

Pumpkin Soup
¼ cup butter
½ yellow onion finely minced
1 clove garlic minced
1 teaspoon curry
1/8 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups chicken broth
16 ounces solid pack pumpkin
1 cup half and half
Green onions diced for garnish

Sauté onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add curry, coriander, red pepper and salt and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and boil gently for 15 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and half and half. Cook for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and sliced green onions. I know you’re thinking pumpkin? Should I garnish this with whipped cream? This doesn’t take anything like pumpkin pie and if you like squash you’ll love this soup.

I have an issue with personal space. Early in my career when I was a lowly designer, there was a guy at the office that would always give my arm a squeeze and say, “Hey girl how are you doing today. “ His voice reminded me of a 1-900 service. With a few reviews under my belt I was striving for the easy going co worker they wanted me to display.

I made several attempts at getting him out of my little bubble. Really, please don’t touch me, I don’t like. No really it makes me uncomfortable. Don’t you think girl is maybe a little sexist? One day after a particularly colicky baby night I snapped. Dude, take your hand off me, and I haven’t been a girl since I had my period when I was twelve. If that isn’t direct enough I don’t know what is.

Friday, October 15, 2010

2 Kool 4 Skool

It used to be when a company was having problems it would simply have a layoff. In our current world of sucky economics, they have developed a whole new lingo of fancy downsizing terminology.

MFT=Modified Full Time or…………..My Funding has Tanked

CCL=Company Convenience Leave or………………..Couldn’t Care Less

RIF=Reduction in Force or…………………………..Really Incredibly F****ed

We went through a major shake-up at the slave market earlier this year and they unfortunately axed a bunch of comrades in arms. It made me realize that I needed to ensure I was on my A game so I wouldn’t be eaten like that limping wilder beast. So I decided adding a degree in Urban Planning to my background in Civil Engineering would keep me as the lead pony in the race. I know I have to be way smarter than those darn 20 year olds, right?

But gathering all my proof that I wasn’t a dummy all my life to Arizona State proves to me why kids don’t go to school and just give up. It’s not the classes, it’s all the damn red tape. I’m exhausted already, so I’m making myself a little snack to build my strength.

Guiltless Guacamole
15 ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper seeded
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
Pinch salt
1 ripe avocado pitted and diced
2 plum tomatoes diced

In food processor puree beans and lime juice until smooth and transfer to bowl. Put jalapeño, cilantro, onion and salt in processor and pulse. Mix all ingredients together and serve with veggies or tortilla chips.

First obstacle, extracting my high school transcripts from 1040 BC. Look here at these college transcripts, do you think I would have been allowed to attend this other college without proof positive? Naturally I tried gathering during the summer when my tiny teeny high school was closed for the break. After digging in the bowels of the basement they sent their mimeographed copies. (If you don’t know what mimeographing is, stop reading this blog and check back next week).

Next, you didn’t take this dumb English 101 class. See here Bucko, they wouldn’t let me take English 102 class without it. They just called it something different in the stone ages. Needed special English department override from Professor Smarty Pants.

But the most annoying task? Ummm, you need to show proof of having your 2, yes 2, MMR shots before you can register for classes. Really? You’ve got to be kidding me! I can certainly prove that Sheldon had her immunizations but my Mom only kept random notes we wrote to the Tooth Fairy, no proof of injections. It seemed easier to take the shots over then to try and prove I had my rabies/measles shot. Today I went to the ASU health center for shot 2 and while killing time in the holding cell/waiting room and what do I see on the end table? A giant basket of condoms with paper sacks for the taking. Awkward.

Sheldon and I will wear the scarlet robes at the same time. But I’m game, if nothing else it will certainly give me more tales for this little blog.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

SWEet!!!! Young Things

One of the personal responsibilities I feel as a working engineering professional is to encourage engaging young woman to pursue careers in math and science. This week I had a chance to give a presentation to the ASU chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Basically, your company pays to give a spiel about how fantastic your company is and how they should all grow up and be as lucky as you to work there.

Your contribution covers the cost of food, and as you might suspect , free pizza will bring out any starving college student. Since 99 percent of the time these little productions are given by men I thought I’d give a different spin and talk a little about my company and more about how to stand out from the crowd in the dog eat dog world. Here’s the type of food they should present at these events.

Artichoke Feta Dip
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped fine
1 cup mayo
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup feta cheese

Combine ingredients, mix well. Pour into a shallow baking dish and cook at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with rye party breads or crackers. Artichokes are your friend, you can never eat too much of a good thing.

Good evening ladies, I’m Mrs. Tuna and I work for Giant Engineering Company, Inc. where I’ve been a big muckity muck for the last three years. We do tons of different engineering, some of which I don’t even know what it really is but I work in transportation. Our core ideals are peeps are our greatest advantage and getting bigger is essential. You can look up more info on our website, Now I’d like to talk about how to get a mentor, how to be a leader and networking doesn’t mean updating your Facebook status.

They'd eaten their chow and were trying to gauge how long they’d have to stay before bolting back to the dorms for beer pong. Time to change tactics and go for the stand up comedienne routine during the question and answer phase. The few boys that showed up for food and perhaps to pick up girls began to avert their eyes and slouch in their seats. But one brave guy asked the first question so partial credit was given. I digressed into funny stories about competing in a man’s world.

When asked about sexual harassment in the workplace. I told the story about how at one place on Valentine’s Day while standing at the copy machine, the owner of the company offered to show me his special Valentine’s underwear. When I declined, he pulled up the corner of his heart adorned boxers so I could see the edge. I told him that he needed to put himself in timeout.

When questioned about interning, I explained my last intern was the son of a previous supervisor. My current boss queried me about his work ethic and I told him as a sophomore in high school he did a good job mowing my lawn. He ended up working for me for3 years after graduation.

When asked about my project team, I said they knew when I asked them how their weekend was, they need to tell me about it in three sentences or less. It’s not that I don’t care, but my head if swirling with all the tasks at hand. Spit it out already.

In the end, they said I was the best and funniest speaker they’d ever had and would I be the opening act every meeting. I said as long as when our competitors We Think We’re Better Engineers presented next month they’d tell them our company were the better Rock Stars.