Friday, April 30, 2010
Aside from the loss of my spectacular and talented team the forced end of my relationship with that organization was the hardest part about the death of MegaBank.
Happily I find that my new employer is a member of the organization and I am just ballsy enough to walk right up to our senior security manager and tell him I want to be involved again. He agreed and magically, by this morning I'm set up with an account on their website and am looking at travel options to the next meeting.
This is the same organization that gave me the opportunity to visit Dublin, Ireland, Barcelona, Spain and Austin, Texas. It's not every gal who gets to have such amazing cultural experiences. I mean...TEXAS! That's totally unique.
So, I'll likely be heading to Boston in October and the June meeting is in Brighton in England. The big cheese said "count on going" but I need to talk to my direct manager before I book the ticket. I think it would be bad for her to check in on me and find that I'm outside London and not Seattle. I still have to change my name on my passport - which I should send off today to get it processed in time (in case I really am going).
Normal travel to San Jose without my guy seems ok, but I will admit that I'm feeling strange about travel to far off wonderful places without him. Many of the members bring their 'wives' on these trips and it is perfectly acceptable, but I doubt Jas would like the shopping experiences with the ladies and I really doubt we're going to pay for his airfare out of our own pocket. We're doing ok, but a side trip to the UK... that's something we plan ahead for.
So, after my mid day meetings I'm off to get a passport photo and then send my packet to the state department for the (semi)unlikely event that I'm needed in Europe in June.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I also wonder if you know exactly what I do. Sometimes I feel like Chandler Bing from Friends in that no one has an idea of what I do. I’m an Information Security Risk Manager. A Secur-a-What?
I’m going to break it down. All companies have data. They have information about sales figures, inventory, their customers, their employees, accounting information, bills they owe, who owes them, they have databases that contain the history of transactions, they have performance data of their super special systems (in a utility it is the flow of energy, in a bank it is the volume of transactions, at an internet company it is the number of times someone buys from them, or clicks on a link.) For the most part everything a company does is somehow translated or reported on computer systems.
All this data lives on servers and is transferred around the companies via email, computer systems and yes even sometimes in paper form (although not so much anymore.) Heck, no one even has files at their desk anymore. We have little drawers that hold our half bags of M&M’s and the pens we’ve collected from conferences, but folders of paper… not so much.
Information Security programs are in place at most if not all companies to ensure that this data is managed correctly. (data management is a different profession and I think it is all about where to store it, how it will be named and other important things that I can’t be bothered to understand.) Information Security focuses on limiting access to only the right people, the right systems and making sure that when the data needs to move from the database to the front end application that it is secure.
There are multiple ‘domains’ in the field of information security. There are people who focus on access – the right people getting access to the right stuff, and people who focus on Architecture – making sure the physical computer equipment is connected correctly. Other domains include Investigations, Encryption, Disaster Recovery, System Security and Management.
My exact work focuses on a hybrid of system security and management. I work on developing the policies (rules) around how a server will be configured to best keep unwanted people out. In the real world, I would be the one telling car companies that they have to put locks on the doors. Locks may make it harder to get into the car, but people are always happy to find that no one else has been in their car while they were out.
So, I help make the rules. Most technology people think the policy makers are rule happy and there are plenty of people who do what I do who don’t have an understanding that while locks are a great idea, locks don’t make sense on a go-cart. Sometimes the rules shouldn’t apply or are too restrictive to facilitate business.
The other half of my job is helping people who find themselves in a situation where they are faced with a rule they can’t follow. I have the task of investigating what it is they really can’t do, figuring out if it is really true that they can’t (maybe they just don’t want to) and then working out a way for them to either do what they need to by layering on other rules (i.e. no lock on the go-cart, but it is stored in a locked garage when not in use) or helping them defend the lack of rule application. For example if the lock on the car costs a million dollars but the car is only worth five dollars it doesn’t make any sense to lock it up. Conversely, I also help them understand why they may not be able to pass up following a rule. Maybe the lock costs a million and the car is only worth $5, but the car carries all the information about the entire customer base and the cost of losing that information is worth the entire value of the company. Yes, it may take time and money to lock the car, but you can’t accept the risk of bringing down the company.
Gosh, that’s a lot of car metaphor for one morning.
I do a lot of talking and investigating. I am not a technologist, I understand the technology landscape, but I freely admit that most people in IT know more about how these systems work than I ever will. Each rule exception that I get involved in is a learning opportunity. I don’t pretend to be the expert in any area, I bring the right people to the table and after a while I can speak on a topic with an authoritative tone.
I have to dabble in all the security domains in order to support the policy and exceptions world that I work in. This is great because I can sit and have beer with all the folks and know what the heck they are talking about but I can’t claim to be an expert in any area. (I’d be a great manager, I can talk about it, but I can’t actually DO it.)
So… does that help? Or did I lose you at Secur-a-what?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Sunday travel was nice because the airport was not busy, but I’m not use to the extra night away from home and I feel like it should be my travel home day already. I’ll be home soon enough and don’t have a planned return trip until right before Memorial Day.
I’m at a new hotel this trip because of my change of employment. It is less expensive than my other hotel, but is higher up on the hotel brand chain. Nicer hotel means no free breakfast – I don’t understand that but that is how it works.
I like my room, the bed is fabulous, the bathroom is spacious but the tv is some strange relic from the past. It is has an actual tube in it. It is about 4 feet deep and only 27 inches wide. What gives? I know what it is, the hotel furniture was configured for this strange tv and they haven’t figured out how to mount a flat screen in the room. I think maybe I’ll have to get beyond $139 a night to get the tv that zips up out of the foot of the bed.
I’m sure the double tree has a better tv situation, but I’m collecting Marriott points and I like the food options better at this hotel (I’m drooling over my options for tonight.)
In my real life I’ve been planning business and pleasure trips for the summer. It turns out if I don’t get things on the calendar early they just don’t happen. We planned a trip with Becky & Brett to go to Walla Walla in August and I’m so happy that we not only planned it but pre-paid for our hotel. How nice to get there and only have to shell out for wine and food.
We’re headed to Yakima to visit my parents for Memorial Day. I hope the weather is good, I want to do some ‘golfing’ and other outdoor activities. I’d like to invite some of the family over for outside food, but as there is lingering drama from goodness knows what it may have to be a smaller than normal group. I did book us the ‘glamour suite’ at the hotel – it has a king sized bed AND a whirlpool tub. Woo woo. I ‘m not sure what I’m excited about, we have a tub at home that fits two people. However, I don’t have to clean the one at the hotel so I guess it would be ok to bring on the sparkly, fizzy bath bombs that I won’t let into my own house.
I know it’s more than 5 months away, but we’ve also booked our romantic 1 year anniversary celebration. We’re headed to a concert at a winery here in the bay area and then to Monterey for a weekend of playtime. I’m happy to report that I parted with some of the free hotel nights I’ve earned for this weekend. I’m pretty stingy about using those, but a romantic weekend in wine country with my hubby of one year seems like a worthy cause. We booked early to get the free rooms and to get good tickets to the concert. You have to be on top of those things or you’ll be sitting in your car wishing you were inside.
We’ve booked a lot of fun weekends this year, and will be camping in August, but I am short on vacation time because of my newness to the company. It feels strange to only have one day of vacation on the books. By the time I get 5 days I’ll be taking them for the camping trip and then will have to build up for the holidays. This company has nice holiday days off and unlike MegaBank they give us the day after Thanksgiving so I don’t have to pretend to work. Sure, I’ll miss the Columbus and Veterans holidays, but I can get behind the Thanksgiving thing.
I’ll have built up vacation time again… oh yes I will.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
It is also "BYKTWD" at Jason's employer (bring your kids to work day) so he's having fun dodging smaller versions of his co-workers.
Jas 'shares' a workspace with three other people. There's Jody, the super fun and wrong on many level's work wife, Dweasel, the shortish, weight lifter who eats 12 eggs a day and the other guy who is I'm guessing not super funny and not overly irritating or I would know his name.
I tell you all this because, the little angel is at work today whipping her dad into shape. (tee hee) What wonderful entertainment for the others in the workspace. I guess it's a nice change of pace from what I assume are terrible egg farts.
So, I guess Bring Your Kid To Work day is about as fun in the home office as the Christmas Party. Its exactly the same - but with less booze.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I'm going again on Sunday, so I figured the "down and back" was a good idea...at 5:19am, the idea sucks.
Have a great day!
Monday, April 19, 2010
One of the minor tasks that has to happen now that the heat-pump is installed is to get the work inspected. This is a great service the city provides (for a fee) that will ideally insure that our installers didn't do shoddy work.
The process is supposed to be easy. You call the number on the form, input the permit number and presto they arrive the next day to do the inspection.
This is how it is supposed to work. Sadly, the permit number that is PRINTED on the form with our name, address and job information is not actually the "real" permit number. I guess you're supposed to call and get the clerk to assign you a different number that will work with the phone system.
I love this bit of inefficiency that has resulted in my planning to be here for the inspector who is not coming.
The other "super helpful" thing the city of Renton has going for it is their automated phone line. Once you enter your permit number it simply says "Thank you for calling the city of Renton, goodbye" and then it hangs up. Oh my...I'm so glad I called today to see if I could get a 4 hour window for the inspection because if I had sat here waiting all day and the inspector didn't show I probably would have gone to the crazy, bitchy place when I learned my secret permit number wasn't on my form.
I hex you, City of Renton for being inefficient.
Bureaucrazy: The state of irritation a person finds themselves in while attempting to navigate city, county, state or federal regulations and "processes".
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I can't wait to pick her brain about theology, the great unknowns in the universe and why some places that specialize in breakfast can't cook good bacon.
She's actually pretty cool and I think we might crack open the good wine. None of that manischewitz for the good company. (No disrespect towards my lovely Jewish friends, but that manischewitz wine is a flavor I can't get behind. My grandmother use to like it because it was economical and sweet, but ... wow I don't think of it as a beverage you haul out for guests.)
I repost it here to honor the fact that this on-going nonsense continues to this day and I'm sure it is a grand plot to thwart the educational attempts from Mrs. Peter.
The whole slide show can be seen here: LINK
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
No offense to Jason's condo, where we lived together for about a year, but this place feels like my home. We are having fun making it ours. We've got the furniture we like, the play areas (TV... not anything dirty) set up and are now just working on the details. Even though the house is new, I am genuinely shocked by the list of "to dos".
When we did our walk through we immediately identified that we wanted cupboards above the counter in the fun walkway between the kitchen and the dining room. Heck, we even priced them out, but have since opted to wait.
Our list changed to less visible things like power. There was a circuit in the kitchen that made the lights over our table flicker. There is a fabulous closet in our master bath, but no light so it is DARK DARK DARK in there. It was so dark (how dark was it?) that we had a battery operated camp light hanging so we could find the extra toilet paper.
Other things on our list are a modification to the deck/patio in our back yard. This will likely be a next summer activity because yesterday we had a heat-pump installed. A heat-pump is a step up from an air conditioner. A/C has one job, cooling. A heat-pump does the cooling but also pulls warm air out of the outside area to keep the inside warm. If the temperatures drops too much the back up heater will kick in. Heat-pumps provide more consistent house temperatures and use less energy. The energy claim I find hard to understand, but there were charts and figures.
A/C was in our future no matter what, and I'm pleased we were able to come up with a solution that works for us year round rather than just a few weeks during the year.
While I didn't want to learn anything about A/C or Heat-pumps I wasn't able to sit back like the princess I think I am and just have it installed. We ended up getting multiple bids (4) and doing lots of reading about products and installers. In the end, we found a company and a product that we liked.
Yesterday, there were three huge trucks at our house and at one time I counted 6 workers. In addition to installing the heat pump thing outside, they had to move the existing heater in our attic to make room for whatever connects to our system and we had an electrician on site who fixed our strange kitchen power situation and installed a light in the bathroom closet.
It was a long day (with them doing the work) and me trying to focus on my job. I will say, they were as quiet and as unobtrusive as you could imagine, but I was READY for them to leave last night.
So, our list of "things we need" is getting smaller, but we noticed this morning that the ladder they used to get into our attic did a number on the ceiling access area and it really needs to be repainted. Because of my time at Daly's I am the resident in-house painter, so on our next free Saturday I'll be on a ladder with paint in hand.
I'm hopeful that when I'm up there paining that I don't spot anything else that we need to do. I'm sure, like all home owners there will always be some maintenance project - but I'm pretty confident that we'll get to get the bikes out and play. The house won't be our only hobby.
I do apologize to you if you were hoping for a HOT HOT summer. Because we've had the heat pump / a/c installed Jason and I pretty much have jinxed us for a gray and cool summer season. Sorry.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The problem that I'm finding is the breeds of hypoallergenic cats are VERY limited and (sorry bald kitty) most frighten me. This second guy could come live with us and I'm sure we would love him.
According to the world wide web, male cats have less allergens in their protein (or shed less protein... I'm not no veteran - get off me.)
Some of the dogs are cute but the best dogs for allergy sufferers are in the poodle category. Sorry, PePe... you are not going to live in my house. Other dogs that don't shed are actually pretty hairy, like the dreadlocked Puli. It would be fun to have a doggie named Bob Marley, but I think the trips to the doggie groomer would get old after a while.
There's no plan or time line around a non-human soul entering our house. We are only talking.
The pro's are many:
- Pets are a wonderful addition to your home.
- They offer companionship
- They have character.
- They can be fun
- They can be warm
- They can be complete members of your family.
- People with pets are better looking
- People with pets make more money
- People with pets don't make up strange facts and post them as the truth.
The cons are these:
- Any animal including the hypoallergenic ones will have some impact on my already sneezing guy
- Animals refuse to poop in the toilet. I don't really want to manage poop for the next 18 years.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
It went like this:
TPgal: I was in my childhood home in Ilwaco and we were in trouble because aliens were coming.
Jason: (interrupting) Aliens? Like space people or...
TPgal: (sarcastic) No, housekeepers and gardeners
TP: I know, they were cleaning and organizing, it was frightening
Jason: Was there an au pair? They scare me too.
Somehow after this exchange the true adventure of my dream that involved hiding out, sacrificing a loud neighbor lady and combating what were oddly cute alien creatures didn't even get told.
Honestly, when someone talks about aliens invading I think about ET not an undocumented worker or a nanny from Ireland, leave it to my guy.
Friday, April 09, 2010
The funny thing about where the office located in Redmond is that it is a shared space with the company where one of my favorite former eChargers landed. He's a remote person too, so there's very little chance of getting to meet for lunch when I drive up there. That would be the only exciting thing about a trip into the local office. It's like a no tell motel. There are rows of empty cubes, a crappy fax machine and pathetic coffee room supplies. Heck, even the office supplies really aren't that worthy of raiding. I did pick up a new notebook and some pens, but since I have post its galore left over from my eCharge "severance" I don't need to pick any up. (The post-its were the severance package.)
Post its are also kind of lame in the single person home office. If I need to tell myself something, I arrange a meeting with me and knock it out.
One thing that came up today is the need to zip to San Jose on the 21st for a meeting. Since I'm there most of the following week I opted to make it a one day up and back activity. It will be a long day, but better than having to stay overnight. Since my travel profile with new employer is new I'm still working out the kinks. Today I found out that if you have someone (like your boss) listed as a person who can make emergency changes for you when you're traveling, that they automatically get copies of your travel itinerary information. Well, THAT WILL NOT DO. I don't have anything to hide, but I don't need her to be trying to find me cheaper flights either. I quickly fixed that potential nightmare.
I thought Anthony was a hoot! His "I wanna be on Oprah show thing made me laugh.
I would like Oprah, cause outta all the days she could book me on her show, she could book me on the day she be screamin' "you get a car, you get a car, you get a car!" Oprah, don't book me on the "my husband has a porn addition" No Oprah, I don't wanna be on that show cuz my uncle Leroy got that same problem...
Oh Anthony Williams, you were a bright happy spot on reality tv.
You get a car, you get a car, you get a car!!!!
Thursday, April 08, 2010
It was touching that both of her sons spoke. They were remarkable considering they are 18 and 17. I'm not sure I could do it and I'm at least 25. (shh) The oldest talked about how proud his mom was of his brother and little sister and the youngest talked about her fierce hugs and shared how he found her on the day she died. An uncle read Bill's statement about her which choked me up.
Bill seemed genuinely pleased to see me and thanked me for the phone calls, text support messages and attending. I think he was touched that I didn't let the shitty state of our friendship in the past few years stop me from being a friend. Bill looked older than I've ever seen him which technically is true of everyone we see, but he looked tired and weary. Sad. I know that they will find their new normal and a way to be happy again, but right now it sucks.
Drained of all emotional energy, I tried to watch tv in bed, but didn't make it 15 minutes. I am a boring girl who was asleep at 10:15. Oh well, I think I have an excuse.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
I'm thankful that Jason is coming with me, he doesn't know these people and the lack of friendly interaction (or any) makes hit hard to understand why this matters. That's the wrong word, he gets that it matters. I think he finds the sadness perplexing.
All I can say it that we were friends and just because life moved in a different direction (intentionally) it doesn't negate the history. There's also a wide group of folks with this shared history and I think we owe to come together for this sad day.
I will also say that if it was me in this situation, you would have to sedate me. This has hit so close to home that I'm more clingy than normal and slept like sh*t last night. I feel like I couldn't get comfortable or turn off my brain. I'm told I did the ugly snore last night, so I know there was some sleeping - but it wasn't that good happy sleep.
It will be good to see my friends today and I hope my inept "I'm so sorry" doesn't sound stupid.
I imagine this whole situation is like being on a trip in Italy and waking up on Mars. Becky uses this analogy to describe what it is like to have a child with special needs and I think it applies here too. Eventually, you'd have to find the good things about living on Mars. The first would be figuring out how to breathe, but eventually you'd have to find the gym, the grocery store and hopefully the comedy club. Sadly, there's no roadmap to these places; you just have to figure it out.
The saying "it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all" always sounded like crap to me. But I think it's because I had never really loved and certainly haven't ever lost. I'm not sure what my point is...I guess I just feel bad about Bill & the kids' loss and wish I had anything that could make it better.
Inept - that is a good word for how I'm feeling.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Anywho - I decided that it might be fun to "book" Lindsay for a dinner party to really liven the joint up and since she's apparently quite the bargain what could it hurt?
I did a Google search for "Celebrity Talent Booking" and found a few sites where you can "invite" celebrities to your events (for a fee) and it turns out that the list of celebrities who will do this is pretty big. If you want to book the whole cast of LOST, it can be done.
One site seemed a bit out of date as there were a few people on their list that I think are dead. I think you might be able to get a price break on a celebrity after they have died, but maybe their fee goes up because the travel becomes more complicated.
It is interesting to look at the list of people who will come for a day for the small amount of $50,000 to $100,000. I wonder if I'd get any bookings at all if I posted myself as a "humorous blogger". Probably not, but it might be a great way to travel to exotic places like Kansas for free. Apologies to the Kansas contingency for assuming only "celebrities" like me would come out their way.
I'll have to save up some coin to book someone good because while I can afford to book John Stone who is
"known for his ability to meld the world of medicine with literature and poetry, John Stone is an author, poet, and practicing cardiologist." I doubt anyone would come to my dinner party.
I'll keep you posted on who I get.
I truly felt lost Thursday. There were plenty of phone calls between friends, but the need to do something was pressing. I entertained myself on my "day off" between my consulting gig and the start of employment (today) by going shopping.
You know, I've never realized how many people lightly ask "how are you today?" during the course of the day. I know these folks are just doing the standard greeting to welcome you into their store or where ever, but when you have to remind yourself to lie it's an odd thing.
After a while of wandering around shops (and picking up a cute dress for the wedding we're headed to this summer) I went home to sit in my quiet house.
Our flight was uneventful, but we did get upgraded to first class which is nice because of the extra room and the early boarding. The free cocktails don't hurt either.
Upon arrival into Denver and the parents basement we were excited to find the newly acquired bed waiting for us. The old guest bed had a significant dip in the middle and was challenging to sleep on. This new guy was perfect. I felt bad about complaining about the guest bed, but damn... it sucked.
Friday we had a task to install two new computers in the home office of Jason's dad. It was a pretty quick operation with both of us hooking things up, installing software and removing the power cords from under the desks of long gone computer equipment.
The moving of data took quite a bit longer and all throughout the weekend Jason would disappear into the office to "finish something up" and I think he'd still be there if it weren't for our flight last night. He is a patient person but I think even he was getting tired of the never ending project.
Once the bulk of the computer labor (that I could help with) was done, Jas' Mom and I went to get our toes painted. It is a happy activity that should have resulted in light pink "Easter Toes" but I found a sparkly red paint that was calling my name. My toes are not church worthy, but instead are "sassy"!
Friday night we went out to BoneFish for dinner. I had the most amazing rainbow trout and was sad that I had eaten too much of the Boom Boom Shrimp appetizer and wasn't able to do too much damage to my dinner. WHEN WILL I LEARN???
In the afternoon we went into downtown and explored the Denver Art Museum. This was a trip made especially for me, but I think they all had fun too. The modern art is always a bit hard to appreciate for the folks who love traditional paintings.
That night we met a group at the local Bucca di Beppo and had a fun and loud dinner in the Pope's room. (Heck, it is Easter weekend, there must be a theme.) As you can see, John gets into the role of the family patriarch.
Somehow, my MIL and I got out of Easter Mass Sunday morning and we spent our free time packing (me) and prepping dinner (mostly her) while the fellas did their churchly duty. I think my buddy Jason would have stayed home too if there was another kid in the house to go with dad... but such is the burden of being an only child.
We opened wonderful wine from the collection and savored a roast. Jason and I headed back to the airport at 3 and were home by 7:30. It was a nice weekend and we slept well while in Denver, but I fell asleep while watching tv (in bed) and Jason had to take my glasses off for me, and we both slept like the dead last night. There's something wonderful about your own home.
It's going to be a busy week. I've got book club tomorrow (need to finish the book) and Kristina's memorial service is Wednesday. Friday we have symphony tickets and this weekend... we sleep again.
Take care, talk with you soon. Happy Monday.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Friday, April 02, 2010
Denver is bright and sunny, but cold and dry. I like it here, but will never leave the northwest.
Dinner talk tonight was about holidays, family and (of course) gossip. Poor Sandra Bullock...I think the last thing her family needs is to be discussed at length by the likes of us.
It was a good Friday, and while I haven't shared the "my friend lost his wife" story it is nice to pay attention to each other with the knowlege that time is not infinate. (ooh, deep terri...)
Gotta run... Later.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
I got a phone call this morning that Kristina, the wife of said couple had a heart attack and died yesterday. This news is incomprehensible and beyond shocking. Regardless of our state of friendship of late, I am heartbroken for my friend Bill, their daughter, and Kristina's boys who must be horrified.
I wasn't sure what to do with myself this morning. News like this requires action of some sort. I spoke with the Pastor from our church and with a few mutual friends and then decided that to say nothing to Bill was wrong. We haven't been close and I'm ok with that if that's what they needed, but silence at a time like this dishonors the friendship that we had.
I called and apologized for intruding but wanted to express my sorrow and let him know that if he needed anything he could call. He thanked me for my phone call in the most heartbreaking way that said to me that calling was the right thing to do.
Finding my person has been wonderful and whenever he's late or doesn't phone I worry that something horrible has happened. I'm sure it is the same feeling that parents get when their kids are out of sight for too long. I know these fears are irrational and that you can't live under that shadow or your whole life will be a macabre exercise in waiting to get your heartbroken. I also know that eventually, we all have to move on, but this timing sucks. Kristina was 46 and a fierce mom who adored her husband.
I wish our friendship had recovered before this terrible event, but I believe that if the roles were reversed they would be offering up all sorts of love and support - because that's what you do.
There will be a funeral next week and I imagine it will be brutal. I wish.... you know what I wish, and it isn't possible.
So, hold your people. Call that old friend. Hug your dog.