Harvey

Last week Matt and I decided to give this little guy a home.  After seeing his adorable photo online, I convinced Matt to come to the city shelter and meet him.  The lady at the shelter said he likes to play but isn’t much of a lap cat.  It was no sooner that those words left her mouth that this guy curled up on Matt’s lap and started purring.



He is a 6 month old black cat (cause we love black cats).  He has the cutest stubby little nose.  I really didn’t expect to bring him home, especially that day, but I guess he won us over.

Now the real trick is integrating him with our house and Tina. If you have cats you know how important introductions and confidence can be.  We set him up in the hall bathroom to start with. Later that evening I think we tried to go too fast.  We put Tina in our bedroom and let him roam the rest of the house.  He seemed ok, maybe a bit skiddish… until the anxiety caught up to him.  I think he must have had a bug, or maybe it was just the fear and unknown of a new home, but for some reason he immediately “had to go”.  I looked over to see his hind legs in the water bowl.  I wondered what in the world he was doing.  And then I saw it.  He was taking a shit in the water bowl!  But this was not just any shit, this was full on diarrhea. 

What in the world did we just get ourselves into?

Well after a vet visit and a few nights to get him more comfortable, I’m hopeful. The diarrhea seemed to have passed, I’m hoping just due to stress of a new home.  Vet reported good health, and he has successfully been using the litter box provided.  

The next step will be to start letting him roam the house more without Tina and then eventually to attempt an introduction.

Wish us luck. 

When it backfires

We have this project at work… It is one of those ginormous projects that involves not just technology but also people and process (and politics) across multiple parts of the company.

Anyway, I have some of my resources working on it because there are business intelligence impacts. The project… let’s just call it “Everest”, has not been going well because the team has been trying to boil the ocean.

We were talking as a leadership team about how we need someone dedicated to go drive it and get things back on track. We all suggested names of our best people. The big boss still seemed unconvinced. Then in one of those hallway conversations he dropped a hint. “Or…maybe you could go do it and we find someone else to run your team for awhile,” he says to me. Hmmmm. Not exactly what I had in mind, but my absence would stretch my senior folks in ways they need to be stretched. But then I have to tackle climbing Everest, and that is pretty terrifying.

So now I’m figuring out how I can delegate more responsibility of managing my 28 people, so I can go focus on this.

This was the first week. I can already tell it is going to be a challenge to stick to scope. But I’m finding it refreshing to dig deep into something. When you are managing a big team, your time gets spread pretty thin in 20 different directions.

Anyway, here is to digging deep and hopefully getting something done.

Temples

On this trip, we saw our share of temples. Some had incredibly detailed carvings while others were more modest. Ironically, while 80% of India practices Hinduism, our informal tour guides (our work associates) did not provide much religious detail. Debasis is not practicing and tries to avoid going to temple (he was being a good sport), and Albert very much appreciates the history, but is a Catholic. This almost sounds like a joke…A Jew (Traci is jewish), Hindu, and two Catholics walk into a temple…

Here are some pictures from my favorite temple. It is one of the most ornate temples in the state (Karnataka). It was built in 810 AD. You could almost feel the history and the power in this place.
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Carvings were everywhere…Even in places you couldn’t see.
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Each temple had an exterior stone wall that was separate from the inner structure or building.
But the inside of this temple was just as ornate…
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This is me with a Hindu priest. He had been setting up incense and providing some red chalky stuff for everyone’s third eye. He was very welcoming and was kind enough to stop for a picture.
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This is one of the interior structures where they had incense lit for religious rituals.
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We ran into a LOT of school children on field trips.
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Most of them had never seen a caucasian before so Traci and I reached extreme celebrity status. When they grew brave enough, they came up to us and asked, “What is your name?” or “What country are you from?” Or “How are you?”

They giggled and shook our hands. When we replied with something like, “I’m good. How are you?” They stared at us with blank looks. Their english was limited and scripted. They didn’t know how to respond.

We got a kick out of being found so interesting.

At one point though, they bombarded us a little too much at once. Suddenly I found myself surrounded. They all wanted to shake my hand and ask me my name. It became overwhelming. My paranoia knew that I was now in a compromising situation, and they could go for my purse at any point in time. Luckily these were just school kids, but it did kinda freak me out. So I jumped down from the platform where we were standing.

Here is a picture of them mobbing Traci. You can’t see her, but she is back there.
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Traci and the very inquisitive school children…
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At each temple, we had to take our shoes off and walk through the temple in a clockwise direction. Outside the temple, there was always a shoe rack and a woman monitoring the rack.
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Monkey Pics

I was super excited to get so many pictures of monkeys.
I think they deserve their own post, right?

Monkeys posing in front of some very cool fog…
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Baby Monkey…
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Chilling on the sign monkeys…
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The drinking monkey…
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Nandi Hills

On our first weekend in India, we went with the team to Nandi Hills.

We were picked up at the hotel before 6am and took a long drive up several switchbacks. We really didn’t know what to expect when we reached the top, but it was pretty amazing.

After getting dropped off by our driver, It took a few minutes for us to walk up to the lookout. This whole area was filled with Eucalyptus trees, which made the whole place smell incredible.
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Now check out this view…
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It was here that Traci and I first realized the level of our new found celebrity. We had multiple strangers come up to us and ask us to take a photo with them. I guess they don’t see many white people. In this case, our new stranger friend was not happy with the photo because I was squinting too much. So, he lent me his sunglasses. This is me goofing off in between photos.

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This is Traci, Albert, and Debasis. Traci is a solution designer that was traveling with me for this trip. Albert and Debasis are leaders of my India team. It was good to hang out with them in person.
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I think I could have chilled out here all day.
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Awkward Stuff on Bikes

You wouldn’t believe all the things people carry on two-wheelers in India

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I don’t even understand how this guy is driving…
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An entire family…
It is not rare to see an entire family on a bike. What appears even more interesting, is that only the driver is required to wear a helmet. Passengers are not required to wear a helmet, even if it is a small child.

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In a foreign land

I recently got back from a two week trip to Bangalore, India. If you recall, I have a team of developers there and need to make an occasional trip to keep things running smoothly.

Overall, I had a great trip, but I’m very happy to be home.

Most of the trip was spent in the office, but I took ALOT of street photos. You really can’t describe what India is like. You have to experience it. In a word, it is…Intense. In a city that falls at #19 of the top densely populated cities in the world, there is constantly something to see and hear.

Color is everywhere, from the people to the buildings and everything in between.

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Traffic is an experience. Think of your worst day of traffic in the US and multiple that by 10. The lanes (and honestly any traffic laws) are a suggestion only, and honks are expected to let the other drivers know you are there. Motorcycles (they call two-wheelers) take up every inch of open space between any two vehicles.

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The people are very welcoming…much more so than we are in the US. Everyone goes out of their way to make sure you have a good stay. However, this is a poor place…so everyone is also on the lookout for ways to make money off of those that obviously don’t belong.

From out of the country? Better be prepared to pay more.
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I saw this guy as we were walking along a path to get to a Hindu temple. He welcomed me taking his photo, but then made gestures like he expected me to pay him for it.

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So maybe my second word to describe India is … Uncomfortable.
More to come on that later.

Dear USA

Dear United States of America,

I missed you my love. I must admit that while I enjoyed our time apart, I’m so happy and relieved to be back in your arms.

I missed your water, your fresh filtered nature is loved by my digestive tract and appreciated by this ice and salad-eating individual.

Your highway system is so organized and thought through. It is clear you worked very hard for this and it has definitely paid off.

And your sweet toilets… How powerful and clean they are! Using the restroom is such a delight. Oh how I missed the distinctive whooshing sound!

Red meat, big thick rolls, and French bread are wonderfully available. You know exactly what I like. My stomach is growling just thinking about all the delicious flavors.

Thank you USA. I know nobody is perfect, but I’m so glad we are back together.

Love always,
Anna

On the road again

I’ve been traveling an unusual amount.

Last week I was in Philadelphia to support a certain acquisition of a company by my employer. My specific task was to identify a plan for all the internally used Business Intelligence systems. What do we keep, what do we retire, and what do we transition after day 1.

I’ve never really thought about how much work it takes from an IT perspective to acquire a company. Let me tell you, there is a lot of work. And the emotion of the situation adds more complexity. You don’t know these people. You don’t even know the culture of the company. They are probably scared for their jobs,even if you have no intention of downsizing.

They spent years building solution x but you come in and could decide in an hour to retire all of it…. “But please don’t leave. We need your help, we have lots of work for you, and you can trust us.” Honestly I have a backlog of 200 projects, I need everyone I can get!

I didn’t even get a chance to organize my thoughts on that trip when I have to repack for Phoenix. If I had any foresight, I would not have planned the Phoenix trip, but I had no idea at the time that we would be dealing with an acquisition. I somehow lucked out and got a free trip to a TDWI executive summit. So instead of putting together a detailed plan for the acquisition, I’m going to have to try to step back and think big picture again.

The conference itself was good. The highlight was probably the session given by the Director of Analytics at Facebook. For being the monster big data company that it is, he really cut through the bull shit buzz words. I’m so tired of trying to satisfy the buzz words. Give me a business problem instead and I’ll go find the right technology to solve it. Big data is just as much about the culture and the business problems… not just the technology.

Fast forward, I’m now at the airport and I’m exhausted. For whatever reason I haven’t been sleeping well on my trips. I’m tempted to curl up on the floor right here in the terminal, only I have to think the floor is dirty. If I recall, my friend Michelle has an incriminating photo of me sleeping on top of my luggage in a hotel lobby in London. Let’s try not to reproduce that.

I can’t wait to get home and crawl into my own bed. Then back to the office tomorrow.