Friday, March 25, 2011


I'm trying to be a bit disciplined about my writing. I am not in the mood to write and really, I wanted to skip it. I stayed up a bit late last night but still woke up at 5am. My throat is killing me and I can barely speak above a whisper. At the coffee shop where I now seem to be a regular—the clerk remembered my order—they made me a latte instead of a cappuccino (turns out not to be as tragic as it might). It's easier to write when I'm on a trip. I wake up earlier than usual and don't have to worry about taking care of the house. I can get my act together, leave, and find a calm place to write. At home, of course, that's not the case at all. I sleep late, in avoidance of the office. Or, if I get up early, I putter around the house, clearing up dishes or papers left from the night before. I don't write when I get to the office, because I have a dozen emails that I need to deal with. I don't write later, because I'm too busy distracting myself with the internet, when I'm not actually busy with work. I'm not sure what the plan will be when I get back. Work is going to get very busy. My supervisor is going to continue to be extremely annoying. I will have to find a way to put all the pieces together and keep some pleasure writing in the mix.

Yesterday was tough. The meeting was challenging and I was questioned closely and aggressively for a couple of hours. I'd managed to introduce some major confusion the first day and I'd hoped to address the crowd in full yesterday to clear things up. Instead, that idea was quashed by the boss of the meeting. He didn't even have the courtesy to tell me to my face. It made my job much harder since I then had to run around to three separate groups explaining the same thing over and over and then taking the hard questions. If I'd been given 15 minutes with the whole group, it would have saved a lot of time. But it would also have put the meeting boss on the spot a tiny bit and he can't stand that.

Anyway, it was tough but exhilarating. During and after, many people said, "You have a tough job." And "Don't take it personally-we're not mad at YOU." I said I got it. I was there, representing the government, and I didn't take it personally. I didn't always enjoy it and a couple of times I got defensive. But mostly I hung in there, I told the truth, and I think it came through that I was completely sincere and doing the best I could. One semi-hilarious moment (in my mind) came when I was saying, yet again, that it was a resources (funding) issue and that there was nothing I could do. A frustrated man said, "But you're a STATISTICIAN, you can influence it! You can make a difference!" The funny part? That I was mistaken for a statistician. Of course, he is right, I'm not totally powerless. It is a resource issue, but it's also that I think what is proposed is the best solution under the circumstances. Even if I had more money, I might not spend it the way they think I should. I even said, "If you want to lobby for more money for the project, make sure I have to use it for this particular thing—make sure my hands are tied." Now, if that's not honest, I don't know what is.

Now, I'm off to drive around Anchorage and see some mountains. I get on a plane tonight and fly all night to get home. I'm already tired thinking about it. Hopefully, I can still manage to write tomorrow.

Grateful for: the end of meetings.

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