December 25 , 2007

Here's the last entry in 2007. It's been months since I wrote anything, and it's been CRAZY!

The biggest thing that happened is that on October 10, I was given a layoff notice from Intuit. The project I was on was floundering and they did reorganization to cut the "burn rate", reducing the staff by about 20%. That included taking the people who reported to me and putting them into the individual development teams, removing the need for a manager. I didn't find a suitable position within the company so I left on 10/31, with a decent severence package. Since then I've been actively on the job hunt, but also taking the time to do more with the PTA (putting together the PTA directory) and the Exiles (coordinating the yearly Carnival), as well as spending more time with the kids and doing some projects around the house.

The job search has been fascinating. I've gotten an incredible amount of support from so many people. I've appreciated how important networking is, getting leads and advice and introductions from literally dozens of people. And going through this has helped me examine what really makes me happy in my job: I want to lead design. That could be managing people or not; the important thing is making an impact in product direction and design. So I've been focusing on director/manager of user experience jobs, but also lead designer or UI architect jobs. That has limited the number of options, but I'll be happier in the long run.

In the meantime, and interesting position came up, a contracting opportunity with SmartDrive, based in San Diego. I'm working on revamping their user experience for a new version of their product. It's a relativelky short-term contract but it may turn into something permanent... we'll see. So far I've found contract work and working remotely have their advantages: no commute (except an occasional trip to San Diego), setting my own hours, and working in my pajamas while watching the squirrels in the yard. :-)

Just to make life really exciting I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee on December 20th. I had a tear in my meniscus (cartilage), a fatty deposit on my ACL, and some chondromalacia, an irritation of the bone surface behind my kneecap, probably left over from before I had my kneecap realigned almsot 7 years ago. I had some challenges with this surgery, using different anesthesia to avoid the intense nausea I had other times, pushing myself a bit too hard the day after, and then having dizziness and nausea from the follow-up medicine. I'm doing better today, and hope to be up and about better soon.

Katelyn is generally doing well. She had a really fun 11th birthday party here at the house. It was the first time she'd had a relatively unstructured party, basically one big play date with a dozen of her friends. They had a great time. See pictures here. Katelyn continues to have two challenges. First, she is having some difficulties keeping organized at school. We're trying to help her out, and working with her doctor and teacher. Second, her digestion issues have continued. She just had another partial impaction, which we were able to clear so she was able to start eating normally, and now we're doing a series of tests to rule out additional causes like food allergies. Meanwhile, her spirits are good, and she continues to do gymnastics, karate, and play the trumpet.

Haley is also doing well. She continues to challenge us with not doing what she's told when she's told to do it. She hears us when we talk to her, but she chooses not to listen, to just do her own thing. When she's grown up she will certainly have no trouble being her own person with her own opinions, but right now it's a bit maddening. She's doing well in school - often completes her homework in record time if there's enough motivation and she likes it. Her teacher says she's very social, and has lot of fun at school. We had a difficult time at her birthday because, for some reason, none of the kids she invited to her party were able to make it. We still got the jumpy house and had family over, and tried to make it as fun as possible for her. See pictures here.

Val has had a hard time this week being my nursemaid... I'm a demanding patient. She's been great, taking care of the children, the shopping, the kitchen, and me. Val continues to have challenges at work, but it's much better than it was.

We've been keeping busy, as usual. Here are some highlights of the last few months:

Today Judy is arriving and staying for a couple of days. We're also have Glynis and Susan over for Christmas dinner.