Wednesday, October 29, 2008

There's a reason for the title of this blog

To be fair, a lot of things make architects drink.  Like, Wednesday.  Not this or that Wednesday, but  the fact is, an architect can look at the calendar and go, "Holy shit, it's only Wednesday" and it's enough to make them drink.  We're a little hair-trigger that way.

This economy will make an architect drink, and how.  The AIA's Architectural Billings Index notes that there's been a slowdown in institutional construction spending for the first time in over four years.  A lot of it has to do with financing on the clients' side, and we've seen that at Design Associates lately for sure.  Projects that should have been a go were either cut back or put on hold, and some owners can't even borrow as much as they need and have good financial standing for because lenders are becoming more wary.  So, our office is slow.  And I've been filing and archiving projects for the better part of three weeks.  And I completely understand why some people develop a drinking problem.

I was finally able to start helping Jann with some typical room layout and equipment information stuff today, but I thought that the project number for that work had been put on hold.  But now it's not?  Or what?  A little help here?  Plus, it makes for really crappy blogging.  How can I really tell you what architects do when I'm not even doing it myself?  It would stand to reason that this would be a good time to indulge in my other hobbies and develop them more--things like reading as well as writing a couple of books (I have a couple of irons in the fire regarding books I need to write).  This is as good a time as any, except that not being busy most of the day makes me something of a sloth when I get home.

Oh well.  Bootstraps and all that.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good mews

Maddy had blood drawn on Saturday to see how she was responding to the chemo, and it appears that she's doing very well with it.  Her white blood cell count was only slightly elevated, kinda like what you'd expect from a cat that was stressed out about going to the vet.  Everything else was pretty normal, and she gained 14 oz (just shy of a pound), so the vet oncologist reupped her Leukeran for three more months (whereupon we'll check her again).  Maddy's not overjoyed about taking meds, but she does pretty well on them, and she's surprisingly easy to pill.  So, yayz.  I'm feeling hopeful that we get a little more time with Maddy, and the time we (and she) will get will be good, happy, healthy time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I have nothing to talk about today

I spent the week filing and trying to stay busy.  I'm tired of watching the stupid political ads on TV.  So, while I try to get back into reading actual books right after I fill out my mail-in ballot, I give you these pictures that Miss Kitty took over the weekend she spent with me recently.

Maddy, looking over my shoulder.  She's gained a pound in the past 4-6 weeks, and for the most part she's herself again: always hungry.

Hazel, looking annoyed on the dining room chair.  She hid most of the weekend while Guy's friends were here, but she came out to pee on my yoga mat on Sunday afternoon after everyone left.  There is nothing passive about that cat's aggression.

A light fixture at Z Gallerie.  I thought it was interesting, and it might end up over my dining room table.  Might.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Standing in line, marking time, waiting for the project dime

Yesterday and part of Tuesday, I was able to help one of the partners do a very rough program and square footage allotment for a possible new MOB for a client.  He had the meeting today to present the program to the owner, which left me working on transcribing my notes from the past couple of intern seminars until Winston the Befuddled met with me to pass on some redlines.  Perfect--I'd be helping his team today through Friday afternoon, making me billable for most of the week.  Winston and I were supposed to meet at 11am, but his morning meeting ran long, and I didn't find him until right after lunch.  With that continually slightly-mixed-up look on his face, he said he needed to print some things first and that the redlines would only really take me this afternoon.  Damn.  45 minutes later, Winston comes to my desk to tell me that a member of his project team was freed up sooner than they expected and they wouldn't be needing me at all, but thanks.  Double damn.

So, it's back to typing up my notes.  I racked my brain: should I check with Howie first? Jann?  I finally decided to give Howie first dibs on my help.  I mentioned to him what happened with Winston, then told him what I'd been doing with my intern seminar notes and that I'd been helping Jann sort and file her stuff and could do that unless he had something else.  Howie said to continue helping Jann clean off her desk (and y'all, we've barely made a dent in her disaster of a desk), and then he turned fully around from his computer (which is something he rarely does) and spoke in slightly hushed tones.

"And, y'know, Alex, and Gregg, and Jann, and Skylar and I all," [gestured with a circular motion] "talk on a regular basis about what everyone's doing, and it sucks, because you're a star and we don't have anything for you right now, y'know?  And I--we really appreciate you trying to keep yourself busy, even though really, that's our job, to keep you busy . Just...hang in there.  The project we just did the master plan for may not do anything for at least six months, that's just how those little projects are."

"No sweat," I replied.  "I hate bothering you, but I just want you to know I'm not trying to rest on my laurels over there, I wanna be helpful."

"I know, I know," Howie said with a smile.  "Just hang in there.  Did that master plan with Sven ever go anywhere?"

"He called me right before lunch actually," I replied, just remembering a phone call from the partner I'd helped yesterday.  "He said that the master plan might be a go any where from tomorrow to a few weeks from now, so we've both got our fingers crossed."

"Oh, good!" Howie said.  "That's good news.  Just keep doin' what you're doin' and hang in there.  We're all trying hard going after a lot of work."

Howie's discussion with me today felt like he was trying to reassure me that I wasn't next on the chopping block and that I was still valued.  So, I spent the rest of the afternoon transcribing my notes and feeling slightly less twitchy about the economy and the near future.  But man, I wish somebody would hire DA to build a hospital or clinic or som'n.  Shorty needs to get her architecture on.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yes, another post about needing universal health insurance

I know I've been posting on this topic a lot lately, but in my feeble head universal health care = more patients in the system = more buildings and spaces needed to serve them = more work for me.  I find this article interesting and question-provoking, not the least of which is: WHY?  After reading Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, I have to wonder if something very, very subtle is a work here.  Does minority = not worth givng the very best of care?  Or does non-insured = not worth saving?

Minority, uninsured trauma patients more likely to die in ED, study suggests

Black, Hispanic, and uninsured trauma patients are more likely to die in U.S. EDs compared with white patients, but insurance status has the stronger association with mortality after trauma, according to a study published in the October issue of the Archives of Surgery. To determine the effect of race and insurance status on trauma mortality, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colleagues analyzed outcomes for 376,897 patients in the National Trauma Data Bank. Treated between 2001 and 2005, the study sample included 72,249 black patients, 41,770 Hispanic patients, and 262,878 white patients; patients ranged in age from 18 to 64 and had moderate to severe injuries. Overall, 47% of patients had insurance, but blacks and Hispanics had higher uninsured rates than whites. The researchers found an adjusted mortality risk after trauma that was 17% higher for black patients and 47% higher for Hispanic patients than for white patients. Meanwhile, the researchers found that insured patients had a lower crude mortality rate compared with uninsured patients, at 4.4% and 8.6% respectively. The absence of health insurance increased a patient’s adjusted mortality risk by nearly 50%. According to the lead author, the dramatic differences in mortality risk between insured and uninsured patients were unexpected, given that access to trauma care in the United States does not hinge on insurance status. However, among insured patients, both Hispanics and blacks had “significantly” higher mortality risks compared with white patients, suggesting that “racial disparities in trauma mortality cannot be completely explained by insurance status alone.” As such, the researchers recommend further research into the “underlying reasons for these differences, which will enable to development of interventions to close the gap between patients of different races and payer statuses” (Haider et al., Archives of Surgery, October 2008 [subscription required]; Phend, MedPage Today, 10/20; Reinberg, HealthDay, 10/20).

Either way, this study at least suggests that having insurance might save your ass in the ED.  Let's also remember from some earlier posts here (and studies elsewhere) that the ED is the main place where uninsured people go for all healthcare because they can't be turned away.  It may be more likely, I dare posit, that the uninsured have a higher mortality rate in the ED because they wait too long for treatment and come to the ED when it's too late.  Which is a condition that universal health care would very likely alleviate.

I know my posts have been shoddy lately, and I intend to rectify that as soon as possible.  It's hard to talk about architecture when I've actually spent 3.5 days this month cleaning my desk and not working on a whole lot of real architecture.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Back to the same old same old

I dropped Miss Kitty off at the airport this morning and headed back to Denver and my pedestrian life.  Lawd, did we have a wonderful time over the past 3.5-4 days.  Massages and pedicures at the spa, shopping, lunch with my coworkers, dinner at our favorite restaurants (including, oddly enough, Chipotle), an evening cookout with Guy and his mouthbreathing knuckle-dragging friends (okay, some were much less mouthbreathing and knuckle-dragging than others), shopping, rifling through the  DA office interiors library to pick out some plastic laminate and wall tile for Kitty's home renovations, an evening at the bookstore, and--oh, yeah, shopping.

Words cannot express how wonderful it was to have Kitty here for 3+ days, and to take time off with her to hang out and do girl stuff.  We would luvved to have had Baxtersmum and her puppeh with us, but the fates conspired against us.  Augh!  This only means that I will have to come to Las Vegas for a visit.... [shifty eyes]  It was relaxing and yet exciting to talk and eat and walk and shop and mock things and oooooh-cute! over other things with someoen who knows you better than anyone else and still likes, nay, loves you anyway.

I'll be home for an entire week in Small Town this year between Xmas and New Year's, and Guy will be going home early to enjoy some alone time with the kittehs.  But Lawd, Kitty and I are gonna have a blast.  I. Cannot. Wait.

Friday, October 17, 2008

How well can you eyeball?

Holy crap, this is fun.  Try your luck eyeballing distances and angles and see how well you do.  If you're feeling gusty, post your score in the comments.  The first time I tried it, I got a 6.0, and the second time (just now) I scored a 4.87.  Evidently, I cannot make a parallelogram to save my life, but otherwise I'm ptrry good at eyeballing the center of a cirlcle or an angle.  I wager Wilderness Gina will do well on this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Pixieford Files

While the cleaning at home is nearly done, I've also been cleaning at work.  Every project I was supposed to be working on, or could be working on right now, is on hold.  I mentioned this to Howie last week.

"Clean your desk," came his reply.  Beg pardon?  "Clean your desk," he repeated.  "Clean everything, archive everything that needs to go into storage, file everything, get rid of it all; make a clean slate ready for new work.  Get ready for the next project."

Now, upon hearing that, the wintermint freshness of panic seeped into my colon.  'Clean your desk' has a creepy connotation of late, what with all the layoffs.  However, Howie was serious.  He cleared me to bill cleaning my desk to a general overhead billing code, so I went forth to get my clean on.  What does it say about the state of my desk that I literally spent all of Thursday and Friday cleaning it, and still have another 2-3 hours to do on it?  It says that I'm a messy trollop, that's what.  But my desk is pretty damn clean.

Jann saw me archiving files and product samples for MHRC, and she mentioned she had some files to go through to include in those archive boxes.  I offered to do the sorting for her, and she gladly took me up on it.  Her desk was at least as scary as mine, if not worse.  Hence, I've been helping her for the past day and a half, sorting and filing papers for a variety of projects.  On the one hand, it feels weird to just file and clean and wipe counters down with Clorox Clean-Up cloths.  On the other hand, I haven't felt this productive in a long-ass time.

So, I'm cleaning at work, and I'm cleaning at home.  Guy and I did a real scrub job on the place last night, and Guy even took some newspaper to all the mirrors and glass tabletops in our modern-ass house.  The place is glowing.  Mies would be proud.  The house is ready for Kitty and then Guy's mouth-breathing friends to visit, so I'm going to quit cleaning.  I'm done.  At home, anyway.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cleaning house, but not in a barfight-kind of way

Today was grey and misty/rainy in Denver, which made it a good day for Guy to take a nap while I cleaned.  I managed to scrub the grout in the bathroom tile floor, mostly clean my shower and toilet, swiff most of the house, clean the kitchen counters and the ceramic stove cooktop, wipe up around the litter boxes and clean the litter box walkoff pads, wash up a bunch of large dishes, and do some paper-and-magazine cleanup and throw-away.  Granted, my sister doesn't care how my house looks, and the guys that are coming next weekend will hardly care how tidy everything is, it's just time to do some cleaning.  There's something to be said for living in a nice, clean space, where things are relatively organized and things are mostly sanitary.  Once Kitty gets here and picks over my closet, I'll then do a cleaning of my wardrobe.  But for now, I'm getting rid of paper clutter and dirt/funk.

When Guy awoke to see what I'd accomplished in about 90 minutes' time, he promptly took me to one of our favorite nearby Mexican joints for linner as a reward.  He did a little cleaning after we returned, but now we're girthing in front of the TV, and more cleaning will take place tomorrow.  Hence, I have no interesting pictures or articles for you today.  

But my house is almost clean.  Almost.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Okay, I'll say it again: can we PLEASE get a national health care policy in place?

A new report from The Advisory Board shows that nonurgent ED (emergency department) visits are a source of bad debt.  The article says "Hospitals are not only seeing record growth in the use of ED resources by nonurgent patients but also finding that many nonurgent patients ultimately are written off as bad debt. Given this reality, many hospitals have begun to explore ideas for encouraging more appropriate ED utilization for patients with nonurgent needs. "
Here's an idea: let's run nonurgent needs through an outpatient clinic, like we're supposed to!  The ED is for emergencies, not nonurgent care.
I've heard a developer and a finance guy each cast aspersions at a national health care plan, saying it would mess up/foul up the healthcare design and construction industry.  I'm having a hard time seeing how.  If suddenly, 41+million Americans (with Social Security numbers, I might add) had health care, wouldn't you need a hell of a lot more treatment spaces for those people?  If the funding came to provide that care, instead of becoming the black hole that is nonurgent-indigent-care-at-the-ED, hospitals might have more cash to pay nursing staff to extend hours of treatment and/or build or remodel those treatment spaces.
Do we have any healthcare providers in the crowd interested in sounding off on this?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

In honor of Dad's 62nd birthday, or, Invasion of the Biscuit-and-Gravy Pod People

Today would have been my dad's 62nd birthday.  On this day, I try to do something fun to celebrate Dad's birthday that I think he would enjoy, too.  Guy had to go into the office this afternoon, so I decided to make a proper Southern breakfast to fuel him for the day.  I broached the subject last night as Guy tucked me into bed.  (He stays up later than I do, and I get up earlier than I do.  Hence, he tucks me in and kisses me goodnight, and I kiss him good morning when his alarm goes off and I've already had a workout and a shower.)

Pixie: So, tomorrow is Dad's 62nd birthday, and I wanna make breakfast in his honor.
Guy: Oh, okay.  Sounds yummy.
Pixie: Oooh!  I know just what I'm gonna make, too!
Guy: What?
Pixie: I'm gonna make biscuits, country ham, eggs, and get some sliced cheese, and--
Guy: You know what's missing from those biscuits?  Some gr--
Pixie: [nearly leaping out of bed]  No!  Fuck your gravy!
Guy: [falling over laughing on the bed]  "Fuck my gravy"?
Pixie: You need to think of your stupid gravy box!  I was gonna suggest making breakfast biscuit sammitches with the ham and eggs and cheese, but you want to drown everything in some damn gravy!
Guy: [still chuckling]  Look, I'm sorry, but you need gravy with biscuits.
Pixie: Well I'm sorry, but you need therapy.  Biscuits don't always need gravy.  I'm talking about breakfast biscuits, like we get at McDonald's.
Guy: You get biscuits at McDonald's.  I get an Egg McMuffin or a breakfast burrito.  I don't need some flavorless bread as part of my breakfast.
Pixie: [sighing] Fine, tomorrow, in honor of my deceased father, I will take some tasty meat, tasty egg, and tasty cheese, and I will sandwich them in between two pieces of homemade buttermilk cardboard, and you will like it.
Guy: [kissing Pixie's forehead]  Yes, dear.

So, this morning, I made biscuits.  And I mean homemade buttermilk biscuits.

Flour, baking soda, and salt with butter.  Mix/cut the butter into the flour mixture with two knives or your hands until it looks like coarse meal.

Then, pour in a cup of milk and mix until all the dry stuff is evenly moistened.  You can use buttermilk, or as I do, you can add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the cup of regular milk, because it helps "curdle" the milk properly.

Scatter the flour on the countertop (oh, soft heavenly flour!) and turn out the dough on the counter.  The less you work (knead) the dough, the more tender your biscuits are.  Pat it to about 3/4" thick, then cut the biscuits and put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Spacing them close together allows them to "steam" on each other while they bake.  Pop 'em in the oven at 450 for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on weather, elevation, flour type, etc.  I use Hungarian high altitude flour.  

I baked these for 12 minutes, which was about the top end of their baking time.  They ended up a tad brown for my tastes, but they were still nice and soft inside and they had a little dusting of flour on top.  Again, NOM.

Lawd, honeh.  Them's good.

I made two biscuit sandwiches for me and let Guy make his two.  I polished mine off in short order while drinking coffee and reading the funnies.  Guy ate, then got up and started dong laundry before he went to work, and left this at his place at the table.

Um, excuse me?  Did someone leave some biscuit, ham, and egg on his plate?

I confronted Guy on his apparent lack of interest in my Southern culinary masterpiece.  He countered by saying he had too much to eat and got full.  After some back and forth, it turns out that Guy managed to eat the two largest biscuits and most of the ham.  So, this time, I'll give him a pass on not finishing his biscuit.

But we still have dinner tonight.  And three more biscuits to eat.

However, the problem remains that Guy loves gravy with his biscuits, and I, raised fully and utterly in Georgia, have never had gravy pass my lips on a perfectly good biscuit.  It's sacrilege, says Miss Kitty and I.  Amongst my friends and coworkers, the biscuits + jam/butter/honey versus biscuits + gravy camps are evenly divided.  Kellye likes biscuits and gravy, while his wife (from the same part of St. Louis as Kellye) prefers biscuits and jam/butter/honey.  Norman would take either, and Elliot nearly fell out of his chair at the thought that Guy would snub my biscuits just because they lacked gravy.  Derek was part of the jam/butter/honey camp, but he would enjoy gravy just as well, no big whoop.  

So, WAD readers, sound off: gravy or jam/butter/honey?  Both?  Neither?  And say where you're from when you weigh in--I want to know if this is geographical, cultural, or an alien invasion that makes people want gravy on a perfectly good biscuit that never did anything bad to them in the first place.

Happy birthday, Daddy.  Your son-in-law is a good man, despite his biscuit ig'nance.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The greatest health threat we're STILL not treating

A recent report by The Advisory Board titled "Future of Neurosciences" reveals that, while behavioral/mental health cases dwarf other admits by volume (in 2006, 10.1 million behavioral health cases versus 3 million cerebrovascular cases, the next largest neuroscience inpatient or outpatient admit in Advisory's study pool), it is not profitable ($1,759 profit per behavioral health case vs. $3,223 profit per cerebrovascular case).  Over 50% of psychiatric admits are through the emergency department, which totally blows for hospitals because a) ED staff aren't usually trained to deal with psych cases, and b) psych admits occupy profitable inpatient beds up to twice as long as average inpatient admits from the ED (like heart attacks, trauma/accidents, etc.).  Psych admits are unprofitable because most major mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, see their major onset during a patient's 20s, and the diseases leave the patient unable to hold down a job which ensures that they'll end up on Medicare/Medicaid or charity/self pay, which means you're not getting a lot of cashola for dealing with them.

Psychiatric/behavioral health treatment is also labor-intensive.  For an inpatient psych wing, you need a couple of psych nurses at all times, plus a couple of caseworkers, several therapists, group therapy leaders, psychiatrists (who, unlike psychologists, are able to prescribe meds, which is bullshit because psychologists get better training, really), specialists for different problems (depression, eating disorders, PTSD/trauma, PTSD/military, drug and alcohol addiction, etc)...and you need these people available on a 24-hour basis.  Most med-surg (your typical) inpatient hospital beds require much lower staff-per-patient ratios, and sometimes only about 1 or 2 nurses at night for 24-30 patients.  And labor in the US is what costs us so much.  Drugs are (relatively) cheap, but it costs a lot to pay a well-trained nurse to settle someone down and get a knife from the cafeteria out of their hands.

Again, I ask:  What.  The.  Fuck?

How can we not fund the care of a problem that costs us so much?  Think about the hidden costs of not caring for behavioral health issues: lost time from work, both in terms of the patient not getting paid and being out sick, plus the employer who loses effort and time and productivity from this illness; the worn-out staff that misdiagnoses other illnesses in the ED; the true emergency cases that have to wait and get even worse because the staff is handling out-of-control walk-ins that shouldn't be there.

And there's the other random lives that are touched when mental illness spills out and hurts others, like when a gunman storms a playground or restaurant.  Or the not-so-random lives, like when my uncle shot my dad and himself.

I should also add that building an inpatient psych wing costs.  You need special hardware that keeps people from hurting or isolating themselves, light fixtures and finishes (walls, paint, etc) that people can't beat up or hurt themselves on.  And if we as a culture would fund the care of the mentally ill--who often seem pretty normal most of the time--I could build the psych hospital that I was supposed to build over a year ago and why I started this blog in the first place, and it would give our office something to do and keep us from having to lay off yet more people.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Scene: Friday afternoon, Pixie's and coworkers' cubicle area

[Pixie searches online for something, Norman checks shop drawings, Derek reads an email, Elliot redlines drawings for an intern, Ingrid draws on Revit]

Pixie:       Sweet!
Derek:     Find some good news?
Pixie:       Hell yeah!  The King Soopers pharmacy near my house is open 'til 9 tonight.
Norman:   What, are you picking up some Ritalin for a rave tonight or something?
Pixie:       [laughing] Noo, I gotta get Maddy's chemo prescription and I haven't been able to get over there before 6 all week.
Derek:     So Kitty starts chemo, huh?
Pixie:       Yeah, I hope it helps her out.
Ingrid:       [standing up very slowly]  Does she just get chemo?  'Cuz if she gets Vicodin, I could use it for the vertebrae I cracked on Tuesday when that chick ran over me on my bike.
Elliot:       [not looking up from drawing]  If you'da been in a bar instead of riding your bike "for your health", that shit wouldn'tve happen to you.
Derek:     Ooh, you could be our dealer if you're picking up things "for Maddy"!
Pixie:     [laughing harder, holding hand like a phone to her ear] 'Yes, King Soopers pharmacy?  My cat really needs some Xanax, and some Vicodin, and even some Valium.  She's really stressed out about this chemo.'
Norman:   [flipping pages on shop drawing]  '...and she needs some methadone.  Her DTs are so bad she's breaking furniture.'
[everyone laughs]
Norman:   Isn't that what heroin addicts use to get off heroin?
Pixie:       Yeah, methadone.
Derek:     Is it kinda like heroin or something?
Pixie:     Well, yes and no.  It has some of the benefits wi--
Norman:   Benefits?
Elliot: Benefits?!  Pixie, you don't need to go to a pharmacy.
Derek: Somebody needs some rehab.
Ingrid: [singing] "They tried to make Pix go to rehab, she said, noooo, noo, no!"
Pixie: [laughing so hard she's crying]  It's--I'm--It's not me I'm going to the pharmacy for! It's--"
All: Suuuuuuure.

[Pixie collapses into desk chair, laughing]

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Learning to love the fallout

The past week/ten days have been a little weird.  First off, our friends and former coworkers are emailing us all, asking for photos and details (square footage, program, date of completion) of projects they worked on while at DA.  Added to this is the pressure to be productive on whatever it is that you may still have to work on--folks are trying their damndest to be useful and efficient.  Ethel nearly drove me crazy on Friday with a constant stream of emails about whether or not she should include the potential new employer's address on the cover letter or this or that on the resume, even blind copying me on emails she sent these potential new employers.  She barraged Jacqueline with emails as well: please look at my resume, I need info on this and that and the other projects, I need it today.  It was the "I need it today" that bothered both Jacqueline and me.  If any of y'all wanted to send out resumes on Friday, and you wanted some of your friends and former colleagues to review your resume and give you information on projects you worked on, you'd send that request before late Thursday afternoon, wouldn't you?  Please say yes.  Jacqueline made some comments on Ethel's resume that were pretty sharp and that I wish I'd noticed--things like deleting the "objective" on a resume.  How 80s.  And frankly, everyone knows you want a job, that's the point.  She also suggested that she reorganize the info on the resume because it was looking a bit congested and dense.  It was only after Jacqueline's email to Ethel saying a) you need to clean up your resume and b) I can't get you all this info today as I have a deadline, Ethel finally stopped carpet-bombing us.

I was stunned as I recounted all this to Guy as we went to dinner for a late birthday celebration.  "Why is she even asking me for resume and cover letter help?"  I asked Guy.  "I've only ever had to interview for two jobs in my life, and I've never been laid off.  She's been laid off before; she's got to know how to get a job, for the love of Frank Gehry. It feels like she's giving her power away."
"She's in panic mode," replied Guy.  "I talked to Sarge yesterday, and I advised him to take some time to make a good, clean resume and project sheet.  I mean, yeah, everyone and their mom is applying for a job right now, so the least you can do is make a clean, good-looking resume so it catches everyone's eye."
What happened at DA last week has a lot of us thinking, even Norman, who is an associate with DA.  Several of us have begun tuning up our resumes and getting the images we need in order to make good project image sheets, just in case.  None of us who are left want to have to call someone if the ax should fall our way.

Meanwhile, Kellye and I have been waxing philosophical during a few lunches in one of the upstairs conference rooms.  It's cheap--you bring your own lunch--and it's still kinda relaxing--you get away from your desk but don't have to tip anyone for sitting in their tables.  Yogic and Buddhist philosophy have a concept called "sitting with the discomfort," which entails not fighting or avoiding or trying to 'fix' whatever's 'wrong'.  While in some instances this is obviously bad advice, it's a different way of looking at the kind of uncertainty and instability that DA's layoffs bring.  Kellye posited the theory that the present climate--layoffs, bailout bill in Congress, elections, the whole lot--may be about to bring about a revolution.  Not necessarily one with blood and pitchforks that someone will just have to write a musical about, but one where people wake up and go, "Hey, this isn't right, and here's what I/we really need and want!"  The lack of work to do, the layoffs, everything is part of a pendulum swing, and this too shall pass.  Just breathe.  Eventually there will be work to be done.  Eventually something will come along, or you'll go somewhere else and something will come along.  Either way, whatever moment in front of you, happy or sad, isn't permanent.  So just breathe.

Not that it's easy.  We're giving this viewpoint a shot because it seems to lead to less drinking-NyQuil-straight-from-the-bottle types of activity.