Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Never Poke a Sleeping Bear

Because it will wake up and eat you.

In this story, the Phenom is the bear and his supervisor is holding the stick.

Part of it is bad timing. Admittedly, the stick holder wouldn't know that . . . but some basic human consideration would have gone a long way in keeping that bear asleep.

Part of it is a "customer" who is being unreasonable.  But, the supervisor seemed to question the integrity of the Phenom.  And, there is no faster way to find yourself without a leg than to even hint that the Phenom is anything but forthright.

The bad timing . . . the death of a family member, days of travel, the emotional roller coaster of seeing long lost relatives but under such circumstances.  Made the bear particularly ready to eat the first moron to come along with a stick and grandiose ideas.

I once hear one of the Phenom's co-workers say that in witnessing the Phenom "have enough" his only logical response was involuntary urination.  This is gonna be so much more intense.

The down side.

One of the down sides of social media is being exposed to the stupidity that is floating around in the world.  If not for social media, I could acknowledge that such existed, but not actually have to see it.

The shooting in Charleston has brought out some truly stupid crap in my facebook feed. One person had been dropped a couple of years ago because he decided he need to pick a fight with me over guns.  Tonight, he popped up on my company's facebook just to be a jerk.  I know him well enough to know that he just wanted to incite a fight.  He'd posted several "pro gun" bits/responses to the Charleston shooting, and then turned his sights on our page.  His desire to pick a fight just resulted in his irrelevant comment being deleted.  Sadly, our policies prevent us from blocking him from our feed . . . yet.

Then, on my personal page, someone's totally ignorant screed about the confederate flag got her unfriended.  If EVEN Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney have realized that there are no points to be scored by continuing to cling to the "stars and bars" . . . then shouldn't the morons of the planet follow?

Sheesh.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On the fence

Full disclosure, I was hesitant to buy a food processor because I couldn't think of how often I would actually use it and I feared that my salsa might lose some of that "made with love" flavor that comes from hand chopping.  Totally unfounded and I love my processor.

So, I bought one of these:  Slicer 

A friend recently tried to slice off her whole finger with one.  Another friend did permanent nerve damage to a finger with one.  So, sure, accident-prone-will-spill-soup-on-me-taking-it-out-of-the-microwave me needs one, right?

I used it for the first time last night . . . first, VERY CAREFULLY, without the guard and then once I was down to 2 inches of squash left, with the guard.

I'm not sure how much use it will see.  Yes, it did beautiful, precise, exactly even slices.  But, the guard was somewhat awkward to use.  And, I'm asking myself, the morning after, is having perfectly precise slices really worth it?  I generally take an imprecise approach to cooking, so why stress over squash slices?  Plus, I've got pretty decent knife skills.

Then again, I have a crock pot and there is only one thing I can successfully make in it.  Maybe I'll find ONE thing I can slice up with this thing and figure it was worth it.  Maybe.

Monday, June 01, 2015

It makes a monkey's eye twitch

The Phenom told me, again, this weekend that I am a food snob.  Of course, I always deny it.  But, yeah, he might be right.

His admonishment came after I screamed and ranted over a friend's facebook post.  My friend just moved from Seattle to NYC.  Seattle is world famous for their fish markets and seafood and NYC is one of the best food cultures in the world . . . also a place where you can get fresh, local seafood.

My friend is from one of the SE Atlantic states and was visiting family over the weekend.  His family lives in a coastal community.  He posted a picture of having seafood with the family . . . king crab legs.  KING CRAB LEGS . . . from like the other side of the planet . . .not one of the SE Atlantic states.  

AND SE coastal blue crabs have their soft shell season in May for several weeks, and crabs are harvested until fall.  Why wouldn't you eat the local seafood when you're at the coast?  Why have stuff that was flown in, frozen, when you could have something super fresh . . . and SOFT SHELL?

I live just far enough inland that I'm picky about my seafood.  And, when I travel to places on various coastlines, I eat the local fare . . . a lot of it . . . really, every meal.  But the local stuff  . . . not stuff flown in from else where.  You people are killin' me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Where I show my own Sheldon Cooper side.

I was a speaker at a local association of some group of professionals tonight. I arrived early to set up my presentation materials and chat with the event organizers.  As we made small talk, I found that I made mention of various research articles I'd read .  I quipped that I read a lot of research on a variety of subjects.  It's the monkey-nerd in me.

Well, here's what I read tonight.  Dating research. I find it interesting because the Old Woman taught me rules for dating.  It was very important that I present myself as respectful of my companion's wallet.  Of course, now I realize that there is also some bizarro link between men spending money on dates and the expectation of sexual returns on the investment.  She never explained it to me in those terms, but I get it now.  (And, it is wrong and we need to fix this notion in our culture.)   Primarily, I was taught that I should inquire as to what my companion was planning on ordering, and then order something less expensive on the menu.  I was also taught to by pass the extras like apps or dessert.  (There is always homemade cake at the house, why don't you invite your young man in for a bite?)

In college, I had a bad beau who convinced me that being a feminist meant I should pay for our dates.  (Somehow, there was still an expectation of sexual favors.)  Then, I started offering to make dinner for our date and let my companion contribute by paying the cover at a club or for a movie.  (Even with this actually equal arrangement, I still ended up some dude sitting at my kitchen table and declaring that he could have sex with me.  He explained that once he bedded a person, he granted them the nickname of their first initial and he'd never slept with a M (M for monkey) before.  Seems his logic did not factor in the possibility that he would be shown the door before dinner hit the table . . . which is what happened.  I'm not a prude, but I do not hold with such foolishness.)

When I started dating the Phenom, I was pretty burned out on dating and cynical about the whole arrangement. (The dude above contributed his share.)  We really were dating more as placeholders and a social arrangement rather than some monkey/human mating game.  This meant that I made the decision to stop playing games.  I started ordering what I actually wanted to eat (of course, still being respectful of the cost . . . no massive steaks or lobsters . . . but no more side salads with a shared plate of fries either.)   Dates would be negotiated for shared interest as well as expense.

And that was 26 years ago.  We still negotiate dates.  We still work to make sure that neither is taken for granted.  And, we still have great fun on dates.  In fact, just last year, a cabbie in NOLA asked if we were in town on our honeymoon, because we clearly were having fun being together.  We said yes.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Never say never

My cooking style evolved based on what I am curious about, and what I can get locally.  I have always liked foods that are particular to one culture or another.  I make a lot of Asian inspired foods as well as cajun/creole dishes.  We don't eat a lot of meat in our house hold, and the Old Woman generally reserved meat for company.

Oddly, I don't make the foods I ate at the Old Woman's table.  For the life of me, I cannot make a good pot roast.  I blame the lean meat that just isn't as good as what she got.

I have never tried to compete with the Phenom's mother's cooking.  She did teach me how she made biscuits.  And, although I more or less do exactly what she taught me, the Phenom insists that my biscuits are nothing like hers.  I do regret that I didn't claim her cookbooks after she died.  (I let the Phenom's aunt take them.  I didn't find a treasure trove of hand written recipes or a notebook with her favorites collected. . . I would have claimed those.)

Lately, the Phenom has been bringing up how much he misses fatback on the table.  It was, apparently, a staple in his childhood home.  Fatback was not only NEVER served at the Old Woman's table, but she would have screamed at the suggestion of it. (Much too unhealthy.)

Today, at the grocery store, the fatback was in a location that I noticed it.  Honestly, I have no idea if I've ever seen it in the store before.  I'm sure I have, and ignored it.  But, I bought a packet of the stuff.  I put about half of the packet in a cast iron pan over fairly low heat and turned it a few times.  I had the Phenom look at it and tell me when he thought it was "done."

Tonight, dinner was turnips with their greens, new potatoes, and for the Phenom, fatback.  (I had sliced radishes from the garden.)

The Phenom said the fatback was as good as his mother's; the highest possible compliment.  I understand that memory will taint taste.  I'm glad he liked it.  I hope he eats what is left in the fridge.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Coming back

I had to be out of town this week on business.  I have long since outgrown being excited over business trips. And, it didn't help that ESK left me, and back in the day, trips with her were always a blast.  We'd make time to do something fun and bonding.  We'd eat adventurous food. It is tremendously difficult to find good traveling companions.

But, apparently, the one who really suffered was The Pirate Jean Lafitte.  Phenom tells me that he would run into the bedroom and look for me, that he'd look for me around the house and cry when he couldn't find me.

When I got home, there was much cooing and cuddling and not letting me too far out of his reach. Plus, there was this:

I suspect he will not be pleased to learn there are three (at least) more excursions, on which he isn't invited, planned this summer.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

FARM TIME!!

I tend to have foods I make seasonally.  I only make heavy things like beef bourguignon chili in the winter and summer means all variety of fresh veggies.  

Given the wackiness of the past winter, my own garden is fairly sad and pathetic.  Bunnies ate all the cucumber and squash plants.  The basil never came up.  And something is nibbling on the radishes.  (The peas are pretty, but I wonder if they are too far behind and will be fried by high temps before they bloom.)  My one surviving blueberry bush seems to be thriving  and is laden with berries.  I suspect the same critters that ate my squash will beat me to the blueberries, again, this year.

Fortunately, I have very good relationships with local farmers.  And, they have much better production than I do. 

My favorite farm stand is doing their own CSA this year.  I'm hoping other folks will buy into it too . . . since it was pretty expensive but they do have the most wonderful fruits and veggies.  They have several different types of peaches . . . and I can eat my weight in peaches.

Today, I headed out to their stand (CSA hasn't started yet).  I bought new potatoes, so fresh you can "peel" them by rubbing your hands over them.  Beautiful purple onions, kale, broccoli and kohlrabi.  Tonight, I pulled a couple radishes, and threw them in with some kohlrabi and kale and soba noodles.  I used a few things in the fridge to make an asianish dressing.  YUM!  Tomorrow, I'm going to boil the potatoes and DROWN them in butter from another local farm.  I'll steam the broccoli and figure out something that looks like meat to serve with it all. 

We had "hash" two nights the last two weeks. I always feel like I'm cheating on cooking when I make ratatouille or hash because it's a chop everything and dump it in a pan and a few minutes later the Phenom thinks I'm a genius kind of meal.  Maybe I'm over thinking it . . . maybe I am just a genius.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Raining Money

Maybe my "good deed" bought me some peace in my office.

Today, I stopped by a local charity to drop off a donation.  When I got out of my car, there was a dollar bill in front of their door.  I picked it up, and handed it, along with my donation, to their employee. She thought perhaps someone might come back by their office to claim it. I said "maybe it's raining money and that's the first drop."

Then, as I went back to my car, there were TWO more dollars in the parking lot.  I walked around a bit to see if there were more, and took the two more dollars into the charity.  I was the only person in the parking lot at that time . . . and the office next door to them was closed.

It really was raining money.

The employee, as I left a second time, quipped that she was impressed that I immediately thought to give them the money rather than keep it . . . after all, it was in the parking lot, not in their building.

It never occurred to me to keep it.

Later, there seemed to be calm in my office. I'm hoping the lull in drama was bought with that automatic instinct to give found money away.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Juvenile delinquents

The Old Woman had particular ideas about how one ought to act.  She believed that one went out of their way to insure that company was comfortable and felt welcomed.  Alternately, she believed that if you were a guest in someone's home, you acted as if every detail of your stay was wonderful.  If the bed was lumpy, or the food terrible, you plastered a smile on your face and with all sincerity exclaimed your night to be restful and the host a skilled cook. (And, you never show up as a guest empty handed.)

She was also concerned that her children, and I, grow up to be contributing members of society.We were expected to devote our talents to the betterment of the planet.  She would not have tolerated any of us becoming petty criminals, felons, or politicians.

To this end, she had some pretty specific rules designed to insure that no child (or monkey) raised in her home should be a juvenile delinquent.

One rule was that the plastic containers certain foods came in were not to be on the dinner table.  Milk was generally poured into glasses and placed at the place of the person (monkey) drinking it.  If there were need for milk to be put on the table for second servings, it was always poured into a pottery pitcher or earthenware jug.  There was always a pitcher of ice water on the table as well.

And, the plastic container that margarine or butter was purchased in could not be put on the table.  Slinging the plastic tub onto the table demonstrated a lack of care and attention to detail that could ONLY end in switch blades, underage drinking, and running for public office.  She had a pottery dish that the tub fit into so that you could not see the tub.

She would probably be disappointed in the slovenly way I tend to my own table.  I do put a water pitcher on the table, but I also put the butter tub on the table.  BUT! When I do put the butter tub on the table (even the fancy butter from the local dairy), I always, and I mean ALWAYS, admonish the people (monkeys) around my table to not grow up to be juvenile delinquents.  There is a standard, after all.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

4pm

7:30 - 8:00am and 4:00pm are my favorite times of the day.  That's when I get to be alone in the office.  Amazing how my foul mood instantly lifts.

Today, I had an employee argue with me over the concept of "a time sheet needs to be an accurate reflection of the hours you work."  Sadly, not the first time this issue has been, um, discussed in this office.  Thing is, employee left hours off their time sheet, and I was making sure they got due credit for their hours worked.  HOW EFFED UP IS THAT?

Beyond that any sort of navel gazing one might do over the concept of time sheets . . . if your boss says "record the hours you worked, turn it in to me in order to receive your paycheck" why would you argue?  Why wouldn't you just slap those hours down and be done with it?

I suspect that the generation of helicopter parents who have mistakenly taught their young ones that their opinion matters in all things are to blame.  Or, maths is hard.  One of the two.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

What's in a name?

Earlier this week, Phenom was trying to remember the name of a character in a movie.  He remembered the actor's name, but not the character.  We finally got it after I suggested "Tater."  It's "Spud."

And, as we often do when confronted with a fun name, Phenom said "I ought to start calling myself Spud."

Being the supportive spouse, I enthusiastically agreed.  There aren't many Spuds on the planet, and even fewer in The Phenom's chosen profession.  I promised to support his Spudness by referring to him in my social media as Spud.

It started yesterday.  Twice today.  And NO ONE has commented or asked.  Last night, we laughed and wondered by no one would even ask me privately about the sudden appearance of "Spud."

Then, it dawned on me.  What IF people have been thinking of Phenom as "Spud" all along and we are just now getting with the program?

I'm pretty sure MY Spud isn't gonna try to franchise me.  Probably better that way.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring is coming

It was a weird, long winter.  Even still, our weather hasn't yet given me enough confidence to do the wardrobe switch.  

But, just as you think that it will never turn warm, that the sun will always hide, that it will rain every freakin' day . . . this happens:




And they must be having a great year this year because I swear the bucket was several dollars cheaper than past years.  But, best of all . . . they are the most strawberryish of strawberries.  Sweet, tart, and almost artificial in the burst of strawberry flavor.  One tends to forget what a real strawberry tastes like after having too many store boughts.

Yeah.  The bucket is half empty already.  #noregrets

Monday, April 20, 2015

Y'all are harshing my buzz

Or, I miss the Evil Side Kick.

There are only human women working in my office.  They are all fairly young (under 30), so I don't know if this is an age thing, a gender thing, or just the weirdness of a collection of individuals who tend to act in similar ways totally by coincidence.

a) Why must they use SO MUCH TOILET PAPER?  Seriously.  I find the empty tubes in the trash, so I know they aren't taking it home with them.

b) Oh the attitudes.  The attitudes.  I'm so tired of having my greeting in the morning returned with a shrug or grunt or not at all.  I'm tired of the "look at me" games."  I'm tired of these humans acting like they are doing me a favor by doing their jobs and then pouting when I offer the most gently offered suggestions ever to be given.

c) I'm tired of being made to feel that if I'm not buying your lunch, you have no use for me.  Hell, even when I do buy lunch, I'm tired of being made to feel as if you have no use for me.

d) I understand that I am the "boss." And, to many employees, that makes me the enemy.  But, you should realize that if you show me even the tiniest amount of respect, I'll be unbelievably generous in return.

Lastly, it isn't my job to jolly you into doing your job and being pleasant.  If you refuse to be pleasant to your co-workers, don't be surprised when they stop trying too.

Okay, the Monday morning blues rant is over.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Learning Opportunity

So, anyone who has a social media presence at all knows all too well the big fail that was Gwyneth Paltrow's attempt to participate in the $29 food stamp challenge.  I've read several articles, critical, about the situation.  And, we talked about it in our office.

I had several initial thoughts from the photo she posted.  1) It was not enough food for a week of eating,  2) several of her purchases were flavorings and not really foods, 3) girl is gonna get tired of black beans and rice and 4) that's enough food, perhaps, for a weekend but not seven days.

Limes (why so many limes?), cilantro, garlic, a single onion and pepper are more flavorings than food.  I think she was thinking she'd cook up a big pot of beans and rice and create a couple different dishes out of it . . . like a black bean salsa.  Surely that would be why she'd buy one ear of corn, for a salsa?  Right?  And she wasn't planning on multiple meals out of that one sweet potato, right?

I did 5 minutes worth of research and this is how I'd spend my $29 dollars: (I went to a local food store chain and looked up prices.  I am not considering sales tax in my calculations but that is offset by the consideration that the store is considered one of the more expensive food stores in my area.  I'm pretty sure I could get the items cheaper at Wal-mart, thus affording sales tax.)

1 lb dry beans (black beans or pintos) - 1.45
1 lb brown rice (just because it is more nutritious and more filling) - 1.50
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese (block, not pre shredded) -  4.49
1 loaf whole wheat bread - 1.99
Peanut butter - 2.50
2 lbs carrots - 1.89
12 oz apples - 1.50
1 head garlic - 0.59
1 packet taco seasoning - 0.69
36 oz grits - 1.99
3 lbs sweet potatoes - 2.67
8oz butter/canola oil blend - 2.79
bag mixed kale/spinach/greens - 3.00

Here are some of my meal ideas:

  • beans and rice bowl topped with some chopped greens and a little cheese
  • cook 1/2 sweet potato/handful kale/a couple of carrots together, serve with grits 
  • rice with spoonful of butter, diced apple 
  • peanut butter and apple sandwich
  • roll out a couple slices of bread to make "tortillas" and create a sweet potato and black bean burrito with taco seasoning/garlic
  • Salad of greens with slices of cold grits fried polenta style with carrots, apple, and cheese.
  • Cook an apple and sweet potato together to make a "butter" and have it with either toast or          PB/apple/sweet potato sandwich serve with carrot sticks and slice of cheese
  • Mash black beans with taco seasoning and spread it on toast with greens
  • saute greens with butter and garlic, serve with grits and cheese


Of course, there are straight up PB sandwiches and grits with butter and cheese.  For a treat, grate some of the cheese and make a grilled cheese sammy.

I will admit that there are more carbs in this menu/list than I would normally buy.  Doing this list immediately made me long for the farmer's market in town.  I would trade store bought apples/sweet potatoes/bagged greens for cukes/squash/eggplant/peppers and onion in a heart beat.

But, I could feed myself on this for a week.  I would have some food left over (3 lbs of grits?!)  But, I would have some variety, some protein, and learn to appreciate the sweetness of carrots, apples, and peanut butter.

I did originally have oatmeal on the list.  But, I felt that grits could be used as a breakfast as well as dinner carb, and I didn't want to buy milk for oatmeal.

The decision to purchase no canned foods (other than PB) and meat was intentional.  I feel that the nutritional value of fresh produce outweighs the increased volume from buying canned veggies.  Also, although I am not a vegetarian, I have no problem eating vegetarian for long periods of time and meat is so very expensive.

I wonder if I could increase the budget to $60 and feed myself and the Phenom on it just to see how it would work?  He's pretty tied to junk food.  Maybe I propose it to him and see if he's game rather than springing it on him.  The lack of twinkies (apparently the chocolate covered ones are the best thing ever) or coke products or chips might create some form of adverse reaction.  $60 would allow for coffee.  We could not do this if the phenom could not have coffee.  And, I'd want to do it when I could shop at the farmer's market.  Our farmer's market takes WIC and SNAP recipients can get vouchers for the market upon request.

HOWEVER, even as I write this, I'm totally aware that I will have the luxury of a car to get from market to store, I have adequate storage and cooking facilities, and the time to plan for this to be a ONE time event in our lives.  Which kinda makes me as bad as Gwyneth, doesn't it?

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Accidental hipster?

I like to make fun of hipsters.  I have relatives who could be described as hipsters.  They grow their own mushrooms.  They are certified urban composters.  They collect childish things, ironically.  They shop in thrift stores, but spend a lot of money doing so.

And, the other day it dawned on me . . . could I be a trending towards hipsterdom too?

I use a coffee maker that looks vaguely like this:


I've had it a hundred years.  It makes a nice double shot in less time than it takes for my cats to eat their breakfast.  I have a more complicated one, too.  It has a spout for steaming milk.  I rarely use it, since it actually takes a long time to make the coffee and then reheat for steaming milk.

I admit, I have a bit of a mason jar fetish.  They make handy storage containers that are easily washed and don't contribute to the trash.  And, making chocolate milk in them makes since, since shaking it makes for a nice, chocolaty foam.  Chocolate foam, who wouldn't want in on that?

While visiting a friend this weekend, she left out her coffee maker for me to use when I got up.  It was a melita drip cone . . .  like I used in college.  Only hers had an opening you could see your coffee level through and not over fill your cup.  That would have been so handy in college.

So, keep your super expensive and landfill filling coffee gadgets.  I'm happy with my very old, very basic coffee maker.  Someday, ya'll will be coming back to the real way to make coffee.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fail. And maybe now I've learned my lesson.

For all my bravado of the last post, I followed it up with a massive fail.  And, I fully acknowledge that I could have said something . . . but frankly, in the moment I was stunned.

I woke up in a crap-ass mood Friday.  I went to the gym, which didn't really do much to help my mood.  But, I stopped by the bakery, and picked up pastries for the Phenom . . . a rare treat.  However, when I got to the house, it seemed that he was just farting around.  His dragging his feet meant I didn't get coffee, the cat knocked the cat food spoon to the floor, the Phenom stepped in the cat food before I could wipe it up . . . and I yelled at him.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've yelled at Phenom like that.  I was foul.

A project a work that was suppose to launch had to be cancelled.  Another project is taking off next week, and I have my doubts as to how well those responsible are going to step up.  My mood wasn't getting any better.

So, I decided that I would try to turn the day around.  I offered to buy lunch for the office.  Everyone placed their orders, I called it in, and I paid.  When it arrived, I cleaned off the workroom table and set up everyone's meals on the communal table. This is the table that we all eat at on a regular.  Routinely, if there are others in the office eating at the same time, we eat together.  The ONLY time we eat at our desks is when we're alone in the office.

But then, my co-workers filed into the work room, took their meals, and returned to one of their offices, and left me alone in the work room . . . the leper.

I won't lie, I was stunned and crushed.  I ate the salad that came with my lunch, pushed my main entree into the fridge and returned to my office.  I could hear two of my co-workers talking and laughing as they shared their meal together.  I admit I fought back a few tears.

I know, I should have said something.  And, on some level, it was my own fault for not being more clear . . . or speaking up and asking why they didn't want to eat with me. But, I suspect I would not have liked the answer.  AT THE SAME TIME . . . isn't it understood that if everyone is ordering from the same place, at the same time, and the boss is treating . . . that the meal is going to be a shared experience?

Bless the Phenom.  When I relayed the story of woe, he validated me.  He used profane words in excess and in creative ways.  And then, we went out for margaritas.  Really big margaritas.

Hopefully I've learned my lesson.  Stop trying to buy friendships.  Stop trying to get people to like me.  Stop expecting anyone to be decent.  Such a difficult lesson to learn.  You'd think by now I would have figured it out, or humans would have outgrown junior high meanness.  You would think.

(Oh, and the SMLF lunched together Friday, and I was again excluded.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tantrum

The Old Woman would call it "cutting off  your nose to spite your face."

On the heels of my recent "fade away" from the SMLF, I've decided that I'm going to, in the most juvenile way possible, "test" the humans I surround myself with these days.  Basically, I'm going to stop being so freakin' eager to perpetuate the friendship. I'm polite.  I inquire after their families and do the chitchat thing.  But, they need to invite me to actual interactions, like lunch.  I'm feeling the need to have someone reach out to me for once, rather than act like the little brother begging to be included.

I know, the only loser in this game is me.  Although, I'm hoping in the long run I might actually be pleased to see that I am appreciated for my own monkeyness rather than simply one of the group you invite because you can't very well invite one person from an office an not the others . . . especially if you're eating in that office and food that monkey prepared.

So, I'm eating lunch alone a lot these days.  I did have a lunch invite from a friend this week.  Not one of the SMLF, but someone I enjoy conversing with on a regular.  So, it's not all navel gazing and pity parties.  Mostly, but not all.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Confessions

One aspect of my relationship with Phenom is that we actually inspire each other to be our best selves.  (I know, gag.)

He has become more patient with others because of conversations we've had about struggles I've seen from other humans.  I want to be more generous because of his example.

But, I also find that we have this odd little accountability ritual.  We confess to each other when we were selfish or lacked compassion or decided to not be our best selves.  We actually never admonish each other as a result of these confessions.  In fact, we usually validate the choice.  But, it's interesting.

This realization came about the other day when I confessed that I had not been generous.

One of the people who works in my office is sometimes referred to as "the original freeloader" by others in the office.  She constantly is hinting around that we should give her whatever it is that we have . . . food, make-up, gadgets, clothes.  She doesn't just admire our things, she out-and-out asks for them. My tact is usually to laugh and act like it's an absurd notion. . . me giving you the scarf I wore today.  (And, it is absurd, right? The asking, in itself, is absurd, right?)

So, the other day, she popped into my office when I was eating my lunch.  I'd made myself a large "asian" citrus chopped salad from a kit.  The package itself was large enough that it could easily have been a side item for a meal for a group of people.  But, it was my whole lunch . . . that and a chicken breast I'd brought for protein.  I was more than half way through my salad when she sat down.  She asked what I was having.  She exclaimed that she was really quite hungry.  She told me that she really thought that salad looked good and that she wished I'd brought enough to share.  She asked several times what was in it?  Where did I get it?  How much was in the package? Did I really eat the whole thing for a meal?  Gee, I wish I'd brought lunch with me today.

I let her go on, without suggesting that she should share in my salad (I was eating straight from the bowl . . . no one expects you'd share from your ACTUAL bowl, right?)  I didn't mention that I had a whole, uncut chicken breast in a container on my desk that I planned to eat after I finished the salad.  I suspected she would have expected me to give her the chicken.  But, I'd not had protein with my breakfast, and I had a salad planned for dinner . . . I needed a few grams of protein intake for the day.

Still, I felt as if I had not been generous.  I felt that I'd been selfish, and I should confess.  The Phenom, of course, agreed that her insinuation that I should share my lunch was absurd, and I had no reason to feel guilty.

Confession is good for the soul.  So is validation from your loyal friends.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Perspective

I spent much of my day being annoyed with a co-worker.  It's one of those situations where the source of my annoyance is largely personal, which makes it even more annoying because I don't know exactly where I can draw the line between "let it slide and deal with my own feelings" and "I need to speak up because it does, in fact, impact the work place."

It has to do with being generally friendly in the office.  This co-worker will come in, last, and not say "hello" to anyone.  She does this daily.  I once made a comment about her not being a morning person, my explanation for her behavior.  She informed me that she does consider herself a morning person.  Okay.  So, you don't say hello to your co-workers because you just don't like them?  Because you have no social interaction skills?

Today, she kept her office door closed all morning . . . no clients, no serious phone calls . . . just a warning to the rest of us to not bother her.  Okay, people have bad days.  I can give you space.  But, then she left for lunch without bothering to say anything to anyone.  We buzzed by her office, and were surprised to find her gone.

She was second to last to leave the other night, and didn't take a moment to let the person left in the building know.  The last employee left behind was startled to discover that she was alone in the building.  And, I imagine it is a bit weird to walk out of your office, before 5pm, to discover you'd been left. Creepy, actually.

I don't think it should be an issue that employees engage in the simplest of interactions.  I see it as an issue of common courtesy that you say hello in the mornings and let folks know when you're leaving . . . especially if your departure leaves someone alone in the building.  In the latter, it seems an issue of safety, right?  Why am I even having to bring this up with you?  Shouldn't you know this sort of stuff?

But, then I spent the evening cooking for the memorial tomorrow.  There is a peacefulness that accompanies doing for others.  And, it helps me remember to keep perspective on what annoys me.