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.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Funerals and Fads

It is gearing up to be a food weekend.

First off, a friend made reservations for a seriously good tapas restaurant when I visit her next month.  The chef of this place (we've been before) is a James Beard nominee and worked at E.Bulli.

And, Saturday, I have a funeral to attend.  Southerners know how to throw a funeral.  I got the call earlier this week from the person coordinating the food.  Fortunately, the Old Woman supplied me with a copy of Being Dead is No Excuse.  My contributions will be a large, colorful salad with balsamic dressing/homemade croutons and a chocolate cake.  I'm going to make the chocolate zucchini cake that has been popular with my peeps lately.  The coordinator was pleased that it's a bundt because you can get lots of servings from a bundt. (Instead of walnuts, I put in a bag of mini choco chips. . . because chocolate.)

Tomorrow, The Phenom is going to take me to lunch.  A rare treat!  We'll swing by the wholesale grocery to pick up a disposable, lidded salad bowl and cake carrier.  I'm a little ashamed I don't have them handy . . . as any good southern cook should.  One need always be prepared to show up with a cake in the case of a death.  .

Lastly, I've been reading the Thug Kitchen Cookbook.  I spent many years being a vegetarian.  I actually enjoyed the creativity of the diet.  I even got smug about sneaking tofu in Phenom's food.  But, for health reasons, I've given up being a vegetarian.  This cookbook has rekindled my interest in vegetarian food.

So, I HAD to buy one of those super blender appliances to make veggie smoothies.  I have a large bag of kale/spinach and a pineapple in my fridge waiting for experimental smoothies.

One of the games the Old Woman and I liked to play was to list off all the wondrous improvements to our lives with the tweaking of just one little thing.  My skin would clear of acne, I would be elected the president of the student body, we'd win publisher's clearinghouse, etc.  I'm sure that a week of drinking kale/pineapple/frozen strawberry smoothies will make me the most radiant monkey, ever, with hair of pure silk.

Oh, and I bought a huge container of nutritional yeast and sprinkled it liberally on the pop corn tonight and told the Phenom it was "cheese sprinkles."  This is the problem with vegetarianism . . . it turns me into a lying monkey.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Finally took the hint

For several years now, I've participated in a lunch group we call SMLF.  It has been said that I was one of the original founders.  I prefer to think that the group, more or less, developed organically.  At its peak, it was a loud, hilarious, fun group that got the members through many a frustration.  We supported each other.  We pulled together for the common good.  We were perceived as having power.  Hee hee.

But, members started taking different jobs and being less available for lunch.  But, we still managed to throw together a rocking baby shower for a member, recently.  But, I'd noticed something of a drifting.

Since the start of the year, I had really noticed that we hardly ever got together any more.  Even the mainstay members were unavailable.

Then weird things came up . . . like a lunch invite that was revoked 10 minutes later.  (The invite was initiated by one member, and then ten minutes later she claimed she wasn't in town and couldn't have lunch.  Very weird.)

Today, I was having lunch across town with an associate.  It's a restaurant the SMLF never goes to because it's so far from most of our offices, the travel time would severely cut into our lunch hours. But, then I looked up to find that the SMLF were having lunch.  I had not been included.   And I assume the choice of restaurant was to minimize the chance of me seeing them.

And, suddenly the weirdness of the past several months made total sense.  This is what they do when someone is no longer welcome . . . they just quietly stop including them.  FUCK.

So, tonight I removed myself from the spider monkey lunch forum list.  There is just a tiny bit of dignity in removing myself . . . after weeks of hints . . . than to go on thinking I'm part of the crowd.

I would like to know what transgression merited this treatment.  Was it the gifts I brought back from my travels? The many treats I've made? The birthday and holiday lunches and baby showers I've organized (and paid for) ?  I think the Old Woman was right . . . I try too hard.  No one likes the kid who wants it too much.  Only, I thought I was just being generous to my friends.  Silly monkey.

Monday, March 02, 2015

For Tom

I have just finished reading a book put together by the Grad Student.  This book contains the journals of his son, my adoptive brother, before his final rehab, during the final rehab, and afterwards.  It ends with his suicide note and memorials left on his facebook page.

I'm in tears, huffing and sniffling, as I type this.

He was my first friend.  I still idolize him . . . even though I know his faults.  I still insist that the world see him as I did.  I want people to understand his intelligence and natural kindness.  I want them to understand that his flaws weren't his fault.  I want them to be in awe of his talent.  Even though he was eaten alive by shame and guilt and anger. . . so much anger . . . I love him.  I don't know if he ever was kind enough to himself to absorb that he was loved.

This week, I've been visiting the Grad Student.  It has been a nice limbo of being in-between adulthood and moments of carefree childhood.  Today we dressed up and went to see the Oregon Symphony and dance performance (pretty girls in pretty dresses twirling on stage) and went to a fancy restaurant after .  .  . but I could order a boozy drink.  But, we have also tried to make peace with the past.  We have tried to reason why we have arrived at the place we are now .  .  . one man short.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Food Heaven

I'm in PDX.  I had a seat in first class for the flight out here (and on my return trip.)  I got a meal with my early morning flight.  First real meal I've not had to purchase in years on a flight.  I selected cereal and yogurt.  It came with fresh fruit, croissant, jelly.  Not bad, really.

For first dinner, we went to a pizza place that is very popular locally, Lovely's Fifty Fifty.  One of the pizzas had these amazing hot sweet peppers. I went online today and ordered an obscenely large order.  (The peppers are a local company and very popular in the area too.)

Today, for lunch we went to a sandwich shop.  I cannot remember the name, but they specialize in pastrami.  I had a reuben.  I always have the reuben.  It was very juicy, tender pastrami.

Tonight, we went to Bamboo Sushi.    I think sushi is one of those things I could just not stop eating.  It's the bite sized pieces.  This place gets all kinds of recognition for being sustainable and green.  The Green Machine is terrific.  So was the sake.

We're driving up to Seattle tomorrow for lunch.  Wonder if we'll stop by to check out the herbals?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chemist or bartender

My innate fascination with creating/mixing/tinkering made the Old Woman often comment that one day I might end up being a chemist or a bartender.  I'm pretty sure I've disappointed her because my tendencies run towards bartending.

My newest experiment is with home made vanillas.  I've made vanilla before with beans and vodka and/or whiskey.

This time, I've branched out.  I currently have pint bottles of vodka, whiskey, and rum with vanilla beans in them.  But I also have 1/2 pint jars of tequila and dark rum with vanilla beans.  The dark rum also has cinnamon, star anise, and cloves tossed in.  They are sitting, waiting, in the same closet I keep my stash of blackberry vodka.  In 4-6 months, I'll see what we have achieved with adventures in vanilla.

I'm thinking that the first recipe will be my standard lemon pound cake, only tweaked with lime and the tequila vodka.

Oh, and since it's Mardi Gras today . . . I had a nice shot of blackberry vodka to start my morning.


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Pondering

A milestone date is coming up.  It is the birthday of the friend who died about a year and a half ago.  I was lucky to be able to spend his last birthday with him, but that also makes all subsequent birthdays more emotional for me.

This evening, I was contacted by one of his relatives.  She apologized because she only learned of his death several months after the fact and feels guilty that she wasn't able to "be there" for his family/loved ones.  She's asked for more information about his death.

This is a person I've known for many years, and most of them, I had most unpleasant opinions of her.  (She's not a terribly nice person, but she's had her own miseries in life.)  She's recently tried to be pleasant to me, which on one hand is nice but on the other tweaks my natural paranoia.  

So, do I fill her in on my friend's death?  Do I decide that she knows enough?  Do I dredge it all up, right when I'm already being mopey about it?  Do I take the opportunity to receive comfort when I need it?  

Sigh.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The very slow realization

Funny how friendships can end.  Sometimes, it's a big blow up with yelling and tears and lots of anger.  But, sometimes, it can be just one thing that makes you say "you know, I'm done."

I recently had a friendship end this way.  I'm sure we'll still be cordial to each other.  We'll be polite. Because that's what you do in a small town.

I'd made a comment that was intended to be funny.  I miss judged my audience and it wasn't funny.  The recipient's reaction wasn't completely unexpected, although one might say that perhaps a tad overblown.  But more than that, it made me realize that our friendship has been more about me walking on eggshells with them, and their response to my insensitive remark brought home that I'm tired of walking on eggshells for them.

Kinda a harsh realization, right?  Frankly, I'm thinking of it all more in terms of "you know, they've been pretty clear that they tolerate me because of proximity, but they'd never go out of their way for me . . . and I've gone out of my way for them plenty.  It's time to stop now."

More than anything, I'm a little embarrassed I was so slow on the up take.  Monkeys aren't real good at the nuances of human relationships, sometimes.  sigh.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bait and Switch

Ah the age old scam.  We fell for it.  We arrived to look at one model, were shown a smaller, sleeker model . . . but then some how ended up with something spastic.  I'm speaking, of course, of the Humane Society.

Many years ago, long before social media existed, we read a tale of woe in our local paper about a dog at the humane society shelter.  We had already spoken of getting a dog, since we'd moved into a home with a fenced in back yard.  We went to inquire, and were told that the dog we were interested was no longer available but were shown a cute puppy who fetched the ball and gave kisses and was adorable.  Paper work was completed, we went home to see if we passed their background check, and two days later, we picked up Chester.  We got him home and released him into the yard, only to watch him go completely nuts.  He ran like his tail was on fire and was generally hyper.  After watching this for a couple of minutes, the Phenom and I both said, at the same time, "you know, I thought he was smaller."  To this day, although it turns out that Chester was the perfect pick of a dog for us, we still aren't entirely sure we weren't baited, baited, and switched.

Well, it's happened again.  This time to a friend.  

A friend reposted pictures of a super pretty, fluffy kitty at the humane society.  One picture in particular was so breathtaking that she decided to give the kitty a home.  She went to inquire and was told that this particular kitty had a sibling that was very shy and needed to be adopted with the one they'd posted.  She was caught in a moment of weakness and agreed.  She took both kitties.  They are both beautiful, but the second one is needing much more care to acclimate to her home.

Then, this morning, the humane society posted that the pretty kitty had gone to his new "furever" home with his NEW brother.  NEW  . .  as in not actually siblings.  HA!  Suckers!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Humbug

I'm not religious.  In that I don't like religions.  If you want to debate the existence of a "god" or whatever, I'll bite (when in the right mood . . . or drunk . . . or high).  But, just as I see patriotism as dangerous, I see religious fervor as dangerous.  Yes, dangerous.  Way too many people have died with religious justifications in the minds of their killers.  Way too many people have been harmed, "othered", scorned, made to feel less human, due to another's religious wackiness.

The Phenom and I do not really celebrate Christmas. . . other than to use it as an excuse to go on a drinking walk-about in NOLA.  We don't put up a tree.  We don't decorate our home.  We don't exchange gifts amongst ourselves (save for airline tickets and buying the next round).

And yet, I have a pretty elaborate holiday ritual of making fruitcakes.  This year, I made 40 and at least 34 were claimed before the first raisin hit rum.

And, I secretly tear up over christmas music.

And, when I get a chance to watch a video alone, I always have to watch A Christmas Memory.



The Old Woman and I always watched this movie.  Now that she's gone, I cry over it.  Frankly, as I get older, christmas is more about being sad than rejoicing.

Humbug.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Misery

Take a truly miserable human and relieve them of their job and then make them work off a two week notice . . . and you have the most miserable person on the planet.  She has taken to showing up late, refusing any interaction with co-workers, and stomping around to communicate her misery.  Sadly, it has nearly reached comical levels and rather than feeling bad, the co-workers find themselves rolling their eyes and exchanging meaningful looks.

I'm torn.  I am looking forward to having this person out of our office.  Before this "two week notice" she was toxic to the office.  She was incapable of basic levels of polite interaction, she was incompetent and I'm pretty sure she's lied to me.  But, she is out of a job right before the holiday season.  I hate that for anyone.

I know in a month, we'll hardly remember her . . . save for stories of her massive toilet paper habit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Never Poke a Sleeping Bear

I had a professor write this on the board, prior to the final, once.  Apparently, at 3am while grading term papers, he got poked.  A student wrote a rant about how much he hated the class, how it was a pain in his ass that he had a term paper due right before finals, and other critiques of the professor's fitness to continue breathing.  I'm sure the paper would have provoked at any time of the day, it was just the student's bad luck that it was 3am.

I've moaned about my abandonment by ESK.  Then, we hired her replacement.  We will soon be rehiring her replacement.

The Replacement's downfall has been an interesting example of how people can be their own worst enemy.  Also, how once a pattern of behavior is created, how difficult it is to break it.

To be fair, I hired The Replacement knowing that she had the reputation of being "difficult."  Silly me . . . I thought I could over come her prickliness with my charm and monkey fun.  Nope.

She refuses to be a good colleague.  When I pointed out that she needed to work harder to "fit in" with the staff, she took that to mean that she must stomp up the hall and bark "good morning" to each of us and flee before we can even return the greeting.  She seems to have created rules for our office and insists on abiding by them.  (I have told staff that they schedule their time off, just let me know your plans and if there is some task you'll need another employee to assist with in your absence.  She insists on sending me painfully formal emails requesting permission to take an hour here, and hour and a half there, of vacation leave.  Always adding in that if I will not grant her permission, please name the time and date on which I wish her to come work that tiny increment of time.)  A friend would call it being "maliciously obedient."

Today, I  had planned on treating my staff to a "fire drill" which would give them a bonus hour off just before the holiday.  Today was selected because it is one of the few days she planned to work the same schedule as the rest of us, and I felt it wasn't fair to all the staff when she was working such a very different schedule.  But, then she came in 15 minutes "early" but stayed in the work room, playing on her phone, until the "official start of her work day (8-4).  It annoyed me to the point I seriously considered cancelling the fire drill.  Lucky for everyone else, I decided to go ahead with it anyway.  Miracles of miracles, she suddenly dropped the snotty tone from her voice.  I know it is temporary.  But, we're basking in it for the moment.

I'm pretty sure this is karmic payback for being smug about how "girl games" don't infect my office like I hear about in other places of business.  I'm firing her next week.  Soon, calm will be restored.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

You just never know

when you will influence someone.

I contacted Frances of the previous story to share the story with her.  Her response was "who the heck was Deb?"  She had no memory of the conversation, but appreciated my sharing.

Reminds me of another story.  Shortly after the Old Folks decided I could pass in public school, I had a teacher who required daily journal entries.  Often, she would offer a writing prompt.  One time, the prompt was something we wanted to learn to do, and what was preventing us from doing it.

I wrote that I really wanted to learn to cook, but I didn't want to be defined by my domestic skills.  I had the buddings of being a feminist and already understood that society was all too happy to pin a single role onto the females.

My teacher wrote on my page that cooking was a wonderful creative outlet, and I shouldn't let what others say prevent me from expressing myself.

Even now, when I make something particularly good, I always think of this teacher.   Several years ago, I managed to find her and write to her about the lasting influence her words had on my life.  She had no recollection of it at all.

Take care with your words and actions because you never know when they will be deeply influential to another.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And they say monkeys can't cry

(it's a fact, we don't make tears.)

But, I'm definitely tearing up today.

25 years ago, I was a senior in college and doing an internship.  One morning, I sat in on a meeting with my on-campus supervisor and my internship site supervisor (Deb and Frances, respectively).  During the course of the meeting, Deb and Frances realized that they knew each others partners, but had never had the opportunity to meet each other, until that moment.

Witnessing this conversations has been one of the most influential moments in my life.  At the time, I was head over monkey-tail in love with the Phenom and didn't stop talking about him, our fun, our plans for the future, etc.  While Deb and Frances talked, I realized that they were using very vague and gender neutral terms to refer to their partners.  I felt horrible.  I realized that, as lesbians, they had to be on guard when talking about the loves of their lives.  Where I could chatter on like a silly little, brainless thing . . . they had to worry that they might accidentally reveal too much about themselves to the wrong audience and there was a very real threat in such a slip.

I have often thought of this moment.  I have referenced this moment, along with other examples, when making the case for why we need to confront homophobia, hate crimes against LGBTQ persons, and why marriage should be available to all people.

Today, Frances got married.  The right for her to marry has only recently been available to her.  And I couldn't be happier.  I might even produce the first ever monkey tears of joy.