Tuesday, December 26, 2006

If you can't be a good example...

I read in a Jennifer Crusie novel a great quote. "If you can't be a good example you just have to be a horrible warning."This seems to be very apt for this past Christmas. At least in my family. We had drama this year. Drama that started in mid December and is still going on. The hell with the extra holiday pounds. With us we have extra psychological scars.Now I know why some people work in soup kitchens and hospices instead of going home to family. It's gotta be cheerier than what we went through.Now to be fair, the holidays are stressful. And sometimes little things get blown out of proportion to where they take on a life of their own.But that's not the whole story.The first inkling of trouble came in early December. My cousin Lori wanted to know why my brother and I were depressed(him) and mad at her(me).We had no idea what she was talking about. We assured her that nothing was wrong and forgot about it. But she didn't. She went on to inform her mother that my brother was still pining over his crazy ex girlfriend(HA!) and I was pissed at her for something. I still don't know what. Most likely because I haven't congratulated her on having another kid. So her mom called mine to talk it over and let her know that she was neglecting her kids. Just because she doesn't talk to us three times a day doesn't mean she neglects us or doesn't know what's going on in our lives there people.So this was just act I. Not that we realized it then. But more is coming.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Life lesson# 3

Good manners. They will take you a long way. Right into the first class lounge at JFK in fact. And let me tell you it's worth it. No one in first class is paying for the extra leg room and better food(okay maybe a few) they are paying to get into the lounge. Free food, free drinks, internet access, newspapers in every language, showers! Baggage check, couches and comfy chairs. It has it all. Even a restaurant and smoking area. It was nice. You see, on a family trip to Scotland British Airways made a slight error on our tickets. They printed them twice which drove the computer nuts. So my brother and I had to wait 45 minutes at the check-in counter. The reservations people were very nice about it and kept us up to date with what happened. There was nothing we could do. Yelling and stomping and blaming everyone else wasn't going to get us help any faster.(which is what the guy in front of us did) So we just hung out and waited patiently. Finally our tickets were fixed. We got prime seats in coach too. Near a bulkhead not too far from the bathrooms, but not too close either. See what being nice gets you? And the lounge. Ah, traveling Nirvana. A place we all aspire to, yet the deserving seldom see. As I said couches and comfy chairs with footrests. In leather. That swivel! And the food. Cookies, danish, cheese and fruit. Every type of drink. Juice, bottled water, soda, milk, tea and coffee(they had a do it yourself latte station) and alcohol. It was an open bar. Martini mix, high class rum, single malt Scotch(this was British Air) and wine. Ah, the French chablis. I had two glasses. And they had a wall of coolers with more beer than I ever knew existed. Japanese, Chinese, Belgian, Czech, German, American, British and Irish ales. My brother choose the Tsingtsao. I settled in with a few British tabloids, my wine and some fruit. I didn't even need to go anywhere. I did send a few e-mails to friends. Hey, they had the computers there. It would have been rude not to use them! We didn't use the showers or go to the restaurant. But there's only so much time before they call your flight. And you never have to leave the lounge to get on the plane. There's an elevator that takes you right to the gate. I felt like a rock star. Of course we did thank our mom for all of this. If she hadn't raised us with manners and intelligence we would have been flying strapped to the wings of the 747 that day. And first class would be a forgotten dream.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Life lesson #2

A few tips that I've learned this week. 1) No matter how expensive and fancy do NOT serve grilled cheese sandwiches at your wedding as a first course. Even with tomato soup. Or black truffle oil. Nothing can disguise the fact you are serving 400 people something they can make themselves. At home in their pajamas. 2) No one really wants to listen to Frank Sinatra for 90 minutes at top volume while eating dinner. (Or Barry Manilow, or techno pop, or 80's dance tunes or big band) Turn down the music for dinner. Let people talk for crying out loud. 3) Proofread. If you aren't sure about the spelling or grammar ask someone to look at it for you. Microsoft Word isn't the best guide for grammar advice. 4) Thank you notes are a good thing. 5) Patience and good manners will get you into the first class lounge if you didn't pay for it. I know. But that's another story.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Leadership is practised...

There's a quote I like about leadership. It's on a poster I saw once."Leadership is practised not so much in words, but in actions and in attitude." If only more people followed it.I recently got a part time job. Although calling it part time is a stretch since I put in 40 hours in 3 days last weekend.But the more I see of the managers at this place the more I am convinced that they need to follow this little piece of advice.Take this evening. Everyone is setting up tables for tomorrow. Everyone except the four managers.They are standing around talking amongst themselves and lecturing us on how to do things correctly.And once in a while one of them calls out the time. "It's 12:30. Hurry up you should be finished with this by now."Well, maybe we could all go home a little sooner, if you actually helped.If this keeps up I might offer a little 'constructive criticism'But for now I keep my head down, my mouth shut, and add up my paycheck in my head.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


There's something comforting about baking. At least that's how I feel. And it's not really about the end result. Hey I won't turn down a well baked muffin, or cookie.And I have been known to eat a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies on my own over a week or two.But baking is fun and creative. If more people baked and shared(Important that!) life would be better. Baking teaches precision and patience as well.Ask anyone who missed an ingredient in a cake if precision isn't important. And patience. Have you ever waited for bread dough to rise? Baking bread is an all day affair. Maybe more than a day if you are going for fancy breads or croissants.Gives you a different perspective on people who do it all day. Not to mention I bet if you bake your own croissants you will never again complain about the bakery prices! But really there's nothing like homemade. No matter how long it takes. Okay it's made with love expression is cheesy and trite, but there's something to it.

Thursday, June 1, 2006


Three of my favorite Friday things. There is little to compete with the joy of having a good baseball game on the tube, a medium double cheese with mushrooms and beef and the current favorite ice cream du jour. Talk about bliss. Now, I don't do this every Friday. Maybe once a month. It depends on the game, what my ice cream mood is, when was payday. The usual variables. If you are ever looking for pampering and relaxation try it. It doesn't have to be baseball, pizza and ice cream. It could be Football, fondue and cheesecake. Or how about soccer, French onion soup and creme brulee? Combine your favorite sport, comfort food and dessert. Hang out in your most comfortable clothes in front of the tube. Invite some friends. Or not. It's up to you. Trust me. It's great.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

International Tiara Day

Wednesday was International Tiara Day. We celebrated at the library by wearing our very own fashionable paper tiaras. By that internationally known designer Crayola.I have learned today that if you wear a paper crown and act like it's no big deal people will accept it as normal.Well, okay not 'Normal', but they don't laugh and point and think it's strange. At least not in front of you. Well, to be fair I have gotten some strange looks.Most people have gotten a kick out of it so far. And it's a great conversation starter. Which just goes to show that if you have confidence you can do anything.Even wear a hand colored paper tiara at work. Not that I'd call it everyday wear, but for once in a while it's fun.The only downside is I forgot my camera.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Life lessons #1

It was an interesting week. I learned a lot actually. I wasn't even trying. Isn't that always the way? Anyway, what I learned. First and most important. Periodically check your credit card bills and figure out how much interest they are charging you. I was refiguring my budget and did this. I was appalled. American Express is getting away with highway robbery. I've adopted a new rule. If they are charging you more than 10% interest dump 'em and try something better. In this case brand loyalty is not a good thing. The second thing was being flexible in your travel destinations can net some awesome deals. Which was actually why I was checking the budget. A friend caught the travel bug and a cool deal came up going to Brussels. Yeah, first thought is Huh? But after I thought about it for a bit(and did some searching) it wasn't such an odd deal. It's one of the capitals of the European Union, so it's very cosmopolitan with some great night life. They are famous for waffles, beer and chocolate, you can go shopping for some lace, and maybe hit the Royal art museum or the Science museum. Not bad for a weekend package under $800.00. It's amazing what you learn on the internet. So it was a productive week. Vacation and saving money. Who can ask for better than that at the beginning of summer?