Banker’s Hours

Earlier this week I was on a conference call while I worked from home. I would have called in no matter if I had planned on going to the office that day or not, because the meeting was at 8:30 am. For those who are unfamiliar with my weekday schedule, at that time of day it’s completely unreasonable to expect to see me at the office.

For some reason, I cannot get myself to my desk until 9 am no matter what I do. For this I am unapologetic.

This morning I arrived at work at 9 am as usual, and was greeted by mumbled Good Mornings, and Welcome to Another Day in Paradise. I very nearly replied, “Actually, to the people lined up down the street at the homeless shelter, hoping to get some breakfast, this IS paradise.” But that would minimize the very heavy weight that grinds us cube-dwellers down for days, weeks, and years, until all the sparks of creativity and go-get-em are extinguished. So I said nothing. There’s an episode of Cheers (remember that big show?) where a retirement party was being held in the back room. We viewers never see the actual party, but there are sounds to indicate it’s a real humdinger. One of the recurring themes about this subplot is what a sad sack the retiree is. I believe the exact phrase used is, “that’s the sorriest ass I’ve ever seen.” And yeah, after sitting at a desk for 40 years, your ass looks sorry. A friend of mine who is a teacher had to sit at her desk for extended periods of time while she completed report cards. She complained about the numbness felt in her butt. I replied that it takes years of practice to be able to sit at a desk all day; it’s not for amateurs!

Oh right, the conference call story. Husband was in the room while I was on the call and I since had my phone in Speaker mode he heard everything. He found the conversation baffling. Many terms were bandied about: release management, transition managers, service and client managers, check points, gating, artifacts, and more. Phew! It has taken me years to learn all of this information, and the information is useful. I can hold a work-language conversation with ease and I understand the points being made. This all relates back to my love of unambiguous wording. Work-language is unambiguous, and that’s a nice perk, and the beige walls are so calming.

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Know Your Enemy

It’s important to direct your displeasure at the correct source of irritation, whether that be a person, place, or thing.

For example: F*cking snow. The actual problem here is that I would need to change the location of where I live. It’s not the northwestern hemisphere’s fault for providing 4 distinct seasons; she’s just being herself.

Your parents lied to you; Looks really DO matter

Great, brief commentary on outward appearances and how they drive us.

Culture Monk

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by Kenneth Justice

~ How many of us had parents who taught us that our, “Looks don’t matter, all that matters is that you be yourself. All that matters in life is that you’re a good person”

Isn’t it about time we all admit that is a crock of B.S.? The Oscars were last night, an evening with a whole lot of pomp and ceremony (emphasis on the ‘pomp’), a long night of listening to Hollywood starlets tell the camera who they “are wearing”. Hollywood is all about looks. For every Kathy Bates, there are a thousand young beautiful Natalie Portman’s and Grace Kelleys.

God bless Julianne Moore, I really love her as an actress, and I’m happy she one the Oscar yesterday for Best Actress. But let’s not kid herself, she’s has earned a lot of roles in the past because she was willing to…

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How not to make money; a Business Model.

What business model supports the idea of opening your store at 9:30 am on weekdays? Especially when you sell smoothies and other health food items, or you are providing yoga classes.

I don’t know about you, gentle reader, but I often need sustenance and yoga before 9:30 am, preferably around 7 am. That’s because, by 9:30 am I’m at work.

The smoothie/health food place is very close to a busy bus stop. Many dollars are waiting to be spent by many people on their way to the office, on over-priced smoothies that are made of a few basic ingredients and ice cubes in a blender. The profit margin must be why the business still occupies an expensive rental space. The products are yummy and rare (because there isn’t dairy in them), but unobtainable before 9:30 am on a weekday, and 10 am on weekends.

The yoga studio has been in business for 2 years, but I have no idea why. Their earliest yoga class starts at 9:30, which is the least convenient time for any working stiff to attend yoga. To reduce their stiffness. Ha. Many dollars are itching to be spent before 9 am. Doesn’t it seem logical to take available money between 7 am – 9 am? On weekends, the first class is at 9 am.

Recently the yoga studio decided to run a 4-week class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 am – 8 am. I eagerly signed up. Most of the time, there are just 2 students in the class; me and 1 other woman. I suspect that’s because the class wasn’t added to the online class schedule and nothing was posted outside the studio. The only reason I found out about it was because I happened across a small item on the web site’s home page, a notice that has since been deleted.

One morning I met up with the instructor and the other student outside the yoga studio because the owner had failed to leave a key to open the building. Seeing as how we live in a frozen tundra, class was cancelled that day. Also unfortunate was 2 other women stopping by because they had wanted to take the class that day. They didn’t return the next time class was held.

The lack of initiative is strange. Or maybe the initiative is not obvious to me. I’m willing to admit I’m wrong until I see the For Rent signs in their shop windows.

 

Edit: The smoothie/health food place opens at 9 am, not 9:30 as previously reported.

TV

I’m currently infatuated with the following programs:

Banshee

Scandal

The Americans

Broadchurch

Girls

Crossbones

Homeland

House of Cards (coming back on Feb 28, yay!)

 

May They Rest in Peace:

Sons of Anarchy

Breaking Bad

The Office US

The Office UK

The Fall

 

I’m not playing

The problem I want to have: my midgets like to play cards and always want me to play with them. I never let them win on purpose. Every win they achieve is genuine, and they win often. Our main games are Crazy Eights and Euchre, both of which are family traditions. I remember playing hours of Euchre with my sister, when we were still young enough to need a sitter.

Previous to being old enough to play Euchre at family gatherings where 6-handed was the norm, we kids would wander around the perimeter of the table, looking at each of the player’s hands. We were not supposed to reveal, though facial expression, which hands we thought were good and which players were pooched. We usually failed and were booted from the room in quick fashion.

I’m terrible at the finger game called Chopsticks. Terrible. My midgets are great at it, because they have 100s of hours of practise at it. They let me win sometimes, because they think that will encourage me to play more often. They’re probably right about that.

It’s interesting that many parents don’t play with their kids after a certain age, citing being tired or having more important things to do. I have been guilty of doing that too, but I try to resist that urge. Soon enough my kids won’t want to play anymore.

Flyer

That’s my girl midget: she’s a flyer in cheerleading. That means she’s the person who is lifted and thrown. I’m surprisingly fine with this. She likes it too. Cheerleading is way more athletic than I expected. Yes it’s like gymnastics but I didn’t know how much conditioning there was behind the cartwheels and back walkovers and front walkovers. She must do about 100 cartwheels in each weekly class.

Cheerleaders

What a Woman Smells Like

Today I sat beside a woman who smelled like mint gum, floral perfume, and Bic pen ink. These, to me, signify a grown up woman. Add in a little pencil lead and you have just described the scent of my grade school teachers.

My Gramma smelled like that too, minus the pen and pencil smells. We used to sit with her and Grampa at church (the best part of church for me) and she would pass me a candy to quietly unwrap. These days workplaces, schools, and churches pride themselves on being scent-free environments. I had forgotten about these smells and the nostalgic tidal wave that washed over me today was surprising.

Other smells are ‘woman’ smells for me too:
Pantyhose
Coffee with Mint Gum
Hair Spray
Cigarettes partially obscured by perfume
Spray Starch

What a Woman Sounds Like:
Bracelets moving along a wrist, making a faint ‘ting’ sound as they rub together or when a charm bracelet rattles, or a loose watch strap. Usually these sounds would occur when the woman was rummaging through her purse for a pen so she can write a cheque or sign a permission slip.

Throat clearing. This signifies ‘shut up about that topic right now’ and was usually directed at a male relative but occasionally at us kids too.

Yellow (hello). This is how my Gramma always answered the phone. She would have no idea who was calling because no call display, and would always cheerfully answer. My Dad usually answered like this too.

Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push Push

The desire to propagate genes and produce descendants is one of the most basic desires there is. Our children are our legacy, most of us anyway. For those of us wealthy and/or famous enough to get a street/building/school/hospital wing/museum named after them, I guess children are less important with regards to leaving one’s mark on this world?

We slog through our jobs, keep some semblance of household together, make sure our children have every advantage we can think of and afford, and we gain a huge amount of satisfaction when we see positive results from our hours of toil. Seeing a child eat well, sleep well, speak well, learn quickly, and enjoy their life makes me feel enormously happy.  The very idea of creating a home, family, and therefore legacy is such a strong one that most people never question it.

But we also bitch about this work as well. And make no mistake, you are making gene multiplication your life’s work if you have a child. You have decided that ensuring your genes carry on is more important than anything else you could do with your time. Sure, there are lots of successful people who have a child and also conduct ground-breaking research and do other amazing things; but those people are usually married and usually their partner does most of the child rearing. One example is Kevin O’Leary, who has published some books, in which he has said his wife was a single parent for most of their kids’ childhood. At least he is honest about it. Compare a Nobel Peace Prize winner’s mention of their kid’s 3rd grade holiday concert that they left work early to attend, or their kid’s love of cheese, with your own conversations and thoughts about your kid. There isn’t a comparison to make.

My point is, that if you have a child and you are involved in their life an average amount, you don’t have time to do anything but work to provide for yourself and your family (including your eventual retirement), plus physically take care of that family. And when those offspring are old enough and self-sufficient enough to live on their own without any help from you, you will be old. If your offspring aren’t ‘successful’ in the way you would define success, you will feel disappointed and cheated, unless you change your attitude regarding the worth of your own years or your idea of success.