25 June, 2012

Random Thoughts…Strawberries, Snakes and Stuff

Yesterday was my anniversary (and J’s too of course). We have been married for 23 years or as J clarifies – we are going into our 23rd year of wedded bliss. We have actually been together for over 30 years. A lifetime it seems, but it’s been great and I’m looking forward to many, many more.

Once a year, our corporate office hosts a strawberry social for the office and plant personnel. I’ve spent the last 3 hours preparing the strawberries for tomorrow – washing, hulling and cutting. I’ve was appointed “supervisor” thanks to my many years of strawberry processing plant experience which started around the time I turned 15. Thank goodness I opted for an education and didn’t make strawberries my career. I used to LOVE strawberries, but for obvious reasons not so much anymore.

The saga of my car continues. After the $700 worth of repairs last week – my car still DID NOT start properly. So, it’s back in the shop today and now I’m being told it needs a new fuel pump – to the tune of another $550. On the upside, I’ve been loaned a 2012 Dodge Charger for my inconvenience. It’s nice, but not worth $1,250.

I’ve been slogging away on my jewelry stuff. Sales have slowed a little, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since it’s allowed me to replenish my inventory.

I’ve recently joined Pinterest and have found that it’s also a useful tool in promoting my business. I have noticed an increase in traffic to both my website and my Etsy store since joining the site, so I guess any promotion is good promotion.

The progress on our spare room renovations has stalled. It’s ready for the drywall, but between lack of time and money at the moment, it will have to wait another couple of weeks. It’s not like we’ve been using the room for the last 5 years, so a couple of more weeks isn’t going to make a difference.

We have found a family of snakes to be living in our garden. I saw one last week, but J has informed me that there are at least 3 of them. I know they are harmless, but I still don’t like the idea of them being in my backyard. J bravely caught one yesterday and moved it to the bush at the back of our properly. Let’s hope the snake likes his new digs and doesn’t feel a need to return with friends.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope everyone has a great Monday.

21 June, 2012

Two Year Itch. Is There a Cream for That?

If you are a regular reader, you know the story…I’m restless in my career.

Apart from working with the best boss in the world for almost 10 years, I’ve never stayed in one place for very long. The longest stint within the last decade has been 3 years. In case you’re wondering, I’ve held 6 jobs within the last 10 years, including the current one.

My restlessness is beginning to surface again. We are currently at the 1.5 year mark. Eeek, I have a problem.

What is my problem exactly? Good question. I have many issues, BUT the biggest factor in my restlessness is the “need to make a difference”. I don’t need to save the world, I don’t need public tributes, accolades or recognition of any kind, but I need to personally know that my contributions are doing something for the organization.

If I can’t take something that’s in disrepair and make it better or improve upon a process, I don’t see the need to continue. If I can’t do my job well, I don’t see the need to do it at all.

I was hired in this organization to come in, clean up, streamline processes and generally help people do their jobs better. Unfortunately, I am micro-managed to death and when I’m not being micro-managed, I’m being provided with the make-work projects that are trying to distract me from looking at the real issues that need to be dealt with. They have no purpose and will not make a difference at all. Pure silliness.

Rest assured, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon - I’ll be here for at least the next 5 years. Of course, I do have my annual review coming up, so that might change depending on the outcome of that meeting. I’ve never been one to kiss-up, but I’ve never been one to keep my opinions to myself either…

“Any clod can have the facts; having opinions is an art.” – Charles McCabe

19 June, 2012

Time to Repeal Murphy's Law...

Murphy’s Law is an old adage that is typically stated as: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Well, I’ve been living the law of Murphy and I’m not sure what I’ve done to bring on the flood of bad luck I’m having at the moment this year.  Who the hell is Murphy anyway?

I’ve never really been one to believe in luck. Luck to me has always been a mindset and if you believe bad things will happen to you, they most likely will. The same goes - if you think positively, positive things will happen. Well, at the moment I’m thinking happy thoughts and all that’s raining upon me has been doom and gloom.

In January, I put my car in the ditch and subsequent car repairs we needed.

In February, J’s dad required heart surgery and although, he’s alive (thank God) – he’s far from doing fine. He’s been plagued with mystery infections and a very slow recovery.

In February, my grandfather passed away. Nothing more to say there.

In early March, additional car repairs were needed to the tune of almost $2,500.

In late March, the second part of our trip to the Philippines was cancelled and I’ve been fighting with the insurance company every since then. Although they’ve paid a portion of the expenses incurred for our extra time in Manila, they will not reimburse us for the lost portion of the trip - $1,000 gone just like that.

Two weeks ago, our washing machine died and a new one was needed. Another $850 gone.

Last week, my car started acting up…again. Today I take it into the garage and with a blink of an eye, I’ve managed to spend another $700, plus a future repair that needs to be addressed for the wee price of $250 minimum.

I should point out that the worst thing about these car issues – the car isn’t even paid for. It still has two more payments left owing on it, but nothing is covered under warranty anymore. I’m just hoping I make it to the end of the payments before the car makes it to the end of its life. I cannot afford a new car if I want to stick with the 5 year plan.

Believe me. I’m thankful for everything else I do have in my life. I have my health, my family and friends for the most part are healthy and happy. I just get a sense of being doomed sometimes – like today, yesterday, last week, month....

14 June, 2012

Office Not To-Do List...

Dear Co-Workers,

In an effort to save some time and frustration on both our parts (okay, mostly mine), I’m providing you in advance with this office etiquette list.
Don’t tell me to do something. If you ask, you will likely get a better response. If you tell me, it will likely go to the bottom of my priority list.

Similarly, don’t tell me something is mandatory – especially meetings. I don’t do well with the whole “do it or else” mentality.

Regardless of how old you are - if you are my co-worker, you shouldn’t be calling me “missy”. This missy gets mighty pissy when that happens.
 Don’t ask me how my weekend was or how I’m doing if you’re not intending to listen to my response.

 Don’t cut me off mid sentence. I appreciate your opinion regardless of what it is, so I would appreciate if you listened to mine.

 Unless you want to see a very cranky person, kindly refrain from piling files on my chair when I’m out of my office. I have a desk and that’s where the files belong.

If you print something, pick it up from the printer. If I see it there and I know it’s been there for more than 1 hour, I’m throwing it in the trash.

If you’re on a conference call, have the courtesy to shut your office door if you insist on putting it on speaker phone.

Similarly, if you’re using a headset – DO NOT answer the phone when you are in the bathroom stall beside me.

Last but not least, sending me e-mails with everything marked as urgent will most likely solicit the same response as item #1 – it will be guaranteed to be placed at the bottom of my priority list.

Consider yourself warned.  Govern yourself accordingly…



13 June, 2012

I've Got Nothing...

Well, there's not much going on in life at the moment.  At least there's nothing worth blogging about.  Okay, well maybe is worth blogging about, but I've done enough complaning of late....so, I bring you some more of my Flamingo Tongue Design creations.

Today, it's all about sea glass.  I think if I could make a living from beachcombing, I'd be all over it in a heart beat.  I love finding this stuff...

These pieces were all found in the Philippines.  I simply added the pewter bail and chains.

11 June, 2012

Goose Rage...

Well as you can imagine, being from Canada – I have more than my fair share of experiences with Canada Geese. Most of them, not pleasant.

Canada Geese are somehow a symbol for Canada. A symbol for what, I’m not sure. They are an obnoxious bird, they honk, hiss and leave piles of unpleasantness everywhere. They are also mean-spirited and will attack you if you get to close to their babies. Hmmm, is that what Canadians are like? Perhaps.

Anyhow, with Spring in full swing, the geese are everywhere and so are their goslings (no, not Ryan). As a courtesy, cars will typically stop (even on busy streets) in order for the geese and their babies to cross the road. I don’t like the birds, but I’m not a cold blooded killer either.

So, this morning I was almost to work and when I spot momma goose with her brood at the side of the road looking for an opening in traffic. I slow my car to allow her and her seven babies to begin their trek across the four land road. By this time, traffic in both directions in all four lanes had stopped, as they could obviously see the goose procession was in full swing.

As I’m patiently waiting, this stupid woman in her car behind me is clearly agitated and decides that she was going to drive off the road to the right to go around me. At this point, I see another family of geese come out of the long grass and they are also making a mad dash to catch up with the first family. The woman behind me still believes I’m stopped for no apparent reason tries to pull her car by me to the right – this point she is almost in the ditch and was close to a full-fledged goose massacre. Being the grumpy mess I typically am on a Monday, I was having none of this bullshit, so I pull my car right in front of her, blocking her pass. By this time, I’m almost in the ditch as well and I’m pissed at her arrogance and impatience.

With both geese families safely across the road, the traffic begins to move. At this point, this woman decides to swing out and pass me on the left, I hang back waiting for her to get up beside me because she was going to get the “double barrel royal salute”, BUT she would not move up alongside me and when we had to stop at the next set of lights, she would not pull up beside me either. Talk about gutless. I hope a flock of geese shits on her car – now that would be karma at its finest.

08 June, 2012

Let's Get Nudi...

I know what you were you thinking! Sorry to disappoint, but I was talking about nudi(branchs).
Crazy Cris over @ Here and There and Everywhere is playing hostess with the most-est again this year to World Ocean’s Day.  The theme?  Write something witty about our oceans, your experience with the ocean, etc.  So since I don’t really have anything witty to say, but wanted to participate, I will share some of J’s cool underwater photos with you.  

The photos are all of nudibranchs (NEW-dih-bronk) – a bottom-dwelling, jelly-bodied, shell-less, type of sea slug.  These are some of the most interesting creatures I have every witnessed on the sea floor.  They can range in size from 0.25 inches up to 12 inches long, but given their color, they are fairly easy to spot once you’ve trained your eyes accordingly.
All of these pictures were taken during our trip to the Philippines and as you can see, they vary greatly in shape, color and texture.  Apparently there color is based upon the color of the foods they eat.

According to National Geographic, there are more than 3,000 known species of nudibranch, and new ones are being identified almost daily. They are found throughout the world's oceans, but are most abundant in shallow, tropical waters. Their scientific name, Nudibranchia, means naked gills, and describes the feathery gills and horns that most wear on their backs.
Nudibranchs are simultaneous hermaphrodites, and can mate with any other mature member of their species. Their lifespan varies widely, with some living less than a month, and others living up to one year.

There you have it – a photo collage and a science lesson all in one about one of the many of millions of interesting species of creatures that call our world’s oceans home.

04 June, 2012

A Cultural Tour...With Animals...

I’ve been a bit of a slacker in posting about our trip to the Philippines in March. Well, I’ve finally gotten around to taking a look at J’s pictures from the trip and they’ve managed to refresh my memory of the awesome time we had.

Now, as you can imagine as with anywhere in the world, the Filipinos are wonderful people, with their own cultures, beliefs and ways of doing things. As tourists, it’s not for us to judge something different as being right or wrong. In my opinion, it’s simply best to sit back and observe what other cultures have to offer us. If you open your mind, you just might be entertained and you may even learn something in the process.

One tidbit I’ve picked up from travelling to the Philippines is that they are creative with transporting their livestock and apparently do not have a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) chapter there. Why? Well, take a look at what we observed in our travels. ..

I should point out that some of these methods are not unique to the Philippines. I’ve observed similar things in other countries, although the rooster and the piggies are new to me.

Malatapay Market

Our day at the Malatapay market was a site to behold – you could buy absolutely everything there from livestock to octopus to vegetables and even a leash for your rooster. Yes, a leash. Which brings us to our next series of photos…

One early morning J was down at the beach getting ready to photograph the sunrise. He sees this guy come walking up to the water with a rooster tucked under his arm. J’s first thought was, well this rooster is about to get his neck rung and the guy intends to wash it in the water. Well to J’s surprise, the guy tosses into the water and the rooster lands and swims back to shore. The guy proceeds to pick it up and tosses it out again, the rooster swims back to shore.

What’s the purpose of all this? Well, cockfighting is very common in the Philippines and this gentleman was simply doing a little strength training with his bird. Hmmm, who knew? By the way, in case you are wondering, we asked what happens to the losing bird and apparently – it goes for soup.


swimming to shore...

safe and sound (for now)...

This man walked his Brahman cow on the beach twice a day – we usually only observed him in the evening. I suspect he took him to greener pastures during the day and in the evening, brought him home.

A Man and his cow...

And the last photo reminds me of the little piggy poem.

This little piggy went to market,

This little piggy stayed home,

This little piggy had roast beef,

This little piggy had none,

This little piggy went wee, wee, wee…all the way home.

Wee, wee, wee...(by the way – they were alive at the time of transport)

There you have it…a cultural trip with the most common of the farm animals in the Philippines.