Reboot. Recharge.

When all else fails, just shut it down for 5 seconds and turn it back on. Just like new!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Shit happens

The bathroom situation at work really stinks (no pun intended). Not just here, where I currently work, but everywhere I've worked. I mean, when it comes down to it, who likes to use the shitter at work? No one, I'm sure. And I know, you're probably saying to yourself, damn, she's right. It probably is one of the more uncomfortable things that at least I have to deal with, on a daily basis.
Take for instance, where I used to work. There were single bathrooms there, one for the women and one for the men (yet no one really abided by that rule). The bathrooms were conveniently located, where? Off the kitchenette, where of course, everyone ate lunch. So, there you go to do your business and you have to walk by all of your colleagues, who of course take notice of who's going in as well as how long you stay in there.
Single bathrooms are lousy because you take ownership, by default, of whatever is going on in there. Of course it wasn't you who dropped the bomb in there, but, the person waiting to go after you doesn't know that.
One time I went in to use the bathroom, simply to tinkle, when, gasp, to my surprise, out slipped a fart. Now, the table was full in the kitchenette, and when I walked out of the bathroom, I swear, EVERYONE's head turned to see who was exiting the bathroom.
Another time, I went to "make a deposit" when unbeknownst to me, they had shut the water off in the building. Well, I usually flush while things are on their way out (if you know what I mean). That doesn't necessarly mean that I'm done, it's just something I do. Well, do you know that you only get 1 courtesy flush when the water is shut off??? I found this out the hard way. So, I finish up and was go to make the second flush and what happened? NOTHING! The toilet would not flush! What was I to do? I couldn't just leave the bathroom without any explanation...I shut the door and put a note on it saying "Broken. Do not use" and went to find the facilities guy. I gave him a verbal lashing for not making an announcement that the water had been shut off and told him to let me know when the water got put back on.
Guys are funny about the bathroom. They have no shame, really. I can't tell you the countless number of times I've seen guys walking to the bathroom with newspapers under their arms. You know its going to be a doozy when they take a science journal in with them. Come on, have you no shame? I mean its ok to do at home? But at work???? The worst was certain guys, when they were done, would throw the paper on the kitchenette table when they were done. Please.

Where I work now has a row of 5 stalls in it. Not so bad, right? Well, whoever designed the stalls had NO CLUE what he/she was doing. The doors shut and leave about a 3/4-1 inch gap, so anyone who walks in while you are sitting on the can, can see you in the stall! It is ridiculous.
Sometimes I go into use the bathroom and there is someone in there, and I can tell by the silence that she is not going to budge, at least in the lifetime of my stay in the bathroom. That for me, can be problematic. I like to go when the bathroom is empty. Short of leaving the bathroom and trying again in a few minutes, I don't know what else to do.
And you know, it's funny. For a company that is so "green" (Genzyme's world headquarters is one of the greenest buildings going; read about that here.), I am surprised that the cleaning service puts in 2 brand new rolls of toilet paper in EVERY stall each night. What happens to all of the rolls that still have paper left on them? What a waste, of goods and money. Oh, and by the way, I use the term toilet paper loosely. Single-ply sand paper is more like it.

I guess I should not complain. Some people have WORSE hangups about the bathroom than I do, like, someone I know, who shall remain nameless. Nameless will not go #2 while at work. This person holds it in ALL day long. Ouch. Talk about a log jam. Anyways, I have got to go and use the bathroom. Over and out!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Some products I'm digging right now

Thought I'd write a bit about some products I'm enjoying these days:

1. Dorot Garlic and Herbs, Frozen herbs, from Israel.
These frozen herbs come conveniently packaged in little squares, that pop out when you need some fresh herbs, but don't have any on hand. I have only tried the basil, but Dorot manufactures cilantro, dill, parsley as well as garlic and ginger. Trader Joe's carries them. So, yeah, while fresh herbs are ideal, sometimes I just need a little kick to a soup or a sauce and if I don't have the herb I need on hand, frozen is the next best thing. Plus, it's an extra added incentive to support Dorot, which, unbeknownst to me until yesterday, is a Kibbutz. A kibbutz is a co-op of sorts where people live communally and work, usually having a signature product. For Kibbutz Dorot, the signature product is the frozen herbs. I worked on a kibbutz when I was 15. I went to Israel with a tour group, and we stayed on Kibbutz Gadot, in the Golan Heights for 3 weeks. There, I worked in a plastics plant, making milk crates. Anyways, back to the frozen herbs. The basil tasted fresh and basily. Good stuff. I just bought the cilantro the other day. I usually keep a bunch of cilantro on hand, as I do "southwestern/mexican" quite a bit, but in those rare instances where I don't have it, I'm sure I'll be glad I have the frozen stuff....

2. Veggie Patch vegetarian products:
Now, I'm not a vegetarian, but I'm trying to improve my diet by eating more fruits and veggies and whole grains. I have also decided to cut down on my meat consumption, so I've been trying vegetarian products. VeggiePatch offers a variety of veggie products such as chickenless chicken patties, veggie burgers, meatballs, "riblets" and these really yummy "nugget produts", broccoli and spinach. The products are pretty good. The Veggie burgers are packed with whole veggies that you can see, like corn and peas. The chicken patties have good mouth feel, and taste like chicken. Even my 3.5 year old son Max ate it, so, it's got to be good, right?? The broccoli nuggets are a great snack. I put them in the toaster and let them crisp up. I haven't tried the spinach nuggets, but I can't believe that they'd be bad. I tried the riblets as well. In all honesty, they weren't too bad. They come with a BBQ sauce to heat them up with, and together with some rice and beans, it's not a bad dinner.

3. Gourmet Garden, Herbs and Spices:
Another convenience food, herbs and spices in a tube that come refrigerated. Basically, they are pastes, that you squeeze out when you need to. I have tried both the lemongrass and ginger, and have found them to be bright and fresh tasting, and ultra easy. So, for me, lemongrass seems to never be available where I shop. Even if it was available, I might still opt to use the tube version. It comes in paste form already! That is real fast, considering that lemongrass takes some effort to prep. The company is based in Australia. I found their products at Hannafords market, a place I don't normally shop at, but will go to if I need a few things and can get away from work to go there during the day. They do have an organic section, but do not offer enough organic produce for me to shop there on a regular basis.

Open Sesame

I made homemade bagels on Saturday; they came out really well.
I had ordered High-gluten flour from King Arthur. It has 14.2% gluten as opposed to regular all-purpose flour, which has 11.7% gluten, so it stands up well to the rigors of bagel making.
I pulled a recipe off the net for "real jewish bagels". I'm not sure what was jewish about them, however, the recipe seemed to work pretty well. The dough took 4 TBS of yeast, which I thought was a bit much; 4 TBS to approximately 6-8 cups of the flour. The dough had no problems doubling, tripling in size. The yeast got a little honey as an extra little meal to get it jump started, and a bit of salt. That's it. I did it in my Kitchen-aid mixer and finished it off kneading it by hand.
I let it rise, then punched it down and stuck it in the fridge for 4-5 hrs. When I was ready to actually make the bagels, I put on water to simmer them and turned on the oven to 400. The recipe called for 3 TBS of malt syrup or sugar to go into the simmering water. While not in the recipe that I was using, I had heard that you are supposed to add in a bit of baking powder as well, to the water, so I added a teaspoon.
I formed the bagels (I should have taken a bit more time to do this, as they came out a bit longer and thiner, than shorter and fatter), and put them into simmer. The recipe called for simmering the bagels 3 minutes per side. I had read other recipes that called for times ranging from 30 (s) to 1 minute. I compromised and did 2 minutes per side. I let them dry briefly and then egg-washed them and socked them with sesames. They baked for about 35-40 minutes.
They toasted up well, had a nice, slightly fermented flavor, with a good crunch on the outside and a good chew on the inside. We ate them with cream cheese. I also had one toasted with Soy nut butter and boysenberry jelly. YUM.
I think next time I make them I am going to drop the amount of yeast a bit. I'm also going to take a bit more time to actually form the bagels. I'd also like to drop the simmer time to see if that makes any difference. What I noticed is that the bagels got most of their rise in the water as opposed to in the oven. So, I'm not sure if simmering them for less time would afford them an extra rise in the the mean time, I cut up the bounty and froze them, so they are good to go whenever the bagel fix needs to be attended to....

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

UGH. I really CAN NOT stand my work situation these days. I have to share an office with a colleague due to construction of a new building (which is going to be connected to this building, by a bridge), and I really can't stand this person. I am at my WITS end. This person is queen of mouth noises; anyone who knows me, knows I CAN NOT stand mouth noises. I've even gone so far as to tell my own husband to stop chewing before. This girl eats WHOLE frigging cucumbers for a snack!!!! HELP. She is also ALL business. From the minute she walks in, until the minute she leaves, it's all work. She makes calls all day, talks to herself, bangs on the keyboard, opens and slam drawers. I mean, I just can't handle it anymore. People don't want to come in to say hello to me anymore because they think they'll disturb the person sitting next to me. I find her to be inconsiderate because she never tries to be quiet and does not give a hoot that I am in the room, and might need a bit of quiet to do (what little) work I have.
Meanwhile, I can't concentrate 1 iota.
There is no love lost between us, and I am sure the feeling is mutual here. Given the fact that she walks in and doesn't say good morning kind of clued me into that fact. It makes for a ridiculously uncomfortable day. The construction of the new building is set to be complete in April, just a couple months away. However, then the building that we are sitting in will undergo a face lift, and so I have no idea when I get to move out of this living Hell.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What bodes well for me...

not much to say....I spent a good hour and a half this morning debating on whether or not to go into work. I was not sick per say over the weekend, but I definitely was not 100% well either. I am stuffed up and have these waves of nausea that take over my existence. And no, I'm not pregnant...I took care of that last July.....I got out of bed, picked out my clothes, got back into bed. Decided that I was being a wimp, got out of bed, went to unlock the door for our nanny, and planned to get into the shower, but got back into bed. Thought about making that call into my supervisor and decided that it wasn't worth it so I got out of bed, and into the shower, got dressed and wanted to get back into bed, but did not. And, sucker that I am, I'm sitting at my desk now, wishing I was at home. I have a 10:30 meeting and I think I'm going to bolt after that.

And what the hell is going on over there in Italy? What has happened to all the US olympic gold hopefuls, Bode, Ohno, Rhalves. At least White, the Flying Tomato was able to pull it out and win the gold.
Bode Miller is an interesting guy. Visit this website It is a Nike website and contains video clips of Bode talking his philosophies. He doesn't believe in winning persay. He does his sport for the pure love of doing it, and needs no validation from anyone else but himself.
He is anti-media and rarely grants interviews, so it is nice to hear him speak so candidly on the website. Sure he's being sponsored by Nike, and I'm sure he's making a bundle of cash. To tell you honestly, I think he is just using Nike, flat out using them. He has his own agenda and he plans to exploit Nike to spread his message, which is that TV and the media are to quote Bode "mind-numbing", that athletics is the place to find your true happiness and to not let others dictate how to find that happiness. I love his answer when being asked how he felt about being a "sex symbol"....his reply....if it gets me more sex, than great. Love it, a loose cannon, to say the least, but he has a strong message, and I respect it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A cuppa please

You know, I am not afraid to admit that I dig Starbucks. I have been a long time drinker of their coffee. As a result, people often refer to me as a coffee snob. Well, I'll take the snobdem.
I even have a Starbucks card, that I use when I go in there to get my coffee. I have a certain amount loaded onto it, automatically, when the balance gets to a certain point. The card doubles as a Visa, as well, and each time I use it, it rewards me in Starbucks dollars. It's like I don't have to pay for coffee any more, it's great.
Lately though, Starbucks employees have been pissing me off. Lets start with the fact that one in particular, at my regular morning Starbucks in Chestnut Hill. I went off the board and ordered a Cinnamon Dolce latte. I get it with 2 pumps of syrup, instead of the normal 4, because, 4 pumps is TOO SWEET. I also get it with no whip cream, but foam instead. And, lastly I get it Non-Fat. SO, when I placed my order, the girly-girl wrote it down on a little sticky that she stuck to my cup. The bo-bo making the drink clearly did not look at the tag because it became evident to me that he put in 4 pumps of syrup. While I watched him make the drink, he didn't put any foam on it, at all. I actually stopped him, and said I wanted foam on there. He then puts some foam on, but it's too much to get the cap onto the cup, and he has to pour out some of the latte. What a waste.
My second negative experience recently came in Swampscott, as I was visiting my parents. I brought in my cup, a Starbucks tumbler that my husband designed w/photos of my kids. It is a Grande size cup, which means it is 16 oz. The cup is deceiving because it is taller than a normal grande cup and appears to be a Venti cup, which is 20 oz. It clearly says 16 oz on the bottom of the cup. Anyways, when you use your own cup, you are supposed to get 10 cents off. Ms Girly-girl not only charged me for a venti, instead of a grande, but she didn't take the 10 cents off. I was getting coffee for my parents as well, so I didn't notice that overcharge until I left the shop and looked at the receipt. I was pissed, but I didn't go back. I did tell the staff at my regular Starbucks and the girl graciously gave me a coupon for a free drink, so there is some redemption.
My third negative experience came in Brookline, on a Thursday morning. On Thursdays, I teach Spinning at a local gym, and then drive to work. I have been going to a different office on Thursdays, and so my commute brings me past a Starbucks. Well, I pulled up to find the lights off, and the Starbucks dark, with 2 girls standing outside. Apparently, no one showed up for the morning shift - it was almost 7:30 in the morning!!!! on a Thursday!!! Starbucks opens at 5:30 for crying out loud!!! That is 2 hours of lost business!!!! How lame is that?
Oh well, I'm not giving up on Starbucks. The good service does out-weigh the bad. It's just lame that 3 times in the past month, some of the employees have sucked.