Tis The Season

It’s here! And it arrived a couple of weeks ago.  I know it’s getting close when one of my favorite commercials starts to air.  I laugh at pretty much every single one of her commercials but I think this is my all-time favorite:

Now that black Friday is over, it’s officially on.  Tis the Season people, Tis the Season.  Let the games begin, the Christmas decorators, the Christmas music listeners and the Christmas dressers.  I for one am going to take the easy road on decorating this year like these people:

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and I love Christmas music, but when you have to start listening to it in October, it wears on you before the end of December.  There’s only so many Christmas songs, doesn’t matter what genre you listen you, the songs are all the same.  Wait until the first week of December and then have at it, but January 1 you better stop, I don’t want to hear it until February or someone’s losing a limb.

And now we get to the Christmas dressers.  Oh, those poor, poor souls.  I can be festive, but there’s “those” people, oh yeah, you know the ones, bells on their sweater, red and green socks, santa hats and candy canes in their pockets.

Speaking of bells, why do designers add them to sweaters, sweater vests and jean shirts?  They’re always in a not so great spot.  This also only encourages those people to shake…stuff….so they ring.  All I can think about are strategically placed pasties that strippers wear.  That’s not a good thought because getting out of that sweater that fit you in the 70’s and has been washed 40 times can’t be easy.  The static it has to cause being pulled over your head could start an electrical fire.

Now let’s chat about santa hats.  I bartend now and then and usually for the Holiday party I will be festive and wear a santa hat for a couple of hours, beyond that my head is sweating so bad I look like I should be sitting in a sauna.  I’m sure you know the people who wear them for weeks and weeks.  It’s like they’ve been waiting all year for this.  Do you think these people wear that hat all year around in the comfort of their own home?  Perhaps it’s some sort of fetish.  Eww, I can’t believe I just went there.

Like I said, I am not ‘bah humbug’ but I believe some people have to get a grip on their ‘spirit’.  Get involved, share the love, volunteer, buy lots of gifts, sing loud, decorate, but for the love of God, do not expect everyone to have the same ‘spirit’ you do.  If you do expect that you’re likely to find bells where no one can hear them jingle and your santa hat being used as a muzzle.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

10 Ways to Make Your Workday Go Faster

Based on things I witness or have witnessed at work, I thought I’d do a top 10 Letterman style.

10. Keep your Facebook page open at all times so you can check it constantly.  You never know what you might be missing during the day from your friends who don’t work or are trying to stay busy at their job.

9. Browse Craig’s List, then send your findings to your coworkers.  They need something to keep them busy too.

8. Buy and sell on eBay, be sure to check your auctions often, it will not only keep you busy, it might drive you nuts watching the bids.  Even though eBay is open 24/7 that doesn’t mean you’ll find any good deals after work. 

7. Text.  Again, you must have friends who don’t have jobs so please be sure to keep them company during the day.

6. Visit with everyone you can, who knows, you may be making their day go faster too.  Linger after meetings, stop by desks to see what’s happening, talk about lunch plans, find whatever you can to chat about.

5. Find a complaint-buddy.  You know, that person you can spend plenty of time during the day complaining to about how busy you are and how no one understands your world or can do your job.  Again, perhaps both your days will go by faster.  Don’t do this on breaks, that would be a waste of good away from work time.

4. Make phone calls, not quick ones, long ones, chat ’em up, take your time.

3. Take long late lunches.  This is a fabulous way to make the day really short when you get back from lunch.

2. Play e-mail games with your friends.  A long time ago a friend and I used to send each other a list of 10 words and we’d have to write a story that included those words.  Creative and time-consuming!!

1. DO YOUR WORK!!  I know this sounds crazy but it actually makes the day fly by.

Wisconsin-Speak

I moved to Wisconsin almost 9 years ago.  One of the things I learned early on is that they have their own language here.  Of course, I have picked up some of that language as well, even though I still say “I’m from Minnesota, I just happen to live in Wisconsin”.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

The County – “We’re going out to the county tonight.”  I had no idea what that meant at first but realized it basically means the country or out-of-town.  I find myself going to the county quite a bit now because I shoot pool for a bar in the county.

County Run – this is some sort of initiation into the Wisconsin lifestyle that is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.  In short, this is where a bunch of people get together, leave early in the morning, get in a vehicle (or several), drive to the county and bar hop.  Up here in the north land there are two county run loops, a short one and a long one.    Usually the rule is to have one drink at each bar.  My first experience with this was not long after I moved here and thank goodness we did the short loop.  Eleven of us loaded in an orange van with a sober driver (this is another rule) who was also the treasurer.  We met at a bar in town, each chipped in $20, loaded in the van and took off.   There was drinking, food, karaoke (bad karaoke), arguing, a lot of fun and laughter and almost a fist fight.  The whole thing was over 12 hours and I can’t count how many bars.  The three of us ‘newbies’ somehow made it through this initiation but of course you get no trophy, no t-shirt and I really don’t think you’re supposed to talk about it.  I think it’s a secret society.

Buying Beer – Although this term is used everywhere, it means something different here.  In Wisconsin you can purchase adult beverages before 8:00 AM and after 10:00 PM.  Being from Minnesota I had no idea these two things existed.  There are bars here in Wisconsin that open at 6:00 AM!!!

Punching In – Again, this is a term that is used all over the world but here in Wisconsin it doesn’t mean going to work, it refers to when  you had your first adult beverage of the day.  This tends to happen a lot before noon.  Time means nothing here, it’s a lot like Mexico that way.

You Can’t Drink All Day if You Don’t Start in the Morning – I believe Wisconsin is the birthplace of this saying.  They take their beer very seriously here.

Cheesehead – Being a Vikings fan I will just say….you’re seriously wearing a piece of cheese on your head!!??

We’re Going to Watch Bucky – Little did I know they were talking about Bucky the Badger and college football.  I thought we were going to a rodeo, wow was I disappointed, not being a Badger fan and all.

Let’s Go Bang on the Machines – Excuse me? What did you say?  I had no idea when I moved here that you can gamble in bars.  What a strange concept.

Let’s Go Have a Beer at The Garage – That’s odd, it’s cold, why do we have to stand in the garage?  And, why are we getting in the car?  I finally realized The Garage is actually a bar, granted, it is a guy’s garage, he’s just turned it into a bar.  We park in his yard and drink in his double garage, it’s a great double garage but still.

Beer-thirty – Whatever time it is, it’s beer-thirty here in Wisconsin, they don’t judge, unless of course you’re going to wait until 5:00 to have a beverage, then they judge.

Bubbler – This is what they call a drinking fountain here.  I don’t understand it, I don’t get it and I won’t use that term.

Duck Duck Goose – ?????  No idea how that differs from Duck Duck Gray Duck but I won’t play it, sounds scary.

What Kind of Cheese Would You Like With That? – Pretty much any dish you order with cheese here in Wisconsin, you get your choice of cheese.  And it’s not just a couple of types of cheese, there’s some offered you’ve probably never heard of.

There are tons more and I’m sure I’ll get comments and suggestions on others to share.  I will do so when I gather enough.  Until then, I challenge you to use one of the above and see how your friends react.

Meeting Etiquette

Pet Peeve: inattentive meeting participants

I’ve decided that meetings are unproductive because people don’t pay attention.  Here is what I’ve seen in the last few weeks during meetings:

  • Cell phones!! Cell phones should be banned from meetings unless you are expecting an emergency call.  Oh no, I watch people check Facebook, play games and text.  Really people?  We’re adults, perhaps your workplace would be better if YOU LISTENED IN MEETINGS and were a positive participant.
  • Talking to other attendees.  There may be a time during a lull that you can whisper something to your neighbor; however, there are people who do this constantly throughout the meeting.  Even giving them the hairy eyeball doesn’t seem to shut them up.
  • Computers.  It’s one thing if you’re typing notes up from the meeting but it’s another thing to be doing everything else.  Not long ago I watched a manager answer instant messages, type emails and surf the internet during a meeting.  Each time the meeting speaker came around to our side of the table, she would put her ‘notes page’ up and pretend to type.  It was obvious she wasn’t getting anything out of the meeting and all I wanted to do was hit her in the back of the head with a frying pan.

Remember back in the day when there was a cure for things like this?  It would be nice not to treat adults like children but it’s inevitable.  Here are my solutions:

For cell phones, I think you should get it slapped out of your hand with a ruler.  In the seventh grade my Algebra teacher smacked a ruler on my fingers because he had taught my brothers…apparently it was guilt by association and he needed to make a statement.  We didn’t turn teachers in back then for being physical, in fact, our parents probably encouraged it and signed waivers.

For the talkers, duct tape their mouth shut.  In the fifth grade I watched a classmate get his mouth duct taped shut for continually talking during class.  Not just a piece of tape, he wrapped it around his whole head, more than once.  Good thing the kid didn’t have a cold.

For computers, make the person lay face down with their nose touching the floor.  In fourth grade I had to do this during recess because I got in trouble for not paying attention during a class.  Seems like an easy task until you have to lay there for 15 minutes with your head up and just your nose touching the floor.  Odd but effective.

 Now, I don’t need a whole bunch of comments that I encourage abuse and violence because I don’t; however, I do think those of us who were punished back in the day in similar ways turned out pretty good.  It would be good to bring that back to the present day.

I do fantasize about hitting someone with an oversized frying pan, kind of like a cartoon.  You know what I mean, you smack them, their tongue darts out and their eyes bulge.  Then they go away rubbing the back of their head.  Such a great mental picture for me and a great therapy tool, try it sometime.  You can use your weapon of choice, it doesn’t have to be an oversized cast iron frying pan.

What Makes You Laugh?

As I write blogs, check comments, look at my stats and check my followers I often wonder if I’m really making people laugh? How many people read a story and never come back because they don’t find me funny?  Perhaps a lot.  Perhaps very few.  Obviously not the same thing makes everyone laugh, let’s face it, what fun would that be? 

I started thinking about what really makes me laugh (yes, I know it’s almost everything) and had to go back into my memory banks and archives to find a few things that make me laugh, sometimes uncontrollably.  Let’s see if the same things make us laugh.

This cartoon has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. In fact, when I was married we bought the VHS tape that had this on it.  I lost the tape in the divorce, I’m still upset about that.  I actually was never a huge Bugs Bunny fan either, go figure.

I’m also not a huge monkey fan but this picture makes me smile.  I’m not positive where I got it but I think it showed up in a card I received from a roommate once which means I’ve been dragging it around for years, I bet I still have the card from her somewhere too.

This cartoon came to me in 2003 and it’s still getting mileage today.  There has never been a time I’ve looked at this and haven’t laughed.  Such a classic. 

Favorite cartoon movie scene.  I actually use the line “what do you want me to do, dress and drag and do the hula” quite often.

I also enjoy Ren and Stimpy; however, could not find a clip of Ren being allergic to Stimpy which is my favorite.

Hopefully these remind you of some of your go-tos for laughter.  If not, you can borrow some of mine if you want.

No Regrets

I wrote about regrets so I better talk about things I don’t regret.  It’s only fair, right?  This list could be a mile long but I will keep it to some highlights, and perhaps a couple lowlights.

  • Going to Bike Week and sleeping in the rental car for 3 nights.
  • College – all of it.
  • Taking a chance and giving Idaho my phone number at the airport.
  • A marriage…..oh, and a divorce (that was the best part).
  • Childhood in a small town.
  • Skinny dipping in the ocean.
  • Both road trips to Cross Lake.
  • Driving to Florida – twice!
  • Being stranded at the Detroit airport overnight.
  • Any trip to Madden’s, even the one where we met two brothers.
  • Any job I’ve had.
  • Getting my mug shot taken.
  • Going to Tijuana for a wedding.
  • Starting a blog.
  • That one night in Vegas.
  • The road trip to Chicago.

Like I said, the list could be miles long but I will stop while I’m ahead (or behind, however you look at it).

Live life with no regrets.  That’s my two cents for today.

Florida – Remaining Days

Wow is it hard to make (take) time to write when you’re on vacation!

Things went great and there are lots of stories, somehow a lot of the stories I won’t write about here but I think I can give some good ideas as to what’s been going on.  If I’m vague, fill in the details as you wish.

  • Laying by the pool EVERY day.
  • Grocery shopping, gotta love the people you run into there.
  • Sunset celebrations by the pool.  This is where the guy in the orange shorts was first spotted.  Again, people watching at it’s finest.  Imagine 15 adults attempting to hula hoop in bathing suits.
  • Finding a pool hall 10 minutes away from the resort.  Score!!  Then finding out that Stan from NY hangs out there and he’s full of crap.   Story to be blogged later.
  • Finding dive bars and locals, nothing beats this.  They have buckets of beer there too.. what a great concept.
  • Eating at the worst restaurant in the area.  A Dominican place the locals told us about.  Bad news, there was nothing good about it but we did find it awfully funny when Idaho was attempting to speak Spanish to them.  He really only knows bad words in Spanish.
  • Hanging out on Daytona Beach while Tropical Storm Sean is brewing.  Holy waves Batman!
  • Hanging out and laughing with a coworker and his wife who live near Daytona.  What a great evening.
  • Watching 3 back to back episodes of Wipeout in the room and laughing until we cried.  I know, pathetic but hilarious.
  • Being sick from the dive bbq place we found…..not so funny but a great way to get to know each other better.
  • Headaches, a bad back, a cracked foot, bad stomachs, sore shoulder, bruises and bumps.  Not funny but funny.
  • Walking back from the pool, completely sober, going to our room and the key doesn’t work.  After several tries each we realized we were on the wrong floor!!  Thank goodness the third floor keys don’t work on the secnd floor!  No idea what happened here, especially since we took the stairs.

The best thing about the trip was the laughing.  Whether it was just us or we were with other people we met.  That was the key to our trip.  My suggestion:  find something that makes you laugh every day.

Florida – Day 1 and 2

Well, we survived the first two days in Florida…..barely.

At 5:00 AM I caught my shuttle bus to the airport.  Having gone to bed at 1:00, this was not a welcome scenario.  I was tired and looking forward to the drive because it would be a great 2 or more hour nap.  WRONG!!  I was the only passenger on the shuttle and the driver was a talker.  I did doze in and out and hopefully he stopped talking when I started snoring; however, it was windy so keeping it between the lines was a struggle for him.  I was being thrown around like the captain of the Titanic.  After a stop at Toby’s in Hinckley the trip was pretty good and napping was alright.

The reunion at the airport was great, so good to see him after 10 weeks.  Our flight was great and we sat next to someone who was funny and friendly so that was pleasant.  Our arrival at the resort was good and without incident.  Our room does exactly what it’s designed to do and we’re basically in heaven.

We made our home at the restaurant for food and football yesterday afternoon and evening.  Idaho is a talker so I couldn’t leave him alone for 5 minutes without him meeting someone new.  We met interesting people from Britain and Washington.  So much so we laughed so hard my ribs still hurt this morning.  We are also both people watchers and completely find the swimwear and outfits people wear hilarious.

You can find the same types everywhere you go.  The couple who has to make sure everyone notices them and their tan perfect bodies with designer swimwear, some plastic surgery and bratty kids.  The bratty kids are always the haha moment for me.  Then you have the older couple who have been in the sun for the past 6 weeks….straight and their skin looks like it’s made of some old shoe leather.  Then you have that group of guys who are on a guys weekend, they’re fun to watch, for a minute or two, and then they’re just annoying.  You will then find the best (or worst, however you want to look at it) swimsuits, the oddest outfits and best mullets.

Then we saw it, the best one of the day, the guy in the orange shorts, not a small guy, not a huge guy but somewhere in between, the best part of him was that his shorts were shoved so far up his rear end I think there was a permanent crease in them.  This was so good it got us through conversation for a couple of hours.  The part of that I love is that he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, him and his orange shorts are having a blast.

I’d tell some more stories but I’m going to keep this clean and sober, you’re welcome to use your imagination as it probably isn’t all that far off.  I do know this, we’ve laughed a lot, had great weather, laughed a lot, had great food and laughed a lot.  What more could you ask for on vacation?

Regrets

I read a post the other day that got me thinking.  Yes, that means my head hurts and there’s smoke coming out of my ears.

I really wondered if I have regrets because I’ve tried to live life without them.  I did decide there are a few and I will share, or partially share.

  • Ruining a friendship where I had more fun in a few years than one could hope for in a lifetime.  This may be one of my only ‘real’ regrets.
  • Not taking the chance and going ‘downtown’ Tijuana to party with the locals when I was there for a wedding.  Yes, I said a wedding.
  • Not hitchhiking before it was dangerous.
  • That night with….oh wait…ummm…a couple of…..hmmmm…well, perhaps I’ll leave it at that.
  • Not going to concerts at Paisley Park after bar when I had the chance.  I never did see Prince in concert.
  • Eating that potato salad even after it bugged my tummy the first time.  Uff da.
  • Not going ‘parking’ enough as an adult.  Good make out sessions are definitely a thing of the past.
  • Not taking voice lessons, although I’m the world’s greatest singer in the car, everywhere else I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.
  • Not laughing more.  And I laugh a lot, sometimes even when I shouldn’t.

It is my belief that you can’t live life with regrets, the choices we make form who we become.  There really is only one true regret in my list but if that wouldn’t have happened I wouldn’t be where I am today so all turned out well.

Here’s to no regrets and lots of laughs!