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30
Jul

Monday, Monday…

I love my job, I really do. It’s a great place to work, we all get along and have fun together, but when Monday rolls around, the last thing I want to do is get out of bed.  Monday’s have a bad reputation, really. It’s no different than other days though, and even Wednesday can win a Murphy’s Law award occasionally. So today, I want to cheer Monday up a little, make it fun. Monday has feelings too, and probably feels left out, like that last kid that gets picked for the scratch baseball game. That’s never a fun feeling, not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything…

Did you know…?

That on Monday’s, over 50% of employees are late for work

The average amount of time spent on complaining that its Monday is 12 whole minutes

Workers average only three and a half hours of producible work

Monday is the best day to buy a car (note to self)

The term “Blue Monday” actually comes from the fact that laundry was done on Mondays, and bluing was used (a precursor to bleach), so it became Blue Monday. And you thought it was because it depressed everyone.

And just think, you could have come to work on Monday and this is your cubicle:

 

27
Jul

Mid-Summer Cleaning Frenzy!

A few blogs back, I extolled the virtues and myriad uses of Windex.  It’s just one of my favorite cleaners, what can I say? Around this time of year, however, I do a mid-summer clean. It’s halfway between spring cleaning and holiday cleaning, and it’s a massive undertaking. I bring out some of the big dogs of the cleaning world. Mr. Clean, Tide, Comet, Spic and Span…these are my weapons of mass cleaning. I put on some music and get to work!

P&G Cleaning Supplies

All surfaces get wiped down with a one-two punch of Spic and Span and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, the tubs, toilets, and sinks get a Comet scrub down, and the floors get a little help from an unusual source- Tide. Yep, Tide. It’s not just for laundry anymore.  This stuff powers through grease and grime like you wouldn’t believe.  Not that my floors are abnormally greasy or grimy, but we do have a deep fryer. Granted, you have to buy the stuff that is formulated for floors, not laundry, but it’s worth it.

We have stainless steel appliances, and fingerprints and dog nose-marks build up if I don’t swipe them down once a day (which I don’t. Don’t judge me.), so I need something with cleaning power that won’t scratch and dull the surface so I use a bit of Dawn diluted with water (like you would in your sink for those of you that still hand wash dishes) and my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This is for the heavy buildup. When I feel really ambitious on the weekends, I clean the appliances with Windex and then take a dry, soft cloth, put a few drops of baby oil on it, and wipe them down. Works like a charm!

26
Jul

A little taste of summer – my Key Lime Pie recipe!

I live in Florida, where summertime means beaches, sun, 3 PM thunderstorms and key lime pie. Everyone knows about beaches and sun, and no one wants to know about clockwork thunderstorms (unless you’re a meteorologist, in which case contact me and we’ll talk) so I’m going to impart a well-guarded recipe for key lime pie that blends the best of sweet and tart. I have to make multiples of it because it’s in such demand. Hmmm, maybe I should start selling them….

If you’re really ambitious, you can make a crust for it, but I usually just buy the ready-made crusts in the refrigerated section of the grocery store (follow the directions), and I don’t use a graham cracker crust, like almost all recipes call for (what can I say, I’m a rebel) but if that’s your preference, you can definitely use that as well. The recipe below is just for the filling for a 10″, so if you have a favorite graham cracker crust recipe or if you’re a rebel like me and use a regular crust, have at it!

Ingredients

14 oz of sweetened condensed milk

5 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lime zest (This is optional. But try for key limes. Regular limes will do in a pinch. But it’s really optional)

½ cup Key Lime juice from key limes – one full bag typically (try not to substitute, if you can at all avoid it)

1 10″ pie crust, prepared

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine all the ingredients together, blending until smooth and thick. You can use a mixer on high or be a masochist like me and hand whip it. Once it’s to a nice consistency (think a little less than custard consistency), pour it into the prepared 10″ crust and bake for 15 minutes.  Take it out, let it cool, and if at all possible, refrigerate it for about an hour (more if you can spare it. You may have a line waiting) and then top with whipped cream. If you chose to use zest (which is optional. Really), then you can sprinkle some on top of the whipped cream for show. Voila! You just made the most delicious Key Lime Pie ever. Your neighbors will be jealous. Enjoy!

24
Jul

Pens – it’s just a harmless addiction!

Ah, pens.  Nothing in the office supply world quite engenders a heated debate like pens. People are serious about them, okay? And don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning. I have been in more debates about the merits of Papermate versus Pilot than you can shake a stick at! I love my pens. I have favorites. I get angry when they go missing.  I don’t even like it when my husband takes a pen off my desk at home. I’m sure my expression resembles something like a wolf’s does when another animal approaches its kill. That’s my theory anyway, because he usually backs away slowly, his hands stretched out in front of him in submission.

People take pens so seriously that I have witnessed a meltdown when one they’ve ordered online came in incorrectly. Whether it’s the wrong color, the wrong thickness, the wrong barrel color…it’s not a pretty sight. Oddly enough, I find myself almost rooting for the outlandish response. I would be so miffed if I ordered a pen and it was incorrect!  I have ordered clothes that were sent incorrectly and not been so mad.  Pen addicts, or connoisseurs if you prefer (I do. The other way makes me feel dirty), take their writing instruments very seriously. Whether its ball point ink or gel, fine or broad tip, comfort soft grip or straight barrel, there is a method to the madness.

Strangely enough, and I don’t know how many people are out there like me, I buy pens just to buy them. I have my favorite, the brand that I have bought for years in the ink color and tip size that makes me happy every time I write with it, but I still buy “other” pens. Most I don’t even use more than once, but try and borrow the thing from me. I’ll need a copy of your photo I.D. please. My desk drawers have pens rolling around, all capped, all waiting for me, in more colors than a rainbow. When I see a new pen I haven’t seen before, I buy it. I don’t need it, but…it’s a pen! I have to have it!

What puts us on this path to find ink perfection? Are we all closet perfectionists or have massive cases of OCD? Who knows? I’m not spending money in therapy to find out. One of my favorite movies even highlights the love a lot of people have for pens. It illustrates that if we have something worthwhile to write about, we want to have our favorite pen (and the best writing paper-but that’s another blog) to do so. In Roxanne, Rick Rossovich is coercing Steve Martin into writing a letter to Daryl Hannah, and he tells him “Get your favorite pen”, because even a moose like Rick Rossovich (his character, not him per se) knows that to do the work properly, you have to have your favorite pen.

23
Jul

I always wanted to be a June bride!

Well, who cares that its mid-July at this point? Summertime is the traditional wedding time of the year, and since I was just married recently, I wanted to celebrate with some wedding photos. No, not my own. Just some wedding touches for the planning bride-to-be, some ideas to consider. I’m going to go with a country-themed wedding because…well, because they’re homey and kitschy and just so adorable! Even the most die-hard city dweller would have a hard time not having fun at some of these fetes. The champagne glasses are the same as a big fancy city wedding, and the drinking glasses have much more character. Place cards can be inventive instead of boring, and bring fun to the table. You can even incorporate mason jars into it – you really can’t get more country than that, and they have so many uses! Of course, I could take up pages of ideas, but here are some of my personal favorites. Enjoy!

20
Jul

You say you want to be in pictures…

What about taking the picture? Its summer time and the photo ops are perfect! Days at the lake, days at the beach, day hikes in the mountains…what could be better? I dabble in photography; besides this blog, it’s one of my creative outlets and although my specialty is landscapes, I like candids of my family and friends. Then I embarrass them by posting the pictures to my Facebook page.  Let’s face it though. If you don’t have a great camera, then some of the fun goes out of it. I like digital SLR’s, as opposed to point-and-shoots. They can be heavy and cumbersome, especially if you’re shepherding your son and his two friends through Universal Studios.  I’ve recently come across hybrids- combining the best of SLR’s with the best of compact digital cameras. My favorite? The Pentax Q.

The pictures it takes are crisp, clean, and perfect.  You can use manual or automatic shutter and aperture settings, and the interchangeable lenses do the job of lenses twice their size. Pictures I’ve taken with it rival my Canon EOS 7D, and I would marry that camera if I could. The Canon EOS line is the user-friendly flagship of the Canon line, and has been my stand-by for a long time. I’m definitely no National Geographic photographer, so I need something that’s user-friendly and doesn’t make me feel like I’m a five year old attempting to construct a small nuclear weapon.  The Canon fits my needs nicely for my contest submission photographs.

No matter the camera, whether it’s a 10$ disposable, or a 5000$ SLR, the point is to go out and take pictures! Take a picture of the dog playing in the spray of the sprinkler, or the kids dangling from trees. Catch the surf at sunrise, or the mountain tops at dusk, just get out and shoot!

19
Jul

Genius!

When I was a kid, I loved Warner Brother’s Merrie Melodies cartoons. I wasn’t so much into Disney as I was Warner Brothers. Nickelodeon wasn’t even a concept back then, so all we had was Saturday morning cartoons, and I only waited around long enough for Warner Brothers to come on. There was nothing like the misplaced hubris of Foghorn Leghorn, or the grumpy arrogance of Daffy Duck. Bugs Bunny was so clever in such a subtle way that I wanted to emulate him. And who could forget good ole Elmer Fudd, the clueless hunter who could never catch a break? The “What’s Opera, Doc” episode is iconic, and has topped numerous Top Ten lists in the entertainment world. Honestly though, between you and me, my favorite is, and always will be, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.

I always felt bad for Wile E. It ingrained in me from an early age to root for the underdog, even if he was a homicidal coyote with access to cash and an Acme catalog. The Roadrunner was just so much smarter than he was, but he tried so hard…I guess it taught us kids perseverance too, come to think of it. The thing is, who was this Acme Company? Well, they were obviously fictional, because who would ship out explosives to someone who signed their check with a paw print? However, that being said, there really is a company called Acme United who supplies all manner of items, including safety products. They don’t sell weapons of mass destruction though.

The real Acme can supply you with a host of products, from scissors to Tylenol, from Sharps containers to weird automotive supplies that only my mechanic would know what to do with. You probably own some Acme United products and not even know it. Makes you feel a little like Wile E., doesn’t it? Just don’t try to drop an anvil from a balloon onto that annoying bird outside your bedroom window. Something tells me it wouldn’t work…

18
Jul

There IS a cure for the summer time blues!

Ah, summer time! Frolicking in the pool, back yard barbeques, beach day with a great book, and cocktails by citronella candle…there’s nothing better than a lazy summer day. IF you get to have a lazy summer day, that is. How about when you’re stuck at work for the 9-5 grind, surrounded by black monitors, black computers (or maybe charcoal gray), black phones…you’re supposed to love your job, not feel surrounded by a funeral dirge! Brighten up your office space, bring the sunshine in! Who can resist bright neon Post-Its? Or a neon pen to write on them with?

We can admit here, in the privacy of this blog, that there are certain times of the day where you realize that you are no longer going to get anything productive done. Usually it’s about 3-4 o’clock in the afternoon (the time that it is now in my blog-world), and your mind just starts to wander to topics not pertaining to work. Grab some construction paper and neon markers and go to town! Doodle and ignite the creativity that is currently snoozing somewhere in your subconscious. Just don’t tell your boss I told you to do so.

Last but not least, surround yourself with beauty. I know you have pictures of your kids and significant others surrounding you, and calendars with cute, fluffy animals adorning your cubicle walls (I am so guilty) but just a little extra something can bring you to your happy place with a little glance down at your desk. A mouse pad or wrist rest with a scenic seaside picture of palms swaying in a slight sea-breeze while waves lap gently at the shoreline can go a long way to revitalizing your spirit, or if the beach isn’t for you (you know who you are, lake people) then a nice desk calendar with high alpine lakes glinting like a sapphire under deep blue skies might just be for you. Whatever your happy place is, you can find something in office supplies to bring you there, and make your work day a little bit sunnier. Happy working!

17
Jul

When you see the School Supplies display…

You know that summer is half way over. Or you realize that retailers are an overzealous lot. Stores are filled with big yellow displays full of pencils, pens, pads, protractors, small refrigerators and computers. Almost anything in a store can be considered a back-to-school supply, especially when you take college kids into account. I love this time of the year! It’s so exciting and even if your student isn’t too thrilled with the thought of inking Shakespearean quotes into their composition notebooks, or pondering the Pythagorean Theorem in their Trapper Keepers, they still want you to buy them all the cool stuff for school.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for school supply shopping. Back then, there weren’t a lot of displays to poke through, or eye-catching bins right as you walk in the door to trip over, but I still loved walking down the office supply aisle at Zayre (that’s an old name for you) or Kmart, being so careful to pick out the coolest pen (Papermate, blue) or pencil (Huskies), college-ruled paper, and the biggest, fanciest Trapper Keeper that was made. Even then, I had an obsession with keeping things organized.

Now, when I walk into a store with my 14 year old, I am absolutely astounded at what is available for kids to take to school. And frankly, I am smitten with the fact that schools send around to the retailers what they require for the kids to have on the first day. That’s such a brilliant idea. Granted, I usually have to take out a small loan on the house every July just to outfit him for school, between clothes, shoes, accessories and of course supplies, but I’m just as excited about it as he is! Locker mirrors and organizers, book jackets in bright colors and patterns (I used brown paper bags from the grocery store…not fair), backpacks with shoulder pads…the list just goes on. I think this time however, I’m going to pick up some cool supplies for myself as well! Happy shopping!

12
Jul

An Ode to the Perfect Drink Receptacle: Red Solo Cup

As a recent song and video have shown us, the iconic red Solo cup is our choice for our drinks. Whether it be at an office party, or our back yard barbeque, the red Solo cup has gone the distance to prove its worthy status as a primary beverage repository.

Though it IS available in other colors, the red color is the most popular, and the one this author always uses. And let’s face it, it’s just really handy. It can be written on, it has a textured grip, it doesn’t break very easily, and frankly they just look awesome:

A classic red Solo cup is hefty, it has weight, and can easily survive a whole night of beer or soda refills!

We use them as impromptu water guns. No, you can’t fashion them into a gun (they aren’t THAT amazing), but using them to scoop water into and then tossing on your target works fabulously!

I once had one Solo cup last through 15 refills in the pool before the first crack appeared and THAT, my friend, is impressive.

There’s a reason that song was created, and it wasn’t because of a bet. Poems have been written extolling its virtue’s…okay well, maybe one or two, including the ones below:

Oh red Solo cup

Your color is maple leaves

Ripening in fall

You light up the room

No matter what you contain

Red Solo cup flame

I didn’t say they were good poems, just that they were about a red Solo cup.

People feel very strongly about their red Solo cups. They have loyalty to the brand, and Solo knows that it has a good thing going. The cup hasn’t changed much in all the years that I’ve been using it, except for the really nice grip area, and most people are like me, using it year after year for everything they can think of to use it for.

Let’s touch on some uses and virtues. In addition to various liquids that can be consumed from a red Solo cup, they can be used as a mold, to hold up ice cream cones for filling, they can be used as a centerpiece (well…that’s debatable), as everyday glass ware (guilty), and as a means of making your animals mad.

Truly, these cups are the perfect receptacle!

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