This Season, It’s All About High Hair

Enter the caption contest now! It’s so exciting isn’t it? If you need the rules for this supposed-to-be-weekly contest, click here: Caption Contest Rules Shmules.

Last Contest’s Winner: Hip hip pooray for Janet. I still type that phrase because of her: “hip hip pooray.” She was by far the most entertaining coworker ever in the IM world. Also entertaining in real life, but she had a gift for the witty written remarks. Way to win former Diet Coke buddy.

Episode 56: How to Survive Lunch With Your Coworkers

Every day at work, I think about how I really ought to bring in a lunch to save money and to eat food that I actually like (because I really don’t like the food they make at our grill here onsite).

And then I go home from work that day.

And guess what I do?

I don’t put anything together for a lunch the next day.

Sometimes I briefly think, oh, I’ll just get something together in the morning before work.

COME ON, LARRIE. You NEVER give yourself more than 10 minutes to get ready.

Like you’ll get up early enough to make lunch, too.

It never happens.

Today, I brought my lunch to work because I had leftovers from the AMAZING dinner I had at Porcupine Grill with Maren last night. Their Chicken Noodle Soup = HEAVEN (or at LEAST terrestrial glory).

I ate lunch at my desk today, but there are many days when I’d prefer the break and to talk about things not related to work. Because of that, I’ve come up with a list to help you, internet, with how to eat lunch with your coworkers.

  1. Round Up Coworkers. The first step, of course, is to have people you can actually go with. This may actually be hard for some of you because you either are not the type of person that others particularly want to eat lunch with* or you sit at your desk mumbling and grumbling about how people don’t ask you to go to lunch with them. Guess what? You can ask THEM. (Gasp.) So get out of your seat, walk down your row and ask somebody (probably somebody that you like) if they’d like to go to lunch. Round up multiple people if you’d like. Now, go to lunch.
  2. Avoid Hot Topics. The store and the conversations. They don’t have lunch options at the store. It’s probably better in mixed company to avoid deep discussions on politics, religion, or relationships at lunch. You never know who you might offend if you start talking about your major crush on some certain cute boy and the other person would rather talk about her crush on a girl. Just a thought.
  3. Don’t Bring Egg Salad. Well, to be honest, I LOVE egg salad. And I don’t usually smell it when people eat that at the table. What you REALLY shouldn’t bring is FISH. And DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, EVEN IF IT WOULD SOMEHOW SAVE THE WORLD FROM NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST, HEAT IT UP IN THE MICROWAVE. You deserve severe punishment in the life after this if you do that. SEVERE.
  4. Remember Your Manners. It really shouldn’t be that hard, but some people maybe just never learned that looking like cookie monster while you consume your food is NOT appropriate. There were TWO reasons why you could see all of cookie monster’s food while he ate it. One: he had no lips. Two: he’s a puppet. This means he had no throat for the food to go down. Chew with your lips closed and don’t talk with your mouth full. Do I sound like your mother yet?
  5. Don’t Belch. Do I really need to expound on this? I can’t believe I even had to type this, but I do. And I bet Janet can think of who I work with that does this repeatedly throughout the day. Yes, he is a grown man.
  6. Be Interesting. Don’t talk about work. It’s a break. Share interesting stories instead. If you don’t have a good story to share, then ask other people questions. There are some really interesting people sitting around you that do lots of things outside of the office. Do you know what they are?**

Great work people. Now go forth and eat with your cube mates.

*Perhaps you are incredibly left- or right-winged and refuse to let people share their own opinions, but you want everyone to hear about yours every lunch. Perhaps you are self-centered and eventually people want to go to lunch with somebody who is interested in how their weekend went, not just every intricate detail of yours. Or perhaps you’re a dud who just sits there and doesn’t participate. A good lunch group is a give-give relationship. You give me your Hi-C, I’ll give you my Capri Sun. Yum.

**You might NOT want to ask, though, if the outside hobbies they have are things like playing Magic or having all-night Dungeons and Dragons parties. Remember this pointer used the word, “interesting”? That’s a KEY component, people.

Episode 55: Birthdays and Work

I’ve heard a rumor around these halls at work that the time clock wishes you happy birthday. What a nice time clock.

I have NO IDEA if it’s true, though.

I don’t work on my birthday.

The very first year I celebrated my birthday while employed here, October 14th fell on a Friday. Several things happened that day: I took the day off, Daniel Craig was announced as the sixth official James Bond actor and I slept in. Later that day, I met up with Janet to make a trip down to Las Vegas because who doesn’t want to spend their birthday weekend on their feet all day moving from one store to the next, purchasing makeup you hardly use from Sephora and clothes you still wear from Urban Outfitters? Good birthday.

The next year, my birthday was on a Saturday. For some reason, though, I don’t really remember what happened that year. I probably didn’t sleep in because I had a soccer game. But again, I did not work. Oh and also, Chelsea FC’s goalkeepers both suffered serious injuries that day against Reading FC—Cech fractured his skull and Cudicini had a concussion. Defender John Terry had to finish the game as keeper.

Moving on now to 2007: My birthday fell on a Sunday. I slept in! Church didn’t start until 1:00pm. I believe at the time, I probably sat in really uncomfortable pews so I was utilizing a blow-up “back pillO.” Yep. Getting older is superb.

Bring on 2008. I planned a last minute trip with James and Maren to visit Peter and Genny! So I woke up (probably late enough to consider it sleeping in) in Portland, Oregon after spending time in Seattle and hitting up Cannon Beach the previous days. Pete had to work so the rest of us made our way to Multnomah Falls where we raced a train took a lot of pictures and hiked all the way to the top. Mighty cool birthday.

And now we’ve arrived at this year. My birthday fell on a Wednesday. Right in the middle of the week. Kind of awkward. So I just took the one day off. I woke up at 7:30 am, read a text on my phone and then remembered, I could sleep in. So I dropped my head back down on that pillow and went right back to sleeping. Once I finally did get up, I ate breakfast, did laundry, returned texts and went to the gym. Then it was back home to make soup, burn my tongue eating it, finish laundry, clean up and go over to Tracy’s to see the demolition of their kitchen and have my four-year old niece perform several happy birthday dances for me.

Jane’s happy birthday dances were incredible.

Eventually, Jane and Abe came with me to play at my house for a bit, drew all over dozens of post-it notes and stuck them on my fridge.

Dinner was at my parents’ with my siblings. Besides the great gifts, they all went around the circle and told me nice things about myself. We may tease my dad for being cheesy in his “old age,” but I sure do appreciate this new cheesy tradition we do.

After all the eating, gift opening, complimenting Larrie, and sweeping up peanut shells that were all over the kitchen floor, I went over to Kasey’s for delicious cake and celebrations with my friends.

See how great my birthday was? No working! (I briefly checked email around 3:00pm and sent one response because I was worried about anything going wrong on a project when I’m gone for ONE day.) It felt like a holiday. Larrie Day.

Birthdays at work don’t feel like holidays.

Episode 50: Fridays Used to be Capri Fridays

I kept on finding great excuses to buy new shoes: I’d started a new job; that job required closed-toe shoes; I probably needed these shoes in many different styles and colors; and then we decided to have Capri Fridays! It was Janet’s idea and, of course, I went along with it. This also meant that I now needed cute, casual sneakers to wear each week. The collection slowly started to grow: a fluorescent green pair of Diesel sneakers, a black pair of Pumas, brown, rugged J-41s.

I loved Capri Fridays and needed to share that love with others I worked with so on Thursdays, I would go around telling women (because I don’t live in Europe so no men were included, sorry) to wear their capris the next day.

I told Cindy and she just stared at me, thinking, “Why would I take style advice from you? You have fluorescent green shoes.”

I told Tammi. She laughed and replied, “I’m too white to show any part of my legs at work.”

“That doesn’t stop me,” I retorted, but my argument was futile.

I told Mzia and she said, “Okay!”

And then one day Janet left the company. It ruined Capri Fridays. Nobody around here even remembers that we once had them.

Probably because they really only existed in my world, with Janet playing along and once, several years ago, Mzia also wore her capris on a Friday.

Kind of like how nobody takes a Diet Coke Break now or excuses themselves to use the middle stall.

So instead, I tried to instigate High Five Fridays!

Do you think it stuck?

Self-Portraits of a Four-Year-Old


Submit your captions for this week’s caption contest in the comments below. Winner will be praised next week.

Jarv read the captions from last week’s contest to my family after Sunday dinner. Judging by the amount of laughter, there were many quality submissions. GOOD WORK PEOPLE. With that said, here are the top three captions judging by the amount of laughter.

First place: CLANCY! It was the little addition at the end of her comment about the tiny shovel. That was the punch line that brought out the guffaws. High five, Clanc! Note on Clancy: she’s the coolest blogging, landlording, raising childrening, Idahoan I know.

Second place: Janet. In the words of Seinfeld, coming in as 2nd place means that you’re the #1 loser. But at least you’re a funny one! Jarv even read your comment with the right pirate-y accent. Note on Janet: I miss diet coke breaks.

Third place: Emily. The good, former stake president (my dad) chuckled the most at this once, referencing the parable of the mule. Note on Emily: She’s a great blogger, too, so check her out, mmkay?

Episode 44: 20 Ways to Boost your Energy at Work

I came across a list of ways to boost your energy at work on the blog, ZenHabits. As I read through it, I thought, yeah, some of those sound like good ideas. On the other hand, some could be very dangerous. Can you realize how potent the air in IT would become if ALL OF THE PROGRAMMERS CHANGED THEIR SOCKS AFTER LUNCH? It would be worse than the when employees got sick because somebody cleaned out a fridge full of rotten food.

Feel free to follow the link above to their website and peruse their list of ways to get more energy. Or, have a look-see at MY list of ways around HERE that we try to stay alert:

  1. Attend an on-site gym class – this only works for those IT employees who don’t sweat profusely, otherwise, they might as well just change their socks.
  2. Clear your throat – only do this one if you don’t clear your throat ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY and drive your coworkers on the other side of your foamy cubicle walls NUTS.
  3. Make snow angels against the wall – seriously, try it, with your knees bent enough so that your lower back is against the wall, keep your shoulders against the wall, keep your elbows and wrists against the wall. I can’t, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, touch my hands above my head and still have them against the wall, but I found that most (normal) people CAN.
  4. Drink water – I USED to drink Diet Coke, when I USED to take Diet Coke breaks with Janet when she USED to work here; now, I drink lots of water because it’s FREE and I have to pay a mortgage so those Diet Cokes are totally OUT of the budget.
  5. Eat chocolate that you’re hiding in the back of a locked filing cabinet – enough said.
  6. Check the little basket on the outside of the developer’s cubicle wall – if it’s empty, check it again in a few minutes and then complain about there not being any treats inside.
  7. Watch the quarterly mandatory training events taking place at work – this may include fires intentionally started in the parking lot so that office workers can use fire extinguishers, watching a medical helicopter land, or watching a presentation by the police department on what their dogs can do to your arm if you smell like a criminal.
  8. Search through pictures of coworkers looking for the cute guy from the 2nd floor whose name you don’t know… yet.
  9. Go to bed at a decent hour – try this and let me know how it goes… I almost NEVER do it.
  10. Try some Provigil – I’m all out of mine so I can’t share, but that stuff will keep you awake.
  11. Take a trip to the middle stall – a bathroom break ALWAYS makes me feel better; especially when I am BM-ing like a rockstar!
  12. Don’t smoke – but feel free to watch coworkers from the window who are smoking while Conder times the length of their breaks.
  13. Play a game embedded in Excel – because work blocks games online like this paper plane flying one, but we’ve got our own version in an Excel file (meaning, not blocked); mind you, it can be addicting so only start playing about 10 minutes before it’s time to go.
  14. Run through the sprinklers – now that we’re all worried about being “green” I have no idea how you’ll find sprinklers in the middle of the day, but if you do, BY ALL MEANS, run through them.
  15. Lie on a roller and have your friend push on your shoulders – this almost always cracks my back and makes me feel mightily better. Mightily.
  16. Clean off your phone with an alcohol prep – I do this almost once a week even though I hardly get phone calls, but still, the alcohol wafting around your cube will wake you up and you’ll feel good knowing that you’ve got a sterile ear piece for when that phone does ring.
  17. Yoga – I hate when people schedule meetings during the yoga classes they offer at work because then I can’t go so instead, I go sleep in those meetings. Ah, revenge.
  18. Visit Bret and his massage chair – I just have to ignore that the onsite massages are offered by an older guy with a ‘stache and a mullet; he gives great massages regardless and they’re pretty affordable, too.
  19. Play some Frisbee – I only accomplished this ONE TIME at work and a coworker sprained her ankle when she nearly ran into a fire hydrant, but I’m still trying to find somebody who will take a short Frisbee break with me.
  20. I also have a kite in my trunk.

It’s Like Where’s Waldo, but You’re Looking for a Desk

Enter the CAPTION CONTEST now!

The Sciolist Cell Phone Pic of the Weeknot-TM is published each week with the intent to entice readers to comment. This is accomplished with a CONTEST! The winner will receive a blog nod* in the following week’s post-what a TREMENDOUS prize. Entering is easy. Just click on Comment below, fill in the identification information requested and enter your caption for the above picture as your comment. You have until Larrie posts the following Wednesday’s pic to enter.

Ready… GO!**

Last Week’s Winner: Janet. This is my shout out to her… you should hear her sing along to The Sound of Music while driving through Nephi. Beee-yootiful.

*I agree, “blog nod” is a phrase that should never be used and yet, for some strange reason, I actually typed it and even published it. Sad.

**And by GO!, I mean COMMENT!

Episode 39: Lonely Lunches

Thinking back on the nearly four years since I started with my current company, lunch has had its ups and downs. I could come up with a blog episode for each “phase” of lunch I went through. Here are some of the more memorable lunches or phases, most likely in chronological order:

  • For one of my first lunches, my boss and one of the groups that worked for her invited me to join them. I was the last in line and as I bought my tray of food, I looked up at the round table where they were sitting: it was jam-packed. “We can make room for you,” one of the guys said, shuffling in his chair until a 6-inch gap appeared. “Um, that’s okay,” I replied and sat down by one of our DBA’s, Tony. I didn’t understand why the crowded table all looked at me like I had committed social suicide. It was the most interesting lunch I’d ever eaten as I was treated to a history of databases and then invited to go for a ride with Tony on his motorcycle. I declined and returned to my desk to file things.
  • When you’re on a roll, you just keep going, even if it’s a mundane task like filing.*One day, I was on one of those roles filing employee paperwork and went to lunch around 1:30 pm. This was HOURS after the other IT geeks because they get really hungry around 11:00 am. I have since adjusted to THEIR schedule. But on that day, I ate my lunch all by myself at 1:30 and I was okay with that. We’re not in high school anymore so nobody makes fun of you for eating alone.
  • Janet and I decided to go to Gateway for lunch and do some shopping. It was a gorgeous day, Janet drove, we shopped, we ran to the “healthy” food court to grab something quick and head back as we had been gone for over an hour. We got back to the office, and both ran to our cubes. Looks like I’ll be staying a little late to make up for that. And then Janet’s boss came over and told me that she was putting me in the “house of shame.” My boss didn’t get mad at me because she figured I’d already been put in that house. Janet was in it, too. I still get reminded of that “mistake” every now and then.
  • Eventually, I took all of my lunches with the Clinical Systems group, which I also took a position with for a time. We ate at a round table, it was jam-packed, and we got a natural high by cramming as many people at it as we could. In the IT world, it’s the little things like this that you think are funny. I know-it’s sad.
  • One day our boss sat us down in a staff meeting and told us that we had to clock out for lunches since we were hourly employees. We boycotted. Our boss didn’t care; it was the company policy, not hers. We were boycotting our own lunches, not hers. She had a good point. So we ate at our desks, reading emails. Eventually, a few of us started a bet that whomever forgot to bring their lunch from home would owe everybody else lunch at Market Street. Nobody ever lost the bet. Instead, we all saved money by bringing in our PB&Js.
  • I took a new position with a different group and I was SALARIED. We actually took lunch on most days and even left for lunch many times. We would pile into people’s cars and head to Subway, Costa Vida, or Mad Greek. I enjoyed lunches except for when the conversation started to get political. I prefer not to talk politics with people who attack personally for having a different point of view.
  • Apparently, I got on somebody’s bad side. I don’t get asked to go to lunch anymore. Today, I drove, by myself, to Wendy’s. I ate, by myself, in the parking lot behind Red Robin. I drove back to work and found a close spot where I parked and took a short nap, by myself.**
  • I have a coworker who used to complain to me whenever the guys didn’t invite her to lunch. Back then, they always invited me and I told her when I went so she could come, too, even if she was bugged about it. Today, they invite her, but not me. She never says anything to me. Hmm.

*Back in the day, I had to start at the absolute bottom of the totem pole as the department’s secretary. Thankfully, that only lasted about 5 months. I could never buy my own place on that pay. Now, I make the mediocre bucks.

**I’m fine taking lunches by myself because that means I can use my break for a nap. I would never want to take naps with coworkers.

Episode 19: The Core Crew

Next week, a VERY IMPORTANT part of my workout routine will be DENIED. Clearly, when one of the project managers was scheduling testing, he DIDN’T LOOK AT MY SCHEDULE TO SEE THAT I WAS UNAVAILABLE. Doesn’t he understand that one of my most important appointments occurs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:00 a.m.? If I missed it, even once, my back gets VERY mad at me. This appointment is the abs/core class in our on-site gym. It’s only 15 minutes, but those are extremely important 15 minutes for my personal well-being.

Next week, however, I will now be stuck in el-crappo meetings Monday, Wednesday AND Friday from 9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Seriously. Do you realize how much I wanted to DECLINE the meeting request? For the sake of my back’s happiness, of course.

When I took my current position, part of the “negotiations” was demanding an expensive, ergonomic, make-the-other-coworkers-jealous chair. Yes… I DEMANDED it. Apparently, I also should have negotiated for a contract that GUARANTEES my ability to attend abs/core classes no matter what.

So to my “Core Crew” (Jason, Freddy and once a quarter, McJosh), I apologize that I will not be able to attend class with you next week. When I return the following week, I hope that I am not sad and weak around my middle section.

(P.S. To Janet: I’m sorry to say this, but I no longer tip over in this class… amazing, I know.)

I think we should make t-shirts with this as our rockin logo.

I think we should make t-shirts with this as our rockin' logo.

Episode 15 – The Difference is the Same

Three years, four months and 11 days ago, I started working at my current company as a prodigious, exceptional secretary. (And you thought we didn’t use that term as a job title anymore.) It was then that I had to depend on Diet Coke breaks with Janet to get my scoop on what was going on in the mighty IT groups for whom I was only doing their filing. She hinted at all of the humorous, bordering-on-reporting-to-HR activities in her group. One of these activities happened to be simply updating a word document with sayings from one particular team member. They called them Fredisms.

I am now in the Fredism group; nice (four positions in three years is how Larrie climbs the corporate ladder). And even though Janet has left me to take Diet Coke breaks on my own, the word document continues to get updated. After our meeting today, one more Fredism was added to the list:

“If you’re unscrewed, good for you.”

Wouldn’t you like a taste of a few more Fredisms? Here are some highlights from that cherished document—enjoy:

  • I remembered to forget.
  • Maybe Yes. Maybe Know.
  • If a tree falls in the forest and you’re not there, will it fall on you?
  • If you don’t drink, the memory of knowing things sucks.
  • The ball is now in her arena.
  • He is a giant Midget.
  • We want to be as professional as possible. In our head, we have things.
  • MaWoman (referring to a hermaphrodite)
  • It used to could. It’s no longer coulding.
  • You say but why?
  • Me and God talk all the time.
  • You should listen to me; I am like a God.
  • I am attending your school of lazy.
  • The difference is the same.