Bits and Bobs

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Been here in England for a full week and I’m having a lot of fun. And working hard.

Ok. Mostly working hard.

But sneaking in a little fun where I can.

It appears that England’s newspaper industry is still going strong, and every morning I can hardly wait to read the latest edition of the Independent, known as the i, and the local Newbury newspaper too.

I love the Brit sense of humor, and I also love the i’s ability to report every little bit of local news with both journalistic seriousness and humor. I’d read more US newspapers if they gave me a little chuckle now and again.

Here’s a few clips from just this last week.


 The Fonz and Me. That’s right, the same day I arrived, The Fonz was in town. He was visiting a primary school and promoting reading. Go Fonz! I’m not kidding when I say this was front page news.





Civic pride.This story made me laugh out loud on the train. I actually startled the young businessman sitting next to me.

It seems the mayor of a fairly small town decided that when it came time to greet the Olympic torch, she wanted to really bring forward the pride of Louth to the world.

So she dressed up as a sausage.

Read the short clip, especially the last line.





Very descriptive.As an avowed linguaphile and word nerd, I love, love, love listening to the Brits speak and their colloquialisms.

This is just the end of an article complaining about HSBC Bank’s new piped in music and adverts.

In the last two columns are the phrases “cock-up” and “crap the music altogether” that I want to use.

A lot.




“Hey boss, it looks like my team cocked-up the invoices this month, can we just crap the May payments altogether?”

I’m gonna guess US HR is gonna say no to that.


Stop or I’ll say stop again. And finally, this is my favorite. I’ve shown this photo to everyone who will look at it and even the locals shake their heads.

Here’s how I understand the story: the town of Newbury wants to cut down on people drinking way too much then getting rambunctious, so to that end, local bartenders have all agreed not to serve people who are already drunk.

Great, fair enough.

The article goes on to say, “Newbury Pubwatch has also introduced the concept of a warning letter which is hand delivered when an individual has been involved in a drink-related incident.”

Um. A letter?

That’s gonna curtail the hooliganism. I’m sure if it.






From The Top

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And the cycle starts again.

Where is my passport? Which suitcase should I use? Will I be able to sleep on the plane? Ten hours in flight, really? How many snacks should I bring? How many movies can I cram on my iPad? Ohmuhgawdinheaven I’m really doing this again?

Yup.

I’m really doing this again.

A plane ride is nigh. My third international trip in three months.

April = Singapore
May = Costa Rica

And that must mean it is June and time for travel to the UK.

A new beginning. A new trip. An old country that’s brand new to me.

Ever since I was a small child I’ve wanted to go to London. I’ve always felt a yearning to be there. Can’t explain why, but it calls to me. I’ve even blogged about my rampant anglophilia. My fave of those posts is here

When my fabulous cousin made one of his many trips, I’d read his travel journals with a mixture of envy and “I gotta get there too”.

And so I finally get to go, but it’s with less excitement and a little more pondering that I face this trip.

I think when I was a kid and fantasized about being in London, it was all double decker buses and tea and crumpets and Big Ben. Never in those dreams did I image myself trapped in a conference room for hours and hours belaboring even the smallest of points with a far too large and much too arrogant telecom company.

Beggars can’t be choosers. My company is footing the bill for airfare and a serviceable hotel for me. I will stay for two weeks in a town located about an hour outside of London. I will work my butt off on this trip, to be sure. But I also have two weekends to myself to explore.

I’m actually overwhelmed. How does one see London in just a few days! London Bridge and Parliament and 10 Downing Street and the London Eye and Piccadilly Circus and more and more and more!

Gah!

I’m nervous and daunted but underneath it all I’m also pretty happy to finally fulfill a dream!

And so as I walk around my office today making plans and wrapping up details, I hum quietly to myself a favorite Roger Miller tune:

England swings like a pendulum do,
Bobbies on bicycles, two by two,
Westminster Abbey the tower of Big Ben,
The rosy red cheeks of the little children.

Hang on! Put on your seatbelt. Keep all limbs inside the vehicle.

And awaaaaay we goooooo!





Image found at World Tourist Place.

Today’s Theme Thursday is: a new beginning



Management By Latte

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At the main campus where I work, we have a huge number of employees, so the company actually has five different cafeterias to handle the hungry hoards.

There is the “main” cafeteria that stays open through dinner time. All day long they have a full espresso coffee bar and a huge assortment of made-on-site pastries. It’s awesome!

The lady who works the espresso machine in the big cafeteria is a goddess. She can make cappuccino foam so firm, you can build a house on it. She’s fast and talented at this coffee game.

Needless to say, I adore this woman.

Recently the big cafeteria shut down for the month of June to make enhancements. That means the coffee lady and the pastries came over to do their thing in the small cafeteria on the first floor of my building.

Good news, right? The downside is that I now have to go to the cafeteria where all the workers are cranky. I mean, these folks look mad, beat down, and unhappy in there.

When I order my usual decaf latte at this small cafeteria they roll their eyes and sarcastically call out the order to the person pulling shots. That person then looks like they would rather do anything else in the whole wide world.

Since I’m usually in an all fire hurry at work and the big cafeteria is a bit of a hike away, I just endure the rolly eyes and play through.

But this past week, I noticed a change.

Subtle but important.

Here’s how it went down:

Me (to cashier): “Decaf double latte, please.”

Normally Surly Cashier: “Sure. : yelling : Mamita! Decaf doble latte, por favor!”

Coffee Goddess: “Claro, que si, mija” (with a sweet mom-like smile)

Now-not-so-surly cashier: (with a smile to me) “Three dollars please.”

Coffee Goddess then turns to see who ordered the decaf. “Oh! It’s you! Hello!”

Me: “Hi! You knew it had to be me, right? No one else orders decaf.”

Coffee Goddess: “Oh no, honey, I drink decaf too. Do you want two percent?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

And I smiled. And she smiled. And the cashier smiled. And everyone was smiling. And happy. And going about their jobs with a new sense of joy.

Could this complete change in attitude all be because of the wonderful, kind Coffee Goddess?

I watched all of this go down with my manager’s eyes and it really showed me something. Made me think about how one really negative person can make a whole work team unhappy.

That’s pretty well known, I think. The “poison apple” syndrome.

But here I saw firsthand that one really positive person can make the whole work team better. Happier. More productive.

Good stuff. And exceptionally good coffee.

When July begins and the Coffee Goddess goes back to the other cafeteria, I’ll miss her madly.

I imagine the formerly surly work team will too.







Coffee Goddess image found on Sodahead.



Am I Blue?

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Yes I’m blue.

Heck yeah I am! A blue ribbon winner, that is.

Long time readers might remember last year when I brought New Mexico cooking to my local county fair. I whipped up a batch of biscochitos, the New Mexico State Cookie, and they were awarded the blue ribbon.

This year, I decided to bring New Mexico back to the fair by entering a special “Culinary Arts” competition.

The event? Enchiladas.

Aw, yeah.

I love making my version of enchiladas with marinated chicken and Hatch green chiles. So I signed up.

Today, I was quite nervous as the judges sampled my offering and wrote notes and counted points.

And then they awarded me first place!! Whoooooo!

How I beat the guy who made his own mole sauce, I’ll never know.

But what I do know is this. Anyone who wants me to whip up a batch? It’s gonna cost you, cuz I’ve got a double blue ribbon winning kitchen.

Oh Fair New Mexico…boo yah!





Photo by Karen Fayeth and taken with an iPhone4s, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page.



I Got Some Thinking To Do

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Do you know who this guy is (the one in the middle)?

Don’t worry if you don’t, because I didn’t know who he was either before this past Wednesday.



Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth

His name is Raphael Jacquelin and he’s a pro golfer.

I took this snap while wandering the course during the last practice day before the start of the US Open.

To be perfectly honest with you, I was heading back to the fancy tent (seen in the background) where I had a fancy pass to enter and drink not really fancy, but totally free, beer. I came across this guy and another golfer, Anders Hansen, teeing off on what I think was the 18th hole at The Olympic Club.

Now, I don’t present this photo to you to show off my brand new golf knowledge.

Nope.

I display this photo and ask you to take a look at the complete sh– eating grin on this guy’s face. To be honest with you, that is not just a one-moment-in-time kind of a smile. I have a series of photos and this guy had this grin on his face from start to finish.

A little research tells me that ol’ Raphael is a good enough golfer to qualify for things like the US Open, but perhaps not a good enough golfer to win any of the majors. He’s picked up a few tournaments in Europe, but basically he plays well enough to stay in the top 150 or so golfers in the world (which, let’s be fair, is pretty damn good).

Here’s my point.

There has never been a single day on the job, whether at age sixteen, my hardworking late twenties or sitting here at my desk today where I have worn a sh– eating grin that big while I did the work that got me paid.

My job does not give me a smile that wraps around the back of my head.

Go ahead, click that photo to see. In the larger version you can inspect not only the man himself but the guy standing behind him. Grin city.

I want a gig that pays pretty well (let’s be honest, he gets cash just for finishing the event), doesn’t really stress me out and makes me smile like everything is always gonna be really all right.

I want a job like that.

How do I get a job like that?

I’ve got some thinking to do.

I’ll be in the courtesy tent quaffing Stellas until I find the answer.

Or until they kick me out.

Whichever comes first.
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By the way, I just checked the leader board for day 2 of the Open and Mr. Jacqelin is in 13th place. Not bad.



Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page.