In Which My Victorian Side Emerges

Ok, ok, I admit I was raised in a pretty strict Catholic family, but I don’t really consider myself to be that uptight.

In fact, I’m a fairly laid back cat in a lot of ways. I laugh at dirty jokes. I *tell* dirty jokes and I have enough street smarts to make it through life just fine.

Generally I believe live and let live. It’s all good.

Ok. Now that we’ve laid that groundwork.

There is something going on at work that has my Puritanical lace handkerchief all in a ruffle.

It’s really in my craw, and so I’m going to use my blog to have some group therapy.

Ok. Here we go.

This is the breakroom on my floor here at work.

Your everyday average office breakroom, right? Coffee. Tea. Microwave. Sink for rinsing out your dishes.


Across the hall from the breakroom is the “mom’s room” where ladies who are breastfeeding their babies can go, have a quiet moment, and pump.

Great. I’m all for that. I think it’s fantastic that my company has set aside this resource strictly for working moms.

And it’s convenient that the women who use this room have the sink nearby to wash up their gear and get it ready for the next use. Perfect.



Let’s zoom in a bit on that last photo.

One of the ladies rinses out her pumping supplies and leaves them on the counter to air dry.

In the public breakroom. Right by the coffee maker (usually. Not in this photo.)

Yesterday, she set them to dry on the same paper towel that held the coffee cup belonging to Mr. Big Boss. They were touching his coffee mug.

Her boobs were just in there, you know. AND…I know who it is who is doing this, so it makes it seem even weirder. I try not to think about my coworkers boobs.

I am really struggling with this. I utterly support a woman’s right to breastfeed her baby, and be a working woman, and use the resources in the office.

But do I have to reach over this to get myself a tea bag and a packet of Splenda?

Her boobs were just in there!

I believe if it were me, I’d want to take the boob couplers with me back to my office to dry. I mean….who KNOWS what people are doing in there around your boob dealies? What if someone splashes their lunch on there? Or…touches them?

I know. I know. This betrays the “laid back” attitude I described above.

But this just drives me bonkers.

Thanks for letting me talk about it. I’ll get over it.

I feel better now.

When In Rome…

I’ve spent the past several days at another location of my company. It’s a smaller location, but the offices are very nice and the people are incredible.

It’s weird being in my own company yet still being the outsider. People have to show the way to both the restrooms and the break rooms so that I can make it through these crazy busy days.

Since this is a different location, all their stuff is different. I mean, it’s deceptive. That looks like the same coffee machine, but really, it’s not. It makes different coffee in a different way (pods vs filters here) and though the desk phones are the same make and model, how you dial out is different.

Ok, fine. I’m adaptable. I’m learning.

But there is one area where I’m a little concerned. It seems such a small thing…and yet.

Let me explain.

As any hardworking gal should, I try to drink a lot of water during my day. Keeps the old brain sponge hydrated and running clean.

I carry my own metal water bottle so I can have water on hand at all times. When empty, I simply fill up this bottle from the company’s water dispenser and keep sipping away.

They use a different kind of water dispenser here at this facility. It connects to the water supply out of the wall instead of using an upside down bottle. It looks a little something like this:

Ok, fine. Your common everyday water filter and dispenser. Great.


This one has three taps you must choose from to get your H2O.

Here’s what I mean:

Now, I realize I’m not the sharpest knife in the company drawer, but I think I can mostly work this out.

The one on the left with the red droplets; that must mean hot water, right? For tea and instant coffee.

The one on the right featuring the blue droplets must be cold water. Fine. Good.

But what about that one in the middle?

With the, uh, grey water droplets?

Isn’t gray water a sort of bad thing? As in, don’t drink it?

Are they really piping water from the bathroom sinks and laundry room through this dispenser?

And if so….ew.

Ok, I know, I know. The middle nozzle is intended to be warmish water or room temperature. At least I think so, anyway.

But I have to say, I avoid that middle nozzle

You never can tell. Maybe these people are all so chipper because they’re all just really sedated by all the contaminants in their water.

I go back to the Bay Area tonight and my simple two nozzle water system. These new fangled things are just too complicated for a simple minded gal like me.

The Tool is Not The Art

Sitting in my inbox is an invitation to join a professional association. For the tidy sum of 130 Euros (about $188 USD) I get membership, subscription to a magazine, access to networking, and as a special gift, I get a Moleskine notebook.

The ad copy reads “synonymous with quality, travel, imagination and personal identity, this notebook is a perfect companion – wherever you find inspiration or a new idea.

Even the webpage for Moleskine refers to their product as “legendary notebooks,” noting that Hemingway, Van Gogh and Matisse all used Moleskines for their creative endeavors.

I think it’s generally agreed that the Moleskine notebook is the gold standard for artists and intellectuals and such…


So why do I have *such* a mental block about using these particular notebooks? I mean, I use a LOT of different notebooks in the course of my day, but something about the Moleskine brand itself makes me want to rebel and shout and say “No, no, no! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!”

I want to buy a dollar store composition book and write the greatest tome that ever existed. I wish to make my 9×6 Mead college ruled notebook the new, best standard! Hell, I can create wonderful poetry on torn piece of brown paper bag!



I guess I bristle at the marketing-driven hipster idea that 1) you aren’t a real artist unless you use a Moleskine and 2) by having a Moleskine, that makes automatically makes you an artist.

Plus, they are freaking expensive. A 5×8, 240 page Moleskine is almost $10 on Amazon. And you can’t even angstily tear out a page because of the way its bound, the whole thing gets all jacked up if you rip a page out.

A Mead 5-Star 9×6 college ruled notebook with 180 pages is about $6.00 from Staples. Less if you pick up a bunch on sale. Rip pages out to your heart’s content.

Much more starving artist credibility, if you ask me.

I know, I know. The answer to all of this is, “Then don’t use Moleskines, Crazy Ass (<- my original Indian name)" Ok, by this point are you wondering just what's the point of this blog post? Yeah, me too. I guess the fight went out of me after I typed all those capitalized letters. Oh no wait, no, I got it: The artist makes the tools work. The tools don't make the artist work. If ya wanna use a Moleskine, use a Moleskine. You still have to put pen to paper and make it art.

I love how four years of writing this blog really starts to show the themes that run inside of me. While choosing tags for this post, I was surprised to find that “office supplies” has already been used as a tag. Call me (not) unpredictable…..

The Universal Tech Support Answer

Today, I reached my wits end with my desk phone at work.

I am on conference calls at least half of the working hours of every day on calls with the UK, South America, Hong Kong, and Australia, and many points in between.

My phone decided, in the midst of an already trying day, to act up. I’d push the number 4, it would show onscreen that I’d inputted 4444.

I’d hit speakerphone button just once and it would come on, go off, come on, go off, come on, go off, etc.

This creates a bit of trouble when one is dialing an overseas number.

For example, to call Britain, one must dial 011 then 44 and then the person’s phone number.

So with this buy-one-get-four free plan my phone seems to favor, I would not even be to the actual person’s number, and my phone would think I had punched in



And yet again I say GAH!

I tried a number of different creative ways to get my numbers dialed. I tried mashing the buttons really hard. Nope. I tried hitting them very lightly. Sort of success.

I found that using a pen to dial and hitting the numbers very fast seemed to work. At least enough to get into scheduled conference calls (though it would take five or six tries).

But come ON here people! This is no way to conduct business!

So when I had a gap in meetings, I went online and raised an IT trouble ticket.

I expected it would take a week to hear back as one person’s desk phone crying in the dark isn’t enough to rouse the passions of the IT department.

Imagine my surprise when I got a call some four hours later from an actual person with actual knowledge of the issue.

Yes! Hello good sir! What can be done!?

His recommended fix? Power cycle the phone.

That’s it. Unplug it. Plug it back in. Should be fine.

I then applied a smack to my own forehead. Of course! I should have thought of that first.

The Universal IT fix for whatever ails you. Power off, power on.

What the systems administrators in my old team used to call “bouncing the machine”

So I bounced the phone. It’s back on line and working fine. We’re back to a one for one button press to digit input value.

Now if I could only get my nerves to be as docile.


And a mental note to self: Always try bouncing the machine first.

Sometimes These Things Happen

As the world continues to turn, I sometimes find it necessary to put out updates to recently published posts.

Things change, you know how it goes.

So let’s recall my post giving love to the label makers.

We turn now to the first week of my new gig. On day one, I was informed of the “corporate culture of cost savings.”

Once fully briefed on how much cheap is appreciated, I was directed to the office supply cabinet to see what I could dredge up. I had to “make it work” before any new orders would be approved.

Well, that’s fine by me. I’m a big fan of office supplies, even used office supplies, so I dove right in.

I found a very usable Swingline stapler, a tape dispenser, a new box of binder clips and though I had to dig around a bit, but I also found a staple puller.

So far so good!

There, in the back of the drawer, piled under a stack of notebooks and used binders, I found this fella:

It’s a…a…*gasp*…LABEL MACHINE!

Right there. In the supply drawer. An orphan! Just waiting for a nice girl like me to take it and clean it up and love it like a good label making machine deserves to be loved!

I snagged it up, clutched it to my heart and spirited it away to my office.

There was even a half-full label tape cartridge in there! Yes!

I plugged it in and gave it a test drive.

But this is where the story gets sad.

It would appear that this ol’ soldier has seen better days.

Despite the flashy “black on gold” label tape in there (how disco!), it seems that the little turn wheels that push the tape through the printer are busted.

In short, he cannot make any more labels.

I tried to fix it. Even busted down office supplies deserve their due!

No luck.

We just have to let him go gently into that good night. He can now go and rest easy where the old and broken office equipment goes to die. Some call it office recycling, I call it a final resting place.

Goodbye big fella! I know once you made labels that shined like the sun. It’s time to hang up the ol’ cartridge and call it a day.

*sniff* He was a hero to manila files everywhere.


So…do you think this means I can order a new one…….?