Learning The Language In a Foreign Country

So yeah. The new job. Good job. VERY good job. Great folks. Super team.

Like it. A lot.


(Because you *knew* there was going to be a however)

This is a pretty old school type of company. Because they are so old fashioned, I’ve discovered in my short time here that the straight faced usage of corporate buzz-words is rampant.

Rampant. (just needed to emphasize that)

I would imagine these days that one couldn’t work anywhere and NOT run across the ol’ popular buzzwords, but it’s especially bad here.

“Low hanging fruit,” for example, is one of my all time least favorite expressions. I first heard it back in 1994 in Albuquerque. Yes, I remember the moment I first heard this ridiculous phrase, because I had an immediate “why would you say that” reaction to it.

Guess what I hear just about daily here in the Bay Area in 2010? Yep.

“Think outside the box” still has life.

“Think inside the box” is fairly new, and it’s bandied about a bit. It means, roughly, the old way may not be so bad anymore. (Funny how, in a financial crisis, everyone turns back to the textbooks as a way to bail themselves out.)

“That’s powerful” is one I wish wasn’t taking on life, but it is. Example: “We wrote up the workflow for that process and posted it on line. It’s very powerful.”

Yeah. No.

My super executive boss type guy dropped a “let’s form a Tiger Team” on me two days ago.

Ok. Remember Tiger Teams? I do. It was the year 1997 and I worked for Lockheed. We paid an outside consultant A LOT of money to help us form a Tiger Team to figure out why every meeting we had descended into yelling at each other.

Turns out, we were just a team of very strong personalities from vastly different disciplines (procurement, engineering, marketing, etc) and the only way we could ever get anywhere was by arguing.

So the term “Tiger Team” really makes me twitch.

But by god, I’m on a newly formed Tiger Team here at work.

There is a new bit of jargon that seems to be catching on. I hate it. Oh I hate it. Almost as much as I hate “low hanging fruit.”

Ready for it?

The phrase is….”set it and forget it.”

As in, “With that new reporting software, you can just set it and forget it. It’s so great!”


“Now that we’ve established pricing on that product, we can’t just set it and forget it. We have to keep checking the demand reports.”

So let me just say that while I’m a longtime fan of Ron Popeil and his Ronco commercials, I fully blame him for bringing this atrocity into my life.

Business people are seriously using a phrase from a dagblam infomercial for a @#$%ing chicken roaster!

Why? Why does this show up at my conference table?!?!?!?

The Good Man says he heard this phrase in use a few years back, and I believe him. It’s new to me and I sure as heck don’t want to set it, and now that everyone is using it, there’s no possible way I *can* forget it.

I guess “set it and forget it” is just a new square added to the buzzword bingo playing card.

There’d better be good prizes, because at this job, I’m gonna be winning (or is it losing) every day!

Happy Awkward Easter!

Because you didn’t ask, I decided to provide a blast from the past.

Easter, April 8, 1976 from our backyard in Albuquerque:

I’m only sorry I had to drag my siblings into this.

I’m the shortest one. You know, the one with a deathgrip on my Easter basket.

Man, I loved that dress. It had a sash and everything.

We’d been to Easter Mass that morning.

Mom had sung “Jeeeesus Chriiiiist is riiiiiisen todaaaaaay!” loudly along with the congregation and the church organ (man, she loved that song. Something about all the allelujahs.)

Ham was in the oven and the backyard Easter egg hunt was soon to begin.

I always did love Easter. A new dress. New white sandals. A basket full of candy. Yeah baby!

Anyhow, Happy Easter to all who celebrate it!


Oh, also, because no one asked, on the next page of that same photo album….

Here’s what the 1976 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta looked like:

Isn’t that just good manners?

Some days I think the world is a very strange place.

Ok, ok. Most days, I think the world is a very strange place.

And the world thinks I’m a very strange girl.

Oddly, I’m ok with that.

But I digress.

Yesterday, I went to my local Safeway to pick up a few items. As you know, I’m a total Trader Joe’s girl. Unfortunately, ol’ Joe doesn’t always have everything I need, so I have to supplement with Safeway (and I feel like I’m cheating).

Anyhow, I took my few purchases to the register, and as I stepped up to take my turn, the checkout guy said, “Hi! How are you doing?”

To which I replied, “I’m fine, thank you. How are you doing today?”

And he responded, “I’m good. Wow, thank you SO much for asking!”

Which brought me up short.

An exuberant “thank you for asking”?

Would imply that most people don’t even bother to ask?

Which really seems rather rude to me.

I mean, I’m no Miss Manners, but my parents did actually teach me my “please and thank you’s”.

I’m not saying we have to go back to old school overly mannered and behaved, but some simple courtesy is a nice thing. A good thing. A missing thing…what’s that old saying? Gone the way of the Dodo bird?

Sure, I may burp in unfortunate locations and situations, sometimes. And I might, though rarely, yell inappropriate things out the car window.

But damn it! I know how to say please and thank you, and I’m polite enough to inquire as to how a nice hardworking grocery store clerk’s day might be going.

I’m just like that.

Cuz I was raised that way.

Why again aren’t people raised that way anymore?

Please have what and mistletoe?

I’m a confirmed child of the West. I’ve lived all my years well to the left of the state of Texas.

As such, that means that these concepts of “winter” and “Christmas” mean a little something different than they do in all the songs I’ve been listening to today.

Yes, I admit, I succumbed to Christmas music today.

Ever since I was a kid, while I did like the ol’ Christmas tunes, I pondered about how many of them didn’t apply. And it’s not just about the weather.

Let’s take a look:

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” Yes. But not here.

It was over 60 degrees today.

“Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh…”

Well. Again. No snow.

No horses dashing around much either.

“Frosty the Snowman.” Nope.

However, there used to be a house in Albuquerque that had a flocked tumbleweed snowman in their yard every year, so this is a maybe…

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

I don’t even know what the hell that means.

Marshmallows roasting on an open fire? Yes please! With chocolate and graham cracker.

As an aside…to celebrate the anniversary of the day we met, The Good Man took me to stay in a Ritz Carlton Hotel at the beach. It is a beautiful and very high class establishment. One of the features of our room was a fire pit on the back porch, intended, I’m sure, to sit by, stay warm, and gaze romantically at the ocean.

To show just how classy we are, we cooked marshmallows over that fire pit…. One of the best nights of my life!

But I digress.

“Tis the season to be jolly…fa la la la, la la la la…”

Um. Huh? Cuz I’m looking around at all my fellow mankind and I can tell you that “jolly” is *not* what people are feeling this season.

“Fa la la la bite me” is more the mood out there.

“We three king of Orient are, sharing gifts we travel so far…” Well. Ahem. “Orient” isn’t really politically correct these days.

“We three kings of the Pacific Rim” or “We three kings of AsiaPac” is probably more appropriate.

“Silent night, holy night” Hmph. Silent, eh?

Not after I’ve had a couple glasses of holiday cheer. Nope, then it’s snoring night, drooling night. I sure can’t handle the booze anymore…

But when it comes to good old fashioned spiked egg nog, I’m helpless.

So for The Good Man, ain’t no silent.

“Silver bells, it’s Christmastime in the city.”

Ok. Sure. Those Salvation Army guys and gals are working the bells. I’ll give you that one. Check.

We got one.

I won’t EVEN go down the list from the Twelve Days of Christmas.

But if my true love gave me swans, French hens, partridges, milk maids, leaping lords and pretty much any of the items other than the five gold rings, we might have to have a little conversation about “did you keep the receipt.”

And that little drummer boy can take his pah-rumpa-pum-pum up with the judge because I’m calling in a noise complaint!

Which pretty much leaves us with “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

Fair enough!

Recycled Conversations

So the conversation goes like this:

“Hey, do we have any WD-40?”

“Yeah, I think so, why?”

“Where would it be? I want to fix the squeak in that [curse word] bathroom door.”

“Oh. Yeah, it’s probably in that same cabinet where we keep the toolbox.”

“Ah, ok.” sounds of digging around “Found it!”

sounds of more cursing, spraying, door swinging back and forth

Yeah, see, this conversation in a similar form took place on more than occasion between my mom and dad.

The ol’ man was hell on squeaks, rattles, and turning off lights when you left a room.

And he was all about the WD-40.

The conversation above? Took place in my home this past weekend.

Only, it was me cursing at the bathroom door, maniacal look on my face as I eliminated the squeak.

So why again is it as you age, you become your parents?

And why again am I becoming my father?

When I start wearing Sears brand jeans and listening to Big Band music, you all have my permission to take me down, Mutual of Omaha-style.

Damn bathroom door is pretty quiet now, though.