Thursday, December 15, 2011

Save the Birds

(As I'm leaving the office I pass Lenore coming in later than usual.  She has a plastic six pack ring and has put her hand through one of the rings.)

Me: Good morning!  You're coming in late.

Lenore: Oh, I know.  I lost my keys and just found them so now I'm here.

Me: (pointing to the six pack ring around her wrist) That's a great bracelet.  You just need a garbage bag purse to go with it.

L: Huh?  Haven't you seen these?  It's for soda pop.

Me: No it's not.  It's jewelery.  Sometimes six of my Diet Pepsis get stuck in them.  Such a bother.

(Lenore looks confused.)

Me: I'm kidding.  It looks like you got caught in it.

L: No, no, it's just around my wrist for carrying.  I can take it off whenever I want.  I found it outside and brought it in so I could cut it up and save a bird or two.  You know.

Me: Maybe you could catch a six pack of birds?

L: No!  That would be awful.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lenore Wants a Dutch Oven, Part 2

(Two weeks later.  I am sitting in my office talking to boss, Dave, and co-worker, Kevin.  Lenore trundles in front of my doorway pulling a small handcart with a box on it.)

Lenore: (interrupting) Look what I got.

Me: Is that the stationary we ordered?

L: No. Guess again.

Dave: Paper or something?

Me: Yeah, paper.  Is it paper?

L: (disappointed) No.  It's my cooking thing.

Me: Oh, your dutch oven.

L: Yes!  My dutch oven.  I just got it.

Dave: (to Kevin)  Like a fart under the sheets?

Kevin: (shrugging) I guess.  I give them to my wife all the time. 

Me: (to Lenore) Can I see it?

(I get up and go to Lenore's desk.  She struggles to get the pot out of the box and after several minutes of fussing with tape and packaging padding, she pulls it out and marvels at it.)

Lenore: Isn't that just, I don't know...beautiful!  Wow.

Me: Yeah, it's great.

(We talk about cooking for 10 minutes before she finally says she wants to put the dutch oven out in her car.  I offer to help.  Cut to minutes later, in a nearby lot Lenore and I are standing outside of her dinged and dirty Honda.  She fiddles with the lock of the truck and when she finally opens it, the space is filled with stacks of old magazines, plastic shopping bags, dirty clothes, rope, cans of soda, a small broken lamp, etc.  Lenore roots around in the mess and makes some space for the dutch oven.)

Me: I don't think that's going to fit in there--

(Ignoring me, Lenore, with some unforeseen strength, slams the truck door down smashing everything protruding from it.)

Me: Okay.  Nevermind.

(Back in my office, Dave and Kevin are still sitting around talking about dutch ovens.  Lenore goes to her desk and I to mine.)

Dave: So you gave Lenore a dutch oven?

Me: No, she bought it.

Kevin: I could give her one for free right now.  Hurry before it gets away.

(Dave and Kevin chuckle.)

Me: I'm sure she'd love that.

Dave: So what was in that box?

Me: In the one Lenore had?  (slowly) A dutch oven.

Kevin:  You can buy those in a box? (chuckles)

Me: Yes, for cooking.

Dave: Isn't that just a regular pot, then?

Me: A dutch oven is a cast iron pot with a heavy lid. 

Kevin: Named after farting?

Me: What? No.  You cook with it.  Are we really going there?

Kevin:  I've never heard of it.  My wife does all the cooking.

Me: Well, if you helped in the kitchen, you might know more than how to stink up a bed.


Me - 1
Kevin - 0
Dave - 0



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lenore Wants a Dutch Oven, Part 1

(Lenore comes into my office.  I'm at my desk typing.)

Lenore: Hello mister.  Do you know how to cook brisket?

Me: Uh, no, but I bet I could figure it out.

L: Debbie was telling me about an iron or heavy metal type of pot for the oven and everything.  It does brisket.

Me: Like an iron clad skillet or something?

L: Does that have a top for it?

Me: Oh, a dutch oven?

L: Wha--what's it called again?

Me: A. Dutch. Oven.

L: (snaps fingers) Yes!  That's exactly it.  Aren't they heavy?

Me: Oh, I guess.  Not too bad.  They'll last you forever though.

L: I don't know how I'll carry it to my car if it's heavy.  You know, I just can't...(makes gesture like she's lifting something as heavy as a year old child and gives up mid-lift).

Me: Just ask a clerk to help you bring it out to your car.  You know, when you buy it.

L: But then I don't know how I'll get it out of my car when I get home either.  Maybe I'll bring a cart or something.

Me: I don't know if they're that heavy.  Maybe like 10 pounds.

L: Too heavy.

Me: Okay, how are you going to cook with it?  I mean, you can't carry it from the store to your car, you can't carry it from your car to your house, how are you going to pick it up and put it in your oven?  How are you even going to get it out of the box?  You're acting like it's an anvil.

L: I can have someone help me put it in the stove.  Or I'll just leave it on the stove and use it and clean it from time to time.  Are they hard to clean?

Me: Lenore.  Just order a pizza.  This sounds too complicated. 

L: I want a dutch oven.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

And It Has Pockets

(I walk up to Lenore's desk to check my mail and notice a large, ratty scarf with patch pockets strewn across a nearby chair.)

Me: Is that your scarf?

Lenore: Yes.  Do you like it?

Me: Uh, sure, it's nice.

(Lenore picks up scarf, puts it around her neck to model.)

L: You know what else?  Lemme show you.  It has pockets.

Me: (nonplussed) Hm.

L: What?  You don't think that's cool?  I've never, in all my life, seen a scarf that has pockets in it.

Me: Oh, I guess I haven't either.  Very cool.

L: You know what it's good for?  You can put your hands in it, like this.  It keeps them warm.

Me: Nice.  I just put my hands in my pants' pockets or just wear gloves.

L: Well, you can do that too but if you don't have those things you can do this.  (puts her hands in the scarf pockets and waves)  See?

Me: Oh, you can wave?  Nice.

L: Yeah, if you see someone you know or need to get a taxi.  I don't know.  (waves some more)  I like it.  Hello!

Me: Oh, yeah, I guess that could be useful.

L: I can also use it to open doors, you know, in case there are lots of germs on the handles from people who don't wash their hands.

Me: Don't you then wrap that pocket-end around your neck by your mouth?

L: No, I usually keep these ends down for my hands.  And sometimes I put my keys in there so I don't have to look for them in my bag.  But I have to remember they're in there or I will do this (sweeps one end of scarf over her shoulder) and the keys will come around and hit me.

Me: Ouch.

L: Ouch is right.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


(Elle and I are working and Lenore comes into our office with a bag of chips.)

Lenore: Quieres a Guacachip?

Me: A what?  (reading bag) Guac-a-chip.

L: They are made of guacamole and chips.

Me: Oh, I guess that makes sense.

(I take a chip and eat it.)

L: Yummo, right?

Me: Yeah, they're pretty good.

Elle: Can I try one?

L: Sure!

(Elle takes a chip and eats it.)

Elle: Mmm, those are pretty good and they're called what?

L: (quickly) Guacachip.

Elle: Thank you.

Me: Thank you.

(Lenore leaves with the chips.)

Elle: That is the dumbest name for chips.

Me: But at the same time, adds up.

Elle: It's still dumb.

(Twenty minutes later.)

Elle: I want another Guacachip. 


Monday, August 22, 2011

Schmear Campaign

This morning we had our monthly birthday celebration which isn't a celebration at all but a meeting where we write the names of the birthday boy or girl on a whiteboard and eat bagels in their honor...but only after singing 'Happy Birthday' with the gusto of an indoor wind chime.  And there are always leftover bagels to nibble on throughout the rest of the day.

(Lenore steps into the doorway of my office.)

Lenore: Hey mister, there's bagels left from the meeting if you want some.

Me: No, thank you.

L: There's plain and a raisin kind and I think onion. And also an herb schmear and one with salmon bits. Oh, and there's plain and lite.

Me: Is there a pap-schmear?

L: Ah, a what? I don't think so. Do you want me to go check?

Me: No, Lenore, no, I was joking.

L: Okay, well there's other kinds if they don't have the kind you like.

Me: I don't want any, but thank you for letting me know.

L: If you change your mind. They're in there.


Originally posted December 3, 2010

Friday, August 19, 2011

That's A Sheep

(Morning. I am walking by Lenore's desk and notice she has a wilted flower pinned to her shirt.)

Me: Good morning.  I like your flower.

Lenore: Oh, this?  Isn't it pretty?  Well, it was a few days ago.  (smells flower)  I got it at Debbie's [co-worker] baby shower.  I thought, it's Friday, why not put it on, right?

Me: Yeah, I guess. 

L: Hey, I've been meaning to ask you, did you have animals on your farm, er, uh, the one you were on growing up?

Me: Oh, uh, yeah, we had chickens--

L: (overjoyed) Chickens!

Me: ...and horses and pigs--

L: Pigs too!  Wow!

Me: ...and now there are two goats on the farm.

L: Baaaaaa!

Me: No, that's a sheep sound.

L: Oh, it is?  What sounds do goats make?

Me: I don't know, they kind of sound like children crying out, I guess.

L: (horrified)  Really?  That's just, um, I don't know.  And they don't baaaaa?

Me: No, they waaaaaah!

L: I just think it's great that you grew up with animals.  You know, people don't know anything about that sort of stuff in the city.

Me: No, I guess not.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

You're Starting To Offend Me

You're typical omnivore office worker is more likely to show more compassion for a deathrow inmate than a vegan donut. 

"Bleeech!  What's wrong with these?" Lindsey in gift-processing said after dumping her partially eaten pastry in the trash with the level of disgust you might put forth when shaking a dead worm from your finger.  Continuing to wipe her tongue clean of masticated donut with a paper towel roughly torn from its roll, she added, "Who would bother bringing a whole box of those in here?  Gross."

FlapJane would. 

FlapJane has very peculiar eating habits; eating sugary and breaded foods one day and a handful of nuts and berries the next.  Over the years of working with her I have to applaud her efforts to eat more like a squirrel and less like a midwesterner.  It's not easy, especially in office culture.  But she loves vegan donuts.  At least, that is what I learned today.  And she brought a box of them in this morning to share with the office staff.

Rewind to right before anyone knew who had purposefully insulted our pallets with a food, free of animal byproducts: I had to check in with my boss about day-to-day office stuff.  As I was wrapping up my questions I turned to leave his office and asked, "Where did those donuts come from?  They tasted weird."

"They're left over from a meeting."

"A meeting of people without tongues?  The donuts just didn't taste very good," I continued.  "Something wasn't right."

"FlapJane ordered them.  They're vegan or something."  Then, yelling to FlapJane who sits within earshot, "Hey FlapJane, where did you get those donuts?"

"Huh," she said, pulling her earbuds out of her ears.

"Urgh, you brought those in?  They were awful," came a voice from a nearby cubicle.  "I couldn't finish mine," came another.  "I put it in the trash!"

My boss repeated the question, yelling out his door from his chair, "Were those donuts vegan?"

"Yeah," FlapJane said sheepishly.  "You didn't like them?"  A chorus of "no's" came from around the bullpen of desks.  FlapJane looked deflated.  At the heart of it, she had done a nice thing for us all.  But food can be a personal thing for some people.  Many of us take offense when we try to eat something we might recognize as one thing and our tongues recognize as crap, furiously wanting it aborted from our mouths.  If you've ever once substituted brown rice pasta into your child's traditional spaghetti, you know what I'm talking about.

Feeling bad and wanting to come to FlapJane's defense, I tried to soften the blow.  "Yeah, they weren't horrible, just didn't taste very good, and I like lots of vegan sweets.  Maybe it was a bad batch." 

Then, Gregory, who is as mean and offensive as his crop-dusting, came over.  "What's a vegan donut?  What's the point?"

"I really love them.  They were left over from a meeting this morning," FlapJane said. 

"Were they leftover because they were extra or because no one liked them?" Gregory pushed as he scratched his bare belly through an opening in his button-down shirt. 

"I don't know.  You're starting to offend me."  People slowly started to gather, peeking their heads over their cubicles like meerkats looking out for a bird of prey.  "Don't eat them if you don't like them." 

"Thanks.  We won't," Gregory said with finality as he pivoted on one heel and went back to watching YouTube at his desk.

And just when I was feeling sorry for FlapJane she defiantly said, "This is what I like to eat.  The donuts you bring don't taste good to me and make everyone here overweight."  (I should mention here that FlapJane is the size of a whippet and no one likes to be nipped at by a whippet.)  Playful ribbing quickly went south.  Her statement wasn't a direct attack on anyone's figure per se, but we all felt shamed.  The women in their Talbots and Lane Bryant blouses slowly lowered back in their seats.  The few men that were listening in, threw back their heads and went for more coffee.  I headed back to my office (I had important blogging to do).

I don't have any problem with a vegan diet and as someone who enjoys cooking, I love the challenge of preparing any dish that calls for a substitution or limits the use of traditional ingredients.  It keeps things interesting.  Mixes things up.  But, in that mixing I would never verbally shame someone else for using butter instead of margarine, frozen over fresh or comment on their food choices in relationship to their bodies.  That's what the arts of being polite or quietly-judging-and-outwardly-smiling is all about--arts I feel must be forced down FlapJane's throat, even if she doesn't care for the taste.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Push Ethan Around Again

I often have to work with Ethan, one of our student assistants, designing our marketing materials.  It can be a very tedious, back-and-forth endeavor.  Being the gullible, easy target that Ethan is, I cannot resist pushing him around to pass the time.  It makes my day fun and I don't care what it makes of his day. 

From: Rxxx Jxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Ethan Bxxxxxx
Subject: Eblast for Ian Kxxxxx 

Hi Ethan,

Attached to this email is copy for the Ian Kxxxxx invite plus his picture [see below].  Can you please assemble an eblast and send me a proof this afternoon...that is, if Farmville can spare you.  Get your chicken coop another time.

[Word attachment, jpg]

From: Ethan Bxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Rxxx Jxxxx
Subject: RE: Eblast for Ian Kxxxxx   

hahaha...i dont play that stuff 

From: Ethan Bxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Rxxx Jxxxx
Subject: RE: RE: Eblast for Ian Kxxxxx   

How about this?

[proof attached, cannot post here] 

From: Rxxx Jxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Ethan Bxxxxxx
Subject: RE: RE: RE: Eblast for Ian Kxxxxx  


That's a good start for a farmer or maybe one of your farm goats but I need you to take this seriously.  Try harder and make this look like it is coming from a professional, not a cow.


From: Rxxx Jxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Ethan Bxxxxxx
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Eblast for Ian Kxxxxx   


One more thing...could you make Ian look like he's smiling.  I don't care for his smirk.  What do you think?

Very interested in knowing your thoughts,


From: Ethan Bxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Rxxx Jxxxx
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Eblast for Ian Kxxxxx  

What??? How should I make him smile?  is this like the flowr thing with the bald guy before? 

From: Rxxx Jxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Ethan Bxxxxxx
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Eblast for Ian Kxxxxx
Ethan, Ethan, Ethan,

I don't know what "flowr" thing you're talking about.  Is a "flowr" something you grow on Farmville?  Bring me some.  Tomorrow preferably.  Today we have to WERK!  (In Officeville.)  The main goal is to make Ian happy.  But first me.  In that order.  I hope that didn't confuse you. 

 To do:
1. make Rxxx happy
2. make Ian happy

Attached are some smiles I'm fond of.  You are welcome to use one of these, all of these or find your own. 

[jpg attachments]


From: Ethan Bxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Rxxx Jxxxx


From: Rxxx Jxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Ethan Bxxxxxx
Subject: Your work is so important to this university 


This is perfect.  I've sent it along to [the boss] who said he loves, loVES, LOVES what you've done.  He asked if you could touch up some of his wedding photos.  It seems his brother showed up for his wedding drunk (can you imagine getting drunk?) and made everyone upset and feel out of sorts.  As a result, many members of the wedding party looked downtrodden in photos.  Please help him.

Also, I would love it if you could give Ian some hair.  I can see my face in his forehead. 

Grow some hair farmer Ethan,

"You've got a light in you boy!  Let it shine!"
-Strictly Ballroom 

From: Ethan Bxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
To: Rxxx Jxxxx
Subject: RE: Your work is so important to this university

Blinded By The Invite

I'm helping put together a Golden Reunion to celebrate alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago.  Every year I inevitably end up on the phone with some kind older man or woman who wants to reminisce about their time on the university campus and/or tell me about a recent hip replacement surgery.

Late last week we sent out a save the date card and have slowing been getting responses like, "Thank you for putting this together," and, "I can't wait to see the school again after all these years."  But my favorite was an email that came in over the weekend:

From: Rxx Jxxxx []
Sent: Sunday, August 14, 2011 1:00 PM
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
RE: Save the Date!
Thanks for the invitation, if i wasn't blind and could drive the 150 miles,k I would be there...Thanks again and have a greeat time...Rxx Jxxxx

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lenore's Big Cherry

(I'm checking my mail, which happens to be near Lenore's desk.  She is busy eating some sugary chocolate thing I cannot identify.  Some of the chocolate is on her face.)

Lenore: Hey, have you ever tried a Big Cherry?

Me: Excuse me?

L: Big Cherry. They were my favorite as a kid.  I used to buy four or five of them at once and just eat them.

Me: Hmm.  I've never heard of them.  And they're called Big Cherry?

(Lenore digs around in her garbage and eventually finds the messy wrapper from her Big Cherry.  She hands it to me.)

L: Yeah, Big Cherry.  Look 'em up.  You'll love 'em.


Never in My Life!

(Lenore comes into my office.  She is wearing her Land's End jacket and dragging her purse behind her.  My student assistant, Travis, is "working" at his desk nearby.)

Lenore: Can I just tell you something?

Me: Yes.  What's up?

L: In all my years working here, never in my life have Ellen [an assistant who sometimes answers office phone when Lenore is away] and I gone to lunch together.

Me: Wow.

L: And today we are.

Me: Good.

L: Can you believe we've never gone to lunch together?  Never!

(Main office phone rings in background, no one answers.)

Me: No.  That's unbelieveable.

L: I know.  Oh, (to Travis) I have your paycheck.  It's on my desk.

Travis: Can I get it now?

L: (grumbling) Uh, er, I'm leaving.

Travis: Isn't it just on your desk?  I can grab it.

(Main office phone rings again and no one answers.)

L: Well, I don't know it's, just, I'm leaving right now.

Travis: When will you be back?  Can't we just grab it real quick?  Is it locked up or something?  (laughs)

L: Fine.  I guess we can get it.

(Lenore and Travis head to her desk and a second later Travis comes back into my office with his paycheck in hand.  He rolls his eyes.  Lenore walks by door of my office before she heads out.  Main office phone rings.)

L: Okay, so Ellen and I are leaving.  So don't forget.

Me: Don't forget that you're leaving?

L: No, to answer the phones.  Nobody will be here.

Me: Oh, (hurried, picks up phone) Hello, University Development...

(Lenore waves goodbye and exits with Ellen.)


There's Banana Cake In Kitchen*

(Morning. Lenore walks into my office.)

Lenore: Excuse me, mister. Guess what?

Me: (making facial gesture, eyebrows raised with interest, encouraging her to go on with her thought) ...

L: Guess.

Me: I don't know, someone brought in cookies or something?

L: (amazed) Did you see in the kitchen already? Wow!

Me: No. You always tell me when there's cookies or cake in the kitchen.

L: I thought you saw it. Let me tell you something, it's banana cake and guess what else? Alena [who is a new employee] made it herself. With bananas and chocolate.

Me: Really.

L: And it is sooooo so yum.

Me: Sounds good. I make mine with peanut butter cups.

L: What?!

Me: Yup, I always use one more banana than the recipe calls for and add chopped-up peanut butter cups.

L: And then what?

Me: And then I mix it up and bake it.

L: Really, that's it? Not flour or sugar or any of that other stuff?

Me: Well, yes, of course, all the normal ingredients.

L: Really! What's that recipe? Tell me again.

Me: (slowly) One extra banana and peanut butter cups, chopped-up.

Le: And what else?

Me: The normal stuff.

L: (not writing anything down) Uh-huh?

Me: Uh, let's see, flour, sugar, baking soda, and butter, vanilla, um, an egg and...

L: (waving her hand in the air) That's too much for me to remember. Anyway, you should try Alena's banana cake. It's just normal banana cake and it's really yum.


*At the time of writing this Lenore let me know she'd already eaten 3 healthy pieces.

Originally posted March 23, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Do Nut Touch

There are few faux pas that evoke disgust in all Americans.  Some of us are enraged by hot-button political issues while others don't have the energy to mind.  Some of us find a person not giving up their seat on public transport to an elderly person offensive, while others are too engrossed with their Kindels to lift a brow.  But cut a donut improperly and you'll have conservatives and liberals, young and old, black and white, dogs and cats drop what they're doing and all yell foul. 

FlapJane (a.k.a. Donut Top) is an officious, short, curly-headed, foreign-born transplant in my office who, despite her 26+ years of living in the United States has failed to grasp the concept of donut-cutting etiquette.  As with many workplaces in the morning, mine has a common area that is often stocked with a pink box of mixed donuts; glazed, old-fashioned chocolate, hot pink frosting with sprinkles, maple bars, jelly, powdered--all the favorites.  You want a donut?  Take one.  You want half a donut?  Take half.  But which half?

I first discovered FlapJane's faux pas a year or more ago.  I was retrieving some carrot sticks from the refrigerator when I happened upon her, mangling an old fashioned chocolate glazed and sprinkles donut with a cheap plastic knife.  More specifically, she was cutting it in half like you would a bagel, horizontally through the middle rather than, like a sandwich, down through the top.  "What are you doing?" I asked offensively and quick as if something were on fire.

"I'm cutting a donut," she said shortly.  "I only want half."

"But why are you cutting it like that and not down the middle?"

"I don't like the bottom part, just the stuff on top," she said without looking at me in the eye.

"But that's the part everyone likes!  Cut it down the middle like a normal person."  She laughed, dismissed me and skipped to her cubicle eating the top of the donut and leaving a trail of multicolored sprinkles in her wake.  I looked in the pastry box, stained with grease, seeing the dried old fashion bottom lying in the box like a rhino cut from its horn.  No chocolate.  No sprinkles on its underbelly.  A shoe without a sole.  I stood there stunned, clutching the pearls I wasn't wearing and struggling to understand what had just happened. 

Throughout the day people were asking, "Who ate the chocolate part of this donut and left the stump?" Fans of Seinfeld might remember the episode with Elaine only wanting to eat the tops of muffins, leaving a surplus of muffin "stumps" that even the homeless rejected.  It seems it would be better to just throw away the part you don't want rather than leave it for someone else.  While people continued to cluck about the defiled donut, I sat quietly at my desk, still in shock perhaps, not fingering the culprit and allowing puzzlement to ensue around the work place.

I toiled in my head: Was this a cultural rift that FlapJane traversed as she felt fit or is she just a selfish child and bitch?  More surprisingly, I didn't even know I felt so strongly about the method in which a donut is cut.  I don't even eat donuts (save a drunken late night out).  But bring this topic up over drinks and you'll find even the most rowdy bar united.  The whole thing was just unjust and it bothered me.

Over the next few days from this initial realization of what FlapJane had done, I slowly started to break my silence.  I didn't care about the needless office drama I might stir up.  I needed to find closure and a meaning behind this.  One-by-one, behind closed doors, I explained what I had witnessed.  Everyone (and I mean everyone) seemed deeply offended by what I had told them.  Like their child had been slapped by a passerby.  Why would anyone do such a thing to a donut, a staple, at one time or another, of the American breakfast?

Over the next couple of days a sign was made to post on future boxes of donuts: Do Not Cut Horizontally!  A crude how-to donut-cutting diagram was drawn.  Officefolk rallied on their breaks and soon, months passed and box after box of donuts were devoured properly and without incident.  And if donuts were cut it half, they were cut in half respectfully.  It seemed we had squelched the problem. 

Until last week.  My co-worker sent me a photo (see below) with a text message saying: "Why do these two donuts look like sliced bagels? Because fucking FLAPJANE  is a selfish bitch!"

Had FlapJane not learned her lesson?  Did she think she'd laid low long enough and thought we'd forgotten, or worse, not notice this act of cruelty again?  Surely the passive office-shunning and strategically placed notes carried some weight with her?  Or was that just another Americanism that rolled off her back?
Seeing this photo, I quickly sprang into action.  I posted the image above as a status update on my FB page and received some heated comments.  I needed people on my side.  Below are some of my favorites:
  • I think a proper payback would be cupcakes for her birthday. Just be sure to cut off all the tops and just leave her the part inside the paper.
  • Human beings never cease to amaze me...
  • I'm speechless.
  • How old is this woman???
  • Unacceptable! Shame on her!
  • If she is hungry for only half, then she must cut it through the circle, not slice it in half like a bagel. CRAZY! Maybe if you got to the box early and cut everything before she arrived and stashed it in a safe place, she would get the hint!   
Cut to earlier this week: there was another box of donuts in the kitchen.  While I didn't actually know that FlapJane was the guilty party back to her old tricks, no one else would stoop so very low.  So, with FlapJane sitting at her desk, I ignored my deadlines and closely monitored the treats and how they were being divided.  I was going to catch her and I was going to expose her once and for all.  I would come down on her with a God-like wrath.  It was Monday, afterall. 

Update: 10:59am, 9 donuts with tops in tact, 2 half donuts properly cut down through middle.

Update: 11:24am, no change. 9 donuts with tops in tact, 2 half donuts properly cut down through middle.

Update: 11:43am, 8 whole donuts, 1 half donut properly cut down through middle.

Update: 1:11pm, no changes since last transmission. 8 whole donuts, one half donut properly cut. What is DT waiting for?

Update:1:31pm, 3 whole donuts and 3 half donuts properly cut down through the middle. Maybe I scared DT off.  

Update: 2:04pm, 2 whole donuts and 3 half donuts properly cut down through the middle. Fearing this trap might not get sprung.

Update: 2:40pm, 1 whole donut and 3 half donuts. I took one.  

Update: 3:02pm, 1 whole donut and 3 half donuts. *drums fingers on desk*
Update: 3:31pm, 1 whole donut and 2 half donuts. *sighs loudly for attention*  

Update: 4:13pm, 1 whole donut and 2 half donuts. Just walked by DT's cubicle and saw her snacking on cherry tomatoes. Resisted urge to say, "You know, there's donuts in the break room and one with its top still in tact."

Update: 4:52pm, end of day, 1 whole donut (partially nibbled on), 2 half donuts properly cut down the middle. Tomorrow's another day. I'll get my white whale.

In the end I didn't catch FlapJane in the act of halving a donut the wrong way.  I'm patient.  And as I said, I'll get my white whale.  I'll lie in wait, high on my haunches and when the time is right...ROAR...FlapJane will be mine.  You mess with my donuts, you mess with my whole family.  Not half.  Whole. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lenore's Next Steps

(I'm sitting at my desk checking my phone messages when Lenore trundles in.)

Lenore: Excuse me mister. Elle [co-worker] left a message last night on my phone that she went to the bathroom after work yesterday and, uh, um...

Me: Yes?

L: I guess she had a bag with her and she left it in the ladies' room and I just went to check and, well, it wasn't there.

Me: Oh. So she left a bag in the ladies' room?

L: Yeah. And I couldn't find it.  I mean, I didn't see it or anything.

Me: I'm sorry to hear that.

L: Did you happen to see it?

Me: Uh, no. I use the men's room.

L: I know that, but I thought that you might have seen something.

Me: No, I don't go in the ladies' room--I mean, where would I have seen it?

L: I dunno.  I just don't have the slightest clue what to do next.

Me: Why don't you ask the janitors? They clean the bathrooms after work.

L: (brightening up) Bingo! That's a great, great idea!

(Exactly eight minutes later, Lenore walks by my office door with the bag in her hand.)

L: Found it!


Originally posted November 10, 2010

Friday, July 29, 2011

I Guess She'll Die

Today I had a big mailing and needed Lenore's help stuffing envelopes. Often I have to speak slowly and micro manage her to keep her on task or risk the job at hand overwhelming the poor lady. And sometimes I over explain and makes things worse.

Me: (demonstrating as I'm explaining) Okay, this smaller letter is the RSVP letter that people will send back to me and that goes inside this envelope. Then put the RSVP inside this larger invitation, put that in the envelope, seal it and put one of these address labels on it. Done. Simple, right?

Lenore: Sure.

(Lenore fumbles around, puts the RSVP card in the larger envelope and doesn't know what to with the RSVP card's envelope or the invitation.)

Me: Okay, you forgot two important pieces. Let's try again. Each completed card should have five elements in this order; RSVP card, RSVP envelope, invitation, large envelope and finally the label on the large envelope. And don't forget to seal it.

L: Okay, easy enough.

Me: Think of it like this envelope eats this RSVP card, then this invitation eats this envelope with card and the big envelope eats them all. And the address label is the dinner mint that you place on the top. Like the old lady who swallowed the spider to catch the fly...(singing) I don't know why she swallowed that fly.

L: What? Who swallowed a spider?

Me: The old lady did. It's a childrens' song, er, story.

L: What old lady? In here?

Me: No, the old lady swallowed a fly first and she thought if she swallowed the spider it would--nevermind. I was trying to make things easier.

L: I don't know what that has to do with this.

Me: Nothing.


Originally posted October 6, 2010

Not That Kind of Chinese

There's a small restaurant on campus run by the students of the Hospitality Department. Sometimes they invite other campus staff to dine with them so the students can "practice" being hospitable to us. Then they get a grade for their service. Next week they are serving dim sum for lunches and our office staff was invited. This morning, Lenore came to collect $15 from everyone who signed up for the lunch.

(Lenore trundles into my office, shuffling her feet across the carpet.)

Lenore: Okay, mister. I need your $15 for that lunch thing and tell me what you want to eat.

Me: Isn't it just dim sum? Do I have to choose which dumplings I want now?

L: Yes. You do. Shrimp, beef or mushroom? Those are your choices.

Me: Oh, okay... I guess, hmmm, mushroom.

(I hand her $15.)

L: Thank you. I have you down for a mushroom dim sum.

Me: Are you going?

L: (making a face) No, I don't like that kind of food.

Me: I thought you liked Chinese food.

L: I like noodle Chinese food. I've never had a dim sum.

Me: Dim sum is Chinese food.

L: (not believing me) I've never seen it.

Me: That doesn't mean it's not Chinese food.

L: Well, maybe they just don't serve it at Panda Express.


Orginally posted September 29, 2010

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lenore Has Something Important to Say

(I am busy with work stuff. Lenore enters my office to tell me something important.)

Lenore: Excuse me, mister. You know that guy, Michael-something-er-other?

Me: What? Who?

L: You know, his name is something Michael or Michaels and he was on that show? The Rock of something. Well, he went to the hospital and all.

Me: (annoyed) Oh, you mean Bret Michaels? Can we talk about this another time?

L: I just wanted to tell you that his father said he was okay. I mean, I just read it.

Me: (dismissive) Okay, thank you.

L: (a little short) Fine.

Me: I'm just busy. (turning in chair, feigning interest) So he's doing better? Did you hear if he was going to be out of the hospital soon?

L: Well, I don't really know who he is other than from being on The Apprentice and that other show, but I thought you liked him.

Me: Really? I, uh, no, I don't really have an opinion on him.

L: Who is he then?

Me: He was in the band Poison and--.

L: He was in a poison?

Me: His band's name was Poison, it was, metal er rock music.

L: Oh, that's him! I don't know them though.

Me: And he's doing better? Bret is?

L: That's what his dad said.


Originally posted April 26, 2011

Lenore Plays the Saxophone or Sloppy on the Dismount

(I walk into the office and see Lenore hard at work with a pair of scissors in her hand, grazing over the sleeve of her sweater to cut off the pilling. She sees me and puts down the shears.)

Lenore: (mimicking like she is playing the piano with her fingers) I didn't know Josh [coworker] played the saxophone?

Me: You mean piano?

L: I thought Josh said saxophone. It's like a horn. He came in with one this morning.

Me: Uh, yes, he plays lots of instruments but you were just mimicking playing a piano.

L: I don't play the piano.

Me: No, you were just pretending to play the piano but you said saxophone.

L: I can't play anything.

Me: Yes I know. Never mind. Yes, Joe plays the saxophone. Not the piano.

L: Well, I know that.


Originally posted April 20, 2011

Lenore Orders Paper and Drives Me Maaaad!

Our office letterhead supply is running low and I asked Lenore if she would order more. Warning: this post may be very irritating to read.

(Monday, 9:36am, I walk up to Lenore. Her back is to me. She is hunched over her desk eating Saltines and peanut butter. I'm holding a sheet of office letterhead.)

Me: Lenore, would you be able to order us some more letterhead?

Lenore: (slowly turning around) Wha--who needs it?

Me: Alumni Relations. Can you order us some more? We ran out, or are going to soon.

L: Oh, you ran out of paper? So you need some more?

Me: (handing her sheet of letterhead) Yes. Here's a sample of the letterhead we've been using. Just order, like, I don't know, 20 reams of this. Just like this one.

L: Okay.

(I go back to my desk. Later that Monday, 9:45am, Lenore trundles into my office carrying the letterhead I gave her earlier.)

L: Excuse me, mister?

Me: Yes?

L: (handing me letterhead) You said you need paper but you gave me this. What's it for?

Me: Oh. Yeah, this is the letterhead we need. Can you order 20 reams of it?

L: This is the paper you wanted, with all this stuff at the top?

Me: Yeah, that's our letterhead. We send official letters on it.

L: You can't just use plain paper?

Me: We could, well, no, we couldn't. It's more standard and official to use letterhead.

L: Okay. I'll order it. Thank you.

(Lenore leaves. Later that Monday, 10:10am, Lenore trundles back into my office with a sheet of paper with a hand-written chart breaking down paper costs.)

L: Excuse me, how much of this letter paper do you need?

Me: (patiently) I guess like 20 reams to start. That should last us awhile.

L: (holding up her paper) Well, if you order more paper, the cost goes down.

(Lenore shows me her chart. I quickly examine the chart in her hand, uninterested with its content.)

Me: That's fine. Whatever you order, I'm sure we'll use all of it.

L: See, if you order 20 it will cost $30 but if you order 40 it will cost, uh, where is will cost $24 per bundle.

Me: Great. Let's order 40 then.

(Lenore smiles and hands me the chart. She leaves. Later Monday, 1:31pm, Lenore trundles back into my office.)

L: I talked to Susan about your paper order and she just wants to confirm that you want 40 bundles of this paper. It's a lot.

Me: Yes, order it.

L: Okay.

(Lenore leaves. Next day, Tuesday, 2:20 pm, Lenore trundles into my office. She is carrying a sheet of paper.)

L: (handing me paper) Here, I typed up that chart with all the paper prices for you.

Me: Is this the same chart you gave me yesterday?

L: Yes, but this one is typed and you can keep it too.

Me: The other one is fine.

L: So you don't want this one?

Me: Uh, sure, I'll take that typed one too. Thanks.

(Lenore leaves. Next day, Wednesday, 9:30am, Lenore trundles into my office.)

Me: Stop. Is this about paper?

(Lenore laughs.)

Lenore: I was going to order your paper today.

Me: Uh, huh. But something happened and you can't, right?

L: No, I need you to just read a sample before, to make sure it is what you want. Just look it over and say, 'yeah, I want that'.

Me: Okay, do you have the sample?

L: It's at my desk.

Me: Get it and I'll proof it.

L: No, I need you to read it.

Me: Sure, I'll read it.

L: Okay, then. I have to go get it.

(Lenore leaves. Later Wednesday, 9:33am Lenore trundles into my office.)

L: Did you see the orchid on Ellen's desk? It's so pretty!

Me: No, I didn't see it.

L: Oh, you have to go over and see it right now!

(Lenore leaves. Next day, Thursday, 3:35pm, Lenore trundles into my office carrying a piece of letterhead.)

L: Excuse me, mister? Here's that sample of the paper you have to read and approve.

Me: (examining paper) This is the letterhead I gave you Monday.

L: (looking at letterhead) Oh, this isn't the new sample from the paper place! Where did it go?

(Later Thursday, 3:50pm, Lenore trundles into my office carrying a sample of new letterhead.)

L: Here, this is it.

Me: (taking sample and examining it) Great! This looks great!

L: Oh, did you read it?

Me: (hurried) Yeah, it looks the same as our other one. Perfect!

L: Read it backwards.

Me: Read it backwards?

L: That's what I do. Then you don't miss a word.

Me: (reading the address backwards) That doesn't make any sense to me, but--oh, wait, the fax number is different.

L: See? You found something. (looking at paper) Well, that's our old fax number from 2007, I think. That's when you ordered last.

Me: Oh, can you put the new one on there?

L: You want a different one?

Me: Well, the old fax number doesn't work, does it?

L: I don't think so.

Me: Then we should change it to the one that does work, right?

L: Okay, I'll change it.

(Next day, Friday, 3:46 pm, Lenore trundles into my office carrying the sample letterhead again.)

L: (smiling, handing me letterhead) Can you sign this so I know that you've looked at it?

(I sign paper.)

Me: (suppressing severe irritation) Can you order these today? Please. I tired of talking about this.

L: Well, yes! It just takes some time. It's not that easy you know.

Me: I know.


Originally posted March 19, 2010

Lenore Reviews Movies

Lenore has been out of the office for 5 weeks recovering from a not-so-nasty spill she took getting off a downtown bus. She's back and said she did nothing but fill her days watching soaps and going to the movies. I pressed her further and was able to get a few of her movie reviews which I've summed up here:

Good, just so so good. And that mother! Oooo, she should get an award or something. It was so wonderful. You should see it!
(5 out of 5 back issues of Glamor magazine)

It's Complicated
Good, really just great and good. I think the main, what's her name, Meryl something...she should get an award. You should see it!
(5 out of 5 back issues of Glamor magazine)

Nights in Rodanthe
You have to see it. Really, really good and so so romantic. Great to watch when you're alone and want to feel happy, you know?
(5 out of 5 back issues of Glamor magazine)

Sherlock Holmes
I thought it was going to be like the old Sherlock Holmes. But it wasn't. I walked out.
(0 out of 5 back issues of Glamor magazine)

The Blind Side
So, so good. I saw it twice and I just love Sandra what's-her-name. She should win an Oscar for that. You definitely need to see it. Really!
(5 out of 5 back issues of Glamor magazine)

Julie and Julia
Oh, it's good. Have you seen it? I love that woman, what's her name again? Meryl! She was in It's Complicated, too! She should win an award for this one too! See it.
But you have to rent it. But you should still see it.

(5 out of 5 back issues of Glamor magazine)

I don't like weird things like that. Didn't waste my time.
(0 out of 5 back issues of Glamor magazine)

Originally posted on January 6, 2010

The (Brief) Return of Lenore!

Thank you for minding the blogging gap as my muse, Lenore, has been away for two months recuperating from a broken knuckle. Today, can you imagine how excited I was when she surprised the office by popping in for a visit? Stoked, I tell you! Stoked! Though most people around the office find her to be useless, unable to direct a turd down a toilet--she's my own personal droopy-boobed denizen.

Backing up...*beep, beep, beep*...about two months ago, Lenore was riding public transportation and fell into the door (???), braking the middle knuckle on her right hand. "You know, I was just stepping off the stairs and my hand hit the door and now I've got this to deal with," she told me while also flipping me off with a swollen middle finger, bruised and bound in a blue foam-lined brace. Apparently was very wound up, having been without her mundane and spacey office antics for too long.

(Lenore walks in after being gone for months. I spring out of my chair and excitedly run to greet her.)

Me: Lenore, Lenore! How are you? What are you doing here?

Lenore: Oh, hi, hi, how are you, mister? I'm just dropping off my time sheet.

Me: (noticing her hand in a cast) Oh, my gosh! How's your hand feeling?

(While we're talking other people around the office start to gather around.)

L: (holding up hand and waving it around like Queen Elizabeth) Oh, it hurts. It just aches and bothers me so much sometimes, you know?

Me: You wave like the Queen Mum.

L: Who?

Me: Queen Elizabeth. You know? (I imitate her and wave like the Queen.) Hellew, hellew peasants.

L: Yeah, yes, yes, I know her. Ha ha. I guess so. I have to go in tomorrow to the, the, um, the doctor and he's going to show me how to wiggle my fingers again. It hurts.

Me: I can show you how to do that. (holding up my hand and wiggling fingers) See? (the phone rings) Oh, Lenore, maybe you can get that for old times sake. Right? Right?

Other Worker: Geez, have you had too much coffee? You're so excited.

Me: Yeah, well, it's been so quiet around here without Lenore around.

L: I've missed you guys! I've missed this place so much.

Other Worker: Really?

L: Oh, yes! It's been so hard. This one (pointing to cast) is different than my last one. I can get my sleeve over this one but, you know, I have to, um, go to my neighbors' and have them zip up my jacket before I go anywhere. Then I have to sometimes ask for help unzipping my jacket.

Me: (turning around and gesturing to pretend zipper up the back of my jacket) Zip me up!

Other Worker: Huh?

Me: You know, like on Arrested Development when the mother yells for Buster to zip her up? (turning around again and acting out scene like I need my top zipped up) Zip me up! Zip me up?

Other Worker: Calm down.

L: (moving on) But, you know, you have to be careful when you're on the bus. One day you're happy and at work and the next you lose everything and break your finger. It's just so very awful. AWFUL!


My co-worker and I have speculated as to what Lenore's been doing with her time off:
  • Watching Soaps
  • Eating tamales
  • Talking about tamales
  • Eating tamales while also talking about them to the Soaps

Check Your Oil

(Lenore is having car troubles.)

Lenore: Hey mister, did you know there's more than one oil your car?

Me: You mean more than just motor oil? Yeah, there's like three or something, I think.

L: (poking me in the chest) Exactly right! I didn't know. I. Had. No. Idea! I've been driving for years and no one ever told me.

Me: It's true.

L: Now let's see...there's, uh, um, let's see....there's motor oil, and then there's....

Me: Transmiss--

L: (excitedly) Transmission oil and, and, more. Now let me think...

Me: Brake fluid?

L: You mean brake oil?

Me: Sure, it's a lubricant. Anything to keep the gears moving.

L: Well, I have never once checked the oil in my baby car and I am just now getting trouble with it. Why would people keep car oil a secret from everyone else? I just never knew and have never once heard of it. Not once!

Me: I don't know. Just be sure to always check your oil and tires and belts--

L: Tires! Why do you have to check your tires? Do they have oil in them?

Me: No, just air.

L: Oh, yes. That's right. I thought, Dios, 'I have to check the oil in my tires?' Wouldn't that just be a kick? It sure would.


Originally posted October 22, 2009

For Lovers of the Pizza Pie

(While looking through my mail, Lenore pulls me aside to talk about pizza.)

Lenore: Hey, have you ever tried a Tombstone pizza?

Me: Is that the frozen one?

L: Uh, yes. And it is so yum-o. Really, really just...yum-o!

Me: Oh, I'll have to try it sometime.

L: I just love pizza and can't find--you know what, do you know any good pizza places 'round here?

Me: Yeah, I guess so. Do you like deep-dish pizza?

L: Oh, no, just the regular dish. I like that one that is just, I don't know, not so thick.

Me: Thin crust?

L: Yes, that's it, the kind you get at a pizza place.

Me: Oh, well, there's lots of different kinds of [artisan] pizza in the city. You can go to Little Star or Patxi's for deep dish, lemme see...Zante's for Indian-style pizza--

L: (wrinkling nose) Ew. No.

Me: --Pauline's pizza is excellent, there's Delfina if you like more Italian-street-style pizza...let's see, oh, or Brother's pizza in the Sunset is amazing. I don't know, there's a ton of them in city.

L: As long as it's as good as Straw Hat Pizza, I'll eat it.

Me: Straw Hat? Is Straw Hat still open?

L: Well, I can't find it any more, it used to be in the West Lake Shopping Center and I was so sad when they closed. But let me tell you something, it is the best. Best. Best, pizza in the world, and probably the city too.


Originally posted September 20, 2009

Lenore Vs. Angry Man

An angry man came into our office today around lunch time. Because no one, besides myself, was around to help, Lenore was forced to tear herself away from her cheese and salt-free cracker lunch and assist him. I passively witnessed this exchange from my desk, enjoying it too much to be of any help.

(A man walks into the office, upset and out of breath, and engages with Lenore.)

Man: Do you know where the College of Extended Learning is?

Lenore: The, the what?

Man: The College of Extended Learning? I paid a thousand dollars to take this damn class and now I can't find it and I can't find their offices to find out where the damn class is!

L: Oh, I'm sorry.

Man: Well? Do you know where it is?

L: The Extended Learning College? Um, well, no, no I don't know.

Man: Great! What's up with this place?

L: Well it used to be here in this office, I think. But now we're here.

Man: Yeah, some kid across the hall at the financial aid office sent me here thinking this is the College of Extended Learning! Really, what is up with this joint? Don't you guys know where your college departments are?

L: Wait a minute. Let me see if I can call someone who might know. (Lenore flips through the directory and after a few moments calls someone.) Hello, this is Lenore over in the university development office. Do you know where the College of Extended Learning is? ... ... ... Oh, I see. Thank you. (To man.) It's at our downtown campus.

Man: (more angry than before) I know there's one down there but there's an office here on campus too and classes! At both campuses.

L: Oh, really? Where?

Man: I DON'T KNOW! Can't you call someone else who might know? This class has already started or (looks at watch) is starting now!

L: Okay, let me call someone. (Lenore picks up the directory again and after a few moments dials another number.) Hello, this is Lenore over in the college of extended, I mean, over in the university development office. Is there a College of Extended Learning college on the main campus...?

Man: (chirping in) No, is there an office for the College of Extended Learning here on the main campus? I'm taking a class that they offer here, at this campus, somewhere, but no one knows!

(Lenore hands the phone to the man.)

Man: (taking phone) Hello? ... Yes, I'm looking for the office, on this campus, for the College of Extended Learning. ... ... ... Yes, I went there. ... Uh, huh. ... Uh, huh. ... ... Great. Well, then, never mind.

(He hands phone back to Lenore.)

L: (in phone) Hello? Hello? (To man.) There's no one there. What'd they say?

Man: Fuck it! This S.O.B. on the phone doesn't know anything and wants me to go back to the financial aid office, and they don't know their ass from a toilet seat and, and you don't know anything. I give up!

(He walks out the door. Lenore kinda follows him and stops short in front of my office.)

L: (to me) Did you hear all that?

Me: Yes.

L: (holding her chest) He was so angry. And rude! Did you hear how rude he was?

Me: Yeah, he wasn't happy. What class was he looking for?

L: Oh, I don't know. It was through extended learning or something.

Me: You can always look up classes online. They have the classrooms listed next to them. Or just call the downtown campus operator and ask them if they know. I'd think they'd be in touch with their offices here, don't you think?

L: No, that's okay. I think it's all taken care of now.


Originally posted July 31, 2009

So Good, I Can Taste It

I walked in today and saw Lenore manning a healthy piece of banana bread at her desk. She pointed out that we are wearing the same blouse (shirt) today. Actually, I'm wearing a blue and white gingham button-down shirt and Lenore is wearing a blouse with a blue and white floral print. That has nothing to do with this story.

(Lenore walks into my office carrying a pad of paper, her beloved mechanical pencil and a pad of paper.)

Lenore: Excuse me, mister. I don't mean to bother you, but I was thinking about that thing you came in with yesterday after, you know, lunch.

Me: What thing?

L: It was in a cup and it had a straw thing.

Me: Was it pink, what was in the cup? Was it pink?

L: (hand on chin) Well, now let me think for a minute. ... ... ... YES! I think it was pink, sort of.

Me: That was a strawberry shake.

(Lenore quickly scribbles on her notepad.)

L: Okay, it's called a shake?

Me: Well, it's a strawberry smoothie from the Snackademic in the student center.

L: (more scribbling of notes) Wait, wait, what was that?

Me: Smoothie. Smoothie. From Snackademic.

L: What? Again, please.

Me: Snack. Ah. Dem. Ick. It's across from the bookstore.

L: (still scribbling) Oh, okay. (reading it back to me) Shake-smoothie from Snack-ad-em-ic.

Me: Okay. It was a smoothie with strawberry, banana and--.

(Smoke coming off pad of paper as Lenore continues to scribble notes.)

L: WAIT! Wait!

Me: Lenore, just ask for the Alcatraz.

L: What? What's Alcatraz?

Me: Alcatraz is the name of the drink, the smothie.

L: And it has all that stuff? The strawberries and bananas?

Me: Yes, and peaches.

L: (licking lips) Peaches! Ummmm! Yum-oh! That sounds super yum-oh! And they'll know what I mean if I just walk up and say, 'Alcatraz?'

Me: Well, say you want the Alcatraz smoothie.

L: Not Alcatraz shake?

Me: You can say that, too.

L: But I want the one you had.

Me: Then say you want the Handsome Boy Special.

L: Oh, really?

Me: No, just say you want the Alcatraz. They'll know what you mean.

L: Perfecta-mento!


Originally posted July 13, 2009

Guess Who's Out To Lunch?

I know I already posted a picture of this the other day but it gets me every time! Lenore is the greatest.

Originally posted July 10, 2009

Lenore Vs. MGO

(One of our Major Gift Officers, a fundraiser, bounds into the office, out of breath and hair awry. Lenore, per usual, has her back to the front door. I listen in.)

MGO: (angrily) Lenore, you told me I had to hurry hurry hurry and meet Professor Mills for our meeting!

Lenore: (slowing spinning around in her chair) What? What was that?

MGO: I said, (slowly) you gave me a message that Professor Mills was in a hurry and he had to, no, I mean that I had to hurry to our meeting. Not that he was in a hurry, but that I had to hurry and meet him! But Professor Mills said, when I finally saw him, that he told you he was running fifteen minutes late. I scarfed my lunch down and beat it over there for nothing! Now I'm late for my next meeting.

L: Oh, is that what he said? (she laughs) I thought he said he had to do something so you had to hurry to the meeting--or something like that.

MGO: Yes, and that's wrong! He told me, after I'd waited for him for twenty minutes, that he told you that he was running fifteen minutes late and was trying to hurry for my meeting with him!

L: Oh, he said twenty minutes?

MGO: No, he told you that he'd be fifteen minutes late--.

L: But I thought you said he was twenty minutes late.

MGO: No! He was twenty minutes late because I was five minutes early! I was hurrying, because you told me to and I hurried up and ate my lunch so fast so I wouldn't miss him!

L: Oh. Oops.

MGO: Yeah, oops is right!

L: But you still got there on time, right?

MGO: Yes, I did. With time to spare.

L: Oh, then it all worked out.


Originally posted July 9, 2009

The Smell of Death

The titan arum, or "corpse flower" is about to bloom here in our campus greenhouse and everyone is very excited. Well, anyone that cares or needs something to do on their lunch break. This plant, native to Sumatra, is a relatively rare plant and if you can even find one, consider yourself lucky. Also, consider yourself a nerd for having sought it out. This orb-like plant only blooms for approximately 24 hours every 150 years. They can grow upwards of 3 meters high and when in bloom omits a noxious smell like that of rotting flesh. Still, people have been known to stand in line for hours just to sneak a peak of the flower and whiff its stench. (some information borrowed from Wikipedia)

I went to see the corpse flower today with some people from my office. It hadn't opened just yet but was omitting its signature scent. I took a picture with my phone:

There was a short line to get into the greenhouse and it was moving very slowing. After a moment, I saw Lenore exiting from the other end.

(Lenore walks up to me and coworkers.)

Lenore: (happily, to me) Hello there, mister! Did you come to see that flower?

Me: Yes, I've never seen one.

L: It's called a, a, a, now give me a minute...a cops or a coops--.

Me: (excitedly showing off my knowledge) A corpse flower.

L: Yes, that's what they call it! That's exactly right!

Worker 1: (to Lenore) So did you get a chance to sniff the flower?

L: Well, yes, I tried but you know what. Let me tell you something. It didn't smell very good. No, not at all. It was a little like a cat box or something. (laughing) Phew!

Worker 2: Lenore, it's called a corpse flower because it smells like a corpse or suppose to smell bad like a dead body.

L: (a little shocked) Oh. Is that right? That's, that's, really why they call it that? I thought, you know, because it's a flower it would smell nice or something. Why would you want to smell that?

Me: Some flowers just don't smell good. Have you ever smelled a garlic flower? They stink too.

L: Like a dead person?

Me: No, more like strong garlic.

L: Oh, but I like garlic. I don't like corpse-es.


Originally posted June 29, 2009

Here's what it might look like when in blooms:

Lenore Learns About LGBT

Lenore has few tasks, few real tasks, one of them being to file and record business invoices. But before she can do so, she must collect as much information about the invoice as possible; purpose of invoice, how many people participated, etc. Because I work most all of our events, I file a lot of invoices for processing. Last month I organized the first university lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) alumni mixer, which was located at the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT). Lenore had some questions.

(Lenore trundles into my office with an invoice and a mechanical pencil in her hand.)

Lenore: Um, excuse me, excuse me, mister?

Me: Yes?

L: I have dummy question for you. Actually it's uh, uh, well, I have you know what this (reading from invoice) elle...gee...bee...tee...mix-er event was?

Me: Oh, yeah. On June 26th? That was the LGBT mixer at ACT.

L: At what? What?

Me: The American Conservatory Theatre.

(Lenore scribbles down notes on the invoice.)

L: Oh, okay. Do you have a guest list for it or do you know how many people went? You know, I have to put down all kinds of information.

Me: I'll just print out a list for you.

(I go to my computer to search for the guest list. Lenore scribbles more notes on the invoice.)

L: Oh, one more thing. What's elle-gee-bee-tee?


L: Yeah.

Me: That's stands for lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender.

L: (eyebrows raised) Oh, really? All that stands for elle-gee-bee-tee-aye-cee-tee?

Me: No, ACT is the American Conservatory Theatre, where the event was held. LGBT is lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender.

L: I see. And what were they all doing there? You know, at this thing?

Me: Well, it was a mixer for--

L: A wh-what?

Me: A mixer, a get-together for lesbians. (slowly) And gays. And bisexuals. And transgender people.

(Lenore scribbles some more notes on the invoice.)

L: And they all came?

Me: Yes. All of them.

L: I see. (scribbling) Do I have to write all that? All, lesbian and gays and--

Me: No. You can just write LGBT.

L: Will people know what that means?

Me: Yes, most people should.

L: Well, I didn't.

Me: But now you do.

L: Yes. And what kind of event, I mean, wha-what was it for?

Me: You could just say it was for donor cultivation.

L: Oh, it was to cultivate the elle-gee-bee-tees?

Me: No, not really. Just write that it was an alumni social, meet-and-greet.

L: Oh, okay. (reading as she writes) Elle-gee-bee-tee alumni meet-and-greet at aye-cee-tee.

Me: You got it?

L: Yep. I think I've got it!


Originally posted June 23, 2009

Like A Bat

This weekend I was helping lay bricks for a courtyard area and hurt my back. Nothing serious, but I had to call into work sick yesterday because of it. When I came into the office this morning Lenore was very concerned for me.

(I walk through the front door and see Lenore. She is especially dramatic.)

Lenore: (nearly yelling and giving me a furrowed-pity brow) WELL! Hello there Mister! How are you feeling?

Me: Like an old man. I was helping my parents build a brick landing and I was just hunched over all day. I'm feeling okay though.

L: Oh, my! You know something, let me tell cousin Mathew came to visit me, and he's got (pounding out the syllables of the words on the desk with her fist) the worst. Worst. Worst. Back problems. He has to sit in this thing upside down where he hangs and hangs by his feet and... (one hand in the air, one hand on her chest) Dios! It's awful. But you know what?

Me: What?

L: (intensely leaning forward) It helps his back so much. It straightens it, you know, and he's better than he ever was. It really helps. Really! I'm telling you.

Me: And he just hangs? Like a bat?

L: (leaning back in her chair and emphatically pointing her finger at me with each word) Yes! Just. Like. A. Bat. Exactly right.

Here's how I imagine that scene would play out should Lenore's dramatic gestures be put into words:

(I walk through the front door and see Lenore.)

Lenore: OH MY FUCKING GOD IN HEAVEN! What the HELL are you doing here Mister? How are you feeling?

Me: Like an old man. I was helping my parents build a brick landing and I was just hunched over all day. I'm feeling okay today though.

L: No shit! You know what's really fucked up? Let me tell you. My cousin Mathew came to visit me, and damned if that fucker doesn't have the most fucked-up back. I swear to the Lawd that he has to sit in a fucking harness like, like...oh, I don't know what. He just sits and hangs and hangs. Upside down! But you know the kicker?

Me: What?

L: I fuck you helps his back.

Me: And he just hangs? Like a bat?

L: Yes! Just. Like. A. Mother. Fucking. Bat.


Originally posted June 16, 2009, (sorry for the cursing Mom)

Too Hard To Remember

I've had an eyeball-numbing sinus infection for the past few days. Lenore is, among other things, known as the keeper of pills. So when my head nearly split open from pressure I went to her for help.

Me: Lenore, do you have any Tylenol or Advil or something? I had some Motrin but forgot to bring it.

Lenore: Oh, no. I'm so sorry to hear that. (Lenore pulls out her backpack and rummages through it.) I have some cough drops, would those help?

Me: No, my throat doesn't hurt. Just my head--or if you have something for congestion, that would be great too.

L: Well, sometimes I take these cough drops and, you know, they're those ones they take in that commercial where they're in, um, let me think, you know. The one where they sing on that hill?

Me: Oh, um, Ricola?

L: No, they're, um, called tactoids or airroids or something like that. I just can't remember--

Me: Altoids?

L: (thinking out loud) Altoids, Altoids...YES, that's them I think!

Me: Those aren't cough drops, they're just mints or gum.

L: Yes, but they are so strong, aren't they? I can feel them working when they're in my mouth.

Me: Yes.

L: Well, would you like those? I think I have them in here somewhere. (Lenore rummages through her bag some more.)

Me: No, that's okay. I'll go to the store instead. I need headache medicine.

L: WAIT! Oh, you know, I have some magic pills maybe. They're these pills I'll take if I have a muscle pain or something. They magically fix everything. OH, here they are!

(Lenore hands me the medicine bottle she finds in her bag.)

Me: Oh, this is Advil.

L: Is that how you say that?

Me: Yes, (reading label) Advil Arthritis Pain Relief.

L: Oh, well I call them magic pills* because I don't know how they work and plus, I can pronounce magic pills and not that word you said.

Me: Advil.

L: An-vale.

Me: Add. Add. Duh. Duh. Duh. Add-ville.

L: (swats hand toward me) Too hard.


*She seriously said "magic pills".

Originally posted June 10, 2009