Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The work duckies are back!

There are ducks that visit my work-- two in particular are always together (a male and a female so I guess they're "married" in duckland) and they happy wade and paddle around in the man-made pond that we have here. They are somewhat our mascots, since one day, a staff member passing by informed me that they're the "(Company Name) Ducks."

Lately I've seen them around quite a bit. I wish I could take some bread or crackers with me to work to feed them, but security would probably frown on that or write me up. Ducks sightings are not that rare, but the fact that I work in a concrete jungle get to see some signs of life here is quite nice.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Just another manic Monday

Ok, is it just me, or is the media doing a total overkill of the Swine Flu? It was plastered all over the Internet today, prompting me to read some of the articles while at work. Then I got caught up in clicking away at all the pictures associated with the articles, which I probably shouldn't have done because it's meaningless worry and stress over something I have no control over, right? Right.

Then I go to the gym to blow off some steam, only to be surrounded by all the flat screen TVs vaulted from the ceiling that are on channels which cover the crisis.

So I came home and watched "Dancing With the Stars" instead. I love watching others who have no previous dancing experience master all types of dancing because I'm horrid at anything other than bopping up and down to music at parties. The sight of me ballroom dancing is perhaps something worse in the world right now other than the flu epidemic.

Wishing you a worry-free week! I leave with something I found long ago which I thought was appropriate to post:


Controlling vs. Trust

Controlling is a direct response to our fear, panic, and sense of helplessness. It is a direct response to feeling overwhelmed and to distrust. We may not trust ourselves, God, or the process of life. Instead of trusting, we revert to control. We can approach this need to control by dealing with our fear. We deal with fear by trusting - ourselves, God, and this process we call life and recovery.

We can trust that when things don’t work out the way we want, God has something better planned. We can trust ourselves to get where we need to go, say what we need to say, do what we need to do, know what we need to know, be who we need to be, and become all we can become, when we are intended to do that, when we are ready and when the time is right.

We can trust in God to give us all the direction we need. We can trust ourselves to listen, and respond, accordingly. We can trust that all we need on this journey shall come to us. We will not get all we need for the entire journey today. We shall receive today’s supplies today, and tomorrow’s supplies tomorrow. We were never intended to carry supplies for the entire journey. The burden would be too heavy, and the way was intended to be light.

Trust in yourself. We do not have to plan, control and schedule all things. The schedule and plan have been written. All we need to do is show up. The way will become clear and the supplies will be amply and clearly provided, one day at a time. Trust, my friend, in today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

He's back!

My Tigger is back! All normal posts will now resume starting tomorrow. The Whirlwind Ninja and I reached a compromise. One friend jokingly added he's shocked I compromised.

So what was the compromise? I had to take a picture of myself holding a sign that read 'SHAWN (not real name) RULES!' So I did.

After emailing my picture, I was informed that Tigger would slowly find his way home, since he had to find my office all by his lonesome using only a map. In my opinion, it probably took Tigger so long to get here not because he took the long way home, but because he had to carry a map that is about 20 times bigger than he is.



Upon complaining to the Ninja that Tigger would get lost this way, he assured me he'd have some traveling help along the way.

When I returned to my desk later this afternoon, I found a package waiting for me. It was wedged behind my computer monitor amid the plugs.



Good thing I handled the box with care, for inside was Tigger, along with his faithful traveling companion, a princess.



Apparently, he was quite cold during the trip, though.



Good thing he's back for good...

...until the next ninja attack, that is.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I need a ninja squad of my own...

I'm sorry to report that all other posts will cease until I get my Tigger back. My what, you ask? My Tigger (from Winne the Pooh)! Take a look below:



Tigger was a gift from my good friend Simone. Tigger faithfully sits on my desk daily and watches over me as I type away, get paper cuts, answer phone calls, stress out, and run off to meetings.

Well, yesterday afternoon, Tigger went missing from my desk at work. It seems a ninja has kidnapped him and is holding him ransom.

Take a look below at what I have received thus far (apparently this work ninja has quite a lot of time on his hands and needs more workload):
------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

I got this note earlier...I’m guessing you are the person he wants me to forward to you?

From: Whirlwind Ninja
Sent:
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 2:41 PM
To: Shawn
Subject: rAnSoM!

I know you and Jasmin are homies. Please forward this to her and
let her know that I mean business!

- The Whirlwind Ninja



------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

He’s holding what ransom?

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

Reading the note, it seems like it’s Tigger?

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

What Tigger?

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

No idea. I’m guessing you must own a Tigger figurine or something?

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

You took him LOL. I’m so blind. My pain is blinding!! That was a gift. :( Why’d you take it you wannabe ninja?

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

Why are you blaming me??? I am just the messenger. =( I think you should do what this guy asks. I think he means business.

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

What does he want? GRRRRR *insert angry face here*

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

No idea. I guess you have to wait for his demands...

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

Ahem. I’m waiting for the demands

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

You aren’t a very patient person that isn’t a hostage but wants Tigger back.

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

You’re not working hard enough to ensure the ninja contacts me w/demands. Get on it homie.

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

See below.

From: Whirlwind Ninja
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 4:20 PM
To: Shawn
Subject: rAnSoM!

I don't think she's taking me seriously. Send this to her.

- The Whirlwind Ninja



------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

I AM but what does he want? DUH! This is not a very smart ransom-er. He doesn’t state what he wants.

BTW, he better not injure my tigger...he came from NYC from a gift shop. :D

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

I think he's gone for the day… but looking at the picture reveals a lot about him...his scissors are from corporate express and those purple things look like PEZ.

HMMMMM… Do you have any idea who would be doing this to you??

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

Yea you. It's cause you don’t have enough excitement in your day or enough work. :P

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

Like I told you earlier today...stop takin those crazy pills. =)

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

Stop giving me crazy pills, you enabler, you.

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

You better do what he says… he’s getting pretty serious.

Good luck =(

From: Whirlwind Ninja
Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 6:35 AM
To: Shawn
Subject: rAnSoM!




------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

Tell him I don’t negotiate with ninjas. And that he needs to come up w/some better demands.

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

=*(

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

Did ya tell him? I don't "do" negotiations with ninjas. If he wants to negotiate he can call me.

------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

Do you want a proof of life first?

------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

Please send this note to the ninja:

Dear Mr. Ninja,

Your ransom note does not impress me, for I am about to unleash a powerful pack of vengeful pirates to pillage your village of pez-popping, pajama wearing ninjas.

For every strand of hair harmed on my precious Tigger's body, I shall respond with torturous tactics, succumbing you to hours of ear-shattering pop songs and viewings of horrifying chick flicks (i.e."Bride Wars" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic").

These torture tactics will thus make the victim feel effeminate to the point where it will adopt womanly behaviors and act on instinct to spend their entire income on cute shoes and accessories.

Should you, Mr. Ninja, not return Tigger to my desk by 1 PM this afternoon, I shall place a bounty on your head. You have been warned.

Jasmin


------------------------------------------------
From: Shawn
To: Jasmin

You sure you want to go on the offensive for this?? =(

I think you should just succumb and do the Jonas brothers thing...

It's not worth it!

From: Whirlwind Ninja
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 4:20 PM
To: Shawn
Subject: rAnSoM!

She thinks she can bully me around like that huh? Well...this is me not messin around...

- The Whirlwind Ninja



------------------------------------------------
From: Jasmin
To: Shawn

Yes...send him this message:

I have relayed the ransom to Tigger's closest pals: the Cute Critter Mafia. The Godfather, Don Winnie de Pooh Corleone is going to send his troops after you. Eeyore and Piglet will cover the Whirlwind Ninja in honey and Pooh will then eat him all up and set Tigger free.


------------------------------------------------

Stay tuned for further developments...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If only I was a penguin right now...

So my follow-up post to yesterday will have to wait till later this week. It is so dang hot here today! What are you doing, Mother Nature? It's not even summer yet! It is a scorching 99 degrees here today, said my car dashboard. Is that not insane? If this is a preview of what's to come in summer, I am moving to Alaska pronto! Who wants to join me?

Monday, April 20, 2009

I feel...

...like a truck hit me. Don't worry, I wasn't really hit by a truck...but I imagine this is what it would feel like, ha. In a nutshell, I'm sore and blistered. My coworker said I was limping around like a penguin. More to come tomorrow on the cause of this...I'd write more but I'm trying to save my energy to finish up some work and emails later on.

Hopefully I'll be in better shape tomorrow to enjoy Free Scoop Day at Ben & Jerry's! Hope y'all do the same.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Chunky Monkey Time!

Yes, it's that time of year again: free scoop day from Ben & Jerry's! And y'all know how much I love their ice cream. :)

Free scoop day will be Tuesday, April 21st so mark your calendars! Click here for all the details, and here to find a scoop shop near you.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Embarrassing Work Moments

Let me preface this entry by saying that there is nothing wrong with being a nice person. In a perfect world, we’d all be this way.

I’m a very friendly girl. This is how I’ve always been. I’m always friendly, polite, and nice to people I meet, because naturally, I'd like to be extended the same courtesy, and life is too short to be angry, mad, sad, etc.

You know those people who stand outside of supermarkets asking for donations and/or trying to sell something? I’m even friendly to those. I almost always stop and listen to what they have to say because I feel sorry for them…because honestly, if I had a job like that, I wouldn’t be very happy either.

A few weeks ago, I rushed past a guy that was trying to sell something because I was in a hurry to get to my tennis lesson, and then I felt really guilty. So last night when I went to Ralph’s to buy some Benadryl, I saw the same guy standing outside. For a minute I contemplated sneaking out of the other door to avoid him, but then I felt bad and decided to face him and whatever he was selling. Turns out he was trying to sell vouchers to a new pizza place that had opened near my work.

Anyways, one of these days I’m going to have to stop being so nice because I’m sure it’s going to get me in trouble. It’s the same way at work: I’m too nice and then uncomfortable situations arise as a result. For some reason, much to the amusement of my friends, I attract strange people at work. I work for a very large corporation, so I interact daily with a large mix and number of people. Part of my work involves providing support to a large group of engineers. One such engineer is Herbert (whose name has been changed for the sake of anonymity).

Herbert is 65, newly divorced, semi-curmudgeony (yay, GRE word), wears way too much cologne, and for some reason, thinks I’m his personal secretary based on the requests he makes of me. He was dropping off some documents at my desk one day and we got to talking about grad school (he was asking me what I was planning on majoring in), and then told me about his son who is around my age and also contemplating grad school.

Herbert must have mistaken my friendly conversation with him for something else, because the conversation that then followed was something like this:

Herbert: Can I ask you a question?

Me: Sure

Herbert: Would you like to go on a date?

Me: ...... (I was speechless...and that doesn't happen often)

In my brain, I was thinking: What?! You're newly divorced, my dad's age (hence I could be your daughter), work with me (i.e., so not appropriate), and you shouldn't be asking me this at work when I'm in an open environment and everyone around me can hear the conversation. Please go away.

Me: You mean on a date with you?! (I'm shocked he didn't find this question insulting)

Herbert: Yes

Me: Um, I'm sorry, but I'm seeing someone at the moment (which was not true, but I couldn't tell him what I was really thinking, now could I? I did him a favor and let him down easy).

The following week, I printed out a picture of me and a friend together and put it in a frame, as if to imply this was the person I was dating. I know, my bad, but I had to keep him away somehow.

And after that, things were just awkward: every time he'd come by after that to drop off a document, I'd feel uncomfortable. I hate when people do such things at work because it makes everything so strange after that. Although he's no longer at the company, I still think of that moment (but not in a fond way).

Another "fan" of mine would always leave me food at my desk. Is that normal? Maybe I'm just weird. It started with chocolate: I'd come in to work to find a huge snickers bar on my desk. And then I'd find a Twix bar a few days later. Now some might enjoy this, but I didn't because it felt strange having someone leave me food, and because it was Lent and I'd given up sweets. Upon telling this person that I couldn't have sweets because of Lent, I discovered fruit waiting for me instead after that: an apple, an orange, a pear, etc. Finally I told him that it would be best if he didn't leave me any type of food, and that was the end of it...

...or it could just be that he ended up leaving the company a few weeks later. I have more recent stories which involve using speakerphones in an open cubicle environment (NOTE: this is NOT a good thing), but I will save those for another blog post.

Have an embarrassing or insightful work stories? Please share!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Belated Easter Surprise

Hope everyone had a blessed Easter Sunday!

It looks like the Easter bunny dropped by a little late: I found him in the backyard when I came home from work today, happy munching on some grass. I guess he eats dinner around the same time I do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Triduum

To all my Catholic peeps out there:

Wishing you a very blessed Easter Triduum!


"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why food is meant to be cooked (at least in my world)

The grim verdict is in: my taste buds do not like being subjected to sushi, both the cooked and raw kind.

The night started out innocently enough: I was actually looking forward to trying sushi because maybe, just maybe, I would like the cooked rolls. Then I would no longer be known as the only person at the table who doesn't eat sushi when I go out with my girlfriends.

We ended up dining at Niko Niko Sushi, which is located in the trendy Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. For those who would like to undergo a similar trial by fire and dine at the same establishment, you can find the restaurant's location information here.



Niko Niko is a chain sushi joint that is supposed to be quite good, per Yelp reviews, which are quite informative when hunting for good eats in a city. The place was not only recommended to the person who took me there (who, for the sake of anonymity, will remain anonymous to avoid embarrassment), but was also tried by that same person the night before to make sure the food was fresh and that I'd like it (yes, I know, I have awesome friends like that!).

We ended up valeting the car across from Niko Niko at the Dresden (the hip restaurant/lounge made famous by the movie "Swingers") since parking in L.A. on a Friday night is always horrendous. It was $2.50 to park for those dining at Dresden and $5 for all others.



We were planning on returning to the Dresden after for drinks, so we cut through the restaurant to get to Niko Niko. As we were putting our name in for a table, the parking attendant started yelling at us from across the street that we had lied about going to the Dresden and that we owed him money. Apparently, he had followed us through the restaurant. Even after explaining that we were coming back for drinks, he still made us pay the difference. I was so peeved that we showed him the Dresden receipt later to get a refund. I didn't really care about the $2.50, but rather the way he went about it: yelling and making a scene as if we were intentionally trying to swindle him out of $2.50.

The first thing I noticed when entering Niko Niko was the ominous "B" rating that hung in the window. Those who are not familiar with L.A. County might not be aware of this system: the Los Angeles Health Department inspects restaurants based on food handling practices, preparation, sanitization, etc. Restaurants receiving an "A" rating mean they are clean, decent, have correct food handling practices, etc. A "B" means the restaurant could have slight food handling issues that have been missed by staff, but regardless, I usually tend to avoid "B" restaurants since I've had two bouts of food poisoning in the last year alone. There are also "C," "D," and "F" ratings, but no smart person would ever eat at such a restaurant (at least I hope not).



The "B" rating was probably a sign (no pun intended) that the night was going to go downhill from there.

The second thing I noticed was the smell of the restaurant: overly fishy. I know it's a sushi restaurant that deals mainly with fish and therefore will smell fishy by default, but fishy taste and fishy smell are two things I absolutely can't stand in a restaurant.

We then proceeded to order. I didn't want to appear like too much of a sushi newbie, so I ended up taking pictures with my Blackberry camera phone instead of my Canon PowerShot, so I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality.

First up was a bowl of edamame, which I suggested since I love it (it's my favorite part of Japanese cuisine).



Then the true test of the iron stomach began: the first roll up was the Niko roll, which was cooked and contained tempura shrimp, cream cheese, and rice. It was also wrapped with seaweed, which immediately grossed me out (sorry, I eat with my eyes).



I was told to take a piece and shove the whole thing in my mouth and swallow. So I did. And it would not go down, as hard as I tried. Even biting it into smaller chunks didn't help. It was so fishy tasting. My friend frantically motioned at me to swallow...but I couldn't. My eyes started to water as I pictured myself throwing up in the restaurant in front of my friend and humiliating everyone. I gestured at my friend's napkin in a panic, and once in my hand, I spit the whole thing out. And what did I then proceed to do? Instead of apologizing to my friend, I nervously looked around to see if any of the nearby sushi chefs behind the counter had noticed my near throw-up incident or had gotten offended.

Next up (as if one torturous roll wasn't enough) was the Snow Cone roll, which had baked lobster in it and some sort of sauce on it.



This one I liked the best out of everything I sampled because:

a) it was served warm (I hate cold seafood)
b) it did not taste overly fishy
c) I refused to look at or acknowledge that it contained seaweed
d) I closed my eyes when shoving it into my mouth
e) I smothered my pieces in my mixture of soy sauce and wasabi (see pic below), thus annihilating any and all remaining fish taste (and quite possibly my taste buds, who still haven't forgiven me for Friday night)



However, despite my disclaimer that I liked this roll, I would never in a million, billion, gazillion years wake up one morning and be craving it. In the context of all the other sushi I tried, this one was passable. And I say passable very lightly.

The third roll I sampled was the TNT roll, which had baked shrimp and lobster.



Again, I didn't like this one because it was overly fishy tasting and served cold. My poor friend ended up eating practically 3 whole rolls alone, while I munched on a second bowl of edamame (yum) and had only about 3 pieces of the Snow Cone roll. My poor friend didn't even dare suggest that I try shashimi (raw sushi) given my initial adverse reaction to the cooked stuff.

Then the worst part of the evening began: I started burping sushi...and all I could taste was fish (sorry for the gross details). The solution? I ordered a Diet Coke, which was like finding an oasis in the dessert. The carbonation helped, as did the drinks I had after to get rid of the fish burpies. I can easily say that the Diet Coke was my favorite part of the meal.



My friend has since profusely apologized over and over for the dinner, especially since I threw up the first bite. And my friend also confessed that the food wasn't nearly as fresh as the day before, so I take some comfort in knowing that it's not hinging on only my sensitive taste buds.

After drinks at the Dresden we headed over to a nearby coffee shop in Hollywood named the Bourgeois Pig. I recommend going here if you want to get a good kick out of all the baristas. Each time I've gone I've had interesting stories to share with friends when getting back.



I ended the night on a positive note: I ordered a soy cafe latte. Despite the dinner, my happy ending came in the form of frothy and delicious coffee. If coffee was a man, I'd marry him, for I could gaze upon such a delight daily:



So what is the moral of the story? Sushi is an excellent future dining option for me if I ever have to lose weight before a big event, as I'll only eat a few bites, if even that.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how my night transpired.

What has been your sushi experience? Do you eat it or have any dining recommendations?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fish Friday

Growing up Catholic, I was used to having fish every Friday for dinner, so Fridays became synonymous with fish for me as a child, which I later carried on into adulthood. Today is fish Friday again, but for a very different reason: I'm trying sushi for the first time ever. People I meet find it shocking that I've never sampled sushi, especially since there are so many excellent sushi eateries here in Southern California. I suppose it's the equivalent of living in the Midwest and never having a really good steak.

So tonight I will be trying sushi for the first time, but not by choice: I lost a bet and as a result, I will be am forced to try raw fish. My devious plan to get out of trying shashimi is to promptly start crying when my order arrives. Just kidding. In all honesty, I'm not much of a seafood fan to begin with (I stick to basics such as tuna, mahi mahi, salmon, swordfish, and shrimp) and hate squid, eel, clams, muscles, and lobster. I think it has to do more with the consistency (squishy and slimy) than the taste, even though super fishy foods turn me off as well.

I'll post on Monday how my sushi ordeal dinner went, along with pictures as proof. This might be a good thing, since I'll be able to cross off an item from my Bucket List.

Have a wonderful weekend!
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