life

The loser leaving work at 5pm

I normally start my work count down to 5pm roughly around noon.

I take my lunch  at 12:30pm so in my head, I am closer to that 5 o’clock in my head. Since I take an hour lunch, I get back by 1:30pm and, hey, that is just 3 hours and 30 minutes away from that wonderful 5 pm!!

Then I try to do some work, maybe be productive for about two more hours which gets me to 3:30 pm. Then the second count down to 5 o’clock starts. Any work that would require more than two hours gets pushed onto the next day. I probably get up and go to the bathroom and/or get some coffee. Then I do some more work, hoping for no last minute complications that would impede me from leaving at 5pm.

I don’t know how your workplace is, but where I work people are serious. 5pm means nothing to them. They don’t care if they don’t see their kids, spend more time with their spouses, no, work has to get done because there is not always another day.

So that means that I am usually the first one to get up at 5:00pm. I look around as business chatter continues as if in fact, it is not 5 o’clock in our very own office. I shut down my computer and I sneak out.

I sneak out like a plain traitor that has the audacity to leave work at 5pm! I try not to attract too much attention. I know most of these people will stay at least half hour/an hour late to finish up whatever they were doing. I feel like I am being watched, being judged- “Look at Leah leaving work exactly at 5pm! Who does she think she is?!” So I try to duck down in a way that will get me fastest to my car. I  feel their stares, they are piercing me with fierce judgement but I continue. As the proud leader of the 5pm rebellion, I see some other people follow behind me.

I get inside my car and drive away before my boss comes behind me, chasing me to finish something that can be done tomorrow- and once I am off the company parking lot, I feel like I am winning! I get to go home and see my family even if for the measly 2 hours. I may be a loser that doesn’t work hard and leaves at 5pm, but I am a winner in my family’s eyes!

How about you, readers? Do you also feel weird leaving work at 5pm on the dot or is your company more understanding when it comes to it? Do you feel the peer pressure as well? Leave comments below……and don’t forget to leave at 5pm, sharp!!

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“How was your weekend?”

It is an early Sunday morning, but I already dread everyone’s favorite question at work after the weekend is over.

The mandatory Monday morning question.

The whenever you’re awkwardly standing by the Keurig machine waiting for the water to  heat up so you can make coffee question.

The whenever you spot someone pass your desk and you accidentally looked them in the eyes and you can’t ignore them question.

The question everyone likes to shout as they pass you by and obviously have no intention of knowing the answer to.

“How was your weekend?”

I guess this question  bothers me because I can’t ever answer it truthfully. Can I say that it was:

“Too short.”  “I did absolutely nothing.”  “I slept all day.” “I was exhausted from last week so I sat around all day and watched the Office.” “My weekend was ruined because of the mere thought of having to come to work.” “My weekend was bad because I got a bunch of emails from my boss.” “I had two glasses of wine which got me a little too drunk and I had to rest all Sunday to recover.”

So, meh, don’t ask me about my weekend on a Monday. Mostly it is two days of trying to recover from a crazy work week.

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Area dog more than happy to be a couch potato

“Would you look at her,” said Tanya with a hint of despise. She was referring to her dog Stella who was stretched out across the couch in the living room. “I think when she dies we will bury the couch with her.”

Tanya and I nonchalantly took a seat next to Stella. “Is it really that bad if a dog enjoys being on the couch?” I asked Tanya. “You love the couch as much as the next person.” “I do,” she responded and took a bite of the grilled cheese sandwich she made inspired by the one seen on America’s Test Kitchen. “But this dog, she almost abuses the couch. I’ve never seen anyone so happy just spreading across the thing in multiple ways. She lays on her back, her belly, her side- you name it.”

I looked at Stella. Her eyes gave away content and a sense of bliss. Soft cushions were supporting her big head as her butt was slowly sinking into the couch. This dog was happy, so happy to be a couch potato.

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Life without A/C

“It’s the devil,” my Swedish roommate whined. “It ruins the environment,” my German roommate assured me as he was backed up all his whining with staggering statistics. Living in France in the summer is much harder than people realize. A lot of those beautiful, old buildings do not have A/C. Particularly the student rooms- we were all meant to sweat until our clothing was wet inside out. I think I wrote my last will during those hot, summer days, as I was sure I wasn’t going to make it.

As I sit in my A/C room and reminisce my study abroad in France, I can’t thank Willis Carrier enough. A Cornell University graduate, he was the one that came up with modern electrical air conditioning. He was the one that makes my life, on a daily basis, much more tolerable. Living in Florida, life without A/C is unthinkable these days. People pass out from heat because it is so hot sometimes, and then somebody will tell me that A/C is bad? No, sir. A/C saves lives. According to CDC, an average of cca. 700 people die each year. Now, I’m not saying they were all trapped in their homes without A/C but I’m certain A/C could have helped. Unless they were stuck wandering the desert, then I guess they didn’t stand a chance really.

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When you’re down, down low….

Weird. I have one of the Eurovision songs stuck in my head. I am down, down low. It’s been a rough, ROUGH week and I have little energy left. Or will to do anything, really.

How to cure the down, down low? Here are some of my tips:

1) Hug your kitty/ dog. They may have disgruntled faces (or are about to scratch you) but the feel of that soft fur will make you feel like the world is a better place.

2) Watch “Pursuit of Happyness”- when you realize Chris Gardner was homeless, with a kid, working like a maniac…. you realize you should probably get off your ass and be more productive.

3) Have a glass of wine. No, forget wine. Have a mix- maybe vodka and coke. Rum and coke. I’m not saying to drink your problems away, but sometimes alcohol can get you more relaxed.

4) Get your best friend on the phone. Or when you don’t really have a best friend, talk to your dog/kitty. They are great listeners, often better than people. And they will listen to your problems for hours.

5) Pet your dog/kitty for good measure. Again!

So that’s kind of what I do. What do you do when you have a bad day/week/month? Leave comments below 😀

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P.S: Thank you to those who took advantage of the free promotion of my children’s book “Ginger’s missing glasses”– don’t forget to leave a review! 🙂

Note to self: Be grateful. Be more grateful.

I like to think I am a grateful person, but perhaps I am not as grateful for things as much as I would like to be. As Jack Dawson said: “I got air in my lungs, and a few blank sheets of paper” (still one of my favorite quotes from Titanic).

I am healthy, I have a job, I get to find time time to enjoy my hobbies, I have David by my side. I have my wacky family by my side (for the most part). I live in the best country on Earth (‘Merica!) and I have food on the table. Above all, I get to write stories. I should be so grateful. So darn grateful. But I am not. I constantly want more. I want to sell more books, lose weight, travel more, upgrade my kitchen (it is so tiny!) etc.

So today, I acknowledge my blessings and I will strive my best to be better at stopping and counting them more. I am lucky. So lucky. How grateful are you for what you have?

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Don’t let numbers define you.

Too often I find myself chained to numbers in my life. I rely on them and let them determine who I am. They tell me whether I am loser or a winner, a good person or a bad person, or if I am a failure in life.

How much money do I make? Why am I not making more? How many pounds do I weigh? How expensive was the holiday I went on? Was it expensive enough to impress other people? Does this dress look like an expensive dress? How many hours did I sleep? Why don’t I have a two car garage? How old am I? (and the inevitable- when did I get this old?)

It’s a scary thing, relying on numbers. They put me in a bad mood because there is always a goal that has to be reached. Sales numbers, performance reviews, even damn dieting is not successful unless the scale budges and shows less!

What would happen in my life if I started to ignore numbers? What if I became happy with what I am making? What if I realized I don’t need a two door garage and that the world won’t end because I do not drink 8 glasses a day like I was supposed to according to every health magazine? What if I was happy with the fact I only sold one book so far on Amazon– someone bought my book, isn’t that something?

What if I, instead, focused on helping others, or making someone’s day by actually having a conversation with them? Or baby-sitting someone’s kids so they can finally go on a romantic date after sleepless nights and dirty diapers?  What if I invited that chatty old neighbor for dinner after five years of knowing her?

The world becomes so much easier when the burden of number disappears- suddenly, the focus is on others, and not on you.

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Sparta is back in style

Finally! Skinny people have to take care of their bodies too! We are going back to the Spartan times. The times of fit people sweating together and sculpting their bodies. I mean, we should politely disregard the military-style education program with hazing and fighting.. here, we are talking about the work on their bodies, their ultimate obsession to achieve the bulkiest, chizzled and god-like muscles. Men or women, they were all supposed to strive to be physically fit.

Somewhere between Sparta and Twiggy, skinny people strategically positioned themselves to be adored and admired. I don’t know how we let them get away with it, but we did. And as lucky as they were with their genetically given bodies that have metabolisms on steroids, they were laughing at us as they ate chips and didn’t gain a pound.

But now, a new revolution is happening. It is slow, but it is sure. Skinny people can’t just be skinny. Now they look weak. And jiggly. And not toned. It is great! As a person who struggled with being fat my entire life, it is nice that the trend is moving towards a “healthy lifestyle.” Because just because you are skinny, doesn’t mean you are healthy. I have tons of skinny friends who gobble down cakes and hamburgers and almost lose weight.

It’s a new trend of eating food that fuels your body. A trend of working out hard to sculpt your body. No one can get away with being lazy or having good genes. You have to work for it, and you have to discipline yourself. It’s nice. Because ultimately it is about being healthy, and that’s what matters the most.

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Medals are NOT for everyone

Imagine watching the Oscars; everyone is dressed to the nines, looking stunning and hungry. Next up: Best supporting actor category. They read out the names, and then… they announce the winner. The actor walks on stage and shares a sob story.  He kisses his Oscar. He won! The camera turns towards the other best supporting actor nominees and hey, guess what, they are also holding up their Oscars- you know, they should get an Oscar just for their nomination.

Now, how ridiculous is that?

America is turning into a nation of wussies. Everyone is being rewarded these days. For effort, not results. Just last night I saw pictures of my friends running in a 5K. And you know what was hanging around their necks? Medals. Freaking medals. They didn’t come in first, second or third. They weren’t anywhere near top 100. But they got medals. For what? For participating. It makes me vomit, dear fellow Americans.

Medals symbolize something extraordinary- extraordinary time or achievement, sometimes service to the country. They do not symbolize participation, or an effort or getting of a couch to walk a 5K. America, what are you doing? Event organizers, what are you doing? By giving out medals, albeit fake, you are devaluing the value of winners. The winners who trained hard to be the fastest. They woke up every day and trained. Trained to be better, to improve results, to be the best. Not average. The best. They woke up sore, they woke up tired and they put years in training. They sweat tears, they sweat ambition and they sweat dedication. They deserve to get something unique. Because if we stop awarding those who push the boundaries, we acknowledge average… and average will never achieve extraordinary.

Boring koi ponds and private theaters

I read the gossip websites. I know every celebrity home should include all/ or most items listed below (and more):

Koi poind greeting the visitors. Lagoon-style pool to jump into. Wooden beams. Ornate chandeliers. A theater. Arched doorways. Multiple fireplaces. Spa tub and mood lightning. Private elevator. A gazebo. Waterfall spa. Nine-stall barn.

I’m assuming most celebrity houses entail that. And while they might be happy to live in such overabundance, I can honestly say I would never want to live in such a home. Why? Well…..

1. If I got anything dirty, it would cost a fortune to replace

2. Too many rooms (I already get disoriented in a hotel, why would I want to get disoriented in my own home)

3. I don’t want my Mother to move in (The excuse “we don’t have enough room” would be gone out the window)

4. Higher chance of a murderer hiding in my house (more rooms= more opportunities to hide)

5. I hate being hot so there’s no way I can put that sauna in a good use

6. Presence of fountains would increase my urge to go pee

7. A private elevator would make me even lazier than I already am

8. I don’t pay enough attention to my doorway to truly appreciate the value of an arched one

9. Multiple TV Screens would be neglected as I barely watch TV anymore

And more… but, above all, I believe in being modest. I would prefer to sell the house, live in a smaller home and donate money to a good cause than to compensate for whatever lack of insecurities I am trying to hide and show off to other people by buy buying a house that should probably be a hotel in the first place. So, no, Beyonce and Taylor Swift, I don’t want your damn mansions! 😉

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