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Why Patricia Bay Haroski’s name should vex you

Happy Monday- or this Monday, the awkward Boss’s Day. How could anyone forget it was boss’s day? There is always that one employee that somehow remembers to kiss a** and makes it uncomfortable for everyone else.

At first I thought it was the retailers who came up with such a terrible holiday to boost their sales. I mean, they already turned Valentine’s day into a national competition of who can get their spouse a bigger, better, fluffier teddy bear. Halloween isles turn into a conga line of candy and costumes all imported from China. They start Christmas in September purely to remind me that “hey, look, here are all the gifts you have yet to buy in the next four months to make your kids happy otherwise you are a pathetic loser who doesn’t get their family anything!”

But it turns out it was Patricia Bay Haroski who worked for her Dad, her boss, and registered the holiday back in 1958. What a nice gesture, Patricia! Getting something for Daddy and turning it into a national suck up fest.

In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t particularly care for my boss. My boss is not particularly the worst in the world, but not the best either. I don’t care to spend my hard earned money on my boss when my boss should be the one thanking me for my work. How many times have I stayed late only because stuff had to be done urgently? Or worked through lunch? Experienced anxiety because of the workload but didn’t get any help from them? Does that sounds like something I want to appreciate them for?

How about a good ole employee appreciation day? Sure, they have them but they are always HR promoted with a BBQ outing for the whole company and it becomes a big CEO back-scratching.

No, I want employee appreciation where my boss takes me out or gets me something nice and genuinely means it- or maybe, not have a holiday at all. Instead, start treating me better throughout the whole year and that can be my boss’s gift to me.

I wish you all good luck today, remember to whisper Patricia Bay Haroski’s name with despise because she is the one that started this whole thing and the retailers, well, they just went with it since it is a lucrative scheme.

Best,

Leah

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Pinterest Dream Crusher: Making of a Pine Cone Wreath

I’m not sure why I decided to actually try to make something I saw on Pinterest; perhaps I have greater confidence in my skills than I care to acknowledge. I am also a hopeless dreamer living on a budget so making my very own Pine Cone Wreath in only an hour (!), super low budget (!) and with barely any effort (!) sounded like a solid idea.

I fell in love with this wreath– simple, classy and perfect for my door. Despite the fact we live in Florida, we have some pine trees growing in the area and my Mom happens to have a solid amount of pine cones laying in her backyard (which she never frequents due to mosquitoes which eagerly await for any sign of warm blooded creatures).

Armed with Thermacell, a truly great mosquito repellent, I ran to the pine tree and picked up as many cones I could. As you can see below (just some I picked), they are represented in their most raw and realistic form.

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Albeit the Pinterest instruction does not say to paint them, I decided I wanted to add some gold-on the color wheel, brown and gold look rather compelling.

 

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The spray painting was actually the only thing that turned out quite nicely but don’t be an idiot like me and wear gloves before you do it and leave them to dry for a couple of hours. Spray paint the ugly ones and keep the nice brown looking ones for the final selection.

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Up until this point I felt quite good. I got the pine cones looking better than I thought they would and my inner Martha Stewart was waking up ready to come alive for the wreath assembly.

I read the instructions from Pinterest:

Step 1- Get some pretty pinecones

Step 2- Glue the big cones on the wire wreath

Step 3- Glue the small cones on the wire wreath

Step 4- Admire your wonderful creation.

The realistic steps were more like:

Step 1- Realize the pretty pine cones you picked are too big or too small for such a wreath and the ones used in the picture must have been picked out of a thousand to look that good and fit on the wreath so resort to plan B because this cone wreath ain’t happening.

Step 2- Gluing cones on a tiny wire is simply impossible. I used the same glue gun and the same wire wreath and there is no way in hell they would stick to that.

Step 3-  Resort to panic mode and don’t admit to your partner that a Pinterest wreath is baloney. Get a wire and cut your fingers attaching the cones to the wreath to prove you can in fact finish a Pinterest project!

Step 4- Successfully have no cones fall of the wreath and pray it stays like this until November. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the final product.

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Do any of you have similar experience with Pinterest artsy projects? Leave a comment below or prove me wrong and tell me what I did wrong!

Love,

Leah

 

Bleeding ink left and right!

Ok, I like to mix things up a bit every once in a while and this time I chose calligraphy as my next challenge.

I had a fountain pen when I was younger but this time I got the Pilot Parallel Pen. THE pen of all pens! If I can’t slap some nice letters together with this pen then I should just give up and leave the world of calligraphy to those more competent.

Anyway, it came with two-what looked like good sized-re-fills. I thought they were going to last me for days. Four hours of practice later, I ran out of ink and have to get the re-fill. How is that possible? I realize the 2.4 mm nib had something to do with it but sweet Pen-O-Mighty, I could not believe how quickly the ink was gone.

This is the result of my practice:

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Did anyone else have the same experience?

The Laundry Criminal

I was about to see Sydney. I’ve been on a plane for hours. We finally landed and I could feel the presence of kangaroos- their glares from far far away. I knew this would be the best trip ever.

Then I got stopped by Australia’s border security. I was called into their awfully small and eye-burning white interview room. A nice lad by the name of Shane asked me some random questions as to why I was visiting Australia and how I planned on supporting myself. Then he started asking suspicious questions about how I do my laundry. Apparently they track that too.

“Sir, I am here to see the kangaroos and dingos. Why do you have to know how I do my laundry?” I asked, nervously. My laundry record follows me everywhere. It’s like a crime people cannot get past it. Can never forgive me for it.

“‘Mam, there is a record of your previous offenses regarding ghastly laundry methods- you have admitted in the past that you do not separate your laundry into colors and whites/light pastels. Is that correct?”

“Yes, that is correct. But I only did that in the past, I don’t do it anymore,” I tried to reassure him.

“Ok. What about your usage of hot water when washing? Do you still use hot water every-time you do laundry?” Shane asked with a serious face.

“No, sir, I don’t do that anymore, either. I learned my lessons. May I ask, how is this relevant to my stay here?” I asked, getting nauseous. I scratched my unwashed head like a monkey.

“The reason I am asking this Miss …errr.”- he glanced at my passport, “Leah, is that we want to make sure you won’t commit any of these crimes here in Australia.”

“I can assure you bad laundry habits are in my past,” I reassured him and bit off a piece of nail from my pinky.

“If that’s the case, then you don’t mind if we swap your laundry for any discoloring?”- Shane would not stop.

“Not at all,” I told him.

He left the room and was gone for probably an hour. I sat there with my head leaning against the table. I knew the outcome of the test. I have also seen the show “Border Security: Australia’s Front Line.” Once they have you in  the interview room you are banned from the country no matter what you say.

Shane comes back with a disappointing look on his face. He puts a big bureaucratic pile of papers on the table and clears his throat.

“Today I have decided to cancel your visa. So what will happen from here is that we will contact an airline to–” His words became a blur. I didn’t fight it. It’s pointless. Every conversation I have with people I get the same treatment. I am the laundry criminal.

“I, Leah Rennes, am the criminal who does not separate her laundry into colors and whites/light pastels and I don’t care if I use hot or cold water. I just use hot for everything- and I will do so until the day I die because I DON’T care!!”

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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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What is Christmas with no snow?

As you may or may not know, I live in Florida. Right now, it is 79F outside, sunny and it does not feel like Christmas at all. My inflatable snowman in the front yard looks a little ridiculous surrounded by green palm trees. Same goes for the Santa and the reindeers display since if Santa ever landed by my house his landing would have been really rough, having no snow and all. Or maybe his team is used to a grassy terrain?

So it’s Christmas…. but with no snow it is missing that…. je ne sais quoi. I can’t enjoy a hot beverage by the fireplace since I am already in a tank top and shorts. It is too hot to have the fireplace going. My only snowflakes are the ones I hung up on my tree (DIY for the win, ya’ll!!).

I probably should have gone to a snowy place this year. But money is tight and I don’t like to spend money on what I cannot afford. I am sitting on my couch, reminiscing my days in Europe. Honestly, I am re-reading parts of my book because the way I described Jenna’s snowy days in France are legitimately what takes me back to the days of snowy bliss.

So what is Christmas with no snow? Well, it is weird. It feels like something is missing. You may say Christmas is about Christ. Spending time with your family. For some it is about presents. And it is all that. But there is something even better about going to church on Christmas, marching through the snow, hiding your cold hands tucked deeply into your heavy jacket, breathing heavily into the wool scarf, and snowflakes falling on your head.

***Merry Christmas everyone!!***

Rio 2016- the most authentic Olympic games

For the last couple of months there has been an absolute uproar over Rio being the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Even I was against it at first- like many, I raised my fist with the rest and roared: “Say no to bribing! Say no to corruption! Say no to human rights violations! There are people starving while the corrupt politicians and officials make money! It’s disgusting!”

But after seeing the picture of favelas illuminated by the fireworks coming from an Olympic stadium in the background, I changed my mind.

The Rio Olympics represent the cruel reality of our society, of our world really. The games represent the best but also the worst. We cannot protest only when our athletes are not treated right. What about all those people living in poverty, crime and hunger on a daily basis? Why are we not making a bigger deal out of that?

No matter what you hated or loved about the Rio Olympics, at least it was not pretending to be something it was not. It was real, dysfunctional, dangerous, exciting, sad and challenging at the same time. It was not the pink-eyed version of our world, but rather an authentic one. Even athletes, many of which come from destitute backgrounds, gave us their best and their ugliest, their rawest, just like our world really is, in case you forgot.

 

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The eternal battle of the working mind

Sound of alarm brutally interrupts my dream. “Where am I?” I ask myself. It is 5:35am, my bedroom is semi-dark and my mind is still stuck in a dream about a fish that followed me to a skyscraper. They make no sense. “Good God,” I mumble as I try to shake away the image of the shiny blue fins. I sigh. I reach for the phone to turn off the alarm clock. Silence floats across the room like a gentle breeze. My brain finally tells me that it is a work day and that I have to get up to go to work. Second “Good God” crosses my mind. “Please! I don’t want to get up,” I plead. Maybe work lords will make my wish come true. I close my eyes again. “No!” I have to open my eyes. “You’ll fall asleep otherwise, silly.”

I open my eyes, reluctantly. The room is still dark but I see my dog move. He knows. The moment the alarm goes off he knows it is time to start a new day. I wish I was as keen on life that early in the morning. He wags his tail and jumps on the bed. I pet his soft head and lumber to the bathroom. With my hand, I feel around for the clothing I had put aside the night before. I get dressed and put on my running shoes. The dog is now more awake than ever, stretching in every yoga pose imaginable for his morning walk. I grab my phone, put the collar on the dog and leave the house. The next twenty minutes swing by like a summer breeze, as my body is still too sleepy to process the surroundings around me. At the least the dog is having fun, peeing on everything that sticks out.

We get back and now my body is out of denial mode. Now, the confrontation phase starts. I am confronted with another day of going to work. I have to get ready, I have to get myself to a state where I can function and possibly perform some work today. I put on the kettle to make some tea. I used to drink coffee but I drank so much of it that it obnoxiously stained my teeth so I switched to black tea, another caffeine alternative.

The dog is hungry, following me to every nook and cranny of the kitchen. Alright, alright! I’m going to feed you. I grab his bag and dump some dry food in it. I got to eat too. I grab a bagel and put some cream cheese on it. By put I mean I dip the bagel into the cream cheese container because it is too early to be proper and use cutlery like a human being. The hunger is gone after a couple of minutes, now I have to shower and get dressed. I grab a towel that has that towel smell and should be washed this weekend, if I won’t forget. A headache is starting to kick in. I grab some pills and hope that it will go away. Almost ready for work. I put on some make up because without some color slabbed onto my cheeks people automatically assume I am sick and get greatly concerned. Purse, phone. Food! I forgot to pack lunch. I grab my frozen veggies and meat from the freezer and toss them in a container. I guess this will do. I run out to the car because I am already late. Is Friday here yet?

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Luckily, my Mom is on Facebook.

I know kids these days don’t know what Facebook is or they roll their eyes and say it is SO passé. But I still use it as it’s been a part of my life since 2007 – woah, 9 years!- and I’ve stuck with every layout change that they made, specially in the first five years before they kind of decided to stick with the timeline format.

Of course, the usage of my Facebook greatly changed throughout the years. I was much younger and more naive 9 years ago and therefore the posts were age appropriate. I have since, as might be expected, deleted quite a few but all in all my posts were/are alright.

Around 2010 (2011?), my Mom joined Facebook and as many others, I dreaded adding her to MY Facebook. Gosh, these are my private thoughts I share on the internet with my friends, not my MOM! What should I do? Add her or block her? After a week of listening to her whining that we are truly not friends if we are not Facebook friends I decided to add her.

My Facebook posts have changed since. I think twice about what I write or think twice about who am I arguing with about a certain hot issue (btw, never get into arguments on Facebook, they are a complete waste of time and pointless!).

I guess it is safe to say that since my Mom joined Facebook, I think twice about what I say or do because I do not want her to see her daughter act like an idiot or say something stupid. Not that I do that often, but it happens. It happens to all of us and we should all be happy we have our Moms as Facebook friends- internet is not a public diary and we don’t want them to find out every detail of our lives. Or do we?

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