How Not to Waste a SICK Day

January 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm (food, health, home)

It cracks me up when people say “I hate being sick”, like most other people purposely don’t wash their hands so as to catch the latest cold or flu.  Fact of life, most adults get about 2-4 common colds a year.  If you can’t beat it, join it.  These are my solutions on how to not feel sorry for yourself for time it takes to get better:

1. CALL IN SICK!!!  I’m completely blown away by how few people do this.  What an awful thing to do to your coworkers and customers, exposing them to your highly contagious germs.

(Restaurants are strangely unforgiving of sickness- in the 6 years I worked at a busy chain, servers were always expected to cover their own shifts or come in sick.  Remember that next time you go out to eat and your waiter greets you with the sniffles!)

2.  Now that you are safely in your own home, GET OUT OF BED!  It is so easy to stay tucked under the covers, and everyone says to rest and get sleep, but I promise it will make you feel better just moving around a little.

3.  On that note, take a short walk around the neighborhood.  I like to walk to the nearest video store to pick up flicks for later.  The sun and fresh air will make you feel fantastic, and a mini-workout can do wonders for the immune system.  It will also get out that weird, sick anxiety and cabin fever.

4.  Liquids!  Tea (with lemon and lot’s of honey), water, & OJ for Vitamin C.

5.  Eat healthy, normal meals.  Most of us lose our appetite when we are sick.  Try really hard to follow a regular eating schedule.  Especially fresh fruits and definitely some soup, protein, and carbs to absorb all those liquids.  Lighten up on the dairy, though.

6.  Steam some veggies, use the steam to clear up nasal passages, and then eat those healthy peas/carrots/broccoli all up!

7.  May sound stupid, but I always wear something super colorful.  It will help brighten the mood.  Also, should be extremely comfortable.

8.  Enjoy the peace and quiet.  It may be one of the few times you are at home alone.  Keep the TV off for a few hours.  No music.  Just relax and let your mind wander.

9.  Catch up on all those movies you wanted to see.

10.  Be slightly productive and do some boring work at home.  Pay some bills, research a different bank/insurance company, whatever has been put off!

I usually do a combo of these on my sick days, and I end up feeling better and not too guilty for missing work.  Hope it helps.


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How to Deal With Grumpy Old Farts

October 19, 2009 at 11:54 am (Uncategorized)

I work around a lot of old boaters, and many of them have a major chip on their shoulder.  I can’t tell you how many times I have to hear about the economy, or their bad health (while they inhale a Marlboro red), rising slip fees, politics, or the expensive broken thing on their boat.

Day after day, the constant complaining starts to wear on even the most positive customer service expert.  I try and keep my head up by doing the following:

1- Change the subject.  This works especially well with politics.  I actually have imposed a no-politics rule in my office.  Make a joke out of it… “You know we don’t talk politics in here, the ambulance response is too slow!”  Also, talking about the weather is always a welcome topic, even in Southern California.

2- Be a bright spot of sunshiney happiness.  No matter how annoyed I am, I try to find some light, positive twist to whatever they say.  This is a skill, and takes practice, but can actually help both parties feel better.  Fake it ’til you make it!

3- Just listen and try to empathize with them.  Say “I understand how you feel.  I’m really sorry.”  This is so simple, and sometimes all people want to do is rant and get it off their chest.  It is not possible for me to solve every problem, but I can definitely improve their opinion of me if I hear them out.

4- Jokes!  First, feel it out.  If the person seems to want to complain just for the sake of complaining, it can be a huge relief to joke around with them.  I wonder how it must be for a grumpy curmudgeon, and I think a lot of them need a hug and a laugh.

5- Ask them about something personal.  How is their family?  Job?  This doesn’t have to be a change of subject; ask them about how the economy has affected them, then always give a similar problem of your own to relate to them.  Bridge that gap!

I used to really dislike dealing with older people, but I’ve found that a little patience and understanding goes a long way.  Now they know me as the one to talk to, and I don’t mind at all!  If I can make their day better, even for a second, it was worth it.

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Bailing Yourself Out

February 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s been difficult for me to listen to the news or talk about politics with anyone for a long time.  Not that I dislike it… I read a lot about what’s going on, more than most people I know.  Maybe I have disinterested, disenfranchised friends.

I just hate the injustice of it all.  How the rich corporate CEOS screw over the working class.  The story is always the same, and I don’t wanna hear it.

Just working full time, being a college dropout (even if only temporarily), and paying bills is slowly making me feel ten years older.  Excuse me for this soon-to-be cliche: where the fuck is my bailout?  Another stimulus might help for a week, but a full credit reversal is in order.  I pay ten percent of my meager income, own an old car, rely a lot on my boyfriend for groceries, and still need to work for my mom once a week for fun money.

That’s the worst part: it does not work to quit spending cold turkey.  We always need to buy things.  It’s ingrained.  And completely necessary.  I’m not going to get a better paying job unless I look and feel good, and that costs.  So I give myself little treats now, to avoid having to binge shop.

Slippery slope to overspending again, but I’m trying really hard to learn a new habit.  It feels good to make early student loan payments well before they are do, for more than minimum.  It feels bad to know the interest isn’t even paid off yet.

Now that I’m responsible, I am acutely aware of these strange thoughts, of the future and financial calculations.  I want someone else to be responsible again.  I believe I deserve a new beginning (or loan).  But some of the same companies that take my money get an easy out , so why can’t I?

At least a few bad credit marks are about to go away.  It’s a start.  My start.

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Colorful Interior Design Contest

October 20, 2008 at 2:34 pm (home) (, , )

One of my favorite websites, Apartment Therapy, is a goldmine for decorating ideas and inspiration.  Every year they have a Fall Colors Contest, where people submit pics of their homes for everyone to vote on the best, most colorful entry.  A lot of the site is modern/minimalist style, so this particular apartment jumped out:

Apartment Therapy- Lori’s Latin Lair

The use of colors makes the whole place flow together, it barely looks like a rental!  I love the style, it makes me want to go on vacation.  If I lived there I would never leave.  Thank you AT for another amazing post!  Check out all the entries, you’re sure to find something you like.

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House Guest Ettiquette

September 15, 2008 at 1:25 pm (home, travel) (, , , )

I am a control freak at home.  I also love to play hostess.  These two qualities collide when I have house guests for several days.  I have to bite my tongue when they leave towels around and don’t put their dishes in the sink/dishwasher.  It’s a good exercise in restraint.

My little 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment in Venice is just big enough for myself, my boyfriend, and our male roommate.  It is a full-time job keeping the apartment clean, and we all are better and worse at different things.  I’m notorious for being the “nagging mommy”, but they don’t really complain since we all want the place to be nice and comfortable.  My roommate is the worst at cleaning up after himself, so I do get on his case more.  He had a break this week when 2 of my friends from London crashed on our couches for 4 nights.

I never realized how messy 2 girls could be in less than a week.  These are all of the things I noticed (and tried not to freak out about):

Left out every single glass or plate they used on tables and counters

No effort to dry off after showers = soaking wet (possibly ruined) bathmat and dirty floors

Painting toenails over my very beautiful, expensive living room rug!!!

Eating the last of several food items and not replacing

Now, I’ve done my fair share of couch hopping and travelling.  I would never assume that I was the PERFECT guest, but I certainly would be a lot more careful not to leave messes throughout the entire place.  At least try to clean up after yourself as much as possible (doesn’t have to be CSI clean).  Ask the hostess where to put dishes and where to take out the trash–then DO IT!

My favorite ways to endear myself to hosts:

1- buy groceries/supplies when you first arrive

2- leave a small gift of appreciation

3- take them out for dinner (ask them first)

4- do not expect them to make dinner for you, but thank them profusely if they do

5- make sure your bags are in a designated out-of-the-way spot

I will definitely see these girls again, and the first thing I’m going to think of is how bad my mildewed bathmat smelled when they left.  Do you really want to be remembered that way?

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Dear Grandma,

March 7, 2008 at 10:44 pm (death, family, genealogy) (, , , )

I remember the dry, hot summers in Logan in front of the green house.  Devin  and I would play with the sprinklers on the sidewalks.  The water would evaporate almost instantly on the concrete and give off this smell that to this day still reminds me of visiting you and grandpa.

I remember the plastic dolls and lincoln logs that I would line up in rows on the lazy-susan on the dinner table.  Later I learned that my dad and all his siblings before him played with the very same toys.

I remember the hilarious contraption that grandpa built, with the standing iron frame with the inner-tube around it, that all the cousins used as a quasi-trampoline.  Devin would get so mad when I bounced him too high.  We were the youngest cousins, and I still can’t believe it is still in business.

I remember the marbles and books and comics and card games and peanut brittle that were involved in almost every family gathering, and wishing I was old enough to stay up late to play Pinochle.

I remember rocking in the armchair next to grandpa while he watched a baseball game, and the next moment hearing his loud snore.  You were in the kitchen making another batch of homemade bread.  It was the fluffiest bread I have ever had, and with butter it was absolute heaven.  That was my favorite thing about visiting.  I always got to eat grandma’s bread.

I remember squeaky cheese and tic-tacs and Nips.

I remember the Olay lotion you used to keep your hands soft.

I remember your reaction to my jazz cd.  You loved Ella Fitzgerald when she sang the old standards, but didn’t like the mumbo-jumbo of the scat songs.

You gave me a wonderful dad, taught me an old gal can change, helped me learn Screwie Louie, and tried to get me to eat beets.  But most of all, you were simply my grandma.

I love you and I will miss you.

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Long Lost Cousin Marrying Best Friend

February 28, 2008 at 9:34 pm (family, genealogy) (, , , , )

I have a pretty weird last name.  It’s Swiss-German.  Very few people have the exact same spelling, and the few that do probably came from the same ancestors as I do.

My friend Maggie decided to join Peace Corps a year ago, got shipped off to Romania, and almost immediately found the man of her dreams.  So romantic.  (blechh)

Just like any newly-engaged couple, they are learning more about each others families.  Well, it just so happens that his mother has the EXACT same last name and is from the same area as my parents’ families.  Random.  Maggie emailed me as soon as she found out, and wondered if we might be related.

During our next few emails of crazy information-exchange, we discovered that my dad and Maggie’s fiance have the EXACT same genealogy book about our surname.  I immediately called my dad and had him look up their family in the book (published about 15 years ago), and guess what? … we are fourth cousins!  Our great-great grandfathers had the same dad.

I cannot get over how crazy this is, that my best friend from LA went all the way across the world to meet my distant cousin I didn’t know.  I’m so excited to meet him and the rest of the clan.  Not only do I get to connect with a totally different part of my (huge) extended family: after the wedding my friend will become my cousin!

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Going Back on Birth Control

February 21, 2008 at 10:30 pm (sex) (, )

Oh joy, the thrill of taking daily hormone pills.

I need it, though, I’m sick of this shit, just want to skip it for a few months.  Seriously, that’s all I do it for.  A few of my girlfriends get CRAZY on the Pill, sucks for them.

Not that I’m getting any right now… I have that horrible dry cough.  Every few minutes I go into massive fits, where I feel like I’m going to cough out my spleen.  Officially quitting smoking (except weed, that’s for medical purposes).

Anyway, I miss being on the pill.  So sick of condoms, monthly visits, and random zits.

I feel like I’m a teenager again, craving the Pill like it’s some secretive potent cure-all.  But, really, it is!  Get yours today.  Oh, and support your local Planned Parenthood.

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Sea Urchin Sex

February 19, 2008 at 10:40 pm (food, ocean, sex) (, , )

My favorite sushi treat is “uni” AKA sea urchin. While most people think the edible inside is called roe, it’s actually the gonads of the male sea urchin. It looks like a textured paste, but feels light and airy to the tongue. The taste… well, it tastes like fresh sea air. Delicious. How many other animals can say that about their gonads??

All along our great California coast divers brave the cold water to deliver millions of dollars worth in uni gold to Japan. During the 1960’s the sea urchin was declared a “pest” because of the tendency to eat entire kelp forests. After that, the market took off, partially helped by a Federal subsidizing program. Over-fishing of sea urchin is now a big problem, leaving me to wonder if I should even be ordering them. red-sea-urchin.jpg

My guilt increases when I look back on 8th grade Career Day. Let me explain. For years as a child I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. It would be so fun to study the beautiful sea life on a boat! My awesome mom made some calls and scored an invitation with a top scientist in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, off the coast of Washington.

First, we kayaked around the island and almost instantly spotted a whole pod of Orca whales, a mama and baby and nurses. Incredible. This was it! This was what I wanted to do. I was so excited about my possible future calling… until we visited the laboratory. This intelligent, funny scientist spent most of her time in a fluorescent-lit, linoleum-floored underground room studying the reproductive habits of sea urchin. I shit you not.

From that day on my romantic ideas of marine biology (or science careers in general) were completely gone. Studying the gonads of spiny bottom-feeders sounds like a bad joke, not a great career path. I completely forgot about the little sea urchin, until years later at an adventurous sushi dinner.

Now I’m wondering– Should I have gone to school to help the little guys get it on?

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Parallel Pancake Sisters

February 19, 2008 at 8:29 pm (family) (, )

 Pao is my Brazilian twin, separated at birth. A couple years ago I met her at our favorite Westside bar: The Daily Pint. This place is great, beers galore, tons of whiskey, pool tables, shuffleboard, etc. I was ordering drinks from my favorite bartender (Robin) when a girl flung herself across the bar right next to me and yelled “Robin, I need a SHOT! It was my birthday YESTERDAY!” I just looked over, amazed, and said “I would’ve said the exact same thing! Robin, I got that shot.” My long-lost sister said she loved me and from that day on we spent every day together for 6 months. Neither of us had a sister, and we instantly called each other twins.

Our energy was crazy, people would just stare at us, it was this nutty magnetic bing bong bang, laughing & shouting inside jokes and nonsense words. A different language that even her husband couldn’t understand sometimes. Talking about pancakes, speaking Slavic, and giggling for hours over the correct pronunciation of “Auuuu!” We would have almost identical things happen to us, simultaneously. Like we were mirror images of each other, leading parallel lives.

We do have our differences: Pao is the sensible one, teacher, works hard, plays hard, married young, has 2 cute little pups; I was the single trouble-maker, the drunk chick, the spontaneous scooter girl, work when I needed money, partied the rest of the time.

Then in April, 2007 I got a normal job. And a boyfriend.

In a year our friendship has deteriorated. She doesn’t really like my boyfriend, but she can’t give me a good reason why. I no longer get daily texts or calls from her. I have to call a week or so in advance to spend time with her, like I need an appointment.

In an email last week I told her I miss her and I’m concerned that something is seriously wrong in our relationship. I want to fix it, if it can be fixed. Then I had this horrible thought that maybe we have outgrown each other. This scares the shit out of me. My mom suggested that it’s a big change from when we met: now we have busier lives and schedules, so it’s a natural change.  I want it to be the way it was before… probably not possible, but at least to go back to how deeply connected we were.

She got me in a way no one ever has, a mind-reader, my sister, my best friend. I don’t know what to do to save our friendship, but I’m not letting her go without a fight.

cop car/taxi?

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