Saturday, December 27, 2008
Bella: For many years my families ideal Christmas day involved spending the entire day together feasting in lavish meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner while enjoying each others company and relaxing. We would spend all day and night preparing the meals to then enjoy all together. Our family loves food and there was always an excess of elaborate and indulgent dishes.
Our gift giving used to be fairly traditional as well, with each person or couple getting gifts for everyone in the family. As we all got older, we moved on to doing the secret santa gift giving where we would each buy just one gift for one person in the family.
However in the last two years, we have moved away from the Christmas at home to going out and treating ourselves to an extravagent Christmas Lunch out. As our family is relatively small and there are no young children amongst us at the moment, we have decided to forgoe the expensive gift giving and labour intensive lunches at home. We have decided that for the moment what suits us is to all spend what we would on gifts and go out and really treat ourselves on this one special day. To us, what is most important is being together and enjoying each others company. We have everything that we need so we choose to indulge in this day and let someone else do the cooking and cleaning for us!
I'm sure that eventually we'll have little kids running around and then the time will come when a family Christmas at home will be how we will celebrate. For now however I really look forward to my one day of indulgence, wine and food. Our Christmas was fantastic!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Frankie: I try not to be quick to judge however in a recent situation I found that I indeed was. Literally speaking, I judged a book by it's cover. When the whole 'Harry Potter' blitz come out, I was so totally uninterested in reading, seeing or speaking about 'Harry Potter'. All the media attention and marketing mania put me completely off the whole deal. I refused to watch a movie and turned my nose up at the books.
However, I recently visited my friend who had the whole book collection. He lent me the first two and urged me to read them, telling me that I would enjoy them. I reluctantly took them and left them sitting on my bedside table for two weeks. After his constant nagging and asking me about what I thought, I decided to read the first book. I turned the first page and was hooked.....
I can't get enough of them now and find myself longing to get home so I can read the next chapter of my 'Harry Potter' book. After finishing each book, I watch the movie to compare the two. I am addicted. A little late I know...but addicted nonetheless. I have read the first three in 4 days and have the next two installments waiting on my table to be devoured.
So...when have you ever, dismissed something, thinking that you would so not be interested and then found you were pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised???
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Bella: I find myself not walking or running but limping as fast as I can towards the finish line. The working year is almost at its end and yet for me it couldn't come fast enough. And it's not just me who, let's say is a bit snappy, No, it's everyone in the office. We are at our wits end with how busy the last few weeks have been and with all the crazies coming out of the woodwork. I'm not sure if it's just me or if it's the season but some questions I've been asked by clients recently...just don't make sense. I have to wonder if their driveways don't quite meet the road??
A few of the most annoying comments I've received in the last few weeks include:
- Client: Well before we make a decision if we want to proceed with this job, can you show us an example of how it will look? Me: Um no....because that would be doing the job anyway...for free!
- Client: What is the fastest you can turn this around? Me: 3-4 business days. Client: Can you do it by the end of today? Me: Umm...no (scratch head...am I talking another language??)
- Client: We want the design to be flash! Me: (Getting out my dictionary of ridiculous client brief definitions) Flash...um do you mean flash as in stylish or flash as in Flash animated?? Client: Oh how silly, I forget that not everyone talks like me. Flash as in stylish. Me: Great..thanks for clearing that up.
- Client: We're unsure what direction we want to go in...can you show us your other clients work to get an idea? Me: Umm..no, that would be plagiarism.
- Client: Hi, we're working on a job and wondering if you could just tweak it a bit. Me: Sure...(I quote the design fee). Client: Oh...well we didn't think there would be a charge...we didn't allow for that in the budget. Me: Umm...helllooooo..we don't work for free!!!!
And on and on and on it goes. I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
So, taking inspiration from this party I have dedicated this post to 'Things you shouldn't do at a staff xmas party."
Scenario 1. Don't overdrink.
If you're a light drinker perhaps start slow and limit the amount you drink. I know times are tough at the moment, with the word 'recession' on everyone's lips, however that doesn't mean you should stock up in excess of everything when it's available, especially when we're talking about consuming copious amounts of alchohol.
"Why" you ask, well...like a particular person in this example you don't want to have the alcohol hit you all in one go, be slumped over the table unable to support your own head weight, swaying back and forth while you struggle to keep your eyes open and oh, try to hold down the alcohol that you just drunk. Then of course, realising how absolutely sloshed you are, start crying because you know how bad this is going to get and then have to run to the bathroom where you mates are stuck propping you up over the toilet as you vomit in your hair and they wipe it off you face...oh, did I mention this is all happening as your General Manager is watching??? Can we say, "promotion down the toilet along with that spew of yours".
Scenario 2: You shouldn't flirt with you boss no matter how far you think it's going to get you. No body likes a brown noser and I am pretty sure your boss isn't too keen on any sexual harrasment charges either.
Scenario 3: You shouldn't tell people what you really think of them.
Yes, everyone's loose and having a good time, but one sure way of ruining that is by telling the person you really can't stand what an absolute tool they are and how you think they are not worth the mud your standing on. Nope, not a good team building exercise.
Scenario 4: Don't get on the dancefloor like nobody's watching.
People are watching and they're called your work mates. And trust me, they will never let you live it down if you start doing dirty dancing moves with everyone else on the floor. Not the time or place???
Scenario 5: Don't forget to dress appropriately.
After all this is still a work function. It's best to say, leave any thing skin hugging, body exposing, latex wearing outfits in the closet. Save it for the bedroom. Again, there will be photos going around the office for years to come. Let's not regret it.
Scenario 6: Don't hook up with your work mates.
Again, everyone is having a good time, inhibitions are flying but so will your diginity and professionalism. It's hard trying to get back to normal work practice after a work function hook up, not to mention the chatter it will provoke. These little flings are best left for after work expeditions.
So what have you seen that should never be done at a work party/function???
Friday, December 12, 2008
No doubt the next 2 weeks are going to be crazy busy leading up to Christmas and New Year's. Frankie is already off for 3 weeks leave so she might be missing in action or just too busy stuffing her face with chocolate Santa's to post regularly....hmmpph. I'm still here working away.
Merry Elfin Christmas
We hope it’s filled with gifts, and food and plenty of elfin wine.
Relax, put your feet up and chill out when you get the chance
But make sure to make the most of it and have an elfin dance
Before you eat the last of the pudding the year will be at it’s end
And then we get to do this all elfin over again!
Monday, December 8, 2008
So I have been away from my desk and stuck in a room, interviewing applicants all day long for three days....How draining and exhausting.
And I have to say...from this three day stint of full on interviews my belief that 'people are not always as they seem' has been confirmed again.
Firstly, it's amazing what people put on their resume that they think will actually fly. I mean, we will find out whether or not you created your own computer software application...especially when you ask "what's an intranet"???
I had the fortunate pleasure of meeting:
'The Slow Talker" - this lovely applicant took at least 30 minutes to answer each question due to long drawling answers that never actually answered the question, and this is including the question about his name?? Considering we had 12 questions we knew we were going in for the long haul. Also, I found it hard to contain a chuckle of sarcasm when the applicant described himself as 'talkative' and 'extroverted'. I think a hermit crab was more extroverted than this guy.
'The Babbler' - this applicant was a lot more easy to interview as I was not willing myself to stay awake. However, the questions also took a turn for the lengthy side, especially when the applicant turned a question of how to manage your caseload, into how she broke up with her fiance who she lived with for 6 weeks only and who was Tongan and who didn't like the fact that she was too 'Australian'.
'The Contradiction' - There are two kinds of these applicants. The one that presents great but as soon as they open they mouth you know you have a dud and wish you could pull the fire alarm to end the interview quick smart...or version number two, the applicant that walks in looking like a bedraggled dog groomer, but says all the rights things at the right time.
'The Aggressor' - This applicant makes you wonder why in fact did they apply for the position. Not only do they give you their pompous one word answer, but when you probe them for further clarification they look at you like an idiot and answer with, "obviously....". No, not obviously dick, because if you obviously answered it correctly the first time I wouldn't obviously be asking you again. Each new question you ask, makes them feel more challenged and defensive like they're in a police interrogation and up goes the roadblocks and more reasons to add to the "why we won't hire you list".
Ahh...a fun couple of days.
Bella: Ok Frankie....step away from the computer. You seem a little bit stressed. But I can totally sympathise with how you feel. Funnily enough we are going through the same process hiring a replacement staff member too. So far we've encountered 'The Slow Talker'...I considered throwing myself out the window, 'The Babbler' who had a massive ego and made me wonder why the hell he wasn't running Microsoft and instead applying for our entry level position and 'The Aggressor', he was very angry for some reason like we'd forced him to apply??
Bella: Just a little bit of trivia for you: I absolutely love, love, love Trivia! I would love nothing more than to spend every evening in some dodgy pub eating a bowl of fries with mayo and tomato sauce and participating in trivia quizzes all night long. I find trivia fascinating and the more I play trivia type games the more I want to know. I can't get enough. You may have noticed from our previous post on Christmas Wish List, I have asked Santa for the Trivial Pursuit Digital Choice.
So without further ado...here is a list of Trivia questions which I found today in my monthly Reader's Digest. (Note to self: Maybe I could make this a regular weekly post) (Don't tell Frankie)
1. In which country would you find the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. (2 points)
2. Name the bestselling author of Nineteen Minutes, The Pact and Change of heart. (2 points)
3. What tragic event occurred on Sunday August 31, 1997. (2 points)
4. The term Cold Ward came from the lack of physical warfare between the US and the Soviet Union during this period- true of false. (2 points)
5. Which planet is known for its rings. (2 points)
6. Which actor has 'Wino Forever' tattooed on his body (2 points)
7. Which Academy Award- winning director of The English Patient died this year. (2 points)
8. Which sporting great was dubbed 'the boy from Bowral'. (2 points)
9. 'Spring forward, fall back' is a useful formula for what sometimes puzzling process. (2 points)
Note: I am thinking that the last two questions may be biased towards Australians.
Friday, December 5, 2008
OK, so maybe they weren't exactly near death but they were pretty freaken scary! And in both these incidents...it has to be said....I'm going to say it....that they both involved elderly people! Now I have to say that I have absolutely nothing but the utmost respect for the elderly. I was raised to always respect anyone older than myself.
But is it coincidence or is it like a lot of things when you start to age that you start to loose your sight, hearing...sanity you also loose all and any driving ability and spatial awareness??? Both the incidents involved the drivers not giving way when changing lanes and nearly side swiping me into either the oncoming traffic or the gutter. In fact it wasn't even 'not giving way' but more so not even looking to see if there was a car to give way to! It was like 'here I am driving along, ho hum de dum, I feel like changing lanes, I will indicate for .5 seconds and then WHAM I'll just change lanes'!
Or is it that there is just a general lack of courtesy and awareness on today's roads? Are people forgetting how to drive properly or just not caring to do it anymore? Or finally, as you age is it the inevitable feeling of a loss of independence for the things you could once enjoy and that for some people they keep on driving longer than they'd like to admit they shouldn't?
Well that's my rant for today peoples.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Bella: Now I am old enough to know that there is no such thing as the big jolly man dressed in red who stuffs himself down chimneys to deliver gifts around the world. BUT I still do have my wish list. And even though our family have a no gift giving rule and choose to spend what we would on gifts on an extravagant Christmas lunch out, I can still dream...even though there is basically fat chance of most of these gifts materialising. Still it's fun to dream!
Bella's Wish List:
Pandora bracelet with lots and lots of charms
Bryce Courtenay's book Fishing for Stars
A subscription to Digital Arts Magazine
The Trivial Pursuit Digital Choice
Tickets to Kings of Leon performing in March
Ralph Hot Perfume
Anything vintage or hanmade from Etsy
Makeup from MAC or Napolean
Frankie Wish List
Cinema Parfum by YSL
A new journal
A great book
Big funky beach bag
Monday, December 1, 2008
One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Bella: "Finding oneself" is arguably the most difficult subject to write well about but this is definitely not my most favourite biography/memoir ever read.
I found it extremely hard to keep reading this book. Especially when the author burst into sobs yet again in the middle of prayer, or a conversation, or walking down the street, or (more likely) on the floor of yet another bathroom, I nearly gave up.
I really tried to enjoy this book and even like the author and I imagine she hoped to come across as a flawed but honest person. Instead her writing came across to me as self indulgent and shallow at times. And I found myself cringing at some of her embarrassingly cliché one liners: "I'm putting this happiness in a bank somewhere, not merely FDIC protected but guarded by my four spiritbrothers.” OKAY??
What was most frustrating to me was the way in which she writes about this amazing journey in an almost blasé manner. It seems that during her journey nothing she touches or does turns out wrong; not a single wish goes unfulfilled and she always landed of her feet. And maybe that was the way it happened but I felt that if she perhaps put more emphasis in the miracle of these things happening I would have found it all the more sincere but instead the story just seems glossed over?
Frankie: Well after hearing the rave reviews on Oprah and friends alike, I was very excited to be reading the much applauded book. To begin, I normally enjoy witty books, with dry humour or sarcasm, but as I started reading this book, I found Gilbert's little quips and jokes quite contrived and forced. I really did try to get engaged in this book however, I found it go from one extreme to the other. Full of her wannabe hip remarks to her then bipolar, crying on the floor mental breakdown moods.
Next, I was looking forward to reading her reflections in Italy and India, however most of what she reflected on was her love for David, not having sex and her inability to meditate. Here was a battered women, wanting to escape from her unhappy marriage, getting it, and then travel around the globe to experience unforgettable moments and people and here she was scribbling in a book about how she at the end of her tether and how she doesn't want to take anti depressants and how blah, blah, blah. Hello...lets wake up and smell the pasta???
I found it slightly frustrating to read this story, as much as I can understand a marriage break up hurts, I didn't want to read about if for the whole book. Everything in the book, Gilbert managed to whinge about, complain and take for granted?? Maybe this was her way of 'finding' herself but I found it annoying.
Overall, I gave it a 3 out of 5. :)