Yesterday from 11:30 until 1:00 pm was my agency Christmas party. It was a potluck for staff only, with the Social Committee supplying deep fried Turkey, cheesy potatoes , and punch, paid for by agency fundraisers over the past year. It took place in a large and shabby meeting room in the basement of our agency. All the food was good and calorie laden. I brought cranberry salsa. We played simple games, ate, and returned to work. What a change from the parties of 30 years ago when Husband first started at the agency.
The director at that time was a guy who really liked a good party. He was the first director the agency had, and he headed our agency for many years. In his mind, a good party was held at the Elks Club or the Knights of Columbus. It was catered, and there was plenty of alcohol and fun, with late night pinochle games. Spouses and significant others were expected to attend. He somehow managed to find money in the budget to fund it.
Well, things are different now, and I kind of like the change. There is less drama and alcohol-related poor judgement. It is less fuss.
What are your experiences with office parties?
I am a calendar person. I love them. I have multiple calendars at work: one online, my Daytimer, a year-long calendar on the wall so I can look ahead and a month-at-a-time –print out on which I cross off each day as it goes by. I started doing this last year, to count down to a program that was driving me crazy and after the program was over, I just kept doing it (I assume one of these days I will decide I really don’t need to do this anymore.)
At home I have a pretty calendar on the fridge, a handmade calendar in my bedroom that attaches to a wooden pedestal and a birthday list in my studio that “says” it’s a calendar, but it’s just a listing by month of birthdays so I think that might be stretching it. I also keep a few things on my phone calendar.
In addition to having birthdays listed on the “calendar” in my studio, I also keep birthdays in my Daytimer. This means that once a year I go through the old Daytimer pages and copy the birthdays over to new Daytimer pages. It’s a relaxing project; this year I used magenta ink.
As I was copying over the birthdays yesterday, I came across a notation on June 27 of this year that said “Armadillos”. It was written in big letters in the after-hours section of the day. And it had several exclamation marks and was highlighted! I have no idea what this was about. Was it a southwestern-themed bar that I was supposed to go to after work with colleagues. Was it a concert that someone on the Trail mentioned? Was it some National Geographic special I wanted to watch? No clue.
Any idea why I wrote “Armadillos” in my Daytimer?
The news today is that McDonald’s has decided to re-introduce some of their retro Happy Meal toys. To celebrate the 40th birthday of Happy Meals, they are bringing back some of the toys that were most popular in the past. This means some little Beanie Babies, a Mulan figurine and even a Tamagotchi. I remember my sister waiting in line repeatedly for the little Beanie Baby toys from McDonalds for her kids; I expect we will see more of the same with this promotion.
When YA was young, our go-to restaurant was Noodles, who didn’t do kids’ meals or toys. McDonalds still isn’t the most vegetarian-friendly place and it certainly wasn’t 24 years ago. Same with Burger King, Wendy’s and the rest. I do remember that Taco Bell (our other favorite) had a kid’s meal w/ a toy, but Child didn’t like the inclusions, so she never got the kids’ meal. And if there was an occasional cheap plastic toy, it usually went in the trash when we got home. Two big dogs and little cheap plastic toys are not a good combination. (Side story. When Child was little I had told all my nearest and dearest that I didn’t want Barbies in the house. Not because I have anything intrinsically against a Barbie doll, but because they always come with lots of little bits; Child was still too little to be held responsible for picking up lots of little toy accessories and I didn’t want the dogs ingesting them. That Solstice, middle sister sent an Arial doll. Little coconut bra, little comb, little Sebastian and little Flounder. When I questioned my sister, she said “but it isn’t a Barbie”. We donated it.)
Long story short, it makes me wonder that our society thinks we can’t ask our kids to sit through a short meal without being bribed by a toy and now retro toys. Personally I save bribery for much bigger issues!!
Have you ever had to coerce someone with toys/treats/gifts?
Jacque mentioned yesterday that she thought Husband’s challenge for imaginary dinner guests was the result of filling time during Great Plains travel. She wasn’t far off. Travel out here is tedious. People at the conference I attended were somewhat surprised to hear that we drove to Minneapolis, since it was “only” 500 miles from our home.
I listen to classical music on the radio, either streamed from MPR at home or at work, or else the Symphony Hall station on our car radio. I challenge myself to identify the composer and/or the name of the piece before the announcer says them. I pretend I am in a competition. I listen to music whenever I can, so I do the challenge quite a lot. I have a really good auditory memory, and I recognize pieces quite quickly. (I can always tell if it is the Concordia Choir on the MPR Choral Stream just by the sound.) It is coming up with the name of the piece and the composer that is tricky. I find that the more pieces I recognize, the harder it is to sort out exactly what the name of the piece is. My brain is getting too full. I am pretty good at recognizing pieces by Brahms or Schumann. They have distinctive patterns of harmonies and rhythms. Mendelssohn and Schubert can sometimes confuse me. I always know Stravinsky and Prokofiev, but sometimes late Prokofiev sounds like Shostakovitch
As I was in a wind band in college, I can identify Vaughan Williams and Holst and Grainger very easily, but distinguishing Molly on the Shore from Handel in the Strand is sometimes hard. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I can always identify the Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper and also know the name of the composer. It is so distinctive.
I know that Baboons have various areas of interest. Mine is classical music. I hope that my classical habit helps keep my mind alert and healthy.
What are you doing that keeps your mind active and healthy. How are you at identifying the names of musical pieces and their composers?
The headlines today say that Facebook is creating “an immersive environment called Horizon to tempt people into spending more time in virtual reality.” They’re calling this virtual world “Horizon”.
I just recently finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which is about a future in which a worldwide virtual reality called “Oasis” has become the reality for most people. Despite there being some seriously bad guys in the story, Ready Player One is much more optimistic about this future virtual world than I am.
Having just written yesterday about my unhappiness with my phone game addiction, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to jump into a virtual reality world with both feet. I mean, if you spend lots more time in “Horizon” or “Oasis” or “Eden”, who does the dishes and vacuums the dog hair? My job of physically sending people to exotic destinations would be kaput. In Ready Player One, many people got jobs in the Oasis but it still doesn’t answer the question of who makes your frozen burritos and who maintains the building you live in.
So I think I’ll pass. At least for now.
You just got a new planet for your birthday. What would you call it? Anything special about it?
I’ve picked up a very bad habit over the past several months. Like way too many other folks I have succumbed to apps on my phone, three in particular: two games and one “paint by number” program. It wasn’t too worrisome until a few weeks back I realized that I’m reading less, mostly in the first hour after I get up in the morning and at the gym, both prime times in my reading schedule. It’s showed up on my reading log that I have read less at this point in the year than I have in the last five years. This is a horrifying revelation to me. In fact, it took me two weeks to decide to divulge this on the trail. Just embarrassing.
So I’ve made the decision to try to give up all three apps for the month of October. At first I thought I would just do a week, but I’m thinking to get them out of my system, I need to delete the apps and give it a solid month. I can always re-install the games if I think I can be more circumspect in my usage. They do say you have to do something for at least 21 days to have the habit sink in. We’ll see.
When have you quit something cold turkey? How did you do?
The other day I came upon one of the most charming news clip ever: someone from MPR had interviewed Kindergarten Alumni (aka, First Graders) about how to survive the first day of kindergarten. It is part of a story by Elizabeth Shockman, “Five Tips for Kindergarteners’ FIRST Day of School”, with content actually aimed for their parents.
In a video by Derek Montgomery,
“We asked first graders from Duluth, MN, what advice they had for this year’s kindergarten class.”
These were the topics the kids were asked about:
Friends: how do you make them?
Food! What’s on the menu?
Is it scary?
What about rules?
I will personally never forget my first day of kindergarten – as a teacher, that is. Boy, was I nervous! It all went fine, apparently – once I was able to pry them out of their parents’ arms. I eventually managed to get all forty of them to sit down in their seats – at seven little tables with forty-odd little chairs. They would have received their personalized box of crayons, and tried them out on some paper handout I would’ve prepared. Some of them would have been able to write their names – wish I knew what percentage. (This was 1970, so most of them would not have been to a pre-school or day care.) I would have directed one table at a time to take the crayons, when finished, to their “cubbies” – their special place to keep their things. I would have tried herding them to the carpet area for a story, sung some songs, and had recess outside in our own private little courtyard. I wish I could remember more.
Do you have any memories about your first day of kindergarten? (You can use the questions above to jog your memory…)
How about memories of a first day of any new school year?