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Office politics: What to do about the milk?

July 6, 2011 8 comments

This may be a short, but very significant post.

What do YOU do to stop co-workers using up ALL of your milk within a day of purchase?

I’m convinced that someone on my floor is bathing in my milk like Cleopatra, because it disappears Just Like That. I wrote my name in permanent ink pen on it, following office protocol. I also tried writing the name of crankier, slightly scarier individuals on it. Today, I tried something new….

Will this deter the milk thief?

I don’t mind the occasional sharing. However, from my last bottle of milk, I only had 3 cups of coffee (which is enough for one day of average output. No coffee, no workee).

If this doesn’t work, I’m thinking of writing EXPRESSED BREAST MILK on the bottle. Although, that might be going too far. After all, I¬† don’t need to include the word “expressed”, because it’s self-evident. If it weren’t expressed, well, it’d be a breast in the fridge (and no-one wants that).

Does your workplace have this problem? What are your handy hints?

GCC: the terrible truth

May 29, 2011 5 comments

Today, I had good news and bad.

The good news was, that I found my watch which had gone missing months ago.

The bad news was that the watch was on the treadmill (the walking thing which one is supposed to exercise on).

The Global Corporate Challenge made me rediscover my treadmill today, if for no reason other than team-guilt – the other team at work is winning, so it’s time to get walking.

What was surprising (other than finding my watch in the very same place that I’d lost my spare car key only six months earlier), was how much effort it takes to walk off Tim Tams. Especially, the six dark chocolate Rum & Raisin ones I ate yesterday.

Global Corporate Challenge day 11 - a half an hour walk

As the picture shows, half an hour of walking (at an easy pace) only burns off one Tim Tam (90 calories or 400 kilojoules) and a bit. I’d never counted calories before, nor dieted, so this was quite a shock. Furthermore, the walk only clocked up three and a half thousand (ish) steps, when the other teams’ averages are around 11,000 per day. Hmmm.

All things considered, I’m thrilled that I’ve found my watch and a new way to watch what I put into my mouth. (Those who know me well probably wouldn’t call me a convert, just yet).

Happy walking, everyone.

Categories: Australia, Business, Health, Life

Goodbye Borders (Brisbane City)

May 27, 2011 4 comments

Today, Borders Brisbane City closes its doors for the last time.

While some might say “hooray, another giant bites the dust”, it didn’t feel like a party shopping there yesterday. It was like picking over the garage sale of the newly dead.

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During the day, the shop was packed with people, shoulder to shoulder, looking for something more to buy at 90% off.

By last night, three floors of books was reduced to one floor of random leftovers and fixtures and fittings with SOLD stickers. People were in until 9:30pm unscrewing speakers from the ceilings and carting out whatever they could. I acquired some bookshelves. Lovely, lovely bookshelves.

Today, everything must go. If you’re in the city, pay your last respects and pick up a bargain.

My thoughts go out to the staff.

Categories: Australia, Books, Business

Global Corporate Challenge (and another day at the office)

May 22, 2011 4 comments

Teamwork is something that most offices aspire to. This week, teamwork has taken on a new spirit, with gazillions of suckers, like me, putting on a pedometer and logging into a teamsite to record daily steps taken as part of a 16 week challenge.

It’s a virtual walk-around-the-world gig, which raises money for Children’s Challenge, Footprint Initiative and the Foundation for ¬†Chronic Disease Prevention. And, I suppose, it’s good for us. Let’s not mention the fun.

Some people take it very seriously. Others, have already been caught out shaking the pedometer under their desks, which can look like something much worse (there has been an increase in loud laughing at the office, of late).

I’m up against another team, whose members ride to work, have personal trainers and are otherwise intimidated (in the nicest possible way) by the super-fit former PE teacher on staff.

Being against gratuitous exercise, I was lucky enough to get my daily count up this weekend by jiggling away at a fabulous 40th birthday party which had an 80s band until midnight. For anyone out there, with my allergy to exercise, that’s my hot tip #1: dancing to 80s music counts. Who can resist bouncing up and down to the outlandishly positive sounds of the 80s?

So, for 16 weeks, watch this space, as I explore what it means to be a good office-mate and fit global citizen. I might even start to enjoy exercise that doesn’t involve being first at the mid-year David Jones shoe sale.

Parents and teachers, take a look at the Children’s Challenge site and see if it’s something your schools could benefit from (it’s free to a limited number of applicants).

Have a great week, and try not to lock yourself in the fire escape if you’re going with the stairs instead of the lifts. That would be my tip #2.

Cookery class: chocolate hot cross buns in 3 easy steps

April 13, 2011 6 comments

It’s almost Easter, so it’s time to share my latest seasonal treat.

How do you make chocolate hot cross buns in 3 steps (and 30 seconds)? I did this at the office, because someone donated the ingredients and someone else made a wise-crack about combining them. (I seem to have this face that says, ‘give me food – preferably with chocolate’.)

Start with a hot cross bun and some Easter eggs from the bottom drawer…

Fire up the office toaster…

Chocolate lava-centered hot cross bun… Tastes WOW.

Tip for young players:

Don’t try this first time just before an important meeting with your boss, lest some of that chocolatey goodness should squirt out of your bun and all down your skirt. My director happened to come past in time for me to give her a big, brown grin. And I’m not at all being naughty.

Thanks to CS for the bun and YD for the awesome suggestion.

Categories: Australia, Craft, Life, Review

Hip new Italian eating – Vapiano

March 27, 2011 8 comments

Looking for a trendy Italian place to eat, in Brisbane? Something different? Faster than the usual restaurant experience?

Check out Vapiano on Albert Lane.

They cook your food as you order it, in front of you. This brings an element of theatre to your dining experience.

The setup is innovative, but it helps to plan your visit if you need to get in and out in a lunchtime. The place is buzzing until about 1:30pm on any given weekday.

You line up for pasta, pizza or salad - no table service, no mixed orders

A fresh fry pan for every order & fresh food, fast

Pasta, made daily, on the premises

Gluten-free gnocchi with chicken breast, onion, pesto, baby spinach in a cream sauce (Pollo e spinaci)

The food was luscious, the service, enthusiastic and the ambiance, loud and fun. There wasn’t a complaint to be heard.

Buon appetito!

Categories: Australia, Business, Review

Beware of parents

March 23, 2011 2 comments

Language is a wonderful thing; but it needs to be used sparingly and with caution.

This is especially so, with signage in high traffic areas.

“FOR THE SAFETY OF CHILDREN, PARENTS NOT PERMITTED”.

That’s a classic.

Hug Mug & Chocolate OD

February 27, 2011 4 comments

I rather like chocolate, so I took it upon myself to try out a chocolate bar on the Gold Coast. My friends might be surprised to learn that I’ve never quite recovered. The photos might explain why.

Chocolate bar

While I was happily drinking my hot chocolate in a “Hug Mug”, I was thinking two things:

Dark hot chocolate, milk hot chocolate (skipped the white hot chocolate)

1. Isn’t this mug a great idea?
2. What does it remind me of?

Hug Mug (was a man standing up, or sitting down, when he thought of this?)

As if sensing my thoughts, Miss Six asked, “Mummy, why does your mug look like a men’s urinal?”

After that, nothing quite tasted right. Otherwise, I would highly recommend the nearest chocolate bar, though you might like to order a bit less than we did….

I've never met a chocolate thing I didn't like ...

Everything with its own chocky dipping sauce

Milkshakes in curious vessels

Just a tiny bit more? (Monty Python's man with the bucket comes to mind)

Brisbane City markets

February 26, 2011 3 comments

An unexpected delight this week – a fresh food market in the city!

Just some of the little lovelies …

L-l-lurvved the spelt fig pistachio bread!

Funkiest little finger limes, Aussie natives!

Beads of lime heaven, ready to burst in your mouth.

Extraordinary tomatoes - tasting as they should

I was too busy shopping and eating to take any more photos, but take it from me, it’s worth a visit. The stone fruit was the tastiest I’ve had in YEARS, ditto the apples. The French bread shop didn’t disappoint, either. My lunch break ran out before I could get to the cupcake stand, which leaves me something to look forward to for next week.

Wednesdays, top of the Mall – enjoy!

PS. Thanks to my ‘tour guide’, SJ.
PPS. Want to see more about the finger limes, check out Bagni di Lucca and Wild Finger Limes – citrus caviar. Amazing.

Brisbane’s Batman Building

February 22, 2011 4 comments

Some call it “Gotham City“. I call it the “Batman Building”. Officially, it’s the State Law Building. Kids notice prosecutors flying out of this building in full court gowns and wigs. One has even been called “Batman” by a kid quoted in the Courier Mail.

It kind of sneaks up on you ...

It used to be the ugliest building in the city, before it was redone ...

I didn't Photoshop this. This is how my camera took it. A forcefield, perhaps?

And from George St.

It blends right in. Hmmm. Check out the bit on top, to cover the air-conditioning.

I got a real kick out of the view inside the foyer, on the corner of George & Anne Streets. The public might notice this while walking past the building.

How long should one pause between words? Safe. Just....

More importantly, one must wonder what the staff inside think of it all, considering the fact that baddies have sent the odd ticking package to this address. Safe. Just.

Have to love government advertising.

PS. Yes, there are 2 more sides to the advertisement, but from the outside, you don’t see them, hence, this humourous context. It took itself out of context and I just helped it along.
PPS. Thanks to Reader D for pointing out this marvelous piece of advertising.