Shiny, Pretty Office

Yup, too busy to do much more than post pictures lately – but that’s a good thing! Having told myself to get off my ass and actually go do things instead of saying “huh, I should really check out that new underground theatre” or “maybe there is something to this whole camping business,” and “Dammit, I missed another Farmer’s Market,” I have actually (dramatic pause…) been out doing things!

Checking out that new coffee shop instead of always going to the same place??? Done! Catching that documentary on polygamist communities and their adolecent outcasts??? Done! Getting that immigration paperwork together??? Getting there! Rekindling my love of reading and soaking up some intellectually challenging non-fiction (much of which intentionally counters my opinions?) Done like dinner! Participating in protests? Voicing more opinions? Getting more involved in my local and global community? Done and done and done!  Going to that highly publicized debate between Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens??? DONE!

Every winter it boggles my mind that another year has zoomed by without my consent, but this I can say has at least been a year of good, important, motivating life improvements.

One of which has been my working environment, which has changed drastically for the better, including the work that goes along within said environment. Setting up my glorious new office to my liking has been an exercise in awesomeness. Just now I arranged and rearranged my collection work-appropriate music. No soft-rock station for this chick! If I can’t listen to  new rock or even classic rock, then at least my bosses put up with my love for Andrea Bocelli, French film soundtracks, French-Brazillian contemporary fusion and my assortment of symphonies and operas. Imagine! Calmly steeping a tea and settling into my desk every morning to the sounds of Pachelbel instead of rushing through a disgusting kitchen to get on to the next annoyance amidst an endlessly ringing phone. Natural daylight, efficient layout, nice decorating, plants galore, and a marked lack of characters who used to make my skin crawl – now replaced by grateful, sane people who thank me for such pittances as delivering mail and keeping the kitchen tidy. I actually have time to blog at work again (shhhhhhh!) and yet am not so bored that I feel unproductive.

I even got an unexpected corporate letter last week saying “Hello – we’ve determined you deserve a raise. It’ll be on your next pay.”

Ahhhhh, perfect!

So yes, I do have a few things to do, but for now I feel like sipping my rooibos tea and posting a few photos.

The Grand Weekend Move In! It took forever to organize our hundreds of boxes and afterwards we replaced the carpet.

Fabulous reception avec new carpets and accessories. No more 1980's darkness with maroon couches or the jungle of fake plants in front of that mirror panelling. I shiver to remember...

The tres sexy boardroom with sunlight from the atrium and some crazy wallpaper that switches from striated rectangles to intertwined oblongs depending on the light. Escher would have a field day. Also wired for internet at every seat, say what???

Other side of sexy boardroom, including fancy new projector and HD tv! No more fuzzy videoconferences!

My favourite new thing: the cafe. New stainless steel appliances! Double decker dishwasher! New coffee machine! Fancy pants guest computer! And another flat screen tv with 24 hour news! Plus, nobody wants to dirty up a pretty new office, so the mess quotient has plummeted! What used to be the majority of my work is now a place I can actually relax!

The atrium below our offices. More plants, sunlight from the glass roof and a water fountain that you hear as you come and go through the front doors. Plus, once you get off the elevators you have to cross a bridge over the atrium to reach our suite, so you can walk the catwalk every morning!

Another boardroom. Smaller. Cozier. Mostly just less expensive - and NOT featuring faded wooden furniture from the 60's! Yay!

Guest Office, in case yours is messy and you need to pretend you’re this neat and tidy for that important one-on-one. Really though, *I’m* the one who’s that neat and tidy. ‘Cause it’s my job.
The business lounge, for those romantically lit private time with just you, the internet, and your spreadsheets.
Fancy pants elevators to parking! Which I don’t have to use, because the building connects to the subway. Sucks to be you, non-subway commuters! Your parking costs alone are more than my metropass! Bahahahaha!
My desk! My little cozy desk, all organized and be-planted. No more sharing space, no more clutter! No more dark little cave! I have a window and my own storage and my own stuff and a nice chair! And a nifty little mail chute! It’s mine, all mine!
So! That’s what I’ve been doing as of late, just in case you were wondering. If you have been wondering, I’m flattered, but I hope it hasn’t been keeping you up or anything – I’m not *that* interesting 😉 
Oh, and I also visited Josh twice this year. You know, business as usualy – pictures coming next!
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Holiday Hootenanny

Ok, so we weren’t supposed to have any kind of ‘Holiday’ gathering at the office this year, over-PC’d or otherwise. Economy blah blah blah. It’s not as huge a deal as one might think – the nature of our business requires a very small staff. The majority of those around us are clients renting space. So while you’d be miffed if your roommates didn’t invite you to a Christmas party, it’s no big deal if your landlord skimps on the Seasons Greetings, dig?

Still, I was having none of it. To hell with my clients, I want a day or two to revel in my emerging domestic tendencies. I do a little breakfast thing once a month for the office. Its generally a thankless job but it provides a creative outlet and a break from the humdrum of complaints and photocopying. So I convinced the Boss Man and his cohort Talea to let me spend a little more of the company cash this month and holiday it up, yo!

So yeah, I slaved over an oven for a few thank yous, but I also got to take a day off work and bake all day. That means sampling all day.

Peep what I can do!

Sugar Cookies - Almost There

Sugar Cookies - Almost There

Sugar Cookies - Done!

Sugar Cookies - Done!

Sugar Cookies - Lots!

Sugar Cookies - Lots!

I made several dozen Sugar and Brown Sugar Cookies and used up the last of my sprinkles on the plain sugar ones for decoration.  They’re colourful and take up space – and who doesn’t love eating cookie bears head first?

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares

My lemon squares are awesome if I do say so myself. I got basic recipe on AllRecipes.com somewhere, and made a few adjustments by adding tons of vanilla and almond. I’m starting to think I can spike them with rum too, but I’d like to remember Christmas this year. These are addictive.

By this point I’d been baking for about four hours. Break time!

chillin1

Chilling with my sexy man

Yeah, this is how Josh and I spend quality time together. Over MSN with a not-always-functioning webcam. Stupid technology. Thankfully the cams were working well on this particular night so I could chat with him while being able to actually step away and use my hands for baking instead of typing.

Here’s my other recreational activity:

Eventually, they approved of the cranberries

Eventually, they approved of the cranberries

The bunnies! They turned their wiggly noses up at the dried cranberries at first, but eventually when I wasn’t looking they decided to like them.

Back to work!

I spent all of Wednesday running back and forth between my kitchen, Honest Ed’s for bakeware, and the local Metro for a ridiculous amount of baking ingredients. I lugged so much sugar and flour up my ridiculous winding stairs that my ass literally hurts. I’m baking, and my ass hurts. Fantastic.

These are the last two pictures I managed to take before I fell into a sugar-based daze that I’m only now coming out of:

mmmmmmm delicious...

mmmmmmm delicious...

mmmmmmm delicious side view

mmmmmmm delicious side view

These. Are. SO good. I’m not quite sure of their name, but they shall henceforth be known as Fantasmic. Fantasmic in bar form. Super buttery shortbread on the bottom, brown sugary caramel ooey gooey oh-fuck-its-melting-everywhere-gimme-a-spoon deliciousness in the middle, and chocolate-peanut-butter-cranberry goodness on top. You can’t eat more than two of these. Well, you can eat as many as you want, but chances are the paramedics will find you twenty minutes later huddled in a corner with drool and butter all over your silly face.

And um, yeah. I ate several. Not to mention I was under a bit of a time constraint, because everything always takes three times longer than you think it will. So I spaced out at this point and forgot to document the shortbread topped with hand whipped cream and berries. As well as the cranberry walnut cookies and the rice krispie squares.

Anyways, it was a magnificent spread. I threw it all in the boardroom and topped it off with a nice assortment of fruit and cheese to lighten the sugar-shock a bit. I wanted to throw on a Christmas movie at the last minute, but Shoppers across the street with those $9.99 dvd’s didn’t have anything even remotely holiday-oriented. Littlest Hobo something or other, and that just wouldn’t do. So the shindig was held to the soundtrack of “Oooh, yes I’ll try one of those, I – oh wow. These are SOOOOOO good!” Which was the only thing I needed to hear amidst the occasional “What, no wine?”  (“Um, it’s noon.”) and “Where’s the burgers?” to keep me happy.

Also, my uber boss showed up. He’s quite nice but very nerve wracking because while being  nice he’ll discretely brush up against a wall and judge you based on its cleanliness. If he picks up a piece of marketing propaganda placed on a table and asks “Why is this here?” the answer is always “It’s not!” *toss* You know the type. So I was out to impress and impress I did. He ate enough of those Fantasmic things that the sugar sent him into the most hilarious state I’ve ever seen. Very concerned with his appearance he rarely indulges in sugar – hadn’t, he confessed, for about six months. That he took seconds, thirds, and then some for the road was a compliment indeed. I’m pretty sure that by the end of the day he thought he was a hummingbird.

And now, at the end of a week long stretch of prepping, baking, hauling and coordinating, after being up until 1am Thursday/Friday to get the last of the shortbread done and spending all of Friday fussing and organizing (eating various forms of sugar because I forgot to feed myself real food) rushing and cleaning, and then attending an impromptu family-friend art event (What? Where the hell did that come from? That was this week? Who am I? What’s a hypotenuse?) followed by a Stitch n’ Bitch today, I am finally home and I’m starting to think that I’m the hummingbird.

I.

Am.

Pooped!

I go now. I go to the couch and the tv and the bed. I sleep. Then I wake up and clean like a madwoman – but I shall pay that no mind tonight! Tonight I kick my feet up with some reheated pizza, and I don’t want to see any more shortbread for a good long time.

By which I mean probably tomorrow night.