Ladies Who Lunch – The T Room

P1010791Let the annual Christmas luncheon begin!  All the SoCal coworkers convened at The T Room in Montrose for a lovely meal and delicious teas. The new White Christmas tea was a big hit…very light and flavorful.


Yes, I do like tea ware. I can’t help it!

P1010790The women who run The T Room are always so welcoming. And look at this spread!


My former office-mate, OneL, and I. Miss chatting with her daily, but not driving down to the office is pretty fab.


Peachy brought her daughter. She was born two months after I started working there, so I always know… She’s about to turn 16 already!


Secret Santa gifts abound. Fun tokens of our appreciation for one another.

Feeling lucky to have found such interesting work (I am an info geek, I admit it) and such a compassionate company to work for.  The only things missing were the lovely faces of the other two staffers who are in Massachusetts and Toronto!


Joan of Snark : Work Life

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There are the obvious advantages to working at home a couple of days a week, like trading an 86-mile round trip commute for a 100-foot round trip commute, and getting to wear a tee shirt and yoga pants to work…not that anyone in my office would blink much if I did show up in such attire.

Then there are the things I avoid by not being in the office, like the gauntlet of evil snack foods next to the refrigerator. I admit, I used to be a contributor. Now I bring in fruit when I do bring in anything.

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When I started working here almost a decade and a half ago, I had this fantasy that working in an all-female office would mean no more gunk-flecked microwave and no mold-happy refrigerator leftovers.  So very sexist of me.

I have never worked in a place where the community sink was so frequently adorned with gag-worthy two day old bowls of murky soak-water.  This is why I use my own dishes, glasses and silverware at work.

This used to make me angry because it seems so disrespectful to the other people in the office, myself included. But it’s one of those things a person just has to let go of. Can’t change it. So sometimes I take the high road and actually wash the dishes for the person who does this all the time.


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The suite bathroom door is closed and the fan/lights are on, but no one’s home. Because why would you want to use the building bathroom down the hall when you can put up a note warning people that you have created an environmental hazard in the suite bathroom (12 feet from where I now sit) that air freshener can’t touch?

“Oh, Joan of Snark, how do you bear these trials?” you may ask.

Well, I do really like what I do, and that I can work at home part time, and I honestly like the people I work with in spite of these little complaints. I am certain that I do things that work everyone’s very last nerve, but they still sign my birthday card, and welcome me back from vacation, and we share each others up and downs.  Good people.

EDIT: I clicked on one of the related links below and found out that the last time I complained about this was in 2009, in This Post.

Do I Have a Tip for You


I waited tables for about ten years, from age 18-28, while going to school, working in theater for little or no pay, and going to school some more.   This is my tip tin from The Blue Mountain Coffee Company Cafe in Fort Wayne, IN.  For some reason, we all put our tips in tins in the kitchen. I don’t think any other place I’ve worked did that.

It was a great place to hang out and to work.  My husband and I were both regulars there before we started sharing a table, etc. etc.

I tried working retail at a dance wear shop at the mall, but all that standing around was horrifying.  I had a job briefly at a women’s gym, but I just couldn’t see myself at the time showing unfit people how to use the thigh-master type machine.  Shallow, I know.

Waiting tables is like performance art, if you do it well.  And it’s great exercise.

Blue Mt

In the kitchen at The Blue Mountain, with Jeff and Madeline. Original caption says, “Trying to get fired.”  Eating corn chips, which we were just told not to do in a staff meeting.

The tip jar would have been on a shelf behind the photographer.


Cleverly folded tip from my last server job, at The Sports Deli, in Century City, CA.  I’m sure the folder/tipper had no idea I’d keep it so long.  I think this might have been from a writer who worked in the ABC offices upstairs from the deli.


Another nice fold from the same place.  Subsequently nibbled on by our budgie, Ridley, who had a thing about cash.  She’d toss it all on the floor.


Probably the cleverest.  I have two of these, so I think they were from a regular.  Maybe Mavis, who came in almost every day for lunch and was often back again for happy hour.  I worked in the bar there, so I had a lot of regulars.  It was a great situation for a long time.


See, Mavis?   I still have this!  I hope you’re doing well!

This is from my last few months there.  I’d finally finished up most of the General Education requirements that I needed to make up after moving from Indiana to California mid-college career. I was already enrolled at UCLA, going to classes before and after my 11:30-2:30 lunch shift.

When my lunch shift was about to finish, one of the regulars or another would sometimes offer to buy me a drink to keep the conversation going.  It became my habit to say, “No thanks, I have class this afternoon.”  Ha ha. Funny us.

It was tough that first (spring) quarter because I didn’t have campus parking. I had to search for it around the congested Westwood streets in the morning and again in the afternoon. I remember arriving at my 3:30 Russian Literature in Translation class (all Gogol all the time) tired and sweaty from hauling my backpack a mile or more across campus in 90 degree weather. I finally realized everyone else was more alert because they had been on campus all day, studying, relaxing under trees, etc.

Something had to change.  I’d been moonlighting a little, doing freelance transcribing from my home, working first on Rescue 911 audio, then on a variety of interview shows, through a small transcription company, so I applied for a student job transcribing oral history interviews for the Oral History Program at UCLA.

When I told the guys at the bar I where I was interviewing, Heineken Tom said, “I’d like to see that interview.”  It was, after all, a bar even if it was in a swank neighborhood.

The Oral History Program was happy to have someone with experience and I was more than glad to stop slogging back and forth across town.  I had to work more hours for my money and it was weird not to have cash come in every work day,  but it was on campus and it was the best paying student job available.  I made a good friend there who Hydra and I see socially several times a year and with whom we have spent the past ten or more New Years Eves. My first California “keeper.”

So anyway, that’s the story of my transition from gypsy to office worker.  The OHP was part of library special collections, and after graduating I worked in library acquisitions at a couple of different libraries before taking my current job as a researcher for film and television.  I love my work most of the time.

I promised you a tip, didn’t I?

Okay.  Here it is. Tip your server and feel good about it.  Lots of them are doing it to try and make some other dream happen. Even if they are not, most of them are working harder than you know, and they really want you to have a good experience.

Imagine having 30-40 individual bosses every day, each one of whom has the ability to dock your pay based on pure emotion and circumstances which are out of your control.

I know, right?  Stressful.

Yet there they are, smiling and making it happen.



Desperate Housewives on Our Block

Priscilla's under siegeThey set up a big screen to filter the light.  My office window is to the left, behind the trees.

The Desperate Housewives crew descended upon the coffee house below my office again last week.   This meant I gave up my usual street parking space for the day.  Yeah, I complained a little on my Facebook page, but really only because I thought the City of Burbank had issued two filming permits within a block of each other.

As it turns out, Garry Marshall was also shooting his upcoming film Valentine’s Day inside The Falcon Theater, which he owns.   I’d parked my car in front of the theater, and when I came out of Bob’s Big Boy around 6:30 in the morning there were cones around it.   I talked to the cops who were working the DH set, and they said if there were no permit signs, it was legal to park there.

The location manager from DH knows our office manager and he explained that if they’re shooting interiors, they don’t have to get a street permit, but they still need a place to put the trucks.  But you know, it’s a company town, and I work in the industry, and it would just be nice of me to get out of their way.   You can’t really complain when they are keeping production local, which we really need.  I moved to a technically not-okay place to park which I know Garry Marshall also owns and put a note with the office number on my windsheild just in case.

Coffee Cup

So Priscilla’s became The Coffee Cup for the day.  They put up faux streetlights, brought in different chairs and tables, and covered the usual sign with this one.  Which, by the way, my coworker Mamalisa  checked for availability, since she does the legal research for that show.

Chow line

The production invited everyone in the building to have lunch on their catering service.  Nice variety.  Lots of healthy stuff for the actresses (so sad they had to pass on those garlic roasted potatoes, they were delish.)  Tri-tip, fish, chicken, salads, etc.  I think they were cooking up things to order to go on the pasta in the background there.

Kind of a nice diversion for the day.   It’s very cool to be all cynical about the business but, you know, I’m a kid who grew up in Bug Island.  It would just be lying if I said I didn’t still get a kick out of being around production and people who get to spend their days doing something creative.

Post Easter Apocalypse – Tuesday 4/14/2009

Peaches had two too many chocolate bunnies in the house after Easter, so she brought them in to meet their fate at the hands of a bunch of women who have been really working way too hard for the past six months.

Jens deals with the bunny.


We stage a scene from a classic movie! Do you know which one?

Maybe these added effects will help…?

This one may be a little harder to get without the theme music.

Dum-dum. Dum-dum. Dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum!

CSI: Toluca Lake – Wednesday 3/11/2009

What the heck happened to OneL’s mini-fridge overnight!?

Let’s consider the evidence, shall we?

Indentation of some sort in the frost-laded freezer compartment. It’s about six inches long, and rounded as if a cylinder was resting there. What could make that distinctive mark?


No. Not enough toes.


No. Too narrow.

Thermonuclear device?

I don’t think so, but the idea will haunt me throughout the investigation.

Further inspection draws my eye to the brown liquid in the bottom of the refrigerator compartment and on top of the filing cabinet upon which it rests. Same liquid is splashed on the interior door.

Dried blood?

A fingerful rules this out. Blood’s salty. This is sweet.

I snort some. No effect beyond a sticky burning sensation.

Will need to resort to brute intelligence to determine the type of substance. No time to wait for lab results. A life could be at stake.

What’s that? A cylinder rests strangely akimbo in the door! Could it be connected with the indentation in the frost?!?

Cue process music! Darken the lights! Take a swab! Measure it. Measure it twice! Scrunch up forehead. Purse lips.


I think I have the answer!

This Diet Coke, bottled in only a few dozen plants in North America, apparently exploded when the liquid inside froze. Took the whole bottom of the can out and blew open the refrigerator door.

Luckily this happened after work hours, so no one was hurt.

Or were they?

It’s 7:00 a.m. No one else is here yet. Was anyone injured? Or worse yet…killed!?!?!?!?!

Will make it my mission to grill everyone regarding her possible involvement upon her arrival.

Making coffee.

Setting up interrogation lamp and unpacking Girl Scout Cookies, which will function as a much better incentive than a carrot with this crowd.

I am on it folks.