Category Archives: work

Call me Monty

I do love my job. No one day is the same as any other. I love the fabrics I work with and the people… oh, the people!


Because I work for a company that has a concession inside another company, I wear a badge that differentiates me from the host’s staff. What surprised me is how many people assume that my name is Montgomery. I’ve taken to introducing some humour over it to save people getting embarrassed. "Call me Monty for short," I suggest with a laugh before explaining that my name is Corrianne, "like the spice, coriander." One customer admitted that they did think Montgomery was a very unusual name for a lady.

Recently, my humor backfired – that wouldn’t be a first either, but this occasion was rather….special.

A lady came in and wanted me to do a home consultation. After going through the whole name-humor business, I took her details and arranged the time and date. It was all very congenial indeed. We chatted about her love for early mornings, which she shared with my husband who will tell you that I do definitely not share that love. All was well. We made our little play-date and away she went.

I had the next two days off. Ah, that was lovely! I returned to work to find the world somewhat on its head, as often happens while I’m gone. My ‘early mornings’ friend had apparently called and wanted to speak to Montgomery. "Oh! You’d like to speak to Corrianne? I’m afraid she isn’t here right now."

"What are you afraid of?" asked the customer.

"Why nothing. It’s just an expression."

The customer declared that this was all highly suspicious and that she no longer wanted me in her home if I was going under an assumed identity (Montgomery) if my real name was something else. She’d never be able to trust me in her home!

Now I’ve had my fair share of identity issues in the past, all of them blogged to the hilt, but I think this one rather takes the cake.

For the record, I now wear a name badge below my "Call me Monty" badge ;)


Posted by on May 25, 2014 in life, people, work


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Ups and downs of life


So… it’s Monday and the week definitely has to pick up from here. Poor Monday gets incredibly bad rap as it is.

I woke up in the early hours to a thud. Jurgis had gotten up, decided to check something on my pc and knocked my stand with the webcam over. I still don’t know if it’s damaged. I’ll check it out later once the day starts improving.

The sound of gentle rain woke me up later. That was worth a smile. I lay listening to it for a while, then was slapped by the sound of our UPS’ beeping. Gah… power failure! It lasted for 2 hours and now our internet won’t start up. Thing is, if our internet doesn’t work, we’re without a phone too, as our phone is through our net service. We could call them, but they make you hold for ages and we’d have to call with cell phones. On our regular phone, last time we called, it turned out to be less than cheap.

I texted my student for this morning to confirm her class – her times were due to change. Just got the reply. She had told the agent I get work through that she was stopping classes as something had changed with her work. Thanks for letting me know, folks! No one told me. It was thanks to a gut feeling that I texted her. I was dressed and ready to go to meet her.

Yes, she did say it was due to changes in her work, but it’s so, so hard not to take it personally. I’ll never know if it was me. One thing about Brazilians is that they’re polite to a fault (ok, polite in some ways, such as not being able to say ‘no’). Any excuse will do as long as they don’t have to tell you to your face that something is wrong. My head is telling me that it’s bull. My heart is asking far too many questions. Ah well.

As I said, the morning can only get better, right? On the bright side, losing a student means my schedule is clearing for better students or for the course to enter that school… the one with all the super benefits. Yeah! That’s it. Now to convince my self-esteem that all is well.

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Posted by on October 18, 2010 in life, work


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A sense of style

Have you ever left home in your slippers? Or at least dreamt that you have? Or worn sandals when going out into the snow? ; )

My dress for teaching leans towards the casual with just enough ‘smart’ to be presentable for corporate students. Yesterday, for example, I had the balls-in-the-bathtub student and a mess of teens. Dress: jeans, t-shirt, hiking boots. As day-to-day comfort wear goes, that is ‘it’. Around lunch time, I stepped in at the shopping centre in the area – in the heart of the Jewish quarter. I spent my time there wondering, as I often do, if money makes one lose all sense of style – as though I have so much style myself =Þ Naturally, there were bunches of well-dressed dames, but some real oddballs too.

This morning, I decided to ‘glamorise’. I hauled out my red throw, did the full ‘war paint’ routine and even dug through my jewellery box! Yes! Full red-carpet glamour. Ok, not quite, but, for me, it’s a total departure from what has become my norm.

I left home feeling all dressed up… until I got to the bus stop and chanced to look down. Yep. Rough ‘n tough hiking boots! I packed up laughing. My bus stop companion gave me a kind of quizzical grin, not knowing what could possibly be so amusing during a dark, early morning wait for the bus. Every now and again, throughout the day, my thoughts would go to my feet – which, in fairness, are far more comfortable than they have any right to be when ‘dressed up’ – and the mirth bubbles up again.

The photo, by the way, is of Tat’s old boots. Mine aren’t nearly as worn, so I could get away with it under my pants.

Looking at the news this morning and reading about how the fire brigade somewhere in northern USA is offering to hose down the cattle in the extreme heat, it’s weird to see the thick blanket of snow not to far south of us here in Brazil. My world today is peppered with huddled Brazilian popsicles.
snow brazil
From one of our local news sites

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Posted by on August 7, 2010 in me, weather, work


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Monday Mobservations

Ok, the title sounded funky, so I’m using it : )  Only one ‘mob’-servation… I live in coffee country. Major league coffee country. The ‘cafezinho’ here is a way of life. It goes deeper than football. Football is a religion. Coffee is as natural as breathing.

Because of the school holidays, the trip I take with my Wednesday student is cut way short. There’s a fraction of the amount of traffic on the roads in the early mornings. We stopped at a coffee shop half way. He made an interesting observation. Brazilians don’t meet for coffee and friendship or chat. Ever. They may meet for a quick business arrangement, but not otherwise. Friendship and casual chat is reserved for beers and pubs. Coffee is an otherwise solitary affair.

Photo taken years ago not long after we first arrived here with a dinky 1mp camera
I was reminded of this this morning when a friend said she was meeting another friend for coffee. It’s one of the things I’ve lamented for years here, that I can’t call up a friend to meet somewhere for coffee or tea. It’s just not done.

I’ve spent the weekend working on a photo for an old client. She always has a real challenge for me, usually involving a super-tiny, badly scanned photo that needs to be printed on a billboard. Ok, not a billboard, but you get the idea. This time, she wants a friend’s face put onto a model’s body. Friend in question is pale… very pale (and pixelised) and the model is lovely high-resolution with a deep golden tan. The model has flyaway hair *picture fans on the set*. The client wants me to tame the flyaway model hair too. The model in question is on the beach with shrubbery behind her. Eh… yes, a challenge.

When I was leaving for my kidlet, I stood at the bus stop dancing a little on the spot. *disclaimer: This isn’t dancing in the normal sense. It is very much just bouncing a little on my feet* I can’t stand still at bus stops. A guy on a bicycle came past…. I think he was training for some cycling event by the way he was dressed…. and yelled, "That’s right! Keep dancing!" haha! Awesome! Then a truck driver laughed and yelled something too, but he was moving faster, so I lost what he said, but his thumbs up spoke volumes. People tend to stare at me. I’m a freak here. At least I know now that it’s not because of my two heads or something. 

The kidlet made yet another mask for me. Is she trying to say something? They’re all heart masks, in fairness to her.

This weekend, I came down with a boil between my eyes. I was swollen and looked like I’d been given two black eyes. That was Saturday morning. By Saturday night, I was snapping at everything and everyone and really weepy. I’m prone to the dastardly things and they usually get really bad. The last one I had around my eyes ended up with me getting emergency drainage. It was not pretty. My medical status here being what it is, I figured I have to do something drastic on the weekend. I didn’t have any nasturtium (a natural antibiotic) on hand, so I made do with plenty of acupressure and EFT. This morning I woke up and it was all gone… totally! Weeeeeeeeeee!! *grins* I don’t know if the acupressure did it or the EFT or just sheer, "You’re not going to get me this time!" attitude, but it’s gone!!! Can you tell I’m happy??

It’s a perfect day. The sun is shining just so, the bumble bees were all over the Ipê tree, the kids are playing and making happy playing noises instead of screaming. Life is good.


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Posted by on July 5, 2010 in health, healthcare, life, work


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Adieu Bonjour!

vuvuzela by bea douglas
Art by Bea Douglas. I wanted a surreal image. I think this works and is fairly thematic considering some fools believe the vuvuzela is meant to resemble an elephant’s call.
Yeah right!

Fiddling puddlesticks! I was so annoyed yesterday, but so proud of myself. A whole day went by without the use and abuse of strong language ; )

No, the title isn’t some skewed attempt at French. I have an excellent firewall that allows nothing past its defences. Heck, it only allows me through if I’ve been really good and the same goes for all of you =Þ Every day, I get "Do you want Bonjour to access the internet?" Well, I neither need or want the programme Adobe insists on installing. Its main objective in life is to access the net and, deprived of that objective, it just sits there like a dead duck. My research cold me it was safe to uninstall it. Bagged and trashed, I was free of its daily "hello, I’m still here taking up 2 seconds of your day."

Then all dizzy heliotropes broke loose. My pc went belly-up. I restarted my pc, but it wouldn’t restart. My empty wallpaper sat staring at me. My keyboard ceased to function. I eventually accessed my files with Jurgis’ keyboard and in Safe Mode to do an emergency backup… and formatted.

Somehow, something had gone very wrong *makes a mental note to leave Bonjour in relative peace in future* It wasn’t just Bonjour though. At that precise moment, my keyboard cable (thank goodness it was easily resolved) died.

Reinstalling my pc was not quite how I’d planned to spend my day.

                 ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~

Sometimes life presents little scenes to check if you’re awake and paying attention. I was standing in the cluster of humanity, crowded into the cattle-herding gates, waiting fro the next metro at the busy Sé station, idly watching people getting off another line. One man caught my attention. Bopping and jiving to the beat in his headphones, very carefully, I might add, he was a stereotypical big-afro ‘out of a 70’s movie’ black guy – typical, except for the large chocolate cake he was carrying. It looked so surreal. Talk about stereotyping.

On the subject of surreal, it was so weird getting onto the bus this morning to actually find seats! Oh the joys of school holidays combined with world cup fever.

Don’t you just love the guys that get onto the underground metro while it is still dark outside with their hoodies pulled up over their ears and dark glasses on? "I’m so bright, I’ve got to wear shades." Their whole posture, the slouch and pushing baggy hips forward, and bearing screams, "Look at me! I’m cool!"

Then Tweedledee and Tweedledum got on. Some grungy jeans hanging in multiple folds over their trainers, pale, scrawny arms stretching out of yellow sweatshirts, which were worn under the regulation-on-match-day Brazilian team t-shirts. Number 7 and Number 10. Two curly dark heads didn’t look at each other or talk, but each move was identical, choreographed deep in their DNA.

Add further oddity to that. I waited 40 minutes for my usually very regular student, but he’s vanished. No reply on home, work or cell phone and not a soul seems to even know who he is. We usually meet in a neighbouring department because of the free boardrooms, so I went to his floor, which has recently had all its 200 anonymous open plan desks rearranged. I stood in the sea of desks and called his number, but no phones rang. I checked to make sure it was Friday. Yep. *Chronicles of the invisible student*

I arrived home to the neighbours getting their gathering of friends and family together… each sporting a new vuvuzela *sigh* Then a call from my student, "So sorry! I had no work today (lucky guy) because of the game and I completely forgot about class." Grrr! I don’t mind the time off. I do mind that I spent half an hour this morning trying to find something to wear… for nothing!

vizinho vuvuzela
The cartoon is appropriate today. ‘Visinhos’ is ‘neighbours’ and "Esse copa só serve pra encher o saco" roughly translates to "This cup only serves to make one fed up" except that ‘encher o saco’ has a far more crude interpretation here.

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Posted by on July 2, 2010 in work


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Up ‘n down week

My week started with Kippy’s wedding and a computer format. I hate formatting because they never go as quickly and smoothly as I’d like. This time, my scanner went belly-up. We eventually got the scanner working by sneaking up on it… and disabling my webcam, as the pc wanted to use the webcam as a scanner source. I was finally functional by Wednesday afternoon, but without a printer. Let’s say that lessons and admin became very interesting this week. I rely heavily on technology.

Along with this came an all-pervasive tiredness. No idea where that comes from. I picked up towards the end of the week. Then yesterday, Thursday, we took both dogs up to the village. At the church, we parted company. I had Romany with me. Jurgis had Dingo. She was going to the vet who confirmed that she’s diabetic. She was already totally blind in the one eye and had minimal vision in her remaining eye. This past month, she lost a lot of weight. Generally, the dogs start piling on weight as the cooler weather sets in… she just got skinnier and skinnier. She was already a skinny dog to start off with. Her appearance was conflicting… glossy coat, perky ears, still all tail-wag, but otherwise clearly going downhill. She’d lie in the corner under my desk, not following Romany out. We made the decision to let her go. All I’ll say is that her tail was still wagging.

While we were out walking, it rained. No ordinary rain, but a typical São Paulo garoa, rendering umbrellas useless. We were soaked through. By nightfall, I was feeling ghastly… sore throat, achy, sheer bliss, of course. This morning, after chasing of the mule train that ran me over, I dragged myself out to teach. What a weird class. She’s a new student who wanted me to go over her application for a job. We met at a Starbucks that had Wifi, but she didn’t have a service provider, so she couldn’t access it. Most of the lesson was spent trying to find an internet connection. This afternoon, I dragged my sorry self back home and went to bed, waking up in time for supper. I think I’ll just veg with housework this weekend…. and a few blogs. I’m way behind in everyone’s blogs.

PS. The top photo is simply there because I thought it was pretty. I was looking for photos of Dingo and found that one. Not sure what Heidi and Specs were looking at… probably a hyperactive dog.


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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in dogs, life, work


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Positive : Negative

Should I be grateful that I have a challenging job with endless variety or can I complain that I never know what my students want?

Should I be grateful that Brazilians are polite to a fault or can I complain that they’re incapable of saying "No" and would rather let you down or leave you hanging?

Should I be grateful that I have a job that allows me plenty of free time and flexibility or can I complain that I never know, from one day to the next, what I’ll be earning or if I’ll be able to pay my dues?

Actually, this blog started out as a major rant… a really big rant… an enormous rant… but I ran out of steam. I’m still angry and feeling let down. Selfishness is something that really irks me in a big way. When you blithely go through life never thinking of the next person or how your actions affect others, that bugs me…. big! Second on my list of rants for the day is incompetence.

Anyone else got a rant to add. You can safely do it here where no one will accuse you, however temporarily, of being negative ; ) In fact, I may just add more as I think of it.


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Posted by on May 7, 2010 in brazil, life, work



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