Tag 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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Posies and ringlets

I love my job! I get to meet the most fascinating people all day every day. Yesterday, it was a little old lady with a halo of perfectly (and I mean perfectly) coiffed ringlets. She must have spent hours on her hair. Picture young Shirley Temple as an eighty-plus lady…. same hair.


Sharp as a button, she was, in her woven green coat. She looked like she had stepped straight out of a 50’s magazine. But this pint-sized dame showed me a thing or two! She’d been sewing all her life and wanted to know if she could buy the fabric instead of having the curtains made up for her. She knew what she wanted and brought samples of her sofa cover in to match the fabric.

Needless to say, she spouted feet and inches to me. My metric ‘everything-in-multiples-of-10’ brain objected in a scramble of numbers that spun dizzily. Not a problem to the genius I was talking to. She was never taught metric, but converted the measurements for me without skipping a beat! That was when she told me she’d retired 15 years ago from My Job! Yes… the very job I was doing! Back when Montgomery had concessions in the Co-op. I’d like to bet she could still do it and sweep me under the rug too. She turned down the offer to replace me, though, as she had a ‘little boy’, aged 90, back home she needed to care for.

I can only hope that I have a fraction of this lady’s spunk and wits when I’m her age. Grow old gracefully? That’s for dull folk!


Posted by on April 20, 2014 in people


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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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I woke up on the tail end of a fascinating dream. As some of you may know, I’ve been very interested in alternative healing for many, many years now. My interest started with herbs, then moved on to reflexology. Reflexology is the stimulating of points in the hands or feet, which correspond to areas in the body. The body is broken up in to energy meridians, so the energy runs from a point in the body to the organ you are treating.

I believe that our bodies are remarkable machines, where everything is tied in, all running like smooth cogs, interlinked. I believe in the healing therapies I’ve studied because I started out as the ultimate sceptic. Everything I use is what I’ve tried on myself and found it to work.

I have studied reflexology and herbalism over the years. As you know, I don’t go to the doctor unless the situation is dire. My latest visit to the doctor let me to blood tests that showed that I was normal in every way and the couple that were ‘out of synch’ were so logical and something I can work on on my own. In fact, something I need to work on (you only need to see a photo of me to know what that is).

Since I started on this ‘journey’, I have studied EFT, TAT, acupressure and hypnotherapy. Studying, for me, has involved reading everything I can on the subject, doing research and taking every course I have access to. Last week, I did the exam to certify as a hypnotherapist. I passed and got my bit of paper. Thing is, like all the other qualifications I have, this one is a low level qualification, but it did give me knowledge and I can use that with myself and anyone else who trusts me enough. It sounds pat, but the more I learn, the more I find out I don’t know and want to learn more.

                       ~ ~ ~

Back to my dream. I don’t remember the lead up, other than that it involved a mess of transport typical of my working life, but I ended up in a hospital clinic setup. The place was very old. The furnishings were solid, very thick wood, painted in yellowing enamel paint that had obviously taken years of abuse, but was clean. With every aspect of the dream, the word ‘ancient’ comes to mind. There was a mess with documents I needed, again, typical of my life here. I never seem to have the right papers. Jurgis eventually arrived with the final paper I needed after a frantic call.

I was shown through to the doctor. He stood behind an old desk, in the style of the front desks. Behind him was a circular area with floor-to-ceiling shelves, every inch of which contained little brown bottles. I looked at the bottles and could visualise their contents. The contained liquids with samples in them. I was intrigued and, to me, it was strangely beautiful. I stood looking at them and wanted to write a poem about those bottles.

The doctor eventually sent me through for the actual blood test. As I walked into the next area, another doctor or technician was standing there holding a chart and pointing to where he was going to take the sample. He was a good few feet away, but I could clearly see the chart. It was a meridian chart with the liver meridian highlighted in a bright orange-red. This is strange because, with all my studying, I have a vague sense of the acupressure/acupuncture meridians, but struggled to memorize them, but in my dream, I knew that meridian very well and recognised it immediately.

I woke up at the point where I was standing rooted to the ground realising that the doctor was planning to stick a needle into my liver at the point under the ribs in the image here. I think anyone would wake up at that thought ; )

                       ~ ~ ~

Back to reality.

Last week, I was doing a lot of EFT and hypnosis on the subject of my health and my work, aka financial situation. One of the EFT masters suggested focussing on a point that needs working on (EFT uses acupressure points). I kept thinking that I don’t know which point needs more work and how am I supposed to know anyway? I have my answers. Research into the liver meridian was the penny drop I needed. I had a few ‘wow’ moments this morning. So that’s what it was?!

My morning didn’t end there. I got two emails where the one agent I get work from had asked my old students (one who’d cancelled) if they want to return to class. The responses were that they loved the classes with me, but couldn’t right now and would in the near future. Hey… a compliment! I’ll take that!

More was to come though. The same agent, who’s an English teacher himself with excellent English, has asked me to teach his three kids, each kid in his/her own class. Wow. I was dumbstruck. This teacher is a good teacher in his own right. He used to run a school. His old students rave about his classes and he wants ME to teach his kids?! A compliment indeed. I’ll take that too! : )

All in all, the week is starting well with fascinating things to think about, follow up on and filled with hope. I like that.

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Posted by on August 3, 2010 in dream, health


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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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What the heck…

Is this for real? Do people really do this?

I was browsing through the news this morning when starting my day. The one article was on "9 Ways to Ensure You Don’t Get the Job". Link here.

The writer lists things like "Don’t spam your resume" and "Don’t ask what the company does". Fairly logical and reasonable, the kind of tips we see often, but I nearly fell out of my chair when I read:

Come with your own beverages.
Many hiring managers dislike it when people bring their own take-out cups of coffee to drink during an interview, according to career strategist Barbara Safani. It can come across as far too informal. And if you bring a child’s Hello Kitty lunch box containing utensils to brew your own tea, as one candidate did when meeting Terdik, you will be memorable–but not in a good way.

People do this?? Seriously?

And this….

Bring the family.
Erin Duddy, a recruiter at a small staffing firm in Raleigh, has been unpleasantly surprised when a candidate brings a baby or a child to an interview. "If you absolutely must bring children to the company, at least clear it ahead of time," she recommends.

A hiring manager at a Florida hospital adds that bringing a spouse or parent to the interview–or letting a loved one negotiate your salary and benefits for you–is one way to ensure you’ll get no salary and benefits.

I’m sitting here shaking my head… it boggles the mind…. We live in an insane world…


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Posted by on April 27, 2010 in media, work


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