In May of 2012 there was a huge batch of layoffs at my workplace.  We have a union and a bumping system in place that allows for people with more seniority who are getting laid off, to bump into the position of a person with less seniority; making the person with less seniority the one who has to go.  It's fair enough, I guess, but in May of 2012, I had only been working there for a year and a half so it wasn't very likely that i'd be keeping my job.  I found out on June 12th last summer that my last day of work would be August 17th, 2012. 

I got a call about a week before my layoff date to tell me that the person who was bumping me, had accepted a 6 month contract in another area of the company.  This meant that my layoff date was extended to February 15th, 2013.

Then, on December 19th, 2012, the day before I left for a 2 week holiday, I got a call from Human Resources to tell me that the person  who was bumping me, took another full-time contract within the company.  This meant that my job was safe!! (For now, Ha!)

Being so close to x-mas, a lot of people were out of the office (the department I work in is quite small and isolated from the rest of the company, we're about ten people in all) so there were only 3 of us, including myself, at work that day.  The other two working were my manager and Brandon, a friend of mine (the guy who got married in this post). 

Now, another one of our co-workers, Nathan, is a close friend of ours.  We all have a tendency to poke fun at each other throughout the day.  With this new knowledge of my not being laid-off, we decided it could be fun to keep it quiet and play a little prank on Nathan.  Because we have another co-worker who just can't keep a secret, we decided it was best to not tell anyone that my job was safe.  So up until last Wednesday, ALL of my other co-workers thought I was leaving! (hehehe)

To pull off the prank, last Monday, Brandon broke the news to the staff that I would indeed be leaving via email, asking them to all send him a little blurb saying what they will miss most about me.  He took all of the things that people sent him and made a Top Ten power point presentation that he would "surprise" me with at lunch on the Wednesday of that week.  He also passed around a "going away" card that he printed off to have everyone sign (Nathan was actually pissed at Brandon at this point because he thought the card was too cheap!)  My manager well, she just had to play along, and me?  I acted pissed off (which isn't that hard when you work a desk job!). 

By Wednesday, Nathan (and everybody else) was well aware that I was leaving and Nathan especially was really pissed off about it!  That day, I took my time getting my stuff together before lunch and slowly headed over to the boardroom, where we have our weekly lunches.  As I walked in, I saw this Top Ten presentation ready on the smartboard.  As I passed it, I put a confused expression on my face and asked "what's that?"  Brandon said "you'll see!", as everyone either made a little smirk or looked at my sympathetically.

As we were all finishing our lunches Brandon passed me the card he'd made and said that they had prepared something special for my departure.  I played along and read what everyone wrote (it was actually quite touching).  Here is my favourite message:
Then, Brandon went over to the smart board and began the power point presentation.  The things people would miss about me included: "her unique sense of humour", "how she picks on Nathan", "how she buys too many bananas so she makes cupcakes out of them that her coworkers have to eat", "her Honey Boo Boo impressions", "her near-Vulcan logic and efficiency" and " her incessant need to compare her coworkers to different band members". (I have a co-worker who VERY closely resembles Liam from One Direction.)

Finally, as the last slide, with one click, the line: What is Krystel going to miss about us? With a second click came this picture of me pointing and laughing and the caption: Pranking Nathan!!!! (and as a result, everyone else!!!!!)
Faces = priceless.  I wish I had it on camera, I really do.  The whole thing just played out beautifully!  So to make the "prankees" feel a little better about being duped, I brought, of course, cupcakes!!

To make these black forest cake inspired cupcakes, start off with a batch of chocolate cupcakes.  Then carve a hole into the top-centre.  I used one of those grapefruit spoons for this part and it worked wonderfully.
Fill each cupcake with some cherry pie filling, then pipe (or scoop) a good amount of coconut whipped cream onto each one. 
Top with sprinkles and serve to "prankees".
Nothing like adding a little humour to the workplace...and topping it with sprinkles.  Oh and my fabulous "going away" card?  It's hanging over my desk :)
The first time I tasted a leek, I was working at a produce market in high school.  Between the bakery and deli, there was a table with two huge cauldrons on it.  Every day there was hot soup and that is what I normally bought for my lunch break.  My absolute favourite was the potato leek soup.  I would often buy extra so that I could take some home.  Here is my take on it:

MAKES: approx. 11 cups
TIME: 45 minutes





I make lists for everything, at work and at home.  My main list is simply titled "To do" and is always saved on my little R2-D2 usb drive.  I often add timelines to certain tasks, and sometimes make a separate to-do list of things that need to be done that week.  One thing that has been on my list since November was to organize my yarn.  Well, I finally did it. 
I wish I had taken more photos of my yarn in its disorganized state to show you as before pictures, but all I have is this snapshot (right) of a very tiny portion of it.  The rest was in boxes and bins, in the bottom of closets, in cupboards in my laundry room, even in my garage.  There was no organization to it at all, so you can imagine my frustration when I would be looking for a certain type, knowing that I must have it, but simply unable to find it.

I knew what I had to do.  I just didn't know how long it would take.  I knew I had to do it when the kids weren't around because this wouldn't be the type of project you can put on pause once you've started.

So on Sunday, 2 weeks ago, after the kids left for their dad's place,  I gathered up all my yarn and lugged it upstairs to my living room.  I found myself a spot in the middle of it all, put some original series Star Trek on the tube, and got to it.
On Day 3 of Operation: Yarn, I finally saw hope.  The end was near.  I had first separated all of my yarn by weight: fine, worsted & bulky (I wasn't about to go into categories like sport, dk, super bulky, etc.).   Then for each weight of yarn, I sorted it all by colour.  This left for many small piles all over the living room. (Many of which are behind where Señor was standing to take the photo picture above.)

In a separate pile, I had all of the balls of yarn that I am keeping for larger or special projects.  This included the more pricey skeins and anything that I had A LOT of in the exact same colour/dye lot.

It was finally time to box everything up.  I found boxes and bins and pails and I stored all of my wonderfully organized yarn in them keeping them separated by weight & colour.  They now all fit neatly stacked in the closet of my spare room, adorned with ugly but very practical masking tape labels :) Mission: complete.
During this time, Señor was busy doing prep work and correction for his classes so he pretty much stayed in the bedroom the whole first night.

On Day 2 of Operation: Yarn, Señor ventured out of the bedroom to find me sitting in the middle of a few piles (pictured: left).  He burst out laughing and ran to get the camera, which is the only reason why I have a photo of the "in progress" to show you.  I was so determined to finish on Day 2, there was no way I was stopping to pick up my camera. (Yes, that's a bowl of candy canes on the coffee table.  I'll stop for a candy cane...)
It's cold.  It's cold outside, and it's cold in my office.  What better way to warm up than with a warm bowl of delicious, spicy soup?

MAKES: 6 servings of just over 2 cups each (approx 13 cups)
TIME: 45 minutes