Sunday, January 31, 2010


I liked this article (linked below).

I've been fortunate enough to have been exposed to all kinds of different people in my life, and I find that people on the extreme ends of the political spectrum (both ends) are some of the scariest individuals I have ever met. Even more disturbing is the fact that most of the people in the middle, who would not be considered "extreme" are basically unconscious--they are empty vessels, waiting to be filled, and those on the far right or far left are more than happy to top them off in an effort to gather more people into their ideological flocks. Of course, this is a sign of insecurity on either end--when you are stepping out with some very bold statements, it just feels better to know that there are others who feel the same, even if you had to talk them into it.

I think that the difference between the right and the left is that the right is the more forceful side, using bold scare tactics to bring you into the fold. The left, on the other hand, uses their supposed moral superiority.

Yesterday, I went to a concert--it was an all-school orchestra concert, and, since my daughter plays the violin, she was there in support of her school and orchestra. When the guest conductor was introduced, they handed her a microphone, and within the first three sentences of her short presentation, she informed her waiting audience that she had played at Carnegie Hall.

It's not that this woman is not a passionate, talented person, and I'm not saying that she is somehow less dedicated to music education in our public schools just because her opening salvo happened to be "I'm so much better than you people...". The problem is that she seemed completely unaware that her attitude didn't help. No wonder it's so easy for right-wingers to get people fired up against "liberals". I mean, I'm a fairly liberal person myself, and, I didn't like the guest conductor much, right out of the gate. Her superiority complex did nothing to further her cause. Only someone who is themselves jockeying for position in society would have found that endearing enough to ingratiate themselves to it. Luckily for public school music programs, those societal up-and-comers happen to have money.

Anyway...just some's the article:

Are Liberals Pathetic? | | AlterNet


Nothing to do with anything serious, but I thought I would post the recipe for Total Cheat Chili--I think it may be one of my favorite discoveries of all time, and it was an absolute accident to happen across this short-cut, but a happy accident, indeed.  I used to make Tomatillo Chicken Chili, which involved lots of dicing and cooking and washing of vegetables, stirring, etc, and I still love that, but this a very close version of the same thing that takes less than 20 minutes.  (Less than 15 minutes if you're doing the vegetarian version...) In my household of three people, this is enough for everybody to have seconds.

Total Cheat Chili (vegetarian version) 

1 Jar Salsa Verde (the green stuff) However hot the salsa is, that's how hot the chili will be.
Vegetable broth
2 cans white beans, drained (lightly rinsed)  Use whatever kind you like.
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 heaping tsp cumin

Dump the salsa in the soup pot, then fill the salsa jar with vegetable broth and dump that in the soup pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients and heat.  Taste to check seasonings, and adjust if necessary--it probably won't be necessary.  Enjoy.

Meat version

Same as above, but use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, and add cooked chicken meat--as much as you want.  Since I have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian people in my house, I just cook one or two boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (the kind that come in a big bag, frozen) separately while I'm heating the vegetarian chili, cut up the meat and serve it on the side--that way the meaties can throw some chicken in their bowl, top it with the chili, and have chili with meat.

If you want to double or triple it, go for it, but don't double or triple the spices--add original recipe amount, taste it, and adjust to your taste.  I'm a big fan of cumin, which is why there is so much in the recipe to begin with...

There, now wasn't that easy?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On The Up

You know what I hate?  I hate when people say that someone is "under-rated".  There was a guy on Twitter the other day, saying that Justin Currie was "under-rated"
Really?  Because I've read the reviews.  Rabid, slobbery gushing is pretty much all I could find.  How is that "under-rated"?
I'll tell you how it's's under-rated because the guy who said that is one of the only people he knows who actively likes Justin's music. 
I don't think that's "under-rated"--I just think that is an indicator that the guy who said that needs to hang out with a better class of people.  Or, he needs to stop worrying about what his friends think of his taste in music.
I think you should go ahead and sing the praises of things that you like, without worrying about whether or not people agree with you.  People are not always going to agree with you--that's just a fact of life.  Don't apologize for having a preference by calling them "under-rated"--that accomplishes nothing but making that thing look like a victim of horrible circumstance.  Why label them in this way?  So they get the pity vote?  Screw the pity vote--artists are much better served by you declaring them triumphant.  Nobody likes a sob story...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random Notes and Quotes

Waking up at 3:15AM and working until 7PM is pretty sucky, and, I'm tired, so, I'm going to quote a whole bunch of people here, and kind of improv off of their stuff, OK?  


I mean, I would (should) just go to bed, but, this stuff has been calling to me all day.

A quote from the article I linked earlier... "Every one of us is born with a gift to share with the world. Many people choose mediocrity, because that makes it easier to fit in at school and in the wider world.  But mediocrity does not lead to success." 

And then there was this from Rev Run... 

"Two ways to make people hate you:  Do something really wrong or do something really right!

You can sync that right up next to the Justin Currie quote about how if you're going to feel guilty anyway, you might as well do something really awful.

Oh!  And "It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not."--Andre Gide 

Rev also said, "Go where you're celebrated, not where you're tolerated." 

Here are some other things I learned, from HH Dalai Lama: 

"If the mind is dominated by hatred, the best part of the brain which is used to judge right and wrong, does not function properly." 


"Your enemy is your best friend."

Today, I discovered that I am (still) capable of inspiring great, seething hatred.  SEETHING!  Woooo!  Didn't know I still had it in me!  Somebody actually told me that I made them sick!  First of all, please know that I find this to be a most delightful thing, and, I'm laughing--not because somebody hates me, as it's never fun to have intentions that you thought were pure be so wildly mis-interpreted that people's stomachs churn.  I don't hate anybody--you know I'm all about the love around here--frankly, I'm too busy for that kind of plotting nastiness, anyway.  I need my entire brain.  Yes, I will call you on your shit, but you know what they say...don't start nothin', won't be nothin'. 

When I say I'm laughing, I don't mean that I'm laughing AT someone, I'm just laughing because wow, yesterday, I didn't know anyone cared, and today, I know who does.  Or, really, really doesn't, as the case may be.  This is information that I seek, from just about everyone on a nearly continuous basis.  Life moves at a crazy pace--who are you taking with you?  Who are you following?  Are you moving at all?  Are those people "with" you, or are they thinking something completely different?  Again, are you moving?  Or are you just hangin' out?  What if you don't know if those people are with you?  Well, keep asking until you find out.  I mean, you don't have infinite time here on this planet--chop, chop.  When somebody tells you to fuck off, trust me, it's a good thing--permission to vacate!  You've got shit to do...that person just did you a huge favor.  Up until that moment, they were just tolerating you, or, in their heads, "allowing" you to hang out with them, which is their version of doing you a favor.  Which is bullshit.

As Ali Brown said in the article, "What doesn't fit you anymore?" Your current business? Job? Friends? Activities? Responsibilities? Hobbies? Clothes? Let go of what doesn't feel like the true you."

I knew when I was saying those things today that I was going to get yelled at and banished from the clubhouse or whatever, but you know what?  I did a "right" thing.  I truly, truly believed everything I said, to the core of my very soul, and it's not that I'd never said that kind of thing before, it just happened to coincide with the end of niceties.  (And no, it had nothing to do with my job...)   

Oh well.  Like I've said before--I sign my name to everything I say, and I own it, and I put all the cards on the table every time I open my mouth--trust me, I wasn't gambling with anything I wasn't willing to walk away from.

Anyway....that was my day.  How was YOUR day? hehe...

The Dalai Lama also said,  "Sleep is the best meditation."

With that, I wish you a good night, and a most delicious tomorrow... 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Count On It

Aaaah, never stops being interesting. Ever.

This is one of those "Interesting" things that I'm familiar with, (deja vu, baby!) not that it makes it that much better, but it should help me be less of a dumb-ass this time. You live, you learn, right? Here's hoping.

So, my supervisor just resigned. Today. For your further reference, I just started working here in October, so, I'm the newby. Well, I'm not the newby-newby-newby, because basically they are hiring another person tomorrow or something, so by the time the sup actually leaves, THAT person will be the newby-newby-newby. But it's strange to be freshly hired and then have the person who hired you just up and leave. It's one of those, "Wow, I hope my boss's boss and my boss's boss's boss all liked HER" kind of things--otherwise, you're in the unfortunate position of being a gentle reminder of shit they might have hated about her.

Because, seriously, what the hell was she thinking hiring me? HA! While I do happen to be very, very good at what I do, I also happen to be...uh....unconventional. Yes, that's it. And my sup is this great lady who is also "unconventional". She's cool, while still being loud and hilarious. Mostly I just describe her as "A Big Blonde" and hope everyone knows that that means--he's taller than everybody and still wears 4-inch heels, and if you had to find her in a crowded, noisy bar, you would have no problem, just listen for the laugh. I like her. She makes an impression.


The Universe has been sending me all kinds of "Do OVER" situations, lately, implying that I may have completely f*cked them up the first time around.

Oh yes I did!

I'll do better.

Last time I was a newby and my boss up and quit, I spent some time in a unique kind of hell, some of which was of my own making. Had to be the bruiser, didn't I? It was not a perfect workplace (none of them are) and I took it upon myself to try to make it better in whatever way I could, because that's just how I am. Helpful! HA!

I...make an impression. I'm not a "Big Blonde", but I do have a lot of "Big Blonde" tendencies. People, especially women, either love me or they effing hate me for being an attention-sucking beast. Not a good thing to be, when you're the newby and your Big Blonde Boss just got a different job someplace else. Oh, and for fun, throw in an annoying, barely competent, person who does the same job as me who thinks she runs the place and talks to everybody like they're stupid Yeah, baby! Just like last time!

Here we go again...

My mantra at the job for the next six months (give or take) is going to be a simple one...."Shut the hell up, Shelly." I'll also be using lots of "Let it go, Shelly."

Last time, I did not "Shut the hell up, Shelly." Nor did I "Let it go, Shelly." There was lots of Drama and Stupidity (about a years worth), followed by the most hilarious day of my life in which I got fired and the powers that be were so convinced that I was going to go postal that they had TWO Duluth Police Officers sit in on the firing. Really funny, in retrospect, because before they told me I was fired, I figured that the cops were there because that bitch planted drugs in my desk or something. I sat giggling through the entire firing. Getting fired was soooo much better than being framed.


Good times.

Though it will take monumental effort, I'm just going to do my best watch this from the sidelines and Trust Karma, Trust Karma, Trust Karma. Karma doesn't need my help. Oh, wait....that's a much better mantra than "Shut the hell up, Shelly"....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lazy People

I've been meaning to write this for a while, now, but I was too lazy.  OK, that's a lie.  I was actually too busy.
Here is a short list of personal pet-peeves.  You may use this list to spot lazy people.  These are the people, who, no matter what their position in life, probably won't go out of their way for you in a time of need.  These simple signs tell you a lot about a person, in my opinion.  This list assumes that the people in question are able-bodied, they just choose to be lazy.  Let's have a look, shall we?
  • They take an elevator up one flight, carrying nothing more than their lunch bag.  They take an elevator down one flight.  Or two flights.  Or even three flights.  It's DOWN, OK?  How tough is it?  People who take an elevator down at all are kind of annoying, unless they are working in a high-rise, or something.  I work in a building that is five stories tall, and have never set foot in any of the elevators, except the one time I had a cart full of stuff that had to go up one flight.  I think there are five or six elevators here!  Why?  This is not a big building!  All day long, I see people getting in and out of those elevators.  Meanwhile, I hop up or down the stairway, which is right next to the elevator, and I reach our shared destination well ahead of them, because, after all, they had to wait for the elevator, which was being used by some other lazy person who wouldn't walk down a flight of stairs.
  • People who push the accessibility button to open the door.  I'm not talking about people who are confined to wheelchairs, or even people with an armload of packages for whom opening a door might be a hassle--I'm taking about people breezing up to a doorway, with maybe a laptop bag over their shoulder, pushing the damn button instead of just pulling or pushing the door open.  Seriously?
  • Sloooooow walkers.  They make me crazy.  Everything about a slow walker screams "I have no purpose, nowhere to go, no plans, nothing to do...just ambling along..."  Blech.  It should also be noted that almost all slow walkers I have encountered in my entire life have gigantic asses.  What does THAT tell ya?
  • The ones who drive and drive and drive around, so they can secure themselves a parking spot near a door.  Really?  Get a tag for your car, so you can park in a designated spot if you have difficulty walking!  The parking ramp at work has lots of those kinds of parking spots, all located right next to the elevators...
I know that we want to look at things in a humorous way, and yes, I am pointing and laughing.  And it's true, some people have "hidden" physical limitations, but I'm willing to bet my next pay check that the majority of the people I see doing these things do not--they have only mental limitations.  Even I have a "hidden" physical limitation--a neurological condition and arthritis in my spine interrupt the flow of cerebral spinal fluid sometimes.  I know plenty of people with the same condition who use it as an excuse to sit around a lot.  They have that choice, but I gotta tell ya, that's the opposite of the cure.
When you are thinking about the people that you are hanging out with, or the people you might think that you would like to hang out with, think about this: Are they motivated?  Ambitious?  Or are they stalled, and looking for company?  You know what I'm sayin''s like the drunk who doesn't want to drink alone.  People who can't be bothered to move THEMSELVES are never going to move YOU in any significant way.  For them, every door is too heavy, every doorway too far to walk, and every stairwell too treacherous.  And yes, you SHOULD consider these physical signs as signs of their general attitude about life.  They are neither taking you, nor leading you, anywhere good--only to the easy places.  Even if they were taking you somewhere good, by the time you slow-pokes get there, all the good stuff will be gone!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quick! Look Busy!

I got a few things done. I took a few pictures

Blankie for Bromley.

Also, I just realized that I am a woman of many geometric patterns. Next time, we'll take a picture of the geometric patterned project on some non-geometric patterned rug. I'll see if I can find one in the house. Wish me luck.

Socks For Harvey.

No, his name is not actually Harvey, we just call him that because he hasn't been born yet, and we enjoy annoying his mother, who HATES every single name we think of. I mean, as soon as you say, "What about ______?" It turns out she knows someone named _______ and, they happen to be a douche-bag. So baby, less than two months from his big debut, has no name. I'm sure baby-mama will think of something, and, I'm sure that whatever name it is, it will remind ME of some friggin' douche that I know, but, whatever...

Sponge Bob says The Best Time To Wear A Striped Sweater Is All The Time
And I believe him. One cat sweater, done. He doesn't hate it. I mean, he doesn't hate it as much as my friend Sarah hates it when we call her baby "Harvey". That's saying something, right? Jack and Punky went outside for a walk around the yard, showed off the sweater to the neighbor cat, "Tiger", and then went back inside where Jack licked his feet for about a half an hour while re-thinking the whole "Let me outside" thing, since that snow stuff leaves gunk between your toes. Who knew?

And since I'm posting pictures...

Here's one of my BFF with her D-O-G.
And if she finds out I put this picture online?
She might just K-I-L-L M-E.

('s cute, right?)

Friday, January 15, 2010

If Life Were Perfect, I'd Be Eating Crackers Right Now (and a bunch of other random crap...)

Wednesday was a bit of a bust on the Randomy-ness, so we'll just call it Friday Fluff ala Cursing Mama.

I'm not as fluffy as Gabriel Inglesias. OK, actually it would take about three of me to be that fluffy. Oh, and also, that's not the kind of fluff I am aspiring to, today. Or ever. Love you, Gabriel!

Hmmm....if Gabriel had lap-band or lipo, or whatever, for health reasons, what the hell would he do with all of his 'fluffy" jokes? That's the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.

That and some of this other stuff...
  • I have given up. It was a long-fought battle, which I lost at every turn. Fine! Fine, my children, you win. For many years now, my daughters have insisted upon putting clothing on the cats. My fondest memory of this was walking into my kitchen one day after work and being greeted by a Siamese cat wearing a pair of shorts and a tank top. I have since educated them on the dangers of putting shorts or any kind of pants on an animal. Anyway! The entire time, all these years, I have scolded them, told them to stop torturing the cats, etc.--to no avail. When the Diva created her Link costume for Halloween, cats were fitted with coordinating Zelda gear. Christmas-time saw both boys wearing ill-fitting Santa suits. At some point, something clicked in my head that told me I was never gonna win this one anyway, and as such, I began securing measurements of both cats for custom-knit sweaters, to be hand made by me. All indicators show that I will eventually end up a Crazy Cat Lady, anyway, so, I might as well get started.
  • Help out, with care and with caution: If you wish to assist in the relief effort for Haiti, please beware of scumbags calling you at your house for this...don't give your credit card number to anyone, or anything else over the phone--the people who are calling you are what we call "Opportunists" and not the good kind. In the good news department, the Haiti text donation tally has surpassed the $5 million mark, so YAY US! Just text "HAITI" TO 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. Other charities, such as Wyclef Jean's Yele, are also collecting mobile donations. To send $5, donors can text "Yele" to the number 501501. The William J. Clinton Foundation was accepting $10 per text from users sending the word "Haiti" to 20222. Texting will put that charge and any charges relating to the text on your next phone bill. Please also (and always) consider donating to Doctor's Without Borders.
  • Helloooooooo Colorado! You crazy archive-diver you! Every time I see someone picking through the archives on the blog, I run to my little mental filing cabinet to see if I can remember writing anything for which I could potentially get sued. I think we're good. Is it bad that I'm outing stalkers? Am I supposed to let them de-lurk on their own? Isn't it de-lurking week or something? And how lame am I for thinking, "Wow, I hope somebody reads all of this stuff" and then when they do (and they literally read ALL of it in one fell swoop--My GAWD! Seriously?), I get a little chest-clutching panic? Anyway....we're going to call that one a "Stalk By Association" because apparently it's not so much about what I know as it is about who they think I know. Let me tell you something: every day, thanks to fine, information-seeking folks like yourself, I develop a whole new appreciation for who you think I know... ;-)
  • Helloooooo Florida! OK, just kidding. I just happen to be talking to a lot of people in Florida today, for work, so I have a little Sunkist on the brain. I talk to all kinds of people, all over the country and always manage to resist the urge to ask them about the weather, because then they ask ME about the weather here. Most are confused by the fact that I live in Minnesota, yet don't really want to move to where they are.
  • This weekend, I shall be buried in projects. I'd like to give you updates, but they are not that exciting. You know...stuff like, the "Put Your Freaking Laundry Away" project, or the "OHMYGOD You Actually Cook In This Kitchen?" project. I do these dumb projects that I hate, solely that I might then do the projects that I love. You know...stuff like the, "Sit Here With This Remote In Your Hand And Drink This Very Strong Drink" project, or, the "Whatever You Do, Don't Drink, Or You'll Completely Mess Up This Project" project. Looking very much forward to both of those...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yeah, Baby!

Yesterday was so dumb, today HAD to be better!  It just HAD to be.
Aaaah.....and it was.
And you know, nothing happened.  Nothing at all.  I didn't win the lotto (keep "forgetting" to buy a ticket), didn't fall in love, and nobody cleaned out the inside of my car for me.
The most beautiful thing about today?  A significant lack of stupid crap.
Thank you, universe.  Thank you.  Let's do it again, real soon...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Can't Get Out Of It

Most unfortunate that I have nothing to report other than what songs have been stuck in my head.
Currently Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, thanks for asking.
I am of the mind that these things don't just pop in there for no reason--your brain must be latching on to SOMETHING, right?
Perhaps it is wishful thinking, or my desire to remain hopeful, that gives meaning to songs stuck in my head.  My friend had Reminiscing stuck in her head, after all....where's the message in that?  What is your mind preparing for when it's Little River Band up there?  Not that they were any less deep than U2, they just didn't have as much Holier Than Though in their marketing campaign.
(I KNOW!  She took a swipe at U2!  Damn!  Step back--something heavy is about to drop on her head!)
Trust me, LRB is SOMEBODY'S sacred cow--don't you think that person has been beat up enough?  Besides, how could I be the Queen of Lost Causes if I didn't pick the Australians over U2?  U2 has EVERYBODY else, already!
I was set to ignore Stuck In A Moment (Team LRB!), then I read the lyric to it (and if you're lucky like me, you'll have a Hot Chick Boob Shot to the left of your screen when you click on that link. Yow!).  GAH!  Those U2 Bastards!  I hate that!  The words do apply, quite handily, to some stuff.  OK, OK, not just "some stuff"--more like A Big Hunk of THAT THING That Troubles Me Most.
Has anybody else ever done that?  Get a song stuck in your head and instead of allowing yourself to go half batty drumming it out of there, look up the lyric to see if there is something to it?  Assume that there must be a reason?  Because I, for one, do not believe in coincidences.  2009 was a virtual FLOOD of "coincidences" for me, and it turned out that every single one of them was connected to some crazy thing or another.  To me, it's just the universe saying "HEY!" and asking for your attention, even if just for a minute.  And the universe might pick a song that will annoy the crap out of you in an effort to make it's point.
So....what's been buzzing around in YOUR brains?  What's it there for?  Aren't you curious?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Not Only Am I Smarter Than A 5th Grader, I'm Even Smarter Than A 10th Grader

Even half asleep.

My daughter was writing an ethics paper--not for an ethics class, but an actual research paper about ethics--and asked for my help. I hesitated, not because of the subject matter, but more because I've been feeling uninspired lately. Oh, and also because I've "helped" this child write papers for that class before, and as writing partners go, she's hot and cold--she thinks you're full of shit and initially hates everything you come up with but eventually comes around to accepting her limitations and becomes more comfortable with the notion that she might need your to help wrangle all of the thoughts zipping around in her head. The only reason the paper writing processes don't turn into epic battles is because I'm able to remind myself that it's her paper, and if the paper is bad, it's not my bad. Does that sound cold? I dunno....homework is a delicate thing for any parent. Yes, I could have written that entire paper in an evening, with one hand tied to the chair, but what does that accomplish, besides Child #1 coasting through her writing class? Considering that I would like her to actually learn a thing or two, and that she is at the age of dogged resistance to learning anything from me, I place her in ISD 273's capable hands for the bulk of the academics and largely let her fend for herself.

My daughter is no slouch. She's been writing well-developed stories since the first grade. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you "The New Adventures of Mocha and Poo", a comic book series written and illustrated by one M. Karaba, aged 7, about a super-hero chocolate lab and her stealthy but stinky side-kick....a poo. Together they battle the forces of evil, personified by The Litterbox Kids ( AKA our two cats). I won't discuss the details of what brand of super-powers these mighty foes unleash upon each other, but I will indulge that bodily functions make up the bulk of them. Who says diarrhea and fart jokes are only for the boys? This was a brilliant masterwork for such a young mind.

As amazing as her brain is, the formalities of an academic paper make her twitch. They make me twitch, too. Duh. Monologists are not usually the ones you tap to write your research paper, or even DO research: A) It is infinitely more fun for us just to make shit up, and B) Grammar? Style? What? What?

Besides, have you ever seen a research paper in which somebody uses the word "Duh" not just IN a sentence, but AS a sentence?

Didn't think so.

We ventured forth, comedic "charms" tucked neatly away. There was no mention of poo, and nobody said "duh". Push. Pull. Push. Pull. Discussion, discussion, discussion. Phrases questioned, thesaurus consulted, words replaced. The thesis statement took an hour to complete.

Then I dozed off a little.

I awoke to questions about the difference between social and economic sacrifices and which did Albert Goering endure as a result of his anit-Nazi activities?



Is it morning?



I mean, how long--physically, in hours--do people have to talk before the name "Goering" just...comes up?

Oh yeah....ethics paper.

I'm so glad I grew up and learned how to bullshit my way through just about anything using the written word, and the English language (my version of it) in general. I don't think I have an all-nighter in me. But I was a little impressed with myself. Even un-inspired, and with sleep in my eyes, I was able to artfully expound on both Hermann AND Albert Goering, and also quote On The Waterfront (Don't ask.) without once using the word "Duh".

Take that, bitches.

Monday, January 4, 2010

With Every Dumb Thing, There Is A Story To Match

My co-worker is chomping on chips, within earshot, and I'm about to CRAWL OUT OF MY SKIN.  The sound of people eating makes me crazy.
Reminds me of a story.
Doesn't everything remind me of a story?  Well, as they say...I've got a million of 'em.
I remember the very first meal in which my husband, stepchildren, my children and I all sat down to eat together.  Those "firsts" are always interesting, right?  Assessment time. 
Half-way through the meal, I was cringing so hard from the sound of my step-children EATING that I had to get up and leave the table.  In retrospect, this was not a harbinger of good things to come, but, they were children, and I'm not entirely unkind, so, I eventually came around enough to realize that they had no idea that they were doing anything "wrong", because nobody ever taught them how to NOT be chomp food, or chew with their mouths open, or whatever.
Believe me when I tell you that teaching this became Priority #1. 
Shut your mouth when there is food in there. 
Shut it. 
And for God's sake, stop smacking!
This was about the time that my step-children decided that I was some kind of intolerable bitch who hated them.  Not entirely fair.  After all,  I wasn't passing judgement on THEM for not having good table manners, I was passing judgement on their parents!  Duh!  Kids don't know any better!  The fact that there might be awful (and perhaps even evil) people hiding behind those childrens' mouth-smacking table manners didn't occur to me until years later.
Remind me, in the future, to keep people with bad table manners at a safe distance.  Casual friends, yes, but no closer.  I say, if your parents didn't get around to teaching you the simple stuff, then I don't want to know where else they failed.  In the case of my stepchildren, well....their mom?  It was like she purposely did the opposite of "right" or "nice" just to prove that nobody could tell her what to do.  Worst parent, ever.  The only bad thing she didn't do was get them addicted to crack--lying, stealing, extortion, and every level of evil manipulation were openly taught.  Even my most valiant efforts failed to keep them from turning into nasty people.  I know me....I like to think that there is a good person in everyone, and that you just need to draw it out of them with tolerance, showing them the way, etc.  What do you mean, I'm the patron saint of lost causes?  I don't believe in Impossible!  People don't WANT to be mean or evil or nasty!  They just don't know any better!  So what if I'm just a step mother and it's technically not my job?
Man, did I ever have my hat handed to me on that one...last time I saw either one of those children, I could report barely a likable quality between them.  Yikes.  Don't worry--neither of them have anything nice to say about me, either, only, unlike them, I call them awful people because I still have all the scars from all the times they stuck a knife in my heart.  They just hate me because I managed to survive, despite their best efforts.
Please, use my sad, sad story as a cautionary tale to help you remember how serious this parenting thing really is.  We're not f*cking around, here.  You're making PEOPLE, OK?  Kind of a big deal.  When you screw it up, you're usually not the one who suffers--it's all the other people that kid comes into contact with for the rest of their lives.
Is my co-worker an awful person?  No--not even close.  She is a delightful, cheerful, caring and thoughtful person.  Would I ever live with her?  Hell no.