The Sonia Show

Writer. Podcaster. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.

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I always feel like someone is watching me

Yeah, so, I just discovered that our company put up a security camera in our office. We had a series of break-ins last year, and apparently, they installed this security camera while I was on my chemo-cation.

I don’t really care. I mean, if someone wants to watch me sit in my cube and pretend to work all day, then enjoy. It’s like an episode of “The Office,” but boring and even more cringe-inducing. Maybe they can play a drinking game. Drink every time Sonia:

  • Rolls her eyes
  • Leaves early
  • Makes a horrible pun
  • Says “I’m not your Doralee” to her boss

The security guard will be wasted within hours.

Of course, now that I know about it, I’ve started talking to the camera.

“It’s OK, Security Camera. I’m just getting more tea. I’m not stealing it. It’s free. It’s peppermint tea, in case you are wondering.”

“I’m going to use the bathroom, Security Camera. I’ll be right back.”

“Guess who’s eating carrots and hummus again in her cube, Security Camera? It’s me!”[holding up a tub of hummus]

Sometimes I do a little dance in front of it. Sometimes I just stand there, and smile and wave. I have a feeling that whoever is watching the footage is not impressed.


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The Notorious OBB Strikes Again

Yeah, so, the Notorious OBB is at it again.

Office Busybody and I have been working in the same office for more than 6 years. So, for more than 6 years I’ve been dealing with her obsessions with my lunches and my restroom habits. She’s just two cubes down from me. I think she heard me explaining what I do to a visitor from our corporate office, which resulted in the following conversation.

OBB: “You’re a writer, Sonia? Is that what you do here?”
Me: “Yes. I manage our blog and Ideas & Inspiration section. I manage our social media, and write all our emails. That’s what I’ve been doing in this cube for the six years we’ve been working together.”
OBB: “Oh, I didn’t know you were a writer, Sonia.”


This explains why last week she was asking me about our benefits enrollment to which I responded, “I’m not HR. Go ask HR.”

I thought about asking her what she does in the office, just to fuck with her. I know damn well what she does, because she is super loud and everyone in the office can hear her all the time.

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Having a nasty cough is so hot right now

Yeah, so, remember when I wrote about how I was sick nine days ago? It turns out the nasty cough has taken up residence in my lungs, and it has no plans to leave. And I, for one, do not welcome my new cough overlord, so I’m drinking another hot toddy to kill it and blogging.


This cough has given me a raspy, some might even say sexy, voice that is going over really well in the office. Maybe it’s good timing, because work has been frustrating, and I’ve been having to get my bitch on. My raspy voice is probably the little sugar that makes the medicine go down, or whatever that stupid saying is.

Here’s a little quiz I’m thinking about having some folks at work take:

Is Sonia having it?

a) Sonia is having it.
b) Sonia is not having it.

Hint: The answer is b.


I understand that work is work that’s why it’s called “work” and not “super happy fun time.” Truth is I don’t usually let work upset me, because, really, work is just work. It’s my job to make money. I do care, and I take great pride in my work, but it’s not my life. My life is my family and my friends. But still, I’m frustrated with work right now.


Let’s talk about something cuter …

So, The Kid is really into accessorizing these days. The other day he wore a hat to preschool.



Today, he wore sunglasses.



At home, he has become very obsessed with our glasses.


Both of The Kid’s parents wear glasses, and he doesn’t, but he wants to be like us because he’s 2.5 years old and doesn’t know any better, so – of course – he wants to wear glasses, too. He will learn soon enough that he doesn’t want to be like his parents, because we’re dorks. In the meantime, we will revel in the fact that our spawn thinks we’re the shit.


I’m the office idiot. Oh good.

Yeah, so, I apologize for the lapse in blog posts, but the weather has been really nice, and the San Francisco Giants have been playing really well … And, you don’t really care, do you? I’ll just get to the good stuff.

So, I went to ILM last week for lunch. One of David’s good buddies, Ryan, works there, and he gave us a tour. It was pretty cool. Of course, I totally geeked out about all the “Star Wars” stuff.

Darth Vader selfie.

Darth Vader selfie.

I know.

I know.

My Mother's Day gift.

My Mother’s Day gift.

Ryan even introduced us to someone who is working on the new “Star Wars” movie, but I didn’t ask her anything about it, because I’ve decided I don’t want to know. I’m not reading any of the articles about the new movie. Big fans of any particular movie can get obsessed with details, trying to find out everything they can about casting, plot details and more. I have decided I would rather just see the movie. I don’t want to know anything. I know. Weird, right? So old fashioned.

Speaking of old, my company hired a new employee, and the poor guy is sitting on the other side of my cubicle wall. He’s a younger guy, and I’m sure he thinks I’m a totally lame old lady. I feel so sorry for him. He has to listen to my assy shit all day long. Last week he got to overhear me leaving a voicemail for someone in the corporate office that went like this: “This is Sonia Mansfield returning your call. You can call me back at … Oh … Umm … I don ‘t know my own desk number. I will email you my number. Thank you. Bye.”

Seriously. I’ve worked here for five years, and I’ve had the same phone number the entire time. I didn’t know my own number. I don’t call myself. We almost never use the phone around the office other than to call into conference calls. Everyone is on Google Talk. So, yeah, I dug out my business card and put it on my desk so it won’t happen again.

It was shortly after that incident that I discovered I never made an outgoing message on my desk phone, too. So then my new neighbor got to listen to the office manager explain to me how a phone works, which made me feel all kinds of smart.

The week before that my headset wouldn’t work for some reason, and after a few minutes of “can you hear me now” my new neighbor came over and fixed it for me.

He must think I’m the biggest idiot of all time. He probably goes out after work and regales his friends with stories of the office idiot who can’t figure out her phone. You know, the way I like to regale my tens of readers with stories about the office busybody.

In other news, the Spawn is practically swimming. Check it and see.

He is so brave … and tall! He’s only 2.5 years old, and he can walk around in the shallow end of a swimming pool. He may not be where he needs to be talking-wise, but he’s ahead of the game in swimming. Also, he’s really cute.


Have a great weekend, you guys!




Help wanted

Yeah, so, mighty, mighty good man David is looking for a new job.

It’s a familiar story: Boy works for company. Company gets bought by a bigger company. Bigger company lays people off. The end.

He was laid off last week from his job as a community and social media director for a visual effects software company, so if you know of any community/social media/marketing/content/podcasting/public relations jobs, you can find David on LinkedIn. I have no doubt that David will find an awesome new job. He is very good at what he does. On top of being an amazingly decent human being with a big heart, David is also super smart. He’s pretty easy on the eyes, too. If he doesn’t land a marketing job, he could go back to being a cage dancer.

We found out right before the holidays that the layoff was coming. Apparently, the bigger company has never seen “A Christmas Carol.” I’m not going to bad mouth the company. David has worked with some of those people for 13 years. There are a ton of awesome people who work there, and their software is crazy amazing, and it’s used in practically every movie. Layoffs happen. I get it. We all get it. I’ve been laid off countless times. (I started this blog back in 2003 after getting laid off from The Examiner – only to be rehired a few weeks later.) However, let me just say that David’s former employers are a London-based company, and I will be actively rooting against England in the Winter Olympics because of this. Also, I hope all their favorite BBC shows get canceled.

There. I said it.

Of course, David handled everything like a grownup with grace and dignity. I, on the other hand, would have behaved like an asshole, screamed a bunch of mean, childish things at people and possibly started a small fire. It’s a good thing one half of this couple can control themselves. David should list “acts like a responsible adult” as a skill on his LinkedIn with all his other useful skills. Seriously, if you are looking for someone for community/social media/public relations/marketing, you should hire this guy. He won’t be on the market for long.

Sadly, this lay off doesn’t just affect us. Since David is not working, we really don’t need to send the Spawn to our nannyshare anymore. Calvin will be going to David Day Care starting at the end of the month, and then preschool part-time starting mid-February, which means our wonderful, amazing nanny, Yolanda, is back on the market at the end of the month.

Calvin has been going to Yolanda for two years. I can’t believe it’s been two years. In those two years, Yolanda has taken such amazing care of my boy. She takes him to the park, the zoo, the library. They go for long walks. My boy speaks English and Spanish. Her advice has been so helpful to this new, clueless mom. I am so grateful to her. It breaks my heart to end our nannyshare situation, but the truth is it’s time for Calvin to start preschool anyway. This was going to happen soon, lay off or not.

SO, you guys, if you are looking for a nanny, I’ve got one for you! Email me, and I will pass along Yolanda’s resume, and I’ll give her the most heartfelt recommendation.

This entire blog post is basically just one big job seeker ad, isn’t it? Here … let me make it up to you with photos of The Boy’s new haircut.


He’s really into making funny faces right now.


Watching “Yo Gabba Gabba” is serious business.


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I’m awesome at everything. Thanks for asking

Yeah, so, one of the things that cracks me up about working in an office is the self performance review.

Does your office do that? I was never asked to do a self performance review at any of my other jobs.

“So, let me get this straight: You want me to review my own work performance, and you are going to use it when deciding my pay raise? Interesting …”

Obviously, I put down that I’m awesome at everything. Duh.  Like I’m really going to put something negative: “I steal Equal packets from the kitchen and take long lunches.”

I’ve also been asked to weigh in on my coworkers’ performance reviews. “What should Paul stop doing?” “He should stop being so awesome. He’s making us all look bad.” “What should Susan start doing?” “She should start going out to lunch. She hangs around the microwave when I’m warming up my lunch. I’m running out of small talk topics, and it’s awkward.”

As you can see I’m not too worried about losing my job. Every office is required by state law to have at least one wacky redhead who wears cute dresses and says funny things. The law was passed in the ’90s, and it’s called the “Suddenly Susan/NewsRadio Law.” I’m a protected class, you guys.

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The office busybody strikes again and other random stories

Yeah, so, it’s been a busy week, and I have been neglectful of you, my tens of readers. My apologies.

I have three things to tell you.

No. 1: The office busybody strikes again.

OK, so, everyone here knows how I feel about the office busybody. She is obsessed with our lunches, our restroom habits and telling me that I’m having “a big baby.” This week she went to far. She asked another female coworker if she was pregnant. She is not. Awkwardness ensued.

I could hear the entire trainwreck from my cube. This coworker handled this situation so politely I was in awe. Telling the office busybody that she has put on a few pounds (honestly, I hadn’t even noticed) and would probably start trying to lose weight. I also heard someone else chime in, “It’s after Thanksgiving, you know?” “Yeah, this is my Thanksgiving baby.” The coworker went back to her cube, and the office busybody followed her, trying to apologize, but eventually the coworker shooed her away saying, “It was nice talking to you. I have to get back to work.”

Oh snap.

Seriously, the office busybody is a menace, and she must be stopped. I’m thinking about bringing in a squirt bottle, and every time she says something stupid I’m going to spray her in the face. I’m convinced I can train her to behave.

No. 2: It was fuckin’ freezing in our office this week.

OK, so, it’s been pretty cold in the Bay Area for a week or so. Bad time for the heater to break in our office.The heater was broke Friday and Monday. It was so cold in the office I could barely type. I put on fingerless gloves, which meant that my palms were warm, my fingertips were cold, and it’s was even more difficult to type.


56?! I know, I know. My friends in the Midwest are like, “boo fuckin’ hoo, Sonia.”

I’m usually pretty nice to be around. I’m not a whiner. I’m afraid everyone in the office got to meet Nasty Bitch Sonia on Monday. She sucks. She bitches about everything. I don’t like being cold. I’m fine with it if I’m walking around Paris. I’m not fine with it in my office where I’m writing about different types of business card paper stocks.

3. I had a really good beer.

I really like beer, and I had an amazing one over the weekend. One of our local breweries, Speakeasy, released their first barrel-aged beer (actually, it’s a mix of several of their beers, including two imperial stouts, an IPA, barleywine and porter aged in various bourbon barrels), Syndicate No. 01, and it’s amazing and delicious. If you can get a bottle of it, get two. It’s so good! One of the best I’ve had in a while. It reminds me of FiftyFifty’s Eclipse, which is one of the best of the barrel-aged beers in my opinion. Eclipse is pricey, though, about $25 a bottle, and you can get Syndicate for $15.99 at the brewery.


Oh, by the way, I’m tracking my drinking problem on Untappd now if you want to follow me, I’ll totally follow you back.

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The customer isn’t always right, but you have to pretend that they are

Yeah, so, I graduated from college with a degree in journalism, but the skill I probably use more than anything I learned in college is the one I acquired from working at the movie theater during college: Customer service.

I paid a hefty price for that college education, while the movie theater paid me (minimum wage) to learn about customer service. What a deal.

I’m sure you are surprised to learn that I’m actually kinda good at customer service. Completely normal assumption. I am an assy, sarcastic person. When customers complain, my first instinct is to roll my eyes and say something jerky, but over the years I’ve gotten really good at suppressing that first instinct and going with the second one, which is “how can I make this better?”

I use it a lot in my day-to-day life. As a content and social media marketing manager, I still have to deal with customer complaints in form of nasty comments on our Facebook wall or a bitchy reply on Twitter. Sometimes the complaints are meaner than anything I heard at the movie theater. Writing a complaint email or a mean comment on a Facebook wall gives a customer a little bit of anonymity, a little distance. They write things they would never have the balls to say to my face. The upside is it gives us on the social media team time to craft a thoughtful, helpful response. Also, the customer can’t see me rolling my eyes or hear me saying something I might regret.

I use the customer service skills I honed at the movie theater in my interactions with my bosses as well. I basically treat them like customers. They get a “yes, sir!” or “yes, ma’am” attitude … usually. Well, my bosses now do. A few of my bosses back in the day got an eye roll and a “whatever.”

Now, let me tell you a story of when I was bad at customer service while working at the movie theater.

This is back in the ’90s; back when you had to buy movie tickets at the box office like a goddamn animal. Yes, there was a time when you could not buy movie tickets online. We didn’t even take ATM cards or credit cards back then. Ask your parents.

Some young boys, maybe 10 or 11, bought tickets for something age appropriate. I think it was “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls,” because kids are stupid. Anyway, these kids bought tickets for “Ace Ventura” and then – for some reason – jumped into “Nixon” … on purpose. I guess the lure of the R rating was too strong. Maybe they thought they would see Joan Allen’s boobs? I’m not sure why.

After the movie, their mom came to pick them up, and they quickly confessed to her that they watched “Nixon.” She marched back into the theater and asked to see the manager, which was me.

Actually, I was only an assistant manager.

Actually, I was only an assistant manager.

She was furious that her kids somehow managed to theater hop and see a rated R movie. I wanted to say, “Dude. They watched ‘Nixon.’ Are you upset that they might learn something?” Instead, I told her that we work very hard to make sure that children don’t sneak into R rated movies and that people see the movie they pay for, etc.

She was still angry. She wanted me to refund the tickets. Now, what I probably should have done was refund her tickets or offer her free passes so she would leave happy. Instead, I said something like, “It’s not our fault if your children hopped into another movie, and they watched the entire film, so I don’t think a refund is appropriate.” Seriously, what the fuck did I care if she got her money back? Was I worried about the box office earnings of “Nixon?”

She started yelling at me, and she started to get in my face. Once again, I should have just given her what she wanted. Instead, something about her demands really pissed me off, so while she was yelling at me I interrupted her and said something like, “This movie theater is not your personal babysitter.”

She did not like that answer.

She practically lunged at me, and another manager showed up just in time to stop her from physically assaulting me. I think he gave her free passes, so she got what she wanted, which really annoyed me.

When I think of that story, I try to remember what happened before it. What was going on with me that day? Was she like the 12th customer to yell at me that day and I had just had enough shit? Most likely I was just hung over. The movie theater was in Chico, after all.


Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!

Yeah, so, last week our office manager quit. My initial reaction was, “She got mugged parking her car here, right? No? Oh, did she catch an infectious disease from all the illegal dumping?”


It turns out it was something boring like she got another job. Yawn.

So anyway, I’m not entirely sure of all the things our office manager did, but I know some of her tasks included stocking up the kitchen and restrooms, which are super important tasks to me. Yesterday was our first day without an office manager, and already there was a roll of paper towels just sitting in the kitchen that no one bothered to put into the towel dispenser. I assume no one replaced them because: a) they haven’t figured the towel dispenser; or b) they don’t care. I fall squarely into the “b” category. Also, all the tea, sugar, half and half, etc., were starting to look a little low.

Things are headed downhill rather quickly. My prediction: I will be buying my own toilet paper and hoarding it in my cube by next week.

I’m worried that without an office manager, this place is going to turn into “Lord of the Flies.” Wait and see. In a few weeks we will all be fighting over the conch. Or, I’ll come into the office one morning and someone will say, “We’re out of coffee,” and then this will be me:


Lunch dates with the office busybody

Yeah, so, there are a lot of things I don’t like about working in a cubicle.

I don’t like that everyone can hear my personal phone conversations, which means I have to finding a hiding spot in the building to make calls about all my various medical issues. I don’t think everyone should have to listen to me schedule a mammogram. “So, you’re getting your boob squished on Monday. That’s cool.”

I don’t like that everyone walking by can see into my cube, which really affects my ability to screw around on the internet and watch cute cat videos.

But my No. 1 complaint is there is no way for me to hide from the office busybody.

I have written about our office busybody before here. She is obsessed with everyone’s lunch. One time, she even bought my lunch off me. True story.

Most people in the office loathe lunchtime, because they know they are going to be quizzed about their lunch. If she hears the microwave running, she comes running. My office buddy Paul told me that one time he saw her go into the restroom and he ran to put his food in the microwave, hoping it would be finished before she came out. It was a noble effort that failed.

Think you can get away with eating your lunch in peace by not warming it up? False. Even when I’m eating vegetables and hummus for lunch, she will wander into my cube: “Is that your lunch, Sonia?”

Yesterday, I ate my lunch early. Somehow I managed to eat under the office busybody’s radar. I ate my lunch without being pestered. It was awesome. I was living the dream. Then, around lunchtime, I was filling up my water cup in the kitchen area, when the office busybody wandered in.

Office busybody: “Where’s your lunch, Sonia?”

Me: [sighs] “I already ate it.”

Office busybody: “Oh, you already ate it. Ha ha ha. I was wondering where your lunch was.”

Me: “Well, I didn’t mean to make you worry. You shouldn’t worry. I’m getting enough vitamins and nutrients.”

Office busybody: “?”

Me: “?” [goes back to my cube]