Thursday, August 30, 2007


I finally did it. I finally chose a new blog-server-host thingie, so here's the new address, and I will see you there later!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Bitch Is ... Still Here*

With all due respect to Elton John....

I've written before about this woman who started working in our office late last year. I had worked with her before this (actually recommended that she be fired from the last job we worked on together because she wasn't pulling her own weight and because she was a morale problem), but apparently her father (a prominent judge) is good enough friends with one of the partners here that she gets a job. Lest you criticize me for being overly caustic, I'm actually being kind given what she's pulled since she started working here, but that is a story for another day.

Anyway, Little Miss Thing had a hearing in a district court in Burton this morning and she noticed that there was a hearing scheduled for Client A – so she calls my secretary about it.
Not the secretary who handles the cases from this client, not her own secretary - my secretary. Like I'm not doing something I should be, and she's just found out about it so she has to tattle.

Fortunately, my secretary told her that I was in Lansing on another matter as directed by the attorney who is in charge of both cases, so it wasn't my file. Then, my wonderful secretary followed up on it and found out whose file it was. Turned out, it was another person in my office who had been given wrong directions, and he was on his way. Sheesh.

It’s one thing to have to put up with her being here when she’s such a know-it-all, name-dropper, her-crap-doesn't-stink, can't-see-past-the-end-of-her-own-nose anyway, but to know that she is actively looking for things I’m screwing up so she can tattle on me is just downright annoying.

I suppose I shouldn’t feel too bad – after all, this same client just pulled a file from her and directed it to me because she didn’t know what she was doing. :)
*The reference is to a song by Elton John circa 1974 entitled "The Bitch is Back." According to legend (OK, the internet), he was in a foul mood, complaining about anything and everything, and Bernie Taupin's wife, Maxine, saw him and said "Uh-Oh, the bitch is back." Bernie Taupin writes Elton's lyrics and thought it was a great phrase. He wrote lyrics around it and Elton put it to music.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Something To Look Forward To.....

Saturday, September 1, 4:00 – 5:15 PM, at the Carhartt Amphitheatre Stage. The Detroit Jazz Festival presents legendary pianist and composer Dave Brubeck.

"This NEA Jazz Master, who has been described as one of the “most enduringly popular jazz musicians in the world,” brings his indelible sound to DJF for a special afternoon performance. Although it has been almost 50 years since the release of his groundbreaking album, Time Out, Brubeck shows no signs of slowing down. The quartet features Bobby Militello on alto sax and flute, bassist Michael Moore, and long-time drummer Randy Jones."

Dude, I am so there! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

White Knuckle Days

Bad things:

1. After a long day during which I was not able to get much in the way of lunch or go home to let my dog out, I found out that my mortgage company for my second mortgage had AGAIN f***ed up my mortgage payment because their online system did not recognize the routing and/or account number for my bank (even though the supervisor who took my online payment after I explained what had happened was able to immediately identify the bank and verify that the account was valid).

2. This same company had botched the automatic payment that they had pushed - touting how much easier it would be to use their program! - for the August 1 payment, which I discussed with them on August 17, resulting in the one time draft I did (also on August 17) because the money had not yet been pulled from my account.

3. I had a 2004 exam this morning, and two 341 hearings this afternoon, which means that I didn't get back to the office until after 5:00 p.m. today, and I have a continued trial tomorrow that I haven't been able to devote the time for preparation because one of my colleagues and her husband went to Jamaica last weekend and got stuck in the hurricane zone.

4. I am on day 4 of the Cabbage Soup Diet, which means that, as of 6:30-something p.m., I have had 9 ounces of tuna fish, 1 cup of lowfat milk, 1 banana, 1 large cup of Starbucks coffee (with nonfat milk), and 1 20-ounce diet Pepsi. I am tempted to eat my chair.

Good things:

1. Tomorrow is Friday.

1a. Tomorrow I get to eat 10-20 ounces of beef, tomatoes (which for this anti-vegetarian means V-8 juice) and vegetables (i.e., green beans and salad). Yes, it sounds foolish to do the Cabbage Soup Diet when one dislikes vegetables, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

2. My colleague and her husband are safe and sound.

3. I was able to spend some of the down time I had between hearings at Borders, where I scored 4 books off their clearance table for $1.00 each. I am about 1/3 of the way through the first one, which is a nonfiction book called "Displaced Persons" by Joseph Berger. It's a fast read anyway, but I do read fast.

Much of my frustration today comes from the knowledge that I have this massive billable hour quota hanging over my head when I feel least able to handle it. Holidays are coming. Birthdays are coming - not the least of which is my cousin's oldest daughter's Sweet 16 - and I've already missed three that I didn't plan to miss. My parents are coming for a visit the end of September, and I want to take at least one day off while they're here, so that I can spend some real time with them instead of just a few hours here and there.

I have fewer of the things in my life that make it truly worthwhile to work, and more of the work, and still the threat of not having even this job that I am starting to resent because of the amount of time it takes away from things - again! - that make the life worth living.

And then I read "Displaced Persons" and feel like the most ungrateful schmuck on the planet. (Sigh).

This, too, shall pass. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. To everything there is a season. A time to work and a time to rest.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How Goes The Battle?

I found this in an article on military families in relation to child abuse statistics, but it sounded equally applicable to some missionary families - not in the category of abuse but in another area:

Geographic Mobility and Isolation

The frequency of moves has a significant effect on the family and the personality of its members. They may develop a sense of restless transiency and superficial relationships with a tendency to avoid deeply felt extrafamilial attachments to lessen the hurt of separation. Furthermore, frequent moves disrupt ties to the extended family structure. This requires increased dependency on the nuclear family which itself is often confronted with periodic splitting because of temporary assignments and isolated tours of the father. Sorokin (1959) noted a definite relationship between pathology, alienation, and geographic mobility. Other studies (Gabower,l960; Hi11,1958; Pedersen and Sullivan,1964) also imply a detrimental effect of mobility. [Emphasis added].

Hm. Y'think this might shed any light on someone's fear of intimacy or commitment?

Of course, since this was just a study, there were no helpful tips on how to overcome any negative effects of the geographic mobility and/or isolation, but this is just a point along the path.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Long Week

It's just been a long week. I have: a motion to dismiss filed against me in one case, a trial coming up next Friday in another case, 3 foreclosures sitting on my desk that I haven't even started on, and I'm really just not sure what else. Oh. And the case in which I got the motion to dismiss has trial scheduled for October 9. Not to mention the fact that I got into a bitch-fest with a judge (on the phone, no less) on Monday. That was fun.

Then, I got a notice from the board of directors of my condo association (actually, everyone got one) that included a complaint about (and prohibition against) keeping dog poopy on the porch until garbage day, along with complaints about excessive water usage and other things.*

Here's what they want us to do: pick up the poopy because it's disgusting and unsanitary, take it into our unit, and either flush it down the toilet or store it inside until trash day. Excuse me? I'm not taking something "disgusting and unsanitary" into my house to sit for a week! If they think having it on the porch is smelly, what do they think it's going to smell like inside the house?

Not to mention the increase in water use that is going to come from flushing the toilet three times as often - let alone getting poopy out of a baggie that is containing it very well, particularly if it is a little, well, "messy." These are obviously people who do not have dogs.

I looked into the Doggie Dooley, which looks like a great idea, but that won't deal with the smell problem since it's really just a miniature septic system for dog waste that requires you to add water to it every time you make a "deposit." To deal with the smell, they sell a little "deodorizer kit", but that's just a bottle of "extra heavy duty" Oust-type spray with a little pad that fits on the inside of the lid to the Dooley. Not really a bad idea in concept, but not the most practical thing for a condo. If I had my own house, I would totally consider one of these.

So, it started out badly and now that it's Saturday, I am just sitting here thinking, "what happened? Where did the week go?"

Fortunately, my car is no longer making funny noises and my dog is just wonderful. As I said: it's been a long week. Hope yours is going better. Soon it will be time for apple cider and sweaters and raking leaves, and that's my favorite time of the year anyway, so for now, I'm just going to keep hanging in there until things settle down.

* Our condo complex has the water bill paid out of our association fee, which is really quite wonderful. Our association fee includes the water and sewer, natural gas usage, insurance and maintenance, so I really shouldn't complain.....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Must Be Something In the Air...

OK, I truly do not know where this is coming from, but ... there seems to be, ahem, something in the air that is leading me to getting ready to dip my toe back in the dating pool and see how the water is.

Yes, I realize that just by saying so, I've probably condemned the entire operation, but I'm not going to do the same dumb things I've done in the past. No sir! I'm probably going to come up with completely new dumb things I wouldn't have thought I could do!

I am, however, taking in a little dating advice from so-called "experts" (OK, it's iVillage's dating latest maven), only this time, I'm actually doing the exercises. The results have been a little surprising.

First, they ask you to write down the qualities you are looking for in a man - and you have to come up with at least 10. Fine. Done. The idea is that if you want to find something (or someone), it helps to know what (or whom) you're looking for.

Then, they have questions for you to answer - questions like: Why do you want to start a relationship? What scares you about starting a relationship? What will change in your life if you start a relationship? and What feelings -- good or bad -- might you have to let go of?

Those are a little trickier - for instance, I thought the "why I want to start a relationship" question would be a no-brainer, until I realized that my answer was that I don’t want to live the rest of my life alone. What scares me about relationships was an equally troubling answer: so much of my answer was "fear" - fear that I would "settle", fear that I would get hurt, and fear that ... (deep breath) I will have to make room for someone else in my life.

That was tough to acknowledge: that I don't really want to make room for anyone else in my life. That dovetailed quite nicely into "what would change" if I were to start a relationship: I would have to make time for someone else’s needs and activities. I wouldn’t have the autonomy I’ve learned to enjoy.

The way my life is now, I can come and go whenever I want. If I don’t want to go someplace, I don’t go. I don’t have to make meals or do laundry or clean house on anyone’s schedule except my own, and I don’t have to rush home to spend time with anyone (except my dog).

The feelings I would have to let go of would also be pretty telling: I'd have to give up my autonomy - my control over whatever in my life I can control. I'd also have to give up my defensiveness about not being married yet - weirdly, that's a bit comforting.

I mean, come on: what better answer is there to the question from the well-meaning little old ladies in my neighborhood and church: "you're such a nice person/wonderful cook/(whatever)! How is it that you're not married?" How can you not love that question? It presumes such lovely things about you and your character and abilities, and it places all of the blame for your singleness on the stupidity of others? :) In a relationship, I'd have to give up that assumption of my quality and character. I'd have to be a wife. OK, girlfriend at first.

Maybe that's part of the underlying fear: that, with all of the expectations of marriage because of my age, there would be no room for enjoying courtship or choosing someone who was right for me. My mother's mother was good at reminding me of that: I might not get another chance, so I should snag the first one that comes along.

But in this society, how do you say you want to take things slowly or that you aren't in a rush to get married without sounding like you're interested in a FWB* relationship?

We'll have to see. For now, I have a couple of goals - for one thing, I will feel much more inclined to meet someone if I am in better shape, and while I know "round" is a shape, it's not the shape I want to stay in! :) (And really, it's not that bad - it's not where I'm most comfortable, but it's not that bad.....OK, maybe it's worse than I think it is, but that's beside the point!)

I also know that I will feel more like meeting members of the opposite sex if take a little more control over my schedule and actually schedule time to be out and about. The Dating Doyenne had a good tip: I'm not going to meet suitably eligible men if I stay home all the time or confine my walks with my dog to my own condo complex. If I don't make time to meet someone, how will I make time for him in my life if I were to find him?

The biggest challenge is going to be the conversation portion of the exercises. I can talk all day about lots of different things, but I am not so good with the small talking. (No. Really.) I guess that's why one of the first exercises (after the identification portion) is to practice saying "hello" to random strangers - to get over that feeling that every encounter has to mean something.

The next stage after that is to practice light conversation: the weather, the surroundings, etc. Again, the goal is not to get a date or even a phone number, but to practice the art of conversation without it's leading to anything. Since that is probably about all I can keep straight for a few weeks, I'm going to work on those things first - as I'm heading out the door in my sneakers with my dog pulling at the leash!!

*FWB = "friends with benefits"