Monday, April 30, 2007


What a week! What a weekend!

I don't know where the time went, but boy! did it go fast! I feel like I've been away for weeks.

Here's the recap: I have been looking for a china cabinet to go with my grandparents' old table and chairs. They're similar to the Duncan Phyfe look, so in a way, that makes it easy to find lots of pieces, but the color is a bit different, and EVERYBODY (apparently) was also looking for these things, so it's been a bit rough.

UNTIL this past week, when I scored this:

$61.00 on eBay. :) I spent the day Saturday driving from my house to Niles, Michigan (which is almost as far west as you can drive in Michigan and still be in Michigan). The stuff inside it was not included.

Can I just make a little plug here for Enterprise Rent-a-Cars? They hooked me up with this sweet Dodge Ram pickup truck that was a true beast of burden. Weekend 3-day special, 50% off their regular rates, so I had this monster truck to drive out to Niles and back for $100.71 (including tax), and unlike U-Haul, no per-mile mileage charge!! Whoo-hoo!

When you combine the $61.00 plus the truck rental (and the cost for gas - Oh! the gas prices these days!), I spent about $245.00 for this china cabinet total. Not bad, really. And while the top of it needs to be repaired - actually, the whole thing needs a good cleaning/restoration - the finish matched my grandparents' old table and chairs perfectly. I was so excited.

My neighbor (bless his heart) helped me get it into the house, because although it wasn't heavy, it was a little awkward. Once it was in the house, I was able to bring one of the chairs up to check it, and voila! Perfect match!

I spent Sunday afternoon/evening at work, getting caught up on my timesheets which are now done through yesterday. And so, today, my brain is mush - nothing left to give, and only the projects waiting for me at home to taunt me.

I DID have to take the truck back today, but I combined the task with a walk for my dog, who loved going in the truck, loved going for a walk, and loved getting home for a drink of water and a treat (it was a bit of a hike, but not longer than our usual - it was just warm today).

So, that was my week/weekend!! How was yours?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Happy Secretaries' Day!!

OK, it's a day late, but we celebrated it here in our office today, and what an awesome event!

One of the newer attorneys in our office asked our office manager what is done for those members of our support staff (who by the way are THE most awesome people on the planet!) who aren't "officially" assigned to anyone and therefore not likely to receive any recognition or thanks for all of their hard work. As they talked, she suggested that the attorneys give the staff a lunch in the office, similar to the one they give us on Bosses' Day. And they do a really nice job for that, too - as I said: we have the most awesome people in our office!

Anyway, the lunch went very well, and everyone was truly touched that the attorneys had taken the initiative to plan and execute something like that for them, and they are SO totally worth the effort!

To all of the secretaries, administrative assistants, and support staff who really do make the world an easier place to work,

THANK YOU!!!!! :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Administrative Professionals' Day!!

This is one Hallmark holiday that I do not mind celebrating, especially since one of the world's best secretaries works with me. I started to say, "I have one of the world's greatest secretaries....," but it sounded weird - weird and condescending.

Anyway, our office did a catered lunch in the office for everyone that turned out very, very well. The food was delicious (chicken marsala, pasta palomino, green beans and carrots, salad, rolls and dessert), and people seemed to enjoy just sitting down and eating together - we don't get to do that very often at all.

Having just concluded my second week with Dr. Atkins, however, I did not participate.... I did have a piece of chicken afterwards - I had to make sure it tasted good! - but I just didn't trust myself to only eat what was on my diet plan in the face of all of that temptation. Especially not the pasta palomino - which was a penne pasta with what looked like a tomato-cream sauce.... (droolllllllllll). The desserts looked .... OK. Nothing smashing to write home about, but then again, I wasn't really looking at the desserts.

Instead, I went home and took my dog outside to go potty and made scrambled eggs with cream cheese and sat with him for a little while before heading back to work.

He has been doing this drooling thing for a while now that just cracks me up. The rule is, when I eat, he gets a bite, but only after I'm finished. This has worked very well to keep him from jumping on other people who may come over for a meal while we're eating, as well as when we are at someone else's house.

So instead of physically begging (sitting up, putting his paw on me, etc.), he just sits there and drools. We're talking BIG drops of dog drool that make wet spots on the floor!! I feel so bad for him when he does that because I know he wants whatever it is I'm eating, but he sits there like a drooling rock until it's his turn!! If I can, I will get a picture of this, because I want it for his doggie book anyway. (Doggie book = baby book for those of us with four-legged children).

By the time I came back to work, everyone had finished eating, but people totally loved it. With about 60 people in our office (25 attorneys and the rest support and administrative/paraprofessional staff), it worked out to about $25/attorney, but we didn't have to do much of the clean-up, and we did NONE of the cooking this year. Caterers rock!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Re-Cap

It's Monday. In a spirit of trying to make things look better, I need to say the following:

1. We had a drop-dead gorgeous weekend this weekend. Temps in the 70s and 80s, sunshine, nice breeze - perfection!! My peony bushes grew 5 inches. :)

2. I'm painting my half-bath on the main floor and I still have white paint (Kilz) on my hand. Dummy me, I didn't realize that the leftover paint in the basement was not water-based, so I didn't get any paint thinner (being slightly afraid of it because of its flammable characteristics).

3. I totally ROCKED on the Madame Alexander dolls from McDonalds - their happy meal toys from the Wizard of Oz were snatched up very quickly by collectors, but I had bought them early and got 6 sets before they disappeared. Since my nieces are not the least bit interested in them (dumb kids!), I have been able to share them with my friends at work who are thrilled to pieces. I'm down to 4 sets and I have homes for all of them. :)

Those are the good things.


I started to disgorge the bad things I was thinking of when I felt compelled to post this, but I decided to wait until after I had something to eat, in case I felt better. Which I did. Which leads me to this reminder that I took away from one of the first jobs I had after I got out of law school (working on a series of cases in psychiatric malpractice. Long story. Won't go into it now):

Never let yourself get too:

H - ungry
A - ngry
L - onely
T - ired

(Like how the whole thing spells "HALT"?? I thought it was very clever!!)

Good advice.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Conviction or Distraction?

This is going to sound a little weird, but here goes.

Since the first part of November of last year, I've had a thorn in my side in the form of a young woman that I worked with about 4 years ago at another job. At that time, I was one of the project team leaders - not a great title, actually, but I was in charge of my little group of people doing a document review project that ended up lasting a total of about 5 months. I had started with that project from the beginning and worked my way "up" so to speak from a regular grunt to being in charge of my own group.

Anyway, this woman is the daughter of a Judge here in our little state, and from the first day she started work on the project, she let everyone know it. She ended up in my room, which meant that I had to work with her day in and day out for the time she was there. She lasted maybe a couple or three weeks, total - because I recommended that she be let go, and because other people backed me up on it.

I have to say that, during the short time we worked together initially, she treated everyone she worked with as if she was fundamentally better than they were, and that they had no right to any opinions that did not match her own. She walked out of the room during a discussion on the legal history of heterosexual marriage and the problems with the proposals for homosexual marriage because, "I am so offended by this conversation, I can't stay here!" (I.e., she threw a temper-tantrum because she didn't get her way and she didn't succeed in getting everyone to agree with her). I was not sorry to see her go, and neither was anyone else of the remaining 16 people on the team.

Flash-forward to last November, when, after the unexpected departure of two of our firm's litigation attorneys, one of the partners here (who is good friends with this chick's father the Judge) happened to discuss our crisis with said Judge, who immediately recommended his daughter. Big surprise - she wasn't "happy" at her current position at another firm and was looking for a job.

The word I got (after the ink was all but dry) was that her father had "cautioned" her to not think she could abuse the relationship between himself and this partner at our firm in the course of her employment. Kudos to the Judge for recognizing that his daughter had a problem in that area, but I digress.

Since her arrival, I have tried to not be antagonistic to her, but she's still here. No one I talk to - and I don't sit around gossipping about her, but I hear things - has anything nice or positive to say about her. No one. I should mention that there is another young woman from that same project who started working here last January who is an absolute delight - she doesn't like her either, but she's much better at hiding it and being "nice" in public than I am.

Here's the dilemma: While we were all working on the project 4 years ago, I had an occasion to share my faith with the group of people in my room. I've always felt that one of the reasons I was allowed to be "in charge" and to be in that place was so that I could share the Gospel with this guy who is Jewish. I say that because at the time, judge-chick was already gone, and the only other 2 people in the room who weren't believers or at least sympathetic to the Gospel were not there and they didn't return until after the discussion was over, but I had a chance to witness to this guy from the Old Testament scripture about why Jesus was the Messiah the Jews had been waiting for.

My current issue is this: is this chick back in my sphere of influence (little though it might be) because she needs to hear the Gospel, too? Or, is it to push my competitive buttons so that I realize that my job here, much as I may complain about it, is actually meeting some very real and very pressing financial needs for my present and my future? (Or maybe both - and other stuff besides?).

I feel like Jonah - I DON'T want to go to Nineveh!! I don't want to be nice to this chick - I don't want to befriend her - I don't want to offer her any advice, especially not when she responds to any type of suggestion (no matter how tactfully phrased) with the attitude that she already knows whatever is being said to her, before going about things exactly the same way. How do I determine whether there is a purpose here, or if taking that road would be casting pearls before swine?

OK, I know how.....(Drat - I was looking for an "Easy" button). I need to pray for discernment and wisdom and compassion, and I need to ask God to soften my heart and give me whatever it would take to do whatever He wants me to do. Even though I don't want to. God can take care of those things.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday's Report Card

I took the weekend off - entirely and completely off. I didn't go in to the office at all. I didn't even go to church (which I missed....). Instead, I SLEPT in on Saturday morning - woke up at maybe midnight to let the dog out, and then again at about 4:30 a.m. (same reason), and then went back to sleep until 10:15 a.m. :) I also slept in until about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, although I didn't feel as refreshed after that as I had on Saturday.

I also did the good things I'm supposed to do: I paid bills and balanced my checkbook. I organized my entryway closet (the bottom half - I had 8 pairs of shoes and boots underneath 2 vacuum cleaners..... don't ask) in anticipation of an upcoming home improvement project: I'm going to put real ceramic tile in my entryway! TA-DAA!! (Please hold your applause until AFTER the project is successfully completed).

To do this, I will need to purchase a hand-tile-cutter. I know there are power tile saws. I do not use any power saw while I live alone, because I am afraid that I will cut off a body part and bleed to death before anyone can help me. I am that clutzy with power tools. I think I can manage a hand tool like that, though. Plus, for such a small area that has relatively few cuts to make, a hand tile saw is enough. It's not like I'm tiling my bathroom and need to make lots of teensy cuts so I can put tile around a round object (like the base of a toilet). That will be time for professional intervention in the form of my next-door neighbor's brother.

That is project one on my list for this year. Project two is to replace the bathroom sink/vanity in the downstairs powder room - which should be interesting, since the bathroom itself is VERY tiny. The existing vanity is 29.5" tall, 24" wide, and 16.5" deep, which will make it fun to find a sink/vanity that will fit. I might have to go with a pedestal sink, but if I did that, I wouldn't have any storage in there. (Sigh!)

You notice, I'm putting off the basement for as long as possible..... In my own defense, I did get the paperwork organized and put into a nifty little file cabinet that I found at Office Depot for a mere $18. It is MDF, which I abhor, but it goes with the other stuff I have down there, which made it cheaper than the entire area remodel I was contemplating before. As I now have a pile of things to shred and/or throw away that is about two and a half feet tall, I now have to think about shredding.

One thing always leads to another. That's why there are things like spring cleaning and fall cleaning - so all of this stuff doesn't gang up on you unawares!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Generation Gap

I knew it. I found this article by Jason Ryan Dorsey (Special to Yahoo! Personals) that confirmed everything I’ve been thinking about “these kids today” (and in a lot more people than you would think in my generation). Take a look at his comments:

“Many Twentysomethings have grown up always getting what they want. They got the clothes they want. They got the car they want. They begged for better grades and got those, too. And they're used to getting what they want immediately and on their own terms. They expect to walk into a coffee shop and get their triple-cream-mocha-latte with sprinkles made just for them, with their name written in bold green marker on the side of the cup to prove it. They also get their favorite DVDs delivered directly to their home, their emails forwarded to their phone, and up-to-the-minute weather bulletins displayed on their computer screen. They even have the option to get fresh groceries delivered, but they won't because they can't cook unless Mom helps.

In addition to being raised on instant everything, these consistently head-over-heels-in-love and heartbroken Twentysomethings have huge expectations. The real world hasn't always gone the way they wanted -- instead of making CEO in a year they make 4,000 copies in a day -- but they use their 12 credit cards to fill the self-esteem gap. After all, who needs to buy a red 3 Series BMW with chrome rims when you can lease it?”

This is why I don't fit in today's world. I grew up in an era when you got things the old-fashioned way: hard work. Everything, including relationships, moved at a slower pace. I'm just not wired for this high-speed, fast-paced world. Despite having been born in the mid-1960s, I am squarely smack-dab in the pre-Baby Boomer generation. My values are more in tune with those WWII folks (in some ways) than with my own kind, so to speak. But there are other areas in which I'm right on track with my generation (or a generation or two after mine).

I like jazz - the good kind, not this whiny, wimpy Muzak nonsense that passes for jazz - and swing and folk music and classical music, much like my parents and my grandparents (and their contemporaries) did before me. But I also like Green Day, The Fray, Daniel Powter, Norah Jones and other new artists, too.

I don't think there is necessarily a need to patch the generation gap. Not in my own life and not in general. I do think that transgenerational exploration is beneficial to almost anyone, and that the more we learn from the past, the more likely we are to survive.

Not that I am likely to be texting anyone in the near (or distant) future - that's one form of shorthand I can't fathom at all.... U?

Whew! I feel much better!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Monday Moaning

I found this by Anna Pasternak of The Mail in a last-ditch, late-afternoon attempt to assuage my own inner child (who has been decidedly cranky and uncooperative for the last six months, thank you very much). Ms. Pasternak writes:

"I am convinced of one fact: 40 is the new 30, and a second Relationship Window has opened up.

A new cycle of dating has changed the landscape of love for women in their 40s. Why? Because there are a growing number of men and women who are freshly divorced.

And also because there are millions of others who were too busy focusing on their careers, and suddenly, at around 40, have become desperate to find a partner to share their lives.

With the mushrooming number of starter weddings for the early 20s and the cataclysmic rate of divorce — 53 per cent of marriages in the UK end in disaster — this new Relationship Window is a second chance for women aged between 38 and 43 to find (hopefully lasting) love.

Perhaps at that age, having children is no longer a realistic dream, but a man who loves you is better than an empty bed every night.

The problem, of course, is that the pressure to find a man in a hurry during the second Relationship Window is anathema to genuine attraction — chemistry can never be faked or forced.

Yet however much women like me (aged 39 and entering my second Relationship Window) try to put the time constraints out of our heads and follow our hearts, there is that nagging voice in the back of our minds that says if we don't get the man and settle in to a committed relationship before our mid-40s, we'll be over the hill.

There is a nagging fear that the available men's eyes will be diverted by younger, fresher, feistier chicks."


The rise of career women with forceful independence and surging earning power, along with the easily battered male ego moaning about emasculation, are all factors playing out in modern unions, which wreck havoc on domestic stability and longevity.

Not only did we have American writer Michael Noer sounding off in Forbes magazine warning men not to marry career women, but economics professor Randall Kesselring's research at Arkansas State University found the richer a woman becomes, the more likely she is to divorce.

After studying the finances of 112,740 women, of whom 16,760 were divorced and 95,980 were married, he concluded that 'a female's economic success may cause friction within the family'.
He argued that for every £10,000 a wife's earnings increases relative to the family's income, the chances of marital break-up rises by 1 per cent.

[End quote]

Thank you, Anna.

I was trying to figure out how to deal with this now six-month long streatch of ennui. I thought, "maybe missions would be a better way to deal with the social aspects of being unmarried." After all, how many single women do exactly that: they go overseas where they are useful, productive and valued members of society. They get social brownie points for dedicating their lives to spiritual service since they haven't found husbands. Right? (I'm being facetious, here).

It's the weirdest thing. I didn't care about any of this when I was 20 years younger - why is it such a problem that I don't want to focus on any of the things I actually have in front of me to do?!?!?!?

Here's the thing: I really want to stop working altogether for a while, take some time off, get braces (since I never got them when I was younger), then find a job that has less macho-impairment attached to it with more flexibility in my hours and more free time so I can have energy and time to enjoy a life. I don't want this business of being chained to a desk all the time, not getting home until after 7:00 p.m., and falling into bed only to get up and do it all over again! If I never see another billable hour, it will be too soon!

But, I can't do that. Not right now. I'm so firmly entrenched in my career that I really can't imagine doing anything else, and I have insufficient economic resources to venture off to do something else. Even if I could do something else, I don't know what I could do that wouldn't require additional education and/or training.

I took one of those little fun online quizzes on - it was on first lines of famous (or not so famous) novels, and I got 10/13 right. Do you know how long it's been since I read ANY of those books? :) The thing is, I was good at the literature thing - it just didn't pay enough. Still doesn't. This blog notwithstanding, I'm a good writer. I have good critical thinking skills, I can dissect and diagram a sentence like nobody's business, and I enjoy it.

So what am I doing?