Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
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.
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. :)
Monday, August 27, 2007
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
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.
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
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
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
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"
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
REP. GINGREY BLASTS DEMOCRATS' MANIPULATION OF DEMOCRACY
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga. (11th CD), issued the following press release:
U.S. Representative Phil Gingrey, M.D., today blasted the reprehensible tactics of the Democratic leadership in the House, which culminated last night in the manipulation of a floor vote - for the benefit of illegal immigrants to the United States.
"We have seen time and again this week the willingness of the Democratic leadership to manipulate the rules and the procedures of the House to lock out Republicans from participating in the democratic process," said Gingrey. "But to disenfranchise the elected Representatives of the people so that federal welfare benefits might be given to illegal aliens - that is a failure to uphold the very Constitution those Democratic leaders have sworn to defend."
Last night, during debate on the Fiscal Year 2008 Agriculture Appropriations bill, Republicans offered a procedural Motion to Recommit which would have prevented any federal benefits - including food stamps - from going to illegal aliens. At the end of the allotted time for voting, Democrats gaveled the vote to a close, proclaiming a vote of 214 to 214 (a tie, which would have caused the motion to fail), when in fact, the actual vote count was 215 to 213 - meaning that the motion had passed, and illegal immigrants would have been barred from receiving federal benefits.
"I find it unfathomable that 213 Democratic Members of the House could ever believe that illegal aliens deserve to receive food stamps," Gingrey continued. "But the fact remains that the leaders of the Democratic Caucus are so desperate to ram their liberal, extremist agenda through Congress that they are willing to break the rules, change the vote, and trample the rights of any Members who oppose them. It is an insult to this institution, and an insult to the American people."
Last night was only the latest example of how far the Democrat majority is willing to go to stop any disagreement with its extremist agenda. Earlier in the week, House Democrats cut billions of dollars in Medicare benefits for our nation's seniors, just to provide healthcare insurance for wealthy families and illegal immigrants. Rep. Gingrey and fellow Georgian Rep. Tom Price of the Sixth Congressional District joined together on the floor to delay consideration of the Agriculture Appropriations bill to draw public attention to these tactics. The Democratic leadership responded by preventing House Republicans from offering any amendments to the bills under consideration, throwing out centuries of House precedent and silencing the voices of hundreds of duly-elected Representatives.
Contact: Chris Jackson, 202/225-2931.
August 6, 2007
Copyright 2007 HT Media Ltd.All Rights Reserved
US Fed News
Monday, August 6, 2007
Matt. 5: 43-48: You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
I have to confess - I don't understand this part. I don't know how anyone can do this, and I guess the conclusion that leads to is that, on our own, we can't. I think that was part of the point Jesus was making in the Sermon on the Mount - no matter what semantics come into play about whom to love, or what love means, this is really what is intended. I also think that He knew we can't on our own, and that He came because we need Him to be perfect, even as God is perfect.
I found an interesting take on this by a guy named Chip Bell. He writes, "Jesus says, I know that justice is important to you. I know that it hurts when you’ve been wronged. But be careful. There’s a danger here. Never let your thirst for justice turn into a quest for revenge. Don’t get even. You’ve been attacked and cheated and forced and taken advantage of. But answer the evil with kindness and generosity. And then leave everything else to God."
I know that seems to mix a desire for retribution with a lack of love - that's why I said this was not going to be about easy answers. The "head" answer to this is that, of course, Jesus loved the Pharisees, since He died and rose again to draw all men to Himself. But, even though He loved them, they made evil and purposeful choices that contradicted God's law.
One of the examples I see in the Old Testament is the story of Manasseh. He was the son of Hezekiah, and for the first portion of his reign, he was one of the most wicked kings of Judah - kind of like the Adolph Hitler of his day. The Bible says, "He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger." 2 Chronicles 33:6.
But Manasseh was captured by the Assyrians, and in his distress, he called out to God to save him. "When he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God." 2 Chronicles 33:12-13.
It didn't happen with every wicked king, or even with every wicked person, but it happens. And I think the answer to the question "Did Jesus love the Pharisees" has to be "yes." No matter how evil we (or other people) may be, God's love is still there and is available to anyone who asks. I also think that, because God's love is there, if those who have done evil to others are forgiven by God, then God also can give the power of forgiveness and healing to those who were hurt by that evil.
Jesus said that He had come to draw "all" men to Himself. "All" - not just the ones that don't do evil things. Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were still in our sins, Christ died for us.
The earlier verses in that chapter of Romans were always a little mysterious for me. The passage that starts "tribulation works patience" was kind of a catch-phrase: don't pray for patience, because you're just asking for tribulation! Fear of tribulation or trials, though, kept me from really reading the rest of the passage:
"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations (sufferings), knowing that tribulation (suffering) brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5.
One thing I learned years ago: when the Bible says "hope" in this context, it isn't talking about the kind of hope that says "I hope I get [whatever] for Christmas" or "I hope this works out." It's the expectation of something that will come because it was promised. It's more like "trust" or "confidence." God's love can be trusted - it will not harm us or abandon us, and the Holy Spirit is the means by which God's love is "poured out within our hearts."
The same God whose love caused Jesus to come and die for my sins and to restore fellowship between God and me loves all people, even those who violate His laws and His people. His love is there - for anyone to accept or reject.
I don't know how to love like that. I'm almost afraid to say that I want to learn, because I guess I'm afraid of whom God will send me to love, but that's probably where the trust has to come. I don't think that the type of love intended is the doormat variety - that doesn't square with what I read in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes or some of the other passages that talk about wisdom.
But at the same time, I think that's part of why there are also recorded in the Bible stories of Jesus clearing the temple of the moneylenders and chastizing the Pharisees - to show that there are times to be tough, even with those you love.
I've written before that I don't trust answers that come too easily or too quickly. This hasn't been easy or quick, even if it seems like it might have been. And frankly, just because I can articulate this stuff doesn't mean I can do it! But at least the concepts have form - they're not just thoughts floating in and out of my head every now and then. Definitely a starting point. Thanks for coming along with me.
[All quotations from http://www.bible.org/, New American Standard Version].
[Now if I could just get my office to stop moving around so much, I might be able to get some work done....]
* D*** It, It's Monday.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
On the other side (maybe plus, maybe not), I had weird dreams and thoughts in that half-wakefulness that comes in the morning when you know you really should get up and you really don't want to just yet. Aside from the rebuilding of whatever it was I was rebuilding (it had to do with hardwood flooring - I have no idea where that came from), I was thinking about .... stuff (I'll try to post more about that later).
Some of it has to do with the election. In case you didn't know, I'm sort of stumping for Fred Thompson. The more I read about the guy, the more I like him for the White House, if for no other reason than he really didn't want it - this is not the cumulation of a life-long ambition for him, but it seems to be something he would do as a public service. When was the last time you heard of a president taking on the role as a service to the public?
Flowing from that was the question about whether it matters if the person who next occupies the White House is a Christian or not, and I'm not sure about that either. That question came up when Harriet Myers was proposed for the Attorney General slot, and I still think that it matters less if the person is a Christian than if they're competent and moral - I'd way rather have an atheist plumber who is a good plumber than a Christian who isn't very good at all.
Thinking about politics, though, reminded me of this great book by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson called "Blinded by Might," which talks about the Moral Majority and its influence on the political landscape. It struck me that good citizenship is a Christian responsibility - much of what the Bible says about loving your neighbor as yourself and doing good to those who persecute you is good citizenship, but that led me to the question of what the Bible means when it says "love" in that context.
I thought that the parable of the good Samaritan was a pretty good answer, but as I re-read it, I realized that the definition of neighbor is not about whom you see that might be in need. Jesus's answer to the rich man who had asked "who is my neighbor" was that, of the three men who saw the victim, the Samaritan was his neighbor because he showed mercy to him. If a neighbor is one who shows mercy, then is the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself limited to those who show you mercy?
If the public's perception of what it means to be a "real" Christian is that you love everybody indiscriminately, is that an accurate perception? And along that thought train, I wondered if Jesus loved the Pharisees? I'm not sure. Remember, this was the group that He called "a generation of vipers."
I'll have to think on this a little and get back to you. Not so much so that I can figure out where I'm going with this as so that I can do the research and formulate an answer. I'm really not sure where it's going to lead.
Friday, August 3, 2007
It's just been one of those weeks. I know, I know - I don't live in Minnesota, so I don't have it too bad. Even though a bridge didn't fall on me or on anyone I know (that I know of, anyway), it's still been a tough week. The end of the month always is. I missed my goal for billable hours by 30-some hours (which is the direct result of taking a few days off around the 4th, but too bad!). Now that a new month has arrived, I have a bit of breathing room, but it's still going to be busy.
My clothes are starting to fit a bit better. I'm not sure why, although I suspect this wretched heat has something to do with it. I just don't feel like eating when it's this hot and humid outside. Whatever the reason, I'm going to go with it - when my body decides, all on its own, that it's going to help me, I encourage it!
Short of eating vegetables, that is. I still have SOME standards.