The older I get…

The older I get the more I whine.

I’m not sure why that is, but it’s truer than I like to admit.  Fair warning, this is not a funny post.  In fact it may be a complete downer so feel free to skip it entirely.  I just need to get this out of my head and put it down somewhere and my Facebook feed is not a safe place to do that.

Yes, Janey is indeed on the Facebook now.  Still incognito and not linked to this blog but with grandchildren growing so fast and some of them living far away it seemed a reasonable risk to be able to keep up with them.  I’ve felt FB’s soft, seductive lure to let go, sink in and waste hours there, but so far I’m able to keep it down to a few minutes a few times a day.  I follow a Facebook group which makes me happy with animals, geekiness, cosplay and lots of positivity.  This can’t be posted there either.  That’s one of the rules – keep it uplifting.  I appreciate that because it’s my go-to happy place and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling out of sorts but my perspective, my feelings are all I can address accurately.  So while I sympathize with those of you who have had difficulties this year, and I would never minimize whatever suffering you’ve experienced, I’ll be focused on my own dismal world. Isn’t that the point of it being my blog after all?

I think I’ve led up to the griping, poor-mes portion of the program long enough that if you don’t want to be subjected to this you have had time to turn away.  TURN AWAY NOW!  Or forever hold your peace.

In January this year, only days before her (88th I think) birthday, my mother in law passed away.  I think I wrote about this here before so I won’t re-hash the whole experience.  I just miss her.  I miss her a lot, even though she could be a real pain the backside on occasion.  What I don’t miss:  the weekly trip to the nursing home to visit; the feelings of helplessness; the guilt about hating the weekly visits; the disconnect which grew between my husband and his mother; the fact he still holds onto bad memories from more than 45 years ago.  Oh wait, I can’t miss that because he still does it.  Not that he doesn’t also remember the good times.  It’s just that he verbalizes more negativity than positivity.  I’d like to think that if he was like that when we first met I wouldn’t have gone out with him a second time, so I guess he hasn’t always moaned and groaned about how bad life is.  It just feels like it.

Work rambles on.  You may recall I was moved up to lead a team of administrative assistants/legal secretaries in supporting 40-some odd attorneys.  A new crop of first year associates joined the firm a few months back and just this week 2 lateral attorneys started work so I think we’re nearing 50 people we support.  That doesn’t include covering when other secretaries are absent.

In June or July we lost one of the team to law school and we finally gave up on another returning from disability so we hired two new people.  The team was back at 5 members and I thought it was going well.  Then one of the team got blasted for a boo boo on an electronic court filing.  Usually mistakes can be corrected with little to no repercussions, but this time I think co-counsel was involved and the attorney was embarrassed.  The team member took responsibility and corrected the mistake but the damage was done and it was going to badly impact her evaluation.  The new secretarial manager and I tried to work with her but that effort was taken the wrong way, and she claimed she felt like she was being picked on and watched all the time for further mistakes.  About two weeks ago she gave her notice.  We tried to figure out a way to resolve it so she would stay but couldn’t make it work.  I’m going to miss her a lot; she makes me laugh and is generally dependable.  The real problem is the attorney in this case.  Everyone else loves the secretary.

Almost two weeks ago my dog had to be put to sleep and it breaks my heart whenever I see his photo on my desk.  If your vet ever tells you that something bothers you more than it bothers your dog get a new vet.  I can’t talk more about that now.  I choke up just thinking about it.

Exhaustion is something we all have experience with.  Pulling all-nighters before a big test; partying with roommates in college; soothing a colicky baby; nursing a sick child or a spouse.  We’ve all felt tired to some degree or another.  There is no way to describe the bone deep fatigue I feel almost constantly.  I long for enough sleep, but what exactly is enough?  Even on the weekends when no alarm is set I wake feeling tired.

Beyond the weariness, I can’t remember the last time I was not in pain.  Of course some days are better than others just like with anything else.  Some of the worse days are relieved with CBD products, other times the CBD doesn’t begin to touch the pain.  (I am extremely grateful I live in one of the states where CBD is easily obtainable, if pricey.  It makes my life more comfortable a lot of the time.)

With pain as a constant companion is it any wonder I’m whining more and more?  Probably not.  But I hate it anyway.  I never thought of myself as a complainer but I hear that tone, that inflection in my voice — you know the one I mean — and I cringe.  What happened to me?  What happened to the young woman who delivered 3 babies without any anesthetic?  Where’d she go and how can I get her back?

Some days I just want so badly for the pain to stop that I contemplate the possibility of everything stopping, pain included.  Yes, the “S” word enters my thoughts.  So far that’s all its done, it flits across my consciousness and I shoo it away.  Been there, tried that, failed, thankfully.  As awful as I feel at least I DO feel.  Feeling confirms I’m alive, even if it hurts.  A little relief would be nice though.  Would it upset some grand plan if I had a day (or more) of no pain?

Now I’ve gone and done it; I’m feeling sorry for myself.  Poor me.  But I don’t have time for this.  Work won’t stand still and let me mope; time has to be entered; letters revised and printed; spreadsheets completed.  Time to pull up the big girl panties and get on with it.



If at first…UPDATED

We’ve probably all heard the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  In other words, don’t give up.  In the Freaking Great compilation they cover this on two pages which face each other.

The page on the left actually repeats the first part of the saying I quoted above.  Under that it says, “Some of the world’s most accomplished people experienced overwhelming failure before finding incredible success”.

Below that it lists five people, most of whom you may recognize.  I’ll give you the first one:

  • Thomas Edison had about 1,000 failed attempts before inventing the light bulb.

Is it true?  I don’t know.  However, having heard various versions of this over the years, from multiple sources I’d guess it is.

Who else do you think is on the list of folks who failed before succeeding?  I’ll give you some time to guess and tomorrow (or maybe the next day) I’ll update this post to list them.

Got your thinking caps on?

The others on the list who tried and failed before succeeding might surprise you.  Did you know Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers?  Or that Lucille Ball was known as the “Queen of B Movies” before I Love Lucy?  Then, there’s James Dyson.  I can hear you wondering “who?”  Me too.  James Dyson created 5,126 failed prototypes for his bagless vacuum before getting it right.  Finally, Michael Jordan of all people was cut from his high school basketball team!  

One of my commenters yesterday made a good point about “try, try again” being less than ideal in some situations.  I agreed with her.  I really like it when the comments give me something to think about.  Thanks!


Make Yourself Proud

Another page in the You’re Doing a Freaking Great Job book says “Make Yourself Proud”, attributed to someone named Peter W. Smith.  Why do you think it is that we more often quote people whose names we recognize?  For example, I recently posted a quote by Judy Garland and another by Audrey Hepburn – both from the above-mentioned book.

Whatever the reason and whoever he is, I like what Mr. Smith has to say here.  He isn’t advising us to merely be proud of ourselves, but to MAKE ourselves proud.  In other words, we need to earn self-pride.  So how would you go about that?

Doing the right thing comes to mind.  I realize the “right” thing isn’t always clear, but I believe the right thing is usually simple.

Some of the most important decisions we make are simple, and—bonus!—almost automatic:  braking when we see brake lights in front of us is a good example.  It’s the right thing to do most of the time and we don’t even have to think about it.

The right thing can also be as ordinary as getting up to go to work when every fiber of your being says “I don’t wanna!”  That’s my personal triumph every weekday morning lately.  I am SO ready for retirement and the freedom to stay up late or sleep in!  There are a lot of reasons to be proud of yourself; you don’t have to be a super-hero, brain surgeon, or best-selling writer.

So…what do you do, or not do that makes you proud?


Beloved (photo challenge)


Almost a year ago we adopted two dogs whose owners at the time wanted them kept together if at all possible.  That’s Bear in the foreground and you can see his age is showing – he’s 12.  Bear is a fitting name too – he stands nearly as tall as our dining room table and can clear the top of the coffee table with a mere swipe of his tail.  And his tail is always wagging!  He’s a sweetie, and so firmly lodged in my heart I wouldn’t give him back if they paid me.  The only downside is that his bark is strangely unnerving.  It doesn’t seem to affect my husband, but when Bear is excited about playing tug of war (or for umpteen other reasons) he barks – loudly and often – and the feeling or sound or whatever is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard to me!  Bear always wants to be as close as possible to us and the above photo captures his favorite car-riding posture.

You can see Kohl up there behind Bear, resting his chin on Bear’s hips.  They’re both fairly large dogs, so sharing the back seat can be challenging.  Kohl is slightly smaller than Bear and his limbs are more delicately shaped.  He’s the more sensitive of the two – taking a scolding more seriously than Bear, who shrugs it off when we’re correcting him.  Yes, dogs can too shrug!  Kohl is about 8 years old but still has the energy of a puppy and wants to play ALL. THE. EFFING. TIME!  He’s also our first responder – letting us know whenever there’s even a hint of company arriving. Every night when I shut the car door after parking I can hear him going off inside.  Here’s a better photo of Kohl, practicing his yoga:

Kohl yoga

There are moments I think we did them a disservice by adopting them.  At their original home, they were in a fenced yard all day while their family was at work.  They could run around as much or as little as they wanted.  The two of us are on either side of 60 and we just aren’t as active as the boys need us to be.  Also, we live in a senior mobile home community which claims to be “pet-friendly” but frowns on walking dogs within the park!  So their outdoor activities are somewhat limited.  We can walk them around our little yard and we take trips to the park down the street for a quick walk.  There’s also the occasional visit to the leash-free park when the weather and the husband’s frame of mind are sunny.  As a result they’ve put on some weight and aren’t looking as sleek as they used to be.

When I have those moments of wondering whether we made the right decision, they look into my eyes and Kohl smiles his doggy smile, snatching a Wubba toy out of the air before his brother can grab it.  Then I’ll hear the rain pouring outside and remember they’d be out in their yard (at least on a workday) in that weather if we hadn’t adopted them.  They had a shelter from the rain of course, but I like to think they’re very happy being inside during the worst of the weather – they’re never reluctant to come indoors at least.

They became part of us the moment they arrived, an essential, beloved part of us.  And I wouldn’t change it for anything.


via Photo Challenge: Beloved

The Hat by C.S. Boyack

The Hat

I always have good intentions about reviewing the work of other authors, especially when I enjoy it.  We all know about good intentions though don’t we?  My follow-through is sadly lacking.  Add in that I’m not an experienced reviewer, and when I read other reviews I realize how poor my own are…well, you can see I’m not all that motivated.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed The Hat, by C.S. Boyack, whose blog is here.

If you’re a fan of fantasy and adventure with a bit of suspense thrown in, you’ll enjoy The Hat.  Think J.K. Rowling’s the Sorting Hat meets Stephanie Plum!

As mentioned above, I don’t have a lot of experience at writing reviews but I can tell you what I liked about this book, or novella actually.

The characters were well-defined and very believable.  I’m sure other reviewers have mentioned that Lizzie would make a great friend and I’m on that same bandwagon.  We would definitely have fun snarking at each other.  The Hat was such a genuine personality I had to remind myself it was a hat for heaven’s sake!  I loved his curiosity about the Internet, as well as his musical talents.  He could also give snark as well as Lizzie.  Together they make an unbeatable team.

Envisioning the Hat’s different forms was entertaining in and of itself.  One of those styles creeped me out a bit but I won’t spoil anything by describing it.  You’ll have to read the tale for yourself.

I’m realizing I haven’t mentioned anything about the plot, or how the Hat comes into Lizzie’s possession.  Briefly, Lizzie is working 2 jobs to keep herself afloat.  Her strong work ethic resonated with me.  When her grandmother passes, her uncle won’t give her anything to remember her grandmother by, so Lizzie swipes a box with unknown contents.  The box is home to the Hat, who has been stored away a very, very long time – hence his curiosity about the Internet.

Together they must solve a baby-napping mystery and along the way Hat teaches Lizzie some family history and how to jam, among other things.

This was incredibly fun to read and I look forward to seeing more about Lizzie and Hat in the future!

A day late and…

This would have been so cool to post in MLK Day, right? With his “I have a dream” theme.

I have day dreams folks, and since it’s one of the few remaining holidays recognized by BigLaw, I was off being lazy, so this is being posted now, not then.

Happy Belated MLK day!

Back to Basics

The next page in the You Are Doing a Freaking Great Job book, simply reads:

Back to basics

What does “back to basics” mean to you?

Basics could be the ABCs, or reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.  Perhaps “basics” refers to living off the land – growing your own vegetables, raising chickens or goats or cows.

Then there’s the fashion basic – black.  I used to wear black a lot.  Many larger women did and still do.  I didn’t trust my own judgment about what colors might flatter me so I went for black because it was easy.  And of course there was the lie we all believed for years that black was slimming.  [Eye roll.]  Now I wear a variety of colors and love it.

Basic jewelry equals pearls.  A simple string of pearls was the one piece of jewelry my mother gave me when I was a young woman.

Basics can also include learning to roller skate, or ride a bike, or drive a car.  Baking your very first cake, meticulously following the directions.

I’m trying to relate “basics” to my job and the only thing I can come up with is learning to touch type and taking dictation.  I never learned to take dictation myself.  But I can proofread, spellcheck, transcribe audio, type quickly and accurately and file like a badass.

Basics got me where I am, with a few flourishes along the way.

Let me know what back to basics means to you, won’t you?