Morale Boosting

One of my self-appointed tasks at work is to make people smile.  My desk is cluttered with toys and other brightly colored doodads.  I usually have a pack of Juicy Fruit gum handy for some of the attorneys who wander by.  One of my favorite items is a Far Side mug which doubles as a pencil/pen holder.  If you know Gary Larson’s stuff you may be familiar with the Cat Fud cartoon.  It holds a place of honor among my toys.  (My other Far Side mug is the one I have my coffee in every day.  “Latte, Jed?”)

I’ve been a legal secretary for more than 25 years.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all that time it’s that people need to smile at work.  And laugh whenever possible.  Consequently, a few years back I started posting comics on the fridge in the kitchen/copy room at our end of the floor.  Nothing warms my heart more than to hear someone around the corner laughing out loud at the day’s cartoon.  When they stick their head out to say thank you I feel on top of the world!

I especially like the ones that make me say “huh?”  Once I “get it”,  I enjoy explaining it and I get to see the light dawn on someone else.   Then there are those like the one below.  They’re visual but you have to be sure to read them carefully or you might just miss the twist.

With extreme gratitude to Dan Piraro, cartoonist extraordinaire!

With extreme gratitude to Dan Piraro, cartoonist extraordinaire!

 

 

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Gravitational Pull

Recently, fellow blogger AGMA made some observations about dating in the modern age, including a reference to the “spark” in a relationship.  You can check out her post here.  That post, combined with some of the comments and a song in my playlist rotation made me take a closer look at my marriage of almost 17 years.

JD and I regularly ask each other why.  Why do you love me?  Why are we still together after all the fuck ups?  And by fuck ups I don’t mean cheating – to my knowledge neither of us has strayed.  Who the hell would put up with us?  By fuck ups I mean the several thousand dollar purchase we made online that turned out to be worthless; or the loss of our home and land after struggling several years to save it.  And then there’s JD’s depression which can still obscure almost everything else at times.  Not to mention that we often disagree about finances.  (I would never have bought a 50” television on my own!)

So what does keep us together?  It’s an interesting question and I’m not sure I’ll ever have an answer that makes sense.  But Chris Ledoux’s song calls it gravitational pull.  That works for me.

Mmmemories

In today’s Daily Post, Robyn talked about a recent birthday and went on to suggest five different post ideas based on nostalgia.  One of those was to write about a food that reminds you of your youth.  She didn’t say it had to be a pleasant memory and the best I can do is sort of a mixed memory, if you follow me.

I wish I could write that the tantalizing scent of steak on the grill brings back memories of an idyllic childhood.  I adore steak and would love it if it were tied to my memories in some way.  Well, technically I guess it is – as an adult I’ve made lots of good memories around steak!  What’s not to love?

One of the few clear memories I have of childhood returns whenever I smell stuffed bell peppers.  I don’t remember how old I was the first time this classic dish triggered the memory.  What I recall is the punch in the gut that came along with the homey aroma.  On the night my grandmother brought us home to live with her the pungent odor of their dinner permeated the house, overshadowing most other impressions.

While I don’t remember what year it was, I know my brother was pre-school age and that made me somewhere between 8 and 10 years old.  I’m not surprised I don’t remember how old I was; I blocked out a lot over the years.

After walking down the short front hall I dimly recall entering a warmly lit living room.  Straight ahead was the glass door exiting to the backyard.  It was pitch black and we wouldn’t see the yard until the next day.  The dining room opened off of the main room to the right.  It included the standard table and chairs plus a matching sideboard and opened into the kitchen.  The furnishings were probably as typical of the mid-1960’s as the floor plan was of the suburban housing development they lived in.  In the living area I want to say my grandfather was perched on his recliner like a member of the royal family, but I honestly have no idea whether the recliner was there then or added later.  And truthfully, I can’t remember seeing my grandfather at all that night, though I must have.

All of those memories were made before I lost that little girl I used to be.  Young Janey was so happy that night!  And perhaps a teensy bit scared.  She didn’t really know these people.  It’s possible they were familiar but that memory eludes me today.

For what seemed like years and years little Janey and her younger brother had lived with a beastly woman, left behind by their own mother.  I don’t think I used the word abandoned for what our mother did until I was much older, maybe even an adult.  But that’s exactly what she did.  I still have no clue how long we actually stayed with our mother’s “friend” before our grandmother found and rescued us.  It could have been mere weeks or actual years for all I know.

The clarity of that memory has dulled some over the years, but whenever I smell stuffed bell peppers I remember that night.  Sometimes I recognize it as the happy, hopeful time it was then.  Other times I cringe, knowing it was the beginning of the end of my innocence.  I can’t change what happened there, but I can acknowledge that it wasn’t all bad.

Now (Janey says, rubbing her hands together gleefully) who wants steak!?

YOU are an ass with a capital A!

Oh, sorry.  No, not you dear reader.  I’m referring to the rude jerk-off who cut the line at the train this morning.  But he probably doesn’t read my blog so I apologize to those of you who do.

When I called this dickhead on his rudeness his brilliant response was, “You’re not my mother or the police.  I don’t have to listen to you.”  All I could think was “Thank god I’m not your mom!”  But of course I didn’t think to say that then.  The best I could come up with was “In my opinion, you’re a rude asshole!”  That I did say out loud.  And got the last word (go me!).

On the positive side, the woman in front of me in line, who dipshit cut in behind, was sitting in the same section with me and she got my attention to mouth “thank you” to me!  How nice was that?  Especially since he didn’t cut in front of her.  I wish I knew what made this younger generation so oblivious to common courtesy.  But karma IS a bitch and I have to trust he’ll get his.

Because you all hung in there through this tirade I’ll end on a high note and share my good/bad news!  How about the bad news first?  They’ve decided in their infinite wisdom that they won’t be replacing L so we have to divvy up her four attorneys.  Yippee.

The flip side is that yesterday I was called up to HR and told my promotion is official!  I knew it was in the works that I would be named the lead secretary for our floor/department, but I didn’t realize they considered it a promotion.  Complete with a raise in salary!  I love nice surprises!

Happy weekend everyone!

 

Merde!

Or to put it more clearly – SHIT!  Fuck!  Double damnit!

Yesterday, I got a call from the only other secretary in the department who comes close to me in seniority.

“Can you come down to my desk?”

Since L had recently been very, very ill I was of course reasonably concerned.  But when I got there she lead me into an empty area that used to house our word processing people where we could talk privately.  Uh oh.

“I’m leaving the firm.”

Sheee-it!  Uh oh is right.

L is probably the BEST litigation secretary I know.  She’s a wealth of knowledge and will be sorely missed by attorneys and secretaries alike.  Now we’re waiting breathlessly to find out whether or not the Poobahs in the home office will replace her.  Rumor has it they aren’t replacing K, whose last day is tomorrow.  K’s in another department so that shouldn’t impact my team, but you never know and the precedent is scary.

I wish there was some way to understand the mindset of the Poobahs.  Oh wait, that’s right … lower employment costs through attrition = more money in their pockets.

Sigh.

😒

 

 

Public Service Announcement

My fellow blogger and friend CS asked that we reblog this post in the hopes it might help someone out there who needs to see it. Please take a look and if you’re so moved, share it with those you care about.

Entertaining Stories

I’m going to invite everyone to re-blog, tweet, and otherwise share this post today. We all wish our posts got that much love, but this one is important. If you are a man, love a man, or maybe both, this post is important.

I debated long and hard about sharing this at all. It involves personal information, and I like to keep a bit of privacy. I had to weigh the fact that my mother reads this blog, along with at least two co-workers, against the possibility of helping someone else. Someone else won.

Popular rumor holds that a man should have certain things checked medically once he turns 50. In typical male fashion, I waited until I was 53 and 8 months to schedule my colonoscopy. This is a degrading procedure that involves shoving a camera into places that aren’t visible by design. I thought it was degrading, but…

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Again with the fairytales

Or not…

Hey sorry, I’m not trying to yank your chain.  It’s been a really mixed bag over the past few days between a family emergency and the accompanying drama.  But yesterday we finally got to watch the much-anticipated new episode of Grimm which tipped the weekend into the plus category.  This is not one of your grandmother’s fairytales or for the faint of heart.  If you don’t like The Walking Dead, Grimm may not be for you.

On the other hand, if you are into fantasy or horror, I invite you to take a peek.  The program is creepy, suspenseful and amusingly silly at times.  I won’t go into the storyline; the trailer below for season 1 does a much better job of informing the viewer than I could with mere words.

FYI – the show is up to season 4 but you really need to begin at the beginning to fully appreciate how the characters develop.  I can’t say enough good things about this show.  From the cinematography to the make-up to the special effects – visually it’s absolutely stunning.  The writers continue to surprise us and I enjoy how they’ve brought supporting characters into more prominent roles, weaving their stories into the whole.  If you check it out let me know how you like it.  If you already watch it – didn’t episode 13 kick ass?!  Literally.