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!




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.


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!



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.





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.

Dadgumit Word Press!

This morning I posted what I thought was a copy of an earlier post with revised content.  I wanted the original post to remain and the revised one to be a new post.  How difficult is that?  Turns out it’s pretty darn difficult.

But we won’t go into all my frustrations there.  Suffice it to say, the old post updated with the revised content and because WP handled it that way it won’t show up in anyone’s reader as a new and improved post.  Darn it.

So for those of you with any interest, the revised post is here.

And hey – thanks very much for stopping by!


Not a fairytale ending – Reboot

It came to my attention that if I was going for the “character” aspect of M.I.C.E. with this post I fell short in bringing it to a resolution.  Check out the description of this element again (see below) then come on back up here.

See?  In this little tale my character is bored with her job and to properly wrap it up I should have showed that she either became satisfied with it or reconciled to it.  Never mind that she was satisfied in other ways…

Consequently, I’m trying a re-write of this post to include resolution.  Let me know what you think.


You have been warned so if you find yourself offended you have no one to blame but yourself.  So there.

Yesterday I posted about M.I.C.E. and included my story based on the milieu element.  I struggled with the I in M.I.C.E. and finally postponed that one, jumping to the C – character.  If you didn’t get a chance to review the elements of M.I.C.E, the character element was described as follows:

character story starts when the character is dissatisfied with their life or some aspect of it, and finishes when they become either satisfied with or reconciled to it.
Example: Most romance fiction.

Here’s my rewrite of Little Red Riding Hood using the character element as my main focus.  One last warning, this is bawdy with a capital bawd so if you are easily offended do not proceed further.  That is all.

When the alarm went off Red groaned and buried her head under the pillow.  Obviously that didn’t turn the damned thing off and it kept pestering her until she stretched her arm over to hit the snooze button.  “Ten more minutes,” she murmured, turning on her side.  Ten minutes later she was still half-awake when it sounded again.  Red sat up and turned off the alarm, then wandered into her tiny kitchen where she lit a joint and poured a cup of cold coffee.  While waiting for the java to nuke she looked into the fridge hoping something delish would have magically appeared.  No such luck.  Her life was pretty darn predictable.  Taking the reheated coffee, she went to grab a shower.

Work went as work did – slowly.  Office work was so boring!  Red wanted to be challenged or at the very least for something exciting to happen!  From her desk beside the window she could see the county park across the street and she daydreamed it was a forest and she was one of the characters in a fairytale like those her grandmother had told once upon a time.  Not a namby pamby princess, she thought.  I’d be strong enough to take care of myself; who the hell needs Prince Charming?  The Wolf though had always fascinated her, she remembered.  As she stared out at the park she caught a glimpse of something moving just inside the tree line.  She thought at first it was an animal but then it, or he – for now she could see it was a man – stepped out of the trees.  Tall, Dark and Muscular continued through the park to the street and Red saw him mount a Harley Davidson motorcycle parked on the street in front of her office.

“Be still my heart,” she mumbled.  “That is the single most attractive man I’ve seen in – well, ever.”  What the heck was he doing back in the woods, she wondered.  Not one to ignore her impulses, Red resolved to find out.  After work she donned her sweater and strode across the street, then into the trees.  As she went deeper the canopy screened the sun and the light dimmed.  Shadows played with her imagination and she shuddered once when she thought there was someone hiding behind one of the trees.  “Come on Red, get a grip.”

Having no idea what she was looking for, Red wasn’t sure how far to go, how long a walk she wanted to take knowing she’d have to make the return trek at some point.  The path grew darker still and she checked her phone for the time.  What?!  She’d been walking for twenty minutes already?  The park wasn’t that big was it?  “Well screw this!  It’s after six and I want a beer dammit!”  Doing an about face, Red began retracing her steps.  She’d gone only a few yards when she came face to face with Tall, Dark, and Oh-So-Yummy.

He wore tight denim jeans with a white tee shirt and leather jacket a la James Dean.  Dark hair waved over one sharp eye and he stared at her predatorily.  Between the hair and his gaze he reminded her of a wolf on the prowl.

“What the fuck?”

“That’s nice talk,” Red replied, cocking one hip and crossing her arms.

“What the hell are you doing out here?” he growled.

“It’s a free country; I’m taking a walk.”

“In those shoes.”  It wasn’t a question but she glanced down guiltily at her Jimmy Choos which were being mutilated by the forest path.

“What’s it to you?  Don’t tell me, this is your territory and you’ve come back to mark it like a…,” she started to say dog but realized that wasn’t quite right.  He was definitely a wolf.

“Like a what?” he sneered.

“A wolf,” she admitted honestly.  “You remind me of a wolf.”

“And what does that make you?  Little Red Riding Hood?”  He raked her with an insolent stare, looking from the top of her deep red hair to her completely inappropriate footwear.  “I think you’d better leave.”  The earlier menace in his gaze was now clear in his voice.

Her Irish temper took control and she closed the gap between them to poke his chest with her finger.  “I’ll leave when I’m goddamned ready Wolf!”  Anger brought red flags of color to her cheeks and her eyes sparked with heat.

The next moment Tall, Dark, and Hunky had crushed her mouth with his and gathered her into a vise-like embrace.  Fingers wove into her auburn hair as he deepened the kiss.  Moments later when their lips parted they were both breathing hard.

Wow, Red thought, holding his eyes and noticing they were no longer threatening.

His voice was raspy and breathless.  “I’m going to fuck you like you’ve never been fucked before!”

Red smiled slyly, pulling out her .357.

“No you’re not.  You’re going to eat me like the story says.”


Some time later, Red took a drag from the cigarette and passed it to Wolf.  Sitting up she looked around for her clothing.  This had been fun but she couldn’t see it going anywhere and she had to work the next day.

“Where are you going?” growled the Wolf.

She glanced at him over her shoulder.  “Home.  I have to get up early for work.”

“So that’s it?  Wham! Bam! Thank you man?”

“What did you expect?  Happily ever after?” Red smirked.  She shimmied into her lace panties and reached for the matching bra.

“Of course not.”  He shuddered at the thought.

“Then what?  Where do you see this going?”

“My place?” he grinned at her.

“All in good time,” she smiled.  “I still have to work tomorrow.”

“Work is overrated.”

“You’re telling me!”  Red pulled her blouse over her head and tucked it into her skirt.

“Why don’t you work for me?”

“What do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”  He said it with a straight face but Red cracked up.


“I’m dead serious,” he replied, taking no offense.  He was used to that reaction.  “And I need a research assistant.”

Intrigued now, Red paused with one arm in her sweater.  “What would I need to do?”

“A lot of reading, some typing, organization of my notes.”

“So, office stuff huh?”

“With fringe benefits,” he added, smiling.

“Hmm,” Red traced her finger down his jaw and met his eyes.  “I can live with that.”