Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I have a second interview at the law firm downtown tomorrow afternoon. I will be meeting with The Other Partner. I am trying to anticipate any questions he may ask that Ms. Partner did not, such as, "Why did you stay only six months at The Old Boy Network Law Firm, P.C.?" and "Why should we hire you?" etc. I want to be prepared for all possible questions he may ask-- otherwise, I might be caught unawares with my eyes bulging, hands shaking, and pee running down my leg while I scramble for a good answer. I'm assuming if I urinated during the interview, I wouldn't be considered a "good fit". Or maybe I would be-- who the hell knows? Anyway, keep your fingers crossed, readers.

For the last two days I have been frozen to my couch thinking, reading and watching T.V., afraid to leave the phone unattended should a prospective employer call. You may say to yourself, "God! Why doesn't she get off the couch?" Well, smartypants, I didn't leave the couch and see?!? I got an interview. It's magic.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I See Possibilities... More Than Meets The Eye

News flash from the hard-bitten, chain-smokin' city desk of Sixty-Four Twelve:

I actually had a job interview today. Even more news-worthy-- it went well.

My loyal readers and friends all know I have developed an aversion to law firms since the debacle at the Old Boy Network, P.C. (abbreviation for Pompous Cocksuckers). I can say with honesty (and with a dash of understatement) I'm skittish about the idea of working at another law firm. However, due to my dire financial situation, I'm ready to accept work, even in this capacity.

The ad I answered in the local paper was for a "legal assistant". It was a bland, vague, standard advertisement, listing typical requirements for the position to be filled. I sent them my resume and after a flurry of emails and phone calls, an interview was arranged for today at 3:30 p.m.

I met with one of the partners-- a woman who is highly respected in this legal community and who was given the title of "Super Attorney" in a well-known publication. We talked about the basic stuff including my skills, my background, my experience.

Ms. Partner then filled me in on the position itself. Primarily, it's a receptionist position with legal assistant duties tossed in. As she skimmed over my resume, she said, "You may be over-qualified for this position." I assured Ms. Partner that she may perceive it that way, but I'd be completely happy greeting clients, making coffee and the like. "Besides, I'd be thrilled to be back working in the land of the living," I said.

After I left, it occurred to me that ten years ago I would have turned my nose up at this job, saying, "Hah. It took me years to get away from the reception desk. I'll never go back." But after one goes through the wringer and is left to cure in the hot sun for a few months, one's pride diminishes bit by bit. Besides, I give really good phone.

The second interview will be scheduled for later in the week. This hard-bitten, chain-smoking editor will keep you posted as to what transpires.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

My unemployment payments are done.

By now the fear should be pressed into a dense, hard rock of matter sitting in the middle of my chest where my heart normally would be, but something very strange has happened-- I feel very calm.

Inexplicably, and I think as a result of non-stop worrying for these past nine months, the worry has changed to pragmatism. In being pragmatic, I've realized that I have done absolutely everything I could do to find a job in "my field". I feel completely blameless in all that's transpired, nor do I feel the necessity to point my finger at anyone. Inside, I am clean and without rancor.

Pride is one of the seven deadlies for very good reason. Pride stops you from doing necessary things that may otherwise stand in the way of living life properly. I have been stripped of my pride and simply need to work. "Work" no longer means the necessity of wearing professional clothing, getting a big paycheck or a Christmas bonus, or any of the other things I used to equate with a good job. Getting those particular things doesn't mean you have a good job; it means you work at a place where they can offer you those things-- nothing more. "Work" means a good, honest effort to complete a task well and be paid for it. "Work" doesn't necessarily have to be 9 to 5, Monday through Friday anymore. If you happen to like what you do for a living, that should be the bonus.

I don't know what's going to happen to me in the next couple of months, but there's nothing I can do except take care of myself, and all that implies.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Got Myself a Gun

I watched The Sopranos last night on A & E. One of my favorite episodes!

Tony and his crew are hired by an elderly Hassidic gentleman to force his son-in-law into divorcing his daughter, because he's an abusive husband. The son-in-law is resistant to the divorce and hides piously behind his religious beliefs to avoid it. However, he says he'll divorce his wife if he receives a 50% share of the gentleman's business. So not only is the son-in-law a complete weasel, but he's a hypocrite, a blackmailer and beats up women. Tony's thrilled to have his crew do the job.

His crew has a tough time convincing the son-in-law to divorce his wife. They've beaten him, they've threatened him, and still the little weasel won't agree to the divorce. So the crew calls Tony in for backup.

When Tony arrives, the son-in-law is reeling, laying on the floor after the beating, but is still indignant, pious and arrogant.

"Have you ever heard of Masada?" asks the son-in-law.

"No, I haven't," says Tony.

"Masada was a town surrounded by stone walls and just 900 Jews lived there," he says. "For three years 15,000 Roman soldiers surrounded Masada, trying to take it, and when they finally did, all the Jews living in Masada committed suicide, rather than become Roman slaves." Here he pauses and looks at Tony, pityingly. "Where are those Romans now?" he asked.

"You're lookin' at 'em, asshole," replies Tony.

Pleased to Meetchoo! Won'tcha Guess My Name?

I'm a person who provides everyone I know with a nickname. Katie is "Missy". Heidi is "Slushie". Monica is "Nicki", Deborah is "Deborah Lee", Mark is "Marky," "The Hessian", or "The Wonder of Nature". Laurel is "Prima". The list goes on and on.

The list of nicknames extends to my cats and birds. The nicknames are so ridiculous, I have to share them with you.


Claudio, a.k.a. Claudie, Claudie-cat, Tender, Tender Stuff, Tender Stuffins, Tender Toes, Friend, Tendy-Friendy, Tendore, Tenderlicious, Tenderlicious Tenderling, Tendolito, Kitten Man.

Layla, a.k.a La, La-la-la-la-la, Laylakins, Kins, Kinny-Kins, Playla, Sleeky, Sleeky-Sleekertones, Tones, My Little Cougar Cat, Triangle Head, Little Soft Toes, Exotica.

Pickles, a.k.a. Pickle-Lean, Pickletones, Pickies, Lickles, The Glosser, Sweet Baby Girl, Tweet Baby Dirl, Dood Dirl, Proud, Hider, Shit Breath (but in a nice way).


Cyrano, a.k.a C-Boy, Busterboy, the Boos, Boostaboy, Smooth 'N' Green, Smoothie, Toe Picker.

Phoebe, a.k.a. Phoebes, The Phoebinator, Phoebers-Bejeebers, Gray Girl, Shesocute, Citrus Cheeks.

I am a freak for sure.

It's All About FINE LIVING-- Part Deux

More observations on FINE LIVING, because that's what it's all about.


It's all about pretentious programming, resplendent with individuals
who must hire someone to decorate their McMansions, leasing expensive
automobiles each year rather than buying, desperately searching for
their Marriott Rewards summary so they too can stay in close
proximity to the slopes in Aspen, feverishly taking golf lessons at
their local greens so they can "rub elbows" with the big-timers at
Pebble Beach next week. It's all about FINE LIVING.

The Redhead:

It's all about the self-importance of men dressed in coats made from
unborn animals, solving important crises on their Palm Treos
while nodding their heads and gesturing impatiently at wives half
their age trying on size-0 pants at Ralph Lauren in Aspen. It's all
about deciding how to fit in a quick trip to St. Lucia next month
while still making it back in time for the "Green-Built House" raffle
at your children's progressive feng-shui private school. It's all
about getting your kids riding lessons, harp lessons, lacrosse team
equipment, piano, hockey, salsa dance, private gymnastics instructors,
sailing camp, organic farm camp, computer camp, ..... and still
complaining about how there's not anything available for children of
their creativity and intelligence level.

It's all about FINE LIVING.

Thankfully, FINE LIVING's method of advertising has not gone unnoticed in the print media. I recently saw a FINE LIVING-esque ad in Architectural Digest for Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, where a sweetly rumpled 40-ish yuppie wanna-be hipster leans casually against a stone wall located on a cobblestone street somewhere in Quebec. Upon a hill in the background sits the majestic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, where connoisseurs presumably stay. The print:

plays in a jazz quartet

collects vintage running shoes

likes to pretend he understands french when staying at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

In short, the guy is full of merde, which is French for "shit", in case you're an amateur.

Will Work for Food (and Cable, Phone, etc.)

Well, folks—I have less than one week of unemployment left to claim, and despite the fact I have sent out literally dozens upon dozens of resumes, I am still without a job.

During these long months, it has been an emotional struggle trying to remember that I am a worthy human, a person who deserves to be employed. But my doubts still linger.

These doubts are raised each time I recall my “final interview” nine months ago with the stormtroopers of the Old Boy Network Law Firm where I last worked. Their words come back to me, seared on my gray matter like a brand on a steer. “Ah’ve bin a law-yuh fer forty years now, and this is the fust time Ah’d evuh go home and worry ‘bout what mah legal assistant had done that day,” said the senior partner of this firm, who I will call LBJ, during this final interview. “You made all kinds of silly mistakes that Ah don’t understand. The questions you’d ask on a day-to-day basis raised many concerns among the pardners heah at the firm.”

Reading that you would think that I was an absolute legal virgin, a bubblehead that they’d randomly hired off of the street, that I’d never before typed a pleading, filed a document, mailed a letter, talked to a client. But this is not the case; I’d done all of those things, hundreds of times, and done them well.

So why did they consider me to be such a liability? This is where LBJ’s words haunt me, because although intellectually I know I am an experienced legal assistant/secretary, I doubted myself and my skills while working for the Old Boy Network. I have allowed LBJ’s words wiggle their way into my psyche, where they have lodged and created a kind of mythological truth.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was LBJ’s deceased brother’s trust, LBJ being trustee. The beneficiary of these monies was LBJ’s sister-in-law, The Harpy, who LBJ despised with all of his heart. Each month, checks would come to our office from oil companies in Texas and Oklahoma. I was to deposit these checks into the trust account, then write a check to The Harpy, minus expenses. I was to also include a spreadsheet that detailed each check, such as the name of the oil company and the amount of the check itself, and all supporting documentation. Finally, I was expected to reconcile this account each month.

I will tell you that I am not a bookkeeper, not by any stretch of the imagination. I had handled accounts payable and receivable at other firms in the past. However, writing a check and mailing it to someone is completely different than having to reconcile an account on a month-to-month basis, particularly to someone such as The Harpy, who was also an accountant and would go over my work with a fine-toothed comb. Inevitably, she would find my mistakes and write vicious emails and faxes to LBJ, accusing him of trying to cheat her out of her money.

These poisonous bits of communication would infuriate LBJ, rightfully so, as they were written to attack his honesty and integrity as the Trustee of his beloved brother’s trust. Naturally, LBJ became very frustrated with me, because I could not accurately perform this particular task.

Knowing LBJ’s displeasure with me, I did what should have been done. I spoke frankly with him, saying that I felt uncomfortable performing this personal business for him, particularly something of this magnitude which caused him such worry. He brushed me off, saying he thought I could do it if I just applied myself. I attacked the task with renewed vigor.

I continued to make mistakes.

Desperate to redeem myself, I spoke to the firm administrator, sharing with her my concerns about the trust account and expressing my desire to learn how to do it properly so I could make LBJ happy. She was glad I had spoken to her, said she would talk to LBJ about it, and suggest to him that our in house accountant work on this task, rather than me, the lowly and meek legal assistant with the math phobia.

One week later, I was called into the Popcorn Smell-Hating Managing Partner’s office, where the stormtroopers-- he, LBJ and the firm administrator-- sat, ready to hand me my walking papers.

I still recall this event with wonder and shame, helpless against the thought that it was my fault that I failed.

Luckily, however, time has given me the chance to form some thoughts of my own, and they are these:

- Why wasn’t I told during my interview with LBJ that upon hire, I would be expected to do this task?
- Although the Old Boy Network Law Firm employed a fully qualified in-house bookkeeper/accountant/payroll person, why did LBJ insist that his legal assistant perform the task of reconciling his family’s trust account?
- What questions, exactly, did I ask during my time at the Old Boy Network Law Firm that “worried” the partners? During my 90-day review with the stormtroopers, they said I was doing very well, that they were pleased with my work, however, the only thing I could possibly improve upon was that I needed to ask more questions rather than “guess” at what I was doing. So I did. Apparently, my questions weren’t the right questions—the questions that they felt I should have been asking. Silly me for not having my Questions For Partners That Won’t Worry Them Tarot Cards on hand.
- LBJ Quote: “Ah’ve bin a law-yuh fer forty years now, and this is the fust time Ah’d evuh go home and worry ‘bout what mah legal assistant had done that day.” Why do I find this so difficult to believe?!?
- Why did the Firm Administrator, seemingly so benign and anxious to help me succeed, stab me in the back? What on earth happened there?
- Why is the Old Boy Network Law Firm unable to keep someone, anyone, in that position for more than a year?

I think I may know why.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It's All About... FINE LIVING.

If you haven’t heard of FINE LIVING, it’s both a network and a website that targets rich folks without ideas as to how to spend their cash. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to watch FINE LIVING Network because my cable package doesn’t include it. Believe me, if I had FINE LIVING Network, it would definitely shove CNN and Bravo out of their top spots on my channel lineup.

However, I do have a computer, so the other day I decided to visit FINE LIVING online. It covers “lifestyle” (should you be unable to create your own), travel, food and shopping. Basically, FINE LIVING is a big advertisement for five-star destinations. Most of all, to The Redhead and me, it’s very amusing.

At the FINE LIVING homepage, note the section called “Practical Living”. I didn’t open that section, but I’m pretty sure when you do, it doesn’t take you to the Wal-Mart website. Perhaps it lists all the kiddie financial planning summer day camps in your area. Anyway, some helpful articles at FINE LIVING include:

- Rediscover sake!
- Best destinations- Harrod’s January Sale! (I am not kidding.)

One of the top searches at FINE LIVING online is “Wines over $1,000.00”. Honey, if you need to go online to FINE LIVING for advice on which $1,000 bottle of wine to buy, I can assure you that you won’t know the difference from Wine A or Wine B. Rather, drive over to Liquor Barn, pick up an $8.00 bottle of Little Boomey, and put that in your Baccarat decanter. You’re not going to notice the difference between that and a bottle of $1,000 Wine A.

There was a fun test on the website called “Fine Living IQ”: “Are you a connoisseur*? Merely an expert? Heaven forbid- an amateur? Or worse yet, a slug? Take our Fine Living IQ test to find how you rate.” Well, I took the quiz and according to the folks at FINE LIVING, I am an amateur. Quelle horreur! Sacre bleu! Insert other French expletives here!

In the section “FINE LIVING Every Day”, they had helpful articles entitled “Make Your Tailgating Memorable”, “5 Things You Need To Know About Maintaining Your Vehicle’s Appearance” and the popular “Luxury Sips Everyday—Proper Decanting, Preserving Open Wine, Storing Wine.”

Soon after our discovery of FINE LIVING, there was a flurry of emails between The Redhead and I skewering the concept of such idiocy. Following are the contents of those emails:

The Redhead:

“It's all about being targeted by predatory focus group studies that decide you are the poor sap that's going to fall for this fairy-tale bullshit. It's all about the hopeless insecurity felt by many when they find they really CAN'T keep up with the simple, lively, and creative lifestyle projects demonstrated by editors with a huge production staff. It's all about the idea that you need to be so fucking cool, day and night, from bow to stern, inside and out, private and public, from now till the end of time, that you are trapped in a maelstrom of self-induced tail-chasing forever. It's about FINE LIVING.”


“It's all about having about a dime less than God and then retiring in your 30's to paint shitty amateurish pictures in your custom-built studio in Santa Fe. It's all about squeezing your ex-husband dry in the divorce and opening a homeless shelter/day spa in Fiji. It's all about useless crap that won't mean anything to you once you've purchased it. It's all about FINE LIVING.”

*(Here, FINE LIVING offers a definition of “connoisseur”, in case you aren’t sure what a connoisseur is, yet you are one, according to the FL quiz. Note the tutorial on the French root words for “connoisseur”, so you can memorize it and bore your equally pretentious and stupid dinner guests) “A connoisseur (Fr. Connaisseur, from conoistre, connaitre meaning “to be acquainted with something”) is someone with a great deal of knowledge about the fine arts or an expert judge in matters of taste.”