Procrastination (But I Digress)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I Need Me Some Quincy

That was a line I heard yesterday that really resonated with me. Yesterday I had to spend 8 hours in continuing education. The first three and a half hours were spent on family law updates--the latest cases and the speakers were three judges that sit on the bench downtown. I'd been in front of all three and they were very funny and easy going. They knew their stuff, but some of it was really outside of my practice area. It was a long 3 1/2 hours.

Next, was an hour for lunch with a required hour of a program on substance abuse. Lawyers are twice as likely as the general population to have a problem with drugs and alchohol. The program was called "Lawghter is the Best Medicine." It was a video tape. I did not have very high expectations. The guy (his name was Carter) said that until a person had a problem with substances, then it was really just a hobby. He admitted that he had a substance hobby. That was mildly amusing. Then we played "spot the signs of abuse" bingo. "Has excessive car trouble" was one of the signs of possible substance abuse. Carter pointed out that it's just one of the signs--you can't take it in a vacuum--some people just drive really shitty cars. But if the car has lots of dents, or you know the lawyer makes good money and they drive a beat up old car, it could be a sign. Cocaine is very expensive.

Then Carter went on to tell us how to avoid being in a position to let stress get to us so that we'd take our hobby to the next level of abuse. He said watch out for Bob--you know that guy who hates everything. He doesn't want to be there at your office and he's bringing everyone down with him. He needs to get his wish and be set free from his job.

Then he talked about comparing outselves to the other guy. He went to Harvard with Obama. That guy's going to be the first black president and Carter tells jokes. Talk about imposible comparison. One time he'd just given a great speech--he actually saw a tear in the audience--he made some guy cry, that he laughed so much. And he got paid to do it. He's coming off this high walking tall through the airport and he picks up a Forbes magazine and one of the top 50th richest people is someone he went to law school with. That guy is worth 1.8 billion dollars and Carter is thinking to himself that he's worth 1.8 thousand and that's counting the check in his pocket. He was so depressed. He's got a nice house, he gets to do what he loves, he travels and yet he felt like he didn't measure up. He said he thought about and he finally figured out that he has something that other guy will never have--8,000 unsold copies of his book in his garage--you can't buy that.

I don't remember the intro, but he talked about how to surround yourself with happy people. Give sincere praise. 400 million people go to bed hungry around the world. 500 million people go to bed hungry for a little praise every night. Where are you going to get praise for all your hard work--not from your kids that's for sure. And then he told us about his friend Quincy. He loves Quincy. "I need me some Quincy" he says. He says according to Quincy, he's lost about 6,000 pounds--every time he sees him: "You've lost weight--you look like you've lost 25 pounds" and Carter thinks, nothing fits, I don't think I've lost weight, but hey if you say so, yes, yes I have. Thanks for noticing. Quincy loves Carter's house. "Wow," he says everytime he comes in the door. "This place is huge. Just like taj ma hall." Carter beams with pride--"oh, this old pile of bricks." Carter said that it was some time until he went to Quincy's house which is twice the size of his house. Carter invited Quincy and his wife over for a barbeque when he got a new grill. Carter overestimated the cooking time and the chicken was charlbroiled. It was burnt black. His wife went right away to order pizza, but Quincy and he gnawed on the chicken and Quincy said, "this is good for my teeth--you have to tell me how you did this." Carter just loves his Quincy.

There was a girl at Lorimar--I don't remember her name, but I remember that when I first met her, I had no use for her. She was always coming around Estimating and bothering us for something dumb. And then one day she said, she liked my blouse. If you know me, you know that I do not care about what I am wearing. My standard is clean, ironed (or at lease wrinkle free material) and not full of static cling. If I get all three, I'm very happy. She liked my 9.95 K-mart blouse? I had no illusions that she was going to run right out and get herself a 9.95 K-mart special, but I thought, it is a really good color on me. I do look good in this blouse. I saw her in a whole new light. I was happy when she came into the department. Soon she asked me about the art on my wall and she had the same pictures at her home. I don't have an actual recollection, but I'm willing to bet that I gave her what ever drivel information she wanted and gave it to her with a smile after that.

I was at some seminar and they told us the way to get people to buy "you" was to compliment them--it doesn't have to be big, just sincere. That's a nice outfit, wow, I love your shoes, etc. And I remembered that girl from Lorimar and I thought she went to a seminar. How smart is that and it works so well. I keep forgetting to use it. I never notice what people are wearing. But it's worth thinking about making the effort to praise people. They do work hard and how great is it to have someone else notice. I need me some Quincy.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Must Eat Soup

Mom is coming for Mary's memorial (yes, Mom--there will be talking and stuff, just like a real funeral without all the casket and minister stuff). This weekend I was looking for something to eat in the freezer and I came accross two bowls of soup that Mom made on her last trip. How did they survive this long, but more importantly did I have time in my schedule to eat them before Mom comes again. If she thinks we have soup, she might not make new soup and let's face it--you can never have too much soup.

We are cleaning out Aunt Mary's house. They lived there for over thirty years. When Urs found out that she had cancer, she went on a mission to clean out the house. I can't imagine what it would be like if she hadn't already put in so much effort. Dad and Adrienne have filled up several trash and recycle bins. Me, not so much. I've gone through a lot of stuff, but I'm not very good at throwing anything away. I found a note tucked away in Mary's desk that said "Buy Kathy some sisters" The note looked about a 100 years old--I can imagine her writing it just after Karl was born--kind of what she might have wished for herself.

With Mary gone, it's time to miss her two best friends, Bea and Urs again. Urs's sister called me and asked for the painting that Bea had done of Urs. She said that she wanted it to stay in Urs's family and I thought, what? I'm not Urs's family? It's hard to part with stuff like that. And all of Bea's paintings. I want them all, but of course I have no room for them. So I want to offer them to her friends and then I thought, what if her family wants them. I've never even met her family. I find myself jealous that they have any rights to her at all.

I wrote a little speech to say at the memorial. I really didn't think that I would get emotional, but I have a little cold and a sore throat--that must be why I'm getting a little misty. Good thing I found that soup.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey

Dear Oprah Winfrey,

My Aunt Mary thought very highly of you. She was a working woman before that was the norm and she was a senior executive in a male dominated world. She did not suffer fools and had little sympathy for people who didn't go out and work for what they wanted. On the other hand, in her department, she treated her employees like family--not the give me a hug kind of family--more the "what are you doing to make your life better," nagging, "what are you going to do when I'm gone" kind of family. One year she gave everyone a coin collection starter kit. She hired girls fresh out of high school and trained them to attain very lucrative positions. She had not gone to college, but she encouraged others. She pretty much made it possible for me to not only finish college, but to go on to law school. She never gave me any money, but she was always there to smooth over obstacles.

She did not like the idea of giving to charitable organizations, because it seemed to her that they all spent more money on soliciting funds than on the actual good works. I don't know what made her first admire you so much, but when she found out about your Angel Network in which you cover the administrative costs and 100% of the monies donated go to the good works, she was very grateful to find your charity.

Mary did not like to watch movies later in her life--due to her many health problems, she slept intermittently and couldn't keep her interest in them, but she loved television. She's never told me that I have to watch something until you had primetime episodes and then she wouldn't let it go. She'd practically quiz me, because she couldn't believe that everyone didn't love them as much as she did. This was extremely unusual for her. In her last years, she was plagued with ill health and was mostly uncomfortable. Very few things gave her pleasure. Your show gave her pleasure. Thank you.

Mary died this past week and I am asking people to send contributions to your Angel Network in lieu of flowers.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Like Country Music

Who knew? Jackson had the movie "Cars" that he watched when he visited us. He would watch about an hour and then stop. Then he would watch the same hour again and stop. Finally, when Erika was out, I talked him into watching the whole movie, so that I could see the end. I just loved the music in that movie and sang and hummed the tunes for days. Finally, I went on line to find out who was doing the singing. Some band called Rascal Flats did the main song that I really liked. I didn't know the name, but the more I listened to the song the more I realized that it's probably country. There were also two songs that were really pretty and it turns out sung by the same guy--Richard Paisley. I think I might like a whole album of his songs, but as I said to Erika, maybe I'll just try the soundtrack for cars since I already know I like these songs.

I used to like music a lot. I liked many kinds of music and knew most singers after a few notes. Now, the bands that Adam listens to are all Greek to me. I know nothing about today's music at all. I think Blink 22 is a band, but I have no idea what they sing. If someone had said Rascal Flats to me, I would have known that it was a band and not a place, but I never would have pegged it as Country. I have a vague feeling that I like the music by Bare Naked Ladies, but I have no idea what they sing. I'm pretty sure it's three guys in the band, but I know better than to bet any money on it. Adam just got a sweatshirt with ACDC on it. Thank goodness the kids listen to the music from my generation still. Not that I could tell you anything that ACDC sang--I never liked heavy metal (or country for that matter).

The kids in my class wanted to know what kind of music I like (this was before I saw the movie Cars). Is Pop still a kind of music. I wanted to say Rock and Roll, but that's not very descriptive anymore. When I said Pop, they said, like Neil Diamond. No. Like Rod Stewart. They nodded. Are Rod Stewart and Neil Diamond the same now. When did that happen.

Melody asked if anyone had any albums, because Jon got a record player for Christmas--did I read that correctly. They still make record players? Where will you find new needles? That was always the toughest part--saving up the couple of bucks to buy a new needle. No, Melody, Adrienne took all my albums and sold them. I kept two, but I'm afraid I have no idea what has become of them. Elton John "Captian Fantastic" and Boston. I can't remember the name of the Boston album, but I can sing the whole thing if you start me off.

I also had Led Zepplin "Stairway to Heaven", but that is the only song I could identify by Led Zepplin. "And as we wind on down the road" that's me, winding down. "Our shadows taller than our souls" well, I have no idea what that means. "There walks a lady we all know. Who shines white light and wants to show. And if you listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last. When all are one and one is all. To be a Rock and not a Roll." I love that "lock the cashbox" commercial. I guess indecipherable lyrics never really go out of style.