Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Six Month Performance Review

As of today, I have been at my job for six months. In my "employee handbook" it says that a performance review will be given to all new hires after six months of employment. The paralegal that was "new girl" prior to me told me that she never received her six month evaluation, nor any other evaluation for that matter. She's been there for more than 4 years. Since I'm not expecting that I'll receive an evaluation, I've decided that I'll give them a six month evaluation...

Pros (these might make more sense if you know anything about my previous firm):
  1. People here like each other. Everyone is at anyone else's assistance whenever it is needed. We also eat lunch together at least 3-4 days a week, either in the office or go out somewhere.
  2. The subject matter of my work is extremely fascinating and thought provoking. (I will expound upon this in a later post)
  3. I am busy. All. The. Time.
  4. I go to court every Thursday.
  5. I don't have clients, per se. My attorney, for the most part, only has cases for the Department of Social Services so technically we have two clients (2 counties). Which is also the reason for the next perk.
  6. I don't have to bill my hourly time. Only occasional tasks for a set fee.
  7. My office is 3.2 miles from my apartment. Though this will soon change.
  8. I really like the pens they keep stocked in the supply room.
  9. I have been here six months and have not been yelled at nor have I overheard anyone else being yelled at or encountered any of the paralegals in the bathroom crying because their entire professional existence was just crushed by her attorney.
  10. I have an office with four real walls. No real door or window yet but at least someone can't throw something at me over the shared cubicle wall.
  11. Nearly everyone in the office is a Tarheel fan.
  1. Since my core social group is still in Raleigh, I don't have anyone in this area to meet for lunch.
  2. I am busy. All. The. Time.
  3. I hate my keyboard. It's old and sticky and the keys aren't as sensitive so I have a tendency to type words with random letters left off.... because I type so frikkin fast...
  4. There are regular treats on the kitchen table. People bring food in randomly all the time. Yes, this is a con.
  5. My apartment is 3.2 miles away. It causes me to be more late than I should.
  6. Our courier is 75 (instead of the usual college student). It makes me miss my courier pals from my old office.
  7. I don't get to shop in the office supply books freely (or at all), unlike my old firm. My love of office supplies has been seriously squelched.
  8. The case load is overwhelming at times: 100-200 cases, 75-100 court orders per month... approximately.
  9. Employees at DSS aren't as aware of the aforementioned case load as I'd like them to be.
  10. The paralegal before me wasn't extremely organized or computer-savvy so I'm having to implement certain organizational systems into already established cases.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wedding Progress Report

I'm finding that when you get engaged, one of the most common questions you get is "How are the wedding plans coming!?" This doesn't bother me by any means. I do the same to people I know that are engaged. So with barely over two months until the big day, I've decided that I'll post the latest to satisfy those curious as to the current state of plans...

  • I am in possession of my wedding dress. It still needs alterations and such but I have it. I tried on about 10 dresses over a couple of hours and walked out that same visit with a receipt for the perfect dress. Apparently it's rare to go on one trip, to one store and find a dress. Yay!
  • Location for reception found. Thanks to some wonderful family friends that have offered their lovely house!
  • Cake - decision made, but it's a secret....
  • Engagement pictures and announcements - appointment made for the sitting and mailing list about done. We are having the same person who is taking the pictures design our announcements. I'm so excited. They're going to be so rad.
  • Jericho and I have found an apartment. We will be living here. It's a brand new complex and we love it! We'll have a Cary address but we're right near the edge of Morrisville and Durham. Planning our first apartment together has been just as exciting as the actual wedding plans, if not moreso.
  • Food planning is underway. I decided money was better used when it's not flushed down a toilet so we'll be using our incredibly generous social resources instead of hiring a caterer. But there will be no lil smokies or anything from the frozen food section at Costco. If this changes your mind about coming, I'm sorry.
  • Colors/decorations/flowers - planning also underway. Colors will be baby blue and chocolate brown with pink accents. Sounds complicated but with blue and brown as the main colors, that doesn't really leave a lot of options for flowers, hence the adoption of pink. It was a big step for me to accept the fact that I'm going to have pink as one of my colors. Probably my biggest feminine breakthrough since my first mascara purchase when I was about 20.
  • Registry has begun. We are learning that we need to do this in shifts as Jericho was not born with the same shopping endurance gene as me (probably chromosome related). We have managed to agree on most everything which has made the process much easier. We made a list prior to registering of what we already knew we needed (not too much). Then the sales lady said they recommend people have about 300 items on their registry. So unless we only expect about 30 people to buy us a wedding present, we need to come up with more stuff....

Overall, I'd have to agree that people were right: I do get more excited about the wedding the more we plan. And for me it's not entirely just the wedding itself but of everything that is involved in planning for your life with someone. It's been fun to make so many joint decisions with the person you're going to marry and realize that it's easier than you thought it'd be. I guess I'm not as high maintenance as I thought...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Completely Pointless Post of the Week

Please enjoy the following pointless material while substantial blogging content is being processed.....

I started watching this video and began tearing up as I found renewed force to conquer the world. And also get to work on time.

Link: "True stories, told in one sentence." If you don't want to go to the link, here are a few examples: (got any of your own???)

When I was 5 or so my mom would tell me to lie down before she tied my tie and I just now realized at the age of 19 that she did this because she's a funeral director.

As you were breaking up with me, all I could think about were those mornings when you compared the Pop-Tarts and gave me the one with more frosting.

I only realized how strange my life was when I received a full scholarship for having a father in prison for murder.

My cat challenged me to a game of "Guess Where I Pooped Before You Step In It" and I lost.

Today you shaved your hair into a mohawk to make my mom laugh over losing hers to chemo and today I realized that you are my hero.

My 8-year-old sister proudly declared that she knows that "WTF" means "Wow, That's Funny" and has been using it all over the internet.
I married my husband on our first date, but it has taken me more than 5 years to decide what colour to paint our dining room.

And finally....

For those that love LOST, this list should get a few chuckles. There are more but I just took the main characters.

Sawyer's Nicknames:

Jack- Hero, Doc, Jacko, St. Jack, Jack-Ass, Chico, Cowboy,Dr. Quinn, Dr. Do-Right, Sheriff, Brother, Hoss,El Jacko, Amarillo Slim, Cool Hand, Dr. Giggles,Daniel Boone

Kate - Freckles, Shortcake, Sweetheart, Belle of the Ball, Sheriff, Baby, Sassafras, Boar Expert, The Mighty Huntress, Hon, Girl, The Lady, Sweetcheeks, Puddin', Sheena, Thelma, Pippi Longstocking, Little Lady, Honey, Magellan, Kiddo

Hurley - Lardo, Pork Pie, Stay-Puff, Pillsbury, Jabba, Hoss, Jethro, Rerun, Babar, Hammo, Mutton Chop, Mongo, Deep Dish, Grape Ape, Snuffy, Jumbotron, Blockhead, Ese, International House of Pancakes, Avalanche, Grimace

Sayid - Abdul, Al Jazeera, Omar, Captain Falafel, Mohammed, Boss, Ali, Arab, Abu, Genius, Sheik, Buddy, The Terrorist, Chief, Gen-u-ine I-raqi, Red Beret, Captain A-rab

Lock - Mr. Clean, Daniel Boone, Gandhi, Hoss, Brutus, Tarzan, Johnny Boy, Johnny Locke, Bald Bastard, Gimpy McCrutch

Sun - Betty, Tokyo Rose, Sunshine, Sweetheart, Hidden Dragon, Madame Butterfly

Jin - Mr. Miyagi, Bruce, Chief, Cato, Sulu, Boy, Chewie, Daddy-O, Papa-san, Jin-bo, Crouching Tiger

Charlie - Sport, Amigo, Rock God, VH1 Has-Been, Limey Runt, Chucky, Tattoo, Baby-Napper, Oliver Twist, Munchkin, Jiminy Cricket

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Sky is Falling

I am not an economist nor do I claim that any of the statements I am about to make are factually based. In fact, they are based upon a fable.

Upon first hearing all of the negative talk about our economy, I brushed it off and thought, "Oh pish posh! It's just the media being the media. Things aren't as bad as they say." This may have been true for a time but it's increasingly more difficult to feel that all is well in Who-ville.

Being true to my personality, I have yet to be convinced of the severity of our economic crisis. Or rather, convinced of the causes and pseudo-solutions of the economic crisis. I cannot deny that there is something wrong. But what I need is for someone to sit me down with a flow chart, graph, abacus, powerpoint presentation or maybe even felt board illustrations of EXACTLY why the economy is the way that it is. After that, then maybe I'll stop being stubborn and putting the blame on us, the American people. We have control over the economy. Therefore we can also be at fault for the economy.

The word "economy" is beginning to be spoken in hushed tones, with nodding heads of silent affirmation and sighs as people long for happier times. "Oh, it's the economy." If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that just in 2009, I think I could save the country myself from utter ruin. I overhear it at work, in line at the grocery store, at the gym. "Curses! I burned the bread again!" "That's okay, honey. It's just the economy." [insert sigh]

My initial opinion on, what is not necessarily the cause of Crisis '09 but, instead adding fuel to the fire, is a case of Chicken Little syndrome. The more we keep telling everyone the sky is falling, the more we, along with everyone else around us, are going to believe it. The problem is not that the sky isn't falling but that very little is accomplished to fix the falling sky when we all we do is panic. Just think if Noah had decided that instead of building the arc, he spend all his time harping on everyone that a flood really was coming (It really did. He was right, for those out there that aren't familiar with the story). There is a time for warning and there is a time for preparing. Do we hunker down clutching our money bags as the flood waters rise or do we suck it up and start building an arc?

Regardless of the realities of Crisis '09, it should still be possible to find some positive options instead of dwelling in doom and gloom regarding all things economy. Ok, so the economy sucks right now. Jobs suck. Real estate sucks. Go dry your eyes with a worthless one dollar bill and figure out a plan. There are people that have chosen to cut back on excess expenses here and there, i.e., smaller cable packages, water usage (in their homes), car pooling with coworkers, not going out to eat as much, selling an extra car, etc. Cutting back is not a bad thing.

Maybe, just maybe, this economic crisis could cause (in a world of best case scenarios) a re-wiring of the American people. We have bread an extremely materialized society. We have ingrained in ourselves that a high standard of living is to be continually sought after and the way to acquire that is a cushy lifestyle with the best money can buy.

The encouragement to live within our means is ever present. If you are successful in your career and get to the point where buying 10 cars is within your means, that's great, but if you don't NEED 10 cars, why have 10 cars? I doubt the counsel to "live within your means" really means: "Live a practical lifestyle but only if you don't make very much money. If you make a lot of money, then by all means, sleep in 14k gold sheets. You deserve it, big guy [wink and finger-air-gun]."

My hope is that this crisis will ultimately aid in bringing Americans' perspective back to what is most important in their lives instead of thinking every plunk in the head is another piece of collapsing atmosphere. Me and my rose colored glasses would like to see people take their focus off of their money and realize that though their portfolio may take hit, have pay cuts instead of pay raises, or no job altogether, they still have a family that they love, talents, health, faith, hobbies, intelligence, freedoms, passions, loving friends. We live in a great nation that has proved resilient through even tougher times than now.

So how does the story of Chicken Little end? If we are like the fable, it could have various outcomes to include:

Eventually Foxy Loxy is going to come along. Mr. Loxy will feed the hysteria, offer us our solutions, and lead the populace to our goal. We will all love Mr. Loxy because he's what we need. We will trust Foxy Loxy. He is what will save us from the imminent doom that we are convinced will ruin our lives. All the while, we have no idea that Mr. Loxy's agenda is to consume the followers for his own personal gain/dinner.

Or Cocky Locky could intervene. Mr. Locky has spotted the panic for what it is: panic. He has also spotted Mr. Loxy, the predator that will capitalize off of the hysteria. He knows that Foxy Loxy will only turn his followers into his dinner. Luckily, Cocky Locky finds out in time to warn Chicken Little and the rest of their friends. And they (those still living) all lived happily ever after....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

These are my confessions, Part 2

Most all who know me well know that my all time very favorite TV show is Gilmore Girls. Although, I'm not sure if it is known just how deep this love goes. I shall attempt to illustrate.

The addiction is best evidenced on Facebook. I have an application on Facebook called "Addicted to Gilmore Girls." On this application, like the other media applications, there is a trivia section. I have spent some time over the last couple of years answering the trivia questions. Each question is worth 10 points. As of right now, my score is 53,510. Yes, that means I have answered 5,351 questions correctly. Keep in mind that doesn't include the questions I have missed. Even with my score of over 50,000 points, I am still only ranked 1,384 out of 201,908.

How can people even come up with so many different questions? Well, for one, people end up creating questions like this: "In the high school graduation episode, what color is Lorelai's dress?" From that approach, you can probably create a hundred questions from just one episode. There are seven seasons and 22 episodes per season (except season 1 which has 21 episodes). With 100 questions per episode, that's 15,300 questions. So at 10 points a piece, there is the potential for over 150,000 points.

I'm sure your next thought is - wow, what kind of people know enough about a TV show to write AND answer so many questions?? I'll
tell you. I own every season on DVD (except 7 because it was plain horrible). I have a season in my room at all times. It plays on my laptop when I'm getting ready for work in the morning. It plays when I'm falling asleep at night. It will also be playing if I am doing household things, like folding laundry, cleaning my room/bathroom, etc. I start at season 1 and got until I finish and then start all over again. I have no idea how many times I've seen every episode, but it's a lot. Needless to say, I rock the socks off of those trivia questions (unless they're from season 7, those I don't know as well, because, again, that season was horrible).

It has not gotten to where Jericho is addicted to Gilmore Girls like me, but he watches them with me and enjoys them for the most part. We'd have to rethink this whole arrangement if he didn't support my addiction.

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