Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Burris on Blago: Before...and after

I Decided to Ignore Her.

I decided to listen to the voice of reason and just ignore the Friend request. Clicking it felt good. Maybe not as good as telling her off, but I also realize that saying my piece wouldn't make me feel any better.

One reader e-mailed with a (kind) suggestion that I should forgive this woman. Let me share a little backstory to explain why this person makes me so angry.

11 years ago she sat next to me at my first law firm. She was a few weeks my senior, and we struggled together to learn the ropes. It wasn't a good firm to work as a paralegal, and I soon moved on. Several months after I landed at my last firm, another position opened up. I knew that she was miserable at the first firm, so I used my influence to get her the job.

Within a few weeks of taking the job, she started talking about me behind my back. I didn't find out about it for some time. I suspected someone was poisoning the well, but I didn't know who or why. I almost lost my job because one of the name partners (whom my co-worker worked for) wanted me out. Her lies about my performance cost me my bonus and a good portion of my sanity. Unless you've lived through the trauma of living on the brink, never knowing if the next call to a partner's office would mean getting the sack -- well, you can't imagine what that does to your head.

How do I know my coworker was behind it? Because one day the office manager called me into her office and closed the door. (I almost passed out.) She told me that I couldn't trust this coworker. I said that we had known each other for many years and that I was certain she was trustworthy. My manager told me she admired my loyalty, but then put a file in front of me that had been compiled by the name partner. In it were 20 to 30 e-mails from my coworker. All of them blaming me for something that, in truth, had been her doing. Or had just been made up.

One e-mail string -- at a time when money was tight at the firm -- specifically suggested the firm fire me to save money. When the partner replied back that he had floated her suggestion, but that the other partners had objected because I was the most profitable paralegal at the firm, she intimated that I was only profitable because I padded my billable hours. He suggested in return that she keep an eye out for proof of that because partners couldn't ignore "criminal activity".

I'm so lucky my managers and the partner I worked for were so supportive. They saved my life.

I can't tell you how this affected me. I'm never going to get over this betrayal. But I'm going to put it away for a while.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some People Have ALl the Nerve

I've mentioned a former co-worker who treated me very badly. And I took the advice of some, though not all, of the comments and completely ignored the advisory e-mail I received.

Today, though, I received a notification from Facebook that this person wanted to be my "Friend". (I think she should have thought about that before she repeatedly tried to stab me in the back.) Her exact message said, "Would love to know how you and your family are doing and swap pics so you can see my newest addition."

Her new addition is probably a rabbit or a pup or some such. What I really suspect is that, with the economic downturn (and her full, thick beard) she isn't making enough money selling Mary Kay and wants some help getting a job.

I never understood why she didn't look for another job right away when our old firm closed. I mean, I know she said she wanted to "ride the Unemployment Train as far" as she could. (I never understood why someone would be so set on becoming a stay-at-home-mom when her kid was finally in school for a full day.) I figured she'd need the money. She's married to a low-achiever...a guy who wore a black AC/DC t-shirt to his wedding (under his tux shirt) because she told him to "wear a t-shirt underneath". Last I heard he made barely more than minimum wage after being at the same job for 10 years. AND they have to support her sister and her baby. I mean, I'd be desperate for a job. Desperate enough to try to shinny up to people I've treated terribly in the past and hope they don't remember the number of ways I've tried to screw them and their families.

I assure you that, though I may be bitter, I am not heartless. I will happy to help her. Just as soon as monkeys sprout wings and fly out of my ass.

Now all I have to decide is if I should just "ignore" her request or weather I should decline and tell her why.

Your opinions?

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I am so excited. Hanukkah just can't get here fast enough! I have found the absolutely perfect gift for Myfanwe -- one which will elicit a squeal and hand clapping, maybe a tear, and definitely hugs, kisses, and warm feelings. This is a gift she will treasure for the rest of her life.

Even though she doesn't read this blog -- she thinks it's frivolous -- I can't tell you what it is because that would be wrong. But it is the perfect gift, and I'm just about to explode! I only have to hold it in until Sunday night!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I believe that art is important to civilization. Without it, life seems colorless and dull. I would much rather have art in a room that furniture. And I tend to look down on people who dismiss art as extraneous.

I am intellectually able to look at art I personally dislike and still recognize its significance. I am personally not fond of the bulk of Georgia O'Keefe's work, though I acknowledge her brilliance and the beauty of her creations. They just aren't my cup of tea.

And I rarely am ambivalent. (Not just about art. Anything. I am a person of strong opinions.)

So it was surprising to me when I ran across the following McCarthy sculpture. The scale is impressive. (Sometimes size does matter.) But I'm really, truly ambivalent. Myfanwe is always saying that I can't intellectualize art too much -- that sometimes I just need to let art flow over me. Tell me what you think.

Santa's Little Helper: Paul McCarthy

Santa with Butt Plug (2007). Vinyl-coated nylon fabric, fans, and rigging. Installation view, Middelheim Sculpture Museum, Antwerp, Belgium

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Current Events

Illinois' Governor was arrested this morning on charges he, among other things, tried to sell appointment to the United States Senate Seat vacated by President-Elect Barack Obama.

The Feds had been listening in on Governor Blagojevich's phone conversations for over a month.

I have known Rod Blagojevich for 16 years -- since his first run for State Representative. At the time, Myfanwe and I lived in his then district. I got to know him pretty well during my days as a lobbyist. He and another (asshole) legislator used to play practical jokes on me. I did a small contract job for him once and he made it very clear that he expected me to buy tickets to a fundraiser for his first run for Congress.

I believe everything the Feds say. All of it.

And the saddest thing? This guy had potential. But he lacked one thing -- a conscience. I don't know if he's missing a chromosome or what, but he is totally and completely without morals. I wish I had a DSM IV on me - I think looking for a diagnosis could be an entertaining party game. He's certainly delusional -- a week ago he was taped discussing a run for the Presidency in 2016. Have I mentioned that his favorables in Illinois are (were) running at 13%? Just for sake of comparison, that is half what George W. Bush is polling at these days!

The Governor is taped on numerous occasions talking about the financial stress his family was under. The Governor makes somewhere around $175k a year. His wife has also made a good deal of money in (shady) real estate deals. Now I don't want to diminish their financial stresses, but Myfanwe and I together don't make what what the Blagojeviches make, and we live in a lovely home, send our son to an excellent private school, are adequately clothed and fed. And we do it all without borrowing a penny, let alone resorting to theft or coercion.

I hope someone hardworking and honest and diligent and dedicated is appointed to fill President Obama's Senate seat. I know who I'd like to see in the seat -- the best man at my wedding is consistantly mentioned as a strong contender -- but I don't want to jinx it. I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Monday, December 08, 2008

100 Life Experiences

100 Life Experiences

(Things I've done in bold.)

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (No the weather was crappy when we were there!)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (Almost. But I still want a television for the family room.)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

So what have YOU done?


This morning I received an e-mail from a friend and former co-worker, forwarding an e-mail from another former co-worker -- one I do not like. In this e-mail she relayed the news that her mother had died unexpectedly and asking for prayers in this difficult time.

Now my normal response to news like this is to immediately say a small prayer and then to jot off a note expressing my sympathies and asking if there is anything I could do for them or their family.

But I don't like this woman. And I have many good reasons for not liking her. Among them is the fact that when my mother was dieing of cancer, she used my absences from work as an opportunity to stab me in the back with the powers-that-be, writing e-mails to partners about how my absence was making things difficult for others. (Which meant that instead of doing nothing all day, my absence meant she actually had to work for a living.) And when my mother died she never said so much as an "I'm sorry for your loss." She didn't acknowledge my loss in any way.

I'd like to say that I have been able to call upon my better nature and say that prayer and dash off a note with a couple of consoling lines. I came up with "I hope you know what it feels like to have people around you talk about you behind your back, kick you while you are down, all while ignoring the death of your mother. And please pass on my regards to your sister. Is she still trying to convince people her son was a virgin birth? And if you really want to be taken seriously as a Mary Kay consultant, maybe you should do something about your beard."

But something tells me that isn't a good letter to send.

Like I said, I am not a nice person.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


...but you will have to live with one more.

Today I met my latest unmeetable deadline, and I'm so tires I cried at the effort it took to order Thai for delivery. I've already got my pajamas on and as soon as the Pad Se Eiu is disposed of, I plan to pop a West Wind dvd into the player and fall asleep to the snappy reparte of CJ Craig.

In the meantime, watch this and discuss amongst yourselves.