Category Archives: Work

Interview – Sometimes The Truth Doesn’t Hurt

I needed a job. The one I had turned suddenly sour with the arrival of my new boss. I decided to send out resumes, as many as I could, but the job openings were slim.

In desperation, I concluded that I would be forced to send one to a legal firm that was looking for a legal secretary. The thing is, I swore I would never work for lawyers. My quite outspoken opinion of them was they’re stuffy and in love with themselves. They think they’re superior to all other humans and they have no sense of humor. In short, I would die before working for a another attorney especially since my new supreme being was the definition of mean and despicable. The fact that I already worked in a legal department for a large corporation was a total fluke, but that’s another story altogether.

Anyway, I decided that if– on the off chance– I landed an interview, I’d go and practice my interviewing skills because it had been years since I sat through an actual interview. When I received a call from the law office to set an appointment, I wondered what it would be like to go in completely unrehearsed and give off-the-cuff answers. In other words what you see is what you get.

So, that’s what I did. To my surprise, I met two very nice attorneys. They met the “real” me, not a person trying hard to land a job. That same day I was informed that I had the position if I wanted it.

I was extremely happy working there for many years.

Clippy the Paperclip

Do you remember Clippy?

Jimmy Fallon mentioned him the other night in his monologue. And I got to wondering just when did Clippy disappear from Microsoft Word and from my life. Not that I’m complaining because he was nothing but a distraction.

Every time I started to type a letter, he’d pop up and ask “Do you want to type a letter?” Duh!? I ended up deleting him constantly until I figured out how to make him evaporate permanently. But like many things in life, once they are gone it’s too late to think maybe you sort of miss them–just a little.

Mmm, goodby forever, Clippy.


What do you figure the word “Entitlements” stands for?

Maybe it means old people feel they are entitled to receive money from the government after they reach a certain age.

Or maybe it means after people work their entire lives and contribute money to Social Security and Medicare that they are entitled to receive some of their money back after they retire.

Either way, where do these old folks think all this moolah is coming from? Can the federal budget be balanced while these freeloaders siphon off tons of cash from the government?

Here are the facts. Read carefully so this sinks in.

Social Security is NOT part of the budget. It sits in a fund that was set up when Social Security was created. (That is unless the government hasn’t misappropriated the money to use for other purposes. I remain hopeful that hasn’t happened, but maybe I’m an optimist.)

According to Paul Owens writing in the Orlando Sentinel on May 6, 2011 … Congress has been raiding the Social Security trust fund for years… To read his entire article go to Orlando Opinionators.

Over the years, Social Security has collected more money than it has paid out. The surplus funds have been invested in U.S. Guaranteed Treasury Bonds. AARP states that in 2009, the trust fund had $2.5 trillion in bonds, earning 4.9 percent interest.

Perhaps the finger-pointing should be aimed at Congress — not at Entitlements.

Bowling – The Pin Boy

photo from

Well, it’s official. I’m really, really old! Yesterday I had to explain what a pin boy was. This “back in the day” knowledge of mine rushes in and sometimes startles me. I can’t believe how much the world has changed since I entered it.

Anyway, for those who lack my firsthand knowledge–The pin boy’s job was to set the bowling pins up after they’d been knocked down. Each boy covered four or five lanes and on a busy night, you sometimes had to wait for him to reset your lane. He was also in charge of clearing downed pins if they tipped over and stayed in the playing field.

There were no electric contraptions coming down to pick up and swish the pins backward. Everything was done by muscle. Oh, and the pin boy had to place the bowling ball in the chute to return it to the player, too.

It may not sound like it, but being a pin boy was a pretty good job. Several kids I knew held the job and loved it, except for the times they got hit in the ankle by a flying pin or bowling ball. But they had elevated steps to stand on located between the lanes, so an experienced pin boy hardly ever got hit unless he was caught off-guard moving from one lane to another. Then the players would hear him scream, “ouch.”

Jeez. Now that I think about it,  I can remember when the guts of a computer took up an entire room…but that’s another “back in the day” story.

Frivolous For The Soul

I had a need to write about something frivolous this week. With the downturn of the stock markets, and the low roads being taken by the politicians, I’m thinking I need to raise my spirits.

So here goes. If you look up the word frivolous on the internet, here are some of the things you find.

How would you expand the powers of the vice-presidency? I’d make it so they could fly in space anytime they want to.

There were other really good answers to this question, too. Like, “I’d give the VP the power to prosecute individuals for wearing white after Labor Day. ” If you want to see more, go to Booman Tribune.

How about this? Here’s the newest luggage model from Samsonite. Stop in at Core77  to see more frivolous, whacky stuff.


Are you up for a frivolous lawsuit? There are many, but here’s a good one.

In 1991, Richard Harris sued Anheiser-Busch for $10,000 for false advertising. Harris  claimed to suffer from emotional distress in addition to mental and physical injury. Why? Because when he drank beer, he didn’t have any luck with the ladies, as promised in the TV ads. Harris also didn’t like that he got sick sometimes after he drank. The case was thrown out of court.

Whenever I feel somewhat off-balance, I tend to do something frivolous. This week was no exception. My vacuum cleaner blew up. It’s been acting strange for quite a while now, so its refusal to budge another inch came as no surprise, really. I decided its breakdown was a sign that I should do something frivolous to make myself feel better. So, I ordered an iRobot Roombah to do all future vacuuming for me.


I think I need to give my little robot a name so I can call to it while it works. Hmmm.

View From My Balcony

It’s important to get rid of your mental noise once in a while, and you don’t need a balcony or a pier to do that. We’re all so busy, it’s hard to remember to take time out for quiet. Fortunately, it takes very little forethought to take an adult “time out.” For instance, try this some Saturday morning. The moment that you wake, but before you open your eyes, roll onto your back. Imagine yourself in your “happy place.” (You have one, don’t you?)

My serene spot is always by water. Maybe yours is in the mountains, or remembering sitting on your grandma’s lap with her arms wrapped around you. Whatever, or wherever–allow your imagination to drift away. Stay there for ten full minutes. What do you hear? Nothing, if you train yourself to do it right. This is where I go.


Don’t be afraid to daydream sometimes, either. Release the stress. Some people do that by writing a poem. This Daydream Haiku was written by Brigitte

The forest daydream,
Wherein I pick blackberries,
And find inner peace.

… inspired by daydreaming with a friend about moving to the mountains

DAME, too, suggests slowing it down a bit when things get too crazy.

…’today’ I’m a tad stressed. Generally I’m a go with the flow kinda girl but today the next few months seem positively overwhelming. Somehow just daydreaming about trouncing about in wool and bloomers carrying a feed bag, picking the flowers, baking the pie, and listening to the wind in the trees, is enough to catch a little mental relaxation.

No matter what you call it: time out, daydreaming, or mental relaxation–we all need it.

Why More Americans Are Working Past Age 55

That was the title of a recent article in Charles Schwab’s investment magazine, which the company sends out to its investors. They could’ve changed the age to 62 or 65. The answer would be the same, but it took them more than 200 words to say medical insurance costs are outrageously high even if you’re old enough to be covered by Medicare.

And the article also noted that although older workers had retirement portfolios that ballooned in the 1990s, those portfolios burst when techology stocks took a downward dive. Therefore, some American who had taken an early retirment had to return to work.

There was no mention of the fact that even with the new drug plans, retirees still can’t afford to buy all the drugs they need.

And think about this–many senior citizens didn’t save a dime while they were younger. So, the answer to the question, why are they still working? They have to!

Fortunately, I’m one of the people who at least took a stab at saving, mainly because I’m a realist and always have been. I never expected to be able to exist on Social Security alone. I knew, there was no way I could live on less than $300 a week. That’s actually what my Social Security check will look like when I reach age 66. The scary thing is, even after saving what little I could over the years, while raising a family, I’m still not going to be comfortable in my old age.

Another little ditty that Schwab printed in that issue was a list of quotes. One of them quoted Warren Buffett. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Looks and sounds good on paper, doesn’t it? But remember that bursting bubble Schwab wrote about? I’m living through this one, and I lived through a horrendous one years ago that wiped away almost half of the money I had managed to save. All of that money was in mutual funds, because I knew zilch about the stock market.

I still don’t know much about the market, but after that horror, I learned to diversify. I, at least, learned that much!

If you visit the folks at this site  who also read the Schwab article, their suggestion is try Fixed Annuities, Bank CDs, and U.S. Government Savings Bond. They make a case for keeping your money safe from loss.

That “risk-free” sounds pretty good, but there’s a trade off. The gains are small, and fees for variable annuities are pretty steep. And once you’re in a mutual fund, what do you do, bow out and take a huge hit?

Here’s something else that I found quite amusing.

When and if you actually do retire,

…just resist the urge to treat the contents of your accounts like mad money.

What?! There are people who actually have mad money? Not in my circle of friends.

That same amusing article goes on to say,

And forget about that cushy 15% income tax rate most retirees are eligible for, warns Schatsky. As soon as you have more than $63,700 in retirement income, the tax rate skyrockets to 25%.

Well, at least, here I get a break. I won’t have to worry about my tax rate skyrocketing. As a single, working woman, I have never earned that much money annually in my entire life while I was still working.

Now that I’m sitting here analyzing the question of retirement further, I’d venture to say that in another five years Schwab can print the exact same article; just title it, Why More Americans Are Working Past Age 75.