Tag Archives: work

Slowing Down

I have due to arthritis, now our dog is doing so as well. Her right front leg is getting a tiny bit lame or shaky during a long walk. My hips are worse so I miss those long walks she takes with my husband when he is home.

Don’t worry, I am not anywhere near to a having a disabled parking spot! I try and do walk seven blocks to my grocery store, 14 total blocks, three times per week. The more I walk, the better I am, even though my legs hurt and I have to lie down for 20 minutes. I can take Zoe around the block early morning when it’s cooler and we enjoy the walk.

My parents are gone and I’m the eldest and most frail so I am next. College friends, professors and mentors have gone. Do I wish to go? Absolutely not. I’ve work to do here and a little arthritis isn’t going to get me down. An old chiropractor marveled at my tolerance for pain… he’s the one that when I said I had a new car wanted to go out to the lot and see it. He wouldn’t let me tell him what it was and guessed it would be a fancy car and picked out a couple of cars. No, it was a new Army Jeep, 4WD, stick.

He was so excited and surprised at me, he asked if he could drive it, “of course!” My tolerance for pain came in when I needed to drive it to a client 100 miles away and back, same day. No A/C, hot weather, plastic windows and nothing with which to cushion my back or butt. Now that hurt. Plus my hair got messed up for a client meeting that usually lasted three hours before I could drive home.

Dad recently died and spent several years flying to cities that had facilities for his cancers. He spent most of his time at doctor appointments and scans and surgeries and other invasive procedures. I do not wish to start this now, or ever. I am young and strong and have work to do. Please, let me do it. Dee



Trying vs. Doing

A good friend of mine, my late father and my brother has been transferred to hospice care. I think a lot of what he meant to me in my life, getting me consulting contracts, being on the Board to support my views on the problems the organization was facing.

I remember, being retired, that looking for a job is far more emotionally exhausting than doing it. You get the job, have no idea of the subject matter you’re analyzing and give yourself a crash course so you can hit the ground running.

My first real job after college was as an assistant legislative analyst for the Speaker’s office. The analyst was off on maternity leave. I was asked if I knew anything about insurance. Well, I have car insurance.

Do you know McKinneys? Who is McKinney. Law books. No. That was a Friday. I started my new job on Monday and went to a bookstore and tried to cram over the weekend. All I could find was one hardcover book, brand new, with a guy in a pinstripe suit on the cover that was about insurance.

That book even had a chapter about Gerber Life insurance, which they’re selling on TV now. It was called “Like Taking Candy from a Baby.” Bosses and lobbyists did not like that book so I took it home and learned the real stuff at work.

I remember introducing an incentive for insurance companies to offer well baby care in the early 1980’s. They wouldn’t hear of it. Every bill report I made to the Speaker, everyone of my party in the Assembly, was sent to lobbyists and the opposition before the meeting as per FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), for which I was later responsible when I got a permanent job as analyst for another committee. For every such report the insurance industry said “Will Raise Premiums.” That’s it. I should have stuck with Gerber and the first book I read.

Everyone who has health insurance (soon to go away) has well baby care now and it is somewhat thanks to me. The insurance companies finally realized that well babies cost them less than sick ones, preventive care works, and as they never lowered premiums they could put their extra money into offshore accounts and reinsurance and the stock market. And be given billions of taxpayer money for being “too big to fail.”

I have done many good things for people and animals in my life. This is not one of them. It was only four months and a “hazing” that landed me a permanent job doing the “grab bag” committee. Pick an issue, fill the bowl and let me in with the claw to pick up anything and I’ll learn it. Native American Rights, Veterans, Cable Television Franchising in NYC, Fire and Building Codes. Reapportionment, Legislative Ethics (?), how to raise and lower the American Flag, Human Rights, Civil Rights, Military Code, Sexual Orientation, holidays and non-holidays.

The biggest holiday to celebrate was MLK Day, the first, we all drove to D.C. and went to several services, the most moving of which was at the AME church where Coretta Scott King delivered a eulogy for her husband, with a choir.

The other holidays were more days of remembrance, such as Haym Solomon for financing the Revolutionary War, and Raoul Wallenberg for his heroism in WWII. It was an honor to do this for our country. Veterans was taken off my burden of a slew of bills before computers, by a veteran who sat next to me for several years. He saw stuff we never heard of from anyone, including him, in Vietnam and was mustered out to Texas for two weeks. They ordered him to go to Chicago for the 1968 Democratic Convention, as part of a military presence to suppress the people.

He refused. He said he’d do KP (dishes and kitchen prep) for the rest of his time but he would not fire on American citizens. He had been through enough. Now he is a leader in an anti-war organization made up of veterans.

I’ve had many experiences looking for work, but in the end if you interview the interviewer first, you’re better off if they offer the job. I flew in from the Rockies for a breakfast bagel at the Carlyle in NYC and was offered my own office, twice my salary. My new boss made me into a hamster going around a wheel. I left and spent my life savings to go to …… cooking school. I recently received photos from my aunt from our graduation dinner at the James Beard House, that I had framed.

Yes, I cooked at the James Beard House, and as our family was a large group they were upstairs in the loft where his bed had been under a mirrored ceiling. We cooked our hearts out that evening and everyone gave me the food they made so I could toy with it and make breakfast for 14 family members and 20 neighbors. They were proud of me.

Yes, I do read about cooking and have many books. I do cook. I do not do that much French anymore, more Italian or Greek. Normandy and Provence. Best ingredients, simple preparation. I’m only cooking for two a la minute.

Big storm coming in. Must get offline and check on my husband and old dog. Thanks for sticking with me over the years. I appreciate it. Cheers, Dee


Why Do We Do This?

We are adamant about picking up our dog’s poop and throwing it away in a sanitary manner in eco-safe bags. People look at us as if we’re crazy, especially if there’s a bit of snow. Why bother? Why? Spring is coming, the snow will melt and there will be tons of poop. We always carry extra bags for an errant dog owner. “Hi, would you like to use this?”

That is what my father did, my brother and I do, and my husband does. Clean up after messes with businesses and non-profit organizations. We pick up the junk everyone else doesn’t look after.

We come in when an organization, big or small, cannot handle day-to-day business anymore. We are the problem solvers, organizers, big thinkers and detail-oriented pro’s. Dad died recently and I didn’t have time to give him the “poop” analogy, but that’s what he did for over 60 years, God rest his soul.

Do clients thank us for this? No. Do they pay us? Sometimes. When an organization does not want change, the entrenched employees will just say no. If the higher-ups agree with them we’re gone and they lose. We go on.

Why do we do this? There is a problem and like a plumbing leak, we want to fix it. We want organizations to be healthy and not leaking like a sieve.

I am retired now but yesterday I contacted the city attorney’s office stating that a new crosswalk sign (no painted crosswalk) they put up last week is not attached correctly and will fly off and kill someone. They hung up on me after 30 seconds. I called the city and they gave me a transaction number which I gave to several interested parties for follow-up. I get things done. We are a neighborhood and all of us live here so why not work together. Teamwork, that’s how it goes.

With arthritis for 30 years I no longer walk about with 100 bags and pick up after every errant dog owner who will not pick dog poop up for him or herself. I can give a helpful suggestion and a bag. What they do with that information is up to them, I’m only a consultant. Cheers! Dee


There is something to be said for leaving the bull#### behind when one goes to work.

If one is in the service industry that serves people who pay one’s salary just leave the baggage behind. If you just got into an argument with your significant other, you’ve a professional duty to do your job and not carry it and hold it against the people who pay you.

Be professional. Show up. Do your job. You may be unhappy because your wife was upset that you didn’t rinse your dish or put down the toilet seat. Or your kid got a D in math.

Leave it. I always thought of work as a welcome excuse to leave family matters behind. For 14 hours a day with no family, seven days a week. But I was always sunny and productive and was always chosen for that job that married people made more to do,so that everyone else could go home to their families. I didn’t have one, I had a job.

We spend a lot to live where we do, and I expect someone on the job who is not absent or is ornery. I don’t ask for much, but my husband is about to get up way early this morning and fly out for the week. My dog is 88 in people years. I’m nearing sixty. I expect that as we’ve paid for someone to be behind the desk to call 911 they will do so if we do not return. If there is no-one, or if someone has a personal issue, we may not be able to come home. Note to self, life insurance.

If the current situation exists, and we’re still together and alive, it’s time to move. Of course we’re looking into other places in the US. Professionalism. If I can be professional while being sexually harassed by elected officials in elevators, anyone can. Oh, Dave, I just talked to your wife. How is Brenda doing in art school, I love her paintings. Deflection is an art in itself. Dee


It is everything. Just as with a restaurant it’s location, location, location. Growing up, marrying, having kids in the right school district.

When it comes to cooking for guests, I’ve somewhat of a complicated menu. Simple, really, not seven courses or anything made for an international competition. But I time it. It includes a time for “turn oven to 350.”

I go back from serving time on a sheet of paper from when guests arrive to drinks, appetizers, seating, dinner, salad, dessert, coffee or tea. I bring it back to the roast and its accoutrements, everything in five minute intervals.

I like that it’s both old school and kind of strange and don’t do it for dinner with my husband, that’s just in my head. With guests everything has to be perfect, the menu and execution and friendship. Just a thought. Dee

ps People ask if I cook this way every night for my husband and he says, enthusiastically, “Yes!” Then they say he is a lucky man. I can only do it in my head because it just comes from the heart, and not after a day of cleaning the house and ironing the napkins and getting flowers and prepping and cooking and figuring out what to wear. Yes, for family meals I plan menus in my head as well, usually while walking through a good grocery store and seeing what’s fresh and knowing how to make the most of it, like garlic scapes, all fresh fruits and veg then to the butcher and afterwards, round it out. D

Dog Tired

What execatly does that mean? It’s mid-afternoon on a Saturday and my husband came back from an international trip an hour ago. He went right to bed and is snoring away.

Our dog, who prides herself on her beauty sleep at 80 in human years (nary a wrinkle) begged to go to the bedroom and have me “Otis” her up to the bed to hang out and sleep with him. She sleeps at least 20 hours every day, does not have a job outside the home nor one inside it. She doesn’t even do enough to earn an “allowance” what I would call a treat. How can she be so tired?

I’d go bonkers if I slept 20 hours a day, unless I had a really bad 24-48 hour flu. But for over 11 years she’s done it every day, and at 80 she looks better than we do! She doesn’t have to pay bills or worry about a bad boss or co-worker, and thinks she’s got a pretty good deal around here. She does, and when she’s bad my husband says of this herder “we should have adopted the dumb one” and I threaten to take her back to the shelter where we got her, too young, just spayed at five weeks and sick as can be from hookworms and coccidia. Poor girl.

Empty threats. You should see it when she gets up to the stove to steal a croissant and carries it moustache-style by us and our guests at brunch to sneak to her favorite spot to eat it. I couldn’t even discipline her! We were all laughing too hard, wish I’d gotten a photo of that.

Perhaps entertaining us and her dog and people friends make her tired. They shouldn’t, as we spend brief periods of time and she always gets praise and a treat from someone.

Talking about Dog Tired our old buddy Jake the Golden Retriever who died last year, stayed a weekend with us a couple of years ago. He and Zoe played nicely for about four hours then I didn’t hear him for a minute or so, only hard breathing. He’d locked himself in a bathroom to get a break from Zoe. Now I understand dog tired! It’s dogs being tired FROM Zoe! I get it. Dee

Safety and Security

I feel safe here. When my husband is off at work for a week or months I know I have a safety net. Where? Everywhere. At all levels.

It’s called friends. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. We’re in transition again, three times in a month. We’re not moving anywhere unless something’s real. I have home base and will cook. Husband will be able to come home weekends. Dog will like him again. Yes, she loves him again, he’s the Fun Guy and I’m the Walker and Food Wench.

Security hits me like a brick wall (or slipping on a wet walkway) as it also means monetary security and having three jobs in a month is crazy and doesn’t lead to contentment on the wife’s part.

He has his job, I try to keep our lives together by making his job easier. He has someone who takes care of the home, meals, dog. I review contracts, pay bills, do taxes, and am also a problem solver and former consultant. I’m retired from all and getting used to not being paid for what I do.

We need to move simply for airport access. No, we won’t be at the back of the runway but I’ll need safety. To be sure, my dear husband always checks out everywhere we live. He sleeps through the night and I’m up at every dog whine to get up to the bed or go out. He wants to make sure I can take our older dog out in the middle of the night and be safe. I love him for this. Zoe loves him.

It’s no longer Good Friday so Happy Easter! Make those eggs and Hot Cross Buns. Send the kids on an egg hunt. We’re going to enjoy a good day together before a flight elsewhere…. Dee


Boss 1

I was asked if I knew anything about insurance. No. McKinneys (law books). No. Who’s McKinney?  Hired. Start Monday. That afternoon there was a party for a team lead.

Tab (pre-diet coke) in hand I arrived upstairs and the birthday boy was making everyone drink a shot of Jamesons Irish whiskey to toast him at the door. I demurred. He repeated his request and I showed him my beverage of choice.

Months later I was about to be out of a job and was in line for a promotion and raise. Guess who would be my boss? Yep, Jamesons boy.

First thing I said before a brief interview is that I hope this Fenian wouldn’t hold that against me. He hired me on the spot and when I showed up for work the next day it was with a bottle of Jamesons that he placed in his desk drawer.

I’ve a good Irish name and learned never to do that again. I was 21 and learning. And I still learn, every day. It is not a right but a pleasure. We learn how to deal with people and situations. How we do that affects our future every day.

It did help that I planned parties, team challenges, Friday beer and crossword puzzle team events, and birthdays. Yes, I was the only person ever allowed to book a table at our local haunt. They’d laugh when I called and I’d ask for the owners son and say it’s Dee. How many? 12. Corned beef and cabbage and PBR? Yes. Thank you. Table was set, beer out and sandwiches coming up.

Of course in addition to the biggest bill load and smallest pay in the building and my legal counsel trying to date me (NEVER), I also did all birthday, baby, wedding, and engagement shopping.

I was a good hire. And I was rich and spent three weeks per year traveling in Europe. $14K. Dee

New Ventures

I keep the photo of our friend who married us on my desk, until his burial and our move where it may go somewhere more special. Other things are working out somewhat.

Friday, my husband worked from home and after lunch we spent an hour or so looking for fixtures he needs for a presentation. Tripod, lights et al for for an exhibition of white boards (the kind that help work flow).

I crashed about 10 pm and he stayed up ’til 3am as is the life of a software guy. Dog still got me up at six am and we’re still on alternate schedules. Unfortunately I’ve got to get him back on real time today.

We’ve been driving around seeing the city and I’ve been walking and taking a few photos as I’m always interested in buds and flowers coming up in a town that has a serious winter. Next thing is to move (where?) and take off the snow tires.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I wish you well. I recall the year my sister and I received, in addition to our Mary Janes, a new coat and new dress, a pair each of matching Sears plaid sneakers.

Now we don’t know anyone, and usually are the stop for people with family out of town or across the world or alone. I always have food for all, and don’t this year, and no-one has invited us being new to town. I had to call the market and see if they are open so I can make something just for us.

It’s not like me. I always have adult “orphans” on holidays. Perhaps our gift to Goodwill will suffice. Cheers, Dee