Restoration Hardware is a Front!

You know that store, Restoration Hardware? It sells very cool and overpriced drawer pulls and fancy towel hooks? Well, I guess they sell cool electronic things, too, like this awesome walkie talkie pen.

I was looking at it, thinking what a cute gift it would be for the Husband, except we are either always together or too far away for it to work. But if we had a son, and he was 4 or 5 (since they are tech savvy at young ages these days), it would be the cutest Father's Day gift in the world! And the daydream goes on in this manner....

Until I scroll down. And try so hard not to crack up in the office.


Sliding Down the Ladder of Success

My boss has been on jury duty and asked me at the last minute, if I could drive to Sacramento today to take over his client consultations. I LOVE doing client consults so I did a quick rolodex flip in my brain, saw no pressing issues on my agenda, and immediately said, "yes." I expected a long drive to and from, which I decided to view as refreshingly solitary rather than flat, hot and boring. I expected a few client meetings, resulting in some new cases and the usual underappreciation by my boss. When I looked at his schedule I saw that the day would be packed, morning to evening. No problem-o!

I left home 2 1/2 hours early so I could get to our Sacramento office with some extra time to settle in and prepare myself. It was not to be so. The 8 minute drive from my house to the freeway took 39 minutes because the San Mateo Bridge is broken/on fire/blocked by spilled concrete/jammed and basically, entirely shut down. I was starving, I had to pee, I was running late. I called my first client and set our appointment back a bit. By the time I finally got to Sacramento, having diligently followed my MapQuest directions, I realized that I was driving away from downtown and towards fields. Our office is not in the fields. I drove in a huge circle, finally realized I could just ask someone for directions, did so and made a u-turn and drove in a huge circle the other way. I ended up back where I started, when I stopped at a gas station because that's where all the cartographers gather, of course.

Turns out the High Street Bridge is closed. Uh huh. Lovely. So I was given an alternate set of directions, which finally took me downtown, and I was so late by this time that my first (rescheduled) client was sitting there waiting with my second client. I did a round of apologies and explanations, took the first client into the office, and got started. I was a bit harried from traveling and stressed about being late and I kept dropping my pen and papers as I was settling in.

As we discussed his case, I began to fidget with my boss' adjustable chair. The left arm rest was perfectly aligned but the right arm rest was far too low. I looked my client in the eye, continued our conversation and felt along the right side of the chair. Where there is usually a knob to adjust arm rest height was nothing. I leaned to the right a bit and reached lower. Aha! I hit upon a lever, and confidently pulled it up. As I did so, I heard the sound of air releasing and my seat steadily dropped several inches until I was barely chest level with the desk.

All this time I was talking case management strategies with the client, making eye contact and trying to impress him with our firm's professionalism. Sitting at a big boy's desk like a munchkin. And I dared not re-adjust my seat height as it would simply bring more attention to my faux pas. Instead, I pretended I was perfectly comfortable peering up at my notes and the client appeared unfazed. Inside, I was dying to laugh. So much of my life lately is about rearranging myself and trying to adjust to unexpected situations. It was so nice to get to do that in a way that allows me to laugh at myself.


Can I get some advice?

I was working on a documentary/oral family history about my grandmother's life (in short, she was engaged at 12 in Iran, had an arranged marriage a few years later, spoke 4 languages, and in many ways is a very modern woman who now lives in the U.S.).

I have some film footage already because I was desperate to record whatever I could before Alzheimer's got the best of her. Now she's had a stroke, can barely speak, and the memory loss is greater. :( I'm heartbroken, and I've since given up on the project.

But now I'm thinking about how it would be a nice tribute to her. But what do I do now? I don't have enough footage to create my documentary. Do I change it to a documentary about my trying to make this film about my grandmother and what she is dealing with at the end of her life? Do I make it a documentary about the various Persian Jewish women in my life, with my grandmother being one of them? That seems kind of directionless and I'm still in love with the idea of focusing on her.

I'm worried about disrespecting her because in Persian culture you do not share your moments of weakness with the world. She had a lot of pride and I know her dignity was always important to her. So I think she would not want to be seen this way. On the other hand, she has always been interested in sharing what she knows and what she has lived.


Anal-Retentives of the World, Unite and Take Over!

Morrissey had his thing for shoplifters, I have my thing for office supplies, and perhaps a confluence of the two would be shoplifting office supplies. Minor office supply cabinet pilfering aside (and really, it's barely a thing, maybe a highlighter pen here and there on my way to a field meeting, which I later put in my purse and forget to return to the office stash- though I admit I find binder clips fascinatingly tempting . . . but that doesn't mean one should assume I lay my sticky fingers on them for non-work purposes, ahem), I get a certain joy in buying office supplies.

Okay, I get a certain joy in simply perusing the meticulous aisles of an office supply store, especially independently owned establishments that also carry a lot of caligraphy and art supplies, neither of which I have any use for, and Japanese stationary stores, with their variety of colored filing folders and colored notebooks and erasers in the shapes of hamburgers or maki rolls that send me into an over-stimulated, mouth-gaping trance. I have a love for things I do not need, and even after considering how I can find a way to need the object in order to justify it's purchase ("Hmmm...this graph lined notebook would be perfect for trigonometry class, but I don't take trigonometry class . . . But!! I could use it to practice perfecting my Hebrew script, each letter perfectly spaced, height and width . . . like Jewish serial killer handwriting . . ."), still do not need.

But the fantasy of a streamlined, organized life lures me in, so I am forever struggling with the inclination to buy versus the inclination not to add to my clutter, which, more than separation of Church and State, is the quintessential American struggle. And which is ironic, since the appeal of the stationary and office supplies, which add to my clutter, is the promise of a more organized, birthday-remembering, filing system wizard, everything-has-it's-place-and-is-exactly-there, Me.

But! There is nothing wrong with looking, right? And I found my new favorite place to peek. Under "Shop by Product," they actually list a category entitled "Life Organization" (cue angels singing). They sell punctuated page marks! What the hell are those?! Something I've never thought of in my life but suddenly am very desirous of, for Lord only knows what purpose. It's not only full of pretty office supplies, but it has all these great articles about getting organized that I plan to print out, read, and file away right on top of that mountain of paper on my desk.


Might as well start talking to myself, that way I'm guaranteed an audience.

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Hottie and I were doing some shopping at Trader Joe's. We were meandering along each aisle, and when we reached the dried fruits and nuts (I feel like there should be a joke there, but nothing comes to mind just yet. Probably for the best.) I faced the shelves and commented, "I love cashews but I can't buy them because I never stop eating them." The inventory clerk who was standing next to me, restocking the dried peaches, paused and slowly turned to look at me, and said, "Uhh.....Oh."

Puzzled, I turned to the my right, looking for Mr. Hottie, who was nowhere to be found! I had inadvertently been talking to myself (Don't you hate when that happens, and doesn't it seem to happen most often in grocery stores?). I realized how strange my cashew nut announcement must have seemed in the absence of my intended audience, so I laughed and told the clerk that I was talking to my friend, who must have headed in another direction. He laughed in relief, and I said, "Oh, you must have thought that I just make random announcements in the grocery aisles!" We contemplated a visit to the dairy refrigerator, where I would stare straight ahead at the milk and announce, "I like the organic milk, but I never seem to finish it before the expiry date" and off to the sauces aisle where he would share his feelings on stocking glass jars.



Hearsay, Relevance, and Business Records

Well, after a hellish couple of months and some crazy interactions with my unprofessional boss who took his vacation while we had a couple of cases up for trial....I had my first trial today. I wasn't lead counsel, so I didn't present the opening argument, or ask the witness questions, or present the evidence, but I did most of the work and all of the research that lay the foundation for our argument. My crazy, newly-tanned boss, who just got back this weekend, wasn't even familiar with the underlying case or any of the case law that set precedent until two days ago, when he read my summaries.

Anyways, while it was not fun having to prep for trial with neither the proper support staff nor guidance, not to mention a lack of proper research tools, presenting the actual trial was invigorating and gave me a shot of much-needed inspiration to continue in my profession. It turned out fine because my first time in trial, I didn't actually have much pressure to perform so I was able to concentrate on everything that was going on and review the proceedings with a critical eye. And it was validating to see my research, arguments, and words make up a strong case. I was also waiting for my first chance to exclaim, "Objection!" but nothing came up that I needed to object to.