Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking Forward to the New Year

I'm not sure where the time went, but it certainly flew by. To be honest, I'm sort of glad to see 2010 leave. Although some wonderful milestones happened in my life and in the lives of those whom I love most, I'm hopeful that the economy will continue to pick up ever so slightly and that more people will find jobs. I'm also hoping (and praying) that those of us who are fortunate and blessed enough to have jobs will keep them. But is "keeping" your job enough? For me, I'm hoping this is a year of growth and change and continued development at work. I hope to bloom where I'm planted and maybe realize that what I'm looking for is what I already have.

I'll admit I'm a little late in looking for a calendar for 2011 but I always wait until the end of the year. I'm a little bit superstitious. Don't want to "jinx" myself. That is, I take nothing for granted and am too skeptical to presume that I will even live to see the New Year. But, as it looks like the odds might possibly be in my favor, I'm shopping for calendars.

Coincidentally (or not), the first calendar I ran into on the office supply store website was the Mead Looking Forward Calendar (R). The description reads, "Plan continuously by tearing away previous weeks to look forward!"

Those are words to chew on. Plan continuously. Tear away previous weeks. That might be interpreted to mean let go of past conflicts in the workplace, previous disappointments about promotions not received or performance reviews you may have found less than exciting. Look forward. What a novel concept, huh?

I'm not sure if I'm going to buy this particular calendar, but I do want to say "thanks" to Mead (TM) for giving me something to ponder.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"The Glass Rainbow" By James Lee Burke

Here's something for the mystery book lover on your list. James Lee Burke is brilliant (as usual) with the latest in his Dave Robicheaux mystery series.

"James Lee Burke’s eagerly awaited new novel finds Detective Dave Robicheaux back in New Iberia, Louisiana, and embroiled in the most harrowing and dangerous case of his career. Seven young women in neighboring Jefferson Davis Parish have been brutally murdered. While the crimes have all the telltale signs of a serial killer, the death of Bernadette Latiolais, a high school honor student, doesn’t fit: she is not the kind of hapless and marginalized victim psychopaths usually prey upon. Robicheaux and his best friend, Clete Purcel, confront Herman Stanga, a notorious pimp and crack dealer whom both men despise. When Stanga turns up dead shortly after a fierce beating by Purcel, in front of numerous witnesses, the case takes a nasty turn, and Clete’s career and life are hanging by threads over the abyss.

Adding to Robicheaux’s troubles is the matter of his daughter, Alafair, on leave from Stanford Law to put the finishing touches on her novel. Her literary pursuit has led her into the arms of Kermit Abelard, celebrated novelist and scion of a once prominent Louisiana family whose fortunes are slowly sinking into the corruption of Louisiana’s subculture. Abelard’s association with bestselling ex-convict author Robert Weingart, a man who uses and discards people like Kleenex, causes Robicheaux to fear that Alafair might be destroyed by the man she loves. As his daughter seems to drift away from him, he wonders if he has become a victim of his own paranoia. But as usual, Robicheaux’s instincts are proven correct and he finds himself dealing with a level of evil that is greater than any enemy he has confronted in the past.

Set against the backdrop of an Edenic paradise threatened by pernicious forces, James Lee Burke’s The Glass Rainbow is already being hailed as perhaps the best novel in the Robicheaux series."
(from book jacket)

This is a real page-turner, non-stop action and mystery to the very last page.

(I feel like eating a po' boy for lunch)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

By The Sea, By The Sea, By The Beautiful Sea

There comes a time in a woman's life, when she realizes that not just any old moisturizer will do. It's around the same time she notices that the woman in the mirror isn't the girl in the pictures from the disco. In fact, that's when she realizes they don't even call it "disco" these days! Oh, heck, you can't remember where "they" go or what "they" do there! But, you are still going to work every day. And so, maybe the "cookie jar' fund should be re-labeled "The Youth Jar." Meaning that it might be time to start investing in our skin.

A friend of mine who used to work at Neiman Marcus would always brag about the fact that she only used "La Mer." Oh, sure, I'd seen it in the cosmetic counter, but I didn't dare inquire about it. It's expensive and therefore somewhat intimidating for us 9-to-5 gals.

That said, Creme de la Mer is probably just short of a miracle. La Mer sent me a sample to try. It's been really cold lately and my skin was taking on a leather-like texture - not good.

I found myself handling my little sample jar like you would a magic potion or secret formula. I was so excited and nervous. I mean, little old me, using La Mer???

Within 7 days, I noticed the difference. Goodbye leather, hello sexy! Well, okay, maybe not sexy, but my skin looks great.

At $130 for an ounce, it's definitely an investment but think of it as an investment in your career. Because, after all, who wants to be the oldest looking gal in the office?

You can learn all about "the secret" of La Mer at:

Sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and select specialty stores.

Something for the bosses to think about when picking up those holiday gift cards (hint-hint)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Office Party Etiquette 101

It's that time of year again. Some of you may have already had your company party, but if you haven't, here are a few tips that might make for a jolly-olly time that won't come back to bite you in the . . .er. You know.

1. Keep your holiday conversations focused on the event as much as possible. You're there to celebrate the holidays, whichever holiday you celebrate. Save your personal and intimate conversations for your outside celebrations.

2. Please - no lampshades on the head or variations thereof. Yes, I went there. No matter how many times you've been told, some of you still tend to "over-indulge." You know your limits. When you start to feel that maybe another glass of wine will be the one that took the last secretary down, switch to sparkling water.

3. How low can you go? We don't want to know. Be festive but don't use the holiday party as an excuse to show the boss and everyone else your greatest assets. Moderation is the key. No one expects you to wear your oxford shirt and trousers, but not too short, not too low. You get my drift.

4. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Don't start telling stories to your co-workers' spouses and partners about things that happen at work. These people don't work with you and this is information which should be shared on a "need to know basis." In other words, zip it.

5. Be gracious and acknowledge what a nice effort (no matter how small) it was for your firm to put on a holiday party. The recession isn't over no matter what you've heard. Many people are out of work. Don't start yakking about how this year's party is "scaled down" from years before. At least you have a job.

6. Take a deep breath and suck it up. Remember, it's the most wonderful time of year!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Most Politically Correct Office Gift (Well, Depending On The Title)!

Chronicle Books is having their national Holiday Friends & Family Sale!

From today through Dec. 5, customers will receive 35% off plus free ground shipping on their website:

Use promo code FRIENDS.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Not Your Mother's Court Reporter

Atkinson-Baker introduces their new service, "Mobile Transcript", which delivers deposition transcripts to smartphones.

Mobile Transcript is an app that provides you with the ability to fully utilize deposition transcripts on your smartphone. Atkinson Baker uploads your transcripts to the Mobile Transcript website, which in turn downloads the transcripts to your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Blackberry devices. And it doesn’t cost you anything.

Mobile Transcript allows you to:

* highlight and flag text;
* bookmark;
* jump to next highlight;
* keyword search;
* jump to page number;
* e-mail transcripts from within the transcript;
* e-mail transcript in PDF with or without your yellow highlights;
* finger swipe feature to move from page to page;
* use enlarged page arrow keys which are repositioned under user's thumbs when holding the device horizontally; and
* increase the screen viewing area to review and annotate the transcript.

For more information, contact:
Atkinson-Baker Director of Client Services


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where's the Glamour?

By Lindsay Valek

Ten years ago, my favorite southern belle, Shelby (a/k/a Julia Roberts), lit up the big screen portraying a woman that I, for one, had never heard of. As a result of her performance, everyone in America got a taste for the paralegal profession’s sexy, mysterious, and seemingly thrilling job description. The year was 2000 and Erin Brockovich had stolen our hearts.

Hollywood had created an illusion of intrigue, suspense, passion and the notorious tug of war wherein good triumphs over evil, the big company crumbles, children are saved, the mother dies to protect them, and Erin Brockovich gets a big fat check. Sitting in my first “Introduction to Paralegal Studies” course at the local community
college, I just knew that I, too, would soon be sneaking into secret file rooms to discover smoking gun documents for which my boss (and the entire town) would be forever in my debt.

And then I got a gig as a Paralegal.

Within two hours of being on the job, my fantasies were viciously ripped to shreds. I spent my first morning learning how to create a WordPerfect macro to print Bates labels and my afternoon two-hole punching correspondence. Somehow, I didn’t think I’d be getting an Oscar nod anytime soon. What happened to my grand ideas for saving the innocent and sticking it to the man? After a few weeks in, I was seriously considering demanding the community college refund me for that Tort Law course which I obviously would not be using anytime in the near future.

Over the course of my career as a paralegal I have learned many things:

I’ve learned that original stock certificates are priceless and that attorneys’ handwriting mimics that of some of the most notorious serial killers to date.

I’ve learned that the most important thing I can do in my job is to keep 712,423 documents organized, indexed and housed in one file room and that I should never, under ANY circumstances, count a federal holiday while calendaring responses to Requests to Admit.

I’ve earned an honorary certification as a copy repairman and have recently considered submitting my application for a stunt artist as I have mastered the art of delicately balancing 7 boxes, 2 laptops, and a cup of coffee on one dolly while wearing heels.

I’ve learned that this job is not always pretty.

At some point, you will find yourself in a situation like I was once in: Outside a courthouse on a cold, January morning, unpacking a Tahoe filled with bankers boxes, briefcases, a projector, and a portable screen, left alone to lug it all inside and through security as your bosses hurry into the building bundled warmly in their wool coats.

You will swallow your pride and call a clerk’s office three times to ask the same question, three different ways and, yes, the clerk will speak to you as though you’re a moron.

You will fetch everything from coffee to dry cleaning to your boss's wife’s dog from the parlor, and you will get to experience what it’s like to not eat lunch for 4 days straight.

You will make mistakes and hold back tears as you tell your boss that you accidentally filed a complaint without the exhibits attached.

All of these things WILL happen ~ and then some. Sounding too good for you yet? Fear not, as while you’re busy perfecting of all of these seemingly un-glamorous jobs, you will also become a mind reader, a computer genius, a forward thinker, a confidant, a source of information, a point person, and the most organized human being on the planet. You may not realize you’re becoming these things until it smacks you right in the face but trust me when I tell you, you will begin to change.

Working in the trenches as a paralegal will not just get your hands dirty, but will expose you to worlds that you never imagined being immersed in. You will no longer be just a paralegal. You will become an expert on oil companies, timber cutting, land development at the shopping mall, the inner workings of a bank, and what happens to a child’s skin when a cigarette lighter’s safety device is installed improperly.

There will be times when you will wish that you did not know certain things ~ like how many times your insurance agent emailed his mistress or that when Social Services took your client's child, she was drunk as a skunk, had cocaine in her purse and a toddler in the front seat of her car.

I once had someone tell me that some of my articles weren’t particularly “pleasant,” which highly offended me because A) I’m southern and B) my mother happened to raise my brothers and I a wee bit on the sensitive side (just ask our significant others). Feeling a little pessimistic, I perused the comments I’ve received in recent months and it got me thinking: Some of my articles aren’t pleasant but by God, they’re real and from the looks of things, every paralegal, legal assistant and legal secretary from Illinois to Florida to Arizona has either thought or felt the EXACT same way.

Welcome to the paralegal profession. This gig isn’t as glamorous as many (ahem….my mother) likes to imagine but with the right background music, the payoff is something straight out of a movie. As the theme song crescendos, I sit perched at my desk, 31 years old, single, childless and oftentimes wondering where my life is going and how this journey is going to turn. And then, I realize that I’m living it right now. The fantasy? There’s no glamour. The reality?

Wouldn’t change a thing.

This article was originally published in Know: a Magazine for Paralegals.

(Reprinted with the author's permission)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Law of Attraction" by Allison Leotta

"As newly minted Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., Anna Curtis has already developed thick skin to deal with the brutality she encounters with her daily stack of domestic violence cases. Yet when Laprea Johnson walks into Anna's life - battered by her boyfriend on the morning after Valentine's Day - there's something about this particular case that Anna can't quite shake, something that reminds the prosecutor of her own troubled past."

(From jacket flap)

I opened this book on the train on my way to work this morning. By the time, I departed the train, I had just finished Chapter Six and I knew that I was hooked."

Stay tuned for complete review.

Law of Attraction: A Novel
(Touchstone Hardcover/Simon & Schuster)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bullying - It's Not Just For Kids Anymore - "Workplace Bullies" by Laura Casey (C)

The article below was authored by Laura Casey of the Bay Area Newsgroup. It appeared in today's Oakland Tribune and is reprinted with permission.

Workplace Bullies Ruin Lives
By Laura Casey
Bay Area Newsgroup

Kim is being stalked in the halls by her supervisor. Her every move is scrutinized, judged. Every day, she is berated with personal insults suggesting that she's just not good enough to work anywhere.

The yelling and unfair accusations do not simply make her hate coming to work. It has led to more serious health issues.

Kim, a 29-year-old medical office worker, who didn't want her last name used, has fallen into a depression. She's losing weight, having panic attacks and, two months ago, had to take a leave of absence from work. The Berkeley resident is hoping to transfer to another office, but in the meantime, she's going to counseling to heal. She dreads returning to her workplace and her bully.

"It's like I'm stuck," she says. "I don't know what to do. I am sick, and I can't change this person. I don't want to lose my job."

Bullying is a growing concern across the country, yet workplace bullying is a life-altering threat that rarely gathers the attention that schoolyard bullying does. Still, workplace bullying can prompt feelings of stress, depression and anxiety, and some say it can cause heart attacks and even lead to suicide.

There are no laws on the books in any state against workplace bullying and no easy legal recourse to embark on when bullying ruins lives.

Psychologists and spouses Gary and Ruth Namie have heard thousands of stories as heartbreaking as Kim's since 1997, when they developed an anti-workplace bullying organization in Benicia. Now called the Workplace Bullying Institute and headquartered in Bellingham, Wash., the center offers support and counseling to people who are victims of what the Namies call verbal violence in the workplace. They also commission studies to find out whom is being bullied at work and how bullying affects the workplace.

The Namies got into this business after Ruth Namie became a target for a bully at a Bay Area mental health center. Shortly after reporting to her job, she says she was screamed at in the halls, picked on by her boss and isolated from her co-workers.

"I felt I had done something wrong," she says. "I did so well in my other jobs and never had a problem. I had a very good career. I just wanted to work. But I kept feeling like I was doing something wrong. I was ashamed, and I didn't want to tell anybody."

She was eventually put on administrative leave, and she and her husband made it their mission to fight workplace bullying.

"I am so worried about this," says Gary Namie, visibly shaken during a recent seminar in South San Francisco where a young woman in tears shared that she had been bullied two years before. "You don't typically read about the suicides that are related to this, the health problems. Yet we tell (victims of bullying) that if you don't take care of your health, it will harm you in innumerable ways, and it could cost you your life."

Workplace bullying can happen in any workplace, Namie says, and the targets are usually people who simply want to do their work undisturbed. The bully can be a boss, co-worker or supervisor. According to 2010 research by Zogby International, 35 percent of workers have experienced bullying firsthand, what amounts to 53 million people. The study says that 62 percent of bullies are men, while 58 percent of targets are women. Women target women 80 percent of time. Workplace bullies are usually jealous of the target's accomplishments and drive, the Namies say.

"You're sport," Gary Namie says. "Targets are the salt of the Earth, and it gets you snookered."

Peralta College District math professor William Lepowsky had been teaching at Laney College in Oakland for 32 years when bullies started targeting him in the early 2000s.

"It was something I was absolutely ignorant of until I experienced it," he says. The bullying started after Lepowsky wrote and self-published a statistics textbook used at Laney. He was accused by an administrator of acting improperly and, even after being cleared of any wrongdoing, Lepowsky says he was threatened with the loss of his job.

"A good analogy to (workplace bullying) is that it's like a mugging. You go to the theater and you're walking home, and they steal your purse or something," he says. "It's obviously a huge violation, something no one is looking for. It comes out of the blue and prevents you from enjoying going out to the movie or whatever you were going to enjoy."

Lepowsky fought back by gathering support from co-workers and won, eventually receiving a written apology from the then-Chancellor of the District for the "stress and strain" caused by actions of other administrators. A change in leadership at the college and District made him feel comfortable at work again.

Lepowsky talks openly about his experience because he wants to help others. He never sued the district nor got a settlement.

But if he had chosen to sue because of the bullying, he would have faced a daunting problem: The practice is not illegal in the workplace if it's not based on discrimination and doesn't fit the legal definition of harassment. Therefore, if a target chooses to take legal action they rarely win cases against their employers.

"They have no legal recourse because it's not against the law," says Michelle Smith, a Sacramento-based workplace advocate trying to gather support for the Healthy Workplace Bill. The bill, which has been introduced in several states and has died in committee in California, would define an "abusive work environment" and hold both the bully and the employer accountable for the harm workplace bullying causes.

So what can be done if you are a target of bullying?

The Namies assure targets that they are not alone, that they didn't cause the bullying to happen.

"Bullying is domestic violence where the abuser is on the payroll," Gary Namie says. And, like in cases of domestic violence, the victim is simply that, a victim.

In their book "The Bully At Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job," (Sourcebooks, $16.99) the Namies suggest ways of taking care of your needs first. See a therapist or work with a Workplace Bullying Institute expert to develop strategies for coping with the bully. In some cases, asking an employer to fix the problem is appropriate -- but it could backfire. According to Workplace Bullying Institute research, in some cases the complaints are either ignored or the bullying is intensified.

In a worst-case scenario, if your health is being severely harmed, they suggest taking time off work or looking for alternative workplaces.

"I think your health is much more important than working at a job that can potentially kill you," Ruth Namie says.

Screaming Mimi: This bully isn't afraid to yell at you. She controls through fear and intimidation, even throwing objects around the office.

Constant Critic: The critic is an extremely negative nit-picker and aims to destroy confidence in your competence. He makes unreasonable demands for work with impossible deadlines and expects perfection.

Two-Headed Snake: This bully is passive-aggressive, dishonest and indirect. He smiles to hide aggression.

Gatekeeper: She controls all the resources you need to succeed, including money, staffing and time. She keeps her target out of the loop and makes new rules on a whim.

Excerpt from "The Bully At Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job," by Gary and Ruth Namie.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Witch" Team Are You Rooting For?*

*Designed and Created by Kelly McVay, San Francisco

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wake Up, San Francisco! Keurig is Having a K-Cup Party

Keurig is giving away free cups of coffee at Justin Herman Plaza (at the Embarcadero Center) from Tuesday, October 26 through Thursday, October 28, 2010 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
I had the "Emeril" Cup this morning. Soooo good. I think I'll try the Gloria Jean's after lunch!

There's always something happening in this town. Gotta love it.

Keurig is a coffee machine manufacturing company that is a subsidiary of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.. Its machines are all designed to quickly brew a single cup of coffee or tea. The grounds are in prepared, single-serving K-Cups.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Monday, October 25, 2010

You Know You Want One!

On my way back from lunch, spotted these adorable little "Chiweenies" (Miniature Daschund/Chihuahua)newborns at the Yap Wrap Store in Embarcadero Two.

If you want to adopt one of these cuties, contact:

A Leg Up Rescue
P.O. Box 166
Windsor, CA 95492

Fax Number: (415) 329-1510

Foster Care Program:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Alameda County Legal Secretaries' Association Welcomes Author/Paralegal Sue Ann Jaffarian

Pictured: Bryana Schroeder, ACLSA President and Author Sue Ann Jaffarian

The Alameda County Legal Secretaries Association held their membership drive meeting on October 14, 2010 at Nixon Peabody in San Francisco.

Guest speaker was everybody's favorite paralegal/author Sue Ann Jaffarian. Ms. Jaffarian was engaging, witty and a good time was had by all.

Bryanna Schroeder, President of ACLSA, presented Ms. Jaffarian with an adorable handmade "Odelia Grey" doll.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Sue Ann Jaffarian's books, "Odelia" is the main character in her Odelia Grey Mystery Series.

For more information on the Alameda County Legal Secretaries Association, go to:

Sue Ann Jaffarian's newest novel is "Murder In Vein," and it's all about vampires and romance and is a big departure from the Odelia and Granny Apples series. So, if you like vampires, you'll love "Murder In Vein."

Read all about "Murder In Vein" and Sue Ann Jaffarian at:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today Is National Boss's Day (And What You Do With This Information Is Entirely Up to You! :)

National Boss's Day which is celebrated on October 16th each year. If the holiday falls on a weekend, it is generally celebrated on the working day closest to October 16. National Boss Day offers employees an opportunity to recognize those in supervisory positions. Popular ways to say "thanks" include cards, a lunch in the boss’s honor, outdoor picnics, flowers, or gift certificates.

Patricia Bays Haroski is given the sole credit for creating. She was an employee at State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Ill. She worked under her father and became aware of the problems he had to face while leading the employees and managing the company. In order to show her admiration and respect for her father-boss, she hit upon the idea of Boss Day. In 1958, she registered the holiday with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. She designated October 16 as the special day because it was her father’s birthday. Ms. Haroski’s purpose was to designate a day to show appreciation for her boss and other bosses. She also hoped to improve the relationship between employees and supervisors. She believed young employees often do not realize the challenges bosses face in running a business.

Four years after she registered the holiday, Governor of Illinois, Otto Kerner, welcomed the proposal of observing National Boss's Day and officially proclaimed the day in 1962. The idea became popular across the country in no time and soon, even England, Australia and South Africa started celebrating Boss's Day in full throttle.

Hallmark did not offer a Boss Day card for sale until 1979, but increased the size of its National Boss Day line by 90 percent in 2007 by creating collections of new and innovative cards. Some publishers like 123greetings and American Greetings have boss day cards even for ex boss and women boss.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Notice of Increase In California Filing Fees

One Legal Advisory

October 14, 2010

The following information was provided to One Legal by the California Association of Legal Support Professionals. We hope you find it of interest.

Notice of Increase in California Filing Fees

As part of the Budget Act of 2010, certain filing fees will increase. Each county will begin collection of the new fees at different times based on when they can update their systems. The fees that will increase are outlined below:

1. First appearance in an unlimited action by plaintiff(s) and each defendant will increase to $395. This fee increase applies to all types of filings in which the previous fee was $355 (civil, probate, family, etc.)
2. First appearance in a limited action ($10,000 up to $25,000) by plaintiff(s) and each defendant will increase to $370.
3. First appearance in a limited action (under $10,000) by plaintiff(s) and each defendant will increase to $220.

Note: the above fees do not include the additional fees required for Unlawful Detainer filings (additional $15) or the surcharges imposed in Riverside County, San Bernardino County or the City and County of San Francisco.

4. Motion for Summary Judgment/Adjudication will increase to $500.
5. Application by counsel to appear Pro Hac Vice will increase to $500.
6. Additional $3 penalty to every parking violation.
7. Additional increases in various criminal penalties and traffic fines.

Additionally, the Judicial Council is required to establish a fee for telephonic appearances on or before July 1, 2011 (separate from any fees paid to "Court Call" or other vendors).

These new fees will go into effect immediately upon the Governor's signature on SB857, which is expected to be next week.

Please Note: One Legal will continue its practice of presenting the appropriate filing fee to the court clerk so as to ensure timely filings.

Eric Winkler
One Legal LLC

Monday, October 11, 2010

Doesn't It Feel Good to Wear Hane's(R)?

Apparently not. Fewer and fewer women wear nylons these days. Oh, I haven't done any scientific study. This is just my unofficial survey. I think that working in a large metropolitan city makes me somewhat of an expert.

The hosiery women once had to choose from left a lot to be desired. I started wearing stockings in an era when there was very little to choose from in color, style and comfort. In fact, in the "old days" I think there might have been a policy against not wearing hose. At least in the workplace.

But these days, unless they're textured or fishnet, I don't see them at all. They seem to have gone the way of the handkerchief. I used to love these wonderfully sheer Christian Dior pantyhose in the 80s and 90s. They no longer exist.

I started giving this some serious thought the other day when I saw a very attractive, well-dressed young woman, obviously a professional, with a nice portfolio under her arm on the elevator. Elevators are the perfect place to do a quick "once-over" without being caught because no one looks at each other in elevators anymore. Anyway, she had lovely legs. Bare legs. And while bronzers and waxing have definitely added to the attraction of the bare leg, it still seemed that something was not quite right with the bare-legged interview look.

What say you? Am I just old-fashioned or do pantyhose still have a place in society, the workplace, in particular?

Just something to think about on a Monday morning.

Make it a great week!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thought You Were Having a Bad Day?

Nora McFarland's debut novel, "A Bad Day's Work," will make your worst work day seem like a holiday. Lilly Hawkins in a TV news photographer in Bakersfield, California. After responding to a breaking story in the middle of the night, Lilly's quest to turn her "work slump" around turns into everything but successful.

Great action, totally adorable heroine, easy to read and the perfect commute novel.

Nora McFarland has worked for CNN and holds an MFA from the University of California's school of cinema and television. Ms. McFarland resides in Macon, Georgia.

A Touchstone Book Published by Simon and Schuster

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Are What You Wear: Work = "No Flip Flops Zone"

We're enjoying very nice warm weather these days. Typical for the Bay Area this time of year. Wool coats in the summer and tank tops come autumn.

But, please, remember, if you're a working woman or man, there are still certain rules which should apply to your office attire.

Today at lunch, I saw a woman walking and talking on a cell phone, conducting what sounded like a business conversation. She was wearing a short skirt (no crime) but the skirt had an exceptionally high "slit" in back and she was literally offering a "peep" show to the entire financial district. Not cool.

And, please remember, not only are flip-flops not appropriate office attire (unless you're walking back from a lunch-time pedicure), they are dangerous. What if you stubbed your toe on a metal file cabinet? Ouch.

Enjoy the weather but keep it all in perspective.

Oh, and leave your tank tops for the weekend too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cuz A Girl's Gotta Do What A Girl's Gotta Do!

For us working girls (and guys), the weekends are the only time you have to roll up your sleeves and take care of your own chores. And since I like to save my hands for typing (LOL), I always use rubber gloves for household chores.

But hey, who's to say that can't be fun too (or at least whimsical)? I scored this really cute pair of rubber gloves today with matching dishbrush and sponge. They're decorated with the cutest sunflowers and made in Spain by Vigar (TM).

*(I got mine at Ross).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Speaking of Books - Review of "Rain Gods" by James Lee Burke

This 450-ish page book by James Lee Burke was as dense a feast as “War and Peace.” James Lee Burke uses a plot and storyline to provoke philosophical and theological discourse. He takes you back to English literature class where “Moby Dick” and “Beowolf” are dissected to demonstrate basic elements of imagery and metaphor in prose. This is not an easy read. I was constantly taxed and taken to task to understand and delve into the mysteries of the interaction of man and creation just before someone was blown away or was facing certain death but spared. Sometimes this would be frustrating because I simply needed a violence fix or because I didn’t want to think anymore. But, be sure that this piece with strong characters like Sherriff Holland, Pam Tibbs, Preacher, Vikki Gaddis, and Ester Dolan (female majority) interact in similar fashion to a Shakespearian play. A tragedy, this is not but it is still far enough from all getting what is deserved. The only player in this read getting what is truly deserved is the reader. James Lee Burke makes it rain brilliantly, with life giving infusion of descriptive and insightful phraseology and action.

(Reviewed by Stewart Richard)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Everybody's Favorite Paralegal Author Coming to San Francisco - RSVP Now!

Invites You to

"An Evening With Sue Ann Jaffarian"

Thursday, October 14, 2010
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Nixon Peabody, LLP
One Embarcadero Center, 18th Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94111
Tel: (510) 325-6349

Entrée Options
Middle Eastern Salad and Sandwich
Buffet, beverage/dessert included
(Vegetarian option will be available)
Cost: $15.00

It's the Northern California launch of her first book in her
new Fang-In-Cheek Mystery Series.

“Madison Rose didn't believe in vampires ... until they saved her life.”

[Sue Ann’s book will be available for purchase at this event, and we’re sure she
would love to autograph them for you.]


(510) 326-8180

About the Author:
Like the character Odelia Grey, Sue Ann Jaffarian is a middle-aged, full-time paralegal in Southern California. She is also the author of two best-selling mystery series, the Odelia Grey mystery series and the Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series, as well as a new vampire mystery series launched with the release of "Murder in Vein."

In addition to writing and her paralegal career, Sue Ann is sought after as a
motivational speaker.

For more information about the Alameda County Legal Secretaries' Association:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nook At This!

Barnes and Noble let me borrow a Nook(TM) for a few weeks. I'm old-fashioned and will never give up on books or newspapers or magazines, but I have to admit this is way cool and definitely made me realize that there's room for new options in my life.


Light, compact and user-friendly. I love how it turns one page into a series of smaller pages and that it shows your reading progress at the bottom of the screen. That's great incentive to finish the book and challenged me to read more often.


It takes a while to power on. And that's a very small "minus" compared to all the enjoyment I got from The Nook (TM).

And the price compared to The Kindle (TM) makes it even more attractive.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Saturday Night Bowling Fun - August 28, 2010

Hosted by the Mt. Diablo Legal Professionals Association.
If you like to bowl, want to socialize with legal professionals in the East Bay, want to donate to a good cause, or just want to support this event, please save the date:

Saturday, August 28, 2010, 1-3:30pm

Paddock Bowl
5915 Pacheco Blvd.
Pacheco, California (located near the cross of 680 and Hwy 4)

Tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for under 13 year olds. $0 for non-bowlers. Snacks provided, but a full snack bar is also available.

All proceeds go to the East Bay Community Law Center, a non-profit organization in Berkeley, which consists of many volunteers and employees who provide free legal aid to low income and homeless individuals primarily living in Alameda County. The number of clients has grown tremendously with the decline in the economy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Each One, Knit One - St. Anthony Foundation Knitting Project

The Deal
• Knit on your own and send it in (send in your registration below so we can keep you updated on the impact your scarf made).
• Make a goal with your knitting group or friends and knit together (send in your registration below or register on our website so we know how many).
• Join the St. Anthony’s Knitting Group and come knit with us the last Saturday of the month (Go to for more information).
• Scarves will be given free to g uests of St. Anthony’s during the holidays.

The Goods
• Size: Our scarves need to be 5-6 inches wide and 58-60 inches long.
• Yarn: We recommend mid-weight #3 yarn, worsted, aran, or afghan.
• Materials: Washable wool or wool/acrylic blends (PLEASE no cotton yarns, they are not warm and they hold in the damp).
• Colors: Neutral, classic, or bright (white or light colored yarn soils easily).
• Yardage: 200 depending on pattern, or about 3 skeins = 2 scarves.
• Needle size: U.S. 7-9 depending on yarn weight.

The Deadline December 15, 2010. Scarves can be dropped off or mailed to:

St. Anthony Foundation
Attn: Knitting Project
150 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Food for Thought *

By Addie Broyles

I hate to break it to you, but you cannot outwork your computer.

The humming box on your desk at work is a multitasking machine, running multiple programs simultaneously, autosaving spreadsheets and reports, pinging you with new e-mails, keeping open those Internet tabs of articles you intend to read and streaming into your already oversaturated brain the new Arcade Fire album you just bought on iTunes.

For those of us who work in front of a computer, we spend eight (or more) hours a day just trying to keep up with our to-do lists and the steady influx of tasks that come through our in-boxes, often stopping only to use the restroom, fetch the mail or a soda, dig a piece of chocolate out of the office stash or reheat leftovers that we shovel into our mouths between clicks of the mouse.

If you're lucky, you trek out of the office to a nearby sandwich shop, grab a turkey club, lug it back to your desk and mindlessly consume it while answering e-mails.

Our computers don't need a break, so why should we?

Catherine McCarthy, who recently wrote "The Way We're Working Isn't Working" with Tony Schwartz (Free Press, $28), says taking a break at lunch is important from both a nutritional and productivity perspective. According to the American Dietetic Association, 20 percent of us skip lunch altogether and most people eat at their desks two to three times a week.

Rather than working mindlessly for a long period of time, McCarthy and Schwartz recommend in the book breaking up your day into shorter, more focused segments that are separated by designated breaks for recharging. The biggest, most important break? Lunch.

Click here to read the article in its entirety published in the Austin American-Statesman and authored by Addie Broyles.

*(Reprinted with Permission)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cookies for Tanisha

Many customers may recognize the smiling face of Tanisha Sepulveda. Tanisha’s enthusiasm and upbeat energy have brightened the days of Specialty’s customers and team members alike. Unfortunately, Tanisha recently shattered the C5 vertebrae in her neck in a tragic incident – leaving her mostly paralyzed and facing large hospital and equipment bills on her road to recovery.

Specialty’s is committed to assist Tanisha in her recovery and we are thrilled to partner with our customers in this effort. Please help us help Tanisha! For every CookieGram cookie sent until Wednesday, August 18th, Specialty’s will donate $1.00 to the Tanisha Sepulveda Recovery Fund.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tune Into the "R" Word - "The Recessionistas" by Alexandra Lebenthal

In case you hadn't heard, Broke is the new Black!

Grab your coffee cup and plug your headset into a live interview on Blog Talk Radio with Alexandra Lebenthal, author of "The Recessionistas."

This coming Friday, August 13th, at 12 PM EST (9 a.m. on the West Coast) on BlogTalkRadio.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wear This, Not That

"Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?" - By Ellen Gordon Reeves
The Crash Course: Finding, Landing and Keeping Your First Real Job

This book is geared toward first-time job seekers but has helpful tips for anybody who's looking for a job. Whether you're fresh out of college or have years of experience and find yourself suddenly back on the market. In this economy, we can all use all the help we can get. Even if you're not looking, pick it up and brush up anyway. Because you never know. And common sense isn't so common after all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to Respond to a Bad Performance Review by Marie McIntyre

How to Respond to a Bad Review

All material is copyrighted to Marie G. McIntyre. All rights reserved.*

Getting a bad performance review can make you feel angry, unappreciated, defeated, and hopeless. But it’s not the end of the world. Remember that the way you respond to this appraisal can make all the difference in the next one. Even if you believe that the review is inaccurate and that your boss is completely wrong, you will benefit by reacting in a mature, adult manner. Here are some suggestions:

1. Assess your boss’s power to affect your life. Getting a good review is essentially about pleasing your boss. Whether it’s important to please your boss depends upon your goals. If you want her to promote you or expand your responsibilities, then pleasing your manager is very important, even if she’s a complete idiot. But if you are planning to quit in the next few months, her opinion may not really matter (and you don’t need to read the rest of this). If your future is at stake, however, then you need to handle this interaction well.

2. Avoid knee-jerk emotional reactions. Your manager probably expects you to become defensive, argumentative, or upset, so surprise him by remaining calm and reasonable. Getting angry or sobbing uncontrollably will accomplish nothing.

3. Listen to the reasons. Even though you may not agree, you need to understand why your performance was viewed negatively. By understanding your manager’s view, you will be in a better position to change her perceptions in the future.

4. Ask questions to clarify. You can't change your boss's opinion unless you understand exactly why he is unhappy. Therefore, you must explore any feedback that is not clear. However, the questions you ask must be phrased positively. Bad question: “How did you come to such a stupid conclusion?” Good question: “What could I have done to prevent the problem?”

5. Focus on the future. Avoid getting sucked into pointless debates about past events. Discussing the past is only useful if it helps to clarify future expectations. Here’s a future-focused question that can short-circuit debates about past problems: “What specifically can I do differently this year to get a better review next year?”

6. Present your views calmly and logically. You do not have to sit back and take criticism that you feel is undeserved. But you should offer dissenting opinions in a calm, adult manner, focusing on facts and observations. Angry, emotional reactions will only reinforce your boss’s negative view.

7. Agree on how success will be achieved. Most importantly, at the end of this discussion you need a clear understanding of your manager’s expectations. Before leaving the meeting, summarize your understanding of what you must do to get a better review next time.

8. Request positive feedback. Some bosses are better at criticizing than expressing appreciation. If you work for one of these discouraging managers, don’t hesitate to politely solicit some positive feedback. After discussing how you might improve, it’s perfectly appropriate to say, “Now that we’ve agreed on my development plan, could you tell me what aspects of my work went well this year?”

9. Set a time to discuss progress. Although the last thing you may want to do is have another discussion, you need to determine whether your manager’s perceptions are actually changing. If so, you’ll know that you’re on the right track. So ask your boss to put a follow-up meeting on the calendar. Continue these discussions until the problem appears to be solved.

10. Ask for a formal mid-year review. If the follow-up meetings go well, consider requesting a formal mid-year review – that is, an official six-month appraisal that will go in your personnel file. That way, your improvement will be on the record before the next annual review cycle. Check with your HR department to see if this is permitted.

11. Assess risks and benefits of protesting. If you deeply disagree with your boss’s assessment, you always have the right to protest. Most simply, you can write your views in the Employee Comments section of the appraisal form. To lodge a more serious protest, you can go to human resources or the next level of management. Before deciding to protest, however, carefully weigh the possible risks and benefits of doing so. It’s a safe bet that your manager won’t be happy about it.

*Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Coffee At Work - The Way You Like It! Ready, Set, Joe! (TM)


Make your own great coffee with Melitta's "Ready Set Joe" Single Cup Coffee Brewer.

Why settle for regular joe at the office when you can customize it?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Better Than Speed Dating. . .Snapple Big Lunch Table Tour (R)

Cutest thing ever. Move over and let the big dogs eat ;0

Starting today for two weeks The Snapple Big Lunch Table Tour - located at Embarcadero Two in San Francisco (between The Gap and Ann Taylor).

Who says it's hard to meet new people in a big city?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Taking the "L" (as in lackluster) out of the Lunch Box

Aladdin Micro Lunch Bowl.

Cute, convenient and compact. I put hot soup in mine. By the time I was ready to eat, about 4 hours later, the soup was only lukewarm, but because the bowl is microwaveable, I popped the whole thing (sans lid) in the microwave for about 30 seconds and it was perfect. It even comes with a slide-in spoon in the lid.

Perfect for kids to use for school or camp.

Easy grip and microwave and dishwasher safe. Also, BPA free.

Check out their other cool products at:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Reading from Your Favorite Paralegal Author

Just in time for your holiday weekend.

"Ghost A La Mode"

from Sue Ann Jaffarian

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just Throw It In the Bag! Jenny Hurth Designs

Are these cute or what?? Fashion bags made from discarded vinyl trade banners!
(Waste not - want not)

Elbow Grease Designs by Jenny Hurth
(Support Our Local Artists)

Elbow Grease Designs will be participating in the brand new Beehive Market
in West Berkeley on the following Saturdays this summer!
10 am - 2 pm Saturdays: June 12 & 19, July 17, 24 & 31, Aug 7, 14 & 21.
1701 San Pablo Ave (the parking lot at the Berkeley Adult School).

More information:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Litigation Instruction and Training for Legal Support Staff

Davidson Legal Staffing is proud to present Litigation Instruction and Training for Legal Support Staff, taught by Karyn Beyer and offered in Los Angeles and San Francisco. This 3 day seminar introduces legal secretaries and support staff to the complex world of civil litigation, including:

Federal and California State Court structure
Commencing a legal action
Discovery procedures
Motion practice
Complexities of calendaring
Alternative Dispute Resolution
E-filing in California Federal Civil and Bankruptcy Courts
Close up on legal calendaring

JULY 13, 14 AND 15, 2010
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
1881 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, California 94304

For cost and registration forms, visit:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"The Assistant" by Katherine Rosman

She Bosses the CEO
An Assistant Knows Her Boss Like Few Others. Why Their Partnership Is Imperiled.

"It's like an office marriage," says Rosanne Badowski, 53, of working since 1988 as the executive assistant to Jack Welch, the retired General Electric Co. chairman and CEO.

Mr. Welch disagrees. "This is smoother," he says.

Some fictional assistants can't hide their desire to move up. "Mad Men's" Peggy Olson goes from Don Draper's secretary to copy-writer

More photos and interactive graphics Such long-term partnerships between an executive and an executive assistant (or "EA," "admin," or "secretary," depending on your location and generation) are becoming increasingly rare. Executives change companies more frequently, and while some assistants will relocate, many can't uproot to follow the boss. Cost cutting and technology mean that fewer mid-level executives are assigned assistants, cutting back chances to move up the ladder together. At some law firms in Manhattan, for example, as many as five attorneys might share an assistant. At certain technology companies, having an assistant is considered outdated.

"An assistant can buffer you from a lot," says Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, the Internet radio company. For this reason, he is assistant-free.

Yet, at the same time, the demand for highly skilled assistants has increased in the last several years as shareholders and customers demand greater connectedness with executives. Tech-savvy assistants increasingly are targets of poaching by other executives. "The term chief of staff is being used a lot more," says David Goldman, the owner of Ruby Peak Recruiting, a San Francisco head-hunting firm which specializes in placing assistants with top-level executives in the technology and venture capital sectors.

"Demonstrated longevity" is now an explicitly sought-after qualification, headhunters say. Sun Microsystem's longtime CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, worked with his "admin" for 10 years before Oracle acquired Sun and he left the company. Richard Parsons, chairman of the board of Citigroup Inc., has worked with his assistant for 22 years. The former Bear Stearns chairman Alan "Ace" Greenberg has three secretaries whose tenures with him range from 10 to 25 years. When Jan Verhage moved from Washington, D.C., to New York this spring to become chief operating officer of Girl Scouts of the USA, her last act at work was a sit-down conversation with her assistant of 16 years. "It was a heart-string situation," Ms. Verhage says.

"It's about chemistry and trust, and when you have it, it's the difference between having an assistant who manages your errands and a partner who is looking out for you and your career," says Flor De Leon, 36, who worked for a decade as the assistant to Vish Makhijani, a tech-industry executive.

An assistant is involved in the nitty-gritty of a company's operations. She (and she is often though not always a she) may listen to her boss' voicemail messages, if she's not listening in on calls directly. She is privy to email correspondence and proprietary information. At some companies, assistants sign nondisclosure agreements. Others rely on honor and discretion.

Dawn James worked for seven years as the assistant to Alfred Chuang, a founder and CEO of BEA Systems, until the Silicon Valley company was acquired by Oracle in 2008. "They're getting pinged by 5 million people a day. You have to be able to weed through the madness," says Ms. James. "I was a sponge absorbing the business."

Many assistants to top executives say they know each other, only over email and the phone, from years of connecting their bosses. They tap this network for tips on where best to pull together last-minute board meetings, find a limousine service in Shanghai, and to vent about bosses who take out their frustrations on their aides.

Ms. Badowski was working for a GE senior vice president in 1988 and applying for sales jobs within the company when human resources encouraged her to apply for the job managing the life of Mr. Welch, a CEO with 350,000 employees. She ran Mr. Welch's GE office for 13 years. After he retired from the company in 2001 and eventually moved to Boston and remarried, Ms. Badowski moved too, even though she had never lived outside Connecticut. Then the Welches moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., a year ago, so too did Ms. Badowski.

Ms. Badowski tells Mr. Welch her opinion, even when she knows he's not going to agree. And she will defy his orders on occasion. "I'm not going to do something inefficiently just because he's told me to," she says. "It's for his own good."

When Mr. Welch launched the Jack Welch Management Institute, an online MBA program through Chancellor University, this year, he had Ms. Badowski enroll as a member of its first class. She is giving Mr. Welch an insider's analysis. Ms. Badowski has not hidden from her instructors her connection to their boss, nor has she advertised it.

"I respect her views of what is working and what isn't," Mr. Welch says. "Candor is what you want. As an executive, you search for that."

High-level assistants are well compensated. When an executive changes jobs or is promoted, the assistant's pay is often negotiated by the boss as a part of his or her overall deal. Of the placements Ruby Peak has made in 2010 in San Francisco's Bay Area, the average starting salary has been $72,000, a base which excludes bonuses, profit-sharing and 401(k) plans. Working as the assistant to a "screamer" might entail a base salary of $100,000, Mr. Goldman says.

In movies, plays and television shows, secretaries have often been portrayed as temptations for married executives. While surely some professional partnerships have morphed into personal relationships, assistants to top-tier executives say having trust and frequent communication with their boss' family is vital. "You need to partner with your exec's spouse," says Melanie Delaney, an administrative assistant. "You don't want to send them to school for a school play when there is no school play."

For a decade, she was the "admin" to Mr. Schwartz, then the CEO of Sun Microsystems, Ms. Delaney, 38, also helped him to have a life: She blocked out time for him to work out several times a week. She was kept apprised of his kids' activities by his wife and made sure he attended as many as possible. She looked after his health too—making sure he took time to eat and that what he was eating was in keeping with the appropriate regimen. "If they're doing no carbs, there can be no carbs," she says. "I put thought into what I fed my guy."

After the company was acquired by Oracle in January, both Ms. Delaney and Mr. Schwartz left. She now works for the president of a pharmaceutical company. He is deciding what to do next.

"Melanie understood all my priorities and not simply the Sun priorities," Mr. Schwartz says. "She was critical to my productivity. She was my liaison to customers, shareholders, to the media, to my employee base, to members of my family. She was at the nexus of all of that." When he left Sun, he didn't think he would have enough work to justify keeping Ms. Delaney employed.

The first day, he triple-booked lunch. "Then I failed to show up for all three," he says.

(This article in appeared in the June 17, 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal and is reprinted with permission from the author. All copyrights protected)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Power Drink for Power Professionals :)

$1 Dollar SuperFruit "16" Size Smoothies - TODAY ONLY

June 16, 2010

This should help you get over the "hump" today!

Offer valid only on 6/16/10 at participating Jamba Juice locations for Super Yumberry, Berry Yumberry,?Acai Super-Antioxidant™, Pomegranate Pick-Me-Up™ & Pomegranate Paradise™ smoothies. Offers specifically not valid at Safeway, Vons or Pavilions locations. Not valid with other offers or discounts. Not valid for Jamba Juice employees. ©Jamba Juice Company 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bravo Top Chef Tour in San Francisco TODAY!

June 11, 2010.
Justin Herman Plaza
San Francisco, CA
Free Admision

Ryan Scott
Jamie Lauren

Show Dates & Times
Fri, Jun 11 @ 10:30 am
Fri, Jun 11 @ 12:00 pm
Fri, Jun 11 @ 01:30 pm

Friday, June 4, 2010

Voulez-Vous Sous Vide Supreme Avec Moi, Ce Soir?

How would you like to have a French chef waiting at home for you with your dinner ready when you get home tonight? You can. Almost.

I had the pleasure of testing the Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven (TM) for the past two weeks.

"The SousVide Supreme™ is the world's first water oven designed specifically for use in the home."

The way it works is that the food is cooked "under pressure" or "sous vide." The food is submerged in a sealed, airless bag for minutes, hours or even days at exactly the temperature needed to produce perfectly cooked meals.

This is the method of cooking which has been boasted about and used by the "French Laundry's" Thomas Keller.

I prepared the most perfect pork roast I've ever made in my life with this oven. (However, it did take 14 hours to cook) which was fine because I put it on during the day on Saturday and by the time "Saturday Night Live" came on it was done. Too late for Saturday's dinner, but perfect for Sunday's dinner!

Perfectly cooked food

Price (retails for around $499.00)

You can cook gourmet while you work and your meal is ready when you get home. Even if you aren't home when it's ready, it remains at the same temperature (unlike a crock pot that just keeps cooking).

You have to plan meals in advance.

Bottom line - if you want perfectly cooked, healthy meals, the Sous Vide Supreme (TM) will change your life. Would I buy one if I could afford it? Absolutely.

I expect that the prices will come down as it increases in popularity and that it's probably going to revolutionize the way we cook and eat.