Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Coughers At The Office Should Stay Home" (C) - By Angela Hill

Should I stay (home sick) or should I go (to work) now?

By Angela Hill
Contra Costa Times*

So there you are. Sick. You've valiantly tried to fend it off but finally succumbed to all the symptoms promoted on the TV cold/flu commercials, and now you're down. Or at least you should be.

But there's a looming deadline at work, you're overwhelmed with projects, pressures from the boss. Sick leave is exhausted, and you can't miss a day's pay, so you soldier on, incurring fear and loathing from co-workers who treat you like you have a contagious disease -- which, just so happens, you do.

And the great debate rages on: Do you go to work sick or stay home?

"Stay home," said Dr. Steve O'Brien, vice president of medical affairs at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. "Nobody wants a sick person coming into the office. Think about it. You know you don't like it when someone comes in sniffling and coughing all over the place. So don't do that to them."

Seems like common sense for the common cold and flu season -- after all, who wouldn't prefer to stay home, slurp some soup and catch up on daytime TV? But in this economy, it's often a rare luxury, and the health of one's bank account sometimes comes first and people force themselves to the office. There's even a newly coined word for it: presenteeism. (The opposite of absenteeism.)

Joseph Siti, a woodworker in Berkeley, has been sick with the flu at least four times this year but has to go into his shop to meet deadlines. "I own my own business, so if I stop, I don't make
any money, and I don't know when the next job is coming in."

Even during the 2009 H1N1 crisis, when the Centers for Disease Control told people with flulike symptoms to stay home, more than 8 million struggled to work sick between September and November that year, according to a report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

"If a person doesn't have interaction with other people, you can go to work," said Amy Nichols, director of hospital epidemiology and infection control at UCSF Medical Center. "But if you are symptomatic and working with the public and sharing surfaces or handling things other people will handle, stay home. Definitely if you have a fever or feel hot/cold with chills, stay home at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.

"I don't care what your job is, the world will not stop if you don't go to work," she said. "It's critical for contagion control, to avoid the domino effect."

Tanya Tomassini, a project controller for an IT company in San Ramon, knows all about those dominoes. She was to fly out on a trip to Europe the day before Thanksgiving, but a few days before that, a couple of co-workers came into the office -- very sick co-workers. She tried to avoid them like the plague, but to no avail.

"I ended up with one of the worst flu bugs imaginable," Tomassini said. "I had to change my nonrefundable flights, which cost me $400, and I was too sick to even spend Thanksgiving with my family. Long story short, if you're sick, stay home!" she said. "You don't realize how much you can affect someone unintentionally."

Businesses want you to stay away, too, if you're truly ill.

Michelle Mendoza, owner of Connect HR, a human resources consulting firm in San Jose, admits it's a tough subject.

"Here in Silicon Valley, there's that passion of wanting to work all the time, but if you stay home one or two days, you get better faster instead of having it drag out for a couple of weeks."

Generally, most companies have some type of sick leave policy or PTO (paid time off) available, she said. "From an employer's standpoint, there's a big incentive to give workers time to get better faster. Many provide on-site flu shots or incentives for workers to get shots at the drugstore. It costs the employer money, but it's less costly than having multiple people out sick. Or working sick and losing productivity."

Indeed, a report by researchers at Cornell University found that ill workers on the job could account for up to 60-percent of corporate health costs.

"Your level of productivity drops significantly when you're under the weather, said physician and radio personality Dr. Dean Edell. "There was a study showing that driving ability is impaired when you have the flu, to the equivalent of having a couple of drinks. So imagine how that affects your efficiency at work if you're foggy-headed, taking any cold or flu medications that impair cognition."

The best thing you can do to keep from spreading disease -- or getting it -- is wash your hands and keep work surfaces clean, said Bay Area health and fitness expert Joanie Greggains. "Avoid close contact with others, especially those who might easily get the flu such as people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease, pregnant women, young children and infants."

Oh, and stay home.

"You're going to get much better much faster," O'Brien said. "Do it for your co-workers, but do it for yourself, too."

(All Rights Belong to Contra Costa Times and Bay Area Newsgroup. Reprinted with permission of author).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Weather Outside Is Frightful - Your Skin Doesn't Have to Be

Mark Twain quipped, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

Well, this is quite possibly one of the coldest winters I've ever seen in San Francisco.

I know. We're wimps. And I'm sure you folks on the east coast don't like whiners. But, oh my aching skin.

Dry, cracked. And I'm trying to preserve what little moisture I have left.

Bliss to the rescue. The Lemon + Sage Body Butter not only smells delicious, it's paraben free and moisturizes deep down.

Finally, butter that goes to your hips - in a good way.

(Check out the Macadamia and Grapeseed Hand Cream too. The scent will make you want to lick your fingers. But don't do that. It will defeat the purpose of the hand cream.

If your boss asks what you'd like for Christmas, you know what to say. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another Lump of Coal?

How many people get Christmas/Holiday gifts from their bosses? Don't all raise your hands at once.

Since the economy tanked, many firms no longer give holiday bonuses. And even though it's slightly better now - depending on who you ask and considering all the recent mergers and subsequent layoffs - some law firms still aren't giving any end of the year cash.

So, does your boss give you something nice to show how much she appreciates your hard work all year? Does he give you anything? Do you get her a small token of your appreciation? That is, if you're lucky enough to have a boss who treats you with some measure of respect and considers you a colleague. Or, at least has the good sense to know she/he is not able to do it all without a little help from the little folks.

Personally, I'm not expecting anything. I'm at a new firm and I just missed the cutoff for a holiday bonus. But I'm grateful to have a job. However, I must say, a Starbucks card would be nice. Another paperweight - well, I could do without that.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Or Not)

I do love the holidays. Or at least portions of the holidays. I enjoy looking at the beautiful decorations, and, of course, all the wonderful foods.

I do not like shopping. I especially do not like having to think about what to buy for people at work or in my family.

So, here's the first of several posts to come of "gift suggestions." I'm trying to think "out of the box" this year. I mean, how many fruitcakes do you need, right?

So, first up, is a gift for the "foodie" on your list. Popsicles are not just for kids any longer and they come in more than the grape, strawberry and banana flavors.

Zoku has the perfect family gift. It's a "Quick Pop Maker." Enjoy a frozen treat year-round and spend some quality time with the kids while you're doing it.

I just pulled mine out of the box and can't wait to try it. Of course, I'm waiting for my daughter's winter break because she'll kill me if I do it without her. (Just because they go to college doesn't mean they really want to leave home).

Available at Williams-Sonoma or online from ZokuHome.

I promise to let you know how it works!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Not Too Late to Learn BeforeThe New Year from Davidson Academy

Table of Authorities in MS Word 2003
Wed., December 7, 2011 from 12:00 -1:00 p.m. - REGISTER NOW
Learn how to properly mark citations and generate a Table of Authorities in MS Word 2003, including revising the "selected text," choosing the proper category, creating proper short citations, and correcting the most commonly made mistakes.

Table of Authorities in MS Word 2007/2010
Thurs., December 8, 2011 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. - REGISTER NOW
Learn how to properly mark citations and generate a Table of Authorities in MS Word 2007 and 2010, including revising the "selected text," choosing the proper category, creating proper short citations, and correcting the most commonly made mistakes.

To register, go to:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do You C What I C?

I'm so confused. I still use "cc" when I'm copying someone on a letter? What's a letter? It's the thing we used before email.

Anyway, originally it meant "carbon copy." Of course, we haven't used carbon paper in many years, but we have continued to use "cc."

Recently, I started a new gig. They're younger and hipper and high-tech. I had to do a letter the other day and I thought, "Do I say "cc: Mr. Jones," or "c: Mr. Jones."

I played it safe and stuck with "cc" but it got me thinking that in this high-tech world in which we live there are some issues that we haven't fully dealt with.

If anyone knows the correct term, please forward.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Have You Ever Seen One of These?

If you were born after 1980, there's a good chance you have no idea what this is.

You grew up with electronics at your fingertips. It's entirely possible you've never even seen a typewriter. Although, I really hope that's not the case because that would mean that I am, in fact, completely obsolete.

This is a Rolodex open business card holder. You probably don't carry business cards either. You use a V-card which goes into your Outlook contacts and business cards aren't really hip any more. And if you want to find someone, you can just go to LinkedIn. Or send them a tweet.

But if you're someone of my generation, you probably need all the help you can get. Which is why I have never stopped using a Rolodex. Truth is, I was using one in 1980. And yes, I am still in the workforce and think I do a pretty darn good job, if I say so myself.

But this little thing has years, actually over a decade of contact information. And yes, some of them are obsolete, some of the companies are defunct. But there's something about keeping them that makes me feel a little more connected to actual people. And my Rolodex TM goes with me wherever I go. It's a part of me.

I love technology and will never fight progress. But, who says you have to throw away something that's perfectly useful just because it's a little outdated.

And that includes good secretaries.

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Everyone has their favorite court reporting company or at least a couple of firms that they know they can always depend on to never let them down and cut them some slack when they give less than the required cancellation notice. But what kinds of "swag" do you get from court reporters that you really use?

Everyone loves cookies, especially yours truly, and the trend in the last few years has been "get-acquainted lunches, dinners, cocktails" and such. However, many firms don't allow secretaries and paralegals to accept items from vendors which have a high monetary value.

I have received many nice marketing tools over the years. On the other hand, I've received some things that I would put in the category of "doo-hickeys" or even "dust catchers." I'd be curious to know what you've received lately that was of particular use.

One court reporting service brought me the nice laminated calendars for 2012 a couple of months ago. That's always useful. Especially with the court crowding and dates being extended out for months - even years.

I also got a very helpful sewing kit which is perfect for emergencies. Highlighters are nice and I can always use notepads. Mousepads are cool but you can only use one at a time.

And, while we're on the subject, what do you look for in court reporting services? Do you like a large firm or do you tend to go with the smaller independent?

This is just "food for thought."

Let me know what you think. This isn't a formal survey, but "inquring minds" want to know.

It's Thursday, guys. We're almost there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Say It Ain't So, Sam - Goodbye to the Extra Space After a Period?

According to the this article on it is completely inappropriate to add two spaces after a period. But this looks too crammed and funny. And did anybody tell my attorneys? So what happens after a question mark? And why do they keep changing the grammar rules?

Will you bid adieu to that extra space or is it in your life to stay?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Period.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Good Read - "Open House" by Elizabeth Berg

Where have I been? This book was an Oprah's Book Club Selection over a decade ago and somehow it never made it on my reading list.

Elizabeth Berg weaves a tale of divorce and change that not only keeps the reader engaged about serious issues, there were times when I laughed out loud - on the train! Of course, sometimes the legal profession can make you do that anyway.

However, this was the second book I'd read by this author, the first being "The Last Time I Saw You" (another good read).

A perfect selection for Fall.

Friday, October 21, 2011

No Time to Leave Work? No Problem. Davidson Offers Webinars That Allow You To Learn Without Leaving Your Desk


Modifying Heading Styles & Generating a Table of Contents in MS Word 2007 & 2010

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 (ROOM STILL AVAILABLE)

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Learn how to format a pleading in MS Word 2007 and 2010 using Heading Styles and Outline Numbering as well as how to automatically generate a Table of Contents.


Register for this webinar:

Modifying Heading Styles & Generating a Table of Contents in MS Word 2003

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 (ROOM STILL AVAILABLE)
Learn how to format a pleading in MS Word 2003 using Heading Styles and Outline Numbering, as well as how to automatically generate a Table of Contents.


Register for this webinar:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cool Breeze

Even though summer is over, that doesn't mean the temperature in your office won't rise causing you to wish you could catch a cool breeze.

And you may be like some of us, who are having our own "private summers" (ahem).

Whatever, the reason, you'll want to check out the Vornado Flippi fan. Not only does it look super cool, it's quiet, compact and gets the job done. I got mine for only 24.95.

There's no reason for you to sit there and sweat while you're talking to the boss. With the Flippi she'll think you've got it under control, even when you don't.

The Flippi is also the perfect size for dorm use. Heck, you can even put it in your suitcase for traveling. The Flippi rocks.

Don't believe me - check it out for yourself.

(Vornado has some super cool personal heaters as well)

To see the complete line of Vornado products, go to:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bless You! Now, Go Home!!

I like to think of myself as someone who tries to do the right thing. I try to put in an honest day's work for a honest day's pay. I don't pretend to be sick when I'm not. If I'm exhausted and need to take a day off, I say so.

I think employers usually understand. So, what's a dedicated girl to do when she has the sniffles?

I've had a cold for most of the week and there was one day mid-week that I got caught in a rainstorm. I arrived at work soaking wet. Even my shoes were leaking. Obviously, it made my cold worse.

When I got up on Friday, I didn't feel like I was dying and I figured that I could "suck it up" and take one for the team and make it through the day. I'd have the weekend to recuperate, right? Wrong.

Boy - talk about "dirty looks." Everywhere I walked and everyone I ran into said, "Are you sick? Oh, My God, don't get me sick." After a couple of hours, it was obvious that I was not a welcome member of the team. Or at least my sneezes weren't.

So, I packed up my bags and went home for the day. I'm still torn as to whether or not I did the right thing.

Do you stay home when you're sick, or do you, like many others, take a deep breath and keep moving?

The economy is bad. Jobs are scarce. Employers demand more. We do the best we can.

Cold and flu season is just beginning. I'd love to hear - what would you do?

Here's to a healthy week - and remember, drink plenty of fluids, watch out for puddles and keep your hand sanitizer handy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thank You, Steve Jobs

By now, you've heard the sad news about the passing of Apple's co-founder, Steve Jobs.

I think we all knew he was very sick and there was a chance he might not beat the cancer. But, there was a part of me who felt that a man with so much creative genius would be here a lot longer. But it's not how long you live, but what you do while you're here. Steve Jobs did a lot.

Now, you might wonder what this has to do with the legal profession or legal secretaries. Well everything and nothing.

Nothing if you've managed to live your entire adult life without ever having purchased or been given an Apple (TM) product. And everything if you are like the millions of working Americans who couldn't make it through the daily grind without plugging into that little ipod and tuning out the noise that gets in the way of doing real work. You know the noise I mean - the gossip, the yelling, the constant interruptions.

I was first introduced to Apple products in 1988 while working for Kodak. And later in around 1990 when I went to work for a software company where we all had Apple computers because - because they're hip.

Thank you, Mr. Jobs for making the world a different place. You changed the way we think, work and play. And we will never forget.

Rest In Peace, Steve Jobs. and congratulations on a life well-lived.

Be good to one another.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In This Business You Can Never Know Too Much! Davidson Legal Webinar Training - Thursday, 9/29/11

Best of Automation & Timesavers in MS Word 2007 & 2010



September 29, 2011 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Increase your efficiency in MS Word 2007 and 2010 and save valuable time creating documents! This class will show you how to use Automation tools, including, AutoCorrect, AutoText, QuickParts, Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar, Creating PDFs, etc. Plus, how to Create Forms with Text Fields, Drop Down Lists, or Check Boxes.

To register:

Monday, September 19, 2011

If You Were An Attorney, Would You Join The Bar Association?

I keep flirting with the idea of actively becoming a member of and being involved consistently with the local chapter of the Legal Secretaries Association (LSI). I know. It's not called that now. It's "Legal Professionals." However, you slice it, it's a great group of women and men, who get together to network and share news and information, tips and useful items about our jobs.

Since fall is around the corner, why not turn over a new leaf (get it - fall leaves?) and join today. We'll, at least attend a meeting. There's a conference coming up in Sacramento in November. So, you can't say you didn't know about it. You heard about it here.

November 11-13, 2011
November Conference
Sacramento, CA

For more details on this great organization, visit their website at:

Corporate Office:
P.O. Box 660
Fortuna, CA 95540-0660
Toll Free: (800) 281-2188
Local: (707) 682-6888
Fax: (707) 682-6888

This post is really for me - not you. Because remember when you point a finger, three more are pointing back at you.

Have a great work-week! We've already made it through Monday!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Feast of Fools" The Newest Novel from James Lee Burke

From Amazon:

Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town with a deep and abiding respect for the citizens in his care. Still mourning the loss of his cherished wife and locked in a perilous almost-romance with his deputy, Pam Tibbs, a woman many decades his junior, Hackberry feeds off the deeds of evil men to keep his own demons at bay.
When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca witnesses a man tortured to death in the desert and reports it, Hack’s investigation leads to the home of Anton Ling, a regal, mysterious Chinese woman whom the locals refer to as La Magdalena and who is known for sheltering illegals. Ling denies having seen the victim or the perpetrators, but there is something in her steely demeanor and aristocratic beauty that compels Hackberry to return to her home again and again as the investigation unfolds. Could it be that the sheriff is so taken in by this creature who reminds him of his deceased wife that he would ignore the possibility that she is just as dangerous as the men she harbors?

The danger in the desert increases tenfold with the return of serial murderer Preacher Jack Collins, whom The New York Times called “one of Burke’s most inspired villains.” Presumed dead at the close of Rain Gods, Preacher Jack has reemerged with a calm, single-minded zeal for killing that is more terrifying than the muzzle flash of his signature machine gun.
Praised by Joyce Carol Oates for “the luminosity of his writerly voice,” James Lee Burke returns with his most allegorical novel to date, illuminating vital issues of our time—immigration, energy, religious freedom—with the rich atmosphere and devastatingly flawed, authentic characters that readers have come to celebrate during the five decades of his brilliant career.

(For those times when work doesn't provide all the mystery and excitement you desire)


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dotmine - Right on Time!

The bad news - I'm still a "paper" gal. Yes, I know, we're living in a paperless, virtual society. Who uses a paper planner these days? I do.

Worse news - I just got my 2011 Planner last week.

Better News - I will get my 2012 Planner before the end of this year!

The only problem is which one to pick. Because right after I purchased the "same old" planner that I've bought for the last decade, I discovered this amazing website with planners that fit everyone's needs. Specific needs. And with a name like, "Dotmine," well, I've got to have mine!!

Check out the cool planners, calendars and more at:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Julep - Mani-Care and Pedi-Care Treatments

When Mark Twain quipped, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco," he didn't lie.

This summer has been particularly cold. And rough on my hands. Julep(TM) Mani-Care and Pedi-Care Treatments will change your life. Well, at least your hands and your feet.

The cuticle oil is a must for folks like us who handle a lot of paper (and it's for guys too - not just girls). And you can "grow your own" with the Julep(TM) Nail Growth Revitalizing Serum.

And, last but certainly not least, check out the Julep(TM) Everyday SPF Hand Cream SPF 30 - because a girl's hands shall not reveal her age.

There's more. To see the full line of Julep(TM) products (including pedi-care), visit their website at:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stay Balanced And Nimble - "Nimble" by Balance Bar

Balance Bar is proud to present the first energy/nutrition bar for women.

If you're like me, you like to snack while you work. Because all that typing takes a lot of energy!

Well, if you're going to enjoy a snack, it might as well be healthy!

"Nimble" is fortified with rich antioxidants, beta-carotene and 10 mg of FloraGLO(R) Lutein.

Nimble is also the first bar sweetened with Truvia(R) rebiana, a natural, zero calorie sweetener made from the best tasting part of the stevia leaf.

120 Calories per bar in your choice of two flavors: Peanut Butter and Yogurt Orange Swirl (my fave).

If you're into "details," get more information at:

(Balance Bar provided me with samples of the new Nimble bar for purposes of preparing this review)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No Time to Leave the Office? No Problem. Davidson Staffing's "E-Filing In Federal Civil Court" Webinar

E-Filing in Federal Civil Court


1.0 MCLE Credit Offered

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

This seminar introduces the CM/ECF ("e-file") program being used in the Federal Civil Courts. Topics include an overview of the system, variations in local rules, document preparation and tips on integrating e-filing and electronic document management into daily work responsibilities.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

No Mess Snacking On the Job! Pretzel Crisps are the ticket!

Get your snack on. Pretzel Crisps are crunchy and delicious and easy to store in your desk drawer. Not only do you not have to share with co-workers (I mean, unless you want to), but the boss will have no idea why you have that happy smile on your face when he hands you that filing at 3:00 p.m. He'll just think you're the dedicated worker that you are. But we know, it's because you just got a zip from the Buffalo Wing Pretzel Crisps that give you a "can-do" attitude.

There are so many flavors to try and enjoy. So far, I, myself am pretty sprung on the Tuscan Three Cheese. Although, I must admit the Garlic is pretty good too. Er - you might want to save the garlic for home - unless you have vampires in your workplace or don't mind being known as the girl with garlic breath. I mean, I'm sure there are worse names that we have for some of our colleagues.

Check out all the flavors and if they don't have them at your favorite grocery store, well, you need to see the manager about that!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: "When the Thrill Is Gone" by Walter Mosley

If you want something to keep you awake on that long train commute, I have just the ticket. "When The Thrill Is Gone" is the latest book in Walter Mosley's Leonid McGill series.

Boy Leonid is one scary dude. If you like mystery, intrigue, violence and suspense you won't be disappointed.

I have never found Walter Mosley's books easy to read. He's an excellent writer. But, make no mistake. This is not "chick-lit."

I had to go outside of my comfort zone and just take the ride with the author on this one. It was a serious journey, but well worth it once I arrived at the destination.

In bookstores now and on

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Mosley fills his third thriller featuring New York City PI Leonid McGill (after Known to Evil) with insights even deeper than the mysteries McGill is trying to solve. Chrystal Tyler, a potential new client, tells McGill that she's afraid her billionaire husband is having an affair and may kill her. While McGill realizes the woman is lying, he needs the case and agrees to see what he can do to make her husband back off. Meanwhile, McGill's wife of 24 years, Katrina, is having an affair; his favorite son, Twill, has a new scam working; and longtime boxing mentor Gordo Tallman is living in his apartment, fighting cancer. Then Harris Vartan, a dangerous organized crime figure, asks a favor that will lead McGill on a journey of self-discovery. Readers will encounter the full panoply of complex Mosley characters, from deceitful women to ruthless killers, but it's the often surprising bonds of love and family that lift this raw, unsentimental novel. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Table of Authorities Training In The Comfort Of Your Own Office


Table of Authorities in MS Word 2003 - $49

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Learn how to properly mark citations and generate a Table of Authorities in MS Word 2003, including revising the “selected text,” choosing the proper category, creating proper short citations, and correcting the most commonly made mistakes.

A perfect time to brush up on your TOA Skils.

For more information on this and other webinar and training events:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How One Paralegal Overcame Tremendous Obstacles to be Recognized and Awarded for Extraordinary Efforts

By Rodney Lumpkins

Domestic or intimate partner violence may be one of most widespread criminal offenses in America. Yet it is consistently one of the least reported. Although most abuse victims are female, there is no typical victim. Domestic violence affects people of all ages, races, religions, income and education levels. Although a lack of reporting makes statistics hard to gather, a 2008 study conducted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported that about 35% of women who go to emergency rooms are thought to be victims of abuse. The study also concluded that 1 out of 3 women murdered in this country are victims of domestic violence. That’s an alarming figure. Now imagine what domestic violence looks like through the eyes of a child.

Meet Ms. Glenda Cook. Glenda is a remarkable woman that has taken the traumatic and terrorizing experiences that she lived through as a child and turned them into something good to help so many others in need. As a child, Glenda recalls how she and her siblings would listen helplessly at screams from her mother in another room. They knew that her stepfather was beating their mother again and just waited for the screams to stop. The screams stopped the night Glenda actually witnessed her stepfather kicking her mother as she lay on the kitchen floor. Still feeling helpless, and now traumatized, Glenda called 911 but was petrified to the point that she could not utter a single word to the operator. Fortunately, the operator could hear Glenda’s mother’s screams and sent police right away. Today, Glenda’s mother is a healthy and happy survivor.

A native of Detroit, Michigan and a single mother of a 7 year old, Glenda is a 1993 graduate of The Academy of Court Reporting and Technology Paralegal Program in Southfield, Michigan. After graduating from paralegal school, Glenda interned at Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services and the Women’s Justice Center working in family law. It wasn’t long before her love for family law and serving her community was born. Unfortunately, as legal services projects were usually funded by grants, when the funds for the grant work were depleted, so was Glenda’s position. As a result, Glenda looked for more settled positions and ended up doing corporate work for a debt collection company in order to provide for her family.

It did not take long for Glenda to realize that she cut out for corporate work. Glenda did not enjoy taking people to court for money that she knew they did not have. Corporate work was not her niche and after two years she found herself at the YWCA where she currently works in conjunction with the Detroit Police Department’s 12 Precinct Domestic Violence Unit, assisting countless victims of domestic violence in finding safety and shelter. Glenda also assists victims with court appearances and counseling on a daily basis.

Decades after the silent call to 911, the vision of her mother being beaten remains etched in the back of Glenda’s mind and is a driving force in her tireless efforts to assist victims of domestic violence. Glenda admits that her job is challenging on many levels, from long days, to trying to make things happen with limited resources. Currently there is only one women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence in the city and it only has 67 beds. Glenda explains, “in order to do this work, you need help but I don’t like saying no and I don’t like turning my victims down or rejecting them because they have already been through enough rejection and pain. So I have found a way in the community to build relationships and rapport with people that I know that I can go to that I can trust and I can depend on to assist the women that need help. If that means working a 12 hour day, then that means working a 12 hour day. If we don’t have space in the shelter, I can’t let them stay in a police station all night. That’s not right. So I work my network in the community and find a safe place for them to stay.”

I’m happy to report that this hero’s extraordinary efforts have not been overlooked. In recognition for her selfless service to her community, Allstate Insurance flew Glenda and her son to Atlanta, Georgia for the weekend prior to the King holiday. On January 17, 2011, Glenda Cook was one of only four Americans to be recognized and receive the Allstate Insurance Annual “Give Back Day” Hero Award. The Hero Award was established to recognize and honor every day people that transform into heroes that make a difference by giving back to the African American community.

When I asked her how it felt to receive an award in Dr. King’s honor, Glenda said “I still haven’t come down yet. Being in Atlanta with the other heroes to interact with and just to feel their energy about how passionate they are about their different programs and projects I was over the moon.” Glenda went on to tell me that since leaving Atlanta, she and the other award recipients remain in contact, networking, trying to figure out how they are going to bring their messages to the community, and actually get people to listen.

Glenda’s message to her community is to “always be willing to speak up and speak out.” Even after the national recognition, Glenda admits to being disappointed when she returned to Detroit that following Monday. She said that since her fight against domestic violence had made the front page of the Detroit Free Press and since she was interviewed by two local television stations, she just knew that once she returned to work that the phone would be ringing off the hook. To her surprise, there were no calls from victims or people wanting to join her in the campaign against domestic violence. Glenda went on to tell me that despite all of her efforts, domestic violence is still that subject no one really wants to talk about.

However, Glenda remains confident that the calls will come. In the meantime, Glenda will continue her work at the 12th Precinct and at Peggy’s Place where she holds support group meetings for victims of domestic violence. Glenda will also continue to work diligently on growing the “Diamonds in the Rough Program”, a program which she founded to teach young girls about teen dating violence. According to Chesire County Assistant Prosecutor David Lauren, Glenda’s work is heroic because “without people like her, who are truly the angels in this field, where would the victims go? Who would they have to support them? Who would they have to turn to?”

According to Glenda, her training as a paralegal has proven to be invaluable throughout her professional career. While working in family law, Glenda drafted legal documents like divorce complaints and restraining orders with very little direction from any attorneys. She explained that “the 3rd Circuit Court teaches you how to be a really good paralegal because when I started out in ’93, I didn’t have anyone to hold my hand, they literally just threw me into it. There was no learning curve.” Whether it’s the attention to detail required to complete court forms, understanding how the laws work and how to stay current with the laws or interacting with officers of the court and interviewing witnesses, Glenda credits her paralegal training for much of her career accomplishments to date.

I must admit, when I was first approached by Chere Estrin [Editor-in-Chief of KNOW Magazine] to do a story on heroes in the field, I thought to myself, where in the world would I find this Super Paralegal. I looked around in the pool of peers and mentors that I have worked with throughout the course of my 22 year career. I came up with a list of people that I respected, admired, and even looked up to, but no one that I personally knew was really doing anything deemed heroic (at least not in public).

Next, I checked the dictionary and thesaurus and came across terms like mythological, noble, conqueror and idol. Not exactly what I had in mind. Apparently, when people hear the term “hero” they often think of some legendary, illustrious character that spends his or her days fighting villains. Others may think of a hero and envision someone in uniform, a soldier or fireman, risking it all to help a stranger. However, after learning about Ms. Glenda Cook, I’ve come to realize the true meaning of the term hero. Heroes are just ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

Taking images from terrorizing experiences of her childhood and developing an unbreakable spirit driven to serve and tirelessly fight for victims of domestic violence is indeed extraordinary. Glenda is a shining example of what it means to be a hero in the field. Her message for paralegals seeking to grow in their careers is simple: “Go with what your passion is, go where your heart is because it is really hard to be successful with anything that you really do not like or you do not have a passion for. If you know that there’s a particular area of law that you love, I would say definitely stay with that. If you know that you love criminal justice, align yourself in a criminal justice field even if it’s not a paid position. If it makes you happy go volunteer somewhere. Make sure you just keep that little flame alive in your heart for law because your success will depend on that. Those moments when you find yourself feeling like you can’t give anymore, you will find that you can continue because you love it so much and that drive is what will keep you going when everyone else is ready to quit.“

Copyright 2011 KNOW, The Magazine for Paralegals Reprints by permission only.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Music To Help Get You Through the Day

What's on your ipod? If you can't whistle while you work, why not let someone else serenade you. Today's pick is "Adele" from the "Adele 21" CD.

The boss will wonder why you're in such a good mood. Just tell her you're "Rolling In The Deep."

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stylin' and Profiling for Lunch

Summertime and the living is easy. Okay, maybe not so easy if you're a working gal. But, this lunchbox can sure make it look like you're having fun. Is this the cutest thing ever or what?

Sachi Lunch Box in Black Quilted pattern - reminds me of "The Devil Wears Prada." Bad example.

Anyway, they're available on line and at

Prices vary.

Bon appetite!

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Stories I Only Tell My Friends" by Rob Lowe

Long before, "The West Wing" and Justin Bieber, there was a hearthrob by the name of Rob Lowe. While those of us of a particular generation know him from his days as a major Hollywood playboy (do they even still use that word?), there is a whole new generation of people who have come to know the more serious and political side of Rob Lowe.

In his autobiograhy, "Stories I Only Tell My Friends," Rob Lowe tells it all. I'm sure that his 20 plus years of sobriety have led him to believe strongly in something called "the truth."

This isn't a fluffy summer read, but enjoyable and thought-provoking, and for those of us who have thought of him as just another pretty face, it will make you think again.

In bookstores everywhere and on

Friday, June 10, 2011

How To Respond to A Bad Performance Review by Marie McIntyre (c)


All material on 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:

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.

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.

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.

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?”

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?”

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.

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.

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?”

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.

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.

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.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dude, Where's My Stapler?

It's yours. Own it. Claim it. This is the coolest stapler ever. Swingline's 747 Stapler Collectors Edition. Kind of like my own little red Corvette.

Shout out to Gina at Sarnoff for posting about it on facebook.

It's the little things that keep us going.

Got any papers you need stapled?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review: "Rawhide Down"

I don’t quite understand myself lately, but I have been asking myself how does this or that make me feel? Is it because feeling is most important or just the tangent I am on at the time? I dunno, but this review is going to be written with me asking myself that very question as it pertains to my experience of reading “Rawhide Down”

I started the book trying to gage my feelings meter as I took in the title, cover photo and liner notes. All together, I went from melodrama to bio to chronology in ten minutes without knowing what to expect once I started taking in the real story which encompasses the first 229 pages of this 300 plus page work. As I continued to read I continued to experience the same varying sensations. Some paragraphs romanticized the president, first lady and his term, while other pages served as precise sequence and synchronization of the events on that day, ranging from the shooters preparations to the triage of the assassination attempt and collateral damage.

The writing was somewhat different than I am used to. The author was clear and to the point but also found time to interject Camelot-ish descriptive regarding Ronald Reagan, Nancy and his affair with the public. I early on wanted to rebel against this author trying to make me like the former President but by the time his entourage arrived at the hospital I was wishing I were there to lead the blocking as he “entered the Hospital under his own power”

I am not a Reagan supporter or supporter of any higher official on an active basis. I guess its my issue I have for authority figures. But before this story was finished, I felt for all things presidential. I felt for the men charged with protecting the Man and the Office of the Presidency, I felt for Nancy; I felt for the other wounded victims; I felt for the Doctors, Nurses, Staffers; I felt for America not knowing; and I also felt for the Shooter.
(Reviewed by John S.)

"Rawhide Down" by Del Quentin Wilber

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Pimp My Ride" - Court Reporter's Ergo Chair by SOMA Ergonomics

Sweet, huh? Life is a bowl of chair-ees with this Court Reporter's Chair from SOMA Ergonomics.

Check back in a couple of weeks and I'll let you know how my "test drive" went.

Available in different sizes, also without the cutout for non stenographers and in any fabric you can imagine!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fitwise Pilates - El Cerrito, CA

Who doesn't like treats from vendors? I know I do. Cookies, chocolates and candy. And how often do you skip lunch and eat at your desk? We tend to sit a lot on our jobs, so that means we need to exercise. Ronda Priestner* makes getting fit fun. Check out her brand new location at:

FitWise Pilates
11100 San Pablo Avenue, Suite #109
El Cerrito, CA 94530
(510) 232-4885

Because as Kanye West says, "with that Mocha-Latte, you need a little Pilates."

For more information on class schedules and specialized fitness programs, visit:

*Ronda Priestner has worked as an exclusive chef / wellness consultant and movement therapist for private citizens and celebrities alike throughout the world. During her career as the Body, Mind and Spirit Chef, she instructed workshops and clients on weight management, energy optimization, personal fitness, theraputic movement and other daily life concerns through an easy approach to nutrition, movement and lifestyle choices.

Ronda has traveled extensively throughout the West Indies, the South Pacific, as well as South, Central, and North America, researching medicinal and native foods that formed the basis of many of her dishes.
Her own desire for optimal fitness and well-being led her to create a style of nutritious haute cuisine for specialty diets and natural living.

As the owner and director of FitWise Pilates and Wellness in El Cerrito, California. Ronda teaches Pilates, brain fitness and movement to heal, function, rehabilitate and strengthen both body and soul.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Cannot Be Bought

I cannot in good conscience use someone's services just because they happen to bring me treats. But, I sure wish I had some work for the good folks at Teris today. Alex K. just brought me an "inside out cupcake" called a Gobba Gobba. All I can say is "HUBBA, HUBBA!" This is one of the most amazing confections I've ever had. And it's made locally.

Check them out for yourself at:

What a way to end the week, huh?

(These things are totally addicting!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's Always Personal - Emotion in the New Workplace by Anne Kreamer

"WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME you cried at work? Or didn’t know how to respond when one of your colleagues broke down? Did someone at work blow up at you – or did you yell at a co-worker? Do you wish people where you work laughed on the job more — or less? Or didn’t exasperate you constantly? Or showed a little tact and sensitivity? Or didn’t go to such ridiculous lengths to avoid telling it like it is?"*

*(Anne Kreamer)

Take the survey at:

Anne Kreamer's new book, "It's Always Personal - Emotion in the New Workplace"

Available at:


Barnes and Noble


Friday, April 29, 2011

New Office "Supplies"

Okay, so the Balance Bar Company sent me an assortment of their new flavors to try. And, of course, I did what moms do. I packed them up to send to my daughter at college. Except - I snagged one of each flavor for myself.

Well, yesterday was a crazy day. So, I never got out to lunch. And that means that I ate one of each - Lemon Meringue Crunch, Double Chocolate Brownie and S'mores!

They are not only filling, but they gave me the shot of energy I needed and they are delicious. I can't decide whether I like the Lemon Meringue Crunch or the S'mores better. And the Double Chocolate Brownie is pretty darn good too.

Suggested retail price is $1.49 per bar.

Make sure to keep a stash in your drawer. You never know when one of those last minute court filings might pop up!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Administrative Professionals Day - Yay or Nay?

Tomorrow (April 27th) is Administrative Professionals Day (formerly known as Secretary's Day). I won't get into the long history of where it all started and how. Truth is, I don't know if I can be sure of which "urban legend" to believe. I still call myself a "secretary" although most of my co-workers prefer to call themselves "Assistants." Po-ta-toe, po-taw-to.

Over the years, it's been a day that has made me feel either a) really appreciated b) really unappreciated c) underappreciated or d) mad as hell.

It seems the people I've done the most for have acknowledged me the least. I know that the economy isn't what it used to be and most offices/firms have significantly scaled back their celebrations.

I don't know what my firm has planned but I'm fairly certain that if it involves free food and drinks, the attorneys will knock us poor staff out of the way to serve themselves first.

Anyway, Happy Administrative Professionals Day. I'm reminding myself to be thankful I have a job.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taxes Got You Down? Get Happy!

HG Litigation Solutions

Thursday, April 21
Max’s Diner & Bar
500 12thSt. | Oakland City Center

We invite you to mingle with others in the legal industry and enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails with HG Deposition & Litigation Services.

Please contact Danette at or 415-265-8403 by April 20th

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Rawhide Down" - The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan

March 30, 1981

I remember it like it was yesterday. That was the day that President Ronald Reagan almost died in an assassination attempt.

Now, the real truth about what actually happened that day.

"Rawhide Down" by Del Quentin Wilber

In bookstores now.

Review coming soon!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Barkley Court Reporters E-MCLE

Barkley Court Reporters eMCLE Series Presents:

Deposition Realtime Software Utilization
Complimentary Webinar MCLE
(1 credit will be awarded to participants for CA, IL & NY)

April 13, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PST

(1:00 p.m. CST, 2:00 p.m. EST)


Current realtime software utilization
Troubleshooting realtime connections
Searching transcripts
Working with case issues
Annotating transcripts
Creating case and transcript reports
Updating transcripts with final versions
Internet depositions with video streaming

Learn to utilize the most advanced realtime software to instantly view the deposition on your laptop as it transpires locally, or connect via the Internet to depositions occurring remotely. Also receive training in transcript management, how to create annotations, run searches, and create reports. Paralegals will also benefit from learning the techniques of these powerful programs.


One Lump or Two?

Raise your hand if your boss asks you to fetch coffee for him or her?

I happen to be "old school" so I don't have any problem getting a cup of coffee or lunch for my busy partner. Or my busy associate. Or another busy secretary for that matter.

However, on more than one recent occasion, other secretaries have commented on how they think it is completely inappropriate for a boss to expect a secretary to get coffee.

I know we've come a long way but unless it's illegal or immoral, I simply don't care. Plus, if my boss needs caffeine to keep turning out those magnificent briefs, then I'm here to help. I mean "support" means just that, right?

But, where do you draw the line? Some of you may be too young to remember Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl." You should rent it on DVD. I will never forget the scene of her pushing the dim sum cart down the hall. I admit I'm a sucker for a good pork bun.

What about "The Devil Wears Prada?" Now, that was no easy job for sure. But Anne Hathaway was an amazing assistant.

I think there's something to be said for being there to assist in whatever capacity is needed.

What are your thoughts? Do you do coffee? I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

WEBINAR - April 20, 2011 - Best of Automation & Timesavers in MS Word 2003


Best of Automation & Timesavers in MS Word 2003


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Increase your efficiency in MS Word 2003 and save valuable time creating documents! This class will show you how to use Automation tools, including, AutoCorrect, AutoText, Customizing Toolbars, etc. Plus, how to Create Forms with Text Fields, Drop Down Lists, or Check Boxes.

For more information and to register:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Doubles As A Lunch Box

A funny thing happened on the way to the pharmacy. Whenever you run out to do errands on a Saturday morning (sans makeup), inevitably you'll bump into someone you know. Well, yesterday, I got lucky. Before I could bump into anyone I knew, I received an "intervention" from the esthetician. Yes, there is an esthetician in my pharmacy. Cool, huh? Yep. I think so too.

Anyway, I told her that I was just picking up a prescription but I was in the market for a new moisturizer. She could see that I was not a teenager and directed me to the collection of the "Juice Beauty" line geared for more "mature" women.

Since I hadn't really used their facial products before, she suggested that I purchase this Juice Beauty kit that was left from the holidays. It's an "introductory" type thing to get you acquainted with the line. So, that you can fall in love with it and then realize that you can't afford it because you have to pay bills or something like that.

But, at 29.95 I couldn't pass it up. Not only did a get a new moisturizer, I got a cleanser, an apple peel, an antioxidant serum and a reflecting gloss.

I hope this stuff works but if it doesn't, I can use the cute little container for my lunch.

Have a great week!