Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"In the Blood" by Lisa Unger

I surprise myself sometimes.  

For a girl who used to be afraid of the dark as a kid, I have become quite the mystery lover.

However, I might need to invest in a new night-light.

I'm not talking "thriller light," I'm talking, plot so thick, scenes so terrifying, that I don't recommend this book for bedtime reading.

Now, that we have that out of the way - why have I not heard of Lisa Unger?

This story had me hooked from the first page. Talk about adrenaline - I was downright afraid to go to sleep, yet couldn't stop reading!

I finished "In The Blood" last night and have already convinced four of my friends to get the book. If I can't sleep at night, why should they?  Seriously, it's a great book. 

Because, even though law firm life might make for a lively day, it does nothing to bring the night to life like this!

Caution:  If you're a "newbie" mystery reader, you might want to limit your reading of this particular book to daylight hours.

"In The Blood" by Lisa Unger

SYNOPSIS:  LANA GRANGER LIVES A LIFE OF LIES. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to control­ling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?

When Lana’s closest friend, Beck, mysteriously disappears, Lana resumes her lying ways—to friends, to the police, to herself. The police have a lot of questions for Lana when the story about her where­abouts the night Beck disappeared doesn’t jibe with eyewitness accounts. Lana will do anything to hide the truth, but it might not be enough to keep her ominous secrets buried: someone else knows about Lana’s lies. And he’s dying to tell. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sigma Gamma Legal Secretary

I'm in a quandry as to whether or not I should belong to an association of legal secretaries.  Or any secretarial association for that matter.

I never pledged a sorority, I don't belong to any women's groups (i.e. Junior League) and I am not even in a bowling league.  I do belong to a book club.  

This leads me to the question of the day.  Are secretarial organizations still relevant?  To answer that, I suppose I would need to know the advantages of belonging to such clubs.

I do like meeting new people and "networking," so to speak.  But I tend to do that by building on personal relationships with people I've worked with, that I meet on BART, in restaurants or through vendors.

I do like the idea of getting together to compare notes about the latest technology and which firms are hiring, firing, downsizing, growing and how the legal climate is doing, in general.

But, like any group, I've always found a hard time coming into an established group and feeling like I'm part of the family.

I must say that the San Francisco Legal Professionals Association under its new leadership, has really started to do some fun things that peak my interest.  However, whenever I ask a co-worker if they'd like to attend an event with me, the answer is always, "No, thanks.  I don't like those kinds of groups."

I think one huge problem is that at the end of the day, we're so wiped out from our work-day that all we want to do is make our trek back home and get ready for the next work-day.

Another issue that I see is that there's a "generational gap."  Some of the more seasoned secretaries (I use that term to avoid putting myself in the category of "older") are comfortable with their positions and titles, while younger women and men in the field prefer to think of themselves as "assistants" and are afraid of being "type-cast," if you will by saying they belong to a secretaries association.

Even though most of the groups now call themselves "Legal Professionals," beneath the layer, they are, in fact, support staff.  

I'm proud of my profession and the work that I do.  My challenge for this year is to "step out of my comfort zone," and find a group of like-minded, similarly employed individuals with which to share camaraderie and war stories.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Never Tell" by Alafair Burke

I'm on an Alafair Burke roll.  And since I only discovered her work over the past few months, I've got some catching up to do.

My most recent read by the former prosecutor and current college professor is "Never Tell" from the Ellie Hatcher series.  

It had me captured from the very beginning.

I've said before how I love books with contemporary references and Ms. Burke delivers that along with a suspenseful storyline and a nice little twist at the end.

Highly recommended for those of you who don't get enough "excitement" at work and "amateur sleuths" like yours truly.

Detective Ellie Hatcher will be forced to uncover the truth behind the apparent suicide of a teenaged girl with intriguing connections to both New York’s wealthiest—and its most dispossessed.
This addictive thriller from acclaimed suspense writer Alafair Burke draws its details from the author’s own experiences as a criminal law professor and deputy district attorney, creating an exhilarating, true-to-life tale of crime and its consequences that is perfect for fans of Laura Lippman, Harlan Coben, and Burke’s breakout standalone thriller Long Gone.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The End of the First Work-Week of 2014

Even though this was a short week (only four days), it was nonetheless challenging.

I think some of the challenge perhaps was self-inflicted by my wanting to make a drastic change in work style, habits, etc. for the New Year.

But let's be realistic, there's only so much change that can happen in the course of turning the pages of the calendar from December 31st to January 1st.  

However, there are a few practices that can be implemented without too much pressure.

1.  Wake up 15 minutes earlier.  The extra time is good for reflection, personal time and checking the mirror one last time.

2.  Plan your wardrobe two days in advance.  A week may be a stretch, speaking for myself.  But since I'm a "day at a time" kind of gal, two days at a time should be at least a "goal."

3.  Clean up your desk at the end of each work day.  Even if it means staying an extra ten minutes "off the clock."  Clutter creates chaos.  Guilty as charged.

4.  Take a coffee break or lunch with someone in a completely different department, on a different floor and with whom you've never actually had a conversation.  Broaden your territory.

5.  Drink more water.  Hydration is important.

6.  Learn a new skill or brush up on an old one.  Don't use PowerPoint(R) often?  In your spare time, practice on a mock presentation.

Last, but not least.  Do the best you can and try not to be too hard on yourself.  We're in this for the long haul.