Family, Food For Thought

First Christmas

dcc6d17ae7b23bff2c76481b1a85052aI don’t say his name, but each morning, his is the first name that pops up while I express gratitude for my life. The morning quiet was his time, and now it has become mine.  Each day could become a struggle if not for the strong network of people in my life. Also my willingness to share, but I gotta tell you, it is still hard not to feel like a fraud when all I feel is a deep regret and sadness that I did not get to say goodbye.

He had a great life. He was loved, and he loved fearlessly. I know that intellectually and even emotionally, but I cannot help wanting that last moment, one last time to tell him how I truly felt.

The holidays are a great reminder about what you have, but they also underscore what you don’t have. It’s a strange time as there are no words to express what’s going inside me at such a beautiful time of the year. My only concern is not to ruin it for the ones who celebrate, to not have my heart and soul get in the way of their happiness.

And so I ground myself by taking a deep breath,  becoming present, and knowing the first Christmas is the hardest, but it will get easier. I will hurt less.  I will speak more about it, and that’s okay. This too shall pass.

For now: One day at a time.

Food For Thought, Inpsiration

Designing 2017

fb60d4afcfd779fa65110c8d8b483733As the  year draws to a close, I feverishly use my mornings to design 2017. From scribbling in my Law of Attraction Planner, reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris, and visualizing my ideal life, I am intent on creating a life worth living. Recently, my leadership group answered the question what regret would we have if tomorrow was the last day on earth for you?  The word that came back to me was Incomplete. And it stung.

It hit me that there was no one responsible for that. It came down to me and my decisions. Blaming others or life events just meant me avoiding the life I’d envisioned. A recent Ted Talk about this really drove it home. If I wanted to live the life I wanted, I had put in the work. It was simple yet not easy. The warmth of the bed would always beckon, the excuses to skip the workout always on my mind, the urge to give in to anger, and frustration easier to take a pause, and ground myself into acceptance and being present.

I gotta tell you, it sucks being responsible, so much easier to blame others, events and things. Yet it always come down to me. That’s not to say life won;t happen to make things interesting, but if I have put in the work, I can ride that wave instead of getting sunk by it.

2017 won’t be just another year that happened to me. I will choose to make it different by design. If nothing else, I will get to learn what worked and what didn’t.


Premium Pay For Meal and Rest Breaks: Legal Reasons #30

wf_20111216_news02_111219964Most California employers I run into know about overtime, but many are not aware about Premium Pay or Premium Overtime (to be discussed fully in a another post) for missed meal and rest breaks.

Employees are owed “premium pay” when they miss a meal break and/or a rest break in one day. The law requires employers to pay two hours of premium pay for each day that two separate violations occur.

The additional hour of pay requirement is found in Labor Code section 226.7, which discusses the remedies together, rather than in separate sections. However, the actual language of the statute states that if a meal or rest break is not provided, the employer owes the employee one hour of pay for each work day that the meal or rest break is not provided. The Wage Orders address meal and rest breaks in two different sections.

A review of the legislative history of Labor Code section 226.7 shows that the Legislature intended to match the Wage Order provisions, which clearly provide for two separate remedies — one for a violation of the required meal break and one for a violation of the rest break.1 In United Parcel Service v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, a California Court of Appeal ruled that there are two separate remedies because the premium wage requirement is contained in two separate sections of the Wage Orders.2

Further, the one hour of pay is a wage, not a penalty. Wages are benefits that an employee is entitled to as part of compensation, including money, vacation pay and room and board. Employees who must forego the meal and rest breaks give you free work and lose a benefit to which they are entitled. In other words, the employees lost wages they were owed. The hour of additional pay is not only an incentive for employers to comply with the law but, foremost, a premium wage that compensates employees — not a penalty.3

The distinction between a penalty and a wage is important as there is a three-year statute of limitations for the one additional hour of pay employers must pay employees when a meal or rest break is not provided as opposed to only one year for a penalty.


Stuck in Silence

d7a22e39dc763325eb386c41002db58bIn this morning quiet, it struck me that silence permeates my personality lately. While that’s good in being a lawyer, it’s not so great in personal relationships. That balance between oversharing, feeling unsafe, and being afraid of feeling let down trap me into silence’s submission. Yet that is not a great to live. There are so many who have offered, yet I forge on in silence even though most days, there is so much that wants to come out, I am afraid I will drown loved ones in words.

Yet there is a loosening of words. It’s not easy. It feels whiny, as if I am begging for self-pity, and its hits me that my discomfort about vulnerability confuses me. It makes me afraid to share my thoughts and feelings. Yet I also realize that my continual silence does come out in ways I am ashamed. Anger, irritability, general lack of empathy are my new friends because the grief has a choke hold on me. It feels repetitive as if I will bore others with my emotions, yet it needs to come out because it is the only way I can move forward.

So no more silence even if it kills me.

Food For Thought, Inpsiration

What Will Be My Legacy?

1417255825-1188b8d99692f8a1c13fa42de7f3f0f6The morning quiet is precious to me. It is the only time I am with my unfiltered words, thoughts, and emotions. The only time when the sound of my mind takes over the quiet of the house. Where I reflect, and prepare myself for a new a day, and decide what kind of person I wish to be. Each day I have a choice to be a better person. Each day a beginning of the person I can be. Each 24 hour period where I can leave behind my mistakes and start over on creating connection and legacy.

It is not a time for regret, but one of acceptance of the past. I do worry, and I do beat myself up, but not for long because self-pity serves no purpose. It is also a time for checking in with myself to ground myself, to know that there is so much I cannot control, and it is OK.   That first hour is most precious as I go into action and know that I am living my purpose, that I miss loved ones, and that in the end, all will be OK. To needlessly worry about things I cannot change is just a recipe for feeling bad and out of control.

So I sit back, enjoy the quiet, give my thanks to life, a quick I love you to Papa and that he is missed, and I begin my day towards my legacy. What that will be is solely up to me. I create that. Each day is a choice, and I must remember that. Because there will be many, many days where I will not shine, will not be the best version of me, but I just need the other days to outweigh those. And in the end, that’s all that matters.


When You Dont Need A Lawyer:Legal Reasons #29

robert-mankoff-excuse-me-does-this-joke-need-a-lawyer-new-yorker-cartoonOkay, this may sound strange coming from me, and against my self-interest. The reality is that are many instances when getting a lawyer is not only not helpful, but can make things worse. Recently. I came across a divorce matter where husband and wife do not speak to each other, and use their attorneys as their communication device, which at an average rate of $350 an hour, is great for the lawyers, but not so great for the parties.

While I am not suggesting that you never get an attorney, it really does come down to whether what you are looking for can be solved by giving it time, being calm, present and empathetic. A lawyer should not be first choice for all matters, but there are times it is advisable. When dealing with insurance companies, or any agencies that affect your rights, it is imperative you have knowledgeable counsel. But if your friend borrows $1000 and never returns, that more of a non lawyer situation.

As my old law school teacher said, you can always sue, the real question is will you win?