Picking up, cleaning up…and saying goodbye

It is amazing “the stuff” we all accumulate in our lives in a year’s time. The closets and drawers swell, garages and basements become a little more cluttered, and that’s the way we roll. We are busy, and sometimes just easier to open the kitchen drawer and throw the screwdriver in this random drawer than to walk it back to the basement’s tool box.

We have the same issue at the Monroe County Bar Association. We host hundreds and hundreds of meetings each year, close to 70 CLE’s each year, two dozen events in our MCBA offices each year, and welcome our 2,000 members throughout the year.

And so stuff accumulates here in the MCBA offices. In closets, storage rooms, conference rooms, desk drawers and file cabinets, nooks and crannies, corners and lost spaces. Stuff piles up. For example, Jazz for Justice happened in March of this year, and in the President’s Office, we still had a couple of containers that had to be relocated next door (The Union Trust Building) into our small storage room. We just don’t get to it.


In the midst of cleaning. You should see our workroom now, this photo doesn’t do it justice.

Look at all that garbage. Excuse the blurry photo.

Look at all that garbage. Excuse the blurry photo.

So once a summer we declare one day an office clean up day. Everyone comes dressed in work clothes (jeans) and is ready to roll up their sleeves. Kathy Fico assigns tasks, and in a few hours, we fill large garbage and recycling bins, fill boxes and create piles for the dumpster. At noon, we took a break and came together for a great lunch, and then we were back at it. We also visited the storage space next door and literally removed a ton of old information that no longer qualified for “file it for 7 years”. For that information, we have the shredding service pull up to the curb and we cart it out so we can witness its demise.

Everyone worked really hard — men and women alike. As the end of the day approached, we were all commenting on how much nicer everything looked. We still have some portraits and other wall pieces that need to be restored to their proper walls that were painted some time ago. And with that task done, the new carpet down, the place will be stunning once again.


Ginny cleaned and organized the kitchen.

As lunch concluded, there was a comment that we really should have planned for dessert. Everyone returned to work, and I returned to my office. A few short minutes later, Galina Nazarenko and Louise Spinelli walked in. What I have come to know about Galina that is when the topic is serious, it is evident on her face. On this day, she looked both serious and sad. Galina was coming in to tell me that she is resigning because she and her husband, Ivan, are moving to Los Angeles, California. Ivan is a very specialized kind of engineer, and has just accepted a wonderful new position there. Galina has been with the bar 13 years, just a few months ahead of my arrival. Galina has been our CLE Registrar for many, many years. She has ensured that thousands of you are registered for your CLE programs, and that lunch is on time, as well as your CLE certificates.

We will miss you Galina.

We will miss you Galina.

So once we had our sad, teary moment in my office, it was agreed that we now needed to share the news with the rest of the team, and that in fact, we did need ice cream. Louise offered to go hunt some down, and 20 minutes later, with ice cream in hand, we shared the news about Galina’s next big adventure. This has been her home since she and her family arrived here from Russia in July of 1998. She and Ivan brought their two young children and made a home for their family here. Pretty brave. So now, her next adventure is to move across the country, and to make a new life with Ivan. Sadly, in addition to leaving all of us, the one person in their life that they are very sad about leaving is their 1 year old grandson, Peter. Nothing brightens Galina’s face like the question, “Galina, how is Peter?” To which you will hear, “Oh, he is sooo good!”

Galina with her grandson Peter.

Galina with her grandson Peter.

So the day was bittersweet. We cleaned out things that were taking up space, and serving no purpose anymore. But then we also learned that Galina will be leaving, and this makes us very sad. She made us all promise we would come to visit. And with Peter back here in Rochester, we can be certain we will be seeing more of Galina. The good news is, there are great bar associations throughout the LA area, so when Galina is ready, I will connect her to the bar executives with a letter of support.

Watch for an announcement about a farewell reception for Galina in the month ahead. Please plan to stop in and wish her well.

Thanks for checking in,




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