BACKGROUND

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Leave the pieces when you go



How many people are walking around out there with pieces of your life? Little snippets of who you once were and who you wished to become?

It occured to me today that as I get older, more and more people are in possession of pieces of my life. From the time we are born to the time we die, many people come into our lives who will not stay for the whole journey. We share our deepest, darkest secrets with them, our hopes and dreams, and when it's time for the relationship to end, they carry those pieces of us with them through life. It is not just those we are in love with that this is true of. It is those we befriend and those we work with, those we come in contact with once, but with whom we share a piece of ourselves.



I occassionally think about people I've known, people I was once friends with or in love with and all the things I know about them that they probably wouldn't want to be public knowledge. And then I think of all those people who know things about me.

Some of those things aren't important, they just seemed that way at the time. My crush on my high school science teacher is known by my two best friends from high school, neither of which I am in contact with anymore. They also know that I only joined the high school track team because a cute guy I liked was on the team.

Some of the pieces of my life are much more important than that and are carried by people who are now strangers to me. It's amazing how much we share with people who are in our lives for the moment because we think they will always be there. And when they leave, they take the pieces of our lives with them.

Then, there are people who not only have pieces of our lives, they have the whole puzzle. For me, this is my best friend and kindred spirit, Britt. She knows everything there is to know about me. She shared my pain over a broken first marriage, my joy at getting into law school, and my journey to true happiness with my now-husband, Chuck. I have shared the joy of her wedding, the amazing, incredible people that are her two children, her acceptance into grad school for teaching, and numerous other things that cannot be summed up in words.

Pieces of my life's puzzle are out there with many other people, but it is nice to know that there is someone who has the whole puzzle and that you can trust that person with it. That is the real key to life: it's not the people who have pieces, it's the person you choose to have the whole puzzle. And I have chosen wisely.

Friday, December 29, 2006

At last



It is Friday at last. This has been the longest week ever. I need some serious "me time" which I will get tomorrow. My husband will be out with his friends for most of the day so it will be just me and the dogs.


I'm going to sleep late, then get up and take a nice, hot bubble bath, followed by putting on my most comfy pajamas and watching my new Golden Girls DVD that I got for Christmas. It's going to be a nice, quiet day at home. I find that I need that more and more as life gets busier.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

1...2...3...SWAP!



I recently discovered a fantastic website that I just have to share: Paperback Swap. This site allows you to list your books and send/receive books to/from others for nearly nothing. Basically, if a reader requests your book, you mail it to them (the site even gives you a book wrapper you can print out at home AND it calculates the postage for you) and you pay the postage, which is never more than $2.00 or so. When you request a book from someone, they pay the postage to send it to you.

You get three credits when you sign up. Each book you request "costs" one credit. You earn credits by sending out books to others. It's a way better deal than I've ever gotten even at discount book stores. I have three books on their way to me and I'll be sending out one tomorrow.

The site can be a bit difficult to figure out at first, but it only takes about 20 minutes to click around and get the hang of it. It's definitely worth it. If you love books, check it out!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas at the Corral


It's been a lazy Christmas day for my husband and me. We got up this morning and exchanged gifts with each other, opened our stockings and then he went back to bed. I stayed up and drank some hot chocolate and took care of some e-mails/internet stuff. Then, he got up and I napped for three hours. I guess it's not really a nap if it's over an hour or so long.

Anyway, we pretty much hung out all day doing this and that, nothing special, until we decided we were hungry. I didn't plan ahead and buy something to cook today so we began the search for open restaurants. The Golden Corral, my very favorite buffet place, was open in Conroe, about 22 miles or so from where we live.

It was worth the drive! We're both stuffed:) I'm getting ready for my trip to San Antonio now. It's a short one so not much to pack, but I need to go get it together anyway. I've already printed my boarding pass - isn't technology wonderful?

Have a wonderful Christmas night!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hoppy Holidays!



Merry Christmas Eve! It's been a busy one for me so far. I got up at 7:30 a.m. this morning and went to the gym. It wasn't crowded, but there were more people there than I expected to see today. I did my total body, double workout, followed by 60 minutes of cardio. I was SUPER tired after that so I came home, took a nice hot bubble bath, ate some breakfast, and got in a good nap.

I've also been playing with my "new" e-mail application. It's not really new, but it's different than the one I've been using. Netscape, my former e-mail app, decided to crap out on me last night so everything was transferred to Microsoft Outlook, which I used in law school, but it's been awhile.


Later on, I'm going to bake some cookies to take over to my in-laws. We will be going over there around 4:30 for dinner and gift opening. After that, we'll come back home and Chuck and I will open our gifts to each other. We do that on Christmas Eve some years and Christmas Day on others.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. Drink some hot chocolate and remember to celebrate the love and goodness that is this holiday!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Better Day



Today has been a wonderful day so far! I'm feeling much better than I did yesterday at the end of what was a very long week.

Last night, I had an early dinner with a friend at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Then, I came home and had one of my favorite desserts (cookies and ice cream). I did a few things around the house until about 9:30 when I took a massive dose of sleeping pills and went to bed. I was out by 9:45.


I slept until about 8 this morning, but when I woke up, I was still kinda tired. I showered, let the dogs out, did a few things here and there and went back to bed at 9 a.m. I slept until almost noon. I see an afternoon nap in my future as well. Yes, this is a lot of sleeping, but sleep deprived doesn't even begin to cover it this last week so I've got a lot to catch up on.

My husband will be out with his friend for lunch today so I have the house to myself. I lit my vanilla-scented candle and will do a few little things, some laundry and so on. Then, it's off to nap for me once again.

Hope everyone else is having a great Saturday!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday...all at once



Wow. Yesterday was one of those days where it would have been appropriate to hide under the covers and wait until the day had passed.

It started at 7:45 a.m. with a phone call from my father letting me know my grandmother (his mother) had died. This was not unexpected as she'd been very ill and in the hospital for the last six weeks or so. However, it's still tough when a family member finally does take their last breath. I will be going to the funeral in San Antonio next week.



Then, I had a court appearance for a divorce hearing. My client, the wife, sobbed through the whole thing. I felt so badly for her! As a family law attorney, I have learned to separate myself from my clients' lives and issues, but some days that is harder than others.

After the court appearance, I went back to the office. I had a couple of quiet hours working on other cases until the afternoon...

That is when I appeared by phone in the civil court for a recent case. The civil court is in downtown Houston roughly 30 minutes from where my office is. I said one sentence to the judge, who then went postal on me and ordered me to appear in person with my client in 30 minutes.



Uh, yeah. So here's the thing on that: it was raining cats and dogs. The rain was coming down in sheets. I got in the car and started the drive. It was stop and go all the way. There were two accidents along the route and an ambulance trying to get through. Took me 45 minutes to get to the courthouse where I learned the judge had ruled against us and left. This, despite the fact that I had called the court clerk to let the court know I'd be late (a common practice for attorneys appearing in court). So that sucked.

Then...I drove back to the office in the driving rain. We had our Xmas party last night at The Cheesecake Factory. We got lost on the way because my husband was trying to take an alternate route since there was an accident in the middle of the road we were supposed to take.

Finally, we made it. I had filet mignon, several of my favorite drink, and a huge Strawberry Shortcake all on my bosses dime.

Now, if you need me, I will be hiding under the covers.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Several days attacking me at once

Wow, it's only Wednesday, but it feels like this week has lasted for years. I can't even recall everything I did in the last three days, but I know it was a lot.

I know I did something on Monday, but I have no idea what so lets move on to Tuesday: I spent the afternoon in Conroe in a mediation. Conroe is roughly 20 minutes from where I live. I stopped by the office after the mediation so I didn't get home until 6:30ish.



Today, I drove down to Houston to file some paperwork for family law and bankruptcy (no, not my own), which entailed trips to three different buildings.

Then, I drove back to Spring (30 minutes) and over to my gynecologist for my yearly visit, which is always ever so much fun. Then I dropped a friend's film off at the store. After that, I went back to the office and scrambled to finish a divorce decree so I could get out by 5:30, run home, put some make-up on and drive 15 minutes to my husband's work Christmas party.

After the party, I picked up a couple of things at the store that I will need for my own work Christmas party tomorrow. I am totally exhausted. I feel like I'm constantly on the go, on the go, on the go. I just want to sit quietly and not be disturbed.

Tomorrow, I have to appear in court for a divorce in the morning. I will be working out at the gym over my lunch hours. I will take two hours for lunch, one of which will be spent at the gym and the other will be spent at home showering and then doing some gift wrapping for my work Christmas party.

I CANNOT WAIT FOR FRIDAY. It is the one day that I don't have to do a single, solitary thing outside of working and going to the gym. I plan to come home, take a nice hot bubble bath and go to bed. I'm hoping to catch up on sleep and have that quiet time. I'll let you know if that pans out.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lost...and FOUND!

I use my rewards credit card to pay the majority of my monthly expenditures and then I pay it off in full at the end of the month. This way, I get the rewards points from the card, but I don't carry a balance so I incur no interest.



Well...Friday night, I went to dinner with co-workers then I bought gas on the way home. I went grocery shopping and when I went to pull out my card to pay the bill, the card was gone!! YIKES!! I am SO careful with my credit cards so this was a big problem. I tore through my car, the clothes I was wearing and my house, but no card. I reported it lost around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Here it is Tuesday and my doorbell just rang. Standing there was a little boy and his mom. The little boy was maybe 9 years old. He was holding my credit card!

The little boy had found it on my driveway on Saturday morning. He had been afraid to give it to his mom because he thought she'd be mad at him. Well, he finally gave it to her and they brought it by tonight. I told him I would like to give him something for his honesty (doesn't hurt to encourage people to do the right thing).

So, I'm going to give him $10 cash and also maybe some cookies? If you have any other ideas, post a comment and let me know!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Break Down

I was talking to a friend today who is having a hard time in life right now. She was apologizing for crying and said "I don't know why I'm breaking down like this..."

I told her that she should break down. Everyone needs to do that now and again. Keeps us healthy to have a good old fashioned ugly cry break down.

I don't know why we all feel like we have to be stoic and strong and bear up under our pain and struggles. Things will get better and this too shall pass. But in the meantime, go ahead and break down. You'll feel better for it!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Working It Out


I just got home from a double workout and I feel both exhausted and exhilarated. On Sundays, I sometimes double up my workout so that I can get my tough weight lifting out of the way for the week and then do the "easier" lifting (if there is such a thing) during the week. I do this because the easier lifting takes less time, which means I don't have to scramble to finish my workout before having to rush off to something else, like work.

Today's exercise schedule included five upper body exercises and five lower body exercises plus abdominals. That was followed by 30 minutes of high-intensity cardio. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical machine and then 10 minutes on the Treadclimer. It was a good day at the gym. Came home and took a hot shower, which felt great since I was literally dripping with sweat once I left the gym.

I'm definitely going to sleep well tonight!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Me Time

I have declared today "Me Time." I spent most of this week running around trying to get my Christmas activities done, not to mention working a full day. Last night, I went out to dinner with my co-workers and did a gift exchange, then went shopping with one of them at the mall. After that, I came home and went grocery shopping at 11:30 p.m. I did that so that today, I wouldn't have to go anywhere unless I really wanted to.

My husband has been out of town since Thursday and will be back tonight. So, it's just me and the dogs today and I'm using this as "me time." I got up, took a nice hot shower, put on my comfy nightgown and did a few things around the house I wanted to do such as finish wrapping my husband's gifts. I'm about to go take a nap and then I'll do some other things I have on my list that I wanted to do today.

It's SO nice to be able to take some time just for me especially during the holidays when everything is rushed. Ok, I'm off to nap!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

13

Thirteen Things I Like

(Borrowing this from East of Oregon)

1. A hot bubble bath after a hard workout at the gym.

2. Slipping into bed on fresh, clean sheets.

3. My New Balance tennis shoes. I won't wear any other type of tennis shoe.

4. Coming home after work and having dinner with my husband, then talking about our days.

5. The Golden Girls. I will never tire of that show. Thank God for DVDs of old TV shows.

6. Chocolate Chip cookies straight out of the oven with a big glass of milk.

7. Talking to my best friend, Britt.

8. Candles. I especially love lighting a candle when it's raining and sitting on the couch listening to the rain come down.

9. Cuddling up with my husband.

10. Spaghetti with extra meat sauce at Olive Garden.

11. That feeling I get after working out. It's a natural high.

12. Knowing that I'm a lawyer. I accomplished a goal that took a lot of hard work. I feel good about that.

13. Sleeping in.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Giving up



Can't. Just can't. I keep thinking I'm going to complete my Christmas to-do list this week. It is not going to happen and I have now accepted that. I have four items on the list and I will complete two of them before Friday because I have a gift exchange planned that day so they have to be done by then. The other items on my list will have to wait.

It's just too hard to try and do it during the week because that whole work thing gets in the way. I was in court for most of the morning today and then the afternoon was taken up by more work at the office and lunch with a friend.

Sometimes you just have to accept that you will not get something done in the time frame in which you want to get it done. I have now accepted that. It's a bit of a relief actually. I'm giving up!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not Done...

Well dang. I thought I'd be done with the whole holiday thing today, but it was not meant to be. Oh woe is me...or something.

I made an appointment for our dogs to see their groomer tomorrow so I will bring along her gift and give it to her then.

I did not get to the post office today to send my mom and nephew's gift to Oregon, but I am determined to make it there tomorrow. I'm going to have to wait until the weekend to pick up my other friend's gift. The weekend will be a good time to pick up what I need to bake my goody baskets too. So it looks like this weekend will be the true ending to all my holiday madness. At least, I hope that is true...

Done! Well, almost...


Yesterday, I mailed all our Christmas cards along with two birthday cards for my friends who were born this month. I also picked up a gift for our dog groomer, who has been very good to our boys this year. I made plans with my co-workers to have dinner and do a gift exchange on Friday and I wrapped the gifts for my mother and nephew and will be sending those on their way tomorrow.

The only thing left to do is drop off the groomer's gift to her (tomorrow), pick up a gift for another friend here in town, and do some baking for some "goody" packages I plan to give out this month. That's all, that's it!! It's been a crazy month for me so I'm really happy to be nearly done with my Christmas "stuff." I wish the rest of you a peaceful holiday season and a completed to-do list.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

With a new year fast approaching, I decided it was time to do something drastic...with my hair. I believe in starting every new year with a clean slate and cutting my hair is one way for me to do this. It signifies my belief in the new and exciting things that I know will come my way in the new year.

So, without further ado, I present to you my new do:

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Graduate Leverage


Yesterday, I finally got it together and marked several things off my to-do list. I bought stocking stuffers for everyone and nearly finished up my gift list.

I also contacted Graduate Leverage, the company that consolidated my federal student loans when I graduated from law school. Warning...Shameless Plug: I LOVE GRADUATE LEVERAGE!

Unlike other companies out there, GL was started by a group of Harvard MBA students. As their MBA project, they analyzed the student loan industry and found out that students, particularly those in law and medical schools, were being screwed by the industry. The industry had a captive audience with these students as achieving the dream of becoming a lawyer or doctor means massive debt. The federal student loan program only allots $18,500 a year and most law and medical schools cost far more than that, which means students in these professional schools must apply for private loans.

Private loans are based on individual credit and carry interest rates far higher than federal loans. Students in the professional disciplines were being screwed by the companies.

SO...Graduate Leverage was born out of that MBA project as a collective bargaining tool of sorts. I learned about them when one of the founders did a presentation at my law school during my second year. They are FANTASTIC! They consolidated my federal loans at a very low rate and I am now having them consolidate my private loans, which will save me quite a bit over the long haul.

If you're a graduate student in need of debt consolidation assistance, contact Graduate Leverage. They are great to work with, I've always been able to reach a human being when I call, and they assist with any and all questions ASAP.

Ok, shameless plug over.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Where's my motivation?

So yeah. I had big plans for today after work. I was going to pick up some Xmas gifts, really knock some things off my list. Admittedly, it's not a long list as I don't believe in buying for the sake of buying. I purchase gifts only for those I truly care about.

Still, even with the short list, I only got one gift taken care of and decided I was just too tired to bother with it so I swung by Quiznos, got a sandwich, and came home. I do plan to be very proactive in getting almost everything off my list tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

The Ghost of Christmas Past

I'm back from our mini-vacation to Galveston and Dickens on the Strand! It was an absolute blast!! My husband, Chuck, and I drove down last night and met up with my friend, Dalia, and her husband, McKee. They came down from San Antonio. We went to the handbell concert, which was really something. A group of people played well-known Christmas songs using handbells. Beautiful music that was played in an old Catholic Church. It was packed and yet, it was so comfortable. It was a wonderful way to relax after a hard day at work, being in God's house surrounded by beautiful music.

Afterwards, Chuck and I got some dinner and went to bed at our hotel. We were really tired after the long day at work and driving down. This morning, we got up and met Dalia and McKee on the Strand.

We walked the Strand for a good four hours looking at all the vendors' wares and the people dressed in period costumes. Jacob Marley of "Scrooge" fame was kind enough to stop his eternal roaming of the earth to take a picture with me.



I'm glad I put myself on a budget before I went down there because I really could have bought up a ton of things. The vendors had some amazing items. I bought some handcrafted candles, roasted almonds, some homemade dog treats for our boys, and some amazing Arbonne body products. My husband bought several things as well.

We had a great time and will probably do it again next year. It's SO much fun to get away on a little mini-vacation. I also love the Victorian era so seeing the characters from the stories of Charles Dickens walking around made it that much more enjoyable.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hanging out with Charles Dickens


Every year in December, Dickens on the Strand takes place in Galveston, which is about 70 miles from where I live. It's a big weekend festival with characters dressed up in Dickens'-era costumes. There are events, food, and vendors on the Strand, a lovely old street in Galveston.

Ever since I moved here in 2002, I kept telling myself I was going to go to it. Well this year, I'm finally doing it!

My husband and I will be heading down there Friday night to meet up with some friends. We'll attend the Handbell Concert, grab something to eat and go back to our hotel for the evening. The next morning we'll hit the shops on the Strand and walk on the beach.

I'm really looking forward to going. It's always nice to break out of the everyday routine AND do something I've told myself I was going to do for years.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I am so tired. So very, very tired. I haven't slept well for the last week. I don't know why. It started with being unable to get comfortable one night. I was tossing and turning. It continued going downhill from there.

So, I've switched up my schedule so I can get as much sleep as possible. Instead of going to the gym early in the morning, I now do it over my lunch hour. I can take two hours for lunch if I like so I usually do that and get in a full workout, go home to shower and eat, and then return to work. I will probably go back to morning workouts at some point, but for right now this works.

Anyway, this sleep deprivation thing got me thinking about how I need to slow down. This past month in particular has been nothing but go, go, go. I've had something to do every single weekend in November. Even though many of those things were enjoyable and fun, it still takes its toll to be on the go so often.

Additionally, things have been crazy at work. November and December are supposed to be slow months in the family law business, the theory being that no one wants to get divorced around the holidays or fight the custody battle. It's turned out just the opposite in my practice though. It's crazier than it's ever been.

SO...I'm now building restful periods into my life to help me cope with the constant on the go-ness. Rather than plan things for the weekday evenings, I make sure I come home and eat a good dinner then relax by playing on the internet or watching a favorite TV show. I do a few chores here and there, nothing big, just things I can easily do while watching TV. I make sure to play with the dogs and at least twice a week, I take a hot bubble bath with candles. I also read a few pages of a novel before I go to bed.

It's the little things that start to matter when I'm running myself ragged. I made sure to relax tonight and I think I'll sleep well because of it.

May you all catch some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz tonight!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Um...

I received this in an e-mail from a friend and I thought it worth sharing. I'm embarrassed to say that I've done a few of these myself.

9 Things I Hate About Everyone

1. People who point at their wrist while asking for the time.... I know where my watch is pal, where the heck is yours? Do I point at my crotch when I ask where the toilet is?

2. People who are willing to get off their butt to search the entire room for the T.V. remote because they refuse to walk to the T.V. and change thechannel manually.

3. When people say "Oh you just want to have your cake and eat it too". Darn right! What good is cake if you can't eat it?

4. When people say "it's always the last place you look". Of course it is. Why the heck would you keep looking after you've found it?

5. When people say while watching a film "did you see that?". No, I paid $12 to come to the cinema and stare at the friggity fruitsnack floor.

6. People who ask "Can I ask you a question?".... Didn't really give me a choice there, did ya sunshine?

7. When something is 'new and improved!'. Which is it? If it's new, then there has never been anything before it. If it's an improvement, then there must have been something before it, couldn't be new.

8. When people say "life is short". What the heck?? Life is the longest flipping thing anyone ever does!! What can you do that's longer?

9. When you are waiting for the bus and someone asks "Has the bus come yet?" If the bus came would I be standing here?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Got 'er Done...Mostly

I got almost all the items done from yesterday's list. The only ones I didn't accomplish were:

1. Wash master bedroom comforter and re-make bed.
2. Answer at least four of the eight e-mails currently waiting in my in-box.

I got most of the list done when I woke up this morning. Then I went to the gym. I was tired when I got back so I laid down while my husband swept and mopped the floors. I slept for two hours!Didn't realize it was going to be such a long nap. So the e-mail and the comforter washing will have to wait. I can live with that.

Ok, off to pack for San Antonio.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Get 'er Done

Ok so...I'm leaving tomorrow for San Antonio and I will not be back until Sunday. I have some things I want to do before I leave tomorrow at noon. I often find that sharing goals can be helpful in that when other people know you're trying to do something, you have some built-in accountability.

So my dear blogger readers, here are the things I wish to complete before I leave at noon tomorrow:

1. Clean kitchen counters.
2. Unload dishwasher.
3. Get in an hour of cardio at the gym.
4. Sweep and mop kitchen, dining room, and hallway.
5. Wash master bedroom comforter and re-make bed.
6. Empty all garbage throughout the house into big kitchen garbage can and then take big kitchen garbage can outside.
7. Dust living room coffee table.
8. Scrub master bath.
9. Clean master bath counter and toilet.
10. Answer at least four of the eight e-mails currently waiting in my in-box.

Hmmm...that's very ambitious, but luckily my wonderful husband will help with the household chores part. He will empty the garbage, sweep and mop while I'm at the gym, we'll make the bed together, and he can dust while I scrub the tub. I think it's all doable. I'll get back to you and let you know if it really was.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Huh?

So by now we've all heard about Michael Richards' (of Seinfeld fame) racist tirade at his recent Laugh Factory appearance. If you haven't seen it, you can view it by clicking here. I warn you it's difficult to watch.

He apologized three days later on The Late Show with David Letterman.

I have to wonder...what makes people act like this? In this day and age, it's just astounding to see such vile language and racism displayed. Sadly, this is nothing new to me as I am surrounded by racists in my daily life. It's extremely depressing to me to hear someone utter the "n" word as if it's acceptable in normal conversation or anywhere for that matter.

What racist people don't understand is that they look SO very ignorant when they judge people by their skin color or where they come from. There are jerks of every race, creed, and color out there and there are wonderful people of every race, creed, and color. It's so very sad that some people just don't get that.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Game Playing

Oh. My. God. It seems that the Playstation 3 aka PS3 is so popular that people camped out overnight and in some cases for multiple nights just to be in line to get one.

The husband of a friend of a friend of mine (you might have to read that a couple of times to figure out who I'm talking about) actually paid someone $150 to stand in line to buy one. The "line stander" paid about $600 or so for the machine and then the owner (the husband of the friend of the friend) sold it on eBay. His whole purpose in buying it was to sell it for profit. And he succeeded...last I heard, the bid was up to $4,000. Yes, you read that right: $4,000 as in 4,000 one dollar bills. One bid I saw was up to $6,000.

Ok seriously. This begs the question of how sick and/or twisted you must be to pay literally thousands of dollars for a machine that retails for $600 and will be outdated in five years and that's if you're lucky...it will probably be more like two years. I'd say that's a true addiction and should be placed in the DSM-IV.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Surprise!




This has been a crazy month for me. I can't believe it's already Nov. 11. I started the month with a wonderful trip to Oregon to surprise my mother for her 60th birthday. I flew from Houston to San Francisco to Crescent City, California, where I rented a car and drove the 30 miles to Brookings, Oregon, my hometown on the coast.

I stopped at my favorite florist and got a half dozen roses, three red and three yellow and a big balloon. It was a drizzly day and I ran to the car with the flowers. I drove the two miles or so to my mom's work and went to the door hiding my face behind the balloon. When she answered the door, I lifted the balloon and started singing Happy Birthday. She was shocked and thrilled and started crying and hugging me. It was so wonderful, a great surprise.

I've missed my mom terribly and hadn't gotten to see her since July 2005 when I got married. We had so much fun. We had dinner at all the great Brookings restaurants and I got to meet all her friends from her church, where she also works. We had some great talks. My mother is always full of good advice and gives me things to think about whenever I have a problem.

I went to Oregon to surprise my mom, but it ended up being a great thing for me too. I needed to reconnect with my mother and also with my hometown. Getting away and going back to the place where the foundation for your life was laid gives new perspective.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Staying afloat on the FriendSHIP

Thank God for friends. I am truly, honestly grateful for my dear friends who keep me afloat in life's trying times. On Friday, I was having a hard day. Seemed like depression, anxiety, and basic "ick" just came crashing down on me. I sent an e-mail to my best friend Britt in the morning and she responded pretty quickly then followed up later with a phone call. That helped more than I can express. We live thousands of miles apart, but I keep her close to me in my heart and knowing that she is there anytime is a great comfort.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Full

I went grocery shopping yesterday. I love opening the fridge and seeing it full of good foods. I did the major shopping yesterday, which means buying for about two weeks. So, I have all I need for good, nutritious food for at least 10 days. Nice to know I won't have to go out and do that again anytime soon.

Ok, off to have my healthy chicken, rice, and green beans dinner:)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sick...and Tired



Earlier this week, it looked like I was getting a cold. I haven't been sick in over a year now, but I still recognize the symptoms. SO...I took extra vitamins and such, but I neglected to get enough rest. Couldn't do it since I was so busy at work. WELL...now I'm paying for it as I have a full-fledged cold. I have the whole sniffing, sneezy, Nyquil commerical, weak muscles cold.

The plus side is that it's not horrible in it's intensity. I can still breathe pretty clearly. I sound like I have a frog in my throat, but other than that it's not too bad. I went to bed early last night and got some sleep, which always helps me stave off really bad illness. I'm spending the day resting and napping so by Monday, I should feel a ton better.

I had hoped to rest the whole weekend, but tomorrow I have to go to a presentation to see a friend get his black belt in Karate. I'm excited for him so I'll go, but then I'll come home and rest some more.

The one thing that upsets me most about being sick is not getting my gym time in. I hate not working out, but right now I just can't. It wouldn't be good for my body. Have to recover from this cold, but I do miss the gym and am hoping to get back in there on Monday.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mirror Image



There is a person in my life who annoys me. In fact, I think she's psychotic. She has some real issues with the way she treats people. I would rather not be around her if possible, but I don't have that choice right now.

BUT...I got to thinking about something I read quite awhile ago. The people we dislike in this life are really our greatest teachers. Looking at the woman in my life who annoys me, I have to admit that some of the qualities in her that I dislike are the same ones I dislike in myself. Sometimes people in our lives are our mirror images. They can show us what we really don't admire about ourselves.

This woman in my life is extreme in her issues. I am not psychotic (that I know of) and I do not treat people as poorly as she does, BUT...even though I am not as extreme as she is, I can see in myself some of the bad things I see in her.

It helps me a lot to think about the situation this way. She is in my life to be a cautionary example, to force me to look at the things I don't like about the way I treat people or the things I do. That way, I can avoid becoming her in my later years. Rather than be angry and dismissive of her horrifying behavior, I can look on it as a lesson and that has helped me deal with her better and become a better person myself.

Think about someone in your life you dislike. Why do you dislike them? What qualities do they have that make you upset? Might some of those same qualities be in you? And if not, what is this person trying to teach you? Do you need to learn to set boundaries? Is it that you need to learn to walk away?

There are lessons everywhere. Learn them now and avoid becoming the person you despise.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rest in Peace...no, not the permanent kind

Last night I lit a candle, turned off all the lights and sat on the couch listening to the thunder and rain come down outside. I haven't felt that relaxed in a long time. It seems like I'm always on the go and I never get to just sit and be. Last night, I got the chance to really slow down and it helped a lot. I slept better last night than I have in a VERY long time. I listened to the rain storm outside and forced my mind to stop thinking through all the things I need to do, to say, to accomplish.

Everyone needs to do that once in awhile. Remove the distractions and just let yourself be. Stop your mind from thinking through all the problems, the pain, the joys of life, and just let it rest. Your mind and heart need rest as much as your body does. Try it sometime.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pepperoni: the answer to life's problems

I am a family law attorney, which does not mean I spend my life in exciting court drama the way they portray it on Boston Legal. It means I spend my life on the phone. All day, every day. I log more phone time every day than a teenage girl who just got her first cell phone logs in a year.

People call constantly. It does not stop. Clients call with all kinds of questions. Sometimes they call just to yell. Yes, it is true, they yell at their attorney...the one person who can actually get them out of a horrible life situation and they yell at me. Makes no sense, but I have learned that people embroiled in family law matters rarely do make sense. I've learned to chalk it up to their out of control emotions. I've had people call and yell, then apologize, then call and yell again the next day. Very odd, but like I said it's the emotion of the divorce, the child custody battle and I do understand that.

But there are times when they catch me at the wrong moment and I become stern and bitter right back. That's when they call, apologize, and cry. Sometimes they show up in person and cry. That's when we go through more Kleenex than a preschool classroom.

Ah, the life of a lawyer. All that said though, I do like my job. Sometimes we get the clients who truly appreciate our efforts and those are the people who make it worthwhile. One client brought us fresh bagels and cream cheese for helping him with his issue. Very nice surprise and very much appreciated.

After a long week in the legal trenches, I also look forward to Pepperoni Friday. Every other Friday, I generally order pizza from Pizza Zone, which is my favorite pizza place in Houston. It's delicious and helps me forget all the stress of the previous two weeks. Ah, if only all problems were so easily solved by pepperoni.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

It's been five years today since the landscape of America, and the world, was changed by two American Airlines planes smashing into the World Trade Center towers.

So much has happened to all of us since then. When the world stopped turning that day, I was at home getting ready for work. I never watched the news in the morning because I was a reporter and I was bombarded with news all day so I didn't bother with it before going to work.

When I got to work, the receptionist told me that the towers had been hit by planes crashing into them. I was shocked. I tried to get the news up on the internet, but it was obvious the whole world was doing the same because the pages would not load. Too much traffic.

Because we were a twice-weekly newspaper, we purchased the every other day subscription to the Associated Press news feed. That day, the AP suspended subscription requirements and we got 24-hour news feed. We watched the computer with curiosity and awe for the next feed. They came roughly every five minutes or so, sometimes a paragraph and sometimes just a couple of lines. We got the television from downstairs and brought it upstairs so everyone could watch. We placed it in the lobby and watched in quiet reverance as the television news showed the towers being hit and crumbling to the ground.

One of our subscribers had a relative in New York who was taking pictures of the towers as things were happening. The photographer e-mailed us the pictures allowing us an on the frontlines view of the tragedy.

Where were you when the world stopped turning? 9/11 has become our generation's JFK assassination. No one in that generation ever forgets where they were and what they were doing when they heard about it. Now...we will never forget...in more ways than one.

Music Video Codes by VideoCure.com

Monday, September 4, 2006

A Real Day of Labor



Actually, it was more like a real weekend of labor. There were a ton of things on my "to do" list that have been there longer than Jimmy Hoffa's been missing. SO...this weekend I decided to get them done. And I got most of them done, but man I am exhausted. I did a ton of running around this weekend to get those items crossed off.

It’s amazing how many little things can take up so much time. I decided to buy all the birthday cards for the month at the start of each month and write them all out so I can have them done and then just mail them when it’s appropriate to do so. Well, selecting the right card takes forever because I like to pick cards I think the recipient will like. And then there’s the gift selection, which takes awhile because again, I like to pick something the recipient will like.

Then, there’s just the general stuff of life: cleaning the house, doing the laundry, etc. This weekend, I tackled a bunch of those general chores, but with a little extra thrown in. For example, rather than just sorta dust around the books and things on the bookshelf in the dining room, I took everything off the shelf and dusted it thoroughly. I also tossed a bunch of stuff off the shelf. There were several things sitting up there that just needed to be thrown out. Some of it was stuff I thought I was going to do something with, but I had to admit I wasn’t going to get to it so I just threw it away.

For example, I had a pack of gum up there that I got for free when I bought something else. I cannot chew gum so I was going to give it to someone, but I kept forgetting to do that. It’s been there for six months. I finally just threw it out. Now, this could be construed as wasteful and it probably is, but you know I do feel relief at having gotten it out of my space.

There were also several paper items up there that needed to be dumped. There’s no reason for me to keep old job search print-outs or last year’s Bible Study worksheets. It was high time to move on from that stuff. So out it all went. The shelf looks a lot better now.

In addition to all that, I did at least five loads of laundry. Not because I’ve been neglectful of the laundry, but because I washed certain things that don’t always get washed like the comforter from the guest room and the mattress pad from our room. Heck, I even sprayed Febreeze Anti-Microbial on our mattress and dust busted it. I saw this on the show “Clean Sweep” once. It’s supposed to kill the dust mites and then the vacuuming gets them off the mattress.

Anyway, you get the picture. My weekend was very much about tackling the little things. But, the little things add up to big things and I feel so much better when all the little things are done and can stop niggling at my brain. Because you know, I need all the brain power I can access right now.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

All That is Good

I decided a blog about the good things in my life is in order. These are the things I enjoy, that make me happy, that make life worth living:

1. Naps. I just got up from an hour-long nap and I feel so much better for it. I was really tired around 6 p.m. and I thought "Oh, I have so much to do I'm not going to go lie down right now..." but then it occured to me that I needed to listen to my body and get some rest. So I did.

2. My husband. He's a good guy, he just is. I had a ton to do at my office today (yes, on a Saturday) and some of it involved rearranging heavy office furniture. He came with me, helped me out, and even fixed my office computer. He's a good egg as my mother would say:)

3. Doughnuts. I do not eat doughnuts on any sort of regular basis and in fact, have not had a doughnut since last October, but I'm bringing doughnuts to the office on Tuesday and I'm looking forward to the little splurge (which will take place AFTER I've worked out so I won't feel guilty about it).

4. My co-workers. They're fun, funny, and we have a good time together.

5. Being a lawyer. I'm really starting to get the hang of it and I feel good about that. I have a lot to learn, but I've picked up a lot too and that is cause for happiness.

6. Apples. I eat three apples a day, every day, and I love them. Crisp and clean, they are very filling.

7. That good feeling that comes with getting errands done.

8. Watching my credit card balance fall because I have a good plan for paying it off and I'm sticking to it.

9. Watching my savings grow because I have a good plan for saving money and I'm sticking to it.

10. Pizza Zone Friday Nights. Pizza Zone is my favorite place to get pizza and every other Friday, I pick up pizza from there. It's nice to celebrate the end of a long work week with some good pizza.

11. Color printers. It's just cool to see your stuff print out in color that looks great.

There are more, but those are the things that come to me at this moment.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Waisting Away...and other stuff

The misspelling in my title is intentional. I decided I should probably write a blog about the whole weight loss thing since it's the big deal of my week. This past Sunday, my regular weigh-in day, I finally hit my goal weight. After 10.5 months, I'm down 60 pounds and 8/10 sizes. I went from 190 to 130, size 16 to size 6/8. I'm feeling really good about that. Sometimes I look at the pictures of the old me and I can't believe I ever let things get that bad. Before/After pics for your viewing pleasure are here:

Fat/Skinny

In other news, I was in the gym at 4 a.m. this morning. This is indeed news to those of you who know me and know quite well that I am not at all a morning person. I tossed and turned from 2:30 - 3:45 or so this morning and finally just got up and drove to the gym. It was a good thing because I had a double workout today. I didn't go to the gym yesterday because I wasn't feeling good and needed to come home and rest. So today I made up for yesterday's workout and completed today's as well.

What else is worthy of mentioning today...hmmm...nothing much really. I'm going to court in about an hour and that shouldn't be much of a big thing. I hope I can find metered parking because I have a bunch of change, but no real cash for the parking lots.

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I'm the attorney

I think I may be a real lawyer now. I appeared in court three times last week in three different counties. My boss had a family emergency so I ended up having to take his court appearances. It was a great experience for me in a lot of different ways.

First of all, the fact that I was able to find the courthouse in some of these places was a victory. God Bless Mapquest. Secondly, it's a great thing to just get the feel of a courthouse, to get to know the layout, where the clerk is, and so on. Finally, the more I appear in front of the judge, the more comfortable I get with it. I'm feeling good about being able to say "Lawfrog, Attorney for the Petitioner (or the Respondent)." In fact, I feel pretty darned great being able to say that and know that I can get things accomplished for my client.

On another note, I feel it's worth mentioning that, regardless of what the studies show about lawyer personalities (see my previous post), attorneys are a pretty good bunch of people. At least, that's the case here in Houston. The family emergency my boss had meant he couldn't prepare for some of the hearings he had to be at this week so the other attorneys agreed to move things up a bit to give him time to get through his personal issue. Lawyers may be sharks in the courtroom, but in the game of life, they can be dolphins: friendly creatures ready to aid you in your time of need.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Are we really different?

So get this...apparently, someone has actually done research on how lawyers differ from the general population. Not only that, the research goes from pre-law to practicing lawyer showing the changes that are made (or in some cases accentuated) in a person who chooses law as a career field. Interesting stuff for those of us in the legal profession, but boring for everyone else as is the case with law stuff in general;) For those who care or are too bored to go elsewhere on the internet, check out the research:

Proof that Lawyers are a bunch of depressed, addicted, aggressive nuts.

How Lawyers Differ from the General Population.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Workplace attraction

I've been in a couple of different professions now and I know people in many others and I've come to realize that there are some shared traits among people who choose certain professions. I wonder if we're attracted to our jobs because they reflect our best and worst qualities? Here are the traits I've noted among different professions, both ones I've worked in and ones I know people in:

1. Non-Profit Workers: These people want to change the world one person at a time. They truly care about humanity and want to make a difference in life. However, they become easily burnt out (who can blame them, NP work is hard) and they tend to move on to more education beyond their original degree or to a job where they can make more money and have more structure.

2. Journalists: These people are typically curious and driven by the need to know all the facts about any given situation or person. They want to tell the stories of others and tend to be good listeners and observers of people and life in general. On the downside, they have poor health habits, often eating junk food at their desks and they too tend to burn out as news is a 24/7 business that can get really exhausting really fast.

3. Lawyers: The majority of the people in this profession are conflict-oriented. They love a good debate or fight and will argue to the death, though they tend to do it confidently as opposed to having a lot of anger about their convictions. They can argue either side of an issue with gusto. Downside: they are totally annoying with their need to be right all the time and their high rates of depression and alcohol/drug abuse. This is a good profession for people who like to talk and love to win.

4. Teachers: I love teachers. I have many friends who are teachers. Teachers tend to have the patience of Job and truly love seeing children learn. They want to make a mark on society and they are good at putting a positive spin on bad news - who wants to tell the parents that the kid they think is a genius is really a total dumbass who will do nothing productive with his life? And yet, teachers know how to get this news across without making it sound like the worst thing in the world. Downside of teaching: money. There's not enough of it and there's not enough hours in the day to do the things you need/want to do in your classroom and with the kids. This is an exhausting profession.

5. Secretaries: These people are often the real brains behind any organization. They are organized, efficient, and get the job done. Downside: never enough recognition for what they actually do. High turnover because they are seen as low on the totem pole even though they actually contribute more than anyone else to the smooth operation of the company.

So, those are my observations on jobs and the people in them. I've only held jobs in the first three categories I mentioned, but it's interesting to me how it seems that certain professions attract the same sorts of people. One thing that I've learned being an attorney is that I fit more as a hybrid of a non-profit/journalist/lawyer type. I can argue confidently and win, but it's not what keeps me going. I am not always spoiling for the next fight and I'm not an angry person with addiction problems. I like to listen to people's stories and help where I can. I enjoy some aspects of being a lawyer, but others are not my cup of tea.

But then, perhaps it is that way in every profession. Some good, some bad, and you just roll with it all until you find your true life's calling where you can feel passionate about your work and desperate to get back to it every day.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Good Morning Sunshine

Hmmm...I may be in danger of becoming a morning person. I never, ever, ever thought this would be the case. I still do my best work at night so I suppose I'm still a night person by definition, but since I started working, I gave myself a big kick in the ass and made myself get it together. I now get up every single work day and get to the gym by 6:30 a.m. I work out for an hour before I start a full work day, which lasts anywhere from 8:30 - 7 p.m. So far I haven't had to stay later than 7. I now get to bed by 10:30 p.m. at the latest and I repeat it all the next day.

I cannot explain how great I feel to take my seat in my office at 8:30 a.m. knowing that I've already worked out. For one thing, there's no "workout guilt." I've done it so I don't need to worry about it. For another thing, it loosens me up and makes me feel strong. That's a good way to start the work day especially when you have a job where you are constantly learning something new every day. Starting every day strong in that situation is priceless.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Keep on going...

This is a fantastic song for surviving those times in life when you've got to walk through the fire:

Music Video Codes by VideoCure.com

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Random Ramblings

A few random thoughts have crossed my mind recently and I thought I'd share them as we wind up the work week:

1. How do people who work for the IRS pay their taxes?

2. Knowing crazy exists in this world and seeing crazy up close are two very different things. For more details on what I mean, e-mail me.

3. My mother is the best. I called her at work today to tell her about the crazy shit referenced in number 2 above and she patiently listened, gave some excellent advice and did it all while working. My mother is the queen of multi-tasking, a great mom, and an excellent friend. Love you mom!

4. If you can't sleep, you should just get up and go to the gym. This morning, I woke up at 5:15ish and just couldn't get back to sleep. I was in the gym by 5:50 a.m. and had a great workout. It's really weird to see the sun come up while lifting weights though.

5. Thank God Tomorrow is Friday.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Productivity is Up

Somewhere, someone is missing a burst of energy because this morning, I was hit with a major energy burst. It's Saturday, the day I normally sleep in and roll out of bed around 10:30 or so. Today, I was up at 7:15 (that's a.m. people). I felt awake and ready to roll and that's exactly what I did.

I got the following accomplished before 9 a.m. this morning:

1. Went to the dry cleaners and dropped off my work blazer. I have very few clothes that need to be dry cleaned because dry cleaning is expensive, but after wearing this jacket to work every day for the past three weeks, I decided it needed it. Plus, it's actually the jacket that goes with this cute skirt I have so I don't want to wear it every day. I'd rather save the wear and tear on it for when I'm wearing that skirt.

So, I bought another blazer yesterday and will start wearing that one daily with my work slacks. I figure I can get away with dry cleaning that one twice a month (at a cost of about $12 a month). If it starts to smell bad in-between cleanings, I'll take it more often.

2. Went to the gym, worked out a new membership plan that is going to save me A LOT. I'm paying outright for the plan now, which is probably the best idea because automated payment plans with gyms can bite you in the ass. I personally have had no trouble with the automated payment plan I was on with the gym for the last 18 months, but I've heard enough horror stories from various people that I felt it better to pay outright, plus it's a lot cheaper if I do that. For a horror story on payment plans, read my best friend's blog entry for Aug. 4, 2006.

3. Got on the treadmill and did 30 minutes of cardio. Ran 15 of those minutes. Feeling good:)

4. Stopped by the hardware store to see about having keys made. They didn't have what I need so I'll have the keys made tomorrow when we do our weekly grocery shopping.

So, that's been my Saturday thus far. I can't believe it's only 10 a.m. here and I've already gotten several things knocked off my to-do list.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

It's applicable

My best friend and kindred spirit, Britt, said something to me the other night that I think is profound and worth sharing. She said “Our 20s are for learning lessons. Our 30s are for applying them.”

Britt is 32 and I am 30. We’ve known each other since I was 18 and she was 20. This idea of the 20s being for learning lessons and the 30s being for applying them really struck me because it has, thus far, been my experience that this is true. I’ve been 30 for seven months now and in that time I’ve had to apply many of the lessons I learned before.

I am, at the moment, in a situation where I must apply a lesson. I’m not sure if the lesson that needs to be applied is standing up for myself or detachment. I strongly believe that it is detachment, but there may be an element of standing up for myself in there as well. Whatever it turns out to be, I’ve learned both lessons previously and now I must apply it. It makes it easier that I’ve already learned the lessons through other situations because I can see the similarities between what I’ve been through before and what I’m going through now. That means I need to apply what I've learned. I'm being given the opportunity to do that.

That’s the thing about lessons…they repeat themselves until you learn and start applying what you’ve learned. Think about the themes you’ve seen in your own life: bad boyfriends, bad bosses, co-workers with issues. If you look closely, you can see the same issue. It’s a different person, a different situation, but it’s the same problem.

So this week, I’m going to be applying the lessons I’ve learned in this life.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Closing Down the Bar

I'd like to congratulate all those who finished the Bar Exam today. No lawyer ever forgets the agony of the Bar Exam. Ever. Two solid months of your life are spent preparing for the exam. It is a daunting task that leads to many tears, a lot of sweat, and occasionally some blood.

For those who were smart enough not to become lawyers, a little education on the Texas Bar Exam: the bar takes place twice a year, in February and July. It is always the last three days of the month beginning on a Tuesday. The exam starts with a half-day, wherein you take the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and a short-answer test on Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, and Evidence. The MPT is a test of "real-life" lawyer skills. You receive a packet of information, which you must read through and then do a memo, a closing argument, or some other such task that real lawyers engage in. It sounds easy and it probably is the least difficult part of the bar, but it still takes some time to get through it all.

Day two is the Multistate Bar Exam questions. This is 200 of the most daunting multiple choice questions ever! This typically tends to be the hardest part of the bar exam for many people. You do 100 questions in the morning session and 100 questions in the afternoon session. You have three hours in each session to complete this portion.

Finally, day three is the essay questions. Much like day two, this takes place in three-hour morning and afternoon sessions. You do six essays in the morning and six in the afternoon. These comprise any number of legal subjects from wills and trusts, property, and consumer law, to family law. You must be able to articulate the law in several subject areas.

The bar is usually held in a large room with tables lining the place. It almost looks like a big cafeteria. People show up, take their assigned seat, and try to hold back the tears. Fear is present everywhere. It's so bad you can smell it, it permeates the air.

What is interesting though is that the exam is not the worst part. It's the preparation for it that drains the life out of you. The exam itself is also challenging and quite draining, but most agree that the preparation is the worst part of it. I took the bar in February 2005 and I still remember with vivid detail the intense preparation, the complete and total fear, and the depression that set in with the process. Some people become so paralyzed by fear that during the actual exam, they cry, throw-up, leave or do some combination of all of it. It's sad to see someone get through the preparation and then freeze on the exam, but it happens and it happens often.

So, I applaud those who have finished the exam today. Regardless of the results, you have come through the fire and survived the experience. Celebrate big tonight and finally get the rest you've missed out on the last two months.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday

So, I survived a week at my new job and you know, I feel a little more in control of what I need to do and how to do it. A little. Just a tiny bit. TINY. But, that's progress.

My poor husband. He just doesn't understand that when I came home on Day 2 and said "That's it, I'm going back to school next year to do something else. Forget this law thing" what I really meant was "Hey, I'm feeling scared and freaked and stuff and I need to vent my anxiety. All will be well tomorrow." Poor guy. He must be so confused. I need to write him a How-To manuel for decoding my various anxious words and states of mind.

Anyway, so the job is good and I'm adjusting to it all. And, today I got to eat some cake so I can't complain. Our niece turns two in a couple of days and her party was today so we had chocolate cake and ice cream. That will soothe most anxiety, at least for a few hours.

On another note, it's a funny thing about family birthday parties...they always make me so glad I am childfree by choice. Yup, that's right folks, I DO NOT WANT CHILDREN. Now, before you ask:

1. No, I don't hate kids.
2. No, I did not have a bad childhood that has forever turned me off having my own.
3. No, I am not infertile (that I know of).
4. No, I do not want to adopt.
5. No, my biological clock is not, and will not, be ticking. My biological clock is digital.
5. No, I will not change my mind. This one is always interesting to me because I am 30 years old. If someone was 30 and pregnant, no one would ever say to her "Oh, you'll change your mind." That would be beyond rude and weird, and yet everyone in the world feels free to tell it to me for my decision NOT to have kids.

It would help a lot if people would just understand that not everyone in the world is meant to parent. And by the way, just because two people are happily married professionals, own a home, and have a good life doesn't mean they'd "make the perfect parents!" There are plenty of yuppies out there abusing and neglecting their kids so do not go off of external factors to make such a pronouncement.

Oh and also, just because I happen to play well with children (I don't make them run with scissors) and I'm good with animals doesn't mean I want a child. Do not make stupid statements to me like "Oh, see you're holding a baby. You look so great with a baby, you've got to have one." No one ever says that to me when I'm having my picture taken with the orangutang at the zoo. I like orangutangs and probably look good holding them too, but that doesn't mean I want one in my house 24/7.

Where was I? Oh yeah, so family birthday parties always make me happy not to have children. The good kids are ok, it's the ones whose parents don't discipline them, are whiners, brats, and so on that make me want to tear my hair out. Seriously people, don't let your kid speak to you in a whine because that's just annoying for everyone within a two-mile radius. Teach your kids to say yes, no, please and thank you. If your child says to you "Mommy, get me some cake now" I'd suggest they get a swat on the ass and NO cake today, tomorrow, or for the foreseeable future until they can learn that mommy is not their slave.

Ok, so anyway, that's my rant/random thoughts for the day. Hope everyone out there is having a smashing Saturday:) We're having a storm here so I'm typing away, listening to the thunder, and making my grocery shopping list in my head.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Day Two...and the Tribe Grows Stressed

Hmmm...so maybe law isn't for me. It seems to be a constant barrage of stress.

I suppose it's not really fair to say this after only two days. I'm just feeling dumb. Yup, there I said it. I have no idea how to do anything and even advising clients is difficult since I'm just unsure what to tell them. Learning the law in school and applying it in the world are two different things.

But you know, even feeling kinda dumb, it's amazing how incredibly unaffected I am by it all. I remember in previous jobs being totally anxiety-ridden, but here I'm just not. This last year of unemployment has taught me a lot of things, the most important lesson being the beauty of faith. I have a lot of faith in God and in the energy of the universe to direct my path. I also know that, at any given moment, what is happening is supposed to be happening. It's all part of the universal plan for my life. I cannot look back on my life at any negative situation be it a job, a relationship, or anything else and say that it wasn't meant to be. It was all meant to be because I learned SO much from all of it.

It's funny how some people say things like "If I could know for sure that things will work out, then I'd be less worried now..." The thing is, you CAN know for sure that things will work out. That my dear readers is the essence of faith. No matter what, it will work out: your job or lack thereof, your relationship or lack thereof. If you have faith, you can stop mortgaging your present with future worry. Believe. Trust. LIVE.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day One

So today was my first day at my new job. Apparently, I'm a lawyer. I have the degree that says so and some little gold card in my wallet that says I'm a member of the State Bar. So I guess I must be. Right?

Cause you know, I have to say that practicing law is kinda freaky when you feel like you don't know anything. I hear the two other lawyers talking in their offices on the phone and they are rattling stuff off. Meanwhile, I get a call with a simple question and I have no idea what to say. NO. IDEA. WHAT. TO. SAY.

Ok, so maybe I have some small idea. And that's the thing really. I know more than I think I do. Still, first days can freak you right out so you have to remember to breath and if all else fails, go into the bathroom and pray. A lot. God and I had a lot of talks today.

All that said, my first day on the job (first time I've been in a working environment in four years people. FOUR YEARS) was pretty good. Although there is a lot to learn, I feel that I am up for the challenge and it's about time I had a new challenge in life. God saw fit to give me a whole year off to prepare me for this and I'm ready. Um God...just between you and me...give me some easy stuff to start the week off would ya? Thanks. I appreciate it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Do it yourself...and don't piss off your wife

Sometimes I'm just amazed at what people can get away with. Today, I was reading random stuff on the internet and I came across the story of Mike Davis, an Arizona State University law student who had been convicted of murder prior to attending law school. He convienently left that little fact off his application of course, and lied to his fellow students about who he really was. Read more about him in this blog written by a fellow law student.

Apparently, Davis was not the only notorious member of the ASU law school. Another convicted murderer also attended the school. James Hamm fought long and hard to have his past put behind him so he could practice law. Apparently, the Arizona State Bar didn't care for that.

So, this brings up lots of questions. First of all, what the hell is up with Arizona State University's College of Law admissions department? I could forgive having one murderer in your class, but two?

Also, what is it about law school that apparently attracts the criminal element? Clearly, it's cheaper to represent one's self if one is planning on committing more crimes once one has graduated law school, but seriously, why on earth spend that much money, time, and effort (cause, you know, it takes a lot of effort to keep your lies straight)? Just read the law books at the library. No need to spend three years in school.

Finally, I guess we can be thankful the state bar didn't allow either of these people to become members of the bar. Although really, I don't know that I would care if they had. Sometimes the criminal element is a lot nicer than some of the lawyers I've met.

Oh, and if you want to understand the topic heading of this blog, read the blog referenced above about Mike Davis: Here's another link to it.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Ready, Set...Smile?

While I was stretching at the gym today, I happened to notice the posters advertising the Group Exercise classes. In the poster, the instructor is smiling and so is everyone around her. I have never seen ANYONE smile while working out. EVER. While smiling does work out your facial muscles, that's no big help in the weight loss department. If it was, I'd be Kate Moss by now.

I'm always amazed at the advertisement ploys used. Smiling has nothing to do with working out. At all. I never smile while running on the treadmill for example. If anything, I frown. It's hard work running that last five minutes at an incline that practically requires hiking boots to maintain.

While I believe strongly in exercise, I'm also for truth in advertising and you won't see any smiles at the gym. If you want to see smiles, go down the street to the doughnut shop.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Drawing a line in the sand

Boundary setting can be so hard. Especially with friends and family. It's easier to draw boundaries at work, for example, because while you care about your co-workers and your job, there is not the same level of emotional commitment as there is with your friends and family. At least, one would hope that's the case.

This past year has really been a lesson to me in boundary setting. Many things have happened within my family and with my friends that made me realize it was time to draw a line in the sand.

I truly am a student of Dr. Phil who says "You teach people how to treat you." Truer words were never spoken! You absolutely teach people how to treat you. If you tell them, either verbally or through your actions, that it's ok to walk all over you, never call when they say they will, be jerks, etc. then they will do it. You've got to draw that line in the sand.

It's easy to do it when someone is being a complete asshat. It's harder when the poor behavior is either subtle, unintentional, or both. That is when it can get difficult to have the "come to Jesus" meeting with your friends or family. But, it's still imperative to do it.

This blog was brought on by a conversation with a friend yesterday. Let's call this friend "B." B is completely self-centered and insecure. His self-centered behavior makes him a bad listener. He doesn't care about other people's issues or at least doesn't seem to. Everything is about B.

So I wondered...why have I been letting B get away with this for so long? What is the point of having a friendship with someone who acts like this? B doesn't live in my same geographic area so we don't see each other often, but when we used to, it was always about B.

I have to draw a line in the sand. Relationships like that aren't worth it to me anymore, life is too short to endure that when there are wonderful people out there who know how to give and take, and be supportive, and want to do so.

Now, drawing a line in the sand with family members is much more complicated, but I did that a few months back as well and it's been a very freeing decision. I finally had to realize that whatever mistakes or actions my family makes doesn't have to affect me and I can make it clear that I won't let it affect me. It's not about judgment of their choices, it's about realizing that I do not have to live with the consequences of those choices.

In some cases, I've had to cut off family members completely. This is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it's helpful for everyone to know something: Shared DNA doesn't have to equal shared misery.

Some people thrive on drama. I do not. I want peace, calm, and serenity in my life. I want good, solid, strong relationships with people who know what it means to be a friend or good family member. Often, lines in the sand are the only thing that will lead you to that life.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

My Favorite Things: Food Edition

Let's get right to it:

1. Whipped cream in a can. This stuff is the nectar of the Gods as far as I'm concerned. You can dress up hot chocolate or cold pudding and it tastes fabulous. A versatile product if ever there was one.

2. Frozen grapes. But only the green ones. The purple ones taste funky after being frozen. I guess they're a warm-blooded fruit or something.

3. Perrier Mineral Water. Yup, love it. I fell in love with mineral water after spending six weeks in Europe when I was 17. It was either mineral water or beer. There were no other choices. So mineral water it was for me.

4. Pizza Zone. Particularly their pepproni pizza and their CinnaZones. YUMMMMM....

5. Spaghetti at Olive Garden. Oh, and their breadsticks too. Oh yeah, bring it on!

6. Chili's cheeseburgers with extra mayonaise. Ah, heaven.

7. BBQ from Bill Miller's. I can only get this in San Antonio, but man is it good. Rancher's plate with brisket and sausage.

I have to stop now. My mouth is watering and I'm considering driving 250 miles to San Antonio for some Bill Miller's.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Roll with it

Today I was thinking about how life is a series of choices. I was talking with a group of fellow lawyers, all of whom have taken a different path in the profession and in life.

Later, I spoke to my father on the phone, and he said something I feel is profound and worth sharing. He said that there is no need for drama in life, that you need to roll with what is happening and when you've got people around you who are supportive of you, there's no problem. Enjoy the journey.

That is the thing about choices: we should make them to the best of our ability and then enjoy the journey. There is no guarantee of happiness, fulfillment or satisfaction with our choices. That is not the job of the choice itself. It is our job to make our choices and find our happiness along the way.

Sometimes, you know immediately when you've made a bad choice. That sinking feeling hits you and you want badly to press the delete key, but you can't. Those are the times you learn from the experience. The mistake is your guide to making better choices in the future. Roll with it.

Other times, you make what you think is the right choice and it turns out to be just that. You are happy, fulfilled, and you look forward to the future. That experience is your guide to learning to make good choices. Roll with it.

Remember as well that other people's choices, good or bad, are not a guide to your own. Only you know what will ultimately make you happy. Do not hinge your choice on external factors, look within and figure out if it's the choice that speaks to you. If it is, you will know it. Stop drowning out its voice with the loud yell of your external concerns.

Life has a rhythm and to everything there really is a season. Whatever happens, whatever choice you make...roll with it. And it will be alright.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's boring and it sucks

Ok, so let's get right to it: being healthy and fit can be boring and it can suck! There, I said it. Yeah, we all know it's good for you and you will feel better and I'll be the first one to tout the benefits of weight loss, but I'm also the first to be honest and say it can be boring and it can suck.

For those of you who don't know, I've lost 53.5 pounds since October putting me at the lowest weight I've ever been. Applause, applause, thanks and so forth. Ok now, here's the deal: It really has been the best thing I've ever done for myself. I feel better than I ever have and I'm more fit, have more energy, and I can actually go up more than one flight of stairs without feeling totally winded. Unless I'm on the Stairmaster at which point all bets are off.

Despite all the plus sides to it, I do feel it's fair to point out that there will be days, even whole weeks, where the thought of another freakin salad for lunch makes you want to order from Pizza Zone AND Chili's to Go on the same night! Eating healthy can be boring and it can suck sometimes. I think it's good for everyone to know this so they don't get discouraged on what is a very long (read life-long) weight loss journey.

This is why, for those of you on the journey, YOU MUST NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF. It's in all caps and bold, but in case you missed it: YOU MUST NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF.

Now, this doesn't mean you have license to go out there and bankrupt yourself at every drive-thru in town. It just means that it's ok to have a cheeseburger, a couple of slices of pizza, or a candy bar. Don't think weight loss means you have to be good (read boring and sucks) all the time. You can have the things you love, you just can't have them in the massive, "I need a crane to lift this" portions you might previously have been accustomed to.

Weight loss and the maintenance of it are a life-long journey. That means changing your thinking about food. Food is not the enemy. Even chocolate and cheeseburgers. Hell, those two are my best friends! They just aren't my friends in the same way they used to be. And we're all good with that.

Eat nutritiously most of the time, exercise, get some sleep, drink water...and have a Hershey's Kiss. It's really ok.