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.