BACKGROUND

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Rules

Okay boys and girls, listen up: we're going to have a little lesson on The Rules of E-mail. I am appalled at how many people out there are completely oblivious to The Rules. Here they are:

1. Do not forward things that tell people they will be harshly judged by Jesus if they don't forward on an e-mail about him. Frankly, if Jesus is going to damn us all to Hell because we didn't forward an e-mail about him, then there is no hope for any of us.


2. THIS ONE IS REALLY IMPORTANT: Do not forward hoax e-mails. Hoax e-mails are the ones that contain horrifying stories about people hiding in women's cars waiting to kill them after the women are done pumping gas at night, about people getting free stuff for forwarding on Microsoft e-mails, about antiperspirant causing breast cancer, about kids needing money and/or prayers for cancer...the list goes on and on.

It's easy to understand why people forward these mails on. They sound true and even if they don't, we think "But what if it is true? I should forward it on just in case." NO, NO, NO...did I mention NO?!!

Before forwarding on something, check out these websites first:

Break The Chain
Snopes

Both of these sites take the common urban legends we all hear about and either verify them as true or provide explanation as to why they are false. It's worth it to check out these sites before telling your friends that free samples of perfume in the mail will kill them.

3. BCC: Learn to use it. BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy and I'd venture to say nearly every e-mail program has it. Rather than forwarding something on to people by placing their names in the "To:" spot on the e-mail, use the BCC spot instead. This will cause all e-mail addresses on the mailing to be "hidden" in a sense. In other words, people who receive it will not be able to see everyone else who received it.

4. Piggybacking on #3: When you send forwards, cut out the addresses that are in the body of the e-mail. Nearly every single forward I receive has pages of e-mail addresses above the actual text. I don't care to see tons of e-mail addresses and the comments those people have made about the forward and so on. Do your friends and family a favor and cut those addresses out. It's very simple to do: select them all using your mouse and then press delete to get rid of them.

5. Forwarding for the OCD Group: if you're REALLY nice and/or you suffer from OCD, you will open a Word document, paste the forward into it, then use find and replace to get rid of all the > characters in the e-mails. I do this. Yeah, it takes just a couple of extra minutes, but when I forward something, it's because I really want people to see it and therefore I want to make it easier on them to read the actual content.

6. Personalize it! If all you ever do is send forwards to someone, consider sending a personal e-mail every once in awhile. Several of my friends have talked about how they resent all the forwards they get from people who don't seem to care enough to say "Hey, how are you these days?" Instead, they forward on e-mails about National Friendship Week. Somehow, I think the whole idea of friendship is lost on the person who can't even write a quick personal note.

I should add that I don't mind receiving e-mails about National Friendship Week or something similar if it's from someone like my best friend, Britt because we actually do speak on a regular basis and have a deep friendship. But when people send me this stuff who haven't spoken to me in years and don't even know whether I'm dead or alive...that just seems wrong.

Also, please understand that I am not against forwards. Some of them are worth sending on because they are funny or inspiring or what have you. However, just as you should drink responsibly so too should you forward responsibly. Your friends and family do not want tons of forwards about your religious views, 101 ways to use Spam meat (that one is ironic if you ask me), and so on. Most of us get enough spam and e-mail to wade through every day. Be kind. Don't forward unless it's really worth it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Breathe...and Relax


Last night, I drew myself a hot bubble bath, lit a candle, and I sat in there for at least 30 minutes reading a magazine. After I got out, I realized that it was the first time in at least a month that I have felt so relaxed.

I've been going, going, going so much, taking care of things at home and in the outside world that I haven't really stopped to slow down and take a deep breath. I've decided that I'm going to do the hot bubble bath thing again tonight. I'm also going to take more time to just be. I didn't realize how much I really need that right now.

Funny how when you aren't working full-time and you have no kids, people think you sit at home watching soap operas all day. So not the case! I'm busy from the moment I get up to when I turn the lights out to go to bed. It doesn't help that I'm getting over the last of that mild flu I had. I feel MUCH better, but am still coughing a bit and feeling a bit tired. I'm getting back into the gym today though for the first time in over a week. I'm going to take it easy while I'm there, but I need to go in so I can feel like I'm getting my life back on schedule.


My advice to everyone: no matter what you have going on, take some time to breathe and relax. Take a hot bubble bath, walk the neighborhood by yourself, find 15 minutes in the day to stop by a coffee shop, get your favorite drink, and relax. It will do you a world of good and you won't realize how much you've needed it until after you've done it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lazy Sunday

Ah, a lazy Sunday at last. My friend was released from the hospital on Friday. She is at my house recuperating from the pneumonia because her house is not conducive to healing for a variety of reasons, one of which is that the kid who lives there (not my friend's kid) has severe strep throat.

My friend slept about 15 hours the first night she was here. Literally. She wasn't able to sleep for the entire five days in the hospital because they kept coming in to take her vitals, change IVs, give a breathing treatment, etc. So she was SUPER tired when she got out. She said she felt a lot better when she got up the next day. The doctor told her it would take at least two weeks for her to fully recover.

The big lesson my friend got from this experience was that she needs to take care of herself. She is the type who will run herself ragged because she feels like she "has" to do things like go to work when she is really ill or take care of everyone else. It's been a hard lesson for her to learn that it's ok to stop, to sleep, to let someone else take care of things for a little while.

In other news, I didn't have anywhere near the "ick" that my friend had. I just had a mild flu, which I am healing from. Still feeling tired and a bit out of sorts, but much better than I was. Today's plan includes lots of rest, organizing my dining room bookcase, and dinner with Dear Husband at Olive Garden. I live a very exciting life...later on, I plan to fold laundry. The fun never stops:)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Long Week's Journey into Sickness


What a week. I think it's Wednesday, but I'm not even sure of what day it is anymore. The week started with my friend being admitted to the hospital on Monday for pneumonia after she called me panicked and unable to breathe. I called 911 and sat in the ER for most of the night with her until they admitted her. She may be released tomorrow, but we won't know until the doctor runs some more tests to check her breathing capacity.

In the meantime, I have been sick as well. I have a mild flu that is causing me to feel blah. I haven't slept well in the past week because of coughing and sore throat. I am feeling a tad better today after staying home all day and resting. I still did some chores around the house (can't help it, I have to do laundry and load the dishwasher), but nothing too major. I suspect the germs will have moved out by Sunday.

Tomorrow, I'll go up to the hospital to see my friend and find out what's going on with her. Then, I plan to head back home and sit around like a bump on a log reading the many magazines I have let build up in the last few weeks. Right now though, it's off to a bubble bath, Nyquil, and bed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Walking for a Cure


Let me get straight to the point: I'm asking you, my dear blog readers, for money. This year will mark the second time Dear Husband and I have participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. It will be held April 20 - 21. During the event, teams of people gather at a local high school and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times. All the money raised goes to the American Cancer Society to support research efforts toward finding a cure.

We are participating along with DH's best friend, J and his family. J survived
leukemia and we are thankful to say that he has been in remission for sometime now. J and his wife A have a beautiful little girl and life is moving in a positive direction for them both.

If you can donate, it would certainly be appreciated. You can do so online at
http://tinyurl.com/2bf7lx. Put my name in the boxes. First: Shelley Last: Nash.

If you can't donate money, then please donate your efforts or prayers to cancer sufferers and survivors. Thanks!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

10...5..1...Now

Once in awhile, it's helpful to examine where you've been and where you are now. It's interesting to look back and see how far you've come and how much you have to look forward to.


10 years ago (March 1997), I had just turned 21. I was planning my first wedding and finishing up my junior year of college at the University of Oregon. I had declared a second major that year and I was scrambling to finish the credits I needed for that major so I could graduate in four years as planned.


5 years ago (March 2002), I had just received my LSAT results and I knew I had a good shot of getting into law school. I took the test in February and was extremely worried about how it would turn out. I needn't have worried. I got a good score and in April, I received my first acceptance to law school.

1 year ago (March 2006), I was 8 months into my second marriage, this time with the right person. I had finished law school the previous May and passed the bar on my first try. I was working periodically for The Houston Chronicle editing the Enron Trial Transcripts for the Chronicle Website. It was interesting work and paid pretty well for the amount of work involved. I was job hunting for a permanent position as an attorney and feeling scared that I wouldn't have a clue what I was doing as a lawyer.

Now (March 2007), I am job hunting again after quitting my job in January at a firm and as it turns out, I have more than a few clues about what to do as a lawyer. I've been working as an attorney since November 2005, when I took my first case through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program. I am always learning and always growing as an attorney. One thing that has been an amazing positive in this process is how willing other attorneys are to help. Even opposing counsel assisted me in learning what I need to know.

I have never had more peace in my life than I do now. I know that I am on the right path and that faith is the answer to all life's questions.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Reading List


I've always been a voracious reader. I remember being in third grade and being upset because I wasn't placed in the group for advanced readers. I spoke to my teacher who wasn't so sure she wanted me in the advanced group. I don't remember why she felt that way now, but I do remember coming into the classroom one day and seeing the set of orange advanced reader books on my desk. It was a great day in my life. Yes, I was a geek even back then!

Throughout my school years and into my adult life, reading has remained a favorite activity and over the years I've come across several books that have affected me in various ways. Here are the best books I've ever read and why:

Silent Witness by Richard North Patterson: I was on vacation in 1997 and I needed a book to read on the airplane trip back home. I went into the hotel gift shop and picked this book. It looked relatively interesting and it was long so I figured it would keep me occupied for the trip. It did more than keep me occupied. It kept me RIVETED. I didn't finish it on that airplane ride. As mentioned, it was quite long.

I was in my last year of college when I found this book. I read it on the bus trip into school every morning, between classes, and on the bus ride home at night. It was that good. The book centers around an attorney called back to his hometown to defend an old school friend of his. The friend is now a coach at the high school and is accused of killing a student. It's an excellent book and one that will keep you wanting to read until your eyes dry out completely and fall out of their sockets.

Open House by Elizabeth Berg: This is a book about a woman going through a divorce. It chronicles her journey from someone's wife to her own woman. It's an excellent fictional work about the feelings you go through when you separate from someone with whom you've interwoven your identity and every piece of your life. It shows that you can not only survive a divorce, but thrive afterwards.

A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson: I read this when my first marriage was starting to fray at the seams, which means it came at just the right time. This book is a non-fiction account of Anderson's year by the sea when she separated from her husband and went to live in their beach cottage alone. It recounts her struggles to make her own money and find herself by the sea.

JonBenet by Steve Thomas: Another non-fiction work, this is the story of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Thomas was a detective on the Boulder Police Force who worked this case. This was another airplane read for me. A co-worker lent it to me and I took it on a trip to San Antonio, Texas, in 2000. It kept me on the edge of my seat. Interestingly, I had a layover in Denver, Colorado and was reading like mad in the airport there. Felt odd to be reading a book in the state in which it took place.

Me Times Three by Alex Witchel: I read this book during Christmas break after my first semester in law school. I went to my hometown in Oregon for Christmas and I found this book on the shelves in the public library there. I wasn't looking for it, but it jumped out at me. It's an excellent book about friendship, love and loyalty.

The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney: A book about the bonds women form and how friendship can support you through life, love, death, and everything in-between. An excellent book that explores being there and standing with your friends even when you don't agree with their choices and even when it's so difficult to see them suffering. This is a great book that will make you want to call your best friend and thank her...for being her and for being there.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult: A fantastic book about family bonds, how far you are willing to go to save a family member, and your reason for being. This is an absolute page turner that will keep you guessing.

The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer: I wrote a blog about this book awhile back. You can read it here. This book had a profound effect on me. It's a wonderful study in finding yourself and what you really want when your life has been going in the same direction forever...and you're no longer happy with that.

Those are the best of the best from the last few years. I highly recommend these books and I would love to hear from anyone reading about your favorite books. I'm always adding to my "TBR" (To Be Read) Pile.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Getting Around to It

It just sits there. Staring at me. A constant reminder of what I haven't done. Today, I did it: I cleaned my Rock Garden Relaxation Fountain. A small accomplishment? Yes. A big weight off my mind? Yes, again. I received it as a gift for our wedding and I absolutely love it. It's very soothing and calming. BUT...it has to be cleaned every now and again and in the almost two years I've had it, I've cleaned it...hmmm...let's see...oh yeah, never.

I took it all apart this morning and it definitely needed some serious TLC. I soaked it in a water/vinegar mixture and cleaned all the parts. It's as good as new now. I highly recommend purchasing one of these as they really do help with stress.

In other news, last night I was looking through job sites and I came upon one job that was really gross, sad, depressing...did I mention gross? The job was placing ads on websites and in chat rooms for an "Adult" (read X-rated) webcam site. Basically being the ad rep to get people interested in buying the material on the webcam site. Ewwwwwwwwwwww...obviously I skipped right over that one. Amazing what jobs people will post and what jobs people will take. I'm not that desperate and never will be.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This morning, I put Peanut in the kitchen where two baby gates block the entrances so she cannot get out and run around peeing in the house. I went about getting dressed and went to check on her about 10 minutes after leaving her in there with food and a toy. This is "The Ugly" that I speak of in my title: the kitchen floor was streaked with bloody diarrhea. I'll let your imaginations conjure up the picture as no description can really do it justice.

So I called the vet and packed her up to go down there. It's only about f our miles away, which I was totally grateful for. Here's where "The Bad" part of my title comes in: the vet walked in, said "so she's having bloody stools?" and I said yes, and he said "Well, I know what's causing that. Didn't anyone call you with the results of the fecal sample you brought last week?" "Why no, no one did that," I said. The doctor then went on to tell me that my dear sweet baby has two intestinal parasites. TWO, people! I'm thinking someone could have called and told me about this and I could have started her on medication BEFORE my kitchen floor came to resemble a slaughterhouse scene from The Jungle.

I got three different medications for her and $100 later, we were out of the vet's office and on our way home. Peanut was exhausted by this time and quietly lay on the front seat for the short ride home. Usually, she has to be in my lap when I'm driving, which is why I am trying desperately for her to learn to stay in the seat. I think this is progress. I really should get a kennel and be done with it.

So now we turn our attention to "The Good": As mentioned in my last blog posting, I LOVE Arbonne International's Ginger Citrus products. Also as mentioned in my last blog, it was only sold during Xmas 2006 and it is expensive. I got a starter kit during Dickens on the Strand for $20 or so, but to actually purchase it from the company is beyond my price range. Yesterday, I got on eBay and found someone selling a brand new set of the body wash, sugar scrub, and body butter. I bid on it and today I found out that I won!! For $11.99 including shipping, I will once again have my Ginger Citrus and all will be right with the world.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Playing Favorites

Since my last two posts have been complete downers, I decided to talk about something light and fun. So, welcome to the first bi-annual listing of Lawfrog's Favorite Things! Stealing the idea from Oprah, this is a listing of a few of my favorite things:


Partylite Candles.This company produces some exceptional products. They make candles and candle accessories that are rather expensive, but worth it! The candles smell wonderful and the accessories are beautiful. You can fit them into any home decor theme. I have a few of their accessories including a tealight Xmas fireplace theme. Their candles are a splurge to be sure, but worth it.


Johnson and Johnson's Bedtime Bath. This is a product for babies, but it works great for adults too. I love taking a nice hot bubble bath with this stuff before going to bed. The main ingredients are lavender and chamomile. It's extremely relaxing. Just a note - the generic Wal-Mart and Target brands of this work just as well. It's a cheap way to get some real relaxation once the crazy day is over.

Suave Professionals 2 Minute Deep Recovery Conditioner. This stuff is great for getting your hair back to feeling its best. It really does deeply condition it and make you feel like you just got back from the beauty salon.


Arbonne Ginger Citrus Sugar Scrub. I love all the Arbonne Ginger Citrus products. Unfortunately, I believe they were only available during the 2006 Holiday season. However, as with everything else in life, you can find it on Ebay.





KDs BBQ. This is a locally owned Houston BBQ. It's about three miles from my house, which is a problem for me because it's such great food. I eat there way more often than I should...so much so that they know me by name. They have great BBQ, but what I really love is the chocolate cake. It is TO DIE FOR! Once you eat it, you will never be able to have chocolate cake anywhere else.

Crescent City Beignets. I spent many days over the course of law school in this place. It is so cozy and comfy, it makes you want to pull up a chair and chat for hours. They have fantastic red beans and rice, and of course, the Beignets. It is possible to become addicted to the Beignets. I am living proof.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Up...and really down.

I spent Thursday and Friday in all-day CLEs. For those of you who are not attorneys (which you should count as a blessing), that stands for Continuing Legal Education. I am required to complete 15 hours a year of CLEs, 3 hours of which must be on the topic of Ethics. I personally find it sad that the Bar doesn't require more hours in ethics, but it is what it is. Anyway, yesterday, I earned 13.5 credits, which is great because I only needed 3.25 to finish out my required hours for this year. The credits roll over though so I am good on CLEs for quite some time.

I learned some very inte resting things over the last two days. First of all, the CLE was sponsored by TYLA, which is the Texas Young Lawyers Association. Those people really know how to put on a CLE! For one thing, it was extremely cheap as CLEs go. I paid $165 for both days. Generally, this type of CLE spanning two days would cost around $300. Secondly, it was held at the Sheraton Brookhollow Hotel in Houston, which was very nice and also catered the breakfast and lunch that was provided. It was excellent food, which is the mark of any good hotel as far as I'm concerned;)

Back to the important stuff: one of the topics covered was the mental health of l wyers. Now, it's generally assumed that anyone who would voluntarily suffer through law school and the bar exam is crazy, but let's set that aside for the moment. This particular CLE focused more on lawyers and depression and cited some interesting research: A study by Johns Hopkins University of 105 professions placed lawyers at the top of the list for incidence of major depression. Depression, as we all know, can lead to suicide. The CLE materials stated that lawyers are 6 times more likely to be successful in committing suicide than the general population.

When we lawyers set out to do something, we do it right. Ok, I'm done being tacky about a serious topic.

Why lawyers are more depressed than the general population is up for debate. A lot of articles cite the perfectionism inherent in the career, the pessimism, the long working hours. There are so many possibilities, but in the end, we have to ask ourselves what we can do to help each other? The first line of defense is doing what lawyers do best: talking.


We need to talk to each other, ask what is happening at work, at home. Take a genuine interest in the answers given to those questions. Because the depression rate is so high among lawyers, it's likely that someone in the firm or in the professional groups can relate to the feelings. There truly is strength (and comfort) in numbers. It's also important to note that effective treatment is out there. Everything from therapy to medication to support groups.

As attorneys, we are used to solving the often complex problems of others. It's time we turned that energy inward to our profession and solved our own. Doing so can literally be characterized as being of life and death importance.