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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Good Times in San Antonio

We had a great day today in San Antonio. Dear Husband and I slept in, which is always nice. Dad made us a great breakfast this morning and then we hung out for most of the day. We watched TV, played on the computer, and just relaxed. Later in the afternoon, we got ready to go to dinner at Fortune Cookie Chinese Buffet. It was really good.

We followed dinner with a drive through downtown San Antonio to see the lights on the trees at the Alamo and also the annual Christmas tree in front of the Alamo. It was beautiful! We then headed to the dollar movie theater. Dear Husband saw Eagle Eye and my dad and I watched Beverly Hills Chihuahua. It was an ADORABLE movie and definitely worth seeing. I love movies that are just plain fun. It's fun to see the thrillers and action movies sometimes too, but for the holidays, I was just in the mood for something cute and Beverly Hills Chihuahua definitely fit that bill.

We came back to my dad's house and kicked back, each of us doing our own thing and watching some TV. It was so much fun and a very nice, relaxed evening. Today we will be going to Half-Price Books (a huge favorite of mine!), dinner at a nice steakhouse, and then to the comedy club, which is always worth the trip. I laugh so hard every time we go there. There's nothing like a good dose of laughter to set your mind right so to speak.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Clean, Wrapped, and Ready

I spent the evening last night doing some housework so that it will be clean when we return from San Antonio on Sunday. I dusted and vacuumed the living room and I cleaned the ceiling fan in the living room. I always forget to clean the ceiling fan on a regular basis so I decided to do it and I'm glad of it. Lots of dust up there.
Dear Husband (DH) was terribly busy yesterday too. He worked late and then stopped on his way home to help a friend with a computer problem. He got home around 9 p.m. and changed into his pajamas, and sat on the couch for some down time. It wasn't to last.

He got a call around 11:30 p.m. that there was a work problem he had to go and deal with. He left and was dealing with this problem (with the help of some colleagues) ALL NIGHT! Poor guy. He got home around noon. He basically worked 24 hours with a couple of hours off. He's sleeping right now. I made him lay down when he got home because we are doing Christmas Eve tonight with his family and I know he needed some rest.

I have to give kudos to DH here. He works really hard and is very good at what he does. I am terribly blessed with the men in my life. My dad is paying for my M.A. degree and if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have been able to go back to school right now. DH works hard so I can work less hours and concentrate on school. I am blessed in ways I can't possibly put down in a single blog.

Today I've been trying to bless our house with more cleaning. Our kitchen was a mess because we've both been busy this week so I straightened it up, started the dishwasher, and started a load of laundry. I wrapped five gifts (the final ones needing to be wrapped).
I also did one of those chores that need to be done, but I never get to: I glued the pieces back on a magnet that had broken, but that I love so I saved it to fix. It was in four pieces and I had put it in a container to glue at a later time. That was a few months back. I finally did it today and it went back together beautifully.

I'm planning on taking a nap soon and then getting ready for the Christmas Eve festivities tonight.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cold Christmas

Houston, we have a cold front. It's sweater weather here, but that's just today. It could change anytime. It was in the 70s on Saturday and today, it was in the 30s. The weather is confused and can't make up its mind what it wants to do. I'm grateful for hot baths and hot tea tonight.
I can't believe Christmas is three days away. I just haven't gotten into the Christmas spirit this year. A lot of that has to do with having been in Oregon for two weeks and worrying about my mom. I just can't concentrate on the holidays. My mother is fine and recovering well so that is a definite blessing.

Dear Husband and I will be spending the holidays with my dad in San Antonio. We're going to spend Christmas Eve with the in-laws here in Houston and then drive up to San Antonio on Christmas Day. Christmas evening will be spent hanging out with my dad at his house. Friday evening we'll either see a play or go to dinner and a movie and Saturday will be spent at the comedy club. We'll go home on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to it because it will be a chance to just relax and have a good time.

Happy Holidays to all in the blog world! Remember to count your blessings this year - there are so many for all of us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Rules of a Health Crisis


Let me first say that my mother is doing better. She was hospitalized again this past Saturday because of blood clots, but she is out now and healing. We knew blood clots were a possibility when they had to take her off the blood thining medication due to the initial internal bleeding. It's been a long road, but we have faith in God and in each other.

While I was in Oregon and dealing with my mother's illness, several things occured to me that I feel would be helpful to pass on. I do not want to sound ungrateful for the support we received, I just feel the following things are important to remember when dealing with health crises among friends/family. I refer to an ill person as IP and the caretaker of the ill person as CT. If you are in the position of being a friend of the IP, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. When you call and leave a message on the IP's home phone/cell phone, leave your full name and a phone number. It may very well be that the IP is not the one checking the messages. I was checking my mother's home answering machine and half the people who left messages didn't leave their full name or a phone number, but wanted a call back. I finally changed my mother's outgoing message to ask for the full name/phone number.

Don't assume that your name/number will come up on caller ID. Make it easy on the person and leave your number. Oh, and please don't speak like you're in some kind of verbal marathon. If I can't understand your phone number, you're not getting a call back so slow it down and speak up!

2. If you ask for a call back and don't get one within a day, don't freak out and call five times. You didn't get a call because there is too much going on. You will be called eventually. This holds true even if the CT says they will call you back the next day. You have to remember how much information the CT is having to deal with on a daily basis including doctor's advice, picking up paperwork, prescriptions, and on and on. Be glad if they remember to call you back within the week.

3. If you live nearby the IP, pick a task and offer to take care of it as long as the IP is hospitalized. For example, offer to come over and water the plants or take care of the pets on a specific day or ask when it needs to be done and let the CTs know that you will be there to do it. Little things like that make a big difference. Yes, we could have asked that those things be done by someone, but it didn't occur to us because there was so much to be done, we had mental lapses over keeping it all straight. Toss something out there that you would like to be done at your home if you were ill. Chances are, it will help your friend and their family in a situation like this too.

4. If you really want to help, BRING FOOD. I can't stress the importance of this. My cousin and I ended up eating out a lot because we simply didn't have time to stop and cook. She works full-time, I was completing a lot of school work, taking care of my nephew, and driving back and forth to the hospital every single day at specific times to meet with the doctors and visit with my mother. I stayed for hours at the hospital and my cousin worked well into the evening. Cooking just wasn't even in the picture as a priority. It would have helped a lot if people had told us they would bring dinner and exactly when they would do so.

5. Don't call a person at the hospital frequently. It's nice to know that the IP is cared about and loved, but having to answer tons of phone calls while trying desperately to get what little rest you can in the hospital is just really tough. My mother fielded tons of phone calls and I think it was hard on her at some point.

6. If you are part of a large group of friends of the IP, appoint ONE person as the information gatherer. It would have been much easier if one person had called me and then passed on the information to the rest of the people. Instead, I had to explain the same details over and over to several different people and you wouldn't believe the distortions that came from that. People were calling me from the church my mother works at and attends saying that they had heard some (usually outrageous) tale about my mother and what was happening. Give it a rest people and get ONE PERSON to get the facts. Don't make up stuff based on one detail you heard from someone who doesn't know what's going on.

A great example of exactly what to do and how to do it came in the form of an offer from a friend that I went to high school and college with who is visiting our hometown this week. She offered to do whatever she can to assist my mother including bringing groceries, flowers, etc. That was super helpful because she was specific with the dates she'd be in town and what she'd be able to do. That kind of offer is so very appreciated and helpful. Thanks Angi!

I have to say that I am truly, truly grateful for all the support we received, and continue to receive, from family and friends during this very difficult time. I don't want to seem ungrateful, I just feel that it's important to pass on what I learned from being the caretaker. It helped me see things differently in terms of what can be done to assist those who are going crazy with the details of a health crisis.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coming Home

I arrived in Houston on Sunday night after spending 15 days in Oregon. It was a very difficult 15 days consisting of visiting my mother in the hospital, living out of a suitcase, completing my homework/term paper late at night, and getting no sleep. I also spent about 4 10-hour days cleaning my mother's house so she could recuperate in a safe environment. Her house was filled with clutter and hadn't been cleaned well in quite awhile because she had been too ill over the past few months to get to it.

I am grateful for my cousin, C, who helped me out with everything. She's a true gem and it's nice that we've become friends as grown-ups. She is 8 years older than I am and we weren't close as kids because of the age gap and because we didn't live near my aunt and cousins. We really bonded the last couple of weeks. That was a silver lining to the difficult situation.

My mother is doing a lot better. She was released from the hospital after 12 days. The bleeding stopped, which is a good thing, but the cause of it has not yet been identified. We may never know what caused it. The best that can be done sometimes is pinpointing the general area and running tests to see if anything is amiss. That was done with my mother, but nothing was found. However, there are some things that general tests cannot see, so my mother will go to another hospital two hours away from our hometown to have a camera pill test. She will swallow a pill containing a camera and it will take pictures as it goes through the digestive track. That will allow doctors to see things conventional tests cannot see. The appointment for the camera pill hasn't been made yet, but it should be done within the next week or so.

I went back to work today for the first time since arriving home. I love my job for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is that I can take this kind of time off to care for my family without it being an issue. My boss is fantastic. She is also the owner of the company and the flexibility she allows us all is one of the many perks of the job.

I am still trying to catch up on sleep, while also completing the last of my school assignments for this term. While I was in Oregon, I wrote a 25-page term paper, which was not easy by any means, but I felt great after I completed it. This week, I've already taken two exams (one yesterday, one today) and have my last one tomorrow. I am looking forward to a little rest and relaxation (OK, A LOT of R&R) once school is done tomorrow.

Keeping with the theme of positive things to come from this ordeal: when I got home late Sunday night from the airport, I found the entire house clean. Dear Husband had done it so I could come home to a clean place. He also did the following things while I was gone:

1. Installed new faucet in the kitchen, which is SO much better than our old one.

2. Caulked the master bathtub.

3. Put new weather stripping on the back door.

I'm considering leaving for extended periods of time more often.:)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mental Health: $55.

I am not a Black Friday shopper. I'm not a morning person on the best of days, so getting up at 4 a.m. or earlier to go shopping just doesn't work for me. Also, I decided this year to get most of my Christmas shopping done in early/mid-November, so I don't have much to shop for anyway.

However, I ventured out this evening for a little retail therapy for myself after a stressful day. I was at the hospital at 10 this morning waiting for my mom to have the endoscopy/colonoscopy that was supposed to give us the answers to her internal bleeding. The scan she had ruled out the Meckel's Diverticulum, but didn't provide any answers as to what it might be.
They took her for today's procedures at 11 a.m. so I went to the Starbucks down the road to do some research for my term paper. I returned around 1:30 and she wasn't done yet so I wandered the halls of the hospital for a few minutes before going back to her room. She was there, just out of surgery.

The doctor came in and told us these procedures hadn't revealed the source of the bleeding. My mother has been poked and prodded in every possible place on the body and we still don't know what's wrong. Tomorrow, they will do a bowel series. We are praying that will give us the answer so we can move forward to getting my mom healed. She's been in the hospital for 8 days now and it's starting to wear on her. I don't blame her.

I hung out with her for awhile at the hospital and then she had to sleep so I headed home. I was really tired and just needed a nap desperately. I took a nap for a couple of hours and then decided to treat myself to dinner. I ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant here in my hometown and then headed over to Fred Meyer's for my retail therapy. I bought a belt, some new shoes, and a cute University of Oregon bag. I don't normally spend money like that, but today it really did help my emotional state to do so. $55 for my mental health was well worth it.

I headed back to the hotel and worked on my term paper. It's after 11 p.m. now and I'm going to take a nice hot bubble bath and go to bed. Tomorrow, I will go to the hospital, finish my term paper, and hopefully have my mental health restored for free by getting an answer from the doctor to my mom's health problem.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful

It's been a very long week. I arrived here on Saturday and spent the night in my mother's hospital room with her. Sunday, I stayed at her place so I could take my nephew to school in the morning. My mother has custody of him so with her being in the hospital, I'm responsible for him. He's 15 so it helps that he's able to do a lot for himself.

My mother is hanging in there, but it has been hard on her. She's been in the hospital for almost a week now. Tuesday, she had an EGD done to determine the source of the bleeding. The doctors were fairly sure the bleeding was coming from the stomach or upper GI. An EGD involves feeding a tube with a camera into the stomach to look around and see what might be causing a problem.
It was determined that it was Gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. It had been caused by an arthritis medication my mom was on. That, along with the Coumadin she is on to prevent blood clots, caused the bleeding. Or so we thought...

My mother continued to bleed and after transfusing 18 pints of blood (as of today), they've decided that the gastritis is not the issue. They now believe it may be Meckel's diverticulum. Tomorrow, they will be taking her to a hospital about two hours away from where she is now for a scan to see if it's Meckel's. The scan will also show other areas of bleeding if they are present. Her current hospital has the equipment to do the scan, but not the technician. He is on vacation. I don't know why they only have the one technician, but there it is. My mother will have the scan done tomorrow and we will know by the afternoon what the problem is.

If it's Meckel's, surgery will be performed to correct the problem. If it's not Meckel's, they will be able to see the bleeding area on the scan and will take care of that problem. I've spent every day at the hospital and I've been exhausted. My cousin, who lives near my mom, cooked Thanksgiving dinner today so my nephew and I were able to celebrate the holiday. I have a lot to be thankful for today. My mother is strong and is coming through all of this...with God's help.

Please keep the prayers and good thoughts coming. They are working.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frequent Flyer

I am sitting in the San Francisco airport at an eatery called Lori's Dinner. It is a place I know well, having been here three times in the last year. Considering I live in Houston, this is an unusual place to have visited multiple times. They make great pancakes, but that is not why I am here.

My mother called me on Thursday to tell me that her doctor believes she has internal bleeding. She had been seeing blood in places where blood should not be. Her doctor sent her for additional tests on Friday and I waited all day at work, on pins and needles (pardon the pun), to hear of the results. My cousin, who lives near my mother, called me to tell me they admitted her to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Last night, she had five pints of blood transfused. Considering that the human body holds about 8 pints, that is quite a lot. The first flight I could get was this morning at 7:20 a.m. After work, I went home and packed my bags, took a hot bath, and anxiously awaited the morning.

Where the bleeding is coming from is still a mystery. She will have an endoscopy done this afternoon to determine the source. I should be there by then to hold her hand. The trip from Houston to Oregon, where my mother lives, is a bit of a daunting one. The closest airport to my tiny hometown is in Crescent City, which is actually in Northern California. It's roughly 30 minutes from the Oregon border. I fly from Houston to San Francisco and then San Francisco to Crescent City.

I haven't slept in what feels like days. Last night, I slept only in fits and starts. I was worried about what the morning might bring. I spoke with my mother about 30 minutes ago and she sounded better than she did last night. Still, there is no substitute for being there, talking to the doctors myself, and assessing the situation.

I am going to have to tell my mother that it is time for her to move to Houston where I can keep an eye on her and assist her with getting the medical care she needs. Her health problems have gotten worse in the last few years. I've made two emergency trips to Oregon in less than 18 months - once in June 2007 and again today. The expense and the worry have taken a toll.

It is so very difficult when you realize that you must become the parent to your own parent. My mother has taken care of me all my life. She loved me from the time I was conceived through this very moment...32 years she has sacrificed, cried with me, laughed with me, and been my mother, my friend, my confidante. Now, I only hope that I can make her understand that the time she has put in to my life is not without its reward. I am my mother's daughter...and that means more than words can say.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And miles to go before I sleep

I finished my term paper on Monday afternoon, but I now face a new challenge - a second term paper for a different class. It is due December 1 and I plan to start on it this weekend in the hopes of having it finished before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holiday without worrying about the paper.

We'll be spending the holiday with my dad in San Antonio. We went there last year for Thanksgiving as well, but it was not the happy celebration we had hoped. Dear Husband had bronchitis and we ended up with him in the ER on Thanksgiving Day. I'm hoping he will be in better health this year and can enjoy the holiday with us.

But before I even get to Thanksgiving, I have a lot of work to complete - the term paper I mentioned above, my general homework assignments, and keeping up with life. That last one isn't always easy when I am working by day and burying myself in books by night. Still, I am grateful for the chance to go to school, to complete this degree, to have a job. I have miles to go before I sleep, but I walk them with a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Busy Frog

That's me. I'm a busy frog this week. In addition to working in that place where they exchange cash for my brilliant writing services, I also had an exam this week (94% - WOO) and I have a 10-page paper to complete by Monday.

I also have to continue to do the homework for three classes. It's overhwhelming, but thankfully I'm sufficiently skilled at dealing with being overwhelmed. Thank you law school and the bar exam. I knew that would come in handy someday!

I did some homework tonight and will leave work early tomorrow so I can finish some more homework before going to dinner with a friend, after which I will return to my paper.

Despite all the work, I feel good because I love what I am learning, I love discussing it with my classmates, and I can't wait to put it to use when I graduate.

Hopping away to my next assignment right now, which is to go to bed. That's my favorite homework to be honest. Good night!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Am Loved


One of the sweetest people I know with the cutest little boy in the world has passed on the blog love to me. Thanks Jess! Jess has a great blog at Planted Gypsy Feet.
The way this works is I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 5 other bloggers:
1. Where is your cell phone? Table
2. Where is your significant other? Couch
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Denise
5. Your father? Bill
6. Your favorite thing? Sleep
7. Your dream last night? None
8. Your dream/goal? M.A.
9. The room you're in? Dining
10. Your hobby? Internet
11. Your fear? Loss
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Traveling
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Skinny
15. One of your wish list items? Skinny
16. Where you grew up? Oregon
17. The last thing you did? Talked
18. What are you wearing? Clothes
19. Your T.V.? Clue
20. Your pet? ADORED
21. Your computer? PC
22. Your mood? Happy
23. Missing someone? Yes
24. Your car? Reliable
25. Something you're not wearing? Socks
26. Favorite store? Wal-Mart
27. Your Summer? Fantastic
28. Love someone? Yes
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Week
YOUR TURN!
I'm passing this on to the following bloggers who I love:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Christmas on Halloween

Yesterday, we had a great time at work because everyone came dressed up for Halloween. I went as Mountain Dew. I bought a Mountain Dew T-Shirt, hat, and pajama pants. I paired all that with fuzzy green slippers. It worked great. My co-workers came as a surgeon, a hipster, a jogger, and batman. We took a group picture and then separate pictures too. I would post it here, but it's on my work computer.

Last night, I had a very productive evening. I went to Half Price Books, which is one of my very favorite places. I bought Christmas gifts there for 12 people for under $100. I was shocked that it was that cheap and I was SO thrilled to mark several people off my list. I mostly bought for our nieces and nephews (and also the kids of our friends who are our honorary nieces and nephews), but I also got a couple of things for my parents as well.

I came home and helped Dear Husband hand out candy. He had been handing it out for a couple of hours before and gave me a few updates via text message while I was out. We have fun on Halloween since we live in a subdivison so all the kids hit up our house. Our fur kids loved seeing all the kids dressed up too. Dear Husband created a barrier by the door so the kids could see the trick or treaters, but couldn't bark at them and sniff at them.

We have some candy left over. Not a huge amount, but some. My favorites are in there - Butterfingers. I may have one...or two...or...well anyway, I wouldn't want to waste perfectly good candy.

Hope everyone had a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

10 Things

I'm considering joining an underworld group, committing a crime, and then turning on my criminal compatriots just so I can join the Witness Protection Program and go into hiding. In the past couple of weeks, I've really wanted to go into hiding, but I couldn't think of a way to do it that would not cost me a lot of money I don't have. So, the criminal route it is.

Ok, so I won't really do that, but here's the thing - I need a break. A break from people who suck up my emotional energy, a break from people who don't know how to listen, a break from people who can't get a grip on their life. You know, the basic annoyances of living within the human race.

I have a co-worker who I like a lot, but she is so oblivious to the basic rules of listening. I've seen her with other colleagues and she talks while they are talking, she interrupts them, tries to finish their sentences, and never really listens.
This is something I see in a lot of people. They simply cannot restrain themselves from talking. I just want to grab them and tell them to shut up and LISTEN! This colleague doesn't seem to realize that if she's talking while another person is talking, neither she nor the other person is going to be heard. So then what is the point?

And the people who can't get a grip on their life? Yeah, those people are really driving me crazy. There is one in particular who spends way too much time on the theory of life, but never lives it. There is much discussion about faith and courage, but actually taking the plunge and living those things seems to be a difficulty.

This brings me to perhaps the most important thing in this blog posting: LIVE. YOUR. LIFE. Stop and enjoy the things you love. Make a list of 10 things you enjoy and then plant those things in your life more often. Sure, it can be hard to do with work, school, kids, husbands, houses, and on and on. There's always a reason not to do something. Find a reason TO do something.

Here are 10 things I enjoy. What are yours?

1. Cuddling up with my dog Peanut and taking a long nap.

2. Working out hard and then taking a refreshing shower.

3. Reading a good book for hours without interruption.

4. Lighting a candle and relaxing on the couch.

5. Surfing the Internet.

6. Leisurely browsing through Half Price Books or any bookstore.

7. Seeing a great comedy film and laughing hard.

8. Having dinner with a group of friends and talking about anything and everything.

9. Watching my dogs at the dog park.

10. Long bubble baths.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Books: A Journey Through the Past

So the other day I was thinking about the books I loved as a child. There were many of them and I can remember how excited I was when I would get a new book. I was the best customer of a local bookseller in my small hometown. He always told me when new books were coming out in the series that I loved and he often held the newest book for me until I came in. I also adored my local library and was well known there.

Here are some of the books I read as a child. Anyone else remember these?

Books by Beverly Cleary
Ramona Quimby. This was an entire series of books revolving around a young girl named Ramona Quimby, her sister Beezus, and their parents and friends in the neighborhood. I LOVED these books and read them from the time I was in fourth grade on up. They took place in Portland, Oregon and I lived in Oregon at the time I read them so that may have been part of the appeal. These are great books for young girls.

Ralph S. Mouse. These books followed the adventures of Ralph S. Mouse, who lives happily in room 215 at the Mountain View Inn. A young guest gives him a toy motorcycle and Ralph takes off on several adventures.

Dear Mr. Henshaw. This book was a single book with no series. A young boy writes to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. The boy shares his feelings about school and his sadness at the loss of his father to divorce.

Books by Judy Blume
Blubber - this is a great book about the pain of peer pressure and bullying.

The Fudge Series: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge. This entire series focused on Peter and his annoying brother, who was nicknamed Superfudge.

Deenie: Deenie chronicles the life of a young girl whose mother wants her to become a model. Deenie is diagnosed with Scoliosis and the back brace she must wear ends her modeling career, which doesn't bother Deenie, but upsets her mother greatly.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret: This book needs no explanation. I think every woman in the world has probably read this. If you haven't, you should no matter what your age.

Forever. Ah, the quintessiential young adult sex novel. Katherine, a high school senior, falls in love with Michael and they have sex for the first time. The book chronicles the journey of the relationship, the highs of falling in love and the lows of discovering that love doesn't always last forever.

Other Books
Sweet Valley High - A series of books revolving around 16-year-old identical twins, Elizabeth and Jessica, who attended Sweet Valley High in California. This series also had a "pre-series" of Sweet Valley Twins, with the twins at 12. I loved SVH and really wanted to be friends with Elizabeth.

The Baby-sitter's Club This revolved around four girls who started a babysitting club. I wanted so badly to do that and to be a member of their club.

There were so many more, but these are the books that stick out in my mind. I remember reading many of them over and over, particularly the works of Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. I identified with a lot of their books and I believe kids of every generation will do the same. They are timeless.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Laughing It Up!

I am a tragic laugher. My mom and I have always dealt with the hardships of life by laughing. Our senses of humor are very similar. I truly believe laughter is the best medicine.

The thing is, some people find that medicine hard to swallow sometimes. Some people never see the humor in things or they think it's tacky when others do. But hey, I can't help thinking some things are just so weird that they are funny. For example, I heard a story today about this law firm in Dalton, Georgia that was bombed by an elderly man for an as yet unknown reason. The apparent bomber was killed in the attack and four others were injured. Now, I don't think that's funny at all, of course. However, this firm specializes in personal injury and wrongful death!! Come on now, I just couldn't supress the ironic laughter on that one.

Continuing on the "ironic, funny things in the law" theme, as an attorney I get a lot of advertisements for CLE (Continuing Legal Education) courses. I'm required to complete a certain number of CLE hours a year. I usually get the flyers aimed toward family law/divorce practice. One of the divorce law presenters at a lot of these CLE seminars is named Jim Loveless. Ok, really?? Either don't go into divorce law or change your name Jim because that is just too funny.
In my view, it's better to laugh than to fall into a depression. Humor is everywhere, even in the most tragic of events. If it helps you to cope, I say laugh it up!

Monday, October 13, 2008

School House Rocks!

So last night and today, I was rocking the school house, which is actually my dining room table. I am taking three classes (considered a full-load in grad school) this semester so I've been very, very busy with schoolwork. I have an exam this week that I will need to do a lot of studying for, but overall I feel good about where I am with all the material I'm studying.

I sat down the other day and mapped out my class schedule for the remainder of my program. It's not entirely accurate in that I don't know what classes will be offered exactly, but basically they tend to offer certain classes during certain semesters so I can get a good idea of what I will take and when. It looks like I will be graduating in Spring 2010.

That will be two years and one semester from start to finish. A typical Master's degree takes two years if you're going full-time so I feel good that I'm able to get it done with only one extra semester. It's been tough to work while completing this degree, but it's great to have a paycheck AND be able to complete my degree.

Next semester will be a lighter load with only two classes, but I will probably be driving to Victoria every Saturday once again for one of the classes. It's 310 miles round-trip and I did it when I first started my program in the fall of 2007. I usually left early Saturday morning and spent the night. There were times when I would drive back on Saturday after class, but that is somewhat exhausting so I will likely not do that often this time around. My job is very flexible so I will switch my day off from Monday to Friday so I can drive to Victoria during the day on Friday and not have such a rushed schedule. I can go to class on Saturday and then drive back that same day since I will have been able to rest on Friday night.

Ok, I must go hit the books again. They don't seem to like it when I smack them around, but people say hitting the books is the best way to learn so I'm going to get my sledgehammer out. I ought to be a genuis after hitting the books with that!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Show Stoppers!

Last night was FANTASTIC! The Tour of Gymnastics Superstars was so much fun. We had floor seats and they were worth every penny. The gymnasts were treated like rock stars almost. There was a 20-minute intermission at one point and the gymnasts used the time to do some warm-ups and practice for their upcoming routines for the second half of the show. Jonathan Horton who won the silver medal in high bar and the bronze as part of the U.S. Men's Team medal in Beijing, was the only one who would sign my show program. I asked some of the other guys who walked past me after the intermission warm-up, but they said "Sorry, we aren't supposed to sign autographs during the performance."

So thanks Jonathan for being a nice guy and breaking the rules to give an autograph to a HUGE gymnastics fan!

It was so interesting to see the reaction of those in the floor seats. After Jonathan signed my autograph, he walked toward the back stage exit to get ready for the next part of the show, and he was swarmed by fans. Literally swarmed!
They were screaming and touching him. He hugged a couple of the girls and they went back to their seats jumping up and down saying "Oh my God, he touched me, he touched me!!" It was too funny to see in some ways. I'm a big fan, but I'm too old to get freaked out like that. Still, it was nice to be with people who really enjoy the sport as much as I do.

Thanks to the Internet, some of what we saw last night is already on YouTube. This is one of my favorite routines from last night's performance: Nastia Liukin performing on floor to Ava Maria. Her performances are always elegant and beautiful.

Shawn Johnson is also a favorite of mine. This is her floor routine to American Woman. I have to admit that this is a little more "sexed up" than I expected to see, but it's still some great gymnastics.

This is the second gymnastics tour I've had the opportunity to see. The first was many, many years ago, in 1996 I believe it was. At that time, I was living in Eugene, Oregon, and I had to drive a couple of hours to Portland. Now, living in Houston, it's about a 35-minute drive downtown. That is one of the many positives to living in a large city. I can easily attend the events and performances I really want to see.

Tickets to Tour of Gymnastics Superstars: $160
Parking at Tour of Gymnastics Superstars: $10
Program for Tour of Gymnastics Superstars: $18
Bag and T-shirt from Tour of Gymnastics Superstars: $43
Seeing your gymnastics idols up close and personal: PRICELESS.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Home is where the heart is...and the Internet too!

I was out of town from Friday until Monday. I called Dear Husband on Friday after arriving in San Antonio and he told me that our cable and our Internet service had been restored at home!! This is most excellent news as I was getting tired of Starbucks. The T-Mobile Hot Spot had been good to me, but the relationship had run its course and it had to end.

And continuing on the happy Internet/computer theme, I got a brand spanking new laptop!! I am SO excited. It's my dad's early Christmas present to me. It's a Dell Inspiron 1525 and I love it already. Since I got a new laptop, I needed new software too. My dad was going to throw in Microsoft Office 2007 as part of the whole laptop gift and he got online to find it. He found a price of $150 for the student edition. I told him I bet I can find a better deal. I logged on to microsoft.com and found that they were offering MS Office 2007 Ultimate to students at a steep discount. Microsoft lists it as retailing at $679.95. I got it for...drum roll please...$59.99!! Yes, you read that right. Microsoft offered it to students for a HUGE discount. I downloaded it, and it's working great.

I can't complete this whole new laptop thing without paying tribute to my old laptop. It was purchased in 2002 when I started law school. I took my law exams on it and even took the bar exam on it. It has been a trusty friend and companion all these years. The operating system on it is Windows 2000, I've replaced the keyboard twice, the power cord once, and the battery is shot. Still, it works and is in good shape but for the battery so I am sending it to my mom since she isn't in need of the latest and greatest technology. It will work for her. I'm glad to be sending it to a good home. I know it sounds silly, but it really has been a good laptop and I will miss it.


Once again going forward with the happy theme, I am SO looking forward to Friday night! I got two tickets to the Tour of Gymnastics Superstars! Several of the Olympians, including Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin will be in the show as well as Shannon Miller. I had my picture taken with Shannon and got her autograph last January when she was here in Houston for a gym opening. I really want to get autographs and pictures with Shawn and Nastia. Keep your fingers crossed that I can do that. I bought the tickets almost as soon as they went on sale, so I have great upfront seats. I CAN'T WAIT!!