BACKGROUND

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!!