BACKGROUND

Monday, March 30, 2009

Left, Right...OUCH!

I have Mondays off so I try to be productive around the house, get homework done, and so on. I succeeded with the productivity around the house thing - I emptied the dishwasher, washed and dried laundry, and actually folded the laundry that had been sitting in the baskets for one (OK, three) days. I did some other little stuff too.

The big productive thing of the day though was going to the gym. I really, really need to get back into a regular gym schedule so I decided to go for it today. I had a great cardio workout on the elliptical. I am so grateful for my iPod. After cardio, I went to stretch and I was reminded of an unfortunate accident that will stay with me forever.

In January 2008, I was babysitting an infant and a 3-year-old. I had put the baby to bed upstairs and turned the lights off. I was coming down the stairs and I missed a step. My right ankle twisted as I landed two steps down and oh my GOD, it was painful. I remember saying SHIT rather loudly or it might have been FUCK. Either way, a not so good four-letter word particularly considering that the 3-year-old was 10 feet away in the living room. Never too early to learn swear words. Too bad Sesame Street doesn't teach that - today's show is sponsored by the letter F...

Anyway, it took several months for me to be able to walk on it without severe pain. We went on the family cruise in February 2008 and I climbed Dunns River Falls in Jamaica. It was not quite a month after the injury and I felt every single step. It was worth it, but it really made me realize that I have a high tolerance for pain. Or I'm stupid. That's a real possibility.

I talked to my doctor about it and she said since I had range of motion, it wasn't broken, but the pain would probably always be there. She said it's likely arthritis. Well, nothing makes you feel old like being told you have arthritis. Maybe I should get out of law and get into meterology because I hear people with arthritis can predict the weather pretty well.

So I'll keep working out and I'll keep stretching even though the ankle screams when I do so. It's ironic that achieving good health comes with so much pain.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Willful

I am gathering the paperwork the accountant needs for our taxes. This independent contractor stuff can get confusing so I handed it all over to an accountant this year and I'm glad I did. He advised me about deductions I wasn't even aware I could take. Gathering the paperwork is a bit of a hassle, but it could be so much worse. I am so glad I am organized when it comes to record keeping.

Speaking of being organized, I want to encourage everyone out there to tackle a very difficult subject for most people and that is your mortality. Specifically, you should tackle it in the form of a will. So many people believe they don't need a will because they don't have kids or they don't own a lot of property or have a lot of money. The truth is that in many states, if you die without a will, it can be a nightmare for your spouse and/or other family members.

Having a will changes everything - it makes your wishes known to the world so that the court can give your property or money to the people you would want to have it. You may only have $100 in a savings account, but that's $100 that you might want to give to your child, your nephew, or any number of other people. You probably own a car. What will you do with that? Do you have a laptop? What about that?

Once you start thinking about it, "property" takes on a whole new meaning. A lot of people think of property as acres of land or a huge house. In truth, it can be an antique desk or a pencil holder that your great-grandmother used in her medical practice. It can be your car or your dining room table. A will makes it very clear what you want done with your things and that can be comforting to know.

What's even more comforting to know is what will happen to your children in the event of your death. You assume that your spouse will care for them. What if your spouse dies with you or shortly after you? Do you really want your evil mother-in-law or psychotic aunt to raise your children? If not, you should make it very clear who you want to care for what are likely your most precious gifts in this world.

These are all things you should think about and plan for. Do not leave your family, be it your spouse or your children, with the burden of dealing with your things without a will. It will be a nightmare for them on top of the nightmare of your death. Be kind to future generations and get a will!

In addition to a will, you can have a living will drawn up and a medical power of attorney. These are all things you should discuss with the attorney you choose to draft your will, but essentially they have to do with decision making for your medical needs should you be incapacitated. It helps if your family doesn't have to make a guess as to what you would want under certain medical circumstances.

Wills do not have to be expensive, but they should be done by a lawyer. This is not a plug for my profession, but simply a statement that you want to make sure the document is done right. A lot is riding on it. You can find lawyers to do wills by doing a Google search for "Lawyer Referral Services" or you can go to the American Bar Association's site for lawyer referral: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lris/directory/

This is too important to put off. I am urging everyone to make an appointment with a lawyer and get a will. It is worth the money and the discomfort of contemplating your own death. In the end, the very end, it will bring a lot of comfort to your spouse, your children, your family.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Breaking Point

This is another edition of my random thoughts. In no particular order and with no transition between paragraphs, here are the things I've recently done or thought about:

I'm expanding my hobby base and getting into creating blog backgrounds. I made the one you currently see on this blog. I definitely need to improve in a few areas, but this is the first one I've made that has come out close to the way I wanted it to, so I'm hopeful that others will do the same.

I am on Spring Break this week, which means that I will NOT be driving to Victoria on Saturday! I cannot tell you how excited I am about sleeping in this weekend. Dear Husband's friends are having a get together on Saturday, but I am missing it because they live a good 80 miles away and I told Dear Husband that the last thing I want to do is be in the car on my only Saturday off from the usual long drive. He understood and I know his friends will as well. I like them, but I just need some me time on a glorious free Saturday.

There's a woman at work who comes in frequently and says to me "So what are you working on?" She's a partner in the business, although not exactly my boss. Anyway, she did this yesterday and several thoughts went through my head that I would have liked to have said, but didn't in response to the question:

1. I'm pretending to work...just like every day.
2. I'm running my prostitution ring.
3. I'm trafficking drugs on eBay.

I mean really...I've been there over a year. How long does it take before someone assumes you're working and leaves you alone to do it? This particular person is like this with everyone, but it's still an irritant of sorts.

I woke up this morning with a sore throat so I am taking Zicam like crazy. I am hoping it will stave off any major illness. I'm also going to get some rest tonight unlike the last few nights where I haven't been able to sleep for several hours at a stretch.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Handy Husband

I love my husband. I love him for many reasons, but I have to say that one of them is because he is so darned handy to have around. If anything goes wrong with my computer, he can fix it. If anything goes wrong with my car, he knows what it is almost without looking at it and he can fix it.

Yesterday, my battery light was on and today, my windshield wipers were super slow. I mentioned it to Dear Husband when I saw him at his workplace today. He said that since we replaced my battery not long ago and the wipers are slow, it is probably the alternator causing the problem. He said he would call today about an alternator and install it tomorrow if that is indeed the problem. He's just so awesome and definitely earns his title of Mr. Fix-It. About three years ago, I came out of the courthouse to see both my brake lights on even though the car was off. Dear Husband came to my job and fixed it for me within about 10 minutes.

It's just so helpful to have someone with so much knowledge about technical issues like computers and cars. Love you Sweetie!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Unreal

I love gymnastics. I have been following elite (Olympic-level) gymnastics forever. Therefore, I couldn't miss Shawn Johnson on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). Johnson took home four medals in gymnastics from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

This is the 8th season of DWTS and it's the 1st season I have watched it. Why? Because reality shows are not my thing. At all. There is a glut of "reality" shows on television that are really nothing but MUD (Made Up Drama). I am not one who enjoys drama. I don't think it's entertaining to watch someone argue with their roommate or cry and scream about their housemate who is apparently a slut or whatever. That is not reality TV people. It's MUD presented by the spoonful to the masses, who eat it up.

I am especially disturbed by shows depicting families. Jon and Kate (Gosselin) + Eight is beyond sick in my eyes. I watched a few of the shows and had to stop. Kate verbally abuses her husband regularly and heaps a ton of emotional abuse on her kids. Neither of the adults work. People keep claiming that Jon has an IT business from home. Ok...so how much money is he bringing in because they recently moved into a $1.3 million home. I'm thinking his little at-home IT business, if it even exists, isn't bringing in enough to support that kind of lifestyle. What is bringing in enough to support it are the eight children who shouldn't be supporting their families at 8 and 4 years old.

Everyone is up in arms about Nadya Suleman and her octuplets, but Jon and Kate are pretty much the same. They admitted they couldn't afford the sextuplets and yet, they went through fertility treatments again anyway. They accepted welfare in the form of heating payments (and probably other things as well) when Jon lost his job while she was pregnant. They claim he lost his job because his employer didn't want to provide health insurance for a family of that size. His employer said that he was making personal calls and surfing the Internet at work basically shopping around his family's story before the kids were even born. He was said to have stated to co-workers that with the birth of the sextuplets, he "would never have to work again." I guess that "worked" out for him.

And we wonder why people have litters of children. We lash out at Suleman while lauding the Gosselin family. I believe what Suleman did is outrageous and do not at all support it. But as a society, let's get on the same page OK? If we're going to call Suleman an idiot and a societal leach, then let's not give a TV show, free vacations, and a million-dollar home to people who basically did the same thing.

Short story long, my feelings about reality shows being MUD have stopped me from watching them. However, I have to say that shows such as DWTS, American Idol and Amazing Race are excused from the MUD label for reality shows. Those three shows actually require people to have talent. This is particularly true of DWTS. There is nothing harder than learning the dances and then performing them in front of millions of people. American Idol also requires some degree of talent and has launched real careers in which people work hard to be successful. Amazing Race is another show that requires skill and team work.

So I am watching DWTS. But don't try to suck me into Survivor, Big Brother, or any of those other "cameras watching people and producers telling them what to do" shows. Much like the shows themselves, it would be a wasted effort.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Long Day's Journey

My day started this morning at 6:50 a.m. when I rolled out of bed, gave Peanut some pets and kisses, and got ready to make the 155-mile drive to Victoria. The beltway was under construction at one portion of the road so that put me behind schedule somewhat. I made it to class with about five minutes to spare, so it was all good, but I was SO tired. I had been hoping to get to Victoria with about 30 minutes to spare (my usual time) so I could take a quick nap in the car. No such luck.

When the professor came in, she said we all looked unhappy and several of my classmates commented that they had had bad mornings. Something must have been in the air today. It got no better for any of us in class since we had a pop quiz. None of us did well on it and the professor announced she wasn't grading it, but had given it to us to drive home the point that we need to do more memorization of the MMPI-2 scales. That will be my goal for this week. There are 10 clinical scales to memorize and I can do that.

After class, I had lunch with a friend and her adorable daughter and then I made the long drive home. I was SO tired when I got home that I pretty much just fell into bed. Unfortunately, I only slept for about an hour and then I got up. Just wasn't sleeping well even though I was exhausted. I dealt with some rather thorny family issues on the phone with two different relatives tonight. That alone is enough to make anyone tired. I'm going back to bed now. Hopefully my dreams will not consist of MMPI-2 scales or psychopathic deviants (that would be scale 4). But I don't care if they do. This day has wiped me out. Sweet dreams.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Desperation

Wow. I can't believe people sometimes. I watch a lot of crime TV and of course, as part of my psychology program, I read a lot about abnormal psychology. At the moment, I am watching a story about a husband of 15 years who tried several different means of killing his wife. He started with placing his children's toys on the stairs like matchbox cars, marbles, and so forth. That didn't work.

He then moved on to rat poison in his wife's food and drink. His wife thought something was wrong so she stopped eating and drinking the food at home. She still wasn't sure though so she stayed with him. Since he couldn't poison her through food or drink, he went one step further...he put the rat poison on the outside of a condom before they had sex. His wife was horribly ill with stomach flu symptoms, but it didn't kill her. Long story short, he went away on a business trip, the wife changed the locks, he went to jail, and she divorced him.

As a divorce attorney, I've heard a lot of weird stories. And when I say weird, I mean really weird. But regardless of the odd things going on in people's marriages, none of them were murderous. I suppose I should give credit to people for getting divorced as opposed to murdering their spouses. It's just amazing to me that anyone would consider homicide (outside of the situations where it is warranted such as self-defense). As a lawyer and soon-to-be therapist, I realize there are a number of factors that go into someone's choices in terms of murder, but at the end of the day, it still is just so sad that anyone would be so desperate (in any way) as to consider killing their spouse.