Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Weekend...

"Um, what is this?" My sister asked. It took a second for my hearing to acclimate and actually distinguish what exactly was blaring in the background of the cell phone call. "The girls wanted me to play this CD, and now they are raising their hands up in the air and making this "whoo-woo" noise." Hilarious! I let Alaina choose 21 songs from my itunes and burned her a CD. The first song on the CD and the subject of my sister's query is an awesome rap song by Kirk Franklin named "Looking for You." Now imagine a six year old and a three year old saying "Here's some pain medicine," putting their hands up and down in the air, saying "whoo-woo," and jamming out to a rap song. It's quiet adorable even if it is a little loud and unconventional. Hopefully before long my sister will join in with them...or buying ear plugs.

I was impressed by Alaina's musical selections, and she was amazed by my ability to make a CD. She chose my current favorite song by the Fray, Belly's "Feed the Tree," "Manic Monday," some Chris Tomlin songs, "Rain King" by Counting Crows, and even threw in some Sesame Street songs (in Spanish) for her younger sister's listening enjoyment. She's thoughtful like that.

The weekend was absolutely wonderful. My nieces are, in short, two of the most fun, well-behaved children ever. And I've worked enough with children to have a basis for saying so. If I'm ever blessed with children, I truly don't know how my own children could be any better than these two.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy

It's almost the weekend! And like the last two weekends, I've got fantastic weekend plans again. Last weekend I went to Columbus and hung out with my best friends from law school, who happen to be married to each other, and I had such a good time. I love being with people that I enjoy so much that no activity or plans are needed. And being in their house feels like home in a way, which I guess is just part of the connection I feel with them.

Last weekend I also met up with my friend Kimberly, who I don't technically know very well. With that being said, I feel like I know her. Yes, that is a contradiction. Every now and again I am blessed to meet someone for whom I instantly have great affection. It's always very exciting for me when this happens. I guess the best word for it is "clicking." On a side note, it'd be cool to date someone I felt that way about, but for me, this "clicking" is always platonic. Sometimes it's an element of the person's personality that is striking. Other times it's how open they are or what they share. It's often something inexplicable. I think Kimberly and I have now actually seen each other three times, but you'd never guess it. When we talk we really talk, and we've skipped all of the formalities of surface level getting to know each other conversations.

This weekend I am hosting two lovely guests, who will hopefully not pee on me. Seriously I've been debating on whether I should go buy a plastic mattress cover just in case. Alaina has peed on me at least three times now, but it's been at least a year so I'm going to risk it (and my feather bed). Lauren is still sleeping in pull ups, so I'm probably safe on that end. Alaina and Lauren have been to visit before with their mother (once), but they've never been permitted to come alone. Their father doesn't think it's safe "for them to be down here without a man." You'd think I lived in the hood rather than a gated apartment complex in the safest area of town. Whatever, I'm just excited that they are finally coming to visit. Several people have made suggestions for different activities I should plan for the weekend, but like my time with my law school friends, we'll be happy doing nothing or anything. It's easy that way.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What Would You Do If....

your best friend told you that she had been having an affair with a married man (and father) for the last two years?

I know, another depressing blog topic, but this has been on my mind since a friend described a scenario that she currently is dealing with with her best friend (Anna*). And I want to hear what other people think about how you handle friendship with someone who is committed to committing a continual sin because as a relatively new Christian I've never faced this issue. After listening to Tim Keller's sermon on Pride, I realize that I'm continually sinning in that area of my life; I had no idea how prideful I am, and I now know that I am even more imperfect than I already realized. The difference in my mind is that I'm at least trying (sometimes seemingly in vain) to change my heart and my ways. I will say that I have definitely committed continual sins (without repentance at the time), and no one ever called me out on it. No one said a word. It was in part because my friends at that time in my life weren't "strong Christians," were not vocal about their beliefs, and/or were doing the same as I was. I am so grateful now for Christian friends who encourage me and (at least to some extent) help hold me accountable.

Because Anna knew that my friend would not approve of the affair, she hid it from her until recently. Since then she has mentioned trying to end it and how hard it is, but beyond a few words, they haven't had any conversations about it. My friend is still hurt that Anna misled her for two years and is, of course, discouraged that Anna is participating in an affair. I advised my friend to have a private face to face conversation with Anna and express all of her concerns as well as her love for Anna and her desire for Anna to have something better than a secret relationship with a married man (that is clearly against God's will for her life). My friend knows that it will be futile because Anna is a Christian and she already knows it's wrong.

I suppose my query, and perhaps it is the wrong question, is whether my friend should continue being friends with Anna if she persists in this continual sin. By ending the friendship, are you refusing to love your friend unconditionally? Are you being too judgmental? Are you missing out on an opportunity to witness to her and lead by example? By continuing the friendship, are you supporting Anna in her continual sin? And if I were Anna's friend (who happens to know the married man and his family), I'd have a hard time even liking her knowing this about her because I know what havoc this affair could cause. With that being said, I'm reminded of the Lord's love for each of us despite his knowledge of how depraved we are and what hurt we cause each other. It's nothing short of amazing.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Summer Clerks....

Although work is a bit slower in the summer, it's my favorite season here at the office. That's because we have summer associates or "little interns" as I prefer to call them. Unfortunately and for obvious reasons, I cannot share most of my funny stories about them. And I must say that, all in all, I've been pretty disappointed in them. I had hoped for some salacious or otherwise embarrassing incidents since my life is pretty tame. Well except for the most recent drama, which has included a man professing his completely inappropriate feelings for me (and I quote, "No, I don't 'think' you're my soul mate. I know you are."). I can't share any other details since this blog isn’t completely anonymous, but needless to say the entire situation has given me a big stress headache. Sigh.

Ok, I digress. The “worst” summer incident so far occurred at happy hour. We were discussing the random things engaged couples now register for—like massages, snorkeling, and other activities on their honeymoon. So the summer clerk wondered aloud if people registered for KY Jelly to use on their honeymoon. Yep, that's the summer's highlight. BORING. When I summered in Atlanta, we had one summer associate who provided a good bit of entertainment beyond the typical drunken debauchery. She would make random comments in front of partners like "I wish I was naked in a big vat of whip cream right about now." Or "forget" to wear a bra.

But in all honesty, as much as these train wreck type of people provide entertainment (I know…it’s a pathetic reflection of me that I find enjoyment in this kind of stuff, but at least I am honest, right?), I’m so glad to work at a firm that doesn’t have these drama producing employees. While it would be nice to have at least one unmarried attorney among us or a few more people under the age of 35, I appreciate the fact that none of the partners flirt with secretaries (or me), scream curse words (a friend of mine’s boss recently yelled “GD” to him repeatedly), or the like. I have worked at other places where the lines were too blurry. Male partners were way too touchy-feely with secretaries. At another firm, an attorney screamed at their secretaries. Two of the married partners were having an affair with the same secretary (she was fired, in case you’re curious). Another attorney nonchalantly shared the details of the time he cheated on his current wife. Can you imagine?

So even though the social aspect of work is a bit boring when the fun summer associates aren’t around to provide fresh conversation and the occasional debacle, I really shouldn’t complain. Plus there’s still a few more weeks before the interns leave—I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lauren, the three year old birthday girl, wasn't too sure about the inflatable water slide deposited into her back yard. Although she has easily conquered regular slides of this size, the water at the bottom of the slide presented a unique challenge. She has yet to become a fan of getting water in her face and prefers to stay on top of the water courtesy of water wings. Being the dutiful aunt that I am, I was volunteered by my family to be the only adult changing into a bathing suit for the festivities. But the real sport was my mother. While I was changing into the "bikini most likely to survive a water slide," my mother made a $20 bet with my brother-in-law that she would go down the slide with Lauren. In her clothes. She won the twenty bucks, but evidently didn't think about the fact that she was wearing a thin white shirt. Yep, a wet t-shirt contest occurred with only one entrant at my niece's third birthday party. Good times. I'd post the photo my sister snapped before handing my mother another shirt to put on, but that would just be mean. After all, I didn't post my photos of my old boss in his thong.

Just kidding. That was before the days of camera phones, digital cameras, and whatnot, so I regret to say that I do not have a photo of that....

As you can see, the plastic baby pool was more Lauren's speed. Her sister Alaina, however, took full advantage of the water slide and probably went down it over 50 times. Anyway, hooray for my mom for being fun. Sometimes it seems like people's fun factor is inversely corrrelated to their age, so I'm extra happy to have a mom that still sees the fun in water slides. And wet t-shirt contests.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Country Music Artists....My Quick Rant

Ok, perhaps you're wondering who Rascal Flatts is. It is a band. I was just downloading some itunes and saw that they had recorded "Life is a Highway," which was a favorite of mine back in the day. It's horrible. Absolutely horrible (or at least the ten second itune clip was). The twangy country version is never better. Case in point is Dolly Parton's recording of "I Will Always Love You" versus Whitney Houston's. Maybe Dolly was first, but there is no comparison. Another less screeching example is "When the Stars Go Blue." If you've only heard Tim McGraw's version, check out Ryan Adams's. I know there are more examples of these musical abominations, but that's all for now.

Happy Weekend!

A Boring Post...That Really Pulls You In, Doesn't It?

"It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves.…How deep the ruts of tradition and conformity."

When I was at the gym doing leg curls night before last, I realized that I am in a rut. Some might call it a routine, I suppose. I could give you all the details of my week’s routine, but I’m sure that you don’t care that most every night I eat nachos and hot chocolate with lots of whip cream for dinner. Or that I watch too much television while sitting on my couch and reading/playing on the Internet. Or that I do the almost same workout routine every night.

My point isn't the details of my typical evening. What has occurred to me is that I live my life as if I have a mindless nonnegotiable routine. I often don't make evening plans because I hate having plans; it's sad, but plans sometimes feel like chores to me. I am, however, almost always glad once I get where I'm going. I rarely think outside of the box and choose a different course for my evening. I’m just doing what I know and I guess what seems easiest. When I first started working I was better about this. I'd meet a friend for drinks in the evening or to grab dinner or sometimes I'd go to a restaurant on my own for dinner or cook for friends. For a while, I’d go to a coffee shop after work and write. But over the course of time, I became perpetually tired, and I guess I became super boring. It reminds me of so many older people who I know who rarely do anything unusual, whether it's traveling, going to a movie, trying a new restaurant, etc. Is that what growing old is? That's scary. I don't ever want to be afraid or lose the desire to explore and instead be completely content in my comfort zone.

In high school I made a point of changing seats every so often in my classes to give me a different perspective, and it's time, so to speak, to change seats. Even small changes like going to the gym in the morning or hosting a dinner party or playing tennis after work (as soon as it’s not so unbearably hot!) are steps in the right direction. And I realize that part of having so many choices is the freedom not to exercise those choices, but I think it's better to explore all that life has to offer and mix things up. After all, "There are none happy in the world but beings who enjoy freely a vast horizon."

p.s. I will be mixing things up this weekend with an inflatable slip and slide. Perhaps I'll even have some good/funny photos!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dating Mishaps...

are one of my favorite subjects. I love hearing people’s stories, hence my viewing of TLC’s The Baby Story and The Wedding Story in college. I guess dating stories are interesting to me now because of my stage in life. A lot of my friends are married, so they don’t have any new stories to share. And from what I have observed, once you have children, stories centering around bodily fluids and functions and sleeping habits become fascinating and appropriate to share with others, even large groups of acquaintances! I digress.

I had never been much of one for dating simply because I hate the awkward conversation of telling someone I do not want to go out again. My solution was to just say no to the request for the date and avoid any future discomfort. Plus I usually “know” that someone isn’t a fit very quickly—no meal required. But last year I decided that I needed to be more open and give dating more of a try. A series of dates followed—including several blind dates. One of my favorites was a friend’s coworker. Admittedly I did not know much about my date prior to our meeting, but I quickly learned enough when he mentioned that he had a photograph of Ronald Reagan in his bedroom. This date was a favorite of mine because it only lasted an hour, and we both reached the same conclusion at the end of a rather quick dinner; we’re not a match. He didn’t even say he’d call me. Perfect.

The string of dates included another lawyer who asked me how much I weighed on our first date (he also wore a scarf in 60 degree weather); a guy who told me that he was meeting another girl for drinks after our date (of course, I had asked if he had ever had two dates in one night….but still…); a professor who wanted to know if I had ever dated a black person because he will not date women who have; and a guy who was such a fantastic conversationalist that we talked for 90 minutes before we placed our order.

The professor also told me about the woman he had really liked that he dumped after eight dates. I made the mistake of asking why, and he explained that she told him that she was a virgin. Since the professor had told me he was a Christian, I was especially stumped as to why this was problematic. And yes, I asked why that was a deal breaker. He told me that he “wanted a woman who can take care of” him, “if you know what I mean” (wink wink). The professor then proceeded to let me pay for more than my fair share of the meal, not giving me any change back from the money I offered him. On a funny note, when I went to the bar at this restaurant to get our food the bartender handed me a small note. I opened it, and it said “Your date sucks. Hit me up for a good time.” And an e-mail address was scribbled. I guess my disgust was visible.

One of my all time favorite date stories was my ex-boyfriend Blake’s. I can’t do justice to the story (it did, however, involve the aforementioned bodily fluids), and it would take too long to tell anyway, but suffice to say that his date story also qualified as his most embarrassing moment ever.

I haven’t heard a “good” dating story in months and am long overdue. Surely one of you has one. And despite what you may think after reading my dating stories, I do like happy ones!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lifetime: The Channel for Women?

Ok, perhaps the better question is why I just spent the last ninety minutes with a Lifetime movie on while I did some work. It's a Sunday afternoon, and the choices are slim but I need something to keep me awake while I do a monotonous work assignment. So I was lured into watching the last half of this movie as the a central character was the dad from Everwood, a WB show I've enjoyed over the past few years.

I am sorry to say that this isn't the first time I've been tempted to waste an afternoon watching a horrible movie. Somehow they suck you in, although you know the ending already: unhappily ever after. Ironically Lifetime proclaims itself to be the channel for women, although every movie is about women being victimized. For example, today's flick is about a married choir leader who had an affair with a much admired deacon of the church. The choir leader filed divorce papers, falsely claiming that her husband abused her and the like. The affair continued and ultimately the deacon ended up shooting his wife in cold blood. The church fires the choir leader and supports the murderous deacon. She attempts suicide. Then she is tricked into treatment with a therapist who drugs her in an attempt to admit her into a mental hospital to keep her from testifying against the deacon. That's when I turned it off.

In an effort to avoid studying while in law school, I watched a Lifetime movie about a woman who was abused by her husband. She finally mustered the strength to defend herself and ended up killing him. Then she went to jail for a life sentence. So depressing! Then you have the college girl raped by a fraternity member who is continually taunted and revictimized and eventually goes crazy.

I am confident that this will be my first and last Lifetime movie of 2006. On a positive note, Lifetime does air the Golden Girls on a regular basis. Now that's much more worth watching. For a detailed discussion of the various Golden Girls, check out Donatello's latest blog.

I hope everyone else spent their Sunday afternoon with more worthwhile endeavors!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, 'You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.'"

Psalm 142:1-7

I'm reading the entire Bible this year thanks to a handy gift from Donatello (the One Year Bible, which is conveniently arranged to help people like me who always begin and end our "read the whole Bible" attempts in Genesis or Exodus). And today was a rough and sad day for me; so after I wallowed a bit in sadness and disappointment ("a bit" might be an understatement), I finally did what I knew I needed to do and picked up the Bible to get caught up on my readings and focused on God instead of myself. And I read the verse quoted above, wondering why it is so difficult for me to keep centered on God and why I act like I need so much more than God. Sometimes I feel like I read scripture and Christian books and don't internalize or really learn any of it. I guess that is why our relationship with Christ, like life, is best defined as a journey rather than a destination.