Sunday, April 29, 2007

"You're Like the Lotto"

I took Friday off from work, so that I could endure a hell worse than Walmart--moving. I'll spare you the details on how awful it was and how much my calves still hurt from climbing my stairs over 50 times. The morning started with my buddy Ivy driving the Uhaul for me back to my place. The idea of driving one of those trucks scares me despite the $50 worth of extra insurance I bought.

A few hours later my "day laborers" arrived. Several friends offered to help, but I sort of feel like I'm too old and make too much money (not for long:) to justify ruining anyone else's day. No amount of pizza and beer would have made moving all of my stuff down two narrow flights of stairs fun, plus I found out I could hire day laborers (and it includes workers' comp so I won't feel guilty about hurt backs, etc.) for $11.14/hour. The workers were late and finally arrived--one wearing what appeared to be black panty hose on his head. James and Kenyetta started off by asking me some basic questions. At one point James exclaimed that I was "like winning the lotto." I asked what that meant, and he explained that it was hard to find a woman like me who didn't have any children--and that you had to date an 18 year old usually to avoid them being a mom--and "18 year olds aren't that experienced." Hmm. Later Kenyetta said he has five children and asked if I could help him out with the back child support he owes.

Fortunately James was a hard worker, but his cohort was overweight and out of shape. So they took a quite a few breaks; one was to weigh themselves on my scales. James asked me how much I weighed, and I told him; then he noted that I "look a lot thicker than that." Gee thanks. Do you want a tip or not?

Even though I started boxing things up a week or two ago, I didn't have time to empty all of my drawers, etc. I should have at least boxed up my underwear drawer, but I forgot. So I'm standing there when they pull out my underwear drawer. Their eyes seem to enlarge, and later James calls me from downstairs. I go down to the truck, and he's holding a few Trojans in his hand. James says "I found these in your drawer [yes, my underwear drawer, which sort of makes me want to go wash my panties now], and I don't think you're going to be needing them." My first thought was "How do you know I don't have sex anymore?" But then James added that they expired in 2000! He was gracious enough to offer to throw them away for me, i.e. put them in his pocket for later use.

James and Kenyetta then wanted to play the "car game" in which they guessed which car in the parking lot was mine. They both guessed a silver Lexus SUV, and when I told them my car was the Toyota 4Runner, they instantly wanted to know why I didn't have rims. We then had an entirely too long conversation in which I explained numerous times in various ways that I'm not a rim (or car) person.

Toward the end of the afternoon, James told me that they were almost done with the "killing it room." I asked him what that meant, and he explained that he called the bedroom the "killing it room." He then said "I made your face turn red." Fun times.

Thankfully my brother-in-law Billy Bob drove the Uhaul for me and helped unpack it Saturday morning in about one hour. So all of my stuff, for the most part, is now at my father's house (yeah for free storage), and I'll be staying with various friends until my last day of work on May 9. I hope your weekend was more relaxing than mine!

p.s. I am thankful for my brother in law. He's strong and is such a good worker, and he's coaching my niece's adorable softball team.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I did it. I turned in my two weeks notice today, and it went as well as it could have. I know that at many firms and companies these type things are rather impersonal and routine, but my firm is relatively small (about 25 attorneys) and close-knit with monthly dinners for the attorneys and whatnot. I chose the firm because I like a sense of community, but a personal investment of sorts also makes it more daunting to leave.

For quite some time, I've felt like we were trying to fit a square peg (me) in a round hole (the firm), but I could not figure out what my next step should be. After much prayer and thought, I realized that I do not have to know what the next perfect, permanent step is to know that it's time to move on. So I told my mentor today as well as my former mentor, and I wrote a letter and am putting a copy in each attorneys' chair (in an envelope marked "personal and confidential" per suggestion) very early in the morning.

I am moving all of my things out of my apartment this Friday and to my father's house in my hometown. I'll stay with friends here in Macon next week and possibly the week after while I work out the remainder of my notice. On May 15 I'll leave for Geneva, Switzerland and meet up with my friend Sam a few days later in Zurich. We'll travel to Malta and then on to Rhodes and Athens. After he returns to the states, I'll head to Santorini. Then I'll fly to Spain and explore southern Spain until I return on June 18. When I return I plan to spend a lot of time with my nieces and friends and family, read, relax, rest, exercise, and basically chill out for a while (just in case my time on the coast of Spain isn't enough:)

I've also completed my application for mission opportunities through One Door. There are a variety of positions, but I am most interested in Young Adult Volunteer (the cut off age is 30, so I'm getting in right in time:) opportunities, especially the position in Nashville. These are eleven months in duration and include working with groups such as at-risk youth, homeless, Hispanic refugees, etc. I imagine I'll have a phone interview in the next few weeks, and see what happens from there. Regardless the program doesn't start until September, so I have plenty of time to just be. For now, I'm just being prayerful about it and thanking God for an answered prayer and the peace I feel about all of these decisions.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

"She's my sure thing. She can't spell 'no.'" Yet another catchy line from Entourage. Friday night there was a tapping at my door; my neighbor wanted to apologize for not being very neighborly and never having invited me over for dinner or giving me their contact information. We chatted in my doorway for a few minutes, and then he went to get the second season from Entourage and insisted I watch it. I've watched 4 episodes today while doing chores and baking, and so far, so good. I tried three new frosting recipes today--chocolate cream cheese, white chocolate, and penuche--for the cupcakes I made. The penuche icing was my favorite and is a new flavor to me; I don't even know how to pronounce it, but it reminds me of caramel icing with just a little more sugar.

Tonight my friend Laura threw a small dinner party in my honor, which is a first for me. It was quite lovely, and the weather fit my dinner request perfectly. I asked for burnt hot dogs. Classy, I know. I figured we'd have chips and hamburgers and hotdogs (and cupcakes, of course), but Laura outdid herself with a fantastic salad, asparagus, squash, terra cotta chips, and various other snacks. Laura's house is in the middle of town, yet it feels like it's out in the country. We ate outside underneath the stars and had the kind of conversation I always enjoy. And as I think about my dinner companions, it makes me so happy that they are all people I admire and respect. Up until recently, I don't remember admiring my friends for things much beyond the surface, which is probably more a reflection of a change in me than in my friends; although it is certainly both.

I hope everyone is having a most lovely weekend. I'm off to bed, so I can wake up early for church. Tomorrow's sermon is about how to overcome struggles with porn, which is particularly timely as I am hearing about more and more families and relationships being destroyed by an addiction to porn.

p.s. I'm grateful for my my sister and her family's opportunity to go to Disney World this week.
Here's a pic of one my little princesses; she's in a big posing phase right now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

5 Questions From Brandy

Thanks for the questions Brandy!

1. If you had to repeat a single year of your life, without changing a single thing, what year would you pick and why?

My life just keeps getting better and better, so a recent year is my choice. 2005 was a really fun year; I had several very fun late nights at Hole in the Wall in Buckhead. I visited Las Vegas for the first time (to meet up with two guys I only knew through a friend/the Internet) as well as Austin, and I had my very first burrito from Anna’s Tacqueria (and went to my first Red Sox game) during trips to Boston. I also joined my Bible study group, which has ended up being life-changing in terms of my faith and resulting in some of the best friendships I’ve experienced. And for about half of that year, I was in that just-met-someone-awesome, so happy/excited I almost made myself want to vomit, perpetual smile stage.

2. Why do you blog? (I know, it's a bit of a rip off question from Bre, but I'm curious)

I enjoy writing and reading, and a blog is a great combination of both because of the interactive nature. I also spend a lot of time in front of the computer as a result of my job, so that’s a part of the attraction too.

3. What is one event from history that you wish you could have witnessed personally?

Jesus Christ’s resurrection

4. If you could teleport yourself anywhere right now, with one other person, where would you go and with whom?

I’d teleport my friend Laura, who could use a break, to Australia with me. What a great way to avoid that looooooong and expensive flight!!

5. What song are you currently in love with?

This week I’m hooked on “Blessed Be Your Name,” which we sang at church on Sunday and I promptly downloaded (legally, of course:) Is it weird that I downloaded Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” at the same time? At least it was the “clean” version, right?

If you are interested in participating, here are the rules:

Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me!”

I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick them, and you have to answer them all.

You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. And we all know how much I like to ask questions!

Edit: I forgot to end my post with what I'm thankful here we go:

p.s. I'm thankful for dinners with friends.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Zippity Do Da Zippity A: The End of the Gratitude Alphabet!

The zoo!! Who doesn’t love the zoo?

Zippers, Zebras (but not Zebra Cakes because they are disgusting), Zest, Zing, Zeal, Zoloft

Zip: He was my adorable (stuffed) monkey. I carried him a lot of places, including over the furnace we had in our hallway, which resulted in slightly burned Zip. But hey, I got him a girlfriend (Tippy), and she was a very cute blond.

That’s all I’ve got, but since this is a gratitude post and I am not otherwise inspired: I love how not having had something at one point makes me incredibly grateful to have it now. Like today when I walked in the Soup Kitchen, I saw an older attorney who I’ve had an affinity for ever since I met him. I love that—running into people I know in restaurants, at the gym, or at church. Last week I ended up having an impromptu workout with a friend who just happened to be at the gym. My year at UGA and year in Atlanta in which I literally could count on one hand how many times I ran into anyone I knew has made be cherish the occurrence now.

Almost every morning on my drive to work I think about how glad I am that traffic is never an issue and how easy it is to get to my office. I never have to wonder how long it will take to get to work. Or had to park on the tenth level of a parking garage, then walk through another parking garage, take an elevator down, cross a courtyard, and then take an elevator to the 45th floor like I did when I was a summer associate in Atlanta. It’s easy.

So many days when I get home I think about how lovely it is to come home to an empty apartment, not having to look around the parking lot to see if my roommate is home and wondering if she’ll have taken over the living room (or if her friend will be having sex with a stranger, who happens to be a felon, on the sofa).

And my year as a poor freshman (in part thanks to my last minute decision to go to college early) makes me so glad that “number 3” at Burger King is no longer a splurge or treat. Or that invitations to certain events require that I go shopping because I truly didn’t have the appropriate clothing.

I could go on forever, but in short, it’s neat how not having something is a blessing because it makes you extra appreciative when you have it later. And the gratitude alphabet has helped me focus on what all I have rather that what I don’t have. Now that it’s over, I think I’ll end each post with something I’m grateful for, which is how my best friend Nicole and I always end our e-mails to each other.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sleeping and Working Out

I read a section of a fitness book today that said you're sleep deprived if at any given time during the day, you can fall asleep within ten minutes. I must be incredibly deprived as I can pretty much curl up whenever (like today and yesterday) and nap for hours. I did, however, get up early both today and yesterday.

Yesterday's early morning wake-up was so I could try a 9:00 a.m. class at my gym called "Body Attack." The description made it seem like it was boot campish, but fifteen minutes in, and I still felt like I was in some floor aerobics class. You know--all of the same things (side, side, knee up and repeat a hundred times with different arm motions just to confuse you) over and over. So I noticed someone bailing, and I joined her. At least my run on the treadmill and weights didn't make me feel bored, like I was wasting my time, and uncoordinated.

Speaking of the gym, I had a lady stare me down the other day. There are about 16 treadmills at my gym, and I was using one that was surrounded by two unused treadmills. Perhaps I am wrong, but wouldn't anyone (in their right mind) choose to use the piece of cardio equipment of choice that isn't surrounded my cardio equipment in use? Or in other words, wouldn't you prefer to use a treadmill next to an unused treadmill rather than use one next to me? Evidently not. And those people who don't share my thoughts like to (1) wear Old Spice, (2) not bathe and/or wear deodorant, (3) douse themselves in baby powder or other strong scents, (4) sweat a lot, or (5) talk on their cell phones. The smells sometimes literally make me feel sick, especially super strong cologne. So the other night I'm running and a girl takes the treadmill next to me. Whatever. Then a few minutes later another woman comes and takes the other treadmill next to me despite the fact that there are at least four unused treadmills (not next to any in use). I was at the end of my second mile anyway, so I grabbed my ipod and moved to one of other treadmills to avoid feeling irritated and claustrophobic. The lady then proceeded to stare at me until she left as if I had personally offended her or something.

So why do people do this? Maybe I'm just weird about being boxed in when it's not necessary and no one else even thinks about it. I wondered if it was a competitive thing at first, but almost all of these people are slow walkers or joggers. So I just try to grab a treadmill on the end and that way only one weird smell can float my way. And then on pretty days like Friday, I go to one of my favorite places in Macon--Rose Hill Cemetery--and run or walk there. No one bothers me there:)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gratitude: The Letter Y

"Yeah," yo-yos, "You Learn," New Young Radicals, "Yellow Ledbetter," yummy foods, "Yellow," "Yo Vivre," yogurt especially frozen yogurt, "You're so Vain," youth, yielding and Yield, and "You're Worthy of My Praise."

"You Oughta Know:" The first time I heard this song I was 16 and driving my Oldsmobile 98 (complete with the navy felt-like material covering the ceiling that was starting to droop) and listening to 99X. I had recently learned that my high school boyfriend (who at that point I'd dated for about a year and a half) had cheated on me. So this song was perfect. The first time I saw her in concert it was in a small venue packed with angry women who all knew the words to every song. I saw her in concert two more times, and my Alanis obsession was so extended that my friends would only ride in my car with the caveat that they would not have to listen to her.

Yesterdays: They help make us who we are.

Yearning: I'm glad I'm not given everything I desire for lots of reasons, one of which is that I often appreciate the things I've longed for more when I get them then when I get things easily.

Yards: I watch the kids at my apartment complex play in the parking lot, and I realize how blessed I was to grow up with a big yard that accommodated softball games, playhouses, trampolines, slip n' slides, and all of that fun stuff.

The young: I love how they help keep us young. On the first day of school when I taught I loved how their excitement and energy was contagious. And I'd doubt I would have played Red Rover or Chinese Freeze Tag (it's so much harder to crawl under people's legs now; and why is it called Chinese Freeze Tag?? Was it created in China?) the other day if it weren't for my nieces.

Yankees: There's one or two of you that seem alright:)

A Reason to Be Glad Lent is Over?

Last Wednesday I had dinner plans with my friend Leaf. He's a third year law student who clerked at my firm last summer. He's quirky, supportive, and always entertaining. And last summer he and his wife prepared one of the best homemade dinners I've ever had complete with rack of lamb and chocolate mousse. So Wednesday afternoon I emailed him and asked him to throw out some restaurant suggestions for dinner. His response:

"I have a room booked at the La Quinta and the service staff is delivering strawberries, champagne and peanut butter brownies… sound ok?"

My reply:

"Ha ha. But I can't eat chocolate until Lent is over....try again."

Monday, April 09, 2007

Three Things

I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend. I spent the weekend with my best friends from law school, and we had a very relaxing time, which included an arena II football game with a final score of 69-30. Their church had a lovely Easter service and of course, I managed to listen to a Tim Keller sermon on Easter too. It’s great to be reminded of the hope and glory of Jesus and His resurrection. And it’s great to have friends who have wonderful, welcoming families who let me enjoy a big Easter lunch followed by a nap.

Three Things That Scare Me
1. Roaches
2. Hurting people’s feelings
3. Politics/Our Government (just sometimes)

Three People Who Make Me Laugh
1. Dave Chappelle
2. Stephen Colbert
3. The scary perverts on “How to Catch a Predator” when they offer lame excuses like “I just came here to tell her she could get hurt playing on the internet” as they pull out the Mike’s Hard Lemonade they brought with them for the 12 year old they chatted up.

Three Things I Love
1. Unplanned alone time
2. My Bible Study
3. Red hots in the little boxes

Three Things I Dislike
1. People who only talk about themselves, never asking any questions about anyone else.
2. Food poisoning, especially when the meal was expensive. I want a refund!
3. Parents who give their children fast food all the time and let them drink soda even though their children are already overweight or obese.

Three Things I Don't Understand
1. Directions. It seems that I’m hard-wired to get lost at least once.
2. Arguing about silly things like which way the toilet roll should face, whether to lower the thermostat if someone is hot (unless we’re at work, and I’m already running a space heater and covered in a blanket and socks), and little details that make no difference to the big picture or the main issue.
3. Extreme cat lovers and why they think I want to listen to their rants/complaints about their cats. Last week I told someone that she needed to either accept that her cat is worthless or get rid of it.

Three Things On My Desk
1. Cinnamon peppermints, courtesy of my ex-boyfriend Sampras who gave me over 1,000 for Easter several years ago
2. Burned CDs that I still need to mail
3. Entirely too many stacks of papers and post-it notes

Three Things I'm Doing Right Now
1. Breathing
2. Blogging
3. Taking a quick break to calm down and collect my thoughts

Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die
1. Do something important….I just don’t know what yet.
2. Spend more time in Spain
3. Help others more

Three Things Things I Can Do
1. Make homemade cookies very quickly
2. Run three miles (and probably a lot more if someone made me)
3. Be super lazy….I’m great at napping

Three Things I Can't Do
1. Drive a stick shift
2. Eat vegetables and fruit on a consistent basis (like every week:)
3. Stay awake if I’m not talking or somehow actively engaged

Three Things I Think You Should Listen To
1. Tim Keller
2. Dashboard Confessional
3. God (Note that these are not necessarily in order of priority)

Three Things You Should Never Listen To
1. Ann Coulter
2. Songs about tractors being sexy
3. The Home Shopping Network….my mom seems to think it’s appropriate background noise 24/7

Three Things I'd Like To Learn
1. How to be more loving
2. How to make money without working
3. To be more disciplined

Three Favorite Foods
1. White Chocolate Bread Pudding
2. Macon Sakura at Shoki a.k.a. deep fried sushi
3. Ooey Gooey Butter Squares (they taste sort of like yellow cake mix)

Three Shows I Watched As A Kid
1. The Price is Right
2. Days of Our Lives (with my babysitter) until at the age of four I told my mom that I felt really bad for this one man because his wife was sleeping with his friend too and I knew but he didn’t.
3. Transformers

Three Things I Regret
I don’t really regret things except perhaps when I misspeak or hurt someone’s feelings. In that same vein, I see things that I’ve done that weren’t the wisest choices, so here are a few:
1. Spending entirely too much of my life in (largely misguided) dating relationships (4 ½ years, 2 years, 1 ½ years, 7 months, almost 2 years, and 1 year).
2. Not making more friends in college (see above:)
3. Putting off figuring out my faith for so long—I kept saying I’d figure it out when I got out of college since I saw religion as just a list of things I couldn’t do.

Have a super week and feel free to share some of your "threes."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Perhaps The Most Underserved Children

So this weekend was the celebration of my niece Alaina's seventh birthday--complete with her first spend the night party and a family fish fry on Sunday. Saturday night the girls and I made the sweetest cupcakes I've ever had courtesy of a recipe from Magnolia's Bakery, which I recently visited in NYC. I chatted with my step-sister's husband, my mom (elementary school counselor), and step-dad (former school administrator) while I ate my fried fish, hush puppies, and cupcakes (the diet of champions, no doubt), and we discussed the current state of the public school his son attends. And our discussion led me to think about something that has long bothered me--our public schools' glaring failure to serve the needs of gifted children.

As I've practiced in the field of education law the last two years, I've learned more and more about the extensive protection provided to children who qualify for special education services*. And in a more casual way, I've seen the practical effect of No Child Left Behind, which seems to ensure that No Child Gets Very Far Ahead as teachers simply do not have the time or resources to encourage or teach the children who already meet the minimum standards. In short, teachers are serving the lowest common denominator.

And I certainly experienced that in public schools myself--often bored and reading another book within my text book or writing notes to friends or sleeping. In 8th grade my parents found out that I'd been teaching my math class and demanded that I attend math classes as the high school in the afternoon. Needless to say, my educational needs weren't met; in fact, several teachers even apologized, telling me that my parents should find a good private school for me. And as many classes at my niece's school are almost half non-English speaking Hispanics who obviously require most of the teachers' attention to reach the standards required by NCLB, I assume that not much has changed. In fact, if the reports from educators are true, it's worse. In short, we're not nurturing our best and brightest students. And if we want to find cures for cancer and compete with other countries, we should start turning at least a little of our attention to those gifted children in our public schools. While I would not put it this way, one educator (at an alternative school) told me that "we're pouring all of fertilizer in what is likely to be barren soil and ignoring the most fertile." So now I'm mulling over ways I could advocate for this student population....

* While I am so glad to see the positive changes in our schools with regard to children with special needs, some of these laws are ridiculous--and compliance is sometimes astronomically expensive.

p.s. "Shut your mouth" and "Get out of town." Did this Bachelor request southern girls, specifically girls from Texas? It seems like well over half were from southern states.