Monday, December 29, 2008

Something for Nothing? (Resolution Time)

When I was in Costa Rica during the summer of 2004 I discovered that its versions of Coke and Diet Coke were equally watery tasting, so in order to get my daily caffeine fix I made the switch to Diet Coke. When I returned to Georgia I continued drinking Diet Coke (spiked with grenadine at first), figuring it was as good a time as any to eliminate the empty calories I consumed from Coca-Cola and not contemplating what the cost might be--or even if there was one. Since then I've moved on to Diet Coke with Lime, Cherry Coca Cola Zero, Diet Dr. Pepper, and so on, and it's seemed like a win-win proposition. I still get my soda but consume no calories.

My sister received a book named Skinny Bitch for Christmas this year, and I ended up skimming it last week. While the book resorts to gratuitous and offensive profanity, it definitely gave me a lot to think about, including my consumption of aspartame, Splenda, and other artificial sweeteners. So I've been digging around some on the internet, and I've been pretty disturbed by what I've found--particularly about aspartame.

Granted it doesn't take a genius to realize that ingesting sodas and other items containing these sweeteners (which is in a LOT of foods/gum/etc.) isn't the ideal and most healthy choice, but I had no idea how many adverse reactions and health problems are associated with the consumption of these sweeteners. Several of the side effects are things I "suffer" from, and I can't help but wonder if they'd go away if I ceased consuming it. And while I've previously read enough to know that the Food and Drug Administration is often corrupt as a result of the strong influence of lobbyists and legislators who are influenced by donors/lobbyists/and others and thus doesn't always (or perhaps ever) have our best interests at heart, I guess I hadn't given much thought to how the FDA's lack of ethical regulation might be affecting me. I hate that we can't trust that something approved by the FDA is safe--whatever that means.

So as I prepare to make some resolutions for the new year, I think ditching soda for at least a month or two may top the list; it'll be a pain, particularly since I enjoy fountain soda (with lots of lemons) so much, but I figure a month will give me a chance to see if I feel better without it. And before you tell me it's stupid to make New Years' resolutions, note that I make resolutions mid-year, monthly, and any time I want. I like resolving and setting goals and try to live at least a semi-self-examined sort of life. And with regard to my diet, I'm disappointed with how thoroughly I've accepted the way our culture eats. I've just been too lazy and complacent to do very much about it. Maybe this will be a step in the right direction because for me it's all about baby steps.

p.s. I'm grateful for fun, low-key NYE plans. We're having a progressive sort of evening with appetizers at a nearby house, dessert in the loft down the hall from me, and drinks (and hopefully fireworks which we can see from my place) at my place. No dressing up, crowds, tickets to an event with cheap liquor, lines at a bar, and hopefully no drama.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hope may cry, but if you need a reminder of the creative ways that we can love others check out this article about how a football team loved another team made up of inmates. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that they are somebody important.

HT: Prodigal Jon

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas to Me

My firm had its Christmas dinner two weeks ago, and I was surprised (since I'm an independent contractor) and grateful to receive a generous bonus. After some thought I decided to use a little less than half of it to buy 12 sessions with a personal trainer. I've wanted to workout with a trainer for years but could never justify the splurge, so this bonus made me feel a little better about spending the money. Plus I'm not familiar with a lot of the machines in my new gym and want to learn, and since I returned to lawyer land I've gained about 7 pounds. I guess sitting on my butt all day in an office where people routinely bring in homemade cheesecake, pies, and whatnot is not conducive to healthy living. I've tried to make some changes and already do a lot of the practical things--like moving around a lot, taking the stairs, eating 5 times a day, and all of that--plus I work out consistently. So I figured it was time to switch things up, learn some new exercises, and have some push me harder than I push myself (and help keep me accountable with my eating choices which is my biggest struggle). I had my second session today, and it went well; although the trainer is going to have to step it up to really push me, which I think he realized. I think he's used to working out with people who don't already exercise fairly strenuously.

This isn't exactly the best time to be losing weight given all of the holiday goodies, but if I don't get a handle on this now I'm going to have to buy new clothes in another 5 pounds--which I refuse to do. I already can't cutely wear my favorite jeans :(

In related news, I love growing older. My life gets better with each year as I gain wisdom, understanding, patience, and understand/more fully accept Christ's love and grace. I feel like my life is much more joy-filled and drama-free. BUT I don't like this having to think about weight and eating and whatnot. Darn metabolism! I guess there are always tradeoffs....

In other news, Oliver and I had a "talk" on Saturday; I'll share the details later. I'll see him tomorrow for lunch before he flies home, so I'll let you know what I end up doing re: the gift. Thanks so much for all of your input. I love reading your thougths.

p.s. I'm grateful for a relaxed day. I decided not to work after all and enjoyed a leisurely lunch, stroll through some stores, and workout (I also made the mistake of going in the general vicinity of the mall and will NEVER put my shopping off to the week of Christmas again...miserable.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dating Advice Please

Ok to recap....Oliver and I have been friends since August, have been on a couple of dates, and usually chat during the week at least once or twice. We're definitely not in a relationship but moved beyond friendship right about Thanksgiving.

Last week our mutual friend asked me if I was getting him a gift. It hadn't even occured to me to do so, but once she mentioned it I start thinking about it. I wish he had a big sweet tooth, and I could just make something nice like Lib's tiramisu; but alas he's not into sweets. So....(1) Do you think I should get him a gift? I think it'd be awkward to give him a gift if he's not gotten one for me. So I'm tempted to get something, and then if he gives me a gift then I'll give it to him. That may seem sort of weird, but I think it's important for a girl to not act more interested in a guy than vice versa (which is one of the reasons I don't ask guys out usually).

(2) If I get him something, what should it be? He's really into music, but he also has more than 5,000 songs, so I can't exactly go get a CD for him and avoid duplicating what he already has. He downloads illegally, which I've teased him about, so I could get him an itunes card. I sort of think that seems impersonal though. But a shirt or scarf or something like that seems generic and aren't things I could get excited about. He loves books and reading, but we've both talked about how our to-be-read stack of books is out of control. And he already has a mullet I'm fresh out of ideas. So share yours!

Oh, one thought....he has a quote from Walden on his Facebook wall, but he's never read Walden (which is one of my favorite books). So despite his stack of books to be read, I wonder if that might be a good idea, especially since we've been trading back Dead Poet's Society quotes for the last few weeks.

p.s. I'm grateful for the fact that I'm only working two days next week and get to hang out with my family in a really relaxed way.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sneaky Skinny Jeans and Whatnot

So to follow-up on this post I ended up wearing heels, black pants, a slightly sparkly gray tank, and a black long sleeve top that tied in front. I found a really fun cocktail dress, but I was cold wearing jeans, three layers on top, and boots indoors on Saturday; so I knew a dress would have distracted me from a good time. And I would have been way more dressed up than my friends, and unlike some of you who commented, I do not like being overdressed. In fact, I'd generally rather be underdressed than over--at least in social situations (professional matters are different). I think that may be an issue of pride--not wanting to look like I am trying too hard, and of course, wanting to be as comfortable and warm as possible. Oh, check out my friend's three piece corduroy suit from Goodwill. He actually wore it to work one day.

And here's my latest e-mail exchange with my dear friend Chasie who watched and advised during my fashion show of the clothes I bought/might keep on Saturday afternoon:

I wrote: Ok, so you know the skinny jeans that are thinly disguised as "barely bootcut" jeans? Another downside: if you're at someone's house and take off your boots (or at home with a cute boy and take off your shoes), you then look like a fat cow!

Those skinny jeans can't sneak one by me!

Love you,

Chasie replied:

Haha. I'm literally LOLing. You are hilarious. And I imagine you are absolutely correct that they don't work as well without the boots. But I'm sure you don't look like a fat cow... absolutely sure.

I'm glad you're a lawyer and smarter than skinny jeans,


p.s. I'm grateful for friends who tell me I'm hot even if I do, in fact, look like a fat cow (or pear as the case may be) in sneaky skinny jeans.

If You Can? Seriously?

When I have a less than stellar week I can't help but think about how good my life is because even in a bad week there's just so much greatness--you guys and your helpful comments/links to help me dress myself (will post on that later), rest, "The Resolution" by Jack's Mannequin (which helped me run the fastest three miles on a treadmill I've run in at least 2 years), my lovely Christmas tree, a visit with Chasie, and a solid group of friends to just name a few.

I think the worst part of this last week was the letter I received from Humana, denying my request for health insurance. I had a physical two weeks ago as part of their application process, and the results from my urinalysis are abnormal. I've been told by friends who know more than me about this stuff that a retest would likely render normal results (as these results may be caused the by hard workout I had the night before that the company should have advised me not to do prior to testing--or just be a fluke since my levels don't indicate any clear medical problem). SO here I sit with no health insurance, and now I have to tell other insurance companies that I've been denied by another company for abnormal test results. This health insurance drama began back in August as I tried to wade through the ridiculousness of determining what policies exclude, hide, and otherwise say to confuse their potential insureds. Granted, I should have begun this process 2 months before my other insurance ended. And I should have been more aggressive about COBRA and so on and on. But darn, I'm in shape, have no health issues (other than these new lab results), and do not use tobacco and go to the doctor once a year for my annual appointment and take one prescription drug ($29)a month. ARGH!

So this week I did have health issues (but that would not cost a potential insurer a penny!)...I had a sore throat Sunday-Tuesday and then a weird stomach bug that began on Thursday and seems to be almost over. I'm paid by the hour (which is why I have this health insurance fiasco--but also have awesome flexibility), so I tried not to stress about the fact that I worked like 10 hours this week and just rested and slept a lot. And I'm grateful to be feeling much more normal now.

A bottle of salad dressing slid out of the refrigerator and burst all over the floor.
It took me 20 minutes to find my car at the mall yesterday, and it was 40 degrees and I had lots of bags and felt like I was losing what little bit of mind I had after two days of chewing Pepto Bismol tablets and sleeping.

I spent $800 on new tires on Thursday. That's a lot of money, but it only sort of sucks since it's the first time I've had to buy tires for this vehicle, and it's over 5 years old (80k miles is pretty great).

I haven't been able to focus all week. I've been watching or rather trying to watch Freedom Writers since Monday night; now I'm about half-way finished.

Sometimes I feel like life is way too complicated. Seriously how are we suppose to do all of this? I need to find health insurance, schedule bill payments, get groceries, cook, go to Bible study, call people back, do laundry, rest, journal, read, volunteer, sort through mail and tax stuff, finish this overdue research assignment, respond to work e-mails, submit my time, take clothes to Goodwill, get the hem fixed on those pants, take my dry cleaning, and so on and so on. Am I the only person who thinks moving to another, more simple country might be the answer? Argh, instead I think I'll just listen to "O Holy Night" one more time and gaze at my tree and journal and reflect on the scripture we studied this morning.
In the ninth chapter of Mark there's a boy who suffers from muteness and seizures. His father brought the boy to Jesus, explaining the ailment and saying to Jesus "'But if you can do do anything, have compassion on us us and help us.' And Jesus said to him, 'If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"
So none of this "if" crap. I'm counting on God this week. If He can lead a sinner like me into walking with Him and rejoicing in His holiness, then He can surely help me with these feelings of being overwhelmed, unfocused, and wanting to just sleep until my to-do list does itself.

p.s. I'm grateful for the hours of laughter we shared last night. I cannot even explain how ridiculous Oliver, my neighbor, and I are when we get going, but it's just good. It's really good stuff.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Not a Girly-Girl

Sometimes I think life would be easier if I were a girly girl...or rather getting dressed would be easier. I have friends who daydream about outfit combinations, wear skirts in the middle of the winter, and wear shoes that are admittedly uncomfortable. I, on the other hand, wear pajamas whenever I can get away with it and just generally do poorly in this arena. friends and I are going to a party on Saturday night that is cocktail attire, although a friend said that last year some people had on jeans. If this party were in the summer or even the early fall, I'd wear a cocktail dress. But alas the party is this weekend, and predicts temperatures much too cold to wear a dress comfortably. I realize that I will be inside and that it may be warm enough, but I sincerely doubt it. I am the girl who wears heels to work and then puts on socks as soon as she sits in her chair. I am the girl who always wants a blanket and wears her wool coat around the office for the first hour after I arrive. So what do I wear? I'm hoping some of you girly girls can send me links and suggestions. I know I'll need accessories, and I've been working hard in this department.

Times like this are the only times I miss my old (crazy) roommate. She was so good at this stuff and could use our collective closets to put together fabulous outfits in no time. I don't have her gift, but I hope one of you does! And don't get me wrong...despite wanting to wear pjs all the time and not being good at this, I like feeling and looking cute; I'm just bad at it.

Happy Wednesday!

p.s. I'm grateful that my sore throat seems to be going away.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Belong in the Service of the Queen (or at least to go on a date, right?)

I've not written about dating since my break up with Carter in June simply because there has been nothing to report. Sure I have a crush, which is exciting to me, but I'm 30 years old and probably need to stop gushing about the guy who has not asked me out (a.k.a. the crush). On the flip side, I struggle with pridefulness and thus not letting myself hope, so I think it's sort of good to crush someone (whose feelings only indicate friendship) and to hope (that maybe something more than friendship will emerge). I think there will be more on the crush next week; Accidentally Me and I may have a debate about our differences of opinion on the matter.

Speaking of Carter, he calls at least every two weeks it seems (which is less than he was calling just two months ago). I like Carter and think he's a great guy, but for whatever reason, I have almost no desire to talk to him. I've gotten in the habit of deliberately waiting days to call him back, hoping that he'll get the hint. I hope that doesn't seem ugly b/c Carter is important, but I don't want an hour long phone call/twice a month friendship with him. It makes me feel like my feelings are a bit light switch-ish, but I just don't see building some great friendship with an ex-boyfriend.

This week I went to lunch with two co-workers and met three men in passing. One was near my age; another was late 30s, and the third was 50+. Which one do you think texted my co-worker to inquire about me within minutes of us leaving the restaurant? Yep, you guessed it. The one closest in age with my father wanted to know if I were single, etc. This 53 year old seems to hate rap music, so my co-worker was going to text him back that my favorite song is the rap song about apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur, which now that I have checked it out, I realize is a great song. So fun.

My (younger) boss overheard this conversation and chimed in that his brother-in-law who I was reintroduced to (I knew him as a child) this week was also interested in me. All I know about the BIL is that he's 29 and lives in my hometown. Hmm.

Thankfully I'm feeling really patient with my lack of dating and whatnot, but part of me thinks I should be making more of an effort and doing online dating like everyone else....maybe in January.

And on that note, I'm going to get to work (from a cute coffeeshop in downtown Chatty). Hope your Friday is splendid!

p.s. I'm grateful for all of your votes on the last post; it was fun to read your thoughts and to hear from some new bloggers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ally for President

Two months or so ago we had picture day at the firm. Of course my (male) boss gave me almost no notice, so (1) I happened to be wearing a tee shirt, (2) had an overdue appointment to get my roots done the day AFTER the photo shoot, and (3) had not decorated my office yet (I need a wife). Now I'm supposed to pick a photo to go with my bio; here are a few of the thirty photos of me. Do you know how ridiculous I felt during this process? Feel free to inform me of your choice and/or make fun. The photographer can crop and sprinkle fairy dust on my pick.

Photo # 1: Your attorney is also an aspiring elected official. She loves her country!! Therefore you should hire and/or vote for her.

Photo #2: Aw how sweet, your attorney can tilt her head.

Photo # 3: You don't have a what? What does a camera lense have to do with the price of tea in China? I don't get it.

Photo #4: My arms are crossed. I mean business. Power lawyer. Or not. (That window now has drapes.)

Photo #5: Your attorney can't find a good photographer. Oh, and she works out at the Rush (see the attachment to her car keys beside her Razor).

Photo #6: The one black and white the photographer randomly threw in the mix...with my secretary's head on the left side. Nice touch.

Photo #7: Like many professionals, I often perch on the side of my desk while working. When I'm serving you, we'll be in close communication!

p.s. I am grateful for apple cider. It's finally really cold, and it's nice to drink something warm.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Smile Like the Sunrise

  • I just deleted a few catty comments about The Hills. It's just too easy, and the real issue is why I watch it if I feel the way I do.

  • Is anyone else as excited as I am about Thanksgiving? Does a holiday get any better than the celebration of gratitude and food? I've already had two Thanksgiving meals this month plus my friends are having a pre-Thanksgiving meal on the Tuesday before and then two meals on Thanksgiving's a lot of eating, but someone has to do it:) What does your Thanksgiving menu have to include? My non-negotiables are turkey, dressing, bread, and sweet potato casserole (with lots of crunchy brown sugar/pecan topping).

  • I love shopping online especially since I get free shipping at Old Navy, Gap, and Banana, but this vanity and/or mis-sizing has got to stop. I'm 5'6, weigh 130 pounds, am medium-boned, and am not flat-chested. I should not need an extra-small. I never know what to order anymore because sizes keep on getting bigger and bigger. Three of the four things I received from J.Crew today are too big (and I ordered a small). Ridiculous. Of course, given the preceding bullet that may change in the coming week:) But seriously what are my 5'2 small boned friends suppose to wear? Kids clothing? Are they going to come out with negative sizing next?

  • Finally I can listen to melancholy songs on repeat for days and days and not get sad. This has seriously increased the quality of my listening, and I've not busted out City High in at least 5 days.

p.s. I'm grateful for opportunities to try new it was a cardio-sculpt class, my first Motion to Compel hearing, a rice-fennel dish, sweet potato bars (with cake mix, white chocolate, and oats), and some $2 earrings from Charlotte Russe.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We Flying First Class Up in the Sky

I had lots of work firsts this week. Here are a few:

(1) I took a day trip to Texas in my client's plane; it was the first time I'd ever flown non-commercially, and I seriously prefer skipping (1) Atlanta traffic, (2) security, (3) parking, and (4) mediocre airplane food and service, and (5) sitting around and waiting in the airport. Having a private terminal, two pilots at our beck and call, much more space, a rental Navigator waiting 20 feet from our plane, and catered meals is really much more my style:) Ha. Downside: no restroom on the plane. There was a funnel, however, for emergencies.

(2) A client explained to me how important sex was in a marriage and how he couldn't blame his children for having premarital sex. I just listened for a while, but then of course, I opened my big mouth and said that I was cool trusting God with my future marriage (and sex life) just like I tried to trust Him with every other part of my life. I also noted that some of my married friends could vouch for the fact that premarital sex is not always the best predictor of marital sex. He told me that I was probably missing out on a lot of great future husbands and fathers by refusing to have premarital sex.

(3) I was grilled by two of my clients (and in front of my boss) about my love life or lack thereof. "How old are you? What, you're really 30?" "You really don't have a boyfriend?" "Do you realize the longer you wait, the fewer people there are going to be for you to marry?" "What are you looking for in a husband?" "Well, what else are you looking for?" "Do you realize how important genetics are?"

(4) Another client explained to my boss and me that she wasn't taken seriously by some men that we had met with because she didn't have a "camera lense." I said I didn't understand. She and my boss just looked at me. Then she said "I don't have the correct anatomy." And I said "I still don't understand." And then it hit me. Am I stupid? I never would have put a camera lense and male anatomy together on my own.

Anyway, after waking up at 4 a.m. to fly to Texas, spending the day there, returning, driving to C-town, running 6 miles, and shopping at Walmart, it's bedtime. May the weekend begin. Hope yours is delightful. And if you had any firsts this week, I'd love to read about them.

p.s. I'm grateful for 24 hour stores, so that I can get my grocery shopping over with and have food for breakfast without getting out in the rain.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Loving the Unloveable and Miracles

Forcing myself to resolve conflict rather than avoid it has been one change that is partly a result of my faith; trying to love the unloveable is another slow change that has resulted from my commitment to Christ. I've had a heart for difficult children for years, but difficult adults have been another story. After all, who wants to put up with an annoying, obnoxious grown-up? Not me. It's easy to think "She has no excuse; she is an adult."

The problem is that as Christians we're called to love these people as ourselves. Unfortunately there is no caveat for those who have personalities that make us want to kick them, punch them in the face, or otherwise express our dislike. And I've come to believe that avoiding them is not always the right answer either, although I sometimes wish it were. My path has recently been crossed by someone who has been rather disagreeable. He talks too much, can be rather self-centered, is demanding and needy, and happened to drink entirely too much; on the flip side, he's straight-forward and real, game for heavy conversations, and funny. And he's also clearly been wounded and unloved and rejected over the years. His pain is obvious. We've fallen into an odd friendship that has been exhausting me. I've had to rely on God to give me strength, patience, and grace for this man. I've failed often as I've been snarky or short with him or internally ugly as I've encountered him one too many times in a week. As I've considered why my time with him is sometimes so frustrating, I realize it brings out some of the worst in me---my impatience, intolerance, selfishness, and arrogance. I hate being confronted with the sin that festers in me, and I hate that because of this man others are seeing it too. God has been stretching me, and it's uncomfortable.

At the same time, it's gratifying as I've probably never had anyone be so grateful for my friendship. I'm not sure many people have felt as loved by me as this man has. And last week my prayer (and many of my friends') that this man would know Christ was answered, and I've never seen such a quick and radical transformation in another person. His misery and bitterness has seemingly overnight been replaced with joy and hope. It's been incredible, and honestly I've had a hard time believing it. Isn't it crazy to pray for something big and then not believe it when it happens? As much as I want to believe in a God that big and powerful, this experience has shown me that I'm not quite there yet.

p.s. I'm grateful for coffee...the different flavors, decaf, the feeling of holding a warm cup in my hand, the way it makes a conversation even better, and the romance of it all.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Conflict Resolved

For at least the past ten years one of my struggles has been how I handle interpersonal conflict. I'm often tempted not to handle it and/or let it eat away at me to the point that it's my primary focus. It's seemed odd to me that this is so difficult for me given that (1) most people regard me as a straight-shooter who calls it like it is and (2) I'm an attorney and have generally been happy to go to bat for others and with regard to non-inter-personal things like consumer issues, etc.

Over time I've realized that there are several obstacles between healthy conflict resolution and me. Carter pointed out one issue--some of my early attempts at handling some family matters blew up in my face and were very painful and disappointing, thus it's logical that I avoid it now. For years I struggled with the sadness associated with this conflict and finally dealt with it in college with the help of a therapist. At the end of therapy, I spoke with the family member about how difficult it had all been for me, and I was given the awful "I'm sorry you feel that way" line which basically just means "whatever." Needless to say that negative experience helped make me gun-shy.

I think another obstacle is my pride. I hate needing anyone, being vulnerable, and admitting that I may have (gasp!) illogical feelings. After all a dispute with AT&T over a phone bill isn't going to cause tears, pain, or require that I admit that I'm hurt--that you can hurt me.

So over the past few years, I've forced myself to tell people when they hurt my feelings. It's been challenging for me, but I think I'm so much better for it. And it's getting easier.

This latest conflict was something that I would have ignored in the past--and just resulted in me avoiding the offender, but given that I'm trying to live in Christian community and do unto others as I'd have them do unto me (and Lord knows, I hurt people's feelings without realizing it and need to be told so I can avoid it in the future), I confronted him about his unacceptable behavior. We had a good conversation, and he took complete responsibility for his actions (and even contacted my friends who were there to discuss it with them) and asked for my forgiveness. So now I've yet another positive experience with conflict resolution.

In other news, we had a fun Halloween party on our roof last week complete with a fire. Not many people get to have fires on their roof:) Here's my best pirate face. Unfortunately the roof was too cold to wear my pirate skirt (and really do pirates wear skirts?). I also drank my very first po'mosa (poor man's mimosa--Miller High Life & orange juice....and surprisingly not bad, particularly since I hate beer). Saturday was a trip to Nashville with friends to see William Fitzsimmons in concert, play frisbee in the park with Brian, and have dinner (and yummy mojitos) at Rumba with Isabella and Chasie. Fun, fun, fun!
p.s. I'm thankful that my boss offered to let me stay at his mountain cabin (complete with a waterfall in the backyard!) this weekend.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Monday...

and somehow a really great weekend only makes it more difficult to return to the working world (and further reiterates my desire to have a large trust that would not necessitate gainful employment). But at least I was greeted by this Facebook friend request this morning:

"Ms. Esq it's 3:00 am add me to your list or else! I find threats to be very effective. Btw I do know where you stay ho, so add me!!!!!!!!!!!!!111.".

How can that not make me smile?

In other news, I made the best cupcakes I've ever created for my friend's birthday on Friday. Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (I could just about live on these they were so yummy)--and for the more traditional eaters, I made butter cake with cream cheese frosting. We celebrated her birthday with a dance party, which slowed down when a cop showed up around 1:30. It was so much fun to dance at someone's house without the grossness that usually accompanies a good booty shaking (Although I did have a guest very inappropriately hit on me, for lack of a better way to put it, and for the first time instead of avoiding the person, I'm going to talk to him about it. He needs to realize how incredibly unacceptable his conduct was, and since we attend the same church I feel more of an obligation to confront him. Not looking forward to this conversation).

Since I didn't go to bed until 6:00 a.m. I slept in, and then we went hiking and watched the paragliders take off and fly around like birds. Gorgeous day, leaves, views. Ended the day with dinner with friends and more late night conversation--this time curled up on the balcony under blankets. It's a good life.

p.s. I'm grateful for my family's visit on Friday. Took my nieces to the Discovery Museum, and my mom and sister made major headway in decorating my apartment while we were gone. I am soooo glad to finally have some of that done; I like what we did with my hall so much that I might even post photos.

Monday, October 20, 2008 usual

So I'm not in Austin right now. The other side made (another) last minute motion for a continuance, and it was granted. We've been ordered to mediate, but if we do not settle we'll be headed to Texas in January. This ALWAYS happens. People ask me if I'm a trial attorney, and my response is that I would be if anything ever went to trial! Seriously pretty much every single case I've worked on has settled. And really, I don't want to partake in the trial (I just want to watch:). Oh well, the upside is that I took Friday off and enjoyed a leisurely long weekend. Friday was gloomy, but Saturday and Sunday were absolutely glorious. Sunny and cool--the sort of day that must be enjoyed.

I've not thought much about blogging lately. I've pretty much always loved music, but I'm in a particularly intense music phase right now, meaning that there's so much I want to listen to that I'm foregoing working, television, talking, and blogging to do so. Pandora, Ilike, Myspace, and my boss are supporting the habit. My boss brought me a burned CD (Iron & Wine, Thad Cockrell, and Caityln Crosby) on Thursday and suggested that I put itunes on my work laptop, so that we can share music through our network. Gotta love that sort of boss. I'm listening to some of the usuals and have added Matt Nathanson, Augustana, Future of Forestry, and some others to the list too. I ended up with about 7 people at my place Friday night after dinner, and a few of us just ended up around the computer sharing random new artists for hours. I finally went to bed at 4:30. Throw in some dancing on my coffee table to Usher, conversation about Walden, discussion about how you shouldn't let Christians ruin your potential relationship with Christ, and nachos, and it was a fine evening.

Hope your weekend was equally as lovely. Happy Monday!

p.s. I'm grateful for haircuts. They make me feel so clean and fresh, and you can't beat the value of an $11 cut at Great Clips.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Practicing Law?

My friend Chasie likes to say that I'm "doing law;" I guess because she figures that after three years of "practicing law" I should have the hang of it by now and be ready to actually do it. I'm not so sure. I've forgotten so much and am practicing in some areas that are new to me, and since my office uses Westlaw (instead of Lexis) and has no directory search system I feel much less efficient in actually finding what I don't know. But I'm learning to extend grace to myself and set mental boundaries, not allowing myself to think about work at home. I'm trying to apply some of the lessons I've learned in the last year, constantly reminding myself that my identity and worth are not tied to my work product or ability to churn out documents. And fortunately I'm not feeling judged, which is great.

Part of being the low man on the totem pole at a firm is that you're constantly writing briefs, memos, and whatnot for other attorneys' cases, and they revise your work. It's like a test every day, and it's rare to make a perfect score as everyone's style is different. But somehow it's different now, probably in part because of my perspective and in part because I'm working at a place that ordered pizza for everyone (and we all ate together--no staff/attorney segregation) yesterday for lunch.

Now my fingers are crossed that (1) I really do get to completely take Friday off so that I can enjoy my three day weekend in Nashville (and celebrate Isabella's birthday) and (2) our case doesn't settle, so that in 7 days I really will fly to Austin for this huge trial. Every case I work on seems to settle, so I never get to go to trial. I won't be trying any of the case, but it'll still be fun to go and watch and learn.

Scene from Will & Grace:

Jack hits on a random gay guy at a coffeehouse and ends up meeting him in "Jack's office" which is really Will's law office

Random gay guy: So I wouldn't have guessed that you were a lawyer.

Jack (sitting behind Will's desk): Probably because I look so young.

Random gay guy: So what kind of law do you practice?

Jack: I don't practice, I just do.

I guess great minds (or at least Jack and Chasie's) think alike.

p.s. I'm grateful for energy and health--the ability to sprint, the desire to play, and all that goes with feeling young.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Krystal Square Off: Highlight of My Weekend

I've finally found something that tops arena II football. It's the Krystal Square Off complete with "bunnettes" (the girls who stand behind the competitors with flip charts showing how many Krystals each contestant has consumed), a professional announcer (who evidently shows up at most eating contests), and contestants with names like Hall "Hoover" Hunt and Rich “”The Locust”” LeFevre.

We arrived shortly before the amateur contest began with just enough time to play with the sumo wrestling outfits. The amateur contest consisted of several partners who raced to see which pair could both eat a sackful of Krystals first. The team that won was a husband and wife with their young child standing between them as they stuffed their faces. The wife actually finished her bag first. The announcer, who was tanned and wearing a suit and hat, said that these competitors were serving their country with each bite that they ate. He practically said that they were patriots, and I wanted to lead the crowd in singing that Lee Greenwood song that goes "I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died (or ate the most Krystals as the case may be) to give that right to me."

A bit later the announcer introduced the professional eaters. Listening to their resumes was fantastic, although my friends and I seemd to be the only ones in the crowd finding humor. One contestant is a vegetarian who evidently gave up his convictions to participate in this event, although I guess arguably the slim grey stuff in Krystals isn't meat. Another is a record holder in eating date nut bread and fried asparagus. One crossed "disciplines" (he usually eats sweets) to participate in the event. Needless to say it was a fine display of American heroes, or at least that's what the announcer implied. Many of the 10,000 crowd members agreed. The announcer called the contestants "warriors" and compared one's bowels to a serpent. In short, it was hilarious.

The winner, Joey "Jaws" Chesnut, ate 93 Krystals in 8 minutes. I think he was the one who dipped his Krystals in Kool-Aid prior to consumption, but it was sort of hard to see (we didn't arrive early to snag good seats). All of the contestants seemed to dip the burgers in water before shoveling them in their mouth. And what's really gross is that people were vying to get the left-over Krystals that the competitors didn't eat, which surely had sweat, salivia, and water all over them.

Needless to say I'm applying to be a bunnette next year.

p.s. I'm grateful for silliness and random events like this that make me smile all day long.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm That Girl*

* This post is shamelessly copied from this post on this blog.

I'm the girl who spends entirely too much time editing a blog post, letter, or brief because I think I'm only valuable if people think I'm perfect.

I'm the girl who likes to talk about irresponsible or lazy or "insert another adjective here" people to remind myself that I'm not that "bad" because at least I don't do what they do.

I'm the girl who often struggles to notice the good over the bad.

I'm the girl who had to do something she never thought she would to understand that there is no sin that I'm not capable of committing.

I'm the girl who sometimes wonder why faithful Christians want to be friends with me. What do they really think of me? Do they think less of me b/c I'm fairly new to this whole "crazy Christian" thing?

I'm the girl who really thinks five pounds make a big difference. Or at least enough of a difference for me to waste hours thinking about it.

I'm the girl who sometimes overshares to distract you from who I really am because there's a part of me that can't believe you'll like what you see.

I'm the girl who wants open and honest relationships yet feels incredibly stung when given constructive feedback.

I'm the girl who worries that she said too much. And I'm the girl who does say too much.

I'm the girl who gets mad at her family for not being exactly who I think they should be. And I'm the girl who gets mad at myself for being so unreasonable.

I'm the girl who always has to have on concealer and who powders her nose and puts on lipstick a ridiculous number of times a day.

I'm the girl who found time today to write this post, check out Facebook several times, go by Starbucks twice, attend a birthday party, chit-chat over cheesecake, workout, and grocery shop, but didn't spend a minute in God's Word despite the fact that I'd say that was one of the most important things a person can do--and that it's one of the things that has been most life changing for me.

I like how Los ended his post:

"But you know what?
More than all of this.
I’m a guy who is going to continue to let God use him in spite of all that $hizz.
Because in spite of all that crap…God is using me and is only just beginning.

When are you going to stop waiting until you are out of your sinfest and let God use you in the midst of your arrogant and sinful chaos?
Get over yourself.
It’s better that way."

I agree.

p.s. I'm grateful that I'm working from home tomorrow. I get SO much more accomplished that way. Plus I get to sleep later, wear pjs, watch the news, and just generally feel grateful that I'm no longer an associate at a firm that doesn't get it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Would You Rather?

The first time I remember playing this game was in middle school on a field trip. I thought I invented it, but I've since realized that this game has probably been around for a lot longer than I've been alive.

So lets play. Feel free to reply to these or with your own would you rathers.

Would you rather become deaf or blind?

Would you rather hurt or be hurt? Love or be loved?

Would you rather have milk chocolate chips in your cookies or semisweet?

Would you rather have a free 10 day trip to Australia or a 20 day trip to Italy?

Would you rather go on the trip alone or with a friend?

Would you rather weigh 30 pounds more than you currently do for the rest of your life or live 5 years less than you would otherwise?

Would you rather pay $21 for some cute trouser jeans from JcPenney's plus $7 shipping or $79 for a pair of Citizens jeans? Yeah, the irony of this kills me. My friend Isabella had some cute jeans with her when she visited me; I tried them on and liked them so much I wore them to dinner. And get this--they're $21 at JcPenney's, but I've refused to order them because I keep thinking I'll go by the mall to avoid the $7 or so of shipping. But when I was a boutique warehouse sale on Friday I didn't think anything of paying $79 for a pair of Citizens (and I got a pair of Citizen cords for $69). In fact, I was elated by this "steal." It's funny how our minds work when it comes to money (I'm sure Accidentally Me can add to this re: the current banking situation).

p.s. I'm grateful for the incredible beauty that surrounds me. I hear it in the music Pandora so carefully selects for me. I see it in the mountains I drive through on my commute. I felt it tonight when I walked with my nieces on the streets I've been walking and running for two decades now. I experience it when I reflect on the faithfulness and grace of the God who I'll never completely understand.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Life Then v. Life Now

After doing my senior year of high school/freshman year of college at Mercer, I transferred to the University of Georgia. UGA was odd to me in that most people seemed to hang out with their high school friends--not branching far beyond that group. Unfortunately despite my gradauting class' size, only three of us were attending UGA. Nic and I lived in the same apartment complex, and Greg lived around the corner. We saw each other pretty much every day. Greg and I ran together and watched Silk Stalkings at night. We had numerous Taco Stand and Hodgson's ice cream (25 cents a scoop!) runs. I even stole Greg's keys out of his pocket one night to drive Nic and me home (and I should definitely not have been driving), leaving him stranded downtown with a not-cute girl. And he wasn't even mad at me. And I've not talked to Greg in at least two years.

My boss from this last year at PTM called me tonight to tell me that they've missed me and to check in, and it's hard for me to believe I left such an awesome place where I felt so loved and appreciated. And I miss them a lot. In fact, whenever I think about starting to volunteer at the afterschool program nearby I get upset b/c it makes me miss PTM so much. And then I start thinking about my life in Nashville and the people that I miss.

With the way life is now, there will be hundreds of people who play important roles in our lives but eventually will just be memories. We won't necessarily know (unless they are our Facebook friend:) if they are doing well, are healthy, married, etc. And it's just weird. It's almost bizarre when you think about it. Just 100 years ago I imagine that most people never went more than a few miles from their homes--ever. They invested in the same community and people for their entire lifetime, only saying good-bye when someone died. Granted, I like having mobility and not being destined to live where I was born for my entire life, but there's just something bittersweet (and a bit emotionally exhausting) about the rapid way our lives change and how transient we are now. It's difficult to stay invested in old relationships and make time for new ones. It's challenging to let go of people, realizing that you can't move forward and cling to everyone from the past. And it's not that I even want to; it's just odd to think about how integral people have been in my life, and now how I don't even know their phone numbers.

p.s. I'm grateful for the healing relationships God placed in my life this last year. As much as people come and go, it's awesome to have relationships that will hopefully have a lifelong effect on me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

If You Have to Wonder, the Answer is Yes

* It's disconcerting that (1) so many people are googling "does my boyfriend look like a child molester?" and that (2) when you google that my blog is the first site google listed.

* I went to my very first polo match (or is it game?) on Sunday. Very random and entertaining. I avoided the "steaming divot" that I knew about from my multiple childhood (and adult) viewings of Pretty Woman. Check out that horsey's mohawk! It's like a horse from the '80s or something.

* I walked to Subway for a sandwich this evening, and that wonderful cool fall feeling was in the air; and it made me ridiculously excited. Yeah for having to decide if I should wear long or short sleeves or shorts to run or pants!

* As I sat outside and ate my sandwich, I marveled at how blessed I am. So many prayers have been answered with this move. A group of girls met at my place tonight for our first weekly Bible study--how great to already know five girls who want to study scripture together (and a Tim Keller study no less:). I've been seeing my family one night a week since I moved, which I love. My loft is perfect and well worth the rent. I've found a church that is gospel-centered and warm and welcoming, and already have a regular after-church lunch group. And I'm working from home 2-3 days a week, which means lunchtime runs, pjs, sleeping until 9:30, and getting chores done in between tasks instead of driving a commute.

* I have a crush. And that's all I'm saying about that.

* I'm digging Pandora, especially when I put in Counting Crows.

* There's an afterschool program that I can volunteer at about two blocks away. I may go tomorrow.

p.s. I'm grateful that God is ok with me being a hot mess and continues to pursue me despite how I reject Him.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


On rare occasion I allow myself a late night run. Tonight was one of those nights, and as I ran through my father's neighborhood, I thought about why I love running in the dark the most.

I am unobserved. I am not distracted. It is quiet. I can hear the pounding of my feet and the sounds of insects. The moon shines on me instead of the hot sun. Only one car passes me the entire time. The rustle in the wooded area beside me reminds me of the feeling of the unknown--the same feeling I experienced as I hiked through the rain forest to a deserted beach in Costa Rica--not knowing what was in the trees around me. I feel alone. It is just my thoughts and me.

p.s. I'm grateful for the comments on my blog. I love reading others' perspectives. I went by Starbucks after work. They weren't super friendly but did give me a free drink. Lesson learned: As I've often declared--drive thrus are bad, and I shouldn't have been going through one. If I'd purchased the drink inside, this would not have happened. And I should find a less expensive alternative to Starbucks.

Consumer Survey...

so if you paid $4 this morning (which is a discounted cost thanks to my registered Starbucks gift card, which of course allows them to track my spending...sigh:) for a venti cinnamon dolce latte, and then as you drove away, you realized it was only slightly more than half full, what would you do? Assume you did not have the time to return to the store to handle the issue then. Here are a few possible choices:

(a) Let it go. Who cares?
(b) Ok, this is my final sign. I should NOT buy drinks from Starbucks. It's a rip off, and the drinks are too inconsistent from visit to visit.
(c) Stop by the store on my way home this afternoon and ask that they credit my giftcard with the cost of the drink. If the make amends, resume business as usual.
(d) Other (and please elaborate)

p.s. I'm grateful that this is the biggest problem I've faced today. Well that's not true exactly, but regardless my problems are all pretty insignificant.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Politics are Bad for My Blood Pressure

And like many politicians do, I just made a statement that might be true but for which I have no real proof. Anyway, I became entirely too angry while watching Campbell Brown interview a McCain representative this weekend. While Brown asked some relevant questions and attempted to get a straight answer, she also went entirely too far and made a mockery of her position as a "news anchor." For example, Brown strongly implied that Palin was a bad mother for accepting the vice presidential nomination and thrusting her pregnant daughter into the spotlight. I cannot imagine the same insinuation would be made if Palin was a man. And her pregnant daughter wouldn't be so much in the spotlight if anchors like Brown would focus on more newsworthy topics; surely CNN can find something else to criticize about Palin besides her parenting skills. Sigh.

CNN has been my network of choice for years now. I've recognized that it has a bias to the left but always felt like Fox News was even more slanted to the right (not to mention that its morning show is incredibly juvenile and irritating--or at least it was two years ago--the last time I watched it). Now both networks seem to be staffed by "commentators" more than reporters, which means everything is "reported" with misplaced cynicism, enthusiasm, sensationalism, etc. depending on the candidate. If you know about a more neutral news source, please share. Regardless I need not get so angry about it (or the continued computer issues at work....although I do now have my laptop--even if I can't have more than one internet explorer window open at a time...weird!).

p.s. I'm grateful for my friends Isabella and Chasie's visit to Chatty this weekend. We had a lot of fun, and I liked sharing part of my life here with them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

Wanna play a game? When I was in middle school the book Random Acts of Kindness was really popular, and I loved the concept and enjoyed playing along. I remember giving my parents money to pay the $2 bridge toll for the car behind us and stuff like that. I still enjoy performing acts of kindness, but I must admit that now I rarely look for opportunities to perform random acts of kindness for strangers.

So lets try to come up with some really random ways to show others that strangers can be loving and nice. We've got a long weekend, so we should have time to come up with something cool. Post whatever you end up doing in the comments, and maybe it'll inspire someone else. It can be super simple or as creative and as extravagant as you'd like. Aaron, you could cut that neighbor's grass, for example:) I'd love any ideas you guys have (even if you don't get around to actually doing the act); it's fun to brainstorm just so those ideas are floating around in our heads, waiting for an opportunity to be used.

p.s. I'm grateful for Charlie Hall's song "Marvelous Light." I am constantly amazed by the freedom that I'm experiencing in Christ. On the outside--as an agnostic--looking in, Christianity seemed so limiting and rule-oriented; it's amazing how my relationship with Christ has shown me how enslaved I was and how liberated I can be in Him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Brother and Other Depressing Things

My hair person (stylist sounds pretentious, dresser sounds old-timey, and other proper terminology escapes me) recently had a baby, so in a fit of I can't take this anymore and my hair is gross I stopped by my local Great Clips for a trim. The lady asked for my name, phone number, how I learned about the salon, and then for my address. I asked (in my nicest exasperated tone) "do you really have to have my address to cut a half inch of my hair?" I'm tired of this. I'm not giving Great Clips or all of the stores that ask for my phone number what they want (I think the cashiers just put in fake numbers instead).

Kroger already tracks my purchases by refusing to give me the sales price without my stupid Kroger Plus card (however I fooled them and didn't complete the form). The Big Brother at Gmail scans my e-mails to tailor make the ads on the side of the screen (it took my friends and me about 3 weeks to finally notice that all of the ads were about skiing and snowboarding despite the fact that it was June; then we realized we'd been talking about a trip to Colorado). Of course, every company needs my social security number to do business with me, and I just wonder if there's some company somewhere that has all of this information about me compiled--which movies I rent, who I talk to on my cellphone, how many hours I waste on Facebook, which medications I take, and so on. Could you imagine how valuable this information is to advertisers and companies?

And now I'm looking for health insurance. It feels intentionally confusing. I'm an attorney, and these policies are difficult for me to fully understand. It is no wonder people are under-insured. If you don't read the massive amount of small print, you don't realize that a litany of things are not covered (that you would expect to be covered) and that there are so many exceptions to coverage, including changes in percentage of coverage based on the medical issue and so forth. Given what I've looked at over the past few days, it's easy to see how medical expenses bankrupt families who have health insurance. I feel so blessed to have so few health issues--and to simply be insurable.

p.s. I'm grateful that tomorrow is the first day this week that I'll have to wake up before 9:00. Rolling out of bed and into "the office" is nice.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A List: The Olympics

My exposure to the Olympics has been fairly limited, but I've still caught a little here and there as I flip through the channels.

(1) If I had people cheering and yelling at me like the Olympic athletes do, I think I could have much better workouts.

(2) Do the marathoners not get to wear ipods? How in the world do you run for that long without music or conversation?

(3) I read this blog post and did not realize it was a joke until I was halfway through it. To sum it up, it says that China was to host the Special Olympics as well but was going to cancel it because the country could not find a team to represent it (as a result of the Chinese practice of aborting imperfect offspring). I realized the article was a joke when it referenced China feeding children lead-tainted toys to prepare them for the Special Olympics. I can be really dense sometimes, and given what I've read about China forcing women into having late-term abortions, aborting "imperfect" children did not seem like a stretch.

(4) I do not understand the Phelps' obsession and think the Sports Illustrated cover is sort of gross (it goes too low).

(5) I liked my 8th grade Olympics better than these. After all, I got to participate in almost every part of the competition and wasn't relegated to my couch.

(6) I thought it was interesting that the Chinese government asked its citizens to refrain from cooking dog during the Olympics.

(7) I hope that little girl who was told last minute that she couldn't sing her song isn't too messed up as a result of that experience.

(8) Time magazine and I have been wondering the same thing: how fast can humans run before they hit the end of their physical limits? (HT: Tim Challies There's more room for improvement with the longer distances, I would guess, but it seems like at some point with the shorter distances (100 meters, for example) we'll hit our fastest.

p.s. I'm grateful that a 30 day pass to a local gym made it possible for me to work out (1) for free and (2) at 10:30 last night.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Through the Years....

Pete, the pastor of the church I worshiped at in Nashville posted this on his blog the other day and inspired me to follow suit. In which year/style do you think I hit my "prime"? And should I take one of these photos with me the next time I see my stylist?

Please note that this is the only photo you'll find of me with big hair. I may have worn some high waisted, tapered legged jeans in my day, but I never teased my hair or had big bangs; and I am inordinately proud of that fact:) Happy weekend!!

p.s. I'm grateful that I did not explode and/or burst into tears when I found out that the tech people said my computer may not be in for ANOTHER two weeks. So...I will, with the exception of meetings/depositions, be working from home (which I had hoped to do--but I won't have network access, e-mail, etc.) until they rectify this issue. Oh well, I like working in PJs. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A List: The Rick Warren Interviews

Evidently the cable company is not turning off the previous tenant's cable, so I was able to watch Rick Warren's interviews of McCain and Obama. It was nice to hear the candidates answer some different questions and not completely give their usual stump speeches. With that being said, once or twice I was wishing that the judge could direct the witness to answer yes or no and then explain his answer.

1. It's sort of old-man cheesy, but I liked how McCain refers to us as "my friends." Of course, that could get really old....

2. I'm glad Obama brought up the idea of decreasing the number of abortions as being common ground between those who are pro-choice and those who are not. Obviously the two camps are never going to agree about the morality and legality of abortion, but I think most everyone would like to see the number of abortions decrease. Over the last few months, I've looked into abortion more, and I've been astounded by how many are performed each year. It's really sad that there are that many unplanned/unwanted pregnancies and decreasing that number could be a great unifier.

3. Although the answers were fairly predictable, I liked the question "Which Supreme Court justice would you not have appointed." It certainly gives you an idea of where the candidates stand constitutionally, etc. And I totally agreed with what Obama said about Clarence Thomas; even as a child (granted a sort of weird one) I thought the entire Anita Hill issue distracted us from the fact that Thomas was otherwise unqualified to be a justice on the Supreme Court.

4. I certainly hope that McCain did not hear any of Obama's interview and tend to accept him at his word, but I wish he'd been in the "cone of silence."

5. When asked about who was rich Obama teased Warren about his millions in book sales. Funny.

6. While McCain may have told these stories a thousand times, I enjoyed hearing about his war experiences. Maybe I was just in a good mood. Or easily entertained.

7. While I found the interviews helpful in considering the candidates, I still wish there was some quick and easy way to evaluate the candidates, what they believe, and how those beliefs matter. I think sometimes we get caught up in what a presidential candidate believes on a certain issue, but if we looked into it more, we'd realize that it doesn't even matter (with regard to that issue) because there's no chance that his views on that would affect any policy. Or I'll read a candidate voted a certain way on an issue, but on further (and laborious) review, I might find that he actually voted that way because of a last minute rider or because passing this bill would mean something else and so forth. In fact, I heard a great story on this very issue today in which everyone was afraid to vote against a bill because they would then be labeled a certain way (basically in favor of "smut")--even though they all knew that the bill was unconstitutional. So the bill was enacted; the local governments acted in accordance with the new law; and voila local city was sued, lost, and had to pay enormous court costs (including attorneys' fees). It's all so complicated.

If you have any thoughts or opinions about the interviews, I'd definitely be interesting in reading them.

p.s. I'm grateful for the $2 Starbucks cold drink deal and that I liked my very first cold Starbucks drink. It was sort of like a milk shake (but according to the nutritional info less than 200 calories).

Monday, August 18, 2008

A List: The New Job

I'm feeling very list-y these days--probably because there's still so much I need to do to make this move complete (I still need a new license, new tag, to update my address with several companies, health insurance, to hang things, and so forth). Last Thursday was my first day in the office, and I eased back into the legal world with some work at home earlier in the week. I'd forgotten how much harder this lawyer stuff is than playing and praying with children; it's just constant thinking and analysis. I miss flip flops, hugs, beads, and singing, but all in all the new gig is going well. I'm grateful.

What I Like

1. Today I arrived at work at 9:00 and was the first attorney in the office by 45 minutes.
2. A partner brought enough pasta to work today for all of us to have lunch.
3. I can (within reason, I suppose) arrive/leave work whenever I want--granted I'll be paid accordingly:)
4. The older partner has a crazy good memory and has great stories (Tina Turner, Ray Charles, and James Brown all played at his frat parties in college), and I'm already learning a lot from him.
5. The other female attorney had on capris today, and she's setting up a lunch for me to meet some of the female judges and attorneys in the area.
6. I asked that they stock the fridge with Diet Coke with Lime, and voila there was a 12 pack in the fridge today. I'm liking cherry Diet Coke pretty well too.
7. Lots of doughnuts last Thursday.

What I Don't Like

1. They waited around to order my laptop, and it's still not in. I've had to use random computers the last three days and had significant internet issues. This makes me angry!
2. The firm uses Wordperfect. Sigh. Why? So when we send attachments to...well anyone else in the world...we have to convert our documents into Word or the attachments mess up.
3. The firm uses Westlaw. Westlaw may be wonderful, but I just do not feel comfortable using it. I've always used Lexis.
4. I can't walk to any restaurants from the office (upside is that I'm too lazy to drive anywhere = save money).
5. The hassles of getting settled in an office w/o significant support staff/orientation. Where's the paper? Where's a stapler? Can you set up my e-mail please? My chair is broken. How do you work this massive copying/scanning/faxing machine?
6. Lack of (seemingly) logical organization for documents, time, etc. This is something they want my input on, so it may (slowly) change.
7. Billing. But what are you going to do?

Oh, Ella, this photo is for you since you asked about the dress code for croquet. Here's some of the regulars all dressed up. These boys are lost a croquet bet Friday and had to jump in the river.

p.s. I'm grateful for the 35.85. party yummy food, free drinks, decent music, and good conversation. And I met a bunch more people.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Serendipitous Awareness

"I have a theory about new words and ideas. It seems that very often, as soon as I have learned something—a word, an historical figure, a theorem—that it pops up again within weeks, almost like it was lying there just waiting to be noticed. I'll go my whole life without having heard of some Persian philosopher, and the week after I learn about him, he'll be referenced in next week’s New Yorker or quoted on some CD liner notes. The phenomenon badly wants a name, but I am unsure what to call it. It is sort of like reverse déjà vu, with a bit of kismet thrown in. For the time being I call it S.A., for serendipitous awareness."

My friend Mark shared his created terminology several years ago, and it resonated with me as I've often experienced it. Sometimes I think you just recognize the word or belief because you finally understand it or are aware of it, so you just begin to see it more often. This is akin to buying a gray 4-Runner and then noticing gray 4-Runners all the time. But some of the time it feels like God (or the universe or whatever force you believe in) wants you to know something, so the concept or word is being reinforced in your mind so that you won't forget it and will be glad you know it.

used the word "foment" in an e-mail to me, and when I confessed my ignorance of this word he explained the definition, using an example of how the revolutionaries (in a country I cannot recall) met in coffeehouses to foment a revolution--leading to the government banning coffeehouses. A week later I was in J.Crew when a salesman started telling me about a huge paper he had to do on coffee, so I told him about how revolutions (including the American Revolution) were fomented over coffee; and we figured out a great outline for his entire research paper. Prior to learning about "foment," my contribution would have been limited to suggesting large amounts of whip cream.

p.s. I'm grateful for the knock on my door last night to join a group in the park for croquet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Did you know

that messrs is the plural of Mr.? I'm reading some work stuff and kept coming across it, and thanks to google and an online dictionary I now know what it means.

Have you learned anything new lately?

p.s. I'm grateful for my ottoman. In the toolshed the sofas were short, and there were no ottomans; I'm glad to be back to a chair/ottoman that allows leg extension and naps.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

"No one notices the contrast of white on white...."

but sometimes I do. And I don't like it. I feel melancholy and introspective, thinking about things I rarely ponder.

This afternoon I stopped by my new place of employment (a law firm) to fill out some paperwork, check out my office, and evidently get my first two assignments:) My first official day of work is next Thursday. Anyway, one of my bosses ("Mark") is a friend of sorts from high school. During my first two years of high school, I had to wait on my mom to finish work--so I'd sit in the lobby and talk with Mark and his friends for hours. We discussed philosophy, government, and all sorts of things; I would sometimes think so deeply that our conversations would leave me with a headache. But I loved the dialogue, these guys' minds, and their desire to talk about something beyond the usual high school stuff. They were unlike my other friends, and our interaction was largely limited to these conversations.

Mark was even the person who held my hair back the first time I got drunk and proceeded to get very sick (on a trip to London with our art teacher). He also expressed his affection for me on this trip, although I'd known about his crush for months. Of course, I had a boyfriend, and despite my love of our conversations, I've never been physically attracted to these types of interesting and brilliant guys (not sure what that says about me). So chatting with Mark today made me think about high school and just got me in a pensive and nostalgic mood that's lead me to examine all sorts of things (and listen to Counting Crows on repeat).

I remember how people used to say "high school is the best time of your life," and I always thought life must really suck if that's the truth. High school was fun, but there were so much emotion, turmoil, family drama, stupid choices, and not-fun-stuff. Life is so much sweeter and full of joy now; and a small part of the difference is learning how to not think so deeply and emotionally all the time. Learning that it's just a bad idea to put "Black" or "Anna Begins" on repeat and sit around thinking (and abiding by this most of the time). Realizing that I'm the common denominator in a string of less than ideal relationships. Accepting that everyone will let me down--and I'll let them down too; and it's o.k. (mainly because I have a perfect God who is always faithful). Seeking contentment instead of just fleeting happiness.

p.s. I'm grateful for a pretty new running loop (and that I even have the desire to run...largely in part to my new favorite song "Off Da Hook.")

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mostly Moved In and Already Entertaining

Tonight I hosted my very first surprise birthday party. My friend Chasie's family lives here in Chatty, so we thought my loft would be the perfect place to surprise her sister with a small party to celebrate her 17th birthday; check out what 17 candles on 1 cupcake looks like:) It was so nice to bake and cook in my new kitchen with all of my stuff--and to just have a good space in which to entertain--even though I still lack bar stools and haven't decorated (b/c they just finished touch up painting yesterday evening).

I really like my new place and was blessed on Saturday with eight people helping move my things in, which made it go very quickly. My sister did a great job of unpacking most of my things and situating stuff, and my brother-in-law loaded up his truck and trailer with everything (saving me a couple of hundred dollars in Uhaul expense and hassle). I'm loving being on the 4th floor and climbing stairs again, living alone, being able to walk to restaurants and parks, and having neighbors who have greeted me with cookies (gluten free and with organic M&Ms) and hand trucks (to help with the move). So far so great:) Here are a few photos per Dr. RJJ and Ella's requests. Excuse the unfinished-ness/mess of everything--still getting situated/decorated.

p.s. I'm grateful that I have two weeks off between jobs to give me time to ease into life here in Chatty. I'm also really grateful for my friends (from Macon) that live on my hall; they've taken me to church and lunch with them; already introduced me to some cool people; invited me to a party on Friday night; and they showed up to help me move despite me telling them not to (because they had out-of-state guests visiting)--and they brought friends to help.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This Makes Me Happy...

This magazine cover greeted me in the cardio section of the gym today, and my soon-to-be new home was #2 on the list of the 20 best towns to live in now.

Two weeks ago I visited Chatty and ended up claiming a loft that I didn't get to actually see, but another unit gave me a good enough idea of what it'll be like. There's some exposed brick, finished concrete floors, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, a balcony, and it's on the top floor, which I like. There's a rooftop area that's perfect for parties, and there are only one bedrooms in this building, which means I won't have children constantly knocking on my door (like I did in my last two apartment complexes). From the loft I can walk to a cool park, numerous restaurants and bars, the grocery store, drugstore, and a gym. And if I want to venture across the bridge, I'll be downtown--at IMAX, the aquarium, and lots more restaurants.

Finding a place to live, talking more to my friends who live in this same building (and on the same floor) and going off of Yaz (which I had taken for a few weeks before I realized that my crying for no reason coincided with it) has made all of the difference in my outlook on this move, and while I'll definitely miss my life here, I am feeling much much better about this move than I did three weeks ago.

I must say that I'm not going to miss all that much about living in the toolshed...the spiders (especially the brown recluses), the unreliable toilets, the dryer that takes three cycles to dry denim, the tiny kitchen, the tree sap that gets on my car, and the shower that never looks clean. But I'll miss having a playground in my backyard, keys to a church with a really quiet and beautiful sanctuary, not paying my utility bills or rent, and being able to walk to church.

p.s. I'm grateful for the going away gift from my "adoptive mom"; she gave me a beautiful cookie sheet like the one she bakes with and loves. Perfect timing because my cookie sheet has seen much better days.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just in Case You Think....

there aren't quite enough calories, fat grams, and sugar in the typical slice of cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, you should try ordering a side of hot fudge to dip each bite in. Or if you can't handle the richness, order the cheesecake a la mode a la my friend Chasie.

p.s. I'm grateful for the Cheesecake Factory gift card we depleted yesterday in preparation of my departure. I only have four more days here in Nashville. Sad!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hopes and Dreams

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us; it is in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the right to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

--Marianne Williamson (My quick online research suggests three different people said this, but most sources indicate that she did.)

This quote resonates with me. Back in February I went on a retreat through my program here in Nashville, and we tried our hand at a Quaker practice that utilizes a "clearness committee." One of the things that committee asked me was "What are your dreams for your life?"

I didn't have an answer.

I realized that I don't dream; I am not terribly hopeful; and I limit myself entirely too much. I think the failure to do those things is a way we deny the light that could emanate from us; it's a way we fail to unleash our potential.

And don't get me wrong. I look forward to things and hope to travel to places I've never been and whatnot, but I have not dreamed big dreams. I have not had high hopes and huge prayer requests (although I've certainly had expectations for myself, which are different in my mind).

So I am working on that, trying to be intentional about dreaming more and not being so firmly based in what I think is probable or possible. I'm trying to pray big and not be afraid to hope for things that may never be realized.

p.s. I'm grateful for the fun trip to the Nashville zoo today with my niece and two of my students.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fifth Date

My ex-boyfriend Sampras often calls me for dating and relationship advice, which is sort of funny since our lifestyle and values are so different now. It makes me feel good that he values my opinion, and I hope that maybe some of my advice will be taken to avoid him leaving even more women in his wake. His life seems like a sad mess to me, and he often brings women into the muck (and I definitely wallowed in it with him for entirely too long).

He went on his fifth date with a girl on Sunday, and she asked him "Don't you think it's sort of odd that this is our fifth date and all we've done is kiss?"

Crazy (and sort of sad) that she would be surprised that kissing is all that has happened so far (especially since all of their dates have been weeknight outings). Frankly I'm surprised she said that, if for no other reason than because it makes it sound like she's usually doing a lot more in just four dates and that just seems like something you wouldn't want to suggest. But then again at least she's being honest.

So I'm curious. Is it really that unusual for people to only kiss in the first five dates? Even when I dated a lot differently than I do now, my dates usually didn't kiss me until the second or third date, so it certainly wasn't remotely unusual to "only" be kissing in the first five dates.

p.s. I'm grateful that my niece Alaina met my friend Isabella and her adorable dog. We had dinner with her tonight, and Alaina tried a California roll, shrimp roll, and edamame. And she liked them!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things I Just Don't Understand

Thinking the bottom of the cupcake is the best. Alaina is clearly my niece as evidenced by this photo of the cupcakes she consumed after dinner.

Wearing an overtly sexy bathing suit to the YMCA swimming pool with kitten heels (and with your three children in tow no less).

How an eight year old can have so much energy, and how I seemingly have so little in comparison. When did I lose the ability to go full blast for 15 hours of the day? It's been a long time, so I have no idea when it started.

Why I cry when I know things are not real. I just finished Emily Giffin's love the one you're with and shed some tears. I guess it's better to cry over a book than a Lifetime (stupid stupid) movie.

Why we keep driving when we're tired. In an effort to stay awake while driving on Saturday, I blew bubbles and tried to get a decent photo of them. Ridiculous.

Speaking of tired, why I'm writing this instead of sleeping. Or why you're reading this (and I read your blogs) instead of all of the other things we could be doing.

Why I have so much.

How I'm not more affected by the fact that most of the world has so little.

How I manage to miss so much of the beauty of life despite the fact that it's all around the form of loving friends and family, swings waiting to be sat in, a Bible study group I'm going to miss, walks to be taken....

The fact that I don't take some things for granted (at least relatively), like the the sweetness of my lovely niece, the taste of homemade cream cheese frosting, my great aunt's gratitude for my (almost) daily phone calls, the luxury of a comfortable and reliable car, and the joy of a deep faith that still feels new.

p.s. I'm thankful for water slides. I think Alaina will be impressed by the ones at the Maryland Farms YMCA.