Thursday, August 30, 2007

Random Blog I Found Interesting

I was made aware of a blog I found rather interesting to browse through today. It is Karl's blog and the author is Karl Moore. According to his web site, Karl is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, and officially one of the world’s top 100 developers. "Developer of what"? you may ask, as I did. I was tempted to say "technology" since he has written books about Visual Basic and other techie code things, but then, as I browse his site, I would say the true answer is "Developer of himself, and others."

He posts inspirational messages to his blog daily in an attempt to inspire and help individuals in their spiritual growth. I like his tone, very real, like I he's just talking to me in my living room. His words feel sincere, like a person exploring the world, not like a master of the universe. Cool. On a Monday, he also posts a "Random Act of Kindness"... and on a Friday, he posts a "Friday Factoid."

You might want to check him out. I think I will for a couple weeks and see what I think.

Returning to School as an Older Student

An anonymous reader asked me what advice I have for somewhat older students hoping to "take the leap" and go to law school when they also have the obligations/blessings of a partner and children. That does seem like an area I am well acquainted with, doesn't it?

OK - first - talk extensively to your husband/wife/partner. You need to all be on board for this crazy ride. That person will end up needing to take up all of the parenting and household duties that you will not be able to do while you are in school. If you will also be working while going to school, this adds to the challenges and responsibilities that your partner will need to be willing to take on for the family. I work during the days, go to school at night and, depending on my schedule and when I fit studying in, have between 1-2 days on the weekends for my family. My partner essentially becomes a single-mom during the weekdays, and I don't see my kids except on the weekends. It is a huge sacrifice for everyone involved.

Talk to your partner about ways the two of you can stay connected. Law school is very consuming. I won't say "all-consuming" - but it can be. You must plan for making time for each other. It is also good to discuss how you will deal with potential feelings of jealously or inadequacy that may arise from your spouse since you are off meeting new people and learning new things. You will be excited about subjects your partner probably knows nothing about, and in which she probably has little interest. Not everyone is a law geek.

Studying for the LSAT is good practice for getting back into the swing of studying. LSAT advice? Take lots of the previously administered tests.

As a student who has been out of school for over 10 years, you may feel uncomfortable with your study skills. If you got accepted into law school, you undoubtedly did well in school and figured out how to do well on the LSAT. Trust that your skills will come back - just like falling off, I mean, RIDING a bike. You may struggle a bit during the first semester as you figure out what works best for you now. Even the younger students have to do that though. Your process may just take a bit longer. Give yourself a break, appreciate the experience you are getting, and trust that you will figure it all out.

I'd like to say something like, "know what you are getting into," or "know what you want to do," but that would be impossible and hypocritical. I had an idea of what I was getting into, but like parenthood, you don't know until you know. I am still exploring what I want do to and narrowing my focus, so I did not know what I wanted to do. I did talk to a few attorneys first to find out what they liked and didn't like about their position and previously held positions, and what they would have done differently in law school. Certainly I would recommend talking to practicing attorneys or JD's in positions in the field in which you are interested. Law has one of the highest dissatisfaction rates, and there are probably many reasons for this. I won't elaborate because my point is to try to make a well-researched decision about your own career goals.

If you know you want to be a lawyer, have your family's support, and think you can make it work with your other obligations in life, don't let fear stop you. This is your life and you should make it all you want it to be. It will not be easy. It will be hard. Moms, more so than Dads from what I have seen, will experience a lot of guilt and feel the sacrifices perhaps more intensely. Will it be worth it? I certainly hope so!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Wife posted a couple weeks ago asking if other people, besides me, collect watches. Replies seem to indicate that they do, and it is also not uncommon to just HAVE them without actually wearing them. I don't collect a particular brand, like Skagen watches, which are quite nice but reaonably priced. Like art, I just know what I like and I collect them only to please myself, not to have a collection for investment purposes.

I also seem to have this interesting law book collection. It consists of quite expensive acquisitions. Though I have recently parted with some of the collection, I have purchased a few new pieces that I am likely to spend quite a lot of time examining over the next 16 weeks.

My Mind is a Scary Place

So, classes have started.
It has already been a roller coaster ride.
Being inside my head is a strange, wonderful and sometimes frightening place. A bit like Arizona real estate, all appears smooth but you never know what lurks in the darkness.

Over the course of the last 2.5 days I've had the following thoughts either in class or between classes. Of course, everything is really between classes these days, isn't it?

I hate people.
What am I doing here?
I should have been a rock star.
This is so cool!
He rocks this subject (in reference to a prof.)!
Oh my gosh.....someone shoot me now.
I am an energy law geek. I actually got that joke.
This is going to be fun!
Am I freaking insane?
LAME (again)
I hate administrative types. Please God, don't make me be like that.
Is this what higher education does to people?
How the heck am I going to get all this reading done?
I will adjust.
I should have more female professors. I don't think I like men.
Some men are OK.
Gosh there are a lot of people in this room.
Great class! This is going to be fun! (again)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Getting Lucky with My Law Books

That title didn't really come out right, did it?

What I mean is that so far I have only had to buy one real book for my classes, and I got that one used, paying only $80 instead of $119. The other three require only reproduced materials. I already have one packet - cost of $20, and will soon pick up another. The third might even only be handouts in class with no purchase price at all.

I really love books in general, but certainly don't mind not having to purchase a $100 book for each class! There is a chance I might still have to buy a statute book, but so far, every time I have, I just end up using the ones on-line and not using the book at all. This time, I think I will wait a couple weeks and see if on-line will be practical for this class or not. Might as well save myself the $40 right?

Hey - unexpected tip - buy books used if they are still in decent shape. First year I thought my books all had to be new; that I would be distracted by other's notes and highlighting. Ends up it is actually nice to see what others thought was important, and once, someone had defined many of the words in the margins - that was really nice!

How Can We Slow Down Time?

Life's changes present us with bittersweet dichotomies, don't they?

Our little boy is about to start Kindergarten - he's so excited and so ready, and he is going to do great! I know it is what is best for him, and yet, he is our little boy who will now be out in the world, on his own, where he can be hurt by people and things and situations, all beyond our control.

Going back to school for me presents similar feelings - it will be fun to be back at school, learning new things, making progress on this path I've chosen, and yet, I will miss my family since most nights I will not be home until late. I will not see the kids until the weekends. Sad.

How do we slow down the next few days so we can enjoy every moment together? Perhaps a nice trip to the beach, or a Mendocino bed and breakfast, or Disneyland! No time for any of that really. So instead, we will go grocery shopping, clean the carpets, and enjoy family time at home. Any time is a good time for Tinkertoys, blocks and playing with the doll house!

Words of Wisdom

I have few sayings posted up around my office, among the many, many pictures. One really caught my attention today. Maybe it is because school starts on Monday, and our family is about to have to adjust to a whole new routine. I'm going to miss them, and I know they will miss me. Wife is about to have to handle most things on her own 5 days and 4 nights of the week. She will definitely miss me :) Also, I really looked at my schedule to try to figure out when to read for each class. Wow. What was I thinking? So, here's the inspirational quote:

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."
-Chinese Proverb

We've done two years so far, we will keep right on doing it for two more years!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Tips for First-Year Law Students

You asked for it, you got it! More tips from the morning brain of Law School Mama! (I am feeling very super-hero-ey today: I got a call last night informing me that I'd been awarded a very nice scholarship! Yeah, me!)

My last coverage of this issue featured 5 quick tips. Let's see if I can come up with 5 more:

1) Really listen and pay attention in class. I know that seems obvious, but you will be so surprised by how many folks are surfing the net, playing games, IM-ing and doing email. This is especially true after your first year. Try not to get sucked into this. I've seen people really scramble to catch up once they realized they were half-way through the semester and hadn't really been paying attention. Some profs make sure their finals follow what they talked about very closely, so listen!

2) Nothing is a substitute for reading a case, but if you find yourself really lost, or really behind, go to Lexis or Westlaw and read the case summary. (You probably will not get access for the first month of law school.) This will at least tell you what you should be getting out of the case. Then go back and read it and see if it makes more sense, or at least skim enough so you know the basics and where to find key facts. For me, this is sort of like reading a kid's version of Shakespeare before the real thing so you know what's being said.

3) If your prof tells you HOW they want to to take notes, do problems, prepare for X, do it. Again, should be obvious. I've been in classes where people did not, and it was obvious to the prof, and to everyone else. You will learn so much more if you take the prof's advice. Sure, if the suggestions are far too time-consuming, you may have to figure out your own shortcuts, but try it the recommended way at least for a couple weeks. You may find there is value in the process.

4) Computer vs handwritten notes? Those who are experts in learning say that taking handwritten notes and later transcribing them into your computer is the best way to learn the material. You force yourself to review and process what you learned by taking the time to do it this way. As a night student who works days, there is no way I could ever find the time to do this. I take notes on my laptop during class. During my first year, we started out with about 80% taking notes on their computers, but after the first set of finals, we were probably down to 50%. I would say most of the decline was due to disappointing grade on finals. Taking away the temptation of games and surfing was the solution for some, and others got the news about handwriting and transcribing being better for learning.

5) Think of others. Help out other students when you can (within your school's honor code, of course). Remember to talk to your partner/spouse/husband/wife about her/his life. It's not all about you. Talk about things in your life besides law school. Keep in touch with your friends that are not part of your law school life. Don't push people away by being an annoying law school geek. So you can argue well, and your logic is flawless. That won't win you points with your partner or your friends. Law school is not everything - keep some balance and perspective in your life.

Good luck and have fun. Seriously. Some people complain that law school is hard and terrible and no fun. Really? How hard did you work to get in? You wanted this. You are paying for this. It's what you wanted. It should be fun! Make it fun. As someone who had been out of school for a long time, I actually think this is fun and a privilege. Not everyone that wishes to go to law school is admitted. Enjoy this opportunity you have been granted.

Unreasonable Fears?

I now have this fear of being made to watch Yo Gabba Gabba again. I know it will happen. Son loves this show. We DVR it. He will want me to watch. I can only hope I can interest him more in Lilo & Stitch or Danger Rangers first.

I can't really believe what Wife posted about the popularity of this show being a feature story in the newspaper. It can't be true! Ah, but why would she make such a thing up? I would check it out on the internet myself, but am afraid of what I might find.

I now have visions of walking up to reception desks and having the host of this show pop out at me. I'm sure he is a nice man who just wanted a job and is probably hating himself for doing this, all the while being somehow grateful he is not playing a dancing tampon or something. I'm not so sure that would be worse.

The creators probably had good intentions. They should not get stoned, play with their children's toys, then try to make a show about it.

OK, I think I'm done for the moment. If I have made any of you seek this show out to see what I am ranting about, I am truly sorry.

Good Health News

A friend of ours had a medical scare this week, and THANK GOD, all has turned out fine. Earlier in the week, well, past couple of weeks really, Wife had a medical scare. Again, all turned out fine. THANK GOD. These two things have really helped us put our priorities in perspective and feel especially grateful for our relative good health!

I was checking out a medical equipment site and realized how happy I am to not be aware of many of the devices, such as a pulse oximeter, a portable nebulizer and an oxygen concentrator. I don't want to NEED to know about any kind of medical equipment or have it become a part of our daily lives. I know if we need any such equipment, I will be happy it is even an option, but I'd rather be grateful to not need it at all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NO Gabba Gabba

No, not even a bribe of a nice gift from reeds jewelers will make me want to watch Yo Gabba Gabba again. I am desperately hoping the kids will tire of it fast. It is not like it is violent or offensive (beyond being lame) so that I have a good reason to say, "No, you are not going to watch this." Violent cartoons? Shows with teens with sassy attitudes? No problem saying NO to those, but lame costumed characters dancing around and being repetitive? Well, that is kind of what kids do. Still, I have hope that it is only a passing phase. There are really a lot of good, educational shows out there. Son has learned a lot from Magic School Bus, Hi-5, and others. Surely this terrible mistake can't last long. Of course, I thought that about the Simpons, too.

Unbelievably Lame Children's Program

Oh my gosh. There is a new show on on NickJr that my son and daughter are crazy about. It is called Yo Gabba Gabba. I watched it with Son last night while he stayed up a bit late because his tummy hurt (later threw up in his sleep - ugh). This show was possibly more lame than Boohbah. No, not possibly. Was. Not alcohol, not incredibly nice home theater seating, not large amounts of money could make this show tolerable. In the 52 hours, I mean 11 minutes that I watched this show, I believe I lost my will to live. (It came back once I turned the TV off.) I get that kids, especially infants, who this show must be aimed at, love bright colors, silly sounds, repetitive songs, but this was insanely idiodic. I can't believe there are adults somewhere producting this show. Still, sadly, my son especially, loves it. He also loves Sponge Bob. Enough said?

I Can't Seem to Type

...or process any brain has been sucked out by the evil that lurks within our television set. It's too terrible to mention. It makes Barney look like a hero (and he is around our house). You won't believe it. Stay tuned....I may be getting my strength back....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

10 Ways that Law School and Parenting are Alike

I was thinking this morning that law school and parenting are more similar than people might believe. Check this out:

1) No matter how much you prepare, sometimes you are going to feel terribly inadequate.

2) If you do your reading, you will feel better able to handle the tasks at hand, but you still may not know the right answers.

3) Both are challenging and rewarding.

4) In both cases, you are going to spend a ton of money.

5) In both you earn a special title, and going through the ordeal is the only way to get the title.

6) There will always be unexpected challenges that call on you to do your best, and may still shake the very foundations of all you thought you ever knew.

7) Expressing yourself in the clearest manner possible based on your audience is crucial.

8) What YOU think is the best way of doing things may not be the accepted manner and you will have to adjust and be flexible for the overall good of the task at hand.

9) Tasks frequently take way longer than you thing they will.

10) Both consume your life in ways you hadn't imagined.

Hotel or House?

What do others think about renting a house on vacation versus staying in a hotel? I was looking at a Florida rental vacation
site where you can rent homes and condos, and noted that you could rent a decent-sized house, with a pool for 6 nights for under $1000. That is certainly better than the easily $200 night hotels rooms. Of course, no daily maid service or room service, and you'd have to drive to Disneyworld (which is the only reason I would be staying in Florida), but still. Lots of room for the kids to spread out, full kitchen, all the comforts of home, without the daily chores! We almost planned that for a coast vacation this year, but it didn't work out for us due to all the unexpected events of the summer. Maybe next year :)

Random Thoughts of a Tuesday Morning

My printer does not smell like a fish processing vessel this morning.

I need new work/school pants.

Why do roots grow down and leaves grow up? I know the basic ideas behind this very useful set up, but WHY? Do they ever get confused?
(Son and I planted a bean that recently sprouted that had been a day camp science project.) What if you inverted the container, say, a cup, and held the soil in with a cap of some sort? My guess is the roots would still seek the nutrients in the soil and the leaves would still seek the daylight/air/ CO2. Might be fun to try.

I've read that Croc may not be that great for your feet even if they are really comfy. Makes me feel like less of a weirdo that my knock-off Croc hurt my feet. (Now, ones I have that are shaped a bit more like real shoes, but are the foam material - those I love!)

If people buy property to later sell at a profit, it is investment property, right? What if you buy a computer to start a business, and end up making money? Is that also investment property? (Not in the sense of "real property", of course, but in the sense of personal owership of an item?

Maybe I should eat something :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

No, really, I mean it, it's not the end of August

Yes, yes, there are already two posts on this general theme, but I know that I am onto something. I think there are some missing days that happened somewhere near the middle of July.....then we skipped to about the second week of August. Am I right? Maybe we need to do some market research on this. There might be missing days occuring all over the country, the world even, and if we were to find those days, we'd probably end up with a year or more. Is that a possible way to reverse the effects of aging, global warming and George Bush?

Ewwww....I can't believe I just typed that name into my blog. I feel like I did that day after I watched "Scott Baio is 45...and Single." I'll be going to take a shower now.

More Summer Activities Not Yet Accomplished

Yes, I know I'm whining, but I'm on a roll. It can't be the end of summer yet because we've only been to the beach once, played in the blow up pool a relatively small number of times, and not purchased any concert tickets. Heck, we didn't even go to any free summer music in the park events.

Yes, we've been to Seattle, camped in the backyard a couple times, and played on the Slip-n-Slide more than once. We've watered the yard, grown two lovely cucumbers (yes - only two and no tomatoes - I did not put in any fresh soil, compost or anything this year, just planted things in the ground - I suck), and barbecued a lot. We had a great beach trip. I'd say we're about half-way through. Does that sound about right?

What Happened to Summer?

Uh...hello...I know the calendar says August 20th, but we have not had enough sunny days yet for that to be correct. Summer cannot possibly be almost over. Nope. Not buying it. There should still be days to hop on a motorcycle, strap on a pair of Wiley X sun glasses, and hit the open road. Oh, right. The kids. OK, well, there should be time to whip out the Slip-n-Slide and cool down on some way too hot days.

I'm not so much ready to go back to school yet. I'm having fun coming home to my family, seeing my kids every day, playing after dinner every night. I'm excited to start my Environmental Law and Energy Law classes, but not so excited that it means trading off my family time.

Well, there's always the weekends. Remember, Sunday is family day. Always. No excuses. No exceptions. That's a good tip for any first-years reading this. Keep one day for your family. Always. That way, you'll hopefully still have a family after earning those fancy letters after your name.

Zoo Fun

I don't have the pictures to prove it (Wife has those - go check them out on her blog), but we had a great time at the zoo on Saturday. It was a great family day - not too hot, not too cold, kids on good behavior, everyone having fun and nobody got crazy or hurt. I realized that for our kids, the animals are not the big deals - it is the interactive events that grabbed their attention. They loved a silly (read: lame) puppet show, free stickers being given out, the goat petting area, the bird show, and getting magnets and pins of the birds that were in the bird show. I guess at a certain age, its all about interaction. Maybe we should all be more like that, and less content to just look as life is happening in front of us.

Things that Make you go Hmmmmm....

When printing out a large job on the printer at work, it should not produce a smell reminding me of my summer on the fish processing boat, right?

Just checking.

I know. Weird.

Happy to report the smell has disappeared.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Home Theater

As long as I am dreaming today, how about a home theater? I was checking out, now while I might not ordinarily check out Houston Furniture, when you are on the web, the world is your shopping ground!

I would love to have a house large enough for a really nice home theatre set-up. It would need rows of seats, a HUGE screen TV, no wait, a projector, a comfy carpet and cushions in case people wanted to sit on the floor, and of course, a snack bar complete with popcorn machine. Did I mention a killer sound system? No? It would need that, too. Maybe soundproofing, so movies could be cranked even when the kids were asleep.

Anyway, what do you think of these seats?

I think the gray color is really nice, classy and dramatic, and somehow more welcoming than basic black. The reclining feature looks perfect for sinking into a great movie, guaranteeing a nice couple hour escape from reality.

This site has quite a variety of furnishings, including living room, bedroom, dining room and home office decor. It is nice to browse the selection and dream about where all this fancy furniture would fit into our home! Wait - it probably won't. We'll have to get a bigger house!

Ready for the Weekend!

Here we are on a sunny-cloudy-sunny Friday, and Wife and I are realizing this is the probably the last truly free weekend before school starts. Technically, school does not start until August 27th (for me, not our big Kindergarden Boy!), but there is a decent chance I will have homework before our first class. No posted assignments for me yet, but perhaps by the time I hit the bookstore next week. It's kind of a pain when we don't get them until one or two days before the actual class. Do the professors really think we don't have lives that require planning around? Hello - EVENING student for a reason!

Anyway, I think a trip to the zoo is in our weekend plans. We've not had one since last summer, and I know we will all have a great time! Here's hoping you all have a good weekend, too! Check out Wifes' Blog later in the weekend or on Monday, and I just bet you will find zoo pictures!

A Different Kind of Relaxing

I've spent my morning dreaming of another Disneyland vacation, and figuring out how to raise the money to afford it! As I was reading message boards, checking prices, comparing hotels..etc., it dawned on me that I never even think about the availability of hot tubs at the hotel when we're heading to Disneyland. Pools - yes; hot tubs - not so much. I guess it is partly that we usually go in the summer, when sinking into a tub of hot water does not even sound relaxing, but also that "relaxing" and "Disneyland vacation" do not usually appear during the same thought process!

Oddly, as busy as we tend to be on Disneyland vacations, it is sort of relaxing - but more in the "things are right with the world" sort of way than the "lets soak in the hot tub" kind of way. Oh, right, then there's the kids :) They love hot tubs, but not really the relaxing in part as much as the splashing and testing out swimming skills parts. Relaxing takes on whole new realms once parenthood is entered, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Few Rules for Life

I have a few random thoughts here. I am thinking about rules for life. These aren't big RULES that would warrant capital letters, just little ones that would be really useful. Also, these are not rules that people need to remember, they are the way life should be just because it would make life easier, better and more equitable.

1) When we have had enough of our children, animals, appliances, whatever, acting throwing up, making messes, making noise, breaking down, leaking on the carpet...etc., we should be able to make general announcements that we have reached our quota for the week and that would put an end to the offending behavior.

2) If you make a reasonable attempt to water your lawn, it should be enough to keep it green. There should be no reason to worry about the spray pattern not reaching everywhere, or watering the driveway, or measuring to see if the required 1" has been achieved for the week.

3) If one fairly large, unpleasant thing has happened in your family, such as a death in the family, or a surgery, or a chronic medical condition, that should prevent another such thing from happening for a fairly lengthy period of time. We should get free passes from such things if we've already paid serious dues.

4) Rain should happen mostly at night. Weekends should be nice and sunny. People should get at least some snow each year.

5) If you don't shop very frequently, when you do, you should be guaranteed to find a great sale on that which you seek.

I'm sure there are a lot more, but those are the ones that came to me as I watched the sprinkler water the patio, I mean, backyard tonight.

Remember Dinners Before Kids?

I think most of the moms will be with me on this little jaunt down memory lane. Remember when you and your partner/spouse/wife/husband used to get to go to a restaurant and not have to spend your time uttering such phrases as, "Use your quiet voice," "Put the salt down," "Get up off the floor this instant," and the ever popular, "Do you want me to take you out to the car?" I'm not sure I remember the last time Wife and I went out for a nice meal alone.

How refreshing it would be to go to a restaurant with nice atmosphere, an ironed tablecloth, maybe a candle or flowers on the table, and no children! Would we find much to talk about besides the children? Probably for 8-10 minutes, but then, no, but that's OK, because our life is very much about them, especially Wife's whose very job is raising them. If we talk about work, sure, I have an outside job, but hers - the kids. That would be OK though. It would be good to not have to remind a dinner companion not to try to balance the milk on the end of the fork...and frankly, if Wife starts doing that, it's her business. She can clean it up if it spills.

Oh, the Places I've Been!

Found this cool site when I was browsing a site with lots of the Real Men of Genius ads.

This creates a map of the places you've been or lived or want to go...guess it all depends on how you complete the form.

Anyway, these are the states I have lived in or visited at some point during my life. Some, I must admit, I only passed through, but still, I was technically there. So, 12 of 50..... 24% covered. Guess I still have a ways to go, though I have a feeling there are many states worth skipping!

create your own personalized map of the USA

Real Men of Genius

I remembered another of the lost "brilliant topics to blog about" this morning as I was listening to the radio. It's the "Real Men of Genius" radio advertisements by Bud Light. I have no idea why I've never heard these before the past few months since they've been around since 1999. According to Wikipedia, "Real Men of Genius is a popular long-running humorous series of one-minute-long American radio advertisements for Bud Light beer created by copywriter Bob Winter. Each sixty-second ad pays mock tribute to an "unsung hero"....As of 2006, over 100 installments in the series have been produced. Winter's campaign has since become the most award-winning radio campaign in the history of advertising."

Now, normally, I am not one to go for any kind of guy-humor, macho stunts, guy comedies..etc..but for some reason, I find these really amusing. I guess it is that the parody is done really well, and I can actually envision one of my classmates singing the songs. (You know who you are, Mr. Wish I Could Get a Law Job and Quit Working in the Restaurant Guy. Note - you will. You are totally kicking most of our *sses in law school Mr. TA, Law Review, Moot Court Guy.) Anyway, these are silly commercials with titles like:
Mr. Stadium Scoreboard Marriage Proposal Guy and Mr Cargo Pants Designer and Mr. Really Loud Cell Phone Talker Guy.

Many of these ads can be found on the web. Check out:
The Fun Times Guide for a great selection. In fact, I should bookmark it so I can go back when I'm deep into homework and need a good laugh....or at least, a heartfelt smirk.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

LIfe Insurance

So, with the recent deaths in the family, it seems this might be a good idea to review our family insurance situation. I have life insurance through work for myself and Wife, though hers is not as large of an amount as mine. I also have a supplemental non-work-related policy. I think there is a bit for the kids through work, but maybe not....ah, see, then we get to "Oh my gosh, this is a horrible topic and I don't even want to think about it." We've had too much going on to have to think about life insurance, and wills. HA - there we are in good shape! At least that is one down.

Sometimes it is tough to have to be an adult and be prepared in all the correct ways.

Along those lines, today I had to be responsible and call a gutter repair guy because we have a gutter falling off our house and it is too big of a project for me (really long, really heavy, would require at least three people and a ladder...and apparently 7" gutter screws). We hope it doesn't result in us being told we have too much water damage to simply reattach the thing. It did only get bad this winter.

What else? Trees to trim. That is another adult thing with which I must deal before school starts in 1 1/2 weeks. OK - that one is manageable. *whew* Good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quick Law Books Question

I am getting ready to sell my used books and wondered if anyone had heard (or experienced) any good reasons to keep any case books, study guides (E&E, Crunchtime, Law in a Flash) for bar prep. (I know the pretty red and brown case books would make lovely wall decorations for a future library, but think the cash might be more useful now!) I'm thinking the case books are going, but just not sure about the study guides. I imagine they will go too since books designed for bar prep will probably be more useful for that purpose. (Our school doesn't take back study guides until after the first month, or so. Guess they don't want to lead 1L's astray from their case books, or maybe they simply don't have the space. That theory works, too.)


Remembered One of the Lost Inspirations!

(Please read a couple posts back if this title makes no sense.)

Ah-ha - as you will see, I am on a blogging roll and I remembered one of the topics I wanted to blog about! All this before my first cup of coffee. Impressed? I wanted to discuss how the focus of your visit to Disneyland changes after you have kids. Clearly, this would be a better post for my other blog though, so if you are interested, please hop on by my Disneyland Family Vacation blog a little later today. (Hey, I can only blog so fast!) Oh, heck, you can go check it out now, if you want! If I haven't posted on this topice yet, just bookmark it and come back later. I will get to it! Coffee is on its way!

Ever Forget What You Wanted to Blog About?

You know how sometimes you're walking around the house at the end of the day and an odd thought crosses your mind and you say to yourself, "I have to blog about that!"? Well, that keeps happening to me, but then I totally forget about it by the next morning. I bet in the past week I've had at least 3 really creative topics crop up and leave my mind just as quickly. I know I should write these ideas down, or call myself and leave a voicemail, or send myself an email, but no.

The good part of this is that I feel certain these brilliant ideas (yes, they have advanced from creative to brilliant in just 2 sentences) are floating around inside my house just waiting for me to capture them once again.

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Software for Everything

Has anyone else noticed that you can get software for just about anything these days? I found one that maps our your game plan in Disneyland for you, and another that provides a countdown until the minute you leave on vacation. There are software packages for personal finances, creating business plans, creating web sites, creating books about creating web sites, creating garden plans, financial consolidation software, seeing what different hairstyles and make-up would look like on you, teaching cooking, languages, and even parenting software. I think this latter is along the lines of "how to be a better one" than "how to become one," though I'm sure there is software for that,too! (Skip the all-too-easy hardware jokes, my friends.)

What did we do before all this creative software was available? To think we used to just read books!

Getting Away

Our weekend get-away to visit Wife's family went well, and so fast! Her brother just moved to a nice, big house with lots of room for us, but it is an additional hour's drive, making the previously 3+ hour drive much more daunting. Sure, it's not like we're driving to Branson Missouri, but still, with 2 kids in the back seat, that especially on the way home we do not want to fall asleep because then they won't go to sleep on time at night, it felt like far enough!

Highlights included playing on a trampoline and swingset, not yet picked up by the former home-owners, and a 1137 picture slideshow (Brother's girlfriend went a bit crazy with our new digital camera!). Our Baby Girl could have lived on that trampoline, and pretty much did for the two days we were there. The first morning she had a complete meltdown when we wouldn't let her go out before breakfast since it was just too early. The next morning, the first thing she says to me is, "We go outside for a little bit? Me no bother neighbors." How could I resist? Let me just say, who needs coffee when they can wake up with a good work-out on the trampoline?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Changes this Summer

My, what an odd summer it has been. Deaths in the family. Almost losing my job. Weird, not-quite-summerlike weather. Last week, Casey and I were battling some sort of virus, and now, I have come down with a cold. I must say, I am quite cranky about it. The overcast days have my spirits down. Maybe if it was a beautiful day, I would feel better and could focus more on the positive, but for right now, not so much.

Seems lots of people I know have had weird summers. Wife's sister had a major surgery (all is fine - but long recovery time). A friend's husband has been unemployed for months and just recently got licensed as a realtor. They have high hopes, but I think this could end up almost as bad for his ego as being unemployed. A good friend has moved away and is in the process of buying a house and settling into a new job. My co-worker was laid off and starts a new job today that he had to "bump into" (union thing where it means the last person who had the job got bumped out of it so the senior person could have the job). Lots of changes.

Dang. This is a depressing post. Quick - 5 good things:
1) I have wonderful, beautiful, smart children.
2) My children are healthy.
3) My wife is a wonderful wife and mother.
4) My job offers me really good pay with great flexibility.
5) We had a great trip to the beach a couple weeks ago.

OK. That's better. We're off to visit Wife's family tomorrow morning. Long drive. I'm probably out until Monday. Good weekend to you all.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Advice for New Law Students

I figured, every now and then, I should write a law-related post. I often get emails asking for advice about starting law school, and sometimes I just offer it unsolicited :)

So, since I don't have a huge amount of time right now, I thought I'd offer the first 5 things that come to mind. There is a decent chance the first 5 may also be the most important.

This is advice for people similarly situated - older students going back to school, married or partnered, possibly with kids. For those young, singles, well, maybe there's a tidbit or two that you'll find useful, too.

1) Make time for your partner. Set up a date night/date morning, something. You will be going through a life-altering experience that your spouse cannot even imagine, and so will she. It's not easy being married to a law student. Not only can we be challenging to get along with, but you being in law school may bring out her insecurities. You have to keep talking to each other, and recognizing the potholes.

2) Almost no one else in your class gets "it" either. When you are feeling really stupid because you have no clue what your Con Law professor just talked about for the last hour, look around, listen as you walk out the door. No one else understood either. That's not to say that you shouldn't try to understand, just don't beat yourself up over it. You are not stupid. You should be in law school. (Almost everyone at some point tells herself she shouldn't be there.)

3) Seek Balance. You still have a life. Live it. Don't forget your friends, your family, or your dog. It is more healthy and will make your study time more effective if you take regular breaks, socialize now and then, and develop at least a bit of life outside of law school.

4) Purchase study aides before the end of the semester. Talk to others who had the class, or ask the prof what she recommends, for the best study aides for her particular class. In some classes, you may feel like you don't need them. Fine, but if you are feeling lost, pick up an Examples and Explanations (one of my favorites), Crunchtime, Emananuel Outline or other, and use it in conjunction with your casebook. Sometimes, the guide will present the material in a way that is more clear than your prof. and will really enhance the lectures.

5) Set up a study/homework schedule and stick to it. Keep up on homework - you don't want to fall behind. If you think it is hard to read 40 pages for one assignment, try doubling or tripling that. If you do get behind in reading,it is better to borrow notes, skip the reading, and stay current than falling behind while you try to catch up. For me, since I work almost full time, go to school and have a family, it is really crucial that I do the work at the planned times, because there isn't a "slush" time to do it later.

That's it - all the wisdom I have to share on this fine Tuesday morning. I hope someone finds it useful.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Digital Frames - Part II

A couple weeks ago, I posted about the totally cool digital picture frame options now available. We've been noticing more and more of them on sale in the papers and on-line. Digital Framez is an online store that has quite a few nice options. Their offerings are a variety of 7-10" digital frames in aluminum, acrylic, and two different wood tones. I really like the 10" cherry wood frame because it looks just like so many of the frames we have up in our house. I think it would be totally cool if someone were looking at one of them, and suddenly the picture changed! All frames come with a remote, so you can turn on your own slide show any time you want. I think this would be a great way to show off vacation photos, or kid photos, or whatever it is you've been photographing. Around our house, the digital camera comes out daily to record big and little events. A digital frame would be a great way to show these glimpses of our lives to friends and family.

Update - Wife the the Rescue

Thanks to my Wife, who is the more intelligent of us, I now have all of my Bookmarks back. I forgot about my computer's recycle bin. Duh. In my defense, there was a period of time that it did not work properly and was always empty, even if I had just deleted something. That was my OLD computer though, and this is a shiny new one, complete with properly functioning recycle bin.

(Hey, Baby, was I supposed to mention your superhuman powers, as well? *grin* Seriously, I may be more creative, and have more of an inclination to consider all side of any position, but were Wife to want to go to law school, she would probably kick my a**.)

Delete All Blogs? Yes. NO!!!

Have you ever not read the little warnings your computer tries to give you before you do something stupid? Apparently, I have. Friday, I was doing a bit of computer housekeeping, and was deleting a couple blogs I once bookmarked, but rarely visited. Apparently, I highlighted the entire Blog folder within My Favorites, so when I said "Yes, I was sure I wanted to delete,"'ve got entire folder of bookmarks of blogs - gone. Damn.

I have tried to replicate the important parts. Hopefully, I will get them back by following comment links on my blogs, and those of others.

On the bright side, I had started using that folder for everything that was currently important to me, not just blogs, so it was getting clutterd. No clutter now!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 03, 2007

VH1 Makes Me Feel Like I Need a Shower

Apparently I am getting old, or at least, mature. When you stop laughing, read on :)

I was waiting for Casey to join me for a little Gilmore Girls on DVD the other night, and I started channel surfing. I came across some VH-1 shows that were a bit like a train wreck - I had to watch, even though it was horrific. The first (Yes, there were two, and I get that I could have changed the channel, but it is hard to look away from a train wreck.) was "Scott Baio is 45....and Single." I will admit, I LOVED Scott Baio when I was in junior high/high school. Who didn't love Chachi? So, I was curious. This was pathetic. He is still good looking, and I am guessing he sports a mustache so he looks over 21. He still has sort of a baby face. His mannerisms are all still the same, which on an 18 year-old is cute, but on a 45-year old borders on sleazy. Apparently the premise has something to do with going to a life coach to figure out why he keeps screwing up all of his relationships with women. In the episode I caught, he was in the midst of an 8-week celibacy challenge. One of his poker buddies hired a stripper to try to tempt him, but he had the decency (and cash) to pay her to just leave. That sounds really nice and upstanding, but the overall feel of the show was very degrading to women, and shows all of the worst stereotypes about guys. Scott bashes Rosie O'Donnell by telling his buddy that if his blind date looks like Rosie, the guy should stay, but if she is hot, he should go. RUDE! In a scene from the next episode, he is talking to the 17-year-old daughter of a women he is apparently quite serious about, and might be the reason for the whole life coach makeover. She asks if he's ever cheated on a woman - Yes. Did you feel guilty? No. She warns him not to hurt her mom.

So, I have no idea what Scott Baio has been doing for the past 20 years. Maybe being a TV star at a young age wrecked him, as it did so many others. He never did anything else significant on tv or in the movies, but he did crop up every now and then in a bit part. So, in a way, I can maybe feel sorry for the guy. Let's face it, having your flaws exposed on VH-1 is darn close to rock bottom. Still, this show....well, as I said, I feel like I need a shower to cleanse myself, but it gets worse.

Next up was a show that I can't even find listed on VH-1, and maybe that's because it was intended to be more of an infomercial, but it comes off as a documentary. It is about Wild Women Vacations - heterosexual couples and single women, where all the women are bi-curious or bi-sexual. Apparently this couple makes a living setting up vacations where the couples go to a nice tropical location and the women get the chance to live out their fantasies about being with another woman. The men are not allowed to participate, but apparently it can lead to some spark being put back into the marriage. Again, train wreck. Wife got drawn into this one, too. We were both struck at the ordinariness of the people shown, and in some cases, more on the weird/creepy side than ordinary. We are so used to seeing "beautiful," "perfect" people on TV that it is surprising to see someone that could be your not-so-hot neighbor. The show did not really focus on the sexual activities, and we saw no more than a couple women kissing or touching in PG-appropriate ways. Interestingly, the focus was on what each member of the featured couple was thinking and going through, and while the guy seemed uncomfortable, he really seemed to want to be supportive of his wife's curiosity. The show really made me feel like I was intruding on something private, but again, train wreck.

Next time, I think I'll stick to reruns of "Friends."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

S'more Backyard Family Fun

For those of you who have already checked out Wife's blog, these are not new, but I just love these so much I wanted to share them.

Last weekend we camped out in our backyard - got out the big tent, air mattresses, sleeping bags, barbecued hot dogs, and later roasted marshmallows. What's a roasted marshmallow without chocolate and graham crackers, right? Yes, we made s'mores!

This shows me helping the Boy learn to roast marshmallows, and Baby Girl's first ever experience with s'mores. Can you see the pure joy on their faces? Fun!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

5-Year Old Meets Day Camp

Our son LOVES Day Camp! We signed him up for a Day Camp run by our local school district in order to prep kids for Kindergarten. He goes for about 3 hours a day, and comes home singing new songs and showing us how to play new games. He's made a wonderful poster about his favorite pet for sharing time on Friday. (That was homework.) This is just a week-long camp, and something tells me he will wish he had more things to fill his days next week, when camp is over. This bodes well for Kindergarten. I love that he is thriving in his first venture into the world beyond our home. (Well, he did have a short pre-school session before Christmas, and that went well, but he is clearly so much more READY for school now.) It's a frightening and sad time for us, as parents, to let him out into the world, but it is also exciting, especially as we see his enthusiasm at the opening of this big, new world. Let's hope Kindergarden is all it should be for him, and the start of a childhood full of positive educational experiences.