Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays are Happenin'

It was a Merry Christmas in our home! Santa delivered the perfect kitchen to our Little Princess and Boy Wonder was thrilled with a year-long subscription to Toon Town. He filled adult stockings with fun and useful items, and after inspecting all of the Santa goodies, we took our time opening gifts from each other. Each item was carefully inspected, played with and appreciated....OK, well....we did have to slow down the Boy more than once, but it all worked out. Mid-morning, my Mom and Step-Dad arrived for breakfast and a gift-exchange. The kids were thrilled with the Toobeez set (like Giant Tinkertoys for those old enough to remember them) and with having the grandparents to themselves. It was a really great morning, followed by lots of play time and a family get together late in the day. We spent Christmas night having dinner with a big portion of the family at my sister's house. She could use plasma lifts to get the flat screen tv up off the floor, but thankfully, we spent very little time watching tv and lots of time visiting.

I've now had 7 days off of work, with a few more to go. What a great vacation! Hope everyone's Holidays are going as spendidly as mine!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Wish List

What's on your Christmas wish list?
Remember when it used to be stuffed animals, building toys, games and the like? Then it probably moved on to clothes, stereos, and other typical teen stuff. As an adult we tend to like the Big Kid toys - flat panel tvs, wireless devices, audio racks, vacation packages...etc.

Know what this law student wants? (OK, besides time off and a nice vacation?) A new rolling computer case. After 2 1/2 years, mine has had all it can take. The handle broke last week. There is a hole in the bottom. It has served me well, but I have used it almost daily through 5 semesters of law school - heavy books, laptop, long walks to/from the parking lot, and up and down stairs. I will miss my old friend and thank it for its devoted service, but now I am looking forward to a new one complete with numerous clean pockets to fill! Sounds almost as good as getting a bunch of new office supplies!

Digital Photos - How to Store?

Our family takes a lot of pictures, especially now that we have 2 good digital cameras (and one not as great one that Boy Wonder uses). If you read Wife's blog (I know, I've been saying that I lot lately, but I know a lot of you do read both.), you will know that she takes a TON of pictures. How to keep them all relatively safe? Her solution was to buy an external hard drive. That's were the majority of our pictures are saved these days. Is that a truly safe solution? Do external hard drives crash? What is the best way to store photos? I surely don't know, but if you have some idea, let us know!

Unique Gift Idea

OK, how cool is the gift of wine? As you may know if you read Wife's blog, we recently received two bottles of wine from the Gold Medal Wine Club. The idea of wine clubs is that you get to try out a new bottle (or bottles!) of wine each month, and the best part is that the package arrives at your door as if by magic! This wine club offers, as part of a membership, two bottles of premium wine each month, plus a very attractive and informative newsletter.

The newsletter includes wine trivia, recipes, and feature stories. The glossy paper and professional photographs are nice touches.

As for the wine that we tried, both were from the Madrona label and were a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2004 Merlot. I am a huge cab fan and was really looking forward to opening this one, so it was the first to be tasted. As many reds, it needed to breathe first, and I have to say, it needed much more breathing time than many of the good cabernets I've tried. It was also not a great stand-alone wine. After about 20-minutes, and served with food, it was enjoyable. The Merlot was better right out of the bottle -- it did not require as much breathing time. For $15+ bottles of wine, I was actually a bit disappointed. That being said, if I had received it as a gift, I would have been thrilled. The wine was decent, and the idea very unique and thoughtful.

The Gold Medal Wine Club offers different wines all the time, so just because one month's selection was not exceptional, that does not mean the next month's won't be. Also, I am really not a wine expert - I just know what I like - but I don't know what YOU like. So, if you are looking for a unique gift, maybe even for yourself, check 'em out!

How many votes for laziness??

Anyone else up for being a couch potato this Holiday season?

Perhaps talking long walks or hopping on some ellipticals would be a better way of decompressing after a long semester, but right now, I am thinking that hours on the couch in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn sounds pretty good. Hey, the kids are getting good about having the attention span to watch movies. I might be able to get a couple in now and then over my upcoming 6 DAYS OFF OF WORK AND SCHOOL!!!

Of course, after Tuesday morning there will be lots of new fun toys to play with....I know because I helped purchase most of them. Another great reason to have kids :) OK, a bad reason to HAVE kids, but it is a nice perk. Wonder what they will want to play with first???

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Done with Finals!

Finals are over.

Since there are folks that may still be taking the 24-hour take home energy law one I took last week, I will just say: It required more work than I expected and it was kind of fun. I am an energy law geek :)

Environmental Law - 4 hour closed book final this morning sucked. Well, the major hypo that will be worth the most points sucked. The rest I feel pretty good about. How it all balances out, I can't even venture a guess. I don't feel particularly good about it, but then, I have done crappy on ones I felt great about, and vice versa, so, who knows? It's all about the curve.

I am now wiped out, but relieved to only need to polish up a paper and I will be really done with this semester. It was a tough one.

I'd not posted, though some of you may know from Wife's blog, that we had to say good-bye to our 9-year-old Rottweiler last Thursday. It was really hard, and the whole family has been sad. Needless to say, this really affected my ability to prepare for this final exam. What could I do though? Best to just move forward, do the exam, and hope for the best.

Soon, it will be time to leave this semester behind and focus on some fun times with the family. Hope you are all able to spend the Holidays in the ways most enjoyable to you!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wife's Birthday Fun!

Wow - two date nights within a month! Alert the press! We're livin' now!

We had quite the busy day in our family. First, it was breakfast, cards and a present in bed for the Wife - with lots of help from the kids for every part of it. Later, Boy Wonder went to a Christmas party with his uncle, a 4- year tradition for them. Big fun was had. Baby Girl, or should I say The Little Princess, attended a Princess Tea Party at Grandma's and had a wonderful time. She was so darn cute! (See Wife's blog - for link - scroll down and look on the left side bar.)

Later there was a picnic lunch on the floor with the kids, followed by presents, some vegging on the couch, cake and ice cream, and finally, the arrival of the babysitter! Wife and I did a bit of shopping at the mall, unencumbered by little ones, then had drinks and appetizers, followed by a brief trip to Target. (We know how to party!) It was a really nice time. Wife got some fun presents, granted, there were no diamond rings, but there was a really great Mommy Bracelet with the kids' names spelled out in block letters and surrounded with silver beads and birthstones.

It was a relaxing night out for mommies, and the kids had a good time, too. All in all, I do believe the day was a success!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One Down, Two to Go!

Yippeeee! The first final, the one I was most concerned about, is behind me, and I actually think it did fairly well. Feels like solid B potential, which is good because I was really uncertain as to what to expect. Today I will move on to the 24-hour take home exam, and then Tuesday morning is my final final of 2007!

Funny, I noticed last night as I was setting up my computer, then going to get the final and bringing it back to the room (we have many unscheduled exams, so we pick them up from the registrar, check out and have to check back in within the allotted time - I found out last night that not all law schools do this), once I am taking the final I am "in the zone" and not nervous at all. It's like, oh, I know this stuff, or at least I know enough of it to write a bunch of words on the page and pass this test. Cool! It is reassuring to take the test and realize that I have learned so much! This is a good since this law school thing is costing a bundle and I am pretty sure there would be other ways to spend large amounts of money and not be sacrificing so much family time and sleep that would be more fun for us all. So, it is good that I am getting an education :)

Hey - special note to Wife - thank you so much for all of your support through this crazy time! It's nice to know you get what I am going through and that at the end of the week, there will be new, super soft, polar bear sheets to cozy into! Then...a wonderful Birthday weekend for a certain somebody special :)

Hope my law school friends out there are rockin' their finals! Let's get this thing done and go enjoy our break!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tick, tick, tick

....hear that sound? That is the countdown until I am done with school for this semester and can enjoy nearly a month off with my family! The finals, and a crapload of studying stand between me and that glorious goal. If all goes as planned, that means one final this Tuesday, one Thursday, and the last one on the following Tuesday. I will be done by 12:30pm Dec. 18th! On the 20th I have a meeting with several folks at the place of my spring internship....and....oh...wait...I do still have to polish up a paper. Dang. Still....nearly there, and really looking forward to a great Christmas with Wife and our little ones who are great ages for Christmas fun!

Best of luck to all of you out there who are also in the midst of finals!

I love hotels! Really.

Hotels anyone? I really like hotels. Maybe it's not normal. Maybe I should consider the whole hotel thing more in depth and just be totally grossed out by it, but really, I'm not. I like staying in a fancy hotel, having someone make my bed for me every day and clean the bathroom. I like knowing I can have an endless supply of towels, if I should need them, and that I could have someone deliver food to me, if I really wanted it. I like a place with a view, and I like the small but fancy soaps and shampoos (well....fancy depending on where you stay, of course), I like beautiful lobbies and friendly staff, and watching tv in bed (yes, I can do that at home; not the point). I mostly enjoy hotels in the "big city," or resort hotels on the coast...or resort hotels anywhere, really. I've never stayed in any Vegas hotels, and I understand there is quite a wide variety, but I am sure there would be some I would love.

This Christmas, or rather, after Christmas when we are visiting Wife's side of the family, we'll not be staying in any hotels since Wife's brother now has a house big enough that we can stay with him and have an entire nice basement all to ourselves. What a savings - and the kids love being with their uncle! Still, a fancy hotel all decorated up for Christmas.....*sigh*...sounds good, doesn't it?

In search of sleep...

Baby Girl decided at about 3:00am last night that it was time to wake up....this was after I'd already been more or less awake since 2:00 after helping Boy Wonder go potty and settle back in his bed. She tried to convince both Moms that we should get up and watch Dora. We were having none of it. Finally, an hour, or so, later, she was asleep again. What is it? She really is not a good sleeper. Is her mattress not quite right for her? Is the room too cold/too hot? Is it too light/too dark? Or maybe, just maybe, it is that she has decided she is not much of a dinner eater and gets hungry in the night and it wakes her up. Yes, maybe these things, maybe more. Still, Wife and I are happy that it is only 7:00pm Sunday night and both kids are sleeping peacefully.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Scoop on Finals

For those not intimately involved with law school, I thought I would paint a small picture of the delight that is law school finals. (Delights that are law school finals? Ah, neither one is right, really.) Imagine, if you will, going to every class, reading every assignment, participating to the extent required or beyond, and then, your entire grade comes down to your performance on a 3 or 4 hour test. You sit in a room, typing furiously, trying to spot every issue, analyze every angle analyzable, and remember every detail of law you possibly can for those 3-4 hours. Then you hand it in. It gets graded. There's your grade for the semester. Harsh, right?

Welcome to law school.

I had a prof tell us in the first year that finals are fun. It is a chance to "show what you know." I did not believe her then. Now, I see that she was right. Sometimes, finals are kind of fun. It's fun to see that you know more than you thought you did. Still, it's nerve-wracking hoping you get a good grade and that you understood the material correctly, because you go through the entire semester with no way to know if you are getting it or not.

Fun times!

Last Class - Done!

Wahoo! I had my last class last night! Now, I do three finals over the next two weeks, and polish up a paper by January. I now have TON of studying, synthesizing and memorizing to do! Sounds like a migraine just waiting to happen, doesn't it? I'm trying to stay cool, stick to a study plan, figure out where it can flex if necessary, and I think all will be fine.

I'm ready for 3 of my 4 classes to be done. One was good, but intense. One was mostly OK. One was really pretty bad. The fourth, the one I am not ready to be over, is Energy Law. I wish that one was continuing, or we had other classes in it. There is SO MUCH TO LEARN and no way to learn it via a class now. Well, other than independent study or an internship. DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!

I am happy to report I have secured what I think will be a really great internship at a well-known utility company. They are on the list of the 100 best corporate citizens as determined by Business Ethics magazine. The attorney I am working with seems really enthusiastic about what she does and is eager to work with me. Now, how I will have time for work, internship, class and family, I don't know....but in playing with the numbers yesterday, I best become a speed reader (driver, sleeper....)!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Last Week of Classes!

I know, I know, I have been a bit absent lately and some of you are getting rather bored. Well, I am in my last week of classes -
today, Tuesday is Thursday for scheduling purposes,but I have a Tuesday make-up class on today, which is Thursday but really Tuesday......OK, well, bottom line is my last class is tomorrow night, unless I opt to go for the answers to questions only review for a class on Thursday (which is really Thursday). I'm leaning towards not going because I've rarely found such sessions to be helpful.

In other news, we survived some wicked rain and wind, and were thankful our area was barely hit compared to many nearby towns. I'm thinking with all the leakage I'm hearing about, there may be a lot of homes and condos for sale when summer rolls around. Who wants to deal with those kinds of problems two years in a row? Sure, some problems are fixable, but others... not so much....of course, I guess you'd have to disclose the problem, leading to all sorts of other hassles.

Wow - I am rambling :) Only one class for one hour tonight. Then it is home to probably NOT study and get in a little rest and relaxation with the Wife before the big studying starts. First final - next Tueday (probably).