Monday, March 31, 2008

Snow. Seriously?

We had a fun weekend with the kids and Wife's family. Big birthday celebration, including miniature golf for the kids, cake, ice cream and presents. Everything a kid could want! What we got that we were not bargaining for was snow! The crazy weather we'd been having continued and in the middle of what we thought would be a rainy drive to the beginning of our festivities, it started snowing! Actually, we drove into the snow, where it had piled up to a good 2-3" and cars had started sliding off the road, and then we were out of it again, about 10-15 miles and 40 minutes later. Times like that, it is good to have car insurance, but all the insurance in the world doesn't make you any less afraid of your children being hurt in an accident. Wife and I both hate driving in snowy/icy conditions. We are very happy to be safely warm inside a house where we can go out, play with the kids, then come back inside for some hot chocolate! Thank God all turned out fine, and we are safely home where we belong again. Isn't it Spring, yet?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dogs and Cats!

Maddie has made friends with two of our three cats. The third cat is afraid of her, angry at her very existence, and does not want to give her a chance. Cat is afraid. Cat runs. Cat becomes very attractive to chase. Now, we have to figure out how to get Maddie to just leave this cat alone. If the chaos keeps up, we'll need new carpets, walls and door hardware - and a new home for Maddie. I really do not want that to happen, and neither do the kids. Wife might not mind so much, as our little ball of energy can be a lot to keep up with sometimes.*

Before we adopted Maddie we were told she is fine with cats. I would agree that is mostly true, but not entirely. I don't think she wants to eat them - I think she wants to play with them. Now that two of our cats have proven they are not afraid of her, and just act like she's not around, they are not very interesting. The cat that most needs her to not be interested, is naturally, the one Maddie desperately wants to learn about. Guess I better spend some time in the internet learning how to train this out of the dog. Any ideas?

*Wife has added a comment, but in case you are not inclined to read comments, I thought I would make a note here. She wants it to be known that she would mind giving up Maddie. See, the sweet girl has quickly wormed her way into all of our hearts. Oh, right....all except Lucy - the cat that wants the earth to swallow the dog.

Snow?! It's almost April!

It was just snowing! It did not stick, but one does not expect to see snow this time of year in our part of the country. Sure, it happens sometimes - but it is crazy! Although a good amount of snow to play in for a day or two would be fun, I am ready for the spring!

Wife and I have talked about how nice it would be to live somewhere where an "outdoor room" is practical. You know the nice furnishings you see in the stores, with the couch, coffee table, fancy fire bowl, lamps, cooler, extravagant grill, and maybe a sound system? We get too much rain for that - and even if we only used it during the summer, then we'd have to have a place to store everything over the winter. nice would it be to have a comfy couch, soft music and a couple of fancy Murray Feiss lanterns just out your backyard? A private oasis like that sounds pretty good to me!

Murray Feiss

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Contemplating the Internet

Today I invite you to think about the internet for a moment. Maybe more than a moment. Think about how it has affected your daily life. Sure, we casually talk about how it has connected the world and changed the face of business and blah, blah, blah catch phrases. Really, though, how cool is it to have a computer in your kitchen, or living room, or bedroom where you can access information about pretty much anything within seconds?

I was thinking today of how much I use the internet for personal tasks. These are things I quickly thought of that I had done within the past month - look for a dog to adopt, search for recipes, find the correct spelling of a word, find the meaning of a legal term, see what time a movie is showing at the local theatre, search for and compare anniversary gift items, pay a credit card bill, see previews for The L Word, and keep up on people's blogs that I never would have known were it not for the internet.

I am also intrigued by all the interesting business ideas people have implemented over the internet. It ranges from selling ebooks on pretty much any topic, to giving advice about being successful and happy, to selling handmade soaps and jewelry, to providing ideas about children's birthday parties. The place everyone starts, whether just wanting to blog or doing a full business is with a web host. I ran across a web site this morning that had done a recent review of low cost web hosting services:
This looks like useful info, and there is also information about other Wordpress themes, for those familiar with Wordpress as a blogging tool. I can't verify the reviews, but I bet the hosts mentioned would be worth checking out. It is easy to get reviews on a host by doing a search on the host name and "reviews."

OK - I think my tangent on the internet is about over. I need to go order dinner on the web!!

Enjoying Spring Break

Spring break - Ah, it feels good! It was so nice yesterday to have Wife tell me about a cool art project that Boy Wonder had brought home and know that I would get to see it that evening, while my son was still awake. Last night I was able to cook dinner, help clean, scoop the yard, play with the new dog (who we are often calling "young punk" due to her age and energy), give the kids their baths and still spend some time with Wife. Nice! (It sounds like I did a lot, but Wife was even busier than I was. Crazy!)

What wasn't nice was that due to the lateness of dinner, which happens when I cook since I don't get home until past the time they would normally eat when I am in school, their schedule was all off and they were both WIRED by bedtime. It took an hour and a half to get our Princess to sleep. She kept telling us she could not sleep and begging to watch Ruby and Max. We sometimes let her do this on Sunday nights - end of the weekend and last chance to get some time with me - but last night, it was no go. was late by the time she was asleep, thus taking away from adult time.

Even though I am working on reviewing some notes and reading for next week, it is nice not to really be worrying too much about hitting the books this week. Then, in 5 more weeks, it is time for finals, and the semester will be done! We are all ready for that!!

Picking up trash

Remember when you were a kid and it was OK to pick up garbage off the street and put it in a trash can? I remember one vacation where a friend and I rowed around in a boat picking up garbage just to make the area nicer. Now, Wife and I tell our kids NOT to pick up garbage.....too much fear of germs, or cuts getting infected, rampant staff infections....blah, blah, blah. Still, I want them to do the right thing. We've said that maybe some day before we take our walk around the block with the dogs, we could put on disposable gloves, bring along a garbage bag, and let them pick up the litter they see. Guess that still would not prevent cuts. Maybe they need one of those grabber tools for this task!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Snug as a bug...

The animals have taken over :)

As you can see from this adorable photo, Maddie's new place is on the couch, cuddled with whoever else wants to be there. She is very affectionate, and doesn't mind sharing the space. Generous, right?

Last night, after the kids were asleep, Wife and I were watching TV and arranged on the couch like this:

Wife.....Jordan (dalmatian).....Me.......Maddie (boxer/whippet)

Wife got up for a moment, comes back to find a cat in her place, nearly sitting on the dog's head. I moved the cat for her, lifted the dog's front end, and she squeezed back into place. Jordan started making heavy breathing sounds of being uncomfortable. Wife got on the floor. I offered to move the new young punk dog, but no....she stayed on the floor despite the pain she's been having in her back, arms and hands. I urged her to get up off the floor, but I think she was holding out for a new massage chair - a place to call her own. It will probably need to be set up inside a cage to keep both kids and animals off it. Now THAT would be attractive in our living room!

Spring Break is Here!

Last night was technically my second night without classes, but the first night was classless due to our prof. being sick, so I stayed at work and studied. Yesterday I left work early, was home by 4:00, and we all went out to the Spaghetti Factory to celebrate us all being together for dinner/bedtime for the next week!

I admit that I have been a bit jealous of hearing all the fun places that some of the other students are going over the break - Kauai, Italy, camping in a friend's mountain cabin, skiing for a week.....We will be taking a couple days to visit Wife's family and do a joint birthday party for our kids and one of their cousins. We won't exactly be staying in a Las Vegas hotel, or any hotel at all, much to our kids disappointment (they love hotels - especially the mini-stores and the pools), but it will still be a little getaway. We won't feel compelled to do chores - that's something! A week without classes - what a nice break for us all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The L Word - Season Finale

Say it isn't so! How can there possibly only be one more episode left of Season 5 of The L Word? Darn Showtime for its short seasons - only 12 or 13 episodes - and then the next show starts - maybe Tudors or Weeds. (Weeds is kind of fun, too.)

It has been a really good season! There was an interesting story about the military's don't ask - don't tell policy; Jenny went into full crazy villain mode - and mostly out again; the Bette and Tina storyline - I won't ruin it for folks who may be waiting to rent the series - but it has been excellent; and there were lots of group scenes of the characters just hanging out together, partying, being friends, which, other than the sex, is really what we all love about the show.

Speaking of sex, the writers really spiced things up a lot - tons of fairly graphic sex scenes - occasionally Wife and I felt like we were watching porn. It is all tastefully done, nothing inappropriate is actually shown (I am sure there are those that would disagree)and serves the storyline - still - wow - those could not have been comfortable scenes to film. (They are certainly not ones we want left on the DVR for the kids to find!)

I have heard sex scenes are so incredibly awkward to do - just imagine it - you have to be naked, acting like you are involved in a very intimate act while the director, assistant director, lighting, camera and sound crews are focused on making sure every angle looks just right. Crazy! I saw an interview with Ilene Chaiken, Producer of The L Word, where she discusses how Cybil Sheppard and her daughter, who is on the show, deal with sex scenes. There was one scene in particular that neither was comfortable with - the mom (Cybil) walks in on her daughter having sex with Shane. I can't blame them - even if it is "fake sex," she's naked, in bed with a woman. They decided to film it in such a way that mother and daughter were not actually in the room at the same time. Odd the way TV and movies can work that way, isn't it?

Where was I going with all of this? Ah, yes, sad to see the end of the Season. Thank you Ilene, cast and crew for another 12 weeks of seeing OUR life represented on TV. (You know, our life minus law school, the kids, the cats, the dogs, and plus a lot of money....!)

Mourning the loss of stationary stores

Does anyone remember J.K. Gills? They were a stationary store. They were often in malls and carried great stuff - paper, cards, office supplies of all kinds, and best of all, pens! I know, I just posted about pens, but that made me think about how much I used to love to go in and look at/test all the cool pens at J.K. Gills. Where can you go now to do that? Places like Office Max, I suppose, but I don't think they carry that great of a selection and they don't have ones you can test. I wonder where a person can get the best buy on pens you can actually test before you buy. Most stores will not be very happy if you start breaking open packages and sampling the merchandise. How else are you supposed to know if the pen feels right in your hand, and if it writes smoothly with just the correct line thickness?

Exactly my point.

Pens, pens and more pens

This is just funny - a website called pensrus. Of course, they sell pens - mostly ones for businesses to put their name and/or logo on so people will take them and remember who they are. Their products seem to range from cheap pens to more expensive ones, but the prices seem good - if you happen to need to order 100 or more pens at a time. Hmmmm....I can't say that I have even been in a lawyers office where the pens had their name and number on them....but if it was a nice pen, it might be a nice touch. I can see it now.....

"Hey honey, who was that lawyer that did our will? Janet and Terri are looking for someone to do their wills."

"I don't remember, but look in the drawer by the frig...there's a blue and black pen in there. Her name is on it."


Monday, March 17, 2008

The slow re-emergence of the cats

I may have mentioned that our three cats were less than thrilled at the addition of Maddie to our family. One of the cats has mostly made peace with the new dog and they tend to ignore each other. Of course, being a big, goofy dog, Maddie sometimes just has to stick her nose in the cat's face, and is greeted with an unwelcoming hiss. We tell her to leave the cat alone, and all is good again.

One of the other cats is approaching that level of comfort, but is not there, yet. She is OK to be on the couch with Wife and I, and the new dog, and will even turn her back on the dog and sleep on the couch at such times. She's not crazy about coming face to face with the beast though, and will run, which causes the dog to want to chase her. Go figure :)

The third cat stil sounds like a demon is living under our bed. Although she came out of her hiding spot during tv time Saturday night, and checked the dog out from a distance, she is in no way ready to be friends yet. This makes her all the more interesting to Maddie the Curious. Maddie walks by the bed - horrible growling sound begins, causing Maddie to stick her nose under the bed, thus increasing growling. Bad news all around. We get Maddie to "leave it" and the adventure is over until the next time. I'd just let the dog get bapped a time or two, until she learns, but have had a dog nearly get an eye taken out that way, so doesn't seem wise.

They will get there. This particular cat is especially peaved because she had finally attained Top Animal ranking and had been reigning mercilessly since we lost our rottie in December. She is not certain this new dog will let her rule. She probably would, if the cat would just chill for a bit. Too bad there is not a dos command line for "calm kitty."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Break is Coming!

Happy Friday! It's a rainy, dark day, and yet, I am feeling quite good today. Even the paper I have to write tomorrow doesn't have me down. Tonight I am taking the kids to a movie at Boy Wonder's school. The kids all take sleeping bags, spread out on the floor, and pig out on pizza and candy while sort of watching a movie. We went several weeks ago, and though we only watched maybe 40 minutes of the movie, had a good time. Tonight's feature is a Bee Movie. We'll end up having to rent or buy it later because I have little faith the kids will actually get through it, but I'll want to see what happens. :)

Spring break is week after next! Yeah! Not quite summer, but at least it will be a little break. I'll still have some homework - and need to get serious about some outlining - but still - I'll be home having dinner with my family for the week. That will be good. Now that I'm nearly done with three years of this crazy routine that is my life, I am finally feeling really tired of it. Work, school, internship, homework, family.....that's about the order of how much time any of my priorities actually get. I am tired of my family being last. Sure, I take off days when they need me, and always save all of Sunday for them, but it's just not enough. I miss out on so much - the silly and the amazing things our kids are doing every day, my son reading books to his little sister, the bedtime stories. Well, summer is coming, then just one more year!

One thing at a time - Spring Break - one week away!

The Draw of New Technology

Does anyone else ever feel the push/pull of new technology? I am not a techno geek, and have never felt the need for the latest gadget. It's not that I'm against them, just have no need to spend money on the latest and greatest gadgets. Still, once I get on board with something, I often think it is pretty cool - cell phones, DVRs, laptop computers. We've not jumped on the GPS train, yet, nor do either of us have a Blackberry, or similar device. I just today found out that an unlocked phone means a cell phone that is not locked to one particular provider so sim cards and plans can be switched around. Hey - I know how to text someone using my cell phone, isn't that enough?

I am really attracted to the new MacBook Air, which is a really thin laptop computer. I remember about 15-20 years ago being at a workshop where there was a speaker from Microsoft. She mentioned that someday we'd have computers as thin as a pad of paper. Seems that day is here. (I think she was actually talking more about the notepad that we'd write on....and that technology is here, too....but I've not seen the two combined, yet.) If I had two years left of school, I think this MacBook Air would be enough to get me to convert to a Mac, but who knows how much I will need a laptop once I am out of school? Guess there will always be good reasons for a nice laptop....Well, I'll give them a few years to work out the kinks and see if the price comes down!

General Announcement to those with Dogs

I can't believe that adults really need to be told this, but c'mon people! If your dog is out walking/strolling/running/jogging/exploring/meandering or in any way being outside of his own yard and "relieves himself" in a manner others could later see, or step in, pick it up! You are the owner/mom/dad and it is not OK to let your dog use other people's property as his personal toilet and just leave it. Take a bag and pick it up!

No, I did not step in anything (thank goodness), but yesterday on the way from my car to the building where I work, there were two piles to be avoided and at home, someone has been letting their dog use our front yard and not cleaning up after him. SO NOT OK.

Sometimes I'd like to make a trap out of CAT5e cable - when the dog's person steps into the circle/trap he would be jerked off of his feet, hung by his legs from the nearest tree and a sign would be posted on him: I did not clean up after my dog. Bet he would get no sympathy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nice and Comfy?

I received the following picture on my cell phone this morning.

The caption was, "Notice anything?"

Uh, see, Maddie was not supposed to be on the couch. Jordan is allowed on the couch. Jaxon, our rottie, had never even wanted to be on the furniture, so it wasn't an issue. Having one couch/bed dog was plenty. We'd hoped to keep Maddie off of the couch, and had been successful so far. This morning, after I left work, while Wife continued sleeping, seems someone else found a comfy spot to sleep.

Two couch dogs? This should be interesting! The couch may be reasonable, but if another animal gets up on the bed, there will be no room left for the humans!

Thoughts of spring cleaning

Now that the outside of the house looks so nice (see Wife's blog for before and after new siding pictures), I have a feeling we'll be tackling the inside next. Wife already blogged about doing some painting....I mean, the desire to do some, that's not right either......the desire to have some of the walls painted. No one really enjoys painting walls, do they? (Kids do not count here!)

I am thinking the garage needs serious attention (as usual). We have so much stuff out there: kid toys that sometimes get rotated into the house, camping gear, bikes, an old couch, books, winter coats, tools, CAT6 cable, misc. furniture, lawn mower...the list goes on and on and on.... We probably need two things: a serious consideration of what we really need to keep, and some nice shelves with doors. Oh - and time away from the kids to tackle this project! Maybe this summer?

Treadmills for dogs?

Since people seem interested in the new pup, I will keep posting about her :)

I think I have mentioned that she has a ton of energy! When she is in the mood, she races around the yard like a wild thing and can fetch a ball faster than any dog I've ever seen. She is practically on top of the ball before it hits the ground. She's the kind of dog people put on treadmills! Turn it on and let her go!

I used to think this was a joke, but I've heard people really do this. Seems like you'd want to take some serious safety precautions - no leash, start slowly, watch for signs of fatigue...OK, I had to search. Interested? Check out "treadmills for dogs" on your favorite search engine - tons of results. This is a real way people exercise their dogs. How about that!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Loves people, but not in our house

OK, so Maddie is showing one sign of being a bit off. At the park, in the vet's office, on the street she is very friendly with people and animals. At our home, she seems skittish around people that come to visit. My Mom let herself in yesterday and Maddie went crazy barking at her, then quieted when she realized I was OK with the stranger, but then didn't really warm up. (Same thing happened again today, though today, Wife let her in.) Maddie was not aggressive, just didn't want to come too close. She did a quick "lick by"...coming just close enough to lick my mom's hand then ran off again. It seems strange for such a friendly, outgoing dog. I suspect it has something do to with insecurity about her new home and maybe suspecting she could be taken away from us....which is kind of like what just happened to her when we got her. The rescue shelter folks took her away from the family giving her up, and brought her to us.

We are wondering if for a while we should meet people with her outside first, then all come in together? Seems weird to have to go to a separate piece of real estate to do introductions, but would be worth it, if it helps. We figure, eventually she will learn that people come and go and all ends up fine. Has anyone else had a similar experience or any insight into this issue?

New Addition to the Family

So, we got our new furry family member! Her name is Maddie and she is a total sweetheart :) She is well-behaved, gentle, quiet, a good fetcher and quite a cutie! (See Wife's blog.) She is a bundle of energy, though, which is great for playing fetch. Not so great for the 11-year-old dalmatian to keep up with. He was so sore after the first evening of just being up and walking around (not even playing, because we don't want them playing rough), that he could barely move the next day. I took him to the vet yesterday, and now we have medical supplies in the form of some non-steroidal anti-inflammatories for him. He's doing much better and is such a happy dog today. This is his first time ever getting to be the dominant dog and he is one happy pup!

Wife is fairly certain I am insane, and trying to make sure she joins me. She's just added keeping the dogs from playing too rough and cleaning muddy paw prints from the floors to her long list of duties that I rarely am around to help with. We'd not realized how sedate our dalmatian had become....barely even going outside this shift is significant. I love having the boisterous doggie energy in the house again, and the kids are totally in love with the new pup (she's actually 3 years old). Even Wife admits she is quite the sweetheart. I think she's going to be a wonderful addition to our family.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

GLBT Rights, Campaigns, and Where Do We Draw the Line?

As many of you know, I am a big fan of The L Word. As such, I sometimes (OK, weekly) check out their web site, Our Chart for previews and podcasts and such. The Executive Director does a nice weekly segment about the social, political and technical challenges of each episode. She's a role model for me and I really enjoy this segment. This week I caught most of a interview that Jennifer Beals (one of the stars of the show) did with Tobias Wolff, chair of the National LGBT Policy Committee for the Barack Obama campaign.

(I'm about to make a law-related connection here - just wanted to point that it comes...)

"Tobias Barrington Wolff is emerging as one of the leading lights among the new generation of public-law scholars. He has been a professor at the University of California, Davis Law School since 2000 and was a visiting professor at Stanford Law School in the 2003-04 year, at Northwestern Law School in fall 2005, and at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in fall 2006.

His academic work spans the fields of Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law, and his advocacy work has included participation in some of the highest profile gay rights cases of the last several years."
(lifted from:

The link to that interview is here:

He is a compelling spokesperson, and I think he'd be a fun law professor.

Barack appears to be a strong supporter of the gay community, as is Hilary. Both have some minor shadows, but both are far superior to John McCain, who has a very bleak record on LGBT issues. I started to print it out here, but decided if anyone really cared to dig further a simple Google search will tell you all you need to know.

It's really difficult to know that I have friends and family that support a political party that believes me and my family deserve less than other Americans. Yes, that is only one issues, and for some of them, a minor issue. For me, it is my life. Would it be as easy for them to ignore that tiny, possibly distasteful piece, if their favored party was saying women did not deserved equal rights or protections? Or that it is OK to make African American people have relationships that are not on equal footing with those of white people? Or that it is OK to be Jewish, as long as you don't talk about it? Just wondering where that line is...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The More - The Merrier!

Wife and I have decided that I like chaos. I claim to enjoy calmness and peacefulness, but whenever things get a little too "status quo," I shake things up. Wait - I intentionally shake things up.

Here's proof:

This may be the next member of our clan! She's a 3-year-old boxer mix, and is supposed to be a real sweetie. We meet her on Friday, and if all goes well, we'll soon be a two-dog family again!

Seems I thought the house was just a bit too calm with only one older dog around the house! Of course, as most of you will note, I am not around the house that much. It will be Wife that takes on the brunt of the extra work, especially during the adjustment period. (Though I plan on trying to be around the house a bit more than usual.) Funny, once you get used to two dogs, one seems so quiet....Stay tuned!