Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

A new year is almost upon us. Tonight the kids are hoping to stay up until midnight to ring in the new year. We will see how that goes. Boy wonder made it until 11:40 last year. So close....

So, we'll not be breaking out the champagne, fireworks and Avo cigars, but perhaps pizza, root beer and some games. A little family fun before our family really begins to change its structure. Next week, I begin living outside the family home, staying with friends and family, visiting my children every other weekend and a couple times a week for dinner. How strange. So much is changing....quickly....and not. It is all a process. In some ways, I can look back now and see the signs, the struggles that could have been handled differently, the challenges taken on by two people often heading in different directions.

I pray as we enter this new year that Casey and I are both strong enough, kind enough and smart enough to do our very best by our beautiful children.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas


"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In Recognition of the Mundane

This is generally the time of year that work slows down as more and more people take time off for their Christmas vacation. This is normally a great time to get a lot done; all the little things that pile up and get pushed aside as low priority items. This year, I have to admit I am having a great deal of trouble concentrating. Between personal life issues, student loan repayment juggling (forebearance approved on my largest chunk of loans - yes!), networking and concerns about finding work and in which city that work needs to be, there just doesn't seem to be much brain-power left. Then I get calls from people wanting me to do life insurance comparisons, or take a survey. Really? Not so much happening, people. So, I will spend my time seeking the mundane tasks that I can do in my sleep and hope the real challenging things can wait a bit. Maybe it is best I do not have a new, exciting, challenging job right now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Missing Comments

Hey all - many of you have posted comments, which are now moderated because a few people could not keep negative comments off of either Casey's or my blog. Trouble is, I thought they would come to my email to be moderated, but ends up I had to go looking for them. (Thanks for telling me about this, Casey.)

Anyway, I did not mean to ignore any of you. I am reading all comments and have released most. I really appreciate the support for our family that I feel in most of these messages. I get that some of you are angry with one or the other of us, and are taking sides. That is your choice, of course. I hope you have not fooled yourself into thinking you understand the full story. I do not say this to in any way blame Casey. I am saying, relationships are complicated and no one ever understands what goes on in a marriage except those who are in it. Sometimes, even we stumble through blindly.

Casey has posted much about her pain and the struggle our children are having. This makes it clear that this was ultimately my decision. Please know I do not take it lightly, and truly believe that Casey is a wonderful mother and has been a loving, dedicated partner. Sometimes, even really good people are not meant to be together forever.

Our focus is on trying to figure out next steps and how to nurture the children through this transition. This is certainly not what either of us had in mind when we decided to have children, and I hate that they will now be the children of divorced parents. It will be difficult and painful for all of us. Still, I believe Casey and I will find a way to make sure they know how much we both love them and want to be with them.

I know I indicated previously that I would not say much about what we are going through, but so many of you have followed our family for so long and have expressed your concern, that I thought it most respectful to say a bit more.

Thank you to all who support our family. It will not look the way it has previously, but we will always be a family; two mothers connected by two beautiful, loving human beings.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bored on a Friday Night

I hate it when Gray's Anatomy is a rerun and Private Practice is not on. Yup, that is the situation we are in tonight. Kids are asleep. Nothing good to watch. We are watching old reruns of Will and Grace, which was a great show and I still enjoy, but it's not as much fun as something I haven't seen before. If we keep it on the rerun channel, we'll probably soon be seeing infomercials about fast weight loss and hair replacement products.

Right. Which is why I am here now, blogging and not still watching TV. I have a really low tolerance for commercials, and that later it gets, the worse the commercials. Maybe I should just go to bed.

Perhaps there will be some fun Christmas specials on tomorrow. We could record them and zip through the commercials! Love the DVR!

Toy Story Mania

Christmas bells are ringing, lists to Santa are on their way, the tree has been trimmed, the smell of baking cookies is in the air, carols are being sung, and there is a possibility of snow this weekend. Although it certainly does not feel as much like Christmas around our house as it usually does by now, it looks like Christmas. Presents hidden tell me we are getting close. The excitement in our kids eyes when they talk about Santa tells me we are getting very close, but not quite close enough for their liking.

On lists this year, since we finally got a Nintendo Wii console, are new Wii games. Well, maybe they are not actually on the lists, but we know new Wii games are always winning choices. I probably enjoy them as much as the kids. I think I like Mario Kart even more!

One of the ones I think would be fun is the new Toy Story Mania by Disney/Pixar. This is a game inspired by the movie, and the attraction in the California Adventure theme park. Players engage in 10 carnival-like shooting galleries, plus 30 mini games. Bonus level unlocks some fun-sounding 3-D play.

As a lover of all things Disney, this is an easy choice for me, and I am sure one the kids would enjoy, too. Not quite sure if it will find its way under the tree this year, but maybe! This has been put on sale in time for Christmas gift-giving and can probably be found for a pretty good price right now.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brrrr....It is COLD

I don't actually recall ever seeing the temperature being 11 degrees before. I know that in some parts of the country 11 is nearly balmy. Here, no so much. Here, 11 is ridiculous. Here, 11 makes people say to each other, "Dang, it is freakin' cold outside." Talk becomes that of what to wear to stay the warmest and why it is OK to wear jeans into the office.

The last few nights we have remembered to leave our faucets running slightly and now that I think about it, I wonder if we should flush the American Standard toilets a few times during the night, too. Baby, it is cold outside!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

For the Lovers of Reality TV

So, I see from my stats that everyone loves a good drama. I know many of you stopping by to read are friends truly concerned about our family. Others are probably the same folks hooked on reality TV, just wondering what will happen next. Hey - that's OK. If we didn't want people reading whatever it is we write, I guess these would be private blogs. To those who care - thank you.

I can only speak for myself here and say that while things are hard right now, I know somehow, someday, it will all be OK. Things will look different, not what we ever imagined, but no matter what I am the mother of two wonderful children whom I love deeply, and I will always work hard to make sure they know that. Casey and I will eventually find a nice rhythm in which to parent and I believe will be the friends we always were.

Sure, there has been some lost sleep and I may start needing anti wrinkle treatments as a result, but after the storm, there will again be sunny days and bright skies. Sometimes Hope and Faith are the best things to hold onto.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Getting Into the Spirit



This is one of my favorite Christmas albums - Christmas Eve and Other Stories by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was released in 2006, so can be found on sale for under $12. The song that most people will be familiar with is probably Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12/24.

The album notes explain that this is a concept album where each song builds upon the previous like chapters of a book.

"The plot here is of a young angel sent down to Earth to find and bring back to the Lord "the one thing that best represents everything good that has been done in the name of this day." The angel's quest takes him all over the world, through Russia and Sarajevo, until he finally hears the prayer of a father."

The album mixes instrumentals and vocals, new sounds with familiar seasonal favorites, and is simply outstanding. I love the rock opera feel, lots of electric guitar, but it's done in a really complex way. I don't know enough about music to adequately describe the Trans Siberian Orchestra sound, but I know what I like, and I really like this.

We brought our Christmas music out of the garage before Thanksgiving, along with many of the Christmas decorations. I was happy to toss this CD into my car where it will live for the rest of the month, as it has for the past three years during December. Perfect for popping into the CD player for a good dose of the Christmas season!

'Tis the Season

So, 'tis the Holiday Season, but with all the stuff going on in my personal life, it is a bit difficult to get into the mood. The house is decorated, I got the lights up outside last weekend, and tonight we put up the tree. There are tons of presents in the garage for the kids. We are all trying to feel the Christmas Spirit and I have high hopes for pulling off a great Christmas for the little ones. Tomorrow we are going to a Christmas concert that a friend is in, soon we may start taking evening runs to see the lights at night. Will it be together - as a family - or separately? I don't know.

This year, more than ever, it has been nice to take advantage of online shopping. It is so nice to know you've found what you want, ordered it, and it is on its way. No hunting for parking just to find out that the store doesn't even carry what you are looking for. We like places like Target.com and Amazon books, but seems there are tons of places for every interest. Guess I better check my list and see what still needs to be ordered. Then, when I go shopping, it is just for fun!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Very Personal Post

Divorce is an ugly word. It's like cancer or malignancy. You can tell just by looking at the word, it's bad. According to a variety of sources, about half of all US marriages end in divorce. Sad statistic for what starts out as something so full of hope.

Many of you already know that Wife and I are getting a divorce. There, I said it. I have been avoiding the word because it sounds so harsh.

I won't be posting a lot of details here, but will continue posting about my journey through life. I know some people are already taking sides, assuming they know the full story, posting nasty messages on both of our blogs. Please know that neither of us wants that, and such messages will be deleted. No one fully understands what has happened in our relationship - not my friends, not her friends - and I know this because WE do not even fully understand.

Wife - Casey - has been posting messages that will make it clear this is more my decision than hers. Still, a relationship is always about the dynamics between two people. Please know that I am not taking the decision lightly, and this has been a long time coming. Casey is a loving, wonderful woman and a terrific mother. That is all I will say about our relationship.

We both hope that our loyal readers will continue to support each of us, and our amazing children. Thank you for all of your past love and support.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Forget the rolling bookbag!

I haven't thought about a rolling laptop/book bag in about 7 months. I don't really miss my huge (yet very necessary!) book bag at all. It was like lugging around a suitcase everywhere I went. The wheels and handle were great, until I came to stairs. Lugging the weight around did keep my arms in shape, but sometimes did a number on my carpal tunnel.

During bar review, I used a simple messenger bag. It was big enough for my laptop, wallet, pens and paper, one study book, and even a snack. Most of the study books lived in the back of my car, and I swapped them out as needed.

So, what is the point of all this? The point is, now that I don't have to worry as much about function, when shopping for bags, I can consider form. Check this out:



This bag, on sale for $59.99 (free shipping!) It is a nicely designed messenger bag that looks great, too. There is a padded section for carrying a laptop, room for a notebook, plus an organizer section for ID, cell phone, MP3 player, and more. I like the classic look of the black with brown trim. It neither screams "work," nor "school," nor "weekend getaway," but could be used for all. Do I need another bag in my life? Probably as much as a I need a new jacket or watch, but that won't keep me from looking!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving week! I have so much to be thankful for - for being done with school, for passing the bar exam, for full-time employment while I am looking for "real" work, for my family, my friends, my health, a roof over my head, a car that runs well, food in the 'frig....so, so much. I hope you are all equally blessed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Leapster Mania

I may occasionally bash electronics for kids, but let me set the record straight. Sometimes, I love them and believe they can be great learning tools...OK, and babysitters. Take for instance the Leapfrog Leapster. This is a wonderful toy that both of our kids loved! It is a handheld computer device that operates various game cartridges, much like a beginning model of a Nintendo Gameboy or DS.

The Leapster is for younger kids than these other two devices though, and is actually designed to be educational. There are games that help with learning numbers, alphabet, shapes, math, spelling and more. Many cartridges are themed around popular characters or movies, like Dora the Explorer, Thomas the Train, and the Disney Princesses.

Boy Wonder's Leapster, that he got at about age 3, was green, and he used to play it for hours. As he got older, we bought more advanced games to fit his readiness level and interests. Our Little Princess started messing around with her brother's games far before she could understand them, but once she did, she realized they were "boy" games and wanted ones more suited to her. We got her a few "girl" games, and eventually a pink Leapster, partly to make her happy, but mostly because between the two of them, the old one had taken quite a beating and did not always function properly anymore. This is not to say they are easily breakable. They are not. These are tough toys, made for real kids that do play rough sometimes.

I love that the Leapster allows the kids to play video games while learning really important skills, plus, it is perfect for keeping them busy while waiting in lines, riding in the car, sitting in a restaurant, or just any time. It's the right time of year to find a Leapster on sale at many places. This is one toy you will not be sorry you bought!

Slacker Finally Posting

OK, so its been a slow posting week. Would you believe my dog ate my update? No?

Seems like time for a Friday update.

What has the week held? Well - hop on over to Wife's blog to see cute pictures of the kids' visit with Santa a couple days ago. We are already on the third Santa visit of the year. This one was at Picture People and was pretty adorable. (I've already blocked out the memories of the kids' crazy behavior posing for pictures when Santa was not in the room.)

Last night we attended the Harvest Festival at Boy Wonder's school. It was a spaghetti feed, with carnival games, raffles, bake sale and autumn photos. This was all thanks to the PTO, which Wife is Co-President of, and the wonderful volunteers. It was a very successful event, and the kids had a great time playing games, winning prizes, and then for Boy Wonder, trading them with his friends. He seems to have reached an age where trading things is a lot of fun. He's even trading in his Build-a-Bear Bearville online computer game.

On the networking front I attempted or actually made email contact with about 9 people, completed 2 informational interviews, received about 6 new contact names. Although I am currently so tired that it is hard to feel enthusiastic about anything, I think it was overall a pretty good week.

Happy Weekend everybody!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Realities of Electronics

Today a friend and I were comparing the lives of our children with our own childhoods with regards to multiple input. It is not unusual for a child today to be texting and listening to an iPod, while talking to a friend sitting next to her, and there might even be a TV or computer game involved, as well. No doubt kids are better multitaskers when it comes to digital input than many of us adults, but what is the long-term impact? Are they increasing mental abilities, or simply not developing the capacity to really focus, or have much of an attention span?

One of my friend's doctors has suggested the latter, based on an article for which I do not have a reference. She said the tvs, cell phones, and other electronic devices need to be strictly limited until over the age of 18. This makes sense on some level, but there is the reality that children have to compete in the real world. Taking away their technology might put them at a serious disadvantage - limiting their skills and understanding of cultural norms and expectations. On the other hand, it could give them a distinct advantage. Maybe they would develop skills lacking in many of their peers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Taking Charge of a Monday

It was a nice weekend. Wife and I went to see The Time Traveler's Wife, which was quite good, especially given the complexity of the book. We did a bit of Holiday shopping, spent some good family time together, and I even managed to clean some of the gutters. Perhaps the next rain storm will not lead to a week's worth of dripping from the gutter onto our patio as said gutter overflows!

Some days it is hard to keep a positive perspective on the job search, or maybe I should just call it "Project Network." Although there is an occassional non-lawyer job posted that I could, and do, apply for, by and large that is not how people get jobs, and really not how new lawyers get hired. It's mostly word-of-mouth, unless you were fortunate enough to actually have clerked for a place in a position to make a job offer. I did not.

At any rate, I did not give in to the "blahs" today! I wanted to, but instead I took a walk in the chilly November air, then sent out 6 emails to folks to whom I've been referred, and actually did conduct one brief informational interview. Now, I have the ball rolling for the week! Yeah, me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Networking Happenings

Networking update - again, I remain grateful for the generosity of those willing to spend time offering advice and insight to me as a new graduate and job hunter. My progress this week has involved eight outgoing emails, responses on about half, one completed informational interview, two new contact names, four names that I already had (second referrals) and three people who all want to call me tomorrow. Friday seems to be the meeting day for these busy attorneys. I was also reminded of three professional organizations that I needed to look into for activities and other information. I also listened to one Career Services workshop session regarding networking.

One interesting thing that has happened in the course of my conversations is that another field of law related to environmental law, tribal law, has been suggested to me as a possible area to pursue. This interests me greatly, and is a good fit with my undergrad studies. So many possible paths on this journey!

So, for those of you looking, as I am, or those still in school who may someday find yourself in my position, this is what I'm doing about a month after being sworn in. I certainly remain optimistic that the right contact is just around the corner, or has maybe even already been made. All it takes is just one person, at the right time.

Online Education

Isn't it interesting how even a few years ago, online higher education degrees were just coming into popularity, and there were really only a few schools doing it? Now, it seems like the options are plentiful - both via traditional schools that are now offering programs online through a virtual campus, or through speciality schools who only offer online programs.

I came across a degree program for Organizational leadership masters the other day and read through a bit of their material. I could be mistaken about this, but it seems to me that this type of program is really geared towards the more practical components of a higher degree, rather than a lot of theory. It seems like that is what the target market would want. These programs are mainly aimed at adults with jobs who are fitting an online program into an already busy life. These people want to gain practical skills that they can put to use, rather than spending hours (years!) on academic theory.

It will be interesting to see how this trend develops over the next decade, and whether the online universities are ultimately given as much respect as a degree earned at a traditional school.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All the Answers

Yesterday was our Little Princess' first day of her 7-week, 2-day-per week preschool run by the local high school. She was so excited, and has been for months! She is so ready for school, and thankfully, had a truly wonderful day.

Last night, when I got home, she noticed that the dogs had left muddy footprints on the kitchen floor and wanted to mop them up. She has her own kid-sized cleaning tools, so she got out the mop, and the bucket, that I do not believe we've ever let her use except for the purpose of carrying around supplies. She informed me that the old-fashioned way of mopping is to fill the bucket and dunk the mop. I agreed, and even finally agreed she could put a little bit of water in the bucket.

As she filled her bucket, I told her not to get it too full. Here was her response, full of 4-going-on-14 attitude and delivered with the patience one reserves for those who are a bit mentally slow:

"I am a big girl now, Mom. I am in school now, you know!"

Well, guess she told me!

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Count!


Ha! This is a picture from our work party that was just sent to me. Reminds me how crappy I was feeling last week! Still, I made a pretty fine vampire! :) (My make-up during the next night's Trunk or Treat was even better.)

My Week in Review

So, we've reached another Friday.

My week did not end as well as it started.

Boy Wonder has been out of school, experiencing a fever all week. Doc checked him on Tuesday for possibilities of pneumonia, but he's clear - Thank God - and cough seems to be getting better.

Only spoke with two attorneys this week on the networking road, but do have two more set up for next week, and one that is on constant reschedule. I have several emails out there awaiting responses. I sent three new ones today.

Student loans have me in a state of panic/depression/run-for-the-border and change my name. I am looking into my options, and although it seems bad now, I think it will actually end up OK, or close to OK. Clearly, when I entered law school, and took on so much debt, I did not count on the economy being in the toilet. Eventually, the tide will turn, and I know I will be happy for my fancy credentials. Today, well, the tide is out.

Here is something good about this week:
Jake Drake: Class Clown. This is a chapter book that I started reading to the kids at bedtime this week. Wife found it for Boy Wonder. It is a fun book - about a second-grader trying to deal with a grumpy student teacher who won't smile and is making everyone's life miserable. He finds power in becoming the class clown. I think I may be enjoying it even more than the kids, although, Little Princess was laughing out loud, slightly hysterical, at the antics two nights ago.

Yes, that is a good thing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Confession

Today's confession: I apparently am about 12.

Ever attend one of those meetings that you are sure is going to be all talk and no substance, and then sit across from a friend that you've recently talked to about playing Bullsh*t Bingo at said meeting? Yes, me too - yesterday. My friend and I should not have sat across from each other where we could catch each other's eye, because that was all it took to nearly send me into spasms of laughter. I was so close to losing it entirely. I tried looking at the floor, the ceiling, my can of Coke. I tried thinking of serious subjects. I settled for nearly biting my tongue in half while thinking, "You are a professional. Pull yourself together." You got it - that just made it worse.

Remember the "Chuckles the Clown" funeral scene from Mary Tyler Moore? OK, many of you are too young for that reference. There was something more recent.....George's funeral on Gray's Anatomy. I was afraid that was where I was headed yesterday - totally inappropriate laughter over something that wasn't even funny.

Ah, good times.

Maybe today I can snicker if someone says the word "duty."

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Networking Update

It appears that I am finally getting the upper hand on what has probably been a case of H1N1. Beyond the first couple days of being mostly miserable, it just left me, and Wife, wiped out. Today, it is actually past noon and I am still functioning well. Boy Wonder has had a relapse, so we are watching him closely for signs of a secondary infection, but so far, appears to be either another bug, or an actual relapse. We've been in touch with his doc so we know what to watch for in case he needs to be seen.

I had mentioned tracking the job search here, but then last week was pretty much a lost week all around. This week, I have already made two phone appointments for informational interviews and completed one of them. The other would have been completed yesterday, but the other attorney got tied up, so we had to reschedule. ("Other attorney" - that sounds pretty good, right?)

I have over 40 people on my networking list - some I have met and/or spoken with, others are names that have recently been given to me and I still need to contact. Everyone I have spoken with has been so generous with their time and ideas, and many have offered names of colleagues they think may be able to offer useful advice. There is much good work being done out there, I just have to find my way in!

Monday, November 02, 2009

A Rewarding Late Start


After a great weekend of Halloween fun, Boy Wonder awoke with a fever this morning. We may be heading into Round 2 of this thing, and most of us were not at 100% from Round 1. Ugh.

So, because I was quite tired and moving slowly, then taking care of the boy, I got a late start out the door this morning. I rushed to my car to be greeted with ice covering the windshield. Great. I started the car and called in to Wife to please open the garage door, because my ice scraper had been tossed in the garage in favor of Friday's trunk or treat decorations - tombstones, spider webs, spiders, spooky lights and dry ice. (I suspect photos can be, or soon will be, found on Wife's blog.) She graciously came out and scraped my windshield (Thanks, honey!) while I ran back in the house for a quick potty break - fearing my late start would mean a long drive in.

A few minutes later, I was on my way, and was rewarded with a spectacular sunrise - full of that amazing pink-orange color rarely enjoyed outside of sunrise or sunset. As I drove across the bridge, the sunrise colors spread out behind the mountain and then stretched into purples and blues, and then into a low lying fog bank. It was simply magical. I half-expected a castle to appear from behind the fog. By the time I arrived at work, the sun was up, and it was clear it was going to be a beautiful morning. I snapped the above shot on my way from the parking lot.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trunk or Treat!

Tomorrow night is Trunk or Treat at Boy Wonder's school. Parents decorate their trunks and the kids do the trick or treat thing by going car to car. The kids and I bought our decorations a couple weeks ago - before we all got sick. We have some tombstones, spider webbing, the requisite spiders, plus a scary sounds Halloween CD to pop into the player for the proper ambiance. We also have two big plastic tableclothes, Halloween-themed, of course, that will probably just about cover my little Scion xA. We do need some kind of lighting. I'm not sure if the interior light will do the trick. Maybe a large flashlight for backlighting behind the tombstones, or some kind of led tail lights would do the trick. I'm considering picking up some dry ice for a nice fog effect. We'll see how I'm feeling by tomorrow night. Right now, it is lunch time, and I am feeling like a nap would be good.

I'm Back!

I may not quite be at full speed, yet, but I'm in the running! Today I went to work, accomplished work-related tasks, and managed to dress up for Halloween! (See Wife's blog for pictures.) I am a vampire - no, not with the short black skirt and black tights - black pants, black chrome-studded belt (something about that belt says "vampire" to me) white shirt, vest, cape, and make up that makes me look as bad as I felt a couple days ago!

Today, I guess we best wash all the towels, counters, kitchen faucets, door knobs...etc....and hope we don't recycle our germs around the family again. I figured if you had H1N1 once, that was it....Wife heard a rumor that it may not be the case. Well shoot, what was the point of getting it once then?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Road to Recovery - Day 5

So, for anyone counting, this makes Day 5 of sickness for me. I think we're pretty comfortable with saying we all had H1N1. Our pediatrician said that at this point, any sickness with a high fever is most likely H1N1. Kids are doing great. The Little Princess has started with some cold symptoms today, but overall feels good. Quite an improvement over the end of last week for her! Wife and I are still VERY tired and could use quiet children right now. My headache has subsided and I think I may actually be able to go to work tomorrow.

Yup - tomorrow I may be among the living, doing emails, reviewing contracts, checking out our website directory, and avoiding everyone else's germs! I think I may dress up as a vampire - with white make-up and dark eyes. Here's my line for when people ask how I am:

"I'm still feeling a little pale." *grin*

Higher Education

Down sick again today. Ugh.

I can imagine a time that I will once again be calling up alumni, networking, dealing with my student loans, but for now, figuring out how to navigate the TV remote is about my speed.

Speaking of loans, and higher education, it seems that the latest and greatest in higher education are the online degree programs. The place where I work is moving more and more focus and funding in that direction. It makes sense to cater to what not just the up and coming generation wants, but also what fits into the schedule of adults returning to school - mostly working parents with day jobs. Online may be a perfect answer for that demographic.

Although I am personally past even wanting to think about school, the Western Governor's University is one that if I were at a different point in life, I'd want to look into. Their website has a good deal of information about how and why the online university was formed, their theory of education, their accrediting bodies , and their National Advisory Board, which is filled with prestigious organizations. They deal with both graduate and undergraduate degrees, with a variety of specialties. Their tuition is very affordable, especially when compared with what I paid. I would say it is comparable with my undergrad degree...20 years ago!

The site has a lot of information, and for anyone considering going to, or back to, college, I would think this would be something really worth investigating.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mindless Fun

This weekend, even though we were all sick, was kind of fun. Wife and I stole a couple hours here and there watching the old Beverly Hills 90210 while the kids were in the living room watching their own shows. Another confession - we record the old 90210 series. It is such good, mindless fun and reminds us of "the good ol' days." It is really enjoyable to make fun of Brenda's drama, Kelly's bitchiness, Dylan's tragic life, Steve's self-centeredness....and the rest. Brandon, however, is still impeachable. Gotta love Brandon. Anyway, recording the show is fun - no commercials, no Foreman Grill, no nuphedragen, no latest craze exercise contraption. Just crazy teen/early 20-something drama. It was just our speed this weekend....and yesterday....and today. Wow - I hope I am better tomorrow!

Not Part of the In Crowd

Do you ever feel like you are part of the "out" crowd? OK, that is a little funny since I am "out" and all....but I mean, technologically. I have a confession to make: I do not have an iphone, iphone accessories, or even a wanna-be iphone. My phone does not have a full QWERTY keyboard, does not surf the net, or order pizza for me. Well....sometimes that last one. *grin* Somehow, I do manage to make phone calls and send text messages, but one of these days, probably about the time something really new and cool comes out, I'll get an iphone!

Not Having Much Fun

Thought I was doing better last night. Today - bad headache and so tired. Kids tried to stay quiet and had some good moments, but they are feeling fine and not so much into being quiet. Ugh. I did not even feel good enough for Wii or playstation 3. OK, we don't really have a playstation, but today, it would not have mattered. Yesterday, I played Wii Mario Kart for a short time. Today, not so much feeling it. Though, maybe suggesting some video games for the kids later would be a good plan. More peace and quiet is just what I need!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bouncing Back Up

You know that nasty flu that is going around? The one we've all been hearing far too much about? It seems to have struck our family. Last Thursday, our Little Princess came down with a fairly high fever and laid around on the couch all day watching TV and napping. It was sad. By after school Friday, Boy Wonder had a high fever too, though the Princess was feeling "medium" with no more fever.

Wife and I both said a sad good-bye to our fun weekend plans - a visit to see her family, and a celebration of passing the bar and getting sworn in with my friends. By day's end, I too was feeling feverish, and though the thermometer never confirmed it, think I was hit too - headache, sore throat, tired....Wife felt much the same.

Today I stayed home from work, Boy Wonder stayed home from school, and we all continued Day Three of being shut-ins. (Wife notes it was her Day Five...ugh!) At one point, the rain was pouring down and the Princess really wanted to go on a rain walk. No one had a fever anymore, and we all needed to get out of the house, so we figured, "What the heck!" We took the dogs, and went splashing through our neighborhood. The kids managed to find a puddle deep enough to flood right into their boots! I was happy I'd bought a waterproof pair of women shoes last year that are really more like boots. We played Good Samaritan and unclogged the drain that was causing the huge deep puddle....it was quite impressive when the water finally started flooding into the drain - it swirled down just like a giant toilet. Very fun for us all!

We don't yet know what tomorrow will bring. So far, no fevers at all today. That is good news!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Things That Make You Go...Hmmmmm...

You know how sometimes when you are surfing the web you come across something you just have to share?

Then you think - who is the right person to share this with? Will it offend so and so?

Then, you do something crazy and just post it to your blog, because, well, people come there to read your strange stuff, so reader beware.

So, now, without further delay - I smuggly present today's oddity:



Yes, today I found on sale the straight-jacket backpack. I have no idea about the size - I suspect it to be more of a fashionable purse size - something you could put a wallet, keys and a flask in - but does it really matter? Now, it is seriously questionable that I would ever actually carry anything this close to a purse, but c'mon, the humor factor is high here! It also comes in white. Perhaps it would be a great accessory for a Halloween costume, or a prize at a Halloween party, or maybe you just need it for that special night out on the town you've been planning. You KNOW the looks you'd get. You want one, don't you?

A Good Read

Ever since reading The Da Vinci Code, I have loved Dan Brown. I first read it at some point over the last three years. This was one of the best books I'd read in a long time. I've since gone back and found Angels and Demons and Deception Point. I've not read Digital Fortress or the new one, The Lost Symbol. I will though. I am just spacing them out a bit so I can really enjoy each one unto itself. (Besides, I already have three other books going - all non-fiction, which I find easier to start and stop and keep several juggling at once.)

What is amazing is the way Dan Brown weaves mystery, science and religion all together an a way that is fascinating. To call his books "page turners" is an understatement. I was at a bookstore not long ago and came across a book on sale
called Beyond Angels and Demons: The Truth Behind the Fiction. Though I did not buy it on the spot, I did pick it up and flip through it. Fascinating!




This book covers many of the historical places and objects that are discussed in the book, Angels and Demons. It is interesting getting a "behind the scenes" glimpse at the real life objects and their symbolism, beyond Dan Brown's portrayal. Although this is certainly not the definitive book on Catholic symbolism, fans of the book are likely to be intrigued. As I said, I did not buy it, yet, but if I see it on sale again, I may pick it up!

Watch Out!

There comes a moment in every woman's life where she must ask herself, "Do I have enough watches?"

I believe I now have 10-15, but the answer is still, "no." I do not yet have this beauty by Fossil:



There is just something about watches - the balance of form and function - that pleases me. The funny thing is, ever since the birth of our first child, I rarely wear a watch. When Boy Wonder was born, I didn't want to snag him with the watch, plus there was all the hand-washing, and bathing of the baby, and well, lots of reasons that it didn't matter what time it was.

Now, I love buying a nice watch on sale, or even better, receiving one as a gift. I add each new treasure to my collection, look at it frequently, wear it sometimes, and appreciate it always. Take the above watch, for instance, it is not just your average watch. It is brown, water resistant, sports a tiny diamond, and features three chronograph dials. Don't ask me what the heck those do, beside look cool, because it doesn't really matter. I don't even need the watch to keep time. I have my cell phone for that. Still, keeping accurate time is a bonus, particularly if the phone is not handy. No reason to believe this battery-powered quartz movement watch would not be an excellent time-keeper.

I bet this watch feels good. Nice weight, pleasant texture, and would probably draw compliments.

Maybe I am just a freak, but I suspect there are other watch-lovers out there just like me.

The L Word - The Final Season


It's been awhile since I extolled the virtues of The L Word. This partly because the show ended its final season last March, and partly because it was not as good in its later seasons as the early ones. Still as the only lesbian-centered drama, it was ground-breaking television, and even when the story lines were weak, the eye-candy was pleasing. Kate Moennig, Jennifer Beals - no one can really complain about that!

I have just realized that the Final Season is on sale in DVD, and I believe is the only season we are missing from our collection. The final season was only 8 episodes, and centered around the murder investigation of one of their own. In the first episode, Jenny, who was always a bit of a psycho - sometimes lovably so, and often not, is found dead in the pool. Through each proceeding show, we find that pretty much everyone had motive and opportunity to be the one who killed her. In the end, there is no resolution. Maybe she even killed herself. The resolution, or lack thereof, drew a lot of criticism from loyal fans for director Ilene Chaiken. Many saw it as a pubicity stunt for her potential next SHO project, which would have been a spin-off of The L Word (it was not picked up by SHOWTIME). Others just thought it unfair and poor story-telling. She basically claims that who did it is not important, because in the end, it was a show about relationships, and that theme remained true throughout, even to the final scene.

Always entertaining television, even when frustrating, this is one set I will eventually own.

First Friday Report - There Will Be More

Happy Friday!

It is dark, rainy and rather depressing, but here I am, making the best of it. Our Little Princess was down with a fever yesterday, but is hopefully on the road to recovery today. This morning looks promising, anyway. There is nothing quite like a fever to act as an appetite suppressant. Poor girl ate almost nothing yesterday and laid around like a lump watching TV most of the day. Today, she is already much more active and seems more like herself. Let's hope it was just a 24-hour virus, or extremely mild H1N1, and that the rest of us stay healthy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Take What You Can Get



Apparently, leaves are what I've got this week.

Actually, it has been a relatively good week, but things are feeling rather "Blah" today.

On the networking front, I have spoken with 2 or 3 attorneys this week, made contact with another, and had about 6-7 names given to me. People are being so generous with their time, and when they are passionate about what they do, their energy is contagious. I best not speak with any criminal defense lawyers! Who knows where may career might end up!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Colors of Fall


Happy Monday! Fall has definitely arrived. This picture shows a sample of the amazing colors we are blessed to be surrounded by in this beautiful part of the country. I know, I know, I need a better camera. Just when I was about to start taking a decent one to work to capture these moments, our Little Princess dropped our spare camera and it is now broken. Have no idea if it will cost more to repair it or buy a new one, and it probably will not be a priority to find out for a while. Maybe the after-Thanksgiving sales will hold attractive prices. I have a feeling repair wil not be cheap.

Anyway - back to the leaves! I suspect that soon on Wife's blog there will be some fun pictures of the family and I playing in the leaves. After crazy rain on Saturday, it dried out enough on Sunday for the kids to decide it was time to rake, pile, jump and throw. Fun times!

I hope you all have as many easy opportunities as I do to experience the beauty that surrounds us.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Approaches


I love Halloween! Even though we have never really gone crazy with the decorations or created our own haunted house, it is one of those things that I love the idea of doing. There are so many wonderful, creepy decorations easily available these days, and costumes that are great.

I've only purchased a couple ready-made costumes in my adult life, preferring to create my own by going to a second-hand store, or raiding my own closet. The ones I have purchased though have been fun, and frankly, way easier than the do-it-yourself method.

A few years ago I was a knight - the costume came with pants, shirt, headpiece, and shoe covers that looked like boots....all very cool. This year I do not know what, if anything, I will dress as, but here is a great vampire costume. Is there anything more intriguing than a vampire?

Yes, I know this is a man's costume, but c'mon, does anyone who knows me really see me in a really short skirt and black stockings? I didn't think so. This is the perfect costume - long, black velvet cape, white shirt, vest, and for a touch of humor - a bat-shaped bow tie. Add my own black pants, and I would be set for the night! Another great thing about pre-made, store-bought costumes is that you can put them in a bag after Halloween, stow them away until needed, and all the parts are right there. No digging around to try to remember how you'd made the robot, the pirate, or the police officer in year's past.

In these last two weeks before the big night, there are bound to be lots of these great costumes on sale all over the place. Guess I should be considering this, especially since the kids like for us to dress up when we take them out trick or treating!

Lawyers Don't Just Defend Criminals

OK, so I should also have said in the previous post that I'd not be pursuing a career as a Tacoma car accident lawyer, either. Funny, when my mom first mentioned to me when I was about 18 that I should be a lawyer, all the stereotypical lawyers popped into my head, and I loudly proclaimed, "Why would I want to defend criminals?" I did not think about all the possible areas of law there were, or for what other kinds of work going to law school might prepare me. I didn't consider business or tax law, tribal law, animal law, civil rights law, public interest law, patent law, or environmental law. I only thought about criminal law. Perhaps I was raised with a tad too much TV? *grin*

The Job Search

I have this thought that I may lay out some of my job search strategies, adventures and roadblocks on this blog. After all, I covered a lot of the actual law school drama and the next logical step is the job search. Will this be interesting? I don't know, but I can try!

Maybe for others out there, it will offer some comfort that I'm going through the same thing as you are, and for law students, maybe there will be some useful dos and don'ts I can provide.

For those not familiar with my area of interest, I want to find a job in the environmental field, energy or natural resources are among my top choices, but I am really interested in almost all related areas. I am not interested in litigation. I am interested in either private firms, government agencies, or private companies. I'd love to work for a non-profit, but those to whom I owe a great deal of money probably would not be thrilled with that option. :) Traditional attorney work, or something outside the norm is equally appealing.

I won't fall into well-known categories of New York accident lawyers, public defenders, or criminal prosecutors that we all see on TV, but I am confident there is something out there that will be really interesting, and help me pay those darn loans!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just Another Day

I was so going to blog earlier in the day, but now I find myself in a rush to get this done before I must move to the next activity, which happens to be driving home! Today was not particularly remarkable. Fall has set in, and though not raining, it was dreary. I fear it will be a long winter. I am very tired today. At least I do not have the flu and am not experiencing malignant Mesothelioma treatment, I am simply tired.

Here - I do have some positive things: Today I spoke with two alumni from my law school, one who is also an alumni of my undergrad school, and they both had some interesting information to share. I got one new person to contact, plus an invitation to call back tomorrow after one of the attorneys has a chance to think about who he would recommend I contact. I love forward momentum! Yes, that feels good!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Picky Eater

What to do with a 4-year-old who only eats pasta, scrambled eggs, Trix cereal, yogurt and applesauce? It's not like we want to give her a diet supplement. We want her to eat a wider variety of foods. To be fair, she has recently started eating a few more things - a bagel and cream cheese; the whole thing, not just the cream cheese part. About two weeks ago she ate part of a peanut butter sandwich, the first peanut butter she has been willing to try. There was something else recently, but I don't remember what it was. When she really surprises me by trying a new food, I fall over in shock and amazement. This is usually enough to get her to eat another bite or two. Hey - whatever it takes!

Nibbling Through the Day

I don't know if it is this week's onset of truly fall-like weather, but I have been so hungry all morning! I finally had some cheese and crackers at 11:00 to hold me over until lunch time. Now, I get that cheese and crackers is probably not the
best way to lose belly fat, but since starting on my green smoothies every morning, I don't feel so bad about some of my less healthy choices at other times of the day. I admit though, that I do have less cravings for some favored junk foods, and meat/chicken, than before drinking the smoothies. I had read that could happen, but I didn't really believe it. One of the best things I've had to eat this week were some frozen french cut green beans that come with their own seasoning packet and slivered almonds. YUM!

Lucky Day?

Today feels like a lucky day! I have found three jobs to apply for - and all three sound interesting. None are actually traditional lawyer jobs, but that is OK with me. I want to do interesting work, and if I happen to find it in an actual 9-5 job with no billable hour requirements - more power to me, right? OK, OK, I get that if I have found these jobs, that means they are posted, and 18,492 other people will also have found them and be applying for them...but still...a good sign to find open jobs!

I have expanded my search to not only our metropolitan area, but one about 3 hours away. Would we really move? I don't know, but nice to feel like I have the flexibility, and hey - a job is a job, right? Now, I don't think I'll be looking for any Denver apartments soon, but a move three hours away to near where Wife's family lives? That is fairly realistic.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In Need of Color

I rarely wear any kind of make-up. Once I arrived at work today, dressed up for my lunch with the attorney I mentioned in the previous post, I realized that on some days, that may not be a good thing. The fall weather hit in earnest today - cold and blustery - and I noticed I was looking a bit pale. There are certainly days I could use a bit of color and some knowledge of the best eye creams! As it turns out, walking for a couple blocks in the wind gave my cheeks a nice rosy appearance and I believe I looked completely healthy by the time my lunch date arrived! I think a better plan would be a tropical vacation, but I guess the wind-blown look will do for now!

Eating and Celebrating

It has been a nice couple of weeks with famiy and friends taking me out to eat and celebrating the real end of law school. If I keep it up, I will need to research weight loss pills or else my suits soon will not fit, despite my delicious green smoothie each morning! Today I went to lunch with one of the mentor's my school/career services assigned to me last year. It ended up, totally coincidentally, that I had done work for her firm during the summer before we were connected as mentor/mentee. I found out that this year she will be teaching the energy law class that I took two years ago, so we had fun discussing what that would be like for her, and me sharing what the class is like from a student perspective. It is nice to be reflecting back on being a student rather than in the midst of it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Swearing In Day


My swearing in day last Thursday was a really remarkable day, and since my Wife got some great photos, I figured I best blog about it!

Wife, Little Princess and I arrived at the auditorium where the ceremony was to be held a bit later than anticipated due to parking challenges, but still in plenty of time to get good seats. I stood in line waiting to do paperwork, while they went into the auditorium. The paperwork I ended up doing was actually signing the oath that I'd later be repeating after the Chief Justice of (my state's) Supreme Court. I also received a TON of paperwork from the Bar....member directory, CLE information, PLF info, and more.

We were able to sit with our families, listen to the words of encouragement from Bar Association members and members of the Supreme Court, and when the time came, we were asked to rise and repeat the oath. It was unreal, and fun, and felt like the last step in a very long journey. (I know, it is also the first step in a different journey as I enter the profession, but one trip at a time!) My mom sat on one side of me, Princess on the other and then on my lap, and Wife one sometimes empty seat away, depending on where the little girl was. It was wonderful to have my mom with me since this has been a special journey for her, too. I SO should have listened to her over 20 years ago when she said that I should be a lawyer! KIDS - Always listen to your mother(s)!

After the event, as we were walking back to our car, we crossed paths with the Chief Justice and another of the justices. They congratulated me, shook my hand, and made polite remarks to my family about the Princess and her doll with the matching dress, which by the way, is adorable. Then Mom, (God bless moms!) asked if she could get a picture of me with them. I NEVER would have asked, but realized at the time how this would be a very cool memory and story.



Yes, I look a bit dorky, or as Wife said, "embarrassed." Yes, I was. Still....a fun photo.

My mom and step-dad took us out for lunch, and afterwards we enjoyed a stroll around the capital building and grounds. Here are a few other shots from the day:






There you have it!

To those who just found out last Friday that you passed - this will be you in two more weeks! Congratulations!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Is It Real?

I have been an officially recognized lawyer now for three days. Wow.
It is stunning really.

I am a lawyer.

I can say the words over and over, and still, they don't sound quite true. I went to a lot of school. I studied a lot. Does that qualify me to be a lawyer?

Yes, apparently it does! (Well, as long as I also passed the bar exam and had my application accepted by the bar.)

Now, I just have to find a real legal job. I mean, a job related to the law, not that what I have been doing is illegal. :) There have just been 417 new lawyers admitted to my state, so that is no easy feat. (We won't even mention the economy here.) Good thing there are so many specialty areas - criminal law, public defense, business law, social security disability law and related topics, tribal law, tax law, animal law, and of course, my personal favorite, environmental law. At least we don't all want to do the same thing!

Stay-tuned for a few pictures and a recap of my swearing in ceremony.

Discovering an Old Favorite

I love discovering old TV shows that haven't been on for a while that I loved at the time, missed when they were over, and then slowly drifted out of my memory. Today, when I was surfing the web, I found an ad for Early Edition. Does anyone else fondly remember this show? It was about a guy whose newspaper frequently gave him tomorrow's headlines rather than today's, and he had the day to prevent whatever disaster was being forecast.



As I write about it, I realize this is very similar to Eli Stone, a more recent series that I totally loved, but that was apparently too cutting edge and controversial for mainstream TV (read: offended the religious right). I suspect there were many others with a similar formula, but Early Edition was definitely a good one, from about 10+ years ago. The main character was lovably charming, in a boy-next-door sort of way, and you always felt a little sorry that he had the burden of this "gift". He always managed to make the necessary alterations to the day's events so that things worked out in the end, and the headline's predicted disaster changed to a more favorable one. At least, that is the way I recall it. It would have to be that way, wouldn't it? Who would tune in to watch a guy fail week after week?

At any rate, I see this series, seasons 1 and 2 (which are probably all there were) is now on sale - do a Google Search, check Buy.com, or maybe just check your favorite local store. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Swearing In

...as in "taking an oath" not as in "using foul-language".

Tomorrow - Thursday, October 8th, I will be sworn in as an Officer of the Court! How amazing and cool and rather unreal is that?

Answer: VERY!

Wife, Daughter, Mom and Step-Dad will be attending the ceremony, which is being held in our state capital (the city, not the building) about an hour away from us. I will be wearing a new suit that I've had for about year, but never worn. OK - and actually just had the pants hemmed this week. (Thank you, Wife, for picking them up today!)

It feels great to have reached this milestone. Odd. I'd never really thought about this one....but really, this one makes all the rest official.

Over the last couple of days, I have been feeling especially grateful to all those who helped me to get through law school, the Bar Exam, and the crazy-making wait for the results of the Bar Exam. (My thoughts are with those of you still awaiting results!) Many, many people have helped in both large and small ways. Thank you to you all!

Those whose help I am particularly grateful for know who they are, but hey - a little blog love is always nice!

Thanks to Wife, Boy Wonder, Our Little Princess, my Mom, my Step-Dad, Nikk, and Chris. Thank you for putting up with the craziness, the long-hours, the whining, the desperate phone calls, and not having me around nearly as much as you'd like. You all have my eternal gratitude.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Gratitude




This was the sunrise this morning.

Unfortunately, my little cell phone camera did not capture the beautiful colors that graced the sky on my way in to work.

Still, I wanted to share this and wish everyone a joyous week!

Friday, October 02, 2009

I'm A Green Smoothie Addict

A law school friend of mine told me during bar exam prep that one of the things that really got her through school was switching to a raw food diet, which included green smoothies.

I had been making fruit and yogurt smoothies for me and Boy Wonder for a while at that point, so the idea of making them even more healthy was appealing. I asked her some questions, started throwing a little lettuce into the blender now and then, but was not crazy about the taste it added. Then a random email from Green Smoothie Girl popped into my mailbox. I checked out her site, talked it over a bit with Wife, after a few weeks, ordered the book advertised on her website.



I've only read bits and pieces, but have been drinking a green smoothie a day for about a week and a half...OK, less, because we did not have them while at the beach. I have to admit though, that I craved them. It was exactly what I wanted one afternoon. My friend said they were addictive. She was right! I feel really good about putting good food into by body and do feel somewhat more energized.

For me, so far the biggest "secret" is to use spinach because it has a very mild flavor....so about three big handfuls or so of spinach, a cup of two of water, some ice, blend well, then start adding whatever fresh or frozen fruit you want, enough to fill the blender. No other veggies....no dairy....there is some reason in the book for this, but I do not recall it right now. You end up with all the great nutrition of the spinach, but the taste of the fruit. Yum!

Adults are supposed to have a quart a day. Wife and have have only been having about half that, partly due to the size of our blender, and partly because of how many ingredients would be required. Boy Wonder also has nearly as much as we do each morning.

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be a Green Smoothie missionary, I would have thought you were nuts!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

THANK YOU!!



Time for some serious gratitude!

THANK YOU
to my family, my friends, my friends who are like family, my occasional readers - all of you - for your wonderful support over the past four years! It has been amazingly therapeutic to come to this space, to share bits of my life with you - the joys, the sorrows, the frustrations, the class moments where I was so bored I wanted to poke my eyes out with something sharp....It was wonderful to post a message and know my friends would soon be reading it, and laughing your *sses off knowing it wasn't you in my place. :)

Seriously - thank you for your friendship and support of me and my family. Our days were made easier because of you.

No, this is not an "end-of-blog" message. It is simply a message of sincere gratitude and acknowledgment that I did not reach my goals of graduating from law school and passing the bar alone.

I look forward to continuing this journey with you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Time to Stop at the Bars!

Enough of this passing the bar nonsense. It is high time I start stopping at these fine establishments! That is exactly what I have been doing!


A celebratory drink with my co-workers!





Note the distressingly empty glass behind the work of art that was my shrimp and crab cocktail on the night of the good news!



CHEERS!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I PASSED!!!!

WAHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!



I could not have imagined sweeter words than those on the other end of the line, "That name is on the pass list. Congratulations!"

Thursday night we decided to head to the beach for a three-night stay. Results would be available at 2:00 on Friday. Good news - bad news - at least we'd be at the beach. Friday Wife and I about made ourselves sick counting down the hours until the 2:00 call-in time. We'd had a fun morning playing on the beach with the kids, eating some good food, then heading into a touristy area to see some sights. Finally, amid the sounds of barking (roaring?) sea lions, it was time to call. When I heard the AMAZING news, I thanked the person, hung up and the whole family screamed and cried in celebration as on-lookers wondered what was happening.

I tried calling friends and family - but NO ONE answered!! I finally reached my step-dad on his cell phone, but he could not understand me. So here I am, standing on the sidewalk, loudly saying, "The bar exam...I passed the bar exam!" He didn't get it, but I did get a hearty congratulations from a couple of strangers on the street!

A short time later, I was able to reach people, or them me, and was able to share the news.

To all who have supported me at any time over the past four years, thank you so much! For all you law students out there just starting out, or making your way through, you can do it!

Wife wrote this in the sand Friday morning, in hopes that I would be able to use it for this very post. So, here goes:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not Thinking ABout Bar Results

No, I'm not thinking about the bar results that are due to be released on Friday. Not me. I do not at all resent the fact that those results are undoubtedly already available, sitting on someone's desk, and I do not get to know until Friday. Nope, doesn't bother me at all.

What I am thinking about is a nice tropical vacation in a fancy hotel with gorgeous views of crystal blue water, a luxurious jetted tub and stone sinks in the bathroom. I can already feel the bath-water-warm sea as I snorkel around a secluded cove, spying colorful fish and mystical sea turtles. I can taste the blue margarita with pineapple and lime on the side, and the tiny umbrella in it just to make me happy (because really, that is the only reason for the tiny umbrella).

I'm not thinking about bar results at all.


Is anyone buying this?

Still Enjoying the Sun!

We have had some beautiful weather lately. After some rain and clouds a week or so again, our nice weather returned! What a relief! No one I know was ready to greet fall quite yet. Wife had put up the fall decorations, but it was done grudgingly. We are all still enjoying the sun too much!

Though we had to take in the patio cushions due to rain just last Friday,I believe it was, we've since brought them back out of the garage. This morning it was already 72 degrees at 6:00am. We had an unseasonably warm wind keeping things warm all night long. It felt wonderful!

Our kids are getting really good and strong playing on the new trapeze bar that Wife got for the swing set. Boy Wonder can now "bounce" - holding the rings, do a forward flip, touch down, then do a backwards flip. The little princess isn't quite tall enough for that - but she can do amazing - and slightly frightening things - all the same. She is so strong and coordinated! She will be so upset when it is too cold and wet to play "trapeze tricks." I have a feeling she will be out there with a towel, trying anyway.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Robosapiens!



Does anyone remember when these first came out a few years ago? They are the Robosapien Robots and when they first came out they sported a price tag of around $100. Now, you can get them on sale for about $50.

Our Boy Wonder first honed in on them when he was between 2 and 3. Even at that age, he could pick up a remote and at least figure out basic functions. It was pretty amazing to watch, but NO, a 2 year old was not getting a robot designed for a much older child.

The ads say they are designed for ages 6 and up. I have a feeling our boy would do well with one now. He is quite the gamer, figuring out how to play just about any computer game or DS game on his own. He gets stuck and asks for help, from us or from friends, but I think it is more because he gets frustrated that his normal strategies aren't working than the fact he really needs assistance.

This robot is over a foot tall and can do things like pick up, throw, kick, sweep, dance, rap, and perform half a dozen different Kung Fu moves. There are demo modes and regular modes and apparently is simple enough for young kids, but complex enough to even keep adults entertained.

Seems like it would be fun for a while, but probably after the first week would be tossed in a toy bin with the other remote-controlled items, Happy Meal Toys, and action figures. Maybe when he is a bit older and has a slightly longer attention span!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Wait

12 days to go until I get my bar results.
This is not feeling like the 12 days of Christmas.

The wait is pure torture. No, not pure. It's this incessant sort of disease inside your body that you think you can ignore, but it's there, eating away at your brain, your ego, your soul. Was I good enough to pass the first time? Was I smart enough? Did I have what it takes? Sure, lots of people don't pass the first time, but even more do. No body wants to be an "also ran."

I am sure many of my classmates are going through this. I found out one of them who is already employed where she wants to work in a job that does not even require bar passage has been incredibly restless during this wait. It's this huge mind game that you have four years to prepare for, but I am not sure you can ever truly be ready to face. There is no way to simulate, or even anticipate, what the pressure of this wait will do.

I am still trying to figure out how much of my own restlessness and re-evaluation of pretty much everything in my life is because of the wait, and how much of it is real because I reached a life milestone, and now it's time to look around and figure out which way to go next. Maybe you can't separate the two. Graduation is just punctuated by the insane bar exam and then the wait. Ugh.

Mentally, I know it shouldn't be that big of a deal. If I don't pass, I can retake it in February, where I almost certainly would pass. Right? Maybe. Statistically, the passage rate for second-time takers is drastically lower. Oh, that helps!

Vegas anyone?

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Point on a Friday When You Are Done

Well, heck, when I get comments and emails, I feel like there are people out there reading this craziness I write and feel compelled to write more. The lesson here: you are only encouraging me, people!

It's Friday afternoon. All my work and email playmates are off enjoying their lives. Wife is at home seeing if she can win the argument with our Little Princess that it is too hot to put up the tent by herself. (Little Princess has offered to help hammer in the stakes. She is good at hammering. Really.) This has forced me to actually do work and accomplish things, but come on, a person can really only be expected to be so productive on a beautiful Friday afternoon. I have reached that limit.

The result is that now I am going to write about the random things going through my mind today.

First, while I appreciate that our Career Services is offering a substantively packed 6-week intensive to help us network, find volunteer opportunities, become more effective legal researchers and a plethora of other skills aimed at increasing our employability, I am having trouble accepting that it needs to be done four evenings a week for those six weeks. What this amounts to is that I won't see my kids again for most of the week for six weeks. Wife and kids are not happy - I am somewhat appreciative of the opportunity - but very skeptical. I'll give it the first week and if it doesn't seem very worthwhile, I just won't be able to continue. The family has sacrificed a lot with the promise I would be home after the bar exam. It will only be about 8 weeks since the exam by the time this class starts. This is making my credibility with the kids seem rather weak.

Next - why is it that people don't read for content? At least twice already today I have had people come to me with situations thatt would have been avoided had the person they were dealing with actually read the information presented. Simply reading the subject line is not enough, particularly if you are a manager or otherwise in charge of a project. Just saying....

A friend sent this to me today in reference to one of our co-workers. It is from a George Lopez routine:

"You better spray bug spray on your legs otherwise the ants are going to climb up and eat your candy *ss."

On that happy note, I wish you all a lovely weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is that a Road Trip I Hear Calling?

Look at that gorgeous blue sky we have today! (For those not nearby, just picture the bluest sky you've ever seen without a single cloud present.) It is sunny and warm. Looks like road trip weather to me! Beautiful scenery, cheap hotels, random historical sites and views to gaze just because....

Although the call of the wild is loud, and I get great gas mileage, alas, tomorrow Boy Wonder advances from a yellow belt to an orange belt in karate and I want to see him graduate. Saturday is...uh...well, nothing Wife and I are looking forward to, but both kids were invited to a friend's birthday party at a bowling ally, and they are quite excited.

Those of you with older kids, how the heck did you get through all the birthday parties, school events, and other people's children? *sigh*

Oh, well, the kids will have a TON of fun and should sleep well on Saturday night. Maybe it will be a backyard camping weekend. Nice weather is predicted. Guess I won't need any medical travel insurance this weekend, but maybe soon!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Strange Connections

No doubt that The Eagles are a hands-down favorite not only of my generation, but the one proceeding, and probably following. One of my favorite Eagles songs is Take it to the Limit, but I really love Cher's version.

This is one of my go-to songs for all sorts of moods, and always lifts my spirits. I thought I would share it here and was looking for an appropriate picture, when I was struck by something both strange and disturbing.

There seems to be a frightening resemblance between Cher:



and Dr. Frankenfurter from Rocky Horror Picture Show:



How my brain so quickly made this connection may indicate something even more disturbing about me. I best return to my Cher video now before I have to picture Frankenfurter doing If I Could Turn Back Time.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Warm, Blue - What's Not to Love?

I have an iGoogle homepage with a Places to See application near the top. I enjoy the gorgeous scenery. Every now and then, there is a picture of someplace I have been. The one I just saw is Trunk Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Wife and I snorkeled around the islands pictured in the middle of the bay! Amazing experience!



This is one of those "would love to got back to" locations!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday Quiz Time!

An amazing sunrise and subsequent double rainbow has led to today's quiz:

What Color are You?
I found several tests, two of which I kind of liked:



Take the Magic: The Gathering 'What Color Are You?' Quiz.



White? Really? Althought the White Knight charging in to save the damsel in distress is quite romantic, white is kind of boring.

How about this one at Spacefem.com?:
(Gotta love that name!)

You are Violet
#EE82EE

Your dominant hues are red and blue. You're confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.

Yes...yes, I think this is me!

Happy Labor Day weekend, my friends!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Friends and Grasshoppers

I find myself quite absorbed by the transition that finishing law school has led me into. Wondering about the next steps and contemplating what this next phase of my life should become takes up a lot of energy.

Part of this process has been reconnecting with old friends in a really positive way. These are people who have known me since high school, and even before. It is empowering having people in my life who have known me in the neighborhood of 30 years, who have seen the various highs and lows, and accept me exactly as I am.

This has caused me to think about friendship and the levels of communication and intimacy we share, and with whom. It is interesting to me that I could communicate the exact same information to a "work friend" who has known me for a few years and one of these friends who has known me my whole life, and the meaning behind that information will be entirely different. For instance, to use one of my friend's examples, she left her dog with her new boyfriend for an afternoon. To a casual friend, that seems like no big deal, to someone that knows her, this was huge. Some story - different message communicated.

Sometimes a message delivered to one person is merely a rubber ball, thrown out to bounce as it will, but to another, it is porcelain tile and if not handled carefully, will shatter into thousands of pieces.

Communication is a really fascinating subject. I just found out that female grasshoppers are deaf, but they sense an odor that is under the wing of a male grasshopper when he lifts his wing to make his mating call.

My mind is a scary place.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reflections



A good friend recently reminded me that as we grow and change, the prism of our true self does not change, simply the pieces that people see. Isn't that beautiful?

I look at our children and know that the the core they are now developing will be with them for a lifetime. I can remember significant, and insignificant, things that happened in my life when I was seven. Boy Wonder is already at an age that I can remember and identify as being "me," and as possessing traits that are still self-defining. Strange to think the memories we are now making are likely to be with him for a lifetime. Our Little Princess is not far behind. This was part of the plan of law school - to have graduated before either of them would remember much about when mom was not around.

This week/weekend we are making camping memories. We've spent that last two nights camping in our backyard. We have a HUGE tent, big enough for two queen-size air mattresses, a third mattress with blankets for the dogs, lounge chairs and a spot for the laptop so Wife and I can watch movies after the kids are asleep. We're all enjoying the outdoor time, falling asleep listening to the crickets, snuggling together to stay warm in the middle of the night.

I may have idealized this a tad - quickly trying to block the memories of the neighbor's chipper than he ran for two hours last night, another neighbor's loud argument with his girlfriend, and the truck filled with industrial supplies that seemed to be touring the neighborhood. Once that drama was over though, the crickets were allowed to lead the nighttime symphony, the stars were brilliant against the nighttime sky, and it was good.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Wait Continues

Well, my friends, we are half-way through this purgatory that the bar examiners like to put us applicants through. I have to say, I am neither handling the wait well nor in a mature-manner. Consciously, I am not always worried about the outcome, but it surfaces in lots of other ways in my life. Pretty much everything in my life is getting turned upside down and re-examined. What I probably should be doing is using that energy for good and sorting through all the cr*p in our garage!

Actually, I am still holding down my full-time job, slowly starting to think about starting the networking thing again, and pondering cover letters. By the time I get home at night, there isn't a ton of time for garage-cleaning. I cook dinner, help with clean up, spend a bit of time with the kids, and before we know it , it is bath and bedtime for the kids. Sometimes that leaves an hour or more before Wife and I are ready for bed, and sometimes, it does not. Where does the time go?!

I am glad not to be going back to classes this week, but am ready to move on now. Guess I best get to it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Dream Netbook is on Sale

OK, anyone who has been reading my blog for long - heck not even that long, knows that I am very interested in this adorable little netbook. It is cute and blue and powerful with an 8-hour battery life. Well, my dream Samsung NC-10 is currently on sale for just $329, including shipping! That is nearly $100 less than when I first started lusting after this machine only about three months ago.

Isn't it pretty?



From the ad:

"Weighing just 2.9 pounds, its designed to keep you online and on the go. Experience the freedom to surf the Web, shop and chat on IM with the latest wireless technology. Zip through your online applications with a speedy new Intel Atom processor. Store all your favorite videos, music, images and more with 160GB of storage, and enjoy them on a SuperBright 10.2-inch LCD."

The amazing thing about this to me is the size. Take a look at this:



One of the biggest complaints about netbook keyboards is that often non-alpha keys get put in odd places, but not with this baby. The 90% normal-size keyboard keeps everything in its usual spot, making it easy to use!

Loading programs can be done via a separate hard drive, or even a USB, according to a computer geek I was talking with one day. Yup - couple of USB drives, and I think I would be set!

Besides not really being ready to drop $300 on a toy, the other thing holding me back is that as soon as I commit to it, I will probably discover a program I REALLY want that will require the power and size of a bigger laptop. Wouldn't that just figure?

Still, it is nice to dream. Too bad it isn't just black, or silver. That would be so much easier to resist.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reader from NOAA?

Depending on how a blog is set up, limited details can be seen about one's visitors. I can see that I may have a reader from NOAA in Seattle. NOAA is a place that I would love to work, so if you would be willing to contact me personally for a little informational chat, please write to me at dakota@lclark.edu.

Thank you!