Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010! (And a reminder about those black-eyed peas)

Oh, the tales I could tell, about last night, this afternoon.... but in the spirit of holiday love and forgiveness, I won't, for now. I'll save the complaints and stories for another time.

For today, let me just say Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it.

For those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a nice Saturday, and I wish you the best for whichever holiday, if any, you do choose to celebrate.

I'll be back soon ... with stories!

For the fine print, please see last year's Thanksgiving Greetings post. Same rules apply here.

And remember to stock up on black-eyed peas before the new year. For details regarding why this is so important, please see here, and here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Funnies - Forwarded From Friends - Part III

Murphy's Immutable Law #48: If you drop your toast with jelly, it will land on the floor jelly side down.

Uncontroverted Animal Fact # 282: If you accidentally drop your cat from about chest high, in any position, it will land on the floor feet down and will run away uninjured.

What happens if you tie a piece of toast with jelly - jelly side up - to your cat's back, and then drop it?

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Legal Disclaimer (because we lawyers love the fine print):

Do NOT try this experiment at home. Information for this blog post was provided by professional toast droppers and cat wranglers. No animals were harmed in the creation of this blog post.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cool Stuff From LegalMist's Daughter

I've written before about my daughter's art talents and Zazzle gallery (here). She may not be the next Monet or O'Keefe (then again, she might be...), but she definitely has some natural ability that I lack.

My daughter has a pretty good natural ability for photography, too. She hasn't developed her portraiture talents quite as much as Kim Ayers[fn1], my blogger buddy who also writes "Ramblings of the Bearded One," a blog I've read for years. But she takes a nice photo.

When she was two, nearly three, I took her to my cousin's wedding. She wanted to take pictures with my new camera. Since it was simple enough (point and shoot), I let her take a few photos of me in the hotel room. She told me where to stand and when to smile.

I figured I'd end up with typical kid photos of my torso & chin, or half of me at the edge of the frame with a bunch of crud that should have been background showing as the main focal point, or, at best, a blurry shot of me not smiling.

Instead, I ended up with several well-centered photos of me, actually smiling (she got the timing right), with minimal annoying background crud. The perspective was a little off -- she was not-quite-three, and very tiny, and she didn't think to climb up on a chair to photograph me straight-on instead of from her looking-up perspective. Then again, that was her usual perspective on the world, so it probably didn't occur to her that it wasn't "normal," and I didn't think to suggest that she stand or sit up higher for the photo shoot, so whose fault is that, really?

Overall, I was impressed. I let her take more photos with my camera any time she wanted to after that, and I am disappointed far less frequently with her photos than I am with my own.

So when we went to the Desert Botanical Garden to see the butterfly pavilion, I let her take lots of photos of the butterflies and flowers. She did a nice job.

I made a calendar out of her photos and posted it in her Zazzle store. Check it out:




I also designed some magnets and mouse pads and mugs and other items, just for fun, from some of the photos. And there are items made from some of her drawings, too. You may have noticed the "Zazzle" display bar in the margin - it shows some of the things posted for sale on the site.

But here's the cool part: People have actually bought things! And not just me or my relatives. We have sold actual calendars and magnets and cards to people completely unrelated to us! Not many, mind you. No one is getting rich from this particular endeavor. But it is fun, and a good confidence-booster for her, to know that other people like her art and photos as much as I do.

So, if you have time, check out her Zazzle store. You don't have to buy anything (it can be expensive, although they do have frequent sales and discounts and free shipping offers), just look around and let me know what you think.

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Footnotes (because lawyers love them):

Fn1: Kim Ayres' portrait photographs are unique. Instead of the typical photo of everyone with smiles plastered on their faces, dressed in goofy outfits, sitting and/or standing next to each other in front of some idealized background (or, worse, stacked on top of each other in some ridiculous pose meant to suggest "family love and harmony reigns supreme here"), he captures real faces with real expressions, in real places (or with black backgrounds, for maximum focus on the actual person). I love them. You should definitely check out his photography web site - and his blog, too, if you have time.

If I am ever in Scotland again, I am going to have him photograph me and whoever is with me (husband, kids, friends, whoever). It would be a hoot to meet him, and I'd end up with some way cool photos, to boot.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Christmas Story

We all know that Santa Claus is responsible for the huge undertaking of making and then distributing toys all across the globe to rich Christian children (despite the propaganda perpetuated in such made-for-tv documentaries as "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," poor and / or non-Christian kids don't generally get toys for Christmas).

To assist him with these duties, Santa has hired vast legions of elves. They help him keep lists of the naughty and nice kids, make the toys, and wrap and package them for delivery. They also take care of the reindeer.

Santa has angels working for him, too. You've probably seen some of their work at the local mall, in the form of the Christmas Angel program, by which Santa attempts to distribute some Christmas loot to poor kids in rich Christian countries and support the merchants and economy at the same time. The Angels have other tasks, too, such as supervising the elves in the toy shop and helping Santa with any shopping he must do (Santa is generally too busy taking orders from kids at the mall to do the shopping himself). Sometimes they help Mrs. Claus with the bookkeeping, too.

In addition to supervising the whole enterprise, hiring and firing elves and angels, selecting the reindeer for the annual Christmas ride, and predicting what gift will be this year's "hot ticket item," Santa historically has handled the task of selecting, cutting, and trimming the Christmas tree for his annual Christmas party for the elves and angels. This is a huge and important task, as the holiday party represents Claus, Inc., to workers and customers alike. The tree must be perfect, and the decorations must also be perfect.

(Of course, just like any corporate holiday party, the party is, at best, tolerated by the worker elves and angels. They'd really rather be at home with their own families and kids, but they show up at the party anyway to keep ol' Santa happy, because jobs are scarce at the North Pole. Santa is pretty much the only game in town.)

One year, Santa had other pressing items on his "to do" list, so he delegated the task of selecting and trimming the tree for the party. He asked his best worker angel, Beatrice, to handle the task. He explained that the tree must be perfect, that it must be placed in exactly the right spot, and that it must be decorated perfectly -- all by 6 p.m., because the party was to start at 7:00. She had enough to do already and was a little miffed, but she really had no choice. After all, jobs are scarce at the North Pole, and she had a family to feed.

So Beatrice went out into the extremely cold North Pole day, which at that time of year was really more like twilight and lasted only a couple of hours, and after much deliberation, she selected a fine evergreen tree for Santa. She paid (from her own pocket!) a local elf to cut it down and haul it back to Santa's lodge where the party would be held. But then she faced a problem. Every year, Santa placed the tree in a different location. She did not know where he wanted it that year and he had told her the location must be "exactly right."

So she went looking for Santa, to ask him where it should be placed. Santa was... uh... shall we say, "indisposed." He was ... uh, busy... with Mrs. Claus. Nevertheless, Beatrice knocked on Santa's door and asked, "Santa? Are you in there?"

Santa ignored her and kept on with his, uh ... work.

She knocked again: "Santa?!? Are you in there?!?"

He ignored her again.

Beatrice was nothing if not persistent (not to mention running short on time), so she knocked again: "Santa?!? I really need to talk to you. Where do you want me to put this tree?!?"

Santa, frustrated with this interruption of his very important, uh... work... shouted back: "I'll tell you where to put it, just shove it up your @$$!!"

And that, my friends, is how the tradition began of placing a Christmas Angel at the top of the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Polar Bear Attack

I received these photos in my email inbox today. They are photos of a polar bear attacking a man. There were many observers; unfortunately, no one was able to stop the attack.

Just a reminder to all: just because an animal looks cute and cuddly, that does not mean it will not attack you.

Please, don't climb into zoo enclosures. It's a bad idea. Really.

Scroll down to see the photos. I put them below the margin in case any of you didn't want to view such potentially disturbing photos.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh, What a Relief!

LegalMist's daughter's basketball team played an excellent game that came down to the last seconds of overtime on Friday evening. I am very proud of my daughter, even though she did not get a lot of playing time. She did well for the few minutes she was in, playing excellent defense and passing the ball for an assist.

She was disappointed that she didn't get to play more but, as I explained to her, she cannot expect to get a lot of playing time in her first game of the season when she is one of just a few 7th graders on a team of 7th and 8th graders, and the shortest kid on the court to boot. If she continues to play well and improve her skills, she may end up with more playing time per game as the season progresses.

Her team as a whole played great defense, blocking shots, rebounding, intercepting passes, and stealing the ball from the other team frequently. They also handled the ball well, with dead-on passes, good dribbling, and few turnovers. And on offense, they did a great job of finding the open player and taking appropriate shots.

Their shooting skills need improvement, however. Particularly free throws. Those should be "gimme" points, with very few misses. But her team missed quite a few. The other team's field goal and free throw percentages were somewhat better, which made it a very close game all the way, despite the frequent turnovers in favor of my daughter's team.

So I was worried when, in the last 1.4 seconds of overtime, my daughter's team was ahead by one point, and one of the other team's best scorers was taking a shot. One of our players fouled her (appropriately), and the other team's excellent player went to the line for two free throws. If she made them both, they would have won, as it was hugely unlikely our team could have even taken a shot, much less made one, in the remaining 1.4 seconds. (This is not the WNBA). If she even made one free throw, they would have tied and gone on to a second overtime.

It was a very stressful situation for the scorekeeper. I should know, because I had volunteered to fill in as scorekeeper.

----
And here, I digress so that you can more fully understand the stress that your poor attorney blogger was suffering... Holy cow, what a lot of things to track throughout the game! Things I was supposed to keep up with -- for both teams -- included:

* Who played and substituted in for each quarter. (For both teams, remember? There were a couple of times when I was still trying to write down who was in for both teams, and the coaches were already substituting in new players!!).

* For each quarter, I had to track each time a player attempted a shot, and whether it was missed or, if made, whether it was 2 or 3 points -- for both teams, remember?

* For each shot made, I had to track the team's total score -- for ... oh, you remember by now...

* I was supposed to document each free throw taken by any player, and whether it was a one point, two point, or one-and-one situation, and whether the free throws were missed or made, and, of course, the team's resulting total score.

* Each foul - tracked both for individual players and for each team as a whole, with the responsibility to let the referees know if / when either team's fouls put them into the penalty status for each half and/or whether any given player fouled out.

* Each timeout, along with whether it was a 30 second time out or a full time out, which quarter it was in, and which team and player (or coach) called it.

* The score at the end of each quarter, and at the end of the game.

* Double-check that the score at the end of each quarter on the scoreboard matched the totals at the top of my page for each team.

* Double-check that the score at the end of each quarter matched the totals for all the players, as marked for that quarter.

(I'm not really sure what I was supposed to do if those totals didn't match... fortunately, the issue didn't come up).

There may have been more things I was supposed to track, but I didn't. Couldn't. No way. It was hard enough to keep my (probably ADD) self focused on the game without getting distracted for even a few seconds, thereby missing something important like who just made that shot or who that foul was called on, while also writing down those listed things in little tiny columns that started to blur together after about two quarters. (Clearly, I must keep my day job. I do not have a bright future as an official scorer for the NBA / WNBA.)

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And now, back to our regularly scheduled story:

So, the poor girl on the other team was making her "no pressure" last-second free throws with the outcome of the game hanging in the balance. We all watched, perched on the edge of our seats. She shot one, and it bounced off the rim. There would be no "win" for her team in this overtime... but she still had a chance to tie it up and score another chance to win in a second overtime.

At that point, I was literally praying that she would miss the second shot.... not so that my daughter's team would win (by then, I truly didn't care who won - it was a well-played game on both sides), but because I didn't think I could take the stress of trying to keep score accurately for yet another overtime period!

The second shot went up .... and it bounced around the rim of the basket a couple of times... but then it bounced out! - and my daughter's team won the game!

I felt bad for the girl who missed the shots . . . but oh-so-relieved that the game was not going to a second overtime!

I felt happy for my daughter and her team for their impressive and close win over an excellent opposing team . . . but mostly, I felt relieved that the game was not going to a second overtime!

Am I self-centered and inappropriately focused on my own well-being instead of my daughter's team's big win? Apparently so... But, oh, how happy I felt!!

.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My New Favorite Show

I was devastated when Nip/Tuck ended. I've written before about how much I loved that show, in all its craptastical, over-the-top, depraved, awful glory. It was so bad, so utterly awful and unbelievable, and at the same time so believably well-acted, that you just couldn't help but love it. (Well, some people apparently hated it.... but what do they know?)

One of the best things about Nip/Tuck was the utter lack of predictability. Just when you thought you knew where the show's soap-opera among its characters was heading, the bad-boy son announces that his life's dream is to become a mime... and then he starts a robbery career... as a mime (yes, he literally "mimes" the robberies)! (For a more thorough discussion, see this blog post.)

And the medical dramas were so completely over-the-top, you'd think they would never happen in real life, although the show's creator claimed that all the plastic surgeries depicted were "based in fact." For example, there was the woman who wanted to have her nipples removed so she could be "just like Barbie," because she wants to continue her perfect sexless relationship with the perfect plastic-surgery enhanced human replica of Ken (choke on that for a moment...), and then in the end she has sex with Dr. Sean, thereby "setting Ken free" to hook up with a perfect plastic-surgery enhanced human replica of G.I. Joe. Oh, it was glorious in its ridiculous awfulness. (For a more thorough discussion, see this blog post.)

I like other shows. "House, M.D.," is a good one if you enjoy excellent snide comments and sarcasm along with your over-the-top medical drama, but the plots, and even the medical dramas, are predictable. (At least once a month: "Maybe it's lupus." My husband has started saying this every time one of our kids complains about any sort of pain).

"Glee" is good if you like singing and dancing and high-school romance interrupted by the pure evil and hilarious one-liners provided by Sue Sylvester. It's good - I watch it and I like it - but it's no Nip/Tuck.

I like "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" -- it's not bad for a half-hour comedy show. It aims for unpredictability and the good sort of ridiculousness that makes a show entertaining, and sometimes it hits the mark. Other times, though, it crosses the line to stupid and unbelievable in a not-entertaining sort of way. It isn't reliably hilarious.

When I need good background television (like while I clean house or sort mail and pay bills), I watch crime dramas, like the various incarnations of Law and Order and CSI, NCIS, or Criminal Minds. The plots are predictable - bad guys do horrible awful things and persistent, hyper-intelligent cops catch them - so you can miss chunks of it and not really miss anything important. It is that predictability that makes them less than stellar shows, though, no matter how well-acted they are or how much you like the characters. Most of the half-hour comedies on the networks have that same flaw, too, no matter how good the dialogue is sometimes. Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond, and King of Queens pop to mind as examples of generally mildly entertaining, sometimes really funny shows. They also make good background TV.

I didn't like "Pscyh" at first, but it sort of grows on you. It has fun with the criminal-catcher genre, sort of mocking all the cliches and predictable plots and amazing puzzle-solving abilities of the lead characters in those shows. Still, though, it's not "must see TV."

I've always loved "The Simpsons" for its irreverent, make-fun-of-everyone sense of humor. But sometimes I'm just not in the mood for a cartoon.

And of course I love me a good football or basketball or hockey game, but sometimes you want something with a plot, not just a sports contest.

So what have I found to scratch that "irreverent, unpredictable television" itch?

My new favorite show is "Raising Hope." It comes on after Glee on Tuesday nights, and it is fantastically funny and unpredictable.

The premise of the show, for those of you who haven't seen it, is that a twenty-something fellow named Jimmy, who still lives with his parents and works at his dad's lawn and pool service company, has a one-night stand with a woman who turns out to be a wanted serial killer. Jimmy's family turns her in, and she ends up getting put to death in the electric chair. The one-night stand, however, resulted in a baby, born in prison before the mother is electrocuted. Jimmy, as the father, is given the child to raise, and he names her "Hope." The show is hilariously unpredictable and irreverent, but still manages to project good family values like loyalty, responsibility, and love. It is well-written, with great and sometimes downright unbelievable dialogue, delivered deadpan and made believable by the excellent actors. Cloris Leachman is priceless in the role of Maw Maw, Jimmy's grandmother who also lives in the home.

If you haven't seen this show, you must go watch it. You can watch prior episodes at www.fox.com/raisinghope. Trust me, you've just got to see it. It will make you laugh out loud. I promise.

I can't wait for Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Muggsy Bogues

I've been thinking a lot about Muggsy Bogues lately. He was an NBA player in the late 1980's and 1990's, who was noticeable even among fantastic players such as those who played on 1992's "Dream Team": Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, John Stockton, Christian Laettner and Clyde Drexler. (Dang those guys were good!)

Bogues played for 14 years in the NBA, mostly for the Charlotte Hornets, although he had shorter stints for other teams, too.

It was fun to watch Muggsy as he dribbled the ball so low it was impossible to steal. His ball-handling and passing skills were phenomenal. And he was *fast* - one of the fastest players up and down the court.

Muggsy ranks 16th among all NBA players ever in career assists (6,726 of them), and 32d in single season assists (867 in the 1989-1990 season), according to databaseBasketball.com, making that list among such giants of basketball history as Magic Johnson, John Stockton, and (one of my current favorites, a Phoenix Suns player) Steve Nash.

He didn't block many shots -- only 39 in his entire career, according to Wikipedia (compare that to Mark Eaton's 456 blocks in a single season in 1984-85!). But hey, that's not surprising, considering that he also holds the record as the shortest NBA player ever.

At 5'3" and approximately 136 pounds, he was the smallest fellow ever to dominate the NBA.

Here's a video showing the 10 shortest NBA players ever.




Since retiring, Muggsy has worked in real estate and briefly coached the Charlotte Sting in the WNBA. He also runs basketball camps for kids.

Why the obsession with this retired NBA player?

I find him inspiring.

It's an understatement to say he was good at basketball. It's also amazing that he was able to succeed in this sport of giants. Most kids his height in high school and college would not even have thought about trying out for the basketball team, and many others would have given up when faced with a gym full of kids who were a foot or more taller. And of those his height who did try, most simply didn't make it in high school or college, much less the pros.

But he apparently had much talent and loved the game, and was willing to put in the hard work necessary to become one of the best at it, despite the huge and obvious odds against him. I love that!

So far, my daughter displays a similar perseverence and lack of fear. I wrote last school year about her junior high school's basketball teams. There are three teams: the 6th grade team, and the 7th and 8th grade "A" and "B" teams. Last year she played on the 6th grade team. They played against many schools with teams of sixth through eighth graders -- which meant they spent most of the season playing eighth graders. I was impressed by her team's perseverence in the face of many losses to teams at least a foot taller. They just kept trying, and improving their skills, and playing their best.

This past summer, while visiting her grandparents in the Washington, DC, area, my daughter attended a basketball camp run by Gheorghe Muresan [footnote 1], who played for the Washington Bullets/Wizards in the mid-1990s.

I think the basketball camp may have helped, but I also have to credit my daughter's own perseverence and skill: this year she made the 7th and 8th grade "A Team" for basketball at her school! She is one of the few 7th graders on the team, and once again she is the shortest kid on the team - most of the girls are a foot or so taller than her. So far in practice, she doesn't take many shots, but she is a point guard and is great at spying the open player to pass to, so she scores many assists.... just like my hero Muggsy.

I don't know whether her interest in basketball will hold up through the years, and I have no illusions that she'll be the next great WNBA star or even a high school star. It could happen, but more likely it won't, given her tremendous height disadvantage.

But for now, I'm excited to watch her play with such enthusiasm and skill. I love her "no worries" attitude and self-confidence, and the fact that she has such fun playing, as the short kid in the land of giants.

She'll play in her first game of the season on Friday night. I can't wait!

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Footnotes (because I'm a lawyer and I love them):

Footnote 1 (Providing You With Interesting But Irrelevant Trivia): Gheorghe Muresan is one of tallest players ever to play in the NBA, at 7'7". According to Wikipedia, Muresan is tied with Manute Bol for the "tallest NBA player ever" honor.

Manute Bol played with Muggsy Bogues for the Washington Bullets in 1987, making for some interesting photo ops with the tallest and shortest players (ever!) in the NBA, respectively.

Sadly, Manute Bol died this past summer at the young age of 47.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all good food and good times today:

* May your turkey and fixin's (or whatever you are having today) be delicious and exactly what you wanted.

* May your desserts be sweet and plentiful, and may they miraculously avoid settling on your hips or belly.

* May your friends and family (or whoever you are celebrating with) be cheerful and kind.

* May the guests remember to thank the hosts for cleaning and cooking and hosting, and may the hosts remember to thank the guests for taking the time and driving long distances to join the festivities.

* May you have exactly as many leftovers as you would like.

* May you easily remember the things you are thankful for, and easily forget the things that are troubling you, because the day is so perfect.

* * * * *

* And, if those things aren't happening, may there at least be plenty of wine and a functional corkscrew within your reach!!

Happy Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Squirrel Hunting

A friend of ours likes to hunt, and is often successful on his hunting trips. He recently offered to take LegalMist's Son (LMS) squirrel hunting.

Now, I'm OK with hunting so long as you actually eat what you kill. But I've never eaten squirrel, and I'm not sure I want to start now, although I've heard they can be delicious if cooked properly.

Reluctantly, I agreed that our friend -- we'll call him "Jim" -- could take LMS squirrel hunting. LegalMist's Daughter (LMD) wanted to go, too. OK.

So Jim set off into the woods with 2 shotguns, 3 barking dogs (his dogs, not ours), and 2 excited and very loud kids (our kids, not his), ages 12 and 7.

He came back an hour and a half later complaining: "There was not a single squirrel to be seen in the whole dang forest! Where are all the stupid squirrels?!? I was here last week and there were hundreds of them!!"

"Uh ... Jim," I responded, "when you were here last week ... did you bring the dogs?"

No.

And I know you didn't bring my kids. Did you bring anyone else's kids?

Uh... no.

So you were alone -- no barking dogs, no rambunctious kids?

Uh ... yeah.

Hmmmmm. And there were lots of squirrels around? Imagine that....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tooth Fairies, Reprise

You may remember my adventures over the summer with the cracked tooth and root canal. My tooth apparently was too cracked, and so even after the root canal procedure was finished the tooth kept getting infected (yuck) and I couldn't get a crown installed. So the endodontist recommended removal, and the oral surgeon concurred.

I have an infinite capacity for denial and avoidance when something is likely to be expensive or painful or both.

Since "tooth extraction" sounds both expensive and painful, of course I put off having the tooth extracted (or even thinking about having the tooth extracted) for as long as humanly possible, which was all the way until this past Sunday, when the soft filling that the endodontist installed when he did the root canal -- the stuff that was supposed to remain inside the tooth sealed carefully under the crown that was, sadly, never installed -- suddenly fell out while I was brushing my teeth.

"Ick! Eeek! WTF?!?" I thought. (My vocabulary degenerates rapidly when I am scared or hurt or both...)

Even I know that one is not supposed to have a giant hole in one's tooth that probably extends all the way through the tooth to the underlying bone. Bad plan.

So I finally had the tooth extracted yesterday.

It was a relatively quick procedure. Once the novocaine took effect, it took the oral surgeon all of about 5 minutes to get the tooth out of my mouth.

I wish I could say it was also painless.

But I am hurting today. Not so much where the tooth was, although that is obviously a little tender. No, the bigger problem is that my jaw is very sore and stiff -- even more than it was after the root canal, which took two hours of drilling and disinfecting and packing the tooth with the soft filler material -- I can hardly open my mouth to drink water or talk. Forget eating - not gonna happen. How can this be? One would think I would have been more sore after the two hour drill-a-thon than after a 5 minute procedure... Maybe it was the 45 minutes of "biting down" on the gauze afterwards?

I wish I were young enough to at least get the small consolation of a $2 bill from the tooth fairy...

Then again, my track record with the tooth fairy isn't so good; maybe it's better that I'm not waiting for her to show her lovely face.

All I can say at this point is ... pain meds + empty stomach = good times!

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I can hardly wait to start the tooth implant process.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gardening Tips from LegalMist's Son

My son loves to help out in the yard. He loves to plant seeds and flowers, and he likes to help me pull the weeds in the Spring.

I have explained to him the basics of garden weed-pulling: make sure you get the roots out, so the weeds stay gone.

Turns out, he likes to help at school, too. Here is what he told me this morning:

"Mom, guess what? I like to help the gardener at school, so whenever I see one of those flowers that you make a wish on - what are those called, danny-lines? - well, I always pull it out of the ground and I make sure I get all the roots out so it won't grow back, and then I make a wish and blow on it!"

. . .

I hope he is wishing that all those dandelion seeds won't grow into dandelions...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tour de Fat

Every year, the "Tour de Fat" bike parade in Tempe, Arizona[fn1] travels right past our house. It is a huge event, with hundreds of riders. It takes about half an hour for all the cyclists to pass our home.

Every year, I intend to ride in it.

Every year, I forget about it until the bikes are actually passing our home, when we are already busy for the day and it is "too late" to join the parade.

Every year, after we watch all the cool bikes with people in costumes pass, I think to myself, "I should have at least taken photos! That was cool!"

. . . . .

This year, we were home during the parade and I remembered to take photos! Not only that, but LegalMist's daughter's friend and her mom rode by, and LegalMist's daughter begged LegalMist, and was allowed, to join the parade!

Next year, I'm going to remember to ride in the darn thing!!

Here are some photos from this year's parade:









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footnotes (because I'm a lawyer and we love them):

fn1: The Tour de Fat is an annual bike parade event that is held in several different cities on different dates. It is sponsored by the New Belgium Brewing Company (which makes "Fat Tire" beer, among other varieties). Here is a link to the Tour de Fat Web site. There are still two parades left this year. Tomorrow, there is one in Los Angeles, California. Next weekend, there is one in Austin, Texas. Check it out and ride along if you can!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Feature - Women: We Shall Overcome

A couple of days ago, I was practically begging for you all to stick around, heaping piles of praise onto you all for being such great bloggers and doing such a fine job entertaining me. But today, I'm sending you away. I want you to go check out a blog I enjoy -- "Women: We Shall Overcome," written by Lola, who always sends her infinities of love, except when she just sends her love.

She's quirky and fun, and has a good sense of humor which will keep you smiling even when she's ranting or complaining, which isn't all that often (even though she has plenty she *could* complain about) -- you're more likely to find a book or movie review or an interesting tale or a funny joke. I like Lola because she is one of those bloggers who shares her inner thoughts, her life ... a bit of herself ... along with her opinions and musings.

Here is her own description: "I'm a Dog fearin' dyslexic Christian woman in the middle of a surprise divorce after 30 years of marriage. Maybe my husband didn't want me anymore because I had that little surgery that makes me look so much like Johnny Depp."

She doesn't post daily - usually just a couple of times per week - so if you are looking for someone to entertain you every single day, this is not the place for you. But she has a unique voice, interesting perspectives, and a fun outlook that I look forward to reading. Here are a few posts I've particularly enjoyed:

"I'm a Loser Baby So Why Don'tcha Kill Me"

"Curtain Rods: Priceless"

"My Kid Could Paint That"

OK, so go away now and read a few posts by Lola, and then stop back by and let me know what you think.

Happy Friday, dear bloggy friends, Happy Friday.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thank You ... Yes, You!

Some of my favorite blogs and bloggers have been disappearing lately.

Some of them just quit showing up, but their blogs remain intact, sort of suspended in time, and I have no idea whether they are alive and enjoying life too much to keep blogging, or whether something tragic has happened....

Some blog less and less frequently, and I check less and less often for new posts, eventually concluding they simply aren't coming back...

Others announce their intentions to quit blogging and either leave their blog intact or take it down....

Other blogs have simply disappeared, without warning.... I click on the link to their blog one day, and it's just gone.

It makes me sad when I realize a fellow blogger has disappeared from my little blogger world.

Do you do this, too? Get sad when a blogger, a voice you've grown accustomed to, quits? I feel sad when I don't get a chance to say goodbye, good luck, have a nice life...

It's not like we're friends in "real life." They certainly don't owe me anything, not even a decent goodbye. But I get used to stopping in every week or two, dropping a comment here or there, seeing a comment from them occasionally on my blog. I enjoy their unique voices and perspectives.

I miss them when they're gone.

So -- I offer a big thank you to those of you who have stuck around, who blog for me (I know, you don't really blog for me, but just let me pretend, ok?) so I have an interesting story to read when I'm bored, something funny to read when I'm down, a new perspective to consider when I want to be challenged, or just a voice in the blogosphere, reassuring me that I'm not alone in this crazy journey through life, that we all face challenges, that there are fun times to be had, that there is good music and good art out there, that there are shared experiences, that there are dedicated people in all professions - engineers, secretaries, waiters, business owners, artists, teachers, nurses, dentists, cab drivers, homemakers, and yes, even lawyers - who make the world a better place because they are in it.

(Wow, can I win the Faulkner prize for longest sentence written today?)

Yes, I have "real life" friends who fill these roles, too, but they are sometimes at work or out of town or otherwise unavailable when I'm bored or sad or feeling philosophical. The beauty of the blogosphere is that it is always there. I can read what you wrote three weeks ago and enjoy it just as much today, when I need a laugh or a thought-provoking rant or an entertaining story.

If I haven't said it to you on your blog lately, I hope you know I mean *you* when you read it here on my blog: Thanks for being there, fellow bloggers. You really make my day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

End o' the Week Rant, Courtesy of United Way

Wednesday's post by Raine, over at "True Confessions of a Single Mother" and SkyDad's comment on the post, reminded me of just how much I dislike United Way. I haven't thought about them for a few years, since I am no longer employed in a workplace that supports this dreadful organization. But, I love a good rant on a Friday morning, so I thought I'd rant a bit.

I agree with SkyDad. I hate United Way.

Generally, United Way collects donations through employee payroll deductions. They may have other ways to collect money, too, but the employee payroll deduction program is the one I am most familiar with. In this sca-- er, I mean, program -- the employee can fill out a form to donate a certain amount per paycheck, and tell United Way what organization to give the payroll contributions to, or alternatively United Way will decide for the employee what other organization to donate the money to. United Way keeps a portion of the donated funds for their administrative expenses.

What is the point of THAT? Why not just skip the middleman and donate directly to your organization of choice? That way, more of your money goes to helping your cause, and less of it lines the pockets of United Way personnel.

But the worst part of the United Way process, in my view, is not the fact that they skim a portion of your contribution to otherwise worthy charities. They claim to investigate the charities and to ensure that the charities themselves are worthy, not scams. If true, then some folks might find that to be a valuable service, worth the cost of a portion of their donation.

In my view, the worst thing United Way does is that they pressure the employees of participating organizations to donate through their payroll deduction program.

I absolutely hated this when I was working full-time as a lowly office assistant making just barely more than minimum wage and supplementing my income by working part-time as a waitress. The pressure from my bosses at the office (who earned over $100,000 per year) to donate was incredible - and WRONG.

Why should my bosses at work tell me when / where to donate money to charity, when they were not even paying me enough to live on and I had to take a second job just to support myself? Why did they even *think* they had that right? What arrogant schmucks.

And if I did want to contribute money to charity (which I actually did, even though I had very little to contribute), I wanted to select just the right charity and also make sure that ALL of my hard-earned money went TO THAT CHARITY, not to United Way executives, who were undoubtedly earning way more than I was at the time.

And yet, the pressure to contribute something to United Way was huge - the employer was aiming for 100% participation among employees and there was daily pressure to sign up for the payroll deduction plan. I'm not sure what the executives were to get if they reached that lofty goal - some sort of bonus, perhaps? Paid for, essentially, by their lowest paid employees? Nice....

Ugh. I hate United Way.

Feel free to argue with me in the comments, but I don't expect that you'll change my mind.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sometimes Attorneys Aren't So Bad

I've written here (and here) before about how much I hate attorneys, generally. (And yes, it does lead to a fair amount of self-loathing and depression sometimes).

But this week something happened that reminded me that not all attorneys are awful.

First, some background.

Before I started law school, I was warned that it would be a hyper-competitive environment, in which no one collaborated with others, everyone was out to stab you in the back, and it was "sink or swim" all the way.

So when I was ill during one of the first few weeks of law school, I was terrified to skip class, lest I miss something important. After all, I had no friends yet, no one I could ask for a recap or to share notes with me. But I was too sick to get out of bed, so I skipped my classes one day.

Imagine my surprise the next day, when I dragged my still-ill-but-at-least-marginally-functional-self to school, and a fellow student (I'll call him "Jay" since his first initial was "J," but that's not his real name**) approached me with some photocopied notes he had taken, and said, "Hey, I noticed you were absent yesterday from the contracts class so I copied my notes for you. I hope they're helpful."

I was amazed at this display of thoughtfulness.

And Jay wasn't even "hitting" on me, just being kind. Really. (Hard to believe, I know, but true).

Jay and I didn't become best friends in law school, but he was always polite and kind and friendly - collegial in the best sense of the word - and thoughtful.

After graduation, we did not keep in touch much. I'd run into him at random seminars or state bar events and we'd chat a few minutes. One time, he was presenting material at a seminar and saw me in the audience, and mentioned my name as an attorney who had worked on one of the important cases he was discussing. Very kind of him.

Recently one of my former clients (an excellent paralegal / legal assistant) called me for assistance with an appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. She had represented herself in the trial court and had won, but the other side had appealed. It was a fairly straightforward case - she probably could have handled it herself, but she was intimidated by the appellate process, and so I agreed to help her. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the decision in her favor.

I received an email at about 10:00 a.m. one day from the Supreme Court, with a copy of the decision.

At approximately noon that same day, I received an email from Jay stating, "congratulations on your win - impressive!" (or words to that effect).

I haven't talked to Jay in at least two years. I am quite sure he is not stalking me and so I don't want any of you thinking this is creepy in any way. It's just not. Most likely, he subscribes to the Court's email service, in which they email you copies of all decisions. He read it, saw my name on a decision in my client's favor, and took the time to email me with kind words.

How very cool.

** I wish I could tell you Jay's real name and give him full credit for his thoughtfulness, but since I'm trying to remain anonymous here, I simply can't.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The World Is Full of Them

Ignorant (new) judge made a stupid and legally incorrect ruling this morning in one of my cases. Which will require my client to either lose money she is entitled to, or to spend money she does not have, to appeal the stupid and legally incorrect ruling. She likely will not be able to afford the appeal, in part because she won't get the money she is entitled to because of the stupid ruling by the ignorant judge.

Which just happened to remind me of one of my favorite song lyrics ever:

"Everybody knows, the world is full of stupid people..."

--The Refreshments

Truer words have never been spoken (nor sung).

Here is a video I found on YouTube from a concert here in Arizona, by the Arizona band "The Refreshments" (not to be confused with the Swedish band by the same name), recorded the year my daughter was born.

Little known fact: The Refreshments (the Arizona band) wrote the theme song to "King of the Hill," the long-running (recently cancelled) animated series on FOX, created by Mike Judge.

Another little known fact: King of the Hill was a spinoff from the MTV animated series, Beavis & Butthead. Mr. Hill was a character on that show.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Oral Surgeon, or, Dental Doozies, Part III

So I went to see the Oral Surgeon.

Her assistant was much nicer than the endodontist's assistant. She broke the ice by telling me I look like Sandra Bullock. Yeah, I've heard that once or twice before. (I wonder if Sandra has had a root canal?)

But then she asked the strangest question: "So, you want to have number 19 removed?"

"Want" might be phrasing that a little badly. No, what I "want" is for my tooth to be fine and not need any more dental work. What I "want" is to travel back in time, to whenever it was that I did whatever thing I did that cracked the tooth, and to not do that thing.

But since that's not possible, and since the endodontist seemed to be recommending removal, then I'm willing to do it.

So I said, "Well... want? No, not really. But if it's what's recommended...."

She asked a few other questions. I asked a few questions - like, how do they get that tooth out? It has so many curved roots. Do they have to cut the bone?

"Oh, no," she said, "usually they just pull them right out."

The Oral Surgeon came in and shook my hand and told me all about the complications you can get with tooth extractions.

Then she explained the general procedure which, she said, in a tooth that has had a root canal, usually requires cutting into the bone because they tend to just fracture and fall apart.

(What is it with these dental assistants? At least this one was pleasant - and she told me I looked like a movie star! - but her information was all wrong... )

So I asked the oral surgeon whether she thought extraction was the best option for that tooth. I guess that's like asking a hammer if we should use a nail instead of a screw. Predictably, she said yes.

So now I am wondering if I should get a second opinion before having the tooth removed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dowsing and Dental Procedures, or, Dental Doozies Part II

So at my second visit to the endodontist, the assistant came in to examine my teeth before the endodontist put in his appearance.

She was quick, somewhat unfriendly, not very good at explaining things, and seemed in a hurry.

She looked in my mouth, said "hmmmm" a lot.... Then she got out a little thing that looked like the top third of a toothpick. It was red and pointy and looked like it was made of wood. I didn't get a good look at it, though, as she simply poked it into the swollen area of my gum, which was between my back two molars, while stating "I'm going to stick this in here in the swollen part. It will help identify the source of the infection."

What? How? I thought...

But I didn't get a chance to ask about it, because at that moment she held the x-ray thingy up and commanded me to open so she could take the x-rays. So I opened my mouth and she crammed the x-ray film into my mouth (this gal was anything but gentle).

This particular endodontist uses newfangled digital x-ray equipment. Instead of the old-fashioned cardboard x-ray film holders (horrible and uncomfortable things), they use plastic digital x-ray plates attached to wires that go to the computer and immediately show up on the computer screen when the x-ray is done (also horrible and uncomfortable things, but at least you can immediately see if you need another x-ray).

After installing the horrible and uncomfortable digital x-ray plate in my mouth, she remembered the lead apron she was supposed to have put on me, and spent another minute or so installing that -- having to manever it around and under the wires extending from the digital x-ray plate to the x-ray computer display.

All of this caused much jostling of the little red toothpick that was still sticking out of my gum, with the other end poking the inside of my cheek. I was quite uncomfortable. On the verge of tears, actually.

"Sit up!" she commanded, and I leaned forward a bit so she could position the x-ray machine next to my jaw.

Zap. The x-ray itself was mercifully quick. Then she pulled out the digital x-ray plate, and pulled out the red toothpick thingy.

She pointed to the x-ray displayed on the computer and said, "See, it's pointing to the back tooth. That is where the infection is coming from. That tooth will have to be removed."

I looked at the x-ray, and indeed, the little toothpick thingy appeared to have bent inside my gum and the very tip of it pointed toward the back tooth - one I previously thought was fine.

But I'm thinking, "Wait a minute, here - that thing was jostled all over the place and anyway, what the hell does a little piece of wood know about where infection is coming from?!?"

So I asked her, "How does that work?"

She said, "It follows the infection."

Not a very thorough explanation, so I tried again.

"OK, but exactly what does it do?"

"It tells where the infection is."

At this point, her explanation was sounding rather circular. Perhaps, I thought, my questions were just poor. So I tried again.

"OK, it tells where the infection is, but how does it do that?"

"It follows the infection."

Great. You said that already. Now I'm getting annoyed. [Did I think that, or did I say that? I think I just thought it... but I'm not really sure].

"But, *how* does it do that?! How does it "follow the infection' -what does that mean??" I asked, in probably not the nicest voice, but managing not to yell.

"Look," she said, visibly angry with me, "I've been doing this for 15 years. I know what I'm doing. It's the back tooth that is infected!"

"OK," I said, "I understand that. I just want to know how that little toothpick thingy works!"

"It follows the infection," she repeated.

[[**sigh**]]

I gave up.

The endodontist came in. By this time I was pretty frustrated, but I didn't get much of a chance to ask him any questions about the little toothpick thingy. He explained all about the root canal issues. I explained that I was fairly upset at the prospect that the back tooth was also infected and asked his thoughts. He said it was hard to tell, what with the problems with number 19, and that we had two options: try to re-do the root canal, or have the oral surgeon extract the tooth. At this point, I really did not want to deal with the endodontist's office any more than necessary. And besides, I was starting to think tooth #19 wasn't really worth all this effort. Extraction was starting to sound pretty good.

Ugh.

So he wrote me a prescription for antibiotics, and off I went to see the Oral Surgeon.

I'll save that tale for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, have any of you ever heard of this toothpick procedure? I've tried looking it up on the interwebs, but without knowing anything about it - the name of the procedure, the name of the device (I'm sure it wasn't actually a toothpick.... was it?), or how it's supposed to work, I haven't had any luck finding information about it.

Does anyone out there know what this toothpick thingy is called? How it works? Whether it's scientifically based, or simply voodoo?

Frankly, it reminded me of dowsing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Root Canal, or, Dental Doozies, Part I

I had a root canal - a dental procedure - over the summer. Have you ever had a root canal?

I was ... embarrassed ... to need a root canal. Why? Because for my entire life I've had perfect teeth. I never needed braces - my teeth are just straight. I had one cavity as a kid, which was filled, and had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 16 or so, and then every visit to the dentist since then has resulted in my dentist exclaiming "Wow, your teeth look great! Very little plaque! No cavities!" I get the occasional admonishment to floss more often, but really, who doesn't? In short, for nearly 30 years I've needed nothing more drastic than a dental cleaning.

So when my molar (#19, I've subsequently learned) began bothering me occasionally when I would eat or drink something too hot or too cold or too sweet, I chalked it up to my imagination, or age, or ... anything, really, other than a problem with my tooth.

Until the end of May, when I took a bite of pizza and experienced severe pain. Not as bad as childbirth, perhaps, but excruciating nonetheless. My eyes watered. I ran to the bathroom and swished water around in my mouth, hoping to wash away whatever awful thing was causing the pain... but the COLD WATER MADE IT WORSE!! Now I was nearly dizzy with pain. I had to sit, breathe deeply, focus on a spot on the wall -- you know, the whole Lamaze thing that, when I was having my kids, got me through labor until the anesthesiologist showed up with his magic epidural needle! But there was no anesthesiologist on the way, and that worried me greatly.

Especially since we had a vacation to California planned for the next week. A two and a half week vacation, complete with a trip to Knott's Berry Farm, a week at the beach, and a week of camping on Catalina Island. I considered skipping the trip and going to the dentist instead.

But the pain subsided within a minute or so, and it didn't come back for the next few days, so I decided it was all in my head, my tooth was fine, there was no problem, really... humans have a really amazing capacity for denial, don't you think?

And off to California we went. Had a great time. Perhaps I'll write about some of it later.

And the tooth was fine, mostly, so long as I didn't eat anything too hot or too cold or chew too hard on that side of my mouth or ... whatever... I found myself skipping the ice cream dessert because I just didn't want to take a chance, chewing on one side of my mouth, slowly and carefully... eating less (not a bad thing, really - I needed to lose a couple of pounds anyway, I told myself)... whatever it took to make sure I did not trigger that severe shooting, stabbing pain again.

Then, while camping, another awful shooting pain in my jaw.... ay yi yi, I thought the pain would never pass....! A few minutes later, it did. But after that, my tooth hurt pretty much constantly, a very low-level but constant pain, with occasional shooting pains if I tried to use the tooth. It was clear. There was something terribly wrong with my tooth. Ugh.

So when I got home, I made an appointment at the dentist, who saw me the next week, took a bunch of x-rays, said my tooth was infected and probably cracked, and sent me to the endodontist, who saw me a few days later. The antibiotics the dentist prescribed to control the infection also got rid of most of the pain, except for the occasional shooting, stabbing pain if I ate something too hot or too cold or chewed on something just the wrong way or... whatever. That didn't happen much, though, since I had pretty much learned to avoid eating if at all possible and to chew on the other side of my mouth if I had to eat.

The endodontist explained that my tooth was cracked, which allowed bacteria to get inside the tooth and eat away at the soft tissue within, destroying it. This is apparently what caused the pain. That, and the slight movement of the piece of tooth that was cracked. He recommended two alternatives: a root canal, or extract the tooth.

If the tooth is extracted, you then have two other options: a dental implant, or a bridge. For a dental implant, they insert a metal post into your jaw bone and attach a fake tooth to it. Ooh - sounds painful... For a bridge, they attach a fake tooth to the teeth immediately before and after it. Sounds less painful, but has the potential to essentially ruin two perfectly good teeth.

In a root canal, the endodontist drills through your tooth, scrapes out all the infected goo, and fills the tooth with some sort of soft substance, perhaps with antibacterial properties. Then you return to your dentist to have a crown placed over the tooth to hold it all together. (Apparently once the inside (infected) tissue is drilled out and the tooth dies, it becomes more brittle and needs protection, which is what the crown provides.)

Keeping the tooth and having it be normal again was, sadly, *not* one of the choices, and I didn't like any of the choices I had. But the root canal sounded the least objectionable, as I would not have to have metal installed in my jaw bone, nor ruin two perfectly good teeth to install a denture-like fake tooth between them.

The endodontist warned me, though, that my tooth was pretty severely and deeply cracked, and that the root canal procedure might not be successful. He said, however, that it would immediately cure the pain - well, right after the swelling from the procedure subsided, anyway. So I said "OK, let's do it," and had a root canal done right there and then.

Two and a half hours later, the root canal was done.

Two months later, it still had not fully healed. My dentist explained he could not install the crown until all the infection cleared up and the swelling subsided, so that the tooth would not be "floating" on top of fluid and/or swollen tissue, causing a misalignment of my bite. It has never fully cleared up.

In fact, it recently flared up again. The root is apparently dead on that tooth, so the pain wasn't nearly as bad as before. So, in my infinite capacity for denial, I ignored it as long as possible, claiming I was "too busy" to go to the dentist again. But it was uncomfortable. And then last week, my gum swelled up, and it began to actually hurt. So, back to the dentist I went. And the endodontist. And then the Oral Surgeon.

More antibiotics. More pain pills. And I may have to have the tooth extracted. And I'm thinking I should have just had it removed in the first place. Ugh. What a nightmare! Wish me luck...

Tomorrow I will tell you about my second visit to the endodontist. It was a real doozy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Smarty-Pants Son Strikes Again

Tonight's smarty-pants comment:


LegalMist's husband was teasing LegalMist's son ("LMS" - 7 years old) tonight. I don't even remember what the teasing was about, but LegalMist's son had taken all the teasing he could take, so he grumped:

"You're an idiot, Dad!"

We can't have the kids calling names so of course I jumped in and said, "LMS, that's not nice, and it's not true. Your daddy is one of the smartest men I know."

So LMS muttered under his breath: "You must not know very many men...."

* * *

I would have chastised him for that, too, but my husband was laughing out loud, so I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have done any good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Interesting Study Results

In addition to forwarding funny videos and jokes by email, sometimes my friends forward to me interesting facts or abstracts from scientific studies. This one is particularly fascinating, and was forwarded by my friend Nancy, an expert in relationship studies:

"A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle. For example: if she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features. However, if she is menstruating or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with duct tape over his mouth and a spear lodged in his chest with a bat up his ass while he is on fire.

No further studies are expected on this subject."


---

I've been so busy lately. I'll get back to writing real posts, instead of copying from my emails, soon. I promise.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

For Dog Lovers Everywhere...

This video* is even better than last month's video posting. I received it via email, because I have such great friends who send me such great stuff. You all should be so lucky, right? (Well, SkyDad is that lucky, too - have you seen his Bad Tat Tuesdays? Of course you have, of course you have...)


video


----
Footnotes (because I'm a lawyer, that's why):

* I'd be happy to give credit to the fantabulous creator(s) of this video, if anyone knows who he/she/they might be -- just leave a comment.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Here is a video I received via email today. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

video

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Funnies - Forwarded From Friends - Reprise

Another groaner for you all, received in my inbox today (I really should get a better spam filter....):

A skeptical anthropologist was cataloguing South American folk remedies with the assistance of a tribal Brujo who indicated that the leaves of a particular fern were a sure cure for any case of constipation.

When the anthropologist expressed his doubts, the Brujo looked him in the eye and said, "Let me tell you, with fronds like these, you don't need enemas."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jack-A-Roo-Dave-La

When I was a kid, I loved the Beatles. Still do, actually.

"Across the Universe" is one of my favorite Beatles songs. It's got such a pretty melody, and deep and meaningful (translate: obscure) lyrics that can rattle around in your brain all day. My daughter loves the song, too.

So on our recent trip to California, we were playing the CD in the car and singing along.

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass, they make
Their way across the Universe.

Pools of sorrow rays of joy
Are drifting through my open mind
Possessing and caressing me....

And then ... what are those words?

I suddenly realized that, in my 40+ years of existence, I had never bothered to learn what that next lyric really is. As a kid I always just sang, "Jack-a-roo Dave la" without ever thinking about it. But that can't be it, can it?

Jack a Roo Dave la.... ohhh....

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million
Eyes, they call me on and on,
Across the universe

Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make
Their way across the Universe....

Shit, there it is again... what's that line? It sounds for all the world like "Jack a roo Dave la.... ohhhh..." but that just can't be it!! ....

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Sounds of laughter shades of earth are ringing
Through my open views
Inciting and inviting me.

Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million
Suns, it calls me on and on,
Across the Universe.

Dang. There it is again, "Jack a Roo Dave la.... ohhhh...."

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Jack a roo Dave la
Jack a roo Dave la
Jack a roo Dave la.....

It makes no sense, Jack a roo Dave la. My daughter even asked, "what are they saying there?" And I had to confess I had no idea. ... "Jack a roo Dave la?" I said... and to her credit she actually laughed at me instead of accepting that as true.

I drove for hours with that lyric rattling around in my head.

Here, if you don't know the lyric, you try to figure it out (from this admittedly rough YouTube clip of the Beatles working on Across the Universe and Dig a Pony)!



See, you can't figure it out either, right?

When we got to the hotel, I looked it up on the wondrous modern invention we call the internet (whether invented by Al Gore or not, it is certainly a wonderful thing).

Turns out, the phrase is "Jai Guru Deva... om" which, loosely translated and according to Wikipedia, means something like, "Glory to the divine Guru," and is followed by the traditional transcendental meditation chant of "Om."

Wow, what a thing to learn after 40 years of singing "Jack a roo Dave la.... ohhhh" as if that made any sense at all.

Hopefully I've just saved some of you from the same fate.

Or maybe you knew all that already and (in the words of Rebecca Howe of the long-running sit-com Cheers), "I am too stupid to LIVE!"

* * *

In my defense, the phrase "Jack-a-Roo" isn't that far out there (except for the fact that it makes no sense at all in the context of the song). The Grateful Dead have a song entitled Jack-A-Roe.

* * *

Happy singing, Beatles fans, happy singing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie Recommendation

We were on vacation, looking for a movie for the kids to watch one evening. I was running down the list of free movies available at the hotel: the SpongeBob Squarepants Movie, the Dog Hotel movie, the Simpsons movie, Where the Wild Things Are...

LegalMist's Daughter (age 11): Ooh, I haven't seen that one!

LegalMist's Son (age 7): I read the book. It was quite good.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Need a New Job

I am sick to death of litigating against obnoxious attorneys.

I am sick to death of clients who don't pay.

My worst case: a client who hasn't paid since September, with the obnoxious attorney with time issues (a.k.a. "O.A.") on the other side. I receive at least three things in the mail each week in connection with this case. Generally two or three "nasty grams" - i.e., snotty-toned letters from O.A. - plus a motion, subpoena, discovery request, or notice of some sort. And all in conjunction with at least a couple of nasty emails from her, or a reasonably nice email from her legal secretary. All of which requires me to take the time to respond - time for which I likely will never get paid.

I am sick to death of worrying about how to pay this month's round of bills in this crappy economy with clients who can't collect from their clients and therefore can't pay their bills either.... including mine.

(Really. Literally. I've been sick more often in the past year than I have in my entire 40+ other years of existence. And depressed, too. I can't take it any more.)

I need a new job, and I need it now. A job that does not require litigation. A job that pays a regular paycheck. Preferably a job that involves interacting with (reasonably polite) people, but not trying to collect past-due money from them.

Anybody hiring?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Feature - Workforced

For a while, I was posting "Friday Features" every week, in which I spotlighted other blogs that I love. I gave it up because I wasn't getting many comments so I thought perhaps it wasn't a very popular feature and that no one really cared which blogs I love. Or maybe you all were already reading them and didn't need my recommendations.

Recently, I've posted some "Friday Funnies" - trying to amuse my readers.

This week, I'm posting a Friday Feature that's guaranteed to make you smile. Sort of a "Friday Featured Funny Blog" or something like that. You may already know this blog. But if you haven't already heard of it (or even if you have), pop on over and check out Workforced. You won't regret it.

Don't worry. I'll wait patiently for you to read awhile (seriously -- read through some older posts, as well as today's!) and then come back.

* * * * * * *

Oh, good, there you are! Thought I might not see you again once you discovered Don Joe's wonderfully hilarious blog . . .

Welcome back!

* * * * * * *

Every time I read Workforced, it makes me glad (again) that I left the world of working for others to start my own business.

Sadly, the economy is having an awful effect on the number of clients who pay me, and thus on my income. I may have to return to the world of working for others who can pay me a salary, rather than spending my days trying to get blood from turnips who won't or can't pay their legal bills. If I do return to the corporate working world, I hope I can approach it with the same humor that Don Joe over at Workforced displays. Otherwise, I'll surely go mad within a month!

Happy Friday, my bloggy friends, Happy Friday!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day From the Boys

Received this in my email inbox; thought you all might enjoy it, too:



HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

(If the "embed" feature is broken, you can find this awesome video at http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/388972/).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How To Be A Gracious Bitch

Received in my email inbox today:

Jenni's wedding day was fast approaching. Nothing could dampen her excitement - not even her parents' nasty divorce the prior year.

Jenni went shopping with her mother and found the PERFECT dress -- her mother would be the best-dressed mother-of-the-bride ever!

A week later, Jenni was horrified to learn that her father's new, young wife had bought the exact same dress as her mother! Jenni asked her father's new young wife to exchange it, but she refused: "Absolutely not! I look like a million bucks in this dress, and I'm wearing it," she replied.

Jenni told her mother who graciously said, "Never mind sweetheart. I'll get another dress. After all, it's your special day."

A few days later, they went shopping again, and did find another gorgeous dress for her mother.

When they stopped for lunch, Jenni asked her mother, "Aren't you going to return the other dress? You really don't have another occasion where you could wear it."

Her mother just smiled and replied, "Of course I do, dear. I'm wearing it to the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Funnies - Forwarded From Friends

Sorry about the title. I just couldn't resist the alliteration, given that today's post is all about word play.


Here are some useful new words, along with their definitions, which arrived in my email inbox this morning:

1. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an a-hole.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

4. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the Person who doesn't get it.

6. Decafalon: The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

7. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

8. Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

9. Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

10. Abdicate: To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

11. Esplanade: To attempt an explanation while drunk.

12. Willy-nilly: Impotent.

13. Negligent: Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

14. Balderdash: A rapidly receding hairline.

15. Rectitude: The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

16. Pokemon: A Rastafarian proctologist.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Whatever Happened to Jolt Cola?

I didn't begin drinking coffee until I was in law school. I never drank coffee in college. I muddled through with just soda for my caffeine "fix." And I couldn't stand diet soda; it had to be the kind with actual sugar.

My third year in college, there were many ads on the radio for "Jolt" cola. I *loved* their ads. They got right to the point:

"Drink Jolt Cola, with real sugar, and twice the caffeine."

It sounded *great*!! I raced right out and bought a case.

Too bad it didn't taste very good....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I find this fascinating...

You know that bats use echolocation to navigate at night, in extreme darkness, right? They emit a sound and use the echoes from the sound to locate and avoid objects, or to locate and catch and eat bugs or other prey.

But did you know that humans can develop this ability, too?

A recent article in Psychology Today magazine tells of some blind mountain bikers who use echolocation to navigate the trails. Amazing.

The article describes the basic process of echolocation:

To get a sense of how echolocation works, try this. Hold your hand up about one foot in front of your face with your palm facing your mouth. Put your front teeth together, open your lips, and make a continuous shhhhhh sound. As you make this sound, slowly bring your hand toward your mouth. You will hear the shhhh sound change. What you’re hearing is the sound reflecting from your hand colliding with the sound leaving your mouth. This interference turns out to be one of the most important types of sound dimensions we use to echolocate objects at close distances.

But this demonstration is exaggerated. The interference patterns used for echolocation are usually too subtle to be consciously heard. This highlights one of the most amazing aspects of echolocation: It’s rarely experienced as sound. Try using your shhhh sounds to walk slowly toward a wall with your eyes closed. As you come close to the wall, you’ll experience its presence as more of a feeling than a change in sound. It may feel as if there are air pressure changes on your face, an experience also reported by the blind (echolocation was once called “facial vision”). Echolocation is truly one of your implicit perceptual skills: It allows you to detect aspects of your environment without even knowing which sensory system you’re using. And it could very well be that you’re constantly using the skill to recognize properties of the rooms you occupy.
Fascinating.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Will No Longer Do Business With Chase Bank

So in 2008, I was traveling a lot and not doing a very good job of keeping up with paying bills on time. I made a few late payments on my Chase credit card, which also serves as the overdraft protection credit line for my business checking account. They raised my interest rate to 21.99 percent on the overdraft protection portion of the account, and 29.99 percent on the credit portion of the account.

Since September 2008, I have not made a single payment late. Not one. Not only that, but I've paid the balance down to just over $1000. Yet two months ago, they raised the interest rate to 29.99 percent on the overdraft protection portion of the account, for no apparent reason.

I called and asked why. They said they were "standardizing the interest rate."

I asked why they didn't "standardize" it at the lower rate. They said that's just not the way it works.

I asked them to lower the interest rate on both portions to something more reasonable than 30 percent. They refused.

Why, I asked? They said they simply "don't have a lower rate to offer."

I submit it's because they want to suck as much money as they can out of the people who actually pay their bills, to subsidize the mountain of bad loans and speculative deals they made over the past decade that are now biting them in the butt.

So I guess they leave me no other options: I'll simply have to pay it off and cancel it, and take my business elsewhere.

I will also have to move my business checking account (they charge $12 a month for that particular privilege), lawyer trust account, and business savings account to a different bank. Why would I want to do business with blood-sucking bastards?

This is a little sad, because I actually like the people at my local branch. They are friendly and professional.

But they work for blood-sucking bastards, so I won't be seeing them anymore.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

One for the Women

My little girl is growing up.

Yes (as you may have guessed by the title and the first sentence), her first period started today, just over halfway through sixth grade.

There was awkwardness and tears (from her), and smiles and encouragement and a rather long-winded explanation of the function and proper deployment of various pads and tampons (from me), and some stocking of her bathroom and her backpack with the necessary items, and some excitement about my little girl growing up, becoming a woman, developing just as she should . . .

. . . and then a tinge of regret from both of us about a childhood so fleetingly gone. As she phrased it, "Whatever happened to second grade, when I had nothing to worry about? Nothing! Second grade . . . good times." And she shook her head slowly and wiped away tears. I hugged her.

Then we realized neither one of us could remember her second grade teacher's name, even though we both could rattle off the teachers' names from Kindergarten, first grade, third grade, fourth grade . . . . Funny how that works sometimes, for both kids and adults. You declare it the best year ever and then figure out it was only the best year because you don't really remember it; you've forgotten all the heartache.

But second grade was a good year; I know it was because I remember most of it. It was back in the days when the boys could still be, simply, her friends; when the kids still had in-class birthday parties with cupcakes and little hats all 'round; when recess was still a time to hang upside down from the monkey bars and skip rope and play in the sand instead of a time (as it was by fourth grade) to stand around looking awkwardly at the boys who, suddenly, inexplicably, acted like they didn't want to know you anymore.

We pulled up digital photos of her from second grade. We found a photo of my little girl in her second grade classroom, wide eyed and happy and standing with her teacher, who was telling the whole class to wish her "Happy Birthday." Her teacher was wearing a name tag. Aha! We zoomed in to read the tag. No luck - just a fuzzy-looking smear where the letters should have been. I guess my digital camera wasn't the best back then.

We laughed a little about how we could remember all the other teachers' names, about how her first grade teacher had pulled out her first loose tooth at school one day ... and how her second grade teacher, Mrs. ..... ? who? ... had also pulled one for her...

It suddenly seemed the most important thing in the world to know this teacher's name, this kind and young and beautiful woman who now stood for everything that was innocent and carefree and wonderful about childhood. I dug through my files of old progress reports.

And then, laughter again. My beautiful baby girl - the one who, at birth, weighed just barely over five pounds and was so utterly dependent on me; the one who, when she was a few years old, looked at me with such sweet, loving, admiring eyes; the one who, up until fourth grade or so, thought I was smart and kind and pretty and the best mom ever, and wanted me to come visit her classroom - yes that beautiful baby girl - she had the gall to laugh at me for being such a pack rat. "Why do you even keep all that stuff, mom?" she asked, a little too self-righteously I thought, for a girl whose room looks like a tornado hit it.

But I keep these little mementos - the random progress reports, the school event programs, the science fair ribbons and soccer team participation certificates - for just these moments, when we need, right now, to remember a name, a place, a moment in time....

Wouldn't you know it? I had various mementos from kindergarten, first grade, and third grade, but nothing from second grade in my little girl's school file.

Tears welled in her eyes again, as she thought of the beautiful and kind teacher from second grade whose name was now lost forever from our fickle stupid memories.

And then, just when it all seemed hopeless, finally, success! I pulled the second grade teacher's name from the dark recesses of my brain: Mrs. Slattery!! And my baby was happy again. And I was, for one more shining moment, the smart and wonderful mom that she used to know. And we both smiled and laughed. And she went to bed content, if a little nervous about what tomorrow will bring, at school, with this new problem to handle.

And I am left here, sleepless, with my memories and with my tears for her vanished childhood ...

and, if I am honest, for mine.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm So Proud of Her!

My daughter won third place in her class at the Science Fair today. I'm so very proud of her!

I had taken my son to karate class while my husband went to attend the award ceremony at her school science fair.

He brought her by the class to tell me that she won third place! I hugged her tight and kissed the top of her head and told her I was so proud of her!

Meanwhile, my husband made jokes like, "When they announced that she won third place, I felt this really strange sensation, almost like an emotion or feeling or some kind, I'm not sure what that was... do you know?" "Pride!" she said, smiling. "Hmmm," he said, "yeah, maybe so.... or indigestion, maybe. It was strange, anyway." Or, later, "Well, that's ok, kiddo, maybe next year you can win first place."

* * *

Then later, my daughter came to me crying and said she was sad because when she told me about winning third prize at the science fair, I didn't tell her I was proud of her.

What? How do I get blamed for being the one who didn't say "I'm proud of you," when it's my doofus husband who is the constant joke machine and can never simply say, "I'm proud," or "I'm happy," or "Wow, great job!" Does it need the jokes and humor to even be heard? Am I going about this all wrong? Or were my direct and honest words simply drowned out in the sea of sarcastic jokes?

Save that for later analysis; it just doesn't matter when your kid is crying. I hugged her and told her I'm very proud of her. I told her that I did tell her before that I was proud of her but that I could understand if she didn't hear me - maybe I had hugged her too tight and blocked her ears or something, but anyway even if she didn't hear it or even if I didn't say it loud enough, I felt it, I'll say it again and again until she has heard it enough times, and I still mean it. I am proud of her.

She worked hard on that project. She did it all herself, and it was an actual experiment, and she worked hard to calculate and graph the results properly. I am proud of the effort she put in, proud of the fact that the final project looked great and was well-written, and yes, proud of the fact that she won a prize.

I hope she knows that now. I hope it sunk in. I hope she remembers it.

Next time, I'll have to say it louder, and more often.

Or maybe just more sarcastically?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympics Closing Ceremony

Did anyone watch the Olympics Closing Ceremony last night? I did. Wouldn't have missed it for anything. Well, OK, so I had to miss the beginning of it, dealing with kids and dinner and grocery shopping and laundry, but I caught that part later on the replay.

I loved it. My husband said it was "boring."

There was, of course, some ceremonial pomp and circumstance, with the athletes entering the stadium, the Olympic flag-lowering ceremony, the passing of the flag to the IOC president, who gave it to the mayor of Sochi, Russia, as the host of the 2014 Winter Games.

There was a choir singing, and a tribute to the Olympic Luge contestant who died in a horrible accident on the first day of the Olympics.

All of that was necessary, moving even, but perhaps not "entertaining" in the usual sense of the word. But in addition to the necessary ceremonial duties, Canada put on quite a show.

First, I must say, those Canadians cracked me up. They did a skit making fun of the now-famous glitch in the opening ceremony when one of the cauldron's pillars did not emerge from the floor and left their former gold medal speedskater Catriona Le May Doan standing awkwardly holding a torch, with nothing to light. In the end, she got to light the cauldron for the closing ceremony.

Can you imagine if the Chinese had a glitch like that one in their opening ceremony? I doubt there would have been a closing ceremony making fun of it; instead, it would have been an embarassment, hush-hushed, no one allowed to talk about it. Those Canadians, though - like the good hosts and good sports that they are - they brought it right back out into the limelight and encouraged us to laugh along with them at their misfortune. And gave Catriona Le May Doan her chance to light the cauldron after all. I love that!

Canadian-born actors William Shatner (Captain Kirk of Star Trek, Denny Crane of The Practice and Boston Legal), Catherine Anne O'Hara (Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman), and Michael J. Fox (Family Ties, Back to the Future, Spin City), also made me laugh a few times with their humorous monologues.

Michael J. Fox looked better than I've seen him look in a while. His Parkinson's tremor wasn't as noticeable as it sometimes is, and he looked stronger than he has looked in the past couple of years.

And you had to love the very tongue-in-cheek performance by Michael Buble, dressed in Mountie gear, complete with giant inflatable beavers and moose, giant cardboard cutout table-hockey players and a kid wearing what looked like a giant tire starring as the hockey puck.

And there were great performances by a huge variety of performer such as Neil Young, Nickelback, Alanis Morissette, and more.

The whole closing ceremony was a good mix of ceremony, humor, music, and a beautiful light show. Were there some parts that didn't make me go "wow"? Sure. But overall, I thought it was spectacular and fun and a fitting end to the games.

I loved it.