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:

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.