Friday, January 30, 2009

Life at my Firm.

Generally, when one thinks of a law firm, especially an appellate law firm, they picture nerdy, glasses-wearing, stuffy, boring, book-in-nose types with their butts glued to their desk chairs and their vocabulary consisting of words like "heretofore" and "notwithstanding." This stereotype may very well be true for most appellate firms...but not mine. My firm breaks the mold. Simply put, we are awesome.

My firm consists of me and two 30-something guys with very strange senses of humor. Case in point: today I grab my mid-morning snack (a D'Anjou pear)out of my (big-ass) lunch cooler and head to the bathroom to wash it off (don't want no icky pesticides in my bloodstream now do I?). As I'm rinsing, I look up into the mirror to find one of my co-workers has taped a piece of plastic that eerily resembles a face to the mirror with a sticky note beside it that reads, "Hello! My name is Tanner." Immediately, I know which co-worker did it. He's the one we call "Dirty and Weird." These are the types of things that occur on a daily basis.

Then at lunchtime, my other co-worker comes into my office and tells me that it's Margarita Friday. I promptly jump out of my chair and follow him toward the exit, like the good little associate I am. Margarita Friday is a tradition here that is just what it sounds like: one Friday a month or so we head down the street to a fabulous Mayan-food (yes, Mayan) restaurant who seems to spike their margaritas with Everclear because it only takes one to make me stupid (which isn't saying much, but you get my point). There was one Friday when my co-worker spent four hours drinking margaritas and came back to the office with a "roadie." Now that's what I call a working lunch!

Needless to say, I am lucky to have a job where I can wear blue jeans and crocs and drink margaritas at lunch and still be regarded by my peers as being the "smart" kind of attorney. Life is good.

...and, yes, I did have a margarita at lunch today, so I'm pretty stupid. I love stupid.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dear Winter,

While I have enjoyed our little tryst, I think it is time for you to go. I wish I could say I still find you refreshing, invigorating and exhilarating. Instead, now you merely chill me to the bone and make me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. It was good while it lasted, dear Winter, but I am at my wits end. It's not you, it's me...

No, actually, it's just you.

Regardless, you have worn out your welcome and I must ask for you to be on your way. I have found a new love and his name is Spring. He makes me feel warm and energetic. Unlike you, he doesn't keep me locked up indoors. No, Spring lets me enjoy being young and full of energy. He lets me go outside and frolic through the fields of newly sprung flowers or ride my new bike (the birthday fairy was good to me) on a wooded trail next to the warming waters of the lake. Yes, Winter, Spring has definitely stolen your girl!

I will cherish the memories we created. But I'm done with you now. Please, for the love of God, be on your way.

Not nearly as affectionately,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Day Smells Like Lillies

Today is a new day!

I was unable to get a good feed of the inauguration online, nor could I hear anything, so me and one of my bosses put everything aside for an hour or so and headed over to my other bosses' house down the street where we watched President Obama being sworn in. It was almost surreal to watch, but wonderful at the same time. I am hoping and praying that the change in our nation's leadership will bring change for the good for all of us. I also hope and pray that President Obama has the courage and fortitude to lead us honorably, passionately, intelligently, and humbly into the next four years. We have put our hope in him. All we can do now is pray for him. And so I will.

In other news, this new day just happens to smell like Stargazer Lillies and I love it! There was a knock at the door only minutes ago and seconds later my legal secretary delivered these:

My thoughtful boyfriend had them delivered for my birthday, which is on Saturday. He knows my favorite flowers are Stargazers and roses. He's such a romantic lad. I think I'll keep him...until he makes another joke at how old I'm getting.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. All of my family and dear friends are gathering at my parents house for a night of board games and beverages to celebrate my birthday! Funny how in my short life I've gone from celebrating with theme parties thrown by mom and dad, to legalized debauchery at local bars, and now back to theme based parties at my parents' house. Huh...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Review: In Defense of Food

One of my Christmas presents from G was this book. I began reading it the night I received it and I have been eagerly chipping away at it since. I finished it early this weekend and have since passed it to my mom to read. The book is a cleverly written "expose" of the American food industry and its ramifications on our society. It was truly eye opening and life-changing, at least for me. For a couple of years now, I have made it a point to try to eat as cleanly as possible: whole foods, fruits and veggies, whole grains, etc. But I never realized what "whole foods" truly were until I read this book. And I never realized the effects that processed food can have on our health and well-being. This book is a quick read and filled with a lot of great information and it's written in a way that even boring facts are fascinating. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to eat healthful, delicious, real food and reap the benefits!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Place of My Own

Is it too much to ask to find a small, quaint, well-maintained rental home in a good neighborhood for a reasonable (cheap) price? Apparently so. At the end of this month, I have to turn in my 60-days notice to my apartment complex if I intend to move. I desperately want to move. I am beyond tired of living in apartments. Let me tell you why...

In the first one I lived in, my best friend and roommate was mugged at knifepoint. In the second apartment I lived in with my sister we acquired a peeping tom. In the third place I lived, my above-stairs neighbor played loud music late at night, walked with the weight of an elephant and I swear he set up a bowling alley and played into the wee hours of the morning. My current apartment is not much better although it's in a nice location. I'm on the third floor to avoid loud, elephant feet above-stairs neighbors, but there's something creepy about the place. For example, every few months there's a flurry of police cars and fire trucks swarming the place and no one will ever tell me why. Although they couldn't keep it from me when the flurry of police activity was warranted by my next door neighbor committing suicide. And my strange and slightly retarded cat seems to see things in a certain corner because she sits there an meows at it on a nightly basis. Yeah...are you starting to see why I hate living in apartments?

Moreover (Yes, that's a lawyer word. Deal with it.), I want a place with a bit of yard where I can expand my garden and maybe someday get a dog. I want a garage to protect my car and to store things. I want a front yard that I can lovingly landscape. I want to have more than 6 inches of space between me and whatever crazy neighbors I inherit. But I can't afford a lot and so I am stuck.

So I continue my search. I still have a couple of months to look. I guess all I can do is pray that the perfect little affordable house pops up just for me. Please and thank you, God. Amen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Simple Garden

This past Sunday, despite my still being sick and my back still out, I finally bought some herbs and soil to start my very first garden. Granted, I live in an 800 square foot apartment and have no yard, but did that stop me? No. I am a stubborn woman. I find ways of getting what I want. And I wanted a garden. So I bought a couple of cute pots from Garden Ridge, a book about starting a garden in small spaces, some herbs and organic soil and got to work.

I must say the act of gardening is quite therapeutic. Just sitting outside on a sunny day on my little porch playing in a bag of dirt and a few baby plants was very calming. I found myself talking to the Rosemary and Lavender plants on more than one occasion. I still need to plant my mesclun mix so I can grow my own salads. If I do well "raising" these little ones, I have every intention to plant some more edibles, namely: strawberries, tomatoes, and lots more herbs. My boyfriend has offered to give me some advice on successfully growing "herbs" but I'm pretty sure he and I are talking about different things. He was a wild one back in the day...

I'm looking forward to seeing my plants grow. Let me rephrase: I sure hope my plants don't die. I don't have a great history with keeping things alive. Every silly houseplant I've ever owned has died a slow and painful death. Even my two parakeets kicked the bucket when I was studying for the Bar exam (stupid test also caused a random allergy to Chapstick, too, but I digress). My two cats seem to be doing just fine, but they're pretty self-sustaining and I hear they have nine lives. So who knows? I guess we shall see...

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Case of the Missing Coaster

After a long week and a half away from work, I returned on Monday morning to my large cherry wood desk clean and just the way I left it. Or almost just the way I left it...

After I arrived, I went about my morning routine: putting away my purse and totebag, setting my lunchbox on the corner of a far section of my desk, pulling out my Sigg water bottle and setting it on my beautiful plaid coaster...where's my coaster? WHO TOOK MY COASTER?

Perplexed, I begin to wonder, 'Who would want a cheap plaid coaster from Target?' The coaster is not special to anyone but me. It was bought as part of a set at Target after Christmas one year. The reason it is special to me is because it is plaid. Plaid = Scotland. I adore Scotland. Therefore, I adore my coaster. Yes, I'm a little strange, but in a lovable way, I should think.

First I suspect the cleaning lady who comes in every week and tends to rearrange my desk-things. But she's never removed any of my desk-things and, going back to the original ponder, why would she take my coaster? I start to ask around the office. By asking around, I mean my legal secretary. There are only four of us in the office and three of us are attorneys. The other two attorneys probably don't even know I have a coaster. So I ask my legal secretary if she's seen it. It seems she also had no idea I had a coaster. Now everyone in my office is laughing at me because I have a coaster and, worse, I'm distraught because it's missing. Thanks, guys.

So the week passes. I borrow a silly cardboard coaster with a fish on it from one of the other attorneys who was using it to prop up a wobbly table. I get busy and soon the mystery of my missing coaster is pushed to the backburner.

But then, this morning, as I'm cleaning up the piles of paper that have accumulated on my desk, I see the silly fish coaster and start to miss my Scottish coaster all over again. I am renewed with determination to find my coaster! Again, I ask all members of the firm if it had popped up since I last asked. Again, they laughed at me. Undeterred, I decide to do a thorough search of my desk and the spaces around it. I crawl on the hardwood, dusty floors around and under my desk. No coaster. I stick my hands into the cracks between the desk and walls. No coaster. I crane my neck to see in the shadows created by books and phones and picture frames and random desk-things. Still no coaster. I am dismayed.

But then, I glance down to peek underneath my standing metal file organizer sitting at the corner of a section of my desk. Suddenly I notice a shape in the shadow of the file organizer. My anticipation builds as I slowly reach my fingers into the shadow and pull coaster! I am delighted and excited and relieved and...embarrassed because I suddenly realize that no one had taken my coaster. On the contrary, it was I who had inadvertently shoved my poor coaster into the cold shadows where desk-things go to die by my ever growing pile of motions, briefs, cases, affidavits, and code books.

At that moment, it dawned on me that I had transformed into the nerdy appellate attorney that I had always accused my boss of being. He would constantly lose things in his black hole of a desk and "blame" all of us for taking whatever it was he had lost.

Alas, I was now that person. Oh, the irony.

But at least I found my pretty coaster.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bitter Day

Every now and then, a girl has a day when she has had it with everything and just needs to vent about her bitterness toward life. Lucky for you, dear reader, today is that day.

I am bitter because I spent good money and a lot of time stopping by the doctor this morning only to hear that I do not have an infection and there's nothing he can do for me. Take sudafed, he says. Use an inhaler so you can breathe, he says. Thanks doc. I should have listened to my instincts and waited a couple more days for my bronchitis to clear on its own, but I'm asthmatic and have had a few scares with my airways closing up, so I let my fear win. Now I'm out $100 and I'm still hacking up my lungs.

I am bitter because I have been unable to hit the gym with my new workout schedule like I had planned because of my silly "can't breathe" issue. I gained five pounds over my vacation due to lack of exercise and way too much bad food. I am confident I'll be able to get back down to my pre-Holiday weight, but I can't do anything about it yet because I'm sick. Aggravation does not even begin to describe...

I am bitter because for all my efforts and research and best intentions in using natural, organic products on my skin and hair, I am still breaking out like a 15 year old boy. I am not giving up by any means, but I am so frustrated. Next in line to research is how food affects acne (or lack thereof). There are so many conflicting reports out there about whether diet and acne are linked, but I don't see how they can't be. Another suspected culprit is birth control pills. They are generally supposed to help those suffering from acne, but many women experience the opposite result. Any time you mess with your hormones, you will suffer some effects. However, I sure hope that's not what's causing my skin issues because BC pills are by far the most affordable, convenient, almost-fool-proof option for me at this stage in life.

I am bitter because I have a really unreliable car that does strange things on a regular basis (i.e., losing all power for a spit second while going 70 mph...nice), but I can't afford a new, or even new-used, car until I get a HUGE raise or I win the lottery or I pay off all my student loan debt which will take 30 years. Pretty sure my old clunker won't last 30 more years. Guess I need to buy a lottery ticket.

Sigh. I think that's all I have to be bitter about right now. But on the bright side, today G and I have been together for 6 months. That's pretty substantial for a girl who, for the past five years, was never interested beyond the first date! Yay!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I think I have bronchitis. It has yet to be confirmed because I refuse to go to the doctor unless I absolutely have to. It's getting to that point, however, because it was a bit hard to breathe this morning and frankly, I'm starting to disgust myself with all the drooling, dripping, hacking, and sneezing. I feel so sexy right now.

General bit of advice: do not eat an apple when you're prone to sneezing fits. It is more than likely you will be surprised with a sneeze attack and end up with juicy bits of apple in your hands or on your face. Just a warning...

Sexy, I tell you.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Damn Umbrella

Umbrellas are dangerous. Cheap umbrellas given away for free at a legal conference are even more dangerous. Case in point:

It’s raining ice outside so I think it would be a good time to use my new, cheap, free umbrella. It’s doing its job well and when I arrive at the chiropractor I try to close the damn thing and it takes a chunk out of my thumb. So not only do I show up at the door of my chiropractor’s office struggling to close my stupid umbrella (which is witnessed by the doctor through the glass door), but I end up going through my adjustment bleeding profusely from the thumb. I had to wrap medical table paper around my thumb to stop it. It was lovely.

Afterwards, I drive back to work in the icy rain and once again use my umbrella to shield myself from the stupid little ice balls. When I get onto the porch, I attempt to (carefully) close my umbrella again. I succeed…for the first part. It fails to close all the way so I press down on the top and all of a sudden it gives way and comes crashing down on my middle finger. Yeah. Luckily, this time it didn’t bleed, but I do have a pretty purple bruise at the base of my middle finger.

I made sure to show the umbrella the pretty purple bruise on my middle finger.

Stupid umbrella.

Back to the grind...

Nuts. Real life is not nearly as fun as vacation. Sorry for not writing in several days, but I was blissfully disconnected from the world, including but not limited to, my computer. Brief recap:

For Christmas, I went home to Ma &Pa's. We spent a lovely Christmas Eve hanging out and then going to the evening service at church. After church we all went over to my great Aunt's house to have a mini-family gathering where we had lots of yummy, fattening, sugar laden food (a theme which was to continue for the next 12 days). After dinner, we all headed home to start wrapping presents and drinking and generally being stupid. My sister, we'll call her Bee (don't ask), was recovering from strep throat but she was a trooper and stayed up with me into the wee hours of the morning finishing our wrapping and wine party. It was evident that we were deliriously tired (drunk?) when we made a helluva racket dragging one of mom's very LARGE gifts down the stairs. We managed not to knock all the pictures off the wall, which was a Christmas miracle.

Christmas Day was fun, if not a bit rushed. We got up early to open presents and clean up the mess in a hurry because my other sister, we'll call her Ree, and her husband were due to arrive at 9:00. Bee and I kept telling mom that Ree really won't care that there's wrapping paper strewn about the room (the cat's loved it), but mom is mom and she felt compelled to clean up before they arrived. The rest of the day was spent lazing about in front of the t.v. and out in the yard. It was very relaxing. Good times had by all. I even took a nap.

The next morning I packed my bags and headed to the airport bound for Austin for a visit with G and his family. The day after I arrived, his extended family came into town and thus began a whirlwind of food, fun, and lots of laughing and joking and storytelling. I met every aunt, uncle and cousin, and they were truly wonderful. Many different personalities, but all fun and welcoming in their own way. G and I did a LOT of shopping, too. He took me to every shopping center he could think of in the Austin area. He even bought me a beautiful Coach bag. He's a wonderful guy, I tell ya.

Alas, the days flew by and I flew back home on Saturday morning. Of course, I caught a cold the night before so I was "that person" on the plane that no one wants to sit next to for fear of catching whatever deadly disease is causing them to sniffle and sneeze and generally look terrible. Oh well. Whatayagonnado?

Saturday and Sunday were spent frantically unpacking, cleaning, organizing, shopping, and building a new bookshelf (Santa knows how much I like books...he brought me lots). All and all, I'd say it was a very nice holiday. I gained 5 pounds, but who didn't? I'm tired and sick, but who isn't? I'd rather be at home curled up with two kitties and a book, but who wouldn't? But no, it's back to the grind of daily life...and in some strange way it's nice to be back. I sorta need a vacation from my vacation. I'm all partied out.

Next birthday weekend. Crap.
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