Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Television Trifles


Tube Day Tuesday digitalart

  As the crush of the end of semester work has started to pile on, I’ve gotten a bit behind in my TV viewing.  This is good for the grades, not so good for a weekly blog post dedicated to television.  Even the shows I’ve managed to stay mostly up to date with have been watched half-heartedly while doing homework, or half-consciously as I struggle to stay awake just long enough to get through an episode and clear a tiny bit of space on the DVR. 

So, that being the case, there’s nothing that’s just really exciting me right now, and nothing that I would feel equipped to truly review, so here are a few tidbits that have seeped into my brain.

Image courtesy of digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net

  • When I say I’m trying to clear space on my DVR, I guess I should put it in perspective.  I’ve got an external drive hooked to the thing with a TB of storage, and only 27% free space.  The blame isn’t all mine—the entire family has some stuff on there that we probably should do something with—but it’s mostly me.
  • One of the shows I tried to get all caught up on from the DVR queue was Psych, only to find that a storm had knocked out the satellite during one of the recordings—major downside to not watching right away when I would’ve still had an opportunity to catch another showing.  USA is great about putting entire episodes up on their site, but not for a month after initial broadcast.  Thankfully, I was about two weeks behind on that particular episode, so I’m halfway through the waiting period.
  • Speaking of USA, I really miss White Collar.  No new episodes until fall, and that seems like an eternity.  (On the upside, Suits returns this summer, as does just about every other USA program.)
  • Still speaking of USA, their newest show, Graceland, hits the air in early June, and I’m looking forward to it.  It’s created by Jeff Eastin, the guy who brought us White Collar, so I’ve got high hopes.
  • The newish show Golden Boy is turning out to be better than I anticipated.  It’s still a little rough around the edges, but it’s got potential.
  • The newest companion on Doctor Who has not yet won me over.  Clara is her name, and she’s . . . well, honestly, I don’t know what the problem is, but I don’t quite like her yet.  Can’t go so far as to say I dislike her, but she’s just not doing it for me.  Amy Pond she definitely is not.
  • Has there been an announcement about the ending of How I Met Your Mother that I missed?  This season sure feels like a final season.
  • Oh, the great WWW tells me that today is the anniversary of Starsky and Hutch—premiered on this date way back in 1975.  Pre-teen me was hooked from the get-go.
  • I’m a little bit behind on my NCIS, but my Facebook feed is frequently filled with people complaining about Tiva (that’s a smash-up of Tony/Ziva, for those not following along).  I guess I’m in the minority, because I’ve got no problem with the two of them hooking up, if that’s where it’s actually going.  Like most shows, they’ve dragged it out for years with hints and teases, so who knows if it will ever really happen, but what I’ve seen of this season makes it seem that it finally might.
  • I usually say there’s no such thing as “guilty pleasure” television, because you shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying something as simple as a TV show, but I think I might have finally found mine:  2 Broke Girls.  It’s shallow and juvenile and prurient, but it still makes me laugh.

Okay, that’s it, ten things about television that are rattling around in my brain.  That, and the fact that I’ll be glad when I’ve got more time to devote to my favorite pastime.  Sixteen more days, and I’ll be done with the semester.  That’ll give me just about a month to get caught up before summer classes begin!

What are you watching on TV these days?

Oh, one last thing, unrelated to television.  This is the final day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  As with the last couple, the daily posting has been completed (though I’ll confess to a day or two when I really might’ve preferred to let it drop!), but the social aspect of the thing has defeated me.  There are tons of interesting blogs out there, and I wish that I had time to explore all the ones that spark my imagination, but that just hasn’t been the case.  Oh, well, there’s always July.

Another Step for Equality


A week or so ago, I mentioned that Law Day is coming up on May 1, the day we celebrate the rule of law in our society.  Our campus Law Day event was actually today, and we had a speech from John Raley, who holds the distinction of being the only US Attorney to ever be appointed by both a Republican and Democratic administration.  It was interesting to hear him talk about the morality possessed by the best lawyers, and even more interesting to hear him tell a short story of his son—following in the legal footsteps—who worked with the Innocence Project to have an innocent man freed after 25 years in prison.  It gives me hope for the profession I intend to work in, even if peripherally. 

I also mentioned in that earlier post that the local paralegal organization was sponsoring an essay contest with a theme of Equality for All.  At the time, I didn’t expect to be selected as one of the winners, but I’m glad to tell you today that I was wrong about that.  So, Wednesday the other winners and I will be visiting the courthouse and chatting with one of the judges, as well as attending the state Bar Association celebration luncheon.  It should be a nice afternoon, and I’ll tell you all about it later this week. 

But today I want to share with you my essay.  Actually, I was going to combine both the essay and the recap of the official day’s activities all into one post, but something happened today that made me decide to talk about the equality essay today:  Jason Collins, NBA player, publicly came out as gay.

Jason Collins 4-30-13

  Honestly, I don’t particularly follow the NBA (except to know if the OKC Thunder are winning or losing—and it’s a lot of winning this year!), and I’d never heard of Collins before today.  But I have to say that he gained a lot of respect from me today, and I admire the courage it took for him to be honest about himself.  Not that such a thing should take courage, of course, but the world we live in is not always accepting of those who are “different”.  And, as the first active athlete in one of the major professional team sports to come out, he’s definitely going to fit into the “different” category.  I’m glad that the initial responses have been primarily positive, and I hope that Collins—a free agent—gets to continue to live his dream as a professional basketball player without any negative repercussions for his honesty.

And that’s what the essay contest was all about—equality for all.  I think it’s a dream that we’ve not yet achieved, but I still believe it’s a dream worth having.  And I believe that brave people like Jason Collins will help make that dream a reality.

And, finally, here’s what I had to say to the essay committee:

Liberty and Justice for All

In America, fundamental equality for all seems to exist as some sort of ideal condition that we believe we have achieved, so little conscious thought is given to the veracity of that belief. It is only when faced with a challenge to the status quo that we begin to question this theory at all.

If asked in 1863, the average American would likely have said that the country was operating in full accordance with the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, that all men are, in fact, created equally and entitled to certain unalienable rights. Yet the Emancipation Proclamation was necessary. An entire race of people was receiving unequal treatment, but justifications had been made and the nation was existing in a strange state of duality, cherishing equality while condoning slavery. Even after emancipation, more years would pass before slavery was fully outlawed, and years more before black men would be allowed to vote. People had to fight and die for the foundational equality this country is known for. And history shows that the fight did not end with slavery’s demise, nor has it fully ended yet.

Gender equality was the next real challenge to the status quo, with women rising up to demand equal status, fighting for equality in suffrage, jobs, military service. With glass ceilings still present in many organizations and wage equality still just a dream, it’s clear that this challenge also continues.

And, most recently, the matter of sexual orientation has become a battleground for equality, with those in the minority fighting for rights and recognitions that the majority take for granted. It is safe to assume that most members of the LGBT community do not yet feel that they are being granted access to their unalienable rights.

So though the nation was founded on the basic presumption of equality, society has shown time and again that it is not always freely granted, nor fully given. As we mark the anniversary of one of the great moments in the fight for equality, perhaps we should remember a few words of President Lincoln: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves”.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, April 28


Just a very short post tonight because it’s very late, and my head is swimming with joint tenancy and how it impacts the rights of non-debtors, along with just a little bit of divorce decree requirements trying to sneak their way in.  Plus, my medication kicked in about an hour ago, so it’s really all just a bunch of hullabaloo at this point.

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, this weekend was the annual arts festival in downtown OKC, so Brian and I strolled around for a few hours.  The weather was perfect, and the art was mostly cool, though I have to say that the weird faction is always pretty well represented.  The only downside?  Nobody selling funnel cakes this year, so I had to settle for a cup of Dippin’ Dots for a snack.  Not a terribly bad downside.  So, just a few photos and then I’m off to bed.

Happy Monday to you all.

Arts Festival 4-29-13


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Six Word Art



Art Festival 4-28-13


Beautiful day for an art festival.

Link up and share your own six word Saturday.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Questions, with Answers from an Introvert


Another Friday, another pretty wasted day.  But, I did make dinner for the family, and very soon I will be doing a little bit of homework.  That’s about as productive as I get these days on Fridays.  But before the homework, let’s check in on this week’s Five Question Friday.

five question friday

1. Who drives when your family is together, you or your spouse?

Brian almost always drives, though I can honestly and objectively say that I am the better driver.  Even he’ll usually admit as much, but he still doesn’t like to be the passenger.  And it’s not that I never get lost, nor do I have a particularly keen sense of direction, but I am a more attentive driver, so mishaps like we had last night happen far less often to me than him.  Really, I should probably do most of the driving, but he’s just not very good at riding, so I suppose we’ll just leave well enough alone. 

2. Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Introvert.  See here for the longer answer.

3. Are you married to an introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert.  See above for the longer answer.

4. What's your favorite type of social media?

Facebook, no question.  I’ve got accounts at (among others) Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, YouTube, Get Glue, several fitness sites and, of course, this blog, all of which qualify as social media, but Facebook is the one that does what I think social media is most supposed to do—keeps people socializing with each other. 

5. What's your favorite way to "recharge"?

Usually just spending time by myself with absolutely no commitments.  Sometimes that alone time involves watching TV, sometimes reading, sometimes writing, sometimes listening to music, and sometimes literally doing absolutely nothing.  Of course, if I lived close to a beach, my recharging would probably involve sitting in an isolated spot by myself and listening to the waves, because that’s great.  In fact, sometimes my recharging involves imagining that I’m sitting alone on a beach listening to waves.  But, I’m sure you spot the constant here:  I need to be alone. 


And that’s it.  I have to be honest; I was hoping that would take a little longer, because I’m not quite ready to buckle down with the schoolwork just yet.  Of course, I am thinking about some sort of snack, so figuring that out will take a while.  In the meantime, happy weekend to you all.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Date Night


best of both worlds 4-25-13

If you know me well, or even if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m a Star Trek fan.  And while my heart will always belong to James Kirk and his original crew, I don’t discriminate much and I enjoy all the incarnations of the show.

So, when I heard a while back that one of the iconic episodes of The Next Generation was scheduled for a theatrical showing, I was pretty sure I needed to be there.  Of course, it would mean missing class that night, but Thursdays are my easiest night to miss.  Still, I had to be sure there wouldn’t be anything critical happening that I’d be missing just to go watch a movie—especially a movie that was really just a couple of episodes of a television show that originally aired over twenty years ago.  But, when one of my two instructors (he of the more important Thursday night class) announced we would not be meeting this week, I knew it was destiny.  The only thing that remained was to convince Brian to be out past his bedtime on a work night.

Thankfully, my husband will usually indulge my whims as long as they aren’t too outlandish, or too expensive, and a movie at 7 o’clock on a Thursday night is really neither of those, so we were good to go.  And that’s how it came to be that we met about four this afternoon, after my class and his work, to head out for a date night.

First on the agenda was a meal, and since the theater is in a part of the city neither of us frequents, we didn’t really know what our choices might be.  So we were heading toward a fairly populated area off the highway—mall, restaurants, that sort of place.  We were looking for something simple and had seen a Chili’s from the elevated portion of the highway, so we were making our way through the roads to get there, when I spied a Cheesecake Factory looming ahead.  I mentioned it not so much as a suggestion but just because I hadn’t known it was there, but Brian decided we should go there.  Turns out he didn’t know such places actually existed; he always assumed it was a made up restaurant on Big Bang Theory.  He’s adorably out of touch sometimes. 

So we had a nice meal (huge portions) and talked about our day—that’s something we don’t get to do all that often since he heads off to work before I’m out of bed and then he’s already asleep by the time I get home from school.  Then we still had a little time to kill, so we walked over to the mall and strolled around there for a while.  We even browsed around the Apple store for a while because I do so covet an iPad Mini, though Brian doesn’t see the point.  Really, he doesn’t see the point in a lot of technology, and that sort of out of touch doesn’t seem nearly so adorable to me.

Finally it was time to head over to the theater.  The movie/episode was “The Best of Both Worlds”—all about Captain Picard being kidnapped and turned into a Borg.  Really, it was a pretty good show; even twenty some odd years later I can still remember the first time I saw it.  Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a great fan of the season finale cliffhanger, but I have to admit this one was pretty darn good.  Brian was surprised that the theater was almost completely sold out, but that’s another thing he still can’t wrap his mind around, even after 25+ years with me:  we Trek fans can be a diehard bunch.  If it’s a one night only event, and only two theaters in the entire metro area are showing it, you can pretty much count on a crowd.  And, in addition to showing the movie itself, there were a few behind the scenes interviews with the cast, and even some bloopers.  Awesome.

The only downside of the whole night was that we got a little bit lost on the way home.  I made the mistake of thinking Brian knew where he was going and was looking at my phone to check a grade that had been posted.  Unfortunately, he forgot we had to go get my car and ended up headed in the opposite direction of where we needed to be.  Even in a smallish metropolitan area, turning around on a major interstate can be a bit of a hassle, so we went a few miles out of our way before ending up back at my car, but it’s not the end of the world, and it certainly didn’t ruin a good night.

So that’s the story of our date night, made all the more special because with our schedules they just don’t happen that much these days.  I’m glad we made this one work.

Where have you been on a date recently?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wellness Wednesday, April 24




  Well, my slow crawl back to increased activity continues on, but let’s still keep the emphasis on the slow.  I’m still not back up to even the minimum recommended daily steps (10,000) on a regular basis, but I got there a couple of times this past week, which is more than I’ve been doing for the past six months.

  And, I’ve been on my fitdesk for many days.  Not for long amounts of time/distance, but I’ve been trying to get in about half an hour every day.  I think Brian might have been using it lately, too, so it’s getting more use than it has in a while. 

  My instinct is that there have been no pounds dropped this week, but it’s all really just a guess, since my scale batteries died a few days ago and I forgot to put them on the shopping list.  I did pick up a new set tonight, so tomorrow I’ll have to see how things are going.  Like I said, I don’t feel like I’ve lost any weight this week, but I also don’t feel that I’ve gained any. 

Which brings me to my final point, which is that next week, I believe I will move this back to Weight Loss Wednesday, as it was intended to be when it began long months ago.  I’m still not certain I’m physically up to strenuous workouts, but I am ready to put some focus and attention on the process of losing weight.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, won’t you?

weight loss wednesday 1-23-13








Image courtesy of africa at

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen


We learned today of the death of actor Allan Arbus, who was 95 when he passed away this past Friday. 

Back in the day, Arbus was one of those guys who just popped up in television series all over the dial.  In the 70s and 80s, he was a pretty popular guest star.  He even made it to my cherished Hardcastle and McCormick, in a 3rd season episode that remains a fan favorite to this day.

And though his television appearances dwindled in number as the years marched on, Arbus still showed up here and there on the small screen through the 90s, making his final guest appearance in 2000 in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

But to most people (even me, Hardcastle connection notwithstanding), he would forever be psychiatrist Allan Arbus 4-23-13Sidney Freedman, a role he brought to life multiple times on the show M*A*S*H.  Dr. Freeman showed up early in the second season of the show in 1973, and he continued to pop into the 4077th all the way until the final episode in 1983.  He was the perfect mind doc—wise, caring, realistic, and witty.  Who could ever want more than that in a psychiatrist?  And, for those of you who are not as well-versed in your Hardcastle and McCormick history, I’ll tell you that in that role he played yet another doctor, though not a psychiatrist, and this doctor’s name was Dr. Friedman.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.  More likely an homage to a wonderful recurring character made real and memorable by a wonderful character actor.

So RIP, Mr. Arbus, and thanks for the memories. 

Tube Day Tuesday digitalart





Image courtesy digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In Search Of . . .




At some point during my sort of busy weekend, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and came upon a post that made me giggle:  “Random thought: what did you Google today?”

I wish now I’d taken the time to jot down an answer just so I’d have gotten the notifications to see what sort of responses showed up, because now I don’t even remember who posted it.  (Apologies if it’s someone who might actually see this!)  Anyway, I think it’s an interesting question, since I know I’m not the only one to use the amazing search engine to find out strange and wondrous things.

At the time I saw the post, my only searching of the day had been homework related, so just a few legal terms and concepts.  And it’s a rare day that goes by that I don’t add a few more of those to my search history.  But since then, every time I’ve popped over to do a quick look, that post has popped back into my mind.

So, yeah, the parol evidence rule and extinction of contracts have recently shown up for me, as have Big Papi, Lyrid meteors, frog sounds, a quick refresher on the proper usages of affect/effect and lay/lie, Earth Day, and Miranda exceptions for public safety (I’m probably not alone in that last one). 

And, I remember back in our more prolific fanfiction-writing days, my friends and I used to joke that if we were ever suspected of any sort of criminal activity, our browser histories would likely sink us, since we very commonly searched techniques from lock-picking to murder, as well as the statutes applicable to whatever crime we might want to commit and the defenses to go along with them.  Fun Google times there.  (And just a little bit scary, the kind of information you can find with so little effort.)

As someone who grew up in the days of making trips to the library to search through volumes of bound encyclopedias and the card catalogue to find whatever tidbits of information I might need to know, I seriously love Google.  And while encyclopedias certainly provided some tangential information and entertainment when you’d stumble across something interesting that you weren’t really looking for, it’s nothing compared to the hidden wonders that await in the vast land that is the interwebs.  I mean, who hasn’t been lured by "just one more” random link that showed up on your Google quest?  I know that I’ve certainly lost many an hour just moving from page to page, reading through the most arbitrary assortment of information, not precisely remembering any of it, but knowing that should those random topics come up at some point in the future, I’d be ready to at least participate in the conversation.  You’d never get that sort of immersion from an encyclopedia.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s still something magical about walking into a library and browsing through the stacks, but that’s a much broader appeal to stumbling across something new and exciting rather than actually trying to find a particular piece of information.  I’m not even sure libraries still have printed encyclopedias, much less card catalogues.  Research will likely never be the same as it was back in my youth, but I’m not convinced that’s entirely a bad thing, not when the replacement method is so darn handy.  Yeah, we might lose something of the wonder of hard-copy books and the institutional reverence of the local library, but when you’ve got worlds of information available at the touch of a button—even on a phone wherever you go!—I think it’s probably worth a few sacrifices.

So, tell me, what have you Googled today?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, April 21


It’s been another busy weekend for me:  Phi Theta Kappa new member induction ceremony yesterday, then a quick drive (well, a couple of hours) up the turnpike to Tulsa for my friend, Kim’s, wedding shower.  And you know women can talk a lot when we get together, so it wasn’t exactly an early night.  Tackled a bit of contract homework, then crashed at Kim’s for the night.  We had a nice, leisurely brunch this afternoon (after I spent a leisurely morning in bed doing more homework), then I drove back home to—you guessed it—even more homework.  The contracts have been submitted, but an exciting application for temporary orders await me next, once I hit publish on this post.

Anyway, while I have some photos from yesterday’s events, and even a couple of bird photos from this week, I’ve decided that this week’s edition of Snapshot Sunday isn’t going to be so much photos as videos.  And, not so much mine as pulled off of YouTube. 

You see, in this week of national turmoil, there have been some moments of unity that were heartwarming to witness, and I think they’re worth sharing.  And, even if you’ve seen them already, maybe they’re even worth seeing again.  Not surprisingly, given our national fascination with sporting events, that’s where these moments take place.  But, even if you’re not a sports fan, these really aren’t about baseball (or hockey); they’re about people coming together and shouting to the world that the American spirit cannot be crushed, and that’s definitely a message worth hearing.


  New York Yankees pay tribute to their arch-rivals Boston Red Sox by playing the traditional Boston stadium song.






National Anthem at the Boston Bruins game.









  Neil Diamond himself shows up to lead the fans in the traditional Sweet Caroline.



And, finally, David Ortiz speaks a few words to the Boston faithful and strikes a chord.  Warning: even with a bit of an accent, it falls into the NSFW category.

If none of those made you cheer or tear up—or maybe both—just a bit, there’s no hope for you except endless fuzzy kitten videos. 

Wishing you all a good night, and sending a small prayer that things continue to improve in Boston and Texas, and that the entire country has a better week.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Six Word Events





    PTK Spring Induction















BFF Wedding Shower

Find other Six Word Saturday entries at ShowMyFace.com

Friday, April 19, 2013

It’s Friday, No Question


Mama M is taking a break from Five Question Friday this week, which means, by extension, I’m taking a break, too.  In a way, that’s too bad, as my brain is fairly jumbled up and an easy out for today’s topic would’ve been a welcome relief.  On the other hand, because of the jumble in my brain, it also would’ve seemed sort of silly to be chatting on about things other than what’s actually on my mind.

The problem, though, is that I can’t really formulate many coherent thoughts out of the stuff on my mind.  Like most of the nation, I’ve been following the situation in Boston, but trying to stay up to date on what’s happening would be a full-time job.  More than full-time, apparently, since even the professionals aren’t keeping it straight all the time.  But, at this point, following an all-day manhunt, it appears that the second suspect is in custody, though he seems to be seriously injured.  I can only imagine the relief that the people of Boston must be feeling.  The cheers and applause from the onlookers definitely tell a tale.  I can only hope that he can receive successful medical treatment and that he can then provide the authorities all the information they need to determine his involvement in the bombings and further determine if those responsible have truly been found, or if the searching must continue.  Should he die, there will be a lot of unanswered questions, and a pall over whatever relief Boston and the nation may feel.

And, while I completely understand that this young man is likely responsible for a horrendous act, I can’t help but feel empathy for him.  He’s only a child, not much younger than my own son.  Far too young to have enough hate in him to want to murder strangers.  How does this happen?  What kind of pain has he had in his life to get to that point?  It’s heartbreaking, really.

And this manhunt and capture has taken place on the 18th anniversary of the bombing in my own home area, so it evokes a lot of memories.  And it evokes even more questions, mostly the ones that just keep asking, “Why?” or “When will we all learn to get along?”  I grow weary, and it becomes more difficult to believe that the day of peace will happen in my lifetime.  I don’t want to give up hope, but faith becomes more difficult with each passing year.

And in conjunction with all of this, is the tragedy and loss of life in Texas.  More heartbreak there, and another town that will still be feeling the effect of a moment in time years into the future. 

I have no great power—at least, no greater than every single person—but I send healing thoughts and good wishes to the people in Boston, West, TX, and here in OKC who have been affected by such horrific events.  And I add a prayer that no more cities will be added to that list.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cheering for the Dream



  For those who are unaware (as I was, up until a week or two ago), May 1 is Law Day.  Turns out it’s been Law Day since the days of President Eisenhower.  Who knew?  Anyway, apparently it’s a day set aside to commemorate our commitment as a society to the rule of law. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  So why do I tell you this now?  Well, because at my school, they recently sent out a notice about our on-campus Law Day activities, as well as a blurb about an essay contest sponsored by our local legal assistants association.  If you win, you get a tour of the Oklahoma County courthouse and a visit with some judges, plus get to attend the Bar Association luncheon.  Most of my classmates couldn’t be bothered with writing another paper, but I figured if the contest is being sponsored by the group I hope to eventually be representing, might as well try now to get in a little bit of early networking.  So, I submitted an entry yesterday; now just to wait and see if I am selected.  But, honestly, I don’t have very high hopes, and let me tell you a little bit of why.

But, first, let me tell you a little bit about the contest itself.  First, as you may have gathered from the graphic at the top of this page, the theme for this year’s celebration is Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.  This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, so apparently that’s where the theme idea came from.  What you ought to know about the contest is that the first requirement was for a short essay.  Specifically, one page, double spaced.  Honestly, I almost gave up on the idea of entering as soon as I read that.  I mean, really?  You want me to talk about equality in this country in a single page?  That’s a pretty daunting challenge.  But, my legal writing professor, as well as our PTK advisor, always preaches about the value of brevity, and what a great skill it is to be able to convey a thought in as few words as possible.  Well, anyone who’s read this blog more than a time or two could probably tell you I need some work on that, so, what the heck.  Might as well get in a little practice.  And, yeah, I had to do quite a few rounds of editing, but I finally brought it down to one page, even had a line to spare.

But, style is not why I think I won’t be visiting with any judges a couple of weeks from now.  No, I’m more worried about substance.  See, my guess is that when an organization is celebrating Law Day and whatever the theme of the year happens to be, they really want to be celebrating.  To me, this implies that they might prefer essays with a more upbeat tone, and maybe—given the theme—a little bit of rah-rah for good ol’ Abe Lincoln or something.  But I couldn’t quite bring myself to do that.  Not in a society where on any given day I can see people discriminated against because of race, gender, or sexual orientation.  And don’t even get me started on what happens if someone of the “wrong” nationality shows up.  So, there wasn’t a lot of rah-rahing going on in my essay.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I didn’t trash the country or anything, just pointed out that maybe we aren’t quite as enlightened as we like to think we are when it comes to the subject of equal treatment.  I’ll be surprised if that’s the kind of message they’re looking for to celebrate our commitment to the rule of law, though I can’t deny it would please me on a couple of levels to be selected as one of the winners. 

It would please me more, though, if I live to see the day where I could write an essay about equality in this country and actually do a little cheering.  I’d really like to be able to bust out the rah-rah for this one.

Wellness Wednesday, April 18

Just a couple of quick things tonight . . .

First, I saw this on Facebook yesterday, and thought I would pass it along, for anyone who has trouble remembering how to store their produce.


  There are a lot of things on this list that I don’t really eat (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that I’m a really picky eater), but of the ones I do, I’m mostly in agreement on the storage practice.  The only one that surprised me was apples.  I have never refrigerated my apples, and they don’t keep them cold at the grocery stores.  I did a quick Google search after I saw this, and it seems once they are picked and ready for transport, they are refrigerated all along the line, so I wonder why they aren’t kept in the cooler at the store?  Obviously there are no health dangers to keeping them at room temp, or I’d have had some problems long ago, but maybe they would keep better/longer if I stuck them in the fridge.  I’ll have to give it a try.  In most cases, I actually prefer my fruit at room temperature, but if it would make my apples crisper and juicier, it might be worth having them cold.

And, speaking of keeping things fresh in the fridge . . . Last month, I told you about my salad in a jar experiment.  Well, I haven’t made a second batch yet, so it obviously didn’t bowl me over with its wonder, but it actually did work out fairly decently.  The reports I’d read before I tried it myself said that the salad would stay fresh for 7-10 days in the canning jar, which seemed incredible.  And, I have to say, I didn’t get results quite that good.  Up until late in the third day, I’d say there was no discernible difference in freshness, which I figure is still at least a day longer than you’d get if you just stuck a salad in a plastic bowl.  And on day four, it was still very edible, though I’d say there was a noticeable difference in crispness of the lettuce.  And, honestly, that’s the last one I ate.  But, by day six, it really wasn’t looking so good.  You could see that it had lost quite a bit of volume and shrunk down further in the jar, and there was a small layer of liquid at the bottom, so things were definitely losing their juice.  I’d have to assume the salad would not have been particularly appealing at that point, though my guess is it would have tasted okay, just not great texture.  But, if that was at day six, I also have to assume that anything longer than a week really wouldn’t be so great.  And, in case you’re wondering—as I was—how long you can leave the jars in the fridge before the lettuce actually starts to brown, I didn’t reach that point.  At the two week mark, Brian had been looking at it long enough and decided to toss it out.  He reports that there was an incredible build up of pressure that he thought could be dangerous, so he tossed it all out, jar and all.  But, except for that whole shrinking down thing, the salad inside still looked okay!  So, while I wouldn’t call it a resounding success, it’s not a bad way to have a handy meal ready to go.  Oh, I will say, though, that I ate mine here at home, so I poured it into a bowl after shaking it up.  It would be sort of a handy way to have a portable meal, too, but you’d have to find yourself an extra long fork, as the regular ones don’t quite reach.  But that’s a minor thing.

And, one other follow up:  green coffee bean extract.  I’ve been taking them about a month now, and I’m about ready to say they’re a keeper.  As I reported before, they do seem to help me maintain weight, even when I’m eating really badly (read: too much junk!).  And, if I forget to take them for a couple of days, I seem much more prone to gain an ounce or two (or ten) here and there.  But then, when I get back on the pills, whatever I may have gained comes right back off.  The only side effect I’ve noticed is actually a benefit for me: regularity.  (Warning: potential TMI ahead.)  Really, what I should probably say is they seem to help provide daily regularity.  While I struggle with constipation more than I think is probably normal, for the most part, my movements are fairly regularly timed, they’re just pretty far apart.  Before taking the coffee bean, my normal was about every three days.  As far back as I can remember I’ve never been an every day person, so that’s regular for me.  But, with these pills, I go every day.  And not in any kind of uncontrollable fashion, or anything, just a normal movement, but more frequently.  Honestly, that probably has the most to do with helping me maintain weight, but that’s okay.  While I was quite accustomed to the twice a week routine, I have to admit that I seem to feel a little better with increased frequency.  I don’t drink coffee, but I know some folks say their morning cup has that effect on them, so maybe coffee is just a laxative in general.  I’m not a chemist, so I couldn’t speculate, but from my own experience I can guess that it’s not the caffeine, as I practically pump that stuff directly into my veins.  In the old days, via soda, and now mostly from tea.  Oh, and that’s something that I think is really important to point out—even though I do get quite a bit of caffeine from other sources in addition to these pills, I don’t feel any jitters at all.  Anyway, I think they’ve been at least a little bit of help for me, and don’t seem to have any downsides, except the twenty bucks or so a month it’ll cost to keep taking them. 

So, that’s it for tonight.  As we’ve discussed before, sleep is a big part of wellness, too, so I shouldn’t put it off much longer.

weight loss wednesday 1-23-13








Image courtesy of africa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

White Collar to the Rescue


Feeling a little run down today.  Operating on about 4.5 hours sleep because of way too much homework to get done, which is a bad cycle to be in so early in the week.  And, to top it off, with all the assignments I had to get done, some simple textbook reading got set aside for a later time, but our professor must have some sort of sixth sense, or something, because she called us out and gave a pop quiz over the chapter.  There were some in the class who didn’t write a single answer down.  Thankfully, I wasn’t quite that unprepared, but my simple skim of the pages didn’t help me much.  Oh, well; better luck next time.

So what does any of that have to do with Tube Day Tuesday?  Honestly, not much, except that it means I’ve seen very little television in the past week or so.  And, much of what I’ve seen in the past 24 hours has been about Boston.  That’s enough to make a person feel run down, too.  Late last year—just a couple of days before the tragedy in Sandy Hook—I wondered what the world was coming to, with violence seeming to surround us daily.  I’m still wondering, and constant images of disaster accompanied by nothing but confusion and hypothesis do nothing to make me feel any better.  I’ve discussed before the relationship television has with disaster, and it’s a relationship that’s going strong.

But, there is some good news on the television scene this week:  my beloved White Collar has won the 3rd Annual Buzz Focus Spring Madness Tournament.  Now, oddly, even though the tournament concluded a week ago, there’s been no official announcement over at Buzz Focus, and even their tournament bracket hasn’t been updated.  It’s a little strange.  But, the poll results clearly show White Collar walked all over Breaking Bad  for a whopping landslide.  And, the White Collar Facebook page is claiming victory, so I’m saying it’s a done deal, even if the tournament hosts are being strangely silent.  So, let’s hear it for my favorite federal agent/con man duo!

White Collar Spring Madness 4-16-13

  White Collar Vote 4-16-13










See?  Even when I’m run down, I can always be cheery about White Collar.  If only it was so simple to solve all life’s problems. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prayers for Boston


Boston 4-15-13

Really, there’s not much more to say.  Knowing that it could have been so much worse is no consolation; it’s tragic, regardless of the scope.  Other than healing thoughts for everyone impacted by today’s senseless violence, I can only shake my head and wonder when this will all end.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, April 14


If you saw my Six Word Saturday post yesterday, you might be wondering why there was a fake Elvis performing in my dining room.  And, if you weren’t aware, let me assure you that, yes, there really was a phony King of Rock and Roll gyrating round in my home yesterday.  And, seeing as how this is Snapshot Sunday here on the blog, I thought revisiting the performance might be worthwhile.  I especially thought it was worth a post when I realized that today is also Moment of Laughter Day.  And, if a pseudo Elvis, circa 1977, doesn’t give you at least a bit of a chuckle, I think maybe you’re just not trying hard enough.

But, first, the explanation.  It all started with the home health folks who work with my granny.  It seems they have a program for giving their patients a “gift day”, and for the year or so that they’ve been taking care of her, they’ve asked several times what sort of thing she might like.  We never really had an answer, but a while back she mentioned to them that she always like Elvis’ music, and they got the idea that they should arrange for some kind of command performance.  Scheduling was a bit of a challenge, and it finally came down to the month of April.  Well, since her birthday was on the first, this month seemed the perfect time to do a gathering in her honor, anyway.  So, that’s how it came to be that an aging gentleman with muttonchops came strolling up my driveway yesterday.

I don’t know where the hospice folks found him, but my instinct is that these Elvis gigs are not his primary means of support.  Still, he seemed like a nice enough guy, and while he wasn’t exactly a dead ringer for the King, he was enthusiastic.  Most important, though, Granny seemed to enjoy it, and that was the whole point.

So, here are a few photos of Granny being serenaded; and you’ll see that I even got the royal treatment once.

Elvis Party 4-14-13

And, to really get in the spirit of Moment of Laughter Day, I’ll also include a video of Elvis’ opening number.

Well, it seems the video uploader isn’t cooperating at the moment, I’ll check back later tonight or tomorrow morning and try to get the vid posted.  In the meantime, surely the photos themselves give a little bit of an idea of what you missed out on.  Smile

VIDEO UPDATE: YouTube is still being persnickety today, but I think this is working now.  Too late for the official date, but I think you might still get a moment of laughter from it.  I know we did.

Good night, and here’s wishing you all a very happy Monday and new week.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Six Word Activities


My day: 








Football, family, fake Elvis.
















Linking up with Cate for Six Word Saturday. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five Questions and a Day Off


Fridays are such strange days for me.  They are my “off” day—no classes.  And I always think it will make a great day to get caught up on some homework, or housework, or any number of other things that get neglected during the week.  But it so very rarely works out that way.  If I actually end up having a free day, I tend to take full advantage of it and just rest all day.  Or—like today—I wind up getting myself committed to too many things (always thinking, “oh, well, I have all day”) and then I just end up worn out and still don’t accomplish the extra homework, or housework, or whatever.  So, on Fridays, I typically get far less done than any other day of the week, which is maybe the way it’s supposed to be on a day off, but I always feel guilty about it.

But what I do need to get done is this week’s Five Question Friday post, so let’s get after it.

five question friday

1. Where do you hide things from your kids at?

Kids, husband, it’s all the same; things that need to stay out of sight go into the depths of my closet.  It’s a particularly good hiding spot.  In fact, I’ve been know to stick holiday gifts in there and then forget them myself.

2. What is your favorite rainy day activity for bored toddlers?

Thankfully, this is not something that needs to concern me any longer.  However, let me say that it doesn’t take long to learn that there are only so many books you can read, puzzles you can work, and pictures you can draw.  Barney was a very good friend.

3. Are you a punctual person or are you always running a few minutes (or more!) late??

I hate to admit that I am often tardy to various things.  Strangely, very, very rarely am I ever late to class.

4. When eating out, do you prefer off the beaten path "Mom and Pop" cafes or tried and true national food chains?

As I may have mentioned, I am not very adventurous when it comes to food.  Consequently, I tend to stick to the places that I know are “safe”, which often means well-known chains.  However, several of my favorite vacation food memories come from local spots:  some spectacular pancakes in Santa Fe, NM, the best orange juice I’ve ever had in Pasadena, CA, and some truly scrumptious pizza in Fort Bragg, CA.  All the kind of stuff you won’t find at IHOP or Pizza Hut.

5. Does your significant other snore? Do YOU snore?

I snore sometimes, most often when I am extremely exhausted.  But I don’t think it’s very bad, though, naturally, it’s hard for me to know for sure.  Brian, on the other hand, snores like crazy.  And it’s not just that it’s loud, but it goes on for a really long time.  It’s not too bad when we go to bed together, because then I usually fall asleep before it gets too bad.  But, because of our conflicting schedules, that doesn’t actually happen all that often.  And when I go to bed after he’s already in a deep sleep, it can be a real challenge to get there myself.  I try and get by with just a few well-placed nudges to get him to quiet down, but sometimes that doesn’t work and I actually have to wake him up. That makes him pretty cranky.

And that’s it for tonight.  Here’s hoping I find at least a little bit of motivation to get something done before I have to go to bed.  And, maybe also hope that I don’t fight the snore monster tonight.

Open Mic Night—Travel Bucket List


travel 4-12-13

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tonight, while I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, mindlessly browsing (likely an unnecessary redundancy; who is ever fully engaged while browsing Facebook?), I happened upon an interesting status update.  Someone had posted a link to a ProBlogger article suggesting kind of a community-building idea of a “discussion post”—just something simple designed to get folks talking.  And, even though my readership can’t compare with the discussions being generated at a site like ProBlogger, I still thought it sounded like a fun thing to do.

Of course, that meant I had to think of some sort of question that accommodated two needs:  something I’d like to know the answer to and also something many folks would be willing to give an answer to.  I thought about a few, but given that I just recently returned home from a mini-vacation and have been thinking ahead to when the next one might be, travel has been on my mind.  And, when thinking about travel, my mind always turns to the big stuff:  dream vacations and bucket list destinations. 

In my very early years, my bucket list destination (though I hadn’t yet learned the term “bucket list”) was England.  I don’t even really know why, but I’d always wanted to go there, as long as I could remember.  Maybe because I thought the English people had wonderful accents. (Confession: I still think that.)  Or maybe it’s because that’s where the Doctor was always showing up, though I’m pretty sure my fascination with the country pre-dated my fascination with the wandering Time Lord.  At any rate, I was very fortunate and got to visit London when I was 18, so cross one travel dream off the list.

Of course, there are lots of places I’d gladly visit, and a great many items on my current bucket list have to do with travel.  One of the others was not so much a destination as a mode of transport; I wanted to take a cruise.  A couple of years ago, I got to check that one off the list, too.

But, ever since I visited England, one place has remained at the top of my Places To Go list:  Australia.  It’s a big place, of course, but I’ve never really narrowed it down any more than just “Australia”.  Take me to the city and show me an opera house, or the outback and show me a kangaroo, or take me out in the ocean and show me the Great Barrier Reef.  Honestly, I don’t care.  Heck, just get me to the continent, and I’ll take it from there. 

One of these days, I’ll get there; I’m sure of it.  Until then, it stays at the top of my travel bucket list.

And what about you?  Where’s your number one travel destination?  Tell me all about it in the comments below. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wellness Wednesday, 4-10-13


So, last week, I wrote a little bit about all the walking we were doing out in California.  And while our free day on Wednesday was certainly the high point, from a step perspective, even the rest of the week included more walking than I’ve been doing in a while.  And, as I mentioned last week, I felt pretty good about it.  Sadly, I never made it to the gym; I was over-extended as it was, usually only managing about five hours of sleep, so giving up one of them wasn’t in the cards.

Anyway, I bring all this up again because after last week, I made the decision that maybe I could get back into some sort of exercise routine, even with my still unresolved health issues.  Sure, all the walking put me in a little more pain than usual, not to mention some feet swelling (though I’m pretty sure that had more to do with all the sitting we had to do than all the walking), but I realized it was nothing that a well-timed Lortab couldn’t take care of.  So, I decided maybe I could get started slowly and see what I could do.

Now, sad to say, I woke up sick Monday morning—no doubt largely brought on by a week of living in a state pretty close to sheer exhaustion—but I think yesterday might’ve been the low point.  It seems to be sinus crud, and I’m hoping it’ll be gone completely by the weekend.  So, no true workouts yet this week, but I have started back to just a couple of really small things that have proven helpful in the past, and it’s all about the movement.

First, simple steps at times when I’d otherwise just be standing:  brushing my teeth, drying my hair, making toast for breakfast.  During those times, I walk in place, just keep moving.  Second, I’ve pulled my stability ball out of its corner and have spent about an hour a day on it.  Again, it’s just a little bit of movement at a time that I would normally be completely still.  And, lastly, simple tummy contractions multiple times during the day, and maybe a couple of toe touches.  Really, all very simple things, just to add a little bit of movement into a day when I’d otherwise be sitting around reading texts or watching TV.

So, that’s my plan, add a bit more activity into my daily routine and work my way back up to true “exercise” and deliberate workouts.  It’s looking more and more like I won’t actually take my summer trip to LA, which was supposed to serve as some sort of motivation to take the pounds back off, but I still need to get moving again. Even though I’ve been walking around this week with a tissue stuffed up my nose and popping cold pills right and left, I feel good about the plan and an approach of incremental progress. 

weight loss wednesday 1-23-13






Image courtesy of africa at

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Farewell, Mouseketeer


Annette 4-9-13

 Yesterday, the television world lost an icon.  I can’t say that Annette Funicello had the same impact on me as she did on those of earlier generations—The Mickey Mouse Club came and went before my time—but it still feels like a loss. 

  While I might not have been able to watch her in her mouse ears, I did grow up watching her beach movies. In television reruns on Saturday afternoons, sure, but I watched them just the same.  She and Frankie Avalon were the perfect couple, as far as I was concerned.

And, of course, I’d see her on peanut butter commercials and talk shows all through the 70s and 80s.  I always thought she was a perfectly charming lady, and I always understood that she was a treasure for many thousands of people.

Once she began publicly discussing her diagnosis of MS, I really gained a new level of respect for her.  My mother’s second husband (or my first step-dad, however you want to look at that) suffered from the disease, so I had some idea of the way it could disrupt lives and tear families apart.  Not to mention just how terribly scary it could be.  But she seemed to handle it all with such grace, not complaining or feeling that someone of her station should somehow be exempt from such tragedies.  She just set about opening up a foundation and trying to raise money to find a cure.  I think there’s a lot to admire in that.

So, yes, she was an icon who belonged more to my mother’s generation than mine, but I still felt a wave of sadness when I learned of her passing.  Somehow, I think the world lost a bit of brightness, and I’m not always sure that sort of brightness can be replaced.

If you’d like to hear the NPR remembrance, you can listen here.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Song of Life


Now that our ΦΘΚ group has returned from the national convention, it’s time to start putting together whatever we might have learned and trying to put it to use for our chapter.  Of course, it’s also time to take a look back and remember the fun we had.  As the media officer for our group, I need to put together a newsletter about both this most recent gathering, as well as our regional convention a few weeks ago.  But I have another job to tackle, as well.

The other thing I am tasked with is sorting through the hundreds of photos we took while in San Jose and putting together a slide show.  It seemed like a simple enough request when our advisor tossed it out, until I sat down to plan it out and immediately realized I’d need music to go along with the pictures.  That part didn’t seem so simple at all.  Music seems like such a fundamental part of life, and it always seems to make everything better, but how do you pick a single song to represent a feeling, philosophy, or event?  Or even a life.

On the plane home, the in-flight magazine was dedicated to baseball, and it had a small blurb about major league players and their walk-up songs.  You know, those snippets of songs that play as a hitter comes up to bat, or a relieving pitcher makes his way to the mound?  Well, the article said that some of the players just choose a song that they really like, but some really try to choose something that fits their personality.  Even then, I was thinking how hard that would be.  I’ve wondered a time or two what my own personality would sound like set to music, but I’m not sure I’ve ever come up with an answer that completely satisfies.

You may be wondering what would make someone think about a personal theme song if they weren’t reading some random magazine article, though I’d propose that more people have probably wondered about that than you might think.  But, also, as I’ve probably mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory, and during one episode, Raj had a theme song tee shirt.  It’s a real thing, and it can be personalized with whatever music you’d like.  Of course I had to wonder about what kind of song I’d want following me around on a piece of clothing. 

Anyway, while for myself I would probably choose something with a happy, hopeful message in its lyrics, deciding what might work best for the PTK slideshow was a tricky thing.  I looked through lists of friendship songs, fun songs, travel songs, popular songs, school songs.  I read song lyrics, browsed through YouTube, and just plain racked my brain.  I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to use.  You’d think I’d been asked to create the soundtrack for a major motion picture or something.

Finally, I made a decision, or at least a preliminary one.  I won’t know for sure, of course, until I get all the photos selected and everything put together.  But I think I’m going with “These Are the Days”, by 10,000 Maniacs.  It’s got mostly appropriate lyrics, a good tempo for such a project, and doesn’t sound too old for a group of college kids.  At least, that’s my hope.  If you’re not familiar with it, take a listen and let me know what you think.

Oh, and by the way, while I’m not absolutely certain, I think if I had to pick my own theme song right this minute, I might go with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.  What about you?  What’s your song?