Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Aggravate me enough, and I'll just pay someone to avoid the headache. At least, I'll do that if it's an option.

I'll spare you the tedious details. The short version is that booking our tickets to Dublin online for our trip this June was giving me a headache. After much trying to get things how I wanted, I called American Express. I paid them a little more than I would have paid online, but a short call was all it took to get everything just the way I wanted.

I did try calling the airline directly, and I nearly lost my temper while talking to their computerized system. Note to the airlines: just because the computer has a voice, and I speak to it instead of pushing buttons on the phone, that's not the same as talking to a real human being.

So I called Amex, got a real human being and got the job done with a brief, polite conversation.

Good customer service. What a novel idea.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008


The lovely Dan tagged me with a meme. I'm not much of a meme fan, but I like Dan, so I'll play along.

Here are the rules:

-Link to the person that tagged you.
-Post the rules on your blog.
-Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
-Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
-Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Okay, so here goes.

1) I'm somewhat obsessed about security. We live in a very low-crime area *knock on cyber-wood*, but we have a very good alarm system that I try to keep set even when we're home. Considering that this is a house occupied by two men with three dogs and several guns (but that's another story), I think maybe I worry too much.

2) Okay, so I worry way too much. In particular, I worry about Marc and the pups all the time. If they're not in my sight, then I'm worrying to one degree or another. I'm sure it's not healthy, but it's how I'm programmed.

3) In the habit side of things, I cannot sleep unless I've brushed my teeth. I have a routine before bed that includes getting my teeth nice and clean. If they're not clean, I'm not comfy.

4) I like things clean, but I don't have to be neat. I don't like a mess, but if the mail stacks up until I find time to go through it and throw out all the junk, I can live with that. That's not to be confused with cleanliness. Despite the ongoing best efforts of the dogs to stop me, I try (with Marc's help) to keep this house free of dirt.

5) Despite my not being obsessed with neatness, many of my things have a "right place" to be. For example, when I'm home, my keys go on the right side of the third step of the stairs to the second floor. Marc has even teased me, because many items not only "belong" in a certain place but need to be oriented a certain way when they're stored.

6) When I'm enjoying a book, I have the bad habit of staying up way too late reading it (I read a lot to relax before going to sleep). If I'm nearing the end of the book, this can be especially problematic. "Nearing the end" can translate to "within 100-200 pages of the end," so I've stayed up until the sun's nearly up. That can be a very bad thing, especially when I have to get up for work that morning.

Okay, that concludes my six non-important things/habits/quirks. I'll now ignore the rest of the rules, because I don't want to inflict this upon anyone else. If you want to do this on your blog, you may self-tag. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oh, no. What sad news.

I just turned on the five o'clock news and learned that Heath Ledger is dead. How terrible.

I don't find it sad because he was so handsome, which he was, but because he seemed like a nice, talented young man. The loss of such a young man is always sad, and I suppose our modern era, when technology makes even the famous seem like people we know, makes it sadder still.

Rest in Peace.

Well, this should be fun

Wall Street set to plunge

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Greetings from down south

We're in Atlanta. It's our annual trek down here to help Marc's mom celebrate her birthday. The gang has gone off to afternoon church, so I have a little time for some blogging (to be followed by erasing of browser history, deletion of all offline files, etc., lest anyone be tempted to follow the trail!). :)

I know it's January, but the cold is unbelievable for Atlanta. With that said, we've encountered this before. By now, I shouldn't be surprised. Clearly, Atlanta is capable of having cold snaps.

It got down to the teens, and there was some ice this morning. Yesterday, it even snowed. It was just enough snow to cover lawns and bushes, but you'd think a blizzard was coming, considering the way the TV news coverage was going and people were near-panicked around here.

Last night, they spent so long covering the "snowstorm" on the news, with reporters standing in front of spotless roads and parking lots, that I thought someone must have sprayed a hallucinogenic substance over the area (but missed us). We gave up and turned off the TV after about 10 minutes of watching them blather on about the snowstorm that didn't drop enough snow for it to be visible on television!

Blizzards notwithstanding, the visit has been going nicely. Marc's family hasn't driven either of us insane so far. The hotel (a Doubletree) is nice, and the room was quite inexpensive. I even like the shower. It has twin spray heads and is nice and big. There's even a feature where this guy joins you, soaps you all over, rinses you and then kneels down and... Oh, never mind. That's not a Doubletree feature. I brought that with me! (But it makes for one fine shower!) ;)

Okay, now I have to go review a resume (or curriculum vitae, for the spiffier among you). One of Marc's relatives is retiring and planning to do some consulting on the side. Being the family HR person, I've been asked to do a review. (Yesterday, since I'm also the family lawyer, I was asked for free legal advice.) The fun never stops! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


As I begin typing this entry, it's 10:20pm. I don't get enough sleep. Most nights, I think to myself (and Marc and I often say to each other) that we should go to sleep at a nice, early hour. 9:30 is good. It's not like there's much worth watching on TV, and we're up early most mornings.

So how often do we get to bed at 9:30? Oh, maybe once every month or two. How about 10:30? More often, but still not the majority of the time.

Most nights, it's 11pm or later, and that's just not good. I feel better when I get a good night's sleep. Plus, my diet goes better (I really have noticed a difference when I eat well and get enough sleep), and it's just healthier overall.

So why am I blogging? Well, I felt guilty for not writing anything since Sunday. That's funny, since I tell friends that the blog is for them, so they shouldn't feel an obligation to write. Yes, easier said than done.

Here I sit, blogging about not heading to bed early enough. Brilliant. I'll head up shortly. And then I'll read a book! *sigh*

I know better, and I still can't help myself. Is there a 12-step program for the sleep-deprived? In the words of Lili von Shtupp, I'm tired!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

When in doubt, post rugby photos

Marc and I had a fun yesterday with Byrne and Patrick, but I will leave it to Marc to post about that.

Instead, I will follow up on a post from last month. I shared some photos from the muddy rugby finals and said I'd share more. So now it's time for that sharing...

I'll stop there and save a few for another time.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mandy photos, for no particular reason

(Click on them for bigger versions)

Miss M, not long after her recent bath

Can you see how happy she is in the above photo? Thrilled beyond repair. If she were any happier, she'd be trying to eat the camera.

A shot of her looking more like her usual pretty self

Monday, January 07, 2008

Simple joys

Mandy has a good view of life. She doesn't need anything fancy. Her chow once a day and a few treats in the evening. Some water a few times a day. Aside from that? Hanging out with her family. Having a good nap now and then. Running around and playing, and, from time to time, a nice stick.

While putting Mandy and her siblings out for a morning visit to the back yard, I filled the bird feeder. After we all had finished our tasks, we headed back into the sunroom. That's when I looked down and saw that Mandy was bringing a stick inside with her.

So I got her to give me the stick, and the two of us went back out (we don't bring sticks into the house). I threw the stick for her, and she ran to get it. Then she took it, found a nice spot on the grass and went to work chewing it up. That's really all she needs.

I like some of the more complicated things in life, but sometimes I envy Mandy her simple pleasures. Not that I want to chew up a stick, but I think her overall approach is pretty good. Nothing fancy. Just enjoy life.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hillary for President

I can't say that I've been a big Hillary Clinton fan. I find her to be too scripted, and I don't really think she'd make a great neighbor. With that said, after watching last night's debates, she seems to be the best choice for President.

I watched the Republicans, and there were some good answers from that side. All well and good, but they're as conservative as ever and beholden to the religious right. So, barring some really extraordinary turn of events in the next ten months, I will be voting for the Democratic nominee.

Turning to the Democrats, I don't dislike any of them, but I'm concerned by the emotional tide pushing Barack Obama forward. He seems smart and likable, but he's too green. Yes, change is nice, but change for the sake of change isn't anything I can support.

For the most part, each of them has decent stands on social issues, although I don't find 100% agreement with any of them. What really clinched it for me was last night's dual questions about a terrorist nuclear attack on an American city. Yes, we need to do more to detect weapons of mass destruction before they can be used, but, when it came to taking a position to prevent such an attack and responding to such an attack, should it come to pass, only one person gave the right answer, and that was Senator Clinton.

This may seem harsh, even frightening to some, but history has shown us that there is only one proper answer to a nuclear attack. Horrifying as it may sound, that response must be complete destruction. It's the position that prevented World War III, and it must be the price paid if such an attack should occur here.

But if these are terrorists, not a country, attacking us, how can that be the answer? Senator Clinton hit it on the head. There are countries that harbor terrorists. We know it. The world knows it. Those countries will only work to stop these schemes if the potential price is so high that it outweighs the secret glee they get from seeing their homegrown terrorists carry out plots around the world and/or the internal difficulty they will face in rooting out the terrorists.

The message to those who harbor terrorists must be, if those terrorists explode a nuclear device in an American city, the United States will bring annihilation to your door.

I'm sorry if any of you find that position frightening, but that's what Hillary Clinton said (although she put it in the slightly more acceptable diplomatic wording commonly used on the world stage), and she was absolutely correct. Harbor a terrorist who brings massive destruction to our shores, and you will pay the ultimate price.

The world is a very dangerous place, and we must be prepared to defend ourselves effectively in that world. Anyone unprepared to give that response is unprepared to serve as the Commander-in-Chief.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Old friends lost

Today, I was reminded that it's been much too long since I last saw my law school friend Mike. So I looked him up on New York's attorney search site. He's working for the state now (he was with a big law firm at last check), and I sent him an e-mail to say hi. I hope to hear back soon.

So then I thought, "As long as I'm looking, I wonder how Mario is doing." Another old law school friend. So I went back to the search page and entered this friend's name. Sure enough, it listed him as a member of the Bar, but then I saw the status and my blood ran cold: "Deceased."

I felt tears well. I did more online searching and found that he died just last year. I feel like I just missed him. I feel like I've suffered a loss.

I also feel guilty. I should have done a better job of staying in touch. Yes, that's a two-way street, but I still feel... well, I guess none of the emotions related to losing a friend are particularly good, even if it's a friend with whom I'd lost touch.

I need to be better about these things. Life is too short!

Rest in peace, Mario.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day and doggie birthdays

At the stroke (and watching poor Dick Clark brings new meaning to that) of midnight, we celebrated the New Year, as well as the birthdays of both Bernice and Dodger.

(To digress for a moment, can someone please get Dick Clark to retire this year? I hope he has a wonderful quality of life, but I think he's past his "Rockin'" years. It's like Sinatra when he kept singing long after his singing voice had left him. Leave people with the memories of you at your best, Dick!)

The festivities were mostly indoors. We had a great dinner and drinks with our friends Jon and Michelle, featured in the prior post after one end of their house got toasted. Then, at midnight, we wore our hats and blew horns to celebrate. We even had a shower of confetti (courtesy of spring-loaded confetti shooters), but we took that part of the celebration to the front lawn to minimize the mess in here.

Confetti fallout on the front lawn

Make a note somewhere. Dogs don't like party horns! They literally attacked them every time we used them.

So we moved on to the part of the party that the dogs like, their birthday party! They like it, because they get cake!

The remains of the cake. Hey, wasn't that a movie? No? :)

Of course, the dogs did get into the New Year's spirit. They insisted on wearing the hats. (Okay, maybe we forced them, but it's a small price to pay for cake!)

Bernice on her 10th birthday

Mandy, as she wonders why we do these things to her

Dodger on his 7th birthday (we think... sort of... okay, we're guessing, but we think we're pretty close)

You can see how cooperative Dodger is in that last photo. He wore the hat for about a millisecond. He kept flipping it off in an instant. That's why I couldn't get a shot without Marc in the background.

But all was well in the end. Each of the kids got big pieces of cake, and they were happy puppies!

On that note, I hope 2008 brings happiness and good health to all of you!