Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy New Year!

We are part of Santa's Civil backup... zone 11 (the Deep South) Volunteer Reindeer Brigade. On the left is Corporal Suzy and on the right Brigadeer General Luna in full dress antlers as they patiently wait to be called up for service on the big night.

(on Left) Corporal Suzy is bummed because its her first year in the corps and she was really loking forward to doing her part.

On the right-
Lt. Greta is awarded the Rudolph Antlers in memory of Rudolph that first replacement reindeer.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Another stupid client....

Had a chick come in the other day. I knew she was lying when she told me her story, but I also knew it didn't matter. Told her what I could do to help her, and what I couldn't. Named an excessive price because I was busy enough. (The back story isn't that interesting; She filed a false police report and wanted to get out of it. Which she couldn't. But I could make it very easy and simple. )

She brought me the money.

That's the thing about lawyers- most of the time our prices are flexible. How much do I need money and how much will it take to make me care about your problem... The intersection of those two numbers is where my price is.

Thus, if you've been screwed by the system and I feel sorry for you, less cost to you. If you've been an idiot and I think you're going to be high maintenance...More cost to you.

So, my client... Lets start with the last thing she did, on the Friday before Christmas when I really didn't want to be at work...When she went to turn herself in after I had arranged it all... No bail, 15 minutes in and out- all set up. Considering what she paid me, I was even waiting in the Courtroom for her to get done and walk her back to her car. For a price, I will hold your hand. I would still make $400.00 per hour even after the waiting time....

But of course, nothing ever goes as planned.

She had a joint in her pocket.

Who on God's green earth doesn't realize they have a joint in their pocket when they go to turn themselves in? I suggest that if you are unable to know the whereabouts of your drugs at all times, it means you have a problem, which is why I rolled my eyes at her when she started in on some crap about forgetting she had it in there.

So, the sergeant and I had a little talk. And the investigator. And I plead with them. And I got them to throw the stupid thing away. She is, I point out, going to plead guilty to another charge which will result in her being on probation. Which will result in drug testing.

We get out of there and I make fun of her for being stupid. I warn her how lucky she was and that I am amazed I was able to talk them into throwing it away. I wonder if I got through to her, but its the Friday before Christmas and I don't have time to save the world from themselves. She hugs me as she gets into the car and tells me how much she appreciates all my help. Her mother has made me cookies. And all I can think...

... Is that I haven't done anything to get ready for Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Oops, that's not what I meant...

Have you ever mistakenly sent a signal to a group? For example, gone to a basketball game and worn the colors of the other team?

Yeah, me too.

So, I'm including this link so that we can all avoid the mistake of sending signals with our hankerchiefs. Apparently there is a rich and complex language in hankerchiefs.

I had no idea.

I think I would have to print out the list and keep it with me for refrence were I to use this method to communicate with people. Then, of course, you would have to sometimes ask people questions like, "Is that robin's egg blue or sky blue?" OH THE HI-LARITY!

Warning: These are graphic so you may not want to click if you don't like reading graphic things.....

My favorite: The Mosquito netting hankerchief.

Friday, December 16, 2005


I have started several posts on happiness but have not posted them because I just wasn't getting the right words out. I let the concept marinate for a few months.

Then, I had an epiphany. Thank you, Mind-of-mine.

MadDog often says that the difference between a winner and a looser is that to a winner loosing doesn't count.

I realy like that.

And as I was sitting meditating on happiness and where it comes from and how to share my ability to be happy with others- it occurred to me: The difference between happy people and sad people is that to happy people sad events don't count.

In other words, I could tell you these things about my life this year:

I'm divorced and ended a long term relationship this year that I once had a lot of hope for.

I had knee surgery and will never run again, much less bend down in my garden. The knee surgery was also on the day that my best friend gave birth and I had to miss it. I had to do PT for 8 weeks.

I had another lump in my breast and had to have surgery- again.

I had another bad mole and had to have it cut off, too.

MadDog had another mole removed and his was cancer.

My favorite dog has a tumor.

My family is having a fight and I won't get to see half of them at Christmas.

My younger cousin now officially makes a whole lot more than I do and she's an epidemologist and I'm a lawyer. Like over 1K per month more. With benefits. And vacation days. And a retirement plan.

But instead of all of these things, let me tell you about the great things that happened this year:

After I broke it off with former LTR, I ran into a friend from High School and am in the best relationship I have ever had.

I have strenthened my relationship with a lot of my friends.

None of my cancer scares truned out to be cancer.

The doc doesn't think my dog's tumor is cancer.

I used my knee surgery to get into the best shape of my life.

My younger cousin is an orphan and her career is a source of stability and joy for her and I am extatic for her success.

Through MadDog trying to help repair the family he and I have had several important and productive discussions.

I was selected to be a board member for a local mental health organization. I was also asked to teach at a local college.

My favorite secretary came back to me and is helping me make my practice a lot more efficient.

I am, on the whole, in a great place. Life is good.

I hope this little post is helpful and not too pedantic.

But, hey, its my blog and I can be Pollyanna if I wanna. : )

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What I did today....

Sometimes people have bizarre ideas of what it is to be a lawyer. I think a list of what I did today is a pretty good example of what my days are like:

8 am- arrive at work- go over things on secretary's desk and pull files I need to do something on at Courthouse. Grab appointed case file for December.
8:30- 12:30-Court- I had 3 cases. I filed three other motions, copied an order, and checked my box. I also completed billing of 15 appointed cases while waiting, caught up with an old friend from high school, and went to see an officer about a spectacularly dumb client who will have his own entry pretty soon. Noticed when I arrived in Court I actually had 4 cases. Asked clerk if there was any way to get a docket before Court. Nope. Struck good deal anyway. Reviewed files as I was waiting to insure I had done all possible billing as part of new * bill criminal appointments in month in which they are completed life goal.*
12:30-1:00- ignore three phone calls so I could have a moment to quiet my mind and eat. Surfed internet. Snapped at MadDog when he wanted to talk about work. Stiffled desire to throw phone out window.
1:00-listened to and returned 6 phone calls on voice mail. (two of which were from 10 pm last night.)
Returned 3 of 5 messages from secretary's notes. Made notes in files and returned files to file room when completed. Other two messages were doubles of Voice mail so Ignored them. Started new stack on cases I need to follow up on. Pulled case out of old follow up stack and made necessary phone call. They're still not answering my call. Returned to stack.
Happily noticed that 7 am Court for tomorrow was re-scheduled. Yay!
Faxed two people with information. (I made notes with each phone call/fax).
Printed one conversion for client. Chatted with client when he arrived.
Gave directions to one dude who showed up looking for a different lawyer whose office used to be here.
Answered 3 phone calls as they came in.
Put billing on secretary's desk so she can notarize and do the math.
Reviewed my file of questions from secretary, answered what could be done quickly, set aside others for tomorrow.
Read mail. Dealt with mail.
Called in refill on perscription.
It is now 4:35.
I need to:
1. Respond to interrogatories in a case.
2. Organize my desk, make a list, and prioritize open files.
... And then I can go home : ) Although, I could stay and work for the next 10 hours...

So you can see that if you are easily distracted, unable to multi-task, have trouble going back to things and/or are easily overwhelmed by large to do lists that being a sole practicioner is going to be hard for you...

Weekend Conversation

This is an excerpt from a conversation I had this weekend...

"No, not that D____, that D____ is dead. His old roomate's other friend D______."

"I didn't know D____ was dead. When did he die?"

"He died a couple of years ago. Car accident."

"I didn't know that. That's awful. So Dead D_____'s old roommate's other friend D______. I'm not sure I know that D_________."

"Yeah, He's the one who used to date J________ but broke it off with her because she was fucking T________. "

"Oh, I remember him. And by the way, what the fuck is this conversation? This has got to be the craziest conversation I've ever had."

"Well, it turns out D________ was the last person to see That Girl alive. "


Friday, December 09, 2005

Merry Excessive Christmas...with a big old dash of brilliant.

It started in Law school... there it was in my (and every other law student's) box. "Wow," I thought, "dude has some money and wants us to know his name....Why has he put these in everyone's boxes?"

Back in Law School it was the man, his daughters, his dog, his cars and his home... a montage of what he had accomplished. It was what we could accomplish, too, if we worked hard and got lucky.

Later it was just the man and his dog...and his amazing home... and the cars. We knew it was what would happen to us if we worked too hard and got too lucky.

I heard that the Wife was once pictured.... MadDog says he has gotten a card for so many years he can't remember not getting one- but then again he also remembers The Party with Bo Diddly. Can't write those off anymore, so I never got to go to one.

Alabama lawyers know its Christmas when they get it. In fact, one year I didn't receive one and actually wondered what happened. Christmas seemed empty and blank.

I love the excess. The exuberance. Who the heck else in Alabama sends every attorney in the state a Christmas card? No one!

What is it you ask?

Its Lanny Vines's Christmas Card! (Attached are the 2004 and 2005 versions...) Sorry, my scanner is for work so the images didn't come out so well.... but you can get the point.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sweet Home

(If I were cool and hi-tech like some people, I would have Sweet Home playing right here while you read this. Unfortunately, I am not. If you are cool, then you can put it into your IPOD and play it while you read this. )

I have a theory. Well, I have many theories as you have probably realized, but I have one in particular that I will share with you today: Where ever you go in the world, when you tell people you are from Alabama they will say something about "Sweet Home Alabama."

This theory arose after years for travel and experiencing this phenomena from Bali to Bequia.

Sweet home Alabama, where skies are so blue. From Gamelin players to Reggae jam bands I have heard a million versions of the song.

And I have to say, I LOVE this song. Yeah, I know, it is cliche at this point, but still, its political (Watergate does not bother me, does your conscience bother you?) and challenging (Now, we all did what we could do.) and nostalgic (Sweet home Alabama, Lord I'm coming home to you.) and fuzzy all at the same time.

Some of my best memories of other countries and trips I have made revolve around this song. Being in England and hearing it play out someone's window while walking across campus. Definitely having the street musician play it in Bali when he saw MadDog's shirt with the word Alabama on it. Being in college and having the Alabama contingent all singing it while standing on stage at our favorite bar- All 5 of us that is. Being in college and yelling for Sweet Home and having my friend play Sweet Home Chicago instead...
Or just last week when my French friends came to visit and the husband had made Sweet Home his phone ring.

I remember on long trips home from college I would scan the radio to try to find it and when I finally do it is always turned way up. I think, I know the stuff in this song, I know what they're talking about, this song is about MY state. The song always made me proud to be from Alabama, which I embarrassedly admit, I have not always been. Alabama has a difficult history and reputation. I won't name here the several states that keep Alabama from being at the tail end of the national rankings in all but the bad things, where we Almost lead...But suffice it to say it bothers me that we are 46th in infant mortality, and something like 3rd in births to teen mothers when we need to be opposite in both of those categories. We have terrible poverty (I read in the paper today that my city schools have a 46% poverty rate), and crazy prejudices.

We also have amazing natural beauty. Driving from one end of the state to the other and across it over Thanksgiving I looked at it through a visitor's eyes- and I saw it fresh and clean, with fall color still clinging to the edges of the mountains, clear blue skies and happy kind people.

I guess, like any place, there are pros and cons and you can focus on one or the other. Alabama will always be my home state- wherever I may roam, and I will always love her and do what I can do to make her a better place to live.

Thanks to all who wrote and asked me to write some more. I truly appreciate it and I'll try.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Tornado is gone and I'm safe... a very nice little break with some of my friends who live nearby in their bathroom....cozy : )

The great slow down....

Law, unlike many professions (CPA, Teaching also work on the same model), is cyclical. It follows a strange pattern, all the more strange because I am not sure why the pattern is true. Naturally, CPAs are going to be more busy between February and April 15, Teaching will ebb and flow with the school year and so forth. But there is a cycle-- In the fall, right before Thanksgiving everyone tries to get all their work off their desks and get everything shifted around so as not to interfere with family vacations and children being out of school. In the New Year everyone works really hard to catch up on the things that didn't get done during Thanksgiving and Christmas and then they slow down again during summer and speed up again in August-October in preparation for slowing down for the holidays again.

Just thought I'd share that. It also leads to my next observation: I'm tired of blogging. This business of writing down all this stuff about my legal life is becoming tiresome. I have also become addicted to reading all kinds of other blogs in my "on line" life which is draining my legal work. Plus, a few people are making this less fun for me. Long story short, I'm going to cut way down for a while and the blogs you do get are going to be more philosophical and less lawyer.

Because it is a job, and like most jobs it does become monotonous and that's perfectly fine, because that's life, but it doesn't make for good reading. Trying to turn my life into interesting reading several times a week is getting in the way of my living my life, and in my book that's when its time to say, "thanks but I'm going to take a break." My life, like everyone else's who doesn't live in some pseudo reality of uber wealth or some such, is really about the day in and day out. The rhythm of rising, working, going home and working and going out with your friends and being tired from working.... Becomes boring. (At least to me...) You don't want to hear, "Got to work today and did 5 petitions for child support. Then I called 10 people back and left messages for 5 of them. Then I wrote a complaint. Then I filed some papers. "

And really, there are only so many times that its fun to bitch about people who are incapable of leaving messages, after that it actually starts to bug you instead of making you laugh. And I like to laugh, I am a very happy person.

Which brings me to my philosophical point to ponder for the day:

Do you think human beings are born more happy than sad? One of my favorite philosophy proffs and I used to debate this point continually and he always told me that I was just flat wrong that I believed that people were by nature happier than sadder. I was 21 at the time, and the intervening decade has not changed my mind as he said it would. He believed that we were by nature unhappy... Kind of the "nasty brutish and short" philosophy of life. I always felt that sadness comes from outside influences- guilt, stress, ect... These are all human emotions to be examined and understood and once done, happiness was at the core: the natural state of things. I guess I would concede that some people are not predisposed to be happy, but I do believe happiness is the default setting for humans and that our unhappiness comes from our reactions to the outside world.

I have been called Pollyanna for this. I have been asked "Why are you always so damn happy?"

And I'll tell you- because life is nasty, brutish and short and that's can either react with cynicism, rudeness and anger or you can laugh and look to the little things. I Laugh. I giggle. Lots of things amuse me...oh heck, most everything amuses me. I laugh- sometimes, when the going gets rough, like Kitty from That 70s Show. Most of the time, just because something struck me as absurd. I am in fact, easily amused and I'll take it as a compliment when you tell me that, because this is my life, and its not out of shallowness, nor lack of comprehension, but because I have better and finer things to pay attention to.

Ok, so now there is a tornado headed right for me and so I'm going to go and figure out where to hide.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Things that make me happy...

1. Cleaning junk out of my house. Kind of psychically lifts you and you can see the results/product of your cleaning. This weekend I cleaned three big black leaf bags out of my dressing room alone.

2. Actually, Cleaning anything that is really, really dirty.

3. Fall foliage. Spring leaves. Winter trees with ice on them. Summer shade.

4. Clean sheets.

5. Chocolate.

6. Puppy snores.

7. When its a good temperature to go for a walk and not get so hot or so cold its uncomfortable.

8. Seasonal cooking-- summer ice cream, winter chili....

9. The smell of old books.

10. Sitting outside for lunch.

11. A really icy cold drink in the morning when you're hung over. Or in the afternoon when you've been working really hard.

12. A great song on the radio.

Ok, that's enough for now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

How tree sap can get you 5-20

A while back a friend of mine had a really weird little case. Defendant is charged with possession of an imitation controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Here are the uncontroverted facts: Dude starts talking with police. He tells police he has fashioned some imitation crack from tree sap and flour. He is going to try to sell the tree sap to a crack addict for money. Heh. He thinks its funny.

Unfortunately, in Alabama they passed a law that possession of an imitation controlled substance is the same as possessing the substance.

Yeah, so they arrested the dude for selling (possession with intent to distribute- a felony.) She did get it down to possession of paraphanelia (a misdemeanor) but still... I thought it was pretty crappy of the cop. He should have just told the guy, hey man, you can't do that.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A few thoughts about obesity...

I know a woman whose husband is a doctor. She was having a procedure and while waiting for her doctor, she decided to review her chart. On the chart was written, "Subject is an obese white woman in her 50s."

There it was in black and white: she wasn't just overweight, she was obese.

It embarrassed and upset her so much she did something about it. She started exercising. She ate healthier. She gave up eating the whole pan of brownies and stuck with having just a couple. She is now in the range of a healthy weight for her height and age and healthier and happier.

And then there are the people like the woman I saw on TV who was screaming at the airline because they insisted she purchase an extra seat because she would not fit comfortably in one seat.

I am pretty sure she felt the same embarrassment and shame over her weight but instead of turning to herself she lashed out and blamed those around her. Of course, maybe she was neither embarrassed nor ashamed, but rather a member of this growing fat acceptance movement. I do know there was liberal use of her lawyer's name in vain. (As an attorney I always cringe when I hear someone doing that, "I'm going to call my lawyer and we're going to sue you!" yeah, please don't tell people that. IT NEVER MAKES THE SITUATION BETTER.)

I have heard a lot of talk lately about weight and discrimination and about weight and our society. Not only are more and more women (and men) in their 30s and 40s developing eating disorders, but more and more men and women are becoming fatter and fatter. People are obsessed with diets and food fads and seem to be fixating on controlling their diets to such an extent that they wind up flat out obsessing about food.

I happen to be a fairly thin person. I would describe my body type as athletic. My body, like everyone else's, is a product of three intersecting factors: heredity, food consumption, and exercise.

Not everyone can look like Brooke Shields, or Paris Hilton but everyone can be a healthy weight. Allowing yourself to be actually obese, as medically defined, is a personal choice. I am always in favor of your personal choice, but, like all personal choices there are and should be consequences, which is why the anti-overweight discrimination movement bugs me.

Sure you have every right to weigh what you want- but why should I have to squish up in a plane seat because you are coming over on my side? Why should I have to subsidize your diabetes medication when you wouldn't need it if you lost that weight? Why should I pay for medications directly related to your choice? You speak out about how you shouldn't have to pay more for insurance to cover all these smokers and I agree with you! I smoke and I know its an unhealthy choice and I think I should pay more for insurance because of it.

At the same time, I feel incredibly guilty for my stance here. I work with a lot of overweight women. I am constantly fielding questions about my weight and how I stay thin. I pass along my healthy habits, like always taking the stairs. My favorite healthy meals. And a whole lot of "heredity" pass offs- "I'm lucky, I picked skinny ancestors." Most of them lament their weight, but then describe dinners that would make a lion choke-- junk food, entire pizzas for each member of the family, pre-cooked convenience foods- not a vegetable mentioned. "Have some respect for your body!" I want to scream at them- but how do you say that to a family where both parents work and stopping to get McDonalds gives them that precious 20 minutes of together time?

And then there are the obsessives- like the girl I know whose doctor made her stop exercising because she stopped getting her period and couldn't get pregnant. She did, and became pregnant- but then she snuck off and exercised anyway because she didn't want to get fat- putting herself and her unborn baby at risk. Then there was my roommate in college who was a vegan. For Lent one year she gave up diet Pepsi which was a major food group for her. She ate basically 750 calories a day and ran five miles and walked five miles each and every day. Her body was in such starvation mode I think she could have not eaten for a week and not lost an ounce. She would sit in the room and tell me how many calories each French fry I was eating had. She couldn't believe I could eat the turkey bagel with Swiss cheese (200 turkey+350 bagel + 150 Swiss cheese +25 lettuce tomato and mustard= 725 calories) and the plate of French fries for lunch. And the regular mountain dew. And the cookie. By the time our year was up, between her and my other sorority sisters, I had trouble eating in front of other people because I felt weird for being able to eat as much as I did and as normally as I did.

I think a lot of people would benefit from having way fewer food choices. From thinking about food a whole lot less. From eating normal, balanced meals. In other words: a healthy dose of moderation. At the same time, I'm not going to force them to live in a manner that I know would be to their benefit. Just don't try to sell me on obesity as a special status that should be given legal protection: you're welcome to be fat but I'm also welcome to not want to hire you because I think your weight reveals something about you. The airline should be able to charge you for 2 seats if you take up two seats- just like they won't let me smoke for your safety and comfort.

This has been the Philosophicalawyer's politically incorrect rant on obesity.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Overheard in Court

Judge "Mr. Doe, your attorney has reached a deal with Prosecutor where he will only revoke 30 days of your 180 day sentence for going into the Wal- mart in (neighboring town)."

Mr. Doe "Uh, yes sir."

Judge "Now Mr. Doe, you understand you are banned from ALL Wal-marts for life. Not just here in _______. Even over there in ___________. No matter how low the prices are you are not allowed to go back there. "

(Court erupts into laughter. Defendant begins laughing.)

Judge "You're just gonna have to pay more somewhere else."

Even the prosecutor laughed.

Friday, October 28, 2005

He really should have contracted that one out....

You know, when you have an official position in the White House you really should contract out your dirty work. Or, I duuno, NOT DO ILLEGAL THINGS. I know all of those disclosure laws and treason laws are very archaic and confusing- really, I do. I'm a lawyer and I have no clue the intricate ins and outs of political legal issues at the highest levels- and I am well, well aware of that. I do know enough to know that I don't know- which, I have said before, is the critical issue when one is an attorney.

Lets think about this- Just say long ago, when this scandal first surfaced, ole Scooter (Still picturing my cat scooting his butt across the floor aren't you?) had come clean and said, "Yeah, I did talk to that reporter, but I thought she already knew...Since everyone knew Plame was in the CIA... I didn't think I was telling her anything, we were just gossiping... And geez I'm sorry." NOT ONE of the charges leveled against him today would have been made since they all stem from his 1) obstructing the investigation 2) perjury and 3) making false statements. In other words, its the lying stupid.

See? The scandal would have been long ago forgotten. Just like Clinton- if he hadn't gone with all that meaning of "is" is crap, and just said, "yeah, the little groupie went down on me." It would just been a sex scandal and the White House could have made the focus on the illegal wiretaping by that woman who was Monica's "friend."

Instead, in both cases, our tax dollars went to fund massive investigations. Millions and Millions of dollars, wasted because people couldn't tell the truth. That's my money, and yours. You want to know what the American public thinks so many politicians are lying liars? Its because they lie and lie and lie. They lie when the truth would save them.

Reminds me of one of the many, many things MadDog and Mommie Dearest did right when raising me: If I came home and told on myself when I had done something wrong, we would discuss it but no grounding or other punishment other than setting right my wrong would be given. It made me secure in admitting when I was wrong and making what amends I could.

It applies well to my law practice- if you know you screwed up, it can usually be fixed if addressed immediately. Pretending it didn't happen usually works to your disadvantage and results in messes that can't be fixed without large amounts of cash and your liability insurance. Several times in my practice I have had to call a client and say, "I screwed up. This is what worked to your disadvantage and this is how I propose to fix it." No one has ever left dissatisfied. Many have been blown away and amazed that I would tell them I messed something up. Of course, knock wood, my screw ups have been minor and fixable. As MadDog says, "Get 95% right on a law school exam you'll be at the top of your class, get 95% right in your practice you'll get sued before lunch."

I leave you with the forward to one of the great books of all time, Brave New World (Please note: underlining is not available so I use italics.) by Aldous Huxley, "Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean."

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Favorite fall cooking..

Fall has come here with a vengeance.

I love fall. I love the leaves changing colors. I love being able to go outside without sweating. I love being able to hide 10 pounds under that sweater.

I also love fall food. In summer, down here in the South, it is often just too hot to feel like cooking or eating. You get to the grocery store and freeze your butt off and then when you leave you're melting in the parking lot and by the time you get the groceries home and lug them inside you just don't feel inspired. You feel sweaty and sticky. Especially when you look out in the garden and its so hot the tomatoes aren't producing and your lettuce died back in May and even your Sage and Rosemary are looking kind of baked and washed out. Its just depressing and so you have a sandwich.

But not now, not fall.

Last night I made homemade raviolis- two kinds. One with shrimp and pesto and one with salmon and pesto. I managed to keep one good basil plant alive so I've dolled out fresh pesto twice this fall and can't wait to make some more. I recommend Marcella Huzan for Italian cooking. I'm not a huge "follow the recipe" kind of person, but she teaches you how to make and roll your own pasta and her ideas are so very very inspiring. I did decide to get a pasta roller for my Kitchen-aid because rolling out pasta by hand is just time consuming....Shoulder breaking.

Tonight? One of my absolute favorite: Chicken Pot Pie. Now, Chicken pot pie is comfort food to me and its also convenience food; not even in the same league as making pasta as far as you know, epicurean experience. But I love chicken pot pie and I love easy healthy dinners so here's what I do:

Cook one or two chicken breasts. You can also use left-over roast chicken or even canned chicken.

Take one package of Pillsbury pie crust dough in the red package (in the butter/cheese/milk isle) It comes with two crusts. (You can substitute the off brand...) This is the flat dough, not the stuff already in the pie pan. There is a sweet spot for working with this dough halfway between frozen and thawed. I use a round white china container a little smaller than a dinner plate with about 3 inch sides- I got mine at Pier 1 years ago.

Put one of the crusts on the bottom. Get out a bowl- open 2 cans of veg-all, drain them and add them to one can of cream of chicken soup (Now look, I am fully capable of making not only the "cream" for the chicken pot pie by hand using flour, milk and spices- but also the crusts, but come on people, sometimes its more fun to throw it in the oven and have a drink with all that extra time.) and mix them with the chicken. Now, here is where you can get creative-- use beef instead of chicken with carrots instead of veg all ...Use roast chicken and rosemary...Sage and pork... I have done all of these varieties and loved them. I will caution that when I did a vegetarian one the cream of celery was a bit overwhelming so I'd choose cream of potato or Cheddar cheese soup. You can also add cheese.

Put the mix on top of the pie crust. Put the other pie crust on top. Roll and crimp the edges. Cut holes in the top for can do fun stuff with this part... Initials, dirty pictures.... Put it in the oven at 400 until the top is nicely tanned.

Remove and voila, dinner. Happy, warm, fast and easy dinner.

Have a great day.

Monday, October 24, 2005

He just makes it sound sinister....

I was following the Judith Miller story and read about this letter written by Scooter Libby to Ms. Miller. Have you seen this?

First, before I get to the actual letter, let me just say that no one nick-named Scooter is going to keep that nick name unless 1) he is a really laid back type of guy or 2) he wants people to think he is a really laid back kind of guy so he can gut you. Scooter. Always makes me think of my dogs scooting across the carpet when their butts itch. This Scooter is clearly the latter.

Back to the note- the text I have so far is this, "You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work and life. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers. With admiration, Scooter Libby."

This sounds like a bad mystery novel's idea of what a note containing secret messages would read like. Very cloak and dagger. Its so clumsy in its wording and metaphore I would almost check it for writing in lemon juice underneath, or take the first letters of each word to spell something important....

However, he could just have been watching all the harping on Harriette Miers's Thank You notes to President Bush and want to avoid the embarrassment of archiving something as pedestrian as "I hope the twins realize how cool their parents are." (See The Smoking Gun for multiple Thank yous from Miers to Bush and vice-versa.)

I guess one reason Scooter may have gone more formal in his language is, of course, the proportion of the favor here. He didn't just get a ride on the big guy's plane like Harriett did. He has someone in jail to protect his name and his boss's name (which everyone knew anyway) from being revealed. You know, that's quite a Thank you to write- "Dear Ms. Miller, Thank you for going to jail for my office. So sorry to have put you in such an awkward position. I know if we would just admit we spoke with you, you could go home right now, but Uh... God, I mean Cheney doesn't want us to do that right now."

I suggest that any time someone goes to jail for you or your office, at the bare minimum, a fruit basket is really in order, and maybe a massage upon their release? Someone to pick up your children from day care and water your plants..Would be reasonable, you know. As for the Aspens and her vacation, Yeah, I think all that time in jail probably burned all her vacation time, so she's probably not going to be able to see those Aspen this year.

If I were Miller I would be thinking, "Ok, guys, I WENT TO JAIL FOR YOU now I expect some real bones to be thrown my way. I want anonymous letters. I want to be picked first at the press conferenceses. I want to win the Pulitzer. What the heck is this cryptic letter? If you're going to send me messages you should explain the decoding system to me so I can figure'em out. "

I'm sure that Cheney and Scooter would remind her what a wonderful blow she struck for source protection and Democracy through her jail time. That she was in fact the poster women for Civil Liberties- and shouldn't doing good for the world be a just reward in and of itself?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Conspiracy? Nah, Just good preplaning.

Ok, so if I've heard it once I've heard it a million times from clients..."They're out to get me!" Complaints about cops who seem to track them down over and over abound. I always point out that there might be an issue in that they continue to engage in the behavior that draws the attention of the cops...You know, if he pulled you over last week for a broken tail light, no seatbelt and weaving and he found out you have a suspended license, he's going to pull you over when he sees you out and about again. Without a seatbelt, or working tail lights driving through crack alley again. I mean, duh.

But then, there are the times that the government is a little more sneaky and a little more organized. This article also made me think about the legal implications of each page reproduced by a printer being marked with the date and time of its production as well as the identification of the printer. That could be handy in a case- and not just the counterfeiting they originally imagined. Of course, the privacy concerns still make my teeth itch... And I am reminded of an old saying of MadDog's: its not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

Sidebar: I had a case once where I was able to demonstrate that a majority of a public utility's board members had been meeting with a private attorney outside the meeting time ( a violation of the Sunshine law among other things...) because they all produced wonderfully written motions...And the attorney inserted his tracking system on the lower left corner, a common practice. Thus, I knew each of them had been to the same attorney and their motions were stored in the same file.

Remember: Privacy rights don't attach to consumer purchases or in most consumer transactions. Only the government and certain other highly regulated industries owe you those.

My favorite part of the article? An intern figured it all out. He he. That intern is all, "Yeah, I cracked the code." I am sooo going to get a job here."

Snapshots from Lunch

So yesterday MadDog, Mommy Dearest and I went to lunch together at Captain D's because MadDog had coupons.

The following amusing conversations ensued:

Mommy Dearest: "Watch out, that car's going to hit you!"

MadDog: hesitates, then guns car. "Dammit woman, I'm driving."

Mommy Dearest: "Sorry, darling, its harder to backseat drive from the actual back seat. Your headrest was blocking part of my view. "


Driving down the main road in town we pass a shady bar I've never been to. It has a Mafia sounding name- in Alabama. The sign is advertising Karoke.

"Your mother and I went there once and your mother sang Karoke." He smiles at her in the rearview mirror.

"Wait a second, ya'll actually went there?"

"Yes, after a wedding. We were all dressed up. The regulars kind of looked at us funny, but they warmed up after your mother sang Karoke."

"Hmm, I've never been there. I tried to get my friends to go there the other day but they said we shouldn't- it wouldn't be cool."

"Well, we were scoping out places to take our friends when they came up to visit from the coast."

"I'd take them to (local bar) or (Other local bar)."

"Is there anywhere else? What about that spank the monkey place?" Shakes his head at the name.

I'm laughing now. "No, That's Spank Daddy's. And I think the crowd would be a little young, a little droopy pants and too much Hip-Hop music for you." MadDog starts laughing.

Mommy Dearest says, "Why are ya'll laughing? What's funny?"

Me: Spank the monkey means to masturbate.

Mommy Dearest: Is that term used for when boys or girls masturbate?


"I have never heard that. Well, I just always learn something new when we're in the car with you."

My parents are just so cute.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Saturday Morning Sunshine

So I had to get up this morning and get going because I had some more bankruptcies to complete and I was irked about having to go sit in my office on such a beautiful beautiful day and it occurred to me... I own a laptop now and I can do this work outside, so I went to my favorite coffee shop and ordered a large mocha with Ghiradelli chocolate (Mmmm, Chocolate.) and set up outside listening to the traffic and watching the old men congregate and chat about their lives, and entered creditor after creditor. Now I'm taking a break and truly appreciating technology that allows me to sit here and be online and check up on my Blog. How great is that? Yesterday I discovered that the park next to my office is also a "Hot Spot" so I can also sit out there and do work.

Its a beautiful day here in Alabama- sunny and I'd say about 74- perfect in the shade. Ten years ago I wouldn't have dreamed that I would be sitting here on the computer...I wonder what a further ten years will bring? I'm sitting here trying to think of something new- cooler than today and beyond silent cars, or smaller lighter computers (and frankly, I like the current size and weight, if I'm going to spend money on something I like to to at least Feel sturdy and expensive...) how much more advanced will we get? Of course, technology will advance, it has been marching steadily onward, but who in the 1950s really thought that computers would have become so ingrained in our lives?

Ok, I'm going to run, but before I do, there is now a group of women congregating at the casino bus stop wearing their lucky shirts (which all seem to involve sequins and other shiny materials) with their wheel chairs and oxygen tanks ready to head off to... Biloxy I suppose, but I didn't realize they were already back to business as usual...And I think its really cute. They have their pillows and bags and are ready for some hot action. : )

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Legislating Morality

I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly this month that made me think about legislation and morality. I am wary of legislating moral issues for several reasons. First, whose morality are we going to legislate and how are we going to choose it? Certain moral decisions, we have all admitted as part of the social contract, should be regulated. Non-government sanctioned killing is bad, for example. Many would argue the position that all killing is wrong- including executions, war related, and self defense but we choose the broader, lower standard. Other moral decisions are left for the individual to navigate for himself or herself: whether to appear on Girls Gone Wild videos, for example.

The question then becomes: Which moral decisions should be addressed by the Federal Government, Which should be addressed by the State Governments and which should be protected as belonging to the realm of the individual?

In Virginia recently, legislators decided to pass a law that you couldn't let your underwear show in public. In other words, instead of just shaking their fists at the kids for wearing their pants around their hips, these legislators are spending their time actually writing a law against it. Putting aside the difficulty in defining "underwear," (Is a bathingsuit worn as a bra underwear?)
I can just see the impetus:

"Daddy. I'd like you to meet Billy-Joe. He's here to take me to the movies. " The daughter says, and then, "Billy Joe, I'd like you to meet Senator Daddy."

Senator Daddy realizes his 16 year old daughter is wearing pants so low he can see her underwear. "Young lady you will not leave the house dressed like that!" He bellows. Her mom intervenes telling Senator Daddy that "its how all the kids dress these days." He then notices Billy Joe, who is a white suburban kid, wearing his pants 20 sizes too big, his plaid boxers sticking out of his FUBU shirt. Senator Daddy is trying to figure out the relationship between FUBU and FUBAR, which he remembers from his days in Vietnam, and is not succeeding. He is, however, convinced that Billy Joe's T-Shirt must say something dirty.

He is outraged that young people are dressing like this.

He has somehow conveniently forgotten his own father's apploplexy over his allowing his sideburns to come below his ears. He has forgotten Bell Bottoms. Leisure suits so tight you knew immediately: Boxers, briefs or commando. Mini dresses. Pierced ears. Rock-and-Roll.

In the 1920's it was rolled socks, flappers outfits, women cutting their hair. It was, Gasp! Allowing your calves to show in public!

In my teen years it was ripped, bleached jeans. Lots of holes in your ears. Leg warmers. And Stirrup pants. I remember MadDog running around singing "8, 8 I forget what 8 was for...." Making fun of the Violent Femmes.

Today its stupid looking pants, pierced everything and thongs. Hip-Hop. Texting.

I'm absolutely positive the next generation will come up with something completely bizarre they do to piss off the older generation.

This is part of- oh, lets go out on a limb, This IS what makes America great. We allow people to behave like complete idiots so long as their behavior does not infringe on our rights. There is room here for people who do not behave like you or look like you.

If you're offended by that moron's clothing- then don't look at it. Don't hire them. Shun them. Don't allow your child out of the house dressed like that. Employ any one of the many social corrective measures available to you. Beyond that- it is his or her choice. Because you know what's going to happen? I do. One of these days Billy Joe is going to need a job and he's going to put on those tan trousers his mom bought for him and he's going to put on a shirt and a tie and get a job.

Of course, he's probably going to leave the tongue ring in... Just like the women of my generation refused to put on panty hose and, eventually, some part of what was socially provocative will become the norm. Shoot, 75 years ago the fact that I'm wearing a pants suit and being a lawyer would have been unthinkable, as would my lack of foundation garments.

I think this is what bothers and worries these would be social archecticts- that change is really synonymous with "sliding ever closer to the abyss of the lowest common denominator." In other words, their position is that if we don't stigmatize young women having children out of wedlock, then more people will have children out of wedlock, and having children out of wedlock is something we should be working against and dressing like that is leading directly to having children out of wedlock and the whole structure of our society is going to crumble and be destroyed. This worry may or may not have substance- I argue instead it is not the realm of our Government to act in loco parentas and correct its citizens when they make a poor decisions.

Legislation, either on the State or Federal level, is not the way to solve or address these issues. Community social pressures, education, and propaganda are the way to solve these issues.

Lets think for a minute how much social norms change-- and not necessarily for the worse- after all George Washington was a wig, high heel and manpris (Manpris= men's capris for you MadDog because I know you're going to ask me.) wearing, slave owning, hemp growing radical. Sure, he believed in universal suffrage- for all White Men that is.

There was no golden age of perfect morality. The 1950's were not perfect- women still got pregnant out of wedlock, there were still lots of homosexuals, and domestic violence was culturally accepted in many circles. Segregation blotted the South.

We need to get over being offended by what other people do or don't do. You need to get the plank out of your own eye before you concentrate on the splinter in your neighbor's eye. We have to remember that forcing people to act right has never worked and will never work. Society will never be perfect and young people will always come up with stupid clothing trends.
These laws, because they are poorly written and ill conceived, will become outmoded and archaic- much like the funny laws on the books now (Ones about when you can take a bath, stuff like that-- we've all seen them)-- and are a waste of the legislator's time and energy. In my mind it cheapens so much of what legislators do when they get caught up these silly little problems-- considering a bill to address identification and voting in the same session as a bill to stop underwear showing cheapens the work in my mind. Should segregation or say, economic redevelopment, for a current hot button civil rights topic, and visible underwear really be on the same level?

But, how the legislators spend their time and energy is anther rant for another day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


This is an important announcement for stupid clients everywhere: If you are going to kick in the door to your former girlfriend's apartment because you think she is in there- make sure you lock your phone so you don't accidentally call her while you are kicking in the door and record the sounds, including the sound of you opening the now kicked in door and walking into the apartment, on her voice mail.

Next, removing mail from the mailbox that is not addressed to you and throwing it away is a Federal Crime.

Finally, just in case you were confused: calling your former girlfriend and, after she tells you that she is recording the conversation, telling her you are going to make up lies about her and tell everyone is just plain dumb.

Environment and perspective..and kickball!

For two years now I have been in my new office. The first six months after law school and passing the bar I slaved away at a beautiful but uncomfortable desk in MadDog's conference room rather than share a desk with Mommie Dearest and MadDog's brilliant Secretary. Two anal retentive women sharing a desk is plenty...Especially after Mommie Dearest got upset when I shifted her pencil in the drawer.

Soon enough I was able to afford to move into my very own 10 foot by 15 foot office. It was a second floor walk up and it had no windows, but I shared a lovely conference room, kitchen, and even **gasp** a sauna in the basement. I liked it pretty well, but long about February I was just sick of NEVER seeing the sun. Finally, after two years I was able to move back into my own office in MadDog's building. There were only windows in the reception area, so I put my desk right in the front and settled in. After more than a year there the end tennant moved out and I was able to get my dream office. I have a view of the front door and the secretarial area from my actual office, and the park from both rooms. Lots of windows. I actually committed to this office- I know because I painted. I hope to never move again.

MadDog is pleased because it had a tiny file room (7'x8') with a window which I gave to Mommie Dearest so she has her very own office which she doesn't have to share with anyone and I thus restored order to MadDog's world...Because life is very difficult when your wife and your secretary are having territorial disputes.

Each of these moves has reminded me how important our environment is to our perspective and productivity. I sit at my desk, the same desk I've had the entire time I've been an attorney as Mommie Dearest bought it for me upon graduation, with my back to the wall, full view of everything going on and I feel like a lawyer. The paint color is perfect (Natty Neutral- a kind of gray brown color- I told my paint guru I wanted to make it look expensive with paint...), my files are organized into the riser to my left, papers organized into the caddy, appointment book to one side.

I remember running into this some in college and law school- I would have to have everything just so to feel like I could study. When I worked in a cube and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to arrange my furniture and items to make myself comfortable and productive. That's when I hit upon the corner desk placement.

In a square room or cube, nothing beats the corner desk placement. Put your chair in the corner, facing out. Turn your desk so you can sit at it and have enough room to get out- it actually works in tight spaces and means no more sitting with your back to the room- which just makes me twitch. It also makes the room feel more spacious and gives you a little area on one side of your desk to stack necessary items which don't fit in the desk itself.

I think sometimes we forget how important environment is to our productivity. The color of the room, items in the room, clutter, old memories.... All of these things have an impact on our feelings, however subtle. I know I get into a rut and let crap pile up in the bottom of my closets, in the spare room... You know, "Hey, I'm going to drop by..." Oh Crap! Just shove the mess in the back of the closet....

I have started taking out random stuff I have accumulated one black leaf bag at a time. One per week. Because fall is a good time to just admit that you are not going to wear that... Whatever...Again. (In my case the most recent was an acrylic sweater from 1989 in fuscha, electric blue and yellow...and black stirrup pants...) Or that while you loved those bowls when you first bought them, since you have now broken all but one and have bought new bowls, you could give that last remaining bowl to the salvation army. Or that that gift is really not going to be regifted because do you REALLY want someone to think of YOU when they look at it? I actually found someone who was moving and sent off an accumulation of boxes with her...Because for some reason I kept them when I moved in and really, I am not moving again any time soon.

It feels so freeing to clean this clutter out. It is a symbolic mental lightening as well as a purely physical difference. Environment and perspective are inexorably linked- and if you are having trouble changing your mental attitude, sometimes the act of cleaning things out can help, and sometimes just the newly de-cluttered result of the cleaning can help and sometimes you have to get a bit more radical and change the environment completely- but a new environment can almost always give you a jolt of energy and a burst of enthuaism.

Ok, off of serious topics for a moment. I played kick ball Sunday and it was a blast! You know, old school, playground rules, full on kick ball. We had 23 players, assorted hangers on, beer, burgers and let the teenaged girls make awards while the grown ups played. And play we did-- some of the men got a little too competitive and we did have to fuss at one guy who purposefully collided with the first base woman and knocked her over.

One person took a running dive for a ball and missed, one took one and caught it! There was one mid-air collision, one face pummeling with the ball and lots of laughter. I redeemed my failure to catch the first ball that came at me (I played second) by catching the second one and making a crucial out. I am so sore still today- but a good kind of sore. Games are more fun as an adult-- you can have a beer and a smoke while you're in the dugout. Hehehe. Playing kickball, you can even carry your beer with you around the bases....Long story short-- it was awesome and you should get your friends together and play : )

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Know when to say No.

Arbitrary and Capricious posted a link to this and it made me think of some of my clients....

I think I would have to withdraw.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Work and Blogging...

Ok, I know I haven't been blogging as much as usual. Several causes to that, the biggest one being my freaking work load. In the month of September I had 23 separate Court appearances, and most of those involved multiple cases. Naturally, there were many days when I did not have Court, but I had to spend much of that time doing orders and preparing the onslaught of Bankruptcies I have received.

Look, I became a lawyer so I could work to live, not live to work. Of course, part of what makes me a good (Dedicated?) lawyer, is that I am a hard worker. I kind of, sort of, ummm shall we say, pretty much constantly think about most of my cases all the time.

MadDog has tried to help me compartmentalize my life-- and I do try to turn it off when I get home. But still, I had a doozie today and I have had it on my mind pretty much umm, all weekend, all day yesterday and this AM at 7- bright and early. The thing is, sometimes, turning things over and over in your head is important-- you see something new, you link the facts up properly so they can be pulled out at a minute's notice; you know your case front and back. Which is important because your trial plan will last precisely 1.5 nanoseconds before something derails it. This is the life of a trial lawyer. It takes a certain personality to be anal enough to have it all prepared and laid out, and yet, flexible enough to go with the new information you are getting at trial.

I am happy to say that the other two lawyers in the case I had today begged me to stay in the case, I made my client happy, and I think that this situation may make the parents team together and work against the intervener, which is really the best for the child. A good result all the way around. Plus, I got one of the other lawyers to draft the order...hehehe... Let the wannabe intervening wench pay for that. My client was all, "Why aren't you drafting the order? I always feel better when you draft the order." and I looked at her and said, " We read it into the record, so he's not going to be able to slip anything in. Do you really want to pay $150.00 for me to write it when I can just read over it or do you want the intervener to pay that money to her lawyer who will probably claim it took at least 2 hours?" She bowed to my superior skills at sticking it to people.

I am looking forward to relaxing tonight and NOT thinking about work.

But, before I do one more funny story. This is a non law related story:

I am a pretty handy sort of chick. For example, weekend before last I took down the old ceiling fan (and my ceilings are sloped up to 14 feet and are at least 10 feet where the fan was installed. ) purchased a new fan and installed it myself. Yes, while perched at the top of a ladder I installed and wired the fan and it works perfectly. Look ma, no wobble! And no, no men were involved in any way, shape, form, or fashion- except in admiring the result after he got home from work.

At any rate, after I finished that, I noticed that my refrigerator was not up to temp. I was prompted to notice this when the milk resembled cottage cheese more than milk after a mere four days. Emboldened by my success with the ceiling fan, I pulled the thermometer out and put it in the fridge to determine exactly where we were.

The Fridge was at a not so great 55 degrees.

I tried turning the thermostat off and then down... Nothing new. Frozen stuff is still frozen, but the ice maker is not producing.

I pulled it out from the wall and noticed nothing out of the ordinary.

I decided there was only one thing left to do: find the manual.

The manual had a nice little section entitled, "Caring for your new refrigerator." Look, I am woman enough to have kept the manual, and to be able to locate it within 5 min of beginning to look for it, but no, I have never actually read it.

These lines caught my eye, "You should remove the front grill and clean the condenser coils regularly. This may need to be done as often as once a month. Failing to do this may result in the refrigerator not being able to stay at the optimal temperature."

You know I have dogs, right? Big white hairy dogs.

I have had this machine for 5 and 1/2 years.

I have never even thought about cleaning the condenser coils.

So, I sit on the floor and pull open the filter.

I could have made a new dog with all the gunky dust up under there! An ugly grayish dog, but dog nonetheless. I vacuumed and wiped down the coils.

Yep. Fridge is now down to 40 degrees and the ice maker has returned to making ice.

I am going to go and tackle the threshold into my bathroom this weekend...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Something that made me snarf my Diet Mt. Dew... And not in a good way.

So, I was studying up on Bush's nomination for the Supreme Court and in a perfectly normal article I stumble across this:

Added Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group: “The small pieces of information we do know are disappointing. For example, she's Southern Methodist, notoriously pro-abortion.”

Ok, so the conservatives, represented by Operation Rescue, (who gave money to Eric Rudolph BTW- so, you know, they may be anti-abortion, but they are definitely not "Pro-Life."), are worried that this woman belongs to those "notoriously pro-abortion" METHODISTS.

Since when did belonging to a mainstream church not cut the grade any more?

And since when did some skeevy fringe group like operation rescue have the political clout to get quoted on Microsoft?

I shudder to think what he would say about Presbyterians. : )

I'll bet a lot of Methodists are surprised to learn about their "Notorious" status. I'm going to go call my best friend who teaches Sunday School at her Methodist church and tell her she's notorious. But then, she probably knew that already.

Friday, September 30, 2005


Sorry, I wasn't stalling... I was off learning about the horrible new bankruptcy law... And there WILL be a post on that subject... But just so you're not all wondering all weekend What the heck is the difference... The shank of the bit and the reigns are not visible... Interesting huh?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

OK, how good at spot what's wrong are you....

There is one very big thing different between the second picture (one with the cat in the mule's mouth) and the other three pictures. I spotted it, can you?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Urban Legend

Ok, I never thought Bill Gates was going to send me $5.00 for each person to whom I forwarded that email.

I never thought people were sticking needles in the seats in movie theatres.

I never believed that aspertaime (Sp?) was turning to arsenic or whatever poisonous substance that was in my body.

I don't even think I'll have bad luck it I cut off that inspirational forward.

But I DID fall for the Mule. Sorry. Apparently, it is an urban legend and there is some discussion that the Mountain Lion was already dead. I discovered this when I checked the referring searches leading to my site. *** addendum: the mule is real, the death is real, the date and location are apparently wrong. Interesting... see:

I did read in the grizzly attack book I read in Alaska that there are no recorded grizzly attacks on mounted people.

If people did what they are supposed to do....

If you've heard it from me once you've heard it 20 times- and that's just in this blog... If people did what they are supposed to do I would have to get a real job- and it would probably involve manual labor.

Luckily for me, they don't-- even when you sit them down and spell it out...

Sometimes, it just boggles your mind... "Report to the jail on Friday at 6 PM and the sergeant will have calculated your time served and tell you how much more you have to do." Did he? Noooo. I was then bitching at him about making his payment to the probation office and I had told him to go out and mow lawns if that's what it took and after telling me he lived in town (What? no grass in town?) he then said, "Yeah, but didn't it rain Saturday?" I stopped wanting to help him at this point..."Dude, you don't know if it rained Saturday or not and by the way it didn't rain Saturday. Look, I have some suspicions about what your priorities are and I'm not going to say anything more about that, but you need to get your act together or you're going back to jail and there won't be anything I can do to help you."

Sometimes, it makes things easier... like today I needed to get an order changed to reflect the different payees in a case- not the lump sum as previously appeared... Defendant was served but didn't show up, so I could just tell the Judge what I wanted without having to try to explain the whole situation to the Defendant.

Sometimes, it makes things harder... Like the woman I saw today in "Who's your Daddy" court- lined up for genetic testing with five- count them FIVE possible fathers. You know, if you are one of those men you are sitting there thinking, well, only a %20 chance...

Sometimes, it makes you laugh... I was walking through the metal detector today and the girls in front of me asked the security guard where Court was.

"Which Court," The security guard asked.

"Ummm, I don't know." Replied the girl.

"What kind of case is it?"

"Ummm, I don't know."

"Did you bring the papers that told you to come to Court?"

"Ummm, no, I didn't think I needed them."

"Was it a criminal case or a child support case?"

She pauses for a minute. "Ummm, yeah, it was a criminal case I think. " She looks to her friend who agrees.

"Go to the first floor and ask the District Clerk where you are supposed to be."

Security Guard looks at me like, "What the hell?!" and I laugh.

I don't think I'll ever run out of clients.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Language culture and comprehension

When I was in Scotland I am not sure I ever managed to navigate a round-about properly. Being on the wrong side of the road was hard enough with out throwing into the mix a crazy circle, merging and other cars all while trying to read road names with at least 15 letters at 30 Kilometers per hour. Did I want Llangewereninglon or Llandonwerntinglon?

Driving there really brought home to me how cultural the comprehension of road signs really is. I could never figure out if the blue lines were bad or good. What exactly does a blinking yellow light after a red light want me to do? Was the inside lane fast or slow when you reversed the side of the road on which you drove? What does that arrow there mean?

In France I remember seeing the whole three lane highway set up for the first time and tightened my seatbelt. In case you are unfamiliar, the middle lane is used by EITHER direction to pass. Usually at over 120 KPH.

In Germany, I was screamed at for failing to pull onto the shoulder promptly when someone wanted to pass me. They also had these little signs that were black exclamation points with a red circle around them. I felt sure I was supposed to be wary of something... But what?!

It all reminded me of my thesis where I explored the postmodern concept of meaning as existing only in shared comprehension. I was right, I realized, absolutely right- that language, much like these signs, ever possibly reached Truth only insofar as the people discussing the Truth comprehended each other. (Whether or not something is True existing again outside said discussion being a whole other discussion for another day... If a tree falls in the woods....)

But getting away from the deeper issues there-- and back to the middle deep issues-- There are people who design and create these signs. They convey an entire paragraph into a pictorial representation- a pictorial representation that should be understood by each and every person in the society without the need for deeper explanation. Red having certain connotations-- like danger... Arrows at certain places on the roadway suggesting certain things. But we forget in our isolated societies that signs are not universal; not connected to a deeper comprehension existing before the communally agreed representations- and that as second nature at they are to us they boggle the mind of poor unsuspecting souls visiting from other places. Like Alabama.

I give to you:

Philosophical Friday

When I first decided to become a lawyer, it was purely reactionary. I had gotten out of school and after spending 18 years that I can conscienciously remember years refusing to be a lawyer I realized that it was a way to 1) postpone reality-- 3 more years in school seemed like a great deal after 1 year in the "real world" and 2) work for myself- because 1 year of working for idiots was one year too many. I still laugh at things I said in college to professors to whom I spoke about my direction in life, "I will never be a lawyer" must have been repeated sixteen million times. Now I see the knowing smile- I know they saw that I was cut out to be a lawyer.

I went to an educational psychologist for a battery of tests to tell me what career I was suited for. Top on the list-- lawyer, second? Psychologist. Third? College professor. (Note: Being a lawyer is to be all three of these things. I am my client's psychologist, I must understand the psychology of the issues, and I must educate the other side and the judge.)

I had to start down some sort of path. Temp jobs and retail were not cutting it. MadDog kept reminding me that I could always change my mind and turn around-- but that you have to pick a direction and start walking, or life will start walking for you. "A lot of days," he would tell me, "It will feel like you will step up 13 inches and slide back down 12; but you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get there."

I choose law school because there were a lot of doors in life it would open- whether or not I decided to be a lawyer. I still claimed it was "not my calling." I didn't know what my calling was, but being a lawyer- not it. I figured I might have time to think about what my calling was in law school, and law school would help no matter what my calling was.

MadDog, naturally, was thrilled I was in law school, and very philosophical about me not being a lawyer, "Oh, I wasn't going to be a lawyer either. I was going to work in a bank." He did in fact begin his working life as a trust department officer. He still gets happy when he sees a clause he wrote in a financial document, or a trust document. And believe me-- there are still several paragraphs he wrote floating around out there in the banking business. But he would never go back to work for a Bank- he shudders at the very mention.

The other day I was talking to someone about being a lawyer and I realized it was, in fact, my calling. I just hadn't heard the voice before- I didn't want to listen to the voice before. It wasn't until I was on the path and deep into it that I realized that it was what I was good at doing, felt good about doing, and enjoyed. There are a lot of scary moments but I do love it.

So, think about your calling in life and begin making baby steps towards it no matter what it is. And if you have no idea what you are doing-- pick the option that opens the most doors to you and take that one, because you can always turn around and go back through the door, but if you don't make a choice, life will make it for you.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Next time someone calls you a mule, consider it a compliment....

This was sent to me by a friend of MadDog's. I have always heard that if you are mounted bears and mountain lions will not attack... I guess this is why.

This may be a first... A couple from Montana were out riding on the range, he with his rifle and she (fortunately) with her camera. Their dogs always followed them, but on this occasion a Mountain Lion decided that he wanted to stalk the dogs (you'll see the dogs in the background watching). Very, very bad decision...The hunter got off the mule with his rifle and decided to shoot in the air to scare away the lion, but before he could get off a shot the lion charged in and decided he wanted a piece of those dogs. With that, the mule took off and decided he wanted a piece of that lion. That's when all hell broke loose... for the lion.As the lion approached the dogs the mule snatched him up by the tail and started whirling him around. Banging its head on the ground on every pass. Then he dropped it, stomped on it and held it to the ground by the throat. The mule then got down on his knees and bit the thing all over a couple of dozen times to make sure it was dead, than whipped it into the air again, walked back over to the couple (that were stunned in silence) and stood there ready to continue his ride... as if nothing had just happened. Fortunately even though the hunter didn't get off a shot, his wife got off these 4...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Something to amuse you....

I like to keep funny things with me in Court so that when the stress level gets too high, I can make myself laugh. After a hard week this week, I pulled this out of my forms folder:

From Washington v. Alaimo, 934 F. Supp. 1395 (S.D. Ga. 1996)

..."Inmate plaintiff's complete disregard of and noncompliance with explicit court order to show cause why Rule 11 sanctions should not be imposed upon him for filing motion for improper purposes warranted dismissal with prejudice; motion which plaintiff filed was entitled "Motion to Kiss My Ass" in which he moved "all Americans at large and one corrupt Judge Smith {to} kiss my got [sic] damn ass sorry mother fucker you."

This always makes me smile. I especially love the thought of the person summarizing this inserting the {to} and [sic] after "got." S/he's sitting there thinking, "Dude, you can't even insult the man in proper English."

That one's almost as good as the old divorce case MadDog loves to read (and I'll have to give you the cite later) where the Judge writes, "Like a dog returning to its excrement, so he returned to the fair and delectable Vinah."

Have a wonderful day : )

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lawyer stories...

So I'm sitting in the snack bar...Where half the lawyers sit while waiting for the Judges to get done with the other half of the lawyers- then they swap. You can learn a lot in the snack bar.

One lawyer starts telling a story about himself and another lawyer: Lawyer 1 and Lawyer 2 are sitting in City Hall. Lawyer 1's client runs in City Hall yelling for lawyer 1 "because I done shot John Doe. " Lawyer 2's client is John Doe.

Both lawyers run outside. Lawyer 2 is talking to the guy who ran inside, and asks him who did the shooting and where the gun is. Guy calmly reaches in his pocket and pulls out the gun. Lawyer 2 Gets a plastic bag and has guy put gun in said bag- being careful not to touch it himself. (its his client who was shot.)

Meanwhile lawyer 1 walks up to a cop who just showed up and knows nothing about the shooting. He tells the cop, "Shooting in the parking lot." Cop reaches down to his shoulder radio and calmly says "shooter in the parking lot." Cops swarm out of the building. They surround lawyer 1 holding the plastic bag with the gun. They point many guns at lawyer 1 who is standing there holding a plastic bag with a gun in it. Lawyer 2 slinks off because he really doesn't want to have to deal with his client who is also slinking off. Lawyer 1 starts screaming for lawyer 2 to get his ass back here. Lawyer 1 pretends not to hear Lawyer 2 yelling at him. As they are telling it together, lawyer 2 says, "Hell I wasn't hired to defend a shooting." Lawyer 1 is rolling his eyes because he had guns pointed at him. Lawyer 2 is laughing about lawyer 1 having all those guns pointed at him. Lawyer 2 is stupid like a fox.

This is one of the many many ways that lawyers fuck with each other.

And another good story from the trenches: One of my friends is at her office early one morning and one of her clients who just happens to be a deputy shows up. He is really upset and crying so she lets him in. He says he needs to go and turn himself in because he has just beaten a man to death. And will she come with him because he is scared.

She tells him to slow down. Start at the beginning. He gives some background about getting off work early and coming home to find his girlfriend in bed with another man. He got angry and dragged the man out of bed and beat him senseless and left him dead on the front porch.

She asks how he knows the man was dead. He says he has to be I mean I beat him bad. He is sobbing; so upset that he lost his temper.

So the lawyer calls the hospital and and police station. No one has a dead body or a report of a crime.

She then calls the hospital back and asks if someone came in beaten up really badly.

Why yes, her friend tells her, we did, but he won't say who or how he was beaten. And yes, he will survive.

Lawyer looks at her client and tells him to go home-- dude doesn't want to upset his wife and family by letting it get out why he was beaten any more than deputy wants people to know he beat the guy. Since both parties had so much to loose, paramour took his beating and went home. Now, that's Southern Justice for you.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Animals in New Orleans

Friday Rant....

Last night I woke up and put on the news to go back to sleep. I was overwhelmed by the pictures of the animals left behind in New Orleans. When I saw the german shepherd stuck in the water in his fenced in yard trying desperately to climb onto a window ledge I lost it. It made me so sad and angry.

People had to make terrible choices, and I don't blame them-- get on the bus but you can't bring your pet. Here's a shelter you can come to, but you can't bring a pet. How could they (You know the asshats running the shelters) have these rules? I understand some people are allergic, and too many animals can result in issues, but shelters need to have a system set up with local vets and other groups to house and take care of pets.

I have always believed that when you take in an animal and remove from it its natural and wild state you MUST take on that responsibility for the rest of that animal's life because you have removed his ability to function as a wild creature. The dogs howling on the rooftops, having no real idea how to survive, were just so awful to see. They were clinging to their rescuers- I saw one golden, all 80 pounds of him, his paws tightly wrapped around the rescuer's neck--just hugging her.

I've always heard, "A society should be judged by how it treats the least of its members"- and we have a bureaucratic and social failure here as a society when people were forced to leave their pets behind. This failure is further proof/evidence of the attitude that resulted in the terrible humanitarian crisis those sheltering in New Orleans faced last week.

I am so glad the humane society is down there rescuing pets door to door and housing them until their owners can come claim them. They have over three hundred people on the ground pulling in pets. My hat goes off to them.

Oh, and ohhh, its all going to be better now that the head of FEMA has been the middle of the crisis....isn't that like locking the barn door after the horse is out?

On another good note- my friend who works at the NO zoo said they finally had food in and they were rotating crews in and out to care for the animals there. Almost all of the animals survived and are doing well.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Meeting Melvin and Hearing the Rainsong

I am republishing this post in honor of New Orleans.

Several years ago I read the Celestine Prophesy. The one great thing I garnered from that book is that each person you meet has something to teach you if only you’ll shut up and listen. I am a firm believer in this.
However, when you go to New Orleans, if you sit and listen to each person who comes up to you and begs you’ll never make it anywhere. Now, I am a nice Southern Girl from a small Southern town where we don’t lock our cars, much less our homes unless we’re going out of town or something, but my Daddy didn’t raise a dummy. When I am in the Big Easy, which used to be the murder capital of the US and now I think its just the murder capital of the South, I wear sunglasses and walk purposefully like I know what I’m doing. Ok, the second one isn’t too hard for me as I’m kind of known for walking like I have somewhere to be- even if I don’t, but I do try to be especially sure to look like well, if not a local, an experienced tourist. I guess it works pretty well, because hardly anyone bothered us where we spent the weekend there recently.
Of course, I did notice when I walked my friend’s cute little Westies someone tried to ask me for money, but when I walked my 100 pound White German Shepherd who eyes you menacingly if you approach me—no one did. So part of my success may have to do with my accessories… and I do strongly recommend to any traveling alone in the Big Easy that a 100 pound White German Shepherd makes an excellent accessory.
But at any rate, the second night we were there, my friends who were newly weds, decided to go out for a romantic dinner while my beau and I stayed in our room and tried to convince ourselves we were in our 20’s and not our 30’s and that 6 hours of sleep was fine and we really could get up and go drinking again. Well, I finally managed to pull him up, mostly on the threat that if he would not come with me then I would just go by myself, thank you very much, and he could sleep. Like any good southern gentleman, he couldn’t let that happen especially as I couldn’t take my guard beast with me since we planned to go to bars and all. And he didn’t want me doing anything crazy like lifting my shirt for those people on the balconies for those cute little beads, unless he was there to see.
So, he creaked to his feet, knees cracking pulls on a white button down and his favorite madras plaid pants with bellbottoms handed down by my dad that he can only wear places where kitch or ironic clothing is appreciated like New Orleans and says, "ok, ok, lets go." 6 blocks later we reached Jackson Square where we were meeting our friends and he collapses into the bench beside them. "She walks too fast" he moaned. "I need beer." So, I reach into my bag with a big grin and produce a lovely cold beer and he looks at me with love in his bloodshot eyes and says, "damn you’re good, baby darlin’."
Of course, the sight of beer being handed round in Jackson Square results in each of the various cons loitering about trying to decide which method would work on us. Some people like the down on your luck story, some like the appeal to a favorite sports team or college, some like to pay for display of a talent, like juggling while riding a unicycle, a few go for the intimidation/guilt thing, and some, a rare few of us, are completely taken in by the truth. If someone walks up to me and says, "look I’m down on my luck and I just want to get drunk and pass out and think about my life tomorrow." I am going to go to the store and buy that person a fifth of whatever they want because, and only because, they told the truth. If someone tells me a story about why they are down on their luck, and how their baby needs medicine I am going to keep walking and tell’em to save it because the lawyer in me is going to begin poking holes in their story right and left and I’m just going to be really irritated that if they had just put all that effort into getting a job they could have had the money by now.
Thus, when a hulking Black man sitting one bench over asks if we would like him to take a picture of us, we politely decline. And then studiously ignore him-- but he would not be ignored. He stands up and says, "Hey I was just trying to be nice. I’m just here sitting shooting the breeze with my friends. You act like I’m gonna try and steal it." We throw back the usual noises of Ehh no worries and then he said, "May I ask you an unfair question?"
Now, I like this right away, you know, since it fits in with my whole "lets tell the truth" thing. "May I ask you an unfair question?" that’s great. So when he extends his hand to me I think "you can learn something from anyone." And walk over and shake it and he says "Hi, I’m Melvin Jacques and I was born about 5 blocks from here but I live across the river now. Where are you folks from?" After we tell him and he asks our signs he gets back to his unfair question which is first if he can have a smoke and then if he can have a beer. "My wife, he explains, "don’t want me drinking, so she only gives me bus fare." I forget about the beers I have and am reaching in the bag to give him some moolah to go and get himself one, when my friend has one of those lightbulb moments and reaches in and pulls out a Coors light.
"Well knock me over with a feather!" he says, his eyes lighting up as his pops the top as fast as he can and just as quickly takes a swig- almost like he’s afraid that if he doesn’t mark it as his beer we will change our minds and take it back. We chat for a while longer about a palm reader he knows who told a woman she was going to meet the man of her dreams in New Orleans and she did—so when she gets married she came back to New Orleans and gave the psychic $10,000 dollars and sent all her friends to visit her. It was a great happy story. He tells us about some of the other local people in Jackson square and what restaurants are really truly good and which are tourist crap and then we leave and make our way off to the bars and sing raunchy songs at Howl at the Moon until it is time to go back to the hotel.
As we’re walking back by the A and P to get some juice for our sure-to-come morning hangovers, Willow and I are drawn in by an old sailor sitting in a shop alcove strumming on a guitar for no one in particular. The boys plop exhausted on the steps of the church across the street as we speak with him. He is old with kind blue eyes hidden by a full white beard. He is wearing one of those little hats like Irish people or golfers wear. We ask him what he likes to play and he plays one he wrote about how much he wants to stay and love a girl but that he is not worthy. It was beautiful. He plays Bob Dylan—Tangled up in Blue- which is one of my favorites.
After we leave our sailor man we are so distracted we walk the wrong way and have to double back. I hear him playing again and talking to himself, "Yeah, I’m gonna make it rain if I keep playing the rain song. But it’s a good night for rain." "Hey," I tell him, "hold off on the rain song for 10 minutes so we can get back to the room." He laughs and says sure, and we finally head off to the A and P. What do you know but that conversation saved our lives. No, I mean, talking to that man saved our lives. See, sometimes its good to get off course, because just when we should have been arriving at the A and P someone was robbing it and shooting the clerk so that when we did arrive, the door was shut by a broom handle and there was blood everywhere and cops running around. We would have been in there, but we stopped and listened to the sailor man.
The boys are doing the trainwreck thing and trying to find out what happened, but like I said in the beginning, my Daddy didn’t raise no dummy—so I remind them sharply that there is blood everywhere and we should leave now so we do and hurry back to the room and just as we walk through the door the sky opens and the deluge begins all at once as it does in the south at night. I just wish I knew that rain song.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Shun Wal-Mart

Ok, I have hit on this a few times in the past on this web site. I believe shunning is the most appropriate response to unacceptable behavior. You can't make someone change, but you can remove yourself from their company until they do.

This all started many years ago when I took BL (Brit Lawyer) to a municipal authority meeting. We're sitting at the meeting watching MadDog do his thing (he was the authority's lawyer) trying to work out a dispute.

Suddenly, one man, wearing- I kid you not- a short sleeved buttoned down shirt with tie under his overalls jumps up and yells at another man- also wearing the buttondown shirt with tie under overalls combo- only he is also wearing wingtip shoes with white athletic socks, "You done lied on me the last time, I shun you and I shun your family." And he moved three seats to the right and pretended he neither saw nor heard the offending party throughout the rest of the meeting, because when you shun someone that's what you do. They cease to exist to you. You continue to do what has to be done in that person's presence, but you do not acknowlege them. Nor do you do any passive aggressive talking over them or anything like that-- you just pretend they don't exist unless social demands insist-- until they apologize and bring their behavior back within social norms.

So, I ask that you shun Wal-Mart. I heard today on NPR that they are only paying their effected workers for 3 days. Most other companies are paying what they can-- at least two weeks, and some as long as 90 days--but seriously-- 3 days! Shame on them. Shun them! Boo. Shame on you Wal-mart! Sam Walton would be rolling over in his grave. In this case shunning means: Don't go unless you have to and if you do go ask the clerk to tell management that you think it completely inappropriate that Wal-mart is only paying its employees for 3 days. Don't be mean to the clerk about it, just ask them to pass it along.

Oh and the shunned party later appologized and is again walking side by side with his fellow overalls-buttondown-tie wearing brother.

Katrina and some heros

This weekend I was at the Alabama Coast. On Saturday night I was *ahem* reading the Upper Room at my favorite watering hole when a sailboat returned from Pass Christian to a standing ovation of applause and cheers. FEMA and the Federal Gov't may not be able to get their heads out of their asses, but the citizens of a small unincorporated town in Baldwin County sent 6 tons of supplies over on a sail boat and have $7,000 more to send at some point this week.

Those who went are true heros-- they didn't wait for permission, or a plan, they knew what was needed. Their VFD contacted another VFD and the pickup was arranged-- propane tanks, disinfecting wipes, work gloves, clean underwear, water, food...a few beers... Were loaded onto the boat and sailed to the waiting needy people. The VFD in Pass Christian now had more supplies to give out to their community- after all they are there on the ground and working so hard to help people. They know what is needed-- if they only had the supplies and tools to give out. These people are working themselves to exhaustion to do what has to be done- not the Federal Government who is too tied up in red tape and controlling the situation and telling the people on the ground what they need.

Here is what killed me: My friends in the sailboat were stopped by the Coast Guard coming in and allowed in-- after much bureaucracy. On the way out, they were stopped, told to anchor-- that they could not leave. Luckily, the sailors are an intelligent and feisty lot and they told the Coast Guard that if they wanted to board them that was all well and good, there was no legal reason to do so, and they'd have the media on them faster than would be believed. They were allowed to proceed quietly.

The things they saw on their route-- thousands of packages of packaged chicken floating in the water. Bodies. Dead Alligators. They said the stench and bacterial count of the water was overwhelming.

And FEMA-- bah humbug. They said the Red Cross is there all right-- charging for coffee!!! That's right CHARGING DISASTER VICTIMS FOR COFFEE! So, give your money to the Salvation Army- or call your local VFD or other small agency. Or take in a displaced family.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Some days are like that...

It has been one of those days when I feel slow and stupid...also one of those days I have three places to be at once and so I feel like I end up doing nothing well. One of those days you feel like you are somehow operating through a filter. The air is thicker, the neurons have to push through something to reach their destination. On days like these you have to rely on your organization and competence from earlier days to get you through- because if you start thinking too much, you are going to screw it up. I am going to go for a walk which will hopefully get my mind moving and back into the swing of things.

Luckily, I just have some mindless crap to do after Federal Court... I've already hit two courts this am-- just one final one to go and I am ready, cases pulled, client briefed-- and its just a little hearing with any luck there will be no problems... Although by merely writing that I'm sure I've jinxed myself into making it a full blown problem. : )

I am so ready to go lie on the beach and think of nothing important. Oh, wait, Katrina screwed that up. Damn you Katrina! and Alabama got the least of it this time. I find this amusing: This weekend at the Coast I was supposed to repair the screens my dogs had ruined...I told MadDog that at least I hadn't gone down there fixed them and then had them ripped out the following weekend- that would have really pissed me off.

What really bothers me about the destruction is that instead of wonderful laid back shacks being built back what always seems to happen after hurricanes is that the giant Corporate hotels and condos flood in in larger and larger numbers. I wish all those damn developers would just go AWAY!

When I was a child going to the coast meant nasty sulfur water, outdoor showers and all the kids in the main room. Our days were filled with mosquitoes, bottle rocket wars in the sand dunes, Junk cereal, seaweed, jellyfish and snorkeling at the water's edge until you turned all pruny when an adult would finally wake up and come down to the ocean with you. Evenings were filled with solorcaine in front of the box fan, stealing your parent's beer, and driving an hour to the store because we ate all the white bread.

Now a days it means clean chlorine pools at the condo, central air, taking the elevator down to the lower level, perfect water for showering, each child with a bedroom, cable TV, shopping, gourmet foods and amusement parks.

It means places to stay where you don't need pliers to turn on the water. Where you don't get splinters if you drag your feet on the deck. Where raised wooden walkways keep your feet from sandspurs.

Remember how it used to be? I do, and I miss it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

On being self employed...

I knew quickly when I graduated from college that I needed to work for myself. Working for other people was just not going to work for me. Sure, I did a great job taking care of them, but I wanted to do all of that for ME.

Being a lawyer was a profession I knew would allow me to do that, and provide new and different challenges on a daily basis. I also knew that even if I decided not to be a lawyer in the end, the knowlege and discipline of law school would give me an edge in whatever path I did take. I needed something to support myself until I got my book written.

So I became a lawyer. I pretty much knew from the time I entered law school I would never ever work for a firm. Working for myself is the greatest thing ever. I decide when I come in, when I leave, how my files are organized, what to charge a client, when to write on my blog. I am the kind of person who would feel like I was cheating my employer if I wrote on my blog durring work hours- but my curent boss has no problems with it. : )

I always say, "My boss can be a real bitch when it comes to getting my work done, but she's also very flexible about everything else."

The thing is, I've seen so many lawyers and others who just shouldn't work for themselves. You have to have a certain personality type to do it. You have to be a self starter. You have to be organized. You have to be self disciplined. You have to be able to keep financial records, and live within your budget. You have to make yourself stay at work when its slow, and come in on Saturdays when you have too much to do.

You have to know yourself-- if you want money, fame, and power- you probably need the framework a lawfirm provides. Solos are seldom searching for those things. I want financial comfort, personal satisfaction and a life. I want to live within my ethical framework and not have a choice made for me that I do not feel is right. These things are more important to me than being rich.