Sunday, March 29, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins

No real surprises here except the "low" score on wrath. Maybe I *am* making some progress in learning to control my temper. . .

Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very Low
Pride:Very Low

Discover Your Sins - Click Here

Thursday, March 26, 2009


218.0 (ugh)

Age is a strange thing. As I've mentioned, this past Saturday was my 38th birthday. It just so happens that one of the filing clerks at our firm turned 18 the day after I turned 38. It's weird to think that I am 20 years (and one day) older than her! And it got me thinking about what *I* was like when I turned 18.

You hear people say that they feel the same as they did 20 years ago. I can't say that. In fact, in most ways, I feel better. When I was 18, I was still getting to know myself. I may have seemed fairly confident to people who knew me then, but although I had high self-esteem, I didn't always have a lot of confidence. Fear held me back from doing a lot of things that I'd do today almost without hesitation, and I spent a lot of time dwelling on things that were outside my control. I also had a penchant for picking horrible men with whom to get involved in those days. Money was a constant issue and worry for me at that age, too. I was a college student with a low-paying, part-time job and next to no parental support.

It's obvious that I'm better off financially now than I was then. (Or actually, at any other time in my life.) From a mental health perspective, I believe I am also much better off today than I was when I turned 18. Sure, I had good things in my life then and would have considered myself a generally happy person. Now I am just so much more comfortable in my own skin, so to speak. I am aware of my faults and my strengths. I accept who I am and do what I can to maximize my strengths and work on my flaws.

One constant? I struggled with my weight then, too. Though I probably weighed between 165 and 170, I thought I was a huge cow. Ah, what I wouldn't give to be that weight today! ;-)

Though I think I am generally better off at 38 than I was at 18, I acknowledge that I definitely notice differences in myself that are not so positive. Gray hairs. Lines on my face. Blotchy skin where it used to be smooth and clear. (Believe it or not, I never wore foundation at 18: I didn't need it.) My knees ache now when I exercise (though that's probably due to weight gain as much as it is to aging). It's harder to lose weight. I can't stay up as late as I could then. I can't drink like I could then. I get heartburn now if I eat certain foods.

All in all, I will say this honestly: But for the effect that my age has on my fertility, I would much rather be 38 than be 18 again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009



Remember my writing a few months ago about a friend of mine ("D") who never acknowledged my wedding?

I wrote about my intention to put her on "indefinite ignore," and I've followed through with that plan. I haven't spoken to her since the week before we left for Maui--over four months now--whereas prior to this I'd never gone more than two weeks without talking to her in about 15 years. Her 40th birthday was January 12th, and I didn't even send her a card. I also didn't acknowledge her son's 9th birthday on February 1st (before I used to send each of her three sons a birthday card) or her first wedding anniversary on February 15th (even though I sent her an anniversary card every year that she was married to her first husband).

Her only contact with me was a text message sent two days after her birthday saying "how have you been?" I followed someone's suggestion and responded with a snarky "enjoying married life" response and had heard nothing from her since.

Until I got the mail on Monday evening and found that she had sent me a birthday card. The card itself was pretty generic, and the handwritten note inside was what one might write to any friend with whom one hasn't spoken in a while. Still no mention made of my marriage, and I kept my maiden name, so I didn't even have the satisfaction of seeing the small acknowledgement that seeing MM's surname after my first name on the envelope might have been.

I'm totally puzzled by this. To me, if a friend went from weekly contact to zero phone calls in four months and stopped commemorating my birthday and anniversary--when previously cards on those occasions had been the norm--it would be patently obvious to me that the friend was pissed off. I might not immediately know WHY she was angry, but I'd know for sure that something was up

Apparently D doesn't get it. My mom theorized that she *does* get that I'm mad and is trying to make up. . . but I don't think so. Wouldn't a logical first step in making up with an angry friend be to find out why she is angry with you and apologize or atone for that behavior? That step is completely lacking in this situation.

Mom also thinks that perhaps D thinks that my lack of contact is due to my marriage, but that makes no sense to me either. I've never been one of those women who ignores my female friends when I'm in a relationship. . . a fact that you think someone who had known me for over 20 years would know. Also, even if a newly-married friend might talk to you less often, surely no one would assume that she'd stop talking to you at all.

Anyhoo. I don't feel that her card requires any response on my part. Just curious about what might be in her mind.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Our trip started out with a very late arrival at Newark airport. The gate agent in Phoenix made me check my bag because it was a half-inch over their height limit, so we were further delayed waiting for my bag to come out on the baggage claim carousel. (It took FOREVER at nearly midnight.)

Bags finally in hand, we had to take the air train to the rail station and then the rail into Manhattan to Penn Station. From Penn Station, we took a cab to our hotel on the upper west side. Needless to say, it was quite late by the time we reached the hotel. MM didn't eat on the plane--didn't like their (limited) options--so we hit an all-night diner which was actually super cute and quite yummy.

Despite our late arrival, we were up bright and early on Thursday for our tour of Manhattan. MM booked a 5+ hour tour for us because it was his first-ever visit to NYC, and he didn't want to miss any of the highlights.

The tour was fun for me, too. Even though I've visited NYC lots of times, I hadn't done many of the typical tourist things there. My parents met and married in NYC and were living in Queens when I was born. Over the years after we moved to the Southwest, when we went back to visit NYC, it was generally to visit friends and family, not to sightsee. My sister and I paid Manhattan a long weekend visit in the fall of '99 and saw Les Miserables on Broadway, shopped on Fifth Avenue, walked through Central Park and around Rockefeller Plaza, and visited Chinatown and Little Italy. . . but aside from that, I'd never really played tourist there.

Our tour really give us a quick and fairly comprehensive overview of Manhattan. Our guide was very knowledgeable and pleasant; he'd lived his whole life in Queens. MM's favorite stop on the trip was Rockefeller Plaza:

The only slight downside of the tour was that it was overcast throughout and rained some during the day. Oh well; you can't control the weather. It didn't interfere with our enjoyment but did make it harder for me to get good photos of what we saw.

As luck would have it, we finished with our tour right before my sister V and company arrived at the condo in Hoboken. My BIL works for a large luxury home builder who routinely retains ownership of a unit (be it house or condo) in the communities it builds for use by its employees. For a nominal fee, my BIL can rent one of these "guesthouses" in any city where his employer has built a development.

The unit we stayed in was on the 10th floor of the building. We learned during our stay that NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning owns a 3000-square-foot unit on the top (12th) floor.

MM and I took the ferry from Pier 79 in Manhattan (just up the street from the famous Chelsea Piers) and then walked the three short blocks to the condo. The views from the waterfront windows--which basically took up an entire wall of the unit--were spectacular!

My nephew Rowan had no clue who we were at first but was happy to see us nonetheless. He had changed SO much since we saw him just before Thanksgiving! He recently got his first big boy haircut and is a couple of inches taller. . . . but the real changes were in his language skills and his attitude. He is now talking in complete sentences and is a typical two-year-old in that he wants to do anything you don't want him to do and nothing that you do want him to do.

V was apologetic that the second bedroom ended up having two twin beds instead of a queen. Little did she know that this would be a major plus to MM: there are few things he likes better than having the bed all to himself. The only thing that could've been better would have been a full-sized bed all to himself.

I awoke Friday to snow flurries! I couldn't remember the last time I'd actually seen snow falling. The flurries were so thick that the view of the Manhattan skyline was obscured. The snow didn't stick, though, and stopped completely before 11:00 a.m. MM slept in on Friday (he'd only slept about an hour the first night) and later we took the ferry back into the city and met V and family at the Top of the Rock observatory deck. The views from there were simply spectacular. A sample:

When Rowan had a meltdown, my BIL decided that he needed to go back to the condo for the afternoon. (I'm not entirely sure that this wasn't a convenient excuse for BIL to watch the NCAA basketball tournament in comfort. . . ) MM and I then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening walking around Times Square, save for an hour or so spent in the ESPN Zone. (A mecca for MM at any time, and particularly so during "the Big Dance.") Everywhere we went was packed with people, as might be expected.

I took the following photo because MM is a HUGE Will Farrell fan:

This fellow would allow you to pose with him for a photo if you gave him a couple of bucks; I took his photo for free. Note the animal-print fedora and sequined man-bag. I dubbed him "Pimp Elmo."

Friday night we had dinner and drinks in Hoboken with a (very entertaining) college friend of V's. MM didn't mind because both the establishments we visited had TV sets featuring NCAA basketball games.

The five of us got up early-ish again on Saturday to visit Ellis Island. Rowan graced us with this wonderful pose shortly after our arrival there:

Visiting a museum with a two-year-old was a challenge. Rowan thought that the rails around the exhibits were provided as handholds to aid his climbing onto the exhibit platforms. Needless to say, he spent a lot of time with his daddy and/or in the stroller.

V and family headed home for naptime after Ellis Island, and MM and I continued on to Liberty Island to see the statue. We both feel it is a total rip-off that you can no longer go up into the crown.

After taking the wrong ferry from Liberty Island and ending up in Battery Park (rather than in NJ, where we started), MM took a cab to Pier 79 and another ferry back to NJ to rest for a few hours and spend time with the family. We returned to Manhattan in the evening for a New York Rangers hockey game at "the famous" Madison Square Garden:

The game was fun: the fans got really into the game, our seats were excellent, and the Rangers won, 5-3.

Sunday we just relaxed and hung out with the family until it was time to go to the airport.

We packed a lot into just three days! One small regret of MM's was that we didn't get to spend more time in Central Park; we briefly visited Strawberry Fields and rode through the park on our tour, but didn't have time to wander through the park or take a horse-drawn carriage ride. I wished I could have seen more of V and Rowan, but my BIL's decision to return to the condo in the early afternoon on both Friday and Saturday--ostensibly so that Rowan could nap--limited my time with both of them. Also, I would've liked to have eaten at some awesome NYC restaurants. Most of our meals were quick, on-the-run affairs.

But that's OK. We still had a great time, and we certainly did a lot more than we missed!

Monday, March 23, 2009


218.8 (Oh.My.God)

Just a quick post to say that I am back from our trip to NYC and back at work today. I will write a longer post this evening with a recap of our trip (which, I will say in brief, was awesome).

I was absolutely horrified by this morning's weight. Yes, the scale has been slowly creeping upward over the past few weeks, but today's number is quite close to 220. . . a number I've not often seen over the past several years. (Though it's not unprecedented for me: I was as heavy as 225 in 1998 and up to almost 235 around the time of my breakup with SL in 2007.)

Today I have been pounding down the water like it's going out of style--I'm starting on my third liter now, and it's 3:00 here--and have eaten healthfully thus far. Dinner will be a bit of a challenge because I don't really have any food in the house--having been gone the past five days--and it's always a challenge to find a healthier option when not preparing your own meal. I'm contemplating a salad with chicken from a restaurant not far from our house.

I brought my gym clothes to work and will be heading straight to the gym when I leave the office this evening. I am actually really looking forward to a workout: though MM and I did a lot of walking while in NYC, I only worked out once during our trip, and I had to cut that short 'cause my underwear kept falling down while I was on the treadmill. LOL

As I do after any time away from my usual routine, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings going through my mind. All good stuff, though. I came home as contented with my life as ever. . . . which is a good thing and not always the way I've felt after coming home from a vacation. ;-)

Stay tuned for some NYC and Rowan photos. . . .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No news is good news, right?

I realized this evening that I haven't written an entry since Friday! I try to be a bit more diligent in keeping up with the blog than that. Sorry to anyone who cares. ;-)

Life is good, just a little hectic. My weekend was good: we had dinner with friends of MM's on Friday night, followed by some karaoke; Saturday was spent mostly at the Renaissance Festival with C and her man W (fun!) and watching Milk in the evening; Sunday was catch-up on all my long-neglected household chores and watching Rachel Getting Married in the evening after dinner at The Keg (one of MM's new favorite restaurants).

I have been very nose-to-the-grindstone at work the past two days because I am leaving work early tomorrow and taking Thursday and Friday completely off so that we can GO TO NEW YORK! Well, technically we are flying into Newark and staying in Hoboken. . . . but somehow saying "We're going to New Jersey!" just doesn't sound as exciting. Plus we plan to spend the majority of our leisure time over the four-day weekend in Manhattan, so we really are going there to visit NYC, not Jersey.

I can hardly wait to see my nephew Rowan! My BIL had him sing me "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on Friday on the phone, and it was about the cutest thing evah. I'm going to take many, many photos of him and give him lots of hugs and kisses!! Of course, I'm also looking forward to seeing my sister and even my BIL, I must admit. The sight-seeing and other stuff we have planned should be lots of fun, too.

It's my usual bedtime (I know, I'm lame), and I still need to finish packing before I can hit the hay. I'm waiting up for MM for another half hour anyway; he's been out celebrating St. Paddy's Day with one of his buddies.

Oh, and I'm loving my piano lessons! I was in such a joyful mood this evening after my lesson!

I will return with lots of pictures of sights and the little dude! Have a great rest of the week and weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lovin' life

I am in a very good mood today. The sun is shining (well, ok, that's true over 300 days a year here), I slept well and awoke refreshed, and even though it's Friday the 13th, things are going my way.

MM and I found out yesterday that we are getting over $7500 back on our federal and state income taxes! Seems that because we were both single and withholding at the highest allowable rate throughout the year, we overpaid big time.

We are being responsible with our refund: we are planning to spend a small portion of it on our NYC trip next week but are also putting some into long-term savings (we're trying to build that "6 months' living expenses" experts say we should all have saved), paying off some debt (mine), and setting some aside for expenses that we know we will be incurring in the next few months.

It is really nice to have a little unexpected inflow of cash. Sure, we should probably adjust our withholding so that we get a little more each paycheck. . . but getting the lump sum in the spring is nicer in a way.

When I first logged on to my work email this morning, I learned that a motion for summary judgment that I filed nearly seven months ago was finally ruled upon and granted! No more delays! The federal magistrate had previously granted the prisoner plaintiff three extensions of time to respond, and yet he had never filed anything. As the associate on the case, it was most frustrating for me because I had to monitor the file, respond to all of the plaintiff's extension requests, and periodically file motions asking the court to rule on our motion. . . in addition to having written the original motion for summary judgment.

The best part of all is that the fact that the motion for summary judgment was granted means the case is over!! I am really glad to get it off my case list. (Now if I could just achieve the same outcome in two other self-represented prisoner cases in which I've filed motions for summary judgment. . .

Though work has been pretty much status quo, I have had a pretty productive week. Things are picking up for me also, and I'm glad. In January and February, I had so little work that I was not only bored but mildly concerned about my job security. I'd communicated to the partners that I wasn't busy enough, and more cases were assigned to me. As usual, it took several weeks for me to see the effects of that, but now I'm finally getting more work.

I always feel better about my job when I feel that I'm actually contributing something to the firm and helping the clients. And I love getting out of the office for depositions and meetings: a nice break from the reading, writing, and researching that is usually the majority of my time.

I am looking forward to going to the Renaissance Faire tomorrow! I've wanted to go for several years, and I'm finally getting to do it. It'll also be fun to see my friend C, who we are meeting there with her boyfriend who I have not yet met.

MM says he is not looking forward to the Ren Faire but he's "not dreading it." LOL. He is only going because I want to go; what a good husband. Bless his tolerance!

I've still been finding old friends on Facebook, too. I didn't really realize how many people I've known over the years! (Guess it's partly a function of having moved around so much as an adult.) It's fun how learning where people are now and reminiscing about the past. It does make me feel a little old at times. . . . but hey, I *will* be 38 next Saturday! ;-)

We are still hoping to adopt Darius. He was bitten by another dog about 2 weeks ago and is still recovering from his wounds. (He had two large, open wounds on his right hip that had to have drains; the photos his current owner sent looked awful!) We will have to wait until we return from our trip to introduce the boys but have tentatively scheduled a get-together for the week after we return.

Oh, and of course I am excited to visit NYC and see my sister and the irrepressible Rowan next week! Should be a great trip.

Back to billing. . .

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I wanna wake up in a city that doesn't sleep. . .

215.8 (bleh)

I liked my St. Paddy's Day template and had planned to keep it up through at least the 17th. . . but I've changed to "I heart puppies" at my sister's request because she said the green/orange combo was "making [her] eyes bleed."

Not too much new going on here. We are going to the Renaissance Fair on Saturday, so I will be sure to bring my camera and capture some of the (no doubt) interesting sights there.

This time next week, we will be on a bus tour of NYC! I can't wait! We're excited about our trip: MM has never visited Manhattan, and it's been nearly ten years since I've been there. And of course, I am looking forward to seeing my sister V and Rowan!

Work is status quo. My blog is going through a boring phase. . . .

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Our last Coyotes game of the season

First, let me say thanks so much for all the comments on my previous post about Sebastian! I wanted to email each commenter personally, but a few of you (Jenn, Michella, Flying Monkeys) have your blogger accounts set up so that I can't email you back.

Anyway, I certainly appreciate the support, and I sincerely hope that Sebastian manages to live a long time despite his diagnosis. The more time I've had to digest the news, the more I've realized that it's not necessarily a "death sentence" for him--he doesn't have terminal cancer or something--and he may be able to live quite a while even with this problem. Time will tell.

While the NHL hockey season is not yet over, all chance of the Phoenix Coyotes going to the playoffs is gone. So the game MM and I went to last Saturday will be our last for this season. (Sadly, we attended five games together this season, and the team lost four of them. And played horribly for three of those four losses.)

Technically last Saturday's game won't be our last NHL game of the season because we are going to watch the Rangers play at Madison Square Garden on the 21st. But we won't be attending any more Coyotes games this year.

One of MM's favorite part of the games is the "donnybrooks," as he calls them. Anyone who watches hockey at all knows that there are a lot of fights, especially between teams with a history of rivalry or in close games. My dad often repeated this old joke: "I went to the fights, and a hockey game broke out." When your team is playing poorly and losing, sometimes the fights are the most entertaining part of the game.

Here are a few photos from the game; we played the St. Louis Blues, in case anyone is interested.

Pre-game stuff

MM posing in our seats

Play in progress

The best fight of the night, toward the end of the third period (can't remember who the combatants were, but as you can see, the officials had to move the goal net out of the way for them).

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bad news at the vet

Sebastian went in for his annual physical and shots today. While examining him, his vet (Dr. Clark) discovered that he has a leaking mitral valve.

Dr. Clark said that, as these leaks go, Sebastian's is mild--currently a 1 on a 1-5 scale--but that this type of heart disease is progressive. We had already noticed some decreased activity tolerance (which we had attributed to age; he was 7 in October) which we now know is related to this problem. Dr. Clark told us to be on the lookout for any type of mild wheeze or cough with excitement or activity. When Sebastian starts to display these symptoms, he will have to go on medication.

Dr. Clark said that he "doesn't think this will shorten his life span," but the normal life expectancy for a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years. . . . so even if Sebastian only lives another two-and-a-half years, a vet would probably consider his life span "normal." Because I have gone to great pains throughout his life to keep Sebastian slim and healthy--many people have told me that he's one of the skinniest Goldens they've seen--I had long hoped that he would be an exception to the normal life span range and live to 14 or 15. Some Goldens do; I'd hoped Sebastian would be one of them.

I'm sad. I actually cried when we left the vet's office. . . not just a tear or two, but really cried. (Freaked MM out a little, I think, because he's never seen me cry before, beyond just tearing up a bit a few times.)

I know this news isn't a "death sentence" for Sebastian. But it's a reminder for me that he is not going to be around forever. . . . and maybe not even for as many years as I thought.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

You might think. . . .

that Sebastian would enjoy having me work from home for the morning.

But you'd be wrong.

No, he seemed decidedly perplexed and inconvenienced by my presence at home. By 11:00 a.m., he'd elected to go about his day as usual and settle in on his Orvis Deluxe Comfort Couch.

For much for my thinking that my boy is lonely without me. . .

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bitter, party of one

OK, one more thing. In the records and documents I am reviewing, the (baby) plaintiff's mother is, understandably, frequently referenced. Mom is a 24-year-old Mexican national living illegally in this country. She has an 8th grade education (all courtesy of American public schools).

Normally I could care less what someone's legal status or education level is. I'm really not one to get up in arms about people who come to live here without proper documentation. But I find myself offended by this woman because she is unmarried and has four children (including the plaintiff).

Four children. By age 24. And here I sit at age almost-38--educated, employed, married--with none.

Yeah, I'd say I'm getting bitter.

Have a sparkling day!

215.2 (ugh)

My last three days at work have been largely occupied with reviewing a foot-tall stack of medical records and related documents. Some of the documents are emails exchanged between various parties and treaters, including doctors, nurses and therapists. One of the therapists consistently signs off her emails with the sentence in my subject line.

Just wondering (1) what the hell *is* a "sparkling day" and how does one have one? and (2) if anyone else thinks that this is an unprofessional sign-off for email? If I read this in a personal email, I'd think it was a bit cheesy; reading it in a professional email seems wholly inappropriate to me.

Thoughts? Maybe I'm just a grouchy bitch who is sick of document review? LOL

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Why is it that. . .

every time I decide I am going to start eating more healthfully, I'm suddenly hungrier than usual? This despite having eaten the same breakfast I eat probably 4-5 days a week: instant oatmeal.

And I'm talking actual, physical hunger here. . . . that unpleasant nagging gnawing in my stomach. I'm not even complaining about my psychological longing for less-healthful foods.


Monday, March 02, 2009

10 Things I Love About Living in Phoenix

214.4 (bleh)

1. The winter weather: it's sunny, usually in the 65-80 range, and rarely rains.
2. I can see beautiful mountains no matter where I drive in the city (& surrounding areas).
3. Lots of nearby hiking opportunities.
4. Restaurants I love that you can't find everywhere, like In N Out Burger, My Florist Cafe, Oregano's.
5. The freeway that makes up the majority of my route to and from work every day is beautifully landscaped and kept very clean.
6. Our sports teams: Coyotes (NHL), Diamondbacks (MLB), Suns (NBA), Cardinals (NFL), and the ability to go to their games.
7. Baseball spring training: lots of major league teams do spring training here and in the nearby suburbs.
8. So many awesome resorts!
9. Easy to get around.
10. I can fly non-stop to most major U.S. cities from our airport.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A "little brother" for Sebastian?

Ever since I've Sebastian has lived with me, I have wanted to get a companion for him. When I was in law school and we lived with my friend K, her Dalmatian Dickens was Sebastian's best friend; they loved each other. I always thought that once I bought a house I would get a second dog.

When my relationship with MM first started getting serious, we weren't even sure that he'd be able to live with Sebastian due to his allergies. With the help of Flonase and Zyrtec (plus the Advair he already took daily), MM has been able to live with Sebastian and be relatively symptom-free (95%, in his words). MM has been reluctant, however, to let me get a second dog.

Recently an email went out in my office about a dog needing a home. Because I work with a lot of dog lovers, these emails appear in my inbox at least once every couple of weeks. When MM saw the photos of this particular dog, though, he agreed that we could look into adopting him.

Apparently my husband loves German Shepherds. Who knew? I thought he only liked Schnauzers and bulldogs.

The dog's name is Darius, and he is a two-year-old, 98-pound, purebred German Shepherd. His "mom" is moving to Guatemala to build houses with Habitat for Humanity for three years and cannot take him with her. He has been trained, neutered, and obviously well cared-for.

MM and I have been jokingly asking Sebastian for a week if he wants a little brother. He, of course, has no clue what we're talking about.

We met Darius face-to-face for the first time Friday over lunch. He was fetching the ball at his neighborhood park, one of his favorite pasttimes. He was extremely focused and very fast.

Darius is from a Czech line of German Shepherds, many of whom have been trained as police dogs. He likes to work. He seems like a very sweet and smart dog, though with a very different personality from Sebastian's. (Sebastian has never focused on anything but food or petting.)

We are taking things slowly. I think Darius's "mom" wanted to meet and assess us first before introducing the dogs. . . which I think is fine and shows her love for her dog. The next step will be allowing the two dogs to meet in a neutral location, and we plan to do that within the next week. If they get along, we will then bring Darius to stay at our house for a few days and see (1) how he gets along with Sebastian and (2) whether MM's allergies can tolerate the second dog in the home. Twice the dogs means twice the hair and dander, and the texture of Darius's coat is quite different from Sebastian's.

So we'll see. I am cautiously optimistic.