Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas as a parent

No, no I am not a parent – don’t worry. I am not writing this to tell you all that I am suddenly expecting. Don’t pass out. What I am writing about is the amazing ability of some people to be great parents. I have been blessed with two of them – yup, a great mom AND a great dad. I am not sure what I ever did to be deserving of that but I lucked out I guess. I got blessed. Nothing showed me that more than something my dad did this Christmas. He received an Ipod for Christmas and decided to give it to me. It was something I have really been wanting since my MP3 player went missing on a plane ride from LA this September and I had asked for it for Christmas but didn’t get one. Instead, my dad got one, which I think he would have really enjoyed but instead he wanted to give it to me. I am thrilled to have one as I have been coveting them since they became practical to buy. He said he didn’t think he would use it but I don’t know that I am buying that. It got me thinking about how many parents I see in this world, either through work or coaching or in my friendships that are extremely selfish. Erin and I talk about it a lot – about how it is crazy to think of people having kids and having any thoughts of putting themselves before their kids. It just shouldn’t happen. I have one “friend” in particular that I think of when I think of selfish parents. She was complaining to me the other day about the time commitment she was making with her oldest daughter and this class she was going to be taking. I can’t imagine either of my parents complaining for a minute about taking me to a sporting event, or 4-H or having to give up their Ipod. It just wouldn’t happen. (And they for sure would not go to Hawaii for Thanksgiving with their boyfriend/girlfriend and leave me home to fend for myself at age 12.) That’s why my parents are so great. That is why I am most thankful this year for my wonderful family. I don’t know why the big man decided to bless me with the parents he did but I say – hey thanks God! I have never felt as lucky in my whole life as I did this Christmas. And thanks Mom and Dad for the Ipod!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Joke

I love jokes. If you haven’t heard the one about the big orange head you are missing out. Here is one I heard on the radio the other day that I liked a lot – mostly because I wasn’t 100% sure I understood it so I had to think about it for a while.

A Jewish man comes to talk to a Rabbi with a problem. He says to the Rabbi, “I don’t know what to do. I have raised my son to be a faithful Jew. I gave him an excellent Jewish education, threw him a wonderful bar mitzvah party and everything was going well. The other day however he came to me and told me he wanted to become a Christian! I decided I had to come to you with this problem. What should I do?”

Well, the Rabbi responded by saying, “It is funny you should come to me. I too have raised my son to be a faithful Jew. I gave him an excellent Jewish, education and I also threw him a wonderful bar mitzvah party. He too recently came to me and told me he wants to become a Christian.”

The Jewish man said, “ Well Rabbi, what did you do?” The Rabbi said “I went directly to God and asked him the same question you are asking me now.” The Jewish man said to the Rabbi, “Well, what did he say?”

The Rabbi responded, “He said – it is funny you should come to me……”

Random Acts of Kindness

I went through the Starbucks drive through on Tuesday in Everett after finishing up at court where I finalized a divorce for a client. As is often the case I was chatting with Erin on the phone and was in a pretty good mood. I like starting the day out in court even if it is for a divorce. There are a number of reasons really. I get to sleep in a little bit and just going to court in general is a highlight for me no matter what really. So, I decided an eggnog latte fit my mood and the holiday spirit that I was finding myself in as I was chatting with Erin so I decided to stop. Well, what do you know – the person in the car in front of me must have been in the same spirit because when I rolled up to the window the drive through attendant told me my drink had been paid for! I couldn’t believe it! I asked her why and she said the lady in the car in front of me had paid for it as a random act of kindness. I don’t think anything like that had ever happened to me before. It made me want to return the favor. I know it became a bit of a cliché not too long ago with that Kevin Spacey movie but there is something to the idea of “paying it forward”. Her small $3.00 act actually made my whole day! I think I treated other people more kindly and I know I probably laughed a little louder and harder than I normally would have that day. It is amazing what great things such a small act can do for another person. I can’t wait until the next time I go through a drive through.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

First time home owner - scary

YIPPEEE!!!!! The house that I “purchased” in January 2005 is FINALLY DONE!!!! I took possession on the day after my Birthday last week (Happy Birthday to me) but really started to have possession of it the day of my birthday when some of my friends and family and I broke in and started painting. They of course didn’t know they could have been arrested. What?! I needed the help!

I moved in on Saturday with help from SO MANY dear dear friends. I am not quite settled yet and will wait to post pictures until I am a bit further along in the hanging pictures steps. It was a huge headache and a lot of stress to get to this point with a stupid builder. I can’t wait to show it to those of you who are in the area or who come from out of the area to visit. I have two extra rooms (yes 2!) so guests are ALWAYS welcome!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

God's Heart

I believe that sometimes God gives us a little glimpse of heaven on Earth. I got that tonight. I got together with seven of my friends and we celebrated my friend Katie’s Birthday. There is nothing better than those few hours at the end of the day with some great friends eating good food, drinking good wine and laughing good laughs. I believe Heaven is going to be similar to that. God is going to bless us with never ending communion with our best friend – namely him.

Thanks for the glimpse into God’s heart tonight guys. I really do love each of you!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Passion vs. Profession – change is in the wind

I had my 10-year high school reunion about a week ago and it was a wonderful time. I didn’t “rekindle” any old flames as Erin’s friend asked me (but did I really have any to rekindle?) but I did see some old friends who I have missed in the last few years. I hope some of them I am able to see again in the near future.

The most important part of the night to me though was a conversation I had with Adam Eaton who graduated with me and has now gone on to be a Major League Pitcher. Our conversation was mostly just fun chitchat. We laughed and made fun of what we have been doing the last 10 years – him and his stupid injuries, me and my life of “book learnin’” – and talked about what is to come with us. His plan is to spend the off season at his cabin in Eastern Washington doing some fly fishing with a still very close friend, Chris and I think just enjoying the non rigorous life of the off season baseball player. He is a free agent this winter so he will have some wheeling and dealing to do.

The conversation with Adam probably had far more significance to me than it did to him. It actually has changed a very important part of my future thinking. It made me look at my job and ask myself if what I am doing is really what I want to be doing for the “rest of my life”. Don’t get me wrong – I really like my job. It is a good income, I have great coworkers (most of them), the location cannot be beat and I am using my education in a big way. I really like it. But I have come to the conclusion in the past week that I am NOT passionate about it.

This thinking started actually about three weeks ago when my pastor gave a sermon about divorce. It made me ask myself if what I am doing is something that God will shake his finger at me about when I get to heaven. My practice turns more and more into a divorce practice everyday as I get to the point where I have to take the clients that walk in the door in order to build my practice. It is a somewhat rewarding part of my job to be there for people who are going through a difficult time in their life because someone does need to be there for those people. Most of them will be getting a divorce no matter whether I am their attorney or not but the reality is that the Bible says God HATES divorce. So what the heck am I doing being a conduit for it?

God didn’t give me a passion for something he hates and I have clearly figured that out in the past few weeks. God did give me a passion for professional sports – namely baseball. I live and breathe it – I read about it, I watch it, I listen to it, I dream about it. So what am I doing filing responses to requests to lift a mechanics lien? Why am I spending my days doing something I drag myself out of bed for every morning? For a paycheck? Really? That’s what my professional life is about? Doing what I have to do to get paid? There is something noble about that I suppose, but the reality is can’t I do what I love and get paid for it as well?

So of course with the way I work I have started to do research to figure out what steps I need to plan and take in the next few years to get myself where I want to be. I have had to think about all of the travel and the busyness that would be involved. I have asked myself to what level I want this to take my career. Everything I have read says that sports management is all about who you know. So am at a bit of a crossroads. I have two options in my mind:

1) Go into team management which is something I have long considered or,
2) Become an agent.

I have done research into team management and I firmly believe the next step is to get some additional education. Namely I will need a Masters in Sports Management or a joint degree - MSM with an MBA. There is a program in Minneapolis which is appealing and actually one in Seattle where I could stay in my current job and attend school in the evenings and/or weekends.

If I go the other route it becomes a game of getting in front of the right people and making the right connections. This is much less of a commitment obviously than enrolling in school. I suppose a letter to Adam asking for more information about his agent and a little help to see if I could meet him and see what he would have to say might be in order. This is a little scary – calling in a favor from someone who doesn’t owe me one, at all.

So anyway, change is coming. I can feel it. I am being pushed to it on all sides. I figure if it is God blessed the right doors will open and the right pathways will become apparent but it is a matter of persistence and patience. I hope to someday soon be living my professional life with the passion I live my personal life because why not? As Pastor Dudely spoke about last week – our work can and should be a place to witness. Why can’t living my professional life with passion be my witness?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Follow up to stupid people

My client is a rock star. She just called and left a message saying if I am really as bad of an attorney as Attorney X says I am she wants some of her fees back and then burst out laughing. Love her.

Stupid people suck

I received a lovely email today with a 33 page letter attached telling me that I have broken the rules of ethics in the way I have represented a client. I have allegedly been playing “fast and loose” with the facts and this particular lawyer is going to sue me for barratry (I hadn’t heard that one before and had to look it up in my legal dictionary. It isn’t as cool as it sounds but it is a crime – one I haven’t committed), abuse of process, fraud, deceit and intentional or negligent misrepresentation. Awesome. This guy is the biggest pain and has been ridiculously hard to work with. The problem is he doesn’t really know what he is doing so to cover it up he threatens me. Again – awesome. It gave me a headache though. The worst part is that I have always treated him nicely and cordially. I have never done anything purposely to lead him astray, although I did make a mistake about the ability to mediate the claim my client has but mistakes happen. I am pretty sure that doesn’t lead to crime and punishment. He told me I should put my insurance company on notice for a malpractice claim. hahahaha This whole thing is so ridiculous. I can’t believe people like that actually exist.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Favorite Day

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! Make sure ye splice the mainbrace with some grog 'n' wearr a deadlight patch in honor o' our most valuable citizens! 'n' don't forget yer limes ta warrd off the scurvey!

32 Going on Moron

*****DISCLAIMER******
MSN – if you are reading this there is going to be a big part of you that will probably want to be mad at me and if you are I apologize, but you know I am a straight shooter and I have told you I am disappointed in you and if I didn’t care about you this wouldn’t evoke such a strong reaction. I still love you and hopefully you will still love me after you get through this.
*************************

Ok so maybe the heading of this blog entry is a bit harsh but prepare yourself because I am very frustrated about some choices one of my favorite people in the world has decided to make lately. If he reads this entry he might end up being mad at me but it is nothing I haven’t told him to his face (or ear since we were on the phone). My friend, we’ll call him “John” to protect the not so innocent, called me last night and told me his girlfriend is pregnant. In a world already full of “fatherless” children and broken families I cannot even begin to understand this. Maybe it is that I see it all too often in my profession when I am assisting in divorces but seriously, “John” is a divorced father of two, he should understand better than anyone. He is a devoted father too. He loves his boys and does everything he can to be with them when he can and his boys idolize him. You can tell when they are together – they can’t get enough attention from him.

So, how is it that “John” isn’t learning the lesson that should have been taught during the last two years of being divorced? Well, I have thought about this the past twelve hours and I suppose part of it is the old stupid male excuse of the physical temptations being too strong, blah blah blah – not buying it. We all feel tempted and want to cross that line but the reality is we either don’t or we are SMART ABOUT IT. There is this wonderful invention that isn’t new to this world called birth control. For those of you reading this I would suggest doing some research into the issue if you haven’t heard of it because evidently “John” and his girlfriend hadn’t heard about it or didn’t care enough about the child they could potentially bring into this world to invest in it. Why wasn’t she on birth control? She is 42 years old – old enough to know how to take a little pill. I am pretty sure she probably goes to the doctor on occasion and I know she has good medical coverage. Dude, take the pill, save yourself and the child you could potentially bring into the world from so much heartache. “John” is 32 and I know the act of putting on a condom is not foreign to him so what in the world was going through his brain!? Ugh.

But then there is the part of me that feels sad, well not sad but some type of sadish emotion that I don’t have a word for, for both “John” and his girlfriend. I know this isn’t going to be easy for either of them. “John’s” girlfriend has two kids already as well. “John” isn’t going to marry her simply because she is carrying his child but she has moved in with him. If the relationship will last is a question only they can answer and I hope it does but with such a difficult beginning I would think statistically (and since I am a baseball fan I know statistics can be wrong) the odds are against them. So they both have this horrendous load to carry. One that I am glad I never will. But I suppose that’s where my sympathy/sadness ends because then the face of a beautiful little child pops into my head and I realize it is their bad choices which will lead to this child having a broken family in the first place. I am sorry but in my book you don’t mess with kids.

So the questions are these, and I have my own opinion but I would like to know what anyone reading this thinks: What is the best thing for them to do from here? Should “John” marry his girlfriend? Should they keep the baby or put it up for adoption? Should “John” get a vasectomy? (This was my advice last night, haha, but it doesn’t solve the problem of the new little one on the way.) I am curious what you all think. I might pass the information onto “John”.

One other question too - as a friend I want to be supportive of "John" but I don't want to encourage this type of behavior in the future. So, is doing things such as buying baby gifts hypocritical? How do I, as a friend who has obvious opinions but is loyal beyond anything else respond in support of "John" but not in support of the situation?

This world we live in can be so screwy and situations like these make me realize that my small influence on the world isn’t enough. Where are B. Hedges and Scottie? I need to start my campaign to run the world.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sometimes the past is supposed to be the past

The past few weeks have held an alarming amount of reconnections for me from my days growing up and into “adulthood”. (haha – anyone who knows me knows I use that term loosely.) I am struggling to process it all actually because it has come as a bit of a surprise. It started with an email from my “first love” who I have remained in loose contact with since college. It is wonderful to hear he has graduated from law school and just took the California Bar Exam (I have my fingers crossed for him to pass and land his dream job in San Francisco. I have always hoped for the best for Tyler.) and doing really well, although I am sure he pines for me on occasion. haha It is nice that he and I have been able to remain friends although not to the extent we once were, but that is a conversation for another day.

Then at Rotary a few weeks ago I looked across the table to see the mother of a guy I had a crush on my ENTIRE high school career. He never gave me the time of day other than in friendship which in hindsight really was enough. He is married now and it turns out he lives only a few miles from me. It is crazy to share lunch with his mom on a weekly basis. Then, my mom got an email from an old friend who was searching for me because my high school class (GO PANTHERS!) has finally gotten its act together and we are having a 10-year reunion in October and I was on the MIA list. So you can only imagine what that has done. I have suddenly felt the urge to reconnect to EVERYONE. I emailed my friend whose mom is in my rotary about it along with some other friends his mom told me email addresses for and suddenly I am being asked to a BBQ at his house in the near future. It is like I have entered a strange time continuum but of course I am going. I looked a little closer at the list and realized one of my best friends who I would love to reconnect with is on the list as MIA. So today I picked up the phone and called her dad. Yup – he still lives at the same place and I had a nice conversation with her step-mom and gave her my contact information. I guess Kristen lives a few miles from me as well, has a six-year-old son and is happy and healthy. All things I was hoping for.

So, I think to myself, “well this is all going so well I should email another “old” friend”. Only this one isn’t so “old”. Remember the boy I dated that I told you about at the beginning of my blog – back in April/May? Well, I sent him an email. We hadn’t communicated since the end of May and I was feeling strong, I have been dating, trying to move on, enjoying my summer, seeing there are other fish in the sea. Well, as you can imagine this didn’t go the way I had hoped. I sent a quick little “hope you had a nice summer” note and got a response that told me all about the things he had been doing, that he had been missing me, that he had committed himself to church again – something that he did based on my influence so becoming more the man I wanted him to be, and asking if I was seeing anyone that he would have to “beat up”. My heart dropped. I guess I was not quite ready for that response – not sure when I will be if ever. I guess sometimes history is written in books and not relived for a reason. Dang it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mariners' Baseball

I started a blog entry about a week ago about my anger at the team for some of the stupid decisions made by the front office. It went on and on about how I am not apathetic about the team like many fans have gotten but rather that I have a lot of anger about blowing our chances. How can we be second best in the league in fielding percentage and be in the toilet in a very very weak division? I was and still am angry about the Jamie Moyer trade. I feel cheated out of something that I see as instrumental and important in any team sport and that is loyalty. I think the front office has failed in its duties to the fans and also even almost more importantly to the players. Yes, I suppose I still am quite angry and I am loudly calling for the firing of Bill Bavasi but something last night made me have a quick attitude change.

I went to the game last night against the Angels. In the top of the 8th inning with one out they lifted Jarrod Washburn for relief pitcher Rafael Soriano. Rafey threw one pitch to Vladimir Guerrero who hit a line drive come backer that hit him behind his left ear. The sound of the crack of the bat was nothing compared to the crack off his head. I honestly thought it might have killed him. I couldn’t watch what was going on on the field but was frustrated that the people who were around and attending to him were not running and where the heck was the aid car?! I thought a shot like that to the head could have potentially killed him and my friend I was with thought for sure his career was over. I kept picturing his wife and kids watching and how terrible it would be and to be honest, it made me cry. (I know - no crying in baseball but it just couldn’t be helped) I was happy to hear last night that the prognosis is good but I won’t rest easy, or probably stop having this stupid headache that came on immediately after the accident, until I hear he has been released from the hospital with a clean bill of health.

All of this made me think about the anger that I have had with the team and the frustration I started displaying at games when poor plays were made or people struck out. These guys are out there a lot of the year and yes, they are playing a game they love and making too much money to do it but the reality is that there are risks involved. We might not see it on a regular basis but at any time one of these guys could suffer a life changing injury. I still feel angry with the front office, I think they have consistently made some very poor decisions lately, but as for the players, I have a new appreciation. I don’t make my living sitting a few feet behind a piece of wood that is swinging at unknown speeds catching a 90 mph bullet. I don’t make my living under the scrutinizing eye of people like myself who could never in a million years do a fraction of what they are doing – shoot I can hardly even throw a ball. I guess the importance of all of this is that in all things we love, whether it be people, a game, a hobby or anything else, there are going to be things we don’t like but instead of taking it out on the people who are just the “players” take it out on the source, write a letter to the front office, take out an OpEd but for Pete’s sake – stay loyal to the team. Enough of the apathy garbage. The players depend on the fans to cheer them on and make the crappy parts of their job worthwhile. Anyone who has turned toward apathy should be ashamed. Use the passion of a true fan and do something about it but don’t blame the players and don’t make them the ones who take the brunt of your disloyalty. They are out there everyday taking risks for your entertainment. Go to a game, buy a hot dog and dream of next year.

In short – GO MARINERS!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

YEAH!!!!!!


So many wonderful things have happened lately to people around me! First of all CONGRATS to Niki and Jeremy who had the most precious baby last week! Elijah is adorable with all of his hair. (He’s the baby in the picture) Second, I just found out my friends Amy and Mark are expecting and they are so cute that I know they will have an adorable babe. They met and married later in life so they give me hope. haha And last but definitely not least I am headed to my friends Lora and Dave’s wedding reception this evening. I couldn’t be happier for two people. So congratulations to my six friends! Thanks for sharing your joys with me too!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hmmm

A friend said something interesting to me last night. She broke up with a good friend of mine about a month ago so she is in the stage now where she is starting to process what happened without the disappointment. She is also in the stage where she is realizing this isn't just going to be an easy shift back to the friendship which they had before, which granted wasn't very close but they were friends from and at church. That is sometimes the most difficult stage to get through - the stage where you realize you have lost the person, at least for a while. He didn't call her on her birthday and that hurts. I know that feeling. Anyway, she said to me "I have learned a valuable lesson with all of this. I have learned that even when it is a Christian guy, he is still just a guy. It all boils down to that." At that point it became impossible to talk any further about it so I never really got clarification but it definitely left me something to chew on. What is it about "us" that makes us different? Are we doing everything we can and know how to do to be different than others around us?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Personal Accountability

I have been dealing a lot lately with some issues that have come up amongst my friends. As a problem solver and empathetic/sympathetic/pathetic (haha) listener I get the “joy” of being a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes that is more than welcome, sometimes it is not. I want my friends and other people I love to be happy and I do like to help people but sometimes when it becomes obvious that my “help” is not going to solve a problem I get a bit frustrated.

So, all of these requests for help got me to thinking about accountability and what that word actually means. I think I first started hearing and understanding it as an important part of my life in Christian communities in college. We had “accountability groups”. These were groups of friends who would get together and talk about struggles and hold one another accountable for actions during a time in life when it is easy to get lost. It generally became a good time to get together and giggle but there were times of understanding and support as well. I came to depend on those chats.

At a meeting on Monday of the self appointed leadership of the Bible study I am now in the word accountability came up multiple times. At first I really agreed – what this group needs is accountability to one another, but then I started thinking about the conversations I have had the past months and I got to thinking that, no – it isn’t accountability to others that is missing – it is actually accountability to ourselves.

I believe that a strong and supportive Christian community is crucial to anyone’s walk but I think that perhaps we have grown to count too much on it. In this society there is the tendency to blame anyone but ourselves; it’s the government, or our parents or my neighbor; we do anything but point the finger at ourselves. I believe what needs to be done more often is take a deep look at ourselves to see what we are doing to create the problems around us and what we can do to change that. If I am feeling as though I am not connected what can I do to feel the connection again? If I am feeling as though the leadership around me is changing and I am no longer part of it what can I do to step up and become a large part of the leadership again or is that even something I want to do? Who is it that I have issues with? Have I talked to that person about it? Is there a solution to what makes me feel uncomfortable or unloved in a situation? Is it a particular person or is it me? Am I the one allowing myself to feel as though I am slipping through the cracks? If I took the time and effort to spend time and connect with people would that change? Have I spent so much time dwelling on what is bothering me that I have neglected the other important part of a relationship (which I often remind people IS a two way street) and withdrawn? Is that an appropriate response? If it isn’t what can I do to change my response? What action steps can I make to change something within myself or within my own actions to make things better?

So, as I do when processing these things I asked myself, what I could do to improve situations around me – what steps can I take to solve my own problems or what is my part in creating some of the problems I am hearing about? Well, part of that is to remind my friends who come to me, about the fact that I love them, because I do, each one of them, more than they probably know, and to admit to them that I have failed in the past months. I have added to some of the problems I am sure. For one thing, I like to drink alcohol. I am not going to hide that. At times I have actually had TOO much to drink – I know, scandalous – don’t tell mom and dad. These times are much fewer and father between (I can probably count them on one hand or a hand and a half for my entire life) than the times when I drink in moderation but there are times. So for those of you who have been made uncomfortable by the fact that I like to have a few beers while camping or at a bbq or anywhere else that I might like a drink or two, I apologize for that. I have done what I can since this realization to keep an eye on it.

Let’s see, what else. Oh yeah, there are some people in my life that I love but maybe don’t necessarily like. There are also A LOT of people in my life. So sometimes I don’t invite everyone to everything or spend as much time with those people as I might with someone else. So I am being more aware of this and attempting to talk to those people even when maybe I would rather spend time with someone else.

I know I have some more soul searching to do in the next few weeks before the leadership team meets again but for now that is all I have. I guess it is a step in the right direction.

So my challenge to those of you who are members of YAG and even those who are not is just to say look inside of yourself when looking at things around you that are bothering you and ask yourself first and foremost what is my role in creating this problem because just like a relationship I strongly believe it takes two to create problems. Stop blaming everyone else and hold yourself accountable. God gave us consciences for a reason. We are intended to know right from wrong and to act on it. I challenge you to find two areas as I have where you can take some real and personal steps toward fixing a problem in your life. (Good luck and let me know how it goes.) But then once you do that, go to the person who might also play a role in it, whether it be me or your parents or your coworker or your pastor or some other peson in your life and talk to them about the situation. But remember you can’t see the speck in your neighbor’s eye nearly as well without taking the plank out of your own first.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Delta = the devil

So, generally I don't have problems with corporations. OK - maybe that isn't true. I don't believe in stepping foot into Best Buy (I was almost arrested there once for a loud and angry outburst. Thankfully I can outrun Minneapolis cops) and I have serious reservations whenever I step foot into Walmart, but that might have more to do with the clientele than the corporation itself. Delta has suddenly put itself squarely on my "list" actually almost above Best Buy because I have had to slightly forgive them based on the number of friends I have who work in their corporate office. Today I discovered there was a problem with a trip I took in May ACROSS the country to NYC. This is not an insignificant amount of mileage or time or money that I spent traveling. The idea was that it would be great to use Delta because I could get NWA miles but get the good fair that Delta was offering. Well, this seems great until Delta fails to send the mileage to NWA and low and behold has no record of ever having my NWA Frequent Flyer number. So I think to myself that this can't be too difficult, I call up NWA they tell me call Delta at such and such number and request a ticket receipt. Easy. So I call Delta and after sitting on hold while "Pete", who is obviously from or maybe even in India since he sounds like he is a thousand miles away and does not have an accent like any "Pete" I have ever known and there are three in my life right now, finds the reservation I get this information from him: "Mam, (first of all don't ever call me mam, I don't even know how to spell it since it is such an insult) all you have to do is write a letter to Delta requesting a ticket receipt and send with it a $20 check or money order and...." At that point I cut him off. "Excuse me "Pete" is it? Yeah, I am not paying $20 because Delta failed to send my mileage to NWA. Are you really asking me to pay $20 for your mistake? I have a receipt here on email that shows I supplied my frequent flyer number. Do you need to see that I did that?" His response was to again put me on hold and then come back with his annoying little voice and tell me there was nothing he could do about it and I would have to send the $20. At this point I was starting to get a little angry. For one thing this was cutting into my billable time at work and for another thing I could only understand about every third word coming out of "Pete's" mouth. I kindly and gently said "well gee 'Pete', thanks for nothing. Now please put me through to your supervisor." Again, the line went quiet. I said hello about ten times and finally his annoying voice came on the line saying he could do nothing to help me. Now I was getting mad and my voice was starting to elevate in volume a bit. "'Pete', I believe I need to speak to your Supervisor." Again, silence followed by about five "hellos" from my end of the line. Finally "Pete" informed me he would be transferring me to his Supervisor and she would help me. Click, hello? Line went dead as "Pete" found a way to cut me off completely.

So now, those of you who know me know my blood is absolutely boiling. I am ready to get in the car and drive to India to hang "Pete" up by his toes. Instead, I vow to never fly Delta again and pick up the phone to call Travelocity who I had made my reservation through. Again, I get a man who sounds like he is in India but his name is "Lucky". I think to myself, "ok, things are changing. I am about to get lucky" and even though it takes about six times to be sure he has my email address correct (l was not his strength and neither was T.) I was assured a ticket receipt was on its way. Alright NWA - let's see what you got.

Oh and one more thing - to see a HILARIOUS video about Delta and how terrible they are go to the link for Nathan's Daily Grind on the right and look for his Delta posting. It is great.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hoopfest 2006





So this one is a little late in coming because I was waiting on some pictures and then got caught up working my tail off at work, although many of my friends wouldn’t believe that I actually have been working my tail off since I am such a great multitasker. Anyway, crazy life aside, I wanted to share about one of my favorite weekends in the summer, Hoopfest weekend. Hoopfest is the world’s largest 3 on 3 street basketball tournament and happens to be in Spokane, Washington where my family lives. So my team went over there, after not practicing like we should have but ready for a good time anyway.

My team this year consisted of Erin of course, Tim or Tom depending on if you want him to be mad at you or not, and Sweet Pete. I am not sure that Pete really appreciates the nickname my family gave him but at least my big burley cousin stopped calling him Sweet PEA. (Btw – my family asked how you were doing this past weekend Sweet Pete. I told them you were well, hopefully that was ok. They asked about you too Tim. I told them you were so so. haha)

Our team name was a bit of a problem this year. It is hard to compare to Your Mom which was our name last year and really one wouldn’t want to try to recreate what happened last year because we would fail so at 1:00am with no options from my stupid, noncreative, nonhelpful teammates I filled in the name Keith and Kelly’s Team. Now Tim, Erin and Pete might have given me a significantly hard time about this but the large number of points that I received for being the cool aunt when Keith and Kelly got T-shirts that said Coach on the back far outweighed any negative feelings they might have caused me to have. SO THERE!

Game 1: Well, we started out the tournament playing as though we were underwater unfortunately. I don’t know what it was that that caused it but unfortunately we did not fair well and off to the loser’s bracket we went. The most unfortunate part of that is our second game was hours away. So we wandered around Hoopfest and took in the sites, watch a bit of basketball and had lunch. I suckered Pete and Tim into taking Keith and Kelly on the carousel. Those kids can seriously get anything they want.

Game 2: Game 2 was a completely different story from Game 1. Granted the team we played in the second game wasn’t as good as the first one but we came alive and played much better than the first game. Our second game was our first victory and was a lot of fun. I love to play basketball. I could play everyday and never get bored. However, I am also extremely competitive and in a situation like Hoopfest there are times when that has to be tucked aside in the spirit of sportsmanship and not letting the guys on the team get down because they are important, so when I can play hoops and win I am generally the happiest that I can get.

Game 3: So, the difficulty for me in Game #3 was that I knew that if we lost we would be done. You are guaranteed three games but only get two losses. A lot was hinging on the game. If we lost we wouldn’t play on Sunday. It was a close game but unfortunately we came up short at the very end of the game. It was hard fought – Tim and Pete played their hearts out against an unstoppable foe (seriously the guy was worthy of the title of foe. He was amazing) and Pete even took a fall that would have made me cry and sit out the rest of the game. It was an unfortunate loss but I think all in all we had a great weekend anyway.
And on the plus side – because we didn’t have to play on Sunday, Pete, Erin and Tim came out to Lake Coeur D’Alene where my family had a cabin for the week. We got to swim and hang out and that was actually really nice too. Especially seeing as it reached at least 90 degrees on the blacktop on Sunday.

So – here’s to next year. Now if only I could get a team that would practice…..

Friday, July 07, 2006

Heyo

My dad's best friend's wife's dad (seems odd and far removed but they are like an aunt and uncle to me) was a wonderful man who lived in a small town in central Iowa called Allison. I received an email today from my mom telling me he had passed away. In my second and third years of law school I would go down to Allison, bring dinner (although Heyo often insisted on taking me out and keeping the casserole for another time) and play cards with Heyo. One time he took me on the grand tour of the communities surrounding Allison. We went to this old museum that was awesome because you would find it nowhere else except in rural Iowa. I think it had one of the country's first tractors. He had a riding lawn mower that he used to mow the fields at the fairgrounds as his work. He loved that I understood the "farming" part of his life and we would sometimes go and look at cows. Sort of like kicking the tires of a car for a city person, this time spent examining an Angus deciding where its strengths and weaknesses were was a great bonding time for the both of us. I soon came to adore him and think of him as part of my family. After moving back to Washington I tried to keep in contact. I sent him cards on occasion and went and saw him every time I could when he was in Seattle. I had the joy of seeing him a few weeks ago when he was here. He had suffered a heart attack at home and had not been found for a few hours a few months ago and was moved to an assisted living home. He told me he hated it there. I told him he was missing the opportunities to find good card playing partners but he was so independent that the thought of staying there the rest of his life was difficult. I guess over the 4th of July he came down with pneumonia and he passed away late yesterday. Funny, I sent him a get well soon card yesterday. That seems a bit ironic. Hopefully when it arrives it will be looked at with love not as another idiotic act by me. Oh well.

Anyway, I will greatly miss my friend but I am glad he is on to a better place and he gets to be reunited with his one and only love, his wife, who passed away a number of years ago. I'll miss your wonderful smile Heyo!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independence Day 2006

I think one of my favorite holidays is and always has been the 4th of July. It is a bit surprising actually because especially as a kid I have always been a bit of a chicken. The loud noises always made me a bit nervous and I was certain my dad was going to blow himself up. Unlike my “brother” Nathan, I wasn’t a pyromaniac and the thought of holding a firecracker until it was about ready to explode and then throwing it about made me wet my pants. (That activity stopped shortly after one jumped the fuse, blew up in his hand and he ended up with his hand in the dog’s water bowl.) I have had my hair light on fire from the sparks of a sparkler, watched in terror, certain the house was going to catch on fire, as my sister’s friends set off a spectacular fireworks display and played many a game of cow-pie baseball in the pasture. What is more American than a little fear, a little baseball and a lot of laughter?

This year, similar to last year, I was invited to spend the holiday with Uncle George, my adopted Uncle (Dear Uncle George – thanks for the sweatshirt. Love Kristin) out on his boat. This year was quite different than last year because he got a new boat (which he has decided to name Kristin Louise. Isn’t that nice of him?!) that had just arrived on July 3rd and wasn’t ready to take it out yet. Instead we spent a few hours in the afternoon hanging out on it in the marina and then went to a “block” party at his neighbor's house before returning to the boat for the Kirkland fireworks. We were joined by Leslie, George’s girlfriend, two friends of Erin’s, Monica and Amy, and a few friends of mine (and Erin's), Brandon, Becca, Linda (all the way from MN – YIPPEE!!!) and Pete who fit on the boat nicely seeing as he is a pirate. Actually, Erin’s parents stopped by for a bit too and many of George’s friends and neighbors stopped by to see the boat and watch the show. It was a lot of fun.

At the block party I was hoping to catch a glimpse of my favorite baseball player who rents the mother-in-law apartment from George’s neighbor but unfortunately he must have heard I was going to be there and stayed away. Gosh, it isn’t like you actually have to follow those restraining orders distance requirements! haha

Even though Jeremy Reed didn’t show up, we did have the pleasure of watching George, Leslie and Erin limbo, got to see George with his self-proclaimed “pimp stick”, watched some of the best dressed and good looking "old" men (the comment between Erin and I was that we both hope to have husbands even half that hot when we get older) learn to skateboard and almost kill themselves and watched Brandon and Becca show off their great dancing skills. It seemed a bit odd at first to have hired a DJ for the affair but actually it was pretty nice he was there and the food was incredible. You have to BBQ on the 4th but this was unlike any 4th of July BBQ I have been to lately. George’s neighbors are wonderful and welcomed the 6 strangers with open arms.

The fireworks display was definitely worth the price of admission. From where we were we could watch the shows on Lake Union, Elliot Bay, Bellevue and Kirkland. It actually got a bit overwhelming because I didn’t want to miss anything so I eventually had to pick a show and focus on it. Kirkland did not disappoint.

So, I could get all political here but I think I won’t – although I generally don’t pass up a chance to express my opinion about politics and how liberals need to get it figured out – but I will say this: I am excited about this next year for our country. It is sort of like the day after your birthday or January 1st. You may not feel any different but you know there is a clean slate in front of you. You can make any changes necessary, you can start something completely new, learn from and fix mistakes and continue to build on successes. As a politics junky that is sort of exciting. As Brandon and I commented last night, a lot can change in even a month, and while a normal human month is like three years in political terms because of its slow moving cogs, I think the next year will bring about some good changes in this country. On July 4, 2007 I look forward to seeing where this country has gone and to seeing the positive influence we have been on the world. My hope is that we will be able to look at the positives and see less of the negatives.

And therefore, as Erin wanted me to add: May you go out and let the pimp stick touch you all! (Just look out for the round toed heels.)

Signed “RRB” – at least in my dreams

Friday, June 30, 2006

Sun in the Pacific Northwest

In response to my email saying I have no attention span which I sent to my friend Erica today she stated this: "You could blog how distracted you are on a sunny Friday in Seattle. Or, you could get the BEP going or PCD and pretend to be a gangsta lawyer for a while. ha ha" The funny thing is that is exactly what I did. So now I have Pussy Cat Dolls blasting from my computer, one of the partners just called and asked if he could join my party because he is bored and wants to be in the sun (Good little buddy Karl. This job wouldn't be the same without him.) and I am counting the hours until I can safely make my get away without showing just how distracted I truly am. How do you go from 5 1/2 days of vacation in the sun to sitting in an office at a desk getting an "office tan" and expect that you will really be productive? Yesterday was a good day, getting caught up and waking up the muscle I use more than any other during a regular workday, my brain, but then with a BBQ last night with some of my favorite people in the world and the high supposed to hit about 85 with little humidity today I have decided this work business is highly overrated. Erin and I always try to find "silver linings" when possible however, and today IS payday. That aspect is not overrated.

So last night I went over to my friend Adrienne's house for a BBQ. There were about 13 of us there. I always get so excited when I am around the group of people who were there. Sometimes I think I get a bit obnoxious. It is amazing to me how when it is the right group of people it is so easy to just sit around and shoot the proverbial shit. I mean looking back on the conversation, we talked about nothing for about four hours. It was so fun though. I can't get enough of that sort of thing. I told a friend of mine who lives out of state the other day that lately I feel like I have been blessed with a wonderful group of people to love. That is the best place to be. I wish a BBQ in the sun could happen everyday. This grown up stuff is for the birds. Stupid office tan.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why I love baseball

Last night Jeremy Reed was up to bat in the 8th inning with the bases (sacks for those of you in the know) loaded and an 8-5 lead when the announcer said - "he could put this one in the freezer with a base hit anywhere". Where else do you find such great material? (Unless of course you are listening in on a conversation between Erin and I and then you just end up scared.) I am going to try to work that one into everyday usage. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Death to all Cynicism

I discovered in my crazy busy day today that the profession of being a lawyer can really sneak up behind you and change you before you realize it has happened. I spoke this afternoon with an attorney who is opposing me in a case that will likely go to trial before the end of the year, unless it can be avoided which we are working for. He was the nicest guy, actually I think the first attorney I have spoken to lately that has treated me with respect, hasn't tried to hide the ball and was forthright with me about what exactly was going on from his point of view with the case. I hung up the phone from him and found myself furiously wracking my brain trying to figure out his angle. What was he trying to accomplish by telling me those things and what was I supposed to read between the lines? Mind you, I tend to be the type of attorney who doesn't hide the ball and who plays the kill them with kindness game. I suddenly had to give myself a reality check. Maybe this guy practices law like I do. Maybe he is honest and straightforward and wants to come to an amicable conclusion as well. Maybe I need to give people the consideration that I hope they give me. Maybe I need to learn to not allow my adversarial profession change me but instead work to change my adversarial profession.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Undercover

Have you ever thought you were invisible behind your sunglasses and then figured out the hard way you weren't?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I think it is cabin fever/the mile high club

Airplanes are odd things. Sometimes you meet the skuzzy people who you wish fate hadn't put you with, you know the men who manage to take off their wedding rings during the flight or who just blatantly ask you to keep them company during their business trip while they have their rings clearly on. Other times you meet great people. I met a lady who will hopefully become a client on my trip to NYC and I met a wonderful man who I dated for a time about three months ago on a trip to AZ. Either way though it is a wonderful opportunity for someone like me to watch and figure out the dynamics of the people around me.

On my way to NYC I sat next to a couple that was from Seattle but originally from Prague and they were headed back there to visit family for the first time in 20 years. The husband was terrified of flying. Of course as soon as I found that out I was extremely sympathetic and did not joke with him about planes crashing or anything. You should have seen him go white when the pilot said "running out of fuel". It is fun for someone like me who is used to being tossed around in 4 seaters to watch an older guy go white at the thought of takeoff or landing. He offered me a shot of tequila a few minutes before takeoff - 8:00am. Cheers to NYC.

On the way to MN this past weekend I sat with a more cryptic couple. They weren't married and I could tell they were still really getting to know each other. They were definitely not "in love" yet but were very infatuated with one another. They disappeared for about 45 minutes at one point during the flight. Infatuation gave me a little extra space - I wasn't complaining.

Watching these interactions made me think about meeting and chatting with Dale on the way to AZ and the thoughts that must have been going through people's minds around us. I am sure there were many smirks and head shakes which we were oblivious to as people cheered us/him on. What is it about being trapped in a small space together that makes one more willing to "bond" with the people around you? Is it cabin fever? Is it boredom? Is it that you can create an alter ego and it stays within the plane if you want it to? Is it a plan that is bigger than any of us know? Is there such thing as fate?

So I have to admit I sat next to a guy on the way back from MN this time that was around my age maybe a bit younger and he began journaling about an hour outside of Seattle. I tried REALLY hard not to read over his shoulder but seriously, you can not sit that close to someone who is journaling and be as snoopy and interested in people as I am and not take a few peaks. It was really interesting what he was writing. He obviously had just gone through an experience where he wanted to share his faith with a friend who was either doubting or not believing. The experience made him doubt his ability to share the right words with this person. His entry was full of doubts in himself and his failures as someone who should be and wanted to be sharing the greatest love in his life, Christ, with others. He was asking questions of himself about using gifts and abilities. It was very introspective and interesting and really far too personal for me to be reading so I (eventually) stopped.

It made me think again about situations like a long ride in an airplane. How many times do we miss an opportunity to share something with a person sitting next to us - whether it be our faith or some other type of personal insight we have from life? How do we get on guard for those moments in life and am I doing enough sharing with those around me? What can I do to make myself more articulate in my everyday interactions? What if I was someone who needed to hear about the insight this guy sitting next to me had and he was too busy being concerned about his shortcomings to share? How do we turn from ourselves and become more concerned with those around us?

One place I can do that is coaching basketball. Unfortunately, I can't just come out and share certain things with the kids. For one thing the opportunities would be difficult to find while they are running lines and doing shooting drills, but for another I have to respect certain boundaries that coaching for the YMCA, now a completely secular organization, imposes. But you know what I can do? I can love those kids with all my heart for the 6 months that they are in my life. I can make them something that is a priority. I can play with them and let them know they are important. Many of these kids have no one to do that. Their parents work, their teachers are too busy with 20 other kids. They crave love and discipline and that is something I am more than happy to give them. I can be a friend that actually cares what the highlight of their week had been and I can be the first one to give them a highfive for a job well done. That is sharing Christ and a big part of me. As you know from previous entries I struggle with giving too much of myself but with these kids I don't know that that is really possible. Anyone interested in the biggest reward of your life? Love a child to Christ. There is nothing better.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bouncing around the country




So - since I don't know how to stay in one place for more than about a day (and frankly right now a bit afraid to do so) I set off to Minnesota for the holiday weekend. I don't have much to say about it other than the weather was gorgeous, there was a lot of laughter (tinyclothes.com, drinking gloves, everybody's favorite Peruvian, 6 blocks 3 blocks, straight hair and the northshore, etc) and I have begun to think about a potential move back to the cities, including looking at a few houses in South Minneapolis on Monday. Don't get your hopes up or down based on that comment, but it is there - nagging away at the back of my brain. Here are some pictures I wanted to share. I am a bit tired for anymore than this tonight. More "profound" thoughts coming later. Enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

NYC Baby







Four words you don't want to hear when on an airplane: running out of fuel. But, I heard those words on Friday May 19th and lived to tell the tale. After being placed in two holding patterns trying to get into JFK I guess the plane was not going to make it so we were rerouted to Syracuse for fuel and then back to JFK after a five hour flight turned into an eight hour one. The good news though is my friend Erin who was traveling with me on a different flight had the same problem and we still arrived at JFK within minutes of each other. The adventure of a lifetime was in front of us and I loved every minute of it. Friday night we met up with my dear friend Matty and his adorable fiance for a great New York Italian dinner. Matty might fit nicely into the NYC skyline but he is still the Matty I have always known and loved and seeing him was on eof the highlights of the weekend.

The reason for the trip is I was part of a 250 voice choir that sang at Carnegie Hall, so early Saturday morning we had our first four hour rehearsal. It is amazing what a group of voices that large sounds like. I was blown away. Not only was it a beautiful sound but there was a number of friends there who I hadn't seen in many years. It was wonderful. Saturday night of course led to a great night out which didn't get Erin and I back to the hotel until around 5:00am and involved another amazing restaurant, about four different bars that couldn't have been anymore different from one another, attempting to go into the United States' last existing Speak Easy (closed for the night - I guess 3:30am was too late for them) and seeing one of the countries or maybe world's skinniest houses. Random fun was definitely had by all.

Throughout all of this Erin and I continued to do a lot of site seeing and I had a total of eight hours of rehearsal for the concert that was held on Monday night. Performing in a venue that is as special as Carnegie Hall is definitely something I will never forget. To think of all the greats that have been there before us was humbling and made the performance more of an honor.

I have a list of approximately 100 things I want to do before I die. I put perform at Carnegie Hall on the list a few years ago thinking it would never happen and low and behold the opportunity arose. Had I not had a list to go off of I might not have grabbed the opportunity and would have missed out. I definitely encourage all of you to sit down and do something similar.

So, I am back to reality today - working and pinching myself on occasion just to make sure it wasn't a dream. Amazing what taking advantages given to you when they come along can mean in a life. Grab hold to those that come - who knows, maybe the next thing you know you will be seeing those dreams unfold before your eyes.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Clarification

Based on some concerned responses there are some things to clarify:
1) I am NOT checking into a nunnery.
2) While I have had a difficult month I am still sitting at my computer smiling this very moment.
3) I have not gone off the deep end.
4) You don't need to call anyone with a white jacket with long sleeves.
5) You all can't get rid of me THAT easily!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What does it all mean?

So lately I have gone through a period of "when it rains it pours". Within two days I had a very dear friend move out of the country, the end of a dating relationship that had been making me very happy and lost a grandparent. If that doesn't make you say what in the world is going on here I don't know what does. Also, if it doesn't make you a prime candidate for a mental breakdown, I don't know what does. BUT - thankfully, I have a group of friends and family who are rockstars. They saw my need and low and behold stepped up beside me and carried a good portion of my burden. It didn't make the pain less but it sure did increase my ability to carry the load.

So through a lot of introspection and to be frank talking things through probably too much (hello I am female) I have learned some valuable lessons in the past three weeks or so. One of the big ones is that to stop being hurt I have to stop caring so much about people. I told a friend of mine this very thing a few months ago when she was entering a relationship that had trouble written all over it. I told her to post a guard by her heart (I think we named him Peter). Well evidently we made a big mistake by making him male because he failed miserably and she now has to deal with a very undeserving broken heart. She isn't the only one either. It seems lately there has been a rash of breakups, some of them easier, some of them harder but all of them lame - including mine which was inevitable but still not fair.

So what can one do to combat the problem of pain. I have come up with three steps:
1) Become selfish. Throw yourself into work. Set a goal that is so outlandish it takes all of your time but make sure it doesn't benefit anyone but yourself.
2) Cut off all modes of communication with human beings and any type of domestic animal. Forget the English language and don't learn a new one.
3) Grow a penis. OK that isn't entirely true (and sorry mom and dad if you read this and this word scares you, haha). I have a lot of men friends who are very sensitive and would prove this statement very wrong but sometimes that is how it feels.

So how do you do that exactly? Well it appears to me the only way is to become a hermit or a nun and since I don't have the will power to do it on my own I figure I will commit myself to the local convent. Forget about the house I am buying that I really can't afford, forget about the car I should buy to match my job title that I can't afford either and just take loss in one fatal swoop - lose everything at once and commit myself to my relationship with my Savior. Ironic isn't it? Isn't that what we are supposed to be doing everyday anyway? Maybe through all of my searching that, in reality is the answer, put it all on his shoulders. So, you can find me at the local nunnery.

For the next week anyway.........

The pain of fashion

Why is it that shoe designers have yet to figure out how to make high heels cute AND comfortable? It seems like it would be easy enough - I mean seriously, I spend my day trying to save people in the world of legal problems which at times means saving them from themselves (often an impossible feat) and shoe designers spend their day drawing and dreaming up funky ways to make people's feet look better. How hard is that? Spend ten minutes of your day adding a little padding to that cute heel. Help a sister out.