Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

New Year is a time when most people (as I understand it) feel all inspired about new beginnings. I must admit that has never been the case for me. New Year has always struck me as a slightly bummer-esque time of year.


this year feels different to me. I am all ... (I don't know...)... hopeful, inspired, full of faith in myself....

it's weird.

But good!

So, Happy New Year, dudes...and namaste! (Oh - did I mention that my yoga class this evening was part of what made me feel all gooshy and inspired?) Ok, now it's back to Elf (family movie know...not exactly the wild New Year's Eve... but it's ok). :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Remember the Alamo

Today we took a day trip to San Antonio. My husband suggested that we do that so that the kids could see the Alamo and I was totally into that idea, since my early childhood was spent there and I tend to forget that my kids have sort of missed out on San Antonio things like the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and Pancho Claus.

My youngest (my son) was complaining about being forced to visit the Alamo until we told him the story and his dad pointed out that he'd be able to see actual bullet holes in the walls. Well. Enough said. He had no hesitation after that. As a matter of fact, I'd printed out some lesson plans about Texas history and read the story to the kids on the drive down while they colored pictures that went with the lesson. My daughter colored a lovely picture of a Tejana from the period while my son illustrated a blueprint-type picture of the Alamo grounds with bullets and dead bodies. (I kid you not.) At least it's educational...

The rest of the day was a sort of pursuit of my childhood memories. I insisted (although no one seemed to mind) that we eat at Casa Rio, where I remember eating as a child and devouring their corn tortillas with butter and salt. I did so at lunch today, while we watched the ducks swim by our table. (You can see the view from our table - after we devoured our food - above...)

After lunch, we took our kids to the children's museum because they are museum afficiados and then we allowed ourselves to be completely fleeced by paying $40 to go up to the top of the Tower of Americas. I do remember at least one very, very nice birthday dinner up in the restaurant and to me, as a kid - it was the ultimate elegant dining experience - so I didn't really mind taking the kids up there. I'm sure they'll remember it.

We were all a little tired and cranky by the time we stopped at Wendy's on the way home (ok, was mostly me that was tired and cranky...) but it was a good vacation day, even with the emergency work stuff I had to handle on my Blackberry while we were at the Alamo. [Ironically, I was on the phone with the company's outside counsel - who was in Switzerland on was a transcontinental interruption of family vacations to handle work emergencies.]

At any rate - at the risk of sounding overly mushy (as if I could fool any of you into thinking I'm NOT mushy...) I must say that today reminded me of how proud I am to be a Texan and the fact that from the beginning, our state is one that was a confluence of so many cultures. When you look at the list of Alamo heroes, you see Irish, Scots, Americans, Germans, Mexicans and native Texans. All of them fighting together for freedom. It's darn inspiring. So - to those of you who might be reading this posting in another state...I know that when many people think of Texas, they aren't necessarily thinking of an open and inclusive society...but our cultural roots are as expansive as our sky and there are still plenty of us who know it and are determined to teach it to our children.

"You sound like a teddy bear girl..."

That's what this very nice Disney lady told me on the phone the other day, as I was finalizing our ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations) for our trip to Disney World. She confirmed our reservation for the Biergarten buffet in the Germany section of EPCOT, then she suddenly asked me: "Are you a teddy bear girl? You sound like a teddy bear girl to me." I laughed and admitted that, actually, I do still sleep with my bear. She said: "I thought so. It's something about your voice." Then she told me I just had to check out the Steiff bears on sale in the Germany section.

My bear has been through a LOT with me. One of my dear readers became my best friend during my Freshman year of college (a rather rough year, in many ways) and she gave me this bear. If memory serves, he came from Vermont and was very, very fancy looking and beautiful when he first came into my life. He is now very "real" - like the Velveteen Rabbit - and I honestly can't sleep unless I'm all curled around him during the night.

He doesn't have a name, but I think I'd grab him before any other material possession if I ever had to escape a fire or other disaster.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

History as a Companion

It's 8 a.m. and I woke up from a night of vivid, interesting, and moderately disturbing dreams. Between all the childhood memories that come up for me during the holidays and the operetta my subconscious performed in my dreams last night, I have a really powerful mental picture in my head this morning.

Obviously we all have our own personal histories. Our own baggage, you might say - although I tend to think that my history is much more active than an inanimate object. For me, it's as if my personal history is a person standing right there with me, who sometimes takes my shoulders and points me in a particular direction. Maybe even shoves me towards that direction.

I've tried all kinds of coping mechanisms throughout my life regarding my history. I've tried to run away from my history (but there's no way I can ever be faster than it). I've tried to ignore it and pretend it's not there (but then it's even easier for history to push me in a certain direction, because I'm not paying attention). I've even tried to turn around, look history straight in the face and deconstruct it intellectually (although it wasn't a wasted effort, the intellectual deconstruction didn't accomplish what I'd hoped - which was to make my history disappear).

Finally, this morning, I have an image of what I need to do and the answer seems pretty obvious to me now. History is with me - no matter what. That's not a good thing or a bad thing. If I'm willing to simply acknowledge my companion, but not let myself get pushed around by history, then life will be so much better. Sometimes history pushes me in a good direction. (The reason I'm out to save the world is due, in large part, to my history.) Sometimes history pushes me in a direction that is pretty bad for me.

But my history is a part of who I am and I won't pretend it's not there anymore. I'm going to listen, consider, and then decide what I'm going to do. If I feel those historical hands on my shoulders, pushing me in a certain direction, I'll reach up and lift the hands off my shoulders so that I can think more clearly. I might end up going in the direction history pushes, but I might not.

You know, I got my B.A. in history (and minored in philosophy). So it's about time I figured out how to deal with it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Everything I Wanted and More...

1. Red Luggage
2. Very stylish Liz Claiborne computer bag
3. Mama Mia!!!!
4. Lots of fancy body lotion, etc.
5. A book all about Disney World so I can plan our trip!!!

Woo-hoo! I was completely spoiled, as you can see from my partial list of Christmas gifts. Now...if only I wasn't SO TIRED.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How I Spent My Christmas Eve...

My mom (a.k.a Marmi, a.k.a. the woman you'd never guess was 62 years old...) found this crazy ball for the kids to play with and when I got home from taking the kids to Desperaux (see the "Latest Movie I've Seen" section of my blog), we found this waiting for us in the driveway.

Now - technically - this is a kids toy, but after watching them roll down the hill in it a few times, I figured I just had to give it a shot. took some courage for me to tolerate the maniacal laughter of my precious 2nd grade niece and 3-year-old nephew as they rolled me around in it.

But it was good for me!

And you would just die laughing if you could have seen my wacky static electricity hair afterwards.

Nothing like celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus by rolling down a small hill in a big ol' Bucky Ball. (And then blogging about it hours later, with a Jameson's in one hand...after setting up all the stockings for the kids.)

Have I mentioned that Life is really crazy and a bit of a wild ride (that occassionally makes me moderately nauseous) but is still really good? Remind me of that "good" part when I get all angst-i-fied on my blog in another week - ok?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays to All...

Today was my last day of work (well, my last day of having to go into work...we'll see how I handle my Blackberry addiction during the upcoming week) until next Monday. All day long, I kept thinking how ready I was to get home and start baking -- now my chocolate pecan pie (my eldest's favorite desert) is in the oven, I'm sipping on a glass of red wine, and am planning to go to a yoga class tomorrow morning for the first time in Heaven knows how long.

In short, life is good.

I'm definitely glowing from all the Hallmark-y, squooshy, family goodness that one sometimes feels during the holidays. Here's the trick of it, however - it's really easy for me to feel that way when I'm in a quiet house (aahhh...quiet) and my rambunctious kids are 2 hours away in Waco. They are just so loud! So here's my holiday goal: patience. Preferably, permanent and persistant patience. (Yes, the alliteration is intentional.)

I hope that all of your little Christmas dreams come true and that you are filled with love for your fellow men (and women). I'm sad to say that many of you won't have the joy of enjoying my homemade pies, fudge and herbed cornbread stuffing, but until I can figure out how to share my once-a-year cooking skills via Blogger, I suppose you're out of luck. Bummer. I'm sure your moms, brothers or other family chefs are almost as good as me so you won't be completely out of luck. (hee, hee...)

As for me, I'm kind of hoping for a copy of Mama Mia for Christmas. I already got a great popcorn set from Williams-Sonoma from my husband (yum, yum, yum, yum, yum) and I picked out my own gifts for him to hand off to the kids to give to me. So I figure I'm all set.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's my party....

...and I'll wear my hat if I want to! We had a good time last night and I'd bought this hat at Target a month or so ago - this was my first excuse to wear it. I told my mom I was so excited because it really was my first ever "grown up" party which I hosted - complete with a pricey trip to the liquor store to buy wine. :)
So much fun!!
Well - I'm freezing right now and simply MUST get into the warm bath or I will die of hypothermia. So I shall go defrost.
No kids (they're in Waco with Mom and Dad), cold weather, and jazz on the stereo...aahhhh......(I might even take a nap.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jenn the Jeweler

One of my friends signed us up for an earring-making class last night and it was great. The only really crummy downside was that by the time I got home for the day (at 9:15 p.m.) my kids were already asleep. But I made two different pair of earrings and was quite proud of my loop-making abilities. (Fun Fact: the only thing you really need to know about making basic earrings is how to make a loop out of metal sticks.)

The picture at the right is my celtic-inspired pair. I also made a gold cloisonne pair which should match my new blue silk dress beautifully. (I get to wear that again on Tuesday evening - we're going out to dinner for Mom's birthday dinner!)

So here's something I remembered as I was driving home from my jewelry-making class last night: as a teenager I read this book about a girl who came to America from Ireland and she learned how to make jewelry while she was over here. I always thought that sounded completely cool - to be able to express yourself artistically with metal and stones. Of course, that is not really a future career path for me because my ADHD and impatience would NOT be a good match for the fine detailed work required for legitimite artistic jewelry work.

But I'm more than happy to shell out $11 every now and then to create a few earrings. And I'll even call myself a "jeweler" when I do it - at least on my blog!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lessons the Hard Way

Have you ever noticed how, as humans, we tend to learn our lessons the hard way? It's a rather dependable staple of literature, to tell the truth. What would we have done without the hubris of Antigone (I always loved that story) or the tragic mistakes of Romeo and Juliet? It would be awesome if I was able to learn things without messing them up first (often quite royally, I should point out) but the lessons just don't seem REAL until the truth hits me upside the head like a baseball bat. [WHAM!!]

It's especially bittersweet, as I look back on my life and consider my choices (or my lack of choices because of inertia) and then look forward to the lives of my children. I feel that ever-present parental ache of wanting to teach my children what I've learned but I know that I can't. Not really. I hope they'll stand on my shoulders and reach past where I've stood, but I also know that some of my biggest mistakes will be repeated. Perhaps with a slightly more artistic bent or a different twist...but they will probably be repeated. It's the way of the world.

Finally, however, (after 37 years) I understand that my life is interesting (and I am interesting) only because of the slips and falls. Think of it this way....we're all walking on a forest path and it ain't smooth. You've got your boulders in the way, you've got your rickety rope bridges spanning chasms, and you've got those annoying tree roots that creep out of the ground to trip you up. (Got the picture yet?) Eventually, and inevitably, we will stumble. But as we are lying face down in the muck, we might notice a tiny red flower.

Without my own stumbles, I'd never have seen the flower. It doesn't mean the stumbles were ok - as a matter of fact, some of the bruises might never go away. But there's still a beautiful thing in my life that wouldn't have been there otherwise.

So...I guess that's why we learn things the hard way. Sometimes we can't see what we need to see unless we're flat on our stomachs, with battered elbows and knees.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Exercise (or lack thereof...)

It is warm outside today - borderline hot. I'm aware of this fact because I finally got off my patooty and went outside to exercise. There's always an excuse for me not to get moving - this week it's primarily been because I've been fighting off allergies or a mild cold. But the truth of the matter is that once I got out in the sunshine I felt really good (even though my stamina is not at all what it was a month ago in terms of moving my muscles).

Tomorrow it's supposed to be really cold, I believe. And my evenings this week are CHOCK FULL of activities so I don't have a prayer of making it to the gym except for the 5:30 a.m. classes. This time of year is fun but completely insane and it really throws my exercise patterns for a loop - especially if I'm always looking for excuses to avoid exercise in the back of my mind.

Tomorrow is the 4th grade choir concert (dinner with in-laws before the concert), Tuesday evening I think we're free but I'm almost afraid to check the calendar in case I find out that I am sadly mistaken, Wednesday evening I'm joining a work friend at Nomadic Notions to learn how to make earrings (should be fun and therapeutic for me), Thursday evening is Christmas with said in-laws and grandmother-in-law (an amazing and wonderful woman) and Friday evening is neighborhood caroling with the Girl Scout Troop. Somehow during my spare time, I need to prepare various appetizers and desserts because we are hosting some friends on Saturday night for a low key holiday party. Whew!!! It's enough to make me want to run and hide under the Christmas tree.

Anyway...getting back to my lazy bones...I suppose that if I can get up Tuesday morning for the super early class (I've managed to do that for a number of weeks in a row now) and at least get out for one or two more walks during the week (or even the Thursday morning class...) then I should be proud of myself. Wish me luck. Right now all I can really think about is going to sleep tonight (zzzzz....) but, sadly, it's only 3:15 in the afternoon, clothes that need to be folded are covering my bed (thus blocking any attempt at sleep until that chore is complete) and we have 2 more social activities this evening before we settle down for the night.

Yup. Merry Christmas, guys.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I spent half of my workday today at a CLE conference (CLE = Continuing Legal Education) and I simply cannot get one of the speakers off of my mind. He spoke about the perception of lawyers in society and it was actually a very liberating speech in many ways. If I really tried to delve into all of the aspects of it, this posting would try the patience of my readers, I'm quite sure, but during my commute home I realized that I was inspired to blog about his perception of our society's obsession with rules and laws.

It's difficult to summarize in a few paragraphs, but he opined that many of the same people who hate lawyers, hate the courts, etc are often the same people who are stomping their feet up and down as they say "There ought to be a law!" or "Why doesn't the government do something about this??" (he referenced Nancy Grace at this point of his speech but I've never watched her show so I can't opine about that analogy). He talked about the amazing number of regulations and laws that come down from all levels of government every month.

All of this talk about our society's obsession with rules really got me to pondering about my own views on rules [laws, policies, procedures, etc.]. It's a very complex and multi-leveled analysis for me because I am, at my core, a rule-based person in a number of ways. However, I think (although I'm not entirely sure) that these rules are often defense mechanisms for me, or at least "easy ways out."

For example - on a personal level, I'm always giving myself new rules about what I can or cannot eat, how I need to exercise, what I need to do....etc. It's not always a good thing because they often just become another reason for me to beat myself up.

I believe that my relationship with rules is even more interesting on a professional level, however. I've been a lawyer for 11 years now and I've been in-house counsel for 7 of those years. During that time, I've learned to appreciate the benefits of well-crafted (and clear) policies, bylaws, and procedures (and I've also learned how incredibly complicated it is to write even the simplest-sounding policies...because it's impossible to consider every contingency). I am the author of a number of polcies, procedures and bylaws.

I see the value of clarity - as a matter of fact, I simply ADORE clarity and crave it in the written word. I've also noticed first hand, however, the obsession many of us have with wanting to cover every possible base with policies and rules. For a number of years, I've really begun to dislike the sheer VOLUME of written rules with which we surround ourselves, especially in our workplaces.

Now - let me be clear. I'm a firm believer that companies should have a harassment-prevention policy and an ethics policy. And, of course, it's only fair that employees know what the rules are for getting reimbursed and other basic procedures. But we have a tendency as employers (and maybe parents too??) to assume that anytime something goes wrong, that means we have to create a new rule.

I realize I might be jeopardizing my future job security here (since no matter where I work, I'm often the one who drafts the rules and policies) but I have to say that I think we're taking the lazy lady's (note that I didn't say "lazy man's") road when we throw paper at each other instead of trying to communicate with each other about the key issues.

What would happen if, instead of making new rules and policies, we all sat down together and figured out what the core issues were? Including what might be going on in terms of employee spirit (or family spirit if we used the same concepts at home)?

I know. I sound like Pollyanna. And I also know that an employer could be sorry if it doesn't have a particular policy in place, especially if an employee later claims that he or she didn't know that it was against the rules to...(I don't know)....throw trash out the window onto a co-worker's head unless the rule was written in the employee handbook. But I've seen a lot of people change their attitudes once they're shown a little respect and held to a high standard. I can't help but believe that most of us feel infantilized when those in authority rely on mounds of rules and "gotchas" to control us. (I know I do.)

So go ahead, laugh at the irony that the expert policy-writer thinks there are way too many out there. But I would love to someday be in control of a place and make sure that my employees have a reasonable set of written expectations (for both me as their employer and for them as my employees) but also have a deep sense of self-worth because they'll know that it's a workplace where people are trusted and are honestly confronted (with face-to-face respect) if mistakes or even dishonesty occur.

It will take work, but I'm confident that I can do it. Give me a ring in a few years if you want to work in a place like that! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great and Glorious Friends

I have some truly magnificent friends. How on Earth did I get so lucky???

Within 24 hours:
- one of my friends supported me through my own trauma even though her mom had 1/2 of one of her lungs removed this morning because of cancer
- another friend taught me how I could put my hair up on Saturday night when I go to my fancy, schmancy party
- another friend listened attentively as I told her I knew who her soulmate was and that I was trying to figure out a way for them to meet
- another friend shared her heartrending story about losing a child and inspired me by her ability to continue seeing the miracles in life
- and my Mom, probably my biggest cheerleader of all, spent a good 30 minutes on the phone with me during my commute, telling me in every way she knew how to "go for it!" in regards to career stuff

This is all within one day and it doesn't even count my sweet kids and the hugs and kisses I get as soon as I walk in the door.

My cup runneth over, as they would say in the churches I attended as a child. Now it's my turn to share the love.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why Having a Blog is a Pain (...but is still worth it)

1. It's front and center to me and the rest of the world (ok, that was presumptuous - to the 4 people who read my blog...) that I still haven't seen the movies I want to see. Every day when I log onto my blog and see that Twilight is the last thing I saw, I just cringe. (I need a life!!!!!)

2. It's also front and center how slow I am at reading non-fiction books.

There are other downfalls, I suppose...but it's worth it. I really like this form of therapy. :)

Here are the benefits:

1. It's a good way to express myself.

2. It forces me to think about things that I might not normally consider.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Silver Bells

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks (well - not so busy in this picture), dressed in holiday style.

As a child, I simply adored the song "Silver Bells." And my favorite religious Christmas carol was "Go Tell It On the Mountain" - I was in heaven this past Sunday because we sang a very rousing version of it during church. I was swaying, dancing and clapping to my favorite hymn. And yet, after I leave church I somehow fail to hold the spirit of Christmas as close as I should.

We were at the Hill Country Galleria this evening for dinner with my in-laws and I can't even begin to imagine how much time it took to get lights on every single little branch of every tree. It was very beautiful although I must say that the stores seemed unusually deserted for the middle of December. The economy belies the glitz and glamour, don't you think? (sigh)

The truth of the economy reminds me that I've let myself get carried away with consumerism yet again. I suppose it will be a struggle for me during my whole life. Why is it that I let myself get all excited about shoes and dresses and fancy shopping bags when really - everything that matters is walking down the sidewalk right in front of me?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I wore the coat!

I wore my mink last night! The kids spent the night with my parents and we went out to Jasper's so I wore my snazzy new gold shoes and decided to pull my mink out of the closet too. I have to is a very cozy coat. Mom knows best!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My First Moonshine

We went out to Gonzales today to celebrate my sister-in-law's dad's 70th birthday. It was a fun country barbeque and my kid brother had a surprise for me. He came up with this styrofoam cup and said: "Hey, try this." I asked what it was and he wouldn't tell me but it smelled pretty good - like cider - so I gave it a try.

It even tasted like cider!

I asked him what it was and that's when he told me it was moonshine. Then, because he thinks his big sister doesn't know very much about the seedier side of life, he explained that it was 180 proof, illegal liquor. ("I know what moonshine is!!" I crabbed.) I was so surprised that it had a good taste. If I've ever wondered what moonshine tasted like (and I don't think I ever have) I think I would have guessed that it tasted like gasoline. But this honestly tasted like sweet apple cider. Mmmmm... BUT I stopped after just about 4 tiny sips because it was obviously some serious stuff.

And in case you're wondering, NO my brother didn't make it - he got it from someone who got it from some lady in Kentucky. (If I remember the story correctly.)

I tell you what - there's nothing like going out to the country for a barbeque (even if I am a vegetarian and didn't eat any meat) and drinking a few sips of moonshine out of a styrofoam cup. Good times.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jenn the Vegetarian

I've been a vegetarian for 5 and 1/2 years now (almost to the day, come to think of it) and my Vegetarian Times magazine showed up in the mail today (love it, love it, love it- just hate that I don't have enough time or motiviation...mostly the cook up these awesome recipes). This inspired me to blog-i-fy about the things I like and DON'T LIKE about being a vegetarian.

[Important Note to Readers: This is NOT, I repeat...NOT, an attempt to convert you to the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. As I have repeated until I am blue in the face, I do not think it is morally wrong to eat meat. Carnivores do not offend or upset me. The vegetarian lifestyle is just the right spiritual choice for me. Ok - now that my legal disclaimer is out of the way...]

What I like:
- the flavor of the food (this is generally accentuated by the fact that I don't eat sugar, so I think my palate is more sensitive to subtle tastes - but veggies and grains really do taste great)
- not eating animals (again...not a judgment on others...just what's right for me)
- the health benefits (as long as I stay away from my nemesis: FRENCH FRIES - those greasy seducers are out to get me if I'm not careful)
- living in Austin (a very vegetarian-friendly town)

What I DON'T like:
- the fact that it takes a little bit more thought to figure out what to eat (i.e. how to get my protein so I don't pass out) because I really hate to THINK about food
- when people assume I am a "judgmental" vegetarian (coincidentally, this is what I always hated about being a Southern Baptist - people often figured I didn't dance, didn't drink [ok, I didn't but only because I was underage] and thought everyone else was going to Hell...whatever...SO not true...)

Now...if you will please excuse me...I am trying to figure out where I can get agave nectar so that I can make "Tofu Cutlets with Cilantro Pesto." Yum. (Uh-huh. It is yum. I can hear your snide comments out there...)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Surprising Silver Linings...

Sometimes you think something is going to be really crummy but it turns out to not be so bad after all - or at least it has some surprising silver linings. When I took my new job, back in April, what I was dreading the most was the commute. Instead of living a mere 3 minutes from my workplace, I had a much longer commute - at least 45 minutes each way.
But as it turns out, I kind of enjoy the drive - especially in the morning. It's even more fun now that I have my snazzy red convertible. You might be surprised how therapeutic it is to sing at the top of your lungs, while driving down the road. Today, when I was almost home, I snapped this picture of myself with my Blackberry. (Don't worry - I was going pretty slowly - traffic crawls...)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The definition of angst...

Early on in my blogging days (many moons ago...or at least one...) I mentioned that I would find a definition of "angst" and bring it forth because, as most of you who know me personally are well aware, angst and I go hand in hand.

Well - I finally came across a great definition of angst in my "Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life" book and I decided to keep my blog promises and post it here. At first the definition kind of depressed me because it seemed so inevitable - as if angst had to be a part of our lives. But then I realized that if I accepted this definition - it meant I wasn't as crazy as I thought I was! (And that is always excellent news.)

"Angst is the German word for anticipatory anxiety or dread that accompanies the human condition because the threat of annihilation is palpable and present from our first to our last breath. Our fragile estate floats over a great abyss, and no matter how diverting our strategies may be, there is no day in which we do not know this simple fact. An acceptance of this angst as normal is healthy; its denial is pathological, and will sooner or later result in some life-estranging behavior, or worse, the trivialization of the journey. The task brought to us is to live our lives fully, in the presence of the threat of annihilation."

Sounds pretty intense, right? But I really like the message of this book - which is that we're not failures as humans if we are sad, or anxious or even if we fail. (Because we will, of course.) We are supposed to LIVE and LEARN. When we have negative feelings, we're supposed to experience them - not cover them or hide from them. What a challenge but it's so freeing to hear the message that we are not failures if we are sad or if we aren't sure what to do.

In short - I can't recommend this book enough. Although I borrowed it, and need to return it to my BRILLIANT sister-in-law, I will be buying my own copy. I'll leave you with one more quote, which really touched me:

"...the goal of life is not happiness but meaning....Life is not a problem to be solved, finally, but a series of engagements with the cosmos in which we are asked to live as fully as we can manage."

Oh - and on that note - I did write my grandmother. Thanks for the moral support.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I live with penguins.

Seriously, people. Either my family is a group of penguins, posing as humans OR they are waging a campaign to slowly kill me with hypothermia.

MY HOUSE IS SO COLD!!!! (And those of you who don't live in Texas can just be glad that I'm not in your state, complaining about the weather, ok?)

I was shivering and turning blue this evening, when my warm-blooded husband laughed and said that he and the kids had been home for a few hours today when he finally went upstairs and noticed that it was 65 degrees in the house. 65 Degrees!!!! They hadn't even noticed. They were just going along their happy way....chilling down the house for me, presumably.

You'd think that at least one of my kids would have received my tendency to turn blue at the fingertips whenever the temperature dips below 70 (you think I'm joking but I'm NOT...), but no...I guess it's a recessive gene. Lucky for them.

Do me a favor: Just remind me, if I'm ever tempted to take a job north of the Red River, that no amount of love or money is worth being cold all the time.