Friday, December 14, 2007

Festive Friday Fripperies

My office-mate, Liza, rolled this out last week after a year-long hiatus:

Click here! You know you want to!

We had much fun with this last year, and it did not disappoint for 2007.

Consider it an early Christmas present, from Around the Subject to you.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

That's Not a Zit, It's a Jam Injury!

Just popping in to avoid the I-Didn't-Blog-For-Two-Weeks-And-Then-Didn't-Have-Anything-Momentous-Enough-To-Say-After-All-That-Time problem.

People, Christmas is hard work. Fun, but hard work. Yesterday afternoon, Todd went to do some shopping while I stayed home to make some jam (remember? making jam was somewhere on the list . . . where did that list go, anyway?). The cranberry jam was quite a success, but it's always a bit disconcerting to dump nine cups of cranberries into the pot and end up with four jars of jam. There will have to be at least one more big "jam session." (Get it? Jam session? Whoo, I crack me up.)

Oh, and by the way . . . Christmas is also dangerous. I don't know if you are aware of this or not, but when one is boiling sugar and cranberries, said cranberries tend to SPLURT out at odd times and attach themselves to any exposed skin they can find. This hurts. This leaves marks. I can honestly say, I don't recommend Co-Ed Naked Jam Making. (And NO, I have NOT tried it myself.)

I was so hopped up on sugar fumes that I decided to continue on with the jam-making and ended up with experimental pumpkin-banana butter. I had some of the leftover for breakfast this morning, and I can firmly pronounce it Not Bad.

So after all that jam, I made dinner (Pasta with Ricotta, Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, which wasn't terribly exciting, taste-wise, but kept up the Christmas-theme, color-wise), then moved on to chocolate-cake-baking for a party tonight. While that was baking, I did some feverish knitting on the second of the three small items of contract knitting for Santa Claus.

Do you see how I am just flying through the Christmas To-Do list? No doubt about it, I am on a roll.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Guest Post

Hello? Hello?

Sam the Best Dog Ever here. Mom agreed that I deserve equal airtime to the little interloper, Penny the (so-called) Wonder Puppy.

Just wanted to set the record straight that I have been sleeping outside for years now, and never once have I SHIVERED or required a "fido fleece" or whatever that monstrosity is that Penny has now taken to wearing.

Why? 'Cause I'm a dog. A dog's dog. I hike my leg to pee, I dig in the garbage, and yes -- I eat the occasional cat turd. That's what dogs do. We do NOT allow ourselves to be referred to as "delicate flowers" or any such nonsense. And I can assure you that MY trachea has remained properly inflated for my entire life.

Got it? Good. Carry on with your recipes and Christmas talk, etc., etc. If anyone asks, I could use some new rawhides . . . oh, and a new bed, since you-know-who keeps ripping them to shreds.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tell Me the Truth: Does My Butt Look Big?

For many, many months, I've been telling Todd that Penny the Wonder Puppy is a Delicate Flower. He hasn't quite agreed.

Me: But remember that time her trachea collapsed and she almost died?

Todd: Remember that time she destroyed three dog beds, a remote control, and ate half a human bed?

Me: Oh, yeah.

But NOW. Now that it's just a wee bit cold outside, Todd has turned super-softy and started worrying about her little short-haired, no-body-fat-having self being cold.

Because, YES, we are some of those people with lumps of coal instead of hearts who make our dogs sleep outside and YES, we know we are going to hell for it and YES, we know when we get there we will be endlessly tormented by being forced to sleep outside while the dogs sleep in the cushiest part of hell, and we JUST DON'T CARE.

I did feel a bit bad the other morning when I went out to feed her and she crawled out of her house, where she'd been snuggled down with her dog bed, copious amounts of straw, and three large towels, and actually SHIVERED. I stopped feeling bad when, an hour later, she ripped that dog bed to shreds. Shreds, I tell you. There's green foam snow all over her pen, now.

Anyway. Todd's brain is working a mile a minute on solutions that involve sacrificing the futon mattress and stapling it inside the dog house, kind of like a rubber room for a crazy dog, which is pretty fitting, actually, for Penny the Wonder Puppy. I, on the other hand, came up with this:

I think it really highlights her youthful complexion, don't you?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Because One Just Isn't Enough . . .

Yeah. Call me stupid; call me a glutton for punishment, I started a new blog.

Okay, it's not really a WHOLE new blog. It's more an I-wanted-to-add-a-new-page-to-this-blog-and-couldn't-figure-it-out-so-I-started-a-supplemental-blog blog.

Basically, over there to the right, (if you haven't looked over there, go look -- there's STUFF over there, dude!) I wanted to add a "What I'm Cooking . . ." column. 'Cause I cook a lot. Then a figured I should link to recipes of what I'm cooking, because that's only polite. Then I realized that a lot of what I cook is so modified from it's original source as to be unrecognizable, or just comes out of my own head to begin with.

So there's a whole-nother-blog over there. The recipe titles themselves (at least the ones that I consider MY recipes) will take you directly to it. There's only a couple of recipes there now, but it's a total up-and-comer.

Monday, December 3, 2007

How NPR Ruined My Day

I have to admit, when it comes to the Republican Presidential candidates, I've been practicing a careful, bury-my-head-in-the-sand approach. I figure, they're all going to be awful, so why pay attention until I have to focus on the awfulest one?

Well, today on my ride home, NPR ripped my head right out of the sand with its interview with Mitt Romney.

First let me say this: I adore my liberal, leftist NPR. And I love how they conduct interviews with the not-so-left. They're so NICE, in that Southern-my-daddy-taught-me-to-say-"that's nice"-instead-of-"fuck you" way.

This particular interview was no exception. Robert Siegel noted a recent debate in which Romney, when asked if he believes everything in the Bible, replied, "I believe it is the word of God." Siegel followed this up by asking Romney if he believes the Creation story as posed in Genesis.

Romney's answer (and I paraphrase): I can't believe NPR would ask something so irrelevant to the people of the United States.

Well, sorry, Mitt, but as one of those people of the United States, it's pretty relevant to me.

It's relevant to me because it shows me you are an amateur debater who just turns mean when he can't think of a good answer.

It's relevant to me because it tells me that you DO believe in Creationism, and therefore you are one of those people who think religion should make you STUPID.

It's relevant to me because it points out what I see as one of the inherent problems of the Republican party: you think I'm even more stupid than you are.

Sheesh. I liked it better when my head was in the sand.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Tree? Check!

Well, I can mark task #1 off the list:

I think it looks rather festive, don't you?

There was one near-catastrophe with a string of lights, but I MADE DO. And I learned something. If you expect the tree-putting-up to suck; if you PLAN for it to suck . . .

It doesn't quite suck.

Merry December 2nd!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Twenty-four Shopping Days Left!


Can somebody tell me just HOW it came to be December 1st today?

Christmas has been moved back a bit, surely? Because there can be no way that it's going to still happen on December 25th and I DON'T HAVE MY CHRISTMAS TREE UP YET!

Okay. Taking a deep breath, maybe several deep breaths . . .

Every year, around October, I start thinking of all the wonderful things I can do to celebrate the holiday season. There's the Christmas cocktail party, there's the visiting of several relatives and family friends, there's the baking, and candy-making, and the stringing popcorn for the tree, and the wassail-drinking, and the studding oranges with cloves, and the knitting authentic aran sweaters for everyone in my family INCLUDING THE DOGS . . .

One more deep breath . . .

Several years ago, when I was newly living on my own, I told my mom that I felt like a complete failure as a woman. Not, mind you, because I was recently divorced, but because I had neglected to make homemade chutney to give to all my friends and acquaintences. At the time I didn't even know what chutney was, but Martha said I should make it, so it must be so.

Last year, I dutifully planned hand-knit gifts for everyone in the family, which led to many frantic evenings of knitting, one bitching-out by my boss, lots of tears, and ultimately -- my brother-in-law got bourbon instead of hand-knit golf club covers. I think his was the most successfull gift of the season.

So this year, I think I should lower Ye Olde Christmas Expectations. Here's the to-do list:

1. Put up tree. Forego hand-strung popcorn. Do NOT expect the tree-putting-up to be full of wassail and merriment. Accept that it will suck.

2. "Make" two blankets for as-yet-to-be-named recipients. Believe it or not, one is already done, and the other will take a mere afternoon.

3. Complete the small amount of contract knitting I have accepted from Santa Claus. Totally do-able, honest. It's just three little things, one of which is 75% complete already. Okay, maybe four little things. Okay, if I finish those four, maybe five. But definitely not more than five. Really.

4. Can cranberry jam, to round out the already done banana jam and pumpkin butter for those little teeny gifts we always need.

5. Make toffee. Partly because it's needed for a few gifts, but mostly because it's the Christmas version of crack, only with the opposite effect on your weight.

I don't think that list is bad at all, not bad at all. I think there will even be time to squeeze in a reasonable amount of Christmas cheer . . . maybe even merriment.

Yeah, I think merriment is totally doable.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Are You Smarter Than a Sixth-Grader?

Oooh, I've been a bad blogger, haven't I? I took a few days off there (okay, 20), but I'm back now, so we shall never speak of it again, shall we?


I mentioned awhile back that I was going to be tutoring as a part-time job. I had grand visions of myself in a grand library, by a crackling fireplace, discussing literature and diagramming sentences. (Because yes, I do enjoy diagramming a good sentence every now and then. No, I don't think that's weird.) I think I thought cognac would be involved.

It seems, however, that the Powers That Be had other things in mind. Math, to be exact.

Now, I can't really say that I'm BAD at math. Not exactly. More like . . . fuzzy. I've been frantically googling around the ol' internets, trying to bring myself up to snuff with my sixth-grader.

And you know what? It turns out that the PLAIN Geometry that I thought I was studying, way back in middle school -- that geometry that I thought was just ordinary geometry, nothing special about it?

Well, all along it was PLANE Geometry. Which, APPARENTLY, doesn't mean that it's ordinary at all, but means that it is the geometry of two-dimensional figures.

Who knew? I ask you, WHO KNEW? Obviously, Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Willhite didn't know, because they never mentioned it. Nary a word.

I'm off now, to google "scalene triangle."

Friday, November 9, 2007

Wifely Worries

So, Todd has gone backpacking this weekend. I was okay with this when the trip was first planned, because he was going with someone else. But then, due to some unforseen circumstances, he ended up going solo.

This always worries me. Yes, I know he's quite competent; yes, I know he was an Eagle Scout and all, but seriously . . . he's going out to some godforsaken spot ALONE with nothing but a fishing pole and a big ol' backpack. That he's doing this voluntarily just confirms my ongoing suspicions that my husband, while I love him dearly, may not be quite "right."

And here's what worries me even more. He's undertaking this trip COMPLETELY SANS CELL PHONE.

Why, you ask, does anyone these days venture out into the wild without a trusty means of communication?

Well, in this case, it's because he dropped his cell phone in the toilet. This, apparently, is not good for cell phones.

I wish I had a picture to post of my fingernails, because come Sunday? They'll all be bitten to nubs.

Monday, November 5, 2007

An Around the Subject Public Service Announcement

As I'm writing this, I'm planning out all the things I have to get done tomorrow.

I have to swim, because I've started it up again and am almost back up to a mile. I have to put dinner in the crock pot, because we have to eat. I have to go to work, because, well, you know . . . bills. I have to go to my first tutoring meeting, which I'm very nervous about, and which I'm sure you'll hear about in days to come.

And I have to vote.

Ahh . . . voting. I hope you're all planning on doing that one, too. It's important.

When I was a kid, my mom took me with her once to vote, and I asked her who she voted for (I doubt I even knew the candidates, but I asked anyway). She told me that who a person votes for is totally their business, and when you vote, you don't have to tell anyone who or what you voted for, NOT EVEN YOUR HUSBAND.

Whoa. My mom was quite the rebel (and still is, most days).

The first presidential election I was able to vote in was Clinton's first term. When he won, I felt like I had been part of it. When he won the second time, I thought, "hey, this is easy!"

Since then, it hasn't been quite so easy, not if you're on my side of politics, anyway. But I still vote. We can take it for granted, but it's a right that was not easily won. We have to appreciate it, and we have to take responsibility for it, and we have to keep casting our vote in the hopes that things will change for the better.

So, while I bitch and gripe and moan and complain about how democracy is a broke-ass joke that doesn't work and why the hell do I have to live in a red state, anyway . . .

I still vote. And no matter what side you're on -- you should too.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday Musings

For the past six years, much of my life has been concerned with, for lack of a better term, "crime and punishment."

When I was a Public Defender, the work was hard, but the philosophical standpoint was easy: I had a client and it was my job to believe he was innocent and act accordingly. As a prosecutor, though, I've discovered it's not quite that simple. Now I'm supposed to figure out the truth -- and not only that, but I'm supposed to figure out what the "just" consequences are. I'm supposed to consider the evidence (or lack thereof), the jury appeal, the person's prior record, etc, etc, and come up with something that makes sense -- while satisfying my boss, the judge, the victim, and all the myriad other people who think it's any of their business.

It's enough to give a person a migraine, I tell you. And it's getting to me. I'm starting to dream of "happier" careers, jobs in which people aren't arguing and fighting all day long. Jobs in which I'm not constantly trying to come up with ways to make people miserable -- even if they deserve it. I'm just not feeling that I'm really behind it, anymore.

Today in church, the sermon was about Zacchaeus the Tax Collector, which besides inspiring one of the best Bible School songs ever, has a pretty good moral of acceptance and forgiveness. It seems, according to the story, that Jesus will forgive everyone: tax collectors, prostitutes, even Republicans (no, Republicans aren't specifically mentioned anywhere, but one can assume).

I realize that this is Sunday School 101 stuff, but today it struck me as revolutionary. Forgiveness -- just because you ask for it. It seems so comforting, but more than that -- it just seems restful. I can let go of that running tally of my own sins that I've been carrying around pretty much since birth, because they're already forgiven. And while, at work, I still have to figure out the consequences for other people's actions, somebody else (whoever that somebody else may be in your own head) is already taking care of forgiving them. It's not ALL something I have to solve.

I've been teetering around, religion-wise, for a while now, trying to figure out the answers to some questions that bother me. I'm not so sure, these days, what exactly I believe. I've even asked myself, now and again, "could I be losing my faith?"

But, putting some of those tough questions aside, I guess I'm still feeling good about the basics. This whole forgiveness thing? Now THAT's something I can get behind.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Recipe in Lieu of Scary Pictures

Well, Halloween has come and gone and I have nary a picture to show for it. It's not my fault, really -- I whipped out the camera as soon as Maddie was suited up (a witch with pink hair) only to remember that the batteries had been removed to power the GPS on our last ill-fated canoe trip (don't ask).

So, just take my word for it. Maddie looked stunningly scary. (I really think the whole no-teeth thing added to the effect.) We had our annual Eat Chili/Pass Out Candy/Walk on Hillcrest get-together and it was a rousing success.

When Todd and I moved in together in early October of 2003, we had no idea that we were moving to Louisville's Halloween Mecca. The Disneyworld, if you will, of Halloween. We are just around the corner from Hillcrest Avenue, where people go ALL THE HELL OUT for this holiday.

Seriously -- you think you are in the spirit because you carved a pumpkin? You got nothin' on these people. Giant inflateables, cobwebs everywhere, yards transformed to graveyards, you name it, Hillcrest's got it. My favorite this year was the house which had a giant screen showing The Wizard of Oz while they played "Dark Side of the Moon." (Since I've always wanted to test out that urban legend, I was so tempted to stand there and watch the whole thing.) And of course, the brass band is always a favorite. (I remember the first year, I thought that a bunch of people had decided to go to a party dressed up as orchestra members, which makes for a very boring Halloween costume, but definitely adds something to the whole event.)

We handed out candy with a vengeance. We always start out slow, giving just a piece or two to each kid, then when it gets late and I start to panic about the house being perpetually filled with Nerds and Laffy Taffy, I start hurling it out the door in handfulls. At the very end, Todd and Maddie were out in the street overflowing the poor kids' bags with everything we had left.

This year I expanded the inside-the-house offerings to three different kinds of chili, almost like a chili cook-off for myself. I didn't take a vote, but if I had, I think the white chili would have been the hands-down winner. And since I actually tried very hard to remember what I was dumping in the pot, I can pass it along! I hesitate to actually call this a recipe, because the amounts are all approximate, but I think it would be pretty hard to mess up. AND, it would totally be a good way to use up leftover turkey, so consider it a late Halloween and early Thanksgiving present from me to you.


2-3 cups of cooked chicken (or turkey!), diced or shredded
1 big ginormous onion, diced
2-4 cups chicken broth
2 cans of chopped green chilis
1 can green enchilada sauce
a dash or two of hot sauce
Oregano and ground cumin (I just dumped in a handfull or so of each, kind of heavy on the cumin because I like it a lot.)
5 or 6 cans of white beans, UNdrained
1 cup of salsa

Saute the onion in a bit of oil or butter until soft. Add the oregano and cumin and saute a couple of minutes more. Dump all the rest of the ingredients in and simmer for at least 30 minutes or so to let all the flavors blend together. (Mine was a bit soupier than I like, so next time I'll go lighter on the broth, but I like chili to be REALLY thick.)

Garnish with shredded cheese, crackers or crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsa.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Todd!

When I was a kid, I used to lay in bed every night and read until I went to sleep. I always thought that it must be great to be married and have someone there reading with you.

And now, I'm married to someone who reads just as much as I do -- and actually owns more books. We actually do go to bed every night, each with our own book, sometimes reading bits to each other. And it's just as great as I always imagined it would be.

Yesterday was mine and Todd's second anniversary. We spent it in a courtroom, waiting for a jury verdict in a trial he just finished. In an odd way, it was almost romantic.

I met Todd in court; he was already a prosecutor, and I was a public defender. I suppose we were star-crossed. We can both trace the beginning of the beginning of our relationship to one long day in court, waiting for a sentencing hearing on the last case we ever did as opponents. Ironically, it was Valentine's Day, and I was dressed all in black in solidarity with all single women.

I knew then that I liked him a lot, that he made me laugh, that he was the smartest person I had ever met -- and that he was seriously hot.

I still believe all those things, and more. Marrying Todd was, without a doubt, the "rightest" thing I have ever done. It has been so much fun that I'd do it all over again, even without the cake, and the DJ, and the big guest list. Just the necessities -- me, and him.

Sweetie, you're the best!

Monday, October 22, 2007

J.K. Rowling, You're the Bomb!

So, all you Harry Potter fans out there. In case you haven't heard the news, it seems that Dumbledore is gay. Yep, straight from J.K. herself.

As I should have expected, this has raised the proverbial shit storm among all the Harry nay-sayers out there. You know the types -- the ones who said that the books promoted all sorts of horrible things, from witchcraft to disobeying one's teachers.

Then there are those who are mad because Dumbledore wasn't "outed" earlier.

I admit, I sat up and took notice when I read this news story, too, but for an entirely different reason.

My reason?


Seriously, I know that she's not the most "polished" writer, and her plots have some holes, and there was a good bit of "deus ex machina" in that last book. But the way she has built up such a complete world in her head, the way she KNOWS that Dumbledore is gay because, well, because he just IS and there's no way around it?

That is quite impressive to me. And it makes me wonder just how much there is in her magical little world that we'll never know; answers to questions that we'll never think to ask. It makes me want to strap her down and MAKE her write more books about Harry. And Ginny. And Snape. And yes, about Dumbledore.

I'm a bit ashamed to say that I had never really considered Dumbledore's sexuality, but learning that he's gay seems right to me. Poor Dumbledore, it's a shame he couldn't have had a wonderful counterpart to fall in love with -- a Grindelwald type, without the bothersome evilness.

Dear Lord, I am SUCH a geek. Must try to hide that better in my next post.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Last-Minute Friday Fripperies

Okay, I know I just posted (see below), but this is the funniest thing I have seen in the longest.

Click here!

Click on the link, then click to play the video. You will NOT be sorry.

Back to the Dark Ages

Last night, I was on my way out to a church meeting when the tornado sirens started. Mind you, I didn't realize that we even had tornado sirens, but I figured nothing good could come of a noise that loud, so I turned right around and went back inside.

I sat on the couch, watching the various Super Duper Storm Doppler Spotter Tornado Coverages on TV, and right about when they said the storm would be coming through my neighborhood, it did. It lasted for about 10 minutes, and that was it. Just as I was thinking, "That's ALL?", the power went out.

And stayed out.

My immediate thought was, "I must check the internet to see how the storm is." I pulled out the laptop, and was TOTALLY befuddled when the wireless connection wouldn't, well . . . connect. I remained befuddled until Todd came home and I asked him about why the darn wireless wouldn't work.

"What do you think the wireless IS, Kara?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said, waving my hands vaguely in the air above my head, "it's just WIRELESS. You know, like IN THE AIR SOMEWHERE."

Turns out that is not the case. In fact, the wireless is not wireless at all. Or, actually, I guess it is wireless, but it is not plugless, because, according to Todd, it originates from a plug RIGHT THERE IN THE WALL.

Huh. Who knew?

And so it went. I spent the remaining evening thinking of all the things I would do since there was no electricity:

Laundry? Darn.

Catch up on Blockbuster movies? Drat.

Bake cookies! Not so much.

It seems the only thing you can do without power is read a book with a flashlight stuck under your chin. For hours at a time. And send text messages to your teenage niece. (The reading by flashlight thing? Sure to give you a headache. Now I see why Ma and Pa were always admonishing Mary Ingalls against reading too much by candlelight. Yes, I know that in real life she went blind from scarlet fever, but YOU know that on the show it was totally from reading too much by candlelight.)

I have to say, I felt a bit bedraggled as I slunk into the courthouse this morning, with no makeup and sopping wet hair. I think it's totally NOT FAIR that I have to go through the whole dadgummed courthouse to get to my office, where, luckily, there was a working plug for the ol' hairdryer.

On the bright side, though, I think a complete lack of anything remotely interesting to do in one's dark house means that one gets to go for dinner and a movie after work.

Friday, October 12, 2007

So THAT's What It's Like to Finish Something

Okay, as promised yesterday, I give you . . .

The Ultra-Ugly, Loud and Obnoxious Granny Shawl!

I am "sort of" pleased with the shawl. I like that I made it up entirely, all by myself. Yes, I know granny squares have been done before, but I really "winged it" on the construction.

I also really liked how all the colors looked together. I was really trying to put squares together from my stash with colors that I thought would look hideous next to one another, but was often surprised by how interesting some of them came out.

Having said all that, I think I'm going to rip the thing out. Not the squares themselves, just the sewing them together part. When I tried it on, the look I got was less Retro Hippy Girl and more Actual Granny. When Todd tried to figure out how to use it for a Halloween costume, I decided it needed some alterations.

I'm thinking that I will replace the white seaming and border with black, use a softer yarn for that to give it better drape, and do a slightly more traditional shaping -- more triangle, but not exactly triangle. Hopefully I'll accomplish that this weekend and can post an update next week.

In literary news, (and continuing with the "finishing" theme of this post) I absolutely had to force myself to finish the book I've been reading, A Thread of Grace. For those of you who have listened to my endless lectures on how The Sparrow is The World's Best Book Ever and I Do Mean Ever, this was by the same author, and boy, did she let me down.

This one was not about interplanetary Jesuit travel, but about how Italians worked to hide Jews from the Nazis during World War II. It took me about 300 pages to get the characters straight and actually care about any of them, and by page 310, most of them were dead, dying, or being tortured. Uplifting stuff, that.

And nary an alien or spaceship in sight. Bummer.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

If You Don't Work Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, does that mean Thursday Becomes Monday?

Okay, so we had a bit of a blog hiatus, there. "Around the Subject"'s been suffering from a combination of having nothing terribly exciting to say, and a few much-needed days off of work and away from the computer.

Last weekend my mom was inducted into the Eminence High School Hall of Fame, which gave me an excuse to spend some time with her and do some scary past-revisiting. On Friday, we went to the school football game. Boy howdy, was that something.

First of all, my alma mater is now playing 8-man football. How embarassing.

Second, the band is suffering from a complete lack of ANYONE WHO HAS ANY SENSE OF RHYTHM. I mean, AT ALL. Sheesh -- my predominantly white, Presbyterian churh orchestra can keep a better beat.

Third, my former stepson plays bass clarinet in said band, and was all decked out with a long, scraggly ponytail, mismatched knee socks, and chains hanging from the pocket of his denim man-pris. I felt aged, yet satisfyingly vindicated that all my worst fears about him have come true. (Sometimes, I am a good judge of character. I predicted the whole Britney debacle years ago.)

At the big induction banquet on Saturday, I got to show Todd around my old school, which does indeed seem much smaller than when I was a student there. He pretended to be most impressed by my picture with the cheerleading squad in the trophy case, although he may have been a bit shocked at just how bad my hair was back then. I know I was.

It's always very impressive to see and hear how much my mom has influenced so many people that have come through that school system. She can remember something about every one, and each one believes he was her favorite. That's a good quality in a teacher, if you ask me.

[I deleted yesterday's Public Service Announcement. Upon further reflection, it was more hateful than funny. So . . . move along, nothing to see here.)

Tune in tomorrow -- I plan to have an actual, live, finished craft project on display.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Transvestites and Family and Diving, Oh, My!

I really don't want this blog to become just a diary of what I do, day in and day out (because that would be super dull, for one thing), but I had such a good weekend that it deserves a recounting -- at least of the highlights.

On Friday, Todd and I went to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Actors Theatre. Oh. My. God. It was funny and loud and obnoxious and sweet and just fantastic all the way around. There was a good mix of people there, some who were obviously there because they were season ticket-holders, and some die-hard Hedwig fans, like me. We even ran into an attorney we know, who looked a bit shell-shocked, but said he thought he could "get used to" the music. I tell you what, it was a good thing we went at the end of the run, because I would have wanted to go back. As it is, I'm going to have to re-rent the movie soon.

Saturday my dad had a family reunion at the farm -- a bit odd, as this was HIS family, as in, people I've never really met before (yes, we have some strange family dynamics, but who doesn't?) -- but I think it made him really happy to have everyone there, so it was nice. And between my niece and I, we are SO close to getting him to buy horses.

And yesterday, we finally -- FINALLY -- were able to go scuba diving for the first time since we were certified well over a year ago. We went to a quarry nearby in Oldham County which is used as a dive training center mostly, with some fun stuff sunk in the water. We saw a few boats, a gargoyle, a stone rooster, and a realty sign -- just ordinary stuff which nonetheless seems surreal when underwater.

We did have some problems. Todd continues to have difficulties with his ears, and my buoyoancy is just OUT OF CONTROL (it's the peril of being very "floaty"). At one point, I popped up to the surface and just COULD NOT get myself back down. I flipped over and tried to kick my way down, but all that happened was I hung there for what seemed like forever, getting out of breath while my feet (in their flippers) kicked around wildly above the surface. (I would love to see what that looked like from shore.) Todd kept grabbing me and trying to pull me back down, but when he would let go, I'd pop back up on top. Kind of like an aquatic version of Weebles Wobbling But Not Falling Down.

Anyway, we were underwater and actually breathed air out of a tank, so in my book, the excursion was an unqualified success. I mean, the last time we tried to dive, my dive equipment only got wet because I dropped it in the water accidentally. Did I ever tell you that story? You know, the one about the sociopath middle-schooler with the fishing pole who swore she was just going to "sit right here" and watch the fish but not -- oh, definitely not -- throw her hook in on us?

No? Well, let's just say that compared to that trip, you can call this one a success.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If You Have the Technology, You Can SO Rebuild Me

Okay, here's the question: if you had the chance, would you let yourself be made "bionic?"

I watched the series premiere tonight of the new "Bionic Woman." It's pretty hard for me to put aside my nostalgic love for the original (and seriously, how sad is it that the Bionic Woman now sells mattresses on TV infomercials?) but I have to say, I'm kind of liking this new show.

So, anyway -- would YOU become bionic? Because the new Jaimie Sommers is not at all happy about it. I spent the first half of the show saying, "what the heck is HER problem?"

Todd was feeling pretty sympathetic to ol' Jaimie, I think, until I pointed out that the alternative to the bionics was being a triple amputee with a bum ear who was blind in one eye.

"Oh, yeah," he said.

Overall, I think I'm in favor of super powers. I heard once about a personality test which asks you to choose between being able to fly and being invisible. Something about people who choose to be invisible are sneaky and stuff, and they like . . . well, being invisible.

Okay, so maybe I don't really remember what the results of that particular personality test were supposed to be. But it's big fun to think about, isn't it? To me, it's no contest at all. I would choose flying.

No more waiting for the bus or paying to park. No more searching around for the cheapest airline. Nope, not me. I'd just fly myself on vacation. Cool.

I feel like such an adult these days -- I've started telling Todd my wishes in the event of some life tragedy:

1) No airbrushed t-shirts saying "RIP Kara", and

2) If the opportunity should arise, he should TOTALLY make me bionic.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What I Do For Fun

dI'm going to be starting a new part-time job next month as a tutor for grade-school kids (more on this later, I'm sure), and while it's only a few hours at a time, and I get to set my own schedule, I've been concerned about what this would do to dinnertime at the Lewis house.

You see, we're dinner snobs.

I'm not sure how it happened. My favorite dinner, pre-marriage, was Zataran's red beans and rice, followed closely by my second favorite dinner, Mrs. T's pierogies.

And while Todd did come into the marriage with a reportoire that includes eggplant lasagna -- a dish I've never even attempted -- I think canned minestrone soup was on his menu more often than not.

But somehow, when the two of us set up house together, we started cooking "real" dinners. Blame it on the Food Network, I guess, but we routinely have some pretty well-rounded and tasty stuff.

So I decided that if I'm going to be getting home a bit later a few days a week (yet not late enough to chuck it all and go out to eat), I'm going to need a freezer full of home-made yummies, and since Todd's in trial this week, I got started tonight.

We're starting with beef dishes, since there's a half a cow in my freezer waiting to be used. As of 9:00 p.m. tonight, my freezer holds the following:

2 Meatloaves
1 Honkin' Big Shepherd's Pie (because I didn't have quite enough for two)
3 Bags of 3-Bean Chili
1 Bag of Carrot-Ginger Soup (Which does not have beef. It was a slight diversion.)

There's probably one more beef night coming up, and then a chicken night and a vegetarian night. I may even throw in a few desserts or breads. All in all, I found it to be most entertaining.

You may say Geek, but I say . . . Domestic Goddess.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't Tase Me, Bro!

FX has stopped showing Buffy the Vampire Slayer at 7:00 a.m.

This means that today I was forced to watch The Today Show while I ate breakfast. It was okay, though, because I got to see the story about the Florida college student who was "tased" at a John Kerry speaking event.

If you haven't seen this yet, get thee to YouTube straight away.

I definitely don't consider myself a staunch "pro-police" kind of gal, and I'm usually the first one to stand up for the little people.

But is this guy for REAL? As he's being led away by one arm, he's waving the other arm in the air, screaming "Help, help!" I kept expecting him to add, "help me Baby Jesus, help me Tom Cruise, help me Jewish God," a la Ricky Bobby. The cops looked as befuddled as I was. Throughout the incident, Kerry (ever the lovable bore) is still calmly answering questions.

My third favorite part is where he's told he will be tased if he doesn't cooperate, and after further struggle he calls out, "don't tase me, bro!"

Second favorite -- the very precise and distinct "ow" he yells as he's actually being tased. Not "AAAAAH!" but a definite "OW". THIS part reminds me of the ever-classic local news episode in which our own Louis Coleman subjected himself to the taser for the benefit of viewers. Classic.

But my absolute favorite part of the whole thing? (Which, unfortunately, is cut off in the YouTube link above.) Post-tasing, dude is standing pretty calmly, being loosely held by the police, then suddenly looks at the camera and exclaims, "they're giving me to the government!"

Oh, NO! The GOVERNMENT! Dum dum DUM . . . . (Please note that said government released this pathetic guy on his own recognizance this morning.)

But on a serious note, one thing that does really need to be addressed -- and soon:

Just what is the correct verb form of "taser?" Is it "tase," as our erstwhile Floridian seems to think? Or is it "taser," as in "bro DID taser me!"

Did he get TASED? Or did he get TASERED?

The world may never know.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mother Nature is a Big Fat Tease

I'm not one to get too excited about the weather. Mostly, when everyone is saying things like, "what a beautiful day; I can't wait to get outside," I'm thinking, "what a great day to sit on the couch with a good book. Seriously, it usually takes a snowstorm -- which provides infinite opportunities to sit around with a good book -- to get me excited.

But this weekend? Beautiful. Cool nights, crisp morning air, and just a hint of those long shadows that signal the start of Autumn, with its art festivals, chili, and the annual Pulling Out of the Winter Clothes.

I went to the farmer's market on Saturday, and people, let me tell you -- it's OVER. The tomatoes weren't quite as red, and where a few weeks ago, they were spilling over the edge of the tables and rolling through the church parking lot, on Saturday, there were just a few sitting forlornly in a bunch. You couldn't even call it a heap.

The eggplants looked smaller, and the peppers sort of pale. Shoot, the honey guy has apparently packed it in altogether.

And although the summer has been nearly a bust, food-wise (nary a blueberry or a blackberry to be found), I have to say I wasn't too sad to see the decline of the farmer's market. Fall is such a happy time.

I tend to think of Autumn as the REAL New Year's. It's when I get excited about getting back into my "normal" routine; excited about the promise of a new "school" year with shiny new pencils and notebooks.

Ahh, Fall.

Then I watched the weather reports for this week. Eight-eight honkin' degrees on Wednesday.

Crappity crapola. Now I have to shove all those sweaters back in the closet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Perils of Modern Medicine

Those of you who have known me for awhile know about my problems with the drug Topomax a few years back. And if you didn't know me then, let's just say you should always -- ALWAYS -- read the fine print regarding drug side effects.

You'd think I would learn.

Monday I went to my doctor with a whole list of woes; none of them serious in and of themselves, but all adding up to: I FEEL LIKE CRAP!

We discussed my apparent now urgent need to lose weight (I won't bore you with another whiny post about THAT), and just getting healthier in general, and I told her that I was concerned about being on too many drugs (all legal, I assure you).

She sort of squinted at my medical profile on her computer, and said, "what do you mean?"

"Well, just for the migraines, there's the Inderal, the Keppra, and the Imitrex . . . "

She had a look of horror on her face. "Who prescribed you Keppra?"

"Um . . . the neurologist you sent me to."

She started frantically typing and pulling up different drug screens. "Look at this!"

"This" was a list of side effects for Keppra, including at least four of the things I had just been complaining about.

So she says, "Well, are your migraines better, at least?"

No. Not so much.


Seriously, will I EVER learn? Read the fine print, people -- if a drug "might" cause sleepiness, depression, and feelings of inability to cope with everyday life -- DON'T TAKE THE DAMN DRUG!

Anyway, I still need to lose weight, but without that evil drug of the devil's spawn, I have more energy today than I've had in months. And I'm feeling like I might get to the end of the week without pulling an Edie Sedgewick and jabbing heroin needles in my ass through my clothes.

I tell you what, that Reagan lady got one thing right -- just say no, people. Just say no.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Unfocused Angst

Todd and I were leaving the grocery store the other day, and I noticed this:

After I stopped laughing, I returned to my current state of bitter angst regarding the next presidential election.

Yes, I'm angsty. And not just about the Republican prospects (although, I'm afraid the only reason that Voldemort wouldn't be elected by the Republican party is that he's, well, British) but about the whole dang thing. About the war, and the Creation Museum, and that creepy prosecutor guy from Law and Order.

About used-to-be-cool-but-now-is-just-a-whackjob-John McCain and global warming and people who still hate Bill Clinton.

About conservative Christians and not-liberal-enough-Democrats and whatever-happened-to-Howard-Dean-anyway?

It's a hard time to be a bleeding heart. Even harder to be a Christian, and watch fellow Christians be afraid to stand up for what THEY believe in, even if it's not what THOSE Christians say we should believe in.

Ack. Too much angst. I remember when I voted in my first presidential election. I was a freshman at WKU, and all my friends were walking around wearing "I'm for Hillary's Husband" buttons. It was exciting, and optimistic -- and it was good. I know that most people are nostalgic for their college years. I'm nostalgic for a winning vote.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm not very optimistic anymore. I'd like to be, but you know, I went to Canada on vacation, and the French get free health care and more vacation time.

And I really hate that Law and Order guy.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Fripperies Go Thoughtful

Have you ever gotten one of those oh-so-sappy e-cards, for your birthday or some such event? If so, I bet it wasn't this one:

HA! I love it! E-cards that are actually cool. Actually, I saw a sort of cool Halloween one at the Kentucky Prosecutor's Conference which simulated having a stalker. Creepy, but cool. (I'm sort of annoyed that no one's ever taken the time to stalk me. What, am I not stalker-worthy?) I don't know where that one came from, but this site is my new favorite place for e-cards.

I should send this one to my office-mate who took the LSAT a few months ago:

Hell, I should send this one to just about everyone I know:

I'll just chalk these up as yet another thing I wish I'd thought of first. Happy sending, everybody!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Know When I'm Being Ganged Up On

I'm eating dinner tonight, and I have a few yummy bites of meatloaf, maybe a smidge of mashed potato, and a couple sips of homemade beer left. It's an all-around pleasant end to an all-around pleasant family dinner.

Then, THIS one:

decides she has waited long enough and proceeds to start "improperly eliminating."

I yell, "Stop!" (which she does), jump up, slap the leash on her and run out the door. Todd followed me out.

So I'm standing in the yard, waiting for Penny to finish up what she had only just started, and I look in the window into my house, and see THIS one:

with his paws on the table, finishing my dinner.

Penny might get off with a misdemeanor, seeing as how she was just a facilitator, but I'm thinking Sam's getting some serious time for this one.

Look at him! He doesn't even have the nerve to look sorry!

Conspiracy, I tell you . . . conspiracy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Reasons to Use the Value-Market Delivery Service

For some reason, going to the neighborhood Kroger is often more . . . shall we say . . . interesting -- than it should be.

There was the time the clerk yelled down the check out line at me, "Hey, you used to be my Public Defender! You really got me off!"

Then there was the time the shoplifters blew past me to get out the door with their cart-load of DVDs and the security guy hit ME with the mace.

Then today, I'm trying to pay for my clementines and milk and the clerk announces to me (and everyone else within a fifty foot radius):


All-righty, then.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Sad Loss

I just found out that Kentucky's first African-American Supreme Court Justice, William E. McAnulty, Jr., died last night after being diagnosed with lung cancer just a few months ago, in June. He was 59 years old.

I feel so sad about this. I would never claim to know Justice McAnulty personally, but I did have the opportunity to meet him. When I was in law school, I did a brief stint in his office (he was on the Court of Appeals at that time) to fulfill the public service requirements for graduation.

He was nice to me. He was an important figure in the Kentucky judiciary, and he took a few moments to sit with me, informally, and talk to me about what I was interested in, and what kind of career I hoped to have. He seemed to actually care what I had to say. He had a wicked sense of humor.

Justice McAnulty was one of the good guys. My heart goes out to his family and friends, along with my prayers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Friday Fripperies Go Yellow!

Friday fripperies return today (even though it's still a little bit of Thursday as I'm writing this) with this bit of fun stuff:

Simpsonize me!

I happen to be married to a big-time Simpsons fan, so much so that we just HAD to eat at Burger King while on vacation. (He said it was because all the other restaurants in that town looked "sketchy," but I don't think I believe him.)

Here's the lovely mister, a la Homer:

And me!:

Fun stuff, that. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some Ramblings, and a Book Review in Pictures

So much of my life has been defined by books.

I remember when Sunday was the longest day ever, because it was the day the public library was closed, so there was no hope of convincing anyone to take me there.

I remember that my mom bought me all the Judy Blume books, even when they were banned in most libraries (although she wouldn't let me give them to my friends for Christmas, in case their parents didn't approve).

I remember the third grade, when I had to have surgery on my tongue (no, I'm not kidding), and this horrifying prospect was made bearable by the fact that I got to buy three -- count 'em, three! -- new books for the hospital stay.

Do you ever find yourself thinking about someone you used to know, and about something they said or did, and then realizing they are not someone you know at all, but a character in a favorite book? I do that ALL the time, and it's weird, I tell you. I cull through my collection at least once a year, but there are many, many books that I will keep forever, because getting rid of them would be like losing a part of my family.

Today, I was finally able to talk to a good friend about my most favorite book in the whole world, The Sparrow. If you have read and liked this book, I consider you an immediate friend, the kind of person I can have a serious conversation with. I think everyone in the world should read it. It makes my chest kind of ache to remember it. I've threatened to make reading it a condition of probation in all the cases I prosecute. (I swear, one day I'll do it, so watch out, criminal underbelly of Louisville.)

All of that to say this: I read a fabulous book while I was on vacation, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. It made my chest ache a little, too. And since I finished it, the characters are still with me, just hanging out, in my head. It was just magical, and beautiful, and I think will always remind me of the magical and beautiful places I went.

This picture reminds me of the book:

And so does this one:

And this one (in a scary kind of way):

Anyway, just read it. Or read The Sparrow. Or read whatever it is you like to read, even if it's -- gasp! -- non-fiction. You'll be just ever-so-slightly different afterwards; and you'll have a whole slew of new friends.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vacation, Phase Four: Lake Placid

To wind up our whirlwind, two-country tour, Todd and I spent our last two nights of vacation in Lake Placid.

Todd took the opportunity to do some fishing -- the serious kind that requires "waders" and "flies" and other, unidentifiable stuff. I asked him if he felt like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It. If you haven't seen that movie, (and I highly recommend it) it sort of implies that bait fishing is for Baptists, and fly-fishing is reserved for Presbyterians. Since he's married to a Presbyterian, I guess it works out.

(Speaking of religion, some drunk guy on the plane home asked me if I was a Mormon. When I said no, he said, "well, you know, because you're reading.")

While Todd was fishing and being otherwise active, I was doing some serious sleeping-in, reading (like a Mormon), and wandering around the town.

Once I had been sufficiently lazy, we ended the trip with a drive up to Whiteface Mountain, where they did the ski jumps for said Olympics. The drive up there was a bit harrowing for me -- I don't do too well with heights, and if you know me at all, you also know that I don't do too well with driving.

But the drive was NOTHING -- nothing, I tell you, to the "short" walk up to the peak. I'll give them the "short" part; it's only about a fifth of a mile, according to the sign. But that fifth is STRAIGHT FUCKING UP (sorry, Mom) and on uneven rock steps with only the flimsiest of flimsy guard rails to keep you from tumbling over the side.

Well. I made it about a fifth of that fifth of a mile, then my legs started shaking so bad I thought they might shake me off the mountain, and I freaked out and cried to Todd, "I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS AT ALL!" Then I turned around and crept -- yes, crept -- down the steps and walked as close to the mountain side as I could all the way to the elevator.

Yes, folks, there's an elevator to the top. Just especially for big ol' chickens like me. The view was lovely; well worth the elevator trip. (Nothing is worth those steps.)

And that was all. Lickety-split, vacation was over. I have to say it was a good one.

Tomorrow it's back to the old grind. I'll have to start taking some pretty pictures of Louisville, just to keep the blog from looking dreary.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Vacation, Phase Three: Quebec City

Hello? Hello?

Sorry. We lost internet access for several days, so we've got some catching up to do!

After a last morning in Montreal (in which we saw the most beautiful open-air market I have ever seen and Todd ate boar on a stick, but my camera batteries were dead, so I guess I won't even tell you about it), we headed on toward Quebec City.

Great googly moogly, you have to seen this place. Our guide book said that most first-time visitors walk around with their mouths open, and we did just that. We were only there for one night, but it was plenty of time to wander the streets of this beautiful city that looks like it could out-Paris Paris. (France, not Hilton.)

It's just one big photo op -- hence the overload of pictures in this post!

Next up: Lake Placid.

P.S. Oh, yeah, I know in my last post I said that we had big plans that I didn't want to jinx by talking about them. Well, apparently, just the mention was enough to jinx them. It's a long tale of woe with some comic relief thrown in, so I plan to blog about it sometime this week. For now, let's just say that scuba diving does not seem to be in our immediate destiny.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vacation, Phase Two: Montreal

Let's see . . . where did I leave off yesterday?

Oh, yes, arriving in Montreal. Well. The first thing I noticed upon crossing the Quebec border -- was:


Yes, Virginia, they DO speak French in Quebec. Huh. Who wudda thunk? AND, they have different money. I admit, I was unreasonably excited to see Canadian money come out of the ATM -- like that was NORMAL or something.

But I think we have managed quite nicely, thank you very much. When we got here last night, we stumbled into a restaurant from our Lonely Planet guide with a beer list longer than the menu. In case you don't know, we refer to such a circumstance as Lewis Family Heaven.

And the food menu? Mussels. A long, long list of different kinds of mussels, all you can eat. They brought our mussels out in something that can really only be described as a stockpot, and we dug in.

And kept digging. Very, very yummy dinner. Very, very full Lewis bellies.

Our little hotel room is, as I mentioned previously, over a jazz club, where the Montrealers partied like rock stars into the wee hours, with some great music floating up to our room. I don't even think of myself as a jazz fan, but I'm liking this. Oh, and our hotel room has a Murphy bed. How cool is that? It also has a teeny little kitchenette with a microwave, coffee maker, toaster oven, stove and refigerator, all tucked into a teeny little closet. I love it, and have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how I could live in such a small space.

Today, we hauled ourselves all over the city, exploring. We visited the Notre Dame Basilica:

People, I know this picture is crappy, but this is a CHURCH. Made me fervently wish I was Catholic, if only so I could light a candle. If I were Catholic, and I knew you, I'd light a candle for you at the slightest provocation. They're just so glimmery and glowy -- who could resist?

We saw some pretty buildings of important historical stuff:

We saw flame-jugglers and sword-swallowers out in the street and somehow neglected to get a picture.

We saw a punk/goth/strange people festival where a guy was wearing a condom costume, and . . . you guessed it . . . somehow neglected to get a picture.

And we viewed Montreal from their big park-on-a-hill . . .

. . . where we also witnessed the feeding of some little French-speaking raccoons.

As an interesting aside, we also came very close to getting a French language traffic ticket from a French-speaking cop when we illegally turned left in violation of the French sign prohibiting such activity.

My defense was going to be that we actually turned while speaking English, so it didn't count.

Todd didn't have much of a defense, but he did happen to have his driver's license in an ID holder with his badge. The cop asked what it was, and we realized we don't know the word for "prosecutor" in French. The cop finally asked, "You don't DEFEND CRIMINALS, do you?"

Why, HECK no. Who on earth would do such a thing? Not us, certainly. No sirree-bob. We are very anti-criminal in the Lewis household. We eat criminals for breakfast, you know.

So he let us go. Whew. We survived the near-ticket experience, and were able to enjoy our delicious dinner (Peruvian restaurant -- I don't think I've ever eaten that before, but I can say it was excellent), sans French handcuffs.

For tomorrow, we have some definite plans. Goals, even. But I am sore afraid of jinxing those plans, so I won't mention them at all. You'll just have to tune in for an update tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vacation, Phase One: Thousand Islands

After months of planning and a few agonizing weeks getting things in order to leave town, Todd and I have finally done it -- we're on vacation!

The first leg of our trip was in the Thousand Islands region of New York. We flew into Syracuse, New York and picked up our rental car to drive to Clayton. We arrived early afternoon to a town that looked suspiciously like, well . . . Eminence.

With one big exception: the St. Lawrence River. Lord, this river is gorgeous. If your idea of a river is the Ohio, you ain't seen nothin'. This water is CLEAR -- I swear you wouldn't mind drinking it! It's a pretty good area for all water activities. Our first afternoon we saw a new one -- bike retrieval.

Seriously, some dude dove down right in front of our inn and hooked himself two bikes. Huh.

Anyway, after checking into the inn (site of the first serving of Thousand Islands dressing to the public, no less) we drove around the area a bit and ate dinner at a little restaurant on the river, where we saw this:

Oh, yeah. That's when you know you're on vacation -- when you take sunset photos.

Monday morning we went on what turned out to be a great kayaking trip. I have to admit, kayaking is not my absolute favorite activity in the world, but in the right conditions, it can be great. And these conditions were right. Beautiful weather (in the mid to upper 70's), great conversation, and cute little islands to navigate around. Here's proof that I actually took part in this activity:

Not that I think you wouldn't believe me, but proof never hurts.

Todd took advantage of our own little deserted island to do some snorkeling:

Later that afternoon, we tried the hardest two people could ever try to go scuba diving. Here's how the afternoon went:

1. Arrive at dive shop. Encounter the world's surliest, most unhelpful and quite possibly craziest dive shop lady. Rent equipment. Ask her for directions to dive sites. She responds: "it's right there in town."
2. Locate first dive location. Discover we have no way of determining our depth (yes, that's important. Haven't you heard of the bends?). Snorkel for awhile, trying to figure this out.
3. Go back to dive shop. Ask about depth gauge. Learn we've had one all along. Harumph.
4. Locate second dive location. Have to stop for directions from girl at national park: "it's right there in town."
5. Drag dive gear to site. Discover that we have been given wrong equipment.
6. Curse crazy old bat who gave us defective equipment.
7. Give up and snorkel.

Actually, although not diving was a big bummer, we did some great snorkeling. We found the remains of some kind of wreck that was shallow enough we could dive to it without equipment. And I just love to watch fish hanging out in their own environment -- and I'm not ordinarily a fish kind of person. But did you know that fish hang out and sit on rocks?

I swear, I saw a fish sitting on a rock. Cool. Todd kept trying to catch one with his bare hands, but those fish were all, "get OUT, crazy land dude. We are not getting caught by bare hands."

This morning, after returning defective dive equipment and getting our money back from crazy dive shop lady, we took a tour of Boldt Castle:

Here's the story: this dude Boldt, some kind of hotel magnate, became enamored of the Thousands Islands, so he bought himself an island, changed its name to Heart Island, and started building a big ol' castle for the love of his life, Louise.

You wouldn't think someone named Louise would inspire such passion, would you? Celeste, maybe. Or Delilah. Louise -- not so much.

Anyway. So, Boldt is just building along, and Louise dies. (Of "consumption," which is what all romantic heroines are supposed to die of.) Boldt immediately orders that all work stop, and the place sat vacant until the mid 1970s, when restoration began.

The coolest part of this story? While it was sitting vacant, it was apparently a graffiti mecca. Seriously, we saw graffiti inside dated WAY back -- like in the 1920's. How cool is that? Some dude even put his address, with a plea: "Please write." I swear, if it hadn't been dated 1927, I would write to the poor schmuck.

After the tour, we headed out of town, crossed the border (where we encountered very suspicious Canadian dudes) and arrived in Montreal tonight. So far it's been great (I'm writing this while listening to the music from the jazz bar downstairs, for example), but this his been a super long post already, so I'll pick up with Montreal tomorrow.

In the meantime, greetings from the Lewis Family vacation!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Actually, I DID Go to Law School for This

So . . . this morning I was feeling a little bit down as I walked into work. A little useless. Like my job isn't important; like I don't do anything worthwhile and don't get any respect.

And then, just when I was giving a great big sigh, the god of lame, bummed-out prosecutors smiled down on me for one perfect moment when I saw . . .


People, I shit you not. Oh, I have never wanted a camera phone so badly. I wish you could have seen it:

Silver high heels.

Makeup that would make our old friend Edie Sedgewick proud.

Long, red hair that was either a wig, a weave, or just sprayed within an inch of its life.

And a tiara. Actually, it looked a bit more like a Junior High School beauty pageant crown, but I tell you what -- she worked it like it was a tiara worthy of Queen Elizabeth.

I'm not sure even ol' Elizabeth could have sauntered through the district court throngs with the same grace and aplomb as this lady. I wanted to cheer when she went past. I'm afraid I did the proverbial double-take. A detective standing next to me said, "I almost bowed just now."

Oh, yeah. THAT's what I'm talking about. A reason to keep going to work every day.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Plea For Help

Meet Iago:

I first met him about eleven years ago. He had been found hiding under the steps of a realty office in Eminence, Kentucky, a little kitten, all alone. Since a woman who worked there knew that I was in the market for a kitten, she brought him to me.

He was pretty scraggly. But a few shots, and a lot of Iams later, he was sleek, healthy, and happy.

He's all grown up now, still sleek and healthy, but not quite as happy.

See, my life has changed a lot in the past eleven years ago. He's stuck by me through a lot of stuff, but when, a few years ago, "stuff" included living with another cat, he kind of reached his limit.

The simple truth is, Iago just doesn't like other animals. People, of all shapes, ages, and sizes, he loves. Animals -- not so much.

So I find myself in a position of looking for a new home for Iago. And since this is proving to be more difficult than I really imagined, I'm appealing to the "internets" in the hopes that there might be some lonely animal lover silently reading my blog, who would be interested in giving Iago a new home.

So, anyway, here are the particulars:

1. Iago -- named after the Shakespearean character, not the parrot in "Aladin."

2. Approximately 11-12 years old.

3. In perfect health. Has been accused of being fat, but has been confirmed by more than one vet to be decidedly "big-boned." Neutered. Declawed in the front, but has claws in the back.

4. Very handsome, orange with a bulls-eye pattern on his side.

5. Likes snuggling with humans, cramming himself into small spaces, and sleeping in closets.

6. Needs a loving home where he can relax and soak up some personal attention.

I really want him to have that loving home where he can be happy again. If you might be that person who can offer that, just leave me a comment with a way to contact you. I would send along with him a new litter box and litter, his favorite sleeping basket, and a few bags of food.

And if you aren't in a position to help him out, I'd really appreciate any spreading of the word you can do.

Thanks, animal lovers!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Shawl of Many Colors

For the past few months, I've been kind of "meh" about my various craft projects.

You heard me: MEH.

The "It" dress is too hard, quilting is WAY too hard, and knitting . . . well, knitting is hot. Plus, I had determined that the yarn stash is a bit out of control and it needed to be weaned down a bit before any new yarn purchases could be made.

But the other day, while pondering, yet again, the virtues of being a hippy versus being "mod," I was inspired. I had visions of an oh-so-cool, so-ugly-its-cute shawl made of granny squares. The kind of thing that Dharma's mom would have worn.

So, I gathered the stash, and "commenced ta grannyin!" Here's what I have so far:

The plan? Well, we're going kind of loosey-goosey on this one.
Step One: Granny until there's no stash left.
Step Two: Tie those suckers together in some sort of shawl-like shape.
Step Three: Throw it over my shoulders and embrace my inner hippy.

I'll keep you updated, but I have high hopes for this one.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Perils of Monday Night Television

I freely admit that I am addicted to watching TLC television.

"Little People, Big World?" I'm there. "What Not to Wear?" SO there.

So I really don't think I can be blamed for being sucked into the show that was on last night about the Duggar Family.

Have you heard about these people? An Arkansas family, some variety of conservative fundamentalist Christian, who have . . .

(Oh, Lord, I can't even type it without taking a deep breath first.)

. . . seventeen children.


People, I have seen hell, and it is the Duggar Family. Imagine: seventeen children, two sets of twins, dressed in uniformly bad clothing, all with NAMES THAT BEGIN WITH J.

Oh, and the father's name is Jim Bob. And he has served as an Arkansas state legislator. You guess at the party affiliation. Go on, guess!

I used to think that Saw was the most disturbing thing I had ever seen, but after watching this show, I had to huddle under the dining room table for an hour, rocking back and forth, holding on to my Ortho-Novum for dear life.

Their justification for single-handedly ensuring the survival of the Republican Party? They asked God to bless them with as many children as He saw fit. Mom Michelle (who has, without a doubt, the worst hair I have ever seen, and since I'm from Henry County, AND work in warrant court every day, that's saying something) says, "Children are like flowers, how could you ever have too many?"

Well, hells bells, Michelle, have a flower garden, then, but STOP with the children! Even Angelina Jolie is appalled!

Does God want ANYONE to have seventeen children? I mean, God knows me pretty well, I think, and I'm not sure that He is willing to trust me with even one. I think he's waiting to see how Penny the Wonder Puppy turns out.

And I can't help but think about all the resources going into the upkeep of seventeen baby Duggars, and what could be done with all that money. I mean, I suppose people have a right to make their own decisions about whether to have children or not, and how many, but doesn't seventeen seem a bit . . . well . . . irresponsible?

Not to mention . . . OUCH.

Say it with me ladies: OW-FREAKING-CH.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Just Another Random Monday

Do you know any of those people who use the word "literally" alot?

As in, the classic: "I was literally scared to death. TO DEATH, I tell you."

Sheesh. Can't we just delete the poor word from the dictionary and put it out of its misery?

But I have to say, this weekend was a pain in the neck.


I woke up on Saturday, full of resolve to swim laps and reward myself with a trip to the Farmer's Market, tried to do something outrageous -- like look to the right -- and HURT MY NECK.

Seriously, how stupid is that? I spent most of Saturday laying on the couch and whining about how I couldn't move my head.

(Which reminds me of a friend of mine who once thought her dog had had a stroke, but in fact, he had just strained his neck. Why that cracks me up today, I do not know.)

People, I'm here to tell you, you do not appreciate the normal range of motion you have with your neck. Necks are marvelous things, and I will never, ever, take mine for granted again. I'm going to give it a little grateful pat right now, just for good measure.

It IS getting better, now, thank you very much. But still -- SHEESH.

I tried to drown my sorrows with a new batch of banana ice cream, this time with toffee chips. The lesson I learned from this experiment: Toffee chips are mostly SUGAR and therefore will DISSOLVE if left to sit in the ice cream mixture to chill.

So the banana ice cream was just plain banana ice cream with a mild toffee flavor. Scrumptious nonetheless, particularly with a bit of butterscotch ice cream topping. Boy howdy.

And since I could quite easily look straight forward, Todd and I watched a movie on Saturday, too: Factory Girl. I had never even heard of Edie Sedgwick before this, but now I am totally obsessed with whether I would have been "mod" or "hippy" had I been alive in the 60's.

I've always said that I would have been a hippy anti-war activist, but that was before I had fully appreciated the makeup that the Edie Sedgwick-types wore.

Have you SEEN that makeup? The dark, dark eyeshadow, the thick eyeliner, and the FALSE EYELASHES?!? It makes me swoon. And the earrings? Man, oh man. Give me some thigh-high boots and a polka-dotted minidress and I would be perfectly happy. Shoot, I think I could make my hair look mod right now, with the cut I so fortuitously already have.

And yes, now that you mention it, I DO think I would steer clear of the propensity to jam heroin filled syringes into my ass THROUGH MY CLOTHES. No need to go overboard, people.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Well-Deserved Credit

When I was a brand-spanking-new public defender who had never had my own desk before, I had a fabulous secretary. One of those really good ones who you could trust implicitly to take care of you; one of those people who made you look good.

She became a good friend. She was a single mom, had been in the military, and was struggling to raise her son, go to school, work full-time, and keep it all going on the salary of a secretary at a public defender's office (I'm sure you can imagine that people don't exactly get rich at such a job).

That was nearly five years ago. Last night I went to a reception for her to celebrate her new position as the first full-time -- PAID -- director of a group called "Women in Transition," a group she helped start.

WIT is a group which works at fighting the effects of poverty, and at preventing poverty. It was started by a group of college welfare recipients in the late 90's, just when the welfare laws were drastically changing. They are doing good work, and my friend has been with them since the beginning.

She's not going to get rich at this job, either. Not monetarily, anyway. But boy, did she look good, standing at a podium, talking about the work she plans to do, and the passion she has for doing it. I'm so proud of her, and so happy that she is getting the chance to do something with all that potential and talent -- happy that she's no longer using that talent to make some lawyer look good.

Todd and I have often spoken about how in our professions, we are surrounded by people who have pretty afluent and privileged backgrounds; third and fourth generation lawyers. I think we blend in pretty well, mostly, but the fact remains that we don't share that background.

And I'm glad.

My life is full of people who have come really far from where they started. All three of my own parents, as well as my parents-in-law, have done some pretty major pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. My father was in foster care. Both my step-father and my father-in-law did tours in Vietnam. My mother and my mother-in-law each lost fathers a lot younger than you should. None of them had any money. And I've learned something about life and survival and what it takes to find contentment from each of them.

It's a good legacy to have. I don't know that I'll ever be able to live up to it, or go as far, comparitively speaking, as they have. But I think they should know that I know it.

So, for my family, and my friend at WIT, and all those other people who have what they have because they've worked for it -- I'm proud of you all.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No Spoilers Here, and That's a Promise

Well, I finished the book. Stayed up till 5:30 this morning reading the first two-thirds, slept for a few hours, then finished the whole kit and caboodle about an hour ago.

I'm not going to post any sort of review or discussion. If you're not a Harry Potter fan, I've bored you enough in the past few days, and if you ARE a fan, you're probably still reading it yourself and/or likely have better insight than I do.

All I'm going to say is -- I liked it. Okay, I loved it. And I'm already looking forward to an annual re-read, much like I do with the Chronicles of Narnia. J.K. Rowling, go have yourself a butterbeer, or a martini, or whatever it is you like; you deserve it.

As for myself, I SO need a nap.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Very Surreptitious Friday Fripperies

Hello? Is it safe?

(creeping on tip-toe into the blog)

(whisper) Okay, I'm still pretty afraid to be here right now, what with all the spoilers, but wanted to pop in for some Friday Fripperies.

In anticipation of all the reading let-down after this weekend, I've been playing around with the What Should I Read Next site. Kind of fun, and has given me some suggestions of books I hadn't heard of before, which I take as a good sign.

Oh, and for those of you actually in Louisville (not you terrible horrible comment-spammers who have been dropping in lately -- I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND I'VE LEARNED HOW TO DELETE COMMENTS!) I just have to note that Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be at Actors Theatre, September 11-30. When a friend of mine left me a note at work about this, I think I actually squealed. I ADORE this movie, and listen to the soundtrack at least once a week. (Todd and I tried desperately to think of a song from it that we could play at our wedding reception, but I couldn't come up with one that I could listen to in the same room with my mother.) I am SO tempted to buy a Hedwig wig for the occasion.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Guest Post From My Inner 12-Year Old

Ack. Just Ack, and Harumph, too.

I'm sitting here, utterly terrified to go beyond my own blog into the wilds of the internet for fear of accidentally reading Harry Potter spoilers, which have already leaked, you know.

Shoot, now that I think about it, I'm really quite afraid that some rogue Harry-hater might leave a random comment on my blog telling me the ending.

People, I would cry.

My current plan involves extremely limited news access until Midnight on Friday, at which time I will go to the Dirty Kroger by my house (the bookstores aren't safe, I tell you), buy the book, and STAY UP ALL NIGHT to finish it before Time magazine puts the ending on the cover or something crazy like that.

So, in honor of this occasion, I thought I would put forth my own predictions -- PREDICTIONS, mind you, which are very, very different from SPOILERS, in that I am not actually friends with J.K. Rowling and haven't read the leaked pages (which purportedly include a lurid sex scene with Harry and Ginny -- odd departure for Ms. Rowling, I must say).

While I haven't written a dissertation on ol' Harry or anything (and yes, I've heard of some who have), I have read them all several times and I do have a few predictions, all of which will likely be wrong.

1. Harry will die. I think it's necessary. And I'm actually okay with this; I think it's vastly preferrable to Harry having to give up his powers or pulling a Frodo and withdrawing completely from normal life.

2. Hagrid will die. This will make me cry, and I hate it, but it's what I think. I just love that big ol' lug.

3. Ron and Hermione will both live, stay together and likely name their first-born Harry.

4. Hogwarts will reopen, but Harry won't return as a student.

5. Petunia will be revealed as a very cowardly woman who nonetheless loved her sister very much and has acted accordingly. (No, I'm not sure what exactly that means, it's just a feeling I have.)

6. Voldemort will be finally and irrevocably vanquished, all Horcruxes destroyed, etc., etc. Evil snake guy, poo on you.

7. Snape. What to say about Snape? Interesting how the most unlikeable character in the whole series also turns out to be the key to everything. Like Harry, I hate him enough to believe that he is evil. But I can't believe that Dumbledore was that wrong. So I -- reluctantly -- have to say he will turn out to be good. Good in the slimiest, ickiest, nauseating-est way possible. Greasy, nasty GIT (one of my favorite British words ever) -- poo on you, too. Even if you are "good."

What a let-down this will be when it's all over. I will probably pop in tomorrow to post some Friday Fripperies, but otherwise, I am UNDERGROUND from this point on. Battoning down the hatches, burying my head in the sand, etc., etc.

Be careful out there, everybody.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Warming the Cockles of Your Heart

Just a brief check-in; I'm in a (hopefully) super-quick trial today, but am also trying to be a more consistent blogger this week.

So . . . just to prove that not ALL animals are bad, I give you:

Otters Holding Hands

If this doesn't make you smile today, nothing will, and you probably need to get on some good drugs.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Sad Tale of the Four Animals' War

Once upon a time, there was a lovely young Princess who rescued a handsome Orange Cat from a life of scavenging on the streets. One day, the Princess met a lovely young man, and he had also rescued a scrappy Gray Cat from the streets. The Prince and the Princess fell in love.

The Prince and Princess lived together in a Castle, secure in their love and knowing that their two cats would love each other as well.

But dark times were coming to the Kingdom of the young lovers. The cats despised one another on sight, and each tried very hard to rid the Castle of the other. Failing in that endeavor, the Orange Cat began expressing his sorrow in the only way he knew how . . . through Improper Elimination.

These were troubled days, yet the Prince and Princess decided to bring into the Castle a new bundle of black labrador joy. Each secretly hoped this new addition would unite them all and bring peace to the Kingdom.

Peace was not to be found. The Prince and Princess sealed their devotion to one another in a ceremony full of pomp and circumstance and chocolate cake. Now King and Queen, they rescued a tiny and ailing baby girl -- the brown labrador kind -- and nursed her back to health.

The Royals felt their family was complete. Health and prosperity abounded in the Kingdom, with Cat and Dog Chow for all.

But alas, a curse was upon the Kingdom, for the Animals could not make their peace with one another. War ensued. The Cats fought daily for the contested rights to the Best Spot on the Bed, and Improper Elimination was used as a weapon of the highest evil.

The Brown Puppy, now recovered from her long illness, became a Force Which Could Not Be Contained. Her lust for life -- and jumping and biting -- knew no bounds, and though oft imprisoned in Pens and Crates, she always escaped to return to the battlefront. She, too, was well-versed in the weapon of Improper Elimination, and she added to her arsenal a new weapon which became known as Mass Book Destruction. Not even hardbacks were safe from her wrath.

The Black Dog attempted reconciliation on numerous occasions, but was defeated every time. He became more and more desperate in his attempts to protect the Castle and the King and Queen from the other Animals, while still fighting the forces of Thunder Storms and Fireworks, which often forced him to flee the Kingdom, albeit temporarily.

The King and Queen were very sad. The War reached its peak when the Orange Cat sustained an Injury to the Paw, but the fighting continued. Books continued to be destroyed, and damage to the Pens and Crates was, finally, irreparable. Fearing that the War would never end, the King and Queen went into exile, abandoning the Castle to the Four Animals. They renounced their throne, and worked as commoners to support themselves in the Village in a Single Bedroom Hovel with Washer and Dryer Hookups.

The King and Queen missed the Animals, each of whom they loved. They listened anxiously for news of the War of the Four Animals, but none came. Hearing their tale, the other villagers vowed never to employ the weapons of Improper Elimination and Mass Book Destruction against one another.

It is said that the War rages on still, and that the former King and Queen are still waiting for peace so that they may return home to the Castle. At times they contemplate adopting new Animals to keep them company, but they always manage to talk one another out of such a dire mistake.