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.