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  • Sunday, December 31, 2006

    A somber note

    I hate to end the year with such a bummer of a post, but I couldn't let this go without commenting.

    With the death toll of American soldiers in Iraq reaching 3,000, more Americans have died in that bloody bad decision than the total number of people killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks (2,973 fatalities + 24 still missing and presumed dead = 2,997). And I'm not including the numbers from troops killed in Afghanistan (357 Americans) -- or the casualties suffered by other countries.

    How can this be?

    I don't believe that our troops' presence in Iraq has anything to do with fighting terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. But many people do believe that pulling out of Iraq = victory for terrorism. While they may think that, it's nothing more than a sound byte. I have yet to hear a good, coherent, logical explanation of that particular equation. How will terrorism and the situation over there get worse than the shambles it is right now if American troops were to come home? What is the benchmark that we must hit for things to be "good enough" to allow autonomous governance by the Iraqis? Are things starting to turn around, warranting our continued presence? I don't think so. Sure, having our men and women over there provides a bit of an infrastructure, but all in all, is the American presence a stabilizing force -- or are they more of a target? And we've got to ask ourselves -- what are we getting out of the huge price we're paying for being in Iraq? The rising body count, the massive strain on our economy, the divisiveness it has fostered in American society, the toll it's taking on our foreign relations and international good will...?

    Saddam Hussein is dead and buried. His regime has been dismantled, and the Iraq he ruled, destroyed.

    If the first justification for our invasion (WMDs) has been exposed as a sham and the secondary excuse (to topple a dictator responsible for brutal mass murders) is no longer valid, then why are we there? Because we went in in the first place? That we can't leave the country more unstable than it was before we went in (which would be tantamount to admitting the invasion was a big mistake)? Because Americans solve problems (and are good guys), rather than create them? What, exactly, would be a "victory" in Iraq? Heck, what, at this point, would even constitute a good outcome?

    By any calculus -- moral, economic, political -- this makes no sense to me.

    Let's hope reason, compassion and visionary thinking -- rather than more partisan rhethoric -- are injected into the equation in 2007. Let's have the politicians answer for their bad decisions, not heap that burden on the backs of the soldiers. Good leadership also means recognizing when a change in strategy is necessary. The greatest vote of support we can give our troops is to devise a plan to bring them home.



    2006 in review

    2006 was a year of tremendous change for me, and it's ending on a very upbeat note. Yay! Here's hoping that 2007 continues the trend...

    Here are a few quick highlights, along with the first line of each first post of every month (yeah, how original). The two reviews provide a pretty good snapshot of 2006 as experienced in the She Says household.

    My highlights:
    * I took the bar without freaking out or throwing up in the middle of it.
    * I graduated from law school, with honors (I'm pretty proud of the honors part).
    * I found out I passed the bar without freaking out or throwing up (although there was a LOT of crying).
    * I got sworn-in as an attorney in Maryland (also no freaking out or throwing up).
    * I became a volunteer adult literacy tutor, which is an incredibly rewarding hour and a half of my week.
    * I met very cool fellow bloggers Ambib and Denise in person.
    * SM and I adopted an adorable pooch who is quite the sweetie. Our Gidgety-girl!
    * The dems crushed in the elections, which gives me hope for a change of course and policy priorities in our national politics.
    * I survived several months of unemployment and got a great job doing exactly the law I want to learn and practice. My instincts to quit my old job and hold out for the right job were confirmed despite all of the second-guessing along the way.
    * I travelled to places I had never been before: Houston, Nashville, Puerto Rico and Arizona (where I saw the Grand Canyon by helicopter!!! and visited the internment camp where my father spent about two years of his childhood).
    * Sadly, I did not get an international trip (something I've done every year for the past two decades) but I did have an international visitor (A from Canada) and two overseas trips -- Puerto Rico and Hawai`i.
    * I started a book club with several other fantastic women -- which has led to meeting more fabulous women and reading many good books.

    Of course, there were a few lowlights this past year too, but no need to revisit them. And fortunately, nothing was too, too bad. The worst of it was studying for, taking and waiting for the results of the bar -- and the stretch of unemployment. But those things were part of the evolution of my career, and I definitely gained from both experiences (and not just weight! also better insight about my character and tolerance for uncertainty).

    Blog posts (headline and first sentence):
    New legal precedent: Mooning Deemed 'Disgusting' but No Crime in MD.

    C = JD: This is the advice I was given when I started law school -- basically a reminder not to stress over my grades because the minimum GPA needed to graduate is a 2.0 = C.

    Geeky enough: I admit that I'm geeky enough to think it's cool how much information can be culled from the internet.

    Ah-ha!: For the past month and a bit, I've successfully put the horrors of the bar out of my head.

    Seen in the lobby: This magazine.

    This has got to be some kind of record: I am embarrassed to admit this, but I just returned two DVDs to Netflix today.

    Not just old, but creaky old: I had the most glamourous extended weekend of being laid up in bed all day Saturday and Sunday.

    The Chinese fortune cookie gods are spying on me: So, after my usual dial-a-dinner of Chinese food tonight, I cracked my fortune cookie.

    It's a bright, shiny new month: Still no news on three jobs, but I was only expecting to hear from one... Is no news good news?

    Verdict #2 (for last week): The photo was taken at Pololu Valley, Hawai`i (the Big Island) -- the north shore.

    Mean girls: Trauma this morning with the Gidget... on her morning walk, she encountered another pooch, a girl, and they got rough.

    Hawai`i or North Pole?: Despite signage to the contrary, I am in Hawai`i.

    And there you have it, ladies, gentlemen and others who prefer to eschew labels. Best wishes for a fantastic 2007 -- one that brings joy, health and good fortune to everyone!


    Saturday, December 30, 2006

    I'm a happy girl + mac tidbit

    So yay, I have good news about my li'l mac. The mac that could...

    I took my powerbook (G4) to the Apple Store this evening. I had dropped it on its side and ever since, it shorted out with a kernel panic at the slightest movement.

    When I told the "Genius" at the store my sad tale, he knew instantly what the problem was and fixed it in less time than we spent waiting for the appointment. Yay!

    Here's the deal, in case it happens to you... apparently, it is not uncommon that when a powerbook is dropped on its side (especially the left side), the airport card comes loose (or at least, loses its connection in its slot). After you pick up the computer and right it, it may work just fine, but it also may have an internal short because the airport card isn't probably inserted. All you need to do is open up the back, take out the battery, open the airport card slot and put in back in properly.

    And there ya' go. Done. Fixed.

    Now my little G4 is working just fine. And I am one happy camper. I can't tell you how great it was to have such a simple fix -- and for no charge.

    Plus -- bonus -- I got to make all sorts of comments (which I'm sure they've heard 10 gazillion times) about the job title "Genius". They even wear "Genius" t-shirts. Imagine having on your resume that you were a "genius" from, say, 2003-2006? But then when the store was upgraded, you weren't... or something like that.


    But, I'm not going to talk smack about the service. I thought the guy did a great job and I have no complaints whatsoever. It may not have been genius, but it was brilliant, as far as I'm concerned.


    Peace on Eid

    Eid Mubarak!

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    Tonight's plans

    SM and I are going out to a restaurant; my G4 is going to a bar, the genius bar.

    Yes, my li'l mac has a date with a genius at the Apple Store to address the former's panic attacks.

    Yes, I'm a bit nervous for my baby. I hope she and her innards are okay. I hope that my data stays intact. I hope that the folks at the bar live up to their label.

    And if they aren't (geniuses, that is), isn't that misleading and fraudulent advertising? Hmmm...


    Thursday, December 28, 2006

    Out of respect for President Ford

    W has declared January 2nd a holiday for the federal government.

    That means I get a four-day weekend and a three-day work week.

    It also means that in the first three weeks of my working for the federal government, I will have gotten as many holiday days off.

    And I ain't complaining at all!

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    Wednesday, December 27, 2006

    Sex and Blogging!

    Who could ask for anything more?

    The Washingtonienne blog heads to court. At issue, whether people who keep online diaries are obligated to protect the privacy of the people they interact with offline.

    Legal briefs and boxers... should be an interesting case to follow.

    I am, after all, a first amendment junkie.

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    Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    Revenge served warm

    I just farted on my dog.

    Heh. Heh, heh.

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    Bush signs bill to preserve internment camps

    Yay! This legislation is something I worked on at its inception -- and which is personally very gratifying to see enacted (not that I had that much to do with it, but enough to say I was involved).


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    Ya' know...!

    You know it must be a holiday week when the office is so empty that you hear someone down the hall fart.

    I just had that experience (of hearing someone toot).

    Omigawd. I wonder if they heard me chuckle?

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    Monday, December 25, 2006

    Merry Christmas!

    Wishing everyone peace, health and happiness!


    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    On the holidays

    What better way to celebrate the holidays than to sit on my ass and play online? Well, yeah, I'm doing that too, but I thought I'd also learn a little more about some traditions and the history behind the holidays, especially the ones I don't observe.

    Stuff I didn't know...
  • Christmas word origins

  • Hanukkah word origins

  • Background on Winter Solstice celebrations -- as distinct from the Pontiac Solstice, not a Native American celebration but rather a very jazzy roadster. Click here to send a Solstice e-card

  • Kwanzaa (from the official Kwanzaa site, mind you!)

  • Festivus (another made-up holiday... I wonder which has more adherents, Kwanzaa or Festivus? Hmmmm...)

  • information about other December celebrations

  • Of course, this list leaves out Boxing Day and the New Year's celebrations (both January 1st and the Lunar New Year). More on that in February. And remind me to tell you about the uniquely Japanese "holiday" of White Day (and no, unlike what someone once suggested, it did not originate in apartheid South Africa) in March.

    Off to mom's as soon as I finish here.

    Happy Hols everyone!

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    Saturday, December 23, 2006

    Movie meme

    The holiday season is when the networks traditionally broadcast the tried and true favorite movies to draw in all of us who are overstuffed with cookies and candy and have no interest in moving off of the sofa (especially if it's cold out).

    Well, that inspired this movie meme... here ya' go:

    1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
    Oooh, that's really easy. The Sound of Music jumps instantly to mind. Other contenders would be Miracle on 34th Street or maybe It's a Wonderful Life (detect a pattern here?).

    2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater.
    Star Wars -- when it first came out in the theaters in 1977 (yes, I'm that old) and when it was re-released in 1996 too. Come to think of it, Star Wars would be a contender for the answer to question one.

    3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
    Sean Penn (because I think he's an excellent actor and would trust that any movie he's in would be good) or Matthew McConaughey (for the eye candy factor).

    4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.
    Easy, Tom Cruise.

    5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
    Oh, well, I'm not a quoter as such (like my brothers)... I'll have to pass on this one.

    6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
    Again Sound of Music (because of answer #1) or Grease.

    7. Name a movie that have been known to sing along with.
    Grease (she admits sheepishly) or The Rocky Horror Picture Show (I mean, who didn't?).

    8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
    Oh gosh, I should write something profound and inspiring here, but I got nuthin'. I'm inclined to name something that has become such a part of American pop culture that it qualifies as a "must-see"... Gone with the Wind?

    9. Name a movie that you own.
    I think the first movie I wanted and got on VHS was Eat, Drink, Man, Woman.

    10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
    Cher, for one. Will Smith more recently.

    11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
    I remember seeing one of the Benji movies in a drive-in when I was a kid. Actually, I remember going to the drive-in theater many times when I was a kid, but I couldn't tell you what most of those movies were.

    12. Ever made out in a movie?
    Um, yeah... sorta.

    13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't yet gotten around to it.
    Brokeback Mountain.

    14. Ever walked out of a movie?
    Nope. Especially not at $10 a pop.

    15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
    Oh, there are many, many. ET did. I definitely bawled at Saving Private Ryan... and others.

    16. Popcorn?
    Depends on my mood. I like to eat it but can't stand the smell of it when others near me are. Also, diet coke.

    17. How often do go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?
    Gosh, I'm lucky if I get to the movies once every other month. During law school, it was once every six months. I'm hoping to improve on that ratio now.

    18. What's the last movie you saw in the theater?
    Stranger than Fiction (ya' know, with Will Ferrell?).

    19. What's your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
    Indy. Dialogue-driven.

    20. What's the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
    The Sting (1973), not that I had any interesting in seeing it. My dad wanted to, and I guess he was on kid-watch that day so we went. I do remember having to pee very badly in the middle, and he tried to get me to hold it so he wouldn't miss too much. Heh. I bet he doesn't remember that!

    Tag PTW and Zuska, you're it!

    (And, oh yeah, The Sound of Music is on right now... I think it is now without question the movie I've seen the most, partially because my mother loves it and partially because it's on TV every year during the holidays.)


    Typing gingerly...

    Okay, macophiles, I need your help again.

    I dropped my powerbook yesterday. Not far, maybe a foot. It fell off the coffee table and landed open, on its side. When I righted it, the screen gave me this shut down message (which I've since learned is a "kernel panic" message), that I had to shut down my computer and reboot by pressing down on the power button and waiting a few seconds.

    I did that. But it didn't reboot. It gave me another error message with the instructions to type "mac-boot" to reboot or "shut-down" to shut down.

    Well, I tried to reboot that way, but the screen (which was a beige color) always gave me an error message, that there wasn't enough memory to run the program.


    Well, after freaking out and aging about five years (because there's data on there which I need next week -- and which, of course, wasn't backed up), I got the advice to unplug the computer and take out the battery for a few minutes. Did that and rebooted successfully.

    And thank goodness, all my data seems intact. Phew, disaster narrowly averted.

    But wait, there's more.

    Now, every time I move my computer even the slightest bit -- a nudge -- it shuts down again with that same kernel panic error message. When I shut down, it reboots without any trouble, but I can't even move the computer from my lap to the table without getting this message. Even the slightest rotation of my powerbook results in a kernel panic. I mean, any movement brings up the kernel panic message.

    Now I'm panicked. I'm scared that I'll lose this post, mid-typing because I nudged the computer just a millimeter and sent the computer into shut-down. Obviously, this is an untenable situation, and I'm worried that I may have damaged the hardware somehow.

    Anyone experienced this before? What should I do? Help!

    Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom 'cuz I'm still freakin' out here!


    To do...

    SM is out of town visiting his family in New Hampshire, so I'm alone on Gidge-duty (or dooty). Just us girls, so I have a girly night planned: gossiping about boys, watching chick flicks on TV, shopping, brushing each others' hair, doing our nails...

    Well, not exactly but not too far off either.

    I have to go shopping to buy ingredients for Christmas eating, shirt boxes for presents, and whatever else strikes my fancy. The Gidge is in for a good brushing and big ol' bath on Sunday. Her skin condition has improved over the past week or so, but the consequence is that the dandruff has reached "flurrying" levels. Gotta do something about that to make the girl clean and (hopefully) sweet-smelling. We're going to mom's place on Sunday for dinner, so she needs to be presentable. Also, I sorta did do her nails too... cut them. Fun stuff with a fidgety Gidget.

    Otherwise, we're very low key here. I was done with my shopping long, long ago, so I'll be wrapping today and tomorrow.

    And maybe take a long walk with the Gidge. The weather here is gorgeous -- very warm. Very un-Christmasy.

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    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Congrats Denise!

    She just graduated from UMich Law School. Woo-hoo! Way to go!

    Her cap and gown photo reminded me that it was one year ago for me that I finished law myself. One year??? Wow, it's hard to believe I've been out for a year.

    I was really excited to see that Denise got to walk with her fellow December grads. I think that's very classy of UMich. I'm sorry to say that Georgetown Law can't be bothered to put together a separate ceremony for those who finish coursework any time other than May, even though there are always quite a number of folks who do. In fact, even though I finished all of my coursework in December, GULC didn't let me graduate (according to my diploma) until February. What gives with that? And I had to wait a full six months to walk -- December done but May ceremony.

    ::grumble, grumble::

    But don't let my kvetching lead you to think that I'm anything less than thrilled for Denise. Way to go, chica!

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    That's the noise of me calling out to see if anyone else was in the office.

    There was no response. There is no one here. It's just me. All alone.

    Poor me.

    I agree with Betty Joan -- someone ought to free us on this holiday Friday.

    But, wait! My boss is calling...

    But wait! My boss just told me to split in about 20 minutes (about quarter after 5).

    Ahhh, my holiday cheer is back in place.

    (It's not like I was going to get any work done anyway... but yay!)

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    Thursday, December 21, 2006

    Happy Solstice everyone!

    Happy Solstice everyone!

    The other day, I read something which said "Put the 'Christ' back in Christmas", and it made me think.

    For me, Christmas has always been a secular day, a family day. We celebrate it with over-indulgence -- on food, on consumerism, on bad jokes, on everything. And I enjoy it. And that's what Christmas means to me. Family. Food. Fun. And presents, too of course.

    But I also understand that those who believe Christmas is a religious celebration of a birth (which probably took place in the spring, but I digress)... well, I understand their angst at the trend -- which I am riding -- towards a secular (or even pagan!) celebration.

    So what to do?

    Well, I know one family who are very devout (one might even say "born again") Christians. And guess what? They don't celebrate Christmas as such. No madness on the morning of December 25th for them. Why, you ask? Because Christmas is not in the Bible and therefore they don't recognize the date as imbued with significance (or a holiday), according to their beliefs. Now there's religious integrity for ya' -- only celebrating what's in the Bible, in accordance with the Bible. And forego the rest.

    Back on the other extreme of things is my family and many, many others. We have our pagan tree and don't attend religious services (well, most of us don't). For us, December 25th is just a mad dash for ripping open presents and eating cookies for breakfast and other fun stuff. So does it make sense to celebrate the holiday as "Christmas" when the only "Christ" in it is my sister-in-law's name (Christie) and the only "mas" is the massive amounts of gifts we exchange...? Maybe it makes sense to drop the facade of any semblence of religious piety and cut out what might be called our hypocrisy and celebrate the holiday as family time without the "Christmas" label? What mass are we attending? What Christ are we celebrating?

    Now, I'm not suggesting we give up the annual ritual of exchanging gifts. No. But perhaps we could tone it down and reframe it a bit. As an alternative, we could celebrate the winter holidays such as Solstice or Festivus.

    While I wouldn't impose that on my parents (my mother and step-mother are both Catholic), I'm thinking that when I have a family of my own, I may just do that.

    Happy Holidays!

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    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    I'm a person!

    I'm a person!

    It's official. I got a sign with my name on it for my door. I'm no longer a space reserved for a department, but an actual office.

    Wa-hoo! Progress!

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    Day three...

    And I'm already repeating outfits. Shhh! But I still haven't quite figured out the dress code, and since I'm still meeting people (some of whom are important), I figured a jacket/suit-looking outfit is most appropriate. And I don't have too many that still fit me comfortably. Gotta work on that. On Friday, not too many folks will be around, so I'll try to get away with pants and a sweater.

    Gone are the dress down days. (And that's another reason why I wanted that other job -- the one where they halted the hiring process before getting to the second round of interviews -- everyone in that office wore jeans, even the chief attorney.)

    Not that I'm complaining. Well, not exactly.


    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Yul time!

    I just have to say that I think it rocks that Yul Kwon won Survivor Cook Islands. I only watched the first and last episodes of the entire season, so I can't say I was a devotee all along. But I am very excited (1) that a good-looking Asian guy got some air time without (2) being seen as a complete geek or (3) a sneaky "inscrutable" jerk and that (4) he actually could grow some (not much but a respectable amount) facial hair.

    And, in addition to helping break down the negative stereotypes about Asian men, he also lends some sex appeal to the legal profession.

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    Partial success

    Well, I tried to post to this blog from my office during the day, but I goofed. It was partially published but not really. I just fixed it now. Oh well. Maybe it will work tomorrow.

    So, I'm through my second (wahoo) day of work. Some observations:
    1. I'm finally earning more money than I'm spending. No, I'm not making that much (this is the federal government, after all), but I'm also not online engaging in retail therapy all day. Yay!
    2. This is an office where my boss actually does not want me to be there more than 8 hours. She's a stickler about arriving on time in the morning but also about leaving in the evening. Seriously, she wants us all out after 8 hours. Today, the place was empty at 6:00. That's just plain unreal for me and definitely a first.
    3. If I squint my eyes, my boss has a really disturbing resemblance to my mother. It's freaky.
    4. The office uses the blue legal database, and I'm very pleased about that because I prefer it to the other one (that's for you, Scooter).
    5. I'm already getting involved in real work. Next week, I sit in on a mediation. Tres cool!
    6. My boss introduces me around the place as the "new attorney", and everyone cheers at hearing that. It's bizarre. (The cheering isn't for me personally, but rather that the job has been filled. My predecessor was gone from the office for six months and then gave notice so the work has been piling up.)
    7. It's also really bizarre being introduced as "the new attorney" -- who? Me? Oh yeah. I haven't gotten used to the monniker yet.
    8. I'm finding out that people in the office do actually have personalities, which is good to know. It might be a fun place to work after all.
    9. I still haven't figured out what is the best commuting route or mode of transportation from my place to the office. I'll be experimenting with that this and next week. But, bonus, I get a commuting subsidy. Score!
    10. Everyone dresses up on this office, so I'm hopeful that I can gradually scale back from wearing suits and just wear nice pants and sweaters. And pearls. Because pearls dress up everything.
    11. And finally, it feels really REALLY good to be gainfully employed and a productive (?) member of society again. I don't feel like a complete loser anymore. I can't wait for my first paycheck.


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    When it comes to recycling, I'm pretty good. I'm probably better than most of my neighbors and friends. I almost always wrap presents in previously used wrappings (either old paper, newspaper or bags of some kind), and I have definitely engaged in the art of gomiyage that's my own word... a hybrid of the Japanese word "gomi" = garbage and "omiyage" = souvenir gift), a.k.a., regifting. Shhhh!

    But I know I could not do this. I'm way too much of a consumer. And I like my socks new.

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    Can't blog at work. Government agency and all that. Can't even read my bloglines (well, not yet anyway).

    I feel blog-deprived... so I'm trying out google docs to publish this post -- to get around having the blogger URL on my computer.

    Anyone have any thoughts about how to read blogs at work on a computer where you can't erase the the page history (and anyone can see what you're up to)?

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    Monday, December 18, 2006

    First day in the office


    But it's all good.

    (Direct deposit is part of the paperwork.)


    Sunday, December 17, 2006

    Another sign that I'm old


    I never got it until my 30s. (Although when I was in grad school the first go-round, in my 20s, the stress was so bad that I always carried antacids with me. So did all of my friends.)

    Now I get it, well, not often, but not infrequently. And I've had it for the past day or so.

    It's not like I ate that much or am that stressed (anymore). I think I'm just getting old.


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    Rachael Ray's fudge?

    Yes, but it came from the back of a can of sweetened condensed milk (which Rachael herself readily admits). In fact, it was on the can that I just bought. But Rachael gets credit for the millions of women who now know about it (and are going to make it) because they watch her show or saw her on Oprah.

    Including me. I made it. Because it looked so easy that I wondered if it would be any good.

    You know what? For the 30 seconds it took me to make, it was definitely worth the effort.

    Here's Rachael's version, and below is what the can said. It's the same recipe.

    3 c. chocolate morsels (use whatever flavor you prefer)
    1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
    1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    salt, if needed

    Melt chocolate and sweetened condensed milk over low heat in heavy saucepan. Stir. Add extract (and nuts or raisins or whatever else you want to add). When all of the chocolate has melted, dump the mixture into pan and cool in the refrigerator until solid (about an hour).

    Yup, that easy. The longest part of this process was measuring the chocolate, which took all of ten seconds. In fact, this is one of the only recipes I know of where it actually takes longer to EAT the food than prepare it.

    And yeah, you can make it all fancy and decorated like Rachael Ray suggests, but in my house, it's the eatin' that counts (ohhh, my Japanese ancestors just rolled over in their graves that I suggested that the presentation of food is less important... good thing that fudge isn't exactly Japanese cuisine).


    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    I'm a Flippery Fish!

    According to the Truth Laid Bear ecosystem. How and when did that happen? It seems like only yesterday -- in fact, it was only yesterday -- that I was Lowly Insect. And a Crunchy Crustacean for quite a long time.

    Well, compared to my compadres, I'm still the easily squishable critter on the block, but, with your help, I'll be breathing air soon!


    The itchy and scratchy show

    In other words, Gidget.

    We managed to get her to the vet today (rather than Monday), and the vet confirmed that yes, the bumps are an allergic reaction. But no, this isn't the skin condition that she had before when she was in the shelter. However, that condition may have made her skin more fragile and susceptible to this outbreak. They also checked that the Gidge has no parasites or other critters (which she doesn't, thank goodness).

    Basically, all we can do is try to make her more comfortable by alleviating the misery of the itchiness. We had been giving her Benadryl, which the vet said was good to do, but we also got a prescription for some stronger stuff to give her relief until whatever it is that is affecting her can work its way through her system.

    Poor girl.


    Happy Hanukah!

    Holiday spirit(s) and good cheer to everyone!


    The prodigal son?

    Um, er... I mean Jay Bakker, son of former Praise The Lord leaders Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Messner. He's the subject of a new documentary series on the Sundance Channel called "One Punk Under God", and it looks interesting. Too bad I don't get that channel.

    His editorial about Christianity and religion here.

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    Thursday, December 14, 2006


    I was playing this one close to the vest and didn't want to say anything until it was all official and formal and a done deal. Because I didn't want to count any chickens before they hatched. Because I didn't want to jinx myself. Because I've been *this* close too many times before.

    But all of you who were pulling for me -- you can uncross those fingers and let out the breath you've been holding. Phew! I officially accepted the official offer today. I accepted the unofficial offer last week, but had to wait for the bureaucracy to do what bureaucracies do to make it all formal.

    And I start Monday. Yes, next Monday.

    No more late morning coffee in my pajamas. No more hanging out with Gidget on the sofa while watching bad daytime TV. No more worrying about whether I'll have enough cash to get through the month. No more writing cover letters and sending out resumes. Thank gawd.

    I'm so excited. There's nothing like a few months of unemployments (3 in my case) to feel insecure and unproductive. I am raring to go.

    And the job? I have been hired as an attorney advisor (that's the title) for a federal agency doing labor and employment law, exclusively. Yay! The pay ain't great (in fact, it's awful), but the experience will be amazing. I'll be doing the law -- and learning the law -- that I want to focus on. And I wanted to get into the federal government, so this is a fantastic opportunity.

    Happy Holidays to ME! Yay!

    And thanks all of you who were rooting for me, commiserating with me and were so very supportive. You made this miserable process bearable. I couldn't have done it without my blogging buddies. Thank you.


    Because I haven't done one of these things for quite some time

    and because all career advice is welcome...!

    Your Career Type: Social

    You are helpful, friendly, and trustworthy. Your talents lie in teaching, nursing, giving information, and solving social problems.

    You would make an excellent: Counselor - Dental Hygienist - Librarian - Nurse - Parole Officer - Personal Trainer - Physical Therapist - Social Worker - Teacher

    The worst career options for your are realistic careers, like truck driver or farmer.

    Food for thought (just so long as I don't have to cut my bangs like that...).

    What's Your Ideal Career?

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    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Yes, it's true

    I finally upgraded to the blogger beta version. I resisted but I found out that I couldn't comment on others' sites without upgrading so I was shoved into using this version.

    For those of you who have been using it for a while, how's it workin' for ya'? Any big bugs?



    Nengajyou = New Year's greetings cards. In Japan, the custom is to send out greetings for the new year (January 1st, as opposed to the lunar new year). It's a pretty amazing feat of coordination by the postal service, one which ours could not even dream of replicating (heck, our post office can't even come close to the efficiency of the Japanese postal service during non-holiday seasons).

    Every family sends post card greetings. Often, they include pictures of the family on one side with typical greetings for the new year. Many people send their cards out to be printed (like we do here with photo greeting cards), some print them at home, and of course, there is a huge post card industry.

    Here's where the post office comes in. Two things. First, if you buy the post cards from the post office (postage already affixed), then they all have serial numbers for a lottery. On January 1st (or soon thereafter, I forget exactly when), the post office holds a drawing. Those who hold nengajyou with the selected numbers win anything from stamps (a prize won by thousands of people) to bigger prizes such as electronics, etc. I won a few small things during my time there. Second, and this is the amazing thing, post cards that are sent as nengajyou and are mailed any time in December will be delivered -- no matter what -- on January 1st. Yes, the post office holds all of the cards and in a massive operation, deploys thousands of seasonal employees (usually college students) and gets them all delivered on January 1st. It's amazing.

    Anyway, since living in Japan from 1990-94, I have adopted the custom of sending New Year's greetings. This takes the form of electronic cards, a yearly newsletter and nengajyou. For some people, I'll send Christmas or Hanukah cards, but generally my greetings are for a great New Year.

    Last year, I dropped the ball and sent out nothing. Finishing school, studying for the bar... well, I didn't get anything out. This year, I am determined to pick up that ball (which has since bounced into a corner somewhere) and get out my New Year's greetings.

    Let's just hope that I manage to get them out by January 1st rather than February 18th (the Lunar New Year)... but either works for me!

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    So true.

    Ambib speaks truth to consumerism.

    I face this issue every. single. year with most of the men to whom I give gifts.

    Thanks for the post, Ambib (or ti).

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    I guess it was just a matter of time

    But Amazon.com now sells groceries. But it looks like everything is in bulk amounts.

    Good for shipping and cheaper prices. Bad for apartments in Washington, DC.


    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Literary theme meme

    Snagged from Betty Joan because, as she says, reading is FUNdamental. And because I started a book club last year here in DC (check out what we've read so far on the left sidebar).

    1) One book that changed your life?
    Gosh, that's hard. BARBRI prep books? I honestly don't know, and I don't think I have an answer.

    2) One book you have read more than once?
    My memory isn't good enough to answer this... but I do seem to recall that I have read Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife more than once. I don't have any books that I re-read every year.

    3) One book you would want on a desert island?
    Something really, really long. Or something that I could keep reading over and over and learn new things each time. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth? I would add that to answer #9 below except that I'm saving it for the next time I'm stranded on a desert island.

    4) One book that made you cry?
    Most recently, The Known World by Edward P. Jones. Not the whole thing, but there's one incident in the book that really, really upset me.

    5) One book that made you laugh?
    Hmmm, many books have evoked a giggle or even a guffaw. Name one? Yikes. Bridget Jones' Diary? Because, yeah, that's my sense of humor.

    6) One book you wish had been written?
    A "how-to" book for the democrats, instructing them on how to control the story and the spin. Ya' know, like the republicans do so well. But if you mean literature, I am no where near literate enough to know all that has been out there and know all that has been written. That means that anything I name here may very well have been written already, so I'll have to take a pass on this one.

    7) One book you wish had never been written?
    Anything by Ann Coulter or Michele Malkin. Take your pick (not that they qualify as literature).

    8) One book you are reading currently?
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. (See sidebar about my book club.)

    9) One book you have been meaning to read?
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Haven't gotten through it yet. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. And so. many. more.

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    Dontcha' hate it when

    You go Christmas shopping and you end up spending more money on yourself (because of all the irrestible sales!) than on gifties?

    Well, I didn't quite do that this time -- thank goodness -- but I have been known to do it.

    I convinced SM to take yesterday off, so we played hookie and went Christmas shopping. I've been pretty much done with my shopping for weeks now, but he had stuff to get for his family. It was great fun and a great day. We successfully forayed into Pottery Barn for his aunt, Best Buy for his brother, Borders for several people and then the World Market.

    I had never been in the World Market before, and frankly my expectations were really, really low. Usually, these kinds of stores hype up the international imports but also hike up the prices and have a crappy selection. I was pleasantly suprised to find out that quite the opposite was true here. Turns out the World Market was excellent shopping.

    They had a fabulous selection of yummies from all over the world. I was all but dying because we shopped there before lunch, and well, I wanted to park myself down in the aisles and just dive into their inventory. Check out their food section. Candy, cookies, pastas, sauces, oils, baking products... mmmmmm! I thought of Scooter (dang, that's TWO shout-outs in as many postings in one day... you stud!) when we went through the beer section, which SM (a connaisseur himself) said was pretty good. I don't drink beer, so what do I know but the labels shure was purty. And most were microbrews that I had never heard of. Also, you could pick your own six-pack, which is always fun. Their wine selection was good as well, although I wondered about the bottles which were "two for $12.99". Still, definitely worth further investigation.

    Fortunately for me, we made it out of the store with minimal damage, but I will definitely be going back once I have a paycheck.

    I am officially a fan of the World Market.

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    Update on the Gidge

    Thanks, everyone for all your feedback on Gidget's cooties. We did call the vet, and we're taking her in first available appointment -- which unfortunately isn't until next Monday. General consensus seems to be that she is allergic to something (based on her prior medical history). We just don't know what. We haven't changed anything about her diet since she's been here, but it could be something environmental. We just don't know.

    So we gave her an antihistamine last night (after doing some research on the issue). We were a little nervous to give her medication (I mean, what if something went wrong???), but she was so miserable scratching. Well, she's still alive and breathing today, so I gave her another pill. She's still scratching, but hopefully it will kick in soon.

    But those are the symptoms. We still don't know the cause of the hives.

    Our poor girl!

    But in other news, we bought her the cutest hot pink rain jacket (yes, Scooter, she'll match me!). I can't wait to try it out on her. She probably won't like it, though. Gidget is not a fancy clothes girl.


    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    Gidget has cooties

    Seriously. She has some kind of skin irritation which results in scabby bumps on her skin. They are mostly in her back/rump, but they are all down the length of her back, neck and some on her head. Poor thing!

    It doesn't look like there's hair loss, but the bumps are large enough that we can see where they are under her coat (which is short, but still... her back resembles a topographic map or something). And they must be itchy. And I think they're spreading.

    We feel like such bad parents, very guilt-ridden that our girl has a health problem. She had a skin irritation when she was in the shelter, so maybe it is just rearing its ugly head(s) again. I dunno. We'll call the vet tomorrow and hope it's nothing but an easily-treated allergy or something.

    Our poor girl.


    Sneak peak

    Since none of my family reads -- or even knows about -- this blog, I'm going to unveil some of the presents I'll be giving for Christmas this year.

    My mom, who is a total photo-freak (I take after her) and who travels all over the world any chance she gets (she takes after me), is getting this for her digital camera. She's always twisting and turning and squatting to get the right angle for her pix, so this will help her out. I think it's way cool, and I think she will too. I'm also giving her cookies from Hawai`i, as well as a framed copy of my law school graduation photo and a few other assorted gifties.

    My nephews (3 and 7) are getting these as well as fun, kid presents. I just thought they were so cute. Who knows if they'll ever wear them? My niece is getting pink cowboy boots, which are too adorable. She's 11, and I hope she's as excited about getting them as I am about giving them (she won't be -- but she's pretty good about faking it).

    Dad, who is Mr. Fix-it (meaning he likes to fiddle with stuff but doesn't really fix anything), is getting this -- not too exciting, but he is next to impossible to shop for because he doesn't really need anything and anything he wants, he'll just go and buy himself. Grrrr... But tools = toys for him, so hopefully he'll like this. I'm also giving him the obligatory dorky golfing duffer accessory present.

    My brothers are getting clothes and books. Bor-ing. But I just don't have any insight into their taste... Last year, I gave my li'l bro this. Having lived in NJ for a few formative years, he became a Yankees fan. I have no clue if he liked it or uses it. But I also got the Red Sox version for SM last year, and it's one of his favorite gifts -- it's very warm and incredibly soft and fuzzy.

    Every year, Christmas is insane because our family is so extended. These are just the highlights. And, of course, there are gifts for SM, but I'm not tellin'... just in case he's readin'...

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    Saturday, December 09, 2006

    Pet owners, your feedback please

    So, those of you who have pets and also have sex (not with the pets, of course)... I just wanna know: do you shut the pets out of the area when you're in the act or do you allow them to just wander around unrestrictedly? If the former, ever have any problems with pet separation anxiety (e.g. barking for attention), and if the latter, well, any other problems?

    This isn't a gratuitously lewd question but rather a serious (okay, semi-serious) inquiry on petiquette.

    Betcha' never got asked that before!

    Friday, December 08, 2006


    Wa-hooo! Biggest congrats to Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, one of the ten people will receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Dec. 15th.

    One of my peeps. So cool. Definitely a deserving recipient. Yay!

    Go Norm!

    It's the little things that can make for a good day

    For me, it was getting my shower fixed so that I had good water pressure this morning. Before (and for about six months!), half of the water went down the spout and drain and didn't come out of the showerhead. It took me forever to wash my hair -- because I have a lot of it -- and it was wasteful. I got it fixed yesterday, and wow, what a world of a difference! Works like new!

    So my shower this morning was a happy thing. Ahhh, nothing like a good, hot shower with good water pressure.

    And then I had a wonderful cup of coffee and a ginger-carrot muffin.


    Thursday, December 07, 2006


    For about five minutes, it snowed just a dusting tonight.

    It was only about five minutes. It didn't accumulate at all. It just floated down.

    It was a beautiful five minutes.


    Or at least that's my excuse for getting up as late as I have been.

    Truth is that this sleeping pattern is exactly the same as before I left for Hawai`i.

    I have much to blog about but the wireless isn't working in my apartment (thus the radio silence). When I have a good long stretch in a wired place -- probably tomorrow -- I'll fill you in on the details of the trip, of the holidays, of everything.

    There are a few details.

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    DeLay coming back to DC

    Tom DeLay that is. Yeah, he was on our plane from Houston (we connected from Honolulu through Houston to DC). It was all I could do not to make a face at him. And the flight was also late taking off.

    So I'm back from the beautiful island, the 80+ degree temperatures. And beat. And it's kinda a bit colder here (yeah, pooor me, I know). I didn't sleep on the plane at all because my dad fidgeted the whole time. Today is was my recovery day. I slept a chunk of it away and am still in a fog. I'll post about the trip later this week.

    Meanwhile, wish me good luck on getting my sleep schedule something resembling normal. Eeeks. That five hour time difference is gonna make my life rough in the next few days.

    Sunday, December 03, 2006

    To quote the New York Times

    Rutgers Finishes So Close to B.C.S. That It Hurts.

    Triple-freaking-overtime ended in a 41-39 loss to West Virginia. So Rutgers is off to Texas instead of Florida.

    But you just gotta respect their season.

    Hawai`i or North Pole?

    Despite signage to the contrary, I am in Hawai`i. What gives it away? The much warmer weather, the ocean, the tourists speaking Japanese (which feels very nostalgic for me), the shopping, the FOOD, the blazing Christmas decorations all over the place....?

    Yup, that's right, it seems that in the tropics, where tacky is de rigeur (the more colors, the better), they really do the Christmas lights thing up, way up. I'm hoping to get a good picture showing all the reindeer decked out in lights, the twinkling fake trees, the inflatable snow men, the icicle lights, the Santa scenes on the various lawns and rooftops... I love it all!

    I'm way into this for some reason.

    In the meantime, here are a few more typical pictures from my adventures in our 50th state: the ocean, the beach, the Arizona Memorial (at Pearl Harbor), palm trees...

    And, oh yeah, my two presentations went well enough.

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