Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Airport Luck

I don't spend much time in NYC.  I went there (theRe, I should say, keyboard fixed!) for a week long vacation once in college before I studied abroad and got to do things like go up the Statue of Liberty.  And in college, we did day trips every year in December to go Christmas shopping.  And I was in New York for just over a week the year I ran the NYC marathon, but the weekend before the race was spent upstate at a wedding and I worked when I was in the city, so not really much NYC tourist time, or much NYC airport time.  I may have also passed through when one of my brothers was playing ball for a minor league team upstate (Go Tri-City Valleycats!).  Anyway, that's a sum of my NY experience. 

In the last five years, I don't think I've been there at all until recently.

As much as Laguardia sucks as an airport, it might be my new favorite solely because of this: 

Hopefully those pictures are clear enough.  This was in the USAirways terminal I think. 
First, there was a salad bar.  A legit, delicious salad bar.  With beets!!!  That should give you some idea of the selection.  And it all looked fresh and good.  That to me is the perfect travel food.  Next time I'm there, I'm totally making a salad on my way out of the airport, so I get to double up! 
Next, there was this grocery-store style wall.  Sushi, yogurts, juices, some prepared foods, and all seemed fairly normally priced and looked like things I'd gladly eat.
I wish more airports had stuff like this.  Philly has a salad place right near my usual gate, but it's one where they build the salad for you.  I like it when I get to load it up in exactly the proportions I want.  And I love having all these other choices.
Makes me wish I went through Laguardia on all trips.  Anyway, lots of work travel fun lately.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jet Set Bunch

It's funny to be watching the news and to hear about the economic crisis in Greece, to hear banks are closed for 6 days, and to immediately go to FB to get the straight scoop because you know that you have THREE SEPARATE friends there on vacation right now.

Kind of cool!  Two law school friends are there (one is in Mykonos, not sure where the other is), as well as one colleague. 

It was weird to feel so international.

In the interest of full disclosure, if this economic crisis had happened in January, or February, or April, or May, I would have known exactly zero people in Greece on vacation off the top of my head (one went in March).  But three there now.

Wonder if the level of suck they are experiencing is low, medium or high.  I would guess low in Greece.  So many places there take credit cards.  Unlike Italy.  Separate post, but we've actually been requested to send a wire transfer to put a deposit on a B&B.  WTF?  A wire transfer?  Anyway, in places like China or India where you use more cash and less credit, no ATM would be a huge pain.  In Greece, assuming you weren't planning to hit the ATM in the next day or two, going 6 days without cash might not be the end of the world.  Still, looking forward to getting first-hand accounts.  Definitely a cool thing about worldly friends. 

Friday, June 26, 2015


Just have to say that today, I am so proud to be one. 

Proud of our country, proud of our Court, proud of the lawyers, proud of it all.

(Still scared to live in Texas, but glad our Attorney General is apparently just being ignored by the counties.)

I've always thought single-issue voters were making a big mistake, but at the same time, even though I lack "standing," the issue of marriage equality has meant a lot to me over the last xxx??? years.  I'm happy it should be a non-issue going forward. 

Such a proud day!!! 
My FB feed is full of rainbows and hearts, and thanks to that whole "top ten law school" education, lots of insightful commentary about the opinion.  Detailed analysis of the impact of different dissenting opinions and who joined which, who wrote which, etc.  The law nerd in me is voting today as the best day in a long time. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Why have I not seemed to have anything to say lately?  Well, I believe I have a fabulous excuse.  See below. 

You'd be amazed how many bits of the English language contain that specific letteRRRRRRR. 

Haha, should be fixed at some point today.  Until then, I'll just keep on avoiding all wo...ds with that in it.  Ugh...  It is excessively easy to say that but excessively difficult to do it...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Office Visitor

This was actually a few weeks ago, but I was working quietly at my desk and almost had a heart attack.   (I feel the need to post something lighter after my heavy, heavy this week...)

My office isn't very high (I'm on floor 9 of a 10 story building), but given that it's high enough, I get very used to pretty much nothing changing outside my window.  Sure, clouds, etc., occasional birds, but never anything very big.

All of a sudden, this guy was right outside my window, watching me eat lunch.  Well, actually, he probably couldn't have cared less. I almost screamed though.

That goes on the short list of jobs you couldn't pay me enough to do. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Steaming Piles

Did I mention it has kind of felt like the world was (mildly) $hitting on me lately? 

Bear in mind that I readily acknowledge I'm still insanely lucky.  No significant health issues for me or anyone I love.  Great husband who loves me.  Interesting job that I enjoy and that compensates me well.  Yada, yada, yada.  It could be one million times worse.  But at the same time, I hate when people delegitimize how they feel about things.  If something upsets you, even something trivial, something that should be "hashtag firstworldproblems," it does, and you're entitled to own that feeling.  Just because it could be worse doesn't mean it's not legitimate.  I could go on and on about this and still not feel like I'm explaining myself well. 

Regardless, in the context of my good and happy life, in the last month, it's felt like there has been more steaming piles of crap than in the last 5 years combined?  Maybe I'm overstating it, but I've been down and feeling beaten down for several weeks now.  And it seriously all started when we came home from San Francisco. 
The short list of problems, none of which existed as of Memorial Day:
  • I'm homesick.  Not so much homesick, but family sick.  I particularly miss my parents and some of my younger brothers and my nieces and nephews.  My husband has said we can move anywhere I want in the world in 6-8 years, but he is not willing to move right now even if I got a job with a starting salary over $1,000,000 (I think I mentioned this, but he found out while we were in Nepal that he was changing jobs within his organization; he now loves what he does and feels he's making a major positive difference in the world and is not willing to walk away from it for a slew of reasons.).

  • I'm feeling blah about Dallas.  I was enamored with (of?) San Francisco.  It's so geographically interesting with the bay and the mountains.  It's got amazing running trails.  It's got hills that I could learn to love.  It's got tons of people out and about -- eating, doing things, being active, etc.  It's got great weather.  Again, my husband has said he's fine with moving there in 6-8 years, even if we live in a ghetto one-bedroom apartment, even if my brother and sister-in-law and nephew Willard have moved away, even if we have not a single relative anywhere in that time zone.  Just as long as we wait 6-8 years. 

  • I'm reconsidering the decision I've been certain of for more than 20 years -- that I don't want kids.  I think spending so many days with my baby nephew gave me pause.  (I think I mentioned this, but my husband has one grown son from his first marriage, and expressly told me within the first month we were dating, almost exactly a decade ago that he ABSOLUTELY DID NOT want to have children and if I wanted that, we should end things then because he was positive.  So where does this leave us if I have actually changed my mind?  I should mention, however, that I am far from certain I have changed my mind, it's more just something I've been thinking about.  But I'm almost afraid to really consider it because if I concluded that I really did want that, I don't know how we could bridge that divide.)

  • Someone at work who started after me in a different division got promoted above me to a spot in that division (no such opening in my division, absolutely irrelevant to me, says nothing about my performance, just a matter of job openings, but still hurts.  And hurts a lot actually.) 

  • I've been overwhelmed with work.  The furthest behind I've been in ages.  Approximately 6 reports I need to write, 4 of which were due in late April, each of which will take at least 4 days, and likely a full week to research and write.  Reports are one of the most important things I do, and I've never had more than 2 that were past-due, and I usually work hard to do them all on time.  And aside from reports, on all my other 170 cases, tons of other matters that need to be addressed.  Inbox overwhelming.  I feel like if the reports were magically written overnight tonight, I could still work for about a month straight with nothing new coming in before I got caught up.  And it's never nothing new coming in.  2 of the reports I need to write just hit my desk this week (so they're not due for a few weeks, but I really should be starting them now, instead of working on the 4 that were due in the last 2 months, but of course I need to get the oldest ones done first.)  It's like the mail -- the flow of litigation seems to never stop. 

  • As I mentioned, I scratched my eye again last week Sunday.  It's all healed up now, but it was causing a lot of pain and logistical headaches (running with glasses, repeated trips to the eye doctor, etc.).

  • My father-in-law was moved into a nursing home.  This was not unexpected, but still a lot of turmoil and adjustment.  My in-laws moved into one of those "here til you die" places a few years ago.  It has the 3 stages -- independent apartments, nursing homes, and hospital-level care, all on site.  They've been in an apartment but he's been falling a lot so they had to wait for someone in the nursing home to die, and that happened a few days ago, so now my father-in-law has moved into that person's spot.  Ironically, his new roommate is someone he went to high school with.  And in many ways, this is better -- he and my mother-in-law have been married for over 50 years, but they seem to fight all the time in the last 8 or so years.  Some separation and space might help them to be less agitated with each other.  Regardless, it's very clear now that my father-in-law's health is fading.  My in-laws' situation is one of the main reasons we bought trip insurance for our fall vacation.  My husband lives the furthest from his parents but calls pretty much daily and is very close to them. 

  • My husband had a car accident last week -- got rear-ended on his way to work.  Fortunately it was by one of the approximately 50% of Dallas motorists WITH insurance, and the guy was totally honest with his insurer about it (admitted he looked away from the road, etc.).  (I assume it goes without saying (since it otherwise would have topped the list of steaming piles of $hit), but my husband was physically fine, a little sore, but the guy who hit him gave him some ibuprofen and my husband took a lot more ibuprofen in the following few days and now seems to be totally back to normal.)

  • And for good measure, let's throw in general dissatisfaction with the state of my body and fitness.  Wanting to lose weight (but not wanting it enough to DO something about it), running slower than I'd like (but injury free), feeling flabby and old in general. 
So the latest addition to the list? 
  • Found out last night that my husband's car is actually totaled.  It didn't look too bad from the photos I saw, but it wouldn't restart at the scene.  It was towed to an auto shop by our house, and we understood from a friend that sometimes cars need to be reset by a mechanic if they are hit hard enough, some kind of fire precaution or something.  So we thought, okay, they reset that, do some bumper repairs, should be good as new within a week or whatever.  Well, no, it's actually totally done.  The other guy apparently went under my husband somehow (I still don't really get that, since my husband has an Audi A4, so it's not exactly a high riding vehicle, and the guy who hit him was driving an Infinity or something like it).  And of course this happens not too long after my husband had finally paid off his car. 
Now what?  Does anyone have any experience with this?  Do you just take whatever the at-fault motorist's insurer (USAA if it matters) offers?  Do you negotiate that?  Do you have your insurer negotiate the offer (or set up a subrogation claim)? 
Man, this sucks.  The last thing we want is a car payment, or even to spend the time car shopping. 
We figured my car would die first (it's still under 100,000 miles, but it's a 2001), and the plan was that I would take his Audi, and he would get a new car.  That seemed good because he really, really, really, really wants to get a Fiat 500.  And if we had the Audi, we'd still have a car that was good for transporting 4-5 people, plus luggage, etc.  My car is a 2 door BMW convertible that technically seats 4, but the backseat is not large and when the top is up, it's almost impossible for my parents, for example, to get in and out of it. 
What to do? 

New car for him?  Fiat?  Something else?  Used car for him? 

When exactly are we supposed to figure all this out and deal with the colossal headache that is sure to be car shopping?  We don't want a new car!  We don't want a car payment!  We want a time machine to go back and make this guy keep his eyes on the road!  We want a paid off, well-maintained, owned by us from birth, Audi!  Wah, wah, wah. 

I recognize that I'm putting a whole lot out here in this post.  Any words of wisdom (or even just good thoughts (save your prayers for real issues, which I fully recognize these are not, except maybe a few prayers for my father-in-law)) on any of the above-mentioned piles of $hit would be appreciated, but what to do regarding the "totaled" car is the most urgent pile of $hit and is particularly in need of advice/words of wisdom. 

Thanks friends. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Reorg

We have a small guest bedroom on the first floor.  It also kind of serves as an office we don't use, a general dumping ground for clutter (think lots of AG awards (now old ones)), and my husband's dressing room (he uses that room's closet).

Last weekend we finally rearranged it so it looks much neater and more spacious when you walk past it.

As seen from the hallway:


So for a vast majority of people who come to our house, that photo above is all they'll see of it.

For anyone who actually goes into the room, it's roughly an equal amount of mess, but in a better arrangement with less wasted space. 

From inside the room:


In other news, I got a huge blister (half-dollar sized?) on my right heel during yesterday's "long" run (12 miles).  It popped at some point during the run but it is insanely painful now.  No idea how it happened.  No new shoes or socks. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Same story

Somehow, I scratched my eye again.  My eye doctor thinks I need to shift to wearing daily lenses, which are apparently even softer than the soft contact lenses I usually wear. 

It happened late in the day on Sunday, which was a bummer, because Sunday was actually one of the best weekend days in terms of productivity that I've had all year.

I got up early as always to meet my friends for 10 miles.  I am running with a new group right now, I was so tired of dragging @ss behind my usual running buddies, that I decided to take advantage of the fact that we run with a very large program with a variety of paces.  And I'm actually assistant coaching this group (the number of certified running coaches in the program isn't huge, so I'm always willing to help if they need it).  But before we started running, I was meeting another running friend who was dropping off a shirt I'd ordered.  So by 5:45 a.m., I'd paid for and gotten a new running shirt, gone to meet my friends, and already run more than a mile! 

It set the day's productivity bar high.

I was supposed to meet my running buddies for coffee afterward, but my mind was on auto-pilot and I just drove home.  Oops.  I had breakfast and my husband talked about going grocery shopping.  He decided he'd wait until I went to Chinese class so that we could hang out for the morning together.

I bet he regretted that! 

I told him I wanted to rearrange the downstairs bedroom.  It's been on my mind for months, and since I have a jam-packed weekend ahead and my brother is coming to visit the following week, it was really Sunday or nothing. 

Colossal project. 

Take all the books (and knick-knacks) off two bookcases.  Take everything off and out of the desk.  Move the bookcases to the desk's old home.  Vacuum under the spaces previously occupied.  Jimmy the desk into the bookcases' old home.  Reload everything.  We managed to throw a bit of clutter away in the process, but not a lot.  It wasn't my goal.  Then we had to move the bed and filing cabinet.  And more vacuuming. 

So worth it though.  The room looks awesome.  Much more spacious and it looks so much less cluttered!  When you walk past the room from our front door or garage now, it looks so organized. Instead of seeing a cluttered desk (the messiest thing in the room), you see the side of a bookcase.  You have to step all the way into the room and look in the corner to see the desk (which looks slightly less messy somehow). 

After moving all the furniture, we went to a restaurant on our block that we rarely choose but always enjoy.  We picked it because they had wi-fi.  Why we didn't just do all the wifi stuff at home I couldn't tell you.  Anyway, we got a booth, sat on the same side, ordered lunch, and then spent time looking at plane tickets.

And we did it! 

We bought plane tickets to Europe for October!  Woot!  We are flying into Madrid and out of Milan.  We'll still have to figure out everything in between, but the big ticket items are done.  The plan is to go south from Madrid and spend the first 5-7 days in Andalusia, Spain.  Then take a ferry down to Morocco, and spend the next 5-7 days in Tangier, then Fez, then Marrakesh.  Then we'll fly to Italy (into Lamezia), and we'll spend the next 5-7 days in Lamezia with my husband's family, or in Pizzo, the town where we got engaged and married (only about 20 minutes away from Lamezia).  Then we'll fly up to Milan for a day, or even just an afternoon or an evening, then we have a morning flight out of Milan, with a connection in Miami on the way home.   Having a connection stinks.  We have a direct flight to Madrid, and I'd much rather connect at the beginning of the trip instead of the end, but this just worked out better.  So excited! 

We stayed at lunch too late, and by then, I was going to miss Chinese class.  So we headed home and my husband went to the grocery store and I started cleaning.  I cleaned the rims on my car and did some serious cleaning in the downstairs bedroom, blinds, a bit more decluttering, filing, etc. 

That was when my eye started hurting.  I think I'm allergic to cleaning!  I could barely sleep Sunday night because it hurt so much.  Monday morning, I was back at the eye doctor right when it opened.  He put drops in my eye to numb it and said come back as needed.  I decided to work from home, and basically went back every 2 hours for more drops.  My doctor commented on what a low pain threshold I had, but geez, it hurt like a mother!  I took some sleeping medicine last night that knocked me out, and it was good.  I woke up this morning to some pain, and a lot of light sensitivity, but I'm actually at work now.  I've got the lights off and the blinds and the door closed (but we have a glass wall, so there's still light).  I figure I'll try to make it a few hours in the office, then head home early and get more drops if necessary. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

In Another's Home

One fun thing about staying in someone else's house is seeing what strikes you as odd or unique or noteworthy.  I meant to post this a few weeks ago, but here are the things I noticed at my friend in DC's house.

First, TWO blenders.  Both functional.  Because sometimes you need two? 

And TWO remotes.  Not unsual of course, but when you're staying with someone and she goes to work and you're home alone, enough of a mystery to require photos and texts to figure out how to operate it all. 

But most notable was the books.  Hopefully you can zoom in on these photos.  100% fitness, diet, exercise, and/or self-help books.

More cookbooks:

More cookbooks: 
More cookbooks:

And yeah, more cookbooks, since 5,525 other titles isn't sufficient: 
Haha, but for this friend, it makes perfect sense.  She's super-healthy, she cooks a ton, and she's great at it.  She's a friend from law school, but it wouldn't surprise me if she ended up as a dietician or nutrition coach or something similar one day. 
I wonder what people would find notable about our home.  I should have photographed my best friend's house in Charlottesville.  Thousands of shot glasses in her collection! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Winter of my Discontent

What is the exact definition of the term "mid-life crisis"?

Reconsidering all your choices?

General dissatisfaction with your world?

Wanting a fast(er) car way outside your budget?

Well, if this is the winter of my discontent, at least it won't be a snowy, cold winter:

Maybe national running day will pull me out of my funk?  I ran this morning, which is you know, a given for most people who run, but to celebrate the holiday, tonight I'm doing a massive "inter-faith" national running day event.  By inter-faith I mean a bunch of largest running groups in Dallas are joining forces for the event and it will be huge -- over 400 people to be sure, possibly well over 500.  The biggest running programs here are basically competitors with each other, so it's particularly awesome I think that they're all doing a joint event.  Kind of like an inter-faith coalition of running.