Monday, November 26, 2012

Updates to Family Blog

I finally took some time today to blog about our fall on the Christine & Curtis Blog.  Going into Christmastime, it was a nice exercise in looking back at the fun things we did, aside from our multiple trips around the country for work/sad family reasons. 

It's hard to look at September-November 2012 without some sadness and, frankly, trauma.  I even made the decision to include a reference to it in some of our Christmas card messages - it was just too big a deal to ignore.  But I did not want to forget to document what else happened during the same period.  Among other things, we had a friendly face come to visit at the end of September, Christine's Stanford Class of '07 reunion in October, a meet up with a good friend in New Orleans later that month, and a nice visit for Thanksgiving which was capped off with the Stanford-UCLA game in the Rose Bowl last Saturday.  And of course, plenty of Kenny in-between.  

So please enjoy those posts (as late as they are) as much as I have enjoyed posting them. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Thank you for your Service"

I had what is, sadly, a unique experience a few months ago.

I was flying from Houston to Orange County to see my aunt in September, and I sat next to a service member who was on a 2-week leave from Afghanistan.  As much as I often hate the airlines, one thing I love his how they go out of their way to bring uniformed soldiers whatever they need, and this flight was no exception.   The one caveat I have for that is that the movie was "Battleship," which was actually pretty good, but I'm not sure if that was something the soldier was interested in watching, given his circumstances.

I asked him where he was coming from and when he told me and I said, "thank you for your service," to which he replied, "thank you for your support."  This was the first time I've had a conversation with a service member stationed in Afghanistan about what it is like.

He was about my age, from Orange County, and served his county by working in "civilian relations," which meant that he would walk the communities in Afghanistan (while heavily protected and armed) and interact with the locals.  He said that it was quite a reality check the first week he was there when people started shooting at him. But for the most part his unit has been relatively unharmed, although he lives in constant fear.  If I remember correctly he still had several months of deployment left.  It took 3-4 days to make the trip from Afghanistan back to California, but as soon as he was out of Afghanistan, he breathed a sigh of relief.  When we landed in Santa Ana, we both remarked on how odd it was to be back (It was my first time back in SoCal in 9 months).

I asked him about what his days are like over there, whether they get to watch much football (yes if they have a signal, that is an issue), what the food is like (he's happy to be home) and what he misses (a decent bed). His unit has a fantasy football team.  He got a "Dear John" letter two months into his deployment and is still pretty mad about it; he said he might see her during his leave, but more than anything was looking forward to blowing off some steam in Vegas.  He said that although they are not supposed to drink/party while on leave, there is an unspoken understanding that it's going to happen anyway, and that as long as they don't get themselves into trouble it's okay (although he has a number to call in case something does happen).

I also asked what he thinks about public support of the troops.  He's frustrated; he feels like the county has forgotten about the troops who are still in harm's way, especially during the Presidential election and especially during difficult economic times.  I told him that from my perspective, the candidates are not talking enough about Afghanistan, which is a shame, and so the focus is not on the troops, despite the fact that they are still dying over there.

[I hope now that the election is over that will change, but'm not optimistic, given all the name-calling that has been going on in the wake of the election.  That's for another blog post that I will probably never write, but suffice it to say being called a brainwashed immoral minority woman that only wants to "take" from the government, does not represent "real America," and is lazy - is not fun.  Anyhow ... ]

I asked if he intends to stay in the service after his deployment.  He said he would like to go to college and work towards joining special forces.  He wished that he had someone push him to go to college first instead of going right into full-time military duties.  I think he felt like his life was put on hold.

Our conversation left a strong impression in me and was a "teachable moment."  Part of me regrets not getting his information so I could stay in contact with him; but part of me thinks that our conversation was more powerful this way.  He looks like me, is my age, and knows the same Orange County landmarks and high schools, and yet my daily life is so different than his.  His family has to deal with the fact that he's over there and in harm's way 24/7, and carry on with their jobs and lives.  Regardless of our country's policies over there, it takes a lot of courage on his part to do that job.

So, to him, and to his fellow soldiers and their families, I thank you.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Aunt Julie

I'm sorry to say we lost Aunt Julie to cancer this morning.  She was 44.

 Aunt Julie and her three kids (my cousins) made some wonderful memories this year - the link is an article about one of those experiences:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yo-Yo Ma in Mobile

Curtis and I had the unique opportunity to see Yo-Yo Ma perform with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra ("MSO") last Wednesday.  The MSO is not very old, but was fantastic.  It performed the first half without Ma, first playing a Verdi overture which was impressive, followed by the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra.  I wasn't crazy about how it sounded, but it certainly sounded technically difficult and the MSO did a great job of it.

Then after the intermission Yo-Yo Ma came out, looked so pleased to be performing, and first did the Schumann Cello Concerto in a minor, opus 129 with the MSO, and to be honest, he clearly had it memorized and while he was enjoying himself, it sounded like something he's performed often (not unlike the Bach that he plays in The West Wing, which he did not play for us that night but had performed the night before in Mobile).

Then, I think we had the real treat, because, in honor of John Williams birthday, he performed an Elegy that Williams wrote for Cello and Orchestra, which was BEAUTIFUL.  Seriously, I was blown away.  It also has a unique history:


Elegy for Cello and Orchestra

Composed: 1997-2001
Orchestration: 2 flutes, oboe, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet , 2 bassoons, 2 horns, harp, strings, and solo cello
A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine, a brilliant young violinist, lost her two young children in tragic circumstances. For the memorial service for little Alexandra and Daniel, a group of composer colleagues and I each contributed a small piece to mark this occasion, which was not only heart-rending, but also one that was suffused with a great deal of love.
A short time before this event, Yo-Yo Ma appeared as soloist on my soundtrack recording of Seven Years in Tibet. The score included a short melodic fragment which I thought might be expanded, so I shaped it into the form of the present Elegy, always with the cello in mind. The original version of the piece was for piano and cello and was beautifully performed at the memorial service by John Walz, an outstanding Los Angeles cellist. When the opportunity to record a CD with Yo-Yo Ma emerged, I decided to orchestrate the Elegy and Yo-Yo kindly agreed to record it.
— John Williams

After that, it was the end of the MSO program, and Ma then proceeded to delight the audience with 3 encores of solo music.  Even Curtis, who has very little musical background, enjoyed his performance and was impressed with his ability.

I was concerned going into the concert that I would be overly emotional - I had a hard time getting through the beautiful music at my Grandpa's service since he loved music so much.  But I was prepared and did well, and had a wonderful time listening to the beautiful music.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


It has been a little crazy lately.  If you're still checking the blogs and wondering where I've been, here's the scoop:

First, let me note that most of this has nothing to do with me, that my health is fine and my little family in LA ("Lower Alabama") is fine. Plus, there's the (admittedly trivial) fact that all of this is happening during the fall and football season, which already involves travel, and thus I'm busier than normal.

So what is bringing me to California for 3 of out of the last 5 weekends (this weekend included)?  Well, mostly sad events.  I was in CA Sept. 20-23 to see my Aunt, who, at 44 years young, is dying of cancer.  In so many ways, this trip was a blessing - we got so much quality time together talking and laughing, and although the outlook is devastating and cruel, and although we spent most of our time together in the hospital, it was a good visit and well-worth the trip and time.  I will say that, it's hard to look at cancer the same way after going through it with her. It takes too many people and destroys too many families and the road to a cure seems far away.

It also turned out to be the last time I would see my Grandpa, who suddenly passed away about 2 weeks ago after a car accident. It's still hard to talk about because I really miss him - he was one of my favorite people in my life.  But knowing that he is with my grandma, and that he will be with my Aunt in spirit as she makes her transition, has given me and my family great comfort.  I am SO SO lucky that he and I were able to have a great time together just 2 weeks before.  We had such a fun dinner together where he ate more sashimi than I thought was possible, and he was in good form and we just talked and talked and enjoyed each other's company.  I'm thankful for the relationship we had and for how good he was to me.   I will be in California for his service this weekend.

On a happier note, in between all of this I flew out to San Francisco to go to my 5-year Stanford Homecoming Reunion.  I had such a nice time visiting with close friends and with people I hadn't seen in a long time.  I flew out just a few days after Grandpa's death and it was a nice distraction and something I had been looking forward to.

During these last 5 weeks I've also traveled to Tuscaloosa for a football game and to New Orleans to see a friend.  I hope to recap all of this at a later time, but if you've noticed that I've been a little ... absent shall we say? at least from the substantive, "this is what is going on with my life" stuff (since I still am active on Facebook with little things), the above is why - it's just a lot of travel and a lot of emotional stuff all at once.   When I'm home, I'm focused on spending time with Curtis and Kenny since my absence has had an effect. And I'm trying to stay ahead on my sleep and on my stress.  When I'm at work, I'm try to stay busy. But I wanted to take some time out today to update the blog and say hello.

Have a good week :-)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paint by Numbers - Progress

I love doing these - so soothing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh Jillian Michaels ...

As I mentioned on the other blog, I got a 80 minute massage on Saturday.  It left me quite achy that night from all the hard work the masseuse put in on my back.  So I woke up on Sunday feeling pretty stiff, but I wanted to work out nonetheless.

Luckily (haha, a funny thing in hindsight), I saw our downstairs neighbor leave for church, so I knew I had a window of time to do a workout video.  I've only done the videos a few times since I moved to Alabama because it's just too loud for the folks downstairs so I have to wait until I know they're gone.

For some twisted reason, I decided to do Level 2 of the 6 week 6 pack cold turkey.  In retrospect, I don't know why I thought I could handle it.  I haven't done any upper body training in months, no planks, no squats, no lunges, NOTHING.  Just because I've lost 19 lbs can kinda run 2 miles does not make me ready for some JM pain.

18 minutes in, I gave up, took the 3 activity points, and went on my merry way.  The one perk was that my body got some needed relief from the stiffness because the workout stretched everything out.

But of course, this morning, I couldn't put weight on my left leg - it was so tight.   I guess I got what I deserved.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kenny LOVES marshmallows

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quad Injury

(or a lesson in how NOT to come off a gym break)

Life has been quite busy lately.  After pushing to get to a certain weight before Juls' wedding, I (well, we) took a several week break from running and focused on work and on our visitors.  In retrospect, I wish I hadn't gone cold turkey.

About a month ago, I finally got the motivation to get back to the gym, and did too much too soon.  On the one hand, I went hard because my level of athleticism hadn't fallen off as much as I had feared - I was so happy that I could still run at the times and distance I could three weeks earlier, that I did way too much and my legs were not ready.  On Day 3, after doing 5 miles in two workouts on Day 2, I felt some unusual pain in my right quad.  I knew it was bad but finished my workout, knowing that it would be my last for awhile.  I put some ice on it and took some advil, hoping it would be ready to go again in a few days.

Well, it turns out, quad injuries are difficult to heal, because we use our quad so much when we walk.  In the morning it would feel fine but at the end of the day it hurt (and I don't have a job at which I'm on my feet much), and running was out of the question - it was obviously strained.  It reminded my of my (probable) stress fracture back in 2009 - where most activity was out of the question.

A week later, without any improvement, I decided that I would basically have to take a weekend and stay off my leg to the extent possible, wrap it and apply ice every few hours.  I'm not sure if it helped, but by that next week, it was feeling much better.  2 weeks post-injury, I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the treadmill without pain.  But I knew that I should probably go easy on it because the muscle felt weak.

So now here I am  - trying to start up again and avoid another such injury.  I did a mile on Saturday and 2 miles last night, and am hoping to get back to 3-4 days a week training until I feel like I can up the intensity again.  I'm also brainstorming ways to get some weight training in, both to help prevent another like injury and to fix this hip problem I've been having for months when I run.  But I'm happy to be past the injury, and happy that I didn't gain much (if any) weight in the interim. 

Update: going to try these exercises tonight. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Delta cruise

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hi there...

We've had a busy couple of months, between work and visitors and travel.  I hope to be able to post about:

- Jackie's visit
- Mom's visit
- My quad sprain (a.k.a. a lesson in not ramping up training too fast)
- Kenny
- etc.

... soon.  In the meantime, have a good week!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday Recipes

I was inspired by my weight watchers meeting Saturday to try a few new recipes yesterday.  

Up first:  Simple Cornbread/Corncake

(from my WW Leader, adopted from the Emily Bites Chicken Tamale Bake Recipe

This is literally, a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix and a can of Creamed Corn.  Bake in a 9x13 dish at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 


I think I misheard my leader, because this was essentially a disaster. Perhaps she baked it in a square pan, instead of 9x13.  I think muffins might even be a good option.  But this came out rather flat and took much longer to bake than the recipe called for. Curtis (quite rightly) remarked that it reminded him of corn cake.  I quickly agreed, and resolved to serve this a side with our dinner this afternoon (see recipe no. 2) 

Damage: not much at all since we didn't eat much of it.  Points breakdown is 3 points for 1/12 of a serving. 

Second: Taco Casserole Bake

As you might recall my first Emily Bites Recipe was the Pasta Bake, which I've made twice now and is very tasty.  I love the casserole concept because it's easy to make leftovers out of for lunches.  Here we go: 

25 Baked Tostitos Scoops
1 T Chili Oil (I found this in the Asian foods aisle) - if you are considering replacing this with regular oil please note the chili oil adds a lot of spice and flavor to this dish, so replacing it will affect the flavor profile
1 Onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ lbs extra lean ground turkey (I used Jennie-O which comes in a 1.25 lb package) [I accidentally purchased regular ground turkey but it didn't change the points value]
2 T taco seasoning
15 oz can black beans, drained
1 c salsa (I used medium)
1 c 2% shredded Mexican cheese 

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2.    In a large skillet, warm the chili oil and sauté onions and garlic until softened. Add ground turkey and taco seasoning, break up into pieces and cook until meat is browned. Mix in salsa and beans and cook for a few more minutes until salsa thickens. [I used the George Foreman to Cut out some Fat on the front end]
3.    Break up the tortilla chips into bite sized pieces and use them to line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Evenly spread the meat mixture over the chips and then sprinkle cheese over the top*. Bake for 20 minutes.

*Additional Serving Options:
This casserole is great on its own, but it you’d like to cut the heat it can be served with a dollop of guacamole or reduced fat sour cream. I ate some of my leftovers with 2T of Wholly Guacamole. You can also add jalapenos, black olives or any other toppings you’d like before baking. Toppings will affect the P+ value.


It was tasty, but we had three comments:
1. It would be great as a dip, but we did feel it was left wanting as a stand-alone dish.  It really needs chips or a tortilla. 
2. Some chopped tomato on the top would look great and taste great. 
3. We are not ground turkey people - we should have used ground beef.  It probably wouldn't have resulted in more points (or you could just use less) and would be much more in our wheelhouse. 

On the plus side, it was remarkably easy to make, and wasn't as spicy as I feared it would be.  I would probably make it again, albeit with some variations to make it go faster. It was my first time mincing garlic and I don't have a chopper so doing everything by hand was time-consuming. 

Damage:  1/8 of the casserole alone is only 5 points, which is especially great for lunches.  I added 1/4 an avocado (2 points), 1 TB fat free sour cream (0 points), and a scoop of "corncake" (2 points) to my meal.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I don't like cars anymore.

I like to keep my blog generally superficial, report on life moments, perhaps provide an opinion or two, but never anything overly personal because, well, this is a public website, and I keep much of my life and inner-most thoughts to myself, or in limited ways, to my close family and friends.  This post is a rare exception.

I saw something this morning that I want to write about, in hopes that I can get past it and get some work done today.  I took an unusual way through downtown Mobile to work because of traffic in the main tunnel.  There was a really bad accident on a corner.  The kind of accident where they tape up the windows so you can't see in, kind of accident.  This was the second time I've ever seen this, the first was on the way back from Utah last year.  As selfish as it is, I will always think that that could have been me.

Many of you know that I lost my dream car, my mustang convertible, on the 110 freeway going home from school in November of 2010.  My close friends and family also know that, even though I only came away with your typical post-accident whiplash pain, the mental pain was much deeper.  It wasn't my first car accident, but it was the first (and hopefully the only) in which I know that, thanks to some quick thinking on my part, I probably saved my own life.  I got clipped on the drivers' side by a big rig, which sent me swerving to my right, and thanks to my car's handling, I was able to correct before going head first into the concrete barrier wall.  My passenger side hit the wall, and although the body and the axle sustained total loss damage (I think the body shop was amazed that I was okay), since the car literally went up the barrier and bounced off of it, the cab stayed intact and my airbags did not deploy.  Also very thankfully, no other cars were involved.

But the accident fundamentally changed the way I look at driving.  It made me realize that when it comes to car accidents, especially high speed accidents, the difference between walking away from an accident and being killed in an accident is very small.  I stopped driving regularly for awhile after my accident, because it scared me, and I am all too happy to no longer be commuting in California (north or south).  But these things can happen on a street in downtown Mobile too.  Just yesterday the PA announcer for the Red Sox was killed in a car accident when he hit a tree.  We all need to be careful when on the road, try not to go too fast, and be alert to what is around us. Too many people are hurt and killed each year from car accidents to be worth slacking off about this.

And I look forward to the day that we all have automatic cars - Nevada just registered its first Google car this week.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Alabama State Bar

Dear Christine Harding Hart:

We are indeed pleased to advise you that your name is being certified to the Alabama Supreme Court today as having successfully completed all of the requirements for admission to the Alabama State Bar. The Supreme Court of Alabama will mail a Certificate of Admission to you within a few days and you may begin the practice of law upon receipt of said Certificate.

The formal Certificate of Admission will be presented to you at the Admission Ceremony to be held in the Montgomery Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. In order to participate in the ceremony, you must register with the Young Lawyers’ Section of the Alabama State Bar,
CONGRATULATIONS on this most significant achievement!

David G. Hymer, Chair
Board of Bar Examiners

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bay Area Trip for Julia and Andy's Wedding

I will likely post more on this later when the professional pictures are available, but here's the recap:

We arrived on Thursday afternoon to amazingly warm and sunny weather, picked Tracy & Sarah up from the airport (both were Tridelts and bridesmaids), ran a few errands (including to Trader Joe's!), and then checked in at the hotel.  The Bachelorette Party was that night, at Gordon Biersch and Old Pro.  I think the Bride had a fantastic time, and we were out until 1 am.

Yes, we did a Sports-themed bachelorette party - are you surprised?

Friday morning began with a trip to Stacks,

Yay! Except that it's always sad when you want to eat more than you physically can. 

 followed by nails in downtown Palo Alto, a Bridesmaids Luncheon at Left Bank in Menlo Park (the appetizers? AMAZING, the endless Pellegrino, even better),

The bride, bridesmaids, and flower girl

a quick trip for me to the Stanford Bookstore and the mall (where I salivated over a Kate Spade bag that I can't afford and is in a seasonal color anyway), and then the Rehearsal and the Rehearsal Dinner.

The Wedding Day (Saturday) began with a trip to the gym for me, and hair and makeup in the morning.

After several changes, this is what we went with.

It's hard to see in this picture (see below), but I think it's obvious that I had more makeup on than ever in my life, including my own wedding.

 We met up with the Bride, Maid of Honor and Mother of the Bride at the reception location for a light lunch and pictures before we limoed over to the ceremony.

Me and Tracy
Probably my favorite picture from the day - her bouquet had just arrived. 

After the ceremony, which was beautiful, we had the cocktail hour followed by dinner and dancing at the Peninsula County Club in San Mateo.

Tracy, me and Melissa

All the Tridelts, except Juls, and plus Juls' niece, future Tridelt. 

First Dance.
And to cap off the night, some of my friends and the bridal party went out (fully clothed in what we wore at the wedding) to a bar in Palo Alto and danced some more until 1 a.m.   We even did a late night trip to Jack in the Box to cap off a typical Stanford evening out.

The bride and groom looked so happy on their big day, and we had such a great time.

We made it back to Alabama in one piece on Sunday evening, albeit very tired.  Curtis picked Kenny up this morning and he was happy to be home, and no worse for wear. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

So what's new?

- Work is super busy. I will be there for part of the afternoon today. 

- Curtis and I will be in the Bay Area next weekend for Juls' wedding. I'm very excited to be back and to see friends. 

- I finally got Instagram, so I'm playing around with that.  See my twitter feed for links to pictures (if you're not on Facebook).

- The weather here has been AMAZING. As in, 80 degrees and sunny, but not too humid.  We're crossing our fingers for another month of this before the humidity kicks in. 

- I officially dropped a pant size, have lost just under 20 pounds, including 10% of my starting weight, feel comfortable wearing shorts for the first time in years and am feeling good, strong and healthy. Looking forward to losing the next 25-30.

- I just bought a foam roller a few weeks ago and have been using it after most workouts, particularly on my legs and lower back.  I think it has really helped mitigate the day-to-day pain. 

Have a good week! 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My office!

Hey! I finally put things on my walls in my office!

The giant wall of certificates (taken from my desk chair)
My Alabama Bar certificate (fingers crossed) will go on the right 

On the left is the door, don't mind the trash on the floor.
(Mom - this is the wall space I set aside)

My desk (the only real change is that I moved the bookcase and put up two of my Monet prints
(note the calendar on the left :-))

And this is the cleanest my office will likely be for another 6 months

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 23, 2012

Obamacare and the Supreme Court

Update: if you're looking for good (nerdy) info - SCOTUS Blog is a good place to start:
They have audio and transcript from oral argument, which began today.

A big news story today is the second anniversary of the signing of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. Obviously there was vigorous debate, and many people disagree with the individual mandate. And what do people in our country do when we don't like something? Sue!

Regardless of your (or my) opinion, as a lawyer, I'm really excited for oral argument to take place, but my reasons actually have almost nothing to do with the law itself, but rather a certain constitutional law question that the Supreme Court justices seem determined to not give us a straight answer to.

According to the Constitution (and not the one that says that Obama is not a citizen, or any "constitution" that a tea party fanatic likes to cite, because they are almost always wrong), Congress is allowed to pass laws that regulate "interstate commerce." And after all this time, we still do not know what the heck that means. On the one hand, medical marijuana sold only in California affects interstate commerce, on the other hand, the presence of guns near schools, or physical violence against women, doesn't. And the basis for the healthcare law is this commerce clause. So it will give the justices another opportunity to set forth clear rules about what exactly Congress can and cannot regulate. Historically the courts have struggled with the question of how much can Congress regulate, and how much it should save for the states to decide. As much as that is a political question, it is also very much a constitutional, interpretive and scholarly question that many of us law types get excited about.

You should also keep in mind that whenever the Supreme Court hears a case, they have the right and the opportunity to create new law. Of course that is discouraged politically, but justices on both sides of the aisle do it, and sometimes it is simply necessary, because the older rules simply don't work in today's society. So as much as people can make informed predictions, and as much as the parties can cite precedent, 5 people can agree to do what they want.

The irony is, after all of this hype, the court might not even get to the constitutional question because of the Anti-Injunction Act, which, if applied to this case, would mean that the insurance mandate would have to take effect before anyone can sue under it, and it would delay the ultimate question until 2014. Stay tuned!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

The Hunger Games

One of these days I'll have to make a list of the movies I've seen at midnight. It's getting quite long (Harry Potter, Spiderman, Pirates, X-Files 2, more Harry Potter).

I saw Hunger Games last night - I think it's the first movie I've seen since moving to Alabama.  I saw it at this cool 100-year old theater in downtown Mobile called the Crescent, where they serve beer and wine in addition to the typical popcorn and candy and the owner talks about the movie before he begins the screening (for this one he talked about how it's getting great reviews, unlike Twilight).

The movie was great (I loved the book), but I'm too tired to go into it more than that for now except to say that the casting was actually quite brilliant, and it was definitely worth the fatigue this morning.

Have a good weekend! Curtis gets back tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Since I'm not on Facebook...

This is where you get to hear me rant about the Second Amendment.

I don't hate it.  In fact, I think, given the atmosphere in which we ratified the Bill of Rights, it was necessary.  And, it's so ingrained in our culture that, like the First Amendment, it will never go away, and probably should not go away.

But as I often tell my friends and family, I'm not a fan of the Second Amendment. I'm a fan of the 14th amendment, that gives equal protection of the law to everyone.  I'm a fan of the 1st Amendment (freedom of speech and religion), and it's strange to me that in Western Europe, you can be arrested for something you say.  I LOVE the fourth and fifth amendment, which prevent unreasonable searches and seizures by the police, and give you a fair(er) trial.  I just think that the Second Amendment, of all the Amendments, is completely overemphasized (by the NRA, I'm not afraid to say), and people spend way too much time defending it, as compared to other rights that we have in this country.

And stories like the Treyvon Martin killing murder always leave me preoccupied with this issue. If you're not aware, Treyvon Martin was a 17 year old, who was staying at his dad's house in a nice neighborhood in Florida, when he walked to the store to get some snacks, and as he was walking back the captain of the neighborhood watch shot him dead.  Treyvon was unarmed (unless you want to count the skittles he was carrying), and being followed by this watch captain, who called 911 to report a "suspicious kid" (as he had done several times before).  The 911 dispatcher told this guy not to follow the kid, and he did it anyway (how do we know? the kid was talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone for part of this, saying "this guy is following me").  I haven't heard the 911 call, because I know that it will disturb me even more than this case already does.

In Florida (and Alabama and several other states), you do not have an obligation to retreat when you feel under threat.  And you even have the right to respond disproportionally to the threat, so if someone is coming at you with a fist, you can legally shoot him.  That is why there is speculation that this shooter will not be convicted of murder, if he can convince a jury that he was reasonably threatened (hey, Casey Anthony got off, he could too).

But setting that aside, as well as the obvious racial element here (a black kid in a hoodie in a nice neighborhood is OBVIOUSLY a threat), can we talk about guns?

Why is this dude allowed to walk around a family neighborhood carrying a handgun?  We care about the right to have a gun so much that in some states you can have them anywhere.  That is absurd to me.  Gang members can carry guns, drug dealers can carry guns, people with mental illness can carry guns, and the neighborhood vigilante who thinks he knows how to protect the neighborhood and ends up killing an innocent kid, can carry a gun.  I don't understand how we tolerate this as a society, how our values are so twisted that we want to protect our "FREEDOM" before we protect the safety of our kids and our community.

I once had a discussion with a friend from law school about the 2nd amendment.  He said that perhaps people are so passionate about it because they feel it is the most under attack.  I see cases like this and I beg to disagree. The additional irony is how many 2nd amendment folks also feel so strongly about the "sanctity of life," and yet fight so hard to be able to carry a gun, which I am willing to bet kills more people every year than abortion. It just feels so upside down to me.

There is such a thing as responsible gun ownership, but walking around your neighborhood with a gun ready to shoot anyone is not that.  This is why we need regulation and why the right to "bear arms" should not be unrestricted.

Friday, March 16, 2012

How have I been exercising lately?

Some of you may be curious abut my workout regimen, now that I'm in a weight-loss process.  Especially given the fact that I was diligently recording my Jillian Michaels workouts last year.

Well, I can't do as many of those videos these days, because of our neighbor downstairs.  I may speak on that in a separate blog post later, but we are so annoyed with her, it's hard to put it into words (hint: she's a nurse that thinks that everyone else should be quiet during the day while she's sleeping). So, once a week or so, Curtis and I look out the window, see that her car is gone, and put in a video.  

I actually just got a new JM Video - Kickbox Fastfix.  Curtis wasn't crazy about the kickboxing, but I loved the fact that it is only 20 minutes (from warmup to cooldown), and gets you a decent sweat.  Each workout on the video focuses on a muscle area, one lower body, one upper body, and one abs.  I've only done the abs so far but am looking forward to trying the other workouts, tomorrow perhaps. 

The other days of the week, we go to the gym. 

Thankfully, our gym has 5 cardio machines, and it isn't hard to get a free treadmill, which is both of our workout of choice for the moment.  I am focusing on decreasing my 2 mile time.  I try to go 4-5 days a week (this week I went Monday-Wednesday, and tonight (Friday), and plan to go a lot more while Curtis is away). 

I don't exactly remember where I started, generally anything under 28 minutes (for two miles) I'm happy with.  But the last two times I attempted it I was able to get just over 25 minutes, or 12:30/mi.  I'm quite pleased with that. I'll likely try to keep under that time, and then do another push in a few weeks after I've lost a little more weight. Running has always been something difficult for me, and it's nice to have a good routine and something that I now look forward to. I have ideas of a half marathon next year on the horizon, but right now I really need to focus on getting into a healthy weight range, and I still have a long way to go.

The other issue is injury management and prevention.  I'm trying to go easy on the treadmill because often it doesn't take long for things to go wrong.  I'm a little concerned about shin splints, as well as my right Achilles ankle. Tonight for example I walked the two miles instead of running/walking them, so that I can do some speed over the weekend hopefully without straining it.  I don't mind the daily aches and pains (well, I do actually, but the alternative of not exercising isn't great either), but I've been lucky to avoid major injury so far and I'd like that to continue while I'm losing weight, since exercising is a crucial physical and emotional component of my life.

I'm also considering joining a local crossfit gym for a segment of my weight loss. It's expensive, and I think if I do it I'd only commit to 6 weeks at first, it's open Monday-Friday for classes that I can go to after work.  I'm trying to decide when to start, probably mid-April at the latest, otherwise I'll have to wait until after summer, since I have a lot of after-work summer events at the firm this summer. But it is something that I have at the back of my mind. Right now it's just nice to regain a running stride and have my clothes fit better.

I weigh-in tomorrow morning and am hoping for a good loss! Will update my sidebar after I find out.  

The Kenny and Christine Show

Curtis is on his way to Hamburg, Germany, for at least the next week for work. He is scheduled to return next Friday, but they might have him stay another 5 days. He got his new iPad from UPS literally minutes before he had to leave for the airport, so that was exciting.

Kenny and I have many walks planned, including a trip to the Fairhope art fair. He is getting groomed tomorrow, so I'll make sure to post before and after, that's always fun. We're due for beautiful weather so I'm excited to be outside. And there's this whole March Madness thing going on that I love to watch, so I think we'll survive without Daddy (but just barely).

Have a good weekend!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Being without Facebook for Lent has actually been an interesting study on how I and my friends depend on it.  I have had to jump back on my account for information a few times so far.  Each time, I promptly go on, find the information I'm looking for, look at a few news feed items (I can't help it), then re-deactivate my account.

The first time, I was looking for someone's contact information for a family member, someone I didn't know but I thought I might find on Facebook.   I've had at least one person ask Curtis where I went.  Just today, I wanted to make sure that someone hadn't put something on Facebook before I contacted them.  It's hard when you're so active on Facebook - friends (including me) depend on the information that is there.  It's just assumed that when you post something, all of your friends find out about it.  I've had to tell at least one friend to make sure to email me when something big happens in their life (today - medical residencies are announced) - because I won't find out on Facebook.

Aside from that, I actually haven't missed it much.  I don't yearn for the information - I continue to get the news I'm interested in on Twitter.  But I'm looking forward to my return so I can see everyone's baby pictures and other family news. I'm looking forward to sharing pictures from Juls' wedding and seeing the other pictures people post. And I'm looking forward again to being able to share my own commentary on current events and discuss these issues (serious and silly) with my friends.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Alabama Voting and Politics

In case you were actually born yesterday, you should know that Alabama is not politically similar to California...

First, the voting experience. I arrived at Rockwell Elementary, just down the street from my house, and was immediately asked by the ladies checking me in after I gave them my ID, "how did you find yourself in Alabama from California??"  I explained that we got jobs here, yada yada yada.

Then, I was asked if I wanted a Republican or Democrat ballot. In Alabama you don't register with a party, but rather choose a party when you show up to vote (one of the few things about Alabama politics that I like).  But the way they asked me was funny, it was like "Republican. Or, Democrat?" as if they knew that everyone was voting Republican (anyone who votes with a Democratic ballot shouldn't even show up, all the candidates, left or right, except for Obama for President, run as Republicans).

Then I sat down at a table, with these wooden dividers to make sure we had "privacy", and I stared at my ballot for about 3 minutes to figure out what I was supposed to do (it was one of those where you have to draw the line from the arrow to the box of each candidate you want, at least that's what I hope the instructions meant). I then waited in line to put my ballot through an optical scanner that looked like it was lucky to have survived the 70's.  Then of course I got my sticker and was excited that I had just voted for the first time in a place like Alabama, for republicans.

Turning to the results, some folks in the office here felt ashamed that our state went for Santorum.  Thankfully it's proportional so he didn't actually gain any ground on Romney (the only sane electable one I think is still in the race, who won Mobile County).  But the bigger news is that the Republican winner for Chief Judge of the Alabama Supreme Court is crazy. And, the "democrat" (who isn't really) that will run against him in November is just as, if not more, crazy.  Here's what he said about undocumented immigrants:

[Harry] Lyon said if elected, he would sponsor a law to get all illegal immigrants out of the state within 90 days, or be hanged in public. “It would only take five or 10 getting killed and broadcast on CNN for it to send a clear message to not set foot in Alabama,” said Lyon, a Pelham lawyer. “Anybody that breaks into my home is a threat to my life. I remember the Alamo.”

So there is quite a bit of concern among the lawyers here about the state of our judicial system.  If I wasn't already careful about not finding myself on the wrong side of the law, I am now. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pinterest Update

I just took down my Pinterest site.

Why? In the craze of it all, I hadn't considered the Copyright ramifications.  Pinterest is a great idea, but the reality of it is, there is no control over what happens to the photos you upload, and you have to be very careful about violating copyright law.  Without saying what I had put up there, I'm not sure that I had legal permission to pin or re-pin ANYTHING, and could have been sued by any number of people for what I re-pinned.

And when you sign up, the site tells you that they will not be responsible for any kind of liability, and that if they get sued because of something you pin, you have to pay for their legal defense.

So, to my friends, please be careful about what you Pin on that site, that you actually have permission to share any photos you upload, and that the photos you re-pin are also posted with permission.  Or, be like me and get off the site or just become a passive observer.

I may be overly paranoid, but:
1. I am a lawyer, so this is kinda in my wheelhouse and we're naturally paranoid AND cynical.*
2. I read a few articles that convinced me. See Here and Here if you're interested.

*Note that this blog does not constitute legal advice!  (I know it's silly but I have to say it)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

St Patrick's Day in New Orleans

I drove to New Orleans and back today to spend the day with my good friend Samantha (who was in town from Montreal) and her mom. We started the day by going to church at Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church in New Orleans, a beautiful old church that had sustained 5 million dollars in damages from Katrina but had since rebuilt, and is a beautiful facility.

After church we headed over to a crawfish boil! Yes I tried it but it was just okay - I'm not a big fan of seeing the eyes on my food before I eat it. But the location was perfect - it was located along the St Patrick's day parade route! So we spent some time catching throws of course. Here are the pics!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The view from my room

I had a firm retreat just east of Destin, FL this weekend. It rained all day yesterday, but I woke up to this today:

More to come:-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I felt okay, we'll see at the end of April if I passed. I got home around 7:15 last night from Montgomery, and Curtis and I went to a fun dinner. I'm taking my time this morning before going into work and jumping back into the fray, unpacking so that I can repack tomorrow for our firm retreat in Florida this weekend.

Kenny is very funny this morning - I think I'm going to keep him home from daycare today since I'm going in late, but when I woke up at 7:45, Kenny was in the den, sleeping on the futon, with the door almost closed, and has no interest in moving from there. He's just crashed.

happy leap day!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, February 27, 2012

Watching NASCAR, no joke

You may have heard that I'm a bit of a sports fan. Well, I was watching ESPN this afternoon in my hotel and had heard that the Daytona 500 had been postponed to tonight because of weather. I ended up turning it on since there was nothing else on, and after the nasty wreck during lap 2, I was hooked. I am a bit of a Danica Patrick fan, although unfortunately she was knocked out of the race in that first wreck, along with Jimmy Johnson (another recognizable driver) and later Jeff Gordon because of engine issues. (I probably sound like I know more than I actually do, I know who the popular drivers are, but I know absolutely nothing about racing, except that there is this whole pit stop thing where they get new tires and more gas - otherwise its all Greek)

Anyway it's about halfway done and I have to say that, southern accents of the commentators aside, will all the cameras on and inside the cars, the audio from the drivers, the sound of the cars going 195 mph, it is actually somewhat interesting to watch, and I've been pleasantly surprised. I might even watch until the end.

Anyway, in other news, I had the first part of the Alabama Bar today, 3 hours of Alabama Civil Procedure. It went okay, I felt like I had a good handle on the questions but we'll see. I took a nice nap today which helped me catch up on the 6 hours I got last night (I couldn't help myself, I had to see who won best actress). I had some delicious lunch from Dreamland BBQ, which is a block away from my hotel, and I've probably eaten more in the last three days than I've eaten in the past 2 months, but I'll deal with that on Wednesday.

After getting the lay of the land this morning, I realized that I don't have to get to the convention center as early tomorrow, so I'll get to sleep in. I forgot my earplugs, but I actually don't need them because there aren't very many people taking the exam and half of the people are handwriting it. Most of the people I've spoken with have already taken an exam in another state like me. Anyway, enough with the boring stuff, I'm looking forward to going home tomorrow night, back to NASCAR! (lol)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Here we go again...

I'm settled in my hotel room in Montgomery, AL, after a 2 hr, 15 min trip up highway 65 from Mobile, to take the Alabama Bar Exam for the next two days.

I've had some notice that I would be doing this, in fact, I knew when I was taking the exam in CA that I would get this experience again, but it really didn't feel real until I packed up my stuff yesterday and today. And let me tell you, I hope this is it for me. There has been some suggestion that I take the Florida Bar, but I think I will wait at least a year, because this is really annoying.

Here's the schedule:
Tomorrow (Monday): 3 hour essay exam in the morning on Alabama Civil Procedure and Remedies
Tuesday: morning is the "Multistate Performance Test," for three hours, and the afternoon is the Multistate Essay Exam, for three hours.

I'll drive back to Mobile Tuesday evening and head back into work probably around 11 am on Wednesday.

In the meantime, I will be studying (I didn't have three months without work this time to prepare), watching a healthy share of tv (the oscars! The All star game! The NFL combine! All the weekend before the bar... :-/), enjoying a few days without makeup or dress clothes, and hopefully performing well enough to pass, so that I (maybe) never have to do this again.

Have a good week.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Montgomery, AL

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 (ish) Days without Facebook

I do not generally like to publicize what I am giving up for Lent, and I don't always give something up for Lent, but this year I decided to give up Facebook and since that I means I will be MIA on a site that many of you are used to seeing me on, I thought I'd provide some notice.

It is always challenging for me to decide if and what I am going to give up.  As a Christian, I place much of my own theological emphasis on the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Or, as I jokingly tell my friends, I'm a "New Testament Christian."  My favorite holiday has always been Easter, but I think it can mean so much more when I place focus on the Lenten Period and Good Friday.

My philosophy about the practice of giving something up for Lent is it:

1. Has to be something that affects me on a daily basis (or at least every few days).
2. Is something that I can realistically give up, depending on current circumstances (I decided that giving up a food would not be a good idea this year since I am in an active period of losing weight and could use all options).
3. Is not something that, by giving it up, benefits me. So for example, I personally would not give up things like cookies or chocolate, or sweets, only because I think that is essentially a diet, not a lenten ritual.  It's not about benefiting from eating more healthily, it's about suffering in some way to be closer to God.  Granted, some may say that giving up Facebook has the added benefit of making me more productive.  Today has already demonstrated that the time I am not on Facebook will not likely be added to my productive time, but rather to my unproductive time.

Facebook is not an ideal sacrifice, but I think it serves my three requirements well enough.  I enjoy the ability to be connected to friends and family and much of the news I read comes from Facebook, so I will definitely miss it.  I will not observe the Sabbath breaks, by my own personal preference.

So, long story short, for those of you who may wonder where I disappeared to, I will be back on Facebook on April 8th, and will continue to be on Twitter, Blogger, Pinterest (although that has already fizzled for me) and email throughout the lenten period.

In looking for something to add at the end of this post about Lent, and it's significance to me, I found this article that I appreciated, that included the following:

"The journey of Lent always leads up a hill to a cross. There is no other route. Lent is a time to test our willingness to walk boldly with Jesus; to give up distorted goals; to 'die' to old ways and reject new temptations; to steadfastly look beyond the cross, confident that God's love in Jesus Christ 'lives' in us, and through us, and takes hope into the future."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weight Loss - 10 (11) pounds!

Many of you already know that I started back at Weight Watchers in Mid-December.  Curtis is also doing it, but his news is not mine to share.  I decided in December that I would not keep my progress off the blog, but that I wanted to be able to report something substantial.  So I decided that I would post once I lost 10 pounds.  

Well today we attended a meeting and I have officially lost 11 pounds! I still have a long way to go, but it's great to be more comfortable in my own skin. 

I also thought to take my measurements when I started and have seen some results after the first 10 pounds: 

-3 in the bust
-2.5 in the chest
-2 in the waist
-2 in the hips

And other smaller changes in my legs and arms.  I have some short term goals that I'll hold off on reporting, but I am looking forward to running/walking a 5K in March, and I look forward to posting my progress as I go along. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines' Day!

Today is a normal work day, but Curtis and I are going to make dinner at home, drink a bottle of wine that we ordered months ago, and (hopefully - if the mix arrives today) enjoy some Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes! (shhh... don't tell Curtis, he never reads this blog and doesn't know that I ordered the mix!)

Perhaps it is because of my memories of V-Day in schools, giving valentines to every classmate (do they still do that?), or the fact that this is my 11th Valentines' Day with Curtis, or the fact that we are now far from our family and friends, that today I really feel quite drawn to looking at the day in the context of ALL of the people that I love, not just Curtis (no worries, he gets most of my love).  I'm thinking a lot about my friends, when I will get to see them again (some in April, some later), and of my family, both close and extended.

So, if you're reading this, know that I love and admire you, and that I hope you and your families and friends have a wonderful valentines' day.  I hope to see you soon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stay Tuned for Mardi Gras Posts!

We're in full-swing with Mardi Gras here, and we went to our first (and only this year) ball last Saturday night. We had a great time and have enjoyed the season so far.  Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras Day is next Tuesday, and then it is all over when Lent starts the following Wednesday. So at some point (maybe before the Bar, maybe after) I will recap our first Mardi Gras season in Mobile.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


This isn't my Board. I do have Boards devoted to Pink, Seafoam Green (my current obsession thanks to a pair of Oscar de la Renta Sunglasses I saw, which are pinned on my board), and Blue. I might have to add a Yellow board. 

I joined Pinterest this week.  It's just as good as I expected.

(note - I was on the waiting list and had to wait 2 days to get my account)

The best way to describe it is a bulletin board where you steal people's pictures (and put up some of your own, but it's mostly stealing) and compile them for your own inspiration/commentary/whatever.

One thing I like is it's less personal, so it's not as awkward to follow people who put up neat things but whom you don't know, or only know through other people.  It's similar to Twitter in that way.

I didn't think it was guy-friendly, and to a certain extent I still don't, but I have seen some very cool boards put up by men on topics like design, architecture, etc.  But, lets face it, 85% of the content is women-driven.

 I took the advantage of putting up a few of my own pictures that do not show faces (except for Kenny's), such as details from our wedding (the cake, bouquets, etc.), since I know that Pinterest is a popular destination for brides (I would have loved it using it during my planning process!). I have already had a handful of people "repin" those pictures, which is fun.

I heard (read) a comment (;-)) about it, that it promotes an idealistic woman - one who is constantly making complex recipes, crafts, and utilizing amazing taste in decor and clothing, all while having dozens of children. That is true.  Is it worse than most of the mom/homemaker/perfect woman blogs I stumble upon? I'm not sure yet. But I like looking at the pretty rooms and wreaths, knowing that while my own skills and taste will never measure up, I can incorporate aspects of the ideas I see into my own aesthetic.

Overall I think it's the most creative outlet for those of us who love social networking, and I predict that many hours will be wasted over the next several months/years on it.

Have you used Pinterest? What do you think? Would love to hear your comments.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dinner Tonight - Pasta Bake

I got this great food blog recommendation last week-

I made the pasta bake tonight, which is like a lasagna but with penne pasta. We were very happy with the result!

Here's the link to the recipe:

I'd take a picture of mine, but it's already refrigerated and partly gone. Just know that it was good - Curtis had two servings :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Soda Cupcakes

I can't believe this is (I think) the first time I've tried it, but I finally made the chocolate box cake with a can of diet coke, instead of egg/oil/water! 23 minutes of baking later, we had delicious chocolate cupcakes!

Friday, January 20, 2012

My favorites

I just love these two :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Mardi Gras Ball(s)

We have been invited to one ball so far in Daphne.  We might go to another in Mobile that "everyone goes to."

(now that Wikipedia is available again, thank goodness, here's a good explanation of Mardi Gras in Mobile)

We're going easy on the Balls this year so we can enjoy the parades and I can pass the Alabama Bar Exam, which takes place one week after Mardi Gras Day, which is a holiday for my office (perhaps the start of Lent will make everyone solemn, creating a good last-minute study environment for yours truly).

I got my first Mardi Gras Ball gown in the mail yesterday.  Bought it from David's Bridal on Amazon for about $85, including shipping.  It's purple, and it fits. Yay :-)

(Now I just need to take it to the tailor to get 3 inches chopped off the bottom)

(And we need to rent Curtis' White Tie tux....)

(And I need Shoes...)

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fiesta Bowl

Well, we didn't win but we had an amazing time. We got into this free private Stanford party before the game that had performances by Bret Michaels, LMFAO, and Ke$ha. Plus lots of good free food and beverages. Let's just say, our voices were gone as we walked into the stadium for the game. If you're a fan of either Bret or LMFAO, I created a YouTube playlist of the videos I made - it was pretty awesome.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Above the clouds

From the office:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone