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I've Been Tagged!
I've been tagged by Pundit Mom! Up until now I was a meme virgin. So here it goes, oh and by the way - CrankMama and Gunfighter, you're tagged!

1. Explain what ended your last relationship? A cheater. There were other things, but we'll just leave it at that.

2. When was the last time you shaved? Yesterday.

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.? Driving the boys to daycare.

4.What were you doing 15 minutes ago? Checking my email.

5. Are you any good at math? I was. Now my math is pretty much limited to stuff added up on a calculator.

6. Your prom night? Scary dress. It was an asymmetric metallic blue short poofy thing. Very 80s. I thought it was so pretty.

7. Do you have any famous ancestors? Yes, but I'm not sure I want to admit it here. I know you won't hold my ancestor's sins against me though so - Jefferson Davis.

8. Have you had to take a loan out for school? Yes. Huge law school loans. I paid off the undergrad loans before I started law school.

9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile? Yes. (Of course now I'm admitting that I have a MySpace page.) It's Five For Fighting's The Riddle.

10. Last thing received in the mail? The Discovery Store catalog. Very cool.

11. How many different beverages have you had today? Two - a glass of milk and some tea.

12. Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine? Of course.

13. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? I'm not sure. I think it was Styx.

14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? Sometimes.

15. What is out your back door? Which one? I have 3! I'll go with the one I use most often - our screened in porch littered with a tricycle, one of those annoying push toys that makes popping noises, and a milk crate of legos.

16. Any plans for Friday night? Nope.

17. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? Yes. I have somewhat curly hair and the ocean air makes it curlier. Of course, living near the ocean I can never straighten my hair anymore but oh well.

18. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? I don't think so.

19. Have you ever been to a planetarium? Yes.

20. Do you re-use towels after you shower? Yes.

21. Some things you are excited about? Blogging (I never realized how much I would enjoy it), a scrapbook I just started working on (I will finish this one!), and some legal research I just started. Yes, I'm a nerd.

22. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO? Orange.

23. Describe your keychain(s)? It is a little Lego woman. When I was 13 my mom gave me a little Lego key chain after a trip to Lego Land in Denmark. When that one broke, a high school friend gave me another. Now, I buy a new one every time one breaks to keep up the tradition. I think I'm on Lego Woman #5. They last a surprisingly long time.

24. Where do you keep your change? In my wallet, my desk drawer at work (for soda) and in my car's center console (for parking).

25. What kind of winter coat do you own? I have a full length taupe dress coat and a green parka with hood but it hardly ever gets cold enough for either of them here.

26. What was the weather like on your graduation day? Sunny for high school. Gray for college. And it rained immediately after my law school graduation, but then it was sunny and clear.

27. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Closed. If we leave it open the cat comes in and meows and whines in the middle of the night.

28. Did you read this far? If you did - TAG! You're it!


The Window to Nowhere
Last week, Jenny over at Mama Drama came up with a contest to see who has the weirdest object in their home. There were some good ones! Check out this freaky doll. Here's where you can peruse the votes, only I'm a little late because today was the last day to actually vote. My favorite was Janet's over at Dancing Through. She entered her Window to Nowhere. It's my favorite because I have a creepy window too! It's in the boiler room in my house (my creepy Freddy Kruegeresque boiler room) and the window backs up against the wall to our downstairs bathroom. I know what's behind the window (the bathroom), but it creeps me out nonetheless. And it's in the eeriest room in my 90 year old house. The photo doesn't do it justice but trust me, it's creepy. You can't see the bare, burned out bulb we can't reach and you can't see the ominous, spare, concrete steps leading down into hell the room. My flash lit things up a little too well but you get the general the idea.

And my apologies for not getting it together enough to post this sooner!


Conflict of Conscience
I generally try to avoid blogging about my job, other than in the most general terms. I don't want to run the risk of insulting people with whom I work and negotiate on a daily basis. But something tragic happened to the family of a lawyer with whom I work recently and it's really made me think.

On November 11, 2006, Elisabeth Kelly King Reilly, was shot during a robbery at an upscale shopping center in Virginia Beach. According to witnesses, she had handed over her belongings to the robber and both Kelly and her robber had turned to leave when the robber turned and shot Kelly in the back. Kelly died at the hospital later that evening. She was 25 years old and a newlywed - she had been married for only four months.

People in the area are in an uproar. Because of the tragic nature of the crime, because of the circumstances, and because it might have been avoided. You see, the suspect, 19 year old Christopher Hagans, had quite a criminal history and was out on bail when Kelly was murdered. The judge did not have Christopher Hagan's criminal history before him when he released him on bail. Of course lots of finger pointing is now happening, with prosecutors claiming they don't have the man hours or the money to do a background check before every hearing. I'm sure the issue will be debated in the area for years to come, but that's not really what I'm writing about. You see, Christopher Hagans, who has been arrested and charged in Kelly's murder, is almost certain to face the death penalty if convicted. The fact is that a death sentence in Virginia really is a death sentence - Virginia executes more people than any other state except Texas.

I've hinted about my conflicted feelings about the death penalty before, but I guess I'll explain a bit more now. Until my mid-20's I really had no strong feelings about the death penalty. If asked for my view, I would have told you I didn't really have one. But when I entered law school I was forced to actually think rationally about the death penalty and examine my personal views. I educated myself on the issue and my conclusion was that the death penalty was applied irrationally, irregularly, and along racial lines. What's more, you don't have to be a "liberal" to realize that it costs a lot of money to have prisoners on death row with years of automatic appeals. And I have to admit that there is something a touch barbaric about keeping a man in a cage for 20 years before finally hauling him off and executing him for a crime committed years before. Now there's no need to flame me if you disagree with my views. I know all of the arguments for and against the death penalty. Trust me, there's no need to educate me on the matter. What it comes down to, for me, is whether the risk of executing even one innocent person is worth the price, both in terms of money, revenge, and "justice." I don't think it is. Now that I have children, however, my thoughts on the death penalty have become more conflicted. Let me just say that if anyone hurt one of my children, I. would. kill. them. Or at least I would want to. How do I rationalize this feeling? I have no idea. I haven't even tried. I've never really been forced into a situation where my principles would be challenged and I hope to god I never am.

Unfortunately, a partner in my firm is now in this unthinkable situation. Kelly Reilly was his cousin. And my co-worker, we'll call him Lawyer X, is an ardent critic of the death penalty. In fact, Lawyer X frequently represents prisoners in their death row appeals pro bono. Lawyer X has also been quite outspoken about his feelings in the media, locally and nationally. Lawyer X has had clients executed and he has witnessed them first hand. I honestly don't know how he does it. Setting aside the crimes for which Lawyer X's clients have been convicted, I don't know how he puts himself personally and professionally in such a losing position. I know that I could not handle the emotional pain and the responsibility of literally holding someone's life in my hands. Lawyer X is not a criminal defense attorney, but he has convictions and he has trained himself to use his exceptional legal abilities to support those convictions. I admire that.

But in a cruel twist of fate, Lawyer X and his family are about to go through a death penalty case from the other side of the aisle. And I am afraid to ask him about it. I'm afraid to ask him if his personal convictions have changed now that a dear family member has been cruelly murdered. In another world, a parallel world where Kelly Reilly is still alive, Lawyer X might have represented Christopher Hagans. So what does Lawyer X do now? I have no idea, and I suspect that neither does he.

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Does This Count as a Baby Book?
Since I've been confessing all sorts of things lately, I'll give you another one. I scrapbook. That's right. I might as well give it up and buy the minivan and the Mom Jeans now. I used to make disparaging comments about people who scrapbook and even referred to Creative Memories as a cult. Then I had a baby and I needed to do something with the 50,000 photos I took of Hollis in his first 3 months. Someone invited me to a crop party and the next thing you know, I've spent $250 on scrapbooking materials, papers, and embellishments. I began happily scrapping away, creating a book of lovely photos and memories for Hollis.

But when Hollis was very young (cough*sixmonthsold*cough) we found out I was literally screwed having another little bundle of joy. (Actually, I believe T's actual words were "Oh, fuck." Now, that's one for the baby book.) Pregnancy is not fun for me. I'm not one of those women who walks around sweating glowing and lying gushing about how wonderful carrying a little miracle is. Pregnancy for me means 9 months (Yes, NINE MONTHS) of barfing, no energy, shooting up with insulin 3 or 4 times a day, and constant medical appointments and sonograms. The second time around I even got to add in a kidney stone, hospitalization, and high blood pressure. It was tons of fun. So basically, I'm just rationalizing the fact that I completely stopped doing any work on Hollis's scrapbook. And I haven't gotten back to it. I make a digital scrap page every now and then (see photo above), but I really haven't been recording all those little milestones and memories for H&H anymore - at least not like I did before. Now, if H&H does something amazing I might jot it down on my calendar or toss a memento into a box. That's about it.

So, of course, I've been flagellating myself for not keeping a diary (like my mother-in-law) or at least a baby book or letters to H&H of some sort. Then last night as I was perusing the comments on my blog, I realized that this is sort of a journal for me. Whether intentional or not, I have (at least for the last few months) been documenting our lives. And my children may someday like my medium even more than a baby book. If they read my blog they'll have insight into so much about me and who I am. Maybe they won't care about that when they're 15, but I bet they will when they're 30. Or after I'm gone and they have children of their own. So I have now completely justified to myself all time that I selfishly spend on my blog!

Oh and I'm never getting a minivan.

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Smoked Turkey
We got the most hilarious present from a cousin of mine. She heard that H&H have learned the chicken dance and apparently couldn't resist. So, to put you in the mood for the Thanksgiving holiday I give you this:


Parenting Along Party Lines?
I'm about to out myself here in a very embarrassing way. There's something I haven't told you all. Something I've been hiding. You see, I'm married to a, um, a, ahem... jeez, this is hard to say. OK, I'll whisper it to you - I'm married to a Republican. Now you know my horrible secret.

I wouldn't say that T is one of those judgmental, holier-than-though, "if you're a Democrat you're Satan" Republicans. I mean, he's not Ann Coulter. But he's a big believer in smaller government, fewer regulations, and anything pro-business in general. At the same time, T is all for gay marriage, against the death penalty (though sometimes we'd both like to make an exception for people who harm children), and T believes that he's not entitled to an opinion that counts on the abortion issue until he grows a vagina and becomes hormonal every month. He's a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.

I, on the other hand, am not by any means a socialist but I think there are many ills in this world that those of us blessed with intelligence, good health, and plenty of material goods have an obligation to try to fix. I don't mind paying a little more in taxes if no child in this country goes hungry and everyone has affordable health care. That's where T and I differ. And maybe it seems like a small difference, but no single issue has caused more strife in our marriage than our fundamentally different views on the obligations of government and society. T is a good man. He's actually the best person I know and it may be corny, but he makes me want to be a better person. Knowing that, I find it incredibly frustrating that T continues to vote for Republicans. He could go either way, vote for either party. I mean, let's face it, the Republicans haven't exactly been tightening the fiscal belts lately. But T continues to vote for Republicans who share absolutely none of his core values on social issues. His voting record tells me that he values fiscal over social policy and that disturbs me.

I'm not looking for marriage counseling from the World Wide Web, but I've dragged all of this out because our political differences have become more of an issue since we had H&H. Before the kiddos came along, we could fight discuss an issue and then agree to disagree. Then I would just go quietly write a check to my favorite political candidate. (Shh! Don't tell!) But now I find myself wondering how I'm going to instill my values in our children without alienating my husband. And I worry even more than H&H will choose to follow their father's lead. I could get the kids a new bedtime story, but I'm afraid T would retaliate!

I know there is no easy solution to this problem. All I can do is lead by example, show my kids how fortunate they are, show them how the rest of the world lives, and show them what they can do to help. The rest I have to leave up to them and hope that I've taught them to make the right choices.

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Nemo's Revenge
Well, I know you've all missed me desperately but I've been off lawyering and mothering. We took a road trip this weekend up to visit a law school friend in the Northeast. It was great to see Lawyer Friend, Mr. Lawyer Friend and their 20 month old but 12 hours of car ride is a little too much in 3 days. Next time we'll have to make it at least five days so Lawyer Friend and I can find some time to shop.

Have I mentioned Hollis's obsession with Finding Nemo? No? Well, the first thing the kid asks for in the morning is "Nemee" (aka Nemo in Hollis-speak). So we had a nice long ride of Nemo, Nemo and more Nemo on the portable DVD player. We tried to buy him off with a little Curious George, but he wasn't having it. It was Nemee! Nemee! Nemee! For the whoooooole long trip. After the nonstop weekend NemoFest, Hollis has decided that he can speak Whale. I think it's hilarious, but maybe I've just seen the movie a few too many times!


OK, Now I'm Annoyed
I generally try to ignore all of the political vitriol that goes on in October and November of every election year. I read up on the candidates and their views to make an informed decision. I certainly don't buy every soundbite I hear on CNN or Fox News (T's choice - ugh). I generally take everything I hear on TV or read in the paper with a grain of salt and make up my own mind.
But this nonsense about John Kerry insulting U.S. troops in Iraq has really pissed me off. And no, I'm not pissed at Kerry. I'm pissed off at the evil right wing spin machine and the news media for buying the spin hook, line and sinker. And, yes, maybe I am a little mad at Kerry for APOLOGIZING!

Here's the soundbite:

You have to admire the genius of the Republican spin machine, but it seems pretty clear to me that he wasn't talking about U.S. troops at all. He was talking about our President. You know, the guy who skated his way through an ivy league education? Yes, he could have chosen his words a little more carefully. But apparently only expressly stating "I'm talking about President Bush, people!" would have been enough to appease the right wing sharks on the prowl for Democratic blood. Now everybody shut up about it already.


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