Sunday, April 23, 2006

Trees and Dirt

     Last night as I prepared for bed, I reflected: I can’t remember a time when I’ve been this tired, this dirty, or smelled this bad!  It had been a beautiful day with no obligations, so we made the most of it here at home.  The original plan was for me to clean and organize the garage and for Alaina to work on landscaping, but that’s not how it worked out.  We did get some junk out of the garage, but I spent most of the day working with Alaina buying herbs, trees, planter pots, and trees.  Oh yes, and dirt.  Lots of dirt.  Most of which I proceeded to get on myself.
     When we purchased our house, we covenanted to plant at least two trees in the front yard.  While I was on the homeowner’s board, they got on my case, saying I only had one.  I pointed out that we had three!  They double-checked and decided the evergreens we have on either side of the garage did meet the definitions in our covenants.  Well, there’s no longer any doubt that we’re in compliance – a newly planted Bradford pear now also adorns our front yard.  Of course, it was much easier (and considerably quicker) writing this than actually planting it.
     Cherries are one of Alaina’s favorite fruits.  Depending on how quickly our second new tree bears fruit, she may be making cherry pies from her own tree sooner or later.  Planting the cherry tree in our backyard was the most strenuous task of the day.  Hurrying to dig the hole in the last remnants of the daylight, I struggled against concrete-like soil.  And rocks.  Lots of rocks.  Indeed, as the light fled and darkness settled in, my shovel put on quite the sparkler show.  I now definitely understand, first-hand, the fire-starting principle of flint and steel.  
     I dug deeper to try to make it easier for the roots, and found it so difficult going I tried something I’ve never done or heard of before – I poured water in the bottom of the hole.  Sure, water and mud sprayed me whenever I threw my shovel at the bottom of the hole, but I do think it helped a little to soften the hardpan.
     By the light of the stars the cherry was planted and the hole filed.  I sure hope it grows, and that the fruit taste good!
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     The other big part of the day was discovering a greenhouse offering for sale more kinds of herbs than I have even heard of.  Alaina was looking for three or four kinds to add to her collection, but she found far more than she began to hope for.  I’ll let her tell you more about it, but just let me say it was fun to be part of it.  She was a little like the proverbial kid in a candy store.  And some of the herbs even have candy-sounding names!
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     One final thought for the day.  As we selected our cherry tree and deliberated what other kinds of fruit we should get, Alaina reflected that her family had the most success with apple trees.  In my memory, our apple trees didn’t do quite so well.  But perhaps, I told Alaina, that’s because of the abuse they received from two boys.  Like the one that was tackled in a one-on-one game of football.  
     You see, the tree served as the sideline/touchdown pylon at one end of our “football field.”  I don’t remember whether it was Peter or me that was diving for a corner of the “end zone,” but the end result was that both of us ended up on the ground with the apple tree at the bottom of the dog pile.  Sobered, and a little scared, we did our best to stake it back up, taping it together and desperately hoping it would grow back.  It did, but I don’t recall it ever producing apples!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Interesting People

One portion of my drive home tonight was filled with momentary interactions with interesting people. Well, they weren’t really interactions. How isolated we are in our cars as we zoom along at 50 miles per hour! Interesting scenes, then, but more than that, too . . .
On the corner of Lafayette Road and 56th Street, an older couple walking a dog waited for the light to change so they could cross. Intriguingly, the man was in a white shirt and tie, and the woman was in a dress. The dog was in a collar. The tie had bright colors, and made me think of the bright-colored, stick-figure-drawn-by-kids-with-crayons ties Judge Jim Payne (of juvenile court) used to wear. Maybe he still does. The couple seemed somewhat out of place, and I couldn’t figure out how they got there (or where they were going) in their nice dress clothes. The dog’s name was Bowser. At least that’s what it should be.
Going beyond I-65 and nearing Eagle Creek Park, a couple was walking with their toddler. Dad was holding the child’s hand and pointing to the woman. Mom was waving in an exaggerated fashion, apparently urging the child on toward her. Not only was it cute, but it made me think – we could be doing the same thing a year from now!
As I crossed I-465 and descended the overpass, another couple appeared to be studying a handheld device. Surely they weren’t lost? It almost looked like the global position device hikers use. Or maybe they were texting a message to a friend?
Another couple was walking their dog. The dog was a boxer, apparently not quite full grown. The girl’s hair was windblown, but the wind wasn’t blowing hard, so I think they had been running. She was handing the leash to the guy, so I think they were taking turns walking/running the dog. I know how hard it is to walk a young dog, let alone run with it; if theirs is anything like Pippi, it keeps trying to go its own way.
A cyclist, pedaling hard, passed me going the opposite way. He was silhouetted against the sun reflecting off the reservoir. In my imagination he was training for a race, perhaps even the Tour. How I would like to have been in his shoes!
I saw my first sailboat of the season on the reservoir. What a delight to be driven by the wind on nearly calm waters, enjoying the sunshine on this beautiful spring day!
Sitting next to the now-closed gate by the cemetery, a man sat in the sun. Was that a fishing pole by his side? Perhaps; I couldn’t tell as I flashed by.
Almost to Raceway Road, a minivan passed. You would have thought there were two people inside by the forms I saw inside, except for the long, wagging tale behind one of them. One person and a dog, I realized, laughing. Now if that were Pippi, she would have her head out the window, too!

Monday, April 17, 2006

More Legal Humor

     The ABA Journal’s E-Report each week asks attorneys a question certain to yield humorous results.  Last week the Journal asked for examples of where spell-checking software caused humorous errors.  One of the funniest examples sent in follows.  To read them all, click here.
     “In the early ’80s, even before graduating from high school, I knew I wanted to practice law. To help me get a better understanding of the profession, my father arranged for me to work with a friend of his who had a solo practice and always needed a little help around the office. One day, I was asked to type a pleading he had prepared on behalf of his client involving a property dispute matter. The defendant was named Mr. Fant, a word not recognized by the spell-check program I was using. I mistakenly hit the “replace all” option rather than the “ignore” option. Throughout the brief, the defendant was identified as Mr. Fart. To this day, I consider it a lesson well-learned.”  
     Submitted by Bob James, Tulsa, Okla.

Observing Daylight Savings Time: Confusion Reigns

Having lived in states which observe daylight savings time over half my life, making the switch to DST this year was not terribly difficult or confusing.  Unfortunately, the same is not true for many in this great state, which for many years refused to move its clocks forward and back each spring and fall.  Not only is the change confusing for many, but apparently it is not uniformly accepted, either, especially in some counties close to the time zone lines.  I just learned from another attorney in our firm the following interesting fact:


“Amazingly, the Superior Court and the Circuit Court in Winamac are operating on different times.  One Judge is observing EDT and the other is observing CDT.  The industries in the area are a mixed bag.  Officially they’re on CDT, but most folks are not observing it.  So, call ahead.”

Friday, April 14, 2006


I have such great memories of my childhood and some of them are influenced by the great decade many of us grew up in – the 80’s!  Have any of you seen the show “I Love the 80’s”?  I’ve only seen it once or twice but it definitely gives you that nostalgic feeling!  Anyway, I just wanted to share a few things I loved (& some that I didn’t) things from the rad 80’s.  

  1. Jelly shoes – these had to be number 1 because truly they were the best!  I had several pairs – my favorite were turquoise with a little heel.  As most of you girls will remember, they always got rocks stuck in the bottom. :)

  2. Jelly bracelets – goes with number 1.  I don’t think there was any limit to how many you could wear at one time!

  3. Charm jewelry – not the classic silver kind but the plastic ones that never made it out of the 80’s.  You could buy the charms in vending machines and dime stores and probably just about anywhere.  When I lost my first tooth – I picked a saliboat charm for the tooth fairy to give me.

  4. Mullets – this was not something I liked but sadly, how my mom cut my hair.  I’m trying to get over the trauma. :)  I’m glad most of you didn’t know me then and hopefully the rest of you can’t remember.  All surviving pictures should be destroyed.

  5. Leg Warmers – mine were purple w/ pink hearts.  How cool was I!

  6. Pegged pants – we can still bring this back guys!

  7. Neon colors – Wow!  You didn’t need orange vests when you were riding bikes.  I had several t-shirts and of course accessories!

  8. T-shirt slides – so you didn’t have to tie your t-shirt to the side, you could thread it through the decorated slide.  To go with #7, mine was neon yellow with neon pink, green & yellow ribbon curls that hung off it.

  9. Double socks – do I even need to remind you! :)

  10. Big bangs – I never had mine as high or as awesome as the other girls but that wasn’t because I didn’t try.  Hairspray, curl up, hairspray, curl down, hairspray, feather (if you can get your comb through it), hairspray, hairspray, hairspray!  

There are tons of other totally rad things: like New Kid’s on the Block, tv shows, other clothing & accessories, phrases…  Perhaps you have some you’d like to add!  I’ll close for now with happy thoughts of our beloved decade!  Cowabunga dudes & dudettes!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


So, I’ve been lacking inspiration for good blog material.  No interesting patients (at least none that are, ya know…), no cooking classes, no anecdotes…etc.  Andrew tells me I don’t write enough and I should focus more :) – I keep telling him that I just need some inspiration.  He keeps giving me ideas and well, they just haven’t been what I’m looking for.  Here is a sample of our most recent conversation on this subject:

A:  You haven’t written in a long time.

L (me):  I know, I haven’t been inspired.

A:  I’ve given you a lot of ideas.

L:  Like what?

A:  Like writing about Pippi.

L:  What about her?

A:  You know.

L:  It’s not funny enough or interesting.

A:  Make it interesting.

L:  I can’t, I’m not in the mood.

A:  I think you play your computer game too much and then don’t write.

L:  No, I’m just not inspired.

So, here I am trying to think of something clever or interesting and then suddenly…INSPIRATION!  

Monday, April 10, 2006

Today's Interesting Stories

     Some of you may have noticed a couple interesting links on Drudge today.  The first is an interesting review of a sobering film – the new movie about United Flight 93.  It actually focuses more on the making of the film, and of other movies related to 9/11, than on the quality of the end product of United 93.  But it definitely sounds good.
     One of the most interesting aspects of the making of United 93 is the fact that those who played the terrorists were kept segregated from those playing the passengers, staying in different hotels, and didn’t even meet the passenger-actors until the hijack sequence was shot.  They also used a real pilot, stewardess, and former Iraqi army officer for the pilot, stewardess, and terrorist roles.  If all that wasn’t enough to make me want to see it, the following editorial comment did: “If this is a horror movie, it is an edifying one, a history lesson with the pulse of a world-on-the-line suspense film.”  I love big-screen edifying history lessons!  (The subject of horror flicks is another topic I’d like to discuss someday, and on which I would have commented last week if I’d had the time.)
     On a much lighter note was the story about the giant rabbit terrorizing (perhaps that’s too strong a word for the context) the gardens of northeast England.  Supposedly the bunny is quite large, and the problem serious enough that the gardeners have hired two air-rifle armed guards to deal with the menace.  That’s saying something in gun-shy England, where I’ve heard that not even the police are always armed.  
     Watch out, little – er, large – Bunny Foo-foo!  Something much more dangerous than the Good Fairy is looking for you!


As anyone who has studied our bookcases recently can attest, they are in somewhat of a disarray. Both Alaina and I really like to read, but I think we like collecting books just as much. About half of our shelves are currently filled with not one but two rows of books. Something had to give, and we didn't want it to be those shelves, breaking in half and crashing down in the middle of the night.

So for nearly a year now I've been planning to make some built in bookcases at the top of the stairs. The inspiration for our design is a set we found in a model home not far from where we live. It looks a lot like the photo above, though neither the model nor ours will go above a door like this one (I do think, however, that it is very cool!). Most of the wood has been purchased (although some of it has been used in the meantime :) for at least eight months, but not until this last weekend did I really get started. My dad helped me rip the four-by-eight sheets of plywood into the sides and shelves of the bookcases, and with a few more zips of the saw all the shelves were cut to length, too. So I'm making good progress, and hope to have the project completed in another week or two.

But along the way, as I looked for some help with the design phase, I came a cross a most interesting bookcase: one called, appropriately enough, "Broken Shelves." You can read all about it and see more pictures here (especially check out the picture with the dog!). While it is a far cry from what I'm building, I must admit I am fascinated by it, and wish I had a place for such a structure!

One More Thought

            As I was writing yesterday, I was trying to remember where I had read something along the same lines recently.  This morning I found it on Greg Wilbur’s blog, one I often enjoy reading.  You should check it out; he expresses some of the same things I was trying to say, and more eloquently.  I especially like his concluding lines:


Rejoice in the freedom that Sabbath Rest can bring by not worrying about things until their appropriate time. Honoring the Sabbath is not about deprivation but about joy.

Thankful for the Lord's Day

     Both the actual text of my post on Friday as well as the lack of posts in general recently reveal something of the level of my activity and overall busy-ness.  It is from this background that I find myself today so thankful for a day of rest.
     I learned from an early age that the Lord’s Day was different from the rest of the week.  Not only did we go to worship, but the things we did and didn’t do was different, too.  As my brother and I reached our teen years, our family, often my grandfather, and sometimes guests would sit around the dinner table talking well into the afternoon.  Part of that time often involved some reflection on what had happened the week before, events or circumstances for which we were thankful, or particular happenings to which we looked forward in the week ahead.
     I think I’m still trying to figure out what God is calling us to do and not to do in the Fourth Commandment.  It is clear that we are to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, and to rest that day, as He did after Creation.  (It is also clear that we are to work hard on the other six days, not only to be productive as we rule the earth and subdue it, but also in preparation for the Lord’s Day.)  But what forms that remembering, keeping holy, and resting is to take I am not entirely sure; there are many activities which I could and sometimes do that I question.  
     At the same time, there are many good things which I know are entirely appropriate and in keeping with the spirit of the commandment, and too often I neglect them.  I am well aware that one can easily become caught up in a list of dos and don’ts; the outgrowth of that is what so often caused dissention between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day.  He made it clear that works for mercy and necessity are definitely appropriate on His day.
     But I digress.  What I started out to say is what blessing it is, and how thankful I am for it, that God has not only designed us to need a day of rest once a week, but He has also graciously provided such a day!  I wonder how much more smoothly life would go if everyone followed the pattern of working on six days of the week and then spent the Lord’s Day remembering the Sabbath, keeping it holy, and resting.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A tough, full week

     What a week!  I feel like this evening I’ve finally had a few moments to catch my breath.  Every day this week has been full, in large part due to a pleading in my biggest case due yesterday (for which we received an extension until today), but especially yesterday and today were tough.  Yesterday I had so much to do at work that I had to cancel the three studies and one CLE I was supposed to participate in.  I also had to work late tonight, and we finally filed it about 7:30.  I’m praising God that project is complete.