Monday, July 31, 2006

Camping fun

I went home for the weekend to go camping. My older brother and his family were in from S. Korea (where they live) and the whole family got together to camp. We went to a KOA campground - my first time at a KOA. It was really nice! There was a pool, a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, huge playground, a petting zoo, and big grassy areas we had to ourselves. We did it all, and threw in kickball and bocce to boot. At night we sat around the campfire, played "Mafia" and roasted s'mores. By the way, s'mores with peanut butter are the best - another first for me.
This was in northern CA, and despite the fact that there had been a heat wave, when we went - the coastal fog came in at night and didn't burn off until around 11am. This means it only got sunny and/or warm for a few hours until the fog rolled back in around 4 or 5 pm. By contrast, I came back at 10pm at night last night to 85 degrees and HUMID. Today was supposed to be a high of 99 with a heat index of 110. Sometimes it's hard to remember why I live here.
Here are a couple of shots.

The kids at night.

The neighboring ranch.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Good public television

Maybe I'm the last one to know about this, but I just discovered a great show on PBS. It's called Wide Angle, and it hosts international current affairs documentaries. When you go to the main site, it looks like it only has documentaries about women. While I wouldn't mind this, and I think a feminist viewpoint is generally only a humanist viewpoint addressing women's issues, when you read about the series, it seems to have a broader focus. Started as a response to the lack of international news in the U.S., the show's first four seasons involved traveling to 44 countries to capture global human stories that may not otherwise make it back to the States. I've only seen tonight's broadcast, Class of 2006: Islam's New Female Leaders, and I really enjoyed seeing a non-western viewpoint on democracy and social programs - especially how they affect women in different countries. There was an interview with Ambassador Dennis Ross, who saw the documentary and discussed the role of women in the Middle East peace process as well as the democratization process in the Middle East. I was encouraged by his comments. He didn't seem to simply tow the Bush-party line, and instead had some interesting ideas on how to change the current policy. Here's his bio from the Washington Institute.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Cedarburg, WI

This weekend Cowboy and I ventured out to Cedarburg, WI. It's about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee and is a cute little historic town. Most of the downtown area is on Washington Avenue which, unfortunately, is also a main road through town. The street is on the National Register of Historical Places Cedarburg claims to have over 100 historically significant buildings - 8 of which are listed on the NRHP database. (If I were the city's attorney, I might have them reword a part of their website.) It is a town that (with the exception of the somewhat traffic-busy main street) has clearly made an effort to keep the historic quality of the town and work to use the historical buildings to their benefit. Really worth the trip. Here are some shots, but you don't get the flavor of it until you cruise the neighborhood - preferably by foot or bike.

The cultural center (that's what the sign says, though I saw a more modern one down the street)

The old firehouse - now a museum, complete with antique fire engines.
I would have gotten a kick out of meeting clients here. This is attached to the old firehouse. Below: a view from a bridge.

Couldn't resist - so cute!

You can see more photos of Cedarburg on my flickr site.

My only problem with Cedarburg is that most shops close at 5 or earlier. Yikes. We got up there a little too late the first afternoon. We ended up just taking a drive to Kohler, WI. This is another interesting, historic town. This town is worth checking out if you are in the neighborhood or want to splurge at The American Club. This is the Midwest's only AAA five diamond resort hotel. We poked around a bit. It was lovely. Beautifully manicured lawns and gardens, and I think they were having a BBQ special event so the whole place smelled like mesquite!
Deciding not to splurge, we continued on our exploration and ended up in Oshkosh, WI for the night. Home of (as far as we could tell) outlet stores and the Experimental Aircraft Association. We just missed the air show that started today.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Charlotte's Web, it is not.

I had a dream the other night that is still with me. I was with a friend at Crater Lake. My friend had been there before and I was driving to it with her. We got out of the car and I was so excited to take a picture. The water was so clear and calm. My friend pointed out that all the glints of silver you could see just beneath the surface were fish. I was amazed and leaned in to take a closer look. I then saw something that looked like a small x-wing fighter zooming up from the depths right at me. As it breached the surface, I dodged it - or so I thought. I looked at my finger and there was a really big spider on it. I tried to shake, then pull it off. My friend looked at me and said, "Oh, those - yeah, you have to watch out for those." I stammered, "What? You knew about these and didn't warn me?" My friend replied that she didn't think it would be a big deal. I looked at my finger again, and now there were three big juicy spiders covering my finger. I tried to step on them (and my finger) and then tried to peel them off. They wouldn't budge. I asked my friend (and some random guy who had suddenly appeared) how to get them off. The man answered that there was no way to remove them, I had to wait 'til they were done feeding on me - and they were thirsty buggers. I looked down again and noticed that my finger was covered by 5 spiders and they were all sucking on it. My finger was pulsing. I was completely horrified by it. At that point, I woke up, woke Cowboy up, and made him assure me that the spiders were not going to get me.
I have had other spider dreams. The last one involved me pulling out a giant spider and its yarn-like web out of my throat. The friend I told about that the next day thought it was Freudian. I don't think so - all my spider dreams freak me out too much. (Funny, too, b/c I'm not at all afraid of spiders in my conscious life) In fact, I'm pretty sure that the act of looking for a meaning in it is as Freudian as it gets. After this one, though, I looked it up. I didn't find any sexual connotations (told you!) except a possibility that the spider represented feminine power. Other possibilities include a good/lucky omen (hard to believe), the sense that the dreamer is feeling like an outsider (?), and the possibility that the spider represents someone who is the cause of the dreamer's stagnation (maybe...).
I'm not sure I believe any of it. But, the fact that spiders have a role in my dreams, I'm going to root for the good luck omen meaning. Maybe next time it will seem less horrifying.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wedding photos

Our fabulous wedding photographer, Alex Schoenfeldt, put together an amazing set of photos. We finally narrowed down the ones we wanted him to print. Here are a couple of them:
The Ahwahnee from the wedding lawn

The view from the wedding lawn.

The delicious cake!

The newlyweds!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Coincidences and Art

Happy Bastille Day! Well, actually, since it's technically the 15th, Happy (my) Birthday!
In light of the fact that I was reminiscing in the last post - how weird is this? On July 15, 1999, the dean of the law school called me and told me I could study in Ireland for a semester. Cowboy took me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. We went to Crawdaddy Bayou - this funky cajun restaurant with a bayou setting - complete with fake crocodiles in a swamp-like area. During dinner, I told Cowboy that I was going to Ireland. Today, July 14, 2006, Cowboy and I went to lunch and I saw the same dean of the law school. I mentioned to Cowboy that he was the dean who was in charge of my Ireland trip. Then, hours later on the way home, I saw a guy wearing a Crawdaddy Bayou t-shirt! This restaurant has been gone for years, now. Creepy, huh?

On a lighter note, I went with a friend to the Art Institute. They have expanded and free hours on Thursday and Friday nights. It was great! We went around 7, and it was not crowded at all. We saw the exhibit Drawings in Dialogue, which is one woman's collections of drawings and prints. The collection filled 13 galleries and included Degas, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet among MANY others. It was very interesting. My friend also took me through the contemporary galleries. I have to admit, I usually visit certain galleries (artists including the Impressionists and the Americans), which don't include the particular contemporary galleries we visited. I was glad we went. She was quite the tour guide.
You may be interested to know that American Gothic, which was on loan for quite some time, is now back on display - and I'm pretty sure it has a new, bigger frame which makes the painting seem bigger than it is.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


As we near Bastille Day and my 31st birthday (!) I find myself reviewing milestones in life. Mostly I wonder if I've accomplished enough in those 31 years, but maybe I haven't done so bad either....
-13 years ago - high school was over. No more cutting school to go to the beach.
-10 years ago I graduated from college. I didn't get an invite to my college reunion this year - most likely because the college still has me affiliated with the class of '97.
-5 years ago I took and passed the IL bar, soon followed by the CA bar. Yeesh, I got lucky twice.
-After almost 3 years in appeals, I won my first new trial. Funny that I'm not sure I remember my first case that I won - it may have been after a trial as a 711 - opposing counsel offered me a job.
-Almost 3 months ago, after over 10 years together, Cowboy and I got married.
-What's next???
At 15, I was sure I'd be married by 25 and I'd have my first kid at 27. That's pretty funny to think about now.

Other people around me have certainly done amazing things.
Childhood and college friends have gotten married, had kids, and moved away. This includes IP Girl who got her PhD with a young child at home and who is now on a whirlwind adventure across the world. Unpublished Opinion started running the same time I did and SHE finished a 1/2 marathon last summer. She's also argued 2x as many cases as I have, and it's amusing how vicariously I experience the arguments. Perhaps the one I'm happiest to announce, Dr. 90210 finished residency! Naturally I had nothing to do with her excellence in medicine, but she became my best friend in the orientation week before college started (maybe by about day 3 of knowing her) and I can't believe the long journey is over for her. I'm sure 8 years seemed like an eternity for her, but in some ways 8 years flew by for me and I'm so proud of what she accomplished in that time.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


On Thursday night, Cowboy and I went to see the Pirates of the Caribbean II. We decided on a whim to see it opening night at midnight. You can tell you are getting old when you have to factor how late you'll get home and what time you'll be getting to bed in deciding whether to do an activity. Since I have been battling insomnia anyway, we decided it couldn't mess me up too bad. (I was wrong, but that's not the point of this entry) Cowboy had never been to an opening night showing - can you believe it? I got very excited about taking him to his first. I realized (out loud) that I haven't been to one since high school. I was excited for myself as well. I should have thought about that statement a little more thoroughly, however. When we drove up to the Pickwick, an Art Deco theater that seats 1,400 people - the oldest, biggest, and one of the best preserved theaters in the area (it still has it's original organ from the silent film days!) - I could not believe how many kids were out that late. As we tried to find parking, an experience complete with nearly being run down by all the high schoolers who were arriving at the same time we were, I tried not to be appalled by how young they looked. Once we got in and found seating - surprisingly hard to do in the huge theater - the realization of how young they truly were sunk in with every yell from one precocious group to the next. I tried not to be annoyed, and indeed, when the movie started, their excitement and energy enhanced the movie-going experience (true to memory).
As for the movie itself, I was a bit disappointed. The whole thing was simply a set up for the sequel. Usually sequels have their own story while managing to carry the bigger story arch along. Not really so in this case. As for Johnny Depp, where I was pleasantly surprised by his characterization of a pirate in the first, this script had him running scared most of the movie - decidedly un-pirate like behavior - and not really providing the opportunity to be entertained by him this time around. The other characters had very little positive development as well, and I actually stopped caring about them. Davy Jones and his oceanic crew were kind of cool, not as scary as I thought they would be from the previews, but perhaps as scary as a Disney movie could be. The C.G. was pretty creative as applied to the crew of Davy Jones - the idea being that the longer someone had been in his service, the more complete the transformation into a sea creature, and there was a good fight scene on a giant wheel, but I am getting spoiled into thinking that everyone can do that these days and it's not enough to overcome a weak story.