Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Studying usually sucks, but it especially sucks when you have to read, over and over again, about horrible cruelty to animals. I guess that is the one downside to taking an Animal Law class. People don't go to court over how nice people are to their pets. Here are some of my one-line summaries for cases, just to get an idea of how depressing it is:
  1. Shot neigbor's cat
  2. Shot dogs from tree-stand
  3. Dog hoarders
  4. Microwaved cats
  5. Beat dog with Bat
  6. Shot horses eating fruit from trees
  7. 200 poodles seized
  8. 92 cats in a 7x11 foot trailer
  9. Dog died in cargo hold, lots of blood
  10. Garbage man killed dog
It's just so hard to push myself to do more...

But hey! I'm done with the semester in a week and a day! I'll just have to keep on keeping on.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

... And Now It's Cold

It was 50 degrees warmer yesterday. Isn't that the way of things?

I had a lovely Thanksgiving with Mike and his family in Minnesota. We at a lot, played some video games (yay Super Smash Brothers melee!), and spent a lot of time playing the Moonlight Sonata at their baby grand piano. It was just lovely. :) It would have been perfect if I could have spent time with my family as well, but they have to be so difficult and insist upon living 6 hours away. I spent time with them the weekend before, will see them this weekend again, and will be able to "get away" with them over New Years. It's such a great time; I'm already looking forward to it.

Now, back to school. Like the weather, things went from calm and pleasant (if rainy) to crappy really quick. I'm heads-down working for the next month or so. The first big thing is my mock trial this weekend. I'm one of the prosecutors. Excellent. Next are exams and a 30-page paper.

Tonight I'll be at school for a long while. I have class now, then have a break for dinner and to prepare for the final pretrial, where I need to present motions in limine (stuff I want the judge to rule to keep out of trial on Saturday). The pretrial last night went from 7 to after 9. The last bus from downtown is at 9:15, getting in at 9:30 or so. At least I get to sleep in tomorrow. I should also check and make sure my suit is ready to go Saturday morning.

I might give up on trying to lose weight for the time being. Maybe I'll just try to maintain until after exams. I only gained 2 lbs over Thanksgiving, which is miraculous considering how much pie and ice cream I ate. Mmmm pie. Stress makes me crave sweets like CRAZY.

Ok, back to surfing the web. I'm done with my assignments for this class, so I'm just biding my time until I can get out and go eat. Cheers!

~Kristen Z.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My boyfriend was in the newspaper!! Look, here he is holding up a pumpkin that he just carved underwater! He's so cute!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Animal Law Heartaches

Ok, so the title might be a bit melodramatic. That's just my style.

I'm taking a course called "Animal Law" this semester. This is a class that examines the different ways animals and the law meet, what case history tells us and what trends we're seeing. It is not an animal rights class. It is a class about human's rights to own, care for, love and yes, kill, animals. It is a class about who may recover and for how much when an animal is treated unjustly, and what unjust treatment entails. It's not always a pleasant case. One of the most stomach-churning cases involved pet cats and a common, cube-shaped kitchen appliance, and a vindictive boyfriend. No more need be said.

Surprisingly, I didn't have a hard time with that case, nor the other animal cruelty cases. I didn't have a hard time reading about how almost 200 innocent pit bulls were killed in Denver when the pit bull ban went back into effect. Even reading about starving livestock was tolerable. Being in animal rescue, I've heard of it all before. I've already cried about it and tried my tears. I already know that humanity is capable of such things.

It surprised me all the more when I had trouble with our last assignment. The section we're dealing with now is animals involved in trots. In one case, a dog owner kenneled her dog, returned two weeks later to learn they had lost her dog. They blew her off, ridiculed her, dodged her questions and were overall very unprofessional in their handling of the situation. Here's the part that made my heart sink into my stomach:

The court rules, "No reasonably prudent person would have realized that the kennel's conduct in failing to take steps to search thoroughly for the plaintiff's dog; failing to show caring and compassion for the plaintiff's loss and treating her callously; treating the plaintiff rudely with anger; and not contacting the plaintiff until 8 days after the loss of the dog, would have involved an unreasonable risk of causing emotional distress and that that distress, if it were caused, might result in illness or bodily injury."

Rees v. Flaherty, 2003 Conn. Super. LEXIS 289 (Feb. 6, 2003). If you're like me, you don't need me to explain why I find this so shocking and disheartening. If you can't see it by reading it, you may not understand even if I were to explain.

It's one thing to get funny looks when I talk about my hedgehogs. It's understandable that many people do not know what animal law is or why it's important. I also understand that the law offers scarce protection for animal companions when something bad happens to them, since most of the law views animals as mere property, worth only what they could fetch on the open market. But to hear from the judiciary that emotional distress suffered at the loss of a loved friend is unreasonable... that just stings in an unexpectedly painful way.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Grant Hendrickson Rocks!

Ok, guys, here's the story. Once I was a voice major in undergrad at UW Madison. There came a new voice student named Grant Hendrickson, who was hilarious and nice and in the marching band and lived in my dorm. He started out really nervous, but by the end of his time in school he was singing in the operas like a pro. Then I graduated and lost track of him.

Until today.

Turns out he has his own spiffy website, which reports he's living out in LA trying to work his way into the music scene. The website also has links to his music. It's so awesome. You really need to check it out.

Not only is this guy living the dream, but he is such a thoroughly good person. If anyone deserves good things in life, it's this guy. I don't know about you, but I'm going to go download his music on iTunes so I can jam to it all the time. :)

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I've changed my website to include more pink in commeration of Breast Cancer Awareness. Please do what you can to help find better treatments and cures for this disease. If you're one of the few who don't know someone who has been affected, you probably will sooner than you'd like.

If you go to www.breastcancerawareness.com they list many ways you can help. One of my favorites is through the Breast Cancer Site, where you can click every day for free to help provide mammograms to women who are in need. I also click on all the other sites there as well.

If you're a woman, check yourself every month, and get mammograms regularly. If you're not a woman, make sure the important women in your life check themselves every month and get mammograms regularly. Breast cancer that is caught early has a five year survival rate of 97%.

You know you're going to have a rough day when, instead of bringing the gladware of spaghetti and meatballs, you bring the gladware of canned pumpkin.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Some Stuff

1. Lola won a photo contest. She'll be featured as Miss May in an upcoming calendar filled with pictures of, you guessed it, hedgehogs. I love my hedgehog calendar. :) If you're interested in having one of your own, drop me a line and I'll make sure you get info when it becomes available.

2. SCUBA class is going well. I have my first pool session tonight. I think that means I get to breathe underwater. :) It is my understanding that the only down-side to learning to SCUBA is that you forget you can't breathe underwater while doing regular swimming, which is really embarrassing to explain to the people trying to save you from drowning. I'm looking forward to being certified so I can do fun things like dive around ship wrecks (we have more in our area than in any other part of the world!) and carve pumpkins underwater. That's an actual event. I'm thinking of carving mine as Strong Sad.

3. School is freaking insane. My schedule is a little ridiculous this semester. I have no idea how I'm going to keep my head above water.

4. Yoda is trying to get better, but so far no big improvement. He was on antibiotics for a month for his ear infection with no improvement, and is now on anti-inflammatories and steroid ear-drops. He's still tipping over regularly, poor guy, but seems to be happy otherwise.

And that's it!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm still working on the guitar, but have halted the quilting, at least for now. I should really just put together the front so I at least have something nice to look at, even if it takes forever to finish. Alas, it is not at the top of my list of priorities.

I replaced two strings on the guitar today, and finally realized that the reason I can't feel the fingertips of my left hand's fingers is because of the calluses I've grown from where my fingers hit the strings. Whew! I was not looking forward to another musical endeavor ending in physical injury. (if you're counting, singing lost to acid reflux, and flute gave me back problems)

I can play Brahms Lullaby. :)

School has started again. Dammit. It just makes me feel so inadequate. I had Litigation in Criminal Cases, taught by a self-professed defense-loving lawyer. I had taken the class to look into being an assistant district attorney, but I think I'll probably get most of the information from the other viewpoint somehow...

I have Immigration Law, Evidence and Animal Law tomorrow. SCUBA class doesn't start until next Thursday. I also worked my first day at ABC for Health, which was interesting, though I didn't have enough to do by the end of the day. I am certain they won't have nearly the problems with keeping me busy as have previous employers. At least, I hope they don't.

Alas, it is time for bed. No class until 1:20, but I need to get on a reasonable schedule...


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I am currently teaching myself guitar and quilting. In a week, we'll see which I'm better at. Right now, I can't feel the finger tips on my left hand, and I hear the sewing machine's rhythmic whirring in my head. Maybe I need another hobby.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Just in case you were wondering, hail falling on a skylight at 2am sounds a lot like dropping marbles into a bucket.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's still hot:

I sat outside for lunch today, enjoying the relative coolness after such scorching heat this week. By the end of 45 minutes I was quite toasty and ready to return to my cave of an office. After returning, I started to notice that my left shin was itchy. I looked down to see what was the matter when I noticed something strange about my shoes. It took me a minute to realize the shiny flower-bow-things were gone! Completely missing! I took a closer look and saw there were patches of exposed hot glue where the flowers should have been. It didn't take me long to figure out what had happened.

Sure enough, I walked back outside to where I had been sitting for lunch, and there under the bench was a flower. The other was sitting on the floor of my office.

So, now I can say that the weather is so hot that it melted my shoes.

(I then looked at my leg again to see what was so itchy, since I had been completely distracted by the shoe incident, to find teensy tiny cuts. Who knows what they're from. I'm pretty sure I can't blame the sun for that one.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Here's a link to my picture from the Wisconsin State Journal. It's a really interesting gallery of pictures from around the city to go along with their article.

Here is a link to a gallery from the Capital Times

Holy Effing Flood

I think the world is ending. War all over the place, super viruses, and now this weather.

Holy shit guys, what a flood.

Sorry, I don't like to swear on my blog, but I can't say it any other way. Chalk it up to my lack of creativity when totally blown away.

I'm not going to post all the pictures here, but I thought I'd share a radar snap-shot of the area a few hours after the worst of the flooding. There were reports of 3 inches of rain falling in 20 minutes. And it just keeps raining, though it's only a drizzle here at this point.

I was stuck at an intersection for over a half hour because in every direction was water so deep that I was afraid my car was going to get stuck. You could see cars driving by on my relatively shallow strip of road with their engines smoking because they had gotten wet. There were a couple of cars with headlights partially underwater. I really shouldn't have left my house, but it flooded so much in the 15-20 minutes I went in my house to get my hedgehogs! I had no idea! The sidewalk had started to flood, but I had no idea it would be that bad! It looks like the worst in the immediate area was on the street I was trying to drive to.

I eventually turned around and drove on E. Gorham around the block to get to my house again, which took more than a half an hour because traffic was literally at a stand-still. By the time I got back, the sidewalk wasn't flooded anymore and I felt safe parking in front of my house.

Since I couldn't go anywhere, I got my camera and video recorder and walked around documenting what was going on. By the time I was out there the water had receded at least two inches, and by the end it was down at least 8. It was down 8 inches, meaning it was far more than 8 inches deep.

See my pictures at Mike's Gallery. You have to click on Kristen's album and then Flood July 27, 2006. The pictures should be up shortly (they take a very long time to load, since they're a higher quality than I normally take).


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Is this love? Or is it indigestion?

I think this would make a good song. I bet someone has already written it. If not maybe I will. I've always meant to write music. I bet I could if I could get used to putting together chords and whatnot. I'd probably write totally cheezy music, but hey, it's music. :)

Ok, packing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

As a follow up, while I was enjoying the intense storm last night, a tree fell on my car.

More details to follow.

Holy Crap

I'm glad I'm on less knock-me-out medication so I could wake up for this and close my windows! (thought not before my kitchen floor got soaked, again). The lightning is so frequent that you can pretty much see by it. The winds are incredible. They literally remind me of hurricane footage. I look out my window and see all the huge trees on my street and around my house being blown about in a strange dance and think what nasty projectiles they would make.

Enjoy the footage. I'm glad my hedgies didn't get blown away.

~Kristen Z.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I wish I had a magic "reset" button. There are so many problems in the world that would be so easily solved if humanity weren't always stuck in a cycle of resentment, retribution and historic hatred. We could solve problems regarding race relations in the US. We could balance the budget and rid ourselves of the national debt. We could decide for ourselves what gender and individual roles in society and family would be.

The reason I think of this magic button is because of the current crisis in the Middle East. Another crisis. Again. It never changes, and it never gets any closer to being resolved. How can it? The major religions of the world are fighting over the same spots of "holy land." There aren't political-party problems a la US, there are TRIBAL conflicts, dating back thousands of years. I imagine it would be as hard to solve these conflicts as it would have been to stop Rome from being burned.

People from this region of the globe seem to be hard-wired to hate one another, and to have a sense of entitlement to the holy land of his or her ethnic group. As each generation matures, they are taught these same messages of hate and entitlement. While many of our problems in this country are solved by the old generations dying off, that's not the case for those in the Middle East, or at least not to the same extent.

So, what would happen if we had a moon base, or if we colonized Mars, and sent huge segments of the population off the planet. Would they still fight? Would they still hate one another?

Maybe this whole global warming thing isn't so bad. If we wreck our planet, at least humanity could have a fresh start. Maybe.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Drunk Driving and Cell Phones?

So, a new study says that people driving while talking on cell phones drive as poorly as drunk drivers. The study found that chatting drivers, whether on hand-held phones or on hands-free, have slower reaction times and are as inattentive as drunks.

Where do I even begin.

Let's look closely at this study. The study was conducted with 40 participants. I'm no psychologist, but I do know about something called "sample size" and that it's important. If I were a psych major, I'd have to do a study with more than 40 participants for my degree. Heck, even business majors and sociology majors do larger studies. The idea is that you can't get a good idea of trends and patterns if your study is too small. Think about pharmaceutical drug testing. Would you take a drug that did absolutely no harm to 40 people?

There is too much we don't know about these 40 people. Were they all men, or all women? Did they regularly talk on cell phones or was this their first time trying to drive (via simulator - and who knows how good a simulator they used) while chatting? How old were these people? Did they represent different socio-economic or racial groups? How much education had they attained? Did they all have a full night's sleep before the test?

And what about the nature of driving while talking on a phone. Could it possibly be that we are not equally skilled at driving? Could some people be better at talking on the phone and driving than others? Do we get better at it with time? Is it innate or a learned skill?

I don't know the answers to these questions. They are certainly worth asking. I would have hoped these questions would be addressed before the media splashed "Cell Phone Users Worse Than Drunks" all over the headlines.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Let's all make an icon!

I made an icon of me holding a hedgehog. No, not a hamster. A hedgehog. A very calm hedgehog with furry quills. Shut up.

Here's the link.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'm still alive, but doing more off the computer these days than on. :)

So, I've reached some good milestones:

Total weight loss since December 13 = 25lbs
I can run 1 mile in about 9 minutes and 2 in about 22

I've also passed two years in law school, and have worked at my summer job at the Dane County Child Support Agency for three weeks.

There! My life by the numbers!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Whimsical Blog

I need to write a blog to warm my brain up for the research I'm about to resume as to what constitutes a "state" action when you're looking for equal protections violations, and whether or not a sexual assault could be a violation of equal protection. It's a really twisted issue, and could very well be one of those questions that isn't in any precedent because it's just too dumb. It's really true, though - the hypothetical questions we address in classes and on exams are never as strange as real life.

Regardless of the legal research I am or am not doing right now, I want to write a blog. A good friend of mine (ok, my boyfriend Mike) was reading my old blogs and thought some of the ones I wrote early in my blogging were really funny. I don't really blog like that anymore. I've become issue-laden, both with personal "issues" and with political issues. All the time, this serious stuff.

Part of the reason my writing has changed is because law school is really good at squishing the life and personality out of your writing. I've gone from thinking in poetry to thinking in bullet points. I have found myself writing the normal e-mails to people and finishing them with a three sentence summary of my main points. Clarity and precision, as few words as possible, topic sentence for each paragraph. Like I said, it squishes the personality and charm out of my writing really quickly.

Although writing bullet pointed e-mails to boys is very effective. I think maybe they always work in bullet points. Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti. (Gosh I wonder what ever happened to Cara Sawyer! Does anyone know?)

So, whimsical writing. Yep. I can do that. I bet I could even make a bullet-pointed list about how to go about writing whimsically.

Wait. Ugh.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What is Scarier?

There's been a lot of talk about rape these days. There's a scandal going on at the University of Wisconsin because of their procedures in investigating sexual assault claims by students. It brings up the arguments that are brought up in every sexual assault case it seems: it's not right to re-victimize the victim, but we need to protect the accused from false charges of rape when there is no evidence.

I have to say, I disagree with the rationale of that argument, not because I like the idea of false charges, but because if I need to decide between the dangers and costs to society of incidences of falsely charged men and the dangers and costs of raped women who have no justice, I'll choose the falsely charged men.

What benefit is there to drawing the line of when we'll convict people and when we won't just far enough past where men can be held accountable to protect them all while leaving women who have been victimized physically and emotionally out in the cold because there is no proof? Sure, innocence until proven guilty, I'm ok with that. But what is evidence? Can the damage to the woman be evidence, or does it have to be eye-witness testimony, screams heard by neighbors and DNA? What about women who are coerced into sex who suffer mentally, who lose their jobs, run up high medical and psychological care bills, are disowned by their family and face disbelief and dismissal by society? Is that so much better than what a man faces when he's accused of sexual assault?

People say that the laws that protect the sexuality and identity of an accuser are unfair to men who want to defend themselves. I say tripping over ourselves to protect the reputation of men while leaving women victims to fend for themselves is a sad statement of who society values more.
What a Week!

Sunday was my last exam. YAY!! I've been sleeping, on average, 5 hours per night MORE than I slept for the last two weeks. Plus naps.

Monday I had a trial. By "had" I mean I was the attorney for the defendant in a small claims trial. A real trial, with a commissioner and a plaintiff asking for money. The commissioner called me "council"! It was a tremendous experience, and I learned a lot from it. Plus, I won, which is never bad. :) I won my first trial!!

Also, as of today, I have lost 20 lbs, which is 10% of my initial weight. I lost 20 lbs this semester. That's a huge deal. I am so very proud of myself, and thankful to those around me who supported me in this. I feel so great!

So, it's a good week. I have to put in some more hours at the DOJ before Friday, but that's it. Now it's just take-care-of-me time until work starts the week of the 23rd of May.

Hope you're doing well too!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I can't think of much that I want to do less than take this exam tomorrow. Well, the taking of the exam isn't so terrible. It's more the preparing for the exam today. Wouldn't have been so bad if I had started, say, yesterday. Oh well.


Chicks are cute, and peeps are awesome. This is a double-whammy.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Moussaoui will Die in Jail:

I think it's very interesting that Moussaoui has been sentenced to life in prison rather than death.

I have a somewhat different view of the death penalty than most, so I'll explain that before explaining what I find interesting about the decision. To me, death isn't a bad thing. It happens to all of us, and my personal beliefs of faith are that death isn't the end, and that death isn't bad. I believe very important things happen after our deaths, and that these things are not punishment, even to the most evil people. Therefore, to me, death is not a punishment.

I don't generally support the death penalty. It's used very unjustly in far too many cases. I do understand, however, a viewpoint that says if a person is just too wrong, too evil and dangerous to exist in our society, that death could be the most humane thing we could do for them, rather than keeping them in a cage for 50 years.

I do think that life in prison is a greater punishment than death. As such, I'm glad to see Moussaoui rot in jail. I have heard he said the verdict meant he won, but I think he probably would have said that regardless of the verdict. He's mean like that. I think the verdict could be seen as a statement to the world that we are not like the evil people who flew planes into buildings. As a nation of primarily Christians, I think it is noble to "turn the other cheek" in a highly publicized trial. The decision espouses the ideals that most Americans claim to hold and defend.

Of course, this is just one verdict, decided on the facts of the case and not the ideals of a nation. The jurors were not spokespersons for our nations morals or religious convictions. Still, knowing these Americans could look at the facts in a highly inflammatory case - where Christians cried for blood and the government sought to use Moussaoui as a focus for our rage - gives me hope.

(nice post, huh? can you tell i should be studying?)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Someone just peed of the side of my neighbor's house onto our shared driveway. I'm too old to live by stupid people who invite guests who pee off the sides of buildings. I called the police. Stupid assholes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What I found in my eye:

A piece of what looks like bark that is big enough to cover the letter "to" in 12 point font printed. Seems small until you actually look at a piece of paper with the word "to" and think of how huge that is compared to an eyelash, which is really the only other thing that accidentally gets into your eye. It actually scratched my eyeball enough to make it bleed a little! SO GROSS!

And I don't think I have mumps. If I get a high fever or a distended-looking neck I'll go to the doctor.

How do you tell the difference between a cold, a migraine and Mumps? A blood test, I'm guessing, but how do you know when to run to the doctor? I don't want to be one of those "omg, i have teh mumps!!1!" people, but my neck feels like it's swelling, my head and face hurt and my body kinda aches. I felt totally crappy yesterday from mid-afternoon on, but thought it was a migraine. Three days in a row is definitely not normal for me, and there doesn't seem to be particularly low pressure or other normal triggers. I guess my ovaries could be swelling or something, but how the heck do you figure that out on your own?? Technically, I'm not supposed to go to work or school if I have mumps, but again, how the heck am I supposed to tell? I'll just go home and take a nap. If when I wake up my neck has trippled in size, I'll go to the doctor. That seems reasonable.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Here's an article I just received from Planned Parenthood and I wanted to share it on my blog. This is
very important. Sixty million dollars in government grants going to groups that push their agenda through fear, intimidation, lies and breach of confidence is NOT something I can let happen. I hope you feel the same way, and you let your Congressmen and women know it! Helping the world in the time it takes to play a game of free cell is not asking that much, right? ;)

Here's the article:

An Indiana mother recently accompanied her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend to one of Indiana's Planned Parenthood clinics, but they unwittingly walked into a so-called "crisis pregnancy center" run by an anti-abortion group, one that shared a parking lot with the real Planned Parenthood clinic and was designed expressly to lure Planned Parenthood patients and deceive them.

The group took down the girl's confidential personal information and told her to come back for her appointment, which they said would be in their "other office" (the real Planned Parenthood office nearby). When she arrived for her appointment, not only did the Planned Parenthood staff have no record of her, but the police were there. The "crisis pregnancy center" had called them, claiming that a minor was being forced to have an abortion against her will.

The "crisis pregnancy center" staff then proceeded to wage a campaign of intimidation and harassment over the following days, showing up at the girl's home and calling her father's workplace. Our clinic director reports that the girl was "scared to death to leave her house." They even went to her school and urged classmates to pressure her not to have an abortion.

The anti-choice movement is setting up these "crisis pregnancy centers" across the country. Some of them have neutral-sounding names and run ads that falsely promise the full range of reproductive health services, but they dispense anti-choice propaganda and intimidation instead. And according to a recent article in The New York Times, there are currently more of these centers in the U.S. than there are actual abortion providers.
What's more, these centers have received $60 million in government grants. They're being funded by our tax dollars.

A bill has just been introduced in Congress to stop the fraudulent practices of fake clinics, but it desperately needs more support. Tell your representative to take a stand:
anti-choice extremists must not get away with this any longer!
Go to:

Friday, April 14, 2006

Bigots suck.

Apparently, the Pope is a bigot.

If he is a bigot, he sucks. Jesus said to love one another, not just those who have heterosexual, monogomous, only-after-marriage sex. Did I miss the part where we can tell people they are in league with Satan and will burn in hell?

Just as an FYI, I AM feeling better about things. My side-effects are under control, school isn't QUITE so stressful, and all my hedgehogs are alive and well. Sometimes that's all I need.

I just wanted to take a minute to say that I HAVE GOTTEN SO MUCH SMALLER!!! I had to go digging through the basement this morning to find not-sloppy-looking hot-weather cloths to wear to work because my "summer" box is all way too big! I'm easily fitting into stuff I last could wear two years ago. Man, it feels awesome! HOORAY for Weight Watchers!!

And thank you, Nathan, for your call. I was out having a good time. :) I might try to transcribe your message to save it for future hilarity. It was an awesome message, good job!!


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Today's one of those days where I can't really tell if I'm down because of upsetting things or if things are upsetting because I'm down. Am I just feeling depressed and looking for reasons, or are there things going on that are adding up to me feeling depressed in general?

It's hard when you can't trust yourself. I'm in the midst of a time where I'm feeling particularly distrustful. A week and a half ago I had a five day migraine, apparently because of a change in brand of a generic drug I was taking. All of a sudden I've gone from having all my health issues addressed by proper medication to throwing it all up in the air again. Now I'm having to deal with the uncomfortable and sometimes distressing side-effects all over again, and it makes my life feel like a mess. It's really hard to feel like your life is in control when you can't trust that your body will let you accomplish the things you need to accomplish to survive, like go to work, focus in class, wake up in the morning.

I don't know if school seems stressful because of my medication issues, or if I'm having more issues because school is becoming increasingly stressful. I'm behind in my classes, partially because of the school I missed because of medication issues. I feel like things are moving ahead too fast for me to catch up, especially considering that my health seems so unpredictable.

Good news today was that we'll be able to use laptops to type our exams for the first time this semester. I don't know why I'm not thrilled about it, except that I was counting on everyone having to take written exams. Sometimes no matter if the change is good or bad, it's still terribly difficult to be happy about.

Another bit of good news is that I'm getting to be in pretty good shape. I ran 2 miles tonight in 23 minutes, which is much faster than I've been able to run for a long time. It's frustrating to have to run so far from my house, though. I'm always worried that I'll get 3 miles away and then realize I can't walk another step; that's why I carry my student id and bus pass in my sports bra. And while running faster feels good, it is rather frustrating to plan out new routes and calculate miles jogged. Eventually I'll have time to hack out a new general path that will let me run a short, medium or long run and know how far I've traveled.

It IS good that I'm in such better shape than I've been for a while. I enjoy feeling more muscle-y. My quads are ridiculously and intensely muscular (while still blending in with my pleasantly soft and squishy hamstrings), and I'm very proud to actually have an arm muscle that stands up to the flex-and-squeeze test. That test, of course, is where you flex your muscle for someone else to see, they take a look and then squeeze the muscle to see how big it is, and they're like WOW, that IS a muscle. Well, that's how it works in my head anyway.

The hedgehogs are doing well. Yoda seems to still be doing ok, and even had a bit of a living room adventure while I was jogging. Silly me, assuming he'd stay in one place on the futon while I was out! I found him hiding in a corner, which makes me wonder if Lola was bullying him around. Lola was funny tonight, too; she chewed on and anointed with my hair for the first time in ages. It's very amusing to be laying on the floor and all of a sudden feel a hedgehog burrowing into your scalp. She was kindly gentle with her chewing, and didn't try to dislodge the hair from my scalp.

Since tonight was a generally depressing waste of time, I've decided to end it by going to bed early. Maybe I'll even sleep late. There's nothing I won't do to completely spoil myself when feeling glum!


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Cute Overload makes me SO HAPPY!!


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Some pictures of my now-doing-much-better Yoda and me. :)

Well, Yoda's doing much better. He can walk much better, even to the point that he can do his beloved pivots-in-a-circle. He was bright-eyed and energetic this afternoon when I visited him during a break in my classes. I was floored.

I also wanted to put a little post out there about Yelp. It's very interesting, and picks out good places that I enjoy. Thanks to Nathan for pointing this site out in his blog. As always, Nathan, you rock.

Back to studying!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


In other news, things are mostly good, but Yoda has taken a turn for the worse. His mobility is declining. I suspect at some point in the next two weeks I will have to make the difficult decision to have him put to sleep. It's never easy, not even when I could see it coming.

I'm trying to keep myself busy, or at least in touch with others. Feel free to drop me a line to distract me.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ha! I'm done with my Constitutional Law II paper!! HA!! HAAAA HAAAA HAAAA!

As Mike would say, "You EAT that!!"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Yesterday I bought a purple bunny-peep. It's very soft and squishy. It is good.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Explosives are inherently interesting. Steubenville is also less than ten miles from where my parents grew up and most of my extended family still lives. Check it out. And you thought YOU lived in the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My More-Than-Interesting-Enough Day

Yesterday I had an overly interesting day. It made me yearn for a boring day. Today didn't quite live up to my boring aspirations, but I'm hopeful that I will find more success in that vein this week.

So, what made yesterday so interesting? I'll give you the short version:

1. I wasn't planning to, but I stopped at my apartment yesterday morning before going in to work at the DOJ. Standing in the middle of the floor of my living room, with the bright sun shining in at 9 am, was Lola, clearly very upset. She had gotten snagged in a scarf I use as decoration and was tethered to the spot with a string around her neck. She didn't appear to have any injuries, but if I had gone to work as I had planned that would probably not have been the case.

2. Trials aren't normally that interesting. Trials about a doctor accidentally pulling out the wrong tube in surgery and the patient bleeding out through a hole the size of a nickel in his heart aren't even necessarily that interesting. What WAS interesting is that a juror passed out during the opening statement (they showed a picture of the heart during autopsy) and had to be taken to the hospital for stashes.

3. I got to meet a very FAT hedgehog yesterday. His name is Houdini, which is a great name. I'll be helping him find a new home due to his owner's terrible allergies (I watched the hives swell myself). Even I had a reaction to him; little angry red bumps appeared on my palms from where his quills had barely pricked my skin. This resulted in my taking some sudafed, which leads to my next interesting moment.

4. Getting into tiffs with friends is also not generally interesting. They become more interesting when they erupt from discussions about politics and escalate because I was hopped up on anti-histamines. It's hard not to feel upset with your heart beating 150 times a minute.

5. Finally, after a dramatic day, I'm driving home to see my hedgehogs and go to sleep when I come across a bridge. It had always been there, but I had never thought much about the fact that it was a bridge at all. Yesterday I remembered it was a bridge. It was misty and foggy all day, and the ground was a bit damp. No biggie. Sometime during my hyped-up evening it had gotten colder. Can you see where this is going? When I arrived at the bridge I was probably going 30mph, which is under the speed limit (it's a hill, that at least was in my favor). It did not take me long to realize that the bridge was no longer pavement, but rather a beautiful, smooth, black sheet of solid ice. The two cars in front of me spinning out, the pickup truck veering into oncoming traffic and the station wagon in the ditch confirmed my realization. Fortunately I was able to gently glide across the road, gracefully avoiding both the guard rail and the other disabled cars.

Yeah, and that was the short version.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I like pictures:

I like pictures. Here are some pictures for you to like, too.

This is a picture of the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. I visited it on February 12th when my parents surprised me by flying with me to Toronto. I literally didn't know where we were going until I got to the gate. I hadn't been to Toronto since I was in middle school, or maybe even elementary school, but it had remained one of my favorite big cities. I love the diversity of culture, or maybe just the culture that's so very different from my own. I'm also partial to all the French.

This is a picture of my family from when we visited Door County, Wisconsin on New Year's. It was a very calm time. We stayed in a big cabin, complete with baby grand piano (out of tune, though) and a kitchen with all the perks. I spent most of the time playing Diablo II, which was excellent. We visited a state park with lots of caves. It may be named something clever like Cave Park. Lake Michigan was in fine form, gray and angry, splashing with a hollow gurgling over the rocks. We took some really nice pictures, but unfortunately we don't have any of the four of us. But don't Mom, Dad and Chad look nice?

Now, to bed. I have successfully accomplished nothing academic in almost a week. I'll have an early morning!

A letter to my Aunt:

I wrote a really long letter to an aunt, and I decided that it's a good summary of what I've been up to lately. I hope she doesn't mind that I share!

Here it goes:

Hi Aunt Nancy!

Well, it probably says something about our lives right now that we're both so late... you in sending it and me in reading it! Yep, just read it now!

Thanks for the card. :) It is very nice, and I'm very lucky to be so loved by my family. :) Isn't it cool, being able to send video cards? I mean, would you have thought you'd be able to do that someday? Personally, I'm looking forward to the neural implants that I'm sure my kids will have some day. THAT will make me feel old!

Things are going well in my neck of the woods. School is a lot of work, but I'm really into it, enjoying it and learning a ton. I'm a weeeee bit behind right now, oops, but spring break is just around the bend, and that's a great time to play catch-up.

The hedgehogs are doing well, all three of them now. Lola's been with me for over a year now. Heddie is still fat and still doesn't trust me, but she'll come around. I've had her since Thanksgiving. Yoda, who came to live with me in October and is 4 years old (that's about 64 in human years), went to the vet this week for dizziness and was diagnosed with ear infections. Poor baby! I think he's had them for a long while, because he seems more active and energetic and comfortable than he's been ever! He's a real sweet hedgehog... the only one of the bunch that comes out when I talk to him so he can be pet and cuddled. Lola only comes out for mealworms, and Heddie doesn't come out unless she's forced to. It's nice to have one cuddly one around!

I'm still dating Mike, the plasma physicist grad/doctoral student. He's just wonderful, Aunt Nancy! All of the ugliness I went through and he was there for me, and whenever stuff comes up now (I'm mostly really good, but there are still some feelings that come out of nowhere from all that stuff) he's so supportive and caring. He's a fantastic dancer, and we've been enjoying going to more ballroom dances on campus this semester. We've been trying to help one another stick to good eating habbits and exercise (though I just ate a huge chunk of brownies; fat free, but still...), and I've definitely gotten better at cooking thanks to watching him! Yes, that's right, I even cook. If I'd have known how easy it was, I'd have done it sooner!

I'm feeling really good about myself professionally these days. I've been working at the Department of Justice, mostly representing the state and state-employees in inmate-filed suits, which is really interesting. A couple have involved medical malpractice/8th amendment violations (cruel and unusual punishment). A couple are stranger than I really thought any case could be. "Strange" to me means "interesting," as opposed to "boring." A couple friends at the DOJ are working on eminent domain cases. Those are "boring."

Other than that, I'm also going to prepare for my very first trial! Well, a small claims trial, which is a little more relaxed than the kind of trials you see on tv, but still, opening statement, preparation of witnesses, cross-examination of witnesses and closing statement, all me. I'm excited and terrified, and VERY grateful that my supervising attorney thinks I'm up for the challenge. I've also been interviewing for summer positions, and have two second-interviews this week. One is with a non-profit organization that works on obtaining social security benefits for disabled (physically and mentally) inmates who are due for release (with the goal of keeping them on treatments and reducing the rate of re-offence) and the other is with a county-level government office that primarily works on child-support, termination of parental rights and foster care/adoption issues. Neither is a paid position, but I'll be applying for a small summer grant aimed at helping law students take public-interest jobs and still pay their rent. I'm really hoping that at least one of the jobs is offered to me, but my back-up plan is to stay on at the Department of Justice and just volunteer.

I think my career goal right now is working someplace like the DOJ. In big law firms the atmosphere is often quite competitive, and you have to worry about who will be promoted, if you'll be passed over because you're young and might have kids, and things like that. At the DOJ everyone is very friendly and collaborative. Attorneys frequently ask one another for their opinion or help with a case. There's also a sense that we're defending the public's interest and helping to shape government policy, if only in an indirect way. You don't make as much money working there as you could in private practice, but hell, I was going to be a musician; I'm obviously not all about the pay! That said, even government work pays pretty well. It seems so arbitrary to me that what I'm preparing to do in the world is worth so much more than what I used to do. It doesn't seem harder, just different. It's sometimes hard for me to understand.

I know this has gotten to be a very long e-mail. There is just so much to tell you about! I know I haven't called in a while, but I think of you and Aunt Sis and all my cousins all the time, and I hope you're all happy and healthy and making it day by day. :)

So, yeah, don't feel bad about missing my birthday. I was really only one day older than I was the day before, after all. :) It means more to me that you love me and have been there for me when things got scary, just like you're there for so many people in our family. You know, you've really been such a blessing for so many people, including for me. Thank you for that. :)

Love you much, and I'll try to keep in touch!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Good thing we detained all those suspicious dark-skinned people of a non-Christian religion after 9/11. I don't know what we would have done with the court time, the money paid out to those wronged and the lack of good press otherwise!

On that day in September, I remember sitting on a hill, looking up at the pretty blue sky and its complete lack of air traffic, and wondering who we were going to hate because of what had happened. I hoped that it wouldn't lead to a downward spiral of hate and violence, because I feared where that would lead us.

It has led us here. Our country, that received so much sympathy at the losses we suffered that day, has lost its place of respect in the world to an extent that I never would have guessed possible. We have committed so many human rights violations, so many ill-advised plans for our "safety," that a lot of what I used to believe about my country has vanished in a puff.

I remember learning about the Japanese Internment camps and thinking how good it was that we knew better, that this wouldn't ever happen again. I remember thinking about how awful we treated American Indians when forming our country, and being glad that we knew we were wrong and wouldn't do it again. That's why they were teaching us about these things, right? So we wouldn't be doomed to repeat them?

If that's not what we've done, if this isn't the same sort of prejudice, hate, ignorance and disregard for human lives and freedoms, I don't know what is.

I'm reminded of the "pro-life" stance on abortion, and how they're working to end all termination of "human life." Where do they stand on this war that has taken so many already living, breathing, thinking people? Would they let a woman abort a fetus if it were an Arab? If they knew it would be a terrorist? Let's tie in with another hot issue in Wisconsin... Would they care about the abortion if the fetus were gay?

We are a horrifyingly hypocritical nation right now. I feel betrayed.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Who would Jesus hate?
A law student in Mills
Where were you when I needed you?

All really good ideas I've had for blogs. I'm sure sometime in the future there will be a way to blog just by formulating ideas while walking to Starbucks and trying not to freeze because you were too stupid to bring a coat in Wisconsin in February. I'm sure that technology will exist, designed for that situation specifically. In fact, it will be invented by me, I just don't know it yet.

The first blog title would go with an article about how I just don't understand how some people call themselves Christians. Examples from today's headlines would be the "christian" stance on abortion and gay marriage. In Germany, when they outlawed abortion, they also made sure that there was financial and medical support available for pregnant women and their children; they aimed to end workplace discrimination against women taking maternity leave; they realized that protecting society's interest in potential life meant more than just calling women getting abortions whores. I don't think Jesus focused many talks on his policy of loving your neighbor except for the ones who have abortions or are gay. I wonder if they would be against aborting a gay fetus? Maybe they'd blame the mother for that, too.

Second blog title would go with my thoughts from attending my first concert in Mills for a long time. It makes me realize how much I've changed from law school and life these past few years.

Third would be thoughts on friendship and hypocrisy, and some more about how much I've changed. I've recently discovered that a few friendships I thought would withstand anything were really only friendships when I was happy and life was easy for me. I think that those kinds of friendships probably resulted from my thinking I wasn't worth being treated better. That said, I have been very fortunate to have MANY loving, giving, wonderful people in my life who HAVE seen me through the hate and ugliness that dominated my existence for a while. I'll be interested to see what patterns emerge from friendships I begin at this point in my life or later, to see if the changes I see in myself are also reflected in my relationships with others.

Now, it's time for sleep.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Meditation for the day:

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.

- Ancient Tibetan Buddhist Meditation

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm taking today as a snow day. One class was canceled, one I slept through, and the last one I'm planning on sleeping through as well. I think I might be getting sick anyway.

In any event, I read about something today that I wanted to pass along:
Pay It Forward

This sounds like a wonderful idea. When I have a job I think I'll start my own.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Why Love is Important

It doesn't matter who, it doesn't matter what religion or gender or race, love is good and healthy and life-giving.


I liked the slide-show.


This past weekend, my parents took me to Toronto, Canada to watch a preview showing of LOTR the musical. It was pretty awesome! I didn't know where we were going until we got to the gate at the airport. I knew we were going somewhere but had no idea where. We didn't have a ton of time there, but we did enjoy a couple of nice meals, a walk around the entertainment district, and a visit to the CN tower before returning to Wisconsin. It was just the perfect length of a February vacation. I'll post some pictures later this week.

I also got a very pretty purple sparkley necklace. Very, very sparkley.

In other news, Happy Valentine's Day. It's hard to really celebrate on a Tuesday night when I have class until 7:30pm, but Mike and I will have a romantic meal that he'll cook and maybe I can get him to give me a backrub. That would make a great Tuesday night.

This weekend is my 25th birthday (the 18th) and Mike and my one-year-of-dating day (the 19th). This weekend I will also have several interviews with Madison public interest firms. Friday night is the UWMBDA Valentine's Day ball. Busy times!

For now, back to discussing substantive due process, privacy rights and contraception. Whoo hoo!


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Oh, Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me.
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes
ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be superior to my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes,
so when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit will come to you
without shame.

- Chief Yellow Lark, Lakota American Indian
From a wonderful little book I found called "Prayers for Peace,"
compiled by B. Martin Pederson, ISBN 1-932026-04-5

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Professor Klug

Is it bad that I enjoy this class a lot because he has a plesant voice with a South African accent?

Not that the constitution isn't TERRIBLY interesting...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Double post!

This is my entry in my "Everything Hedgehog" blog. It's still relevant to this blog, mostly because I'm all about hedgehogs, and so hedgehogs are about me. This is the logic I have after finishing half of my lawerying training.


As I sit here feeling every inch of the two miles I jogged this afternoon, it ocurred to me just HOW MUCH our wee ones can run! Last night I switched Lola’s and Yoda’s wheels, since Yoda runs laps now and seemed to enjoy running UNDER Lola’s wheel, and Lola runs so much that she might as well have a solid jogger. The result is that I can now track Lola’s miles (Yoda’s are now a mystery, though his feet get plenty poopy). Lola ran three (3) miles last night, which seems about on par with what these guys tend to do, but THREE MILES. What kind of physique would I have if I ran 3 miles every day?!?

Well, and ate cat food. :)

I also am sad to share that Lola and Heddie’s co-hab experiment ended with them at eachother’s throats, pretty literally. They seemed fine over the weekend, though to be honest I didn’t see much of their actual interaction. Since there were no squaks nor evidence of bloodshed, and since they had gotten on so well before, I figured everything was fine.

Well, last night I woke Heddie up for a while with Lola, so I could see how they interacted in their new set-up. Well, no sooner was Heddie out of her pigloo than Lola was huffing and shoving. “Let them sort this out,” I thought. That lasted for about another 30 seconds before Lola bit and PULLED, and Heddie latched on and pulled in turn.
I had to literally pull them apart. I quickly set Lola up in her old set-up.

So, what went wrong? Could it be they could co-hab while running around in my 15x10 living room and nothing smaller? I made a coroplast and cube cage that was 3.6’ by 2.5’, which was admittedly smaller than I had imagined but with a good amount of floor room. Too small for two?

What I really need to do is move into an apartment with space for three hedgies, but that won’t happen until August. I’ll have to re-think my plan...

Hugs to all,
Kristen Z., Lola, Yoda and Heddie

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Weight Watchers:Watching, Waiting...

So, about a month ago I joined Weight Watchers. No, I don't go to meetings, because I'm like that. I prefer my therapy alone, thankyouverymuch. I do the online version. Very convenient, I have to say.

Why WW? Because my doctor, who has helped me reduce my migraines to maybe a few times per month from daily headaches a year ago, told me that WW was the only plan he has seen work for people taking my migraine medication. Apparently my medication causes increased hunger and decreased metabolism. No wonder I gained 50 pounds.

I'm not on the plan where I have to count points for everything I eat. That sounded like too much work. Instead, I'm on a plan where I can eat however much I want from a list of foods, specially chosen because they provide nutrients and a lot of bulk per calorie. Foods I can eat a lot include fat-free, sugar-free instant chocolate fudge pudding (made with skim milk); 94% fat-free microwave popcorn; diet soda; lean meats such as chicken or turkey; all veggies; all fruits; whole-grain products, up to one serving per day. Basically, I donated all the food in my pantry and stocked-up on diet-safe products. I eat a lot of pudding. A looot of pudding.

So far I've lost almost 7 pounds.

To understand how significant this weight loss is, consider my weight-past. When things in my life were going poorly last spring, I was eating cookies for every meal, turtle sundaes regularly, and basically anything else I wanted. Surprisingly, I gained weight. Late summer and early fall I ended my junk-food binge and started working out. This fall I worked out at least once per week, and got through all of the latest Harry Potter only reading during work-outs. I dropped in size, but I didn't lose one ounce.

I'm a bit frustrated because I didn't lose any weight this last week. I'm wondering if any weight loss could have been off-set by weight gain from working out. I think I worked out four or five days, each of which left me noticeably sore (as opposed to doing something like biking that would feel fine the next day). Still, I haven't GAINED any weight, and I'm eating foods that are good for me, so I have been able to remain positive. I'm considering taking my measurements to keep track of any loss in inches when there is no loss in pounds. Honestly, I just haven't gotten around to digging out my tape measure, which is in a small white container no more than 7 feet from where I am currently sitting. Measuring can be so miserable.

I think the most difficult aspect of dieting is social. I hate having to have to request altered meals at restaurants, explain why I'm not participating in pizza-night, and why I eat so much pudding. I don't like being one of those people who has to pick apart every single thing I eat to separate out the cheese or meat, leaving a dissected mess on my plate. I especially don't like having to choose foods that are good for me over and over again while watching friends and family eat the foods I miss. Dammit, if I'm on a diet, shouldn't everyone around me have to be on a diet too??

I'm still trying to figure out the best ways to create tasty meals without things like white rice, regular pasta and cheese. I like microwave popcorn, but my microwave burns more than it pops, leading me to buy an air-popper last week. Unfortunately, air-popped popcorn is very bland, and salt doesn't stick to bland, dry popcorn. I tried spraying the popcorn with water and then salting it, but that didn't really work very well. Who knew that soggy popcorn would be disgusting?

In any case, there's my Weight Watchers story. Maybe I'll soon have a "this one time, I lost 50 lbs" story. Stay tuned.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Hedgehog Society News:

The organization for which I do hedgehog placement and rescue has just been awarded a national animal rescue grant. Check it out!

See, it's not just in my head...


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Back again:

I've been enjoying my winter vacation tremendously, so much so that I haven't wanted to take time to write about it here. Though I had a long list of things to do, including knitting, quilting, finding housing, organizing and the like, I have really only successfully worked at the very important tasks of playing Diablo II and watching my hedgehogs play in the red light. Both very important.

The red light is my newest discovery. I have known for a long time that red lights were used to accustom fighter pilots' eyes to the dark before night flights, and that while walking on a beach at night when turtles are coming to nest that it is best to have red lights to minimize the impact of your presence. It seems very logical that red light would illuminate, say, my apartment without bothering my hedgehogs, but for some reason it took a long time for my brain to put the pieces together. I blame school.

I picked up a red party-light bulb for a couple bucks, having tired of using the red led setting to my [boyfriend's] camping head light thing. Tonight I turned it on and let the three of them run loose in the living room. It was quite amusing! Heddie and Lola visited eachother's cages, as buddies do, trying out the other's food, water, and wheel. I was able to watch Lola run her routes through the living and bed rooms at full speed, without her dashing in and out of shadow. Yoda perked up when a lady would come by, but was pretty content to sniff my face and hair, then snuggle next to me for a nap. Heddie found Lola's lavender sachet and pranced around the room with it in her mouth, way up in the air like a little flag. This was of course followed by her foaming at the mouth and depositing the lavender-hedgehog-foam on her back.

Again, it seems very obvious that I would be able to interact more with my hedgehogs with a red light. I have to say, though, that it's really amazingly different. Seeing my hedgehogs relaxed, curious and unafraid, being able to interact with them like that, is really, really fun. I feel as though I'm seeing a completely different side of them, one that isn't just sleeping and begging for mealworms. Well, except Yoda, because he sleeps and begs for mealworms just the same.

In any event, I am glad to have the time once again to enjoy the small things in my life. Two other small things I enjoy quite a bit these days are chocolate pudding and fleece pajamas. The pudding is fat-free, sugar-free and diet safe (I've lost 6.5 lbs by the way; more on that later) so I eat it all the time. The fleece pajamas are a SUPER COMFORTABLE gift from my parents for Christmas, nicely timed with the sudden normal-ness of my apartment's temperature. After living in a nearly 80-degree apartment (with a thermostat literally controlled by my housemate from south africa) I am QUITE chilly in the 65-degree coolness! Fortunately, the hedgehogs have heating pads (except for Heddie; she's quite chubby enough to keep herself warm!) and I have my fleecy pjs, so all is well.

I hope the holiday season found you happily with loved ones, and that this new year has brought you safely back to non-holiday reality!