Sunday, August 31, 2008

Confidence Builder 

So, I had been working on transitioning to in house legal work for the privately held software company where I am currently a project manager. Things had been going well, and I had done several legal projects earlier in the year. Then a very large, public corporation acquired the place. And they only take on attorneys with at least five years of experience. Time to rethink everything. Again.

Plan B: continue on in the current job for the steady income, benefits, etc. but start doing my own thing on my own time. I've decided on wills and estate planning as a focus, as it's not likely to have any scheduling issues with the company work.

Yesterday The Girl and I were at a party at a friend's fabulous house overlooking the ocean, and another of our friends was there, who practices family law - mostly divorces. We were chatting, and she mentioned that she does do a will now and then for one of her clients if they ask, since divorce revokes the will.

I paused, mentally reviewing my recall of the Massachusetts General Laws as they pertain to wills and the impact of marriage and divorce. I also pause to make sure I don't come across as too argumentative or upstart-ish, given that she's been practicing for 23 years and is someone I respect very much. Finally (okay, this process only took a few seconds), I politely countered that I'm pretty sure in Massachusetts that while marriage revokes a will (in my head, I also added "unless the will specifically states that it is made in contemplation of marriage"), divorce only revokes those portions of the will regarding any bequests to or appointments of the spouse. She insisted equally firmly but politely that in Massachusetts there is a statute that specifies that divorce revokes a will. We agreed to disagree and to look it up. The Girl was quite proud of my graceful exit (I can be a little stubborn when I get on a roll...). She also said that she could tell when I was reviewing my brain database for the information, and that I did it at some other point in the party as well.

Of course before we went to sleep last night, I had to go online and look it up. M.G.L. Title II, Chapter 191, Section 9. You can click over and read the whole thing, but the relevant clause is, "If, after executing a will, the testator shall be divorced or his marriage shall be annulled, the divorce or annulment shall revoke any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse, as executor, trustee, conservator or guardian, unless the will shall expressly provide otherwise."

I'm feeling more comfortable that I've made a good choice. That same friend did give me some very helpful information - a friend of hers is a school teacher and does wills and uncontested divorces on her own time, and has "moonlight malpractice" insurance. It's for attorneys who are doing this part-time, in nonlitigation settings, and is a lot less than the full blown insurance. That was another headache looming over me.

This all seems much more doable today than it did early yesterday.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:59 AM
Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Big Speech 

Wow. Just... Wow.

If you didn't stay up to watch it (The Girl and I both stayed glued to the tv), surf over to the DNC website and watch the video. And watch Al Gore's, while you're there.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:14 PM

Homeward Bound 

Here I am, sitting at the Sioux City Airport, aka SUX. The Girl will be happy to know that I've secured her a Work SUX t-shirt. We had thunderstorms last night (and the night before) that seemed to go on forever, and I awoke this morning to dark clouds and rain. Fortunately it now appears to be clearing. I don't have much time between flights in Minneapolis, so I'm hoping there won't be any delays on the departure.

Once again, Northwest Airlines managed to implement changes during my trip. When I checked my bag in Boston to come here, there was no charge for the first checked bag. Two days later, I paid $15 to check the same bag back to Boston. Oh well, it's totally worth it not to have to babysit the thing through Minneapolis-St. Paul while sprinting from gate to gate.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:03 AM

Melissa DNC Video 

In case you missed it (like me), or in case you want to watch it over and over (like me), the DNC website has the Melissa Etheridge performance in their fabulous video gallery. They got her intro a little off though. Instead of "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Grammy award-winning artist, Melissa Etheridge!" it should have been "Grammy and ACADEMY award-wining artist, Melissa Etheridge!" Especially given that she won her Oscar for the theme song of An Inconvenient Truth, which would have been a nice tie in to our Nobel-winning former vice-president.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:19 AM
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Clinton-Clinton One-Two Punch 

Hillary last night, Bill tonight - bam! Put the primaries behind us, get out and vote, and vote for Obama. Just so there's no confusion, I'm one of the voters putting the primary behind me, as I am a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter. I'm also a staunch Barack Obama supporter (beginning with his speech at the 2004 DNC), but I voted for Clinton. But that's over now, and we need to put Obama in the White House in January.

Check out their speeches here and here. You can ready the text here and here. Of course the videos of the speeches don't include the lengthy standing ovations each received - Bill's lasted 3.5 minutes and only ended after several calls for the crowd to sit down and let him get the show moving. And while you're at it, check out Ted Kennedy's speech from Monday.

At the 2004 convention in Boston, Rep. Barney Frank was the only speaker who actually came right out (so to speak) and mentioned gay and lesbian issues. What a difference four years make. We have marriage equality in Massachusetts and California, all three heavy-hitter speakers listed above specifically addressed gay and lesbian issues, Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray during her announcement of the delegate votes during the role call proudly listed one of the state's achievements as being the first state with marriage equality, and lots of delegates have pointed out the high number of out gay and lesbian delegates are in their particular contingent. Rather than being a liability that no one wants to talk about for fear of alienating the right, we've become recognized as the valuable part of the American people we are. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick was there with Therese Murray, taking part in announcing the delegate vote. What an improvement over our governor during the last convention, Mitt Romney. *Pause for booing*

And how about Rachel Maddow (I've been watching MSNBC for my convention coverage)? I don't usually watch tv news (I listen to NPR), but I'll be watching her new show on MSNBC, beginning on September 8.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:29 PM

True Pioneer Passes 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sioux City View 


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Originally uploaded by RSLS
View from my room. I chose not to stay at the Clarion that is connected by the Skywalk to the client site, as it's in the middle of the downtown Sioux City area, is kind of run down and musty, and quite noisy. Lots of thugs hanging around the neighborhood.

Instead, I'm a little south of downtown, in the burbs. The view from my room is to the right. The house next door to the hotel has a windmill in their backyard. Plus they serve breakfast here, which is always a plus.

Click here to see the full set from the trip (I'm adding to it as I go, since I'm still traveling).

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:32 PM

Land of a Thousand Republicans 

So here I am in Minneapolis, ready to square my fun (see below) at the 2008 Republican National Convention in short order. Okay, those of you who know me can pick yourselves up on the floor where you fell laughing.

I'm really just here between flights, but given that the RNC event is next week, the place is plastered with all these welcoming signs. Because what's more fun than one city full of die-hard Republican stalwarts? Twin Cities full of them!! Yeeha!

I guess the bright side of things is that I'm traveling this week, during preparations, rather than over the weekend or next week, when I'd be totally surrounded. There might be some folks arriving on Thursday as I'm passing back through this way - I'll be sure to stay alert.

The Girl had a wonderful time picturing me surrounded by the delegates. Eventually I'd just have to stop walking and scream.

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Originally uploaded by RSLS

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:41 PM

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Clip Issue 


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Originally uploaded by RSLS
The Girl dropped me off at the Logan Express station in Framingham, and off I went to the airport. Just as I was exiting (the last person off the bus, by the way), my messenger bag that was over one shoulder suddenly swung away. I caught the handles, only to discover that the clip holding the shoulder strap to the bag had lost its little metal flippy piece. Oh no! What would I do?

Well, I was a Camp Fire Girl, and Boy Scouts aren't the only ones who are prepared. I had my sunglasses case clipped to the bag with a carabiner, so I unclipped the case and tossed it into the bag, then used the carabiner to re-attach the shoulder strap. Mission accomplished. I also found a big paper clip next to my table in the food court, so I put that in my bag in case the other clip gives out as well.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:43 AM
Monday, August 25, 2008

Four and Three Years Ago 

Four years ago I wrote this.

Three years ago I wrote this.

I'm just saying.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:45 PM

Fly SUX 

Yes, I'm off to that bustling airport, Sioux City Gateway, known in travel reservation lingo as SUX. They try to make the most of it, selling t-shirts and hats that say such things as Fly SUX, Play SUX, etc. The Girl has requested that I bring her home a Work SUX shirt this trip. Those of you who know her will understand completely.

So, my bag is packed (mostly), my gadgets are updated, synced and charging, I have a supply of books for when I can't access my ebooks (yes, they are Star Trek books, both paper and e-...), and and off I go tomorrow morning.

I'm sure pictures will follow.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:22 PM
Sunday, August 24, 2008

Time For a New Cord 

I picked up my dad yesterday for a morning of stair building. That retaining wall that divides our lawn half from the wooded half of the lot is a few feet high, so anytime I go up there I either climb up on the garden box and then up, or at the other end I just hoist myself right up. Not many people go up there with me, for some reason.

But that's all over now, as there's a lovely set of five steps leading to the top of the wall. An easy climb, and even the chipmunks seem to enjoy it.

We went to Lowe's first to get the materials, but he had brought along an extension cord and his massive power drill, which we later determined he purchased in 1952. I'm completely serious. 1952. But it worked great, which is more than I can say for the extension cord. He handed me the plug end, which I pulled up onto the deck and plugged into the outdoor outlet. This attempt was met with a few sparks and a blackened outlet. First things first, I went to the garage to flip the circuit breaker, which had wisely done its job. When I came back I saw him fussing with the cord itself - pictured below. The thing was split in several places and bandaged together with electrical tape. At one spot all three groups of wires were totally exposed and split apart! I stated that we would be tossing that entire cord into the trash can and I would buy him a new one. Fortunately for the project, I did have an outdoor cord on a shelf in the garage, but I did go out later and get him a shiny new 50 foot outdoor extension cord.

The stairs are fabulous, I have some new shepherd's hooks on which the bird feeders are hanging, and the work on the Enchanted Forest continues.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:10 AM
Saturday, August 23, 2008

082308_1621.jpg 

Friday, August 22, 2008

Birds Pushing Back 

I have to get some more shepherd's hooks, as I cut down the trees on which a couple of the feeders were hanging. I now have the empty feeders hooked onto the deck railing and the birds that liked those particular ones are starting to get a little resentful. They've taken to landing on the deck railing or the grill, looking toward the back door and squawking at me. Demanding little bastards!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:37 AM
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Birds? 

After work I launched myself into the yard and back forty. I had to get all the leaves and sticks out of the yard (leftover from the cutting up of the felled trees) before the lawn mowing tomorrow. Once that was done, I hopped up above the wall and continued the clean up efforts in the woods. I concentrated on cutting off dead branches and culling out some of the too many saplings. A few trees had been dead for so long that I merely leaned upon them and over they went. My next foray will have to be on dragging all the forest flotsam into a new brush pile. The one we created on Sunday is already a Big Wall of Framingham, and I don't want to expand it into a Great one.

When I decided I'd had enough, I started scoping out potential spots for a woodsy sitting area. I found a nice boulder for leaning against, with a cushion of pine needles upon which to sit, so I answered the call. I rested my head back against the rock so that I was looking almost straight up (noting all the little dead branches that are totally beyond my reach), and relaxed. Until all these birds began landing on the trees above me and squawking and screeching and hopping from one branch to another. Bird Dudes! I'm the one who fills the feeders and tosses black oil sunflower seed on the ground for you!!! Chill! I thought perhaps I had inadvertently sat near a nest, but I couldn't find one. Plus it was both chickadees and titmice in the mix, so it wasn't one family pissed about my crossing into their turf.

Just as I was thinking they were going to start dive-bombing me, they apparently decided I was no fun and they moved on.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:49 PM
Monday, August 18, 2008

Starting the Week Right 

Drove a half hour to work, parked at the far end of the parking lot.
Walked across the lot, up the stairs to the third floor, to my workspace at the far end of the building.
Sat at my desk and saw the empty docking station where my computer usually resides.
Realized I had taken the notebook home on Friday.

Walked to the stairs, down to the ground level, and out to the far side of the parking lot.
Drove forty-five minutes home.
Set up the computer in the home office, plugged in the ethernet cable and started working.

On the whole, not the best use of petroleum resources for the day.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:18 PM
Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mega Yard Work 

A large portion of our lot is wooded, abutting a state park. It's nice, but a little out of control. Lots of dead trees, or live trees with lots of low dead branches that make it hard to get through. Plus two rather tall trees right above the retaining wall. The Girl has been quite concerned that a big storm will come through and knock them into the house and/or pressure the wall down. So today Middle Sister and her boyfriend came over with a chainsaw and loppers, plus I had a tree saw, and we wreaked havoc back there. You should see the brush pile. Plus we now have lots of firewood seasoning away. When you stand in the yard you can actually see into the woods, and we have a clear (well, more clear than before, at least) path to walk up into the park. There's a lovely semi-clear area that is going to be perfect for a couple of hammocks tied between trees. And - special bonus - they gave me the loppers as a gift, so I can continue my efforts. Fabulous! One drawback - my muscles are already aching. I can't imagine what I'll be in for tomorrow.

In other news - we had several cherry tomatoes from our upside down tomato garden in our omelette this morning. Yum!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:27 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stupid Pictures? 

Yesterday a colleague needed a couple of digital photos taken to send to a client. They didn't come out very well with the camera phone, so I retrieved the Rebel from the car. Then last evening I uploaded them to flickr, and this morning went to her desk so we could download them to her computer. I told her to go to flickr.com (spelling it), and then I typed RSLS in the search box, as an easy way to get to my page without going through the login. When the search results popped up, I just clicked on my user name to go to my photostream. Then, before I could say anything or navigate to the specific pictures she wanted (I uploaded a bunch of pictures last night that had been piling up in my camera), she says, "See? Now why do people post up stupid pictures like this?"

*Silent pause*

"Those are my pictures...."

Fortunately, much laughter ensued rather than any hard feelings. Let's face it, most of my pictures would seem pretty stupid if you don't know the background story. And some people would say even then...

Oh well, those people don't have to look. And you know who you are.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:16 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Audubon Sanctuary, Natick 


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Originally uploaded by RSLS
Click on the walking bridge to see pics.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:59 PM

Oscar Party 2008 Pics 


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Originally uploaded by RSLS
Click on the buffet to see the photos. Most were taken during set up.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:57 PM

Miami Photos 


IMG_0648
Originally uploaded by RSLS
Click on the gator to see the whole set.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:52 PM