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December 2, 2014

Starting Early on 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 3:44 pm

The purpose of this post is accountability.  I was looking over my “to-do” list of resolutions for 2014, and realized I had completed exactly one of them.*

There is a very good reason for this – Chris and I had an adorable little girl in May, one Samantha Brunner, and she has kept us quite busy since.  Sam is a joy and delight, and I’m a better person because of her.  But let me tell you, while I knew in the abstract that the baby would take a lot of time and attention, I was not prepared for the reality.   “I’m taking three months of maternity leave,” I thought to myself.  “That’s a TON of time.  I’ll learn Spanish!”  Ha, ha, ha, NO.  For those three months, Chris and I were up until the very wee hours of the mornings.  I was grateful to catch a nap here and there when the kid was asleep.  And then it was back to work, and figuring out how to balance my job and being a mom.

What I’ve learned is that there’s no point in waiting for an arbitrary deadline like New Year’s Day to do anything.  Who knows what is going to happen on that day?  Sam could be sick.  My dog could need to go to the vet.  My car could be in the shop.  Any one of a million little things could turn “START DAY” into “How about tomorrow?”  If I’ve got some time and energy to devote toward a project NOW, then I need to use it NOW.   Also, starting every new habit all at once is kind of intimidating.

So I’m starting the self-improvement kick now.  Or, rather, I started about two weeks ago.

For 2015:

  • Pay down debt
  • Eat better
  • Run a half marathon (looking at the Disneyland Half Marthon in September, if anyone wants to run with me.)
  • Learn Spanish
  • Try Aikido again
  • Zelda-Ocharinathon
  • Learn Guitar

I’m trying to add one new habit a week to work toward these larger goals. I’m using apps HabitRPG, LoseIt, and Dollarbird to track my progress.  So here’s to a self-improvement, one day and one piece and one habit at a time.


*I took some boxing lessons.  It was an interesting experience, but my instructor and I didn’t really gel.  I didn’t want to train to fight anyone, and he was a fighter who only knew how to train people to fight.



January 17, 2014

2014 New Year’s To-Do List:

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 3:07 pm

Another year means time for another set of goals.

News for this blog, (though not the rest of the world, at this point) is that Chris and I are having a baby!  I’m due in May, and this will no doubt be the busiest, most exciting year of our lives to date.   So the overarching goal will be have a healthy child, and be the best parent I can be.  But there is life outside of parenthood to worry about to, and in that vein, I’ve got a few other things I’m going to work on this year:

Major Goals:

  • Learn Spanish – I’ve lived in California for almost 10 years not.  It’s just time, and will be beneficial to my work.
  • Look for a more fulfilling job – I like law, but not necessarily Family law
  • Run a half-marathon – I’m looking at the time between October and December – training will be a great way to get back into shape
  • Pictures of the Day – Last year, because I’m miserable at keeping a written journal, I decided to try a photo journal.  I made it most of the year taking one picture a day, but then got too busy and it felt like there was just too big of a gap to fill in.  This time, I’m going to finish the year out.
Minor Goals:
  • Zelda Ocarina-thon – this has been on the list for a few years now.
  • Learn Guitar – also has been on the list for a few years now.
  • Boxing and or Kickboxing lessons – This will be another great way to get back into shape
  • The Kindle Challenge – Inspired by the Steam challenge (which is to play every game in your Steam account before buying a new one) I am instituting a Kindle challenge.  I will read every book on my Kindle before buying a new one.  Heck, if I miss a new release or two, that just means they will be cheaper when I actually have time to buy them.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

October 10, 2013

Oh, hey, this page…

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 7:39 pm

So I was poking through my bookmarks the other day, and suddenly remembered I have a blog!  Amazing!

General updates then.  It’s been a busy year.  After a family trip to Vegas in January, I came back home to a job interview.   I got the job!  I became an official PAID attorney, practicing Family Law.

We immediately started looking for rental houses.  We found one right away, signed the papers, and had keys in about five days.   At the end of my second week of work, we moved all our stuff to Pasadena.  It was a crazy weekend, but totally worth doing in ONE move, so all our stuff was in one place.  Isis adjusted surprisingly well.

So, start of February, we had a house with a yard, and I had a real law job!  I made myself wait until after Easter to start looking for a dog, because I wanted to make sure we were all moved in, and that the cat had fully adjusted to the new place.  I found a good candidate in May, and were able to bring him home at the start of June.   His name is Maverick, and he’s awesome.

We did a bit of travel this year.  We’ve been camping in Sequoia National Park with the family, and went up to the Oregon Coast for my friend’s wedding.  This seems to be a year for weddings – three more couples whom I know and who might actually have an interest in reading this blog are getting married this fall.  Congratulations to you all!

And now we’re current with my timeline.  Earlier this week, I found out that my awesome law job is actually going away at the end of the month – not enough business walking in the door to keep a dedicated family law attorney on salary.  My bosses say I can still freelance on their occasional family law case for a commission, but that’s not guaranteed.  So I’m in the process, again, of looking for a law job.

All in all, a very VERY busy year.  I’ll try to keep you guys more in loop for the rest of it.  Cheers!

NOTE:  I would have added at least five pictures to this post, but I can’t figure out how to link the pictures from the new Google+ album format. I’ve tried adding an image to WordPress here, and copying the image URL in, but WP doesn’t like the link.  Man, I miss Picasa.  If you have advice on how to overcome this problem, leave me a comment – this issue is relevant to my leatherworking blog as well (I have a BUNCH of projects to catch up on from last Christmas).

December 31, 2012

A Brand New Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 4:36 pm

Looking over my list of goals for the last year, I could be disappointed by the fact that I only got one thing done.  However, it was by far the biggest and most daunting thing on the list, so I don’t feel disappointed in the slightest.  I passed the Bar Exam.  I’m now a member in good standing of the California State Bar.   The rest of the goals on my list are still worthy self-improvement goals or things I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so I’m just going to carry those forward (with minor additions) for 2013:

Major Goals:

  1. Get a job in the legal profession
  2. Lose the rest of that 20lbs
  3. Run another half marathon
  4. Move to a house (with a yard!)
  5. Get a dog!
Minor Goals:
  1. Learn to play guitar
  2. Zelda Ocarina-thon
  3. Have better posture
  4. Try not to over-think things to the point of causing undue anxiety
  5. Try Aikido again (this has been in the back of my mind since college)
I will also make an effort to post more than twice a year.
Stay safe tonight, and good luck with next year, everybody!

November 21, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 12:47 pm

I passed the July Bar!  It’s official – they sent me the paperwork and everything (one of the documents starts with “Dear Counselor…”  Squee!).

Somehow, the time I finally passed the Bar was also the time I had to work a 40-hour-per-week job and study around it.  The hours were crazy.  I was crazy.  But Chris, as always, was amazing – he knew exactly when to leave me alone and when to ply me with chocolate.  Love you, husband.  My family and friends were supportive and understanding of the fact that I couldn’t see them for months on end (Gilmers, I’m still sorry to have missed your wedding).  This is a huge thing that I couldn’t have done with out help from everyone,  so, thank you all.

May 19, 2012

Still not a lawyer

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 2:20 pm

Hey folks.  I just heard back on Bar Exam Take Two, and I’m sad to say that I didn’t pass.  I’ll be tilting at the windmill again in July.  Before I disappear into my study cave, I want to thank everyone for their love and support.   I won’t see you much in the next few months, but I’ll be thinking of you often.

January 2, 2012

2012 Goals

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 12:14 pm
Major Goals:
  1. Pass the Bar
  2. Get a job in the legal profession
  3. Lose the rest of the 20lbs
  4. Run another half marathon
  5. Move to a house
#1: Pass The Bar
I am retaking the exam at the end of February.  After this post, I will turn into a social hermit once again.  Rest assured, you’ll see me again in March.
#2: Get a job in the legal profession
As delighted as I am to be drawing a paycheck again, I really would prefer a job in my field.   This year, I have to make that happen.
#3:  Lose the rest of the 20lbs.
20lbs was my goal for weight loss last year, and I only managed part of it.  Now that the holidays have passed, it is time to buckle down and lose the rest.
#4: Run another half marathon.
I ran an unexpected half marathon last year, and really enjoyed it.  I liked the training routine, and I loved the way my cholesterol dropped.  So I’m going to do another one some time this year.   I haven’t decided when yet.  But you’re welcome to join me.
#5: Move to a house
Chris and I have been living in this same apartment for seven years now.  We think it’s time for some nicer digs.
Bonus Goals:
  1. Learn to play guitar
  2. Zelda Ocarina-thon
  3. Have better posture
  4. Try Muay Thai
#1: Learn to play guitar
This time around, I’m going to make the guitar my post-Bar sanity hobby.  And Chris offered me some incentive. He said if I master the instructional material I already have, he’ll buy me a banjo, which is my ultimate musical goal
#2: Zelda Ocarina-thon
I know I can beat this game in one epic sitting.  I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
#3: Have better posture.
My posture sucks.  I’m going to be making a conscious effort to change it this year.
#4: Try Muay Thai
There’s an awesome kickboxing class I’ve been thinking about taking.  The first one is free.
So that’s the plan for the year, folks.  If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know.

2011 Performance Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 11:59 am

I set out 10 goals for 2011: five major goals and five bonus goals that would be nice to achieve, but which I did not consider vital to the success of the year.

Major Goals:

  1. Pass the Bar
  2. Graduate
  3. Lose 20 lbs
  4. Run the Warrior Dash on Saturday, April 2.
  5. Get a job

Of these goals, I managed three.  I finally graduated lawschool, which I consider my most important achievement of the year.   I ran the Warrior Dash in some excellent company.  And I did in fact end the year with a job.

I did not manage to lose all 20lbs of weight, though I managed some.   And, of course, the elephant in the room is that I did not pass the Bar.

Why did it have to be Real Property?

Sub Goals:

  1. Learn leathercrafting
  2. Learn more than one chord on the guitar
  3. Master some new crockpot recipes
  4. Zelda Ocarina-thon
  5. Go camping
I finished three of these goals as well.  After the Bar exam, I turned to leathercrafting to stay sane and keep my mind of the test results.  I took classes at Tandy, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it so far.   I picked up a whole book of healthier crackpot recipes, and several of them have become regulars in our rotation.   I did go camping, along with most of the people who are likely to be reading this blog, for Chris’ 30 birthday party.
I still haven’t gotten around to picking up the guitar, and I didn’t manage to squeeze in the Ocarina-thon.
2011 Bonuses:
I also engaged in some unplanned awesomeness for the year.  I ran a half-marathon, which is something I never seriously considered before.  And because of all the training I did before hand, I also dropped my cholesterol a bunch.  This is a trend I want to continue in 2012.
All told, 2011 was a  pretty successful year.  Thank you, my friends and family, for all your help in making it that way.

October 24, 2011

I made a belt!

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 12:25 am

October 3, 2011

‘Cause my hat needs to see…

Filed under: Uncategorized — megs @ 7:16 pm

So I’m currently unemployed, and often bored, and the combination has me turning to crafts.  I decided to make a pair of steampunk goggles.

I looked at a bunch of different pictures on line, and then I found this page (by the lady who writes Cake Wreks!) with details on how to make a nifty pair.   I liked the chunky look of the eye pieces, so I decided to give it a go.  I followed most of the given instructions, with some deviations.

The first big deviation has to do with the leather.  Rather than go for the plain brown featured on the page, I put my leathercrafting powers to good use.

I bought a bag of scrap pieces from Tandy, and found two pieces that were big enough to form the eye cups.  Then I used my geometric shape tool to give the leather the same repeating square pattern I used on my flask.   I used a tool called a four-prong lacing chisel (it looks like a wide dinner fork that means business) to cut holes for stitching.   The last steps were dying the pieces brown and applying finisher.

Then, I used some scrap pieces of soft upholstery leather to form a cushion around the eye cups.

I folded the leather over a pipe cleaner to make the edge look more rounded.

Next, I wrapped the leather pieces around the pipes, and then glued and stitched them into place.

I stitched on more upholstery leather for the band:

And added a shiny brass buckle.

I decided to use brass mesh for the lenses.  Brass mesh, I found out, was about $60 a roll.  I bought a small section of this stuff instead, and decided to spray paint it.

I discovered a small problem with the mesh – other people could look back up the goggles.  They could see the stitching, and the screws holding on the nose bridge.  I thought it looked messy.  Also, I was concerned that the color of the mesh wouldn’t show up well when backed by gaping nothing.   So I took another tip from the EPBOT instructions, and cut some lens backing out of a report cover.

The plastic is both opaque and textured – nobody is going to see anything through there.  That works for me, because I don’t need to see through them, either.   Unless I decide to get some prescription lenses cut for these goggles, I need to wear my glasses to get around.

The last thing to do was spray paint the mesh, the screw-on eye pieces and the bit of metal for the nose bridge (I used the same stuff EPBOT did).  And here were the results:

The screw-on cups are painted antique brass.  The screens and nose piece are painted shiny gold/brass.

Side view:

The EPBOT instructions suggested putting some decorative brass pieces on the sides.   I ordered some, but I decided I like the raw look of the stitching better.

Top view:

The length of the eye pieces makes the goggles a little unwieldy. I might end up wearing them around my neck so they don’t over balance my hat.

Next project – finish construction of my lightbulb-based ray gun.