Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Dump

The Dump is an oddly-named new furniture store off of I-45 and West Road (near Fry's Electronics). Nora and I went there today to check it out. They have a cool coffee table in the shape of a piano and this incredible bar for less than four grand! It's only open Friday-Sunday, and if you live in Houston you should check it out.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Snow Day

We have snow! Those of you who aren't from Texas may not understand the rarity of snow in our area. With Christmas temperatures as high as the 70-degree range, it simply doesn't snow much in Texas. Growing up in southeast Texas, I remember having snow somewhere around 1977, 1982, 1986, and 1994. It was never very much. It didn't even stick in '86 and '94. We certainly never built snowmen or had snowball fights. The only "snow angels" we made were of cotton. Snow in Texas is a rare treat, and Sheridan had complained more than once that she'd never seen real snow.

The weathermen had predicted the possibility of snow on Christmas Eve for about a week but I didn't pay much attention. I looked outside my window and saw a few white flakes falling. I called Sherian to come see and she ran outside in her pajamas. About that time it really started coming down. I could hear the next door neighbor girls running out into their back yard and squealing with delight, "It's snowing! It's snowing!" The snow was melting as soon as it hit the grass so Sheridan put out a large bowl to collect it. Pockets of snow accumulated on the rooftops and in the branches of trees, and it seemed as if Jack Frost himself had come through our neighborhood. By the next morning the snow would disappear, leaving behind a bowl of snow in the freezer, a few pictures, and a child's memories of her first snow.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas Party!

Nora's niece is a secretary at Second Baptist, and when we ran into her the other evening at the Singing Christmas Tree event, she invited us to attend a get-together she was having on the 23rd. Most of the guests would be members of her singles group from Second Baptist. Neither I nor Nora are active participants in any church, mosque, synogogue, temple or coven, but to be honest it was the only Christmas Party I was invited to this year! (What's that, you say? Didn't your employer throw you a Christmas Party? Well, yes they did, thanks for asking. In 2001.) We decided to go to the party. There would be games and a White Elephant gift exchange.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with a White Elephant gift exchange, it's an event where participants bring wrapped gifts and put them in a pile, then put their names in a hat. Names are drawn from the hat. When the first person's name is drawn, he or she selects a wrapped gift from the pile and unwraps it. What you got might not be what you keep, however. The second person can either select a gift from the pile or "steal" a gift they like from someone else. If your gift is "stolen" your name goes back into the hat and you can pick again or "steal" your gift back. We brought a gift certificate to Blockbuster and a silver reindeer candleholder.

The evening started with dinner and there was plenty of food -- turkey, ham, and tamales, a perennial favorite. There followed a Bible reading, inspirational message and Christmas carol, then the white elephant gift exchange. This experience proved the expression "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Nora got a CD. At first I thought it said "Counting Crows," and thought Wow, this is a liberal church group! Then I realized it said "Casting Crowns." We had no idea who that was. We looked at each other blankly and hoped someone would steal it. Someone did, almost immediately, and we were relieved. The next time she picked she got some holiday plates. Much better! Sheridan picked for me. She got a small, square frame with a little cross and the words He Lives in it. No offense, but that was pretty lame. Fortunately, someone stole it and we ended up with dominoes!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Painting Sheridan's Room

After asking me for two years, Sheridan finally convinced me to paint her room. I told her I'd do it but she'd have to help, and of course she agreed. She's over her pink phase and into purple now, so here we go:

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Singing Christmas Tree

It just wouldn't seem like the Christmas season without some traditional carols and music. Second Baptist its putting on a Classic Car Show with a parade of antique cars and a singing Christmas tree. Nora talked me into going along and--except for the arctic weather--I enjoyed the show.

We arrived shortly after 7:00. They weren't charging admission but to enter you had to pass a registration booth. Two smiling Baptists greeted us in the Lord and handed me a form with space for contact information. Fortunately, the form didn't say to put my name and address, so I gave them someone else's. About 10 singers stood on a stage set up behind a small road. For each decade in the 20th century, a car representing that period pulled up. Drivers, dressed in appropriate clothing for the era, hopped out and greeted the crowd as the singers talked briefly about the car and the decade. Seeing the classic cars was a lot of fun. (Someday when I have money to burn I'll hunt down a 1938 Packard--for me, it's the quintessential classic car.) After the parade, the choir loaded up into this huge Christmas tree and started singing carols.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Sheridan's Birthday

Sheridan celebrated her ninth birthday at the Imagination Station at Willowbrook. She had a number of friends gathered around her and they had fun painting and eating pizza. Here are some pictures for you:

Friday, December 10, 2004

Exam Week: Fall 2004

Why haven't I been posting? It's finals week! In law school you don't usually get any graded homework and there's no midterm. You get one exam and one grade. Up until the last day, no one has any idea how they'll come out. I'm not sure if there's any real justification for this model other than the professors are lazy.

Tomorrow is my Constitutional Law exam and I'll be done, so it's almost all over but the cryin'. One student literally screamed after he walked out of the tax exam--a cry of frustration and anguish sort of like that one scene in Real Genius. Everyone heard him but no one was really alarmed. There were a few wry smiles from people who felt the same. The Federal Income Tax exam was a brain-numbing series of 12 questions (some had as many as three sub-parts) covering everything from like-kind property exchanges, bond premiums and original issue discount, and a few what-if policy questions. He told us to write a page or two per question, but the only way anyone could have done that is if he had the tax code memorized. I had only about 3-4 lines for some answers (less for the bond question) and I don't expect to do well.

Last weekend I wrote my take-home exam for Professional Responsibility. That one wasn't so bad. I was a bit annoyed that out of the $175 worth of books we were required to buy for the class, all we ended up really needing was about 20 pages we could have printed off the internet for free. I think if I was a law professor I'd be more conscientious about the reading list!