Tuesday, April 25, 2006

New reading material

For no reason I can fathom, I started reading Francis Schaeffer's "Back to Freedom and Dignity" again. Finished it, actually, a couple of times (it's a small pamphlet - maybe 30 pages, tops).

The weird part is, after I finished it, I felt like something in my soul just "woke up." If you've ever almost killed a plant by neglect, and then you decide to water it (just in case), you know how some plants can revive almost visibly when they get that water: that transformation from an almost lifeless, shrivelled, dry twig to lush greenery (captured and displayed in time-lapse photography!) is what it felt like.

Of course, there may be a bit more to it than that - I got an idea for a novel as a result, and the combination of the ideas presented in the booklet and the possibility of a prospective research/writing project was probably the juice that got my motor going again.

The other side of the experience was the realization that as much as I love to read and love to discuss what I read with other people, I am nowhere nearly as widely or deeply read as I wish I were, and the only person I have to thank for that is myself.

So, I am going to start a reading list - not of what I am reading, but of what I would like to read (or think I should read), in addition to those things I read "just for the halibut."

It's almost like my body and my mind are finally on the same page: both flabby and both tired of it. We'll see how long this lasts...... :)

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I know it's no longer New Year's - it is, in fact, almost 5 months past New Year's. I'm still in the mood for resolutions, and I've narrowed it to the following:

1. Lose the 40 pounds I've put on in the past 2 years by:

a. Getting more and more regular exercise (including renewing my running program, going to the gym, and taking time to stretch)
b. Eating healthier things - snacks are going to have to be part of the program, but I will buy healthier options than Pop-Tarts and chocolate chips.
c. Getting more and more regular sleep - falling asleep on the couch at 1:00 a.m. after watching yet another couple of "Sex and the City" re-runs on UPN does not cut it.

2. Simplify and organize my living space

3. Make time in my schedule to spend time with family and friends - they are too important to me to just give them the leftovers.

4. Make and keep the commitment to regularly attend church.

That's it. I have to say that I really appreciate the new friends I've met online through their blogs, and I totally enjoy rummaging around online, but I have to make time for other things in my life to avoid turning into that 800-pound single woman who has to be lifted out of her house with a crane.

To a certain extent, this came about because I thought about going back to school for a Ph.D. The fact that it would take 12 semesters at 9 credit hours each, plus a year to defend the doctoral dissertation I would have to figure out how and about what to write, led me to the conclusion that at this point in my life, that wasn't a great idea, but it also prompted me to look at my schedule (as I was trying to figure out when I would have time for this).

I realized that the only person forcing me to spend so much time alone was me. Yes, I work long hours, and I go home to my dog and the TV, but I can make other choices that will get me out of the house (even with the dog) and involved in other people's lives, too.

It's harder to socialize when you're single, unless you like going to bars or you have the time and money to go to other places (most of which don't allow pets) to meet other people. I realized that as I thought about ways I could improve my practice - getting new clients, strengthening relationships with existing clients, etec.

The skills one uses to build client relationships are socialization and social skills - skills I've let get rusty because I really hate moving out of my comfort zone. I realized that even though I don't know and have never met any of the characters in the various TV shows I watch (which lately hasn't been that many, but that's beside the point), I stick to those habits because they are familiar.

I know Carrie's sense of humor, I cringe when Ray Barrone and his wife jab at each other, I silently encourage the guys on CSI (any city) or NCIS to get bad guys - it's all familiar and comforting in its reliability. As long as I hold the remote, those characters are going to be there as scheduled. None of them will make unrealistic demands, and none of them will leave (unless the station messes with the schedule).

It's just not enough - it was fun for a time, as I got somewhat settled into a new environment, and adjusted to different responsibilities, but I think I'm ready to move on. Hence the resolutions!

If you've made any mid-year resolutions yourself, tell me about them. Maybe we can encourage each other in our respective pursuits and go from there!! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

6 Things Meme

6 weird facts/things/habits about myself:

1. I sometimes start lists and don't finish them because I get bogged down in the subdivisions between items.
a. This includes projects
2. When I buy ice cream, I buy it in the smallest possible packages because once it's open, it's gone.
3. I don't make my bed.
4. I occasionally cut my own hair instead of going to the hairdresser because I decide I hate it at times when the beauty shops are closed.
5. I have cataract lens implants in both eyes (and I'm not over the age of 65).
6. When I was a kid, I wanted to be on Merv Griffen.

As for tagging 6 more people, I'm not sure I even know 6 people (who haven't already been tagged), so I will leave it up for volunteers. If you do, I would like to read about your 6 things, too. Enjoy!

(One of these days, I'm going to look up the definition of "meme" and memorize it!)

Recipe for Change

As you know, Alcoholics Anonymous has a wonderful program to assist anyone who wants to recover from alcohol addiction. The program has been modified appropriately to treat other addictions such as drugs, food and sex.

It dawned on me this morning as I shut the alarm clock off for the eleventy-first time that I need is a workaholics anonymous program, but the difficulty is that I can't just go waltzing in to the office and say "I'm going to have to restrict my working hours because I just can't keep this up."

A) First, they would laugh in my face, and then B) they would then point to the total number of hours they all work and remind me that I'm getting paid to work those same hours. Finally, C) they would tell me that I have a choice whether to work there or not, but if I choose to do so, I need to work the hours they tell me to work. [Except for the hours I work part, this is all true - I actually did relax a little over the last couple of weeks, but it was because I was ill].

The alternative to committing career suicide came to me this morning: I need to set some boundaries, and take care of my own needs so that I can give the 110% I need to give during work. As I thought about that prospect (lovely though it might be in principle), I realized that I had no earthly idea what that meant.

Doing everything you want is not paradise - really. It sounds good when you're 10 or so, and you want to do so many things that you are just not allowed to do (for a number of really good reasons you don't understand until you're older). The trouble is, I really have a life in which I can do pretty much anything I want, and I don't like it.

I remember reading somewhere that we are defined by the promises we make and keep - to ourselves and to others - and I think that it is better to be an active part of a larger whole than to be totally independent and autonomous. If the only promises we keep are those we make to ourselves (and let's be honest: most of those are abandoned by consent after we talk ourselves out of keeping them - who hasn't promised to eat better only to succumb to a REALLY lovely pastry "just this once"?), we lose the benefit of making and keeping promises to other people such that we become interdependent (not co-dependent) with the result that we lead richer and fuller lives.

The thing is, it's great to say "OK, I want to do this" and make the decision, but it requires the cooperation of others to accomplish it. What happens if you don't make friends easily? What happens if you just don't find people with whom you have enough in common to build those bridges? What happens if you've never had time to just listen to the little inner voice telling you what you really enjoy, as opposed to just joining things and staying so busy that leisure becomes as binding as work?

The recipe for change is going to have to start with basics: getting enough sleep, getting proper nutrition, and getting enough exercise. Those three things have to form the foundation for any real change - right? If you start with the premise that 8 hours is the guideline, everything else has to occur in the remaining 16 hours, including those pre-sleeping and post-waking moments that allow you to transition from sleep to wakefulness and back. Let's say, 9 hours total (including a half hour on either end for prep time). That leaves 15 hours.

Out of those remaining 15 hours per day, I have to take care of my dog (feeding, watering and taking outside to be good puppy), clean my teeth, maintain a reasonable grooming regimen (which currently consists of bare necessity to get out the door without being too scruffy - VERY bad!!), eat a nutritious meal, dress and go to work. That's the morning routine, and on a good day, it takes about an hour; on a bad day, it takes an hour and a half, so I should have to be up by 6:00 a.m. to be at work by 8:00 (because of transition time, traffic and getting a coffee & checking email when I arrive at work).

Backing up 8.5 hours from that means I have to be on my way to bed by no later than 9:30 p.m., which can allow the transition time for brushing teeth and letting the dog outside. The point is to get into a routine so that I can get to sleep - not that I sleep the minute my head hits the pillow.

That's insane, though. I didn't get home from work last night until after 8:00 p.m., and my normal arrival time is between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. When I get home, I have to take the dog outside, I have to fix something for dinner, and I haven't even discussed exercise. When do people do these things?

It's a recipe worth working out, though, and I'm committed (or I will be if this doesn't work out).

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

I spent Saturday digging in the dirt and planting. Yes, it's a bit early, but I wanted something to replace the beautiful bed of weeds I was growing next to my porch.

Considering that I have a black thumb (i.e., usually, whatever I plant dies), gardening involves a significant amount of hope. I try to plant hardy things - stuff that generally won't die of neglect - but sometimes I try new stuff just because I want things that look planned and pretty.

This weekend, I planted peonies and snapdragons. This will be my first time planting peonies, and I usually don't like them because of those little tiny ants you always see on the flowers, but I've heard from 2 reliable sources that those little ants are necessary to help the flowers open all the way. As long as they don't decide they'd rather live indoors, they can stay.

The snapdragons were just an impulse purchase - I've never grown them before, and I don't know why I decided on them this spring (other than that they were the only flowers available that looked like flowers instead of weeds), but I found yellow and red/pink ones.

Yesterday, I bought pansies, which are my favorites, and I also saw some impatiens (which I am going to wait on - it still seems a bit too cold here for impatiens). I have one area that I'm still deciding what to do with, since a) it's right in front of one of those basement egress windows and b) it currently has a mixture of weeds, hyacinths and hostas (which I also dislike - they're just leafy plants that take over everything!!).

My inclination is to cover everything over with newspaper, hay and bricks until the whole area is dead, and then put new topsoil (Miracle Gro Organic is my first preference), and plant annuals, and then put one of those cedar-y looking tall bushes (grows up to about 4 feet tall - can't think of the name) over to one side so that there is a "framing", if you will, of the "landscaped area."

My other option is to just put herbacide on everything and then cover it with rocks. I'm not sure which would be preferable, but I don't want any excessive vegetation blocking the fire exit from the basement egress window. Plus, if I plant things over there, I have to weed, water and otherwise keep up with whatever I plant....

Decisions, decisions, decisions....

I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Favorite TV Ads

I have a confession to make:

I am starting to really like that new Subway ad with Jon Lovetts doing a much more G-rated version of his old SNL gig. The latest one I've seen is the one where a guy and a girl are at their desks working, and the guy is mentally rehearsing how he's going to invite the girl out on a date. Enter guy #2 who just brings her a sandwich, whereupon she thanks him profusely, grabs his tie and kisses him. Jon Lovetts says "The blonde boy's a LOSER!" in that fake-British accent he used (so it sounds like "LU-zah"), and it's just ... funny. I like this ad SO much better than the Jared ads!

Unfortunately, I have not seen my previous favorite (discussed in an earlier post), which was for some cell phone company offering a deal on this newer, slimmer Razr model (why is it that slimmer is presumed to be better, even with a phone?). That's the one that ended with the line: "Because it's LAAAAMMMMMEEEEE!!!"

I also kind of like the Dove ads - showing real women and making them look good without making them look like someone else to do it is a good thing in concept. I found myself fuming, though, whenever I saw one of their ads and it finally dawned on me that I was not fuming at the ads or the company, but that it took so flippin' long for an advertiser to recognize and implement the concept!! Hats off to Dove!!

I haven't been watching a lot of TV lately, however, because I've been trying to read more. I finished as many Quilter books (Jennifer Chiaverini) as I could get ahold of, and then I ran out of good new material. I picked up three by the same author on my last trip to the library, plus another one or two that looked interesting. I finished one of them already, and it wasn't that good, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

Monday, April 10, 2006

How soon we forget......

In light of current media discussions regarding what (if anything) to do with illegal immigrants, and general handling of matters foreign and domestic by the current administration, I was reminded of the perfect joke that I finally found (at least one version of it):

Jimmy Carter is near the end of his presidency, sitting in the Oval Office when the ghost of Theodore Roosevelt appears.

"What's wrong," says Roosevelt, "you look gloomy."

"Well, I haven't had a very good four years. The economy is in shambles, and the Soviets are making advancements around the world. Now they're in Afghanistan too."

Roosevelt replies assuredly, "Russians in Afghanistan? What did you do? Did you send the Marines?"

"No" replied Carter, "but we did voice a very strong protest at the United Nations. And did I tell you, the Iranians are holding 53 American hostages."

"Oh no," Roosevelt replied. "In this case I'm sure you sent in the Marines... and the Navy, Army and Air Force."

Carter replies: "No, but we did voice a very strong protest at the United Nations."

Roosevelt is fuming at this point at the lack of Carter's backbone. Roosevelt quips back: "Isn't that great, I suppose you gave away the Panama Canal too!"

Carter: Well.......

Friday, April 7, 2006

When Geeks Compete

My sister is a math geek - admittedly. Honestly, I am quite proud of her. She went through ROTC in college, got her commission into the Army, went to the Gulf War in the early 90s, went to Cuba to deal with whatever was going on there at the time, and has since been all over the world, in addition to getting a master's degree in mathematics at Georgia Tech. The only down side to all of this is that she thinks her big sister is ... not unintelligent, but not capable of understanding anything she does. I think it's a math/engineering thing, really, but it's resulted in a revival of our sibling rivalry.

She sent me this email (not original - I don't know who authored it, but I'd seen it before - and she didn't claim authorship only sufficient appreciation for it to recognize the humor and pass it along). The funny thing was, I think she thought I wouldn't get it:

New element discovered. The new element has been named *Governmentium*. Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected,because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction which would normally take less than a second to take over four days to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium - an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Being a genetic smart-ass myself (and having a whopping insecurity complex of my own to deal with), I wrote back:

That sounds an awful lot like Bureaucratium (Bu), although I don't believe the atomic mass has been identified yet. The number of neutrons necessary to maintain stasis varies so much, we may never know. However, it, too, is held together by morons surrounded by vast quantities of peons, and is also inert. Similarly, it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact, albeit not to the same degree as Gv.

Bu is much more dependent for its existence on money; in fact, without money, the neurons split with cataclysmic force, the morons follow whichever neuron had the most access to begin with, and the peons evaporate.The big problem with Bureaucratium is that its half-life is unstable. It goes through cyclical periods of decay and regeneration, while maintaining the same basic particles as long as money is added. Generally, the morons tend to remain, while the peons are used up and evaporate.

The moron retention characteristic of Bureaucratium does not, in most cases, result in development into Governmentium, unless there is sufficient contact with Governmentium that the central neurons attract sufficient morons and peons to split and form their own individual units centering around a single neuron. Bureaucratium tends to become weighty with morons as money is added, but its tendency is to exhaust the existing peon supply before replenishing with only enough peons to keep the morons from collapsing under their own weight. If the influx of money cannot support the number of neurons per unit of Bu, it divides and forms another unit of multiple neurons.

She got it but had to say, "We think that these elements have something to do with string theory." I wrote back "open or closed?" I haven't heard anything since.

Yes, it would be nice if we could actually share and bond like normal sisters. (Sigh). Until we both grow up a bit more, I don't think it's going to happen.

Thursday, April 6, 2006


I talked yesterday about how things matter to me, and that it's important to make sure that my feelings and opinions don't get lost. [At least, that was the point - admittedly, it might have gotten lost in the general wallowing].

It also matters how I look at things. It matters what I conclude from what I observe around me. It matters not only to me but to those around me, because I have an impact on other people. However, what if my perspective is skewed or warped? Where is the reality check?

I ask those questions because without balance, the whole thing falls apart. My perspective is important, but it is not the only factor in assessing and acting on what goes on around me. Where I've been most confused and aggravated lately is where I've based my actions on my perspective without the "reality check" provided by time, hormone adjustments, input from someone else, etc. It's easy to react without taking other information into account - the average 3-year-old does that regularly. Maturity requires not reacting on the basis of just my own perspective but also taking into account other people's needs.

What happens if the two (or more) perspectives are mutually exclusive?

I'm still working through some of that, in part because I was taught that self-sacrifice was "the way to go" when it came to interpersonal issues. The other thing that persists, though, is the perception that if someone else points something out, they probably have a reason, and that reason should be considered as valid until proven otherwise.

As a result, I'm not good at just blowing off stuff that shouldn't bother me - things stick, sit under the surface and fester a bit until I get rid of it. Sometimes that process is fairly quick and painless; other times, it's long and drawn-out and wicked horrible. Where it gets really annoying is when the person is someone I know and (to a point) trust as an objective voice, but for whatever reason, I either think they're way off base, or I know they're operating from their own perspective, and (here's the part that bugs me) THEY DON'T CARE WHAT MY OPINION OR PERSPECTIVE IS because it doesn't matter in the overall outcome.

I suspect the next several days will be consumed with "anger issues." Hopefully, those won't find their way here, since it's been a somewhat dismal couple of weeks.....

On a lighter note, I just finished reading a really great book from another Irish writer. My usual favorite is Maeve Binchy, although I've read almost all of her books by this point and so haven't picked up anything of hers in a while. This one is by Sharon Owens, and it is called "The Tavern on Maple Street." Very easy to read, good character development, and a way with a story. Perfect escapist fiction! :)

I started another one this afternoon - it's set in Alaska in 1915 or so. I'll let you know how it goes.

Fractured lyrics

Singing songs is fun. Singing songs when someone else mixes up the lyrics can be even more fun - even if you're the one who doesn't know the words! :) There are a couple that come to mind when I think of fractured lyrics:

"Jose, can you see...", instead of "Oh say can you see..." (Star Spangled Banner)

"Through the night with the light from a bulb", instead of "Through the night with the light from above." (God Bless America)

My most recent was from a Dan Fogelberg song "Part of the Plan" - in trying to be encouraging, I only a) missed the opportunity to be truly encouraging, and b) mis-quoted the lyrics to the song!

While I hope my efforts accomplished their ultimate purpose, here are the real lyrics (with apologies to the Dan):

Love when you can
Cry when you have to
Be who you must
that's a part of the plan
Await your arrival with simple survival
and one day we'll all understand.

Had I gotten it right, I would have realized first of all that the real encouragement in the song is in the first verse, not so much in the chorus:

I have these moments all steady and strong
I'm feeling so holy and humble
The next thing I know I'm all worried and weak
and I feel myself starting to crumble
The meanings get lost and the teachings get tossed
and you don't know what you're going to do next
You wait for the sun but it never quite comes
Some kind of message comes through to you
Some kind of message comes through....

Anyway, the weird part is, he's right:

Your conscience awakes and you see your mistakes
and you wish someone would buy your confession
The days miss their mark and the nights get so dark
And some kind of message comes through to you
Some kind of message shoots through
And it says to you

Love when you can
Cry when you have to
Be who you must
that's a part of the plan
Await your arrival with simple survival
and one day we'll all understand.

Of course, he blows it at the end, but to that point, it's a pretty good song. Exegesis of popular music was not my strong suit, raised as I was on gospel quartets, the Carpenters, Pat Boone and folkies, but I know a good lyric when I misquote it! :)

To my friend, hope you feel better soon. Really.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Sometimes, it SHOULD be about you

I don't know who coined the phrase "it's not always about you," but it seems that the least expression of any emotion from remotely personal perspective draws the exasperated question, "why does everything always have to be about you?"

While I agree that a totally self-involved perspective with no appreciation for anyone else's feelings is deplorable, what exactly is wrong with taking one's own emotions into account when addressing an experience or situation? Acknowledging what's going on inside your own soul and mind when something comes up and, indeed, broaching the subject once in a while with your friends seems to be how people become friends to start with.

That's all I'm saying - sometimes, it's OK if it's about you. Not to spoil someone else's joy or intrude on someone else's sorrow, but to express your own. To be part of the same group that laughs and cries and shares in each other's lives. There is so much focus on babies and weddings, but there isn't the same attention to a single woman who buys her own house, for example. Actually, let's face it: that's pretty much it, isn't it. If you're a single woman with no children, about the only milestones you have are birthdays ending in "0" and buying your first house.

What brought this up, as you might have suspected, is that I noticed a colleague who is looking a little, shall we say, "bumpish" in the abdominal area this morning. First thought in my head, I swear, was "is she pregnant?" Second thought was "NOT ANOTHER ONE!!" Assuming I could be deemed to be acting appropriately by even raising the question with someone who knows her better (which I wouldn't because if she's just put on a little winter weight, it would be a terribly rude thing to ask), if the answer is "yes," the follow-up will be "...and we're planning a shower for her. Do you want to come?" I can't take it anymore.

I don't want to be a downer on someone else's parade. Babies and children are such blessings, and I am honestly happy for people who have them. It's just that I wanted babies, too. I wanted a wedding with bridesmaids in ugly dresses (OK, maybe just my sister) and a multi-tiered cake and a honeymoon with all of the trials and adventures that went along with the whole circus.

I wanted a little boy with blonde hair and green eyes who would look like his daddy and who would grow up getting into everything and playing with trucks and trains and who would blow up my kitchen with some experiment or another. (I'm sorry - I really didn't want girls; having raised my brothers when they were younger and already kind of knowing what to do, I would just rather have had boys).

It's a day-to-day thing lately - don't look at the happy mothers with babies, don't look at the soccer moms with pre-teen kids dressed for whatever activity is on the agenda that day, don't look at the prom ads or graduation reminders of children growing to adulthood. Remind yourself daily of the difficulties of raising children, and think about the colleague who had to deal with a toddler with stomach flu and change the sheets at 3:00 a.m. before dragging herself into work the next morning with no sleep. Don't think about how great it would be to have a husband and a family. Not today.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

A bit of history

With all of the babies being born around me (for which I take absolutely no credit*), I thought it might be a valuable tip for those parents to point out an author that I just recently located - again.

Susan Wise Bauer, a former classmate at Liberty University, has written "The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child" (a three-volume set) for use in homeschooling children. While I have not read the books, there is a reasonable treatment of them on Amazon.com. As with anything, investigate, draw your own conclusions, and make choices that will suit you, but I intend to locate and at least read "The Well-Trained Mind" (written for adults) in support of an old friend. She has another book coming out in 2007 which I will watch for as well.

It's wonderful to read about old college friends and to learn that they are doing well in their fields. I've toyed with the idea of reaching out to former classmates, and in fact have actually made contact with a couple, albeit with mixed results. However, that's something probably best left for another day (and possibly professional analysis!). Otherwise, I would just be engaged in more grousing and complaining, of which I do enough as it is.

[*The point of this is simply that it's amazing that - as a single, never-married mother of a cocker spaniel - I seem to be around a veritable breeding ground for babies. Since I started working in my current job, there have been 6 births (one of which involved twins), and there are now 2 pregnancies both due at around the same time (again, one of which involves twins). 8 babies in less than 3 years is a lot of baby showers! Plus, my youngest brother and his wife had a baby girl at the end of October 2005, so that's 1 baby about every 4 months. On one hand, it's cool to be so close to the miracle of birth. On the other hand, it's a regular reminder that I don't have children, don't have a husband, and at my current age, am not likely to have either. I actually boycotted a baby shower this last weekend because I just couldn't do it. Yes, I know this makes me a horrid friend.]

Saturday, April 1, 2006

New books

I've gotten back into reading since my double cataract surgery last year. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to read as much because of the implants, even though they have eliminated my previously lifelong need for glasses and contacts for just about everything. I've found that reading glasses, while a bit of an annoyance, have made a huge difference, and I can not only read stuff I need to read for work, I don't have to rely on large-print books for pleasure reading.

I stumbled onto Jennifer Chiaverini's "Elm Creek Quilters" series a few weeks ago, and I'm hooked. I love the stories about each of the individual quilters, and I've fallen in love with the house itself. Escapist? Yes, but no more so than the incessant reruns of "Everybody [Hates] Raymond" I was watching before. I'm so thankful that my condo is less than a mile away from the library! It would be even nicer if they allowed dogs, because then I could take my puppy boy on treks to the library and back (which would be good for both of us).

Borders bookstore in Ann Arbor allows dogs. Really. They took over the former Jacobson's store space and have a two-level store that is phenomenal in its breadth and depth. Music, gift items, catalogs and the now-requisite coffee bar take up some of the space, but they still have the best book selection I've ever seen, and they've been around forever. But they allow people to bring their dogs into the store, which is awesome. The dogs I saw in the store were not running wild or barking and slobbering over anyone or anything they passed; for the most part, they just sat on the floor next to their humans and waited. It was very cool.

If I ever had the money to leave the practice of law, I would open a bookstore just like that (only smaller).