Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NC State Fair 2007

This posting is a bit delayed because I had intended to add pictures of my wonderful experience at the fair but my camera and computer and me, as the third-party instigator, got into a fight and I lost the pictures. I have just now gotten over it and forgiven technology for losing my pictures.

Jericho had never been to the NC State Fair (!!) so I took a half day off of work and went on military appreciation day (because we got free admission thanks to Jericho's National Guard status). We, thankfully, didn't ride any rides but toured around all the exhibits and looked at all the freaky people. (Do they dress like that normally or does it all just come out for the fair???) Oh, and let's not forget the food! I had forgotten how food-focused the fair is. I ate the following artery-clogging items: Nathan's hotdog, NC State ice cream, Methodist church's famous ham biscuit, and a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yes, that's correct my friends, a deep-fried PB&J... doesn't get much better than that. Although hot peanut butter seems even stickier than normal. It was a tossup between the most yummy and most disgusting thing I've ever eaten.

Overall it was a fun trip. I was glad I got to take Jericho on his inaugural State Fair experience! This post would be sooo much better if I had actual pictures from my trip. Boo on that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kelley vs Halloween

Many of you that know me well are familiar with my aversion to Halloween. I didn't much like it as a kid, mainly b/c I was too self-conscious to draw attention to myself by wearing a costume. Now, as an adult, my main dislike is that it seems to be the only holiday that carries a negative connotation. Ever hear of a horror-movie-Valentine's Day-marathon? Haunted houses don't scare me, candy makes my tummy hurt, and I still look awkward in a costume.

But this year I finally realized that Fall is my favorite season. And with that, comes Halloween. I am therefore going to embark on a reconciliation with the Halloween holiday. I intend to find all the fun, good, happy things and make those my references and not the stupid media and it's demonic celebrations.

My first task is one that I wish to share with everyone. (This will come as no shock to my parents that I remember this). When I was in elementary school, Mrs. Benton, our music teacher, played us the same classical music piece every Halloween. I still remember very clearly having her turn out all the lights while we layed on the music room floor and she would explain to us exactly what was happening in the story that the music was telling. But of course, I couldn't remember the name of the song. I could still hear the music in my head so I figured I could eventually find it on the internet. And I did! This has remained one of my favorite Halloween memories to this day.

So this dear friends is the Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) by Camille Saint-Saens. It is based on a poem on a French superstition about Halloween.

Zig, zig, zig, Death in a cadence,
Striking with his heel a tomb,
Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,
Zig, zig, zig, on his violin.
The winter wind blows and the night is dark;
Moans are heard in the linden trees.
Through the gloom, white skeletons pass,
Running and leaping in their shrouds.
Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking,
The bones of the dancers are heard to crack—
But hist! of a sudden they quit the round,
They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.

According to the ancient superstition, "Death" appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death has the power to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle (represented by a solo violin with its E-string tuned to an E-flat in an example of scordatura tuning). His skeletons dance for him until the first break of dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


My parents don't have a blog yet so I decided I'd post this update. They now have a new addition to the family. Welcome new kitty! A name has not yet been decided so we welcome any suggestions. We're pretty sure it's a "she" but we might need to wait until confirmation from the vet before settling on a name. She is all white with three little black smudges on her forehead. She's sooo sweet and likes to hide behind and underneath stuff. I think my parents will have fun taking care of another youngin in the house. We're not sure yet how their older cat will respond to her. He's old and lazy now so he probably won't care.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Political Analysis 101

Many of us are familiar with the terms "armchair quarterback" or "backseat driver". I would like to introduce a new breed of psuedo-participatory individual. I call it the Paraphernalia Politician.

The other day I passed an SUV with the bumper sticker: "Support our troops. End the war." My first thought was... Isn't that kind of the purpose of a "troop", to end a war? I'm no militarist but I kind of assumed the ultimate goal of fighting a war is to eventually end it, some may refer to it as, "winning."

This wonderful catchphrase is actually a website run by Johnny Edwards. I find this fun: "As patriots, we call on our government to support our troops in the most important way it can - by ending this war and bringing them home." THE most important way? Very thought provoking... something about tail and legs comes to mind...

I agree that war is a terrible thing to have to live through and that bringing all of our troops home would be a wonderful thing for this country. But if we didn't need it, we wouldn't have troops in the first place. I agree with this so-called patriotic view, but disagree that wanting to bring the troops home is "supporting" them. It sounds more the antithesis of support.

Lets look at our friend the armchair quarterback: How often does he, in his vocal sparrings with the TV, say something like "I don't care if you look like a total fool!! Walk off the field right now! Think of your health! Think of your family back home! Think of yourself and not the team! Just quit the game! It doesn't matter the outcome or the consequences! Just leave!"

Anyway, the point of my rantings is that I wanted to roll down my window and ask this guy: Really, homeboy, what are YOU doing to support our troops? More importantly, what are YOU doing to end the war? Did the $2.95 plus tax and shipping go towards the End the War Piggie Bank? Or, given that it's part of a campaign, go directly into Johnny's pocket? I guess if he's elected and he ends the war (b/c politicians by nature fulfill all gaurantees) then you can pat yourself on the back for spending that $2.95 to bring our troops home. Then all is right in Who-ville again. And if Johnny doesn't get elected, at least you know you may have supported a great hair cut...

I have a few political passions. I have some opinions and view points, like most people. I have also slapped campaign stickers on my car during the elections. We are all victim to being Paraphernalia Politicians every now and then. It's our nature to feel that because we have an opinion, we therefore have the need to express it in any way possible. I, myself, have a t-shirt that expresses a subject matter that I am very passionate about. And I have gotten questions and remarks so I guess the paraphernalia does serve it's purpose is some ways. So let the bumper sticker reflect, I, Kelley Smith, know how to solve the problems of this country and it's a good thing I have this sticker or else nothing good would ever come to this world.

The only thing that I feel comfortable displaying is this: I support carbs. I truly do. I hereby pledge with this car magnet to side with any candidate who promises me more carbs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Diagnosis: Routine

One of my favorite projects I did in college was an analysis on the daily routine of Napoleon Bonaparte. Very fascinating man. Very misunderstood. I'd like to think that my daily routine is a glimpse into my genius. Who knows, you may see such writing in my memiors...
For the most part, every day is very predictable. I get up at the same time every morning... or rather my alarm clocks (yes plural) begin chiming and slapping me in the face at about 6:30. 6:30 does not welcome me out of bed but rather merely begins the prioritizing thought process of "what part of my self-beautification process can be sacrificed today?" "Can I get away with wearing my hair up again?"(+25 min sleep time) "If I wear pants I don't have to shave my legs" (+10 min sleep time). You see how this can become quite a lengthy process which inevitably ends up with me getting out of bed somewhere around 7:30 and about 15 minutes late to work. It's ok. I'm salary. I don't take smoke breaks so that's my retribution.
Once I'm at work, again the routine begins. I bring my yogurt and string cheese to my desk and check emails (personal and work) and any voicemails. I create a checklist of the things I want to do that day and finally start on the projects for the day by about 10:00am. Sometimes clients come in. Sometimes we have adoptions. Those are the exciting days. Or the days when we get calls from the hospital about a last minute mommy that didn't quite understand the weight of the decisions she made 9 months prior to this wonderful day in the hospital. "WTH! I'm having a baby?"
I break for lunch routinely at about 12:30. Although it should probably start at 12:00 every day b/c that's when I technically stop doing work. Also the same situation from 5:00-5:30. Who wants to abandon mid-project? I usually use that time to organize my work inbox and create outlines of every possible conversation I had that day with anything related to a client/work. Attorneys keep track of everything. We are required to bill our time by the tenths of the hour. I keep relatively good track of what I spend my time doing (except when it's nonwork related, that is). I wonder if anyone ever reads my time? Maybe my next project should be to see if anyone ever catches on that I've been logging my bathroom time.... (10-100, .1 hour)
The busiest parts of my daily routine are usually around 2:45 and 3:45. The courthouse run is at 3:00 so anything I needed filed that day must be ready by then. And the mail gets taken down at 4:15 so anything I need mailed must be ready by that time as well. These times sometimes sneak up on me in a waive of "oh crap, I need to copy this, get that signed, print this, draft this, serve this..." Anything that gets missed just gets added to tomorrow's to do list...
As previously mentioned, my day slows down at about 4:45/5:00. I would hate to be so busy that I miss the clock hitting 5:30. Jill, our receptionist, routinely calls me at 5:30 to see if I'm leaving on time and we walk out to the parking deck together.
Now there are variables in my days. We hit a busy season, much like accountants. But ours often coincides with the Holidays, Valentine's Day, hurricanes, ice storms.... plus nine months. You get the idea. The next month is looking to be quite busy so that may make for some interesting days of tracking down men throughout the state/country who may or may not have knowingly sired a child in North Carolina.
And that is my routine. There are other routines to follow once I get home as well. As of late, I have started to feel like Tom Hanks in Joe versus the Volcano before he learns he has the "brain tumor". If you haven't seen it, go rent it, great movie with a low budget since Meg Ryan plays three different characters. My recent remedy is quite simple but has done wonders to break the monotony of routine. Most of my day is very quiet. Emails make no noise. People dont talk in the elevators. We spend most of our time devoted to our desks and computers which obviously never talk back. As soon as I get in my car in the morning and in the evening, I crank my stereo up as loud as I can tolerate. I instantly feel as though cold water has been thrown on my face. I am in control in my own little Mirage world. I rejoice in the guitar riffs and embrace the drums as they transport me out of ho-hum world and on to rock steady. The moral of the story kids, is that no matter what genre you choose, never underestimate the power of really really loud music. I only wish I had a better sound system in my car...

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