Monday, April 15, 2013

Let's Talk About Six, Baby

From Sixty to Six Months:  I've been slacking on my duties as aunt to the most adorable little boy, so I thought it was appropriate that Atticus Roy Murdoch make his debut on his 6 month birthday.  When Atticus was born, Bradley cried because we didn't get to bring him home from the hospital with us!  But he loves his cousin, and can now dance and make Atticus laugh.  This little chunky monkey is 20 pounds, wearing 9 month clothes, making spitting noises, rolling over, and eating solid food that my Martha-Stewart-of-a-sister is pureeing herself.

So, it is my dutiful job as Atticus' aunt (I am already predicting with a name that ends with an 'S' that this kid is going to be a conscientious user of the apostrophe and teach all his peers its proper use)- I bring you 6 months' worth of gratuitous photos:
October 15, 2012
New Parents
Turkey Butt
Christmas Day - 2 months old
Fancy New Years Party Outfit
Tebowing at 3 months
Fist pumping in his sleep
Grandma & Papa with Little A and Little B
Best initials ever:  ARM!
Walking really tuckered him out.. and by walking, I mean riding in a stroller!
Almost 4 months old
Easter 2013 - 5 months
Ready for Baseball Season
He belly laughs at his daddy, likes to be bounced, has no teeth yet, and we are all rapt with attention whenever he is around.  Thankfully, Laura and George live close by, so I get to see my nephew about every other week.  He is the closest thing Bradley has to a sibling, and so likewise, he adores him.  Time has flown, Little nephew, and I look forward to spoiling you rotten, and Bradley looks forward to being both a bad influence and best playmate with you.
I am 6 months old!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Susan is Sixty

Happy birthday to my amazing mother, who is 60 years young today.  She is a remarkable woman of many attributes, many of which I take after.  Most notably, one of her nicknames is Little General (my Grandma Huber was famously known as The General) and I have been, on more than one occasion been dubbed the Little Little General, a title which I wear proudly.  Otherwise, nothing would ever get done!
Smart Susi:  Mom always points out how smart she was for pointing to the camera man
Small Susi
Awesome bangs on Sophomore-in-high-school Susi
Saved by the Susi:  the College Years
 Some more S words to describe my mom:
Stubborn, Self-sacrificing, sarcastic, sassy, sleepy, sedentary, strong, secretarial, sea hag, senile, short, seriously gullible (the Little Haubstadt Bakery, mom?  Really?), sociable, spotted, sour-loving, superhuman, supportive, scholarly, seamstress, sports fan, selfless.

She's also an amazing cook, and it's too late at night for me to come up with a synonym that starts with S.

Happy birthday, Mama B!  Love you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Little Law School Lesson #1

Last night I learned something about the definition for first degree murder that I thought I would share with you all.  I've been mis-reading, or rather mis-interpreting, the definition for first degree (i.e. premeditated) murder for years.  I guess I'd never seen the legal definition spelled out in print before and always just heard the legal analysts referring to it during the hubbub surrounding a high profile murder case, so here it is.  I always thought it was "the killing of another with malice or forethought."  Turns out, it's actually "malice aforethought."  Who knew?  Ironically, what I thought the definition was saying, and what it actually says is the same thing, which works out nicely in my favor.

This has been your free piece of legal advice for the day.  Consider yourself just a teensy bit more educated than you were a few seconds ago.  And now back to studying I go!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Telling Time with Trees

Each year when my parents' Chinese Magnolia is in bloom, Bradley and I take a picture in front of it.  This year's photo was a rush job at dusk on St. Patrick's Day.  I realized suddenly that the flowers were just starting to bloom, but with my class schedule, it was likely that the flowers would be gone by my first free night on Thursday.  I'm glad we snapped these when we did because due to the finicky Tennessee weather, the cold snap killed all the blooms.
Happy St. Patty's Day!
I'm going to pick him up for this picture as long as I'm able
Something new this year
And now for a walk down memory lane...
 I love the tradition, and I love the few precious days when this tree is in bloom.  Hurry up warm weather and get here, the flowers are way ahead of you this year, and I'm tired of wearing my winter coat everyday.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Few Firsts

Bradley hit a couple of major milestones recently that I wanted to quickly stop and mention, in the middle of working on case briefs for my Torts class on a Saturday night.  Don't feel too badly for me.  Last night I got to go downtown and join the masses of Blue and see Kentucky play Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament...  On second thought, yes, feel sorry for me!

Big news number one:  Little Man is FINALLY potty trained at night, as in almost 5 years of buying diapers and pull-ups is at last OVER.  I was getting concerned and yes, admittedly frustrated, at the hassle and expense of buying pull-ups, but like many other kid milestones, there was nothing to do to speed up the process but sit back and wait for his body to make the connection on his own, and it came in its own sweet precious time.  I am thrilled!

Second piece of exciting news:  Bradley had his first-ever T-ball practice today.  It was both well-organized and chaotic at the same time.  Many dads were on the field running drills with the kids (Alligator - Skate Board- Throw it to First; get B to show you that one in person if you have the opportunity- it's adorable), meanwhile the head coach did batting practice with each kid one at a time.  Opposite of soccer, I can proudly say that Bradley was one of the better players on the field and he really seemed to get it.  And boy, does that kid have an arm!  Long term, I'm still thinking pitcher or quarterback.  So maybe t-ball will end up being a sport better suited to his abilities and interests.  As a sports fan myself, I am excited to begin the ritual of spring baseball and support my little guy on the field.  And who knows?  Maybe I will make some mommy friends of my own during this venture.

Swing! Batter Batter Swing!
When they weren't fielding a ball, they were playing in the dirt
Alright, peeps, back to the grind I go.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Briefing a Sigh of Relief

I survived my first rite of passage as a law student:  I briefed my first case.  This means I was called on in class to stand up and give a short synopsis of a case from our reading assignment.  This was in my Contracts class, and the case was Hamer v. Sidway where the issue was to determine whether or not an uncle made a gratuitous promise to his nephew, or whether a contract had been formed.  As you stand and give the facts, the professor then puts you on the spot and interrogates you, asks your opinions, and leads a discussion that other classmates can chime in.  The entire time you stand (with your butt to your classmates - a downside to sitting on the front row), and the conversation is directed towards you, so you had better know the answers!  At one point I felt a little light headed and thought, oh my gosh, I'm going to pass out right here!  I guess it was just the adrenaline.  The whole ordeal lasted maybe 10 minutes or less before we moved on to the next case and some other poor soul got called on and I could sit back down and allow my heart rate to return to normal.

This is the Socratic Method, and it's how we learn, and so it will be a frequent occurrence for me in the future. I'm just relieved to have gotten the monkey off my back, so now I can relax in at least that class at least for a while since that professor is kind enough to call on us alphabetically.  My time won't come up again for several weeks; however, in other classes I am not so fortunate, and the instructors fire at will, putting you on the spot with zero notice.  This insures you will always come to class prepared.  So far I've dodged the bullet in those other classes, but of course, it's not if I'll be asked to brief, but when, and my time for my other classes is most assuredly coming.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


In what I hope might be a recurring segment* on the DIVA Domain, I bring you the first of DIVA's spin on Dear Abbey, in hopes that practical answers to real life questions might entertain and educate our readers.  Names have been omitted to protect the not-so-innocent.

Dear DIVA,

I need to find a new lip gloss/chapstick with color that isn't sticky or drying.  Recommendations? I know you use to like the Fresh Sugar stuff.I kissed a boy the other night (yes, that's correct) and my lip gloss was extremely tacky and not pleasant. Since you're an expert in this area (yes, making out and lip gloss), I am seeking your advice. Thanks,

Sticky in Steamy Makeoutville

Dear Sticky,

Let me ponder... Yes, sticky, tacky lip glosses are no bueno when it comes to tonsil hockey.  I do really love the Fresh Sugar - there are multiple shades, and it smells fresh and lemony, and goes on creamy and smooth- however, it is NOT a gloss.  It just moisturizes your lips and gives them a soft stain of color.

If you want something glossy that isn't sticky, I like the C.O. Bigelow glosses.  I know Bath & Body Works sell them.  There are several "flavors" and again, just light sheer color, but this way you get the gloss.  I will say the tackier the gloss, the more staying power it seems to have.  These C.O. Bigelow ones don't seem to last long, so I would definitely start with a lip primer and/or lip liner and fill in your entire lips before layering the gloss to help it stay put.

The Juicy tubes by Lancome aren't that bad either as far as stickiness goes.  But if you're planning a makeout session, plan ahead and line your lips and go for a subtle lip color like the ones I mentioned above, or even Burt's Bees wax has some nice cheap tinted glosses and stains.  Point is, don't wear super glossy, sticky gloss (or red lipstick!) if you're planning to smooch right away.  You could wear these types of lip gloss at the beginning of a date and just not re-apply through the night, so that by the time dinner and a movie is over, the color has worn off enough that it won't be all over your guy.

However, if you're kissing from the moment you see him, you hussy, then he clearly doesn't need a glossy lip to draw him in, so forgo the gloss and go for the subtler stains as mentioned above.  

Yours truly,

the DIVA

*Have a question for the DIVA?  Send me your questions and your question/answer might get published.  You know where to reach me.

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Oscar Snarkiness

Yes, I have a ton of reading I should be doing for school, and hey, sleep every now and then is nice,  but what would the DivaDomain be without a snarky blog recapping the Oscars?

This year I saw several of the nominated films, including Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, Pitch Perfect (wait, that wasn't nominated?  Well it should have been) and Lincoln.  I haven't seen Argo or Flight yet, although I intend to at some point.  Here are my observations from this year's Grammys (Grammies?  What is the correct plural?  It's too late and I'm too lazy to look it up) - I mean Academy Awards.

  • I think it is ridiculous to give the Oscars a musical theme, and then not allow all of the songs nominated for Best Original Song to be performed live.  If I were Scarlet Johannsen and my nominated song wasn't being sung live but I had to suffer through yet another rendition of Jennifer Hudson belt "And I Am Telling You," I would be ticked.
  • Seth MacFarlane- no Stewy impersonations, the jokes were neither funny nor offensive, just boring.  Seems to me like he played it safe.
  • Also not funny- what was up with Paul Rudd and Melissa McCartney?  Something didn't translate well tonight because I do think they are both great comedic actors.
  • What WAS funny:  Jennifer Lawrence tripping up the stairs, Christopher Plummer's "Von Trapp Family Singers" intro, and Meryl Streep scratching her behind (she clarified and said she was stepping on her dress, but I still choose to believe she was working on a wedgie).
Poor girl!  Has this ever happened to anyone before?
  • How classy and gracious was George Clooney for not trying to get some camera time during Argo's Best Picture win?  He let Ben Affleck (and the third most-sexy producer in Hollywood) have their time to shine.
  • Ben's rambling speech-on-speed was endearing.  I supposed he had to cram in a Best Picture and Best Director speech into one since the Academy snubbed him on the latter. 
  • Charlize Theron must have one heck of a publicist- she danced and presented, but has been fairly absent in films lately.  She certainly is beautiful.  Guess this screen time was her way of reminding the directors that she's still out there looking for work!
  • Anne Hathaway is beautiful and classy and her speech, while it seemed rehearsed, still came off as sincere and poised.  
  • Barbara Streisand, while no one questions that you can still sing the pants off of most anyone, can we all agree that your long, straight, platinum blonde hair is unnatural looking on a 75 year old woman?!
  • My favorite dresses were Jennifer Anniston's, Amy Adams', and Jennifer Hudson's.

  • Kristen Stewart looked high.  And perhaps the ladies who won the Oscar for Best Hair & Makeup got a hold of her tresses before the show.
  • The 9 year old girl nominated for best actress was the epitome of not-humble when she whooped it up every time the camera caught her.  
  • I was pleased that Quentin Tarantino won for best original script for Django Unchained, and that Christoph Waltz won for Best Supporting Actor and felt both were deserving.
  • The orchestra was so loud that they drowned out the singers all evening.  It was annoying to not be able to hear or understand the vocalists while the glorious music swelled behind in front of them.
Because we needed to hear Russell Crowe sing one more time
  • Though you couldn't always hear Adele (see above comment... and with a powerful belting instrument such as hers, it is a shame she wasn't heard over the music), she looked and sounded good.  I'm choosing to ignore the pitchiness at the end of Skyfall.  You would be flat too if you were being blasted by an orchestra and trying to be heard (or pushing, just trying to hear yourself!).  Real women have curves.  It's refreshing to see a woman on stage who looks beautiful but isn't stick-thin.  Kudos to her Oscar win for best song.
  • I was disappointed that Hugh Jackman didn't win for Best Actor, but my second personal favorite nominee was Daniel Day Lewis, so I could handle the win.  Much better than Mama B anyways who threw a small Bradley-esque fit when Meryl Streep announced the winner.
  • I love an excuse to say Jean Dujardin's name! 
This is your official Critic-of-the-Movie Critics, signing off!

Monday, February 18, 2013

All I Ever Need to Know About Law School I Learned by Watching Legally Blonde

Tomorrow is the big day, and I feel confident and prepared as I head back to school after a 10 year hiatus, thanks to one Elle Woods.

  • I feel comfortable using legal jargon in everyday life
  • Come prepared to class
  • Bring laptop.  Leave the fuzzy pen and Hello Kitty notepad at home.
  • Make friends and study buddies
  • Find an older, eligible law student to date
  • Glasses make you look academic
  • Stay away from skeezy professors
  • Combine studying with sunbathing or hair appointments to multitask
  • This is going to be just like senior year... only funner!
  • When in doubt, the Bend and Snap, works every time!

Let's get this party started!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Restaurant Review: Cantina Laredo

Due to paling around with some somewhat-swanky people, I’ve had the opportunity to go to the Gulch’s most trendy Mexican hot spot a few times, Cantina Laredo.  For the non-Nashvillians, who may not even know what “the Gulch” is, it’s a trendy spot in downtown Nashville with lots of condos, restaurants, and bars. 

Here’s my short and sweet restaurant review:  This place is way over-hyped.  Their home made salsa is quite good, but their guacamole, which is what they are supposedly known for, is bland, and their food is too.  I’ve eaten there twice, and both times I was seriously underwhelmed.  The group I ate with the last time all came out complaining about how bland their entrees were, so I was glad that it wasn’t just me who felt this way.
I’m not one to be downtown at the see-and-be-seen times these days, so I’ve heard that Cantina Laredo is one of those places that trendy hipsters and downtown dwellers go, so I would guess if you stick to the chips and salsa and margaritas you might be alright, although when I went this summer, I tried one of their signature margaritas, and it was nothing special either.

So if you’re around the area looking for great Mexican food, skip Cantina Laredo.  Try Rosepepper Cantina, or TacoMamacita.  Nashvillians, help me out, what other legitimately good Mexican food is out there?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Gallery Night: Preschool Style

Last night Bradley's school held an Art Exhibit night.  All of the classes worked on various art projects to display, some modeled after famous artists' works.
4A's art inspired by Kandinsky

The artist and his work (B's is the middle one, bottom row)
The preschool was hopping on a Friday night - a far cry from his previous daycare's lame attempt at nighttime events.  These parents and kids actually showed up!  Bradley had fun running around with his friends, and I had trouble keeping up with him through the throngs of people.

Caught playing with a friend
Diarama made by B and a few friends
And of course, what gallery night would be complete without cheese and crackers, and a little sparkling grape juice?  They really know how to host an event!
Bradley's class made objects out of clay as one of their projects
He's been in a bat phase for a while
This cracked me up
Painting with Salt
Bradley was channeling the minimalists' with his art - less is more!  Some of his classmates' sheets were filled with color, but this little one just has not patience for art.  When he was younger, I thought it was just a matter of maturity.  Now I've come to accept that it's just boys being boys, so when it comes to him drawing me a picture, or sitting down to attempt an art project with him, I'll take what I can get.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Stockwell, Angel

Baby Stockwell with Lucky
Christmas 1998
This past Monday, as Heather so aptly stated, Stockwell became the angel he never was while he was with us.  We're all in mourning as we had to say goodbye to a family member who happened to be a pet who spent 14 years with us.  I stop short of declaring him a good dog, however.  Because when I think back on all of Stockwell's antics, he was anything but a good dog.  He was, however, an animal with personality who always got a second glance by a stranger at his odd shaped body, and who was loved by all who knew him.  I can't begin to cover all of the funny Stockwell stories, so I'll try to hit some of the highlights.
Stockwell & Mom in their Christmas shirts
Food Stockwell has stolen over the years
  • Baguette (read that story here)
  • Haubstadt cake from Christmas Village
  • My entire box of Valentine's Day Godiva truffles
  • A smaller entire box of Schokolaud truffles
  • Mass quantities of sugar cookie dough out of the trashcan (earning him the nickname "Sug")
  • Countless other foods from counters and tables
Stockwell Sunbathing
  • Precious (or "My Precious" as in LOTR)
  •  Bull dozer
  •  Stockily Wockily Broccoli
  • Stocky
  • Stockwell Angel (as in "Stillwell, Angel" from A League of Their Own)
  • Sug (the sugar cookie dough incident)
  • Little Heater
  • Devil dog (the early years!)
  • StockHELL (another early years name!)
Snuggling in bed
Quite possibly the biggest lapdog you've ever seen
Stockwell was a bassadore (half basset hound, half black lab) given to our family by Jenni and Tara Stockwell.  The Stockwell sisters picked him up free from the Brentwood Kroger, and then gave him to us when their parents told them that they absolutely could not get a third dog!  So they brought him over to our house where Laura and I fell in love with the adorable black puppy and reminded our parents that they had promised us that we could get another dog when we moved to Brentwood, several years earlier.  We named him Stockwell in honor of the family who was the reason we got him.  
The most graceful swimmer
He much preferred jumping in after frisbees to riding on the floats
Stockwell thought he was a lap dog from the get go, and even when he was 60+ pounds and full grown, he preferred to be laying on laps, and sleeping on top of legs in bed with you.  If you have ever visited our house, chances are Stockwell has climbed in bed to snuggle with you.  His shiny black coat smelled of Fritos according to Laura, and for the first four years of his life, he was a hyperactive dog who had to be given "puppy downers" who liked to steal shoes, socks, and hats and take off with them, dig up rosebushes repeatedly, chew speaker wires, hump and chew up throw pillows, and destroy pool cushions leaving a yard full of cotton snow in the heat of the summer.  He loved the pool, and his favorite spot was sitting on the top step in the water where he would sunbathe and help himself to a drink.  He would go swimming whenever a frisbee was tossed in the water, and would run the length of the pool barking whenever anyone would jump in.  You would think a black dog would seek the shade, but Stockwell always wanted to lie in the sun.
A lapdog from the get-go
Howling along to the harmonica
Stocky was true to his nickname, long and short to the ground, but the long body allowed him to stand on his hind legs and reach for food which he would steal and swallow quicker than you would even realize it was missing.  He had a major sweet tooth, and would sniff out candy or desserts throughout the house, and making him sick on occasion from over-indulgence.
Bed party - June 2008
A curious Bradley climbs on Stockwell
He was a cuddly animal who would let you lay on him, and snuggle his silky ears and meaty thighs and almost every picture we have of Stockwell is of him snuggling with one of us.  His favorite toys were a yellow bear, and Larry the Cucumber, and he sang bass in the trio of canines whenever anyone played the harmonica for him, Julius and Oscar.

I will share one funny Stockwell story.  When I was a senior in college, I lived in the Sugar Shack (an off campus condo), and mom and dad came to visit and they surprised me by bringing Stockwell.  I was so excited to see him, but the minute he ran in like a wild man into the strange condo, Stocky immediately saw this picture of Kramer on the wall and began to growl at him!  He was not a fan of the Kramer portrait!

Several days have gone by since Stockwell left us, and the gaping whole he left behind is still ever present.  I know he was just a pet but he literally followed us from room to room and went everywhere we went.  Though he couldn't talk,  you would swear he was thisclose to speaking English by the inflections of his moans and howls.   He was as close to being a person as a pet could be. Many have suggested he's in Doggie Heaven now, playing with Lucky, and swimming in that big swimming pool in the sky.  I myself would like to think he's found a nice lap to climb up in, and he'll be waiting for us with wagging tail someday.
waiting for his next lap to climb into