The Gift of Nothing

On my desk upstairs in my office, I have a tiny little white box tied up nicely with a red ribbon.  You can actually see it in this picture which is on the house tour page of the blog. See it in the bottom right of this picture?


Let’s take a closer look.  It is one of my favorite gifts of all time.


Do you want to take a peek inside? My mom gave it to me a few years ago.  And it has stayed on my desk ever since.



And it has nothing inside.  You see, one of my parents traditions for many many years was to read the comics in the Dallas Morning News every night before bed.  They would laugh and share in the ‘funnies’ together.  One of those comics is Mutts (check out the Mutts website here).  The author of that comic strip also wrote a book called The Gift of Nothing. Where (SPOILER ALERT!!) the cat Mooch gives his friend the dog Earl Nothing for Christmas.  Because he had a bowl and a bed, so he had everything!

So one year my mother wrapped up a box in pretty white paper and a red ribbon and gave it to us with a copy of this book to remind us of the nothings to be grateful for.

I think at Christmas (but really all throughout the year) we all need reminders to value the nothingness that we need.  Sometimes to me it means to value the fact that I have food and a bed, and I truly need for nothing.  Sometimes that little box reminds me to take time to ignore my to do list and just do nothing.  But no matter what that little box on my desk ALWAYS reminds me to be grateful for what I have and appreciate the little things.

I wish all of you get the gift of Nothing this Christmas.


Or more accurately titled: my older brother’s day in the court.

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA this last week.  I took some time off for Thanksgiving with my family, then we took another family vacation to Washington DC because my older brother was able to argue his first case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Or in legal jargon… SCOTUS.  Here’s the deal… my brother is a borderline genius and unbelievably hard worker.  So his resume as a young lawyer is pretty impressive: Stanford Law School and Clerk for Justice Scalia just to name some of the highlights.  He’s been working for a firm named Bartlit Beck for about 4 years and one of the cases he’s been working on made it onto the Supreme Court’s docket for Dec 3rd.  And he wrote the brief and was chosen to argue the case for his client.


Since this is a pretty huge deal, my family decided to all fly out and watch.  Jameson has some pretty fantastic friends who helped arrange for us all to have tickets in the gallery to watch. (although neither case for that specific day were all too controversial or popular among non-legal types, so there is a chance we could have gotten in on public tickets, it would have just been more uncertain and we’d have had to wake up earlier).  If you get the chance to ever watch arguments at the Supreme Court, it is worth it.  There is a lot of tradition and respect involved in the court proceedings so it is fascinating to watch.  You can really see each judge’s personality show through in their questioning and they clearly expect a high level of intelligence and response out of the lawyers arguing.  I’d have been scared out of my mind, but my older brother was calm cool and collected.


I’m not much of a legal type, but I had read enough about Jameson’s case to understand what was going on.  He is the lawyer for Static Control Components and the issue for the lawsuit is whether or not they have standing to sue Lexmark, the printer company.  If you are interested you can read the transcript here.  The most entertaining part of the morning revolved around Justice Breyer, who is somewhat notorious for coming up with entertaining hypothetical questions during oral arguments. In this particular case he decided to talk hypothetically about an ice cream shop and poisonous chocolate, so I spent most of my morning craving a milkshake (minus the poison).

Here is my family as we were headed into court to watch him:


They don’t allow electronics into the court, you have to put them in lockers complete with the little orange keys, so unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the inside.  It was an amazing day and such a privilege to watch my older brother! The decision likely won’t come out until the spring, but according to the SCOTUS blog and my interpretation of how the oral arguments went down, I think it is likely the court will rule in SCC’s favor.

Later in the day we were still wandering around Capitol Hill when Jameson joined us, so we took the opportunity to take a few more photos in front of the Supreme Court building.


Jameson’s wife had already headed back home to take care of my niece, but we got the rest of the family in a great picture!


Stay tuned Monday, I’ll be posting about our whirlwind DC trip and some of my favorite things to do in the city!




Just for Fun on Friday

Its Friday!! While the winter weather starts to bear down on us here in Dallas, I thought I’d share just a few things that brightened my week!

Girl Toys

If you haven’t seen this video you should:

I work in the construction industry and I’m one of very very few women in the field.  And if you missed it, I shared a few feelings about Women and Tools a few months ago.  If you have a little girl… teach her to love math and science and engineering… or at least give her that option. I was very lucky my parents did.



I have seen more houses with Christmas lights up, trees being decorated, Christmas on display.  I understand that retail stores need to meet their quarterly earnings and spread out their Christmas sales, but a little part of me dies inside at the thought of casting aside one of the very few holidays that is truly about giving thanks, spending time with family and relaxing in order to buy more things for people who don’t really need them.  So my Christmas lights are still in their box, and this is on the chalkboard that welcomes me home every night.  (copied from this pin)



Ode to Joy

This is a video I’ve seen a few times, but it just resurfaced on my Facebook feed, and I never get tired of the beautiful music, the feeling of spontaneity and the cute kids pretending to conduct the orchestra.

I hope you guys have a great weekend and stay warm!