Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to be a Good Client...

Every day I am amazed by my clients, and this is generally not a good thing. I have compiled a list of things that a person can do that will drastically assist them in the legal process.

1. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. When you get served papers and it says that you only have 20 days to answer- you really only have 20 days to answer. If you want good representation then you should not wait until day 19 to go see an attorney. They need time to put together a defense for you. The sooner you face the problem the sooner and probably better it will be resolved.

2. ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH. When your attorney asks you something tell them the truth. Attorneys can deal with the truth; we cannot deal with the lies that we do not know are lies. You generally making your life worse by lying because the truth always prevails.

3. PROVIDE ALL DETAILS. You may find yourself not wanting to tell your attorney something because you are too ashamed or embarrassed of your actions. Guess what- we have heard most of it. And if we haven't heard it, we have learned the appropriate reaction to give you to make you feel like we have heard it.

4. PAY YOUR BILL. Sure attorneys cost a lot of money, but not all the money is going into our pocket. We have lots of student loans to pay, office rent and materials, and not only do we have to worry about putting food on the table for our own families, but we also have staff and their families to feed as well.  If your bill is current with your attorney then you may find yourself receiving better representation.

5. LISTEN. If you are paying your attorney $200+ an hour then you should listen to what they have to say. It is okay to ask questions. It is okay to not understand. It is not okay to not listen. Just because your friend or your neighbor or your aunt's second cousin's dog sitter's wife had her case turn out one way, it does not mean that your case will turn out the same. If you have told the truth and provided all the details then your attorney is giving you good advice and you should listen to him/her.

I hope none of you ever find yourself tied up in the legal process but if you do then you now know the key to getting through the process.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Have You Ever Noticed.....

About once a month Tommy turns to me and says "Have you ever noticed that in America people do [insert activity]? Honey, you're American, tell me why they do that."

I always get excited when I hear Tommy start this statement because it is usually a funny observation. Some example of things Americans do that he questions:

- Have a second refrigerator for their garage
- Take "Glamour Shots" photos or other weird poses which include having your hand on your chin in the photo
- Send parents to retirement communities instead of with their children
- Have white people own or run Mexican, Indian, or Chinese Restaurants (Think On the Boarder or PF Changs).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for two things: All my wonderul friends and family that have given me inspiration to keep blogging.... and my Costco Membership.

Anybody who knows me knows that I should be selling Costco memberships for a living rather than practicing law. I have a lot of passion for Costco. I have picked out some of my favorite purchases over the years to share with you. I should also tell you that not all Costcos are created equal. In fact, of all the Costcos I have ever been to, the one in Omaha is my favoriate.

Furniture. Generally Costco carries an assortment of furniture at the beginning of the year. This can include something as normal as a couch to something as unqiue as a grantie top vaniety for the bathroom. We recently purchased these wonderful Chaise chairs for around the pool and the patio table. I am not sure that the Chaise chairs were a real steal at $260 a piece; however, the patio table with its slate top was a bargain at $999. I have looked on the web, Nebraska Furniture Mart, and a variety of other stores and have not found anything of that quality for the price. Also pictured below is some barstools we purchased from Costco as well. Final price on the barstools was $89 a piece. I love the curve of the barstool as it fit the style of Tommy and my house.

Electronics. Another great thing to purchase from Costco is electronics. Pictured below is the Kitchen Aid blender with a final price of $29.99. We have also purchased things like TVs, Computers or DVD players. The great thing about buying at Costco is not only the price lower but also you can return most electronics within year. Its like a little extra insurance policy.

Clothes. Anybody who knows my husband knows that he LOVES clothes. I'll be the first to admit that we often do not find a lot of clothes there, but we have picked up a few Calvin Klein articles and these Lacoste shirts. Final Price on the Lacoste shirts was $49.99.

Home Improvement Items. Moving into our house over the last six months, I have been increasingly happy with the amount of home remodel products we have found. Below is the stone that we bought for about $39.00 for 8 square feet and the light vanities for $28.99 a piece. These are some of our best bargains, ever!

FOOD!!! Costco has some great food options that we love! This is especially the case when we are entertaining. Some of my favorite finds include the Rotisserie Chicken (and I mean this is one heck of a chicken) for less than $5. They have this flank steak that they marinate and sell in the spring and summer that is to die for! It makes great Fajitas. If you ever have a birthday party and need a cake Costco sells great sheet cakes for around $17 (includes any custom additions you have). Costco has a great produce section that you can buy 4 pounds of strawberries for $5-6. They also have more exotic fruits (think Mangos, blackberries) that are very affordable compared to the local grocery store. The desserts the bakery sales are to die for. Below is my all time favorite Costco dessert which is the Tuxedo Cake. It retails for around $16. It is so fantastic. I have never met anybody who did not enjoy it. 

I could go on, but I wont. Are you convinced yet of your need for a membership? You can always catch a ride out to West Des Moines with me. I'm out there weekly. :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

As many of you know, I did not grow up in a traditional neighborhood. When I was younger I remember feeling somewhat sad that I was not having a traditional childhood with neighborhood friends and whatever other awesome things I assumed neighborhoods offered. I thought my parents were even somewhat anti-social because they did not want neighbors.

For nine months now I have lived in a traditional neighborhood. The type that I dreamed about as a child. Until yesterday I was pretty pleased with my neighbors. Were some of them a little nosey? Sure. Were some of them a little weird? Absolutely. But they were all fairly pleasant.

Last night I was standing out on my deck turning on the grill and getting ready to prepare dinner. My backyard meets up with another backyard which has a six foot high wooden fence that separates us. Suddenly I hear my neighbor yell at me and request me to come over to her house to look at my fence. Being caught somewhat off guard, I complied. I drove around the block (since our properties are completely blocked off by the fence) and went into her backyard. She informed me that my husband and I have not kept our fence in very good shape and the side of the fence that faces their house is dirty. She kindly offered her powerwasher for me to come over and clean it sometime this week. Again, being in complete shock, I said that I would. I went back home and told Tommy, who insists that I NEVER step foot over there to do any of that. Now being about 20 hours later, I am pretty stunned that she asked me to do that.

First, the fence is not dirty. The only thing making the fence potentially dirty is the grass clippings for THEIR lawn. Second, it is not as if I powerwashed the rest of my fence and neglected that area. Third, if they want it clean they should do it themselves. How RUDE!!!!

Her rudeness nearly put a damper on my evening. It was quite frustrating to be treated like this. I will not be powerwashing my fence. If she asks me I will give her permission to do it. I would never treat my neighbor they way she treated me and I am disappointed that this is the type of relationship I will now have with these people.

And now I know why my parents never wanted any neighbors....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Heart Sundays

I'm fairly certain that this is not the first, and possibly not the second time that I have blogged about how much I love Sundays. Today was no exception.

Tommy and I did not get home until late last night from Omaha. We made a quick trip there to Nebraska Furniture Mart and Costco. We had no success and NFM but found a few things at Costco. (And, yes, Costcos do carry different items and one may have better things than the next).

We slept in this morning until about 9 am. I headed to the grocery store to get some items for the lunch gathering we were having today. We had our first pool party of the year. We had my parents, sister, nephew, Uncle Arvin and Aunt Corrie, Grandma Vos, Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Don, and two of their children, Michael and his wife, Leah, their three kids; and Rose and her husband, Andrew, and her three kids. Needless to say, it was a pool full, and we had a wonderful time.

Until the age of 5, I lived at a house on Applewood in Ankeny. There are two distinct things I remember about the house. We had a metal swing set that was as fancy as it got for the mid-80s which has no relevance to this post. The other thing I remember was the house, at that time owned by the Dierenfield family, that had a pool in the backyard. I do not know whether I ever personally saw the pool, and I know I never swam in it. It was the sounds that came out of that back yard that I remember. The sounds of splashing water and people having a good time. I was very envious.

Now, as an adult, I finally am the person behind the wooden fence, and I must tell you, there was good cause to be envious. It is so much fun having friends and family over. We are very spoiled to have it. I am fortunate enough to have many friends and family to share it with because it truly is the people who make it fun.

Even after our guests left Tommy and I spent some time outside laying by the pool. Now some of our favorite shows are on tonight! I hope everybody enjoyed there Sunday as much as we did.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pool Time

Even with the rainy weather we are experiencing today, I am excited for our pool. I know I posted yesterday, but I wanted to add some pics so you could all be excited with me!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Tommy and I just got done putting together some of our outdoor furniture that we have purchased over the last four months (or received as gifts... whatever the case may be).

We also got light bulbs for our landscape lights and had the pool boys over today to open up the pool.  I can see that Tommy is starting to really to love our house. I'll admit, even though there is a ton of work to do outside, it really is starting to look fantastic.

It takes about 48 hours from the time you open up the pool until you can get in. They dumped a ton of chemicals into the pool so it takes some time until it settles down.

I hope you all can come this summer and enjoy our backyard with us!

Lastly, so thankful that my friend, Mindy, who is pregnant with triplets is doing well after a scare earlier this week. I cant wait for her triplet girls to get here!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Days of the Week

I spend considerable amounts of time each week assessing how I feel about each particular day. Not how is this exact Monday going, but how Mondays go in general.

I have concluded as follows:

Most favorite day: Sunday
Least Favorite day: Tuesday

The days are ranked as follows of most to least favorite:


You may be surprised to see Monday so high on my list. It is because Monday is the best TV night, ever! Wednesday is the worst TV night ever, but it is closer to the weekend then Tuesday so it trumps Tuesdays.

How do your days rank?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fun and Farmer's Market

I turned my air off on Thursday and turned my Furnace on this morning. This weather has been quite unpredictable but has allowed for some great summer traditions to be celebrated early.

This week we took the boat out for the first time. I worked and worked and worked so hard all day long to sneak out of the office a bit early to enjoy the 80+ degree weather. Tommy surprised me by taking work off a bit early too (which is so unlike him) to join us on the boat. Unfortunately Erin was sick so she was unable to join us, but we did take Tony out on the boat. He was insistent that we either go fast or have the boat stopped completely.

This morning Tommy and I braved this incredibly chilly mid-May weather to head out to the Farmer's Market in Des Moines. Tommy generally works on Saturday morning, so we did not want to miss this opportunity to go even if the weather was not ideal.

The Takekawa's Farmer's Market experience is probably different than most families. Instead of going to find fresh produce or flowers, we generally go to find different foods to eat for breakfast and lunch for that day. We were pleasantly surprised by some new vendors that did not disappoint. Here was how we spent our $20.00:

$7.00: Beef Brisket Sandwich from Uncle Wendell's;
$4.00: Bosnian Cabbage Roll;
$3.00: Mexican Corn on a Stick;
$3.00: Charizo Taco; and
$3.00: Bavarian Cream Pastry.

This was the third time we had the Mexican corn. The first time I had it was with Tommy in Mexico City back in  2005. I was reluctant to try back in 2005 but had a few bites of Tommy's corn and was pleasantly surprised by the taste. The second time was in 2010 when Tommy and I traveled to Cozumel Island in Mexico. It was not as good as in Mexico City. I was not very optimistic this morning given that it was a Mexican dish and we were in the middle of Iowa; but I must tell you- it was very good. Now if only I could find the caramel filled Churros that we also had in Mexico City in 2005.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Recipe for a Perfect Mother's Day!

It's not secret- I love to host a party. And what better celebration than to honor all the wonderful mothers I know.

Here are five essential elements to host a perfect Mother's Day Celebration:

5. Nice Setting. You have no doubt heard me mention the house that Tommy and I purchased last August. Because we moved in at the end of the summer, we never had the chance to enjoy our outdoor area the way we should. We have a large deck and recently purchased a patio table. It was such a beautiful day to sit outside around the table and grill on the deck. It was even more wonderful that we could fit all ten guests around the table. Just imagine how wonderful it would have been to have the pool open?!

4. Costco Membership. When planning our menu, Costco always is a key player. This event we heavily relied on our Costco membership. We decided to have fajitas, chips and salsa, and fresh fruit. Costo have this awesome flank steak that was marinated with cilantro and lime juice. Costco also sells this wonderful salsa with mangos. Lastly, to top off our meal, we served a Costco Key Lime Pie! It was magnificent. In fact, the Pie was converted from a Mother's Day pie to a birthday pie when I found out it was my Uncle Don's Birthday! Happy Birthday, Uncle D!

3. Half Mexican Husband. Nothing helps the experience of Mexican food like having your half Mexican husband prepare the food. Tommy is always such a good sport about hosting celebrations. I'm sure that sometimes he would rather spend his evenings or afternoons enjoying his time off rather than hosting my family members over for an event. He always makes sure our meals come out perfect and is such a great host. I'm one lucky gal!

2. Lots of Guests. I love inviting my family and friends over for meals and entertainment. This celebration we were blessed to be joined by my sister, her husband, my nephew, parents, Grandma Vos and my Auntie B and Uncle D. I am lucky to have such a wonderful family. We had such a wonderful time together, and I cannot wait for the next event to invite them all back!

1.  Wonderful Mother. Did I ever mention what a wonderful mother I have? My mom and I joked over the weekend that we were so crazy that people should send us to a mental ward. We figured that was not going to happen because those people need us to much to send us away to a mental ward. After my mom spent the last nine months painting literally every room and ceiling in my house, she has now moved to the outdoors to help me clean it up. We have spent nearly every weekend for the last nine months cleaning and redoing everything at my house. I get so tired sometimes and don't want to do anything, and she motivates me and keeps me working so things get done. She is amazing. This is on top of her taking care of my nephew almost full time, running a large company, and now helping take care of her father-in-law who has become a house guest over the next several months. I do not know how she does it! This is on top of her extreme generosity and big heart. I hope that one day I can be as wonderful mother to my children as my mom has been to me!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

10 Things

Here is a list of 10 things I do every week:

1. Shop amazon.com;
2. Wash a minimum of four loads of laundry (and always on Saturday);
3. Watch abc for two hours every Monday night (DWTS or Bachelor- whichever is in season);
4. Eat at Jethros (generally Tuesday- half price wing night);
5. Balance my checking account in my head;
6. Start or work on a new project around my house;
7. Have a therapy session with one of my friends; I'm usually the patient.
8. Shop for airline tickets;
9. Read all my friends' blogs; and
10. Look for a new job.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

10 Things

Here is a list of at least 10 things I do every day:

1. Read www.dmregister.com
2. Read www.radaronline.com
3. Read www.drudgereport.com
4. Call my mom
5. Tell my husband I love him
6. Crack my back
7. Drink a can of soda
8. Clean my ears with a q-tip
9. Put my hair in a pony tail (sometimes at 7am. sometimes not until 7pm.)
10. Tell a story about my nephew

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


As my mom would say "People who think they know everything are annoying to those of us who actually do."

Some of you know that as part of my law practice I serve as a Family Law Mediator. As a mediator, I work with wife, wife's attorney, husband and husband's attorney to try to resolve their matter. All parties meet at my office in two separate conference rooms. I go back and forth between the two rooms to work on reaching a resolution.

Recently I have been mediating for some parties who do not have an attorney. Generally in these situations one side does have an attorney while the other side does not. Generally I would have thought it would be easier to work with these unrepresented people; however, that is not the case. These unrepresented people always have a friend who has gone through a divorce and so they think the result of that friend's divorce should be the same as their divorce. Even worse, sometimes they google Iowa Divorce Law and tell me what the law really says about their case. I try to have patience when working with these people, but I generally lose my patience pretty quickly.

Of course when I go to the doctor I have already wedmd'd my condition, but if my doctor tells me different, I listen and follow his or her advice. If I think I have a cavity in one tooth but the dentist tells me it my sinus drainage, I listen. And when my accountant tells me my expenses are actually not tax deductible, I go ahead and do not claim them on my taxes. I do not understand why I would pay people for their professional help and then not take it. Am I in the minority of this world?