Recently I was rummaging through a closet looking for something, and came across a photo album that featured scenes from my high school and college years.


I hate winter. Even the mildest of them wear me down mentally and physically. By February, my tolerance for cold temperatures, dreary days, and snow and ice is pretty much nonexistent. This year, however, it appears that we all are going to have to dig a little deeper when it comes to putting up with a winter that has shown us no mercy.


I should have known that something was wrong Wednesday morning. It was much too quiet in my house.


In law school, we liked to call it advocacy, and litigators-to-be practiced and polished the various techniques of presenting a position in a compelling -- and hopefully convincing -- manner. Bottom line, though -- it was arguing. :Lawyers elevate arguing to an art form, but it's still arguing. Two sides present their reasons why a specific conclusion should or should not be reached -- you know, they argue.


It was clear from the comments at Monday night's Northgate School Board meeting that many people were not grasping the full story about why the school board and administration felt it necessary to furlough so many teachers and aides. In large part, that is due to the fact that the board and administrators, by law, can't tell you a lot of things you really need to know. In equally large part, it is due to the fact that a whole lot of people have been ignoring the very large handwriting on the wall for a very long time.


Many of us watched our federal government's "fiscal cliff" drama play out over the last few days -- minutes -- of 2012. The "fiscal cliff" was media and political shorthand for a complex series of events that would occur if action was not taken by Congress.


I think many of us are having trouble finding the Christmas spirit this year. Where is the joy, the generosity, the warmth of kindness that makes this one of my favorite times of the year? Perhaps this year we all need to look a little harder.

The shootings in Newtown, CT have landed a heavy blow to the spirits of many of us this year. Our hearts ache for the loss of so many children. Our spirits recoil in the presence of whatever it was that drove a young man to devastate so many lives.


Over the next few weeks, billions of dollars will be spent in this country to celebrate several religious and cultural observations. We take this opportunity to prove to our nearest and dearest that we really do know what they like, to let someone know we're thinking about them and they matter to us, and to thank those who have made our lives a bit easier during the past year.


If the recent election carries any message -- and I'm sure there are many lessons to be learned -- one of the most important has to do with the strength and power of female Americans.

It was a discouraging year for women, as we heard unbelievable statements come from the mouths of elected officials and candidates. Most of them showed complete ignorance of basic biological functions, and dismissed the horror of the crime that is rape.