My obsession with small things surprises a lot of people. That’s probably because, before retiring, I was a hard-nose, no-nonsense attorney. I’ve worked as a prosecutor, military attorney, administrative law judge, college instructor, and business owner. Despite the seriousness of my former jobs, I, along with my biologist sister and my physician sister, love miniatures. Such a strange hobby. Maybe there WAS something in the water in our rural Canadian town?
I was born in upstate New York to Asian Indian immigrants. My physician parents moved the family to Canada for job opportunities when I was a year old. We eventually settled in a small rural town in Alberta. Our country home was miles from shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. Additionally, my mom and dad were frequently away due to work demands. It was a tough childhood. But, my siblings and I were resourceful and creative. To pass the time, we started making miniatures. That seemed to be the spark that ignited my interest in small things. However, everything came to a halt when my mother died unexpectedly. My childhood ended at age 12. It was now an endless cycle of school work, housework, and caring for younger siblings.
After graduating from high school in 1980, I left Canada. I (happily) reclaimed my U.S. citizenship and joined my older sisters at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1984, I graduated with a B.A. in History. But, what do you do with a history degree? I did not want to teach. My father said I *had* to go to law school. I reluctantly gave in and hated it. However, I managed to graduate early with a J.D. cum laude in 1986.
My first jobs as an attorney were in government service. I soon learned that only the more senior attorneys could litigate. The junior lawyers did the grunt work. I whined to a Colonel friend about the unfairness. He suggested I join the Air Force because all JAG officers (military attorneys) had to litigate. This intrigued me. After doing some research, I accepted a commission as a JAG officer in the U.S. Air Force. Shortly thereafter, the Air Force sent me to a base assignment in East Anglia, U.K. (I had no idea that the British had voted East Anglia as the most boring part of England.) As soon as I arrived in the U.K., I was busy. I had two trials the first two weeks of my arrival, and then the Gulf War commenced.
Amid this chaotic setting, I got married, I got pregnant, and then I got divorced. This was in the space of two years. However, it was while I was pregnant that I built my first dollhouse. I also started building and buying miniature dollhouse furniture.
After leaving the military in 1994, I returned to civil service in Denver. Within a year, I met my second husband. After we married, we moved from Colorado to North Carolina. When my husband asked me to help him with his small business, I agreed and left my government job. While our business thrived, the marriage did not. We separated, eventually divorcing.
Newly single (again), but struggling as a single parent of a teenager, I accepted a job as a federal administrative law judge in California. My son and I moved to the Sacramento area in 2005. I stayed with that federal agency until 2014. By then, I accrued enough time with the federal government to qualify for a deferred pension. After selling my home, I accepted a job in Seattle. I worked in Seattle for three years. In 2018, I officially retired from the practice of law. I do not miss it.
After spending over three decades in an unfulfilling career, I wanted to spend my first year of retirement doing fun stuff. I’m a geek and a big pop culture fan. I spent 2019 volunteering at numerous pop culture conventions all over the U.S. I had a blast and was planning on volunteering in 2020. Unfortunately, COVID19 shut down everything. During the lockdown, I holed up at home and spent hours building Lego Creator Expert sets and small miniature displays. Why? I don’t know. It’s a sickness, I know…
I currently live in a small condo on the western edge of Las Vegas, Nevada, next to a mountain. It’s peaceful and not at all what you might think of Las Vegas. I have one remarkable son, who just obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology. When not building or collecting miniatures, I enjoy traveling, volunteering, and continuing my education with online classes.