January 31, 2006

Another Benefit of Law School

My dad, sister, and brother needed me in my hometown today. Tomorrow too.

So, I just hopped in the car and accepted that I would skip school. I'd already played hooky for the wedding. And now, I had a better reason, so I did it again.

Granted, I'm setting myself up for some stellar grades this semester.

But it's a glorious privilege. I can just cut class, do the reading (at some point, I swear), bother my friends for notes (I've been an atypical law student in my generous note-giving nature, and it's finally going to pay off!), and take the exam at the end of the semester. Given the arbitrary nature of law school grades, I'll never even notice the effect of the one nugget or two that I would have received and actually remembered to use on the exam had I been in class.

Ahhhh...wonderful school.

January 29, 2006

Ode to Construction Workers

This weekend, my sister, my brother, and I moved my father's old house, my father's storage unit, and my sister's apartment into a shared house for my sister and father.

Unfortunately, my father is sick. But when he's healthy, he works in construction. My brother is I-ate-two-breakfasts-this-morning healthy. He also works in construction. Both of them have an amazingly loyal, hardworking, and hilarious set of friends.

I arrived in my hometown last Thursday night. I visited my father in the hospital with my sister and brother and stayed the night with my brother, niece, and de-facto sister-in-law. Friday during the day, I packed what I could in my father's house until Friday evening, when after a full day of manual labor, my brother and no less than 6 of his big, burley friends arrived to load and unload heavy things into multiple trailers and trucks. Saturday morning, some of my father's big burley friends joined the action.

Uhaul? Puh-leeze. We're talking about men who attach trailer hitches to trucks for fun. Then, they pull out their air compressors, attach the hoses, pump up the tires on their hydraulic trailers, and attach those to the recently attached trailer hitches. I had no idea how many different varieties of gates came on trailers. Side gates, unfolding back gates, full metal gates that swing down, gates that open into two side flaps, those that turn into ramps, what do you need?

Each of these men took time out of their evenings and weekends to show up with their trucks, trailers, and muscles to make what would have been an impossibly overwhelming task amazingly possible.

My sister and I couldn't say thank you enough.

The men looked at us like we were crazy. They got food and beer (of course). There was no need for thanks. This is what you do for friends. It's just part of their code.

Sometimes, I'm amazed that I've chosen a career in a world that is so removed from real world problems. I'm happy for the mental gymnastics of legal problems. I love thinking about theories and what-if. But, at the end of the day, when people really need something, it's basic things like food, fun, strength, loyalty, dependable friends and family, and general social codes that make them feel content and safe.

As a general rule, by the time you need a lawyer in a real emergency, the world has spiraled so far outside of the social norms that everyone is uncomfortable and no one is happy to see the law-talking-dude. In times of real, immediate, human need, lawyers aren't that helpful, or at least, they aren't something you are thankful to have.

Construction workers, on the other hand. . .well, you'd be an idiot not to be thankful to have one or more in your family. They know how to fix all the stuff I take for granted (plumbing, electricity, doors, etc.) and they are happy to do so when they see something that's broken in your place (if you are family). Better yet, when the going gets rough, those guys are there for their brethren without a thought. It's humbling. It makes the cut-throat world of law school look even sillier than it already appeared.

January 25, 2006

On White Trash

In response to my last post, law girl commented,

I'm sorry, but I will never understand why anyone thinks "white trash" is an appropriate term to describe any group of people. I'm especially surprised that you, a blogger who appears to be very thoughtful and considerate, would use that term. Thanks for letting me comment.

First, you are welcome to comment. I appreciate it when my readers take the time to let me know what they are thinking, and I very much enjoy the thoughts inspired by comments to my blog that I otherwise wouldn't have had.

Second, law girl, you most certainly have a point. Many people find "white trash" to be a disparaging term, and, no doubt many people find its use to be inappropriate. The Rant/flame war on Wikipedia regarding the white trash article, is still very much alive (last post 1/21/06) and helped me understand just how loaded this term is.

Like some of my other posts, my flippant use of a term that offends displays a less than attractive aspect of my true self – I often say and use language in a thoughtless manner. Afterwards, I marvel at my foot in my mouth and wonder how it got there.

But, for better or for worse, I also rarely beat myself up for my use of terms that upset people. I try to be kind, polite, and respectful of others in my day-to-day dealings with the world. I am aware, however, that I am not as successful in my efforts as many kinder, more polite people (whom I admire).

For example, I swear quite often. In public. In my writing. Sometimes in front of children (although I do try not to do so, but sometimes I slip). Why? I'm not sure. I like the power of swear words. I think they convey things that ordinary words can't. Also, I don't want to be locked in a box of politesse at all times. Swearing, for me, is a subtle form of rebellion and affirmation of autonomy in a life lived primarily within the prescribed lines.

I also know that even without swearing, if I express my opinions, I will offend some people. Every time I open my mouth, I am making a choice between saying nothing, and risking offending. I do strive to offend as few as possible most of the time. Occasionally, though, I just give in to my honest thoughts and bare them to the world. Sometimes people laugh. Sometimes people are appalled. And sometimes, no one even notices.

Often, these inadvertent appalling moments occur because I also pride myself on being very honest and forthright. But some have accused me of being brutally honest. At other times, I offend people when I find something funny. Humor is difficult. One man's pain is often another man's laughter.

One lesson that I have learned from E is to embrace the humor in life and laugh at it. Our ability to laugh at the absurdity of life is one of the greatest things about being human. But sometimes, people find laughter at something to which they are sensitive to be hurtful. I certainly have experienced pain when others laughed at something I found hurtful. But I've also been envious, because sometimes, it is only when you can laugh at something that used to hurt you that you know you are healed from the pain.

In this case, I thought I was making a funny comment when I used the term "white trash." Most likely, part of the reason I found it humorous and funny is because I am suffering from that most wonderful of habits whereby those that would be disparaged by a term embrace it as their own. Whether I like it or not, white trash is a commonly used term and many people imagine a certain stereotype when they hear it. Several members of my immediate and extended family (myself included) have and/or do exhibit some of the behaviors that most people imagine when they use the term. Several members of my neighborhood also exhibit behavior that falls into this stereotype. I must admit, however, I was blissfully unaware of the racism inherent in the term, as are my relatives who use it to describe themselves. For us, it is a term to describe a way of life, at worst a classist slur, but one to which any ethnicity can be subject.

I *like* that I live in my neighborhood, and I *like* that there's a working class and occasionally not-so-working class in my neighborhood that reminds me of my family. They are good people. But, on occasion, members of my neighborhood do walk near the edges of my understanding of "white trash" in a way that I find hilariously funny. For example, when a young boy steals (assumed, but makes sense from what I heard the cops say) a blue trans-am, crashes into a white truck with a bumper sticker that says, "gun control means using both hands" and plows across the lawn into someone's home, to me, that's funny.

When writing in my blog, sometimes the power of a stereotypical image is too descriptive and funny to resist. Perhaps if I were a more talented writer I would not fall prey to such an easy cliche. But, I fear the humor may also have been lost if I had made an effort to speak more politely. It didn't occur to me that it might be considered ill-bred or offensive to use the term because it is one that I have embraced on occasion to describe myself, as have many of my family, friends, and I suspect (although I haven't taken a poll) so have many in my neighborhood.

But, law girl does have a point. I most certainly would and do avoid the use of derogative terms that describe groups to which I do not feel that I belong. I avoid those terms for the sake of politeness, to avoid hurting the feelings of the members of those groups, and I carefully structure my language to avoid giving the appearance that I endorse racism, bigotry, and the other negative labels that are applied to those who callously use certain derogatory terms that bring stereotypical images to mind.

So where does this leave me on the white trash issue?

Actually, I'm not certain. My gut instinct was to suggest that perhaps when a group embraces a negative term and makes it their own, there can be some empowerment in that action. Perhaps I'm empowered by my use of the term (without it's modifier "poor" with the "white trash" used to describe the behaviors, not limit the race of those being discussed). But, Wikipedia on Nigga led me to question this idea. I know that I think the use of derogative terms in professional, academic, research, and other serious writing is improper and should be avoided. But, for some reason, I think that when I opt to use a term that historically has been used to negatively describe my ancestors in order to make a joke, it's not offensive, it's healthy.

I want to believe that it's good that I can laugh at the term. Perhaps the humor in this particular situation lies largely in the fact that no one in my suburban, liberal, tech-heavy and multi-cultural neighborhood actual fits into the "white trash" stereotype as a whole (who does?), and yet many of us exhibit some of the behaviors associated with this term. Perhaps the humor for me is in the ignorance of the stereotype when confronted with the complexity of life. I'm not sure. I just find it funny.

Regardless of whether I show my ignorance by making the comment and laughing, however, I am a fan of free speech. I may choose not to use disparaging terms that describe groups to which I don't belong, but I don't want to live in a world where other people can't do so. There will always be the gray area between what I think is polite and what you think is polite, what I think is proper and what you think is proper, etc. The trick is living in a society, civilly, alongside one another, forgiving one another for our idiocy, and ideally, eventually educating each other on why we use the words we do.

In sum, in response to Law Girl's comment, I read some very thought-provoking stuff. (I certainly had never considered whether there was any inherent anti-black racism in the term "white trash".) So, I'm glad I used the term this time. It was educational. I'm not certain whether I'll use it in the future. I know plenty of people who don't find its use offensive, most of whom, like me, have family that fit the stereotype. Even if I decide to continue using it for humor's sake, I'll definitely think about it in a much more complex manner than before. So, thank you, Law Girl.

January 24, 2006

Free as a Bird

Tuesdays, I don't have class 'til 12:40 PM. I'm sad that when I return to the real world I won't know what it's like to sleep in and work out before thinking about important tasks.

So, this morning, I took full advantage. I slept in briefly, ran 6.5 miles, and then came home to find all the local old people gawking at the street. As I walked towards my house, a fire engine rolled up slowly with its lights flashing and siren on so low that I shook my head to see if I was just filling in the music with my imagination.

Nope. It was a real emergency. I asked the nearest older couple (gotta love the old folks: at least 5 older couples had walked out to the sidewalks in front of their homes -- they didn't go to the scene of the problem, but they were there, observing, commenting, and ready to share with me.) what happened and they pointed and explained. Apparently, a blue Trans Am (yeah, I live in a slightly white trash neighborhood. What?) was driven fast down our sleepy little street by a very young boy, that one, over there [cut to 15-year-old looking kid with a ponytail on his cell phone]. According to the neighborhood watch, he sideswiped a white truck and careened into the house of my acrossed-the-street-neighbor.

It was very exciting stuff for my neighborhood. No one was hurt. I was lucky enough to be having a slow day, so I was back a half a mile instead of on the sidewalk in his path when he careened across my neighbor's lawn.

My morning proceeded in a surreal kind of way after that.

E still hadn't left for work when I returned from my run, which was odd. So, we both went back outside to gawk with the elders at the car, the police, the boy, the firefighters, the lawn, and the perfectly intact across-the-street house.

After we tired of what passes for drama in these parts, I took my shower and loaded my car to 1) go to the post office and mail the invitations and 2) get the bridesmaids' shoes dyed. I gave myself an hour to accomplish both tasks.

I was severely conservative in my estimate. First, there was a line full of crazy people at the post office. There always is. That's one constant. No matter what country, state, or city you are in, there are crazies in line at the post office. I know this. But, I forgot.

Then, when I got to the counter, I found out that my gorgeous invitations are too heavy for the one stamp each that E so carefully affixed last night. So I spent 40 minutes affixing 24 cents of additional postage to each envelope (except the international ones). That's one sticker stamp and one good old fashioned lick-it-and-stick-it stamp per envelope my friends. Fun!

By the time I left the post office, I knew I wasn't going to make it to corporations. At first, I thought of how to get notes, and tried to tell myself that it didn't matter. But then, all of a sudden, I felt like undergrad. I had a flashback to what it felt like to have priorities above school. Not just any priorities, but fun priorities like athletics, sleep, and a social life. And, I smiled. Because I've returned, finally. My wedding is more important to me than today's corporations class.

How decadent!

I just skipped a very expensive, but very boring class to hang out in the post office with the crazies and get those invites in the mail. Then, I went to the cobbler and dealt with the shoes to be dyed. The weather was gorgeous, there was a spring in my step and I found myself walking in the middle of the day during the middle of the week with my sunglasses on -- grinning.

I am a student. I am free to skip class. It's a freedom those in the working world don't have. And today, I took advantage of it -- Finally. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I still haven't read a single page for this semester, but I have managed to locate complete outlines, class notes, and/or lecture slides for each professor/class I'm taking.

I am a 3L, hear me roar.

January 23, 2006

Papercuts on my tongue

I'm a book nerd, so one of the places where I splurged for the wedding was on the invitations. My love of good paper, ink, and fonts, my sister's adroit hand at drawing curves, plus the expertise of the letterpress gurus in berkeley, resulted in invitations that I absolutely adored. When I first got them I kept pulling them out and looking at them -- how gorgeous they were!

Saturday, I tricked my bridesmaids into toiling in my own private invitation addressing sweatshop. It was stressful to spell names correctly, keep the Dr., Ms., Miss, Mrs., Captain, and Mr.'s straight, and don't even get me started on the southerners' wacky naming conventions. Each mistake was one envelope closer to not having enough invitations. In hindsight, the peace of mind would have been worth the price of an extra 20 envelopes.

E and I just finished stamping and sealing the envelopes. And despite how much I'm proud of and really like the invitations, I'm also sick of 'em and I can wait to get them out of my house and into the loving arms of the postal service tomorrow morning.

January 20, 2006

Filters off

A combination of life stress, PMS, and hunger combined this afternoon.

While on the phone with CKD, frustrated with how late I was, how I'd missed the turn, and just life in general, I actually said the following, out loud, over the cellular network:

The world's fattest, slowest woman is in front of me on the cross walk. AND SHE WON'T GET OUT OF MY WAY.

Not attractive. Not who I want to be. Not nice. Not something I'd ordinarily say.

But, imminently human. And CKD got a good laugh out of it. May I remember this the next time I'm apalled at someone else's verbal ridiculousness.
Book Report #1

This year, I'm not even attempting to set a pseudo-numerical goal.

I'm just going to keep track of the books I read for my own sake. So far, 2006's list includes:

1. Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track, a collection of Richard P. Feynam's personal correspondence. Like all of Feynman's writing, it's funny, intelligent, witty and interesting. More than his other books about his life, this book allows you to see the emotions in his personal relationships. It also tells many great stories about the development of particle physics. Grade: A.

2. Harvests of Joy -- How the Good Life Became Great Business. This book tells the story of the Mondavi family through the eyes of Robert Mondavi, the narrator. According to many, Robert Mondavi is single-handedly responsible for changing Napa valley from a wine-growing region to a center for excellence in viticulture, food, & art. Regardless of whether there were others involved in the evolution, Robert Mondavi was an amazingly driven man, often at the expense of his personal relationships. This book tells those stories, as well as the history of Napa valley as it developed, and how love, maturity, and the Italian-immigrant family ties eventually overcome the fractures between Robert and his family. Grade: B.

3. The Tomato in America -- Early History, Culture, and Cookery by Andrew F. Smith. I bought this book because I realized that the possible audience was so small. I am one of very few people who would consider reading it, so I did my duty. It was educational and interesting, although the writing was more academic than I expected (endnotes at the end of every chapter) and the organization was hard to follow at times. Instead of weaving together stories or presenting a single unified theme, the book is true to the history, which means it's all over the place -- in the South people ate tomatoes long before the people in the North did. Some people did think if you ate tomatoes you'd be poisoned. But many others used them in recipes as early as... Overall, it kind of read like a high school research paper. But I learned about the tomato pill wars & the back contains a recipe for tomato pickles from 1831 which I will attempt to use one day, so I did get my money's worth. Grade: C.

January 19, 2006

Slow Start

Today marks the end of my second week of classes. After today, there's only 13 more Thursdays of class before law school is done. I'm in 15 units this semester, which means quite a bit of work.

So far, I:

1. have attended every class (but grumbled along the way)

2. own 3 of the 43 required/suggested books (the bookstore is doing its best to help me in my read when it's convenient for me plan)

3. bought the local copyshop's version of the outline for my corporations class instead of the book

4. ordered a few more books from amazon and barnes and noble, which may or may not arrive next week.

5. have read 0 pages despite a cumulative assigned and covered reading total of around 400 pages for all of my classes.

Only 13 weeks to go? If I keep up this pace, it's going to be a piece of cake!

January 17, 2006

Big Boy Bed

For Christmas, E's parents got us a real bed. Box spring and everything. I think E and I may have been the only ones who weren't appalled that we still slept on a futon.

We'd talked about getting a real bed and agreed that it should happen, but we could never find a free weekend to go mattress shopping. So, we continued to sleep on the futon. E's mother, however, is an excellent shopper and did all of the research to pick out a wonderful bed for us. It arrived yesterday and the delivery men set it up in 5 minutes flat.

Last night was the first night we slept on the new bed. I slept just as well as I normally do. Except, of course, I now have a vague fear that I'm going to roll off the bed and fall to the ground. With the frame, box spring, mattress, box spring cover, mattress cover, and mattress pad, the bed is almost as tall as me. The futon was 1 or 1.5 feet from the ground. Sometimes, growing up is hard to do...

January 15, 2006

Fridge Worthy

I received letter from our local junior college informing me that I am on academic probation and will have to attend a meeting to take more classes in the future.

Including the A that I received in Spanish for last semester (Woo hoo! At least I got one A!), my cumulative GPA is a 1.185.

The best part is, this record will be going to the CA bar committee along with my BS and JD records. [laugh] I love it.

January 14, 2006

You thought you had a plan?

In La Paz, while E2 and I sipped vacation drinks outside our hotel cafe, we met another American staying at our hotel. He was there, in beautiful La Paz, alone, to wrap up his father's estate. Predictably, he was sad and lonely, but he was also in awe of the beauty of the town and landscape, and clearly, he was enjoying himself on occasion (how could you not smile at being on the beach in 80 degree weather when there were torrential rains at home?).

The guy, M, was from E2's & my alma mater, and lived in the bay area. His father had been sailing for several months and had died of cancer, leaving the boat in La Paz. M was in La Paz to act as his dad's executor and deal with the confusing legal issues (and I thought my US-based wills & trusts exam was hard) all by himself. He didn't speak Spanish, but when we asked if it was difficult, he shrugged and said, "Sometimes it's hard, but I get by."

As he left, I thought to myself, "Yes, that is how it works. Sometimes, it is hard, but we do what we have to do to get by."

We ran into him again on tecolote beach while having a drink and enjoying the view. Turns out he wants to be an IP lawyer, is getting ready to apply to law school, he has a technical degree and some job experience, and was considering taking the patent bar. I gave him every ounce of advice and knowledge I could scrounge up (very few) and volunteered to help him at any time during the process. He seemed to be grateful to have an idea of what he might be pursuing and I felt good to help someone who had so much to deal with at the moment.

Of course, we ran into him again at the the Applebees on the Malecon where all the Americans gathered to watch the Rose Bowl. Later that night, we had a drink with him up on the roof terrace of the hotel and enjoyed one of those only-while-traveling conversations where you bare your soul to strangers. We discussed traveling alone, his father, the boat, and how life jumps up and surprises you no matter how hard you try to be prepared. The next night, he knocked on our door and joined us for dinner with E2's parents. We went out for drinks afterwards and then wished him well on his return the next day.

Certainly, neither E2 nor I planned on spending so much time on our trip with a stranger from our home region. But, that's one of the things I love about traveling, you never know what's going to happen, even if you plan every detail.

Later, on the same trip, I learned that my father has been diagnosed with a fairly serious illness. I volunteered to come home early (not certain if I could do it, but wanting to at least offer to try) but he asked me to stay and enjoy myself.

Immediately, I started changing my plans for the coming months. I resigned from journal. I abandoned my plans to run the marathon. Despite having ran the majority of the miles in preparation, I could not justify one more month of long runs and a trip to Southern california to run a race when I could just run short runs without the training schedule and spend the remaining time with my family. I looked into taking a leave of absence, visiting at a law school closer to my father's home town, and how I could commute from my current law school to my home town on the weekends, if necessary.

Over the next few days, I found it odd that I could sincerely enjoy beautiful baja, the delicious food, and the additional random travel hilarity, while simultaneously wishing I could be with my family, and visiting internet cafes every day to research, email, and discuss health care with my family. But that's one of the beauties of human existence, we can laugh while we cry. And we should if we can, because life is short.

And now, after the first day of classes, I'm back in my hometown. My last semester of law school will be quite different than I planned. I can do what I need to do for the family in a few days each week, and my father would be angry at me (and truly himself) if he felt that I was putting my life on hold for him. So, this semester, I'll be balancing the wedding, law school, and banding together with my family to help my father. I'm going to live in the bay area with E (and try to be a good fiancee) 3-4 days per week and commute to my hometown to be with my family for the other time.

I'm also going to try to take the normal 3L approach. Read? Only if there's time and I feel like it. Class? I'll try to attend so I don't have to read [grin]. I'm not certain when I became such a diligent student -- I skipped plenty of class and winged my way through much of undergrad and I still graduated. Time to get back to my roots!

Much like M enjoying La Paz, I'm going to be able to enjoy some of these changes. Because this happened now, while I'm a student, I can take a leave of absence if need be, and I can take a less serious approach to my studies so that I have the time and ability to go be with my family for half the week. More importantly, I will be able to enjoy excellent meals with my family every weekend this semester. We will be able to gather around the table and enjoy one another as we do on the holidays, but on a much more regular basis. It's something wonderful that we wouldn't have otherwise made the effort to do.

So, my plans for the marathon and journal are out the window. Life had other plans for me. And in hindsight, I needed to meet M in La Paz and see the quiet strength with which he was handling everything with his father. The random travel friend has given me a confidence in my ability to get through this that I couldn't have found otherwise. It's called life. We deal with it as it comes. We take the good surprises with the bad. Because even in the midst of terrible things, there is good to be found.

"Sometimes, it's hard. But I get by."

That's going to be my mantra. Thanks M.

January 11, 2006

Baja Lessons

If you need to make a left hand turn, sometimes, you just stay to the left and wait for a break, like a reasonable drive. But, at other times, you will need to take the exit to the far right lanes, which are separated from the rest of the camino by dirt, cement, or sometimes, nothing. From there, despite what looks like broken traffic lights, you should stop (no red light, just stop anyways) in the left-most right lane and wait for the green arrow light. When it comes, you will cross all lanes of straight traffic to make a left hand turn (or U-turn).

If you are waiting for someone to meet you at the airport, call them instead of waiting patiently 'til dark. They may still be at home because their flight was canceled due to heavy California rains and flooding. [note: even if your cell phone works in baja, you may not get the voicemail icon]

Losec is generic for prilosec. Immodium is immodium. Both are available along with several other options at every pharmacy. If you are traveling in a group, someone will need this information, guaranteed.

The most unique product I consumed in Baja was Damiana liquor. I only had it in a few margaritas, but it was a hit. At one point on the trip I found myself in a hot tub at a villa surrounded by strangers who were passing a bottle after a night of partying and proclaiming that it made you feel warm, wholesome, happy, and content. In the interests of living to tell the story, I opted to sit in the hot tub, and enjoy the rest of the evening without partaking of the pregnant lady's syrup of happiness and fertility. Good stuff in a margarita, though, if you get the chance.

The desert in Baja has much more vegetation that I expected. In fact, it's very much alive and teeming with life. E2, E2's parents & I drove the eastern route to La Paz from San Jose del Cabo, and then returned on the western route through Todos Santos. Both La Paz and Todos Santos are lovely little towns with quite a bit of Mexican culture. Cabo is, well, it's Cabo -- I consider it the Baja Vegas in many ways. Anyways, the Baja dessert -- it was very different in appearance from the barren deserts between Alexandria and Siwa in Egypt. I think I'd forgotten that the term desert can mean things as varied as the term forest.

I'd forgotten many things: how rich we are in this country and how our opportunities are something to be thankful for, how much I want to speak Spanish fluently, how for every "ugly american" there is at least one person from some part of America with a story you're glad to learn and generosity that makes you proud to be their countrymen, how geography is easiest learned by driving, how the sun looks when it rises over the ocean (and when it sets), how important it is to remember to sleep at least one day a year away, and how the true calamities and stresses of life are not kept from us by money. We are all human, we all die, we all have families (at one point), we all get sick, we all know desire in at least one of its forms, and we are all much more alike than we think when we read/watch/hear the news. Also, we can and should slow down, at least every once in a while.

That being said, it's good to be home. I'm much more appreciative of things like left hand turn lanes, toilet seat covers, toilet paper that doesn't feel like sand paper, drinkable tapwater, fresh vegetables and wine (although to be fair, baja does have it's own offereings, and I did try some of Ensenada's offerings -- a Syrah made by a barbeque joint in La Paz with mounted pigs displaying oversized human male genetalia. The wine was decent though. A bit overpriced for here, but fine for baja, where there isn't much of a wine market.)

January 1, 2006


I woke this morning from a dream where I was arguing with my Wills & Trusts professor over how I didn't deserve an F. She claimed I used language that was too flowery. Wierd way to start the year...

Today, I realized there are 68 days 'til the wedding.

So, like the bride-to-be that I am, I'm going to freak out go on vacation. That's right, I'm off to La Paz (Mexico, not Bolivia) 'til school starts.

Hasta Luego!
2005 Recap

E and I rang in 2005 thousands of miles from home, in Australia. A few days later, on Bondi Beach, E asked me to marry him and I said yes.

After we returned, I worked as an extern for a judge and took one 2-unit class. It was a blissfully relaxing semester, filled with many weekend trips, as well as training for and running my first half marathon. A month later, I did my second one.

So, 2005 will go down as the year I was first a real runner. After the first two races, I put together a very ambitious race schedule. Life got in the way a few times (weather, sick grandfather, required trip with summer law firm, etc.) but for the most part, I ran the races I'd planned to run. My running log totals out at 1,192 miles for the year, slightly over double last year's 583 miles. That's about 22 miles a week, on average. (I'd love to maintain that level of running for 2006, but I'm guessing things like the wedding, the bar, the bar trip, and working as a lawyer may get in the way.)

After a relaxing Spring (where the only tasks requiring discipline outside of work were finishing my journal note and planning the wedding), we started our Summer early with a trip to Puerto Rico. Upon our return, I spent a gluttonous 16 weeks (and 7 pounds--almost 1/2 a pound a week!) as a summer associate, first in transactional IP work, and later in litigation. Summer was ridiculously busy and set the pace for the rest of the year.

Fall semester was rough. The first month, I attended as much of my 16 units of classes as possible while juggling being a bridesmaid in my college roommate's wedding, a trip to Washington DC to accept an award for my journal note, a trip to the South to visit E's family, and my last trip to my hometown before Christmas. 16 units, wedding planning, several weddings, trips, and deciding where to work after law school made the semester fly by. Unfortunately, that level of activity translated into a lack of preparedness which combined with family drama for a perfect storm during finals.

I'd complain, but my December was nothing compared to my father's. For him, the month began with his father being placed on Hospice. Several days later, his father passed away. He went to the ranch, joined the family in celebrating his father's life and then stayed behind to pack up the ranch house and deal with my papa's belongings. Upon his return home, my father checked himself into the hospital with severe abdominal pain, only to be told that he had several lumps and needed biopsies. After his release, his oncologist fell ill and he was forced to wait patiently for the results. While waiting, his dog fell ill and unless she gets better by monday, he will have to put her down.

My last conversation with my father in 2005 ended with him saying, "I can't wait for this year to be over." While the year as a whole was fun and wonderful, I agreed with him about much of December. For some reason, I get the feeling that many people felt that way about the end of this year. So we all can now celebrate. We made it. (Unfortunately, I only managed to read 18 books on my approximately 25 book challenge, but... close enough. Given all the other stuff, I'm calling it a victory.)

Unlike last year, when we were thousands of miles from everyone we knew, E and I began 2006 in our own home with good friends, enjoying good food (I finally have time to cook again!), and good conversation. I'm excited for what this year has in store for us -- it should be just as crazy as 2005, if not more.

Happy New Year!