Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Breakdown of a Morning

I woke up late this morning because my first class was canceled. Here is how I spent my morning:
7:45 - 8:15 am - hit snooze
8:20 am - drag myself out of bed in time to catch a glimpse of T looking handsome in his dress clothes and sleek tie.
8:30 am - cereal.
8:40 am - coffee and news.
9:00 am - print a bunch of homicide articles for criminal law.
9:15 am - shower.
9:35 am - read homicide articles at the table half dressed with a towel on my head.
10:15 am - finish dressing myself.
10:20 am - take dog for a walk. think about how a year ago i could have only dreamed of a whole morning to myself. remind myself that this is only a temporary, if pleasant, detour. think about all the things i have to do in order to be able to watch the debate on thursday night. plan my week. budget out the remainder of my $20 weekly allowance.
10:40 am - do a few mechanical turks at 2 cents a pop. rewrite an article about teddy bears for $1.50.
11:00 am - research cases for my legal research and writing memo.
11:45 am - reheat a quesadilla for lunch.
11:50 am - eat lunch while watching msnbc.
12:00 pm - update my other blog.
12:20 pm - decide, what the hell, to update this blog.
12:32 pm - start to freak out about the time. did i really use my morning wisely? i have class in an hour. damn. i should review cases for crim law. etc. etc.
12:33 pm - get off the computer and get ready for school.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday morning post

It is quarter to nine on Monday morning. I am taking it easy. Although I did not study round the clock over the weekend, I did get in a few hours of quality face-to-face time with my books. I even briefed a few cases. And so, by 4:00 yesterday, I was free to enjoy the Redskins win over the Cowboys at the bar on the corner. And then, a drive around the outskirts of our city. And then, an episode of the Wire. So, it should be obvious by now that what I am doing is avoiding putting myself back into that "student" role again, by not cracking the books this morning. Instead, this blog post.

T is gone. He left at 8:30 this morning for work. He did it! All the hard work he put in applying for jobs and slaving over his resume and calling people back, all the drudgery of job hunting, has paid off! This is contract work, so it is not a permanent gig. However, for the time being, we can rest easy knowing that a paycheck will be forthcoming, and T will be "earning" his downtime (as he puts it). My hope: this will lead to a bit more structure in our days, and enjoyable evenings of reading and relaxing together.

Yesterday, when we went to the car for our mechanic-mandated road trip, there was a parking ticket tucked under the windshield wiper blade. Ordinarily, this would be an expected gift, but we had taken care on Friday to leave a note politely requesting that the Parking Authority not ticket the car due to extenuating circumstances (not to be divulged here). Our request was apparently denied. Fine. But when T grabbed the ticket to read the fine print, he found a special message was written back to us:

"Learn to park, dumbass."

Thanks, Officer Connelly. Will do.

I have to laugh, because this is my first real-life story about the infamous horror show that is driving (and owning a car) in this city. That message was classic.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some things happening

1. My uterus is acting up. I guess I'm not supposed to go into details, as my gut tells me that is violating some unwritten rule about what to publicly discuss. But I hate the "women's problems" euphemism. It's so 1950's. So yeah. Let's just leave it at that.

2. The most stressful thing of my 1L year so far is not any of my classes. It's being surrounded by peers for so many hours each week. I hadn't realized how holed up I've been for the last couple of years, until I started here. Being around so many vivacious, friendly and self-assured young people at once, I feel invisible or even worse: dorky. Not in that "dorky" is "cool" way, either. I mean "dorky" the way I was called Garbage and Trash on the playground; "dorky" the way my mom used to comb my hair into a side ponytail and dress me in purple stretch pants; "dorky" the way I called some girl a 'turd' on a field trip because she was mean to me, and everybody made fun of that. Yes. In law school, I have regressed beyond college, beyond high school and middle school... waaaayyyy back to the dreaded elementary school. At times, anyway.

3. We have an extra dog at our house. That dog is not nearly as cute or cuddly as our cute and cuddly E. And the extra dog yowls and cries throughout the night. She stops around the time the jackhammers start up, at seven in the morning.

4. Although feelings are elusive these days, I think I have pinpointed a couple of them: frightened, inadequate, burnt-out. Is that last one a feeling?

5. Oh yeah. And tired. I'm also feeling tired.

6. Right now I'm not exactly focused on the bright and happy spots of my life, but there are plenty. Today I met a woman from a very cool farmworkers legal aid program. They deal exclusively with workers' rights of migrant farmworkers. I got so excited talking with her that I practically jumped into her lap. If class wasn't consuming 100% of my mental energy, I would have probably tried to figure out how to work for her organization.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Date night

At some point I would like to drop some of the memorable quotes from my law classes into this blog, just because I want to remember the terribly elitist sense of humor I had during these heady 1L times. But my binder is off in the other room, where I abandoned it in the middle of reading a case that my book described as a "bad application of consideration." Can somebody please explain to me why I should be reading a BAD example of a very confusing concept as a way to help me understand this concept? Makes no sense...

But anyway. I abandoned the casebook in order to spend the evening hanging out with T. Since his best friend moved up here, I've had plenty of time to study while they entertain each other. It's kind of nice having familiar faces around too. But tonight was a good chance to steal away. We walked over to the market to get a couple of $1.50 slices of pizza (incredible) and then decided we'd go see Towelhead at one of the local theaters downtown.

It's pretty awesome that we can walk to not one, but three art house theaters that show independent and foreign movies. They're all part of a local chain of theaters, and having now been to two of them, I have to say that I'm impressed. In addition to candy and popcorn, they sell copies of Persepolis and movie posters at their concession stand. It's a really cool experience, though it can't beat the Byrd for prices and dramatic flair.

After the movie, we walked back to our hood for coffee and pastries, where ate this. Having discovered ganache, I'll never go back to regular chocolate again.

Sadly, I can't say the same for torts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Today I lost my subway pass. Well... lost, or it was stolen. I'm convinced it was stolen, as I left it in my backpack at the gym and it was gone when I came back. On the other hand, my (broken) phone and my wallet were still in my backpack. However, the pass and my student ID were in a side pocket that was easily accessible. And I stupidly picked a locker without a lock.

I filed a police report. Blah-di-blah. I'm hoping the transportation people will hook me up tomorrow if I ask nicely. Otherwise, I'm out about $300. Damn!

Law school budget is starting to wear thin. I'm having a hard time adjusting from my former lifestyle of a regular, comfortable income with plenty of padding to one of transferring $350 (after rent) into my checking account each month. I had some extra cash in the checking when I started on this whole adventure, so I'm hoping that'll last me. But I'm not sure, given that my car insurance for my *garaged* car is $40/month, my phone will be about $70 and my health insurance will be about $80. Plus the money I contribute to our utilities, etc. Yeah. That's not much left over.

The way I'm living now, a public interest attorney salary will be a godsend if I survive these three years. Of course, that's not factoring in the student loan repayments. Whatever. It's late. I should be worrying about all the Torts I have to catch up on.

So what else? My other blog is thriving. I am having fun updating it each day. And I had a really nice evening blowing off school work and playing Boggle with T tonight. We also went over to a bar around the corner to watch the Eagles/Cowboys game with a friend who happened to be passing through town. It was a lively scene, complete with screaming, hooting and fist pumping. I love football season.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rejoining the world

It's been a while since I had a working phone. Mine died the night my grandmother did. T and I were watching a movie, and don't ask me what it was. I got a call from my mom, telling me that my grandma had passed away. She sounded numb and calm. I asked if there was anything I could do; if she wanted me to call my brother. She said that would be a big help. I felt glad to be able to do something.

When I called him, my brother was on the roof of somebody's house. He lives across the country, so it wasn't that late where he was, and they were partying. He couldn't hear me well. "Grandma died," I said. "What?" he replied. "Hang on, I can't he--"

We lost reception. I was agitated. I called back. "Sorry, what were you saying?" my brother asked me. "Grandma... she's pass--" The phone cut out again, and I heard the blood pounding in my ears.

I called a third time. "Hey." "BRO, Grandma died!! She died!" Click.

I slammed the phone down onto the floor. "God DAMMIT!" was all I could say. I called him back and this time his voice was somber. He'd heard me. We got off the phone quickly. There was nothing more to say, really.

That was nearly a year ago.

Ever since then, my battery stopped holding a charge. Recently, it stopped working even when plugged into the wall. So I finally ordered a new phone, only to discover that all this time I'd been paying insurance on the broken phone. T reminded me that I had been so proud of my "responsible decision" to purchase insurance, citing all the dog-eaten, busted and lost phones I'd had before. As soon as I had signed up for the $5.99/mo charge, I promptly forgot all about it.

Anyway, I have been a schmuck who never checks her voice mail, never calls people, doesn't care that her phone is broken and doesn't try to warn people about it. But at least in just a few days, there will be a way to contact me again. Maybe this time around, I'll actually stay in touch.

If there was one of those mood buttons like they used to have on LiveJournal, I'd select the "self-hating" button. I'm not sure what's bringing me down, but I feel sad.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quiz me!

Stole this from PT-LawMom where I lurk at least a couple of times a day. T actually discovered her blog on his own while mentally preparing himself for a future as the significant other of a harried law student. Anyway, here's the quiz:

Have you ever…
1. gone on a blind date? Yes.
2. skipped school? Yes.
3. watched someone die? Yes.
4. been on a plane? Yes.
5. been on the opposite side of your country? Yes
6. swam in the ocean? Yes.
7. had your booze taken away by the cops? No, but I did get my beer confiscated by security guards at my college homecoming game last year.
8. lettered in high school sport? Sport -- no. Key Club -- yes!
9. cried yourself to sleep? Yes.
10. played cops and robbers? No.
11. sung karaoke? Hell, yes!
12. paid for a meal with coins only? Duh.
13. done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? Yes.
14. cheated on an exam? No.
15. made prank phone calls? Yes. (Sorry, Mr. Sedwick)
16. laughed until some sort of beverage came out of your nose? No.
17. caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes.
18. written a letter to Santa Claus? Yes.
19. watched the sunrise with someone you care about? Yes.
20. been kissed under the misteltoe? I think so...?
21. ever been arrested? No.
22. gone ice skating? Yes.
23. been skinny dipping outdoors? Yes.
24. had a nickname? Yes, a few.
25. been on TV? Probably....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Checking in

School continues to be a challenge, albeit a fun challenge. I read all about that guy who sued Pepsi for specific action on a breach of contract after he tried unsuccessfully to redeem 7,000,000 Pepsi points for the Harrier jet from the commercial. I read the one about the unfortunate kid who got sued and lost after he lightly kicked a classmate's leg across the aisle of the classroom to get his attention and the classmate's leg fell off. In Criminal Law, we started out the course with a brief meditation on cannibalism. I can't say the reading is dull.

I have been wanting to write a little in my blog about the concepts I'm learning, so that I can practice making the law more accessible to non-legal professionals, and also so that I can further process what I'm learning. For example, today in Torts we talked about the Eggshell-skull rule, which is basically the rule that if you commit an intentional tort (unwanted contact such as a battery) you are responsible for whatever consequences happen, regardless of whether you could have foreseen them. So the poor kid who tapped his friend's leg with his toe had to pay for all the medical costs and damages when his friend's leg went bad and fell off from infection. And if you happen to throw a snowball at your friend's head, and her skull is thin as an egg-shell, you're in big trouble.

T is back from walking the dog and making calls now. We're working on this life-balance thing, day by day. He's got his own struggles, which mostly pertain to finding a job (read: money) and fulfilling work (read: printing press). By the end of the day, we are both ready to watch some TV on the DVD (read: The Wire).

I think I need to add the disclaimer before I post that nothing I say in this blog should be construed as legal advice. This is information about law school only, so please find a good lawyer if you have a legal question. If you don't have one, I know a few good ones who could probably help you out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A quick aside

I am struggling with some identity issues. That is to say, I feel weird being a student again and I feel uncomfortable with myself for being 27 and not interested in a lot of the things in which I'm "supposed" to be interested. I'm tired of harping on this theme, but I am also trying to break myself of the habit of discounting my feelings. So there you go.

Law school subjects are interesting and have managed to maintain my attention, which is a good sign still. I'm not regretting my decision to study the law, as it's definitely an area that captures my fancy. I just want to stay on top of my other interests and remember why I came here. I'm not prepared for all the law students in my section to become my second family, or for my life to revolve around the various happy hours that are taking place around the city as I type this entry.

This week, I have two personal goals:
1) Keep updating my other blog on immigration raids, and
2) Hustle down to this little center I've been hearing about that works with the local transnational Mexican community to see if I can volunteer somehow.

Perhaps I'm crazy to try and be a first year student and have a life outside of school. Or maybe that's all just hype. I'm still waiting to find out.

The neighborhood continues to charm. Yesterday, while circling around a nearby park, I witnessed some intense streetball on the outdoor courts, a lively game of Hide-and-Go-Seek on the playground and what appeared to be that mysterious game known as Bocce Ball being played by a bunch of twenty-somethings on the soccer/softball field.