Friday, January 30, 2009

getting dizzy

just watched the most recent episode of Lost. i'm not sure which makes my head spin faster: Lost or following a class discussion on Marbury v. Madison. i definitely take more pleasure from Lost. omg.

today i did no homework at all. instead i went to the bar and had some beers with friends after class, went to the dog park, ate some green beans, went on a date to the diner and watched Lost in streaming HD while wearing pajamas in bed. now, i am going to sleep.

it's awfully early in the semester to be blowing off work. oh well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Piedmonth death

The other blog is tentatively back up and running. I stopped a while back. At the time, I thought it had to do with my grueling exam schedule and general law school distractions. But upon later reflection, I've realized that it may also have been sparked by a couple of things...

I started the blog with the intention of posting articles about ICE raids on homes and work places. This is because there were so many rumors milling around Richmond about la migra coming at night and hauling parents away from kids, etc. I know how rumors spread rampant in this regard, but I also know that fear of ICE is very real. I wanted to try to figure out what is actually happening and where and when and to whom.

Not surprisingly, there wasn't much in the way of news reporting about these types of raids. It's so frustrating, because they ARE happening. They just aren't reported on. But, occasionally, there is a big raid, or an inspired journalist, and a story appears. So I wanted to post those, so I would have a reason to keep looking and others would have a way to keep track.

However, I quickly realized that there is a slipperly slope. I didn't want to post stories about criminals who were being deported after doing jail time, because that wasn't really hitting the heart of the issue as I saw it. The idea that people are just living their lives and then suddenly they are in jail was really upsetting to me. So I started setting guidelines: no articles about those who were arrested for other things and happened to be deportable, for example. No articles about drug busts at the border.

Yet those are the kinds of deportations that ARE reported on, and with regularity. It's no wonder people think all immigrants with brown skin are criminals. Every day there are 100s of articles about immigrants accused of molestation, beating their kids to death, smuggling drugs or killing pedestrians in drunk driving accidents. Tons of articles about those people being arrested and getting ICE holds placed on them. "Juan Garcia was arrested and an immigration hold has been placed on him by federal immigration officials." Which brings with it two problems: (1) Juan Garcia hasn't been tried, so we don't know if he is guilty or innocent; all we know is he is accused. (2) "Immigration hold" just means the person is suspected of being in the country illegally. It doesn't mean he is or isn't.

So many questions. Literally, they are endless. Even though these people are accused of crimes, I still consider them to be tied to the issue of immigrant rights. Because who knows what happens to Juan Garcia after the hold is placed. Is he held for 48 hours and released? Is he improperly held longer? Did ICE officials actually pick him up? Was he a US citizen? It's just another person who entered into the US criminal justice system only to be handed over to this Other World where the usual rules of justice and due process don't seem to apply. Just that instead of seeming totally innocent, they were already branded criminal.

The line became even fuzzier when I started seeing articles (or mostly just blurbs in Police Blotters) about individuals who were pulled over for the ever-generic "traffic violations" and ended up with ICE holds placed on them. Getting pulled over is not the same thing as having your house raided. But then again, making an illegal right turn on red is no reason to be thrown into that Other World, the maze of immigration that usually ends up in either swift deportation or months of languishing in prison (and then deportation). Who are these people? What happens to them? Are they receiving justice?

In short, there were way more questions than answers. I have had so much trouble distinguishing what to post and not post. What is appropriate and not appropriate. I wanted to be fair. I wanted to attract people from both sides, to just look at it from an objective point of view. But you can't pick and choose articles without choosing your perspective. And on top of that, I DO have a point of view, so I couldn't just leave out articles about detainee deaths.

Which is what I found today when I resumed posting on the blog for the second day. Friends of mine are organizing in Farmville, VA, and happened to be quoted in this New York Times article you will find on my other blog. I was proud of them for making the Times with their work. I was saddened by the horrific occasion. Another death in another jail by another detainee. A Piedmont death.

I have to keep posting, but I am going to continue to struggle with this. I guess we'll see.

Oh yeah, the other reason I stopped posting for a while: it makes me depressed to read this stuff day in and day out. On the other hand, I better get used to it. This is what I want to do for a living.

Monday, January 26, 2009

bill of pains and penalties

black bean stew simmering on the stove? check.
legal research and writing assignment due tomorrow? check.
fifty pages of civil procedure to read? check.
exactly 4 hours and 17 minutes left in the day? check.
wasting time on the blog when i should be working? check.

yep. school's back in session.

i miss my BF. he's in the other room. law school makes me feel sequestered.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

a whole new world, a new horizon to expl-------

i take it back i take it back i take it back. when i said i would rather be on the couch reading Con Law i must have been feeling particularly guilty about not studying. i've been sitting at the table reading Marbury v. Madison for the last 40 minutes. i get the impression that some special glow of light is supposed to be emanating from the casebook, holy choirs singing as i suddenly realize the brilliance of judicial review.


i do feel productive though. kind of. therefore, i am only on here to look up a wikipedia explanation of the case and move on back to the table. this is just a quick note to say hello.


Monday, January 19, 2009


I actually went searching for memes just now, because what else would I be doing (other than reading my Con Law assignment for Wednesday)? T's gone out to buy ingredients for a pizza. Last time he did that, he ended up writing, "Marry Me?" on the pizza in green peppers. I wonder what he'll do this time? I'm hoping for "Some pig!"

It's been snowing all day. For some unexpected but pleasant reason, the cold got a whole lot bearable at the exact moment the snow started to fall. I could draw an analogy to my menstrual cycle, but I think it draws itself. Aren't I funny?

The weekend has just been so enjoyable. School starting back up again hasn't been a drag. It's been a welcome return to routine. I like the reading and compared to the nails-down-a-chalkboard disagreeable nature of finals, the beginning of the semester is a cakewalk. I'm trying not to enjoy it too much, as I should be starting to outline already (according to my Civ Pro professor anyway).

But I've had plenty of time to do such fun things as: watch football on a widescreen t.v., make friends with people who like playing Settlers of Catan (J & P, we miss you!), drive to the suburbs to see T's best friend's band play its first gig, go out and drink too much with my future bro-in-law and his GF, see a great movie and eat amazing noodles on a date with my hot future husband. I even got my Property reading done! Tonight there is a birthday party downtown for some classmates, the perfect excuse to toast the end of GW Bush's presidency. Tomorrow, a day of total celebration! And of course, Wednesday marks the true excitement: Lost returns! (I got the date right on that, right?)

So, I'm feeling pretty good today, even if I haven't set foot outside.

Oh yeah, and here's my meme:

Four Jobs I've Had
1. Chinese food delivery person
2. AmeriCorps Alums intern
3. Sound technician
4. Safety coordinator

Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over
1. Don't Be A Menace (To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In Tha Hood)
2. Southpark: The Movie (okay, it's been a while... this one may have run its course)
3. Amores Perros
4. City of God

Four Places I've Lived
1. Fairfax County, VA
2. Durham, NC
3. North of the Mason-Dixon line
4. Richmond, VA

Four TV Shows I Love
1. Six Feet Under
2. The Wire
3. Wife Swap
4. Bernie Mac

Four Places I've Vacationed
1. Colombia (South America)
2. Costa del Sol, Spain
3. Driving across the country in a family sedan with parents and a little brother, sleeping in motels and parking lots behind gas stations.
4. Niagara Falls

Four Of My Favorite Dishes
1. My mom's chicken and rice
2. Pizza
3. Black beans and rice
4. Fudge brownie a la mode

Four Sites I Visit Daily
1. JE Guide to Life

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
1. Sitting on the couch reading Con Law
2. Already at the bar
3. Hanging out with friends from home
4. Out to dinner with my parents and brother

Sunday, January 18, 2009

To go or not to go

Where did this night go? It's 2:23 am. About 15 minutes ago, I tried to start a game of The Game of (Real) Life on the grounds that it was only 11 o'clock. I was, of course, reading the hands backwards on the clock. Whoops.

So obviously I've had a bit to drink. I'm laying off for the most part. But tonight, T and I went to see Revolutionary Road, which was great (kind of depressing though). There happened to be a noodle place next door, so we decided to go for dinner afterward, with wine include. One chilly walk back and we made it to the apartment just in time to see my future brother-in-law and his GF pulling up with the car we loaned them. We went out for more drinks and food. A couple hours later and we ended up back at my apartment with T's best friend, playing Wii and finishing off our bottle of wine from last night.

Now I'm sitting here trying to decide whether to drive down for the inauguration on Tuesday. I really, really, really can't decide. I had just about written it off, but the more I think about it, the more I feel like it would be nothing but a regret to not at least try. This might make up for all the other things I could have but did not do over the last few years (e.g. the State of the Union address protest on the Washington mall the year we started the Iraq war; the second GW Bush inauguration protest; etc.) not to mention it would be terrible to be able to say I attended GW Bush's first inauguration parade and not Obama's. Anyway... to be determined, I guess. One thing is for sure: tomorrow, I get to sleeeeeeeeeep in!

Friday, January 16, 2009

New semester, old grades and a gray day

I can already see that this semester is going to be more challenging that the last. Most of my professors jumped right into the legal analysis this first week, practically tearing apart famous decisions with their bare teeth, showing off their prowess at dissecting faulty logic while the rest of us sat lightheaded and dizzy and just trying to follow along. I was simply glad I'd kept up with and understood the reading. Apparently that's not good enough.

We also got some grades back today. I did pretty poorly in my legal research and writing class. After getting my graded memo back with feedback, I learned that my grade was dropped two 1/2 letter grades for turning it in 10 minutes late and for some careless formatting errors. Totally fair. I'm trying to decide if I feel better or worse about the reason my grade was so low. On the other hand, I did surprisingly well in Contracts. Since that class is four credits to the writing class' two, I was more pleased than let down this afternoon. But it's still scary and I have 2 and a half grades left.

T and I hung around the house tonight still trying to avoid this horrid east coast cold front. We bought a bottle of wine and finished a DVD of the Wire (Season 5) and I tried (and failed at) baking parmesan cheese puffs. T has been pretty glum and the weather is downright mean. I'm trying to stay grounded but it's hard not to see gray all around right now.

I wish my books would get here so I could at least curl up with a week's worth of reading and get it over with.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Waiting game

That lovely winter break is quickly growing small in the rear view mirror. The bitter cold of the big city is everywhere, even trying to seep in through our windowpanes. The wedding that we giddily discussed is now on the back burner while we adjust to a new semester and all the things in life that were on pause for a few weeks as we briefly flocked south for the winter break. I'm excited to be learning new things. I'm already tired of walking the dog every afternoon. I'm looking for new ways to save time and finding new ways to drain it away. I need to unpack. I feel newly energized and optimistic and usually grateful. But most of the time, I feel the kind of emptiness you feel at a doctor's office with no magazines, when you're just spacing out, waiting for your name to be called.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold wind blowing

Sometimes it feels just like one step forward, two steps back. T and I decide to tie the knot, but then the holidays, the stress of school, a month on the road, lack of routine, unfilled prescriptions and unpaid vacation days catch up to us, and it feels like everything is sliding backwards. I've been here before. This is the point where I dig in my heels, fix my gaze to some far off point and settle into "just survive" mode. Everything else feels unimportant. I just want to make sure we can get back to normal again. Thing is... since we got to the big city, nothing has felt like normal. The only thing normal is that I am still in love with T and my dog. Everything else feels more like a whirlwind.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Round 2

Law school starts up again tomorrow and I feel... ugly. I have two giant zits on my face, one of which is painful and one of which is just gross to look at. And I have only one pair of pants left. My clothing situation is abysmal thanks to the 10-15 pounds I've put on over the past couple of years. I wish I could just go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, but alas I have no money with which to indulge in that fantasy. Instead, I'll be snagging a bunch of clothes on credit at Target in order to maximize savings and minimize concern about fit. Friends suggested tonight that I go to the local thrift store, and if I were in the right frame of mind, that would be a valid idea. But in moments like this, new, bright, shiny and pretty are what's needed.

T gave me crap for being excited about registering for gifts. I don't care. I'm excited to think about all the fun household-y things we can maybe be lucky enough to receive. When else in our lives will we have the chance to simply get stuff, no strings attached. Not that I expect anything. I don't. I just like the excuse to think about fancy slow-cookers and pretty high-thread-count sheets. And truthfully, the only reason I was thinking about it is cause we were wandering around Macy's looking for a restroom.

Anyway, I'm glad to be back in the city. It's stressful having a visitor here (my brother JC is visiting), but I am also sooo excited to have had the chance to show him around. I've been having nightmares for the past week. Some have to do with school, like the one in which I was devastated to learn that I'd received an S- on my memo (which in reality is graded on an actual gradepoint scale). Some have to do with wedding stuff, like the one in which my dad and my best friend and I were running around some endless mall looking for my wedding dress the night before my wedding. Some have to do with T, like the one in which he was being really mean to me in front of his family and friends at a bowling alley. Obviously, there is a lot of free-floating anxiety in my life and I haven't had a chance to process it. I am craving routine.

Speaking of which, it's time to hole punch those syllabi, clear out the binders, load up the backpack, carve the pages out of the binding of my casebooks, find some pens that still work and settle in for the last couple of guilt-free episodes of the Wire I'll be able to watch for at least four months.

Round 2... fight!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Making good time in 2009

I've never had real New Years resolutions that I actually vow to stick to. Usually I do make a resolution or two in the spirit of sharing with friends over a toast at midnight, but this year, I didn't even do that. Instead, I silently vowed to myself in the wee hours of the first morning of 2009 that I would try to be more mindful this year. I want to write more. I want to open myself up more to talking about the things that really matter to me, the things that are on my mind. I want to spend less time distracting myself with things that don't matter at all. (Hello, Wii and Uno FreeFall!) For a moment, I entertained the idea of vowing to post on this blog every day for the whole year, or maybe write in my journal or something. But I'm not one for making promises I know I won't keep. So, instead, I'm just going to try. And I am holding myself to it by announcing that here.

So now I'm sitting in the Duke undergraduate library, typing out this first entry for the year while I kill time down in North Carolina. I'm in NC to visit old friends, people from a life I feel I've left pretty far behind by now, but not so far that it's irrelevant. I spent a good two years here, developing my post-college identity and setting the course that eventually landed me here in law school, engaged and more content and settled, if a bit more boring. Boring has been the theme of this "vacation" home to visit friends and family all over Virginia and NC. Not that it's been boring, but that I wonder if I AM boring. Even writing that, I laugh at myself a little. I don't feel boring, and that's what matters. But hanging around my bro, and other old friends, I remember myself from five years ago, seven years ago, when I would run around all night with them, hoping from diner to basement to liquor store to parking garage, playing video games and doing stupid suburban things. They don't do that stuff anymore, but they have moved on the grown-up version of such pasttimes: parties with friends in the city, clowning in the circus (literally), I don't know. I just feel different. It's not bad, it's just something I don't notice except under certain circumstances.

Anyway, that's one thing running through my mind this break. Another was the whole shadow of living under my parents' roof again. That's the kind of stuff that trips me up from writing on a blog, because it's dark and scary and I'm afraid of making my family life sound terrible. I'm also protective of it, but at the same time feel an urge to write. What I realized, on my drive down to NC, is that I am terrified of sadness. Too much time at home and I start to feel scared and lonely. So I'm ready to go back up to the big city, where T awaits me and I can live MY life rather than worry about my family's. I just wonder, I keep wondering if I am running away from something.

Well, I have to get back to driving around these old streets and trying to make sense of being here. As unhappy as I sometimes feel with living in a big city and having disrupted something good T and I had going on in Richmond, I feel very very grateful to be with him in our tiny little apartment, and I don't really care where it is. Big city, tiny town, boondocks or cookie-cutter suburbs, I am just happy to have the little family I have and be living in something that is mine, that is the present.