Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaBloPoMo (Friendsgiving edition)

We had Friendsgiving tonight. It's the third year in a row that Best Man and Best Woman have hosted a bunch of friends (starting with just three, now grown to about 10) at their place for a potluck the weekend before Thanksgiving. It was nice.

Last night, T and I stayed in and baked cookies, roasted veggies for dinner and watched Mad Men. One of the best weekend nights I've had in a long time. Hell, this week has been one of the best weeks I've had in a long time. Why? Because I stayed in a lot, took care of myself, tried to focus on school, went on a genuine date with T, had drinks with friends from school and talked to my best friend on the phone. All in all, the days have weighed in on the positive side.

Friday, November 19, 2010

NaBloPoMo (flashback edition)

Who am I? Well, if this helps figure me out at all, I was this girl on November 18th, 2002. (Sorry, I didn't write anything on November 19th of that year.)

Take a trip with me, will you, down memory lane... The first months of dating T, my last year of college, a simultaneously simpler and scarier time...

Monday, 11/18/02

Meteor shower tonight. T stayed up with me in [the school computer lab] while I did internet research for a big debate against the war on Iraq I am doing with the Human Rights Club tomorrow. It was 4 a.m. when we stepped outside into the sharp freezing cold, the first one of its kind all season. We were about to go separate ways, too tired and cold to watch the sky. But staring up a moment, we saw how clearly the heavens towered over us. Each star stood otu perfectly, the moon a bright white sphere looming over the treetops and sleeping houses. I heard T breathe in sharply. He saw a shooting star, and I had missedit. "We aren't going until you see one," he told me. "You're looking the wrong way." Pulling his hands out of his pockets, he turned me around, my back against his chest, and wrapped his arms in an embrace across my chest. Jigsaw puzzle. We fit perfectly, my teeth chattering and shoulders shivering, faces turned upward toward the darkness. I never saw a meteor pass. We became too cold, too tired, and happy enough here on the ground to let this one go, I walked away from the moment.

When I got home, I saw two meteors on my porch. My wishes were:
1) [Wish #1]
2) [Wish #2]

Really, I want T and I to be together forever sometimes. I do? Maybe.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaBloPoMo (friendship edition)

I had time to kill yesterday, so I went to the downtown Borders Books. Borders is one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon, and it has been ever since the only bookstore I knew was in downtown DC. My dad would sometimes drive us into the city on weekends, take us to the business district and point out all the neat places he remembered from when he used to work in the area. Inevitably, we would end up at Borders, which at the time was this unheard-of idea for a bookstore: a place with comfy chairs and coffee and nobody hovering over your shoulder expecting you to buy something. We would spend hours there. After a Borders and a Barnes & Nobles both opened up near our house, we stopped going into the city as much. We called those places "the library".

So yesterday I was up in a corner of the Big City's Borders, which sits right in the thick of everything, and I was curled up in a corner on the second floor, next to the ceiling-to-floor windows that overlooked the scurrying pedestrians and hot dog vendors. I spent two hours reading a book called Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Relationships. As per my usual method of browsing and reading, I had picked up the book, along with a large stack of others, from the Psychology/Self-Help section that always seems to beckon my narcissistic self. Since it was my first find, I started in on it first. And never moved on.

I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately. I had one friend from school whose friendship might be fairly described as contentious. This friend was a guy, but not that kind of guy friend. Just a kind of easy to hang out with dude who always seemed to be available for lunch or drinks and was one of several in a circle of friends I've made at school. He was nothing like me in most ways - his political beliefs were undeveloped but ran conservative, and he was quick to make offensive jokes. He also came across like an asshole to most people, at least at first glance. But he was friendly in his teasing about my six highlighters that I used to highlight class notes during Crim our first semester, and didn't seem to draw the distinction between me and our younger, more sociable section-mates that I had mentally drawn for myself. So I liked him and we hit it off. On the other hand, T was never a fan of this guy, mainly because I have a history of making friends with jerks, and probably because he suspected this friend's motives (which I didn't otherwise I wouldn't have been friends with him). Yet we remained friends for the first two years of law school, traveling as we did in the same circles.

Long story short, I "broke up" with him as a friend because of something he did that pissed me off and crossed a boundary. But more than feeling pissed off at what he did, I have also felt pissed off that he ruined what I thought was a good friendship. It hurts, maybe as much because I should've seen it coming as because it happened at all. I'm mad at myself for letting myself become friends, once again, with someone who isn't looking out for my best interests. And that is, perhaps, why I found myself relating best with the The Sacrificer.

Sacrificers, according to this book, are those who put their heart and soul into a friendship, in an attempt to develop closeness. They often feel shortchanged when their friends prove not to be as dedicated. It's not the same as a martyr ("The Doormat") who constantly suppresses her own needs and wants in order to avoid conflict and go along in the name of friendship. But it definitely involves a great potential for power imbalance and letdown that isn't necessarily due to the other friend being "bad" but simply not living up to one's expectations. Sacrificers are often quick to move on from friendships that don't pay off.

The book helped me to understand why I felt so pissed off at this friend - it's because I thought we were friends who were considerate of one another, and it turns out he didn't feel the same, or at least not in the same way I did. It wasn't worth it for me to talk it out with him, but it still leaves me feeling shortchanged. I go through this transaction countless times on a smaller scale. I make acquaintances with someone, get excited about potential friendship, and then start to feel like I've invested way too much too soon and realize that the other person isn't as emotionally invested. Then I back off. Move on.

It's the backing off part that I am struggling with: when to do it and when not to. I frequently don't back off soon enough. I'll hang on to someone as a friend long after it's become clear that they aren't good for me in one way or another. See supra. And other times, I'll back off far too soon, misinterpreting a tone of voice as disinterest or an awkward conversation as incompatibility, never giving the friendship a chance. Occasionally, I get lucky and talk myself out of writing someone off just long enough to see that it's a friendship worth continuing to hang onto. And then being right about it.

Everyone says that friendship is like dating. What a cliche. How true. T and I had a long conversation about it last night, during our fantastic dinner date. We were talking about the differences between guy friendships, girl friendships and guy-girl friendships. As we sat and talked about it, between sips of wine and covert laughs about the bizarre wait staff, I looked across the table at him and wondered: how did I land this amazing friend? At the end of the day, I know that I am capable of making genuine friendships with some people, because I have a couple already. If they're all the friends I ever end up with, that's okay because they're all I really need. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying. I really want to get better at this friendship thing. But part of getting better might mean investing more in the people who have already shown that they care. It makes me think I have some phone calls to make.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NaBloPoMo (make-up edition)

* My dog is uncontrollably itchy, and has been for weeks. I don't know what to do, and he appears miserable. It's not fleas. Do I need to take him to the vet?

* Watching Love in the Time of Cholera makes me wonder why American directors continually butcher Latino characters and repeatedly miscast Benjamin Bratt and John Leguizamo as the Everyhombres. But it also makes me really, really, really, REALLY ready to go back to Colombia.

* I tried something new at school today. In the two hours between classes that I usually spend freaking out about what to do and wind up doing nothing productive, I paused and envisioned myself sitting in a library carrel with my Fed Courts book, studying. After taking just a few moments to mindfully picture myself actually studying, I miraculously found myself walking to a library carrel and opening up my Fed Courts book. It occurred to me that most of the time I'm fretting about studying, I'm not actually committed to actually studying. The More You Know!

* T and I have a date night planned for tomorrow. I can not wait. We really need some catch-up time. It's been nice taking it slow this week, and spanning time together.

* Human Rights casebook and I have a date for tonight. Exciting action happening in my bed in about five minutes. I have to close my eyes and visualize it first though, if I want to make it happen. So, if you'll excuse me...

NaBloPoMo (I haven't blowdryed my hair and it's almost 10 o'clock edition)

Whoops... I'm a little behind here. Bear with me, I'll probably post again later today. I know, I know. You're waiting with bated breath.

For now, I'm super late to my clinical.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaBloPoMo (blackjack edition)

27) Play blackjack in a casino


My bro and I took a bus to Atlantic City yesterday. It was so much fun. And yes, after writing about being depressed, and drinking, and being generally unhealthy, gambling sure does seem like a step in the wrong direction. Haha. But for real, it was something we'd been trying to do all week, and playing a table game at a casino was on my 30 Before 30 list. So there were good, non-self-destructive reasons for going.

And I'm glad we did. Because I started with $20 in my pocket, spent $5 on food, and ended up with $65 in cash on the busride back. My brother and I really just pooled all our money together, a whopping total of $80. But we wound up with nearly $300, which is some pretty good beginner's luck, if you ask me! (Although JC is no beginner.. apparently he played a lot in the casinos around Denver, and got pretty good on one piece of advice about craps - bet on the 6.)

So now I am addicted to craps, feel dangerously confident about my ability to play blackjack, am still amazed that you can order any drink you want and it's free, and will definitely be going back to the AC with T for a date night sometime. (T is in VA this weekend. I stayed behind to catch up on school work.)

Incidentally, I did get my P this morning (TMI or whatever), and I do feel somewhat better today. But I'm also still quite concerned about things I need to change about my lifestyle, and about my mental health in general, and looking forward to having a quiet house again next week, so I can catch up with T and we can make a game plan for improvements in our routine.

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaBloPoMo (depression edition)

Depression creeps up on you. Depression is like someone poisoning your food, a little at a time, so you don't realize you're getting sick, you think you're just having an "off" day. You're tired a lot. Little by little your mind is shutting down. You go numb.

I'm at a point where I don't know and don't care if it's something to do with the medication or my cycle or what. Does it matter why I'm depressed? Is there even a reason? My period could come tomorrow and I might feel completely different about my life. I feel guilty about the fact that I have a loving husband, that I'm healthy, that I have so much, and yet I am unsatisfied. There's another symptom. Guilt. It doesn't really matter. All I know is that I fell asleep in a library chair at school yesterday, after getting 10 hours of sleep the night before because I'd fallen asleep in all my clothes at 10 p.m. And then I remembered.

There was another chair I used to fall asleep in. It was a red chair. It sat in the corner of the room where I used to watch kids at a homeless shelter. That was my first job out of college. I was depressed then. And when the kids had naptime, I would sit in that chair without the energy to do anything else. I would doze to escape my thoughts. Sitting in that library chair yesterday, dozing, not caring what time it was or whether I was late to class, I remembered that I have been here before.

Drinking is one way to ignore depression. To stave it off. There are other ways. Sleeping. Watching TV. Working late. Distractions come in all forms. The thing about drinking is that it's a double edged sword. You can ignore things to a point, and then the floodgates are opened. Once your inhibitions are gone and you start talking, it all comes flooding out. And it's ugly.

Depression thoughts are ugly, as a rule, and I hate them. I hate to look at them. But once you let them out, you have to look at them. Once you share them with someone, they're hard to ignore. And then all you can do is muddle through it. If you're going through hell, keep on moving, right? This isn't hell. But it's an unpleasant place to be.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaBloPoMo (overwhelmed procrastinator edition)

Is this why law students drink so much?

Right now I have the following concerns running through my head:
- I need to read, like, the entire textbook for Human Rights. I really should get on that.
- I've only outlined the first day of class for Crim Pro. Need to catch up. I really should get on that.
- What happened? I was doing good in Fed Courts but I'm so lost now, I can't make myself open the casebook. I really should get on that.
- I can't believe I didn't even know my ADR professor's name so I could get her exams from the library. I really should get on that.
- This fellowship ain't coming through. I need to start applying for jobs. I really should get on that.
- If I want to do deportation defense, I have to stop lurking around the offices of the clinic attorneys that I admire and actually initiate conversations. I really should get on that.
- Wasn't the State of Virginia trying to audit my taxes from 2005. I was supposed to follow up. I really should get on that.
- Running low on cash, but somehow I've gotta find some gas money so I can take my brother to Atlantic City on Friday. I really should get on that.
- Where are all my friends? It's been too long since I called my BFF and I feel like I never talk to anyone anymore. I really should get on that.
- I can't believe how many days I forgot to take my Prozac before remembering this morning. Plus, I don't have a doctor's appointment for when prescription refills run out. I really should get on that.

Man, I could use a drink. I really should get on that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaBloPoMo (Freaked-out 3L edition)

I just need an angel investor. Someone who will pay me a salary while I go around representing immigrants in deportation proceedings. I feel like a fool and an incompetent today. I've spent my whole legal career expecting that if I just want it enough I will find a way to get paid to do what I want. And now I see that it's either not likely or not recommended. I'm not supposed to go straight out and start practicing the law on my own. So I have to find an employer. None of the legal services organizations can afford to hire me. And I just got rejected for the fellowship I had the best chance of getting. So that leaves firm jobs. And that's okay. I'm not opposed on principle to working at a firm. It's just that if I had really expected to be applying to those places all along, maybe I would've put more effort into doing the things that make firm hiring attorneys want to hire you. And maybe I would've deigned to do OCI, or at least tried to get an interview. So now I'm just having a little freakout while my brother is here and I don't feel like I can get anything productive done about this mini-panic. I know this is going to take some focus, some elbow grease and some printer ink. And stamps. Lots of stamps. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NaBloPoMo (bitchin' edition)

Things that drive me effing CRAZY:

- When my dude friends think that it's cool to make frat jokes because they're not in a frat. Newsflash: Nobody but you and your other dude friends (and maybe not even them) care about whether you think your best friend's sister is hot enough to have sex with. The girl who just walked by wearing a dress definitely does not care what you think about her appearance in said dress. And your insistence on referring to the attractiveness and/or "sluttiness" of every female public figure does in fact perpetuate the idea that women's value comes from their attractiveness and/or willingness to fit into the traditional female roles of madonna (pure mothering "good girl") and the whore (hot, sexy "bad girl") and not from their ideas, accomplishments and non-sexual skills. Quit calling yourself goddamn progressives when you're relying on the same damn concepts that have kept women as second class citizens for generations, the same damn concepts that continue to keep women in so many parts of the world as the property of their fathers and brothers and husbands. Just...don't. Or if you do, don't waste your breath telling me how "wrong" I am when I object to your fallacious flip ("women do it to us, too!"). And if you want to talk about how it's just "biology" so it's naive to get upset at your incessant chatter about the sex life or sexual value of this or that famous female, just stfu. And p.s. if you think you aren't getting manipulated by mass media into making sex the focal point of your evaluations of women, you are deluding yourself. And most of all, please don't bother speaking up about gay bullying when you are the first to comment on how slutty girls dress these days. You're only a few steps away from blaming the woman who dressed too provocatively for havin to pay for her rape kit.

p.s. I hope you all have daughters.

- Law students who think that because they're talking to another law student who (a) isn't at a Top 10 law school, (b) wasn't on law review and/or (c) hasn't got a job lined up in Big Law, they must be smarter, better and more deserving of their lot. It's bad enough that employers do this. I don't need it from some smug kid who hasn't even passed the bar yet. Not everyone places their priorities on the same things. It's about damn time law school recognized that.

Friday, November 5, 2010

NaBloPoMo (my brother's edition)

Well, I guess I'll catch up at some point in here...

My bro got here yesterday! When I got out of class at the ungodly hour of 9 p.m. and made my way back to the apartment, there he was, chillin with T and our friend A. They were squeezed into our little living room, gathered around the TV, which was playing a video loop of a fireplace. How cozy.

JC isn't sure if he's going to be staying on the East Coast or not, but I sure hope he does. To that end, I have managed to get him a little paid gig for next week! And by "get" it, I mean that I happened to come across an email last night from the law school, which was looking for people to videotape some training going on all next week. Since JC studied...videotaping (ha)... he's already got the job!

The best part of having him here is that I have another fun partner in crime to do things around the city with. He's generally up for whatever, whether it's kicking my butt in Bananagrams, going to karaoke or taking an impromptu trip to a casino. Hopefully, all three of these things will happen while he's here. He's only been to visit us in the Big City once before, and that was terrible and terribly brief timing. This time, he'll be here for about a week. Plenty of time to get into fun.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaBloPoMo (the belated edition)

I meant to write something yesterday and never did. Probably because I was too busy creating To-Do lists with things like "watch 1 episode of Mad Men" and "print out Human Rights reading for tomorrow" (note: not "READ Human Rights reading for tomorrow"). In any case, I remembered about NaBloPoMo last night/this morning at around 2 a.m. when I couldn't fall asleep and was obsessively playing Texas Hold 'Em on my Blackberry while holding it under the covers so the light wouldn't keep T up. I decided to write this post in the AM and write a second NaBloPoMo in the afternoon/evening. I'm looking forward to today because my bro-bro gets into town for a visit! It's only the second time he's been to the Big City, but the first time he came was right before the start of Spring semester of my first year of school. I was not exactly the best hostess, on account of I was extremely sulky over having to go back to being scared to death. Ha! Memories...

Anyway, until this afternoon!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaBloPoMo (having a drink with a friend)

A while ago I wrote about how my friend came out at our Halfway to JD party, in a drunken admission calculated to make the rest of us feel like we'd missed something obvious the whole time. Which of course, some of us had.

Anyway, I just got back from the bar where I had drinks with said law school friend and talked about trivial gossip. I regaled him with tales of this past weekend's Laguna Beach excursion. He told me about the people he's been seeing and the people he's been trying to avoid. I told him about my nascent plans to hang my own shingle after graduation. He regaled me with tales of his interviews with "the other side" (a.k.a. government immigration attorneys).

It was the kind of inconsequential chatter that I've been missing a lot of lately. And since this is NaBloPoMo and I am making a greater effort to document a bit from each day of my life for the next month, I'm happy to have this down on record: I do have friends, even if they are casual acquaintances. These kinds of evenings recharge my batteries and make me happy to come home and settle in with a casebook and a cup of tea. It's just nice to be around people.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo, yo (spray tan edition)

Yep, I'm gonna do it. Or try at least. Na(tional)Blo(g)Po(st)Mo(nth), here I come!

So what should I talk about to get started? How about spray tanning! After all, it was #28 on my 30 Before 30 list...

Ten Tips and Fun Facts About Spray Tanning:
1. That sh*t is cold! You are basically signing up to have your bare body sprayed down with something that feels like liquid oxygen: smoky, freezing and damp. Just so you know.

2. Wear baggy, old clothes that cover up as much skin as possible. Why? Because there are two ways to really mess up a newly spray-tanned body: allowing skin to touch skin and allowing rain to touch skin. Both of these things can be avoided with "modest" clothing. Guess which of these two spray tan newbie errors happened to me? Both! You can figure out why I suggest baggy and old, right?

3. Invest in Dove or Ivory Original Formula soap bars. That's what the lady told me anyway, and since she has won many awards for her spray tan expertise (or at least that's what she told me several times), I trust her. According to Lady, any other kind of soap with smelly fragrances and special formulas can do "funny things" to your tan.

4. If you don't moisturize already (I don't), be prepared to start. Because spray tan gunk will dry that skin out! And apparently that skin gets blotchy faster if you don't moisturize on the regular.

5. You will look like Pig Pen from Peanuts for the first day or so. Until you are allowed to shower, you pretty much just look super dirty and shiny, as if you've been walking through a dust storm that has somehow caused your face to look ultra greasy. It goes away.

6. Droplets of rain that fall down your arm, touch the tops of your feet or drip across your chest will not go away. But they will fade. And look like stretch marks. See #2.

7. Day #2 is the Oompa-Loompiest day. I found myself looking the most orange on the first full day after my tan, once I had showered and the actual tan had started to "come in." On the plus side, my teeth appeared ultra-shiny white!

8. Day #4 is your best day. Which is why if you are getting tanned for a Saturday event, I recommend doing the tan on a Wednesday. On Saturday my skin was the color of perfectly golden toasted marshmallow. (Right down to the puffiness, but that's no fault of the spray tan.) I'll admit it: I looked pretty damn good!

9. You can get creative with tan lines. The first question my tanning lady asked me when we got into the room was whether I wanted to tan nude. That was her suggestion, but I decided against it, opting instead for a cute pair of undies that I never wear because they are...uncomfortable. However, they made for a great tan line, so I'm glad I've held on to them all these years! You could do the bikini thing if you're shy, but really, there are endless possibilities when it comes to the spray tan outfit. Have fun with it!

10. At $30-$50 per tan, it's probably not really worth doing on a regular basis, considering the upkeep and, well, cost. But would I do it again? For another fancy event in California? Sure! For most anything else, meh. Maybe if T is treating.

BOTTOM LINE: There's really nothing scary about a spray tan, and it's kind of fun and makes for a good story. Plus, you really don't come out looking all orange-y, like everyone warned me I would. If you're on the fence, I'd recommend trying it just once, if only for sh*ts and giggles!