Sunday, December 31, 2006
So to everyone who might be reading this I wish you a happy new year and instruct you to go read, go walk, go spend time with friends, or do something else that reminds you that you are alive.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
I try and find a moment in every day, but the last few have been filled with them...
I got in my car after finals and drove to Austin.
Austin is a tricky town for me – on the one hand I lived there for twelve years and just being there invokes a certain sense of comfort. On the other hand, I lived there for twelve years and nearly every street corner creates an opportunity for nostalgia.
I met my friend and we went to dinner – at the Cheesecake Factory – yes, the chain restaurant – in the Arboretum, where the Arbor theater used to be. The Cheesecake Factory – where I said I would never go because I spent too many Monday evenings at the Arbor on five dollar night watching Rick Linklater films or Wes Anderson films or Robert Rodriguez films, but I went because life goes on.
After an evening at the ghetto mall where the friend and I relived our youth of shopping for cheap going-out clothes, we returned to her apartment.
“I’m going for a drive,” I said.
It was almost 1 am.
“I know that seems weird, but,”
“No, she interrupted, “you always went for drives when you lived here.”
I got on MoPac and exited at 5th street. I drove down 5th street and turned left at Donn’s Depot. A few seconds later I passed my old apartment on West Lynn. I looked, but the light wasn’t on. I drove up to Enfield, turned right and then came down 12th. There I was – 12th and Lamar – center of the Universe, my car nestled comfortably between the Tavern and Austin Java. I drove past Wink, the restaurant where I got so nervous that I almost threw up on my date after eating raw sea urchin before we went to see the Ray Davies at La Zona Rosa. I passed Wildflower and Zaya – the kooky stores that I used to collect ad money from when I worked at the Austin Chronicle. When I stopped at the light at Sixth I looked to my right and saw Waterloo Records. A banner hung across the front of the store announcing the release of the KGSR Broadcast album. That I forgot to get one this year when I used to make a beeline to Waterloo every day after Thanksgiving made me sad. I drove across the river and laughed at the ‘emergency use only’ sign on the bridge due to the new pedestrian walkway that had been created. I passed the Taco Cabana where we used to go after a night of drinking, the Zachary Scott theater that gave me free tickets to every show. At Lamar and Barton Springs, I began to cry. I once drove my mother down South Lamar on a visit and told her it was the greatest street on earth. I still think it is. I passed the Maudie’s Mexican restaurant and remembered how many times I frequented the location on Lake Austin Boulevard. I looked for the costume shop called Flashback where my friends and I used to buy our Halloween costumes in college. I passed the newest Alamo Drafthouse that opened during SXSW the year before I left. Every building held a memory. I made a U-turn at the Broken Spoke – the first bar I ever frequented with my freshman roommate in college, a family bar where you could witness a father dancing with his ten year old daughter.
I drove back up Lamar and turned right onto 24th street. I passed my old sorority house and the shopping center where the coffeehouse Les Amis used to stand. Now it’s a freakin’ Starbucks. And, ohmigod, they tore down the Phi-Delt house. How many nights had I stumbled into that house looking for funk music and trash can punch? I drove up to 38th Street and passed the hospital where my grandfather’s ten year fight with Alzheimer’s ended. I was overwhelmed, but eventually I ended up back at my friend’s house and went to sleep.
The next day I went to Westlake to get my nails done at the same place I’d gone for the last ten years. I sat and listened as the other women around me told each other stories that reminded me of my past life.
“I need to be done by 1:30 pm,” the girl in the chair next to me told the Korean lady doing her nails. “I’ve got a debutante rehearsal thing.”
Yes, I was back in Austin. Around 3pm I found myself parked at a table in Trudy’s bar near campus reading a McMurtry book. I love Trudy’s. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there or how many Mexican Martinis I’ve drank during my visits. My favorite memory was during my Junior year in college. I barely made it back in town after Winter Break to discover that a massive snow storm had powdered the city. No one was around and nearly everything was closed, but Trudy’s was still going strong. My friends and I walked ten blocks of ice covered pavement to consume an ungodly amount of chips, salsa, and ritas. On the way home, we slipped and fell at least fifty times, but we didn’t feel the pain or the cold. ‘God bless Tequila!’ we yelled as we walked home arm in arm. ‘Hi-ho, Herradura Silver!’
At Trudy’s I alternated between sips of coffee and margarita. Every so often I’d come up out of my book and survey my surroundings. There was a college-age guy in the corner with his girlfriend and a group of men arguing at the bar over the story behind the creation of the Louann platter at Luby’s. I felt as if I was a secret observer who had the good fortune to drop in on their lives.
I sat with my book and my rita in hand enjoying the moment.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I’m very grateful I watched my grandmother die. This sounds morbid, I know, and truthfully, had any other member of my family been within 500 miles during her illness, I would have cowardly snaked away from the scene. As it was, she conned me into experiencing her death.
We were sitting in an Italian restaurant in San Antonio having lunch. I remember being surprised. My grandmother didn’t usually take me to places with cloth napkins and water served in wine goblets. I’d been to this restaurant once before, but with her sorority alumnae lunch bunch. That was typically the only time she forked over cash for lunch. Otherwise it was sawdust pie at Apple Annie’s or that god-awful restaurant in Alamo Heights with the horse-racing motif.
“So, the team offered me an internship,” I told her. “All I need is a place to stay for the summer. Would you mind terribly if I lived with you?”
“No,” she replied almost with a fondness and I smiled with relief.
“Actually, the arrangement should work out quite well,” she added.
Her remark gave me a little pause, but I decided the statement was not worth looking up from my ravioli.
“I’ll be starting my chemotherapy then and I might need you around the house,” she continued.
I put the fork down. Chemotherapy. That was what people did when…
Interrupting my thought, “I have lung cancer,” she said, “and the doctor estimates around eight months, more or less, but no longer than a year.”
She told me those words in the same tone as if she’d just told me she bought a new purse to match her shoes. She said them in the same way you’d tell me someone to pick up a loaf of bread as they were walking out the door to the grocery store. She said it like it was nothing.
I was now looking at her in disbelief. She sat on the other side of the table, calm and collected, her hair recently done at the salon where she’d had her hair set for the last thirty years.
As my eyes welled up with tears I realized why she had brought me to this restaurant, so I wouldn’t cause a scene.
“I hate you,” I said in a tone as bland and noncommittal as the one through which she delivered her own words. I knew when she said eight months she wasn’t talking about the length of her treatment, but rather the term left in life.
“Do you?” she answered in feigned coyness as she turned inward a knife from her place-setting that a less-informed bus-boy had situated earlier. I watched her manicured hands gleefully correct the error, an incidental reaffirmation of her social superiority.
She looked up at me and smiled.
“If you need to excuse yourself to the ladies’ room in order to fix your hair I understand.”
“Bite me,” I told her. “I’m not going to cry. I’m in too much shock right now.”
“Bite me? I assume this is some form of vulgar slang you picked up in Austin?”
Again she smiled.
“You’re the only one who stands up to me,” she commented. “In the past I’ve always assumed that this meant your brother and sister were more refined and more well-behaved. Now I realize why you were born with a stubborn will and the role it was meant to play.”
She dug through her purse and found her lipstick.
“You should really do that in the ladies’ room,” I corrected her.
“Oh please,” she replied, “you’re one to talk wearing blue jeans in a place like this.”
I shifted nervously in my chair.
“And your hair,” she went on, “I know you’re in love with your college bohemian lifestyle, but really, get a brush and learn how to use it.”
With that she coolly applied the lipstick using the little mirror on the side of the case. She smacked her lips and proceeded to blot them on a napkin.
“Gauche,” I said, “Completely gauche.”
“I’m dying,” she grinned. “What’s your excuse?”
The pink lipstick now made her smile resemble that of the Cheshire cat.
“Can we go now?” I asked. “I need to get back to Austin.”
“I suppose,” she said as she double checked the tip amount on her bill.
We left the table and walked out of the restaurant.
“My chemo starts in two weeks. I expect you’ll be here in three,” she said as we walked to our cars.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Oh, and get yourself a dress. There’s an event at the Bright Shawl that I want you to attend with me next month and I expect you to be presentable.”
“You witch,” I commented, “I own a dress.”
“Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble,” she said and then waited for me to name the quote.
I debated whether or not to indulge her, but my sense of competitiveness took over.
“Shakespeare,” I answered.
“Yes,” she replied, “the keen memory will come in handy as well. You are the one for the job. Good luck with finals.”
“Enjoy dying. Speaking of, you better hang on until my graduation next May,” I told her and got into my car.
"I'll do my best, but I can't make any promises."
She watched me leave the parking lot before she entered her Cadillac and drove away.
A few months ago I was sitting in one of the classrooms at my law school and started to snicker.
“What’s so funny?” the gal seated next to me asked.
“I’m on the enrollment services web page for our school and apparently some of my records are missing,” I answered. “Specifically a copy of my transcript related to the PhD I received at Cornell.”
“You have a PhD from Cornell?” she quizzed.
“Nope,” I said. “That’s why it’s funny.”
Even more hilarious, today I received a fee bill adressed to me from Cornell informing me that I had been credited $38k under their installment plan to be used for this year's tuition.
Who knows? Maybe I am a student at Cornell. Maybe I am just delusional in thinking that I live where I do. Maybe it’s all a weird trip or something.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Ana is taking the day off. You will have to get your cheap, procrastinating thrills somewhere else. Don't worry. She still loves you and lives/dies by your reading.
Good luck on your finals. Happy holidays to all. Where is my wine?
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
First off, for my last final, the entire thing is multiple choice which makes me think, “Oh, piece of cake.”
Whatever! A hundred and sixty multiple choice questions in three hours is not only a time crunch, but can you imagine how whacked out your head must feel after doing nothing but screwball MC’s for three hours? I’m guessing that I’ll try really hard for the first hour and a half and then begin to experience brain mush. At that point I will probably decide, “Hmm, I could go through the effort of looking this up or save myself the work and just put C. Yeah, C sounds good.”
The other reason I should be putting in the effort – even with the Code book in front of me, there’s no way I’ll have time to look up 160 answers. I figure you need to know them when you walk into the test. This sounds good in theory, but after reading the Code book for an hour your brain comes up with the wonderful idea of, “Hey, maybe I can just learn half of the Code and look up the other half? That might work!”
Whatever, as I said, at that point, I’ll be all about Option C.
“Hmm, but I really do know most of this material already, so it’s not like I really need to study that much,” I think to myself.
Yeah, except for the fact that the prof has told you that the average test score is around a B+, but since he has to curve the class to a B, a score of B+ on the test will only get you a B. Hence, you basically have to get an A or A- on the test in order to get a grade above B.
Phooey. I know in a week or so I’ll be ready to put in the time and make the grade. The problem is, I don’t have a week. I have to do it now or never. The more I experience finals, the more I wonder what exactly it is that your grades are proof of: Stamina? Sacrifice? Speed typing? Lack of sanity? Maybe just test-taking ability? I’m convinced it is neither knowledge or intelligence.
Look at me go...check out all of the reasons I have come up with to justify my lack of studying. What wonderful analysis. What keen perception. I think this is clear evidence that I will be an awesome lawyer one day and don't really need to worry about this grade baloney at all. WHATEVER.
Here’s hoping this prof is a fan of the answer C and here's hoping that my letter choice is not meant to foreshadow my ultimate grade in the class.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Thanks so much for reading.
All my love and kisses,
Monday, December 11, 2006
This caused me great alarm because I had already overslept and experienced difficulty in starting my car. Went back to house, picked up stuff and arrived at school around 11 am. The exam was at 1 so I had a little less than two hours to review.
At noon, I left the library and headed for the exam room.
Ana stares through the glass window of the classroom.
"Why are people in there typing?"
Ana is now confused. Maybe there is an exam that ends around noon. Ana sits outside and waits for a little while. No one leaves.
Ana calls Wine-Time-Girl.
"What room is our exam in?"
Ana has the correct room number. What the heck is going on?
"Are you there already?" WTG asks.
"Uh, yeah. Our test starts in 45 minutes," I answer.
I know WTG flies by the seat of her pants and everything, but I don't think getting to the exam 45 minutes early is exactly egregious.
"Ana," she says, "the exam starts at 2 pm."
Sunday, December 10, 2006
This final will be less about what I know and more about how well I can b.s.
How did I end up with five finals and only 13 credit hours?!?!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Slightly groggy this morning, I got up around 7 am to head to the final. On the way there I got freaked out by the lack of cars on the road. What the heck happened? Was there some major news story I missed since I haven't been reading or watching the news? I was over half-way to school before I realized that today was Saturday. Does this give you any indication of the level on which my brain was operating?
I felt fine during the test. Last year I took a final from the same prof and felt really crunched for time. This year I did extra studying so I wouldn't have to look at my notes. I churned through the final, typing like a mad woman, careful to not get caught up on issues that were potential time suckers. Then at one point I got to a question that asked about a specific issue. My immediate response was, "What the heck??! This isn't an issue because it doesn't satisfy such and such element."
For some reason though, I didn't write that. For some reason, I convinced myself that I was not thinking clearly and that the prof wouldn't have specifically asked about it unless it truly was an issue.
Imagine a hypo that at the end says 'talk about whether or not the sky is green and discuss how it might be a plant because it is green'. Common sense dictates that you should write, "you moron, the sky is blue," but instead you try and make all of the tiny arguments about how the sky could be green. Because well, if you mixed the yellow color of the sun which is in the sky with its overall color of blue, you would get green. So maybe, maybe yes, the sky is green. And now that we know that sky could be green, well most plants are green. Additionally the sun in the sky is a source of life and a plant is a life.. so maybe the blue sky is not a blue sky, but instead a green plant.
Oh yeah, I wrote an essay along those lines instead of just saying, "We learned in Chapter one that in order to be a sky, it must be blue."
People should not throw blatantly obvious questions my way. I was always over-interpret them for something more than they are.
It would be one thing if I just didn't make the effort and took home my gimme B, but making the effort only to do something supremely stupid in the final and end up with a B, well, that is just disheartening.
To add insult to the injury of feeling like I bombed the test, I also had the pleasure of realizing that I wrote somewhere between 30-50% more for this exam than my last one - and my last exam was an hour longer.
I am now back in the library so I can study for my next final...on Monday. I need to study, but I am seriously thinking about doing an easy day of reading/review and getting some sleep. I think I need it.
I can't believe I still have two exams left, but I can't throw in the towel now though. After the last three performances, I really need to do well on the next two in attempt to save what I thought just a few days ago was a less than stellar GPA.
And at the end of this wild ride, I get to be a lawyer - kinda reminds me of that cartoon where the cows are waiting in line and one turns to the other and says, "I sure hope this ride is worth the wait."
The picture shows that the cows are standing in line for the slaughterhouse.
I remain affectionately yours,
Friday, December 08, 2006
Here's what causes me concern:
If there's a leak, I should be worried about the apartment accidentally going up in flames with me inside it. However, I am much more concerned that the low levels of gas might cause me to sleep through my final tomorrow morning.
As it is, I have now reached a state of complete punchiness and must go home...Good luck to everyone with a final tomorrow. Or one later or whatever...
We'll see how long this lasts before I go postal.
3:55 pm - Ok, I lasted about five minutes before I told them to shut the hell up. I mean, NO ONE else in here is talking...and you're not even supposed to be HERE. And I CAN'T CONCENTRATE! They are being quiet now. They did not seem bothered by my statement that non-law students are not supposed to be here. Punks.
Well, kids at my school will be happy to know that in the last couple of days a sign has appeared at the entrance of the law library:
During the the busy final exams period, we ask that as a courtesy to the law students, undergraduates refrain from using the law library as a study hall. Thank you.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
First of all, this person should be precluded from asserting any claim under the natural law theory of common sense and the lesser known common law doctrine often referred to as the "stupidity threshold."
Seriously you guys, I think I drank almost the entire bottle of wine.
The good news is - I feel fine today.
The bad news is - I wanted to get to the library for final review around 9:30 am. I got here at 11 am...and I can't remember if I turned off my curling iron before I left so I'm feeling mildly paranoid about that. I also forgot to 3-hole-punch my notes and put them in a binder. So, I have all of my stuff - it's just not that organized.
On the flip side, I woke up this morning reciting the UCC, the qualifications for being a holder-in-due-course, the seven requirements of negotiability, the eight types of preclusive bad notice, etc - so there's hope...just as long as I did in fact, unplug the iron and my house has not burned down by the end of my final.
Also, I think I forgot to put on deodorant this morning. Then again, I probably did and the stress over the iron has just overcome it.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Um, er, this week's hits are double.
Ergo, you shouldn't feel bad for reading blogs because apparently everyone else is doing the same thing and we're all in the same boat.
I only wish I had the time to write something funny or interesting for you guys.
Studying for UCC final tomorrow. Fun stuff.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
The downside of a two-hour class: Your exam is only two hours. Writing every thing you know about a subject during that time is damn near impossible.
Oh well, I suppose wanting to cry because you didn't have enough time to cram it all in is better than finishing 30 minutes early and wondering what everyone else is madly typing.
Oh - and if you remember this post - I wrote the rule this time. I wrote lots of rules and lots of policy. One small problem - not quite sure that with my time crunch I a) clearly identified the issue I was talking about OR b) did enough analysis in relation to the subject matter. Then again, maybe my policy and theory stuff was my analysis. Who knows? On to UCC stuff. Blech!
Don't worry. I'm sure I'll have this whole finals thing worked out...for my last semester. Phooey.
PS - I am also that girl that everyone hates because I WANT to talk about the test after I take it. I want to know what you put for question 4 to see if I got it right. I want to know if you though question 10 was hard or if I am just an idiot. I think everyone in my class hated me by the time we were out of the building.
PPS - I'm letting the proofreading/copy edit rules out the window during this time period - so expect muchas errors because I'm just typing this crap directly into blogger and hitting publish without a second glance. This is because someone whined to me last year that I didn't write during finals and they were left w/o procrastination items during those five minute study breaks. Enjoy!
Monday, December 04, 2006
- Make your own outline - I'm in review mode for my final tomorrow and looking over someone else's old outline and comparing it to the one I finished yesterday. Make your own outline because every time I read another person's I'll see something and be like, "Uh, that's wrong." If you don't make your own and just rely on others, you might not realize the error. This has happened to me today for two different outlines. The person is either dead-wrong or doesn't include a key piece of info that alters the interpretation.
- Compile a playlist of study music at least two weeks before finals. I didn't do this and as a result am listening to the same song over and over and over again because I don't want to be interrupted with random music off of my main list. Four days of the same song - I want to shoot somebody.
- Yes, it's a rational thought - when your family members are shooting emails back and forth about getting fired up for bowl games and you can not stop to join in the fun because you're freakin' studying and you find yourself supremely annoyed that somebody somewhere is enjoying themselves and has the time to shoot the breeze about bowl games while you are stuck in the hell hole that is finals.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
After my super stressful fall I decided to be more organized in my second semester. I did the reading every day. I took notes in class and copied them into my outline as soon as class was finished. I reviewed my outlines and updated them every Friday. I tabbed my book on key topics as the class progressed. Hell, I even started tabbing my outlines after awhile. The only class I didn’t do this for was ConLaw because I freaking hated it. I couldn’t pay attention in class and the book was rather dense so I stopped reading about half way through the semester.
When finals came in the spring I didn’t even know how to study because at that point, I knew it. I knew it all – inside and outside, backwards and forwards. You could have asked me anything and I didn’t need to even consult my outline in order to give you the rule. For my classes I did a basic review – except for ConLaw where I went back and read the book all over again including the stuff I missed. All of my finals went swimmingly except for ConLaw (and Property – but that’s a different story). For ConLaw I remember looking at a question and thinking, “I have no idea what this is, but I think it has something to do with Equal Protection – so I’m just going to write everything I know about Equal Protection.”
My grades for Spring pretty much sucked. My only good grade? ConLaw. (I take that back. I also did well in Legal Writing where with only fifteen people it was more difficult to get a good grade, but that was not too much of a shock.) I was pissed and bitter beyond belief. Because I knew the topics so well I basically hadn’t written/discussed enough on my exams. I started this semester with a really bad taste in my mouth due to this situation and a few weeks in someone asked me how things were going.
“I’m doing most of the readings, but I could give a flip about everything else,” I said.
“Sounds like a good theory,” my friend said. “It worked for you first semester.”
I thought about what she said and realized that she was right. So, in strategy, this semester I have just done the readings and that’s all. No outlining, no reviewing, no nada. In the past two days I have gone back and reread every page of reading for my first final on Tuesday.
Man, I hope this works. In the meantime I'm hanging on to the "oh shit" bar of life.
I don't remember reading,
Has no highlighting or notes in the margins, AND
I Cannot for the life of me remember it being discussed in class.
It's as if my brain decided it didn't like this chapter and just decided to black out the whole experience.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Oh, and to the prof who strolled into the jam-packed library on a Friday night and sat down to casually read the paper - tasteless!
Friday, December 01, 2006
"What's strange is that you don't care at all if your crush is returned -- you're just enjoying how much you like this person. Your motives are pure and your actions, direct. You're definitely on the right path."
So true for me. Sometimes you just enjoy that the thought of someone can make you happy even if the other person doesn't know or could care less. I've been in that mode for the last two weeks even though I know that my crush is unavailable, nothing is going to happen, and we are probably not compatible. It's not that mopey pining feeling where you're hoping that things will come around. It's more like remembering silly things the person has said or done and feeling a smile come across your face. I think that in itself is worth something. In the meantime, Alex is ready to smack me for being so upbeat and bouncy as of late.