Thursday, December 28, 2006


I learned something new tonight. I learned it from a guy who learned it in AA. It's called h.a.l.t.: hungry, angry, lonely and tired. If you're hungry, find something to eat. If you're angry, talk to somebody about it. If you're lonely, find somebody to be around. If you're tired, get some rest.

It seems so simple, but I can't tell you how many times I have made bad choices and acted like a shit because I was either hungry, angry, lonely or tired (or a combination). I guess a lot of people use those things as a reason to drink. So, in AA, they teach you how to halt. I think that's cool.

strange cravings

Today I'm on a half-assed juice fast. I'd been sick, more or less, since Friday and I decided if my body didn't want me to keep putting food in it, then by god, I'd stop putting food in it.

Having stopped, I'm noticing weird cravings. I crave pizza. Any kind, even 99 cent frozen Totino's pizza, the cheapest of the cheap frozen pizzas. I also crave McDonald's cheeseburgers. I know. *McDonalds* Wow. But there it is.

Tonight, at work, I served dinner. Ham and vegetable soup, cold beef sandwiches and some really awesome looking chef-salad. That was torture, but I am vehemently sworn-off eating here because I think I ate something here Tuesday night that contributed to my ongoing gastro-problems. It was hard, though. Cold beef sandwiches never looked so good. Mmmmmmm.


As you may already know, I work in a homeless shelter/transitional housing facility for the homeless mentally ill. And every Wednesday night, I host a bingo game that lasts about an hour. It's a big event, complete with prizes from the dollar store, and everybody loves it.

Last night as I was calling the numbers, I realized that two of the people playing were native Spanish speakers who also spoke English very well. I wondered whether it was harder to play bingo in your second language than in your first. I imagined if I was playing Spanish bingo, I would have at least a two-second gap between hearing the Spanish letter and number and translating it, not necessarily into English, but at least into an image of a letter and number to play on the game.

So, without thinking much more, I started calling bingo in both English and Spanish. I guess it's really the height of my language ability that I can say the letters and numbers in bingo in Spanish. Jealous? You should be, bingo numbers go all the way up to O-75. That's "oh-setenta-y-cinco" in case you were wondering.

I stumbled over a few of my numbers and asked the native Spanish speaker sitting near me to correct me on my numbers if I got any wrong. She looked at me like I was crazy and looked back at her cards. That's when I wondered if calling the numbers in both languages was really a good idea. In this country that, at least right now, seems to hate immigrants, maybe these folks don't want any extra attention called to their bi-lingual, bi-cultural, bi-national status. Maybe they just want to blend in and maybe a way they can blend in is to play bingo in English without any help.

I thought about my two coworkers of the night, Fat Tony and Chunk, who, in real life, share the same Latin first name. They are both second or third generation Mexican Americans and neither of them know Spanish. Neither of them could say even the whole B column of numbers (1-15, for those who don't stare at the bingo mainframe at least one hour a week), much less the rest of it. I thought also about my cousin J@n whose mom is from the Phillipines and who never in her life wanted to learn to speak her mom's native language. Instead, she made fun of her mom when she talked on the phone to relatives and shunned anything that wasn't white-American.

It's complicated in this country, maybe in this whole world. Language. Race. Even religion, to go back to a post of a few days ago. I had a comment from someone who asked "since when is Islam a race," in response to my calling nasty comments about Muslims racism. Maybe it's *not* a race, but racism certainly underpins the fear and loathing of Islam in this country. Racism, Xenophobia, etc, etc. It must be scary to live here. I eventually stopped calling the numbers out in Spanish because I was afraid I was alienating the Spanish speakers and they were doing fine in English anyway.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

unexpected consequences

I had a Christmas card in the mail today from my grandfather. Now that my grandmother is gone, he's the one who has to write the Christmas cards. That was always something she did. He even put in a sweet note. I realized, as I read it, that it's the first I've ever even seen his handwriting.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

word of the night


Main Entry: in·ter·ne·cine
Pronunciation: "in-t&r-'ne-"sEn, -'nE-s&n, -'nE-"sIn, -n&-'sEn; in-'t&r-n&-"sEn
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin internecinus, from internecare to destroy, kill, from inter- + necare to kill, from nec-, nex violent death -- more at NOXIOUS
1 : marked by slaughter : DEADLY; especially : mutually destructive
2 : of, relating to, or involving conflict within a group (bitter internecine feuds)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

and we're the pigs

Just finished listening to a story on NPR about a "land use debate" in Texas, but that's putting it very diplomatically. In Texas, apparently, there are no regulations on how you can use your land if you're outside of incorporated city limits. If you own it, you can do anything you want with it.

A muslim group has purchased a lot and plans to build a mosque. A neighbor, feeling suddenly very unhappy with the freewheelin' Texas land-use laws, has come up with a very "clever" vigilante response. There's nothing legal he can do to stop the mosque from being built, so he's doing what any logical, red-blooded, god-loving american would do: he's building a pig-racing track right next to the property line.

He chuckled as he explained to the reporter that the pigs are a big, nasty mess, and they get smellier as they get bigger. Kind of like americans.

Anyway, someone in the community -- maybe the pig-racing guy, maybe not, it's anonymous -- set up a website for neighbors to express their feelings about the mosque safely, ie: where neighbors can babble their racism anonymously. Now the website gets applause from anti-islamist people all over the world. It's scary and disgusting.

Don't we ever learn? Can't we look at history and see that hating a group of people, a whole entire group of people, is a bad idea and leads to bad actions? Can't we look into our own hearts and know that it's wrong to be so meanspirited? I am so disappointed by human beings, every day. We have so many opportunities to be good to each other, and we so often fail. More than fail, we wildly, amazingly, creatively and laboriously fuck-up. We go out of our way to be horrible. Not even the so-called Christmas spirit can fix that kind of problem.

Friday, December 22, 2006

etymology of my current illness

1.) I dreamed yesterday morning that I was being humiliated at work because I wasn't doing something I'd been told to do. I woke from that dream, so vivid still, and felt righteously indignant until the dream feelings finally wore off.

2.) Talking to SK on the phone later, she suddenly switched gears and said "Hey, speaking of work, hon! You're not doing things you're supposed to be doing!" It was almost literally a page right out of my dream. She was right, but more than that, there was something really jarring in the gear-change, in the way we switched from a tender sort of topic, to something accusatory and cold and work-related.

3.) I got off the phone, sat down at my desk, and burst into tears. My grandmother is dead! The one who was the absolute embodiment of sweetness and joy when I was young. The one who was tender and mothering and loving. The one I was once so attached to. Grieving her has been complicated, verigated, I grieve eras of her, I grieve her as several different people, as I also grieve for my grandfather's loss and my mother's. But at my desk just then, I sobbed for the one who had mothered me once and I looked around my house and wished I had a Christmas tree or wished I had a family or wished I had my grandmother. And I wished too that maybe she could be there in that moment, watching me being so pathetic, feeling sad for me, wanting to comfort me again like she'd done when I was young.

4.) I jumped up from my desk and spent the remaining forty minutes before I had to leave for work rummaging through my picture box for a picture of my grandmother, a particular picture. This picture was taken in, I think, 1988. I'm about 14 and can be seen in the background. We're sitting on my grandparents' front porch and my grandmother is wearing a blue moo-moo and a string of plastic beads and she's looking at the camera and smiling this sweet, beautiful smile. I remember her looking so, so lovely in that picture. She would've been just over 60. still relatively young. I tore the whole picture box apart and couldn't find it.

5.) I went to work. Work was hard. I was annoyed with SK and didn't go out of my way to see her before she left. Everything was unusually hectic and there were mini-crises exploding all around. I hosted Writing Group and the collective mood was weird. One woman wrote about her friend's suicide. People in the group cried. Later, that woman wanted to talk one-on-one with me. We went into a little room and she cried and told me how hard it was to feel all the pain and I was fighting with all my meager powers to not start crying too because I just wanted to cry and cry. It might have been good for her: modeling. "You see, I've got shit happening in my life too and sometimes all you can do is feel sad and cry and then get up and go to work because that's what you have to do." But I didn't cry. I held it in and it was hard.

6.) I didn't eat until the end of the night. I wasn't hungry. I ate a sandwich SK made me, a really good sandwich, but I could feel after I ate it that it was just sitting in my stomach. It felt like a heavy lump.

7.) I went home and tore through my picture box again, this time slowly, more carefully. I looked at every single picture in the box, pictures from childhood, from middle-school, high-school, college, pictures from Ohio, New Orleans, trips to visit my family, pictures from Durham, from Portland, from different relationships. All these pictures. I still couldn't find the picture of my grandmother, the really good one, the one I really liked. I was getting upset.

8.) As I flipped through the last stack of pictures out of the box I remembered: I had long-ago pasted that photo into a journal with several other photos I loved. I made a photo collage of things that made me really happy to look at, things that supported something inside me that didn't always feel supported. I ran to the other side of the house and pulled out the journal and quickly found the photo.

9.) I was disappointed, a little confused. It was almost exactly as I remembered it, only, she wasn't smiling the way I remembered. Her smile was fading from her face and her eyes looked tired. Her hair was frazzled and her skin sagged and, looking into the picture, I saw a different woman from the woman I had been remembering. I didn't see the sweetness as much. I saw a tired woman who was probably sick of the house full of grandkids. I was sad.

10.) I went to bed and had weird dreams, vivid dreams, inspired by my trip through the box of pictures. I dreamed most of all about being an R.A. in college because I'd seen a handful of pictures of myself and the other R.A.s I worked with. That was my first counseling job. That was the first time anybody taught me how to "actively listen", or what kinds of questions to ask somebody who is suicidal. That was the beginning. I dreamed that I was going to be a volunteer R.A. at my school, the school I just finished attending. I would be working with another of the R.A.s from my dorm in undergrad. I was really excited, but behind my excitement was a kind of world-weary sadness.

11.) I woke up in the morning and vomited. I have been feeling like shit ever since. I slept a lot time and now I'm up again. I still feel terrible and I have no idea what to do with myself. I've been sitting here typing for awhile, but each moment is sketchy and I feel like I might have to fold it up and lay back down. No position is particularly comfortable. My mailaise is totally amorphous.

12.) This is the beginning of my nine day vacation. This, I think, is typical. Cheers.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

it ain't over till the registrar calls (and scares the shit out of you)

I got a call today from a number I didn't recognize, so I didn't pick it up. In a minute the phone beeped to tell me I had a message. The message sounded like this:

"Hi, this is Scary-Lady Registrar. It is very important that you return this call as soon as possible regarding a paper for Eagle Eye Goldberg's class. Blah blah blah, thanks, etc."

I thought I was going to die. I *knew* that was a shitty paper! I KNEW IT! So this is what happens when you turn in unacceptably stupid work! The registrar calls you at home to tell you that you can't graduate!

I was nearly hyperventilating when I called her back. I wanted more than anything *not* to call her back and I was literally trembling all over when she answered the phone, but I knew I couldn't avoid it. I expected her to say, "Professor Goldberg informed me that your final paper for her class was sooooooo poorly written, so sloppily researched and so full of ridiculous formatting errors, reading it gave her an aneurysm. She says you fail."

Instead she just told me that the paper wasn't successfully sent via email yesterday and, fortunately, it wasn't too late to try again. Two more hours and I would have missed the deadline for turning shit in. Whew! So I ran to the computer and resent it and figured out how I screwed it up yesterday and now it's all really and truly turned in and I don't have to die of a heart attack anymore. Now I can *really* relax. what?

I emailed my last paper (my last, hastilly written and probably embarassing paper) to my professor yesterday and that was officially my LAST ACT of TURNING ANYTHING IN. Meaning: I'm done with school. Totally done. Although, until I know for sure I haven't failed any of three classes (unlikely but not impossible), I doubt I'll feel 100% relaxed.

So that means I'm free. No homework. No studies. No paper to write. I won't start studying for the bar till January One, so I've got nine whole days of freedom stretching out before me. Nine whole days. Ahhhhhhh, sweet freedom!

Something tells me I won't be very productive today. Ima go make breakfast.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

my job is making me a bad person

It's a long story. I keep trying to explain it, but I can't. It takes too much effort. Just trust me, working in a homeless shelter with mentally ill people and with people addicted to all sorts of different substances will only, over time, warp your mind. You'll start laughing at things that aren't funny, you won't believe anything anybody says, and you'll want to tell clients who keep threatening to jump off a bridge "Good idea! You want directions to the closest bridge?" Because you'll be so sick of hearing them whine, and they're just a bunch of whiney little shits most of the time anyway. You won't care that you had to turn people away when it's cold because you CAN'T HELP EVERYBODY. And you will, after a long enough time, stop even bothering to hope for anything better for 95% of the people you serve. You're trying, everybody's trying, to get them enrolled in services, to get them their SSI, to get them into rehab or treatment, to get them a permanent place to live, but most people's lives will not change. They'll move out into an apartment and they won't be able to handle it because they really aren't ready yet and they'll fail and they'll leave and the whole cycle will start over and eventually they'll be back at the ol' homeless shelter, looking worse than before, and it just gets depressing. Not depressing. It just gets you to the point where you don't bother to hope better for anybody. You see them move out and you think "I give you three months before you bomb out of that one." You hear them recount their recent tragedies and all you really hear are the lies, or you fill in the missing pieces because you know they're leaving out all the parts out about drugs or drinking or stealing from somebody or the reason they *deserved* to get punched in the face or have their food stolen. And when somebody tells you they've been clean for three days, a week, two months, whatever, you say "Wow, that's great, congratulations!" But inside you're rolling your eyes because you don't really believe them because they always lie about that. They always do. You develop a really dark sense of humor. And, because you started out compassionate, the part of you that still cares ends up coming out disproportionately and at weird times. Some days I walk around almost in tears wanting to hug everybody. But mostly I'm just crusty anymore. I gotta get out of here.


My coffee is too weak. I have to go down the street to do laundry. I'm moving at 33rpms instead of 45 or, what was the other option? Seventy something? I should make some more coffee. But the laundromat doesn't have a bathroom. You do the math. Maybe I'll put my clothes in and go over to that cafe on the corner (the one I saw the kids in the wagons riding by this summer) and have a nice, stout americano and read a newspaper or something. Maybe they have a bathroom. And I do love to read newspapers.

Monday, December 18, 2006

the pain of the anticlimax

It is hard to celebrate the completion of my "last" exam when I've got the mother of all exams (the Great White Bar Exam) waiting for me at the end of February. Nevertheless, I took my last lawschool exam today and now I'm ready to check myself into some kind of respite facility because I AM FRIED! It took four hours and completely robbed me of every ounce of my humanness. I am now a hollow husk. A hollow husk who is going to go get into a very hot bath and, if I am able to focus, read either a book or a magazine for PLEASURE. You remember pleasure? Things you do just because you want to? Things that make you happy? You remember happy, don't you? DON'T YOU???

Sunday, December 17, 2006

morbidity and mortality

1.) According to my sitemeter (O Great Oracle!) several people a day end up on my blog by searching the words "backwards heart." I know what they're finding here (my story about my brother Isaac who was born with a backwards heart), but what are they looking for??

2.) They found the body of one of the missing Mt. Hood climbers. My (one remaining) grandmother kept calling me a couple days ago, leaving nearly frantic messages. When I finally talked to her, I learned she was worried about my safety in this weather we're having in this state that seems so trecherous to those on the outside. I tried to explain that I live in a valley not too high above sea level that protects me from most of the bad stuff. I could tell she didn't really buy it. And now a dead climber. I expect her to call again any minute.

3.) I'm almost done studying for my last exam, the one for my Health and Poverty Law Class. I'm sorry to say, even though the subject matter is very dear to my heart, the class was terrible and studying for it has been miserable. Furthermore, I did a shitty job studying and I don't know nearly as much as I probably should, but I can't take another minute of it. Taking the exam at 9:00 tomorrow morning will be the equivalent of jumping off a bridge to end the pain. Oh well. It will be worth every nanosecond of the freefall just for the relief of the impact.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

rings true

"There was not a trace of irony or introspection on his face, nothing but a complete blank conviction of his own rights; and, at the same time, something like a strange and incessant craving to be and feel insulted."

From Dostoevsky's The Idiot. (The person being described in this passage is not "the idiot" of the title.)

This guy sounds like my family. Any wonder I'm so far away? And god, let it never be me.

nights of lights

Happy Hanukkah everybody. This is night two, light two candles tonight. Last night was night one, light one.

I went to SK's party even though I had resolutely determined that I would not go to SK's party. SK and I are on another one of our famous declines and I haven't always enjoyed the company of her friends. Not to mention, I am shy, frazzled from studying, and still sad about my grandmother.

I made a plan with the long-lost Waspy and we met up downtown very close to her workplace. I ate a heavy plate of mashed potatoes and meatloaf and drank a dark beer. I may as well have poured concrete into my stomach. Afterwards, I went to Powell's to browse and regroup.

I was standing in the "D" aisle, looking at the rest of the Dostoevsky collection (I'm reading The Idiot right now and wanting to put it down everyday, but something keeps me reading it), when my phone rang. It was SK's friend Rhea (my second encounter of the day with a Jew named Rhea...), calling from the party to encourage me to come. How could I say no to Rhea? I couldn't.

I left Powell's, got in my car, drove to SK's, and there I was. The house was packed and they were all just starting to eat. I, also, was packed and the thought of food was actually nauseating, though it looked like a cultural experience I shouldn't miss (what with all the latkes and cabbage and applesauce).

I went downstairs to SK's living space to put my bag away and use the toilet and I was overcome by the urge to hide. All those people up there, all settled in, having such a nice time, eating so much food -- sounds nice now that I write about it, but last night it was pretty daunting. I spent way more time than necessary in the bathroom, contemplating my options, when Rhea appeared in SK's room with the only kid at the party, so he could show me his toys.

It was sweet of them to come rouse me out of my near-fugue state. I went upstairs, got a glass of wine, and stood by the door just watching the bustling crowd. There were more than enough friendly faces in that crowd, including Dr. Dutch, one of my oldest friends in Portland, so really I had nothing to be afraid of. I had a few nice conversations. The wine was good.

Soon we lit the menorahs (menorim?) and many sang the appropriate songs and prayers while many others sat and listened and appreciated. I was among a handful of other distinguished goyim, though I must have "the look" because I am often mistaken for a Jew. I'd be happy to have been a Jew, it would certainly have beaten the Christian upbringing I had instead. And with an emphasis on education? And so tolerant? I wish I'd been a Jew, but I guess that's an annoying side-effect of being brought up a fucking WASP (yes, Waspy, me too), we long for the "culture" we don't have and ignore all the rank and privilege we do. It's almost disgusting and a rant for another time.

Regardless of my being amenable to Jewishness, my abstention from eating caused many to remind me how *un*Jewish I really am. I sat on a stool, drank my wine, listened and watched (behaving like a cultural anthropologist as SK suggested to help allay my shyness). Pretty soon we played the white elephant game and I dominated with my machiavellian strategizing, although I made only one heartlessly calculating move and then, later, when the harmonica I got and lost and got back was taken from me a second time, I just let it go gracefully and took a prize I knew no one else would covet. I love the white elephant game.

Sooner than I would've thought, the whole thing was over and after a quick round of clean-up help, the house was empty of all but it's rightful inhabitants (SK and Dr. Dutch) and me. We finished the cleaning and went right to bed. My head was heavy with too much wine and I slept restlessly, dreaming a million strange dreams.

Now I am home studying but can hardly stand to study another second. My eyes are bleary and my brain is fuzzy and I need a nice break activity. I'd take a long, hot bath and read my book, but I did that already this morning. I guess I could do it again, but that just seems pathetic. Maybe I'll walk to the store. I'm out of half-n-half and I need to drop off some library books. It will be nice to get some exercise.

speaking of my old home state...

Hey! I just found out that my little podunk, liberal arts, undergraduate alma mater won their second straight NCAA football championship in a row! Appalachian State University, mostly unknown to all, beat some team from Massachusetts last night, putting them on the map once more. Yay!

I had no idea the ol' Mountaineers were so good at football. I didn't even know they won last year... I guess I'm a bad alum. A friend from undergrad who also lives in Portland now called me last night to tell me they were planning to watch the game at Claudia's on Hawthorne, but I didn't make it out there. Oh well. I bet they had fun.

Meanwhile, I was having fun at SK's Hanukka party, but I'll write more about that later. For now, back to the studies which never seem to end.

the future of u.s. politics

Just a quick little mention, apropos of nothing, that I'm happy to see Senator John Edwards is throwing his hat in the ring for the 2008 presidential election. With a retooled, openly progressive platform to boot. His number one issue: economic inequality in America. Brave man. How long will it take before the reds are smearing him as a socialist?

He's got my vote. He's from my old home state and, not many people know this, he got his law degree from a historically black college in Durham, NC, North Carolina Central University. That happens to be the school attended by the accuser in the Duke rape case, but don't hold that against him. It also happens to be the school where my ex, Er!n got her Master's of Library Science and the law school I intended to attend before I decided to move to the Pacific Northwest.

Anyway, despite the fact that he was a successful trial lawyer, he didn't start out with much and when he talks about economic inequality, I feel pretty confident that he knows what he's talking about. Plus he's kinda cute, in that dimply-white-guy-baby-faced sort of way. And that's not so bad, really.

Friday, December 15, 2006

now, 100% more depressing!

I got my first Christmas present of the year last night. A client gave it to me. The old social-services rule used to be that staff couldn't accept *anything* from clients. Not a soda, not a piece of gum, not even a drawing they made for you themselves. Nothing. That was a pretty harsh rule and it hurt people's feelings. Fortunately the rules have changed a little and we're allowed to accept things of nominal value, especially if they're homemade.

The woman who gave me this gift is talented and crafty (not in a Beastie Boys kind of way, but in a Martha Stewart's grandma kind of way) -- she spends most of her days sewing really incredible little odds and ends out of old clothes and blankets and she gives almost all of it away. All month, she's been leaving little packages, wrapped with brown paper from grocery bags, all over the workplace, under the tree, in stockings, on tables, for anyone to find and take. She's really cool.

Last night she came up and slipped me one of those little packages. It had red ribbon around it and reindeer drawn all over the brown paper. It's such a perfect little present, just the right size and so quaintly wrapped, I suddenly wished I had a Christmas tree at home to put it under. I haven't really celebrated Christmas since I left home at 18. I gave gifts and stuff. Sent cards. But, on my own, I never developed any Christmas rituals or adhered to any family traditions. I haven't gotten trees or accumulated Christmas decorations. I haven't done much of anything, besides listening to a casette of Christmas songs played on the mountain dulcimer. And I don't even know where the tape is anymore.

Christmas is depressing, for a lot of reasons. My life is in a weird, school-induced limbo. I live alone, thousands and thousands of miles away from my family in a tiny basement hovel. Things with the girlfriend are deteriorating again. I don't even have a pet. My family members all seem to die in December. It sucks. I imagine putting a little three foot tree on top of the trunk against the far wall of the hovel, but if I did, it would just be an opportunity for self-pity. I'd sit in front of it with it's one little brown present and whatever decorations I could scrape together, and probably cry into my eggnog. It would be pretty depressing. So maybe I'll pass again this year. And, you know, maybe next year will be better.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Today was the day, which is what everyone expected. I'm most sad for mom, who's dealing with the aftermath. And for my grandfather who lost the woman he's been with since he was 16 years old. Every day. Every night. They were together for nearly sixty years.

I had a Remains of the Day experience of it. I got an email from mom while I was at work, "Just wanted to let you know, she passed away today at 12:45." I had a flush of nervous heat and a welling of tears, but bit it all back and worked out the rest of my shift. Then, of course, I cried all the way home.

Goodbye Peggy Irene Marshall Register. Goodbye woman we all called "Nuany" because, when I was just a baby I couldn't say granny and that's what came out and it stuck. Goodbye to your fat cheeks and your sweet voice and your curlers and your shallow brown dishes with ice-cream and your brunswick stew and your shawls, oh god all your shawls, and your coulottes, and your moomoos, and all your garish beads, and the washrag always balled in your hand and your little laugh like a ringing bell, and your sweet little self.

Goodbye to your body wherever it is, whatever they're doing to it, however they dress you, and curl your hair, however they make up your face. Goodbye to your skin and your teeth and your hair and your arms, legs, hands and feet.

Goodbye to your spirit, your consciousness, whatever you have, wherever it goes, if it streamed up into some white light, if it just dissipated, if the lord came down and met you, I don't know. Goodbye. I hope you were met by good people. In my fantasy you've hooked up with June Carter, who you went to high school with in Richmond. In my fantasy, you two are having a nice laugh and singing the old songs together. Don't tell her I said so, but your voice is so much prettier.

Goodbye, I love you, and thanks for all of it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

saying goodbye

I had a heartbreaking phone conversation with my mom tonight. I was at work, taking my break and talking on the phone to SK, when Fat Tony came to tell me my mom was on the phone. My mom never calls me, and she double-never calls me at work. In fact, I'm shocked she actually held onto my work number. Regardless, she called tonight and as soon as Fat Tony said it, I felt my whole body flush and I knew it had to do with my grandmother.

Mom's voice on the phone was thick with crying and I assumed my grandmother had died, but she hadn't yet. Probably tomorrow. She's been refusing food for awhile and today she started refusing liquids. I told mom about Isaac; that he wasn't able to eat for a week, then came the day that he wasn't able to drink, and the next day he died. I told her about the plastic tub and the sips of gatoraid and the quarts of liquid he threw up after. I told her his last words were "I'm so thirsty."

I never really talked to mom about my experience with Isaac at the end. She never asked. Tonight, she cried and cried and said how awful it would be to lose a child that way, to watch them while they were sick, to watch them throwing up their liquids, to watch them suffer. She didn't exactly say it would be awful to lose *me* that way, or my brother, she said "a child" but I knew she meant us and that was good enough. We both cried.

I'm sad about my grandmother but I'm more sad for my mom who is there, in the middle of such a painful thing. They finally told my grandmother today that she can go, it's ok, everything's taken care of. She's been "talking out of her head" lately, according to mom. She kept asking for a stone, and nobody knew what she meant. "A stone," she said. "To hold in my hand." My grandfather got her a pretty stone she had found on a trip they took across the country. He put it in her hand for her.

Mom thinks she meant a headstone. Yesterday she said "I can't die now, I need a block! We all need blocks! You need one and you and you." Mom thinks she means burial plots. Mom thinks she's been hanging on because she's worried about the arrangments. So mom and her sister made the arrangements a couple days ago. They bought my grandmother a fucking coffin from Costco. Can you believe they sell coffins at Cosco? And online, no less. Whatever. A box is a box.

So the hospice doctor came by today and told them it will be soon, and after that they told her all the arrangments were made and it was ok for her to go. I think it will be tomorrow. Meanwhile, mom wants me to come visit her in mid-March because John Edward the psychic medium will be in her town filming a show and she wants us to go on and see if my grandmother comes through to talk to her. "Or Isaac," mom said helpfully, as if that would convince me to come. Oh mom. I wish I could be there with you right now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

i am obviously not studying

The part of the yahoo homepage which bears the big "Yahoo!" banner tends to wind up decorated at each holiday with some little festive something. Sometimes just fall leaves. Sometimes spring flower buds. For halloween it was a skeleton that, if you placed the mouse over the banner, would jump up and dance like Michael Jackson from Thriller. It was kinda cool.

For x-mas, however, I see the yahoo banner is decorated with some snowflakes and a dancing ginger bread man who causes colorful baubles to appear and hang from the letters of "yahoo" like x-mas tree decorations. A ginger bread man? This is the symbol of x-mas?

So, right, of course, yahoo is feeling constrained to decorate for the "holidays" w/o actually naming any *particular* holiday so as to avoiding alienating anybody who doesn't necessarily favor that particular holiday. To that end, we are celebrating ginger bread man and snowflake day! Yay! Just like when I was a kid!

This is ridiculous. Can't we all just agree once and for all that x-mas (the version with santa and a tree) is a *secular* holiday all about drinking egg nog and kissing under mistletoe and, what was that other thing?, oh yeah, right, and getting lots of presents. Can't we let yahoo put a big tree up with santa running around it? Does anybody really feel that the image of a red-suited guy holding a bag of presents and standing in front of a decorated tree is in any way *religious*? The tree's roots are pagan and god only knows where santa came from, but he wasn't in the manger, I know that much. So why the fuss?

Just seems simpler my way.

bunch of crazy motherfuckers

File this under: Global WTF.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is throwing a little "the Holocaust never happened" party in Iran and this is the crazy shit he's saying:

'"Thanks to people's wishes and God's will the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want," he said.

"Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out," he added.

His words received warm applause from delegates at the Holocaust conference, who included ultra-Orthodox anti-Israel Jews and European and American writers who argue the Holocaust was either fabricated or exaggerated.'

Ok, it's one thing for this guy to be a totally cuckoo anti-semite himself, but where's he getting these other people who are providing him with "warm applause" and some semblence of credibility? I guess he's been trolling the totally cuckoo anti-semite websites and sending out E-vites for the past month or so.

Here's a non-link to the whole exciting article. (And I swear, people, I will make an effort to finally learn how to put real, active links in my posts as soon as I'm done with exams and stuff. I swear.)

missing in oregon

I just opened up the trusty ol' yahoo news and saw that there are three climbers missing on Mt. Hood in Oregon. Jesus, after that thing with the family from San Francisco and now this, you'd think Oregon was just this giant snow-blind into which you will venture and never return. Please, people of the world, don't be afraid of Oregon. Most of it isn't trecherous at all.

In other news, I'm proud to say I work in a place with a poster on the wall that says "Why Do We Bathe?" I noticed it for the first time last night and it made me laugh out loud. I guess the nursing students made it before their interning stint ended last week. They were sweet. I guess. Anyway, they made posters all about hygeine, however, any of our clients who are able to actually read the posters are probably not the clients who really *need* to read the posters, if you know what I mean. The ones walking around in a toxic funk-cloud are mostly the ones too psychotic to know better. The poster might not sink in. If we could figure out how to get some of the "voices" to start telling them to shower and change clothes once or twice a week, then we'd be in business.

So yes, my workplace tends to stink, but last night we had delivered the mother of all air-fresheners: a ginormous x-mas tree. Every year for as long as I can remember (and probably much longer) Father D@n has donated a x-mas tree to us. I'm not really sure who this Father D@n is. He's an almost legendary figure among the street people: he's always showing up here and there, handing out coats and socks and sack lunches. And every year he brings us a tree.

Anyway, the tree was huge and heavy and wet, really wet, and Father D@n (carrying it all by his strapping, christian self) leaned it in a corner, tipped his hat to us (I swear, he really was wearing a black felt hat) and left. The tree immediately made a quick slide down the floor and we all set about wrangling up out of the way. I found the tree stand in the basement and we tried to get it all set up, but even after our best efforts, it still listed to one side. Like the problem-solvers we are, we just turned that particular side towards the window and crossed our fingers.

After all that, I wasn't even remotely interested in digging around in the basement for the ornaments and mounting a full-scale decoration attack. It stood there, bare and giving off quite the woodland aroma, until one of our clients found something to put on it. This guy is pretty psychotic and usually spends his time, as we say in the biz, "responding to internal stimuli" but last night he managed to come out of it a little. He found a little plastic star somewhere and he stuck it right on the very top of the tree. It was sweet.

So now the tree is leaning into the window and bare except for one silver star right on top. Maybe we should leave it that way, it's kind of nice. Especially since the fire marshall won't allow us to put lights on the tree, the big dumb grinch. Oh well. At least the tree totally wipes out the otherwise nasty smell that usually pervades the place. Maybe we should get trees for all the holidays, just to keep the air smelling nice. The easter tree. The fourth of july tree. And my favorite, the arbor day tree! Fun times.

Monday, December 11, 2006

because i know you want to know

One exam down, one to go. I spent three hours and fifteen minutes this morning sitting in a room with a bunch of other people, scribbling down all I could think of about Civil Rights Litigation. (Which can be summed up thusly: are you the government? No? Then you lose. Goodbye.)

Now I'm going to take a bath and clean my house and enjoy two hours of pure leisure before I go to work. Tomorrow I will start studying for my last exam, which will be a big, chaotic joke, because there's no textbook, just an enormous pile of papers generated by the professor, some of which is numbered, some of which is not, all of which totals over 1500 pages. It is the most disorganized pile of shit I can imagine and I you have no idea how happy I will be to finish that exam and put all that behind me.

Now for the bath. And the leisure. Ciao.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

flat affect

I heartilly apologize for any lameness that will occur on this blog between now and Dec. 21st. Studying for exams, for some reason, is depressing, and leaving school is causing me to have an identity crisis. I'm trying not to abuse my blog by excessive whining and I'm becoming aware that too much introspection isn't interesting for strangers to read. So I might not have much to say for another ten days. We'll see. (Wait, what? Only ten more days?? Jesus, there's so much to do between now and then!)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

yahoo headline

"Rumsfeld says farewell to troops in Iraq"

Troops say: "Bye Rummy! We'll miss you not giving a shit about us!! Thanks for not supplying us with armor for our trucks and stuff! Enjoy your slide into obscurity! I'll send you a card if I make it out of here alive."


On Tuesday, I attended my last class ever of law school. Monday night at work I noticed an inexplicable feeling of euphoria bubbling up from within me and it actually took me awhile to realize it might just be connected with the reality that I was reading my last homework assignment ever. I spent about two hours giddy with glee and anticipation of the freedom and joy that would soon be mine.

Class Tuesday was great. It was my comparative criminal law seminar with Eagle Eye Goldberg (the cleverly disguised name of my very awesome professor). Goldberg has managed to slide in under the wire as my all time biggest law-school smart-professor crush. So sharp, so incisive, so good at facilitating class discussion. She was my best professor (with the obvious exception of Jack Bog who was certainly the most entertaining) and there's something heartwrenching about having my last class with her.

Instead of leaving class Tuesday skipping and singing, I walked down the path to my car for the last time sinking like a stone. Will I actually miss this place, I wondered? Will I miss this walk up and down the lovely path from the car park to the back end of Wood Hall? Will I miss the coffee cart in the LRC? Will I miss the forty-pound casebooks and the socratic method? YES! I WILL MISS THEM!

And even as I sit here at my desk with a pile of Civil Rights Litigation papers in front of me, knee-deep in exam preparation, I feel for the first time that I have *finally* learned how to be a really good law student. I have finally learned how to really understand it all, to see the big picture, to think in terms of black letter law, policy, doctrines, cannons of construction, federalism, and politics all at once. I'm afraid my brain will atrophy once I'm out of this environment. I'm not just afraid, I'm terrified! My brain turned into a big bowl of moldy jello this summer and I was miserable until the first day of classes at the end of August. Then I sprang back to life like a dried out houseplant someone finally remembered to water.

What will I do??? For now, I suppose I will go study for my exams and actually, for the first and last time, enjoy it. After that... I don't know.

Friday, December 08, 2006

after eight long years

I finally went to the dentist today and my teeth feel all shiny and new. Things weren't nearly as bad in there as I expected after so much neglect. In fact, things are actually better than they were eight years ago. Back then, they wanted to pull the wisdom tooth with the crater missing off one side, but I never scheduled the appointment. This dentist thinks she can just fill it instead of pulling it. Yay to that! The less tooth pulling the better, as far as I'm concerned.

Ok, now I'm off to study for exams and try to put the coffee "patina" back on my teeth after having it all so unceremoniously polished off just now. I worked for eight years on that patina! I want it back!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

abundance part two

Second night in a row of free doughnuts from Voodoo.

Must. Stop. Eating. Doughnuts. Dying of. Doughnut. Lodged. In aorta.

don't worry about that terrorism thing, it's covered

Actual headline from yahoo news: Llamas Enlisted to Thwart Biological Weapons

So, yeah, don't stress about biological weapons. The llamas are on top of it. Here's the non-link if you're actually interested in the llamas' secret plan:

Meanwhile, as I listened to news about the Iraq Study Group Report, I finally figured out the silver-lining to Bush's "reelection" in 2004. If Bush hadn't been "reelected", we wouldn't be sitting here in 2006 watching him get his ass handed to him in every conceivable way. His terrible approval ratings, the mid-term elections, Rummie's ouster, and now his Dad's best friends give the whole Iraq endeavor a giant F minus. Ouch.

I'm not sure it's worth it, really, but it's better than nothing.


Tonight at ye olde homelesse shelter we were inundated with free edibles. First, a guy from the Chinese Garden across the street (a botanical garden, not a restaurant) brought over a huge pan of orange glazed chicken from some soiree they'd just had. I mean a HUGE pan. Which was lucky because we didn't have anything to put out for nine-o'clock snack and let me tell you, when there's no snack, people get pissed.

Then, when everybody was reaching maximum capacity (myself included) on orange glazed chicken, we were hit with another humongous donation. This time, somebody with connections went down to the world famous Voodoo Doughnuts to see if they had any day-old doughnuts they wanted to donate. They sent her back with FOUR BUCKETS of doughnuts. FOUR BUCKETS.

Have you ever seen four buckets of doughnuts? It was awesome. Doughnuts of every variety: maple bars, old fashioned, cake, chocolate cake, chocolate cake glazed with chocolate icing, chocolate cake glazed with chocolate icing coated in cocoa puffs, cruellers, cream filled, white and puffy coated in cap'n crunch, cinammon sprinkled, chocolate coated in coconut, cake coated in mystery pink icing with a marshmallow. Every doughnut ever conceived. All right there. In four buckets.

Anyway, long story short, I think I need to go throw up.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

my brother isaac

My brother Isaac was dying from the day he was born. Isn't that a lyric from a Lisa Loeb song? And aren't we all, technically, dying from the day we are born? I guess the connection is just more obvious for some than for others.

Isaac, for instance, was born with his heart backwards. A backwards heart is a problem for reasons that are perhaps not immediately obvious. The heart is designed to pump a lot of blood to the whole body from one chamber, which is bigger, and to pump a smaller amount of blood to the lungs from another chamber, which is smaller. The backwards heart gets this backwards. The smaller chamber, designed for pumping to the lungs, has to struggle to pump to the whole body and, with all the extra work, the days of the backwards heart are numbered.

Isaac had open heart surgery when he was two days old to put in a pacemaker. He spent so many hours under anaesthesia as a baby, he was left a little, as they say, slow. But what he lacked in smarts he made up for in humor and attitude. He was a pretty funny kid. A funny kid with a body criss-crossed by fine, white scar-lines, a whole atlas of surgical procedures and invasive interventions, mapped out on his skin for reference. At thirteen he had a heart transplant. At nineteen, he got lymphoma.

After all the different operations and medications and diagnoses and prognoses, it was something entirely random, almost anonymous, that killed him. Chemo was going really well and he was almost done with his treatments, but then his chemo port became infected. The infected port grew scar tissue all around it, which pressed into an artery. His body was painting him into corner after corner: he required blood thinners for his heart, but blood thinners prevented sugery to remove the infected port and scar tissue; he needed anti-rejection meds to keep his body from rejecting that imposter heart of his, but his doctor's discontinued them so his body could fight the infection; he could no longer recieve chemo treatments, but he still had lymphoma, and he still had an infected chemo port compressing an artery with scar tissue.

It was like he'd been blindfolded and left standing in the middle of an intersection. Buses were careening towards him from all directions, and we knew he was definitely going to get creamed, we just didn't know how long it would take the buses to arrive or which bus, precisely, would do the creaming. In fact, even now, five years later, nobody could tell you which of the bad things actually killed him, all we know is he's dead.

When his doctors closed their eyes and tried to invision a solution, all they saw was him standing in the intersection with all those buses bearing down on him, and they knew there was nothing they could do. That's when my dad and stepmother made the radical, beautiful, humane decision to bring him home. They didn't demand aggressive attempts to fix the giant mess his body had become. They just brought him home and let him have a peaceful last few months.

My dad took a leave of absence from work and I flew back east and stayed nearby. For the first couple months, Isaac didn't seem sick at all. He seemed like his usual, goofy self and I would watch him and think "no way, this kid's not dying, why the hell did I come back to Georgia and how long am I supposed to stay, waiting for this healthy kid to die? They've obviously made a mistake." We did whatever he wanted, every day. Which meant we went fishing a lot. And we went to a lot of yard sales and flea markets. I don't know why, but he loved wandering around yard sales and flea markets.

He seemed just fine until the last week. During that last week he did not seem fine at all. I remember most clearly the last day. He hadn't been keeping food down all week, but on the last day he lost the ability to keep down liquids. For every sip of gatoraid he took, he spit up a quart of mystery fluid. Where was all that fluid coming from? I sat with him on the front porch a few minutes, his last trip to the front porch, it turned out. It was the first time I'd been alone with him since he'd gotten really sick and I wasn't quite sure what to say. He just sat with a plastic tub in his lap to throw up in, and stared silently out across the valley into the distance.

I was awed, in that moment, to feel him already gone. As far as his eyes seemed to be looking, he was really looking only inside, drawing inward, attending to something far away from the world I was in, the consensus reality world of the porch, the trees, the valley. It wasn't that he was unconscious. It was that he was preoccupied with something more important and encompassing. I sat with him and looked into his eyes as he stared out across some unimaginable void, and death, for the first time, looked to me like a navigable passage. A voyage into uncharted territory that I would someday embark on with, hopefully, the same level of concentration and interest I seemed to see in his face.

He died the next morning. His last words, god bless him, were "I'm so thirsty." He died in a bed in the living room of his house, with his mom and his dad right there, holding him. Not such a bad way to go, if you have to go. He was twenty. The house filled up with people who milled around crying and looking at his body which had been arranged peacefully on the bed, waiting for the funeral home to come. The hospice nurse came and collected the narcotic meds he'd been on. We were all, probably, wishing she'd just leave a few for us, but she didn't.

My stepmother sat at his side, holding his hand, crying. I walked through over and over. I wanted to touch him, but I was afraid to feel him, growing cold, changing. I didn't want that to be my last tactile memory of him. I also didn't want it to be so public. The house was full of people I didn't even know, I have no idea where they came from or how they arrived so fast. I wanted just one minute alone with him, but I guess I'd had the most important minute alone with him the day before, on the porch, so I couldn't complain. Daddy sent me up to check on Alex, Isaac's twin. I found him sitting on the stairs, halfway to the top, in a pretty secluded spot. I sat next to him. I did what I could.

We had a viewing that evening. It was weird. My brother, I swear to god, was put into his coffin wearing a brand new, black, NASCAR t-shirt and holding a NASCAR ball cap over his belly. Add that one to the line of "you might be a redneck if..." jokes. Jesus. But that was his style, I guess. Alex, at least, had the decency to buy himself a suit for the occasion and guilted my dad into doing the same. I guess Daddy was planning just to wear his crispest pair of jeans before the intervention Alex's civilizing influence. We are mountain people, after all.

After the viewing I rode with my grandmother and cousins to the Huddle House and ate hashbrowns and gossiped to relieve some of the pressures of grief. I felt, for the first time since I was a kid, like I had a family who genuinely cared about me. It was nice, but not nice enough to keep me in Georgia for long. In a little over a month, I came back to Portland and that was that.

I hadn't been close to Isaac for a lot of reasons and I was shocked by how deeply his sickness and death affected me. Being there with him right on the cusp of his death was the most important thing I've ever done, the only thing in my life I wouldn't trade for anything. I learned so much from that experience, I couldn't begin to articulate it all. All I can say is that it changed the way I understand life, and it certainly expanded my understanding of death. Thank you, Isaac, for letting me sit with you as you gazed into the next places, and thanks for letting me see a little of it, reflected in your eyes.

Monday, December 04, 2006

countdown to done

Seventeen days left until the end of my last semester of law school. I went to the campus bookstore today to buy a study aid for my Civil Rights Litigation class, but they were all out of the book I needed. They did not apologize, they did not offer to go look in the storeroom, they just said, "looks like we're out," and walked away. Both of them.

When I worked for Whole Foods, I ALWAYS told the customer I'd check in the back for something even when I was absolutely, one-hundred percent sure we didn't have any more of it. Why? Because the psychological value to the customer is immense. They think you care about helping them and they are more likely to believe you when you tell them you really are out. You heartilly apologize and offer options: another shipment will come Monday, you can special order it, I can call our other store across town and see if they have it, etc. HELLO, customer service, people!

Anyway, I just took it as a sign from Jesus that I wasn't supposed to sink nearly thirty bucks into a study aid that might not even help that much. Then I went to the library to print out my reading for class tomorrow and saw that the computer lab was closed. CLOSED! I thought for a minute that I must actually be in the middle of one of those anxiety dreams where everything goes horribly wrong and you wake up in a panic. But no. It was real. The forces of the world are officially conspiring against me, but I will persevere. I have come too far to turn back now.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Today is December 2nd, exactly one year since the very first post on this blog. One year since I left my awful, drunk wife CB and decided to put all my extra energy into this stony planet to keep me sane while I couch surfed and studied for exams and dealt with the guilt and grief attendant to leaving my "marriage," my home and my (seriously? yes) stepkids.

Wow. One whole year. The blog has changed shape a lot since then, and my identity as a blogger has also shifted dramatically. In fact, my identity as a writer has really emerged as I (finally) reinstated an almost daily writing practice (journaling doesn't count, for me) and then felt the pressure of a daily readership. What an awesome thing blogging has been for me! It has helped me write more concisely, more quickly, and it has introduced me to the power of volume. (Ie: daily writing adds up to tons and tons of material.) If it wasn't for blogging, I never would've felt capable of something like Nano. Hell, if it wasn't for blogging, I never would've read about Nano on other people's blogs!

Awhile back, Sara Heppola wrote a much-talked about column for somebody (New York Times maybe?) called "Why I Quit Blogging," bemoaning the giant drain that her daily blogging had become. She had started blogging to help become a better writer but, in the process of blogging, she had stopped putting energy into her regular writing and had, consequently, never bothered to write that great american novel that had been knocking around inside of her. I am happy to say I have had the opposite experience of blogging so far. Although, it's only been a year. Give me some time and maybe I will start to loathe it. I'll check back in next year.

Another anniversary worth noting, at least for me: December 2nd, 2001, 6am EST, my brother Isaac died. I have been planning for weeks now to write something about him today. Planning, actually, to use this day each year to write something new about him. To constantly revisit his memory and assess the evolving meaning of the death of a sibling in my life. But, sadly, I don't have it in me today. I've spent another several hours sitting here at the computer working on my last paper of law school (that deserves caps: MY LAST PAPER OF LAW SCHOOL) and now my brain hurts and I'm excited about getting over to SK's for some more R n R. I'm sorry, Boo, my tribute to you will have to wait a couple of days. Hold tight. I promise to get to it soon.

Friday, December 01, 2006

to look forward to

November: gone. One-hundred-forty-three pages of bad Nano novel: tucked discreetly into a desk drawer, to be ignored awhile then dug out and revised at some much later time. Exams: looming. Now it's time to buckle down and end all extraneous pursuits. I will write one last paper. I will study for my exams. I will take my exams. I will be done by 5pm on December 21st.

(I will have a one week vacation from school and then I will start studying for the bar, but can we not talk about that just yet?)

I have been a very good girl today. I have sat at my desk with very little internet procrastination and I have outlined my paper. I have been sitting here for HOURS and my HOURS of sitting here have paid off. The paper is outlined. I will probably need to add more, but for now, all the materials I have collected thus far are in the outline. So there. My immediate treat is writing this blog. (Yay.) Then I get to go to SK's for some R and R.

My long term treat, the treat that waits for me after AAAAALLLLLLLL this junk is over, is represented by what I like to call the international array of goodies on my desk. I look at the international array of goodies and I remember that this will all be over by March and then, I'm off to bigger and better.

What's in the array?

1.) my very first passport. It's so pretty. It's so navy blue.

2.) my WWOOF card in its thin, brown airmail envelop from the UK. WWOOFing isn't something to do with dogs, it stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms, or WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms, depending on who you talk to. Membership in a WWOOF organization allows you to volunteer to work on someone's organic farm in exchange for free room and usually board as well. In case I want to linger in Europe in some as yet undecided location... should I pick Norway...? Or Belgium? France...? Or Greece?

3.) My blank Pilgrim Credential for the Camino de Santiago de Compostella in Spain. The Camino de Santiago is an 800km walk across Northern Spain, starting in the Basque region of the Pyranees and ending up close to the Atlantic Coast just North of Portugal. The Pilgrim Credential, which functions kind of like a Camino passport, allows you to stay at the different hostels and dorms that are located all along the route and are mostly operated by the Catholic Church. You present your credential each night at the hostel and they stamp it. When you're done, you have a billion stamps to prove you really walked the Camino.

The credential is the latest addition to my international array and isn't as cool as I'd hoped it would be. It's just a long piece of cardboard folding like an accordian and says on the back "American Pilgrims on the Camino" -- I may as well stitch a big ol' American flag onto the back of my pack, but oh well. I wasn't going to bother pretending I was from Canada anyway. I may as well take the heat for my country. Why should I feel absolved just because I think I'm more compassionate and enlightened? I've still been benefiting from all the things we do wrong. Why not acknowledge it.

But I digress, the international array reminds me that I have huge plans that have nothing to do with law school or the bar exam. Huge plans that will take me out of this country and put me in cool places I've never been before. Huge plans that are sometimes more stressful than relaxing to imagine, but regardless, huge plans for really cool things to look forward to after all this other crap is done.