Monday, October 25, 2010

While I wait for my iPhone to update...

From a recent personality test I took:
You care about the big picture. You are comfortable with large, ambiguous issues. You carefully weigh all of the variables involved, and regularly come up with imaginative solutions to complex problems.

You are friendly and humane. You have a big heart; you tend to trust people and sympathize with them easily. You want to make others happy and self-confident. So you work to build supportive networks among friends and kin.

Your empathy and kindness spill over into a desire to make the world a better place. And with your resilience and creativity, your ability to do many things at the same time, and your cleverness with words, you can be remarkably effective at improving the lives of others.

You are ambitious for your family and friends, but not always for yourself. You like an environment of sharing and consensus and you enjoy working in teams and planning long term.

You tend to be socially well-adjusted and skilled at inspiring others to reach their goals. So you are an empathetic and engaging companion.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Day In My Shoes

My dad always complains that I don't wear sensible shoes. Ever since I was a kid, I have been mesmerized by the teetering-tottering stiletto heels that the "grown up girls" wear. A best friend and I even spent an entire afternoon "shopping" for what many consider to be the Holy Grail of fashionable footwear - Christian Louboutins (don't worry, I didn't buy them - I already have enough debt from law school). The popularity of the label is attributable to the fact that CLs (are exorbitantly expensive and) sport some of the highest heels of any on the market. That makes them exceptionally desirable to me, much to dad's dismay.

Yesterday I caught myself contemplating the crumbling asphalt that tops the parking lot next to the court where I work. There are patches where the owners have repaved with something smoother than the original mixture, and I always go way out of my way to walk on those spots instead - even though I don't care to spend more time outside walking in the Houston weather than I have to. I noticed that I plot out my path four, five, even six footsteps ahead, just to make sure I can keep my teetering-tottering heels (and me) upright.

Maybe it's because of that time my heel got wedged in the teeny gap between building-floor and elevator-floor, which almost got me mowed over by a crowd of busy business people that were trying to rush into the empty elevator from behind me. Or possibly, I've ripped off one too many of the little plastic end-of-the-heel-nail nubby things by not being careful to mind the random chinks in brick sidewalks where the mortar has crumbled away. For better or for worse, my addiction to fancy, tall shoes has taught me to step with caution, and with purpose.

So yes, I occasionally get crippling blisters from shoes that fit, but nonetheless rub because nature didn't intend for me to tip-toe around all day. And it's true that I sometimes come home and audibly sigh when I step out of my three-inch work pumps and into my care-worn flip-flops. And despite the fact that I can't cough up $500+ for those ruby-red-soled designer gems, I will never stop thinking about the day when I will traipse around - insensibly - in them.

Because I know that they keep me thinking ahead, smart, and stylish. On sidewalks and in life. And that's worth more than the few aches and pains I get in the process.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Running on Empty

I sat down to write what I imagined would be a spectacularly insightful post, but I just ran out of words. I have done nothing but write today at work, so I suppose a person can just max out on written communication. I'll try again another day...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lazy, lazy, lazy.

I have a deep, dark secret I refuse to admit to future employers, first dates, or friends-of-friends: I love nothing more than to spend all Saturday long (and/or Sunday) camped out on the couch with a day's worth of random snacks, my macbook, and as many cheesy weekend marathon movies as I can find on TV. Literally - all day long. I don't get bored with it, and I don't find myself wishing I were doing something else. If I make other weekend plans, I usually do so sparingly so I don't have to give up too much time being anything other than borderline catatonic.

As much as I relish my lazy time, I harbor feelings of mild shame and embarrassment about it. I worry people will think I don't carpe diem, or that I share one too many qualities with the noble slug. I spend a lot of time in my mind justifying my behavior, in that I throw myself 125% into my work during the week, or that I deserve the rest after three years of law school, or that it is best to stay home since the budget is tighter these days than it used to be.

But regardless of what I think, and regardless of what other people think, I doubt I'll ever stop looking forward to the seemingly endless hours lazing around in my comfy clothes, with a big flannel blanket and my cats to keep me company. And for today, it really hits the spot.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Life in Multi-Colored Gem Stone Pieces

I've been playing an inordinate amount of Bejeweled on my phone these days, and I blame PopCap Games. In a stroke of brilliance, PopCap has captured the addictive quality of social networking with the equally addictive quality of stupid, simple games played on hand-held devices: in Bejeweled Blitz, you have one minute to score as many points possible, and your scores will be compared to those of any other facebook friends that play, too.

And whether I like it or not, I find myself philosophizing about life as I work to climb the high-score ranks. Here's what I've learned.

1. No matter how hard you try to strategize, you really can't fight the board. Sometimes, your best score comes from relaxing and just getting the points as the opportunity presents itself. Or waiting until the next game so you can start fresh.

2. You can use the "boosts," but your skills will suffer and the "boosts" will eventually become a crutch you can't win without. Better to just stick to the basics and practice, practice, practice.

3. The minute you finally beat that one person you've spent hours trying to outpace in the ranks, the new tournament will start and you'll be back in the "NO SCORE" zone with everyone else. And no one remembers the scores from last week. Be more than you're Bejeweled score.

4. It is equally satisfying to play one game as it is to play ten. You get more sleep if you just play one.

5. Don't play while walking. This one doesn't really translate into thinking about life, but it is true nonetheless. I almost had a really, really unfortunate incident with a concrete beam the other day.

If you are a fellow Bejeweled jedi, I know you can identify. If you aren't, you should really consider trying out Blitz. Just don't let it keep you from enjoying real life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taking the First Step

After a long, drawn-out hiatus from writing, I have been itching to get back into a routine of posting and reading my favorite online writers again. I made it through the summer, pushed through the bar exam (barely escaping with my life, I tell you), and survived the move to Houston with very few bumps and bruises. I am settled and have a new desk at which I can compose new thoughtful ramblings about my fresh start in the city - but I find myself in the grip of the age-old enemy: writer's block.

I know it is only a matter of time before I find some new insight from my new circumstances - whether in the form of work gossip, dating drama (or lack thereof), family hijinxs, or whathaveyou. And I even have a few ideas rolling around in my (otherwise quite empty) brain. But I can't seem to get it out there into words.

So this is an exercise for me to just start trying again, and an opportunity for anyone with ideas to offer or questions about me to help spur on the writing process by placing their bid now for a topic suggestion.

I have to admit, though, I think the new desk really will help. :) Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Because I don't have time to explain myself...

Very good explanation of my life these days. Three days for last minute preparations (including today), then on with the show. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Buisness Associations and Bismuth

Crunch time has arrived.

I have heard horror stories of what people go through the last few weeks before the bar exam, but I sortof imagined that I would be able to keep a level head, a steady pace, and avoid the "crazies." And for the last month and a half, I've done a pretty good job. I multi-task, I study hard but take breaks, keep on schedule, and try not to get too distracted.

However, I guess it was naive to think that I could sneak past the inevitable functional-periodic-nervous-breakdown that is the "last two weeks." Since Sunday, I've struggled against an foreboding sense of impending doom, trying to convince myself that my hard work is going to pay off. That I am not, in fact, going to fail the bar exam. That I will not have to cycle through this nonsense in preparation to take the infernal test again in February. And I'm slowly reconstructing my confidence, but it is not without spontaneous malfunctions here and there.

I have a lawyer friend who commented that during the lunch breaks on the second and third days of the exam (that's right - lunch breaks. During a test. A three-day test.), she used to pack a lunch (to avoid the "crazies" in nearby restaurants) of Nilla Wafers, peanut butter, a pack of cigarettes, and a bottle of Pepto Bismol - and sit in her car and go through flash cards until the next half of the exam that day. I initially laughed, thinking that was a little extreme.

But I suddenly find myself inexplicably fixated on a steady diet of frozen salisbury steak, pizza rolls, and celery. And I have developed this very annoying stress-related condition/nonsense. I almost lost my shit because someone sent me a text message mere minutes before my alarm was supposed to wake me up before today's practice exam, and I felt it was an injustice of epic proportions that I should miss a few more winks of sleep than I'd planned. I haven't bought gas in a month because I barely leave my house (aka the study fort). I haven't worn makeup since graduation back in May, I think.

But, despite the "crazies," I am slowly and steadily working through the remaining material to review, plowing through practice questions and exams, and generally keeping as optimistic as possible with the help and commiseration of a few lovely, patient, equally-falling-apart "crazies." Hanging in there. Bring on the Criminal Procedure, Torts, Commercial Paper, Consumer Protection, and Pepto Bismol.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm sorry, what were you saying?

I am developing a troubling new skill as I move forward with my bar exam studying - the half-hear. Let me explain.

For those of you who have been spared the ordeal of suffering through or supporting a significant other/family member as they suffer through preparation for the bar exam, here's the way some of it goes:

I have the option to either attend lectures in class or at home online six days a week - but both are just pre-recorded videos of various law professors teaching from a pre-prepared outline on the day's subject. The bar prep company encourages "active" listening, so they give us a giant book in which we are to take (mostly irrelevant) notes that match exactly the lecture and outline, with big blanks for us to fill in as we follow along.

It's actually a fantastic method, since I like a good, on-going task to keep me focused, but when the lecturers digress, or I get ahead in my filling-in-the-blanks and have to wait for the lecture to catch up, I tend to do other things (like play Words with Friends on my phone, check Facebook, or - like today - draft something for my blog). But I'm always keeping my ear stretched out for whenever the lecturer wanders back to the topic at hand. And I have gotten pretty good at doing both things half-well at the same time.

Which is great for bar prep (or not, I'll let you know when I get my scores back in October), but terrible for my relationships. I now feel a pressing need to multi-task when I talk to anyone. I half-hear all my conversations while I surreptitiously let my mind wander through mental checklists or pick up stuff around the house or do the dishes. I don't do it with everyone, and I don't do it the entire time, but it bothers me nonetheless.

I distinctly remember going ape-shit on an ex boyfriend years and years ago for farting around on the computer all the time when we were talking on the phone. It was painfully obvious that he was responding to emails and surfing the web instead of following along with our conversation, and it drove me bonkers. I get annoyed just thinking about it - but I'm starting to do it to other people! I find myself having to re-ask questions, make them repeat things, pretend I heard the last thing they said - and I've been doing a terrible job on my dishes. So add the half-hear to one of the many bad, bad habits bar prep has successfully introduced into my life.

But I am resolving to cut it out. Cold turkey. When I'm not listening to bar lectures, that is.

Gently Loved

I have never been one to shell out hard-earned cash for a shoe or a shirt or anything without putting it to work the minute I walk in the door. I more-than-frequently don shiny, saturated-hue stilettos around my house with ratty pajama pants and t-shirts - just to get a "feel" for them, to enjoy the noise they make as I traipse from my couch to the fridge and back. Or lay in bed with a brand-new bright-orange party dress, barefoot and alone with a paperback book - so long as I don't inadvertently wrinkle the fabric too much.

I have a feeling I will never be one of those hostesses with flawless china stashed away just for "special occasions" or an old lady with antique jewelry that has silently tarnished, left alone for years in some velvet-lined drawer. I have lots of "nice things" that don't seem to last long without a few bumps and bruises - a casualty of my tendency to engage in a passionate and intense love affair with the little things I choose to invite into my life.

But I'm okay with the bumps and bruises. I like everything around me to be well-loved. And most of the time, my life feels like a perpetual, exhilarating game of dress-up.

Go see Write With Pictures, the lovely inspiring source for this and other posts! A brilliant way to get the ink flowing...

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Delay Unnoticed

I would love to claim that my hiatus is attributable to the (successful) trip I took to apartment shop in Houston several weeks ago, or the visit to my old college buddy immediately thereafter, or the week-long illness that perplexed doctors for days upon my return and so incapacitated me that my mother had to drive half-way across the state to tend to me, or the fact that I graduated law school several days before I was completely well, or that I began the two-month-long process of preparing for the state bar the following Monday . . .

. . . but really, it's just cause I didn't have anything else interesting going on :) As I wrote when I started my very first journal/blog on Xanga:

"You know - I should have considered the fact that I don't have a very interesting life before I started a new blog many times can I talk about shopping and cleaning and running out of money?"

Not much has changed. Stay tuned - I promise I'll come up with a good idea to write about soon!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Building Memories

The little girl sits on a dusty wooden workbench. There is no breeze in the barn, but even despite the scorching Texas summer weather, she doesn't mind. She brushes away a mosquito and kicks her knobby-kneed legs in the air beneath the bench in rhythm.

"Daddy, why'd you decide to build this boat?" Her father, lightly coated with sawdust from the circular saw he used earlier and dripping sweat, stops measuring and looks up. He is standing in the middle of a small, nearly-finished hull of what will someday be a two-or-three-man sailboat. Its lines are unfinished but artfully crafted. He sits on the edge and pats the space next to him - the blonde child climbs up beside him.

He tells her that when he was her age (quite small), his daddy helped him make a toy sailboat to play with during the hot, hot summers. How he spent hours cruising the nefarious "seas" with the Lady McQuay, named after the brand on the wax paper sail it bore (the packaging to the most reliable piston rings on the market, according to his daddy). The memory of working with his father to build the tiny boat stuck with him his whole life - and when he was "all growed up," he decided to make a life-size one himself.

The little girl thinks for a minute. She looks outside the barn door and sees the big treehouse her daddy built in the tree outside the summer before, next to the swing he hung from impossibly high branches the year before that. She glances over at the raised flowerbed they built a few months ago, when he let her pick out the flowers to plant all by herself. She feels her eyes fill with tears a little, but she is just a little too young to really understand why.

She hugs her father tightly, pats the boat reverently. "It's a very pretty boat, daddy. I wish I could have seen the first one."

Note: Submitted at Write with Pictures, a happy discovery. The boat (both of them), the treehouse, the swing, and the flowerbox are all real, although I didn't learn of the boat until I was far too big to swing my legs in the air under any bench!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"...I wonder what I'll think three years from now. I wonder who I'll be by then."

I wrote those words several weeks after I started law school - and in less than a week I will attend class for the last time, prepare for my final round of finals, and graduate. To be honest, I'm a little stunned that I am finally here. Three years later.

It is cliche, but it can't be helped: so much has changed. I have changed. There have been the inevitable detours and roadblocks along the way (i.e. the occasional abysmal grade(s), a twice-broken relationship, multiple apartment crises), but I like to think I am learning how to move forward with some degree of grace. Change has always been a dear friend of mine because it provokes such delightful opportunities for growth - and the past three years have certainly been an exercise in embracing change fully.

How many times can one person lose their love, faith, hope, and self - only to find them again at the end of the day? Despite the perilous journey, law school didn't kill me, God didn't smite me, and I've come out on the other side a more complete me, I think.

I finally more afraid of burglars than the legal profession (as it should be, I feel - but that is not how it started out). I don't have to worry about not getting that "dream" job, because I didn't - and I not only survived, I landed somewhere I think I was meant to be in the first place. I have a newfound appreciation for my delightful family, my dear friends, early mornings, and the relentless, essential struggle that is adulthood. I've searched my soul and discovered a new kind of peace with myself that I didn't know I needed before.

So three years later, that is what I think. This is who I am. I am so thankful to have landed (nearly) on my feet. Gives me so much hope for the future, no matter what happenstance throws my way next. To new beginnings...