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!