Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Remember that law school is only a part of your life

This is my writing prof's mantra. He tries to beat into us the idea that we are still whole people and that law school is a very small part of the whole. Mostly I think Yeah, yeah, and when I am caught up I will try to remember that.

But this last weekend, I really did make that a priority. Thursday, I picked my DD up from preschool a few hours early and we went to the park and played and frolicked for a few hours. It was really good time for us. And I had such a clear head that night when I started to do my studying.

Saturday night, I went on a bona fide date with DH. We went to dinner and a movie. And I can't remember the last time that happened. We ate slowly and chatted over dinner instead of inhaling our food and keeping one hand ready to stop DD from throwing her food, etc. We saw Batman Begins at a second run theater (which is why we could afford the dinner and a movie. really good flick. I was pleasantly surprised. And yes, Christian Bale is rather yummy.

We also stopped at a game store and bought Ticket to Ride Europe. It's a German game where you build train routes all over Europe. And it can be played with just 2 people. Which is nice. A lot of the more fun games seem like you have to have at least 3 players. Anyway, we've spent an hour the last couple of nights playing it, and it has been really cathartic to think about something other than school. I'd recommend the game.

And I'd recommend remembering that you really do have a whole life. And that law school is just a small part of it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

End of week 5

Before I posted I had to stop and double check how many weeks into this I really am. Holy cats. 5 weeks down. That's one third of the semester. Here's the break down, now that I am an "oh-so-experienced" 1L

The three core classes still aren't bad. I still think that I have great profs. I really love the style of my Torts prof who is the most Socratic, no "being on call" on certain days. You're on call in every class. That used to scare the poo out of me, but I really see how it forces me to engage more everyday.

Writing is still my favorite class, even after the memo I turned in this morning. I am all about any class where I can see the direct results of my efforts applicable to ANY law job I ever get. And my writing prof is still my favorite. Heeelarious.

We're gearing up to do our semester research project. Isn't it sweet of our school to make it due the day after fall break? yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. We've had several mini research assignments, but we usually do them in groups, and we're not allowed to work in groups on the final research project. So, frankly, I am a little intimidated. I can find anything I need to on Lexis and Westlaw. That's no problem. My problem will be the research log we have to keep where we show what BOOKS we looked in for specific parts of our research. Yowza. I still stink at finding stuff topically in the books. But then, hopefully after the research project, I won't have that problem anymore.

I think the most pleasant surprise about law school is my actual classmates. They are awesome. 99% are perfectly normal, not overly competitive people. When I have to miss class because I'm sick or my DD is sick, I get lots of offers for notes etc. No matter how diverse our background, we all seem to be sticking together. And that, I think, is tremendous.

Now back to my K outline.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Can I say just how much I love my legal writing class?

I realize that 99% of it is my prof and his approach to teaching, which is always interesting and usually hysterical. But I really like it. We are on our second assigment right now. I tend to think that it's going to be easy because I've got it making complete sense in my head, but when I put pen to paper, the organization just kills me. Prof Writing says not to worry about that though. To bask in the frustration of these assignemtns because the more we fight it out now, the easier it will be in the future.

Quote of the day: "He with most drafts, wins." Amen.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sometimes, it's just better to let them go

So, let me apologize right now for the rather dramatic turn away from the law that this post is about. But I'm at school, it's late, I'm exhausted and I've got to get this out.

So, ongoing family saga, mom was having some R&R after the hurricane with some friends of hers and left my grandfather with my uncle. She's taken care of him for the past several years and has had pretty much no time off. Well, she's no longer relaxing. She is in my uncle's city with my grandfather at the hospital; and this time he's not looking good. And I have finally reached the rather emotional distressing truth that it's probably better if we all just let him go.

I guess there are some background things to understand here. First, he's 86 years old and he's my hero and always has been. He's done everything in his life that he wanted to do. He worked hard to do that and loved my grandmother fervently for the 60+ years they were married before she succumbed to alzheimer's and died 2 years ago. We all wondered when grandma was sick, if he would be able to outlast her. He was so afraid of her being alone. I mean, she wouldn't have been alone, but he wanted to be the one to try and take care of her. When she died from pneumonia, we were all shocked. She was healthy as a horse until that bout of pneumonia. Contrast with my grandpa, whose first heart attack was about 30 years ago. He's had several heart attacks and bypasses and almost died 7 years ago and got one of those mini defibrillator thingys implanted. The past couple of years, he's had dangerously low blood pressure and made it out each time.

This time is different. He's tired. He doesn't want to survive any more hurricanes. I think after grandma died, he willed himself to live to help be an anchor for my mom who had lost her husband the year before in a tragic accident. But now, I think that he feels like he isn't an anchor in a good sense anymore. He's more frail and needs lots more help. I think he feels like he's a burden and he's ready to go.

When I got the call tonight that he's in the hospital, my first reaction was: please, please let him make it through; please don't let him go. But as the night has passed, I think that I am coming to the same conclusion that I did with my grandmother before she died, it's not fair to keep them with us just because that's what we would like best. He's lived a damned full life and he's ready to rest.

They say things come in threes... I thought with the hurricane thing that it was its own set of three, you know three parts of my family, three houses etc... But maybe that was only one.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

School books and toddlers

So how exactly do you explain why mommy can color in her books but she can't?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Putting the emPHAsis on the wrong syLAble

Yeah, that's what I've figured out about my studying. Now that I've realized that my prep for class isn't getting the job done in helping me synthesize the material… I'm not reading deep enough or seeing the forest… I am implementing a plan! I love plans. Yeah!

I will have a "topic" of the week. Because I can't do a good job of in-depth analysis every week on each class; I just don't think that I would really be getting much out of any of it. So, one core topic a week. Also, my week isn't Sunday-Saturday or Monday-Sunday. My hardest day is Wednesday. I see all of my prep work as getting to and through Wed. So my topic week will start on Thur and end Wed, so I have maximum study time and don't feel pinched.

For example, this week, I will be focusing on Torts. Without realizing I was focusing on it at the time, last week was civil procedure. So with Torts, I'm starting my outline this week for all of the materials we have covered on battery. This is my chance to really dive into supplementals etc…

I'm hoping this will take some of the pressure that I frequently feel that I am placing on myself to get a deeper understanding of all of the materials. This way it's scheduled too and I can't put it off.

I also though that I should confess that I have officially become a Rainbow Briter. I color in my case books, and it is really helpful. Especially in my civ pro class where it is not good enough to quote the case from your brief, but you have to say exactly what page, paragraph, and line the quote is on. Never thought that I would do it. It sounded like a PITA, but it really is more efficient for me, and I really think it wil lhelp me be faster on the exam too.

Oh, and if you are having civ pro trauma understanding Civ Pro, get the nutshell. Worth its weight in gold.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No wonder my grey hair is multiplying... 2 weeks in review

So, I got to thinking last night about a lot of things and realized that if I feel emotionally tired, it's got nothing to do with law school. Here's the recap of the personal life problems and disasters in the last 2 weeks... some are obviously more trivial than others, but I am going to count them because I know they contribute to my "I got hit by a Mack truck again, and again, and again" feeling.
  • DD has been sick since I started school... she's only been able to attend 3 days of preschool out of the last 12.
  • I don't have back up sick care so DH has missed work and I have missed classes
  • I feel like Dred Pirate Roberts from Princess Bride addressing Wesley's life each night "sleep well, wesley. I'll probably kill you in the morning". In my case, it's me telling myself each day "study hard, enjoy your classes, you'll most likely have to drop out next week". As lightly as I am putting it, we're not that far away from that as a reality. We have to have health insurance and it's only affordable if one of us is working full time... so, Dh can't lose his job because he has to stay home with sickie DD all the time. And I can't flunk out because I need to be with sickie at home all the time... it's a problem. We're going week by week, day by day.
  • I couldn't get a hold of my mother, aunt and her family or cousin and her family that needed to evacuate from New Orleans.
  • They're fine now, but they're lives are not.
  • My good friend from prelaw school city kicked her husband out for infidelity last week... she let him come back two days later. He's going to give her an STD before all is said and done.
  • My cousin (a different, non New Orleans cousin) couldn't find her year 18 month old son on labor day... they found him in the bottom of their pool... Thank God, they were able to get him to emergency room in time. he's going to be OK
  • Dh came home with a fever yesterday. Not a big deal, but that meant no study time for me until late.
  • I'm getting sick.

i think that's all for now. Now, don't get me wrong. I know my life is better than most people's, but I just realized that all this was why i was feeling tired. Here's to a better week. Cheers!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

end of week 2, and now, hopefully, back to our regularly scheduled programming

I finally got through to my mom yesterday. My family is still OK and they said that they are able to get food and water. They are packed like sardines in a motel, but they are so greatful for that. They plan to stay there until they are let back into the city for a few hours to get clothes, paperwork etc. It looks like my cousin doesn't need to worry about that so much because she has friends still in the city helping with evac who took a boat past her house... it's basically gone. She's holding up well though. As soon as mom can get back itn and get the stuff she needs, she's going to come and stay with us for a while. I'm so glad. I think this whole thing has just shaken me up and reminded me how much I would really miss her if she weren't here anymore.

I still worry about them and probably will until I see them with my own eyes. But I feel much better.

I missed class this Thursday and study groups yesterday because my daughter is still sick. She kind of got better, then not. Lovely. One day at a time though, right? hopefully by monday she will be all better and able to go to preschool for the entire week.

Classes, I'm not sure what all happened this week. Frankly, I wasn't very engaged with law school. Every extra second I had, I was surfing to get info, any info about my family and their city. I finally realized yesterday morning that I had to stop. I was internalizing everything too much. Don't get me wrong. My heart breaks for the people who are still trapped, who have lost loved ones, and who have lost everything they have, especially the people who can't afford to rebuild. But I'm too tender hearted you know. It was just taking over everything in my head. So, I'm not watching anything on it anymore. The only news I'm reviewing is the times pcayune at www.nola.com. After talking to my mom and getting the straight talk of what is actually going on down there. I really want to reach through the TV at the news networks and slap them around a bit. Completely irresponsible journalism. In any case, nola seems to actually print what is really going on straight from officials' mouths... the officials that are actually present there.

In any case, where that leaves me as a law student is... at school. I'm in the 1L study room and will be here the live long day. I'm really behind and I've got to catch up. I still like my writing class best. Contracts isn't as bad as I thought it might be. And civil procedure, well, I must be missing something because I swear that i "get it". And that can't be right, now can it?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

shock, concern, and relief.

Sometime late Tuesday night, it finally sank in that NO is pretty much gone. And that it would be more than a miracle if my family didn't lose everything. really, if a house sits in standing water, in the south, in the summer, with the critters, and the sewage, and the bodies, EVEN IF (when) they get the water out, there's nothing to do but raze the house... move far away and eventually (read: 20 years from now) sell the land.

I was horribly distracted in class yesterady and Wed is my day from hell. My DD had to go to hospital to get chest xrays to rule out pneumonia (she doesn't have it, thank goodness) and I can no longer get in contact with my family. Nice day.

I don't know why I'm so worried about my family now. I mean, I know they made it trhough just fine. Maybe I need to stop keeping up with the news reports of unrest. It's just never an ideal situation when lots of people are packed into areas without their own space, and reassurance that they still have a home to go back to.

So, today, I will try to get through the crappy phone lines today, and I will stay home from school today and take care of my sick daughter. And hope that I can get it all off my mind for a while.