It’s all about the race

The more of this semester I get through, the more I’m convinced that law school, or at least the first year, is just one big endurance test, or race. It doesn’t necessarily seem to be about what you know but about who will last the longest. Here is a bit of whimsy from a brain overloaded by contracts.

You start off a little rusty, then you get the hang of things and think you’re going to make it. But then an incline appears out of nowhere and before you know it, you’re out of breath. All of a sudden, you realize this isn’t a simple road race but one filled with obstacles, mudslides, fried computers, and a kajillion twists and unexpected turns. Signs keep telling you that you’re doing great, that you’re almost there, but you find clues and hints here and there to indicate that you’ve still got a long way to go.

You realize that the other runners aren’t necessarily more athletic than you, though some are, but that many are better prepared. Perhaps they’ve figured out what stretches and strengthening exercises they needed to do before this whole thing began. Maybe they began training a long time ago, listened to podcasts, bought the right shoes, or hired a coach. You learn you’re not the worst runner, but you aren’t sure how to keep up with the others who’ve figured this whole game out, or at least act like they have.

So you train, every day. You make sacrifices by forgetting to sleep, to shower, to buy groceries, and remembering to take breaks. When you do sleep, you dream about the race. When you meet with friends, all you can think about is what you should be doing instead. You let it consume you and take over your life. You become part of a fraternal order that is both bound by shared experience and stretched by fierce competition. You’re not sure which of your siblings will give you the wrong directions and which will share their water with you when you’re at your lowest point. Some will remain silent and go it alone – you don’t know what to expect from them. The hardest question to answer is what type of sibling are you? What will you do when decision time comes?

You pause only when your body can’t take it anymore. Or when you realize that there is more to life than just this race. Or, more likely, when you realize that you are simply exhausted and have perhaps exaggerated how bad it really is.

You decide to reengage with friends, family, the outside world. You pick up the news to find out what you’ve missed. You let other people help you and you do your best to thank them.

You smile at the person who is always there for you – who calms you down after every breakdown and moment of panic. None of this would be possible without him and his promise to always smile back. He reminds you that you love the race and assures you that he’ll always be there to welcome you home.

You retie your shoes, focus on the path directly in front, and get back to running.

It’s a part of who you are now.

Yet More Silly Correspondance from My Mom(s)

Moms and technologically

I am STILL alive! Procrastinatory Friday may have extended for several months but I’m back baby. What type of procrastination have I been doing lately? The kind that involves learning about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Torts, and Contracts, that’s what! Oh, and throw in some Legal Writing and Research.

I’ll get to the law school stuff some day, but let’s do an update on Moms first. These aren’t the best silly mom things, but they’re still pretty silly.

The first is from an email I got from my mom a few days ago after I sent her this video:

Many of the cat videos referenced in the video are probably familiar to you, but it seems that they were new to my mom. This is what she had to say:

That was funny. The cat walking on its hind legs at the start certainly draws you in. Loved the cat swinging on the fan. They’re so silly.

If that wasn’t enough, here’s a little snippet from my friend Lisa. Apparently her mom sent her an email early one morning and started it off with:

“Hope I didn’t wake you.”

Ohhhhh moms, you continue to delight. Keep up the good work!

Busy Busy Bee

I’m bringin’ blogging baaack.
It has been approximately 8,000 days since my last blog post – apparently WordPress has opted to use the world’s most hideous font in its editor since last I was here. Ick.

A whole lot has happened since June 24th, which was the date of my last entry, I believe. In that time, the other C and I celebrated our first anniversary by venturing off to Pinnacles for some hiking, I wound up getting accepted to UC Hastings, I started tutoring a couple of ESL students once a week, ventured off to Colorado for two weeks to spend time with my parents, and spent the last weekend at Outside Lands, a flippin’ sweet music festival.

I don’t think I ever mentioned on here that the other C and I moved in together. Well, we did. At the very end of May. We have yet to host a proper housewarming party, but when we do, it will probably be some sort of all day Cocktails (for me) n’ Kart (for him) extravaganza. It’s been a lot of fun so far, although I’ve been out of town a lot and he’s been working like crazy.

Hastings’ 1st year orientation begins tomorrow morning so I have been scrambling to complete last minute tasks. Of course many things have been put off because I have decided that writing this post and finishing the Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell to be higher priorities than labeling a bunch of folders. This will either be much appreciated or regretted within the next few days. I can’t believe it’s all starting tomorrow! Eeppp!

Tutoring my students is one of my favorite parts of the week, which actually surprises me quite a bit. I tutored ESL for a couple semesters when I was studying at Trinity and found it could be really challenging. Teaching wasn’t necessarily the hardest thing, but establishing a regular routine was. Sessions were cancelled at the first sign of a snowflake, students refused to speak English outside of our sessions and somehow expected to get better, and other tutors would cancel, meaning that I would wind up with multiple students at different levels. Oftentimes my students would prefer to ask me questions about my life – whether I had my own children (which to me at the age of 19 was a terrifying thought), was Catholic or some other sort of Christian, and where I was from. Don’t get me wrong, I highly enjoyed tutoring and wound up meeting some wonderful people, but I never knew what to expect or how to prepare going into a lesson. This time around, I have a husband and wife team who are 100% dedicated to learning English. They do their homework, show up on time and call me if they have to cancel, ask me pertinent questions, and use English in their every day lives, which means they are getting better all the time. I know it’ll be hard to create full lesson plans for them once school starts, but I’m hoping my time with them every week will be a time when I can forget law school exists and focus on something else.

Spending time in Colorado was probably the best way I could have spent my last two weeks before law school. I went hiking, biking, horse-back riding, and attended several concerts as part of the Aspen Music Festival. Unfortunately, my mom had to go to Cleveland to sort a few family matters out last minute so I didn’t get to spend much time with her, but I did get in lots of quality time with my dad, which is something we haven’t done a lot of since I left London. We went on a tour of a mine and even climbed Mount Elbert, which is the highest peak in Colorado and the second highest in the US outside of Alaska. Hiking up to over 14,000 feet is no joke!

I fear that this blog will be neglected yet again, but I hope that I will use it for little updates and perhaps useful tips about law school and San Francisco I come across in the next months.

Here are some photos I’ve taken over the last month and a half. Many are from the trip the other C and I took and the others are from hikes near Snowmass, Colorado. None are from Mount Elbert because I didn’t feel like lugging my big ol’ camera all the way up the mountain!

I’m on a Plane! (or the road home from a long adventure)

Please be warned, despite the title, this post might not be quite so happy.

Did you know that all it takes is a mere 20+ hours of traveling, delays, waiting, and a night spent near JFK airport to earn an upgrade to business class? If you’re lucky, you might even be switched from an airline that doesn’t support WiFi on many flights (such as Continental), to one that does (such as Delta). So here I am, sitting in my comfy seat with a blanket, my feet propped up, a lovely, aerial view of American farmland, rivers, and highways to my left, my laptop neatly placed in front of me, and all the frustrations of the previous day nearly forgotten.

The past 10 days have included moments of frustration, joy, exhaustion, sadness, and relief. It began with a red-eye flight from SFO < EWR, a morning spent in a dated airport hotel, and a reunion with my 80 year-old, Northern Irish grandmother outside customs in Terminal C. The purpose of our meeting in this way, was to accompany each other upwards to Nova Scotia to visit my great aunt and her sister. Aunt Sally lives in a nursing home and suffers from Alzheimers and the loneliness that comes with long-departed relatives and friends, as well as the long distance from her native home.

For my grandmother, who we can refer to as "Granny," this was a necessary and much longed-for trip. She feared that if she did not go when she did, that her sister may no longer recognize her or that she (Granny) may not be fit to handle the cross-Atlantic flight. For me, it was an opportunity to meet my great aunt for the second time and to spend time with Granny when she most needed it.

In a few days, once I've had the chance to upload all my photos, I'll chronicle our adventure in fuller detail. For now, I just need a place to enter some of the many thoughts and emotions that came with it all.

Nova Scotia was hardly the place I remembered it being from the sole journey I had made about 15 years earlier. Instead of finding hearty seafood meals and charming mom and pop shops, we drove through run-down towns and ate microwaved "baked" potatoes. Granny remarked on the absence of shops she remembered and the bizarre drop in population. However, the landscape, with its many rivers, hilltops, and inlets, remained unchanged.

We spent our days between our country road motel, neighboring towns, and Aunt Sally's nursing home, Grace Haven. On our first visit, Aunt Sally instantly recognized Granny but had trouble making conversation and resorted to frequently discussing the blue sky and nice green grass. Each day she returned more and more to her old self - making jokes, laughing, informing us of where old friends once had lived, and commenting on how it was high strawberry season. Her mobility levels appeared to coincide with her mental capacity for remembrance and recognition. The more she chatted, the less she complained of her sore legs.

Granny's mood also fluctuated with Aunt Sally's behavior, as to be expected. Watching the two sisters reconnect as Granny told her sister stories of when they were children and as Aunt Sally poked fun at Granny for spilling ice cream down her top, was incredibly moving. Realizing that Aunt Sally had slipped back into confusion when she asked when we would take her home, was heartbreaking. As a mostly silent onlooker, I wanted to be able to take this woman I barely knew, yet with whom I share so much, into my arms and tell her that someday we would come to take her home for good.

I am still unsure whether Aunt Sally truly understood who I was. She knew me as someone she could trust, but whether she saw me as a relative I suppose I'll never know. The important thing was that she always knew and smiled at her sister. I imagine she's forgotten by now that we were ever over to spend time with her, but I'd like to think that she feels a bit happier and doesn't feel quite so alone.

It is easy to adopt a sense of relaxation when promptly prepared meals and endless servings of tea are brought to my small table, 10,000 feet above the ground. Today's situation sharply contrasts with yesterday's feeling of being stranded at the Halifax airport, and then at JFK, the abrupt goodbye shared between Granny and myself, and the sadness of knowing that neither of us will probably ever see Aunt Sally again.

Only 2 1/2 hours to go until I reach San Francisco. I just need to be home.

Some More of the Stupidest Websites on the Internet [Part 3]

Be sure to visit part 1 and part 2 of this series.

Being that my browser knows me so well and that I am an excellent speller (uhh…please ignore all typos from now on and from previous posts), I hardly every type in the wrong URL to some of my favorite sites. Sure I might mistype something into a Google search but by then Google has figured out how to correct my mistake and offered a correction. Thanks to them, I hardly ever land on the wrong site.

Earlier today, the other C had me type in wrong URLs for popular websites, such as Facebook. The results had us both giggling and inspired me to keep going. I experimented with replacing “.com” for “.org” or “.co.uk” and in other cases misspelled the site’s name by a letter or two. Now I will use Screenr and Storify to display the results of my quest. I suppose I could just use screenshots or embed everything directly in here, but this is more fun and leaves me with less fussing about with alignment, etc.

Have any of you ever come across any super ridiculous websites as a result of a mistyped URL?

Shiny and New

My new computer arrives at last.

Yes, it’s true, I finally got a new computer. Not that my old computer was that old, but it was getting a bit janky and I figured it was time for a change. It had a few weird bugs, the keyboard started acting up, and it just couldn’t handle the things I wanted to do anymore. So with law school starting in less than four months, and my plan to start taking some programming courses over the summer at Berkeley Extension, now seemed like a good time to do it.

I decided on a refurbished 13 inch MacBook Air. It looks like I got lucky because I just tried to track one down on the app store to link to, and there’s nothing close to the one I got for the same price! I’ve only had this thing for a few hours and it is already a huge improvement over my old one.

The other C suggested I get an Air because the new ones are light (obviously), fast, have enough memory for me, and have better resolution than the new MacBooks, which enables me to make the most out of a little screen! My friend Lisa urged me to go refurbished and I am glad I did. I wound up spending $200 less than I would have for a new computer that had less memory even with a student discount. As far as I can tell, everything is in fantastic condition, so I’d recommend you to go refurbished. If it breaks or busts anytime soon, I’ll let you know.

Now that I have all the latest software, I was finally able to download some totally sweet apps. I realize many people will already have some of these apps, but just in case, here’s a rundown of my new faves:

1) Reeder for reviewing feeds. I love Google Reader because it’s a great way to get to articles and blog posts I wouldn’t normally take the effort to read, either from sources I choose or as shared by my friends. Reeder enables me to easily access my feeds directly from my desktop with a beautiful display.

2) Sparrow for gmail. Sorta similar look as Reeder but meant for e-mail.

3) Angry Birds. If you don’t know what this is, I can’t help you.

4) Braid. The other C introduced this game to me and I was jealous that I couldn’t play it on my computer. So now it is mine! Bahahahaha!

Okay, I am getting too distracted to write anymore because I want to play with this computer some more. Bye!

I chose the above picture because it’s me doing a ridiculous and happy dance.

Marching On

I’ll try to withhold the puns from now on…

March was somewhat of a busy month for me. First I recovered from a whirlwind of Northern Irishness after my cousin and her friend came to stay for a few weeks. Then I went to London and Northern Ireland for two weeks to visit family and friends, as well as surprise my grandmother for her 80th birthday party (she was shocked, if you must know). I came back to San Francisco, collapsed in a heap, then ventured off to wine country for a weekend of silly pillow fights, hot tubs, and – you guessed it! – wine.

Below I’ve included quite a few photos from the last few weeks. Some of my favorites come from Londonderry/Derry, a part of Northern Ireland long troubled by pro/anti union troubles for years and years. It also contains old walls surrounding the city, which are interesting to walk around. Although my father had walked the walls before (he was born and raised in NI), he didn’t think he’d ever actually walk the city streets (wait a minute…this sounds like the start of a U2 song). Many signs in the area, whether pro or anti union, are still covered with paint (probably from paint guns) and intimidating murals featuring schoolgirls accompanied by AK47s face busy streets.

A lot of the other photos are just silly.

That sure is a lot of photos!

Procrastinatory Friday: April Fool’s Style

This is quite possibly the best thing I have ever seen.

I do love April Fool’s, but I’m not gonna spend my time convincing you that I’m getting fake married, having a fake baby, or fake running away to the circus (I am for real going to Disneyland tonight, though). You should know by now that I revel, at least to some extent, in procrastination especially when it’s online. So please, check out all those silly sites featuring ridiculous April Fool pages today, like Hulu and Google Jobs. I’m not gonna link them cuz I actually have some place to be in 20 minutes and I’m not properly dressed yet.

BUT! I just had to post because Lifehacker came up with a QR Code Scavenger Hunt and the end result/reward is.just.the.best. It is my type of thing, if you know what I mean. So go do it. Now. I mean, you can put it off for later, but do it before the end of the day when everyone’s spoiled it!

Storify and the Air Strike in Libya

An experiment with with my new favorite site, Storify.

Have you heard of Storify yet? If you haven’t (don’t feel too bad, it’s still pretty new), you probably will soon. The other C, as well as another friend of ours, recently accepted jobs there, which is why I now know what a storifyamathingy is. I have since informed the other C that I will be living vicariously through him because the idea is just too cool.

Storify allows you to create a story, if you will, about whatever you want (be that Rebecca Black, the Japanese earthquake, Cadbury mini eggs, or even Storify), using your own words combined with media from your preferred sites via a bit of drag and drop. You can then share your story on Storify or embed it into your site.

As a history nerd, I think this is pretty neat. Dealing with non-digitized sources can be enough of a hassle as is (don’t worry my dear friend, microfilm, I could never forget you). Storify enables anyone, from plain ol’ me to big time journalists, to easily share content in an engaging way.

For my first ever Storify story, I chose the search term “Libya air strike” because I wanted to explore a subject that has been updated recently. My sources are Twitter, Flickr, Google, and a few other news sources I added.

I’m sure I’ll be playing around with the site more and more. I’m hoping that one day this catches on in academia as well!

You should try it out for yourself!

The Return of Procrastinatory Friday

It’s only the best day of the week!

What’s that you say? It’s actually Wednesday and not Friday? Well, I have a few responses to that my friend!

a) The beauty of Procrastinatory Friday is that it doesn’t always have to fall on a Friday, now does it? If I were to update the series every single Friday of every single week, or even every other Friday, you could label me as a failed procrastinator. But if I post on a Wednesday, or God forbid, a Tuesday, claiming to have meant to have gotten around to it earlier but was simply delayed, you’d have to admit that I’m pretty good at procrastinating.

b) You are also probably a procrastinator! This post may lie in your feed or “meaning to check” pile for days, weeks, or possible the rest of time! By the time you actually get to this post, it may actually be Friday.

c) Sometimes you come across things you just can’t ignore and have to share right away. You may argue, “Well Caroline, isn’t sharing something right away not procrastinating?” No! Because I should be doing other things, either more productive or outdoors, and this will slightly derail your own productivity, if only for a couple of minutes.

And with that, this is what I must share with you, my dear Blogosphere:

A fantastic blog post from Londonist (who I wrote for once upon a time) about the number of nipples (yes, those kinds of nipples, what other kind are there?) in London’s National Gallery. There are breakdowns according to nationality, bar graphs, a pie chart, and even a spreadsheet detailing the number of nipples, both male and female, in the museum. I just don’t even know what to add.

Upon first reading the headline of the post and its accompanying description featuring the phrase “preponderance of naughty anatomical bits,” I was forced to almost spit out a sip of my very delicious and expensive Kenyan, medium roast, Monmouth coffee.*

If you would care to further your procrastination for the day, or week, perhaps you could assist me in a similar study back in San Francisco? I’m sure SFMOMA must have some sort of crazy, overly abstract exhibition featuring an abnormally high number of sideboob shots.

With that, I shall leave you to ponder what on earth it was that you just read. Unless you haven’t read it yet because you plan to do so later…

*Why yes, I am in London at the ‘mo.

View the other posts in this series here.