Friday, February 27, 2009

Creative Moms are the Best

For the sake of my unconceived, unborn, future children, I hope that I become her before they arrive.

Favorite line: I'll make it into a suit made of vomit and dress you in it.

Do I really want to be a part of this industry?

The passengers from Flight 1549 (that landed in the Hudson) are looking into suing.

I get that sometimes there are legitimate reasons to sue - obviously there are. But I feel like my brain is being bombarded with examples of our overly-litigious society.

Some of the cases are even things that I really care about, but I feel disgusted by the knee jerk response, always looking for someone to sue when anything bad happens.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I didn't want to be the one to say it

But it looks like I'm going to have to go ahead and do it.

John Stewart isn't as funny when Obama is the President.

There. It's out.

Next year....

I am skipping February. Nothing good comes of this month. I'm done with it.

Next year the time between January and March will be spent hibernating.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When my sister told me that she wanted us to get my mom a kitten for Christmas, my first thought was “Oh hell no.” I remembered back to a particular pre-divorce Christmas a few years earlier. My dad surprised us with a puppy. And by “us,” I mean all of us – mom too. She was pissed – how could my dad have made this big decision without talking to her about it?

Of course we learned to love Gracie.

But then my dad left. And when he did so, he left Gracie. And then my sister went to college. And there my mom was – a single woman with a dog. Don’t get me wrong – she loved Gracie. But she felt resentful that she was now the sole person taking care of her. She traveled a lot for her work at that point and always had to make arrangements for Gracie when she was gone.

So getting Mom a kitten seemed to me to be a very bad idea. But then of course my sister H pointed out how much Mom loved Gracie and how she felt sort of lonely and was missing my cat (who had lived with her for a while before she came to live with me). And then my sis started talking about the cute kittens that she had already gone to see and the particular one that she had fallen in love with. And then…

Mom was a bit irked. She thought we had a lot of gall. We did.

But that precious ball of black fur knew exactly what to do. He snuggled his way into my mom’s heart in pretty short order. He even became great friends with Gracie. Oh yes, that Java was a special kitty – a perfect combination of snuggly and frisky and autonomous.

We all made adjustments when Mom moved to the city to live with the wonderful man who would become her husband. New digs, new animal siblings, new neighborhood. Java had been an indoor/outdoor cat in our quiet neighborhood. There were numerous conversations over what to do about that. Mom and her sweetheart didn’t want to give Java up – they adored him. That Java had won over this man was a feat – he had never liked any cat. And yet he loved this cat.

So Java moved to the city. He hated being indoors all the time. He meowed at the door. And so, they began to let him out for short periods of time. They worried. But Java would show back up at the door happy as a clam. For that year and a half in the city, he happily basked in the adoration of his family and the happy ramblings among the neighbors’ yards. He laid at the feet of the bed when I came home to visit and rubbed up against my legs and snuggled into my lap.

Yesterday Java was hit by a car, and the family that loves him is mourning. And beating themselves up a bit. And missing him so terribly much.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Down with the Executive Function

I've been reading this article on stress and how maybe it isn't always as bad as people say it is. I've found the bulk of the article only moderately interesting, but there's this one part that really fascinated me:

"Acutely, stress helps us remember some things better," says neuroendocrinologist Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller University. "Chronically, it makes us worse at remembering other things, and it impairs our mental flexibility." These chronic effects may disappear when the stressor does. In medical students studying for exams, the medial prefrontal cortex shrinks during cram sessions but grows back after a month off.

Here's what wikipedia has to say about the prefontal cortex:
This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, decision making and moderating correct social behavior. The basic activity of this brain region is considered to be orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals. The most typical psychological term for functions carried out by the pre-frontal cortex area is executive function. Executive function relates to abilities to differentiate among conflicting thoughts, determine good and bad, better and best, same and different, future consequences of current activities, working toward a defined goal, prediction of outcomes, expectation based on actions, and social "control" (the ability to suppress urges that, if not suppressed, could lead to socially-unacceptable outcomes).

So, the article was talking about medical students and not law students, but it makes so much sense to me. These are exactly the skills that I lose during finals time. (And clearly for other people as well - I mean, I've been to enough post-finals drinking fests to know that everyone's ability to control their socially unacceptable behaviors is a bit, shall we say, limited.) But it also seems true that those abilities come back. We're not always like that.

Maybe it's just me, but having a biological reason for all of this makes me feel just a teensy bit better. I might even give myself permission to let my prefontal cortex go to the dogs this semester during exam time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Way to Go GMU

I don't know much about George Mason University, and most of what I know I learned just now from this article. But good for them for stepping outside the box and electing Reann (the drag-queen alter ego of Ryan Allen) as this year's Homecoming Queen.

All About the Funk

I've been in a for-serious funk lately. It's a new funk, though.

My previous funk was lots about law school - not being sure I should be in it, hating it, wanting instead to be a yoga instructor, baker, teacher, bum, travel writer, professional television watcher, novelist, interior decorator, chef, kitten, 8-year old, etc...

In my current funk, the whole anti-law school thing is just a yawn. Duh, law school sucks. Moving on. Which leaves me with a bit of confusion about what exactly the funk is about. And of course my therapist is away on a family emergency which leaves me to figure it out for myself. Hahahahahahaha. Is it possible to be addicted to therapy?

Anyway, the current funk is just...funky. And not in a good way. I cry. I'm cranky. I find fault with others. I find fault with myself...and then determine that it's not me, it's them...and then determine that it's not them, it's me...and then... I'm tired a lot.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not walking around depressed all the time. I laugh and hang out with friends and have a good time, but there's this sort of cloud that I keep carrying around that I can't seem to shake. I'll think I have and then OH Hello! It's you again you giant gray bastard!

So I've been thinking that maybe I'm just spending a little too much time thinking about me. Sometimes you need a lot of time to be with yourself and figure things out, and maybe sometimes you've been with yourself enough. And you need to get out of yourself and get some perspective.

And here comes the point.

I've been thinking about/talking about/researching about volunteering for a while. I've looked into a few things that didn't work out. But I sent in an application today to an organization that I'm really interested in volunteering with and here's hoping that they get back to me and say that they're got a place for someone with my skills.

There's part of me that's thinking - are you crazy?! You've got so much going on; how can you afford to spend time volunteering? But I think I've had enough of that voice for the moment. It's a little bit self-involved, and I'm not sure that's serving me all that well right now. So, I'm committed to this. I'm stepping out of the inside of my head.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's Delightful

to find yourself in a multi-stalled bathroom in the middle of the afternoon drying your eyes and blowing your nose.

When you live at law school, where the hell else are you going to have your emotional breakdowns?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It Sucks to Be Me

Okay, so maybe not totally - there are a lot of wonderful things in my life - my family, the babe, my beautiful new apartment, with a gym, and cute dogs everywhere.

However, I'm in law school and not making plans to take a bike ride around the country working on sustainable farms.

Yeah, so my lucky duck friend Ibti is getting all prepped and ready, including learning how to ride a bike. And figuring out where friends of friends and happy sustainably-nourished people live to help her on her journey.

Go check it out!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Vermont, Part IV

I've grown a bit tired of this story, but I promised. So here it is.

Last time in Vermont: (In)Sanity Gal finished her first day of "skiing" and did not die.

So two days later we went to another mountain. I had developed a full-blown cold by now, and I really wasn't feeling up to it. Maybe I should've just passed on the ski day, but I didn't want to leave Vermont without trying it one more time.

And so I got out of the car and tromped over to the rental area to get some skis while the babe and our friend J got themselves set up. I was cranky and tired and just wanted to mope about it on the bunny slope. Of course, the babe was all nice and supportive and trying to help me enjoy the day. The nerve.

The plan was to learn to get back up again after falling since that had clearly caused me quite a bit of trouble previously. So, I laid myself down on the snow and flopped up and down pretending that the things the babe was telling me to do were helping me figure out how to get up. It wasn't working. I would watch her do it, seemingly effortlessly. And then I would try. Heeve....heeeve...heeeeve...heeeeeeeeve....Flop. I either slid or fell. It wasn't helping my mood.

Our friend J had been checking out one of the slopes to see if it was going to work for me. Nobody wanted a repeat of my prior venture onto the big slopes. I was thinking I might not want any venture at all. But success can do amazing things. And J was the key to my success at that particular moment. I don't think I could tell you right now how she taught me how to get up. But somehow she did; something about the way she described it made sense. And howdy doody whaddayaknow, I getting up off the ground. Fall. Get up. Fall. Get up. Fall. Get up. Over and over again. It was amazing!

I kind of wanted to just stay on the bunny slope and fall and get up over and over again.

That's a lie. Duh. I was pumped about my newfound skill and itching to get on a slope again.

And that's what I did. Right after I fell flat on my back while getting off the chair lift. Something about not having my skis on the ground when the chair moved from under my butt. Lesson learned.

I'm delighted to tell you that the rest of the story was fairly uneventful. The babe and J skiied one in front and one behind while I pizza slice turned my way down that giant, beautiful slope. It was gorgeous and amazing. Sliding over the snow was such a delightful feeling. And I was so so so very proud of myself. One of my favorite ways to be. ;)

I was so happy, in fact, that I went up and did it a second time. By. My. Self.

I left Vermont a skiier. Or at least a pizza slice turner.

Hopefully I'll do it again soon, lest I forget how to do it and have to do this whole story all over again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

This has been building for a while

I hate being spat upon by public toilets. I don't mean to discriminate here. If a private toilet spat on me, I would hate that too. It's just that I've never been subject to this particular affront by a private toilet. No, as of now, it is only public toilets that take away my flushing autonomy and subject me to the particularized delight of haivng toilet water spew onto my bare nether regions as I pee. Or reach into my bag to grab a tampon. Or breath, as of late.

Just today I have been spat upon 6 times. I've gone to the bathroom THREE times. So, the excess water usage we're talking about is 3 flushes. Three wasted flushes. Unless, of course, toilets are the new bidets. And let me just say, if that's the plan, it's a bad one. Toilets should NOT be bidets. Things should go INTO a toilet, not come out of it. That seems like it would be a pretty general understanding, but clearly the automatic flush makers missed the memo. Because they're sending water shooting out of the toilet at double the necessary rate.

And I reject the imposition on my right to choose. Using the bathroom is a very private activity. I might go so far as to say that it is one of the most private activities in which I engage, aside from the fact that I have to regularly engage in it within 2 feet of random strangers. I oppose the implication that I am unable to make the choice for myself when (and if) I choose to flush. I'll address several arguments that may be fueling the automatic flushing movement:

1. Some people don't flush, so automatic flushing saves others from having to see their refuse.
It's true. Some people don't flush. Shame on them. They should be punished. Spew toilet water onto their asses. But, as of now, I am getting punished for their inability to flush. As much as I hate to walk into a stall with a toilet full of someone else's stuff, I prefer it to a wet butt.

2. Flushing the toilet requires touching the flush handle, and that's unsanitary.
True. Sort of. I am perfectly capable of grabbing a wad of toilet paper and using it to flush a toilet. I've done it before; I'll do it again. And other people can make that same choice if they'd like. But you know what's really unsanitary? Wildly spewing toilet water.

3. Automatic flushing creates ease of use for everyone.
It's true that automatic flushing is easier than having to turn around and flush the toilet yourself. However, I recommend a balancing test here. The benefit of ease of use must be weighed against any hygienic detriments. For instance, the benefit of ease of use associated with automatic faucets clearly outweighs any hygienic detriments. It removes the unsanitary element of touching the faucet handles. The automatic flushing is totally different. With automatic flushing, there's an addition of hygienic detriments. The aforementioned spitting problem.

Based on these arguments, it is clear to me (and should be clear to you) that automatic flushing toilets in their current state of functioning should be banished. I'll let you know if I figure out who to talk to about this.

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