Monday, April 28, 2008

The Big Kid

I had so much fun the other day, I just have to write about it! (Lest my readers begin to think my life is all droll.)

Saturday was gorgeous, mid 80s I think, bright, sunny, wonderful. One of those days where you can see God everywhere you turn. I had been sitting inside studying.... well, half inside. I like to hang my legs out my bedroom window since there's no screens. Wendy says that's a very me-thing to do. But the day was so gorgeous, I had to have more of me outside. So, I went to the park.

I'd never been to this park before. Had only noticed it a few weeks ago, just a 1/2 mile away or so. It's big! There's a huge jungle gym playground thing with bridges and fire poles and slides and stuff. There's a huge rocking ship thing. There's little picnic tables with chess boards painted on top underneath hut roofs. There's this giant mosaic dragon monster sculpture that creates a place to climb, crawl and sit. There's big open places for Frisbee and ball. And best of all, there's a swing set :)

The park was full of little kids, parents, whole families on big outings with piƱata and games and picnic blankets. Everywhere I looked, more cute little kids running around, being happy, their faces glowing. Even the parents, hobbling after the kids, trying to duck under the bridges or crawl through the tubes, were happy, faces glowing (and grimacing). It was a little strange to realize that age-wise, I belonged grouped with those parents, not with their toddler children. But fun-wise, I'm going with the kids!

I swung on one of the big kids swings until a mother and two daughters came. The only open swing was one of the baby swings. Her daughters needed a big kid swing, as they looked to be about 5 or 6 years old. So, I gave up my swing. Mean big kids are no fun. The girls looked like they were having a blast.

I wandered around to discover the rest of the park and found a public school playground at the far side. More swings! Yay! So I swung a bit longer, watching a young girl chase a butterfly, listening to her helping her father with his English. It was really beautiful.

A nice afternoon excursion. Not too long, as I get older, I can only swing on the swings for so long before feeling dizzy (thanks Daddy). But it was the perfect break on a gorgeous day. I really wish my sisters could have joined me. I miss them. And now, back to studying. :)

(Original Post)

Couch

Peaceful

Fresh air blowing through the window

Saturday, April 26, 2008

They Said What!?!

When someone makes disparaging remarks about you, it can hurt, a lot. I think you should give some consideration to critical comments, much more to those coming from close friends who know you well. But you have to take what anyone says and think about it for yourself.

When my closest friends or my family tell me about things that get on their nerves, or about things for which they have a different viewpoint, it matters to me. I consider it heavily. Most of the time, they're onto something. These are the types of comments that help us to grow: comments from people who care enough about us to want us to become better. These are the people for whom I can turn around and do the same.

When these types of comments come from someone who barely knows me, things are a little different. Yes, I still believe these remarks deserve some consideration, but this is where I really have to step back and ask myself, 'is this who I am?' 'is this how I or others really see me?' And in the case where someone who has met me only once or twice chooses to make assumptions, grandiose conclusions about my judgment and degrading comments about my character to someone other than me, based on a single event - well, that is so frustrating, I'm not even sure I have words for it. (Other than 'who do you think you are?!'.) How the person handles whatever situation led to these unfounded conclusions also matters. If the person handles it poorly, then there is even less reason to give the comments credence. A person who makes decisions about my judgment while showing poor judgment on their own part doesn't seem very credible.

Demeaning comments from someone who understands nothing of my experiences cannot and will not define me. It is disheartening that someone would choose to rebuke me, condemning me to the dark corner of whatever image they have created for me, instead of talking to me, but I refuse to be hurt by it any longer. Then I have to think, do I really want someone who is this judgmental in my life anyway?

(Original Post)

Home

Infuriated

Crossroads - Bone Thugs

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Something I Never Thought I'd Hear

Lil Jon and BME Click performing Sweet Home Alabama and Sweet Child O Mine. Guess they knew they were playing for a white school in the south.

Lil Jon was the headliner for Rites of Spring this year. The Roots put on a pretty good show last year at Rites, and I love Lil Jon, so I thought I'd check it out. I was a lil (err little) nervous, I mean, who's ever heard of Lil Jon by himself? I mean, can anybody really name one song with just Lil Jon on it? No. Not even Snap Yo Fingers or Get Low. I was really counting on some sort of surprise guest to make the show work. So he brought BME Click and some guy called Shawty Putt (who actually had a pretty amusing song). But I'm not sure they really count as "surprise guest"; every artist has backups or cronies.

The show was actually pretty good and quite entertaining. And as Mr. Not-Allowed-to-Have-a-Name-on-the-Internet put it, "I've never been to a concert without rapping before." Lil Jon stuck mostly to his "Yeaaahhh"s and "Okaaaaay"s, with his presence on a few hooks here or there. I was a little worried when he started doing Nuck if You Buck since the song caused a riot at Harvard, of all places. But, the very drunk crowd stayed pretty low key for such a song, perhaps they were on crunk-flavored water instead of actual crunk juice.

(Original Post)

No name's

Angry

Humming of some electric something

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Not the Worst

I found an industry that has more selfish people, is even more obsessed with money and may even have more substance abuse than law! Hip Hop.

MOE b****es!


(Original Post)

Dining room

Amused

Throw Some D's

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Used to be a Good Person.....then I went to law school

My sister said to me the other day, "I'm not going to talk to lawyers anymore; they don't trust anyone." I was explaining to her why it seemed like a bad idea that the person living in her apartment this summer was going to pay rent directly to the landlord while she remained the only one liable under the lease. While explaining it to her I was thinking "Mr. Not-Allowed-to-Have-a-Name-on-the-Internet would be so proud of me for realizing this could be an issue." But after my sister made her comment, all I could do was laugh. It was sad laugh, because that's what I always thought of Daddy growing up: he doesn't trust anyone. And I always thought it was so awful.

That's one of those things law school does, and it's proud to do. 'We teach you to think critically, to see all potential problems in advance." I.e. 'we teach you to trust no one and always expect the worst of everyone.' What a crappy way to go about life! Church views people as innately good. In law school, they are viewed as all innately bad. Not only does no one get a second chance, no one even gets a first chance. How unpleasant is the world when everyone has to watch their own backs and can rely on no one! Did I really ask for this? Did I really ask to become this?

The best things we can give in life, love and respect, they are all free, and they need to be freely given. If no one will give any of these things without first getting it, then no one will have them. But if everyone gives these things without having to get them first, then everyone will have them. Giving them requires trust and faith in other people's abilities, in their goodness. Of course, those vampire 'logical' products of our critically thinking institutions would say, 'but everyone's not going to give it, so it won't work like that.' They're probably right. But, a world where some people give and some people take is better than a world where no one gives. A world where no one trusts, loves or respects others is a very cold world indeed.

Reach out and give love and respect, to your friends, to your neighbors, to people you meet on the street. If you're worried, if you can't let go of watching your own back, start with the little things: "I will trust you will do what you say you will do without making you promise or put it in writing because if you don't do it, I will still be ok." Someday, I hope, more of us can get to "I will trust you will do what you say you will do because you are a good person."

(Original Post)

Couch

Distressed

Rain

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Cyber-Hug

How do you console or share sympathy with your friends from hundreds of miles away? A phone call? Maybe some flowers? Perhaps those are the best efforts, but they seem so useless and small. Sometimes, all that's really needed is a warm body to hug and a shoulder to cry on. Two things I can't give.

I'm not sure if Mel does livejournal, but I know many of the few people who read mine knew Dean. So for Mel, for Caitlin and for all the Alpha Xi's, I'd like to do my small piece in remembering Dean Opicka. I hope that others will share their stories too, on their own blogs, on a comment here, or wherever they may choose.

Somehow it seems that for the past two years, anytime I've been in Wisconsin, Dean's been there too. Usually just getting back or just heading off to Iraq. But despite all the great karaoke renditions he graced us with those times, I think what I will always remember most is Dean reading Dr. Suess' Hands Hands Fingers Thumb at the sorority sleepover when he was our sweetheart. To put it succinctly, it was hilarious. He was a great sorority sweetheart. I'm sure back then his coming to all the events, reading us stories, inviting us to his concerts, all seemed like just little things - but really, they helped put a smile on everyone's face. That was something Dean was very good at. He cared. And it's for his compassion, generosity and genuineness that we will celebrate his life.

.... maybe I'll go listen to some Definitely Maybe tonight.

Press Release from hometown newspaper

(Original Post)

Bedroom

Hug

Air Conditioning Outside

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"It's Christmas at Ground Zero"

So I'm sitting at school listening (invisible in my silence) to two of my friends arguing about the military and the Middle East. An Iranian-American and a Jamacian-American officer in the military. In their arguments over whether or not America could or would take out Iran, I'm sure they had some intelligent discussions over my head. But, one aspect of the conversation really caught my ear...

"If America goes into Iran....They'll destroy the enemy until it's just little pockets of the enemy with AK-47s."

"Yeah, fine, but that'll piss of the Chinese and the Russians and they'll come in."

"Yeah, I'd like to see Russia try to get us. We'd nuke 'em back so fast."

All this gong back and forth about who would nuke who next or fastest or where or whatever, I just kept thinking, somewhere in all this nuking, we're already all dead. Winning, but no one left for it to matter. Like dying young is "beating" the life insurance company, like the general mentioned in our Wills and Trusts book, King Pyrrhus, who said "another such victory and we are lost." Or like that episode of Red Dwarf where they're on the wax planet and Rimmer becomes the general for the good guys: Santa Claus, Ghandi, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Lincoln, and the like. In the end, they "defeat" the bad guys: Hitler, Mousillini, etc, are all dead. But so are all the inhabitants of the planet! Lister points this out to Rimmer, but Rimmer is too busy basking in his lone glory for having defeated the bad guys.

This type of "winning" gets us nowhere.

You see now - there's a reason that often the safest I've ever felt was in my mud hut in the middle of Africa.

note on the title

(Original Post)

The Ironing Board

Discontent

It's All About the Pentiums

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hell ...on earth

Hell is supposed to be this horrible place. But the traditional notion of Hell as just really hot doesn't seem that terrible. I like heat, a lot. If Hell is really as unbearable as it's supposed to be, climate should only be a small part of it. To me, Hell is a place filled with the most selfish people, with no empathy, no thoughts or concerns for others, no love for mankind or the earth or God's creation. Those are the people who supposedly wind up there anyway, right?

Well, I've found that Hell, right here on earth. It's called law school. Not the exams, nor the Socratic method, nor the sheer amount of work make this place Hell. It's the people. I have never before in my life met such self-centered people. Every conflict or decision a person has to make, the answer from so-called supportive friends is "you have to protect yourself first". It's always self before others, always. And every gesture, every movement, every action is thus assumed to be in self-interest with some underlying motive or hidden gain for yourself. It's horrible. It's impossible to do anything nice for anyone without being suspected of being up to something.

Anything done that someone disagrees with, or for which they doubt the professed intent, is compared to what someone else has done. With a simple, "if so-and-so could do A and B, there is no reason you can't either." Completely disregarding relevant differences in the situations or, most importantly, the feelings and experiences of the person involved. Trying to get people to do group work, even when they've already agreed, is like pulling teeth. "Well I have this and this and this to do." As if no one else has work either. An assumption laid out as fact, "MY work is more important than whatever you are doing or any of the commitments I have made to participate in what you are doing."

And it's not just the school; apparently it's the profession, too. Most days, I leave my professional responsibility class hating the entire system and its concept of ethics. Do I really have to lower my standards to become part of this drudgery? Am I really no longer allowed to show compassion or concern for others because it's assumed I am only doing so for money? Can I really not just try to be a good person? Am I forced to believe no one in the world has a kind heart, myself included?

When I was growing up, I was struck by the dichotomy between my parents. Mommy is always so kind and giving, and Daddy often seemed so selfish to me. Now I realize, it's not his fault, it's the profession. And in fact, for being part of that profession, he actually is extremely good-hearted and generous. I couldn't see it because I was comparing him to Mommy, and not to other lawyers. Even if sometimes his generosity can only extend far enough to let Mommy and his daughters give, that is more than of what many people here are capable. Here, they try to stop you, to make you feel foolish and stupid, to make you feel it is wrong to give of yourself, to care.

I must note, not everyone here is self-focused. I can think of one exception. My friend Cornelia is one of the kindest, most considerate people I have ever met. But there is a sort of consensus that she does not belong here. She is better than this place. She has so many other talents that go beyond what law can offer her. Somehow, she holds onto her goodness in this sea of selfishness. More than that, she works relentlessly to try to pull out the good that is left in others. Frustrating work to say the least.

The "I" mentality permeates the air. Every breath is suffocated by it. It seeps in through the skin. Powerful enough to convert any "other" focused activity into a suspect, "must be I serving" action in the eyes of all around, it slowly destroys the inner good. If this is the real world, I want to go back to Wisconsin.

(Original Post)

A desk

Disappointed

Metallica - Where the Wild Things Are