Legal Quandary

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My Baggage Collection

My apologies in advance for the rambling I'm about to engage in.

First, I want to thank Denise for asking how my mom is doing. I really appreciate her asking - and I think the answer is that she's ok. A little sad, of course. And probably feeling a bit lonely right now, since she's lost her husband and mom in the last year. I'm an only child, so it kills me that I'm in DC and she's in Germany. I'd love to have her come stay with me, but she's got her hands pretty full right now.

Denise also said something else a while ago that I've been thinking about for a quite a while. She probably doesn't even remember saying it.

In December, Frequent Citations had a post up about her parents' wedding anniversary and I said "If I were a good daughter, I would have sent my mom flowers..." for what would have been my parents' 37th anniversary. And Denise said:

I know no one who is as good at packing her own bags for a guilt trip as you, excepting maybe me. :)

I don't deny the truth of that - at least as far as it pertains to me. But it made me think about how protective I am of my mom. My mom and I were always close while I was growing up. I think part of it was because she stayed home with me, and I was an only child. Another reason was because things weren't always great at home with my dad. So we sort of had to stick together to get through the crazy times. My mom always emphasized how important it was for me to be able to stand on my own feet. She wanted to make sure I got an education. She encouraged me to get my Air Force commission. Even when my dad and I weren't speaking, my mom was always my sounding board.

It's always been hard to listen to other people run my mom down. I don't doubt that my dad loved her, but he also belittled her. Instead of encouraging her to go to college, my dad told her she couldn't - and then told her she was stupid, lazy, and doomed to work menial jobs for the rest of her life. One of the most repeated phrases from my childhood was "Women want to rule the world, but can't even tie their own shoelaces." When my mom finally did go to college, she got straight A's. She never finished her degree, for various reasons, but stupidity and/or laziness were not among them.

Sadly, my Oma was also often critical of my mom. Maybe because my mom was the only girl. Or maybe because Oma was just old and tired of living toward the end. At any rate, the last time I talked to Oma was right before Christmas. My mom wasn't home, and Oma seemed confused about who I was. I think she thought I was my cousin, because she kept talking about my cousin's kids. But she complained pretty bitterly about how my mom wasn't good with sick people. How she always brought exactly the wrong food or did exactly the wrong thing.

It just makes me really sad to think that my mom has spent all her life trying to please people who've told her that she's never been quite what they wanted. Maybe she even felt that's what I was saying when I ran away from home at 13 - though my message (if you can call it that) wasn't directed toward her. The bottom line is that I never want my mom to feel anything less than loved and admired by me.

And that's why I have a very fine collection of guilt-trip baggage when it comes to my mom.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance

I love how the Germans see absolutely no inconsistency in calling Frankfurt a "smoke-free airport" and then having little smoking kiosks every 20 feet or so.

Granted, it's not as smoky as before, but it's still a long way from "smoke-free".

I have a photo, which I might post later, but for now, I'm home.

Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and kind words.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I made it to Germany Sunday morning. Since Oma was sick, no one could pick me up in Frankfurt, so I hopped on a train.

Unfortunately, by the time I was able to call my mom to let her know I was on my way, Oma had just died at my mom's house. I was literally only about an hour too late to see her alive.

We spent my birthday making all the funeral arrangements. My mom was the first person to wish me happy birthday. The second? One of the undertakers who had overheard someone mention my birthday when he picked Oma up Sunday night. Bizarre.

Anyway, the funeral is tomorrow, and I'll be home Saturday night.

More later.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Asking for Your Thoughts and Prayers Again

My mom called me this afternoon to tell me that they think my Oma is going to die this weekend.

The funny thing is, that Oma has been sick for about as long as I can remember. When I was about 11, my mom and I went to live with her for awhile because she was so ill. She eventually pulled out of it and ended up outliving the rest of her siblings.

I dread the phone ringing because we're pretty sure she's not going to pull out of it this time. My mom told me earlier I didn't need to come, but I bought a ticket to Germany today anyway.

So, I guess what I'm saying is I won't be around for awhile.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Some Random Things I am Thankful For

1. Coffee (duh).
2. And doughnuts.
3. And hot chocolate.
4. And Pepsi.
5. The fact that the University bookstore will sell me a 10 pack of Band-aids for the same price I could buy a jumbo pack for at a regular store. There's nothing like making a questionable shoe decision before hiking a mile to the Metro to make you thankful for things that might normally make you [more] bitter [than usual].
6. My iPod and the newfound ability to ignore everyone else for astounding lengths of time.
7. Legalines. Because Remedies class truly blows and because there's no way I'm going to have time to actually read for Tax tomorrow.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Tag! I'm It...

Zuska tagged me with this. I feel a strange pressure to get this posted before other people tag the people I'm going to tag...

Four Jobs You've Had:
· Like Zuska, my first job was delivering newspapers. I was 12 or 13. Unlike Zuska, I really enjoyed it. The only day I had to get up early was Sunday, and my dad usually drove me around for that. I didn't like collecting money, but most of the people were pretty nice. All except for the mean old lady who lived on Lillian Street. She was awful.
Also, I got bitten by 2 dogs on my paper route. I've been bitten 3 times, but the other one was owned by the lady across the street from us.
· Telemarketer. Both outbound and inbound. I've made calls for Citibank, Sprint, and Dayton Tire. I can't even tell you all the companies we took calls for on the inbound side, but I will let you in on a couple of secrets to getting rid of telemarketers. Either 1) be very firm from the get-go. Thank them nicely for their time, but tell them you are not interested, say goodbye, and hang up. 2) Listen to their spiel and then say no three separate times. 3) If you don't want to do either of the above, talk to them and then hang up while you are talking. Nobody thinks you'll hang up on yourself.
· Waitress. Pretty much running the gamut. Perkins, an upscale Chinese restaurant, a Sports Bar, a Steakhouse.
· Air Force Officer. By far my best job. Seriously.
Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
· Say Anything.
· When Harry Met Sally
· The Royal Tenenbaums
· A Room With a View
Four Places You've Lived
· Landstuhl, Germany
· Norfolk, Virginia
· Santa Maria, California
· Seattle, Washington
Four TV Shows You Like to Watch
· Alias
· Boston Legal
· Arrested Development
· Gilmore Girls (but I haven't in a long time)
Four Places You've Been on Vacation
· Vienna, Austria. July, 1999. The trip where Mr. Q met my parents, most of the rest of my family, and was physically threatened by one of my uncles. Mr. Q still asked me to marry him - but not until almost a year later.
· Port Angeles, Washington. In this little bed and breakfast. I still have daydreams about their breakfasts.
· Tuscany, Italy. We stayed at Camp Darby just outside of Pisa. I was 19. Camp Darby was something of a dump, but Tuscany! The scenery! The food! The Mediterranean!
· Paris, France. Once with my parents when I was about 18, and again with Mr. Q for my 30th birthday.
Four Websites You Visit Daily
· Gmail
· Bloglines
· Google
Four of My Favorite Foods
· Chocolate - preferably dark and European.
· French Onion Soup. Which I made from scratch this weekend. Topped with homemade croutons and grated Jarlsberg Cheese, and then broiled. Vanilla Gorilla can vouch for its goodness.
· Cheese. Most kinds.
· Fresh Strawberries. With a generous dollop of vanilla flavored whipped cream.
Four Places I'd Rather Be:
· With my mom and Oma in Germany (and Mr. Q and the kids, of course)
· Any beach.
· Anyplace where my feet will not be eternally cold.
· California
Four Albums I Can't Live Without
I don't know about "can't live without, but here are 4 I really like.
· Erasure - Pop!
· Indigo Girls - 1200 Curfews
· The B-52's - Time Capsule
· Peter Gabriel - So
Four People to Tag With the Lists:
· E. Spat
· Dagny
· Jim
· Frolics & Detours

Are You a Turtle?

You Bet Your Sweet Ass I Am.

Ok, for the 99.9% of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, keep reading - I'll explain later. For that matter, I'd appreciate if the other .1% of you kept reading too.

It's been a pretty good weekend for the Quandaries. I can only hope that this is the start of something, since I've got 3 day weekends for the rest of the semester! Whe-woo!

EC had a friend over for a sleepover Friday night. EC and I cleaned the whole house Friday afternoon in preparation. My house is rarely clean enough for guests, so this was a special treat for EC (as well as a great inducement for her to help). I decided to do a test run of a Chicken Enchilada recipe because EC has to bring in a dish for Spanish class next week. The recipe was excellent, but a little spicy, so I'll be cutting down the amount of jalepenos for the one I send to school. Both girls were invited to a birthday party on Saturday, so I took them shopping after dinner. And you know what? Pre-teen girls are just giggly and annoying when they're together. My normally smart and articulate child was barely capable of forming a coherent sentence. On the drive to the store, EC's friend described Madonna as "some old person who gets lots of face lifts. I think she's a singer, but I couldn't tell you what she sings." Then it took us over 2 hours to pick out a gift because of all the giggling and random wandering off. The whole experience just wore me out. I want to say I wasn't just like them, but I suspect I would be lying.

Yesterday we celebrated my successful completion of my next-to-last semester of law school (yup, all the grades are in), and EC's good grades by going out for Dim Sum. The restaurant was packed. It was beautifully decorated. The food was potentially pretty good. But the service was AWFUL. To the point of detracting from the quality of the food. We had Lil Q with us, and I suspect that had something to do with being stuck in the back dining room.
The good food just never seemed to get to us. Three carts with nothing we wanted passed us before the first Siu Mai (pork dumplings) showed up. They were ok, but made a little unusual by a sprinking of what I think was red caviar over the top of them. We were starving so we also tried the pork & shrimp dumpling, which was really excellent. The Chinese Broccoli was cold by the time it made it back to us - something highlighted by the fact that they'd poured the Oyster Sauce over it in the kitchen. Mmmm-mmm, congealed oyster sauce. (Usually the servers carry a squirt bottle of it around with them and garnish at the table.) The gin doi (sesame balls) were excellent, but we had to ask for them because none of the carts ever made it to our table until just as we were leaving. The Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) were unremarkable - but that seems to be the case almost everywhere. The steamed Char Siu Bau (BBQ pork buns) were our hands-down favorite - and the only dish to arrive at our table piping hot. Coincidence? I think not. EC also really liked the Dan Tot (egg custard), but the rest of us never touch the stuff. Mr. Q has been to the restaurant for lunch and said it was good, so I'll give them a second chance, but we left a bit disappointed.

We also visited the National Archives yesterday. I read earlier in the week that the Emacipation Proclamation was going to be on display. As opposed to the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Indepedence, and the Constitution, which are all written on parchment, the Emancipation Proclamation was written on paper. This means it is only on public display for a few days a year. But you can see it here anytime. Did you know the US has one of the 4 known copies of the Magna Carta of 1297? Did you also know that it is physically in better shape than either the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution? All in all, a pretty darned cool place to visit.

After a couple of hours at the Archives, we headed for the Air and Space Museum. We only had about an hour before they closed, so we barely made a dent in that one. I remember going as a kid - my mom and I spent two whole days there! We had EC watch Apollo 13 Saturday, so it was cool to see the various Apollo artifacts.

And strangely enough, here's where the Turtle part comes in. In one of the back corners of the exhibit, I noticed a card proclaiming for "The Fraternal Order of the Turtle, Interstellar Association" signed by Wally Shirra and Ed Buckbee. This got my attention because I turtled at Squadron Officer School. Much to the aggravation of the guy conducting my initiation, I did it in only one beer. I chalk it up to being "bright eyed, bushy tailed, fearless and unafraid...with a fighter pilot attitude." And because I "think clean, have fun a lot, and recognize the fact that you never get any place worthwhile in life unless you stick your neck out."

So, I ask all of you - including you lurkers out there: Are you a Turtle?

If so, you know what to do.

Mea Culpa

As E. McPan points out, I did a lousy job of explaining the Turtles. This site does a better job. My initiation varied a little from the one described. McPan, if you're interested, I'd be happy to initiate you.

Friday, January 13, 2006

File Under "D" for Dumb

I colored my hair today.

While the dye was seeping into my pores and slowly poisoning me, I had the same thought that I always do while coloring. Namely:

Why is it that boys feel the need to point out little flaws like grey hairs?

I'm not talking about Mr. Q - he's far too bright for that. But Roundboy used to do it regularly, and this summer when I saw B, he leaned over, looked at my hairline reeaaally closely and said "What's that? Is that some grey I see?"


Are boys really that dumb that they don't realize I'm filing it away for later and that paybacks rhyme with witch? Also - why is it always the guys who are losing their hair who insist on commenting on the color of mine?

Though the next time Roundboy says it, I swear to God I'm going to tell him I couldn't help noticing that he's still fat and bald. And that he is sad because he spent 19 years in college and still can't get a job.

So there.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

This is What Happens...

When all the boys who drove muscle cars in high school grow up and have the money to buy expensive cars.

You Should Drive a Ford Shelby Mustang Cobra

You have an extreme need for speed, even when you're not in a hurry.
And while your flying by, you don't want to look like every other car on the road!
What 2007 Car Should You Drive?

The funny thing about this is that I was just emailing with B about the 2007 concept cars today. For those of you who don't know, B is the guy I dated all through high school and for the first 2 years of college. I broke up with B to date Roundboy. But now we're friends. In high school, B drove a 1972 Camaro RS and it was be-yoo-ti-ful. I tell you - I LOVED.THAT.CAR. Anyway - are we all caught up now? Good.

So, I happened to see the Camaro Concept Car and emailed B to see what he thought of it. He fired back that he liked the Dodge Challenger much better. I thought he'd mistyped something because he was always a diehard Chevy guy. Then he sent me pictures. No wonder he loves it! It looks like every muscle car of the late 60s/early 70s. It sort of makes my heart go pitter patter too.
So there's something I'll bet 9 out of 10 of you didn't know about me...I have a soft spot for American cars that are nowhere close to fuel efficient but go really fast.

Irregular, My Foot!

So there I was, blithely browsing the Zappos boot selection, because they had sent me an email about a big sale.

I remain perplexed by the currently fashionable "Sherpa" look, and would like to add that most of the women I see wearing these furry lace-up-able boots don't look like they have any serious intention of ever traveling to the Himalayas.

But mixed in with all the Sherpa boots and the boots I might actually consider buying was this little beauty by a company called "Irregular Choice".

I'll agree these are irregular. I'd go so far as to say they're freaking abnormal. I'd go even further, but I did have that New Year's resolution* about colorful language, and let's face it - these are colorful enough.

If I had to describe them, I'd say they were along the style of Court jester meets hooker Indian princess with a smattering of ill-advised cowgirl.

Sadly, I can think of at least one person who would consider wearing them.

* Which I totally broke yesterday when I called Ted Kennedy a complete assclown moron during the Alito confirmation hearings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Semester Preview

I think my schedule is finally set. I had hoped to get into Legal Drafting because I had been told that the course was 1) actually useful and 2) an easy A. Alas, it appears everyone else had been told the same thing because I ended up as number 6 on the wait list. (Thanks to being a visiting student, I got to register with the 2Ls.) I showed up for the first class and it wasn't looking good.

So, I switched to Trial Practice. That's actually good too, since I was disappointed last semester about not being able to get into Trial Advocacy. I think this class is actually really close to Trial Advocacy at TVPNU - and I'm really pleased with our instuctor here. REALLY pleased. The only downside to this class is that it meets from 6-9 PM on Wednesday nights, making my Wednesdays really long. Also, the only word I think accurately describes Host School's neighborhood is Ghetto, so I'm less than thrilled about my walk to (and for that matter, subsequent ride on) the Metro.

Aside from my long Wednesdays, the rest of my schedule is pretty good. Nothing before 10:45. No classes on Friday. Only one class on Thursday. And long breaks between classes, which means if I'm disciplined and actually put the time to good use, I might be able to finish my homework at school.

Remedies promises to be painful - with a closed book final at the end. I don't think the material is necessarily difficult, it's just sort of boring because the prof seems to be a big believer in straight lecture. I talked to a classmate who had him for Con Law and she assured me it will be a miserable experience.

Plus, I take issue with the whole closed book final idea. He says that he'll start giving open book/take home exams when they start giving open book/take home bar exams. I've heard this rationale before, and have to say - I don't buy it. First of all, the bar exam's purpose is to test for minimal competence. I think a class should give us a basic understanding of the material, to include knowing how and where to find relevant information. Not that many classes either teach or reward law students for being able to do competent legal work. Why not? Will any employer EVER want us to sit down and just spit out what we think the law might be without the benefit of other resources? Second, for the most part, when we study for the bar, the majority of that information is supposed to be review. Finally, most law students take an intensive bar review course. Which typically focus 6-8 weeks on nothing other than getting you ready to take the bar exam. I have 3 finals this semester. Reading assignments won't end until the week before, leaving me about a week to really assimilate the material - for the sole purpose of regurgitating it on the final. I know everyone else is in the same boat, so I'm not arguing that closed book finals are unfair - I just think they - and most other law school exams - don't really measure our abilities. I'd much rather have regular assignments which test my understanding and develop my analytical and legal writing skils. Maybe I'd even retain some of the information. But bottom line is that he's the prof and can give us any kind of exam he wants. I just think his stated rationale is complete BS. /rant

Federal Income Tax seems like it will be ok. It has a high potential to be boring, but the prof seems like she'll be pretty good. And she's promised that it's not a math class. The book is strange though. I haven't figured out exactly what we're supposed to be getting from the reading assignments yet.

Fair Employment Law. I found the prof to be mindnumbing a bit dry for Crim Pro, but I'm hopeful that this class will be different, since co-authored our text and was an NAACP lawyer during the Civil Rights Movement. Also, there's a paper option (which I'll take), so no final. And that's always a bonus in my book.

Finally, Agency law. The prof seems really good, and the class only meets once a week. For the final he only allows an outline - and he provides it with the exam. If any of you DC types have had Prof Wyrsch for Agency & Partnership, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

So there it is. It's taken me 2 1/2 days to write this post because (so far) I have been really disciplined and have been doing my reading at school instead of posting. Yay me.

Happy Birthday, Dear E. Spat,...

Happy Birthday to You!

If I were there, you know I'd totally bake you a cake.

Or at least cupcakes.

Monday, January 09, 2006

News Flash

My sense of how I do on exams bears absolutely no relation to reality. Either that or professors' grading is completely arbitrary.

The class I was worried I might fail? Yeah, that lousy performance was good for an A-.

The exam I left feeling like I totally nailed? A B+. It doesn't suck, but somehow I thought I had done much better. Color me disappointed.

I'm still waiting for grades in 2 other classes. At this point, I won't even venture a guess as to how I did.

My Thought for the Morning

If someone collected the yard clippings from all the most exclusive homes and clubs, dried them, crafted them into the perfect blend, and then sold this for outrageous prices, I imagine the resulting brew would taste a lot like green tea.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

What I'm Procrastinating From This Semester

Just in case you're wondering

- Agency
- Federal Income Tax
- Remedies
- Fair Employment Law
- Legal Drafting Trial Practice

Outlines and notes are always appreciated...

Big Fat Slacker

That's me, in case you're wondering.

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth. I've been thinking about you all, but haven't gotten around to writing much lately. I've just been busy.

Just what the heck have I been doing anyway? Well...

There was an iPod with my name on it under the Christmas tree. Do you have any idea how long it takes to load your entire music collection? I was totally obsessed with it for several days, and still haven't gotten through everything. The fact that DSL was down didn't help matters because I had to enter all the information in myself. Also, do you know that Mr. Q has 15 separate Depeche Mode CD's? Fifteen whole CD's dedicated to freaky depressedness. All except for "Just Can't Get Enough" and "Route 66." And do you know that I have 72 songs by the Indigo Girls? And those are just the ones I like...

I've been cooking a lot. Someone posted a Cranberry Orange scone recipe recently, so I had to try it out - and it was super-fantabulous. (I wish I could remember who posted it - if it was you - thank you!) Good enough to give the scone cafe a run for its money. Especially since the rat-fink owner wouldn't give me the recipe. I modified the recipe this morning, substituting a mix of raspberries, blueberries, and marionberries for the cranberries. Yummmmy. EC and I also made cookies after she got back from Nebraska, and for a couple of days I swear I ate nothing but sugar cookies. And coconut macaroons.

I taught myself to crochet. Since my last final I've made 4 scarves, 1 hat, and am about 1/3 of the way through a shawl for my Oma. I've crocheted so much that my left index finger is sore. Like Tennis Elbow, but isolated in one knuckle.

Because I am a total geek and because law school finals get in the way of writing Christmas cards, I put up a family blog in lieu of the standard holiday letter. That way, the people who aren't into holiday letters don't have to read it. We can't compete with our crafty friends who send out beautiful handmade Christmas cards, so we might as well out-nerd them. The Quandaries - walking that fine line between freak and trendsetter.

I've also read a couple of books, taken the kids to the dentist, and watched a bunch of movies and a good chunk of the first season of Alias.

Of course, school starts back up tomorrow, so expect me to be back in full force since I'll once again have plenty to procrastinate from.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Hey Garbanzo!

Where you bean?

It seems that my good, good friend Verizon has been up to his old tricks.

I was on the phone with Mr. Q the other day and the phone just went dead. I thought the problem was on his end (if there's one thing being a Comm Officer taught me is that the problem is *always* on the distant end), so I didn't think anything of it until much later. When we finally did get in touch with Verizon later in the day, they said it would take 3 days to get out to troubleshoot. THEN they didn't show up when they were supposed to. Basically, exactly the same thing that happened in August.

I would call them a bunch of names, but one of my New Year's resolutions was to cut back on the foul language. Because it's getting a little embarrassing that I seem to be regularly telling the 11 year old "You heard that at school and not from your mom" whenever something colorful comes flying out of my mouth. Which is pretty often.

Of course, what I wrote in August more or less sums up my sentiments. And I don't think I'm exactly breaking a resolution if I just reference prior outbursts. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.