Monday, November 24, 2008

Law School and Family Dynamics

I was thinking this morning about how law school has changed my relationship with my extended family. When we moved to this area, we had hopes that our children would be raised as close friends with my niece's children. We all live relatively close by, had enjoyed each other's company on our visits to see my Mom, and it just made sense. We thought we would become close with my sisters. None of that has happened. I was wondering what did happen. Was it law school? Was it something about our children or how we are raising them? Is is us personally? I suppose it is probably a combination of things, but this morning, I spent some time thinking specifically what law school might have had to do with it.

Due to my schedule, we stopped going to family "wine nights," generally held every Friday night. (In all fairness, I think those dropped off a bit in regularity, but still...) We chose not to attend a family gathering, or two, or three, or more, because of my schedule. When you only get two free days per week, and one of those is spent studying, well, there just is not much time to socialize. We've not gone out of our way to be social. Mostly just casual invitations like, "Hey - when you are in our area, give us a call," or "let's get together for dinner on a Saturday night," Saturday being our main free night. When we do get together with family, we generally focus on keeping our kids out of the breakables of non-kid-friendly homes, which does not lead to sustained conversations.

Those things are enough I suppose, to create some distance. Then, I wonder, are there other things related to law school? I don't engage people in political debates or talk about law stuff, but do I come across as arrogant? Is there some kind of strange social hierarchy thing happening that I am not even aware of....or a jealousy thing? I am the youngest sibling by far; the one who was given everything and spoiled by parents who had by the time I came around achieved a certain amount of success and stability. Is there an extension - oh, now she gets to go to law school? Hey, for a mere four years of your life and $150K, you too can go to law school!

As I write this, I suspect law school is only a part of the larger family dynamics. We are not of either my niece's (and nephews, who now also live close and have children of their own) nor my sister's generations. We are in between both. We have probably not always played the family games according to the rules. Our children rarely see family and when they do, are not content to be seen and not heard, and we've not raised them to be that way, either. Yes....I guess there is probably a lot going on that is way more complicated to look at than the Clean Water Act or the Rules of Civil Procedure. Sometimes, it is easier to stay out of the muddy water. Maybe it is my hesitancy to stir up that water that keeps us at a distance, but, hey, you never know where the 'gators are lurking.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Grateful for a Beautiful Morning

Here's hoping all of you find things to be grateful for throughout your day.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dead Week and Other Random Thoughts

Where has this semester gone?! I cannot believe there are less than two weeks left before reading period, also referred to by some profs that have been around a while as "dead week." I am not sure why this never struck me as odd before. There are no classes for the shortened version of the week, which is only three days since the first two are used as class make-up days, so campus is kind of "dead" except for those choosing to study on campus. It struck me that might also be the mental state of some of us after hours of endless studying.....or the state we fear we could end up in upon viewing the upcoming exams. Multi-purpose phrase...."dead week."

Yes, now the intense paper-writing, outlining and studying begins. On campus we are all whining about how much we have left to do. It is such an excellent time for procrastination. I have heard there are those whose houses are never cleaner than right before finals. Surfing - the Internet kind, not the water kind - is taken to a whole new level. Suddenly movie reviews, diet pill reviews, and clicking "here" to determine your IQ are very important activities. In the end though, most of us are quite good at crunch time, and somehow, the papers, the studying, and the finals all get done. Then - a month off for Christmas break! I can hardly wait!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cool Personalized DVD for Kids

It smelled cold for the first time on my way to work this morning. It was the perfect almost-winter day smell of a wood burning stove, fresh rain, and coldness. That must mean Christmas is just around the corner!

We have already managed a couple gifts for the kids, but that is all. I will barely have time to think about it between now and mid-December when finals are over (Wife's Birthday is right about that same time, too. We've been thinking of moving it to July!) I did come across something fun this morning that I had seen one other time, but it wasn't near a birthday or Christmas, so it slipped my mind.

This company does all sorts of personalized gifts, but my favorites are the customized DVDs for kids. You know the various elf videos that go around at Christmas where you stick pictures of your family's faces onto elves and they have a snowball fight or whatever? The videos operate under the same concept - send a picture of your child, and next thing you know, they are in a Dora episode or hanging with Spiderman. The characters interact and say the child's name....and I have a feeling our Little Princess would love it. There are a variety of options, including a Christmas adventure. Of course, if we purchased one for our Princess, Boy Wonder would need one, too.

Well, we'll see! (Wife - check it out!)

Trade your old stuff for new stuff

Here is an interesting concept - trade your old CDs, DVDs, games and books for new electronic items. The company, which appears to be very environmentally conscious, is called and have quite an interesting business model. They take in used used cds and DVDs for credit, based on the market value of the item. Mostly it is one item for one credit. Customers then can use those credits to purchase new items. If not enough credits have been earned, the customer pays extra for the difference.

What happens to the used CDs and DVDs? They sell them, of course! The prices appear to be very good. I did notice that under "used DVSs" there were many VHS recordings, so that is something to be aware of when shopping. I did not see an explanation of that particular oddity.

The amount of credits that were needed for a trade was at least 100, and more in the 200+ this site will be best for those with stacks of old items that are still in good shape.

Seems like a smart way to cash in on people's desire to be more environmentally conscious and appeals to the concepts of trading and recycling. I wonder if any of the movies we want for the kids are available...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Completed MPRE? Check!

When I am grocery shopping with the kids, which frankly is anytime I go grocery shopping, other than picking up an "emergency item" on the way home after school, we play sort of a game. After shopping for a bit, I read off the list, and whichever child is with me says "check" if we already picked up the item. (I know, very original, right? *grin*) Sure, I could do it in my head, but it is a fun way to get the kid(s) focused and helping.

This past weekend, I took the MPRE, which is the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, and I am sure I blogged about it sometime in the past week or two. It is sort of like a first step in taking the bar exam. It is only a two-hour test, relatively low-cost, and it can be taken again in March, if necessary. Still, clearly we all want to pass the first time.

For those not familiar with standardized testing situations, such as the LSAT or the MPRE (I won't even try to pretend to know what the bar will be like), I will say they are somewhat surreal events. You stand around and nervously await to file into a room where you present some form of identification assuring that you are the person identified on the test as the test-taker. You then have rules read to you about filling out boxes and taking bathroom breaks. Finally, you take a test designed by people fond of inflicting pain upon others that is supposed to either represent the likelihood you can handle law school (actually first year) and whose outcome will determine your chances of even getting into law school (LSAT) or how well you understand the rules that govern the professional responsibility and ethics of lawyers and how many practice questions you studied. It is very weird to be in the situation and thinking about the situation at the same time. Maybe it's just me.

Well, I feel pretty good about how I think I did, so I will be happy with that for now.

MPRE? Check!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Celebrating the United States

The sheer enormity of this victory, the patriotism and the postive energy that it has stirred up leaves me almost speechless. (Mind you, I said "almost" - let's face it, not much really shuts up a law student. *grin*)

Check out this scene last night.

The Next President of the United States of America

Thank God.