Friday, June 30, 2006

Cool as a Cucumber

Blogging has been quite light lately because the only thing going through my head right now is


I am NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT ready for this. I will never be ready for it. I don't want to do it.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if I were, you know, enthusiastic about the idea of being a lawyer, I might feel more motivated to take this exam, and perhaps that motivation might crowd out some of the terror. I am not a stupid person, but I have never been good at memorization, and that's what this stupid test feels like to me: one more contest at church camp to see who can memorize the most bible verses. Any bible verses at all will do, no understanding of their meaning or message is necessary, just be able to spit them out upon command.

Wednesday night was my first real meltdown, complete with tears aplenty. Why, oh why, can't I remember anything about any single subject from one day to the next? What will I do with myself when I am unable to pass the bar because, despite understanding any individual concept when I see it in front of me, the second I have to produce it from memory, I seem to lose all ability to form coherent thought? Poor Ash kept alternating between trying to soothe me and trying to make me laugh, until he asked me mystified why I just kept crying harder. I don't know, maybe it's because if I don't cry, I might start to scream and never stop?

Next week will be better. I know it. Because frankly, if it gets worse, I will end up in an institution before the end of the month. And if there's one thing I learned in Mental Health Law Fall semester, it was that the mental health facilities in this state are HORRIBLE and that resources are severely lacking. In all seriousness, I wish I had gone to the student health center before my coverage ran out to get a prescription for Lunesta or something because I haven't slept well in weeks and will be propping my eyelids open with toothpicks by the time the actual exam rolls around (IN 25 DAYS!!). Or maybe Valium, because the anxiety makes it hard to think.

I keep thinking about the people I know who failed the bar the first time around, and I know another person who still hasn't passed it after multiple attempts. All of them are doing just fine, and they've managed to find work and everything, so logically, I know that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I fail. But to be honest, what makes me sickest of all when I think of failing the bar is the idea of taking it again. I don't know if I can handle this kind of stress again. And I can't imagine how much higher the pressure would be.

Reading back through this post just now, I realize how very un-law student like it is. We all spend so much time trying to pretend that our grades are awesome, our lives are awesome, none of this stress bothers us, of course not! But I cannot possibly be the only person who feels this way. Why do I feel a little bit ashamed of it? Is it just because of the idea that it shows a vulnerability? Or is it because we've all expended so much of our time and energy jostling for position in law school that I feel anxious at the idea of being judged by my peers? I know that this happens, and we've all seen it, and mostly likely participated in it: the results are released and the gossip starts. Who passed? Who didn't? Your friends and the thoughtful contingent-- rare though they often seem to be-- will not think less of you if you should fail the bar. Some of them will be in the same boat with you. As for the rest of them, why should we care what the sociopaths and the mean, bitter element think? Some of the rest of them will end up in that boat, hopefully shutting their pieholes for a little while. And look, there it is: I'm wishing ill on certain people. Why? Do I feel the need to add bad karma to my bad memory? Am I just a bad person? Am I just even crankier than normal because of the stress and the lack of sleep?


25 more days... and 27 days from now, I can sleep for days and hide the stupid bar books in a closet until the results come out. I should start stockpiling the vodka now.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Commerical Interruption

Apparently, fan clothing that bears the logo of a non-sponsor is a threat to the interests of the sponsors of the World Cup. I mean, I love commercialism as much as the next American, but really, this is a bit much. I don't understand how the mere presence of the non-sponsor logos waters down or negates the sponsors' publicity. The stupid ads around the field are still there, the announcers are still saying "Brought to you by Bigstupid Corp.!", the players' uniforms still have whatever company logos on them. Even in the numbers by which I am certain the Dutch fans were wearing those silly orange pants*, I can't imagine that the people out in TV land were going to suddenly stop drinking their Budweiser and run down to the store to buy some Bavaria or something.

*Once, I was camping in Italy during the EuroCup and Holland was playing against somebody. In a sitcom-esque coincidence, the Dutch schools had just let out for summer break and the whole campground was filled with Dutch families. That morning, it was like waking up in a Fanta factory: orange as far as the eye could see. Orange banners, orange t-shirts, orange hats, orange tablecloths... I wouldn't be surprised if every person also drank orange juice for breakfast that day. It was sheer lunacy.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Preaching To The Choir, I Suspect

It all started with this link, forwarded to me during an IM conversation with Eep.

Then, I followed this link to a page that puts it even more bluntly.

You're damn skippy! Jesus would be totally ashamed of a huge chunk of the people who have co-opted his name to spew hatred and discord. Not to mention the fact that I'd bet he'd be more interested in seeing these people use their time and money to do something that might actually help the sick, the poor, the downtrodden-- you know, the people that Jesus spent a huge part of his time here on Earth ministering to-- instead of buying giant banners and spending hours holding what is essentially a version of the Two Minutes Hate disguised as a prayer vigil.

I'm not a trained theologian. But I'm pretty sure that Jesus told us to love one another, and I'm equally certain that the things being said and done by the loudest members of the Religious Right have nothing whatsoever to do with love or with God.


Friday, June 16, 2006

What's On Your List?

This is pretty cool. I'm not sure what I'm going to put on my list, just yet, but I really like the idea of this.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Better Than I Expected

I just got my first assignment back from MicroMash, and I am solidly average. According to my mentor, I got the substantive law right-- with one exception, where I totally missed the point of the question-- but I missed points for not clearly articulating the rules before I applied them. So, rock on! I'm not below average!


I Still Feel Like a Kid Playing Dress Up

I'm trying so hard to be conscientious about sending thank you notes for graduation gifts promptly, especially since I know that if I put it off, I will promptly forget it. Until my mother calls to ask me why I haven't sent a thank you note to Aunt Jean/ the Smiths/my church. And then I'll feel both guilty and embarrassed because what kind of person just accepts a gift without any thank you? A greedy, ungrateful person, that's who. And my momma didn't raise a greedy, ungrateful brat.

And it's funny, but I'm noticing that I still cannot call an adult who is older than I by first name.

Not even in a letter! And this includes people who I call by first name in person. What is up with that? I mean, yeah, as a child, we addressed adults other than family members or very, very close family friends by Mr. (or Mrs.) Lastname. NEVER by first name. But I am thirty years old. Older than some of the adults I used to call Mr./ Mrs. Lastname were at the time. Younger children occasionally call me "Miss Mylastname" (or "Mrs.", which usually makes my mother snicker-- which reminds me, I should totally tell the story about what my cousin said to me at Thanksgiving last year, if I didn't already tell it.), and I really should ought to be able to take my seat at the proverbial grown ups table.

Yet, here I am, agonizing over whether it's okay to address the salutation "Dear Mike and Barb", when Barb, who I have known my entire life-- literally!-- and who knows more of my deep secrets than my mother (though not nearly as many as Hulio!), has never once been addressed as "Mrs. Corbett" by any member of my family that I can recall. But you see, I've never met Mike, at least not that I can remember. Therefore, I am not "permitted" to address him by his given name.

Do you think I'll ever feel like a Real Grown Up?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Who Wants to Go Out For Martinis?

You Are a Chocolate Martini

You're an elegant drunk, who only likes the best bars and the most expensive drinks.
A bit of a cheapskate, you're likely to mooch ten dollar drinks off both friends and strangers.

You should never: Drink and dash. You're gonna get caught leaving someone with the tab!

Your ideal party: A posh celebrity party you crash, with an open bar.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Well, That's the $64,000 Question, Isn't It?

My sister just sent me an email:

"Hey Sis,

Can you explain tort law to me?



Heh. I guess we'll find that out long about July 25th and 26th or so.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Update on the True Handbag Love

Sadly, I lost the eBay auction for the THL. I am taking an attitude toward this loss that Lee calls "zen", and I call "poor law school graduate who can think of at least 100 other ways to spend the money".

By popular demand-- or, by the request of two people (same thing, really)-- here is the THL in the auction. The pictures make it look a little more olive drab than it actually is.

Did I mention that the new H&M is opening today?

I SO Want to Watch!

Talk about Alternative Dispute Resolution!


Bar Review, Day 25

I had a whole bunch of droll little observations to post yesterday, but Blogger was having, shall we say, "issues" for the second day in a row, and I didn't write them down because of course I was going to remember them, they were so droll! So funny! And now I've forgotten them because I am obsessed by one thought and one thought only:

The new H&M opens today! TODAY!

And I forgot about it until I just saw an ad in the local alternative paper. I wonder, if I were to go down to the new store and take my corporations outline with me, if I could still be one of the first 100 people in line to get in. If I didn't have to go alone, I might actually chance it. But I don't really want to be by myself in that kind of a hullabaloo. PLUS WHICH, I really ought to be studying corporations, because obviously I need to take another hit to my self esteem. It wasn't nearly battered enough by my utter failure to learn Conflicts of Law, despite an entire semester spent in a very rigorous class and three days of reading the outlines.

I did not learn anything at all in three years of law school. Except that a) you shouldn't steal from you clients, b) you shouldn't sleep with your clients-- unless you have a pre-existing sexual relationship, and c) intent follows the bullet. That's it. WAIT! No, d) promise + consideration = contract.



Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bar Review, Day 24

The neighbors are jackhammering.

The neighbors.

Oh, god, how can I learn Conflicts of Law when they are JACKHAMMERING??

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Monday, June 05, 2006

A Not So Ringing Endorsement

I decided for a whole host of reasons not to do BarBri for my bar prep. Instead, I chose MicroMash. I placed my order just after finals ended and requested standard delivery because I figured I wouldn't be ready to start on it until after PMBR anyway. So I didn't think too much of it when it didn't come during the PMBR week or the week before graduation-- they did, after all, say 7-10 days. So I called them finally, to be told that UPS was showing that the package had already been delivered. I assured them that it hadn't. They said "OK. We'll send it again. Overnight." That was last Thursday afternoon, and as I am no idiot, I realized that "overnight" would actually mean "on Monday", what with pick up times and the weekend and all.

So I've sat on my butt all day today. I haven' t had a shower yet, because god forbid I not be able to run to the door when the UPS guy gets here.

10 minutes ago, I got an email telling me that my order had been shipped and is due for delivery tomorrow.

Tomorrow. Tuesday. Something like 19 days after I first ordered the course and three business days after I was told my order would be sent to me overnight.

So I called MicroMash. And got voicemail. Screw that. I called back and chose the option for "place an order", since most places make darn tootin' to have someone staffing that line. The guy looked me up and said, "Yes, I show that it took us a little more time than normal to get your order out.It should be delivered tomorrow."

Why? What happened?

"Well, we're really busy right now."

Yeah. No duh! So one might assume that you'd have extra staff or something-- and maybe they do!-- and also that a)screwed up orders might get priority over everyone else, and b)you might not tell people by phone AND BY EMAIL (the original confirmations sent last Thursday, not the email of 10 minutes ago) that the order will arrive on Monday when you won't even manage to get it out your door until then.

"Well, we didn't charge you for the overnight shipping."

Really? Because I know most companies would make a customer pay for re-shipping a shipment that never arrived. So I'm like, totally grateful, and not at all pissed off now.

I can hardly freaking wait to get my hands on the materials now.

Excuse me, I'm off to study my notes from PMBR again.


Those Girls Are Such a Bad Influence

I love handbags, but I never spend real money on them. I get them for presents or I buy them at secondhand stores and yard sales. I’ve occasionally bought one at the outlets or even the end of season clearances at the mall. But I’ve never been able to conscience spending close to what used to be a week’s salary on a handbag.

MadDog was part of a conversation about this during our 1L year and laughingly made a remark to the effect that my husband would be a lucky man. It seems that his wife, like several of my friends, is a lover of the Coach line. And like these friends of mine, who shall remain nameless *cough* Pei and Dirty Birdie *cough*, she doesn’t mind spending the dough for these (admittedly very attractive) purses/handbags/whatever the proper terminology for these things is.

Some part of me is very uncomfortable with the idea of carrying something so expensive. What if I drop it? And it lands in a muddy puddle in the parking lot? I would probably have a minor breakdown, much like the one I had the day Jenna peed on my silk comforter. I had to leave the house for several hours because I was so mad. Can you imagine how I’d react to damaging an expensive purse? I mean, for my birthday last year, Pei and the Dirty Birdie went in and bought me a tiny little Coach… thing. I don’t know what you really call it, but it’s just big enough for a lipstick, your driver’s license, a few dollars, and maybe your keys and an inhaler, and when you zip it shut, the strap fits on your wrist. making it perfect for a night out when you don’t want to carry a purse. I love it, but I rarely carry it because it’s too nice for the likes of me. I spill things and drop things and I don’t want to hurt my pretty, pretty Coach thingie.

But every once in a while, a girl falls in love.

And when that happens, she’ll do anything to be with the object of her affection. When they are parted, she will pine and long for the day when they can finally be together.

This is the story of my love affair with a bag that costs more than my interview suit.

And it’s all Pei’s fault.

She donated this bag, this wonderful bag, to the public interest society auction. It was not love at first sight, but I did admire it quite a bit. It’s not flashy or anything, but somehow, over the course of the following days, my love for it grew and grew. I wondered if it would make me a bad person to ask Pei to take her donation back and then give it to me. I decided that yes, it would. So I resigned myself to seeing the bag spend its life with someone else.

The night of the auction, which was held the day before my birthday, Ash almost saved me. He bid on the bag, but it was part of a package and the price got to be far too high, and so another 3L won the bag and I HATE HER because she stole my True Handbag Love.

After the auction, Pei was all “WHAT?? WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU WANTED THE BAG? I WOULD HAVE GIVEN IT TO YOU!” And I was all “Wahhhh! I didn’t know I was going to fall in love. I never fall in love like this! Wahhhhh!”

Here we are, nearly four months later. I still think longingly of my True Handbag Love, and I even looked at it online a few times, but I don’t really need it, and I don’t have gobs of disposable income (or any income at all) laying around the house, and so I’ve never even tried to order it. But all of a sudden, I’ve graduated from law school. And people apparently want to send me gifts as a token of their congratulations on this achievement. Some of those gifts have been of the green papery sort. And the thought of the Tumi bag keeps coming back to me.

On Tuesday of last week, I was taking care of some bills and such online. One of the “and such” things was filing a claim against a buyer on for sub-par goods. As I was logging in, it suddenly hit me: eBay! The THL might be on eBay!

I’ve never bought anything on eBay. And plus which, I don’t know anything about buying this sort of thing on eBay. I might be willing to pay what, for me, would be a significant chunk of change for the THL. I would NOT be willing to pay for a knock-off of THL. So I turned to the experts for advice.

Pei was kind enough to send me a long email detailing what to look for in a listing and even found the exact THL listed. There’s still a week to go on that auction, so I am keeping an eye on it, waiting to see if I can buy it with some of my graduation largesse. Then I will carry it almost every day, or at least very, very often, because I love it and do not want to be parted from it if I ever manage to get it back into my life.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Those Girls Are Such a Bad Influence, Part II

I am not a label whore.

In fact, I'm pretty close to exactly the opposite. I am the least brand-loyal person I know. I don't stick to the same toothpaste (unimaginable for Hulio!)-- I buy whatever's on sale and/or I have a coupon for. Over the years I've learned to avoid certain labels and brands because of previous bad experiences, and there are certain brands that I will keep an eye out for because I've had good experiences, but for the most part, I buy things that I like because they look good or smell good or taste good or whatever.

This goes double for clothing. Maybe triple. I buy almost everything I own from second hand shops or off the end-of-season clearance racks. And over the years I've gotten very, very good at finding things. Things that no one would believe came from the Salvation Army. Name brand clothing, sometimes brand new with the tags still attached, can be found if you can take two hours to carefully comb the racks at Goodwill. And if you pick up a handful of mending techniques, the AmVets world is your oyster.

The habit was born partly from thrift and partly from personal convictions about consumerism. I like nice things, but I don't like the way that we, as a culture, tend to place far too much importance on material belongings, creating unrealistic expectations as to what we "should" have or be, so that millions of people are dissatisfied with what they have, always searching for something more, maybe even to the detriment of their long term financial health. I know because I've fallen prey to it myself on more than one occasion, and because I have friends and acquaintances who have dug themselves holes that they will never get out of, financially. Me, I mortgaged my future on education, but that doesn't make my insane debt level somehow better, or make me any wiser, because who knows what path I might have taken had I not started accumulating student loans at an alarming rate? I mean, we are talking about someone who had no qualms whatsoever about putting a study abroad program on her credit card, on the theory that she'd rather have a lifetime of memories and a boatload of debt than a zero balance on the credit card and a lifetime of regret for not taking an opportunity that most likely will not come along again. Powers of rationalization that sharp could just as easily be used for evil. And really, once your student debt flirts with six digits, you're really gambling on your future, not investing in it. Will I be able to make the payments? Will I be able to eat and pay rent if I do? Will I spend the rest of my life worried about my finances? OH, THE SUSPENSE!

So we come to the Ann Taylor dress.

I had a wedding to attend this weekend. After my family took off on Monday, I pulled my dresses out of the closet. Since starting law school, my body shape has changed somewhat drastically. I was a size 8 when I started, raced up to a size 12 or so by the end of my 1L year, thanks to the many hours sitting on my butt studying and the many large meals cooked for me by my ex-boyfriend, then promptly dropped over 40 lbs. in grief last summer, then started running four or five days a week to get over the anger and frustration, hitting a size 2 for a short while, and now that I am happy, eating too much, and running about three times a week, plus sitting on my butt for lots of bar study, I've stabilized out around a size 4 or 6, depending on the cut of the clothes. This is important because, while I've got plenty of jeans and cute tops and even a handful of skirts in the proper sizes, my dressier wardrobe is nearly all from the pre-weight loss era. My complete inventory of dresses?

1. Black clingy dress. Very low cut. I had to put a little stich in it to keep from flashing random people. It is delicious, but a bit much for a wedding, if you ask me. Plus, I feel weird about wearing black to a wedding.

2. Sparkly blue shift dress with spaghetti straps. It's not sequined or anything, but it has an overlay of flowers that are small and glittery. It was, however, far too tight in the breast area, having been bought when I was a lithe 24 year old who waitressed her way to an insanely low BMI. "The Girls" were in pain and kept trying to escape their prison.

3. The Perfect Black Dress. It's very simple, with very clean lines and a scoopy neckline. Along the top of the dress there are three silver rosebuds. It is beautiful. It is also very, very short. I was excited that it fits again, because it is so very versatile. BUT. It is so very short. I could get away with that when I was 22 (which is when I bought that dress), but I felt plenty silly wearing it at 30. I have not been able to put it into the Goodwill box yet, but that's only because I am still coming to terms with losing the Perfect Black Dress.

4. Long sleeved wrap dress. It has a lovely black, red, and white pattern, and is cut in a very flattering and forgiving pattern fashioned from a very flattering and forviving fabric. I was able to wear this dress when I was a size 12, and now I can wear it by rewrapping it and pulling the ties tighter. I love this dress, and had this wedding been in November or March, the dress dilemma would be over. However, it is far too warm to contemplate wearing long sleeves.

Obviously, I had a problem.

In addition to not being a label whore, I am also not a trendy kind of gal. I like clean, classic lines with small touches added here and there in a nod to the current trends. I also do not have a lot of money to spend on something that I will only wear once or twice. So when it comes to things like dressy dresses, I tend to spend a little more money, but in exchange for that, I want something that I can wear for several years-- as demonstrated by the fact that I have dresses in my closet that are eight years old and still being worn, however seldom the occasion arises. So my criteria were:

1. Pretty. (I thought Hulio was going to punch me when I said this out loud to her.)

2. Not trendy in cut or color. Because it is going to be part of my wardrobe for the next several years, I expect.

3. Not white or black-- although the right combination of these colors would have been acceptable.

4. Not terribly expensive since I have no income and am in debt so far over my eyeballs it makes me a little sick to think about it, so why compound it by adding consumer debt to the mix?

Ideally, it should also match some pair of shoes that I already own, but since I had a gift certificate to DSW, I wasn't terribly worried about that part. I hit the mall with Hulio on Thursday evening, the first time all week I had time to shop. We pawed through rack after rack, finding nothing, NOTHING that was right. In JC Penney, of all places, I found a great dress, but it only came in a size 8, and I tried it on anyway, in hopes that it might run really small, but no such luck. I even had the girl behind the counter check to see if there were any in stock in a smaller size at another location in the area, but no dice. At 8:00, with only an hour of shopping time remaining, I decided to peek in at Ann Taylor, because I love the look of the line, even though it is completely out of my price range at this point in my life.

There it was.

The perfect dress.

It was the perfect length, the perfect style, and the perfect color. It was not the perfect price. In fact, it was at least double what I thought was the high end of my budget. But it was at least twice its price in gorgeous, especially once I tried it on. I felt so freaking beautiful in that dress.

So I bought it.

And then the regret began. Because I do not have $138 to spend on a dress. I don't even have $138 to spend on a suit, and I'm far more likely to get wear out of a suit than that dress. Though, as gorgeous as I felt in that dress, I think I'd invent excuses to wear it, so maybe I'm wrong about that. Hulio tried to help me rationalize it. "You just graduated from law school, you deserve it!" Yes! I do! And my parents gave me money for graduation.

Of course, I should really use that money to pay down my study abroad debt. Or save it toward something like a vacation or a down payment on a house (HA! It wasn't that much money. More like "a down payment on a new mattress set"-- which, now that we're talking about it, I could really use.) I shouldn't blow it on things like this dress.

But then again, why shouldn't I? Isn't that the whole point of giving someone money for a gift? To let them pick out something nice for themselves?

But then again, if my parents really wanted to give me a present-present, they could have picked something off of my Amazon wish list. They know how tight my budget is, so maybe they thought that buying me a little breathing room was a good graduation gift.

What to do? What to do?

On Friday, I headed back to the mall, with the idea that I'd try to find the lovely dress from Penney's in my size, and also look for something else suitable in the other stores. Ideally, I hoped to find a dress so lovely and perfect that it made the Ann Taylor dress pale in comparison. That way, I could return it without feeling like crying over the loss of the beautiful thing.

No luck at Penney's. But I found a sweet dress in Macy's. It's three quarter length, with a scooping sleeveless neckline. It tucks at the waist and flares ever so slightly at the thighs, creating curves where a dame ought to have them. The fabric is a satiny coppery brown color that goes ever so well with my coloring. AND. It. Was. On. Clearance. AND. I had a Macy's gift certificate left over from two Christmases ago. And it was only available in one size: mine.

I took that to be a sign from the gods of dress shopping and bought the dress.

Further confirmation of how it was simply meant to be? At DSW, I found the most gorgeous pair of strappy shoes* and they matched it perfectly. In fact, I could have easily bought the dress for the express purpose of matching the shoes. You know, if I were the kind of girl who would do such a thing as pick her clothes to match her shoes. Ahem.

But it's NOT the perfect dress. And even though I feel all warmly elegant wearing it, I don't feel like every eye in the room is, or at least should be, on me. So I'm still sad about returning the dress. But I just can't rationalize keeping an item of clothing so expensive when I have no income, no prospect for income any time soon, and a gigantic mountain of debt waiting for me.

However, what I do have is internet access and an account on eBay. And hot diggety dog! The dress is on there! For between $35 and $50! Not, unfortunately, in my size. But maybe, just maybe, another one will be listed and I can swoop in and get my eager mitts on it. Then I will be forced to go back to DSW and find a perfect pair of shoes to wear with it so that I can put the dress on for every vaguely dressy occasion between now and whenever the weather gets too cold for such things.

What on Earth has happened to me? I have become obsessed with finding dresses and handbags on eBay. When did I turn into such a girly girl? Next thing you know, I'll be getting all excited because they're opening a Sephora nearby.

Oh, wait. I am ready to pee myself with excitement because a new store that I can't afford to shop in will be opening soon. Sheesh.

* I have really got to stop googling for images of these things because I just fell in love with an $85 pair of gold sandals.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday Five in the House!

1. Have you ever purchased anything from a telemarketer? From an infomercial? From a spam email? From a pop-up ad?

No, and I never will. I think that telemarketing and its ilk are the lowest possible forms of communication and have no desire to make them seem viable business models. If no one ever bought any of it, the slimy jerks behind it would stop sending it out. And as for infomercials a) I have no television, and b)if something is, in fact, really cool, it will show up at Target or Linens-N-Things far cheaper and minus the shipping and handling charges.

2. When something is funny, do you usually laugh raucously, hiss, snort, chuckle quietly to yourself, or smile and nudge the person next to you?

My laugh tends to be very loud-- as in, people turn to see what's so funny. And if it's really, really funny? I snort.

3. If you had to go into a witness protection plan and start from scratch, what would you look like, do for a living, and where would you live?

Well, if the whole point of going into witness protection is to remove any trace of your existence, wouldn't they try to send you somewhere and make you someone with no connection to any of your real interests? That would probably land me in Iowa or something, with a job as, I don't know, a high school gym teacher or something.

But let's be in fantasyland for a moment:

If I have to stay in the US, I guess I'd want to live in a place like New York or D.C., where lots of people are from somewhere else, so your sudden appearance and lack of ties to the area would raise absolutely no suspicion, plus they'd be cool places to live. Having never been to New York, I'd lean toward D.C. I don't know what they'd do about changing my appearance, because my skin is too dark to go blonde and I look strange as a redhead, too (not that I've ever, ummmmm, experimented with hair dyes). Maybe I could get some sort of plastic surgery that would make me look more Asian or something that would match my coloring? And since the government would be taking care of my basic needs, I'd take a job working with books. In a secondhand bookstore. Or maybe I'd make them send me back to school, permanently. OOOO! That would be a great witness protection plan! I could just go from university to university, earning graduate degrees under different aliases. And there'd be no pressure to get a job afterward, so I could just, you know, enjoy the learning parts.

4. How comfortable are you with human contact? Hugs, kisses, PDA?

Very. I tend to touch other people when I talk, I hug everyone who acts like they'd hug me back, and PDA doesn't bother me-- though I wouldn't do anything that would make others uncomfortable or land me on COPS. Also, I cannot stand to be near Ash and not touching-- holding hands, shoulders brushing, snuggled up on the couch, limbs tangled in sleep, whatever.

5. What is one of your favorite souvenirs brought back from your travels? Where do you keep it?

I have lots of little things. The first time I went to Germany, I came home with a suitcase full of tourist crap because I totally got sucked into it and also because I kind of thought (snicker) that I'd never get to go back (hee hee). Over the years, I've refined my souvenir approach. I get little things that I will use in everyday life. It's the Erma Bombeck Theory of Souvenirs: if I can open the junk drawer, looking for a pencil, and find a bottle opener from Hawaii, complete with tacky hula girl on it, and it sparks a memory of a wonderful time, then it's worth it. So I have a Muumin thermometer on my refrigerator and a stack of Bierdeckel that I can use as coasters (if I were classy enough to use a coaster). I have a coffee mug with my on it that says "Lebensnotwendig: Nummer 1. Liebe, Nummer 2. Kaffee" and it makes me smile everytime I see it.

I also have a handful of big things, mostly gifts. For example, I have a gorgeous dirndl that belonged to my host mother when she was a teenager. I also have a license plate that my accountant host father (from a different host family) stole for me after I expressed a desire to have one for my wall at home (I was only fifteen at the time, shut up.). I have a string of pearls that my host parents (the same ones who gave me the dirndl) gave me when I lived with them again in college. I have a sweater that I bought at a flea market in Denmark from some kid who didn't speak English-- and lord knows I didn't and don't speak Danish-- so we dickered over the price using hand motions and my German-Danish dictionary.

The one thing that I get the most comments on is the Marimekko purse I bought in Finland*. I can't tell you how many people have stopped me in shops and on the street to ask where I got the purse. I always feel a little bit bad when I tell them I got it in Finland (though, technically, I bought it on the Ferry to Stockholm from Helsinki). I decided shortly after returning to the U.S. that I want Marimekko dishes-- because that's not at all impractical or insanely expensive for someone of my means.

*My purse is more of a satchel and it's in the red poppy design.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dirty Rotten Thieves

When my family arrived on Friday afternoon, I had a brand new, unopened bag of Milanos in my kitchen cabinet. Today, when I really, REALLY want a Milano? None in sight.