BACKGROUND

Friday, August 31, 2012

Weak

This week has left me feeling rather weak. Week, weak...see what I did there? Yeah. So anyway, it started last weekend with a rather unfortunate emotionally laden event rearing its ugly head and the aftermath continued into this week. The details of said event don't matter, but the point is that it was a shit storm of anxiety, decisions on my part, thoughts of the future, and lending support to a very important person in my life while also feeling weak and drained myself. 

It was rough people. It was one of those weeks where going to work was a chore because I just felt so exhausted emotionally that I couldn't focus and couldn't work myself up to caring about anything other than basic stuff. But, I dragged myself to work and focused as much as possible. I did leave early some days and finished working from home because it was just necessary for my mental health to do so.

Now, a three-day weekend is on the horizon and this means a chance to recharge and relax. This could not have come at a better time for me. I need three solid days of recharging. I do have some things on the schedule for the weekend - meeting a new friend for coffee, doing basic chores (laundry and so on), and donating blood on Sunday. But I am taking time for myself this weekend to simply be still. I need to refill the emotional coffers so that's my plan for the weekend. 

I wish those of you in the US a very happy Labor Day Weekend. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Frankie needs an iPad!

One of my friends is trying to raise $500 to help her son get a refurbished iPad. Her son, Frankie, has been diagnosed with Moebiuss Syndrome and the iPad would help ease communication in light of his disabilities due to MS and his deafness.

If you can donate or share the fundraising effort, I would appreciate it! Thanks!


This is Frankie - isn't he adorable?


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To tell or not to tell? That is the question.

So here is an interesting dilemma and I would love to hear readers' comments on this one. The following story was told to me by a friend. And yes, it really was a friend and not me. Here is the story:

My friend, we'll call him Max, was dating a woman for awhile. We'll call her Sarah. Max found out Sarah was married. Max continued to date Sarah for a very short time after finding out she was married, but he felt guilty and stopped seeing her. Max felt awful for seeing Sarah after knowing she was married and he felt that her husband should know what his wife was up to. So Max gathered his courage and called the husband to tell him what had been going on. 

Max apologized profusely to the husband and offered to answer any questions the husband might have had, knowing that the husband was caught off guard by this and probably would have many questions. To his credit, the husband did not lash out at Max, although certainly he had the right to do so. He was rather calm, which was likely brought on by the shock of the news. 

After Max told me this story, I started thinking about this situation. If you have an affair with someone and it is broken off, when, if ever, is it appropriate to tell the spouse about it? Let's assume the spouse is not the psychotic come over to your house and maul you with various weapons type. That is always a danger in this scenario, but I'd like to hear thoughts on the question in general. 

Should you tell the spouse at all?

If so, why?

If not, why not?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

10 years: 2002-2005. THE LAW SCHOOL YEARS

The first day of law school, I got up early to ensure I'd make it on time for my very first class, which was Torts at 9 a.m. Unfortunately, I did not take into account that parking was a nightmare at school. I was about five minutes late to my first class and I slipped in the door taking the very first seat I saw in the back row of the room. This seat happened to be in the diagonal line of sight of the professor. And that my friends is how I ended up being called on multiple times during the semester. The professor chose a panel of students (usually three) to discuss the cases for the day. I thought for sure I'd be on panel maybe twice. Oh no, no. I was on panel at least five times that semester. It was a nightmare and I learned not to sit in the line of sight of the professor ever again.

That first semester of law school was challenging, exhausting, and invigorating. I met a friend in one of my classes who would become my closest friend in law school and later a source of emotional pain. But that first semester, it was a God send to have someone to talk to who was going through the same thing I was. At the end of the first semester, I had also met a second friend who would join the first one in being a close friend and later, a source of emotional pain. 

At the end of the first semester, I was certain I was going to flunk out. For those who do not know how law school works, you do not have assignments as you go along. You have a lot (A LOT) of reading cases and trying to understand the law. You keep a running outline of the law you are learning and at the end of the semester, you take one exam from which you get your grade. The exams are graded on a curve and getting an A in law school is a major achievement. There are very few available and you have to do extremely well to get that grade. After I took my exams, I was certain an A wasn't even on the table. I was hoping for a D. The grades did not come out for several weeks so it was a long wait to see how I would fare. As it turned out, I worried needlessly because, while I didn't ace the exams by any means, my grades were respectable. 

Law school continued on and I finished the first year. That summer, I spent a lot of time with the family friend who was a year ahead of me in law school. We had so much fun! He is an awesome friend and we became very close that summer. We remain good friends today and I just adore his wife and son as well. They are all like family.

That first summer is also when I began dating again. I had been wrapped up in school the first year so I didn't date at all then. But I felt it was time to get out there. I spent the second year dating a few people, one of whom broke my heart. It was a hard time, but I got through it with the support of my family and friends. Before the summer of my third year, I met my (now ex) husband and had a falling out with my two close friends, whom I mentioned above. That story is long and involved, but suffice it to say that the third year was difficult because I was without the two women who had been my closest friends. I had other casual friends in school so I was not alone, but it's hard when you lose those who were closest to you.

In any case, I finished the first semester of my last year (the third year) and I made the decision to take the bar exam in February 2005. Generally, you do not take the bar exam until the July following May graduation. But, I decided to be a go-getter and take it before I graduated. You can only do this if you have at least 89 of the 93 required credits to graduate law school. I had managed to amass those credits so I signed up for the exam and began the very long journey of studying for the bar exam. I should mention that I was still taking classes, planning my upcoming wedding that took place in July, and writing my seminar paper. The seminar paper amounts to a thesis because it is a very arduous and long research and writing process. It took me five months to research and write my paper and I did that while I was studying and taking the bar exam as well as taking two other classes. It was a tough semester.

I took the bar in late February and I had to wait until May for the results. That was the longest wait in the world, but thankfully I had the seminar paper and the other classes as well as wedding planning to occupy my time. I still remember the day bar exam results came out - May 4, 2005. You can check them on the computer and they list your name along with your exam number if you pass. I began checking early in the morning and continued on throughout the afternoon until about 3 p.m. when they finally posted results. I will never forget the anxiety of seeing the Pass List link on the page and knowing that I was about to be very elated or very disappointed. I clicked on the link and then clicked the link for the first letter of my last name since the list is alphabetized that way. And I saw my name! I PASSED THE BAR!! 7 years later I can still remember the absolute relief and elation I felt. I began crying, sobbing really and I immediately called my parents to share the news. The very next day, I had my last law school exam, but as you can imagine, I didn't really care that much about studying for it because hey, I PASSED THE BAR! :) I did fine on that last law school exam by the way.

Finally, after three years of hard work and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, I graduated law school on May 13, 2005. My parents came to attend the ceremony as did my bestie all the way from Oregon. I was so grateful to have her be a part of the celebration because she had been so supportive from the very beginning. It was a great celebration and a great time with those closest to me who had made my dreams possible in so many ways.

After law school, I got married and worked at the law firm from hell. I started this blog in the summer of 2006 so you can read more of my journey if you go back to the archives, but it's been an interesting 10 years in Houston and I wouldn't trade it for anything. In the last 10 years I have:

Moved to Houston from Oregon
Got my Law Degree
Got my Master's Degree
Got married
Got divorced
Learned to scuba dive
Survived and thrived!

Here's to the next decade! You never know what it will bring, but as my Dad said, it's always an adventure!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

10 Years: 2002 Continued

I arrived in Houston in July 2002. I was met at the airport by my father who had taken some time off from his job as a truck driver to get me settled and ready to begin the next chapter of my life. I never needed him more! He has always been there for me, but I was starting a brand new life in the fourth largest city in America where I knew no one. My father was a source of help and comfort at the beginning of what would be a long, but amazing, journey!

My Dad picked up me and my boxes from the airport. I had checked through two cardboard boxes along with my luggage. This was before the airlines began charging exorbitant prices for checked luggage. This was back when you could check up to three pieces (as I recall) for free. 

We stayed in a hotel the first night and then headed to San Antonio the next day. My father had decided to give up his apartment because he was on the road so much, it was an unnecessary expense. He spent at least 6 - 8 weeks at a time on the road and would only come home for a week at a time, if that. So it made no sense for him to keep an apartment.

This worked in my favor since he gave me some of the things from his apartment - an air mattress, a TV, a vacuum, and so on. The moving company I had used delivered my furniture two weeks late so that air mattress and TV came in handy!

I had selected an apartment site unseen from Oregon with the help of an apartment locator. I loved the place! I lived on the third floor of Allen House Apartments, just a couple of miles from downtown Houston and about 10 miles from the University of Houston Law Center. It was a great location and the apartment was well-maintained, neat and clean.

My Dad helped me find an electricity provider as well as car insurance. He had helped me get a 1999 Mercury Tracer and had purchased it in San Antonio so I could drive it back to Houston. I still remember getting in the car to make my very first "Texas drive" to Houston. It's about four hours from San Antonio and  I thought I might get lost, but I made it. My Dad had given me some Texas maps and one of the best pieces of advice for moving to a new city - "Drive around. Get to know your neighborhood. It doesn't matter if you get lost. You'll find your way back and you will learn your way around. Take the time to just drive around one day." That piece of advice has served me well. Don't be afraid to get lost. Just get in the car and drive. You will figure it out and learn the neighborhood along the way.

I had six weeks before law school started and I used that time to drive around, go to the library, read, sleep, and watch TV. Prior to moving to Houston, I had a stressful job as a reporter where I was working five days a week and sometimes covering events on the weekends as well as doing split shifts twice a week as both a reporter/proofreader/web site manager for the newspaper. Studying for the LSAT and applying to law school were no easy tasks in the midst of that kind of job so by the time I got to Houston, I was tired. I needed the time to really relax before heading into law school. 

There were times I was bored and lonely, I will admit that. But my Dad's advice came in handy again. "Everything, even the bad things, are an adventure. Life goes by quickly, enjoy it!" My Dad also came through once again during this time by calling me from the road every single day. He was driving cross-country delivering items as part of his trucking job, but he made time every day to call me because he knew I didn't know anyone and he didn't want me to feel alone. Is my Dad awesome or what?

Those six weeks quickly passed and before I knew it, it was late August and the first day of law school loomed. I got up early that first day, but I was still somewhat late for my very first class and this would prove to be an unfortunate mistake that plagued me in that class for the entire semester...

Stay tuned for 10 years: Law School!


Friday, August 10, 2012

10 years: 2002

10 years. That is how long I have been in Houston, Texas. In October 2001, I was 25 years old. I had graduated from college in 1998 and moved back to my tiny coastal Oregon hometown in 2000 to work for the newspaper I had grown up reading. I had double majored in Journalism and Sociology and I was eager to start earning a real paycheck and put my degrees to use.

I was married to my first husband. We lived in a townhouse near my work. The marriage had its ups and downs and finally, in June 2001, it had its final down when he moved out and back to Washington State where his friends and parents lived. I continued on at the newspaper and made a pivotal decision. I was going to law school. And I was going to do it in Houston, Texas. 1800 miles and a world away from where I grew up. My father lived in San Antonio, but he was on the road for weeks at a time as a cross-country truck driver. Houston had been the hub of gymnastics when I was growing up, a sport I loved and still do. 

The law schools in Houston were very good. I was getting a divorce. I was living in my small hometown. I needed a change. I needed a goal. I needed a life.

In October 2001, I made the decision to begin studying for the Law School Admission Test. I told no one that I was pursuing admission to law school except those who needed to know – my parents, my best friend, my professional references for admission. This was a very small group of people who were there from the beginning.

I was hoping for admission to the Fall 2002 class. This was going to be daunting. Most of the time, you should have your file complete, including the LSAT, by December of the previous year at the latest. I wasn't even going to take the LSAT until February. I was praying hard that I would even be considered for the entering class of 2002. I received my LSAT score in March and it was good enough for both the schools I applied to in Houston. My application was complete and I crossed my fingers.

Every day was a journey to the post office, hoping for “the envelope.” Finally, in April, I received the envelope from South Texas College of Law: “Congratulations and welcome to the class of 2005.” RELIEF! I was in. I WAS IN! South Texas was my second choice, University of Houston Law Center was my first. But, no matter what, I was going to law school! I couldn’t have been more elated.

My best friend got married in May 2002 and I was her maid of honor. I was there for a couple of days prior to the wedding to help her out with wedding stuff. It was during that time that I received an e-mail from the University of Houston congratulating me on my admission. TWO FOR TWO!!

I returned from her wedding and informed my boss that I would be quitting to move and attend law school. I couldn't believe it.  I was moving to Houston, a city where I knew no one except a friend of the family and we did not know each other that well. But I was ready for the adventure. My divorce was final in June 2002, I called the moving company, packed up my townhouse, quit my job, and got in the car. My mother was driving me to San Francisco where she would visit with her sister and I would catch the plane to Houston. I got on the plane in July 2002 knowing that my entire life would change when it touched down in Houston...  

Stay tuned for the next installment of 10 years!