Sunday, July 31, 2005

sunday, end of july...

thumbs up on the new tires. just rode downtown to point state park, where i read for a bit, watched the people, talked to my brother on the phone, almost lost the sternum strap on my bag. then i rode a bit on the north side, then back into downtown and into oakland so i could stop at the library (hillman, not carnegie) and check out these two books:

the wretched of the earth, frantz fanon
the god of small things, arundhati roy

(i'm starting to realize that i only have one month of summer left and a lot more than a month's worth of reading that i want to do.)

as i was riding into downtown this morning, just past the strip district on penn ave, i got yelled at for riding on the street. goddamn it! you know, last time i checked, in order to get a driver's license, you had to take a written test convincing the state/commonwealth/DMV that you understood the rules of the road. and one of those rules is that bicycles DO NOT RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK!!! now, being the target of a driver's ignorance about cycling is nothing new for me, and it happens far less frequently in pittsburgh than it did in philadelphia (where people are generally more crass and self-absorbed), but it's still really annoying. i'm usually in a pretty good mood when i'm on my bike, but nothing ruins that like some stupid mother fucker in a car telling me to "get on the sidewalk where i belong!" please.

what killed me about this woman who yelled at me today was that she waited until she was turning off of penn to yell at me! i mean, if you're going to be such an ass as to waste energy yelling at a stranger, at least have the balls to yell at her to her face! my response? i just yelled back, "oh, fuck you."

itunes is on shuffle right now and heart's "crazy on you" is up. say what you will about heart, but josh hartnett (whom i ordinarily do not find attractive) as trip fontaine in the film version of
the virgin suicides in the scenes where "crazy on you" and "magic man" are the soundtrack? hot.

little things...

my pumpkin plants have blossoms! lovely orange flowers! and, there are at least half a dozen little peppers on my pepper plants. to celebrate, as soon as i finish my coffee, i'm going for a bike ride.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

wheels keep on spinnin' round...

this morning i sat in the backyard with cody (the landlord's dog -- i'm dogsitting while the landlord is away) and changed the tires on my mountain bike. my friend michael had some slicks that he bought for his mountain bike, but he got a new road bike at the beginning of the summer and sold me the tires. the tires have been sitting in my apartment for about two months now, collecting dust (because i'm really good at not doing things). a couple of nights ago i hung out with a friend and learned about changing tires/tubes, and in the process managed to flatten the tube on my front tire. so, since i needed to replace that tube anyway, i figured it was as good a time as any to try out the new tires.

tomorrow will be the test. i'm planning on getting up (relatively, for a sunday) early and going for a ride. i went for a short (30 minutes or so) ride today, but i've been feeling all post-avonex-y all day (i'll admit to not being a very good girl lately as pertains to taking my shots, so when i do take them, like last night, i get all flu-y and achey), so i'm not sure if i could feel much of a difference. i will say that these tires kind of weird me out -- there is almost _no_ tread on them. but they do look nice on my wheels. so, more to come on this topic, after i've had a chance to try out the new tires.

am currently listening to the album "wish" by the cure. it came out in 1992, when i was, oh, a sophomore in high school! for some reason this album popped into my head the other day. shit, 1992 was thirteen years ago! when oh when did i get so old? and how is it that my brain can remember song lyrics with which it has had no contact in a decade or so, yet, i can't remember details of cases i've read the day before? have i mentioned here my theory that i have adult ADD? the more likely truth is that i'm a sucker for the pharmacological marketing machine.

so, good news -- my friend grant got an invite to be on law review!!! i'm absolutely thrilled for him -- he poured his heart and soul into his write-on competition submission and deserves that invitation. i didn't know grant very well until this summer (we work together at our internship), but in the past couple of months he's become one of my favorite people. and i should keep him around because someday i may need him to give me a job.

meanwhile, on the other side of my social spectrum, i ran into one of my friends at the law school yesterday. this is a friend with whom i used to be pretty close, but to whom i've spoken infrequently this summer. the weird thing is that i can't tell if i'm sad about this or if i've just accepted that this is the way these things go. i do miss the group that i spent so much time with during the school year, and i hesitate to say that i've "replaced" them with other people, but i know that, to some degree, that was the inevitable result. we all clung together because we were in the same small section, and it was easy to form a social unit. but now that we're branching out into new jobs, new relationships, new networks, there are more opportunities to find friendships that are more relevant and sustaining. i'm not at all suggesting that i don't value the people with whom i spent my first year -- we were "in the trenches" together, so to speak, and some of them are very near and dear to me -- but the next two years of school will have a lot to offer.

tonight i sat with michael and steph on the front porch. they're planning to move back to the northwest after school is done. michael asked me if i thought i'd stay around here. that's the $25,000 question, isn't it? i will admit that during the past school year i was pretty certain that i did not want to be in pittsburgh post graduation. but now that i've had some time to see the city, to get to know the neighborhoods a bit, i must say that the idea of staying here does have some merit. i've always thought i'd end up in chicago or back in boston, but at this point, what would honestly be the right set of circumstances to get me to either of those places? the perfect job? maybe. but i'm getting to a place where i need to start seriously thinking about where i want to be, what i want to do, how i want to get there...

(and i thought i had gone back to school to avoid all of that for a while. silly me!)

Friday, July 29, 2005

one giant leap for stem cells...

(it is my preference to stay away from politics in this blog -- it's too easy to get sucked into that whole milieu. but this is important, and, in a way, relevant to throckmorton's original subject matter, so i'm bending my own rules a bit...)

senate majority leader bill frist has decided to support federal funding of stem cell research, saying "It's not just a matter of faith, it's a matter of science." this is very good news.

the whole stem cell debate is so amazing to me. bush's stance, placing stem cell research under the (propagandist?) umbrella of pro-life issues, is just dumb. (this is the point where i refer to some death penalty statistics, and encourage that folks take note of the number of executions in the former governor bush's home state of texas.) stem cells, friends, are not babies. i don't care where you weigh in on the pro-choice/pro-life debate (in case there was any doubt, i'm gung ho pro-choice) we're talking apples and oranges, here; blastocysts and fetuses.

stem cell research is not nearly as relevant for multiple sclerosis as it is for alzheimer's or parkinson's or spinal cord injuries, but it seems obvious to me that if we have the ability and the resources to do something that has the potential to make a real and positive difference in people's lives, we have a duty, a responsibility to do all that we can to carry that out. it's just plain foolish to try to inject morality into the issue.

i take a really hard line on morality and the law, and that line is this -- under no circumstances should morality alone be a justification for law. the law, as i see it, does not exist to dictate how people view right and wrong. the law exists to preserve order, to protect individual rights, to promote efficient societal systems. law should be as objective as possible. law should not play favorites. once we start throwing around terms like "morals" and "values" to explain why the world works the way it does, we run a serious risk of squelching the freedoms that we claim to uphold. that just ain't right.

so, three cheers for stem cell research!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

language is a virus...

just wanted to put up a link to the most fantastic essay ever of all time! and here it is:

the most fantastic essay ever of all time

it's a david foster wallace piece from the april 2001 harper's magazine. brilliant! the evidence that upon receiving the magazine in the mail (ah, the days when i could afford magazine subscriptions!), i curled up in a chair and read it -- nay, devoured it/consumed it/swooned over it -- and the resulting giddiness solidly supports the conclusion that i am, always have been, and always will be a colossal nerd.

i was working as a grant writer at the philadelphia museum of art at the time and the morning after i had read this essay i went to work, still reeling from my post-DFW high, and told one of my co-workers, a fantastic woman named electra, who i always secretly hoped would meet my dad, because i was so sure that they would instantly fall in love, and who doesn't want a stepmom named "electra"!?! anyway, electra is me in 25 years -- smart, cynical, a _complete_ grammar geek. she was the one i would go to when i hit snags in my writing, she was the one whose chicago manual of style i would borrow (because i didn't want to bring my own copy to the office), she was the one (one of the few in my life) who i trusted to proofread my work. so electra, cheers to you, dear. i hope you're not still working in that dreary development department.

now, allow me to muse for a moment on david foster wallace. my copy of his most recent collection of short stories, entitled oblivion, is signed by the author, saying something like, "emily, you know, i'm smarter and better looking than your boyfriend". this is only partially true, as stean, who was my boyfriend at the time, is pretty damn hot. (but i am an absolute sucker for brilliant men who know how to manipulate language, so the "better looking" thing is really of no consequence.) the story of this inscription actually concerns stean, who volunteered to go to a DFW reading that was happening at the free library of philadelphia on the same night that i had to teach an LSAT session. stean, well aware of my ginormous crush on DFW, suggested that DFW sign my book as such, but according to stean, DFW was hesitant, not wanting to put himself in the middle of my relationship (oh my god, if i could be so lucky!!!). so, he put the "smarter and better looking than your boyfriend" part in quotes, to immune himself from any domestic strife. welcome to swoon city, population: me!

of course, had i been there, i may have requested that DFW write "victory for the forces of democratic freedom!"

but then again, i am a colossal nerd.

someday i'll write the story of what douglas coupland wrote when he signed my first ed. of microserfs. it involves me being drunk, having driven around for about 45 minutes trying to find a parking space in center city philadelphia (back when i had a car), and options.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

mindless rant of the day...

grant and i got coffee on our way back to work from lunch. we went to starbucks. yeah, yeah, i know, starbucks is evil et cetera, but that's a matter to address at another time. here's what's printed on the side of grant's starbucks cup:

"embrace this right now life while it's dripping, while the flavors are excellently woesome. take your bites with bravery and boldness since the learning and the growing are here in these times, these exact right nows. capture these times. hold and kiss them because it will soon be very different."

apparently this is some jill scott lyric (jill scott, who always makes me think "the revolution will not be televised" gil scott-heron). is she serious??? this is the stupidest thing i've read in a long time. i am offended on so many levels. i mean, "excellently woesome"??? that doesn't even make sense! those words CANNOT be used together! the whole passage sounds like something you'd expect to see here, like some mistranslated greeting card gobbledygook!

the revolution will be no re-run, brothers. the revolution will be live.

Monday, July 25, 2005

only in dreams...

i dreamt last night that, for some unspecified reason, i was sentenced to death by guillotine. i was in high school, and this execution was to take place in the school's auditorium, in front of all of my schoolmates, assembly-style. the real kicker was that the executioner, complete with black hood, was none other than monsignor mullen, a priest from the church i attended growing up who passed away many many moons ago, before i even reached my high school years.

the dream starts off with the good monsignor yelling at me. for some reason i was supposed to wear a swimsuit for my execution (cue emily's body-image issues!) and the good monsignor was not only yelling at me for whatever it was that got me the death sentence, but also because my modest, one-piece swimsuit was in tatters and was completely inappropriate for my impending decapitation. so the best i could do was to take a pair of scissors to the loose threads and march into the auditorium to confront my destiny.

there was a platform set up in the middle of the basketball court (my tiny high school's auditorium was also its gymnasium), where the guillotine was menacingly awaiting its prey. my schoolmates were filing in and taking their seats in the bleachers. i was crying, confused, no one had actually informed me of why i was to be killed. i kept begging the good monsignor to show some mercy on a poor girl who must have just made a mistake.

i got on my hands and knees and positioned my neck under the guillotine's blade, but my back was to the crowd. i could hear the chatter and gasps and whispers of the other students, but all i could see was the back of the auditorium. i was still crying, still begging and pleading for my life, still confused and afraid. the good monsignor was preparing for the moment with dramatic flair, raising and lowering the blade in its track, each time dropping it closer and closer to my neck, but never quite letting it make contact. and then, as my tears and screams reached the height of terror, i heard him let go, the weighted blade falling in a cruel swish, and then nothing but a dull thud--the blade had disappeared... and i was still alive. the good monsignor said, "now get dressed and go back to class." i was saved!

i got up, went to the bathroom, put on my uniform (i did, after all, go to catholic school), and looked at myself in the mirror. my face was red and tear-streaked and i had a bruise across my neck from where i had been resting my head, awaiting its separation from my body -- a black-and-blue remnant of what could have been.

as i walked back into the school building (the gym/auditorium was across the street), i saw two people almost immediately -- stean and my brother. both of them held me for a while, then walked with me to my locker. i stood in front of my locker, still bemused and bewildered and completely unable to remember the combination, so i turned and headed to the principal's office to find someone who could retrieve that information for me.

in the principal's office was my high school principal, sister richard marie, the school secretary, ada lovorn, and my angel of death himself, the good monsignor. sr. richard flashed me her usual expression, the narrowed-eyed one that said that she had no time for whatever i was going to bother her about and that she was sure it was something utterly dispicable. i said, "excuse me, but i can't remember my locker combination." the good monsignor made a noise under his breath. i responded with, "i'm not exactly having the best day." the principal handed me a piece of paper on which was printed my combination, and said, "well, you'd better consider yourself lucky that your mother was able to find you a good psychiatrist. otherwise you wouldn't be standing in this office right now." i took the card from her hand and walked out of the office and down the hall to my locker. still completely confused.


so there you have it, friends -- better living (and salvation from certain death) through psychiatry. mary anne mcnally strikes again. in my sleep and from beyond the grave, my mother is still encouraging me to go to a therapist.

[now, having read this, please don't go and try to, erm, psychoanalyze (emily says in her most holden caulfield of tones) me. i'm no fool -- i realize that this is an account of an unconsciousness clumsily vomiting, its nausea brought on by feelings of anxiety and inadequacy and fear of exposure and not enough sex and all that crap. so, whatever you're thinking, just stop. just hold back my hair and find the sawdust and wait until the dry heaves have subsided.]

perhaps needless to say, the whole ordeal made for unpleasant waking and has thrown off my entire day.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

signs and things unsaid...

am sitting in my kitchen right now. overhead there are one, two, three ladybugs perched on the ceiling. normally i find ladybugs charming, and consider them to be good signs (bunnies, shooting stars, rainbows, and wheat pennies also fall into this category -- things that the little girl in me finds too uncommon to be anything other than deliberate -- but, i don't believe in fate. no way. not me.). but three of them? on my ceiling? it's enough to turn a good sign into something ominous and unsettling. perhaps contributing to this is that in the past week or so i've had friends who have dealt with strange insect infestation issues (one friend with a freakish fly problem in her kitchen, another with icky bugs on his bike tire). but life is all about choices, or at least that's what i tell myself, and who is in control of how i experience life if not me? so i'm choosing to see this upside-down triple-threat as three-times a good sign. so there.

talked to my dad on the phone tonight. to my surprise, dad brought up the roberts supreme court nomination. typically, my father flat out refuses to discuss anything even remotely political with me, and if i bring something up, i get a standard "i'm not getting into this right now" response. and so i push and push and try to get something out of this man who has been a big influence on who i am, and who i've always considered to be very intelligent, very principled, very open-minded. however, i have this horrible fear that he voted for bush in the last election. my once liberal catholic hippie dad turned middle-aged catholic father of three (and step-father of three more) with concerns that no longer include those of his younger days. dad says that's what happens as you get older. i told him it doesn't have to happen to all of us.

anyway, the roberts nomination... as it turns out, dad's thoughts are in line with my own: that roberts is as good as we could expect; that he at least seems to have the intellect to warrant a SC seat; that the democrats are only hurting themselves if they put up too much of a fight in the confirmation process. it's odd how much i still want to have the same ideology as my parents. i've certainly had my share of differences with them, but i think they're both, to state things simply, goddamn brilliant. the older i get the more aware i become of the ways i'm similar to them and the ways i'm different. i'm comfortable in both sides of that. i could do much worse than to turn into my parents.

and this leads me, not quite gracefully, into the other thing i wanted to write about tonight...

i spent a big chunk of my day today listening to old "this american life" episodes online. the last one i listened to was entitled "what i should have said". it started out with ira glass talking about the last few times he was with his mother before she died, both of them knowing she was going to die, but not knowing what should have been said in those moments... this november will mark the decade point since my mom died. ten years. ten years! (suddenly i'm rather inappropriately thinking of jeremy piven in _gross pointe blank_) ten years...

i remember that morning so well, the last morning i saw her. it was a friday. the day after thanksgiving. i was a college sophomore. i had been home for a few days but was flying back to school that friday because i had work that needed my attention. it was really early in the morning, we were awake before the sun. i had to leave early to drive to new orleans to catch my flight. the house was dark.

god, those few days were so strange -- my mother was heavily medicated for much of it, and the meds made her so foggy-headed, so confused. there were little windows of clarity in which we could talk to her and she was herself. but once the drugs kicked in, her thoughts were muddled, she said things that just didn't make sense. how does one deal with that? i was nineteen, for all intents and purposes, still a child. although i'm not sure that it would be any easier now, or ten years from now. we're never ready to lose the people we hold most dear, even when we know that loss is inevitable. you can never be really prepared.

but that morning when i told her goodbye, her mind was clear. sitting here now i can remember so much of those moments -- how the room smelled, how tired her voice sounded, how her hand felt as i held it -- i always loved my mother's hands: they were graceful where mine are frantic, affectionate where mine are hesitant, strong where mine are fidgety...

i don't think i can write about this anymore... not now.

the point, though, is that ten years have passed and not a day goes by that i don't wish i could have one more conversation with her. what i would say to her in that conversation changes as i get older, but mostly i just want to know that she'd be proud of me, that she'd see that, although i've made mistakes, i've learned from them. i'm sure she'd be pleased to know that despite my better efforts, i've somehow managed to inherit her really corny sense of humor. and i'd like her to know that even though she made mistakes, too, i'm so proud to be her daughter.

okay. okay. so much for my tear-free streak on this blog! but it's okay -- sometimes it feels really good to miss someone. i'll indulge myself this right now. i'll miss my mom. she is, after all, goddamn brilliant.

and while the ira glass segment of the TAL show made me a little sad, the jonathan goldstein segment made me smile. it was all about wishing he could stop time to have a few seconds to come up with the proper response to all the moments in a day that need a little better than what he's able to come up with on the spot. as many of my close friends will attest, i'm quite good at putting my foot in my mouth, at inadvertently and unintentionally insulting people, at making a general fool of myself. that's definitely not something i inherited from my parents, who are generally pretty good at both tact and diplomacy. i, on the other hand, have a problem of speaking before i think, not exactly a good quality in an aspiring lawyer, but one that i'm learning to reign in when necessary. in the meantime, i will do my best to think big and speak little.

but to write as rambling and aimlessly as possible.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


this apollo 11 birthday stuff has reminded me of a little story about a guy named (rather ironically and unfortunately) dennis hope.

a few years ago, my friend and co-worker-at-the-time (who would come into my office almost daily and act like he was going to urinate on a stack of books in the corner, and who had a propensity toward throwing sharpened pencils so that they would stick in the ceiling above my desk)* wondered out loud whether the united states owned the moon. it seemed unlikely to me that any country could claim ownership, so i did a little research and became acquainted with the story of mr. hope:

In 1967, the United Nations signed the Outer Space Treaty, which forbids any government from claiming the Moon (or any part of space for that matter). The treaty failed to mention anything about private individuals or corporations, so a second treaty forbidding anyone from claiming ownership of extraterrestrial real estate was proposed. Only a handful of nations (none of them space-faring) signed this treaty. This left a loophole in international law as big as the void of space itself.

In 1980, Dennis Hope sent letters to the United Nations, the United States government and the government of the former Soviet Union, informing them that he was officially claiming ownership of all planetary and lunar surfaces (aside from the Earth) in our solar system. He even gave them the opportunity to respond if they had objections, and as crazy as it sounds, he hasn't heard a word from any of them since.

So...for twenty years Dennis Hope has been selling plots on the Moon, Mars and other heavenly bodies - for a pretty reasonable price! And he's been pursuing this as not just a novelty sale, but a serious real estate transaction (complete with covenants and bylaws that prevent the unsightly or trivial usage of the property). His sales are accelerating, and within a couple of years he anticipates he'll have a constituency in the millions - enough to put serious pressure on the UN and the U.S. to recognize the government of Luna (never mind that not a single landlord has set foot on the property yet).

dennis hope, friends. dennis hope --con man, opportunist, space pirate, capitalist extraordinaire. when i found out about all of this i had just started teaching a new LSAT class and, full of dismay and ire, i told my students about dennis hope, thinking that they, too, being future lawyers and champions of justice, would be as unsettled as i was about the matter. but, more true to form of that which makes future lawyers, the only response i got was from a frat boy/jock type in my class who said something along the lines of, "this guy seems pretty smart to me."

now dennis hope continues to sell space on the moon. apparently he's doing the same with mars and venus. don't believe me? check here.

and he has the gall to refer to himself as the "head cheese"?!?! it all makes me feel a little lactose intolerant.

eminent domain, anyone?

*w/r/t my friend, in all truthfulness, i absolutely love this kid. he looks like a younger ed norton, reads way too much bukowski, has a fantastic laugh, and can be quite charming when he wants to be. he also used to (and i wouldn't be surprised if he still does) regularly prank call his mother at work. my favorite billy story involves running into him and another friend late on an autumn saturday night. they were very drunk, had just bought more beer, billy kept headbutting me, and each of them had (what i thought at the time was) dirt smeared all over themselves. i found out at work the following monday that they had been burning dollar bills and wiping the ashes on their faces. brilliant!

google moon...

yet another reason why i heart google! zoom all the way in, and google shows the moon in its true form...

happy anniversary, moon landing!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

close quarters...

it's 11:45 on a tuesday night. cody, my landlord's cute-but-interminable dog, located in his crate only one room and a hallway away, has been crying now for about 20 minutes. by the usual standards, this is not a long time. the good news for me is that i'm only a few moments from going into my bedroom, turning on the fan, turning out the lights, and sleeping through the remainder of cody's barking fit.

dyed my hair tonight. am less than satisfied with the results. i think i forget how dark my hair actually is and thus how much effort it really takes to change its color significantly. if i were to go lighter, tons of chemicals would be needed, and thus tons of work (and time -- when caitlin was here a few weeks ago and we put pink streaks in my hair it took us about 5 hours), and the responsible adult in me (the one with whom i so gratifyingly made peace recently) knows that i can't do anything too drastic since i'm about to enter a bellyachingly chaotic job interview phase. sigh... maybe i do miss my irreverent youth after all...

so, here's the current entertaining diversion in my life:

i'm attempting to overthrow the government of (of all things) the law school's chapter of the ACLU. the 2004-05 officers were less-than-stellar. we had a total of two meetings all year, neither of which took place in the second semester. thus, there were no elections for new officers, and the old officers are still claiming leadership rights. so a friend of mine and i are staging our own little coup d'etat. okay, what we're really doing is demanding that the group hold elections and we're going to make sure all of our friends attend the election meeting so we'll become the next president and vp. that's right -- we're advocating a complete bastardization of the democratic process (not that i have any faith in that process, anyway...). this is about as coup-ish as i get at this stage in my life. perhaps when i'm older and more powerful i'll be bolder in my insurgency.

i've sent two e-mails to the current (pronounced: "outgoing") president of the ACLU student group. the first was very nice, offering to help out, blah blah blah, thanks for her time. the second one was a teensy bit brattier, asking when she was planning on holding elections, telling her that my friends in outlaw and the law school dems and i have been talking about collaborative projects, blah blah blah. if anyone ever gets a hold of the pointed yet scathingly funny e-mails that have been exchanged between my co-conspirator and me, any political potential we may have will pretty much be quashed.

why do i trust the anonymity of the internet? my full name, where i live, where i go to school, and now the student group i'm attempting to weave into my tangled web are all contained in these posts. and still i have this devil-may-care attitude?

maybe because i know that my classmates have much much more ridiculous and potentially career-damaging web sites out there (see: for example). oh, and i know that no one ever reads this.

so, it's kind of like yelling "fuck you" in an empty church.


Monday, July 18, 2005


i should really count how many times i mention crying in this blog, but i don't have nearly that many fingers and toes...

it's nice to be in a place right now where i can recognize a distance between all of the tears, the hypochondria, the fear of mortal peril, the headaches. i suppose i can consider that distance, in and of itself, success.

the only thing i really fear these days is that i may be becoming a libertarian...

time heals most wounds...

i've read through this little blog a few times lately. not sure why, maybe because i have the luxury of free time in these summer months, maybe because i'm trying to regain a balance in my life of law and not-law, maybe because i feel that i actually found some solace and gained some wisdom in the process that became these posts.

this has been one hell of a year in the overarching hell of my 20s. the thing is, i'm not complaining, really. i have firmly and fully embraced the notion that what does not kill us makes us stronger. and, hell, at this point i think i may be ready to arm-wrestle hercules. i'm not afraid of much anymore, although i haven't yet let go of certain quirks like my general unwillingness to loan out books and cds, or my reluctance to let milo (the cat) go outside on the roof... but in some ways i allow those fears to stick around because they have become comfortable, familiar. silly? of course, but i'm only 28 -- i don't have to be perfect... not yet, at least.

i don't think of myself as sick anymore. but the phase in my life when i did consider myself "sick" is still so vivid. it seems indulgent, though, to carry around that sort of self-perception (is this inconsistent with things in the earlier paragraph? probably... again, the quirks...). besides, "sickness" is so fashionable these days. and the stubborn, wannabe nonconformist 17 year old in me would _never_ let myself get away with fashionability.

stean called me on friday night. our talks have been sporadic and painful since the break-up. he sounded awful. (does he want me to hear how awful he sounds? he's such a kind, generous soul and i can't imagine that he's so downtrodden all the time...) jenn and chris were with him, and i talked to each of them briefly, in a pass-the-phone-around sort of way. my friendship with jenn has felt strained ever since last october when she and chris came to visit and i was swamped with work and jenn took personally my absence/presence in the library. (i can only ask that people understand -- i know better than to expect that they will.) or maybe i'm imagining/projecting some of the strain because i know that jenn is stean's best friend and she's always going to be in his corner. but i really miss chris a lot -- he's always been a good friend/foil to my sense of humor. he said, "how're you doing, kiddo?" i responded, "honestly? really good." and i meant it.

things are really good. i'm happy. happier than i've been in years. happy in a finally-doing-what-i-feel-like-i'm-made-for sort of way; happy in a things-aren't-perfect-but-things-are-in-motion sort of way; happy in a hopeful way, in a grateful way. (sure, there are things i could pick to complain about, to lament, to obsess over, but not only is that a poor use of energy, it's incredibly boring.)

i guess where i'm going with this is that i feel more like an adult now than i ever have before. and i'm able to make peace with growing older, where before i was terrified that growing older meant having to sacrifice the freedom and irreverence of youth. i'm learning that it is possible to make compromises without having to make concessions. it's okay to be rational and remain principled. i'm no longer freaked out that my friends are married/having kids. i don't mind not having the answers anymore. i don't believe in fate, i don't believe things happen for a reason, i don't believe that there is a master plan. those notions are selfish and foolish -- hatched out of a very real human need to make sense of nonsense, but a need that isn't necessary for me. given the amount of tragedy and horror that confronts us all the time, i'm much more comforted allowing life its arbitrariness.

maybe i've mentioned this in this blog somewhere, but it's worth mentioning again (and given that my interaction with the throckmorton posts are fairly recent, i don't think this is repetition)... on my mother's headstone is written "romans 8:28". now, i think it's fairly clear that my own relationship with religion is one that is, at best, unsettled (and at worst, perhaps, one of convenience?). but i will acknowledge that there are certain notions in the "good book" that are just plain beautiful. this particular verse, romans 8:28, goes something like this: all things work for good for those who love god. it's a very apt summation of how my mother lived her life. and while i'm very much on the fence on the whole "god" thing, the lesson is incredibly valuable to me, and i do my best to let it resonate in my own life as both a testament to my mother's influence and importance to me as well as a relatively sane way of approaching the world. the moments are few and far between over which we can exercise any control, but it seems that if we can approach all moments as ones that have something to teach us, as opportunities, then the choose-your-own-adventure aspect of this world gets to be a little more fun. and where we do get to insert our own agency is in how we respond to these opportunities.

i plan to do all i can to leave this world a little better than it was when i entered it.

(good gravy. what a bunch of self-absorbed pabulum this post has been?! i think i may have made myself a little sick to my stomach. perhaps my next post should be full of celebrity gossip and political commentary (one and the same?).)

the point of all of this? onward and upward. onward and upward. onward. upward.