Monday, November 30, 2009

less than a month or home is where the heart is

I always get excited when i'm under a month in the tally of going home. (that's home looking north towards lebanon and syria)

Home. See, that's where the problem starts--i have a blurry concept. Generally, i define home as where my parents are or where i plan on sleeping. Occasionally, i associate it with where i am from (north carolina), but i try to keep that seperate in my head as i haven't functionally lived there in over 16 years. mostly i try to keep it locational, rather than emotional or sensory. when you have a place where all your childhood memories are still kept, or your adventures mostly occurred--its easier to stay attached, to know that place still loves you with all the fondness it did when you played little league or dug for worms or learned to drive. I only have two memories of learning to drive and only one happened "at home" when (my mom does this hissing noise when she doesn't like how you drive and she puts her feet on the dash) i decided that enough is enough of the hissing and i would give her something really good to hiss about and gunned the mini-van up the driveway stopping 3.45 inches from the garage door. Congrats Dodge, the '89 Caravan's brakes worked! Anyways, sometimes there are the emotional tugs though...Sometimes, its noises--crickets, cicadas. or feelings, like eating mint chocolate chip ice cream under a blanket next to the heater. Certain smells are home:
1. fresh sheets/towels
2. honeysuckle in the summer
3. my dad's chili

I used to tell quddus that you either have to go hard or go home, and that since i had no "home" to go to there was really only one option. this masterful self-trickery has helped me get through the marathon last couple years. With one left to go before graduation, i'm finally feeling like there's a little room to breathe.

maybe i'm just like most nomads, home is wherever the people you love are--mercifully making me a worldwide homeowner!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

things i am grateful incomplete list

Today is the eve of Thanksgiving. In an attempt to honor the spirit of giving thanks i also want to acknowledge that tomorrow is about the decimation of many nations of people who first belonged to this land. I am humbled by the Native peoples of the Americas, their fortitude and their amazing spirits and intend to spend my career trying to do honor to the sacrifices they were forced to make.

things i am thankful for--an incomplete list (please comment with things you are thankful for):
1. having parents who have made infinite sacrifices and heart breaking choices to try to do what's best for me
2. my younger sister, although i don't think she realizes the depth of my commitment to her
3. mint chocolate chip ice cream
4. fresh powder
5. adam's ability to remain unfazed no matter what i do
6. the five girlfriends i have had since i was 14 and who i know i will have until we are old and grayhaired
7. that i still have people in my life who knew me when we were 5.
8. salsa beats
9. film for my camera
10. that you made me my own beach, with astroturf and a pool, on my apartment's deck during a war because we couldn't go to the mediterranean shore
11. my best friend and her unfailing love and ability to open her heart
12. dus's piano playing
13. tropical beaches at sunset
14. virgin pina coladas
15. sushi
16. that i only have one more year of law school
17. Russell's laughter and mischeviousness
18. the loyalty of my near and dear
19. that i have assembled the best family anyone in the world could ever ask for

Monday, November 23, 2009

the evils of black henna

Four and a half years ago, i was blessed with the chance to go to india for a friend's wedding. It was an amazing experience. I've kept the joy and love of the country in my heart. The other long lasting thing i kept was an allergic reaction. In the traditional way, we had henna done for the wedding. The bride's older sister had this really awesome looking black henna put on her hands, which i decided to emulate.

My hands looked awesome---but i awoke the next morning in blistering 37 degrees Celcius to my hands on fire. The black had red along the edges and itched like it was no one's business. The pain only subsided when they were flush up against the straining airconditioner. The immediate solution (as we were out in Lucknow with a long train ride back to Delhi ahead of us) was to start on naturopathic treatment--blood thinners and some other nasty tasting drops. This did nothing for me. By the time we climbed on the train, i was drowning my hands in a sea of cortizone cream to no avail and threatening to flay them off with any sharp object i could find. The pain was really uncomfortable. i frantically texted my folks who discovered that i had been poisoned by something called PPD (phenylenediamine) which has a whole host of side effects such as blistering, intense itching, permanent scarring and permanent chemical sensitivities. Only between 3 and 15% of the population react to it. Lucky me.  Actually, very lucky me because in our group was a doctor who went to the pharmacy in Delhi the minute we were back and got me steroids to stop the reaction. I was on steroids for the better part of a couple weeks and my hands would light up red in the outline of the black henna for months afterwards.

Which brings us to today and why i am posting. Back to that chemical sensitivity thing. I have noticed two interesting things since the PPD incident. 1. Tattoos take longer to heal. The ones on my arms puffed up red much more intensely than the ones on my back from before the PPD incident. 2. The issue of today. I dyed my hair back to its natural color--a light brown over the weekend. I forgot until midway through the dying process that i was going to pay for it later and sure enough about an hour after i was out of the salon i started itching. My ears got dye on them and they are all red and swollen right now. A lot of websites talk about the potentially life threatening nature of using synthetic dyes after you are sensitive to PPD. I suppose i should have taken that more seriously. I really consider my "mild" reaction to it a result of the steroids. But, i do think that given i am still itching today (2 days later) i should consider a different way to play Rainbow Brite with my hair.

Beware PPD.

Oh, and love and prayers to my very preggo/in labor girlfriends Tali and Mara.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Anna!

November 22, 1982.

I remember walking down a hall. I remember being nervous. I don't remember the rest of the story--but i've heard it so many times i might as well. We went to the nursery of the hospital where a small baby was crying. Someone ( i think my dad) held me up so i could peer in. i looked at the small baby, she looked at me and stopped crying. Hello Anna, i'm the one who will torment you for the rest of our lives ;) that's probably what i should have said--you think, Anna? At any rate, my parents had decided a year prior that they wanted another child and that i would need someone i could count on and who could count on me when we got older. I often think that they way the decision really went is that God decided Anna would be the gift they got for surviving Laura and I. (no offense, Mouse ;) )

When we were little, people thought we were weirdly sized twins:

At any rate, Nov 22 was the day God gave me a younger sister--who despite my many shortfallings as an older sibling--i tried and still try desperately to protect from everything from yapping dogs while we rode our bikes home from school to people who were hurtful to her. I apologize for being unable to protect her from me. We were two years and ten months apart, not three years, two years and ten months and we made sure to tell people that.

My sister is tremendous. She has a fortitude i don't understand. Anna decided as a kid that she would be a Marine Biologist and that she would go to Duke. Her decision was made and that was it. She's like that---once she puts her mind to something the door doesn't come open for possibilities again--where as i never make a final decision about anything. She fights for things she wants or believes in--despite the odds.

We haven't lived together since she was 10 except for a few summers. Sometimes i think we missed some of that formulative bonding that comes as teenagers. Most times, i think we are acheving that (or trying to) now. At any rate, i think my sister is incredible, fiesty and brilliantly smart. I can't wait until we get to see each other more often.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

anyone wanna give me anxiety meds?

Tonight is the final part of the culminating assignment for my pre-trial advocacy class. I have to go argue a motion at the King County Courthouse. Up until about an hour ago, i was all good with big deal--8 minutes in and out. Rumor is that i am a pretty good arguer--so this should be no biggie.

Then--out of no where--my stomach started churning when i was looking up directions. Dear God, this is supposed to be a mind over matter thing---so why are we playin it the other way around? A close friend used to take anxiety meds before her presentations at work. I always thought she was a little crazy---i get it now. this really has nothing to do with me, its just some bizzaro reaction to stress/nerves, which if i could control it, would make it so i would be the smoothest thing to ever attempt to convince you of anything.

Today though, it's a problem because usually in highly stressful situations (read: bombs and rockets blowing up) i get VERY calm...almost sleepy. So, this nervous, tummy-jumping, heart irregular thing makes me unhappy. T minus 2 hrs. i just want this over so the feeling will go away. YUCK.

How do YOU calm yourself back down---suggestions appreciated.

Monday, November 16, 2009

ready, set,....

this week has the makings of a long one. I'm in the middle of family birthday week (where my dad, my mom and my sister all have their birthdays in an 7 day stretch).
My final for pretrial advocacy is on Thursday (both the argument and all the papers for the class i finished over the weekend) so i have to go argue at the king county courthouse. We have this big work thing on Wed and then an early morning meeting on Friday. Effecively killing my carpool this week. blah blah.

anyways, its just a hectic run. I had a good chat wtih a close friend this afternoon about the pressures of trying to work, go to school and maintain a relationship all at the same time. Compound that with really wanting to suceed at all of it at once and it basically makes you a big headcase. Anyways, we talked about the fact that everyone is on their own path and that the rate or speed at which you have to accomplish degree, job and family or some combo of those differs for everyone. I was trying to convince him that other people putting standards and pressures on any of us is really bullshit. All you can do is your best--and if you get close to the breaking point, you don't get to throw in the towel. You get to put down one class or one day a week of work and keep pushing. I guess that's why they call it the "grind" right---because essentially you are grinding your way through painfully and slowly. long and short of it is that i am hella proud of him and that its not failure if he takes three classes instead of four or finds a different calculus professor because this one  isn't clicking--and its not failure if he changes his mind about being a doctor, lawyer, or space cadet.

I trick myself with this line of logic constantly. Just keep moving, ****/self, don't stop...because if you do its a lot harder to get going again than if you have momentum behind you. Lord knows, me going to the gym is case in point.

zoom. zoom. zoom.

Friday, November 13, 2009

the mountain passes

As some of you know, Seattle is picturesquely beautiful with mountains both to the west and east. I've always thought it was most beautiful on sunny days with the snow covered Olympics and Cascades hugging either side of the swath of land Seattle lies on. Yesterday, when I was driving into work, i noticed that the mountains were snowcovered---super lovely.

Late last night, we had a big storm roll through, dumping a ton of snow through the passes. They are requiring chains on vehicles going across and our usual ski area is COVERED!
Here's a few pictures of Steven's Pass from this morning:

We've been plotting a mini-road trip, and I'm still hoping we are going to be able to go, through the North Cascades Highway this coming weekend. They usually close it once it starts snowing and right now current conditions are "packed snow". I will have just finished my final for one class and it seemed like a good pre-Thanksgiving weekend adventue. Obviously, if you look at the pics, the snow means we are taking the Jeep and not the Tiburon---if they don't close it in the next few days. FINGERS CROSSED. Barring that, maybe its a good time for a trip to Leavenworth for sleighriding.

Ideas, suggestions, smartass remarks from the southern peanut gallery?

Monday, November 9, 2009

upcoming basketball season

My sister Anna has changed her gchat status to GTHCGTH. I'll tell you what it stands for in a minute, but the point being that it signals the arrival of what is always a turbulent time of year for our family....the onslaught of basketball season. We are from Carolina you of the greatest rivalry in the country. A rivalry which managed to root itself firmly in our house since the mid-1980s when Anna decided she was going to Duke. Her status means go to hell carolina go to hell. BOOOO HISSSSS.
In retaliation, this photo is the last known one in existance of my sister in UNC gear.

Tragically, i have remained the sole UNC supporter in our family, bearing the brunt of constant torment. I suffer people--seriously those Blue Devil fans are MEAN. Mind you, i did work for Duke for a few years, which i realize was a bit of a conflict of interest...but i have held true to my Tarheel roots--they are the superior team anyways.

And, as if this wasn't enough in the land of basketball---the oldest of us graduated from NC State. So, really its a three way battle for about 6 months a year.  Point is my sister has signaled the start of our yearly war. Does anyone out there feel my pain??

Friday, November 6, 2009

and i shall name me Eoyere

5pm Update: it got sunny again, and then when i least expected it a flash of a camera...but WHAM THUNDER!!! One of those deep cracks that sends the windows trembling. It happened twice last night but i was sure it was fluke. And now the hail is back, too, pinging off my bedroom window in the way only little evil balls of ice can! do you sense my excitement?? the anticipation?? the thought of how the hell am i going to get from this inside the theater to see "men who stare at goats?"

LOVE this storm!!!!

It's blustery....last night it hailed three times...and i am pretty sure its not going to let up any time soon. I was deceived briefly this morning by some sunbreaks, but the wall 'o' rain was lurking just across the sound. As it stands right now there is a strange sliver of blue sky over downtown--weirdness.

Luckily, i'm a shut in working from home today because the processional for the police officer's funeral effectively severed my routes to work. YAY lap top, pjs, red leaved trees and coffee.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rough week in the 'Hood

This week has been a little rough in Seattle. Over the weekend a cop was shot about 15 blocks from my house--it appears to be cold blooded as they just rolled up on the police car (where the driver was talking to a trainee about an earlier stop) and opened fire. The trainee barely escaped with her life---her mentor not so lucky. A few days before, we had an extended debate in my criminal procedure investigation class about the balance between police safety and protection and your privacy and constitutional rights. It's a hard compromise, but no doubt the all too real scenario that played out in one here over the weekend reinforced the inherent danger faced by law enforcement.

Then last night my roommate's car got assaulted by a crowbar in the middle of the night. they seem to have wacked it 7 times before giving up. Either they are the weakest or dumbest criminals ever---but either way--no good. :(

While roomie's car was battling for its intactness, i had a dream about my car and he-who-shall-not-be-named. This time Adam was in it too--which is interesting since i haven't had a dream of Adam before. In the dream, "HWSNBN" had bought me my car. Since we were no longer together, he was effectively repossessing the car. We had agreed to meet in a parking lot (the one i park in for work every day). He arrived a little hostile with his girlfriend and new born child. Adam, throughout the whole dream sat very still--watching and almost meditating--as if somehow his stillness was (like jasper in twilight) calming the situation. i held the child for a moment, smiled on its perfect little face, and gave it back. the girlfriend left and the demeanor of the dream changed. There was calm and no anger--the trade was made, old accounts (seriously, receipts and stuff) settled and HWSNBN gave me a chaste kiss goodbye.

Ah, closure. How i love thee!

In another note--they've been getting some torrential rain in Haifa Israel where my folks live....this video was taken on Nov. 2nd. AMAZING !!! its three minutes and totally worth it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

sometimes pictures are better than words

Goodwill is an amazing place. A place where you can buy a hat for Halloween that says "Wives are like angels, they are always up in the air, harping about something".

Sunday, November 1, 2009

unexpected mini-heartbreak

facebook just did something bad.
you know how it sometimes tells you who you should reconnect with? well the lovely fb just popped up someone who had the most radiant smile. it reminded me, in its totally not knowing better kinda way, that that i should connect with paige. paige--who left us last year, taking her laughter with her and for a split second my heart curled up and sighed slowly.

so for anyone who knew paige cameron, or anyone who can imagine what its like to lose someone way too young take a second, close your eyes, say a little prayer for an amazing woman, or leave a post.