Thursday, December 20, 2007

In Memoriam - Karen Flaschar

Throughout my life, music has always given me "the tingles" down my spine. It makes me feel the power of something greater than an individual, and no song has done that more frequently and consistently than this one. Flasch, this will always be your song in my mind. Today, for the last time, your choir, years and years of students, came together to sing it one more time. You've changed so many lives, and you will be missed.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sometimes standing in someone's shadow isn't a bad thing

As a teenager, all I wanted to do was escape from my brother's shadow. To this day, whenever I run into someone who I went to high school with that is a few years older than me, I always ask if they knew my brother. And, they always do. My brother was cool; he was smart; he was popular. Teachers loved him (or hated him, but either way they remembered him); he was on the pep squad; he threw keg parties every Friday night; he got in to Princeton; his friends were beautiful; . It was a big shadow.

I somehow managed to be as close to the opposite as him as was possible without being a dumbass. Instead of sports, I was into the arts. Instead of hanging with the cool kids, I got cozy with the Goths. I blended into the crowd. I excelled at the things I was good at and ignored everything else.

Since then, I've moved on quite a bit. Somehow in the intervening years, my brother and I have become more and more similar. Similar patterns through college and law school (although at very different schools for both). Along the way, I've consistently turned to him for advice. He's helped with choosing where to study abroad, taking the LSAT, studying for law school exams, interviewing for summer associate positions, applying for clerkships, and now he's helping me with my post-clerkship job search. Through all of this, his advice has been invaluable. He gave me 1L outlines to teach me to outline and looked over my resume.

Last week he discovered that he had made partner at the law firm he's been working at. Its fantastic news, and we are all very excited. I'm just about to start my legal career and he is settling into his. I've become envious of the life (particularly the family) that he has, and I've come to realize that its pretty great to have someone breaking the trail in front of you, even if that sometimes means standing in their shadow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mary Poppins

On the subject of television, we recently DVRed Mary Poppins, and last night I watched a good portion of it. I had forgotten how lovely this movie really is. As a child, I was an obsessive movie watcher. My three main movies (pretty much every weekend) were The Parent Trap (original Haley Mills version), Swiss Family Robinson, and The Sound of Music. Occasionally, I would throw in Babes in Toyland or Alice in Wonderland (both of those movies totally freaked me out - and to this day I'm not entirely sure why). On even rarer occasions I would watch Mary Poppins (I think this movie got lost for a while and that might explain why it didn't make it into the regular rotation).

There is nothing like the sound of Julie Andrew's voice to bring me back to childhood though. Like her character in Mary Poppins, to me she seemed to be "practically perfect in every way." Just listening to her speak makes me smile (while I'm typing this, I'm thinking how amazing it is that I've never seen the Princess Diaries movies). I think Julie Andrew's voice is what made me want to sing. No one has quite the same lilt or diction. But Julie's voice alone isn't what makes her so special in the movie. Its her facial expressions and timing and the combination with Dick Van Dyke. I had forgotten how magical the whole movie is. I think I'm going to have to buy it for my niece and nephew.


My addiction to television over the past couple of years has rapidly grown. My first year of law school, my home was a complete telecommunications desert. I didn't have a phone line or cable or internet (thank god for the Panera a block away with free Wi-Fi). I spent the majority of my time at my boyfriend's apartment so this wasn't so terrible. The lack of basic entertainment items didn't really alter my perception of that apartment much as it was a complete roach infested sink hole - so nothing could make it seem much worse.

For my second two years of law school, I sucked it up and paid for high speed internet, but refused to pay for cable. I accepted life with bad rabbit ears and only 4 stations at any given time (I could get either Fox or ABC, but not both). I learned to love the wonders of Antiques Roadshow, This Old House, and the News Hour with Jim Lehrer because PBS was the station that came in the strongest. I hardly ever thought about the fact that I was missing cultural phenomenon like The Hills or Project Runway. I was content with my Netflix subscription and my PBS.

Last year, I moved into a house that already had cable, and I quickly resumed old habits from college - watching reruns of Charmed in the morning as I ate my breakfast, making it home on Wednesday nights for whatever show was currently competing for attention on Bravo. I got to know the Girls Next Door (and I was embarrassed by our relationship). I knew I could watch Law and Order at practically any time of day or night.

Still, this was not enough for me. A couple months ago. My roommate and I got a DVR. This wonderful device has changed my tv watching experience. No longer do I even consider the television schedule when making plans. Most evenings after work, I come home to the comfort of that day's rerun episode of Gilmore Girls. I don't have to wait for commercials.

And now, because my cable bundle was expiring, I just upgraded. My father had taught me well - whenever you get the higher bill, you call the cable company, tell them that you see that your deal has expired and ask what they can offer you now. Normally, my dad doesn't get the help he wants until he gets transferred to the disconnect people who will do whatever they can to keep your patronage. Today, with a half an hour of my time, I managed to secure myself a new deal. For approximately $8 more than I was previously paying, I have a new deal - faster internet and HBO. The price tag for cable keeps going up, but I can't seem to stop myself. I'm just getting myself in deeper and deeper. Its scary where an addiction will lead you...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I've been thinking...

Lately a number of blog posts have been floating around in my head. Unlike some of the posts that have been written and deleted, there was nothing wrong with the posts floating in my head. They weren't offensive. I didn't feel like I had to censor myself. No, I just never got around to actually writing them down. My mind has had time to think about things, but the thoughts never quite crystallized and my hands didn't fly over the keys.

I was going to write about the book Eat, Pray, Love, but I just read somebody else's blog post on the subject, and I'm not sure I have much to add. I was listening to commentary during On Point on NPR recently, and the book also came up there. I was surprised that the commentators hadn't read it. (I know I just said I wasn't going to add anything, but now I think I have to add my two cents). I enjoyed the book. It made me examine my own belief systems, the value of my life, where I'm headed and where I want to be headed. It made me think. But, I didn't love it.

The first two sections of the book are very strong. While I don't share much of a common experience with Ms. Gilbert, I empathized with her. I was jealous of her travels in Italy and was intrigued by her spiritual voyage in India. I wished I felt I had the ability to take a year off for self discovery. I wished I could spend days and weeks glutinously devouring food and thought and feel good about myself. Still, I did not find her time in Indonesia to be as compelling. She seemed to boring and normal in Indonesia. While she attempted to portray herself as something more than the average tourist or ex pat in Indonesia, I didn't quite believe this portrayal. She calls her Indonesian stay the "balance" portion of her trip, but I had difficulty seeing how it had anything to do with balance. Maybe I just didn't understand it, but that seemed to be the weakest part of the book.

I wonder if part of my disconnect was also a wonder about Ms. Gilbert. How did she become the person her book portrays? What was so broken about her marriage? Why did she leave that marriage to be with a man who did not have the emotional ability to make her happy? Has she actually dealt with her problems, or is she merely masking them in a cloud of self love? While these questions are ultimately irrelevant in my enjoyment of the book, they remain in my thoughts. I read the book on the recommendation of a friend. He had talked to me a bit about my depression and my lapsed faith and felt it could be good for me. While I think that some of the messages of the book did speak to me, I do wonder if perhaps he and others believe that we should regard Ms. Gilbert as a model. Based upon what I know of her, I'm not convinced that she would make a good model for me.

Anyway - that's a random smattering of thought on something I really know nothing about. I'm not a book critic - I just a girl who reads a lot.