Monday, December 5, 2011

And so it begins

I'll leave in an hour and a half for the law school to take my first final. I'm happy we start with Torts, because it's the class I feel I understand the best. However, I wish we would have had the test in the morning rather than the afternoon, because the last 3 hours have been painfully slow. I'd like to just get the test over with, and I know I'm not going to learn anything new in the time I have left.

Regardless, the extra time this morning gave me the chance to read these words in John 14, which I'm clinging to:
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
 
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
How uplifting!

A big GOOD LUCK to all you students, law school or otherwise, preparing to begin finals!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dream Decoded

I am in a fantastic mood. I woke up with a line from a Billy Ray song stuck in my head. "Dreaming in color, living in stone cold black and white." You all know I love me some classic BRC, but I'm also happy because of the accuracy of those lyrics. Yesterday was perhaps the most stone cold black and white day of my existence. Not that it was a bad day, it was just literally black and white. I was looking at textbooks for 9 hours. Then last night I had maybe the most colorful dream that I can remember. I always tend to have weird, detailed dreams. But I always dream about things that could actually happen under the right circumstances. I don't dream about "magical" stuff. So to dream about traveling back in time was abnormal for me. Let me tell you about it...
I was with David and Jessica. Jess was playing on her phone and somehow we were suddenly in the 1950's. (I don't know how I knew the decade, but I did.) We had to meet people at the Point of the Mountain (in 2011) so we needed to figure out a way to travel geographically as well as getting back to present day. David had the genius idea to take a train. We found a train station, and we hopped in the very back car because it only cost 16¢ to ride. (I had my 2011 wallet and cash, so we could have afforded anything, but David was being frugal). There was an African American woman on board as we got on and the train conductor told me I had to pull a curtain between myself and her. I felt so bad as a complied, but I apologized to the woman as I pulled the curtain across, and I made sure to only pull it out partially so we could still see one another. She got off at the next stop. David told us to get off at a stop which was apparently downtown New Jersey (?) in the middle of a huge shopping complex. Jessica was working on getting her phone to transport us back to 2011 and I told her to wait, because with the change in prices from the 1950's we could find some vintage shoes for super cheap, but in the entire store I couldn't find any shoes. And that's how my dream ended lol. 

Anyway, I always like to look up meanings when I have particularly detailed dreams. I usually go to dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary. I feel like it's the most accurate, but I probably just feel that way because I can successfully contort their meanings to fit my life. That was especially the case with this dream.

These are the symbols I pulled out and their meanings:

1. Time travel: To dream about time travel indicates your wish to escape from your present reality. You want to go back into the past or jump forward to the future to a period where your hopes are realized. This dream also represents your romantic tendency and or your desire to romanticize everything. Okay. Present reality = finals. Yes I want to escape. And all I keep saying to people is that I wish I could restart the semester or just jump ahead and be finished with finals. Also, yes, I romanticize everything. I always have.

2. Train station: To dream that you at a train station represents a transitional period in your life. You need to take a short break to reassess your situation and determine your path and goals.Uh, supra.

3. Frugality: To dream that you or someone is cheap represents your own feelings of inadequacy. You are not fully acknowledging your own self worth. I think I'm good on the self-worth bit, but definitely feeling inadequate right now. 

4. Train: To dream that you are on a train symbolizes your life's journey. It suggests that you are on the right track in life and headed in the right direction.  Alternatively, the dream means that you have a tendency to worry needlessly over a situation that will work out in the end. Goes without saying.

5. Racism: To experience racism in your dream indicates that you may be too judgmental and discriminatory in some situation in your waking life. Perhaps you have falsely pre-judged someone. I've talked to a lot of people about this but most recently my dad: I hate how law school has turned me into a mean, judgmental person. I am constantly trying to assess where everyone else is at in order to make myself feel better. I hate it, and I'm sure that's what this portion of my dream dealt with.

6. Shopping: To dream that you are shopping symbolizes your needs and desires. It also represents opportunities and options that you come across in life. To dream that you cannot find what you are shopping for suggests that you are trying to find a solution to some life problem. Ha. I would really like the solution to the problem of law school, but just like those vintage shoes at a killer price, I don't think it's something I'm going to find in the near future!

So, now you all have an unwanted deeper look into the mind of Wendy. How do you treat dreams of your own? Do you buy into dream interpretations or simply look at your dreams as an escape from waking life? I'd love to hear! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why I'm grateful

This Thanksgiving is definitely different. It's the first time I've been away from family for the Holidays, but I thought I was adjusting pretty well. I had big plans for studying today. Additionally, Jen brought a packaged Thanksgiving dinner to the law school this morning when we met to take a practice test, which was so thoughtful. I had declined two invitations for dinner, because in my mind if I wasn't having Thanksgiving with family I didn't really see the point in having it anywhere. I don't mean that to sound as depressing as it does. I know I had options, but I was okay declining them. But that's what made Jen's gesture so thoughtful. It was the perfect substitute.

After a morning of studying I came home, played with Zipsie and spent some time online before I was going to start studying again (even though my dad informed me it was "sacrilege" to be studying on Thanksgiving). However, I got a line from You've Got Mail stuck in my head ("Happy Thanksgiving back"), and I wanted to watch the whole movie. Only problem is I don't own it. I ran to Walmart, but apparently they don't sell it.

On the drive back to my apartment I started to notice how full everyone's driveways seemed. It was the first twinge I'd felt about missing Thanksgiving. I got home and I was lacking motivation to study as I allowed myself to continue thinking about everyone that was enjoying the holiday with loved ones. I reminded myself that I'd had those opportunities and had chosen to make other plans.

Then I got a phone call from a number I didn't have in my contacts, so I let it go to voicemail. Turns out it was my Bishop, inviting me over for Thanksgiving. (I had accidentally mentioned to a member of our Relief Society presidency that my plans for the night included studying at my apartment.) I called him back and at first declined the invitation as I'd done with others. But he was persuasive.

I didn't realize how badly I wanted to be a part of a normal family Thanksgiving until I arrived at his house. It was a relaxed atmosphere, and my Bishop and his family were so welcoming and hospitable. There were several visitors for dinner, and I think we all felt right at home. We had a great meal, shared things we were grateful for, and followed up with board games and card games and (my favorite) Scrabble games.

This post isn't at all what I had originally planned. I was going to simply list some of the many things I'm grateful for, but I think it's appropriate to end by saying that missing my family today reminded me of how grateful I am for them. But beyond that, I'm so grateful for a family in Omaha that took me and others in this Thanksgiving. That gave us a family outside our own. That exhibited the feeling of love and service that should accompany the Holidays.

I'm grateful for the friends I've made in Omaha. I still marvel at the sequence of events that brought me to this area of the country. When I'm being honest, I know there is only one viable explanation: God loves me. How thankful I am that He does. How happy I am that despite my constant prayers, I didn't get accepted to Penn State. How proud I am to be wearing another shade of blue in this phase of my life. Somehow, on the first day of orientation I sat directly behind three boys, roommates, that were BYU grads. Oh, and one of them happened to be the Bishop's son. And at that exact same time, unbeknownst to me, Kate was sitting somewhere behind me meeting Jen. Then we divided into small sections and Kate and I were the only girls in ours, so we paired off immediately. And at that exact same time, Jen was in a different small section meeting Toby. And now these six people make up my study group, members of my ward, fellow BYU football fans, and my friends. And I can't adequately explain how grateful I am for them.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Awesome!

I try and save these posts for Wednesdays (middle of the week and all that jazz), but I couldn't wait. Today has just been too awesome!

Awesome things today!
Getting videos of my niece dancing. She's got her dad's coordination and her mom's creativity, which makes for some pretty awesome moves
video

Reading Exodus 14:13 in Institute , "Fear ye not, stand still, 
and see the salvation of the Lord..."
Randomly catching the below tweet on a friend's Twitter feed, which I found hilarious
Nodding off in Legal Research--In the second row. 
Clearly visible to the professor--and not caring
Getting an email from Jameson
Still laughing over my post on Facebook and Twitter yesterday 
(and I'd like for you to weigh in):
Do you or do you not think Bo Pelini looks like the guy from Ratatouille?

Common theme: Making myself (and Kate, I think) laugh throughout Civil Procedure
Great Con Law review session with helpful memorization tactics:
Making plans for this weekend when it's only Tuesday
Eating leftovers for dinner because I actually made a real meal last night
Remembering I had a bottle of Dr. Pepper in the fridge
Changing into sweats and slippers as soon as I walked in the door
Realizing that a November with an average daily temp of 56 degrees is what my elementary teacher taught me was a season called Fall
Catching my birthday time
 


 
Did you have anything awesome happen today? Please share!
 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Wear Blue

When all of the news broke about Jerry Sandusky, I worried about my role as a Penn State fan. I quickly conceded the fact that even though I was surrounded by Huskers fans, I couldn't in good conscience wear my Penn State apparel as I had planned to with the game coming up this weekend.

But then I realized something: being a Penn State fan is not the same as condoning the actions of a man that harmed children. Supporting my team is not the same as supporting the administration that should have gone further to protect potential victims. So today, I woke up and resolutely put on a Penn State hoodie. Because I'm a loyal person. Because I'm a passionate person. Because letting Jerry Sandusky alter my view of an entire institution is letting him win.

So today, I wear blue.

I wear blue because the young men who have worked their hardest to get to #12 have done nothing wrong

I wear blue because I love being asked my place of birth and getting to write, "State College"

I wear blue because grilled stickies and a glass of milk is the best order you could possibly place at a diner

I wear blue because my dad's journalism degree led to the greatest stories he tells

I wear blue because standing in line at the grocery store in Magna, UT, behind a man in a Penn State hat gives me the confidence to make small talk with strangers

I wear blue because one of the best fireworks shows I've seen happened while I sat on the grass outside Beaver Stadium

I wear blue because the best memories I have with my uncles and cousins happened inside Beaver Stadium

I wear blue because I've never been to Disneyland and I don't care; my childhood summer vacations were spent in the actual happiest place on earth

I wear blue because the lion head at the center of the mat on which my brother wrestles every day represents his hard work and drive to succeed

I wear blue because my heart still breaks a little every time I think of that law school waitlist

I wear blue because I've spent countless Saturdays listening to my tone-deaf father sing the beautiful words, "Forever true to you, dear old White and Blue"

I wear blue because I will continue to sing with him


Monday, November 7, 2011

non·fea·sance /nänˈfēzəns/


I’ve had more than one professor quote Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. when he said, “This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.” They usually pull this quote out when someone is answering a question based on what they think a party should do and not necessarily what the party must do, legally. The point is that the law is sometimes unfair and not a perfect means of effectuating justice.

I get it. I recognize that if judges began deciding cases based on what their gut told them was morally right our legal system would crumble. But that doesn’t mean I’m happy with the fact that sometimes courts fall short of delivering justice. Do I understand why? Yes. Do I realize it’s something I’ll have to put up with throughout my career? Unfortunately, I do.

But I want to leave all that logic behind for just a moment. Instead, I just want to be sad. I’m being taught all about how morally questionable actions, if legally protected, create no liability in the amoral actor. It makes sense in theory. But today I felt bombarded by real-life instances of moral ambiguity that have me reeling.

Our Torts reading for today included a case against the Church. A mother and her son were sexually abused by a ward member (this case might sound familiar to some of you Utahns; it’s pretty recent) and they sued the Church, claiming the Church had knowledge of the abuser’s propensity toward sex crimes and, therefore, was negligent in not warning the plaintiffs of the harm he posed. You don’t need to know the law to know or predict the outcome of this case. It was dismissed, because the Church owed no such duty to the victims. I don’t think the Church acted questionably here, so I don’t want you to think that I do.  I would like to believe that no one had information that they legally could have shared but instead withheld. But isn’t it sad that even if they did, they wouldn’t be culpable?

The whole idea in tort law that you have no duty to act to prevent harm makes perfect sense, legally. But something about it makes my soul sad.

To further that sadness, let’s talk a bit about Penn State. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has a good article about what’s going on. It’s tragic that a historically significant coach like Jerry Sandusky could turn out to be so terrible. But that tragedy isn’t having the biggest effect on me here. Yes, I appreciate what Jerry Sandusky did to create “Linebacker U,” but I have no personal feelings about Sandusky. If he’s guilty, I hope he receives the sentence he deserves. What’s breaking my heart is knowing that an institution in which I have invested so much faith and love and loyalty is now appearing unscrupulous, to put it mildly. In my very rudimentary opinion, the legal issue coming out of State College is not so much Curley and Schultz’s failure to report what they knew as it is their perjured statements. But what’s bothering me more is Joe Paterno’s role. I firmly believe that JoePa acted appropriately when he took the information from that graduate assistant and told Curley. I am inclined to believe that maybe he really didn’t know the gravity of the situation. I’m certain that JoePa has no legal guilt here.

But still...

There’s this image in my head of a picture of myself when I was less than a year old. I’m sitting on my dad’s shoulders, holding a Penn State football, wearing a Penn State shirt (that I’m sure referenced the ’86 National Championship). From that moment until now, Joe Paterno has been my hero. I have deferred to him on all decisions Penn State. Is he too old to still be coaching? If Joe thinks no, I think no. Should McGloin start over Bolden? If Joe thinks so, I think so, too.

So I guess it makes sense that it literally breaks my heart to think that maybe, in this situation, Joe Paterno didn’t do everything he could have. It makes me ill to see that man slip, even a little, from that pedestal. It shakes my very view of the world to think of my hero as anything less than heroic.

Needless to say, I’m struggling. I’m sad. And that’s all I know about where I stand right now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Study Group Stress Relief

It's Saturday and we've been here for 8 hours with a lot left to go. So, we're doing the only logical thing to do when your brain dies...write random pronouncements on the white board.





Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ballet Nebraska: Dracula

Before I decided to come to Creighton, I obviously did some research about Omaha and what the city had to offer. One of the things I tried to find out was if there was a professional ballet company. I did a quick google search but for some reason didn't come up with anything. I was a little bummed, but I figured attending ballets would take a back seat to my legal education for the next three years, anyway.

But when I moved here, I saw a billboard for Ballet Nebraska. I saw they were doing a production of Dracula and talked Kate and Jen into going with me. We lucked out and got our tickets half off through a Living Social deal.

Yesterday was the big night. I was more than a little upset that the BYU-TCU game was scheduled for the same time, but I was still excited. (And to be fair, Jen missed her Cardinals win the World Series where all I missed was another loss to the Horned Frogs, so do I really have any reason to complain?)

We started out the night by meeting up with Toby and Glori for dinner at Vivace in the Old Market. The food was excellent!
We then parted ways and Matt, Jen, Kate, and I headed to the Orpheum for the show.
 I've driven past the theater a few times and I loved the old-style marquee, but I had never been inside. It is absolutely beautiful.

The show began and I was a little worried. The setting was Dracula alone in his castle. He had a three- or four-minute solo where he did absolutely nothing. He ran from window to window, clearly yearning to go outside without being burned by the sun. (The yearning was made very apparent by the ever-present outstretched arm and hand, reaching toward what he couldn't have. Super hard to interpret, right?) Anyway, I worried Jen and Kate would wonder what I had dragged them to. I worried I'd fall asleep. I worried Dracula would get dizzy from running in circles (literally) and be unable to do anything worth noting.

Boy was I wrong. What an incredible production!

I would still hold that Utah Regional Ballet's Legend of Timpanogos is my favorite ballet. It's original, contemporary, and both times I saw it, it brought me to tears. However, as far as talent is concerned, Utah Regional Ballet doesn't quite reach the level that Ballet Nebraska does. The main difference in the companies is the sheer size. Ballet Nebraska has a large number of dancers at its disposal.

Before Lucy becomes a vampire, there are three main brides of Dracula. The choreography for that trio was awe-inspiring, to say the least. The lines they created were so aesthetically pleasing, filled with these picture-perfect moments that just gave you the chills (or I should say "gave me the chills" because most people don't care about stuff like that). However, in the second act, what starts out as a number with Lucy and the three main brides quickly became my favorite part of the entire show. Almost exclusively using bourree movements, more brides came on stage. And more. And more. Eventually the three brides had become sixteen. Their unison movement was incredible and haunting. Hm. This is one thing words just can't do justice.

It was a beautiful ballet. Coupled with enjoyable company, it made for an unforgettable evening.

Kate, me, and Jen after the show

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unthinking

Have you heard about this?

You all know (or should know) how much I hate Facebook. In 2004, yeah, I liked it. I tried to get all my friends to join. Then it changed. And got bigger. And got intrusive. And I don't like it. Am I active on Facebook? Yeah. That doesn't change how I feel. To suggest otherwise would be like indicating I pay taxes because I like taxes. Quite the contrary. As much as I hate paying taxes, I feel like it's something I have to do as a member of society. The same reasoning is true of my Facebook use. I do it because I have to.

Then I heard about Unthink. I wouldn't say I'm a Revolutionary. And who knows, maybe this experiment in Social Media will fall flat on its face, but I don't care. I'm giving it my full support. I will do what it takes to make it succeed. Because frankly, I'm sick of Facebook. While you all require me to connect with you on Facebook, I'll continue to do so. But if you could just join me in my Unthink Suite, I'd sure be a lot happier.

(Since Unthink is still in beta, you need an invitation to get in. Have no fear! Send an email to wendy . 86 at gmail dot com and I will happily invite you.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Awesome!

I definitely need to do this post this week so I can gain a little perspective. So without further ado, I bring you...

Awesome things today!

*Waking up to Billy Ray's Only God Could Stop Me Loving You. Classic.*

Hearing Toby say, "I need a manicure."

*Getting called on in Con Law to talk about the case I thought I was going to get called on for and, therefore, prepared well*

Creating the insanely convoluted sentence you see above

*Funny notes left on my counter from the exterminator man*
Yes, it says, "I took your bug" with a smiley face

Wearing a sweatshirt and ponytail to school and not caring

*Conversations with two professors that did not call on me today*

*Volunteering an answer in Torts and getting it right*

Getting called on for an answer in Torts and getting it wrong and having Kate step up

*Twitter conversations that could just as easily be held in person*

Crazy dreams that occupied my thoughts all day long

*Realizing how many classmates I genuinely enjoy talking to*
 

Being horribly unproductive and not caring

*Making the ingenious decision to go to bed. Right now.*
 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

News from Magna

While I was home this week I mentioned to Jenny that I wished I would be around for The Empress Gala, which was last night, because I wanted to see if I won best choreographer. Of course, I was joking. My experience with musical theater is so limited, and Oklahoma! was only the third show I've ever choreographed. There are so many talented people that devote their time to that theater, and I really miss them. I particularly miss Nanny, who directed the shows I choreographed and became a good friend. I was thinking about her this morning, so I sent her a quick email. I just got her response, which included the following:
I wanted to tell you this differently... but now is as good a time as any.  I would like to relay a portion of last night.  I was gonna ask Kev to record it... but in the melee of things.. I neglected to do so.

The Empress Theatre Best Choreographer 2011: Wendy Brown for Oklahoma!

"I have worked with Wendy on several different plays - starting back with Once Upon A Mattress.  Unfortunately, her Mom has made her leave us and attend Law School back in the Dakotas, or Nebraska, or someplace in Tornado Alley.  So - we have lost a great choreographer until she returns.  I was so excited to work with Wendy again for Oklahoma!  I think the best part was telling her she had a 13 minute dream ballet to choreograph.  Now, there were those who told me to cut that portion completely, or shorten it - But I personally felt that something like that gave our choreographer a time to really shine.  And she did not disappoint.   The whole show was choreographed so beautifully, and the dream ballet was certainly one of the highlights.  Wendy worked with a ballerina, and Jeremy on the pas de deux and the fight sequence and strung everything together into a captivating part of the show.  I am happy to except this for Wendy tonight - mostly cuz I didn't win an award tonight - but also because she couldn't be here... I don't think she could justify flying back here for the gala - though I am sure she would have loved to. Thank you"
Nanny's words are too kind. I'm still in shock, but I'm also so happy and so grateful. What a great opportunity it was to be a part of that production.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Microwaves, Mattel and what matters most

My friend, Jen, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in February. She had plans to spend her Fall Break in St. Louis for follow-up radiation. My entire life, when I've heard about people being treated with radiation, I have pictured them in some airtight room being bombarded with microwaves. But Jen informed me that she actually drinks her radiation. Regardless, when she talked about going I would picture her in a microwave, and I told her so. Since we wouldn't be seeing her for a week while she had her radiation, Toby, Kate, and I wanted Jen to know we'd be thinking about her. So, naturally, we gave her a microwave with a figurine inside.
Jen was kind enough to let me see what her radiation was actually like:

While Jen was busy drinking her radiation, I had an exciting Fall Break of my own. If you aren't an immediate family member or don't follow me on Twitter, I guess you probably didn't know that I spent the last week in Utah. (I'm sorry I didn't tell you; I knew my time was limited and made a conscious decision to spend it only with my family.)

So here's the story: It was Fall Break at school, and originally I had plans to stay in Omaha. But since all of my friends were heading home, I made what some might consider a rash decision to make the drive home as well. I left Omaha on Friday afternoon and planned to drive to Cheyenne, spend the night, and go the rest of the way home on Saturday. But Cheyenne came and went. Laramie came and went. And I just kept on driving. Around Rawlins, I realized I was going to make it the whole way in one night. I came through the mountains and saw the Salt Lake valley sometime after midnight. A little before 1am, I called and woke up my mom, asked her to unlock the side door and told her I'd see her in ten minutes. She and my dad met me in the driveway, and I think they both thought I was a little crazy. Eventually I convinced them I wasn't and we went to bed.

Saturday morning we woke up and drove to my nephew's football game, where I was able to surprise Jenny and Jessica and their families.

 For lunch we went to Dickie's and watched the BYU game.
The microwave I gave Jen (Omaha Jen) came with a Barbie, that I planned to give my niece. But you can't give just one niece a toy when you're spending the day with both of them. So Jessica and I took Jenny's youngest (sister Jenny) to Walmart so she could pick out a Barbie, too. She also got to pick out lip gloss and nail polish, because Jessica and I are cool like that.
 To give you a glimpse of just how cool we are, take a look at the following pictures. Jessica and I got all of the kids to play Barbies. Yes, that includes my 13 year-old nephew.
It was such a blast. We fished out the bins of our old Barbies in my parents' garage and showed our nieces and nephews how cool Barbies used to be when they all fit the same clothes and had impossible body shapes. Those were the days.


 While I was home I enjoyed lunch at some of my favorite Utah restaurants and even managed to stop in to visit Kate (my old roommate), who happens to work right by my mom. (I know the duplicate names are confusing. Jen/Jen, Kate/Kate, but you get used to it. Just remember there's one of each in both UT and NE)

 I also got to visit Gardner Village, which is one of my favorite places in the world. Well, I should clarify that Anastasia's Attic is one of my favorite places in the world. I could spend all of my time and money there. Fortunately, I was able to rein myself in and just buy the essentials. Like this gaudy crown ring for my 2 year old niece :)
 Yesterday after a fabulous book club and trip to Costco, I had to say goodbye to my family and head back to Omaha. I got in at about 5am, slept until almost noon, and have done absolutely nothing in the last six hours. Overall, it was a great week. I missed Ashley a lot, as it was my first time being home without her, but I'm grateful for the time I spent with the family that was home. Now it's time for me to look forward and commit to the next two months here in Omaha.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Break: Day 1

After 2 months of trying my hardest to stay dedicated to schoolwork, it's an interesting experience to have a "break." I still have a lot of work to do this week, but a lot of work with no classes is inevitably easier than a lot of work on top of classes. Today's goal was Constitutional Law. I set out to complete my outline (of the coursework we've covered so far) and the reading assignment for next Monday (the first class after break).

I slept in until 7:15, which I felt guilty about because I've been on a pretty stringent sleep schedule so far this semester. I got ready by 8 and prepared to head out until I realized the library I was going to didn't open until 10. I wrote in my journal (starting Journal #26!) and twiddled my thumbs for awhile before eventually deciding to get a car wash. I drove a half hour downtown to go to my favorite car wash with free vacuums and by the time I finished, the library was open. I studied productively from 10 until 4, allowing only 1 short Twitter and email break. I reached my goal by finishing my outline and Monday's assignment, but I felt guilty leaving. One of our tutors told us we should spend no less than 8 hours a day studying over Fall Break. Well, 6 is clearly less than 8. My guilt led to me studying my completed outline for another half hour, but you can only re-read the same things so many times before it stops being beneficial.

I came home and read 35 pages in my Utah Book Club's October book. (I'm hoping to be able to join them and Ashley on Thursday via Skype for the meeting.) But I'm still feeling guilty like I should be studying something.

Any law school friends experiencing something similar this break? Anyone else struggle with irrational feelings of guilt even after you've accomplished goals? I'm not sure how to shake the feeling, and this week isn't going to be very enjoyable if I don't get a handle on it soon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Awesome!

Awesome things today!

*Waking up at 2:57, thinking it was time to get up, then realizing it wasn't*

Receiving an "above-average" score on our Contracts assignment

*Meeting with my professor and asking questions he found "insightful"*

Catching up on friends' blogs and discovering new ones

*Kate finding my tweets funny*

Adding 35 songs to my Private Practice playlist 

*Rain*

Packing my lunch in a Dr. Pepper lunchbox like a grade-schooler

*Fall Break countdown reaching 2 days*

Property class starting with a 20-minute aside about Restatements

*Remembering I won our bet about the Contracts assignment 
mentioned above (hello, $6!)*

Overall, pretty awesome day. Did you take notice of any simple pleasures today? Experience anything that seemed awesome? Let me know!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Oh btw

In case you didn't figure this out, Jen authored the October 1 post you read. I am grateful for the reconfig of my blog, but I don't use the word "snazzy" :)

Checked out and Plugged in

As many of you are aware, this weekend was the LDS General Conference. I took the opportunity to check out from every-day life and focus on Conference. During each Saturday session, I like to participate in the #ldsconf conversation on Twitter, and this weekend was no different. So I had Conference fired up on my laptop, Twitter going on my iPod, and my phone nearby to text friends and family.

I also had the crazy urge Saturday morning to bake, so I made blueberry muffins. First time I ever smelled baked goods coming from my own oven :)

Sunday was more relaxing, as I left Twitter alone and just focused on the speakers. I always love Conference, and while it was different to be away from my family, not be able to just flip on KSL, and not have girls' night during the Priesthood Session, it was a good and rejuvenating weekend that I really appreciated.

Did you do anything fun for Conference? What are some of the things you enjoy most about Conference weekend?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Like my new look?  I feel all grown up and sophisticated now.  My sister was so awesome to snazzy things up around here!!  I owe her big time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Awesome!

Last week I went to the mall here for the first time (yay!) and came across this fun shop called The Afternoon with books and art and clever gifts. I hadn't bought a book for ages, and I had such little self-control as a result. So I ended up with a copy of The Book of Awesome by the author of 1000awesomethings.com. I thought it'd be perfect because I can literally just read one page when I have a free minute. Turns out, it is perfect! I love reading an awesome thing or two before bed. Some of my favorites:

intergenerational dancing 
illegal naps 
finding a mix tape from an old boyfriend
fixing electronics by smacking them
hitting a bunch of green lights in a row

Additionally, I've always been inspired by my friend's posts of things that made her day. So, I'm combining the ideas to bring you...

(drum roll please)

Awesome things today!

*Getting to school later than usual and still having a spot in the garage*

Telling my clever brother I love metaphors and having him respond, "I like similes," with a wink

*Leaving the library late and getting free food*

Coming home to a package notification slip in my mailbox. I'll get it tomorrow :)

*Skype/FaceTime*

Finally understanding the difference between unilateral and bilateral contracts

*Friends (the tv show)*

Friends (the people that teach me about unilateral contracts)

*Hearing my niece copy her mother's use of the word "idiot"*

Realizing tomorrow is Thursday...

 
So, what simple pleasures did you take notice of today? What did you see or hear or experience that was awesome? Let me know!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Counting Blessings

It's funny how things work out.

Last week was rough. I was distracted from school for the first time since I started, worried about changes back in Utah and how they will affect "home" as I know it. I felt truly homesick for the first time and had a hard time mustering the desire to spend time with friends. I went to both sessions of Stake Conference (something I never do), alone. I was so focused on my loneliness that I got much less out of the talks than I probably could and should have.

Then there was the BYU-Utah game and well, I don't think I need to add any commentary there.

Sometime while I was distracted by the melee in my mind, I picked up a new Twitter follower, @JDanielRollins 

 I'm not sure how he found me or what I said that might have encouraged him to follow me. I was hesitant to follow back, only because I've been thinking of purging my following list lately to have a more manageable feed. I decided to read through some of his old tweets to decide and came across this convo:




Hmm... He hates Penn State. But he's willing to admit to appreciating their classic uniforms. Conflicted, I told him so. (Conversation in reverse order here)


He made me laugh at least, so I followed back. I'm glad I did. 

At this point this post is going to become a bit of a confessional. If that irritates you, I won't mind if you stop reading. If you keep reading, don't feel like you need to comment on anything I say. 

Prior to moving to Omaha I had become apathetic about my activity in the Church, comfortable in my complacency. Then I moved, and with my professor as my bishop, I felt obligated to be more engaged. Simultaneously, I realized everyone I met knew nothing about the Church and found myself answering basic questions. One night I was out with friends until 3 in the morning talking about, among other things, religion. Between the three of us, we represent the Mormon, Catholic, and Baptist faiths and shared and inquired openly about what we each believe. Suddenly I wasn't answering the simple questions like, "Do you drink?" I was explaining the three degrees of glory and the concept of eternal marriage. I don't know when it happened, but eventually that conversation was no longer about answering the questions of my friends but rather about looking inside myself, asking for the first time if I really believed what I was saying. And the answer was a resounding, "YES." 

 Since that conversation I have been very aware of religion in general. My good group of friends here are all wonderful people and strong Christians. In some ways it seems like the theme of Christianity has been more in the forefront of my mind than Mormonism specifically. 

 Here's where my trains of thought merge... 

I saw that Mr. J. Daniel Rollins tweeted about an update to his blog. I read what he had to say and was moved. The stories of converts always hit close to home, because of my parents' story. But while reading his blog and learning of his experiences in different Christian faiths, I realized again something I've always known: I'm so happy to be Mormon. 

 This post has gone on much longer than I intended, so I'm going to wrap things up. But before I do, I want to mention specifically the challenge on WearySaint.com to count your blessings. I know the week is almost over and I have yet to take part in the challenge, but I intend to change that. 

 So I want you to know that I'm grateful, among so many other things, that "I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow Him in faith."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering

Over my breakfast this morning, I read the chapter in George W. Bush's Decision Points about September 11. I then read the full text and watched the video of his address to the nation from that night ten years ago. Prompted by a friend's post on Facebook, I listened to John Adams' On the Transmigration of Souls as I got ready for the day. Feeling thoroughly emotional about the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I headed off to church. It struck me as magnificently ironic that even as I mourned and remembered that pointed attack on American liberties, I was exercising my freedom of religion.  I cried as we sang "My Country 'tis of Thee." I smiled as I spent the evening after church talking to my family. I cried again as I listened to President Obama speak at the Kennedy Center tonight. And I smiled when I saw footage of him walking with President Bush around the new memorial in New York City. (And I'm sure I'll cry, once again, as I sit down to watch Remember Me when I finish with this post.) It has been a day of reflection, a day of both sorrow and gratitude.

The PBS special I was watching included a video interview of a woman who said what stands out most about that day is the fear, that America will always be in fear that something like that can happen again. I couldn't disagree more. I feel safe, protected, and defended. I think what stands out most about that day is the heroism of the passengers of Flight 93. I think they encapsulate everything that is American--seeing a problem, voting on a solution, and taking it upon themselves to protect the lives of their fellow Americans.

As our president pointed out tonight, the attacks of 9/11 changed so much in America, but so much still remains the same. We are still one nation, under God. E pluribus unum. Out of many, we are one.


Monday, September 5, 2011

I don't mean to be petty

I bought a shower curtain several months ago in anticipation of the move. I didn't immediately hang it up, because, as it turns out, I have doors on my shower. I was so bummed. I love the shower curtain and I hate how doors look on showers. But my mom and brother convinced me I could still just hang up the curtain outside the doors, and no one would know the difference. (Except now everyone that reads my blog will know the difference, but that's a different story...) This weekend I finally bought some rings and got the curtain up. It's supposed to contain the 500 top SAT words, but I've only had the curtain up 48 hours and have already noticed two mistakes.


Last I checked, aloof was not a verb, nor was adamant a noun. Johnny aloofed the adamant? I'd like to see that sentence diagrammed.

Oh well. I guess it's a good thing I just like the look of the shower curtain and don't rely on it as a study aid :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fumble

I've been surprisingly okay with being away from home. I guess part of it is the fact that I don't really have time to miss people. With as much time as I spend studying just to meet the minimum requirements, I know I couldn't be doing this in Utah with sisters and nieces and the like serving as unintentional distractions. I cried a little when I got a video of my youngest niece crawling (which I haven't seen in person) and once when talking to Jen about everything her kids were doing, but overall I've been happy with my change in circumstances.

Then this morning I was going through some old pictures to find one of my nephew and me at a BYU game and it hit me: I'm not going to be sitting in the family room of my parents' house tomorrow watching the game. I can be as obnoxious as I want through texts and Twitter, but I won't have the pleasure of fighting with a single family member over the inferiority of Utah's football team in person. When the weather turns and I comfortably throw on my Penn State hoodie to bum around on a Saturday, I won't see 10 other people with lion heads on their chest, making things feel like football, like fall, like home.

So I know it's a dumb thing to miss and get upset over, but I can't help it. When, for your entire life, college football season has been the event your family waits for all year long, the series of weeks filled with more emotion than any other in the year, the high that actually makes Christmas feel like a letdown, it's tough to realize you're going to miss it all. Because I don't get to walk into Walmart with Jen and complain about the lack of BYU apparel. Instead I see what appears to be Corn Husker vomit all over the place. I'd rather the red I were seeing bear U's on it (and that's saying a lot).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's dying...

Apparently one writes as much in two weeks of law school as the average person writes in seven years. Have you heard of the seven year pen? When I was in CA with Adiel, she found it at her favorite local boutique and I had to try it out. I'm crazy good at holding onto pens, which is surprising considering my affinity for office supplies and the compulsive need I feel to buy pens. Anyway, I have often clung to a favorite pen and used it until I used it up. So I had grand plans of holding onto this thing and doing a big post in a few years to indicate how long the pen had actually lasted (the packaging of the pen specifically says that it can write like 1.7 meters a day, every day, for 7 years. In case you haven't read my blog long enough to know: I write way more than I need to. So I knew the pen wouldn't last me a full 7 years).

But I was surprised when I was taking notes on a case today and the pen started to fade. I purchased the pen almost exactly one month ago, and the bulk of its use has been in the last two weeks. Although I was unable to really enjoy the pen for the advertised length of time, I will say this--I love this pen. It writes so smoothly and it's a comfortable size and feel for long periods of writing. I actually just ordered two more of these from uncommongoods.com earlier this week, and it's a good thing, too! I'm sold and have no desire to go back to a different pen for my everyday black pen use. My color-coded craziness is another story entirely...


***Post-publication caveat: This pen came back to life in my Legal Writing class. I'm not kidding. So, maybe that's how it does the 7 yr thing. It resurrects itself. I'll keep you posted***

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Socratic Method

Had my first classic law school experience today. First class of the day, Contracts. "What happened in Hamer v. Sidway, Miss Brown?" Um. I swear he just said my name. "Well, the uncle promised, well, there was a contract if the nephew would abstain from drinking, if, when he was 21, and then, what happened was the uncle..." Am I saying words? "Were the nephew and uncle the parties in this case? Who is Hamer?" Is he speaking Russian? "Well, no. There was, it was transferred, the executor, and the debt, it's assigned but no, the uncle, and he died..."

Somehow it ended. Not sure what was really asked or said, but I'm still alive. So, that's good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dear Diary

I typically don't consider blogs the best forum in which to share personal, touching experiences. But I'm going to make an exception. Be warned: this post is more for myself than for any of you. Feel free to delay reading until I post again.

I applied to Creighton accidentally. Literally. If I had possessed all of the facts of the law school application process when I started submitted applications, I would never have sent my information to Creighton. But as it turns out, I was accepted and offered a scholarship.

I was also accepted to and offered a scholarship at Akron, and the scholarship happened to be significantly more than what Crieghton was offering. Somehow, though, I forgot about that fact or didn't realize it or something, because when I was moving I came across the acceptance letter from Akron and felt like I had been punched in the stomach. How did I forgo what was essentially a full-tuition scholarship? I really couldn't understand my reasoning, and there was literally nothing I could do to change my situation.

But let's back up. On my acceptance letter, the Dean of the Law School at Creighton indicated that there are several students and faculty members from Utah. I thought that was random, and it was the first thing that made me actually consider going to Creighton. About a week later, I received a phone call from a professor, Collin Mangrum, at the law school to let me know that there are several LDS (Mormon) students at the school. He got me in touch with a graduating 3L, which was extremely helpful.

For various reasons that followed, I ended up deciding on Creighton. After that decision was made, I attended Accepted Students Day (I know this is redundant for a lot of you), where I met Professor Dallon, a former classmate of my dad's from BYU Law and the Bishop of one of the Young Single Adult wards in Omaha. My dad and I looked at about 14 apartments while we were in town. All of them were in one Singles ward except one that was in Bishop Dallon's ward. A long and unrelated decision-making process resulted in my choice to move into the apartment that happened to be in his ward. Even after seat deposits were paid to the school and security deposits to the apartment, I went through periods of doubt, wondering if I could and really should move to Nebraska. Invariably, during my most doubt-filled days, I would get a random call or voicemail from Professor Dallon, offering suggestions of places to live, people to talk to, or just checking up on me.

About a month ago, we received our Section assignments, and I happened to be placed in Professor Dallon's Torts class.

Now, here I am. I'm living a thousand miles away from everyone I know. I'm swamped with a level and load of schoolwork I've never before experienced. I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water and it's only the second day. I feel like I'm neglecting Zipsie more than ever, and unfortunately this time there's no roommate or trusted friend available to give her some company.

But on Sunday one of the clerks in the ward asked if I had time this week to meet with a member of the Bishopric. We set up an appointment for tonight. After class, I was in the library studying and had to leave before finishing in order to make it to my appointment. I had a little bit of a negative attitude (it's hard for me to study at home, so I try and get everything done at the library), but I left. I got home, changed, and went to the church. I ended up having to wait for some other people to finish their appointments, which actually worked out, because I had brought my unfinished homework with me (which happened to be Torts...) I was able to read the chapter twice, which I was thrilled about. Bishop Dallon finished before his counselor, so that's who I met with.

Now this is the whole reason for this absurdly long journal entry of a post. In all my time at BYU, I never had an experience like this. The closest I got was having an Economics professor that was my Stake President, but that's not very significant since I had zero interaction with him in that capacity. Anyway, I met with the Bishop as sort of a get-to-know-you interview. At the end, he closed with a prayer.

Hearing a professor pray for me to succeed in school was more special than I can possibly put into words. It made me feel cared-for in such an individual way.  It was an experience I wish everyone could enjoy.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Home Sweet...Here

Hi, world. I'm in Omaha. I wanted to avoid posting pictures of my new place until I was all unpacked and everything looked cute, but I don't see that happening for awhile. So you get what you get :)

This is my living room. Since taking the picture, I've added two small arm chairs in front of the partition. There's also a window with a desk under it to the right of the fireplace that you can't really see. On that desk sits a beautiful new MacBook Pro, which I'm convinced is actually the love of my life. I knew I had to go to Nebraska to find him :) 

Here's my kitchen. It's small, but let's face it--how much kitchen do I really need? You can see the Y magnet on the fridge. It literally went up before a single pan was in a cabinet or a dish unpacked. I might be in Corn Husker country, but I still have my priorities.

And speaking of priorities...


 
From the living room you go through the opening on the right of the partition into my "bedroom". Literally, room for a bed. It's cozy and I like it.  
 
Then down the hall is my closet, sink, and bathroom.

Now that you've enjoyed the grand tour, here are some updates on how things are going...

We had orientation Thursday and Friday, which actually went well. It's interesting being at a Catholic university, because it's still based on religious education, so in a sense it feels like BYU. But I'm so unfamiliar with Catholicism and the prayers are different from what I'm used to, so sometimes it seems foreign. I really appreciate the Christian values that are emphasized when people discuss what it means to be a good lawyer.

So far, my favorite things about Omaha are $0.54 32 oz. Dr. Peppers from gas stations, the fabulously easy-to-navigate road system, the helpful people in my ward and at the law school, and how curly my hair goes when I scrunch it. This brings me to my least favorite things about Omaha: the humidity makes straightening my hair quite a chore. Even after I get it straightened, it doesn't stay straight. Strands and sections just start flipping whichever way they choose. Restaurants serve Mr. Pibb and act like it's an acceptable substitution for the Doctor. Internet is freaking expensive (I miss Comcast), and groceries are too. Also, drivers here? Not so nice. They enjoy the horn and middle finger.

I find the area very pretty. Zipsie treed two squirrels this morning on our walk. Lots of trees and lots of green. Not as much as the East Coast, but definitely more than Utah. Oh! Another thing I like about this place (although it's weird) is that the mid-grade gas is cheaper than the regular because it contains ethanol. So we're going to transition my car up a notch on fuel quality and see how she likes it.

As for the school part of things, I haven't yet studied as much as I should. I just bought my computer yesterday, so most of last night (which had been set aside for studying) was instead spent getting everything set up on it. And sort of playing with it. The studying I have done has been fascinating. I don't know how I'll feel once I get into the full work load, but the reading that's been assigned for the first day has been so interesting. Let's hope my interest is sustained.

I miss everyone, but I'm doing well. My cell phone has terrible service at my apartment, so I've been a little cut off from people. But Jessica is helping me remedy that situation and I'll soon have a second phone number with *shudder* Verizon. You'll always be able to leave me messages on my T-Mobile line (the same number I've had forever) but if you want the second number in case you need to get a hold of me more quickly, just send me a text or an email and as soon as I know the number, I'll let you know as well.

I'd love updates from everyone! I know I won't be spending as much time checking blogs as I should, but let me tell you a little secret. I love mail. So much. If you and your family ever wanted to drop a quick note as to what you've been up to, I would appreciate it so much. I know it's antiquated and not everyone has stamps sitting around, but seeing a letter with a familiar postmark would do a lot to ease homesickness. You can always be more modern and stick to Twitter, email, texting, or whatever works for you.

Okay,  I think that about covers it. Love and miss you all!