Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The sound of an old satin dress tearing sounds like the noises from a cat fight. Two hours of shopping for Halloween costumes yielded nothing. So we are getting creative with old dresses.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Today the weather was its most brilliant, and the colors were golden, red, and yellow against a beautifully deep blue sky. I spent a lot of time outside, and got some good deals at the Sunday flea market. I found some Star of David glasses for 10 cents, and a couple of silver racks for 25 cents. For a total of 90 cents, I came away from the flea market very happy. There was also an old Schwinn bike with basket that made someone very happy after the expenditure of $10.
Last night I attended a Dracula play, a production of college students. The costumes, sound, set, scenery and the acting were spooky and captivating. There was an incredible, eerie, black and white illustrated tapestry that was about three stories tall that served as some of the background scenery and scene-changing screens. Most actors were wearing freakish wigs and there was a lot of fog onstage. In a couple of graveyard scenes, the fog rolled perfectly across the stage, as if emanating from the hallowed cemetery ground, and at other times the fog looked like apparitions of paranormal activity. At some plays, I can shift listlessly in my seat, wondering why I thought coming was such a great idea, and wondering how much longer I have to wait to see whether it will get any better. But at Dracula last night, I had an affection for theatre.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Last night all this energy consumed me to such a boundless extent that I cleaned, cleaned, cleaned for hours. I threw away months', maybe years', worth of clutter in my room that had accumulated from the U.S. Postal Service and school functions. I did laundry, folded and put away laundry, cooked, got the oil changed in my car, found some good stuff at Goodwill, cleaned up another room, and vacuumed. I did all that for 10 hours. I think all this energy comes from happiness! It scares me a little bit because I know it's only temporary and I don't want to see it end.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I finally got to the woods! My walking companion took my photograph with her iPhone, as I was standing on the rock overlooking a giant canyon, and posted it to Facebook while we were standing on the rock. It was brilliantly sunny and colorful all day at work (at least the view from my office window told me so), but by the time I got to the overlook, it was a little overcast, but really not bad.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Everyone is talking about the weather today. Brilliant, sunny, warm, a world away from last week. I'm talking about going into the woods this afternoon. There is nothing better.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Balconies and Bootstrapping

Last night I read some stuff I had written down about eight years ago. I was again reminded by reading it how much I got out of evidence class. I wrote, "Everything I learned about life I learned in evidence class." I wrote about the concept of bootstrapping, which my professor talked about, to mean that one event can be used as a tool to accomplish something else. I was writing that I was trying to put clean laundry away, hanging up the clothes on hangers. The hangers were getting all tangled and I had clothes in one hand and hangers in the other. For a second I got annoyed because I couldn't untangle the hangers with just one hand, then realized that I didn't just need one hanger, I needed both, and I could use one to pick up the other, like they were plastic monkeys in a plastic barrel (also known as using the path of least resistance). I thought a lot about how that could be applied in other useful ways, and about how interrelated each event is to all other events in our lives. I started trying to figure out solutions to problems that will help me with other problems. I believe the concept of bootstrapping that my professor was trying to get across, is that a piece of evidence at a trial might be able to be introduced for only a certain purpose, but its value might be in something else that that piece of evidence happens to show.
Something else I had written down then was interesting that I was reminded of, completely unrelated to the above except that it was something I came across from the same time period. In one of my other classes, the book used for the class had advice for how to objectively view any given difficult situation. The author said to imagine yourself standing on a balcony, looking down on the situation from above, and evaluating at a distance what is going on and what should be done. I wonder, do other people do that?
I'm really, really, really glad I wrote so much and still have what I wrote from that time. Life repeats itself, and things that were happening to me in there are coming around again, and I'm remembering, in a visceral way, how much I had to deal with and how I got through it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Weekend Education

Yesterday and today I'm taking a refresher class on Evidence by a somewhat famous (at least to me) professor from a law school in New York. He's a lively talker; he's funny, pauses at all the right and dramatic moments, and he's anecdotal and direct. The way a good professor should be!
Taking the class reminds me of how interesting I found the topic of Evidence to be. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years have gone by, tweaking the development of how we present the Truth to the Court. What is considered True? Not something that someone else said or wrote (most of the time); just what someone has observed or experienced herself. What makes something more believable or not? Not that that person has been convicted of a completely different, unrelated crime (sometimes) ... unless it's used for a certain specific purpose and the conviction was a felony (most of the time). What kind of information do we need about a photograph before we can consider the truth of its contents? Who took it, where it was taken, when it was taken, what it represents, why it's relevant ... and does its probative value outweigh the likelihood that it will be prejudicial to the jury?
I was trying to explain to someone how exciting I find Evidence to be. She responded by saying, "It's all so subjective, isn't it?" And I said, "But it is objective. Our society has tried to create a system of presenting the truth in the most non-subjective way possible; that's the beauty of it."
Later on as I was cleaning up after dinner I thought some more about those hundreds and hundreds of years of developing Evidence law. I remembered earlier that day, walking through the room where the lecture was being presented, seeing large portraits of distinguished-looking men. I realized that probably 99.99 percent of those books and laws and cases and rules were developed by legions and legions and legions of men, at least prior to the 1970s.
I wonder if it would be different if more women had been involved in legal history. Would it be the same? Can the men speak for us? Is it all just a bunch of gender-neutral logic?

Monday, October 12, 2009


Yesterday I had an eventful and amazing Sunday, just as a fair-weather Sunday should be. Coffee, wilderness, great food, walking, driving, and taking in the fall scenery. I checked out the dog park downtown, for the first time, and it was a friendly and laid-back place. I saw a man with an easel set up by the river downtown, and he was creating an oil painting in purple and gray of the Mon River scene. The day before I heard some good music and talked to good people.
The annoying trivialities of trying to get through life had been eroding my usual buoyancy on Friday: strings of inconveniences and disorienting events, like dropping things that should have been easy to hold, forgetting things that made me circle back out of my way to retrieve them, which made me get caught in a flood-making downpour, getting caught in traffic behind the drivers who drive 15 miles per hour, hitting all the red lights and the potholes, one after another ... and being sensitive to those trivial setbacks without the ability to be impervious to them. I used to think that meant that I was tired. Or unhappy. Or both.
I don't know how I turned it around for myself this weekend, but I did.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I found out that no one got to say goodbye to my neighbor before she died. Last week, on Tuesday, she broke or fractured her hip. Her husband told me they thought she would be home soon, but he was called early that next morning and was told to come to the hospital. They told him that his wife was gone, and he said, "Where did she go?" Apparently she had a heart attack, possibly as a result of the trauma of the fall.
Today I passed the Sheetz sign that tells customers, quite loudly, that they have the Lowest Cig Prices Around, or something like that. I feel so bad. Only about a month ago or two, at her request, I went to Sheetz with $2o she gave me and bought about four or five packs of Lowest-Priced Cigs for her. I suppose I wouldn't have refused to buy someone cigarettes, and wouldn't have done anything differently, but I still feel somewhat ... irresponsible for helping her do something that was probably killing her.