The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Monday, April 30, 2007

Ready for my first one...

...with time to spare (only because it was not until this morning that I found out that the 9am exam I've been preparing for is not until 2pm.) Okay, I'm off to re-read my outline for four hours!

Ain't she pretty?

Friday, April 27, 2007


I have an exam on Monday and an exam on Tuesday. Today is Friday (although I just found this out)...and I have already lost all ability to function.

I have not been able to type properly or in coherent sentences for days. (This one took me F"OUR tries.)

Yesterday, I found myself writing letters to myself on a notepad because I bought pretty new pens. I love bright colors. Now I have "Laura B. loves her new pens" written over 25 times in bright colors sitting next to me.

I got in a fight with a bug yesterday. (An actual crawly bug.) He crawled a wee bit too close to my coffee. Curse words were yelled.

I woke up in the middle of the night, TV on, VCR still playing. I apparently cannot tell reality from non-reality because when I heard Alex yell "quick, get Dr. Montgomery-Shepard!" I ran out of bed to go get her.

I have been in my pajamas for five straight days. Granted, I have showered here and there. Then, put my pajamas back on.

Normal cycle: shampoo, rinse, condition, rinse. Yesterday's cycle: shampoo, rinse, shampoo, rinse, shampoo, wait, what the hell am I doing?

I mailed off my bar exam application/character and fitness questionnaire yesterday. Somewhat anti-climactic considering that as I was walking home flipping through the copy I made for myself...I realized I did something very wrong. Today, I will have to call the VA Bd. of Bar Examiners, then likely have to send a notarized update/correction.

Yesterday, my roomie approached me with "hey, I don't mean to bother you while you are on the phone"...to which I replied "oh, I'm not on the phone. I'm just having very loud conversations with myself." And I was.

I get really annoyed when I get to the bottom of a box of cereal and there is not enough for a bowl...yet too much to just throw away. This has happened a few times lately. To remedy the situation (and so as not to waste) I just indulged in a bowl of Honey Nut Chex/Special K Strawberry/Shredded Mini-Wheats. Yum.

UPDATE: If you make yourself a fresh cup of coffee at 10:30 on a Saturday night, then settle back into the same seat you have been for seven days...you should make sure to first remove the other coffee mugs that have accumulated in your sacred work space...lest you accidentally get a really nasty jolt of cold ?-day-old coffee.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Letter to my nephew

Dear Ezra,

I know we haven't met yet but I do look forward to the day that changes. I feel like I have so many things to tell you right now that I don't know where to begin. Most importantly, I just want to say that I am sorry. I am so sorry that things are the way that they are. I know you are too young to understand, much less even realize what is going on, but I also know that you will someday. And it will probably hurt.

When it does, little guy, feel free to turn to me because it's been hurting me for over ten years. I may not know how to deal with it and I may not understand it, but I live it and I feel it.

I spent years watching all of the drugs and the lying and the stealing and the hurting. Like everyone else, I hoped and prayed each time my brother went to rehab that it would be the last, that he would finally realize what he is doing to himself and to his family. Over time, the more I held onto those hopes, the more painful it was when he crushed them again. As the years went on, the tears began to dry up. The sadness turned to anger and then to numbness. There came a point when I just couldn't take it anymore. Maybe it was selfish, but to protect myself, I walked away. I had to. I have not cried for your father in years.

Until now. But these tears tonight aren't really for him. These are for you, little guy. I am so glad that you joined us in this world, but I must be honest with you. I have been terrified from day one that he is going to hurt you too. And here you are, not even four months into your life, and he's in rehab again. You surely do not deserve this. If I could take you in my arms, and protect you from all of the hurt that you may one day experience at his hands, I would. Without missing a beat, I would.

If I thought praying or hoping for a change in my brother would do any good, I would clasp my hands and hold on for dear life. But my heart gave up on him a long time ago. Instead, I will pray that you don't ever have to experience the hurt that the rest of us have. I pray that you always know how many people around you care about you. Regardless of what the future with your father brings, you are one loved little guy and I cannot wait to meet you.

All my love,
Aunt Laura


I am resourceful

Pretty strained right now trying to wrap up this insanely detailed character and fitness questionnaire by the end of today (not to mention two exams and a paper coming up).

Yeah, and I thought listing all of my places of residence would be difficult.

I also have to disclose any traffic violations. Considering I had to get official driving records from every state I ever held a license, you would think that the traffic violation part wouldn't be hard. Um, except that my first ever speeding ticket was a long time ago and is no longer listed on any record. I was advised that even if it is not listed, I need to disclose as much information as I can about the incident including: location, date, etc.

Here is a testament to how my resourceful little brain works step-by-step:

I got the ticket driving down the boulevard in my neighborhood when I was a youngin'...

I recall having an argument with the policeman because he kept accusing me of speeding to deliver pizza on time...

I explained to the policeman that while I was in a pizza restaurant uniform with a box of pizza beside me, I merely worked there and was not delivering...

Hmm, okay, when did I work at the pizza place?...

I know it was sometime during high school because I was dating high school boyfriend at the time...

HS boyfriend used to show up and bother me at work...

Oh yeah, there was that one time he showed up and made me cry and my cute co-worker named Philip made him leave...

Yeah, I remember Philip. He was the first (and thankfully only) person I ever knew to commit suicide...

I wrote a poem about Philip when he killed himself...

I used to write dates on all of my poems...

[digs through old file folder of childhood poetry]

And that, my friends, is how I figured out the approximate date of my first "traffic violation" for disclosure on my Bar application.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ma and Pa

I called my mom last week and simply said "so I just wanted to call you and thank you and dad for never getting divorced."

I'm pretty sure my mom thought I was crazy, but hey it would not be the first time.

Watching as a close friends goes through a divorce and hearing many people around chime in about experiences with parents divorces growing up, I realized how blessed I am. I have no such stories. I cannot relate. I am honestly glad I have nothing to contribute to those conversations.

I know my parents had to work through stuff in my younger years. Of course, as a child, I was likely shielded from most of it. I had a great childhood and my parents were together through it all. They worked at it, they fought for it, they stuck it out. Over thirty years later, they are still together and happier than ever. I am in awe of the place they have come to in their relationship. What they have in each other is truly an inspiration. Each of them has found in each other a person willing to fight with and fight for a really great love. That's a rare find. Today marks THIRTY THREE years for those two lovebirds.

Mom and Dad, I sure do love you!!!


Monday, April 16, 2007

What are the chances?

As I was getting dressed for school this morning, I had the news of the Virginia Tech shootings on in the background. One person dead. My first thoughts were of my cousin that goes to school there. Yeah, but what are the chances it would be him? I shrugged it off.

When I got to school and settled into class, I noticed the story on CNN.com said there were actually two shootings and one happened in an engineering building. My cousin is in engineering. Then again Tech is a big engineering school. Again, what are the chances, right?

A friend messaged me to tell me 22 confirmed dead. That's a lot of people. I'm getting a little nervous so I send a few emails to the family. Still, with 26,000 students, I am thinking what are the chances?

As time goes on and I get no word, I find myself getting really nervous. When I finally do hear from my cousin, I find out that the shootings took place in a classroom...the very classroom he was supposed to be in. My cousin was running late today. I took a moment to breathe a huge sigh of relief,
as a couple of tears welled in my eyes. Then I clasped my hands a said a prayer of thanks. Because really, what are the chances?


Sunday, April 15, 2007

New. Favorite. Reader.

I have a paper due Tuesday that is currently sucking the life (not to mention creativity) right out of me! That means I have nothing interesting to say that does not pertain to how Syria was able to make reforms in their laws of personal status despite the alleged closing of the gates of ijtihad. Yeah, I figured you didn't want to hear about that. Instead, I will pass on what I believe to be one of the greatest pieces of writing ever that I received via email today.

(this comes from my new favorite WonL reader):

Hi Law-rah. I am currently in London for the week for work and wondered if there was anyone you might like me to pay a visit and send your greetings as in the way Michael Corleone said hello to people. Just wondering. Your wish, dear madam, is, as always, my command.

Yeah, that is just fabulous.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

My day went wrong already

1) Get a full night's sleep.
2) Wake up and have some coffee.
3) Drive to Jiffy Lube and leave my car for an oil change.
4) Walk across the street and get fingerprinted at George Mason Law school (needed for the bar).
5) Walk a block and settle into the coffee shop for some coffee and read 5 articles that I printed that will hopefully help me finish my paper.
6) Walk back to Jiffy Lube, get my car and be home in time for lunch.

1) - 3) Worked out quite nicely.
4) I did walk to Mason but when the police officer asked me for ID I realized I left my wallet at home.
5) Realize further implications of a lack of wallet means no money for coffee and no money to get my car back from Jiffy Lube.
6) Walk home. It's only about a fifteen minute walk but since I did not foresee being outside much today, I am coatless.
7) Upon returning freezing to my apartment complex and getting onto my elevator, I realize my keys to get inside are still with Jiffy Lube.
8) Whine to the front desk and get spare keys.
9) Come upstairs, pour half a glass of Shiraz and breathe.

Okay, let's try this again...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Round-the-World Trip

Okay, we met, laid out maps, reviewed emails and WonL comments and I think we have a pretty good first draft of our trip planned. I'd love to know if anyone has any thoughts on any of these places!

(3 days) Hawaii - not sure where yet, just want to break up that brutal flight to Australia...besides: getting lei'd and sipping mai thais...sign us up!

(12 days) Australia - Sydney, Brisbane, Hunter Valley for winery tours, Dubbo for sleeping in a zoo, then heading north to Cairns for some snorkeling/scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Since it will be winter over there and downright freezing, we are going to skip Melbourne and New Zealand

(7 days) Thailand - Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai

(4 days) India - Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and possibly New Delhi

(3 days) Dubai - amazing architecture/construction (including indoor Ski slopes) and good shopping and beaches too

(7 days) Greece/Turkey cruise - Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Istanbul, etc.

(7 days) Egypt - Cairo

(5 or so days) Antigua - after Egypt, my traveling companion has to return home for a wedding. However, my cousin just got into medical school in Antigua so I'll keep going.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007


As she walked back from meeting him at the notary she called with tears in her eyes. We positioned the car and opened the door so she wouldn't have to face anyone she knew. She said "it's just hard." We knew it would be a hard day. All we could do was be there to pick her up when she broke down.

We drove her to the courthouse so that she could file papers to divorce her husband. I sat outside in the car and waited for her. I could not begin to fathom how she felt. I imagined the recent hurt I felt walking away from a relationship of only six months. I tried multiplying that by sixteen and adding some sacred vows. I still could not fathom. I knew it was only a matter of time before she broke down.

As she returned to the car, I tried to gague her. I couldn't tell. I asked if she was okay and she looked straight at me. In that instant I could see so much hurt. But the hurt I saw was slowly fading into the background as the relief took center stage. "Yes, I am okay." She wasn't smiling, but she wasn't broken.

We stopped at my place to pop open some champagne and toast to new beginnings. We brought out gifts we had bought for her to attempt to rebuild some of what was "lost" in the divorce. We tried to do anything we could to lessen her pain, as we waited for the moment when she would just break down.

Five hours later, she took a call from her mom to tell her how today went. As she left the room, I reflected on the strength of my friend. I have always been a strong woman, but I would have broken down hours ago. She was still standing. Beautiful and kind and strong and inspirational...she was still standing. Whole. Unbroken.

I am pretty sure that when the lights go out and the room is empty and silent she will finally break down. But I can only hope that she knows how much she is truly loved and that helps her get though those moments.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter (the Adult version)

Did you think by that title you were gonna hear about some sort of "mature" Easter experience? Not so much.

We still had an Easter egg hunt.*

And a bunny cake.

And a coloring contest.

We just did it all with wine.

*note: This photo was staged later as the blog author was too busy crawling on the ground looking for eggs to take a photograph at the time.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

104.1 you are dead to me

I don't listen to the radio much and there are two main reasons for that. First, I am rarely in my car so I usually just listen to the Ipod on the Metro. My second reason is that, in my humble opinion, DC radio just plain sucks.

Things used to be okay. There were enough stations to flip through when one got especially chatty or played a crappy song. When in doubt, I could always rely on 104.1. Until one fateful day when I get a frantic phone call from my roommate. "Oh my god" she cries "are you near a radio? Turn it on! I don't know what happened. Something happened to 104.1!" I turned on the stereo and sat on the phone with roomie as we heard some sort of classical music being belted out of our beloved Z104. It just switched. No warning. No notice. Poof. I hopped online to find such a nice "farewell" on their website. They politely tried to direct me to listen to a few other stations. I tried. I really did. It just wasn't the same.

Until recently.

I was alerted that 104.1 was back. It was now called "George" but it was back. And better. Over the past few weeks, I have re-programmed my dials and fallen into old habits of turning on the radio. It felt nice. Today I was running some errands in my car while the 104.1 guy was chatting it up on my radio. I somewhat tuned him out but clearly heard the last thing he said "...signing off." Then fuzz. I clicked away and back. Away and back. Just like that. Gone. Yet again, 104.1 has broken my heart.

I heard the rumors but refused to believe them...that 104.1 was going off the air to be replaced by Gospel music. Well, it seems to be true. What I didn't get was why would they resurrect the style of 104.1 for only a tiny amount of time, as if to tease me or something. Again hitting the internet for an explanation, I found this ploy uncovered on George's website. The website tells me that George is just not going to be on the radio anymore but I can still listen...on High Definition Radio. Wait, so this tease was actually intentional?

George, you cannot seriously think that your ridiculous ploy to get me to buy an HD Radio would work. Am I really supposed to say "wow, I got so addicted to the 70's and 80's music you teased me with this past month that I must have more...no matter the cost!" Can you hear me saying that, George? Because I cannot really hear me saying that. I should tell you that, in fact, I will erase your 104.1 from my dials and charge my IPOD back up. From here on, 104.1, you are dead to me. I mean forever this time.

Update: I should mention I am getting quite a few readers who arrive here by searching "what happened to 104.1 George?" Dare I say that I am not the only upset one?


Let's play a game

...called "help me plan my bar trip". That would be the trip after I complete the bar exam not a trip to random bars. Believe it or not, this stumps some people. Anyway, I wrap up the Bar at the end of July and don't start working until the end of September. This leaves plenty of travel time to exotic destinations. My friend and I have some general ideas of places we would like to go but now we are ready to get specific and start planning our trip.

We definitely want to go to Australia. I already emailed the ex-boy in Australia for advice. He responded "what kind of experiences do you want (i.e. skiing, scuba diving, camping in the Outback, wineries, city hoping, spend the night in a zoo, etc)". I'm feeling pretty confident he will hook us up on the Oz front.

We have a strong desire to go to a few North African places (including Egypt and Morocco).

The guy who came to look at Bug's bed highly recommended Thailand (not just Bangkok but also much more south like Phuket.)

We also thought Greece would be a great place to explore.

Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions?


Monday, April 02, 2007

Share my moment

I had a moment this weekend. You know, an "I am so lucky to be in such an amazing place" moment. Share my moment:

I am in my car heading into D.C. from a haircut in Old Town. I'm in a happy mood because I always enjoy my salon visit. My stylist is wonderfully fun. I met him at a party in D.C. a few years back. He and I ended up sipping adult beverages on a sofa while I tried to pick out who was gay and he told me if I was right or wrong. Fun times. I thought for a moment about all of the people I have met here and all of the very random connections they have lead to. I love that about this city.

My windows are down and my new favorite radio station 104.1 is blaring. I have always loved the drive along the George Washington Parkway, but today seems especially beautiful. I pass the marina on my right and wonder how long it will take before I have a boat in there. I do my best "that's my boat" Forrest Gump impression and then giggle at myself.

Driving on, I am coming up to Reagan National Airport. I could not begin to count the number of times I have flown in and out of that airport in the past six years. I lived in Louisiana for twenty-four years and could count on one hand how many times I traveled from there. There is something about D.C. that brings out my love for travel. I am not sure if it's the people I have met or the accessibility and ease of traveling from here. All I know is I am currently planning a six week trip around the world that will include Australia, Africa and Asia and every person I met this weekend had a recommendation based on somewhere they have been or somewhere they think I'd love to go. As I pass the airport, I think of how much my fellow D.C.ers love to travel.

As I keep driving, I pass the Pentagon. For almost six years now, every time I have passed the Pentagon I remember that day. I remember smelling the burning as I walked across the bridge. I remember the candlelight vigils and bonding with strangers. Although I hate that 9-11 happened, I have always said I am glad I was here for it. I experienced a solidarity and patriotism in D.C. that changed me.

As I approach the Arlington Memorial Bridge, I brace myself. Some driver will inevitably not know how to handle the circle and someone else will swerve and there will be honking. This time, though, is smooth sailing. I veer right and pick my lane. I turn off the radio and listen to the sounds of D.C. I spend the short drive over the bridge just breathing in that view. Breathtaking. The sun is reflecting off the Potomac on both sides of me. The statues at the end of the bridge stand tall to let everyone know when they are entering and exiting D.C. I cannot see Mr. Lincoln ahead of me, but I can surely see the monumental white building in which he sits. And I see tourists everywhere. I'm not annoyed or upset though. I feel proud. I feel proud that so many hundreds of thousands of people are coming to see the beauty of my city right now. And it sure is a beautiful city. My city.

I met a few new people this weekend and one conversation somehow turned to past relationships. I mentioned that my last relationship was long distance. Someone said "yeah, those are hard because you get to a point where one of you has to decide who will leave to be with the other one." I smiled and said "that was actually never a problem. He knew I was not willing to leave here. I think I have found home."

If you are in D.C. and have a moment today, I recommend you enjoy your moment. I enjoyed mine.

On that note, I'm off to enjoy this glorious day with tens of thousands of other prideful D.C.ers to cheer on our Nats to an opening day victory. [hey, we tried]

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