Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Care and Feeding

I changed the oil in my car today. Or rather, I had the oil in my car changed today. I'm not going to pretend I was under there in the rain doing it myself. The Pennzoil near my house advertises a 10-minute oil change, and their sign currently reads:


Well, they got me. I need to take care of myself and my things. I have a very bad habit of letting things go way too long without the care they need. James is the same way, which is too bad because it means that we don't spur each other forward as much as we could. We're both trying to break this habit.

I got a job, sort of. I'll be working a couple of days a week at a coffee place nearby. I like their coffee a lot and I know a couple people there, so it should be a good thing. I look forward to bonding with their beautiful La Marzocco espresso machine.

James's dad died last weekend, which is why things have been quiet around here. James, too, has required a bit of extra care and feeding because of it, and I'm doing my best not to neglect him.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I Have Stuff

I've never been too much of a coveter. That might come from growing up having everything I needed; I'm not sure. I mean, I will go to yarn shops and pet the same expensive yarn visit after visit, knowing that it's too expensive, and I do splurge on things I really want. But I don't need to have a lot of stuff to be happy, and it's kind of cool to distribute my stuff to various friends and family in preparation for moving.

I had an old Taurus parked in front of my house for about eight months (since I bought my Focus last October). It needed suspension work, more than I was willing to pay for. Yesterday I gave the car to my friend Rob. It feels so good to own 1+ tons less stuff.

Jon and Meredith are taking the charcoal grill. Greg's already got the Starbucks cafe table and chairs. James's aunt Peggy is taking the washer and dryer. (All these things are going out on three-year loan until I'm done with law school.) Still, I have many boxes of books and yarn, not to mention the hundreds of CDs my parents have kindly stored for me for the past five years since I graduated college. And I need to return my mom's knitting machine to her, since I definitely won't have the space or time to use it in law school. Oh, and the clothes. An entire closet full of clothes I haven't worn in a year or more. They're going to the Salvation Army.

I'm not selling all my furniture and moving in my little hatchback -- a truck, or at least a couple of vans, will still be necessary. But after having experienced a knickknack-filled life for several years, it feels great to realize that I don't have to take anything with me that doesn't serve some purpose. Because I'm not really a stuff person.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

News Flash: Doing Stuff Is Good

I usually consider myself an introvert. I have many introvert characteristics: parties tire me out, I almost never get lonely, no one else's approval will suffice if I'm not happy with myself, and so on. But on the other hand, I have to talk things out with other people to get to what I really think about things. I can second-guess myself a lot in my head, but when I've said something out loud and it isn't true, alarm bells sound.

The other day I was talking with my friend Marcy (Marci? Marcie? oh man, I hate when I don't know how to spell someone's name). She is one of the regulars at the Starbucks where I used to work, and we've gotten to know each other pretty well over the past couple of years. We were talking about her son, who is overweight and is very self-conscious about it, to the point where he can't diet or exercise because his self-esteem is so low. I told her that I used to feel that way, too, not about being overweight but about being out of shape. I hated exercising because it showed me just how out of shape I was. Now, I just want to feel better tomorrow than I do today.

She thought that was a really profound statement and she made me say it again so she could write it down. And actually, I'm glad she did.

I have tendonitis in both wrists. It started about eight or nine years ago, and most of the time it doesn't affect my daily life, though it does get bad when I have to write an exam out by hand, or when a storm is coming. Over the years, though, I've hurt my wrists many times by pushing heavy things, gripping things (like stuck jar lids) too tightly, or carrying things with my wrists at an awkward angle. I've dealt with this by avoiding those situations, which means that I pretty much never lift anything heavy anymore, and that means I have very little strength in my hands and arms.

I've read in many places that scheduling time for exercise daily is a great way to succeed in law school, and I've wanted to get in shape for years. I took a weight-training course when I was at Mount Holyoke and I loved it, but at this point I don't feel ready to go to a gym. So I'm trying to get to the point over the summer where I'm ready to do that.

That means lifting two-pound hand weights right now, and going for brisk 40-minute walks. I want to progress past this level, and I'm confident that I can, but I need to remember that it's okay that I'm no athlete. I hear softball is huge at Virginia Law. I want to be able to play.

I also just found out that one of the local bowling alleys has a special on Wednesdays where you can bowl for three hours for $5 including shoes, or Friday for $7. I'll be the one bowling with a 6-pound ball, but not for long.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Never...

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do at U.Va. and in Charlottesville this time around. I may have mentioned that I spent way too much time working as an undergrad. I lived and breathed radio. I never even did homework without doing something else at the same time. And I certainly didn't get involved in the University community at all.

To wit, as an undergrad, I never...
  • ... joined a student organization
  • ... visited Monticello
  • ... went to a frat party
  • ... attended a single activity at my church
  • ... volunteered for anything non-radio-related
  • ... voted in any election
  • ... made a friend in any of my classes that I didn't already know from work, high school, or summer camp
I think there were a number of reasons that I missed out on so much, but none of them apply now, so I'm ready to actually be a student and enjoy it. August can't come soon enough for me.

On the other hand, the idea of leaving Pittsburgh doesn't make me very happy. James and I have spent these past few Sundays visiting with friends and family, and that's been wonderful. I hope we can keep that up when we move. It's a scant 2.5 hours to my parents' place from Charlottesville, so we could drive up for the day any time we want. And I'm sure we'll come back to Pittsburgh from time to time (that's what I keep telling everyone), but it's hard to imagine not being able to walk into Starbucks or church or the bank and see lots of familiar faces. I guess I will get to that point pretty quickly once we move, but there are a lot of people here I'll miss. I'm consoling myself by inviting all of them to come visit me down in VA.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Confirm or Disconfirm

Okay, I mess around with words to be silly. But someone on Law School Discussion just said "in agreeance" followed by talking about someone "voicing his disagreeance" with a situation.

There's a scene in The Big Lebowski where the Dude, the Big Lebowski and Brandt are all in the Big Lebowski's limo, and Brandt tells the Dude, "We believe you are in a unique situation to confirm or, ahem, disconfirm this theory." It's one of the funniest moments in the movie, because if you were in a limo with a guy who said that, you'd be struggling not to laugh in his face. I'm guessing Mr. Agreeance saw that movie and didn't get that scene.

I'm not a language fascist, and I'm not against new coinages. I just ask that they serve some purpose. A new word that means essentially the same thing as an old word but with slightly different implications is good, because it increases our ability to express ourselves and communicate effectively. A new word that means exactly the same thing as an old word is bad, because it increases the vocabulary of the language (thus making it more difficult to master) for no reason.

Stop the insaneness!