Friday, June 08, 2007


Sure has been awhile. I'm not even sure where to begin here, or even if it makes sense to write here anymore. My gut tells me no, that it doesn't, that it's best to move on to a different space here. And yet.

There's something about this space, this blog, that I like. I like the kinds of things I wrote about and thought about. I like that I can write as long or as short as I want.

But I also know that this blog captured a moment in my life, a time that doesn't quite exist in the same way, and that I'd want my blog now to talk about different things, things that don't quite make sense to me to do in as public a forum as this blog sometimes felt.

And I've also just realized that I am a different writer now, two years after graduating law school. I think my writing is shorter, cleaner. More precise. But also, colder. Maybe.

So, I'm back. Sort of. Maybe I'll give a link to my new blog. When I decide what it's going to be.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Stefan Presser, 52

Stefan Presser, former legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, died over the weekend from brain cancer. He was 52.

I did not know Stefan well, which is to say that I barely knew him at all. But for about a year, when I also worked at the ACLU in '94-'95, my office was next to his. I was the public education coordinator and assistant to the executive director at the time.

What I remember about Stefan was his passion. He seemed to me to be passionate about most everything he did, and in particular, his legal work, and his children, and righting injustices. I remember how excited he was the night he found out one of his cases had been certified as a class action. The way he listened intently to his clients, as if he was absorbing their words with every bit of his body. The careful attention he paid to the phone messages that Frank, the elderly intake counselor, would give him.

When law professors speak of being a "zealous advocate" for clients, they were talking about Stefan. He was the real deal, the embodiment of zeolous advocacy. As we say in the Jewish tradition, may his memory be a blessing.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Passage to the Other Side

I found out this morning that I passed the Pennsylvania Bar Exam. I did it. Despite the summer's craziness, I passed.

It was all worth it.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Conscious Living

I stopped watching television earlier this week. Gone. Cold turkey. I haven't turned it on since sometime Monday or Tuesday. I wasn't watching much before then, but I've been thinking about the job I'm starting next week, and how I'm going to work into my days and weeks all of the things I want to do. And television seemed like the easiest thing to cut out.

I don't handle television well. I rarely watch just one show. I get sucked into Real World marathons, or episode after episode of Friends, or Sex in the City. I sit down, and then before I know it, I'm prone on the couch, channel-surfing. Hours go by, and then my eyes glaze over and drool is running down my face. Sure, it's a peaceful existence. But here's the thing: I think TV generally makes me unhappy. It blocks me from doing things that make me happy, like being outside, or with friends, or writing, or drawing, or exercising, or cooking, or baking, and the end result is I'm kind of dissatisfied and restless, and a little bit grumpy, even.

So I've begun my television cessation program. I've made a conscious decision to walk by my television. To not turn it on. I don't mean to say that I won't ever watch television again. I will. And I'm not advocating that others should stop watching TV. I'm just trying to do it in a way that feels more, well, conscious. Where it's actually a decision, and not just a reflex.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Marrying Me

A few days after my ex-girlfriend broke up with me, I got engaged. I bought a ring: it's multi-colored and silver, and it was made in Nepal. I bought it for $13.50, plus tax, at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown bazaar (whose out lesbian pastor was recently defrocked).

I wrote out a whole series of commitments I was willing to make -- to myself. I decided to marry me.

This was not my idea. The first person I ever knew to marry herself was the best friend of my ex's. She had a ceremony and vows, and when I heard about it, I thought it was a great idea. What better way of expressing your love for yourself?

Except that I'm not ready to walk down the aisle yet. I didn't want to jump into anything too quickly. So I'm having a long engagement.

I've given up my dream of being in the New York Times Style section with my (currently non-existent) beau. It really wasn't so much of a dream as another achievement to tick off of some list in my head. But the list wasn't my own, so I've been trying to get rid of it, one by one.

The engagement's been a rocky road: I'm not the easiest person in the world to have a relationship with. I steal all of the covers. I sleep diagonally. I take long showers. I often leave my shoes in the middle of the floor, or don't do my laundry for a couple of weeks. I sometimes get grumpy, and can't figure out quite what to do to un-grump. I take a long time to make decisions. I am a perfectionist. I need time alone to check in with myself and re-connect. I have a hard time asking for what I need, though I am getting better at it.

But I make up funny songs, and poems, and like to draw and write, and be outside. I like to smile, and laugh. I bake great chocolate chip cookies and brownies, and make delicious hot fudge. I am well-read. I'm passionate about politics. I try new things and places. I care about being a better person, and knowing myself better. I like being connected to the world around me. I have a long list of things that I want to try or learn, and I don't ever plan to be bored. I am affectionate. I like touch. On my best days, I am gentle, and sweet, and caring. I am learning to take good care of myself.

I'm taking it slowly, and when the time comes, I'll get married on the beach, in shorts and flip-flops, to myself. I might have a couple of guests, and maybe we'll drink champagne or dance under the stars. Or maybe, I'll just smile to myself, happy to be my own best friend, happy to know the big secret: that I'm the only one who can make me whole.

Monday, August 29, 2005

When things could be different

It's late, and I'm awake, and I'm wishing right now that things were different than they are. I'm sad about the end of my relationship. I wish that I could write something funny or witty or even relevant to your life right now. About the bar exam, or my travels up and down the East Coast. I've seen lots of things that would be fun to write about. But I can't do that tonight.

Tonight, I can only say that break-ups are hard, and complicated, and that I am profoundly sad about the end of my relationship in the deepest parts of me.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Summer Sky

The moon led me home tonight. I was driving back from the mall, having bought a birthday present for my niece, who turned 8 today. I was on the Schulykill Expressway when I looked up, and there she was, in front of me, hanging in the sky, just about whole, and orangey white. She played hide-and-seek for awhile as I made the 20-minute drive, disappearing behind clouds. But then she reappeared, covered in just the finest layer of fog, like an almost-sheer evening gown. Always the host, she took me to my doorstep, and waited until I was safely inside, before disappearing again, and saying good night.

When You Gotta Go

Like most people, I'm a fan of clean public bathrooms. And these days, I'm often wandering around Philadelphia, without a home base to pee from.

So when I have to go, it's helpful to have a sense of the city's restrooms. For example, the ones at Borders (Broad and Chestnut) and Barnes & Noble (across from Rittenhouse Square), while easily accessible, are just plain gross, but good in a pinch.

But my favorite are the restrooms at the Sofitel, the swank hotel on 17th and Sansom. They're on the second floor, tucked away, and are clean and luxurious. By clean, I mean, well, CLEAN. And by luxurious, I mean that each individual stall is like its own little room: fully enclosed, four walls, with floor-to-ceiling wooden doors with gold doorknobs. And they have those fluffy paper towels that are paper but feel more like cloth. Lastly, they're generally pretty empty, which is nice for when you need a, umm, private moment.

In any case, it's nice to have a home base in a pinch. And, you can enter the hotel on the side (Sansom Street) so you don't have to walk by the knowing glances of the front desk staff, though I have entered through the front, too, on 17th Street, and they're friendly even to non-tourist-non-conventioneer-non-button-down-business-looking-folks like me.
< A Legally Inclined Weblog >