November 30th 2004

wiffle waffle

I go back and forth on being excited to move somewhere new next year. Today, I am pretty excited about it, mostly because I’ve just gotten back in touch with an old friend who lives in DC.

But a week ago, I was near miserable thinking about it. All I could imagine was the difficulty of moving, the greater debt we’ll take on, the being far, far away from my family. My stomach was churning.

So I’m back and forth. And I guess that’s to be expected—this is a pretty major change we’re planning to make. I’ve always lived close to my family except for my four years of undergrad. Even then, I was home at least once a semester plus Christmas and the summer. We’re all pretty close. Oddly, I’ve begun working on my grandmother’s Christmas newsletter (it features pictures of all their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with little blurbs…it’s very visually friendly) and you’d think that would make me more nostalgic and upset about moving far away. But instead, today, I am excited about the future. Maybe I know in my heart how supportive my family will be.

Totally unrelated: I really like the Family Guy. Seriously funny show. Adult Swim rocks. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Part of all this reflection is that Mr. Angst is diving into the real work of his applications and the “eventuallies” are becoming the “nows.” We’ve been coasting along on the assumption that both him and me will get into schools in all the cities we’re looking at and suddenly I think we’re both very aware that the plan may not work out that way. And I don’t really know what we’ll do if the plan doesn’t work out as we hoped. So, I’m excited about moving and change today perhaps because I’m really avoiding the possibilities.

social commentary

Thanks to Shelley for this lovely article.

At choir rehearsal not long ago, I had a conversation with a seminarian who was explaining to me why he was voting for Bush. His reasons? He admired the President’s faith, yes, but more important to him was Bush’s stance on abortion and the war. I replied that I could not vote for Bush because of his stance on the death penalty, his blindness to the complete inadequacy of No Child Left Behind, and his odd fiscal irresponsibility. It was all very civil, and while neither of us could agree with the other, we spoke with respect and openness.

Why can’t more political conversations go that way?

We are not—and I am not—black and white, red and blue. There are too many things going on in our country for me to take a one-sided view of all of them. Like Heidi, I sometimes consider myself a bleeding heart liberal. Also like Heidi, though, I am willing to make concessions on some issues for the sake of others. It is too bad that our elected officials (at least publicly and in the media) do not present the same face of compromise.

apps

Two schools that I’ve submitted apps to have not in any way acknowledged their receipt. This makes me nervous, although just a bit. When will they ask for reports? When will they tell me they’ve received my stuff? When when when?

When I applied to college, yea so many years ago, one of my applications was, apparently, never considered. It was very odd. I sent everything in along with my check, and I never heard anything else from that school. I wasn’t particularly interested in that school, so I didn’t fret about it. But law school is a bit different.

For one, I think I’m not really supposed to call these schools to ask about the status of my application. But without calling, I am at the mercy of the schools as far as being informed that my applications have been received. One school got a check from me, so I can always monitor my checking account to see if it’s cleared. The other, though, was paid online when I submitted. They have my money, but I have no way of knowing when they’ll take a look at my application.

I feel sort of helpless, and I don’t like that.

November 29th 2004

addiction turned foul

I fully admit that I am addicted to Las Vegas. It’s eye and mind candy, totally worthless TV, really.

But tonight, they have reached a new low. This must be the “exposition” episode of the season. The dialog is wretched, the plot is contrived, and, for God’s sake, the Polyphonic Spree guests.

I actually kind of like this show, but this episode pretty much guarantees it’s going to get cancelled. Dammit, why don’t they hire me to write their shows? I’d do a better job, Mr. Angst would do a better job, the kid down the street would do a better job.

Sigh. TV sucks.

full plates

I have about a million things to do in the next two and a half weeks.

OK, that’s exaggerating—but only a little bit. I have to begin and finish my grandmother’s Christmas newsletter, which will be tricky since no one in my family has sent me any photos. I have some I’ve taken, but not many. Considering it takes about a week to get the thing to the printer and from thence out into the mail, I am seriously screwed.

It has to be out in two and a half weeks because we leave on the evening of the 16th for DC to visit some campuses before we make our way to the in-laws for Christmas. We fly into BWI super-late and will have to stay somewhere in Baltimore that night so Mr. Angst can make his 11am appointment in that city; I will probably take a train into DC to visit Georgetown (information session at 11, not sure how useful it will be). Then Mr. Angst will join me in DC and we’ll both go take a look at GW. And then we have time to kill. I’m hoping we can send our luggage for the week ahead to the Angst-in-laws, and store whatever overnight bags we have in DC at the train station. But it’s been a while since I’ve been to DC and I don’t know if that’s a good possibility.

So, DCers, here are a couple of several questions:

  1. Where’s a cheapish place we can stay (for one night) in the District that’s convenient to Georgetown and GW and a Metro stop?

  2. Are there, in fact, storage lockers or the like at the major stations? (I’m thinking Union Station, particularly, since that’s where we’ll be coming in from Baltimore on the MARC train.) There are, in fact, lockers at Union Station, as I suspected there would be. It remains to be seen if they will be large enough for luggage. No clue about stations in Baltimore.
  3. Are there other things we should put on our itinerary for Friday afternoon/Saturday morning? Things we should see if we’re very seriously contemplating moving to DC for school?
  4. Any recommendations for rail/bus/Metro passes for our two-day stay? We won’t need round-trip MARC tickets, I don’t think, but what will we want for the Metro in DC?
  5. At present, I believe the Angst-in-laws are going to drive to pick us up on Saturday (it’ll be a few-hour round-trip for them, so we can’t really stay with them), but if we need to rent a car and drive-and-drop, how tough might that be? This was a stupid question, as I know I can rent a car just about anywhere. Forgive.

These are lots of questions, sure, and they probably reveal me to be a bit of a worry-wart. But any advice would be much welcomed.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t heard back from my Northwestern interviewer, which makes me a bit nervous. Time is short!

November 27th 2004

Yeah, I took a blogging

Yeah, I took a blogging break. Between the all-day kitchen-fest that was Thursday, and the all-day football-fest that was Friday, I was just plain pooped. Didn’t bother to get out of my pjs today until 3:30.

We just returned from a nice dinner at my aunt and uncle’s. They live something less than an hour away in a brand, spanking new subdivision of houses with no easement, whose designs repeat every third lot. “Starting in the 120’s!” Not terribly enticing.

This aunt and uncle have just recently returned from nine years (or thereabouts) in Germany, where my uncle was stationed. What did my aunt talk about all night? Germany. German wine. German tchotckes. German sugar tablets for your coffee. And Dutch veterinary clinics. Good golly! The things I never wanted to know about Germany! We escaped as the other aunt and uncle who were at dinner pulled out the dominos for family game time.

Lest you think I am a terrible person, the evening really was nice. I pull out the sarcasm when I talk about family because, well, families are messy and confusing sometimes. But they are still family, and they understand and know you like few people do. All but one of my mother’s siblings was at dinner, and I treasure that these men and women who watched me grow up are so close and still want to spend time with one another. If there’s one thing I am always thankful for this time of year, it’s family, foibles and all. These times make our plans for the next three years somewhat more difficult to stomach, as I’m sure we’ll end up far away and visits will be rare and never long enough.

November 25th 2004

gobble gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve been through half of one turkey and half of another; the other halves are tupperwared up and put away. We’ve been through half of two pies. We’ve been through half a pot of coffee. And now we’re looking to rent a movie.

I’m beat! But it’s been lovely. Happy Thanksgiving, all.

November 24th 2004

holiday time!

My mommy is here, she just called to say they were on the ground, picking up their rent car.

I, however, am at work. Phbbt. I am hoping we get a half-day reprieve—sometimes that happens, but it has to come from the top (and I work for a pseudo-government institution, so that means from the governor) and he never makes up his mind until around 11:30. Or at least, they never tell us till then.

I have things to do today—I need a new sweater, I need to buy some liquor (vodka and Rumpelminz), and I need to make some pastry shells. Oh, and also we have the Thanksgiving Eve service my choir is singing in tonight. Too much to do, so little time. I wish I’d remembered the pastry last night, because it could be resting in the fridge right now. (I did not go shopping last night because the sky looked very omninous and my umbrella was at home.)

In other words, I think the next several hours are going to be mildly stressful. What else would I expect, though, hosting Thanksgiving with two sets of parents? Stress is my life-force, though. I will rise to the challenge.

Update: It appears a reprieve is not going to happen. I recall reprieves happening every year that I’ve been here, but our office manager says it never happens. I don’t know what the heck is going on, but I’m leaving at 12:30, when I get my four hours in. And that’s that. I can suck up the four hours of vacation time it’ll cost me.

Update 2: OK, I went back and looked at my electronic timesheets for the last several years, and it appears we have never gotten a reprieve on the day before Thanksgiving—I have always just taken that half day off. Weirdly, we do usually get a reprieve on Good Friday, which seems sort of odd since this is the government we’re talking about. We are a red state, though. And I am always glad for that half day when we get it. At any rate, I’m at home, making pastry and waiting for my mom to get here.

November 23rd 2004

creepy weather

It’s been raining forever here. Today, it looked like it might let up as I drove to work. There was no actual water falling from the sky, and I didn’t need to turn my lights on to see the road at 8:15 in the morning.

But now the sky has blackened. The thunder is so heavy the windows in my office (which is in a four-story solid brick building) are vibrating. I just heard our office manager tell some coworkers who parked outside to move their cars to the garage because hail is on its way.

I generally stave off the Seasonal Affective Disorder until January, when the dark days and cold weather just overwhelm me. But if I don’t get some sun here soon, I might have to cancel Thanksgiving and send all the family to Luby’s. I don’t think I’ll be able to cook.

Update: The sun is out briefly. The rain is scheduled to come back in a couple of hours—right when I need to go to the grocery store, unfortunately—but for now, it’s sunny and bright. Yay! Cold weather comin’ in tonight, just in time for Turkey Day.

November 22nd 2004

hee!

Today’s Horoscope:

Quickie: Coworkers’ nervous little habits are unavoidable. Find a way to drown them out.

Overview: It’s time for you to wind things down—all kinds of things. If you need to summon up one last blast of willpower to finish it all up, don’t worry. You’ll be more than equipped to handle it.

more waiting

I just spoke with Northwestern regarding my request for an off-campus interview. See, I requested an interview six weeks ago, and I haven’t heard anything. I was beginning to wonder if they lost my information or were ignoring my request because I hadn’t submitted my application.

None of that, actually, is the case. They’re just really backed up, with lots of requests and not enough alumni to do interviews. I’m supposed to wait another week and call then if I haven’t heard anything.

I’m not sure what another week is going to do—after all, this week is half holiday, so I don’t know how much is going to get done before next Tuesday. Still, good to know I didn’t do anything wrong, and that my information didn’t get lost, and that I should, at some point, get an interview. Hopefully.

Update: I just received my interview information. Either an eerie coincidence or my call expedited something. Either way, I now have contact information.

November 21st 2004

did you know that…

…vinyl tile gives off a distinct smell that apparently doesn’t dissipate with any rapidity?

…you can get denim burn on your knees if you wear jeans while installing tile?

…it is nearly impossible to hang anything on the wall straight when you are 5′1″ and don’t have anything resembling a level?

…even if you think your walls are straight, plumb, they probably aren’t?

…fresh turkeys (even the frozen “fresh” turkeys, which aren’t frozen solid, and can be called fresh because of some odd USDA regulations) are twice as expensive as frozen turkeys? And that you pretty much can’t find a truly frozen turkey that hasn’t been injected with “flavorings”?

All these are things I learned this weekend. It took a lot of time and quite a bit of contortion on my part (since I’m the only one small enough to measure and cut the tile that goes behind the toilets), and we are bit messy around here still, but we have new flooring in all of our bathrooms, our foyer, and our kitchen/utility. Hallelujah! It’s delightful. We celebrated by buying new rugs for the doorways and kitchen, and a new blowdryer for me.

A long, long weekend leading into what will be a long, long week. I’m pretty darn tired right now.

November 20th 2004

rain and vanilla coke

It’s raining again here, which is annoying. Mr. Angst, the Angst-in-laws, and I excursed (is that a word? if it is, I like it) to the Home Depot today and bought 160 or so square feet of vinyl tile. We’re retiling the entryway, all 2-1/2 baths, and our kitchen/utility room. This is partly because the tile that is in all of these room is dead ugly—alternating sea foam green and sandy peach—and partly because we’d like to increase the resale value of our home in preparation for next year’s graduate school adventures.

Right now, we’re waiting for the floor primer to dry. Remember when I said it was raining? That’s making the floor primer not dry very quickly. When it’s dry, we’ll start cutting and laying tile, after which we’ll replace the quarter-round trim and caulk around the toilets. We are not pulling the toilets up because we don’t want to hire a plumber. Later, we’ll unplug the fridge and pull it out to tile the kitchen; then we’ll do the same with the laundry machines. This, I think, is going to be a very long day.

Also new, Mr. Angst mentioned that he doesn’t think he’s going to apply to the program in Boston anymore. Since I was never jazzed about Boston in the first place, I think Boston is off the list. So I only have two more applications to submit, instead of four-maybe-five. Once of those requires an extra essay, so I’ll work on that in the next week or so. The other is pretty ready to go, just waiting for the next pay period.

So, la! I’d really much rather restrict myself to either Chicago or DC, with the possibility of staying right where we are and going to Texas if things don’t work out for us to move. I don’t like all the uncertainty that comes along with dozens of irons in the fire. Even for undergrad, I only applied to three schools, and one was the big state school that automatically admitted me.

November 19th 2004

pie…mmmm

CM has not heard of buttermilk pie. So i am going to tell you of the goodness that is buttermilk pie.

CM asks if it is like a custard pie, and, indeed, it is. But this custard pie is made with buttermilk. If you like buttermilk, you will love buttermilk pie.

Imagine: a couple of cups of buttermilk, a cup or so of sugar, a few eggs, and some nutmeg. Oh, and vanilla, too, because it’s yummy. Pour into a pie shell and bake for slightly less than an hour until set, and eat. After it cools, of course.

Buttermilk pie…imagine the goodness that is any other custard pie: lemon meringue, say, but without the lemon or the meringue. The closest analogy I can imagine is ice cream. There’s vanilla, and chocolate, and pistachio, and rocky road…all kinds of ice cream that are all essentially the same but with different flavorings added. And then there’s sweet cream ice cream, which is basically ice cream with nothing but cream, eggs, and sugar.

Buttermilk pie is the sweet cream ice cream of custard pies. It is to be loved and eaten.

one more down and the ulcer begins

I just sent Northwestern.

I also discovered that I forgot to attach my resumé to one of the apps I sent last night. Oops. I printed it off and stuck it in an envelope, along with a required “attachment” that had to be mailed anyway. Hope that’s not a big deal. I figure as long as they get it, it’ll be fine. I’ll call next week or maybe after Thanksgiving to make sure it got there and is appropriately attached to my file.

And now the worry begins. Thanks to LSAC’s nasty little, “You can never take this back are you sure you want to transmit now?” alert, and my own forgetfulness as stated above, I have begun to fret that I forgot something, put something down wrong, had typos in my resumé, or personal statement or otherwise did something totally boneheaded that will get my application sent to the circular file without a second glance.

If this is what waiting is like, I can do without it. Thankfully (?) I have in-laws coming for a full week to keep my mind off of it all. And Mr. Angst informed me that I will be captain of the kitchen at Thanksgiving and Mrs. Angst-in-law will not try to take charge. I.e., I, who have never cooked a full Thanksgiving meal all by myself, will be doing so this week. Oh, I’ll have Mrs. Angst-in-law and my own mother to help. But the cooking will all be mine, right down to the pastry shells and giblet gravy. God help me!

weird

I sucked it up and submitted my four of my top five apps last night, figuring they’d all get at least my first two letters right away, and the last one whenever it arrived.

It arrived at LSAC this morning. That means I can go ahead and apply to Northwestern, which doesn’t take updated reports from LSAC so I didn’t apply last night because I wanted to wait and make sure that they got ALL my letters since I REALLY would like to get into Northwestern.

So in a few minutes, perhaps, I will run upstairs to the PC and apply (I’m at home this morning) to Northwestern, thus sending off into the ether my top five apps.

Wow. It all happened so fast, and before Thanksgiving, just like I wanted it to!

I do, by the way, have other apps. Those will need to wait for the next pay period (and perhaps some early Christmas money…).

November 18th 2004

it’s official!

I am now a law school applicant!

hoo-frickin’-ray!

LSAC has processed my SECOND letter of rec, which was sent on Wednesday of last week!

I am giddy with excitement.

too early to be festive?

The choir I sing in has begun preparing for our Christmas concert. (Sadly, I will not sing in the concert since I’ll be visiting campuses in DC that weekend.) At any rate, we’ve begun to work on some of the music, and it’s definitely put me in the holiday spirit. We’re even singing Pat-a-Pan!

So now I’m listening to my college choir’s recording of Lessons and Carols (ours is called Look from Afar and I sadly cannot find it for sale online).

I know, I know, Thanksgiving isn’t even until next week! What am I doing listening to Christmas music? All I can say is that I love this season. I shudder to see tinsel and fairy lights at the mall this early, but music…music is another story altogether. Good music, that is. (After a season working retail, I can’t hear Baby, It’s Cold Outside without wanting to hide under a display table.) Plus, this music is really Advent music, totally appropriate for preparing oneself for Christmas. It’s also really beautiful and soothing.

Is it wrong that I really want to put our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving? Mr. Angst would disapprove, I’m sure. We’ll be at a football game anyway, so I guess it’s a moot point. Maybe Saturday?

LSAC is out of the doghouse…at least temporarily

My first-sent letter of recommendation was received and processed this morning! If this trend continues, the second should be received and processed tomorrow, and the third on Monday or Tuesday.

You know what this means? I no longer have any excuse whatsoever for not submitting my applications.