Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's About a Boy Who Shoots a Puppy

I would have just put this on Facebook, but it really needs the space my blog provides it. This is Beckett at his best.

Picture it: Earlier this afternoon. My parent's living room. Beckett has decided he needs something to listen to so we can "have that party" (it's a dance party, by the way). While rifling through the CDs by the stereo in the living room, he knocks them all on the floor, bends over to pick them up, but returns with only a tape in his hands. He starts trying to put it in the tape player because we just have to listen to the tape. What's on this tape, you ask? Are you ready? According to Beckett, on this tape is "a story about a boy who shoots a puppy."

I'm gonna let that sink in. It took about 3 seconds for it to register at the time. When it did, my dad and I looked at each other quizzically, and the burst out into laughter.

"That sounds really great, Beckett," said my dad, trying his hardest to speak through the laughter.

"Heartwarming," I said through tears because I was crying from laughing so hard.

We continue to laugh, Beckett continues to look confused. He gives up his quest to have us listen to the timeless and loving story of the boy who shoots his dog. He walks out of the room, leaving all the CDs in a pile on the floor. He can't get any respect in this house.

I walked over to the corner to pick up the mess B had made and while stacking all the CDs  and the cases, I come across this:

This is the case that Beckett's tape came out of. And, yep, that is a picture of someone holding a gun to that dog's head. "Ooooohhhhhh," I said as I started to giggle. I turned the case to my dad. "Well," he replies, "that is a dog getting shot." We continued laughing.

"I'm just glad he didn't come up with shooting a dog out of his own little brain," I tell my dad, relieved that my child is not a sociopath.

Two hours later we were still laughing about it. I'm still laughing about it now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Come On Over

First post on the new blog is up. You can read it and follow me here. This blog will still be active for stories about Beckett and what not. Speaking of B, he started kindergarten a week ago.  It's cliched to say, but I really can't believe that he's 5 and had started "real" school. He informed me that he is part of the class of 2024 and I almost died. 2024?!? I have a sneaking suspicion it will be here before I know it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Put in a Good Word for Me

After yesterday's foray into burdens of proof and the worthiness of our justice system, maybe it's time I get back to something a little lighter. Since law school ended, I have had an inordinate amount of time to read. And not read about copyrights or wrongful birth or adoptions or anything else that someone else has decided I should read about. I started with Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I have had this book on the shelf for almost a year. It waited patiently for me to decide I actually wanted to read it. I never knew how much I really wanted to read that book.

So many things struck me about this book, but perhaps this most of all:

Giulio said, "Maybe you and Rome just have different words."
"What do you mean?"
He said, "Don't you know the secret to understanding a city and its people is to learn - what is the word of the street?"
Then he went on to explain . . . that every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most of the people who live there. Whatever the majority thought might be - that is the word of the city. And if your personal word does not match the word of the city, you really don't belong there.
"What is Rome's word?" I asked.
"SEX," he announced.

Giulio was already on to the next and most obvious question: "What's your word?" (103-104)

When I read a book for pleasure, I still read like a student. I have a pencil in hand. I underline important passages. I write notes in the margins. I use an index card as a bookmark and write longer notes or things I'd like to look up or words I want to know or anything I feel needs further research. My index card for Eat Pray Love reads something like this:

Bali: caste system
It's not like tying the cat to the pole
How do I define pleasure?
What is my WORD?
St. Teresa
Sufi mystics
Sanskrit texts on yoga
Fred B. Eiseman

In trying to momentarily escape from my own mixed-up universe, I create more work for myself. This makes me think my word is MASOCHIST. Or maybe that makes my word CURIOUS. After all, George does have a friend named Betsy. But I haven't landed on one word yet.

Gilbert discusses a million things in this book: love, divorce, religion, God, friendship, soul mates, writing, meditation, soul searching - the list goes on. Gilbert put into words what I had been trying to articulate for years - a comforting thing in a book. I tend to get sucked into the world of a book very quickly and whole-heartedly (see this post for an example). I think it's my favorite part of reading. Gilbert made me want to go to Italy, India, and Indonesia without passing "GO" and without a second thought.  Maybe that makes my word IMPRESSIONABLE.

Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. -E. Gilbert, Eat Pray Love (260).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Murder Most Foul

As I was awaiting the jury's verdict in the Casey Anthony trial today, I couldn't help but think back to the fall of 1995. Sixteen years ago, the country was waiting on the verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. These two situations are so strikingly similar, but the audience - me - so markedly different. Then, I was a wide-eyed 11 year old, a girl who thought that if you were charged with murder, you must certainly be guilty. Today, I am a 27 year old and the proud owner of one law degree and 16 years of life experience. Then, it was easy to see things as black or white. Today, I know that life sometimes is lived out in the grey area between the two. I still remember the utter helplessness and disbelief upon hearing "not guilty" 16 years ago - and, to an extent, I relived that same disbelief today.

But therein lies the difference between an 11 year old school girl and a 27 year old with a law degree. The funny thing about life is that some lessons can't be unlearned. Some concepts can't be unheard. An overwhelming majority of this country believes Casey Anthony murdered her daughter - and you can count me as part of that majority. I say I only relived that feeling "to an extent" because of what I know now. Then, beyond a reasonable doubt was nothing more than a string of words, an abstract concept, something the actors playing lawyers said on television.  Today, beyond a reasonable doubt is something I know, something I was tested on, asked about, expected to be able to explain.  And one thing I know about it is that it is the highest burden that one can be asked to prove -higher than clear and convincing evidence and higher than a preponderance of the evidence.  This standard requires that the prosecution prove that  no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts, except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that one is innocent until proven guilty.

A lot of people want to blame our justice system for this seeming miscarriage of justice. I suppose when angered, it is easy to point fingers and lay blame. And what bears the brunt of this blame is the system. I, however, believe in the system. Maybe it's because I went to law school, maybe it's because I am unfailingly idealistic, maybe it's because I'm naive -- but maybe, just maybe, it's because the system works. We have a justice system that presumes innocence, that provides for the rights of all who come before it, that strives for fairness in light of the immense burden placed upon it. But it is a system run by people. And we are, after all, just people. People capable of making sound and independent decisions, but also capable of falling under the influence and opinion of others. People committed to justice and reason, but people who are not impervious to passion and emotion. We are also people who want to believe, but are quick to mistrust. So it is with the general perception of the justice system.  I think people find disturbing and frightening the possibility that the guilty will go free, allowed to walk among us, as if their crime did not occur.  But are people as righteously indignant at the possibility that the innocent will be locked away, restricted in every way, for something they did not do?

But I digress. I think the point of this blog is to remember, if only momentarily, what it was like to watch the outcome of a trial with no knowledge of who was who, what was what, or what anything actually meant. I was taken back to a time when "not guilty" meant "innocent," if only to me. When I started law school just shy of 3 years ago, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I don't think it ever dawned on me that I would no longer be a simple spectator to anything in a courtroom.  For weeks, we have been watching the trial, discussing the questions asked of the witnesses, critiquing the theories of both sides, and speculating as to what the jurors might be thinking.  Without a law degree, I might have been able to express my outrage at the outcome of this trial a little louder, with a little more shock, and a lot more emphasis. But this is no longer then case. I must admit, about 5 minutes before the verdict was read, I felt in my gut that the jury would file back in and, in unanimous agreement, find Casey Anthony "not guilty." But I'm old enough, and wise enough, now to know that means anything but "innocent."

Murder most foul, as in the best it is,/ But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
-W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, I.v.28-29

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Come Live With Me and Be My Love

Part of the blog challenge I was doing was to write a letter to someone that you would never send. This isn't really something I wanted to do, seeing as how it seemed quite personal, but I think I've got it figured out. I'm going to write Jon Krakauer a love letter.  I just finished reading Into Thin Air by Krakauer, and another of his books, Into the Wild, has been one of my favorite books for years. Into Thin Air (read the Times review here), is Krakauer's personal account of the disaster on Mt. Everest in May 1996. There is something about the way that Krakauer writes that makes me want to do the most insane things -- yesterday, I thought, well, maybe I could climb Everest. And after I read Into the Wild 7 years ago, burning all of my money and hitchhiking to Alaska sounded like an amazing time, even if the experience might end with me frozen to death in an abandoned van.

I grew up with an ambition and determination without which,  I would have been a good deal happier. I thought a lot and developed the far-away look of a dreamer, for it was always the distant heights which fascinated me and drew me to them in spirit. I was not sure what could be accomplished by means of tenacity and little else, but the target was set high and each rebuff only saw me more determined to see at least one major dream through to its fulfillment.
                                   -Earl Denman, Alone to Everest, quoted by Krakauer in Into the Wild

But I don't just love Krakauer for the crazy ideas he puts in my mind, I love him for his vocabulary. Into Thin Air is 374 pages long. Contained in those pages were 51 words that I did not know the definition of. Well, I knew the definition to some of them, but not the exact definition.  I could figure out the meaning of the rest because of the context and not knowing the exact definition did not hinder my reading in any way.  But this is not good enough for me. I have a sick fascination with words, with the written word, and with the people who get to string them together for a living. I looked up the proper definition of all 51 words, typed them into a Word document, folded this paper in half and placed it inside the book for the next reader.  While I already knew generally what loquacious, ebullient, and vertiginous mean, I needed to know Mr. Webster's idea of what those words mean.  In addition to the words I knew, I learned a handful of new words to work into my vocabulary -- peripatetic, mellifluous, parvenus, crepuscular, prevarication, carapace, and mirabile visu, to name a few. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that I don't know nearly as much as I think I do.

I guess I never got around to actually writing a letter, but I think you get the point.

Is it not a joy to learn? And to practice and share what you have learned? -Kung Fu-tze

On a related note, I want this book.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

"There are 3 stages in a man's life: First, he believes in Santa; then, he doesn't believe in Santa; and finally, he becomes Santa."

Happy Father's Day to my Santa Claus (and Beckett's, too!)

If I know anything about cars, it's because of you. I think we both know my knowledge is limited, but I do know Chevy is better than Ford.

I own and love The Outlaw Josey Wales because it's your favorite. And I have a special place in my heart for all things Clint Eastwood because you love all of his movies (except The Unforgiven, which I have never seen).

I can't go to any antique mall, thrift store, or other store where there is furniture without thinking of almost every piece, "It's nice, but why would I pay for it when my Dad could make it better?"

I love my Auburn Tigers, but I have a soft spot for the Georgia Bulldogs. That's all your fault.

I know every word to every Garth Brooks song. You guessed it: you did that, too.

And if I have every been described as outgoing, talkative, or funny (my favorite things about me), it's because I get those things from you.

Thanks, Dad.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Sadness in My Heart Like Stone

Those of you who know me even the slighest bit know that I love to read.  I just finished Diary by Chuck Palahniuk (which was not my favorite of his) and am in the middle of Beloved by Toni Morrison (good, but I think I liked The Bluest Eye better) and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Also, I am rereading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (who I love, especially Loose Woman). 

On other fronts, the move to Newnan (for me at least) has been very slow. I just brought another car load of my things to the new apartment and there are probably two car loads left to bring.  I spent the better part of today hanging pictures and putting books on shelves -- basically making my room my home.  It may sound materialistic, but I like my things. I mean, really like my things. Or maybe what my things mean.  I found hundreds of old pictures, my first drivers license, cards, wedding invitations, and a myriad of other things I've collected in 27 years.  I found a scrapbook my best friend made for me when I moved from Dothan to Montgomery when I was 13, my senior yearbook, the ticket from the Dave Matthews concert we went to the summer we were 18, my Auburn student ID, and a bunch of Beckett's baby pictures.  Recently, I've been feeling, well, out of it. I wouldn't say depressed, just maybe not like myself.  These things were a great reminder of what a great life I've had.  It's a reminder I desparately needed and welcomed whole-heartedly.  A reminder of 27 years of people who have loved me, and more importantly, who I have loved.  You all know who you are, from high school to college to law school.  I have been a tremendously lucky girl.  If I had a scanner near me, I would post some of the pictures here, for they contain the most wonderfully hilarious memories (maybe that will happen soon). 

Now, onward to that blog challenge I have so gracefully avoided...

Day Twelve: A Picture of Something You Dislike

I got a lot of problems with a lot of things, and now you have to hear about them. Or read about them.

First and foremost, I am big on table manners. They are very important to me and I will not hesitate to judge you if your mama didn't teach them to you. Or if you weren't smart enough to figure them out for yourself.

And then there's the issue of grammar.  I have no idea why the difference between your and you're, or there, their, and they're is so difficult to master, but apparently it is.  I also take issue with the use of the following abbreviations: Ur, plz, cuz, etc. But I'm the girl who punctuates and capitalizes text messages, so what do I know?

There are, I'm sure, a million other things that I dislike. But in an effort to get me out of whatever funk I've been in lately, I'm not going to dwell on the negative any longer.  Those are two things I dislike without having to think about it, and that will suffice for today.

I think I've posted this poem before, but I love it so much.  It's by Sandra Cisneros and appears in Loose Woman, which was given to me by one of my favorite women (and oldest friends), Hillary Ballant Ryan, who you can find here.

There's a poem in my head

like too many cups of coffee.
A pea under twenty eiderdowns.
A sadness in my heart like stone.
A telephone. And always my
Night madness that outs like bats
across this Texas sky.

I'm the crazy lady they warned you about.
The she of rumor talked about -
and worse, who talks.

It's no secret.
I'm here. Under a circle of light.
The light always on, resisting a glass,
an easy cigar. The kind

who reels the twilight sky.
Swoop circling.
I'm witch woman high
on tobacco and holy water.

I'm a woman delighted with her disasters.
They give me something to do.
A profession of sorts.
Keeps me industrious
And of some servicable use.

In dreams the origami of the brain
Opens like a fist, a pomegranate,
an expensive geometry.

Not true.
I haven't a clue
Why I'm rumpled tonight.

Choose your weapon.
Mine--the telephone, my tongue.
Both black as a gun.

I have the magic of words,
the power to charm and kill at will.
To kill myself or to aim haphazardly.
And kill you.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...