alee_grrl: Groot, a very tall humanoid tree, leaning down and peering curiously at the camera. (groot)
So I've been spending a lot of time listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix-Tape Vol. 1 soundtrack which is all mix of 1970s pop, rock, and Motown songs. And while some of the songs sound ridiculously cheesy, they do remind me fondly of people in my childhood. Music was always the bright spot of my childhood and one of the very good things that my parents shared with me (along with love of books and reading). I strongly remember dancing around the house singing with my mom, carefully placing the record needle to play the song again, sitting on my dad's lap as he played harmonica, sitting with him as he tried to play the banjo, and sitting with him singing along to the music on the stereo. Neither of my parent's were much into Motown, but my favorite great aunt was.

Basically, both the soundtrack and the movie for Guardians bring back the best memories of my childhood, which can often been overtaken by the worst memories. So it was really nice to have something hit all the happy memory nostalgia buttons for once.

CW: Non-graphic discussion of grief and grieving )

Good things: cut for length as it includes a longish list of all the books that I've bought or pre-ordered in the past few months )
alee_grrl: Captain America clutching his stomach, reads "right in the feels" (feels)
This is going to be a seriously hard post for me to write. The past week has been a doozy and come with some very not good news that rocked my small law school community to the core. Most important for those who may not read the whole post: I am doing okay, and coping far, far better than I had expected considering all the change and stress of this year.

I'm just going to throw all the content warnings on here for good measure. If you are low on spoons, particularly emotional ones, please feel free to skip this post. I'm going to break this into the three sections mentioned in the title with content warnings on each section.

The Good
We'll start with The Good because that is a nice thing to talk about. I'm going to put this under a cut tag not just for length, but also because I know some of my friends may not have spoons to read about any medical stuff, even stuff with happier outcomes, and other may wish to avoid discussions of food issues. CW: Discussion of medications, Lyme treatment, and food/dietary frustrations and realizations; also brief mention of dental stuff at end of section )

The Bad
CW: Hospitalization of sick extended chosen family member, and discussions of medical tests and treatments post stroke )

The Seriously Ugly
CW: Suicidal depression, death of a mentor/professor )

I'm doing what I need to do to take care of myself, including compiling lists of resources and sharing them on various social media sites. I also have plans to go see "Guardians of the Galaxy" tonight. If you have good thoughts and energy to spare, please send them out to Professor Hanna's family because I cannot even imagine how hard this must be for them. Some of the resources I've found. )
alee_grrl: sad looking kitten with head on cloth (sad kitty)
Well f*ck. I do not want to go through that process again.

Sigh. No decisions to be made for a few days. Must recover from the OMG so disappoint first.
alee_grrl: Dread Pirate Roberts relaxing in satisfaction (Satisfaction)
I finally got my diploma in the mail today. Vermont Law doesn't have a December graduation, which is why I was allowed to walk last May. Back in May I got an empty envelope but got to participate in all the pomp and circumstance. I finished my classes in December and officially graduated at the end of January. Today I got my diploma.

I was marveling at the pretty certificate when I noticed a little something unexpected.

I graduated CUM LAUDE.

Seriously! My GPA was just below the cut-off for honors at the end of May, and I guess my last semester grades were enough to push me over. It was totally unexpected and I just....am completely and totally out of words.
alee_grrl: From Fantasia: Demon mountain from Night on Bald Mountain (bald mountain)
Poetry, because my brain is itching to do something besides panic. I'm driving down to Norfolk on Monday. The essay/short answer portion of test is on Tuesday, and multiple Choice sections on Wednesday. I'll return home on Thursday.

Over at [community profile] poetree there has been some fabulous posts this week on exploring politics through poetry, including [personal profile] raze's wonderful exploration of jazz poetry and Langston Hughes. You might say that this poem was inspired by that post and jazz poetry.

This is a little rough in spots, and I'm not sure about the fourth and fifth stanzas.Poem below the cut. )
alee_grrl: Coulson on hold with Natasha, text is the first line of chorus from "Girl From Ipanema" (coulson 1)
To sit for the bar exam you have to submit both an application to take the exam, and an application to the character and fitness board (because they want to know if you're ethical enough to join a profession notorious for unethical people--which may be why they started the character and fitness program now that I think about it). Either way the application is seriously invasive and complex and is pretty much a test of: 1) your determination to take the exam, 2) your attention to detail, and 3) your ability to follow instructions. I had most of the attachments ready to go prior to last week, but needed to sit down and fill out the forms. The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners does off a handy forms wizard, but even with the forms wizard it took me close to 9 hours start to finish (answer the questions, print the materials, proof the materials several times, print the materials, affix passport photos to the proper page, fill out the handwriting sample, note the pages that had to be notarized). Then it was another 3 or so hours the next day going to the bank to get the money order for the fees and getting the forms notarized while I was there. Then to the UPS store to make copies for my own records, organize everything via paper clips and binder clips, triple check everything, and mail it via approved mailing service (next-day mail by a third party carrier). The whole process took more spoons that I had ever imagined.

But I am blessed with a wonderful sister, who happens to own a wonderful bathtub (jacuzzi tub). I came home, took a long hot soak, then vegged out for a while. We had chicken soup for dinner (kelp noodles are surprisingly tasty, and approved for the low-yeast diet). Then Sunday my niece and I went to see Catching Fire while her mom finished up some homework assignments. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but I enjoyed the time with my niece even more. She's twelve and super compassionate, so I wasn't sure if she would be comfortable with some of the themes of the movie. But we talked about it before hand, and she said she had seen the first one. When it started getting tense though, she leaned towards me and I scooted over and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. We finished the movie snuggled up. Let me tell you there is something amazing about knowing a child trusts you that much. She also asked me some questions about things after the movie, which was cool. I really love being an auntie.

Two weeks left of my internship, and a lot to do, but it's all coming along nicely. Hope everyone else is doing okay. I know I haven't been on much lately but am thinking about you all and missing you. I do love my dwircle. :D
alee_grrl: Dread Pirate Roberts relaxing in satisfaction (Satisfaction)
Today was a good day, and a nice cap to a good week.

1st: I got to have lunch with the lovely [personal profile] jelazakazone, and got to see her gorgeous rooster quilt in person. We sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed our lunches. It was wonderful.

2nd: I have gotten very, very good feedback from the folks at my internship. I've managed to impress the shit out of them, both this semester and over the summer. And I found out this afternoon that they are already considering me in their budget planning for the next year. They should have an actual offer put together for me within a month or so. I really like the company and the folks that I have been working with. So, provided that the offer meets my needs, I will likely take the position that I am offered. Now I just have to figure out what I need (and what I should be asking for). I'm woefully underprepared for salary and benefits negotiations having mostly done temp to hire positions and never having made more than $23,000/year. This is a whole new world, which is a good thing even if it is strange.

3rd: It is very likely that the company will be using one of the presentations I've been working on as their Continuing Legal Education (CLE) offering at LegalTech, which is the biggest convention for litigation technology/litigation support, in February. The sad thing, I won't be able to see it presented at the conference because I will be in the final month of studying for the bar exam. But damn I'm happy that my work is likely going to be the basis for such a cool thing.

4th: I'm feeling less fatigued. So I'm guessing the iron supplements are helping. ::happy dance::
alee_grrl: Rupert Giles looking up from reading a book.  Text: bookish (giles)
My law school commencement occurred yesterday and was a wonderful day. Since my school is small we do not have a December commencement, and they are practical enough to realize that people are not likely to want to return to VT the following May and walk with a class they are not as familiar with. So the basic rule is that if you are going to be done within 2013 you get to walk with the class of 2013. So I got to walk. :D My fancy envelope was empty, as I won't actually get my degree until I complete my fall externship in December. But I got to participate in all the pomp and circumstance, and that was loads of fun. Quite a few members of my heart family were able to attend, and we followed the boring speeches up with yummy dinner at their house. It was an absolutely lovely day.

Pics below the cut! )
alee_grrl: pitbull and kitten cuddle on couch (cuddles)
Final final is done and submitted. Not my best effort, but that is okay. Two grades in, both excellent. Two grades outstanding, one being for the final I just submitted. Doubt that one will be as good, but I can live with that.

Am very tired. TW: talk of bug bites, inflammation and hospital visits )
alee_grrl: Bruce Willis holding coffee cup.  Text reads: Coffee fail....caffiene levels dangeriously low (coffee fail)
And I cannot seem to focus. TW: discussion of medical symptoms )
alee_grrl: Black and white kitty peeking up out of a pink box.  Text above reads "Lurk" (lurk)
My grandmother is continuing to improve and has been moved to a smaller hospital. If she continues to improve they will consider moving her into a nursing facility or back to assisted living (depending on the level of improvement).

I just submitted my final draft of my asexuality research paper. It topped out at 35 pages (20 page was the minimum) and more than 10,000 words. I apparently had a whole lot to say on the topic. :) I will do a short presentation on it today during our final Sexual Orientation and the Law class. Quite a few people have inquired about reading the final paper. I am going to look at either submitting it for publication with a journal or self-publishing it. I will let folks now what comes of either decision.

I have submitted my 2nd draft of my other research paper, which is an examination of the predictive coding software used within the e-discovery process (how it works, the benefits of using it, ethical considerations, etc). That paper was also a 20 page minimum and has grown to 30+ pages. So I've been a writing fiend this semester. Final draft will be due the last day of finals.

I have one last project to do for my digital drafting course, which is half done. Yay! Classes end this week, and finals start next week. The one nice thing about having most of my work be due during the semester this time is that it means I only have one final.

My health has been mostly okay, though I've had a bit of trouble with brain fog and fatigue. Apparently my thyroid was out of whack and I needed to increase my thyroid medication. I am definitely feeling a bit numb right now (so much change coming up, so little time). So if I seem a bit off, or uncommunicative I apologize. Lots of love to everyone!
alee_grrl: 9th Doctor and Rose walking towards the TARDIS.  Text reads: home is where the TARDIS is... (Tardis Home)
First drafts of both papers are in. I have comments back for one and should be getting the other back this week. Revisions will start tomorrow or Tuesday (tomorrow is going to be a busy day).

My plans for summer and fall are now officially worked out. The company I will be interning with this summer also wants me for fall. This is okay with the school so long as the two experiences are substantially different. So I'll do ediscovery and privacy research and work this summer, and work with their trial consulting team on litigation matters in the fall. I'm very excited.

I am excited and nervous to be moving again. I fell in love with the greater D.C. area and am looking forward to getting to hang out more with some of my favorite dreamwidth friends who live in that area. I am also sad to be leaving Vermont, which I have come to love over the years. I will get to visit the area fairly frequently since I have to continue seeing my doctor, and will also be up to visit my heart family. But it is always strange leaving a place behind. Even those places that we know are only temporary homes work their way into our blood and souls. Vermont's granite mountains, verdant fields, and rich farm air have offered me much peace and healing. I know I will carry it with me, just as I carry the bayous of my childhood and adolescence, the deserts of my earliest years, the dusty roads and palms of my late twenties, and the pine forested mountains I wandered in between.

I took a couple of days off this weekend, caught up on fanfic and had my own Dr. Who marathon. Dr. Who and Star Trek are perhaps my oldest fandoms, as those were the shows my Dad introduced us to growing up. They were among the first "grown up" shows I remember watching, and my Dad's enthusiasm was catching. I've been hooked ever since. I have rarely had the opportunity to watch classic Dr. Who in episode order, since we were limited to what our local PBS station was showing. My experience of modern Who has been similar in that I've only had the opportunity to see episodes here and there. But with Netflix streaming I have the opportunity to watch it from the beginning, a slightly daunting goal since there are 6 seasons available for streaming (the 7th currently being shown on BBCA).

So late last week I started my endeavor. Again, this is modern who (2005/6) not classic, but one day I'd like to tackle those seasons as well. I loved the first season. I don't think Christopher Eccleson gets enough credit for his stint as the doctor. He wasn't particularly interested in the part, and only took the role as a favor to Russel Davies who was working hard to get the series back on the air. But he does a phenomenal job. I have made into the first few episodes of season two as well. David Tennant is also amazing. I am constantly reminded of just how powerful a series Dr. Who is. It is full of passion, humanity, family, terrors and humor. It was also great fun to see characters that I know from either classic Who (Sarah Jane and K-9) or Torchwood (Gwen, Tosh, Jack). I finally had to break as I can only watch so much television all in one go. But damn I love this show. :)
alee_grrl: four photo booth of two pitbulls, their smiles, kisses and cuddles (pitbulls in love; sweetness)
As many of you know this semester has been a bit of a struggle. In addition to my normal class work, I have two 20 page research papers and several smaller projects. Lyme treatment has had a few hiccups and generally life has been stressful. I was really starting to doubt a lot of things, but things have gotten better.

short discussion of lyme treatment stuff )

My first draft of my 20 page paper on predictive coding in e-discovery is done and turned in. I have a meeting on Wednesday with my profs to go over their comments. I am somewhere between 50% and 70% with the first draft of my paper on asexuality. The span of percentages based on the fact that I think it will be longer than 20 pages. The draft is due Monday. I'm confident that I can get a workable first draft completed by then. Then hopefully it will just be revisions and small projects for the rest of the semester (which is not much time at all).

But today brought the biggest sense of relief and happiness, as today I confirmed that I will be in Virginia for the summer (and possibly the fall). The company I interviewed wants to offer me internships for both. The summer one will be paid, and the fall one would be for school credit. So long as the two programs are different (which is not a problem, they do a lot of different stuff), I can do both.

My summer would be an overview of the company and all the things they do. Maybe some research into key issues in e-discovery and privacy law issues. Then in the fall I would be working more directly with the Trial Consulting team. I am so excited I can barely contain it. Thank you for all the positive energy and good thoughts!
alee_grrl: Lyme disease Awareness, better treatment, more funding, no more lies, accurate testing, Lyme literate Drs, patient right (lyme awareness)
ETA: This post is based solely on my own experience and not everyone is always so helpful or kind. Like so many things you have to consider each situation and the people involved when decided whether to be open about illness. These are just some of my reflections on the positives that can come out of talking about illness and disability.

TW: talk of physical and mental health issues, also mentions of childhood trauma )
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
So last night's show was a huge success. Everything went relatively smoothly, there were no hecklers in the audience this year, and people seemed to both enjoy themselves and be moved by the show. I'm not sure a lot of folks notices the art exhibits in the back (there was no wall space, so we ended up laying things out on tables), but those who did notice and who connected the name with me gave me some lovely feedback.

Photos under the cut )
alee_grrl: Blue and yellow background, text reads Jump off the bridge. I won't follow. I'll catch you. Ravenpuff. (bridge jumping)
Sorry I haven't been around much lately. This semester is a bit of a marathon and I haven't had much time for my dreamwidth account lately. I've been keeping an eye on posts, but if there is something you want me to know specifically, you might want to provide a link in the comments.

Despite the incredible business that has been real life and a frighteningly long to do list, I am mostly keeping a handle on my anxiety. Breaking things into small tasks and reminding myself to breath being very helpful things indeed.

I successfully managed to complete the application process for the Semester in Practice program, an experiential program at my school which places students in positions with legal firms, government agencies and non-profits of various stripes and allows them to get hand-on experience and build important network connections. I am hoping to do this for my last semester and now the ball is successfully rolling.

I also managed to attend the LegalTech conference and do some networking. I sent out some follow-up emails when I returned home, and had a request for a phone interview develop from one of those follow-ups. I am both excited and terrified, but leaning more towards excited.

I was also feeling well enough to attend the school's annual Barrister's Ball on Saturday, which surprised the hell out of me. I figured after such a long week I'd come home and fall on my face. I did hold off on starting my newest round of treatment in hopes of being well enough to attend. That plan worked out and I was able to do a bit of dancing before I pooped out and headed back to my hotel room for the night.

I started my latest round of treatment on Sunday, and am feeling the effects a bit now. It is a bit frustrating, especially after feeling so good. But it is necessary if I want to continue to improve. It also worries me as I have a lot I need to do this week to catch up on work from last week that I missed while attending the conference. I am hoping that as the semester goes on and I get further along in various projects that I will have more time for things like dreamwidth and [community profile] poetree again. I miss being more active in the various communities.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
I get to write a 20 page paper on asexuality this semester. I'm going to do a broad overview of the topic for the introduction, look at the issues of cultural discrimination and examine how that discrimination might play out in legal settings. I was particularly interested in addressing on of my classmates comments that basically said zie doubted that asexuals face the same sort of legal discrimination that other folks in the queer community do.

We're going to be allowed to use a wide variety of sources including websites and blogs. So if you have materials on this topic that you think might be helpful or interesting please feel free to mention them in the comments. I have some already (like AVEN) but am certainly on the lookout for more. I'd also love to bounce title ideas off folks.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
So I started school again last week Wednesday. I've got a busy semester ahead of me, despite only have 11 credit hours. I have two research papers, one as part of a class (Sexual Orientation and the Law) and the other as an independent research project. Thankfully I got to pick the topics myself. I also have one doctrinal class (Corporations), and one skills course (Digital Drafting, aka eLawyering). So all in all it's fairly interesting work, even if there is a lot of it.

I'm really excited about the eLawyering class. We get to play with software and database technology, and our profs arranged for free day passes (including panels and discussion in addition to the exhibition floor) to the LegalTech conference in NYC. I've arranged to stay with a friend in Long Island for a couple of days. So I don't have to worry about trying to travel down to the Conference, network, and travel back on the same day.

The readings and discussion for Sexual Orientation and the Law are very interesting. Lots of different points of view, a lot of discussion on intersectionality, and the difference ways we can approach activism and QUILTBAG rights. I talked with my professor today about my paper topic. It doesn't have to be a legal research paper (meaning focusing primarily on case law and case law analysis), it can be a broader essay that includes introspection on the legal aspects of a topic. So I'm going to do my paper on asexuality.

My independent research project is a law and technology one exploring the use of predictive coding technology in the electronic discovery process (essentially programs that would "predict" which documents would be most useful in litigation). It's pretty cutting edge stuff that is just hitting trial courts now. There are a lot of interesting technical and ethical issues that arise. I should not have a hard time coming up with 20 pages on either topic.

Corporations isn't too awful and I'm getting some much needed financial literacy. Knowing how the business world works is going to be very helpful I think. Plus it's one of the topics that will be on the bar exam. Spring semester is shorter than fall. So I may not be around a whole lot. It will depend on my energy levels.
alee_grrl: Photo of bare tree branches against a night sky done taken in a way that makes the stars seem to swirl. (star swirl)
My vacation has been nice. I've really enjoyed my time with my heart family. The one frustrating thing is that my car is in the shop. The windshield wiper motor went out. It's a small relatively minor repair but I don't want to risk driving it til it's fixed. Driving in winter in Vermont without wipers is a bad idea. Driving anywhere at anytime without wipers is probably a bad idea. Unfortunately the part won't be here til Wednesday or Thursday. I'm enjoying the extra time with my heart family, but have things I need to do at home. Thankfully I'll have about a week before classes start, so if I head home Thursday I should be fine.

2012 wasn't really a great year, but it wasn't a dreadful one either. It had its fair share of joys, and its shares of of tediousness and frustrations. Overall it was a good year, but not a terribly memorable one. TW: long post with some discussion of health and lyme issues, mental health, money, and weight )

I hope that all of us have a year that is filled with more joy than pain, more health than illness, more hope than fear. May we find inspiration to do the things we love, to create in ways we find fulfilling, and to explore our universe in large and small ways. May we find love for ourselves and for others in healthy relationships and strong bonds (romantic and aromantic). May our good days outnumber the bad. Blessings and brightest hopes for the New Year.
alee_grrl: Sorting hats description of Ravenclaw (ravenclaw sorting)
Took my last final of the semester this morning. There were only four of us who opted for the in class exam rather than the take home. So it was a very quiet exam room. Not sure I covered everything, but think I did an okay job. Am very relieved to be done. I have some work I need to do over break, but should be able to get some down time too.

Was very happy to run into professor after the exam. He does a lot of work with various intersections of technology and the law (a field I'm hoping to get into). He's meeting with one of our former IT managers who is developing projects in information management, technology, and law tomorrow morning. He invited me to come to the meeting. Hopefully I can develop some contacts and more options for potential summer employment (possibly even paid employment). So that is happy making, and worth getting up earlier for. :)

Stopped by the law library before heading home to pick up some books for research over break. One of our requirements for graduation is an advanced legal writing paper. I need to have a project plan in place within the first few weeks of school, plus I will need to have the proposal ready to register for independent research hours. This way I can drop one class without dropping below the required number of hours for a full time student. I want to do something on the intersection of law and technology, but need to narrow the topic considerably. So I picked up three books covering varied aspects of the topic and will skim through them over break.

Tomorrow afternoon is a visit to the Lyme doc. Then up to visit my heart family for the holiday. I hope to see The Hobbit at some point over break, but other than that will most likely spend time resting and reading. May or may not be online much. So I will wish everyone a happy and safe holiday now.

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alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
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