Monday, November 30, 2009

The grown-up table ...

Six-year-old Sarah Jane told us we couldn't pretend with her. Dave and I wondered upstairs looking for something to do besides watching a recording of a concert we've already seen with the adults. Giggles, and lots of them, came through the closed door. Dave smiled and said, "We should go in play with them!"

We walked in and immediately SarahJane tore off a crown, trying to hide it in her lap and Abby turned red.

"Whatcha guys doing?"

"Playing princess."

"Can we play?"

The two first-graders looked at each other and then eyed us suspiciously.

There was a long pause.


And they turned back to each other dismissing us completely.

Dave just stood there.

"Really?" I tried again. "Please? We're really good at pretending."

"No," came the definite reply.

And that is how Dave and I officially became adults. I blame marriage.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Politically speaking ...

Today I listened to pro-polygamy lawyers, a lecture on Native American sovereignty laws, and why the kind people at Planned Parenthood want more sex education. I love law school.

It all got me a little politically charged, so I was in quite a state when I got this from my mom. She doesn't ever send me forwards, but she mentioned she saw a CNN clip someone sent her that had her concerned about the health care bill. I asked her to send it to me. This is what I got:

(First, the written intro, in exactly the font size it was sent.)

It is pretty amazing. Click on the link below and watch the video. The message says this video has been pulled. It may have been pulled from CNN (it didn’t show up under the search I did for Lou Dobbs Amnesty Bill although it took me to a page of other stories) but it does show up on YouTube. I love the internet! It may be the one thing that keeps us sane during these obnoxious socialist/Marxist/communist times. Although they want to control the internet, it will be harder than most things. Anyway, here’s the video.

I KNEW this was going to happen. (That way Obama wasn't lying when he said illegals would not be able to get medical coverage under his ObamaCare plan. His simple fix is to make them all legal first.)

The e-mail then suggested that this clip should be required viewing for every American. You know what else should be required?


(Font irony intended.)

This clip is from June 2007. Bush was still in office. It has nothing to do with the health care bill currently in debate. Nope. This bill was actually a compromise bill between parties more than two years ago, not the liberal one-sided piece of legislation as it was presented in the clip. It proposed that everyone get amnesty but the borders get a heck of a lot more guards and funding. And guess what? It died. Neither the House or Senate liked it and it didn't pass. Nothing similar has been introduced since. Meaning we're all safe from having to pay for doctors and lawyers for our illegal gang member friends. Perhaps the best part is the Lou Dobbs show isn't even airing anymore. The Internet may be hard for the liberals to control, but it's equally as hard to keep the nut-wing group from using it promulgate news clips by unscrupulous, racist reporters who don't even report anymore.

So breathe deep, dear reader. The world is safe once again from communism and the Marx brothers until the next e-mail forward you get from your uninformed, reactionist friends.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yes, dear?

Dave: You know, the more I learn about the 20th-century, the more I become convinced Communism was a very bad thing.


Me: Sometimes I feel like you tell me things just to make me feel better. I don't want you to patronize me and say things you don't mean.

Dave: Like what?

Me: Like I'll say I'm frustrated with my performance at school and you'll say I'm doing fine. Or sometimes it seems like you're agreeing with me just to agree with me.

Dave: You're right. I don't say things I don't mean, but I won't say them to just to make you feel better anymore.


Dave: Feel better?


On motivation ...

There are eight new messages and eight new faces I won't ever see.

I take down the names, the numbers, the problems and then I start dialing. No answer at the first house.

I try the second number. It's a man's voice on the machine and I quickly hang up, hoping they don't have caller ID and I haven't caused further pain for the woman asking for help and a way out.

The third number's been disconnected. I wonder what will happen to her apartment.

The fourth, he answers. We talk. I can't help. I try to explain. I'm only a volunteer. I don't know yet the exact steps to take if you've committed perjury or if two Class B misdemeanors will equal domestic violence charges in Utah, though I know one Class A will. I don't know how to enforce your own divorce decree or exactly the number of days a father has to pay up on his child support before an ex-wife can turn in him to the authorities. I don't know.

I can recite the good faith doctrine in contracts and the theories of judicial review and tell you that when you're writing a memo to your supervising attorney you should use two spaces between periods, not one.

The phone keeps ringing and every one wants help. Not just legal help. They want something fixed that's broken. Seriously broken. A few questions come about bankruptcy and traffic court, but most want the law to be a magic wand restoring their family.

There are vindictive ex-wives who press criminal charges on former in-laws who give their grandchildren a ride home from school. There are husbands who beat and yell and view obscene material in front of their teenage children. There are girlfriends, wives, and ex-wives who are hurt and angry and bitter and the only control they feel they have is of the children they're left with, so they call asking for help to get full custody. They never want to see him again, and neither should their children. There are fathers left with no way out, trapped between bogus restraining orders and crushing child support demands that leave them bankrupt and homeless. There's a husband and his secretary who leave the mother of four with a house in foreclosure and no place to live. There's a custody court in Wyoming that gave guardianship to a step-aunt to two children already under custody of their grandmother in Utah. The aunt takes them to Mexico, and now after losing of both their parents, the grandmother fights for their rights to see siblings and cousins.

I take down detailed notes, give them the place and time they can meet with an attorney for free, and refer them to some Web sites. They thank me for the help, for offering the chance to be heard no one else would give them. I express sympathy and thank them for calling. Sometimes I wish them luck. It's all I can do. But it's all I'm supposed to do. We screen calls for attorneys willing to work for free. We make sure the right problems get to the right kind of lawyer. But almost always, always, always, it's family law.

I try not to worry too much about what happens next. Like them, I hold out hope those attorneys have superhuman powers everyone else they asked for help didn't. As I pull on my backpack, I try to feel confident the mighty sword of the law will fix things in one fell swoop. But I know that's not how it works. Lawyers are just people with their own broken families and the law is just an imperfect tool, designed to get them the most help it can under the circumstances. There will be help and money and resources and hopefully some justice while they watch their lives fall apart, but it will never be perfect because it won't make them whole.

I clean up my things and turn off the lights. I head for a warm room and a supportive husband. A spouse who has never hit me, never ruined my credit, and will never hurt our children. For a split-second I feel guilty I'm one of the lucky ones. He smiles when I walk in. He listens to my stories as we turn on the stove and try to warm our floors with a broken spaceheater. I pull on pajama bottoms and he hands me a resume to edit. I encourage him to apply for the job and he quizzes me on the slides I brought from property class. My mind wanders back to the man fighting for his children, and the woman worried about where to live. I realize two things: I'm grateful I never, ever have to be the woman on the other end of the line. And I realize I still want to help. I can't fix everything, but I can make some things better. It's worth trying at least.

So I'll keep studying, and every week, I'll keep checking the messages.

Friday, November 13, 2009

There is sunshine spilling through windows onto stone floors. There is the clanking of dishes from a cafe upstairs. There are sculptures haning from the ceiling. There is modern, rounded, cushioned seating. There is a view of dusty white, jagged mountains appearing through red and yellow leaves.

I think I just found my new favorite place on campus.


I spent most of the morning writing about judicial activism. (You're excited to read my blog now, aren't you?)

To make my post complete, though, I need to link back to an article I wrote and another a colleague wrote. They come up on Google. They're not cached. I have no idea how to access them. Anyone more tech-savvy than I am?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On elections made sure ...

Friday at 7 p.m. Realization hits me. I gasp. Begin furiously typing to friend in CA on Google chat. My panic increased with every line:

me: I forgot to register to vote
i forgot elections were even coming!!
i am a horrible person!!!
Friend: haha
AND the Provo mayor elections are huge!
me: What has law school done to my inner journalist??
Friend: even I know about them!
me: What??
I don't know!! Tell me tell me!
Friend: yeah, aren't things heating up?
one used to be... gasp!
wait for it
wait for it
me: a democrat?
Friend: A DEMOCRAT!!!
me: BAHHH!!!!
Friend: AHHH
Joseph retreat!

A former Democrat runs for office in Provo and I can't even vote. Tragedy. (I'll let you wonder whether I would have voted to keep the filthy former traitor out of the motherland or be thrilled at the prospect of variety.) I'm disgusted with myself. I love voting. I love the sticker. I love the high I get using an electronic ballot. I love the energy in the line waiting to vote. I love the random statutes, memorandums, and amendments to city codes that appear on ballots. I love knowing I exercised a Constitutional right. Not this year. This year I was lame like the majority of my fellow country. Lame. Not next year. But for now, happy election day.