Tag Archives: Alex

Just an update

This is just an update, since I haven’t posted in a while.

School Update

School’s going ok. Legal writing is taking A LOT more time than I expected. The final draft of our first memo is due this week.  I’m sure I’ve put in at least 40 hours working on various drafts of this memo. Hopefully it was worth it.

This week, Contracts is cancelled on Wednesday because of the Jewish holidays. So, I get a free evening! (But, we’re making it up in two weeks.)

At some point, I need to start reviewing. Hopefully the next few writing assignments won’t take as much time and I can get back to focusing on Torts and Contracs.

Home Update

Did I mention that Alex’s been much more affectionate since she spent the day locked in the bedroom? If I leave the bedroom window open, it often blows the door shut. I usually leave a shoe in the doorway, so the door doesn’t latch. The cleaning people moved the shoe and when I came home, Alex was in their begging to be let out. Ever since then, she’s been up on me like a conjoined twin. Right this minute, she’s lying on my desk, with her paw resting on my hand while I type.

I’ve still been hitting the trainer twice a week. It’s the one commitment I have worked to keep school from interfering with. Sometimes I don’t know why. Many weeks, there are only one or two days where I can move without stiffness or pain. But, it’s working, I guess. My chest, arms, and shoulders are definitely getting bigger. And yesterday, I was told my butt looked “perky.”

Today is a relaxation day. I’m doing laundry, catching up on the DVR and paying bills. At some point, I need to take some underwear back to Macy’s and get the security tag removed. This afternoon, I have a BBQ with the Lambda student group, and later tonight a birthday party, that I’m sure will be awesome. Tomorrow’s going to be my study day. I may also try and get a movie in there at some point. I hear Drive is really good.

Work Update

I finally have more than one staff member! Two new employees started two weeks ago. Now, someone can be on vacation, and we still can have staff meetings.

Feeling Like a Real Student

Law School Update

Today, I’m feeling like a real student. I took the afternoon off work and am at school. I studied in the library, after getting the guys at the help desk to set my computer up to print on the school’s network. Now, I’m studying in the cafeteria, while chatting with my sister on Facebook, and eating Peanut M&M’s.

Too bad this doesn’t pay as well as my regular job. I could do this all year.

Can some explain “consideration” to me? I read the cases, but not sure I understand what it means. But, at least I’m caught up on my reading. I was planning on getting most of it done on Sunday. My legal writing memo took WAY longer than I expected, and then the Katie-thing happened. Didn’t feel like studying after that. I didn’t even start this week’s readings until Monday morning at 8:30.

I was so stressed out over being behind, that I took Monday morning and this afternoon off. I also cancelled my trainer on Tuesday, so I could get home at 8:30 pm, and relax for a few hours before going to sleep. Feeling much better, today.

More on Katie

And, apparently Alex is the heartless cat I’ve accused her of being. I don’t think she has even noticed Katie’s not around. Now, I admit that Katie’d been pretty quiet lately, often lying by herself on my bedroom floor. But, Alex doesn’t even seem to care. I hope Katie took my suggestion and is going to come back and haunt Alex. I also promised Katie that I’d eventually get a new kitten to annoy Alex.

I, on the other hand, do miss Katie. I keep expecting to see her in my peripheral vision.

She really was the best cat, ever.

Gotta Figure Out This Studying Thing

School Update

By the end of the second week of classes, I was only a little behind. I made a strategic decision that we wouldn’t cover 6 cases in torts, but we did. Luckily, during the break, I was able to skim the two cases I had skipped, so I knew enough to follow the conversation (and probably would have been able to give some kind of answer if I was called on).

This weekend, I had a friend in town for a few days, and it was a three-day weekend, so I put off studying until Sunday night. I read and briefed Torts pretty quickly last night. (I even read ahead.) This morning, I worked on my first legal writing assignment, which took longer than I expected, although I think it’s coming along nicely. Then I did my Contracts reading. I feel like I should try to read ahead in Contracts, since that is the class with the biggest reading assignments, but I wasn’t motivated to read more this weekend.

I need to get more efficient

My reading and case briefing are both getting quicker, as many people promised they would. However, I still feel like I’m being very inefficient. I think it’s because I haven’t found a comfortable study environment, yet. In med school, the studying was mostly reading, and I could do that sitting on the couch. In law school, it’s a combination of reading, typing at the computer, and cross-referencing with another book, the dictionary, or the syllabus. I try reading on the couch, but then have to crawl out from under a lap full of books to get to the computer. Then, I have to get back under the books to continue the reading. Also, there’s only one place on the couch that has decent lighting. It probably doesn’t help that Alex and Katie (who is now strong enough to jump up on the couch) both seem to think that the main reason I’m sitting on the couch is to give them some place to lie down.

I need to figure out a better system. In talking to another friend, I decided that I might try breaking my studying up into discreet blocks (instead of trying to do it all in one marathon) and try taking one or two of those blocks out of the apartment. I feel like I could be more energetic about studying if my physical space were better, although I can’t identify any concrete improvements. There are a lot of distractions, but if I don’t have music or the TV on low in the background, I get stir-crazy even faster.

I’ve also not been great about using my time at school before classes. I try to get there about 5 pm to avoid traffic and get good parking. I usually spend the hour before class eating, or hanging out with any classmates I see in the cafeteria. I need to start using some of that time to review, or read. But, that means I’d have to carry more stuff with me. Some days, my bag is already close to overflowing.

And I don’t think it’s a problem with motivation. I’m enjoying all the classes, and am still excited about school. I’m enjoying the reading, and learning legal research and writing.

Since school is just getting started, now’s the time to get into good study habits. Any suggestions on how to relearn studying as a returning student?

Update on Day 2 and Update on Katie


Let’s start with Katie. I took her to a new vet, today: Friendship Hospital for Animals. Riding in her carrier is always traumatic for Katie. She cried constantly, while I steer, shift gears, and stick my fingers in the carrier to comfort her, all at the same time. Today, it was also traumatic for me. I was worried the vet would tell me she was in pain and it was time to put her to sleep. I tried to make Alex say goodbye to her, but she saw Katie in the carrier and ran into the living room.

But, the vet was great. I got fabulous service from two vet techs, and a vet who spent quite a bit of time examining Katie, including doing an indirect ophthalmic exam. (That’s where you look at the retina in the back of the eye by using a flashlight and a lens you hold in your hand. It’s similar to using that little light the doctor uses to look in your eye, but a little harder.) They even took her blood pressure. The good news is that she doesn’t think Katie’s in pain. She was active, friendly, and purring the whole visit.

The bad news is that Katie probably has a brain tumor, given that she walks in circles, only turning left, doesn’t seem to see as well on her right side, and she’s getting clumsy. We are increasing her prednisone, which may help with symptoms. We’re also doing some bloodwork and trying antibiotics for some infections, which are unlikely, but would be treatable.

And, as if Katie didn’t have a traumatic enough day, we had a 5.8 magnitude earthquake this afternoon! I was at work and it took a while to realize what was happening, as I’d never felt one before. After work, I had to go to class, but luckily my friend, Noel, lives nearby and was able to come and confirm that nothing had fallen and crushed them. I just hope we don’t have another one on the day I have to take Katie back to the vet.


Day one was pretty good. No one cried. No one was embarrassed by the professor. I felt like I was following the conversation, contributing, and learning. It was a long day, as I had class until 10 pm.

Day two wasn’t quite as great. I followed most of the conversation in Torts, but am not sure I understood the last 5 minutes. If a jury finds substantial certainty of an injury, what roles does the defendant’s limited capacity to see the substantial certainty play? Huh? Maybe I just couldn’t follow it after 2 hours sitting in an overheated room. Hopefully, it’ll make sense Thursday.

Then, I came home and did almost 3 hours of reading for tomorrow’s Contracts class. I’ll finish that reading, and try to start and finish Thursday’s torts reading, tomorrow morning. I won’t get much done tomorrow evening as I have the trainer after class.

It’s day 2, and I am almost behind with my reading! This weekend, I am really going to have to try to read ahead for the next week. That way, I can come home afterwards and review, rather than having to read ahead each night.

Oh well. At least I am finding the material in both classes interesting and am still excited to be there.

Two days down…

My Sick Kitty

Katie, the older of my two cats, is sick and I think she’s dying. I had sort of noticed that she was losing weight for some time. Back at the end of June, I went to Costa Rica for nine days. When I got back, its as obvious she had lost a fair amount of weight. Even though my friend Justin was stopping in to feed them and play with them, I figured she didn’t eat much while I was away. (I’ve noticed in the past that if I go away for a day or two, they don’t really eat until I get back.)

Katie’s sick

Katie on top of my old computer

I took her to the vet to see about her weight loss and for a regular visit. She had gone from 9+ pounds to 6+ pounds in 2 years. She still had a great appetite, was playful when I got the laser pointer out, purred the second I touched her, and seemed generally happy. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with her, but did some bloodwork. While the results of the bloodwork were back in a few days, it took another week for the vet at CityPaws (14th and Swann Streets) to return any of the three voicemails, or two messages I left with staff. I was pissed and about 1 call away from filing a complaint with the veterinarian licensing board. The bloodwork was fine.

She said that it could still be cancer, but might be an inflammatory bowel disease. She recommended two pills and a special, non-allergenic, diet. Neither was a big hit with Katie. She may look weak, but when you hold her down and try to pry her mouth open to shove a pill in it, she can put up quite a fight. When I tried hiding it in her wet food, she’d either eat around the pill, or ignore the whole thing if I had crushed it. Neither cat would eat the special food. Since it cost $55 a case for the wet version, I’m glad they had a money-back guarantee.

So, I figured that wasn’t going to work. If she’s dying, I don’t want her last days/weeks/months to involve me holding her down every day and shoving pills down her throat. It was traumatic for both of us. I decided I’d get a lot more liberal with the wet food (which used to be only a special treat) and just try to fatten her up and keep her happy. I did figure out that I can dissolve one of the two pills in the wet food juice and she’ll eat that, although they often switch bowls, so Alex is probably eating as much of the medicine as Katie is.

Katie seemed to be doing well for a while. She was a little weak; I’d see her hesitate before jumping onto the couch. But, she seemed to be doing ok, holding steady.

Katie surfing the web

Katie surfing the web

But this last week, she’s been getting visibly more frail. She won’t jump up on the couch or the bed, at all. If I lift her up, she is still affectionate and happy, but if she walks near the edge, she’s likely to fall off. Two nights ago, I heard her fall off the bed, so I haven’t put her up there at all. At times, she stumbles when she’s walking. Her legs seem to get tangled up and trip her. She can only turn to the left and at times appears to not be able to see well. This morning, she stepped in her wet food, but then couldn’t seem to find the bowl, until I rattled it against the floor.

Katie’s history

Katie with one of her toys

I’ve had her for about 10 years, and she was 1-2 years old when I got her. She’s always been a sweetheart of a cat. I got her at a pet adoption day that was held at Petco in Pittsburgh. She was the third cat I played with. When they brought her into the little room, she immediately jumped up on the bench, laid down beside me, and started purring. I knew instantly I was going to take her home.

Most young cats like to tear around the house and destroy things. (Alex! Stop that!) Not Katie. She would go to bed with me, and sleep the entire night, only getting up to move if turned over. Even when I got Alex a few years later, who bullies her, Katie remained a sweetheart. She would walk up to Alex and try to rub noses. It usually ended in hissing and a fight.

What next?

Despite the fact that I made Katie and Alex both promise that they’d never die, I think Katie’s dying. It’s very sad. If I think about it too directly, I can feel myself tearing up.

She still seems happy. When I pick her up, she purrs almost instantly. She spends the night sleeping next to the bed and follows me around the apartment constantly. She’s moving more slowly, and at times stumbles and falls. I got the laser pointer out yesterday, and she tried to chase it, but seemed to have trouble seeing it. She’s grown old gracefully and stoically. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that she can’t do many of the things she used to.

I’m hoping that when it’s her time, she goes to sleep and just doesn’t wake up. I don’t want to have to take her to the vet to have her put to sleep. She’s terrified of the pet carrier, and

Alex humoring me by wearing a hat

Alex humoring me by wearing a hat

the vet’s office. I don’t want her last memories to be of fear. And on a more selfish note, I don’t think I can sit there and hold her and tell her how much I love her, while they put her to sleep. I can barely even write about it. It’s hard to see the screen with tears rolling down my face.

I guess that I’ll have to do it, if she gets to the point where she looks like she’s in pain. Until then, I guess I’ll just pick her up and pet her as much as I can. I’m also trying to get Alex to be nicer to her. For a few weeks, she was nicer, even going up and licking Katie’s face while she slept. But lately, Alex has been back to her bullying, hitting or bitting Katie when she walks by.

Sometimes I wonder why we even bother to have pets if they’re going to get old and die. And apparently, cats lie, so don’t believe them when they make a promise to you.