Tag Archives: Katie

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.

It’s Katie’s Last Day

I think I have to take Katie to be put down. She’s gotten worse in the last few hours. She can barely walk, falling over after a few steps. When I tried petting her, she gave me a wounded meow.

I was worried I wouldn’t know when the time was right. But, I guess she’s made it pretty obvious.

Thank goodness my friend can take me, tonight. I can barely see to type this, and definitely shouldn’t be driving. And, I don’t want to drag this out longer than necessary for either of us.

She’s had a good, long life, and I hope I’ve shown her as much love as she’s shown me the past 9-10 years. She’s been the best cat I could have ever wanted.


Katie’s gone. I have to give kudos to the doctors and staff at Friendship Animal Hospital. From the moment I arrived and said that I was there because I thought it was time to put Katie down, they were kind, professional, and timely. We were immediately put into a private room, where my friend, Michael, and I got to sit with her. When the vet came in, she had already read her records and understood what was going on. They offered to put the IV in with me there, or take her to the back. They came and took care of the billing before it was over, so we wouldn’t have to worry about that at the end.

They were wonderful. A quick IV. They brought in a warm towel for her to lay on. Some IV propofol, and Katie simply laid down and went to sleep. Two more medications, and it was all over. The doctor then left us alone, so I could say, “goodbye.”

As horrible as it was, they couldn’t have done a better job of handling it in a caring and sensitive manner.

Goodbye, Katie. I’ll miss you!

I Need Professional Help!

I realized tonight that I need professional help. I know what some of you are thinking! That’s not what I meant, but may be material for another post.

As I was driving through the 7th torrential downpour of the day to go to the all-night animal hospital to pick up Katie’s medication (which I probably could have made at home if I called in a few prednisone tablets to the local CVS — and wouldn’t have cost me $60), I realized that I while I think I can manage work and school, I think I need help with the rest of life.

Anyone interested in the job? Your duties include such mundane tasks as:

  • Picking up cat medication. Giving said medication to the cat once a day.
  • Getting my watch battery changed. Yesterday, I realized it was two hours behind, which got worse though out the day. You’d think I could survive without a watch, but it’s a problem at work. Every clock is different: my Blackberry, iPhone, computer, office clock, clock in the hallway, etc. And they vary by as much as 10 minutes, which means I’m usually either early to meetings, or late, depending on the clock in the room where they’re holding the meeting.
  • Going through my mail and tossing out the junk mail. If you want to open it and pay the bills for me, you might get a little extra in your holiday card.
  • Laundry!!
  • Watching the weather in the morning so I know how to dress.
  • Picking up the wine and Peanut Butter Cup Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, so I can have Second Dinner (Watch this episode of The Office to see where that comes from).
  • Reminding me what day of the week it is, and possibly where I’m at.
  • Petting the cats. They’re feeling neglected.
  • Fighting with my Co-op Board when I’m busy at work. (More on this one later.)
  • Unpacking and repacking my work/school bag. (As an aside, I’ve been having a lot of neck and shoulder tension. I realized today that it’s because the bag is so damn heavy. Tonight, was Contracts and Legal Rhetoric. My bag weighed 15 pounds.)
  • Get my Jeep’s oil changed.
  • Go through my DVR and delete duplicates. (Who the hell scheduled law school to overlap with the start of the new TV season?)
  • Other To Do List items as assigned (Can you tell I’ve worked with government HR?)

These are simple tasks, I know. I just don’t have time to do it. I’m not sure I am going to have time to get my watch battery changed this weekend. And there’s a fair chance my car may go 35,000 miles without an oil change.

I can’t pay you for your time, but I will cover the expenses. I’m not asking you to buy the watch battery. And, in exchange, you have access to anything you find in my refrigerator. That includes the over-ripe apples, the possibly expired Chobani yogurt, that weird wheat side-dish I made that was tasty but still got pushed to the back, the pizza from the other weekend, and both bottles of ketchup. It’s all yours!

Just send your cover letter and résumé to me through this blog, if you’re interested in helping me out.

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?

Week One; The Calm Before the Storm


I survived Week One! But I was tired. I had Friday afternoon off, and I took two naps to recover. And it felt good. So far, Contracts has been the easier class for me to understand. The cases can be hard to follow because there’s often money changing hands in both directions, but the concepts are making sense. Torts is a little more challenging. I think it’s because he’s teaching the concepts in a more global way than she is in Contracts. I’m trying to trust in the process and believe that I’m supposed to feel lost at this point, and that’s ok.

I must be learning something in Torts, though. Thursday evening, I was driving home after school and Taylor Swift‘s song, “Mean,” came on the radio. I heard the line: Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me. I immediately thought, “That’s battery!”

Apparently, the first week isn’t just hard on students. It can be hard on professors. Here’s a blog post from Concurring Opinions.

I just got home from the trainer, and as soon as I can lift my arms, again, I’m going to start studying. Today, and probably much of tomorrow, is going to be a study day. Luckily, with Hurricane Irene approaching, there’s nothing else to do.

Hurricane Irene

First we had an earthquake, and now we have a hurricane the size of Europe coming at us. Mother Nature must really be pissed at DC. Someone should explain to her that Congress isn’t even in session, so she should go after them in their home districts and leave us alone. But, I’m prepared. I have water in the fridge, 2.5 cases of Gatorade, food, a gas stove, candles, wine and toilet paper. I tried to buy a flashlight (which I’ve known I should have for a while), but Target was completely sold out! But, I guess I can study by candlelight if it comes to that. It worked for Abe Lincoln.

Actually, we should be fine. DC is expected to get 4-6 inches of rain in the next 24 hours, and winds in the 40-50 mph range. My only concern is the 5-foot-wide, windows in my apartment. My windows face North and East, which usually means I don’t even have rain blowing in open windows. But, the rotation of the storm is going to bring the rain in from the East. As long as the wind isn’t strong enough to break a window, I should be fine. So far, we’ve got nothing but overcast skies. I noticed that off to the East, it is getting darker, and the rain is expected to start within the next hour.

Hopefully the power won’t go out. I was hoping to watch some movies tonight as a study break. Hmm. Guess I should make sure the laptop is fully charged. Might still be able to watch a movie. Just thought of that!


Katie seems to be feeling better. She jumped up on the couch yesterday. That’s the first time she’s been able to jump up in about 2 weeks. She still slips and almost falls, if she walks too close to the edge. But, I guess the medicine is making her feel better. On a sadder note, when the time comes, I heard about a local vet who does home euthanasia. I may look in to that. That way, she won’t have to ride in her carrier, and can be in her home. And, I won’t have to try to drive home while bawling. But, hopefully that’s still a ways off.

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…

Day One: I Survived

I survived the first day of law school!

I survived! Yeah! Only a little over a thousand more days to go!

Actually, it wasn’t as bad as the rumors made it seem. I’m sure they are taking it easy on us, but most people seemed to be following the discussion and contributing. More importantly: I followed the discussion, contributed, and felt like I learned something (e.g. the difference between expectancy damages and restitution damages). No one was embarrassed in front of the class. No one left the room crying. Not even as tough as Legally Blonde; but, maybe that’s because I’m smarter than Elle Woods.

In our first official class, people’s personalities became evident very quickly. Some students ran for the seats at the front of the room. Some of us (yes, includes me), sat towards the back. Some of us took notes on paper. Some used their computers and spent more time on Gmail than taking notes. On Wednesday, we’ll do a seating chart, so where we are sitting is where we will be for the rest of the semester. Finding a good neighbor is a lot of pressure.

We also had Legal Rhetoric last night. The professor is an adjunct professor, and seems like he’ll be pretty good. He seems nice, has years of experience in legal writing and doesn’t seem too be overly strict. The problem with that class is the fact that we have assignments due almost every week. And the grading is tough. If they find four proofreading errors, they stop grading and return the assignment via email. You have 24 hours to correct and resubmit and it’s a 15% grade deduction automatically. That’s even for “drafts.”

I got home about 10:15 last night and didn’t feel like doing any reading, so I need to read 30 pages or so tonight in order to not be falling behind already. That’s going to be the challenge.

Katie Update

Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts. Katie has an appointment with a new vet at 10:30 this morning. And thanks to Michael for the vet recommendation.

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.