Friday, September 24, 2010

Moving on to August

In my effort to catch up photographically, I have arrived at the month of August.  Nevermind that it's basically October.

Back in August, I took a trip to Charleston and went on a helicopter tour of the city with Katie.  It was so cool – I’ve never been in a helicopter before and it was an amazing way to see my favorite city!

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Then, we went to a plantation in Monks Corner, the name escapes me at the moment, and we got to canoe on a swamp – very cool!  We saw a real life wild alligator (he was little!)

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Then, we hit up a super fancy fine-dining restaurant in downtown Charleston.  It was some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had and it was a beautiful evening in Charleston :)

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Also, in August I got to go to a Tom Petty concert with some friends :)  He’s my favorite!

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And then there was food!  In addition to what I ate in Charleston, I cooked Spicy Lemon Basil Shrimp Couscous.  I ate some amazing sushi and saki.  Yum!

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And that’s my August!  Stay tuned for September :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back in the USA

Here are some pictures from the month of July after I got back in the US!

Kat and Matt came down for 4th of July and rented a house on Tybee with their friends. Dad and I went to hang out! It was great fun and a beautiful home!

I was in line at Chic-Fil-A for breakfast one morning and was behind this car. The license plate reads "PD2ARGU." Bet it was an attorney!

Claire and Owie got a kitty named Alvin. I want a kitty!

Got this flat tire merging onto 285 from I-20 driving to work one day. Changed it in about 15 minutes. I'm so good at changing tires!

I bought myself this dress as a reward for my 31 pound weight-loss! I wore it yesterday - it's so cute!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The AC gods giveth, and the AC gods taketh away!

The AC broke. Again. This time after only three days, and two of those days I wasn't even home. So it's hot. Again. We're sleeping with the windows open. Again. And the landlord is dragging his feet to fix it. Again. I really wish I could understand how "first thing in the morning" means Friday afternoon around 4:30pm. Because that's what he said last week: "first thing in the morning." But it didn't get fixed last week until Friday afternoon. And he told us yesterday that they'd fix it that day. But then they didn't. So he said, "first thing in the morning." I'm going to egg the address we send our rent checks to. It's the only appropriate adult response.

After spending the weekend with a bunch of sick loved-ones and not getting much sleep because of the oppressive heat all week, I'm afraid I'm fight sickness, too. I'm pumping Vitamin C, water, and trying to get a workout in each day. So far it seems to keep it from fully blooming into sick and keeps everything lurking ominously as I had into my vacation weekend.

My weekends actually start Thursday night. Sure, I have law review stuff to do over weekends, but I don't have to actually get up and go places for work/class/etc. However, this week, I've come across a dilemma. Are you familiar with Groupon? If not, it's this awesome site that constantly has really cheap deals for the Atlanta area. For example, they may have where you can buy a $100 gift card to a fancy restaurant for only $20. Well, last week, they had a deal for half off Braves tickets for the Mets game tomorrow night. "No brainer," thinks I, sitting in my living room. So I purchased two and got excited for a fun little evening. However, silly me, didn't notice that this Thursday night is the FIRST EVER GEORGIA STATE FOOTBALL GAME. Pretty much every single person I know is going to the State game. Not only do I not have someone to go with me to the Braves game, I'd much rather go hang out with all my friends at the historic first game. So if you know anyone willing to buy the tickets, let me know - I'm taking best offer and cutting my losses!

I promise, at some point, I will upload the last of my Europe pictures and all the pictures from the good ole US of A since returning from Europe so that my posts get slightly more interesting. On a different note, I lead my first mediation yesterday and got a settlement! Go me!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Not Ready for Another Week

Weekends are too short and I'm so not ready for this week! I spent most of last night getting myself organized just so that I know everything I need to do...

I have a short little presentation due in Advanced Legal Research on the LexisOne website, but it shouldn't take me too long to throw it together. At the externship this week, we have to start mediating ourselves while the trained mediators observe. I'm a little nervous about it but not as much as I was a few weeks ago. Now that I'm there and see it, it's not so scary. I still don't like it that much, but at least it doesn't terrify me at night anymore.

This past weekend, Mom came up and we spent the weekend at Davids. We did some shopping, hung out with baby Jude, ate a lot of Mexican food, and watched one really bad Keanu Reeves movie. Man, he is a terrible actor.

Sunday, Schelly and I cleaned out the fridge at our house - which ranks up there as one of the most disgusting things ever. But it now looks like we as a house actually eat rather healthily. It's full of fresh fruits and veggies from the grocery store visit last night. We also played racquetball last night. We play best of three games, and for the second time, I beat him in two straight. We've played 6 times now, and I've won 4 times.

Mondays are my longest day. Now that I've dropped Copyrights, I have a little break in the middle of the day to get some things done, so that's promising. I've got 23 things on my to-do list for today (two of them have multiple sub parts so it's more), and so far I've done 3 items and one sub-part. Let's hope I can get this done!!!! When will today be over??

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Feel Bad

I feel so bad that I've neglected my poor little blog for so long! I kept saying that when I get my pictures uploaded, I would have a new post, but I don't know when that's going to happen - so you get a nice little text blog.

So far this semester has been kicking my bootay! I'm crazy busy and it's only half way through the second week. I decided to drop one of my classes and opt for a 1-hour independent research to replace it. My indendent research is going to be what I'm writing my law review note on - The Tri-State Water Wars!!! Yay! I get 3 birds: to go back to my old love of water rights, potentially get published, and get to put law review on my resume all with one big, giant stone of a paper! (On a side note, my official Water Rights blog is back up and running to help my along my way.) My other classes include Wills Trusts and Estates, Advance Legal Research, and Corporations. I dropped Copyrights.

In addition to my classes and independent study, I'm externing this semester at the Fulton County Superior Court. I'm now officially registered as a Mediator for the state of Georgia (so if anyone needs a mediator, let me know - I'm cheap!!!) My externship focuses exclusively on Landlord-Tenant mediation, so I'm learning a lot of property law really quickly in addition to the mediation process. I'm not in love with it, but it's great to get real world experience instead of sitting in the classroom the whole time. Plus, I'm making some great connections with attorneys up at the courthouse 10 hours each week.

And in addition to the classes and externship, I have 4 on campus jobs this semester: library graduate research assistant, Prof. Lanier's graduate research assistant, Lexis Student Associate and Web Course Specialist, and Kaplan PMBR Student Rep. Trying to squeeze in all the necessary training and hours and etc. etc. has been super hectic (thus dropping Copyrights), but hopefully I can manage it all.

After two months and my newly learned Landlord-Tenant Law, we've finally think we've scared our landlord into attempting to fix our AC. They sent a guy out for the third time yesterday and it just made it hotter. (It was about 85 degrees when we went to bed.) Afterward, we got an email from the landlord who said they were going to replace the unit with a bigger unit by the end of the week. So we had to send an email back saying NO - the AC guy said it was the ducts that were leaking under the house which is why about half the vents don't have any air coming in them at all. If you replace the unit with one bigger, it's just going to leak more air out through the ducts under the house and not get any air inside and we'll still be stuck with a huge electric bill. We'll see what they say to that. Don't worry, this is all documented if we have to do something drastic!!

It's four, so I'm off to one of my other jobs - PMBR. Hope to post again soon!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

America for Me

"America for Me!"
By Henry Van Dyke
1852 -1833

[Read by Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to the Republican Precinct Committeemen of Maricopa County upon his return from a trip abroad and given to me by Daniel J. Mazza.]

'Tis fine to see the Old World and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumbly castles and the statues and kings
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.

So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air;
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair;
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living, there is no place like home.

I like the German fur-woods in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hat, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland, where Nature has her sway!

I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack!
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free--
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.

Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plow the rolling sea,
To the blessed land of Room Enough, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm Alive

Just a quick post to let everyone know that after traveling all day, I'm safe in my apartment in Zurich. This "hostel" is actually really cool - it's apartment style so everyone has their own room and the three rooms share a kitchen and bathroom (with a really nice tub and shower.) The guy who owns it sat down with me for a good 30 minutes giving me recommendations of stuff to do if you only have one day in Zurich. I have the place to myself tonight (I'm going out to explore some World Cup viewing venues nearby) but tomorrow, the other two rooms will have guests.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Belong in Italy

I feel I have traveled enough to say something with some definitiveness.  If I were to write a travel book, it would be called “Go To The Place You’ve Never Heard Of.”  These places are INFINITELY better than the traditional places that are full of nothing but tourists.

I promised Bonnie that I would title today’s post “Gradual Abandonment and William the Bad,” but that has such a negative connotation and I don’t want me and Italy to have any negative connotations!  She and I had a great day exploring this incredible city!

Today has been an amazing BEAUTIFUL day – warm, sunny, great company, beautiful sights, and an undeniably laid pack, happy culture!  I woke up to this amazing view of the train station from my hotel room:

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Walking towards the Old Town of Bari from my hotel, Bonnie and I cut through the University of Bari and had some great converstation with some Art Students having their final “Gallery” for a grade.  We participated, but the architetecture and beauty of the locale alone made me feel ashamed of GSU:

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Here are some random sights from the beginning of the day, including this poor Smart Car that won’t be able to leave his parking spot because of how jam packed in they park over here.  This one was slightly ridiculous and provided us with endless enjoyment!

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The buildings and ruins and they way they work together as a functional city is just incredible.  It’s history.  It’s real life.  It’s where they work.  It’s where they live.  It’s where the very few of us tourists snap pictures.  And it’s exactly the way it was done 1000 years ago.  Amazing.

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This sign, though we don’t speak Italian, made us pretty sure that if we walked any further, we would get shot by a sniper:

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Sorry for this random string of pictures here at the beginning of the post, but this was a door open on a random street we were walking down and the inside of the house felt so old world that I had to capture the moment.  Then we found some of the original streets from the Old Town Bari.  Just to the right of the black post in the foreground, you can see an indent in the old street where the wagon wheels of the ancient Romans would go in order to make moving heavy materials easier.

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The first real site we hit today was St. Nicholas’s Basilica. Looking at these first two pictures, you might think you’re in two different churches.  That’s the way it felt.  The ceiling was so ornate and beautiful, like the churches of Passau and Salzburg, but the walls were stark white stones, almost like ruins or gothic style.

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But look really closely at the picture above.  The top left corner of the pictures is that big round-ish ceiling painting.  Look just below the painting diagonally to the right.  See some really faded frescos/murals there on the white wall?  If not, I have some better pictures later.  This was one of my Top 4 favorite European Church moments.

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See how it feels like two different churches?

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This is the side alter, zoomed in to the Tabernacle then out to include the faded wall frescos.  Hopefully, this gives a clearer idea of how magnificent this church must have been in its heyday.

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Below the Basilica was St. Nicholas’s actual Tomb.  This is where Bonnie and I began our religious debates.  I don’t know if you can really tell in the picture below, but there were basically two groups of people down in the Tomb: a group of women all wearing Mantillas and praying (one was sobbing in front of the tomb) and then a bunch of tourists being led by a guide, dressed casually and clearly clueless as to what’s going on around them.  We had a great conversation about the role of a church/pilgrimage location, and how, yes, on the one hand it deserves to be a sacred, spiritual place for those who have spiritually and mentally prepared themselves for the journey.  However, it’s also important for these locations to still remain opened to those “tourists” unprepared spiritually because it allows people to be exposed to the sacredness and possibly become inspired.  It was a great conversation that caused us both to get somewhat spiritual and humbled by the devotion of those around us.

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Some close ups of the ceiling art.  My camera on my phone doesn’t zoom or have a flash, so I’m limited in my photographing skills.  We spent some time, mainly avoiding going back out in the heat, trying to figure out what was happening in the paintings.

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We next tried to go to the Church of St. Scholastica since she was St. Benedict (and St. Benedict was an Orsini, so isn’t she, too?)  However, it’s actually a Monastery – not a church – so we couldn’t exactly go into the Monk’s home, though we tried!

According to the map, we had a nice 20 minute walk to the castle, during which we planned to find a place to grab a bite to eat.  However, we turned the corner, and then, boom, castle.  The town is surprisingly small!  So we grabbed the first seats we saw and let me tell you that prices here in a non-tourist town are sinfully cheaper than all the other places we’ve been.  A bottle of water would normally run around 5EURO everywhere else we’ve been.  We had 3 bottles of water, 2 glasses of wine, a 15” cheese pizza, and a mozzarella/tomato Panini, and our bill TOTAL was 17EURO.  INSANELY CHEAP!  You know, I used to think that there’s nothing like a cool beer to quench your thirst on a hot, summer day.  But now, I’m convinced.  The real summer beverage is a cool, crisp glass of Italian wine (especially if the view is a castle:)

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After sharing our pizza and Panini, we stormed the castle.  Even the castle was a breath of fresh air.  Go back and look at the castles of Krumlov or Salzburg.  They were so painted up and fancy and Disney and charged around $10 to get into.  We paid 1EUR and got to enjoy this beautiful castle, almost to ourselves!  It reminded me so much of Chepstow/Tintern Abbey back in the UK, maybe because it was actually a Norman Castle!  The Normans, after breaking up the Roman Empire, apparently made it all the way down here and built up this castle on top of an old Byzantine castle. 

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The castle yielded lots of fun for our imaginations, like Bonnie dancing with a statue.

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And all the signs gave us great phrases, like “William the Bad” and “Gradual abandonment.”

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The concept of “gradual abandonment” baffled us.  The sign basically said that after this one princess died, the castle fell into its current state via gradual abandonment.  Can you imagine letting the White House fall into the state of ruins like this?  It’s so crazy for our 21st Century American minds to understand!!

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Can you see the difference between the old Byzantine castle/style vs. the Norman castle/style built on top of it??  Pretty cool, huh?

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After the castle, we wanted to go to the movie theater near my hotel to see Robin Hood, but the next showing didn’t start until 6:45, and Italy (defending champs!) played in its first World Cup match at 8:30 and we definitely wanted to watch that over dinner and vino!

Instead of a movie, we took a traditional Italian “siesta.”  AKA, everything closes from like 2-7pm, because it’s just too dang hot!  We met back up at 7, tried to eat dinner, but that can’t start until 8, so we just explored some more!  Joined now by Danny, we defamed public property and found this adorable round home foyer!

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We finally found a place to eat that had a TV so we could watch the World Cup Match and wasn’t just pizza (we had put on dresses afterall, and needed a fancy dinner to match!) but they didn’t open until 8.  We made a reservation, and then, naturally, went and got gelato before dinner.  I think it’s a widely known fact that I am not a huge fan of ice cream/gilato.  I mean, when I eat it, I microwave it!  But we found the most amazing ice cream/gelato on the planet!!!!!  Bonnie got two scoops of “chocolate” which I sampled and it tasted like raw brownie mix.  So I got two scoops of my own.  No exaggeration, but Bonnie (an ice cream expert) had 8 scoops total for the night.  Every flavor we tried was amazing:

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Dinner was actually very nerve racking.  Mafia looking guys kept moving the TV so we could barely see the match, Italy tied and everyone seemed DEVASTATED by this, and no one spoke English, so we were pretty sure that our food was going to come with fish heads and a variety of inedible things.  But Bonnie and I had a surprisingly delicious seafood risotto and Danny had a great little pasta thing.  The wine was gorgeous, Italy tied their match, and as far as we were concerned, the evening was PERFECT!

I will swear by it forever, go to towns you’ve never heard of!  Ljubljiana and Bari have been my two favorite places I’ve visited –pretty much ever – and most people couldn’t tell you where they are!