CHRISTmas Makes Me Smile

It’s only been two weeks since school let out, but it feels like a lifetime.  I guess that’s due in part to the many things I’ve done in such a short while.  As much as I enjoy law school, I notice that when I’m away for a while I feel like I’m waking up from a long sleep.  Suddenly I get to do things I’d not been able to do in months or more.  This Christmas was no exception.  Although I worked all the way through the 23rd of December and Monday the 26th will be my only “official” holiday during my entire semester break, I made the most of the long weekend.

I purposely spent more time with my mom this holiday because I often caught her quiet and deep in thought.  I know she was missing my dad as we all were.  Mom and I watched movies—several, while wrapping gifts in my office locked away from the rest of the family.  We needed that time together and the boys were more than happy to let Santa’s “elves” work at wrapping Christmas gifts in peace.

We watched a particular movie that I have to recommend because it was both enjoyable AND thought-provoking.  If you’ve not seen the movie, “Fracture” with Anthony Hopkins it’s a definite must see, especially for aspiring barristers.  I definitely don’t want to give any plot away, but I wish I’d seen this BEFORE law school and then again at this point in my education just to see whether I had a different take on it.  I can bet that the two experiences would be as different as night and day.

As it was, I watched the movie (which deals with a criminal prosecution) and found myself analyzing the evidence, listening to the courtroom banter and planning my case strategy so much faster than it unfolded in the movie.  A couple of times I listened to the direct examination and thought, “Objection, hearsay!” before the movie attorney got to his feet. I even ended up figuring out the key to the movie all the way down to the final strategy.  It was so exciting!  I mean, the movie is itself pretty good, but watching it now within the context of my legal training, it was like someone turned on the light.  I imagine I must’ve felt this way when I first started to read and what had once been strange symbols, turned into letters, then words, and FINALLY into sentences.  I wanted to shout, “Eureka!!”  I tried to explain this phenomena to my mom and all I could tell her was that it was like the movie dialogue was a language within a language and all of a sudden (after 3.5 years in  law school) I discovered that I suddenly knew both languages.   It was bizarre and strangely wonderful.

The Christmas Eve service at my church was especially nice this year because all of us were there together.  Every year there’s one gift that I can’t wait to give more than anything.  This year I’d been planning a gift for my friend Joanna since October and gave it to her at the church service.  Her oldest son is a senior in high school and college is around the corner.  We’ve had many conversations about how tough it’s going to be to let him go and with my oldest a freshman in high school, watching Joanna and her son is particularly difficult.  That and the fact that I love that kid as if he were mine.

Both our boys are in the marching band (at rival high schools) and I was able to find some pictures of her son at our marching competition and purchased them for her.  Their band went on to win the State 4A Marching Championship this year.  I mounted the three pictures in a frame and matted it with their school colors.  I put his name and the year of the Championship on the matting.  I figured she’d be pretty down this year because her son is gone visiting his dad in California, so I knew these pictures would make her feel just a bit closer to him.  I was right, and she loved it.

Mom and I also spent lots of time cooking for the family.  This is a hobby of mine that I also miss during the semester; there just isn’t time to cook the way that I want to cook.  A couple of times I’ve cooked for friends in Ft. Worth and they are always happy to get my food, but because I’m trading off valuable study/reading time, I never get the same relaxed pleasure I get when I cook and there are no school deadlines.  I find that during my semester breaks I cook a lot more and my family is the recipient of many more elaborate and adventurous recipes.  Here is our Christmas Eve dinner….

Brown sugar glazed ham, green bean/carrot/onion/mushroom medley, creamed corn (Rudy's BBQ-style) and rosemary potoatoes

We didn’t exchange too many gifts this  year, which is fine with me.  Everyone got a couple of small presents, except for the boys who got WAY too many gifts that cost WAY too much…but, they’re good kids, with excellent grades and I couldn’t ask for anything more.  So, what the heck!  I got John Grisham’s newest novel, which I specifically asked Santa to bring me.  I held it in my hands, flipped the pages a bit, sniffed the wonderful paper smell (I do NOT like the whole evolution of e-books…give me hard cover any day of the week!!) and then put it aside to read later….like, in  AUGUST 2012.  Yep, that’s the soonest I’ll get to this unfortunately, but that’s a story for another blog!

This evening, Christmas Day, we were invited to my friend, Marilyn’s house for dinner and a white elephant gift exchange; only mom and my oldest son went with me.  Marilyn is a professional caterer and so you can imagine the spread.  She had so much fantastic food!   The gift exchange is always a circus because Marilyn literally collects items all year long especially for this white elephant game—she easily had over 100 gifts there.  You never know what you’re gonna get from her and since there were only ten of us playing we all got to pick many times over.  Needless to say when we left, my car was bursting with stuff:  some of which was pretty cool (a blender, two cheese plates, set of springform pans, plastic pitcher, and a tomahawk to name but a few!) and others were, well…junk (singing James Brown doll, collection of nylon bags, pair of second-hand Wrangler jeans, candle holders, more candle holders, and still more candle holders).   This is why it’s so fun to go to Marilyn’s house, she has an eye for really cool things, but she is also a pack rat.  So, on Christmas Day it’s hilarious fun to see what all Marilyn’s found during the preceding year.  Thankfully I didn’t get the box of bubble wrap!

All in all, it’s been a wonderful Christmas.  I’ve enjoyed the time I spent with my family and friends.  I am slowly re-charging my batteries and gearing up for ONE. LAST. SEMESTER.   Merry Christmas, Everyone!  May the blessing of the Christ child be in  your heart today and always.

This is me: Class of 2012; Band Mom; JD 2B


About LegalTrenches

I graduated law school in May 2012 and have been blogging about my experience as a non-traditional student since my 2L year. I live over 200 miles from my law school and so I commuted two round trips a week from the beginning. I put almost 1000 miles a week on my car. Law school is crazy. It's even crazier as a non-traditional commuter student, but I wouldn't have had it any other way! I blogged my way through bar prep and sat for the July 2012 Texas Bar exam. Hopefully some of my experiences will help out those taking the bar exam after me. On Nov. 1, 2012, I received my bar results and became an officially licensed Texas lawyer! Follow me as I transition into the legal world as a brand new baby lawyer. I'll try to keep it light and promise to keep it real.

Posted on December 26, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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