Tuesday, December 26, 2006

the gayest christmas

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I'm home and I get to sleep in my bed next to my very own person. I swear to you I will never take it for granted again that I can roll over and see her sleeping face. She sleeps with great determination, her lips pressed tight together. Some days we sleep in to ridiculous hours. Today we slept till almost 11, for no good reason other than that we liked it. Our Christmas tree glitters in the next room. The cats have developed an obsession for plastic garland. We find it in the hallway when we get up. Sometimes it is in the groove lounge next to the kitchen. The cats always look guilty when we find them chewing it. The girl, especially, looked ashamed yet defiant, as if we have caught her masturbating. Which, since she's a cat, would be a lot more socially acceptable in our house than her inexplicable garland fetish.

It is gray and cold outside, but we have leftover apple-glazed ham from Christmas is the fridge, which means I can make extravagant egg, cheese, and ham sandwiches on english muffins in the morning. I don't usually like or eat ham, but our friend Travis had a hankering for Christmas ham, and brought a giant spiral ham to add to our 18-pound turkey on Christmas Day. We warmed it in a porcelain cooker plugged in under my desk in the study. I've never wanted to sit down at my desk as much as I did smelling that ham.

People drifted over all during the day on Christmas. These last few years we have been having gay Christmases, which is the Christmas you really want to have with all your gay friends where you sit around and eat and drink and watch something campy. One year I made everyone watch The Littlest Angel, which to me is the best blend of bizarro psychedelia, Hallmark sentimentality, and queer sensibility ever seen in a made for TV Christmas special. Think muscle-y angels in impossibly short togas doing calisthenics. Think Tony Randall as an administrator in heaven. Think Johnny Whittaker being sung to and softly caressed every now and then by Fred Gwynne.

This year I got up at 730 and made celery, onion, and mushroom stuffing with fresh herbs, then rubbed the turkey with oranges and stuffed it. I went back to sleep for an hour, then got up and made sweet potato-carrot puree with creme fraiche and two apple pies. I gave my neighbor the bag of potatos and he made them in his kitchen. Friends brought nuts, chocolate, and wine. We heated up rum punch and it made the kitchen smell like apples and allspice. The turkey reached a nutty brown color and we took it out. We threw in the pies. Damian put his green bean casserole (the kind you eat at church suppers) in the oven to warm up. Travis and I snapped the tops off the fresh green beans and cooked up a bunch in a little butter and garlic. The neighbor showed up with the potatos, and brought a homemade cheesecake. Damian made fresh cranberry sauce. Travis finished the beans and I made a lush tub of gravy from the turkey pan drippings. Someone started carving the turkey in the next room. Bottles of wine appeared and were opened with satisfying pops. GF lit the Lily Munsterish candleabra, a grandiose thing we found last year at Target, and put it in the livingroom on the coffee table. The tree glittered. The candles burned. Everyone heaped their plates with food and gravy. When no one could eat any more everyone flopped down on couches and the floor and watched Auntie Mame. Later, inexplicably, we all roared through four or five kinds of cheese, literally licking the rinds.

Yesterday GF and I had great plans to go to the gym, but instead we did a little work and GF surpised me with a spontaneous Dream Date. She took me out to a nice restaurant where I had mussels, then lamb in the most amazing reduction, which I am still thinking about. Then we went to see the movie The Queen, which was remarkably emotionally gripping. If you were wondering whether you still could cry at Diana's funeral, the answer is Yes. A lot.

Today is a late start, but we have sworn to really, really go to the gym today. I have to. I think my cholesterol must be at record levels. But first, I think I'll help myself to just a bite of leftover pie. Then I'll sit next to the Christmas tree, and look at it, and think about all the people I love who are gone, or far away. And I'll miss them, but feel only the tiniest bit guilty that I'm all alone with GF, and the cats, and the gentle crunching sound of plastic garland.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I wish I was more surprised

I'm Caligula. Who knew? And I thought that girlhood love of horses was just . . . dykey.

I'm Caligula!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
You are Gaius Caesar Germanicus - better known as Caligula!

Third Emperor of Rome and ruler of one of the most powerful empires of all time, your common name means "little boots". Although you only reigned for four years, brief even by Roman standards, you still managed to garner a reputation as a cruel, extravagant and downright insane despot. Your father died in suspicious circumstances, you were not the intended heir, and one of your first acts as Emperor was to force the suicide of your father-in-law. Your sister Drusilla died that same year; faced with allegations that your relationship with her had been incestuous, you responded, bafflingly, by declaring her a god.

You revived a number of unpopular traditions, including auctions of properties left over from public shows. When a senator fell asleep at one such auction, you took each of his nods as bids, selling him 13 gladiators for a vast sum. You attempted to have your horse, Incitatus, made into a consul and hence one of the most powerful figures in Rome. It was granted a marble stable with jewels and a staff of servants. At one point you forced your comrade Macro to kill himself - in much the same vein as your father-in-law - accusing him of being his wife's pimp. You, of course, were having an affair with said wife at the time.

Things went from bad to worse. When supplies of condemned men ran short in the circus, you had innocent spectators dragged into the arena with the lions to fill their place. You claimed mastery of the sea by walking across a three-mile bridge of boats in the Bay of Naples; kissed the necks of your lovers, whispering sweet nothings like "This lovely neck will be chopped as soon as I say so,"; dallied with your sister's lover and made her pull her unborn child out of her womb prematurely. Towards the end of your reign, you had a golden statue of yourself made and dressed each day in the same clothes you yourself wore. When you eventually died, the terrified people of Rome refused to believe that such a cruel reign could ever end, and believed you to be alive for years afterwards.

three down

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Three exams down; one to go. I've been off-line at home most nights till recently, since my airport card had a conflict with my roommate's wireless server. It's kept me from internet shopping. I know I can write at night off-line and save the document to post later, but there's something about writing on line that makes blogging easier.

Anyway, the semester draws to a close. I'd like to be able to say I aced all my exams, or bombed them, but the truth is I did ok on all of them so far, and left the room knowing precisely what I had done right--and what I had messed up. Contracts--the class I worked the hardest to stay on top of--was the most satisfying exam. Open book and open computer, it rewarded preparation and organization. I went in to that exam with an outline bristling with multi-colored tabs and filled with red-highlighted Restatements (Second, of course). Sometimes I was flinging myself out into space answering those questions. I think I missed things and got some things wrong. I talked at length about a parol evidence problem, for example, without ever managing to use the words "parol evidence."

Criminal Law was the exam I feared most. Closed book, it seemed that we not only had to memorize endless information, but apply it quickly and with precision and economy as well. Again, I felt when I got in there as if I was bursting with things to say--more than I had time to write. So much more, in fact, that i left myself too little time to round out the last question. I ended with the word "mens," in mid-sentence and mid-thought, trying to explain the mens rea that a prosecutor would have to prove for a battery charge. It should have been simple--I had already done the more difficult one for attempt, with the enhancements you have to apply for inchoate crimes such as conspiracy, attempt, and accomplice liability--but I hadn't left myself enough time. I walked out of that one kicking myself. In a good way, I guess.

Today was Property. I thought Property was a slam dunk--until I started really studying and realized how much information I had to memorize. I did what I could, but I definitely felt tiny details escaping me today as I tried to remember them. The difference between covenants and equitable servitudes? DIdn't seem to know it--though I knew future interests and estates cold. But we were not asked about these, alas. Adverse Possession? Yes--at least I knew adverse possession. I made up NO ACHE to help me remember: notorious and open, actual, continuous, hostile, and exclusive occupation of someone else's land in an effort to claim title for one's self. Joint Tenancy? I knew Joint Tenancy. Four unities, right? Time, Title, Interest, and . . . something beginning with P. Place? Didn't make sense. But say place.

Even though the answer is . . . Possession.


Ah well. On to the three ring circus of Torts. And after Saturday, my first semester of law school is over.

And no matter how well I didn't do, or how well I did, it's almost 1/6 over. And that, as the phoenix-like Martha would say, is a Good thing.