Friday, July 24, 2009


It's the end of an era.

TOH is no more.

Instead, I give you: Dr. TOH. Yes, he has achieved what set us on this winding and, occasionally, torturous path all those years ago.

It feels so long ago. We thought we would be able to start afresh, almost, after he become a Dr. and I became an Esq. That it would just be the re-starting of our lives, becoming grown ups after years of studentdom and temporary jobs. It's not quite worked out like that. Yet again, we are constrained by geography - my needing to be here, his job being a three-hour journey away.

Yet, and yet... I rarely have been so happy as I am today. Because he has worked so hard, because he is wonderful, and because how often do people you love really achieve what they want - and it make them happy?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


In a mere three weeks' time, TOH and I will be packing and prepping for a (much-deserved, in our opinion) holiday to somewhere warm and sunny far, far from here. We are both tremendously excited. Of course, I have to fret about something, so now the fretting begins: What to read? NPR has published a list of 200 books that it wishes to whittle down to the 100 Best Beach Books Ever. Some of them are great and, indeed, I've read them while on the beach / on a lounger in close proximity to a pool: Cryptonomicon, Kavalier & Clay, The Moonstone are just a few examples. But some of these just seem... weird. I give you:
  • The Brothers Karamazov
  • Lush Life (rarely have I read a book more rooted in its place - so unless you're at the Water Taxi Beach, probably not a good choice. Who would want to take hipsters with them to invade their imagination when they leave NYC?).
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being - really? because an existential crisis goes so well with a tan?
  • War and Peace - because you'll have so long to actually sit down and read it?
On the other hand, although it is a thriller, I could not have predicted that The Moonstone would be such a perfect accompaniment to early mornings sat overlooking a beach in northern Brazil. So I'm not going to count these out, necessarily. As for us, I'm not sure what we're taking, but definitely the new Zoe Heller, the new Sarah Waters (and Tipping the Velvet). Suggestions?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This weekend has been rather fabulous. Lazy, slow. We took a wander round the neighbourhood yesterday, up to 181st to pick up a tennis racquet and a scratching post for the cats, which of course they have studiously ignored, sitting a mere five inches away and steadfastly looking anywhere but at it, let alone contemplating using it. We've listened to a lot of cricket on TMS, and picked up a couple of books I've been wanting to read for ages from the local library.*

We took advantage of the fabulous courts by the GW Bridge and played truly terrible tennis for an hour-and-a-half. We then had a bit of a sit and a read while watching the boats serenely sail by, the jetskis thunder by, and the sun set over Jersey.

Oh, and a galleon. No, really.

I've been wanting to do more in the neighbourhood before we move - under three weeks to go - but these have all been about restaurants, sights, things like that. Yesterday reminded me that we really have not taken advantage of the area's access to the river; spending a few hours there went a little way to redressing that.

* If you're interested, Tipping the Velvet, which is the only Sarah Waters other than the new one that I've not read - we're saving both for the hols which will be in a mere 3.5 weeks - and Charm City by Laura Lippman - I'm slightly obsessed with this series. It's set in Baltimore in the 1990s (thus far), and has the extra interest value of being written by the woman** whose husband wrote the original Homicide - the book and the tv series which, while nowhere near as good as The Wire, set the scene for it, and I maintain the first couple of series are extremely good indeed.

** Of note, and annoyance, is the fact that David Simon's wiki bio does not mention to whom he is married - which is clearly interesting as she's a journalist of note in Baltimore, and a good, celebrated writer - but hers does mention his. I wonder why. Not for long, though.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Talking Points Memo is doing a great job of covering the discussion at the confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor - one of the better jobs, in fact, so I recommend using that for the next few days (and reading the prior coverage by Pincus - he's a new fave). More legally oriented than, for example, the NY Times site. Also recommended - El Diario's coverage on Twitter.

As to my own feelings on the matter... I actually do think the rigour with which they're questioning her is good - she shouldn't be guaranteed to get in, because it's bloody important.

Moreover, I find the liberal side's cries of "oh, but she's so qualified that they're looking elsewhere" (see Dahlia Lithwick on The Rachel Maddow Show) a little disingenuous. I disagree - one of the first things I loved about Obama was his statement on why he wasn't going to vote for Alito. Because despite his perfect paper qualifications, Alito's record indicated that he always came out on the side of the more powerful. That indicated an imbalance in his judgment. Sotomayor has a much more mixed record, which doesn't indicate anything like Alito's bias. The problem is not that they're looking elsewhere, but where they're looking - which is straight at the big fat fact that she's a Latina.

What I hadn't realised - that I learnt from TRMS - was the constant reference to other judges of Latino descent - and particularly revolting was the implication that she had to vote the same way as Cabranes ("himself of Puerto Rican descent") on the Ricci en banc decision, or she was a racist. Oh, Jeff Sessions. Really?

As for the "wise Latina," I would expect her to possibly know a bit more about what constitutes discrimination. I've had numerous discussions with extremely bright, thoughtful men who simply did not understand that certain things felt intimidating, harassing or unpleasant to women, particularly in the workplace. If you've occupied a position of privilege your entire life, you cannot be guaranteed to understand the feelings of someone who has had barriers erected in front of them - particularly when those barriers have become increasingly subtle because most people with power have learned that you can't go around referring to a black man as "boy" and getting away with it. You use experience to help you understand context - and if you don't have that experience, you may benefit from someone who has. The decision in the school strip search case really did seem to benefit from RBG's understanding of what was reasonable as a young woman. In contrast, people like Sessions only seem to understand "discrimination" as "deprivation of privilege."

As for SS, I don't think she's anywhere near liberal enough for what I would like to see the Court become. But she'll do for now. As will the Republicans' willingness to show themselves as bitter, angry men who really aren't interested in diversity - either on the bench or in their electorate.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Shifting Gears

Work has been, to put it mildly, manic the past few weeks. I have also managed to get sworn in (officially a lawyer now - yikes) and sign my first ever lease, which is also the first joint lease for me and TOH. So I've barely had time to think sufficiently to vent - not that there's necessarily much thinking before the venting, but I normally get wound up sufficiently to put a few words up. Not this time round.

It always takes me a while to shift back into "normal," and undoubtedly I will get poorly. Sleeping 8 hours last night made me almost feel worse because now my body is apparently punishing me for lack of sleep in the past three weeks. Nonetheless, I'm sure as I recuperate the rage will return. Sotomayor's confirmation hearings and the circus around them will doubtlessly help. But for now it's concentrating on the Ashes and getting back into a routine of gym, healthier eating, and sleeping, as well as spending time with those I love.

Oh, and planning a holiday. Hooray!