Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that yesterday was the start of Banned Books Week. From Columbus State Library comes this fun little quiz, "Which Banned Book Are You?"

My quiz result was Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi. "You know that you would be able to right all wrongs in the world if only you were a prophet. In public, you must obey the rules, but in the safety of your home, you can embrace your rebellious side. Sometimes you feel trapped between the traditions of the past and a more modern future."

I can happily say that I've read Persepolis, but there are books on the challenged list that I still need to read, such as Catch-22, by Joseph Heller. So many books, and never enough time!

Friday, September 19, 2014


More than a year has passed since I last posted. The truth is that it's been so long I considered creating a new blog to start fresh. This neglected blog has had many fits and starts. But that's how life goes sometimes.

I thought about writing umpteen times, but I felt like I couldn't write about law school because this isn't an anonymous blog. So I didn't. And that's the way it's going to stay. I survived my first year and I just finished week four of my second year. In the meantime, there are plenty of other interesting things to write about.

So what it boils down to is this: I'm still here. I'll be posting sporadically, with a goal of once a week.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book review: The Grail

The subtitle of The Grail, by Brian Doyle, "A year ambling & shambling through an Oregon vineyard in pursuit of the best pinot noir wine in the whole wild world," sums up the book in so many perfect ways.

It gives the reader an overview of what they are about to experience (and I say experience rather than read, because it really is an experience) and it captures Doyle's writing style so well.

Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland. I think the best way to describe how he writes in this book is to say he writes like people talk, in incredibly long sentences, sometimes with a mile between periods on the page. He also doesn't use quotation marks. It's not for everyone. Once when I saw Doyle speak at a library event he said people have written to him to tell him the rules of writing or suggest edits.

The Grail is about Doyle spending a year at Lange Winery where he follows the season of growing grapes and making wine. He spends a lot of time with the Lange family, especially Jesse Lange, the son of the winery's founder Don Lange.

Each chapter is almost its own vignette, a piece of the winery or the history of wine making. As Doyle describes it, they are stories. He breaks down the making of wine into perfectly digestible, understandable bites of literature.

Page 7: "...I conceded something which I have lately conceded a lot, which is that I really only understand little stories, my brain only sparks to life when little stories are fed into it like berries into babies, so one day I said to Jesse, Hey, do me a favor, just tell me little stories, lay out the whole year for me in about five minutes, a sketch of what really happens, a year in the life of the vineyard?"

I found The Grail so enchanting because of the stories. Also, the wonderful illustrations by Mary Miller Doyle, the author's wife. I feel like I learned so much about wine, especially pinot noir, but it was such an entertaining journey. I also enjoyed it so much because it takes place in Oregon, and I lived in McMinnville for two years, which is very near Dundee, and the red clay hills where the world-renowned pinot noir wines come from.

Even if you're not a wine drinker, the story is fascinating. The book is from 2006 so I wondered about how business had fared during the rocky economy. When I finished reading I found Lange Estate Winery online and am happy to say that the family is still making wine.

Overall The Grail is a delightful read, and one that went really quickly too.

I'll leave you with a quote from Gabriel, the (then) manager of the tasting room on page 76: "Making wine is farming, and farming is hard. But the product of the farm is fascinating because ultimately wine is about people eating and talking and laughing and telling stories."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Knit happens

A little while ago I stumbled upon some yarn bombing/knit graffiti in Eugene by a group called the Knotty Knitters. I was so happy when I saw it because I've heard about yarn bombing, but hadn't seen any in real life before this.

I didn't know this, but it turns out there is an International Yarn Bombing Day, and in 2012 the group hid 75 little knit trinkets around the public library. Also, I found a video of them on the local newspaper's website from Valentine's Day 2011. The knitting read "All you knit is love," and it looks like they reused some of the same letters for the display I saw, which read "April showers knit flowers."

Close-up of the A in April

(Please excuse the mobile phone photos. It's all I had with me at the time.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Chronicles of Riddick*

I sort of alluded to an update post back in June after having dead air for about two months. So as the kids say, here's the lowdown or the 411 or whatever.

Let's go back. Way back.


Not that far back.

"Picture it" as the character Sophia Petrillo always used to say on The Golden Girls, Eugene 2012. I'd been debating about applying to graduate school for a while, and after much wringing of hands I decided to apply to law school. The first thing I needed to do was study for the LSAT. I signed up for the December 1 test and studied, studied, studied.

Study material**

After that came the essay writing, rewriting, resume writing, asking for letters of recommendations, requesting transcripts, and paying application fees. I only applied to two schools, both in Oregon. I didn't want to leave my beloved state, plus moving far away just isn't practical right now. I didn't disclose my law school application decision on the blog because I was afraid of getting rejected and it's such a bummer to have to tell people that. So instead I kept it on the down low.

Next was the waiting, and then more waiting. I'd go out to the mailbox in the afternoon looking for fat envelopes, you know the idea being that rejection letters are a single page and come in regular sized envelopes whereas acceptance material requires a larger envelope. I was wait-listed at one school. Then I got a rejection letter from the other school. I was worried, but seeing as how you are reading this, I think you can guess what happened.

I was accepted to the first school where I was wait-listed. Wow. I'm going to law school. Classes start in August.

I'm really excited, as well as completely nervous.

In the meantime, I planted tomatoes, sweet peas, and marigolds, and the dahlia that I planted last year came back in full force.

The weather has been incredibly hot the past week or so. Today I went for a walk on the bike path along the river. Other than the old man in the sting thong (no picture of that, you're welcome) it was lovely.

The Willamette River

I've also been reading as much as I can before I don't have time to pleasure read. I'll have a few reviews soon.

And that brings us roughly up to date. It's been a bit of a wild ride.

*Just kidding. This post is more like the epic update/chronicles of Laura. Have you seen The Chronicles of Riddick? It's so bad, but, you know, Vin Diesel's shaved head and black tank top, so there you go. Also Judi Dench is in it, so that has to add some redeeming value.

**All the photos I took in this post are from my mobile phone, therefore they are not of the greatest quality, but they do illustrate certain points so we'll let them stay.