Sunday, January 13, 2008

School... and sadness

Well, classes have started again. The year long LSSC Social Justice class is taking a new turn that will be time-consuming, but hopefully interesting. I don't think I've explained this class in the blog, so I will do so now. The entire first year class is divided up into small groups of 12-14 students. I've become very good friends with my group, but apparently that's uncommon. Anyway, so each group has all their classes together all year. Each group is also working with a different public interest legal organization, assisting them by completing a research project by the end of the year. My group has been assigned to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Our project is to select some countries and research what their response to homelessness has been, especially whether they have any legislation that guarantees a "right to housing" or some similar right. The goal is to see if we can find some things that have worked in these other countries so that they can be brought up as possible ways to solve the problem here. So, this last week we broke up into four "country groups." I ended up on France because I was one of the few people that was close enough to fluent at one point that I am at least better able to wade through the French websites and possibly even French legislation (although we've been finding some sources for translations) than most of the people in the class. Why did we not pick all English speaking countries, you ask? Well, because the client requested France and Scotland since they knew of some interesting developments in both those countries. So we expanded Scotland to "UK," and then picked Australia and South Africa so that we could at least have mostly English-speaking countries. But with France being part of the EU, hopefully we won't have a terrible time finding decent translations. We'll see.

Anyway, so that's what's going on with that class. As for the other year long class, legal research and writing... well, that's the same old stuff. We're going to start persuasive writing this semester, which might be a little more fun than objective writing. In general though, that class is the bane of everyone's existence. Yes, yes, good research and writing skills are VERY important...but that doesn't make the class any more interesting. Especially when they hand us a specific research project instead of letting us research something we actually find interesting. Although I think they're afraid of sending us up a creek without a paddle in that respect, so I understand the thinking there.

On to the substantive law classes. This term I have Criminal Justice, Contracts, and Constitutional Law. It looks like I have quality professors this time for all three classes, so that's good. And Crim. and Con. Law look like they're going to be as interesting as I would have hoped. As for Contracts, so far it's much more interesting than I expected, which is a pleasant surprise. I don't have much else to say about those classes since I've only been in them for a week, but so far, things are looking good.

Now. The title of this blog says "sadness" too, so I guess I'd better explain. So, Pwas, the family cat, has cancer. My dad has him right now, he "got custody" of the cats when my parents split up. The other cat already ran away or got injured by a raccoon or something, I wasn't that close to that cat anyway, he was weird and neurotic. But Pwas...what a great cat. We've had him since I was 8 years old. I realize that means he's a very old cat, my dad said today he's the equivalent of about 80 years. And I know he's had a good life, and that this time was coming. But, even though we haven't lived in the same house for the better part of 6 years, not counting summers home from college...we always had that bond. He's a huge cat - 20 pounds of muscle, 2 feet long from his nose to the base of his tail...and he never once tried to use that massive strength against me. If my mom was his mom...I was his sister, and his job, apparently, was to make sure nothing hurt me, including him. I was the only one that could bathe him when his fleas got bad because he wouldn't fight against me. I was the only one who could clip his nails for the same reason. He may have even tried to suffocate my crazy ex once. At the time it was just funny - he just tried to sleep on the guy's face, but in retrospect, the guy was crazy and cats are perceptive of these things, so who knows what he was trying to do. He certainly never tried to sleep on anyone's face before or since.

Anyway. He's still eating and not acting terribly sick right now. It all started because he seemed to have some kind of infection in his mouth. Apparently there was an infection and cancer too, so now that the infection has cleared up he's a bit better. I'm hoping he'll still be around when I go home for a friend's wedding in February. At least then I'll have a chance to say goodbye, just in case the next time I'm home after that it's too late.

I don't think we always realize just how attached we are to our pets. But they really become members of the family. Which makes losing one a lot harder than I ever expected it would be.

Well...I think I've been emotional enough for one day. I have some studying to do. Even though we may have a snow day tomorrow, I still have to make sure everything is done just in case the City of Boston is super-efficient and all the roads are cleared by 8 am or something. It does sound like it's going to be a pretty big snowstorm though, apparently two different storms are moving in from the West and the South and meeting right over Boston. So, we'll see.


Chucka Stone Designs said...

I am so glad to read about your interesting classes this year/semester! It sounds like everything is going to be something you really enjoy and can dive into.

Keeping Pwas in my thoughts, is your dad going to do anything medically speaking or just try to keep him comfortable?

Good luck in the snow tomorrow, wishful thinking the roads will be perfectly cleared up :) I'll be on them mid day so wish me luck too lol!

Bridgete said...

He's just going to keep the cat comfortable. He thinks that's best, and so do I. No need to put the poor cat through a bunch of treatments that he doesn't understand and that might make him feel sicker anyway.

As for the snow, I'll keep you in my thoughts tomorrow.