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April was over yesterday and, in many ways, it was a hard month. At the beginning of the month, the family all got the flu. It started with my son, then eventually spread to me and then to my daughter. I had to care for her and my son while spiking fevers around 102. Caring for two sick children while you’re sick yourself does not for a quick recovery make. But I was feeling well enough to bring the kids to North Conway NH for a few days earlier this week. I had been up there before for day trips but I decided that we would spend the weekend there so that we could relax and not worry about having to rush to get everything in. That’s a picture of Mt. Washington up there, still covered in snow. While we were up there, we stayed at the Red Jacket, MountainView, which we loved. The room was nice and very close to everything – parking, downtown, you name it. And what the kids loved the most was that it had an indoor water park that we took full advantage of.
We also went to Diana’s Baths in the nearby town of Bartlett. Initially, Nate was not too thrilled about going but quickly warmed up when he saw that there were rocks and boulders that were safe to climb. As you can see, it was so beautiful out:
Lately, we’ve all still been sick – Nate got a cold and then I got it and now Gabby has it. I just want to have a week where I’m not sick and everyone else is healthy also!!!
I know I’m a few days late but Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I have the privilege of dating an Irishman who is somewhat…ok, VERY…proud of his Irish heritage and so I got to experience some Irish traditions in addition to engaging in some “American” traditions that relate to the holiday.
So, for those of you who don’t know (and I didn’t until Friday – I thought the story was about rats) – St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and his feast day is March 17. Not much is known about his life and it is said that he was responsible for driving the snakes out of Ireland.
However there is some evidence that he was born to a fairly wealthy family in Britain in 400’s. He died in 46 AD. At the age of 16 he was taken captive by Irish raiders (that’s right – he probably wasn’t IRISH) and taken to Ireland where he was held captive for 6 years. It was during this period that he became a devout Christian. He eventually trained and became a missionary, travelling back to Britain and then back to Ireland, where he incorporated some of the Irish pagan traditions into his mission. I got this information here.
So, one of the traditions that I partook in was actually having a homecooked Irish Boiled Dinner. I ate it at my boyfriend’s home and it was cooked by his mother (with his help, getting things where they needed to get it). It had to have been one of the best meals ever.
Then on St. Patrick’s Day itself, we went to two bars – nothing crazy. We had a dinner at Martha’s Exchange, which completely brought back memories of my Public Defender days. That was typical, but what ended up being SPECIAL was the second place we went to. It was a speakeasy named Codex:
Here’s what it looks like from the outside. Can’t even tell right? In fact, it looks like it would be just your normal, antique or specialty book store. The entrance is around the corner through a glass door that serves as the entrance to two other businesses. You walk up a narrow, carpeted ramp and on a table, with a beautiful lamp and tablecloth is a sign telling you how to get in. Immediately to your right, is a book case – a legit book case – if you follow the directions from the sign and pick the right book, you get let into the bar/lounge. We were let in by a woman dressed in a 1920’s style get up. The bartenders were all wearing black ties with the armbands.
The inside was AMAZING. There were legit, old editions of books everywhere (I was in heaven ok??). The lighting was a dark and mellow gold. There were pictures of EMily Dickinson and other Prohibition Era people on the wall – if you go into the bathrooms there were some racy ones too. TEE HEE. There were niches to spend time in and the furniture seemed appropriate to the theme. The history of that particular building is amazing too. The bar is itself within walking distance of the mills on the river and so, it’s not hard to imagine that a bar like this would fit in with the neighborhood in the prohibition era. Rumor has it that the building that this bar in once housed a bootlegging distillery in it during Prohibition itself. This place was just special. Absolutely special.
My birthday was last week, but that isn’t why I wanted to remember last week. I wanted to create a tribute to a friend of mine. Chris Grace was a member of my social group when I was in law school. We were classmates, both graduating in 2004 and we were both editors on The Digest.
I remember lots of things about Chris – he was always smiling and was a great student. But most of all, he was just a Good Person. He was always there to listen and to support you when you needed it. He was the definition of selflessness and maintained that virtue with dignity and honor in an environment that tried to snuff that out while at the same time, pushing the virtues of competition and ruthlessness upon its acolytes. Chris wasn’t loud or showy; in fact, quite the opposite. He was quiet, determined, hard working and above all, kind and mindful. He was a calming presence in an otherwise terrifically crazy world.
So when I found out that he passed away last week at the age of 37, I was devastated. The world had lost a kind, gentle and loving soul. No longer will his father and friends be able to bask in his calming presence or talk and listen to and learn from his wisdom. The only comforts that I gain from this passage are these: that Chris is with his mother now (who passed away in June) and that God calls His favorites back to him early.
His father, however, has been left alone in the mortal world. In Chris’ name, we, his law classmates, have started a collection for his father. I would like to present his father with a check for the total amount at the beginning of April. If you would be so kind, please go to this page and donate – it can be for any amount.
Thank you Chris – for touching all of our lives and Godspeed my friend.
So we are at my parents’ house this weekend in Connecticut. Even though we arrived yesterday, we will be leaving today because Nate has school tomorrow – even though it’s President’s day. It’s a pretty easy drive all things considered.
But the really big news this week is that Justice Scalia has passed away. I can’t begin to tell you how huge this is for me, on both a distanced and political level as well as a personal level. He’s been on the Supreme Court for as long as I can remember having been appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986, when I was 7. I don’t remember his confirmation hearings (the first confirmation hearings I remember was Clarence Thomas’ in 1991 (thanks to Anita Hill. I’m surprised he wasn’t “Borked” as a result – HAHA). In Law School, he was highly heralded as the rock star champion of the Federalist Society and the originalists. On a more personal note, a few years back, one of my cases was at the US Supreme Court and I went to the argument. It was my first trip to the Court and the case that I had at the trial court level was being argued. So I got to see him in action.
While I may not have agreed with him on just about anything, I did respect him. He is and was VERY smart, even brilliant, in supporting his positions (even though I may not have agreed with him). He has had a distinguished and respected career on the Court and as a practicing lawyer. He has a family that is mourning him and will be burying him. If anything, we should at the barest minimum respect their loss for I’m sure that he was loved by them. Please, please at lest let him be properly buried and mourned before the politicians and media begin speculating about the who, what, when and how Justice Scalia will be replaced – out of the barest modicum of decency, humanity and respect.
On Tuesday, February 9 we voted in the NH Primary. It’s a big deal- I LOVE politics and have been following everything that has been going on with some interest. We – the kids and I – went to vote at our local polling place. Luckily, we got there super early in the morning. In fact, we were waiting in line to vote at 6:45 AM. I have never been there that early to vote but I knew that it was going to be very busy. I got chills when, standing in line, someone sang the National Anthem just as the polls opened. As this person began to sing, the silence slowly worked its way back towards the end of the line and people listened peacefully and attentively. We then went in to vote. It took me longer to actually leave the polling place than it did to vote. And look – here’s why! Craziness right!!!
So I read a story today on CNN that states that Barbie now has new shapes, sizes, hair types, and skin colors. I don’t know how I feel about this. I mean, in some ways, it’s good right? According to Time Magazine, there were a number of factors that were attributed to the change, but what it seemed to boil down to was business, not altruism. “American beauty standards have evolved” wrote Eliana Dockterman in the Time article linked. She cites Kim Kardashian, Beyonce and Christina Hendricks as examples of how American beauty standards have changed. She goes on to state “in this environment, a new generation of mothers favor what they perceive as more empowering toys for their daughters.” Later in the article we learn that in 2012, Barbie global sales dropped 3%. They dropped another 6% in 2013 and a whopping 16% in 2014. She’s been overshadowed by more comparatively progressive Disney princesses (like Merida and Elsa).
So a part of me is happy that my daughter will see different versions of beauty, but at the end of the day, it’s only that. Barbie has been and still is only a body and perhaps that’s all she will be. The message that it sends to my daughter and other little girls is that they’re seemingly only bodies, without much of anything else to back them up or fall back on. They get the message that the only thing that counts IS their body and how it looks for the consumption of other people (mostly men and the male gaze) and NOT for what they can accomplish as people. It discounts their intellectual, emotional and spiritual capabilities and accomplishments, if it gives them any credit for those aspects at all. She’s literally the epitome of objectification. Oh and she’s PLASTIC!!! (Think the Plastics in Mean Girls).
So at the end of the day, I’m not impressed by Mattel and the new Barbie doll. I find it a play to get my business as the mother of a young, biracial daughter and that’s insulting to me. It’s superficial and as fake as the plastic that the doll is made out of.