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Is it Fall Break yet?

Another busy week is almost over for me (finally). So what have I been up to?

I came back from a weekend of homework while the guys chopped corn silage. I also go to decorate for fall at the farm which was nice. I meal prepped Parmesan tilapia, meatloaf, hamburger steaks, and BBQ chicken. 

As soon as I got back to school I hit the ground running. This week I had a training on searching criminal records for expungement purposes and tomorrow I have a 4 hour training at the local pediatric hospital. I had a meeting with a research librarian to discuss my bioethics papers on the implications of Zika for fertility specialists today. And I got my first assignment editing a chapter of a book for my research assistant position. Overall, I am swamped but I am going to see my parents this weekend so that’s the silver lining! 

PS: I have been hitting the gym hard and am down almost 7 pounds aka bring on that first wedding dress fitting in December! 

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The Week of Pro Bono

What an incredibly exhausting but rewarding week. I am getting wild on a Friday night by curling up on the couch with my dog and watching Twilight. 

I started my day at the YMCA since I FINALLY joined a gym yesterday (it takes me at least a month every time I move to get my life together). I was extra incentivized by the fact that I need to schedule a wedding dress fitting for a few months out. I decided to start my first day back with cardio and arms/shoulders so I am plenty tired. 

Then I got my official volunteer assignment at the local pediatric hospital and got my scubs, ID badge, and TB test. As soon as my background check comes back I can start. I went today to get fingerprinted (West VA still requires that for running background checks apparently) and I had to fill out paperwork for living in AR, NC, and VA as well. It makes me realize how much I have moved the last few years.

I helped give a presentation at the local Boys and Girls Club about interactions with law enforcement as part of a pro bono project called Know Your Rights. It was super rewarding and one little boy who wants to be an OBGYN when he grows up absolutely stole my heart. 

I hoped to get more schoolwork done today but I did so much running around that I am trying to remind myself I accomplished plenty. I also made a huge thing of beef and broccoli stir fry to eat all weekend. The next two days will be dedicated to doing my homework for next week, working on my bioethics paper, and at least picking a topic for my health law paper. I am going to be out of town the next two weekends so I need to stay on top of things. 

A Tuesday in the Life

Ever wonder what a day looks like in the life of a law student? I hoped my week would be less hectic since I worked ahead on homework for the week, but I knew I had several pro bono commitments that would make the week a little busier than normal. 

My schedule for today ending up being:

8-9:20     Family Law Class

10:30-11:50 Legislative and Admin Law Class

12:00-12:30 Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition (DVAC) meeting 

2:30-3:50 Profesional Responsibility Class

5-7 Expungement Clinic downtown 

And all of the spare moments in between were filled with reading for class, answering endless emails, and grabbing some lunch. I meal prepped for the week so today was chicken casserole, roasted broccoli, and a mix of apples/grapes/blueberries. I didn’t even eat the pizza offered at the DVAC training!

I really enjoyed my first time at the expungement clinic. We had a training last week, but you learn the most on the job. Unfortunately many of the people that come do not qualify to do what they would like to do with their criminal records. There are a lot of changes in the NC expunction law that will change a lot of the rules starting January 1, 2018. However, some things, such as violent offenses, remain ineligible. It is so rewarding though to be able to provide that kind of service for the Winston-Salem community. It’s also a great chance to network with a local Judge that was acting as the supervising attorney for the project. 

When I got home from clinic I submitted a weekly writing for health law and policy and worked on my outline for a bit before writing this and heading to bed. Tomorrow is another full day and the halfway mark for this week people! 

New Law School- Who ‘Dis?

I won’t even apologize for not keeping up with this very well. Life is life and I do my best, but here I am so let’s talk!

I have transferred and started school at Wake Forest Law. It is less than 3 hours from Ian, 4.5 from my parents, and about 2 from any of my siblings give or take. I have spent several weekends in West Virginia since classes started and Ian has been able to visit a few times in North Carolina as well. I miss the heck out of my Arkansas people, but I am slowly making new friends in Winston Salem.

I love my apartment in Clemmons, NC. It takes me about 15 minutes to get to school but the apartment complex is wonderful and I get all of my floors in on my Fitbit because I live on the 3rd floor. I finally have the whole place unpacked and decorated and I absolutely love it.

Wedding planning is well under way. We finally have a date set (August 4, 2018 aka 320 days away)! I have a dress, we have a reception venue (Ian’s farm), I almost have the church booked, save the dates are sitting in a box in my apartment, bridesmaid dresses are picked out, I have two florist appointments at the end of the month, we have the cake baker picked out and just need to schedule a tasting, and cards have gone out asking my bridesmaids to stand by my side on my big day.

So now the main event- school. I spent the first week trying to figure out where everything was and get my life together as one does when starting a new school. The next two weeks absolutely flew by because I spent every spare second doing the write on competition for law review. I have no idea if I have any chance of getting an offer from any of the journals, but at least I gave it a shot. I am involved in several pro bono projects already and have my first two clients through a partnership with Legal Aid called Lawyers on the Line.

Classes are going well. I am taking Admin Law, Family Law, Bioethics, Healthcare Law and Policy, Professional Responsibility, and Juvenile Law. All of my classes so far have been interesting and I have not had too much trouble keeping up with the reading and assignments.

My biggest goal for this week is to finally get a gym membership at the local YMCA. It has been on my to do list for weeks but I have been too busy. This week is the week though because I will have a wedding dress fitting coming up soon!

I will let y’all know how my first expungement clinic goes on Tuesday. I hope everyone else has a great Sunday night resting up for the week!

 

Sweet Summertime

After a long and demanding second semester of law school, I am back! Grades are in, I made a trip back to Virginia to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day and I started my summer job at a law firm in Little Rock, AR. Where to begin with catching everyone up.

I meal prepped chicken stirfry, eggplant parmesan, and a mix of strawberries/blueberries/blackberries/raspberries.

Work

I am loving my job as a summer associate for Dover, Dixon, Horne in Little Rock. It is a sizable firm for Arkansas and my office is on the 37th floor of the tallest building in Arkansas. I have gotten to dabble in agriculture and construction law in my first week and am even getting used to rocking the suit and heels every day.

School

I finished my second semester which means my first year of law school is officially in the books! I have been looking forward to being able to pick my own classes for ages. I also finally have my transfer applications submitted so now I am just waiting to hear if I end up on the west coast or back home in Virginia. Arkansas has been really good to me, but I think it is time to move on to my next adventure.

Love Life

When I visited home, Ian got me a new ring for our fresh start. It is absolutely gorgeous and I am as in love with it as I am with him. As soon as I hear back about school transfers we are going to set a date. Another thing that we are finally going to embark on is premarital counseling. I am very excited to dive into that and see how it goes.

The other part of my love life aka Robert the Best Dog Ever is his wonderful doggy dog self. He is settled in to our new apartment for the summer and enjoying new bushes to relieve himself on. During our visit to West Virginia, he got to meet his stepbrother Bear and seeing the two of them together officially made me realize how old Robert acts.

Free Time

Now that finals are over I have had time to catch up on all of my podcasts. Currently I am listening to Dear Sugar, The Heart, CHOICE/LESS, Popaganda, Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure, and Democracy Now.

I am an official late comer to the party but I have been binge watching Gilmore Girls and am already into the third season. A new life goal is to have a mother-daughter relationship like Lorelai and Rory.

I have been to three used bookstores since I moved to Little Rock last week. I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed all in one sitting today while I was working on my sunburn at the pool. I am starting feminity by Susan Brownmiller next.

I am also incredibly excited to finally be able to get back to this blog! I can’t wait to share what I manage to get into in the big city this summer.

 

Playing Catch Up

What a busy few months! Spring break finally gives me an opportunity to catch up on some things that have been sitting on my to do list for ages such as this blog. So where are things at?

School

Second semester first year hit everyone like a ton of bricks. I feel like I have not taken a breath since school started back in January. This semester I am taking property, constitutional, legal research and writing II, and contracts. Finishing my appellate brief is high on my priority list for spring break as well as catching up some of my outlines and emails.

Work

I finished the on campus interview process with some law firms from Fayetteville, AR and Little Rock, AR. I will be working in Little Rock this summer (if anyone knows about good housing options for someone with a dog for 12 weeks- hit me up). I am really excited to check out a different part of the state and to get to work in the environment of a law firm. I am also psyched to have snagged a paid position. The best part of all of this has to be that I am done with wearing a suit and interviewing and at least I know where I will be this summer. Cheers to some sense of stability and finality.

Also the FBI is coming to present at our school in a few weeks. Out of curiosity  I looked up the entry requirements for fitness and whatnot. All I can say is yikes!

Love Life

I am currently taking a break from my engagement. Amicably. That’s really all there is to say about that. We are both sorting out what we want to do and where we want to live and I am glad we are taking the time now instead of later. With as crazy as this semester has been, this has given me some extra time to focus on my career path which has been much needed.

Fitness

I have not been doing a good job at all at keeping up with the gym or running this semester. I admit it. I have not been on a run in over a month and have not been to the gym in nearly as long. As the weather is starting to warm back up a little, I hope to get back out on some runs. I also will have a lot more free time once I turn in my appellate brief.

So what am I up to for spring break? I am in Charleston, SC visiting friends! I thought that it was going to be warmer here but it was 20 degrees warmer back in Arkansas yesterday. How typical. But, it is supposed to be in the 70’s and 80’s for the next two days here so I am going to carve out some time to find a beach. I hope everyone is enjoying the end of winter and the beginning of spring!

 

 

 

 

A New Kind of March in Little Rock, AR

Today I went to the Women’s March in Little Rock, AR in solidarity with the march in D.C with around 7,000 other women. I got up at 6 a.m. to hit the road from Fayetteville with one of my friends from law school. The march was only two block to the capital steps and the warm weather made for an incredibly powerful day with other like-minded people.

I didn’t march to protest President Trump. I value the peaceful transfer of democratic power that happens in the United States every 4 or 8 years too much for that. I have been doing a lot of soul-searching over the electoral college and the popular vote and what type of system I would prefer to see for the United States in the future (ps the time to change that type of system is now- not right after an election).

So why did I protest? I marched because AR HB 1032 just flew through committee which is a ban on the safest method of second trimester abortion. I marched because there is not gender equality in wages or professional opportunities. I marched because I want everyone in every elected position everywhere all the way up to the President that there are problems that need attention. That I will be watching. I am hoping that he makes wise decisions that move our country forward in all respects including for women. But I am also watching if he doesn’t and I am fully prepared to use my voice to let him know. Elected officials represent the people so let the will of the people be heard.

 

Half Way Checkpoint- Resolutions for January

I broke my resolutions down this year into separate months (see the entire list here) to give myself a chance to renew every month instead of feeling like I failed for the whole year by the middle of January. I did decide that while I was packing and moving back to Arkansas to cut myself a little slack on my January resolutions. I am now back, unpacked, and ready to tackle them with a vengeance! Even with traveling several thousand miles in my car over the last month and celebrating the holidays with my east coast friends and family that I had not seen in months, I still managed to make a start towards my resolutions. Since the month is half way over, here is my update on what I have accomplished and what still needs some (or a lot) of work. I hope my honesty will help inspire you to recommit if you have already fallen off the wagon a bit or to continue if you are still going strong!

Resolution One- Complete a 52 Week Hike Challenge

I completed an 8 mile hike on New Years Day annnnnd have not been on another yet. To be fair, the second weekend it rained the whole time and this weekend I was driving the 20 hours back to Arkansas. I fully intend to catch up on my hikes (hopefully the weather is nice tomorrow and I can get one in at Devil’s Den State Park).

Develop a More Regular Yoga Practice

My internet in West Virginia just wouldn’t support youtubing any yoga videos. Today was my first full day in Arkansas and I completed my first 20 minute video. I hope to do one or two a day and, if I stay consistent at home, I will consider getting back into going to the studio. The video today was mostly gentle stretching but I was so excited just to roll out my mat. The dog thought about joining me for a minute but then he thought better of it and crawled back into his bed.

Run 50 Miles

Before I came home for the holidays I was up to running about 50 miles a month. With all of the snow and the single digit temps, my running got derailed over the holidays and I didn’t get many miles in. I think I might be currently around 8 miles for the month? Oops haha… There is still time to get some miles in and I would rather spend the rest of the month slowly working back up than pushing to hit 50 anyways and giving myself serious shin splints.

Discover the Gym at My Apartment Complex

That elusive, scary place. Maybe tomorrow… I have only been back one day… Right?

Sign Up for My First Half Marathon

Still have not done this. I did finally google some local 5ks I want to run this spring so I am going to sign up for a few of those and keep looking for a half marathon that I want to run.

That is my progress report for January so far. It is a little lackluster, but I am just now getting home from the holidays and can get back into my routine. I got groceries yesterday and bought stuff to meal prep my lunches all week so I won’t eat out. I also got a ton of fruits and vegetables to cook this week with my dinners. The first half of the month may be gone, but there is still the second half to go and I am excited to make some progress on some of my goals.

How are your resolutions going? Let me know!

Sex-Positivism Feminism- A Historical Explanation

Sex-positivism feminism (also called pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism) began in the 1980’s and was coined from Ellen Willis’s 1981 essay Lust Horizons: Is the Women’s Movement Pro-Sex?. The main tenant is that sexual freedom is essential to women’s freedom and is an avenue of pleasure for women. The sex-positive feminists were one of the two main players in the feminist sex wars of the early 1980’s.

What were the feminist sex wars?

During the early 1980’s the main players (the sex-positive feminists and the anti-pornography feminists) debated issues surrounding sexuality and sexual activity such as pornography, erotica, prostitution, lesbian sexual practices, and the role of trans women. Sex-positive feminists were concerned that anti-pornography positions aligned too closely with the oppressive right-wing war on recreational sex and pornography.

Key Player- Ellen Willis

Willis was a journalist and music critic known for her involvement in the feminist movement and her membership in New York Radical Women. She co-founded Redstockings (a feminist group focused on the Pro Woman Line) and No More Nice Girls (a pro-choice street theater and protest group).

Key Player- Gayle Rubin

Some of Rubin’s earliest activism was at the University of Michigan where she organized groups on campus and wrote on feminist topics. Her essay The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economic of Sex was one of the first to propose a difference between gender and sex. She then moved to San Francisco where she co-founded the Samois.

Key Player- Pat Califia

Califia is a bisexual trans man who writes non-fiction about sexuality as well as erotic fiction and poetry. Prior to transitioning, he identified as a lesbian which many of his writings reflect. He was a co-founder of Samois and contributed heavily to group publications.

Key Organization- Redstockings

Founded by Ellen Willis and Shulamith Firestone in 1969, the Redstockings are well known for storming the February 13, 1969 New York State Joint Legislature Committee on Public Health hearing which, at the time, was considering abortion law reform. One month later, Redstockings hosted a public forum where 12 women spoke about their experiences with illegal abortion.

Their main tenant is the Pro-Woman Line which is the idea that women’s submission to male supremacy is a matter of their need to adapt to the patriarchy rather than brainwashing. Their proposed solution is for men to take responsibility to give up their supremacy rather than women changing.

Key Organization- Samois

Named after the fictional estate of Anne-Marie (a lesbian character in Story of O), Samois was a lesbian-feminist BDSM organization in San Francisco from 1978-1983. Practitioners fended off opposition from conservative and puritanical groups arguing that their method of practicing BDSM was consistent with feminist ideals. The group split in 1983 due to infighting.

Key Organization- Lesbian Sex Mafia

Founded by Dorothy Allison and Jo Arnone, the Lesbian Sex Mafia was founded in 1981 in New York City to provide support to lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, and transsexual women. The group did this through promotion of uninhibited sexual expression through exploration of fantasy role playing, fetishes, and alternate gender identities.

Stayed tuned for more bits of feminist history!

Another Day Another Pipeline- Sabal Trail Transmission

With the Dakota Access Pipeline still fresh in many of our minds, it is important to build on the momentum of the #NoDAPL movement and educate people about other pipelines currently being built in the United States. One such pipeline is the Sabal Trail pipeline in Florida. It is a 515 mile natural gas pipeline that will transport 1 billion cubic feet per day of pressurized natural gas in steel pipes up to 48 inches in diameter beginning in June 2017. The major players are NextEra Energy, Inc.; Duke Energy; and Spectra Energy Corp.

There are currently 4 interstate natural gas pipelines in Florida:

  • Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC- the largest pipeline in the state with a 3.1 billion cubic feet per day capacity
  • Gulfstream Natural Gas System, LLC- the second largest pipeline in the state with a 1.3 billion cubic feet per day capacity according to the Sabal website however the Gulf South Pipeline website noted that they have a throughput of 2.8 billion cubic feet per day
  • Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP- 2.8 billion cubic feet per day
  • Southern Natural Gas Company, LLC

What is natural gas?

It is important to discuss what exactly will be transported in these pipes. Natural gas is mainly methane and small amounts of hydrocarbons gas liquids and non hydrocarbon gases. It formed over millions of years from the remains of plants and animals that were compressed and heated.

How do we extract natural gas?

Geologists locate rock that is likely to contain natural gas (either on land or offshore) by using seismic surveys. After a survey is conducted, an exploratory well is drilled and, if there is sufficient natural gas present, one or more development wells are drilled. To remove the natural gas the rock formation is fractured by forcing water, chemicals, and sand down the development well (aka fracking).

One of the main issues with DAPL was the impact on crossing bodies of water- so how will the Sabal Trail Pipeline cross bodies of water?

  • Open-Cut Wet-Ditch Method: digging an open trench on a stream bottom, lay the pipe, and backfill over it
  • Open-Cut Dry-Ditch Method: using flume pipes to redirect the stream through the disturbed area, using sandbags to create dams both upstream and downstream of the work site, and excavate under the flume pipe
  • Dam and Pump Around Method: using sandbags to construct dams upstream and downstream from the work area and then diverting stream flow around the work area using pumps and hoses

Where does radon come into the picture?

There is talk that natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region (in Pennsylvania) has unhealthy amounts of radon. According to the Sabal Trail website, radon is a naturally-occurring gas and there there has always been some level in all gas supplies.

John Hopkins researchers found that levels of radon in Pennsylvania homes have been on the rise since 2004, around the time that the fracking industry began drilling natural gas wells in the state. According to the study, 42 percent of radon readings in homes surpass what the U.S. government considers safe (which seems like a direct contradiction to the Sabal Trial website).

Can the Sabal Trail survey private land in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida without permission of the land owners?

The short answer is yes. The specific codes are:

  • Alabama Code Section 18-1A-50 and 18-1A-51
  • Georgia Statute O.C.G.A. 22-3-88
  • Florida Statutes 472.029, 471.027, and 361.05

Mud Leak in South Georgia

In November of 2016, WFSU- a public media source for Northern Florida and Southern Georgia- reported that drilling was leaking mud into the Withlacoochee River which is a tributary to the Floridan aquifer. Mud seems innocuous enough in a river right? Problematically, the mud was described as a mixture of bentonite clay and water, but WWAL notes that bentonite can reduce oxygen in water which can threaten fish and other aquatic species.

Perspective of Andrea Grover- Sabal Trail Pipeline Representative

Grover notes that Sabal Trail will provide natural gas to Duke Energy’s new natural gas plant, which will allow Duke Energy to retire half of its coal-fired fleet in Florida in 2018.

She also notes that natural is lighter than air, so in the “unlikely event that it escapes from the pipeline” the gas would travel through the soil into the atmosphere and dissipate instead of traveling down through soils to water supplies. Unfortunately, this would only apply to the processed natural gas. Before the gas is processed there would be unprocessed gas transported which has the potential to pollute air and water.

Find Out More

If you are looking to find more information about the movement against the pipeline check out these resources and events.

 

Facebook Group Against the Sabal Trail

https://www.facebook.com/StopSabalTrail/

 

Gulf Restoration Network

http://www.healthygulf.org/our-work/energy-climate-change/stop-sabal-trail-pipeline

 

Events in Florida

January 4th Jacksonville: https://www.facebook.com/events/1726891530959495/

January 4th St. Petersburg: https://www.facebook.com/events/1152663088182886/

January 5th Orlando: https://www.facebook.com/events/1227935277288761/

January 8th Orlando: https://www.facebook.com/events/1242274395865928/

January 10th High Springs: https://www.facebook.com/events/170364943439416/

January 13th Orlando: https://www.facebook.com/events/976474695818760/

January 14th and 15th Suwannee River State Park: https://www.facebook.com/events/1764465233879461/

January 20th: Statewide Day of Action Everywhere

January 23rd Tallahassee: https://www.facebook.com/events/1824996774404546/