Monday, August 31, 2009

Honeymoon's over

Ohhhhh... okay. Now I remember why I'm not supposed to be relieved to be back in law school! Today I started back up at my summer (now fall) internship. I'm going to be working about 12 hours a week. At first I was excited about it. For a few hours, it felt like I was back to being a regular working woman, instead of just some girl who decided she hadn't had enough of school yet. Well, that lasted about until I met T on the sidewalk for the walk home. Since then, I've recalled...

1. When you come home for the day, the day isn't over. By a long shot. You gotta figure out how to feed yourself (and your family, of course!) and make up for the long hours that your dog has been languishing away (if you have a dog, of course!), without losing all momentum to get work done.

2. After taking a break to [a] walk the dog and/or [b] cook dinner and/or [c] eat dinner, you can choose to either sit down to resume reading assignments that automatically get 1000x harder to understand after the sun has set or take a REAL break by watching Hulu and blog-stalking guiltily.

3. Eventually, you will notice that it's nine or ten or eleven o'clock, and you will feel vague, lazy panic. That is when it's time to close the browser and go back to the books. Regardless of whether you WANT to finish the reading tonight or not, you WILL read until you can't keep your eyes open, because even if you don't get called on in class tomorrow, you're going to have another 100 pages to read on top of whatever you don't get done tonight.

4. When the love of your life comes in to ask if you want to watch a movie, you must recall that promise you made about law school not becoming your entire life. You must engage in the kind of ad-hoc balancing test that would make Scalia's toes curl, weighing "good night's sleep and more productive day tomorrow" against "positive deposit in the love bank and higher quality relationship (that will be more likely to last through the end of law school)."

5. You will put the books down eventually. But you won't feel done. No. You won't feel done until the air is freezing cold outside, there is snow on the ground and you are about to spend the last of your student loan money on Christmas gifts that double as "sorry I haven't talked to you in 5 months" friendship bribes.

When I remembered all this, I wrote it down here. Because I will want to come back to this before next semester starts. Before I get too giddy again.

growing up and down

just spent half an hour in bed bonding with my new husband. we had some loose leaf paper, a #2 pencil and a slew of bank accounts in list format. hawt, right? yeeeep. at 11:45 on a sunday night we decided to tackle the ol' albatross together. we now know who has what credit card balance, which of us has what investments where, and exactly how tall is the mountain of debt upon which my budding legal career is teetering.

other weekend fun included...
- watching a very drunk bachelorette lean on an unlocked door at a karaoke bar and collapse out onto the street, never to be seen again (her girlfriends re-surfaced later to dedicate a not-so-rousing rendition of "Another One Bites the Dust" to the passed out bride-to-be);
- wandering over to a law school party at nearly one in the morning, to find the whole place was wrecked, getting laughed out of a bar for not having my ID and then winding up at Best Woman's house to smoke and drink and watch the Golden Girls;
- falling asleep on the couch at 8 p.m. with 6 highlighters and a trust & estates casebook at my side, and bits of macaroni and cheese on my shirt.

sometimes i think i'm growing up. sometimes i think i'm growing down. i'm not sure there's a difference.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friendships, accountability and phone chargers

I'm pretty happy right now. It feels good to say that. School is back in session and I like my classes. The reading is substantial but interesting. Even reading about the State Action doctrine is not miserable, because I am realizing that I learned a lot more about the Constitution than I thought. It feels good when concepts come together and things start to click.

Mostly, I'm happy because I'm getting to live life at a pace that's a little more manageable for me. T & I went over to T-Bro's house last night to drink wine with T-Bro and my GF-in-law/classmate (GFILC). GFILC and I spent the evening looking at her photos from our wedding along with a bunch of other pictures she had on her computer, while T and his bro sat on the roof, wacky dancing and making jokes. It was a good time. The day before, some of my law school friends and I met for cheap drinks and food at a bar around the corner from my house, before we walked up to see Best Man's band play at a park.

When it comes to socializing, I've always been the most content simply sitting in a room full of people that I like and feel comfortable with, watching the interactions among everyone else, and appreciating the moment. I feel nervous opening myself up through deeper levels of conversation, so I think I come across as boring sometimes because I close myself off. That is why I identify as an introvert even though T and many of my friends would laugh at that classification. Anyway, I am thinking about that because at the same time that I have been enjoying being around people and simply living a more normal version of life, I have also lost and failed to replace my phone charger for the umpteenth time this year. It's getting to the point where I am worried about my reasons for being a bad phone-keeper-upper. I check my voice mail about once a month. I am sporadic about returning phone calls. I get a pit in my stomach when I think of all the people I need to get in touch with. Yet, I love and care for so many people. I want to maintain my connections and friendships. I go back and forth in my attempts to understand this part of myself: Am I lazy and selfish? Am I pushing people away and setting myself up to be rejected, the way some people break up with a partner to avoid being broken up with first? Am I just making excuses for myself? I want to be held accountable for my actions but I am afraid of hearing criticism. This is all a part of what I mean when I say I want to be a better friend.

Anyway, long digression aside, I really truly do have reading to do before my 1:30 class. I got majorly distracted. So, I must return. And then, maybe, if I can step up, I'll drag my ass to a Verizon store and buy a new charger. And then, I can start returning the calls I've been failing to make since I got back from my honeymoon a week ago. (Has it only been a week?) If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll even check voicemail.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

law school mumbo jumbo

So far so good. Marriage and my 2L year, I mean. I like being married. It feels mostly the same as when we were engaged, which felt almost the same as when we were just dating, except that our family seemed to be much more excited about us and our friends giggled a lot more. I can't say the same about 2L year. This time last year, I was excited about school and also super super stressed. I'm only two days in now, but I can say with confidence that nothing feels new and at the same time, I'm not super stressed.

I'm taking some really cool classes this year. Employment law promises to be very interesting, given my work history as a safety manager for a home construction business and an HR manager for a California-based fast food franchise. I absolutely love issues of work place safety and workers compensation, and to a lesser extent I'm interested in wage & hour and other work-based legal theme. I'm even looking forward to taking administrative law, and I'm batting around an idea for an independent research project on OSHA regulation of industries with predominantly undocumented immigrant work forces. My least interesting class is definitely political & civil rights. No matter how hard I try, I just can't get excited about the Constitution. Sorry, Virginia. I know you're big on the Framers.

Other exciting things in my life... the new knives that we got as a wedding gift and the awesome bamboo cutting board. Hooray for not-gross cutting boards and blades that slice through onions in one chop! Also, I need to get on the stick with planning activities for the National Immigration Project. NLG interest meeting coming up. I wish I were a better communicator. And as if I need another thing on my plate, I'm considering trying out for trial team next week. Someone today likened being on our trial team to being on Carolina's basketball team. (Okay, they said Duke, but I heard Carolina!) That's intimidating, but since I didn't even finish Write-On, I might as well, right?

Hm. I should get back to reading. Or making that NLG flier. Or watching movies with T. Ah, normalcy, I feel you creeping back into my life.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The brand new sheets are on the bed. The ice cream scoop is tucked away in the drawer. The pretty brown and green towels are hanging on the rack. The broken coffeemaker is awaiting its return to the store from whence it came. Ditto the microwave oven that arrived full of breadcrumbs. We're keeping the spice jar with traces of pepper clinging to its glass walls. The most beautiful of our gifts, the ones hand crafted by friends, have been lovingly placed on spare shelves or remain to be carefully transported from my parents house when the apartment is back to being settled.

And on a similar note...

The old milk crates that serve as my study shelves have been emptied of last semester's notes, the hurriedly filled out outlines and my worn-edged oral argument folder. Inkless highlighters have been tossed, leaving only the pinks, blues and oranges whose bright lines made the cut. My books are tucked in the backpack, all but one stripped of their shrink-wrap. I still need notebooks, but that's an easy fix. Oh, and I still need to do a lot of reading. Yep. The day before classes have started: the semester is begun.

This summer will stick out in my memory for the years to come. It was the summer of my marriage, the summer I lost my uncle, the summer we lost T's grandma and the first summer in the Big City. So much dollar beer was drank. So many half-off appetizers on Wednesdays. A great deal of sweat and tears. My first legal internship and I finally got accustomed to walking naturally in heels. But, it's time to move on to the next chapter, and I'm a little excited. There's nothing like the hope and promise of a new season. Bring it on.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spring forward, fall back down

I'm catching up. On everything. It feels very productive. It feels great!

I stupidly left my prozac at home when we left for our vacation; and then I couldn't get my new prescription filled in Spain. Here are some side effects of my having fallen off the medication for over a week now:

- While we were at a layover in Madrid on our way home, I was filled with rage over... what? I don't remember. I just remember walking past a vending machine in the airport and thinking, "this is that same rageful feeling I had the last time I was off medication for a while. not good." It might have also had something to do with the not having slept the night before and spending an entire day in airports and on airplanes.

- Last night I had a brief (45 second) temper tantrum over (a) my fingers going numb after I got up from typing at the computer, (b) T noticing a stain on my underwear and (c) having chosen to walk 7 city blocks barefoot and suffering the blistering consequences. I threw myself down on the couch and tried to cry, but couldn't. T simply waited 45 seconds, then we left and had a fun night out with friends.

- I have had a really hard time summoning the motivation to walk the two blocks to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled; summoning the motivation to stay logged in to e-mail to respond to well-wishers; summoning the motivation to brew coffee.

- I'm about to walk out the door to have dinner with T. This thrills me. I am ecstatic. On prozac, I would be merely pleased, content, satisfied. I can't wait to have beans and rice in my belly.

Why do I always write about forgetting to take my medication? It seems that I slip the fact that I'm on prozac into conversation regularly. The reason is that I want to normalize it. For all the talk about how anti-depressants are handed out like candy, there is an awful lot of stigma surrounding medication and mental health. Maybe someone out there is considering medication but still thinks it's "the easy way out" or that they just need to "suck it up." I'm not saying everyone who thinks they could use prozac should get on it; but I want to put my own experiences with it out there. Why not?

Disclaimer: I tend to poke fun at myself on here and be a little self-deprecating because it makes me feel more comfortable writing about this stuff. But I also fear I run the risk of coming across as a real jerk or something. I am not a real jerk or something.

So, anyway... I want to write all about the wedding and the honeymoon and all that. But last night, I sat down at a bar with my friend Best Woman, and let loose with a nice long vent about all the things that stressed me out during the reception, and I felt a lot better afterward, and right now I just don't feel like writing about it. I will, eventually. It'll probably come out in little snippets, etc. But anone who reads this probably doesn't want a long re-cap anyway. So suffice it to say, it was beautiful, I had a TON of fun despite whatever gripes came out of my mouth last night, and I can not WAIT to get the pictures back!

School starts on Monday. I went to campus yesterday because I'm involved with the National Immigration Project of our NLG chapter and I got to do a little representing to the 1Ls. It was pretty fun to see all the now-old/familiar faces running around, all of us acting all big and tough and comfortable in the law building, despite the fact every single one of us fears those first day reading assignments taunting us from our Word document syllabi. I'm one of the "lucky" ones who is not on a journal and not doing OCI -- does that make me dumb? I'm not sure yet. But the flipside of the exciting commencement of a new year and getting to see school friends again is that every single conversation, without fail, involves at least one moment of "WTF -- am I supposed to be doing that?!?!" Seriously. This is what people mean when they say law school is stressful. At least to me. The stress is in the constant feeling like you're not measuring up, like you're not running fast enough, and you're constantly two steps behind. I'm going to do my best to push past that little voice in my head this semester, and just do it my way, and trust myself to get to where I want to be.

Now, I must go because somewhere a few blocks away there is a bean and cheese burrito with my name on it. I wouldn't want to let it down.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Deep sigh of relief

I'm back! I'm married! I'm totally exhausted!

And I'm still embarrassed about throwing a hissy-fit (at least that's how I remember it) during the first two hours of the reception, when all 145 guests were locked out of our reception site, and then the sound didn't work for the next 2 hours (i.e. when all the "traditional" stuff was supposed to happen).

That aside, it was by all accounts a truly beautiful wedding. I am so blessed to have so many family, friends and amazing people in my life who busted their butts to bring it all together. I keep hearing the food was among the best wedding food ever, but I hardly had a chance to eat, and I was mostly mad at our caterers for keeping people out and then making us leave early, so I am not ready to admit they maybe did a good job yet. One thing is for sure, though. My grandma was definitely there in spirit, because her cakes were a hit! My bad-ass aunt spent 5 sleepless, grueling days before the wedding baking upward of 15 cakes using our old family recipe; and although we had more leftover cake than we knew what to do with, people were definitely walking out of their with enormous boxes of leftovers at the end of the night.

After a restful honeymoon, doubling as the first true Vacation that T & I have ever taken together alone, I am ready to gradually rejoin the world of the normals. I'm even looking forward to law school! But before I delve back into that masochistic mess, I have to tie up like a million loose ends. First on the list is getting the dog back from my parents. Wow, do I miss him!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wedding on the bwah

I am so excited! That is all.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My life in browsing history...

Just got back from a bbq with some friends from law school. I have to say, it was pretty awesome hanging out in a non-academic setting, just chilling and drinking PBRs and eating hot dogs that we semi-grilled in the dark to the light of a flashlight and some fireflies. In a spontaneous fit of invincibility, I volunteered myself for babysitting duty for a few hours tomorrow, so one of my law school friends can take his sister and her husband to tour a local prison, which allows no children under the age of 7. I've only met the Toddler once, that is, tonight. But wedding stress aside, I see kids so rarely these days that I'll pretty much leap at any opportunity to hang out with one. Babysitting for a few hours when I have a million things to do? No problem! Perfect excuse to go for a walk to a playground and buy an ice cream from that place on the corner I've been meaning to try out!

I've come up with other great forms of keeping the stress at bay. Like this one:

Top 5 things in my browsing history:
1. WebMD: Because where else do you go after you've spent a night camping, and you're pretty sure it's not a big deal that your hamstrings are killing you, and you're only a little less sure that it's normal to have a non-stop muscle twitch in your arm, but you better just double check in case it's a degenerative musculo-skeletal disease?

2. ALS Talk: Because where else but a support group/bulletin board for a degenerative musculo-skeletal diease do you end up after you've spent 5 minutes on WebMD?

3. Our wedding website: Just in case we got any last minute comments on our comment page...

4. Uh...this place: Contains the answer to all your (okay, MY) beef curtain questions.

5. The Weather Channel: A waste of time.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sopping wet and trashy

T and I just got back from camping. One week before our wedding, we were laying under a semi-starry sky talking about the things we want to promise each other on our wedding day, while drinking Lionshead and feeding pretzels to the dog. In the middle of the night, raindrops started pitter-pattering on our tent roof. The dog was a good sport about it, considering he is terrified of even the dark clouds that precede a rainstorm. The rain lulled us back to sleep. A couple hours later, with daylight just on the horizon, we awoke again to a downpour. Our tent was still dry, so we cozied back to sleep content in our waterproof cave. Not much long after that, I heard a weird scraping noise and realized the dog was standing in the far corner of the tent. Without opening my eyes, I asked T, "Is the dog licking the tent?" "Yes," replies T. "Okay," I mutter, and fall back asleep. At about 9:30 I wake up to realize that there is water coming in from all angles, not flooding us out, but slowly soaking anything on the edges of our sleeping area, including my shoes, our flashlight and the bag with my only pair of non-pajama pants. Whoops. T, brilliant problem solver that he is, quickly comes up with a plan to get us out of there relatively free of soak. Flashforward 15 minutes: I'm mostly dry (but still in pajama pants) and T and the rest of our gear is mostly wet. We're on the road.

So we just got back, at a decent hour, to our little firetrap in the Big City. Our little firetrap is on the third (top) floor of a row home, with no porch, no stoop and no balcony. Step out our front door and you are greeted with an assortment of characters waiting for the bus. In short, there is nowhere to put soaking wet fabric. Of which we have a lot.

Me, brilliant problems solver that I am, have come up with a solution! I have tied a loop of fisherman's yarn between our two bedroom windows, which overlook the street. In a kind of half-assed, fake-Seasame Street-meets-NYC at the height of the industrial era way, we now have our very own "laundry line" out the window. Which is to say, a soggy, sopping wet tent and a bright blue tent tarp sunk into the middle of a piece of string are dangling precariously close to our second-floor neighbors' windows.

Flashforward 15 minutes: T, upon spotting my brilliant solution, remarks astutely, "We look like the trash neighbors." Clearly, there is only one proper response to such an observation: "Good," I say. "This neighborhood needs to be taken down a notch."