Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chicken Sudado: Adventures in live-blogging!

Because this is what happens when I'm left alone in the apartment for 48 hours with nothing but a dog to keep me from falling into the abyss of my new laptop... I am going to a potluck in T minus 2 hours 21 minutes, and I have a paper due on Tuesday for which I've written nothing but a meager outline and a thesis statement.

One of the 30 things I want to do before I turn 30 is perfect my mom's chicken and rice, which is really a misnomer because it's actually an awesome Colombian chicken stew-type dish that must be served with white rice. It was my favorite dish growing up and I've only made it a couple of times as an adult. Last time was 4 years ago, and let's just say that night was infamously affectionately dubbed the "Night of the Salsa de Plastico".

So, without further ado.... #3: Perfect my mom's chicken & rice: LIVE-BLOG FORMAT!!!

3:15 - I walk to Whole Foods feeling totally blessed to live only a block and a half from Whole Foods Market. With weather this cold, it's awesome that a trip to the store is just a skip, hop and jump away.

3:25 - After spending $8.38 on hydroponic tomatoes (p.s. wtf are hydroponic tomatoes??) I feel slightly less blessed by WFM.

3:30 - Sidestepping vomit in the alley on the walk home, I just want to be back inside.

3:40 - To E (the dog): "Let's live-blog this biatch!"

3:51 - Trying out the Emeril dutch oven for the first time. Had been waiting to season it, but I just decided it must have come "pre-seasoned" because this is the only pot big enough to hold 10 thighs and 5 drumsticks. Yes, that's way too much chicken. I don't care. I only make this every 4 years!

4:00 - Chicken is cooking in dutch oven on medium heat, covered, liberally sprinkled with salt. One chopped up large yellow onion and two chopped up large tomatoes are stewing in with it. Also added 2 T. of olive oil. I can hear the juices stirring. Sidenote: "sudado" means "sweaty" which is exactly how the chicken cooks - in its own sweat. Yum!

4:02 - Last time I cooked this dish, I was dancing around the kitchen to bachata. Not much room to kitchen-dance in this place:

But I can still sing along to K95 country. "Hell yeah! Turn it up!"

4:13 - Emergency phone call to Mom: "Do you peel the potatoes?" Mom says yes. Damn. I guess striving for perfection has its costs.

4:23 - All in! Roll call: 12 thighs, 6 drumsticks, 4 yukon gold potatoes, 6 carrots, 3 tomatoes, 1 onion (should I add more, I wonder?)... and 2 T. of olive oil. Now to let cook, covered, on medium heat for 30 minutes or so, before I stir it some more...

4:29 - What's worse than your dad nagging you to clean up? Your husband nagging you to clean up. What's worse than your husband nagging you to clean up? Your husband adopting your dad's catch-phrases to nag you to clean up. What's worse than all of the above? Hearing your husband and your dad nag you (in unison!) to clean up when you are completely alone in the house. "Clean as you go!" they nag. I know, I know...

4:41 - Panicked and added another half an onion. E apparently took advantage of the crisis to sneak a chunk of potato from the kitchen to his spot in the living room. Then decided it wasn't cooked enough for his tastes. What a snob.

4:42 - Back to work on my immigration paper. Good-bye, country music.

4:47 - Nevermind. Dog is whining. Can I take the dog outside while the chicken is cooking without burning down my entire building, I wonder? Or if I feed him, will he leave me alone so I can write?

5:06 - Dog let me feed him and left me alone. I've written 375 words. A 2,000-word limit is a lot less than I thought. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, the smell of that chicken is making it harrrrrrrd to concentrate.

5:45 - Chanced a trip outside with the dog while the chicken simmered on the stove.

5:49 - Returned to find the apartment happily still in tact.

5:50 - Started the rice. Listen people, this is how you make good rice:
  1. Put a pot on the stove and dump in a little oil (1/2 - 1 T is probably enough).
  2. Heat up the oil on medium-high
  3. Put in the rice - say 1 cup.
  4. Shake the rice around a bunch until its coated with the oil.
  5. Add twice the amount of water as rice - in this case, 2 cups.
  6. Shake salt into pot liberally to taste.
  7. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat (or high, if you like a little burned rice on the bottom of your pot, like my dad).
  8. Let it cook, UNCOVERED, until the water is boiled down to the point where you can't see it and there are holes in the surface of the rice.
  9. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot.
  10. Cook 20 minutes or until fluffy/done.
6:02 - Just tried the chicken it is AMAZING. Added more salt. Per mom's instructions, I am now letting the chicken cook uncovered for the last 20 minutes, to allow the sauce to thicken up.

6:07 - How the hell am I going to get 7 blocks on foot with a giant dutch oven full of chicken, a pot of rice and Taboo? Is this one of those tricks with the fox, the chicken and the bag of corn?

6:17 - Uh oh. Here's something I didn't expect. I'm falling asleep...

6:26 - And... DONE! (The picture doesn't do it justice, but I had to take a closing shot!)

Buen provecho, ya'll :) Let me know if you like it!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

1/2 way to what?!?

Full disclosure: I am drunk.

I went to our school-sponsored party for 2Ls. It's a celebration of our being halfway done with law school.

Since T went down to VA without me, I figured I would attend the party with one of my girlfriends. On account of my recent chest cold, I decided to cab it up to her place. The cabbie and I discussed my evening plans:

"We're going to Mc....something..."





"Finn McCools?"


And on and on... We got into a conversation about drinking and bootlegging in Greece (his home country), and eventually snagged my girlfriend. Then off we went.

Okay. Going out is fun. It's nice to socialize, there's no doubt about it. I like getting to talk to the girls in my old 1L section and gossip and generally get the facetime in. But I missed T. Everyone wanted to know where my "man" was. I only put it it quotes because, literally, everyone used the same word. I liked bragging on him and talking about our wedding with people I've hardly had a conversation with all year.

In the end, however, it was more of the same. I went to another bar with some of my friends. I called T from a restroom stall and asked him to talk to his friend in VA about having kids and what that's like. I am pretty sure I laid all my cards on the table for his buddy, as T repeated back to me my request, apparently in front of his friend. Then I went back to the bar and told my good guy friend V about my faux pax. He said: "So you want to have a baby." And I didn't really care that he put it so bluntly, because just an hour earlier, he had come out of the closet.

And that, my friends, is law school. A whole bunch of self-induced drama, mixed up with some alcohol and black letter law.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Deposition Queen

Tonight, I am full of myself. Why? Because tonight, during Trial Advocacy, I did my first deposition. I only had 20 minutes, and was assigned a mere portion of the case to cover with the witness. But I KILLED it! And henceforth, I have dubbed myself the Deposition Queen.

Cocky, I know. I'm indulging myself.

Seriously, though. I loved it. Doing a deposition felt like going on a scavenger hunt or playing 20 Questions or being an investigator. Instead of getting to read through an employee file (this is a sexual harassment case) I actually get to pick the brains of one of the key characters! I told my classmates I had a lot of practice cross-examining witnesses when T & I were dating. (Who am I kidding? I still grill him for info on a daily basis...)

I was supposed to go to Virginia with T this weekend. Instead, I am staying in the Big City so that I can attend a tax clinic training and work on a paper for my Crimes & Immigration class. Ugh. A paper for class. And a class taught by my legal writing professor at that! I'm having bad memo flashbacks... I guess this is what I get for not doing a journal. Since I'm stuck here though, I will be able to do a couple things. 1. I can go to the "J party" (1/2 way to JD celebration) in which the school pays a bunch of money for 2Ls to drink free beer, further cementing the co-dependent relationship of the legal profession and alcohol (I'm starting to think there's some kind of secret marketing agreement between law schools and Budweiser, like how all the public schools have Pepsi machines). 2. I will be attending a friend's potluck on Sunday and cooking my grandmother's recipe for chicken & rice (chicken sudado), so I can hopefully check off another of my 30 before 30.

Anyway, I am just killing time until T comes to bed so we can watch Supernanny or Modern Family on Hulu. He's walking the dog, but I should probably brush my teeth before he gets back. I'm being a bad laptop owner and sitting in the bed with the computer. Breaking my own rules. Oh, well. I suppose the Deposition Queen can do as she pleases.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The return of the Hour

OMG I'm posting from school! I got a laptop for Christmas and have been bringing it into school on some days. I really don't like having it here. Like, really. My notes are scattered between notebooks and the computer, and I'm checking out facebook profiles during class. But on the other hand, I am able to go to private areas of the library instead of being tied to the public computers, and I can get more work done here instead of waiting til I get home.

Four days into this steroid medication (which is just prednisone, even though I am making it out to sound like I'm wandering around with 'roid rage and ripping off t-shirts and everything) I feel a gazillion times better. I can sleep without coughing myself awake every five minutes! And I feel much more energetic. So much so, that I demanded (unsuccessfully) that T submit to an arm wrestling competition on our floor last night. He refused, saying he was scared he'd lose. Ha!

We went on a date this weekend, where we recommitted to the whole spending an hour a day together thing that we were doing a while back. Even though T laughed at us for continually turning to the same bag of tricks, I love this concept. Despite eating dinner together most nights and watching Hulu or Netflix movies regularly, we really don't automatically get in the quality time for connecting that was a regular part of life pre-law school.

The rules of the Hour are as follows:
1. We take turns picking what to do.
2. No complaining about what the other wants to do.
3. Television, movies and chores don't count as part of the Hour.

It sounds kind of silly that most of our hours have been spent playing Boggle or, in the case of last night, Chess. But when I am sitting there with T, and we're finished playing but still have time to spend together, and we start actually talking... I learn things about him that I didn't know. Maybe he mentions something that has been bothering him. I start to feel things I might not have felt. Maybe he says something to make me laugh. Suddenly we are closer. Then next thing you know, it's the middle of the afternoon, and I'm at school thinking about how I can't wait to see T again and wondering what we're going to get into tonight.

The trick is to keep it going, amidst the reading and the happy hours and the guys' nights and overtime and general fussiness of everyday life. Well, in any case, I'm happy for the return of the Hour.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I went to Immigration Law at 1:30 p.m.

Then I went to the Work Study Office to make sure I'd get paid for my work at the farmworker program this spring.

Then I decided that since I was still on campus on a Friday, I might as well go by the school clinic. See about this persistent cough...

Turns out? My respiratory tract is closing up. Turns out? I'm not getting enough oxygen into my blood stream.

So now, I'm on steroids. I'm starting the prescription tomorrow "before 9 a.m." My alarm is set.

I'm so sick of being sick. This is just annoying.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Theraflu makes the heart grow fonder

Why I have a wonderful husband (the "I'm sick" version):
- He made homemade golden cheddar soup & skillet cornbread for dinner on Sunday!
- He brought me soup & goldfish crackers in bed on a tray for dinner last night!
- He played four rounds of Boggle in bed with me last night!
- He encouraged me to sleep in instead of going to class today!
- He went out in the cold and rainy nastiness to buy me Theraflu!
- He walked the dog for me in the mornings as well as at night!
- He pretended not to hear all the gross sick noises I made at night!
- He offered to put away my laundry for me (my least favorite chore)!
- He didn't mind that I went several days without changing out of my long underwear!

And that is why I am working as hard as I can to stop being sick. I'm ready to start attending classes regularly, going to work, making dinner for T, getting back in the habit of doing chores, feeling attractive and generally interacting with the world again.

It all starts with a single shower. I guess you could say I'm off to a good start!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Who is JE Guide to Life?

I never used to understand why people posted about their blogs being boring. I've always just done a blog to do a blog. To have a place to put down thoughts, and secretly entertain the thought that Someone Out There cared. (Someone Out There typically being my future self.) But lately, I can't shake the feeling that my blog is just plain boring.

Maybe that has something to do with my recent obsession with other people's blogs. Just to give you an idea of how obsessed I've been with blogs, I'm going to link every word of this paragraph, starting now, with various blogs I've landed upon over the past week or so. I'm just pulling them out of my history.

Lately I've been reading a gazillion blogs about newlyweds and new families (i.e. "we just had a babyyyy!" blogs). I am interested in these blogs because they show a different life than the one I have now. These are blogs centered entirely around the matrimony or the wedded bliss or the TTC journey. These aren't blogs of women (or men) who happen to be married or mothers. These are people who choose to center their online identity on their family status. I am thinking a lot about that.

What is my online identity? Do I even have one? Amongst the many law school blogs out there, I think mine does not stand out, largely because I'm not really writing much about law school. I'm not a mom so I'm not a MILP. Law school is not my primary identity. I'm married, but even though the engagement, planning, ceremony and honeymoon all happened over the course of the past blogging year, it barely registered a blip on JE Guide to Life. I didn't write it all down here, largely because I didn't feel compelled to. I own a dog, but he's not my Fur Baby and I don't have much to say about him either.

What do I have to say? Maybe nothing much. I don't like to post my deepest thoughts and feelings on this blog because I tend to be a private person, and I have no idea who from Real Life is reading. (Thanks for staying on the DL, by the way, Real Life friends :) I prefer to control who knows what I'm thinking and why and when I'm thinking it. Unfortunately, that makes for a boring blog.

Sometimes, funny things happen in my budding marriage that make me want to write them down in here. Sometimes, I look at the dog, smile and feel like I should say something about him here. Sometimes, bad things happen and I want to talk about them. Sometimes, school gets the better of me and I must vent or explode. But mostly, I guess I'm just gazing at my own shoes, being not that interesting, and hoping that as the posts add up, they'll paint the picture of my life.

And for posterity's sake... Today I had a lovely meal with a couple of out of town friends, including our friend who married us in August, at a really fancy restaurant for prix fixed Restaurant Week lunch. Was late to immigration after already having skipped a class, five days into the semester. Go me! Logged on to find the last of my grades awaiting me... an "A" in political and civil rights... WOAH! YAY! A "C+" in employment law. Fuuuuuuuuuu.... Dammit. Thought to myself: "So this is why they don't give us our grades until the new semester starts. To keep us from drinking ourselves into oblivion during the winter break." I got home intending to walk the dog briefly and crawl in bed. (I'm sick.) He dropped a gross watery something into the grass, and when we got home, retreated immediately to T's office. I followed him to discover a foul-smelling pile of goo on the carpet. I am waiting for T to come home with the papertowels so I can clean up his mess. Yuck. I have a ton of Civ Pro reading to do, and my Corporations book hasn't come in. Can I take my Theraflu yet?

Friday, January 15, 2010

In search of a money tree

There's a special aspect of law school unique to those who plan to be public interest lawyers: funding. I spent the better half of the day decked out in my pink bathrobe and surrounded by various iterations of my resume as I tried to finalize my applications for Peggy Browning Fund money. If successful, I could get paid some decent money for the summer doing employment/labor law for a cool legal services company. My preference is actually to get some experience doing immigration work for 2L summer, but if the money's in employment, employment I shall take. (Not actually necessarily true, but for the time being, that's what I'm telling myself.)

I don't generally concern myself too much with OCI or mock interviews, and I'm not on law review. Apart from the fact that very, very few firms (i.e. one hand's worth of fingers) are doing spring OCI at my school, I simply don't have an interest in working for any of the ones that do. I like it that way. If I did, it would complicate things and make my life full of tough decisions. I might actually have to try harder in the "dress like a grown-up" department. I might actually have to manicure my nails regularly. Or maybe not? I really don't know. All I know is that it's not in me to make the effort.

This probably paints a poor picture of public interest law, and fulfills the stereotype of PI as the field for people who aren't good at law school. That's a shame. Because I actually think I'm going to make a damn good lawyer. I am an excellent researcher and I have pretty good writing skills. I'm a creative problem-solver and I LIKE interpreting regulations and statutes. Somebody will be lucky to have me. They just don't know it yet.

I'm just not cut out for the aspects of law that I once thought were the bread and butter of law school (see OCI, law review). Turns out, while those are important and definitely smart ways to get ahead, they aren't the only ways. So I'm off in search of a money tree, doing my volunteer work and talking my enthusiastic talk about 287(g) agreements and OSHA logs, just hoping somebody will notice. That's my job search, in a nutshell. Best of luck in yours!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So... school's back in session. I'm now on the back half of this law school ride. Crazy.

I am not liking this whole first week back thing. First of all, I didn't have my schedule straight from the get-go, unlike in previous semester. I'm dropping and adding classes all over the damn place. That hasn't helped in the Buying Books department. I currently own only 1/3248th of the books I will need to survive this semester (i.e. the NITA case file for my trial ad class).

My corporation professor actually put in the syllabus that he teaches the "Socratic" method. Now, I actually like a professor that'll keep you on your toes. And Professor Inc. appears to be one of the funny ones. The only problem is that his humor is at the expense of us unsuspecting students. And since I don't have my casebook yet, I won't be prepared tomorrow when he makes an a$$ out of me. AND we only get two passes for the semester. It's not a good sign for a class when you start out scrambling.

And thus, life goes on as usual. Despite feeling like this year is off to a creaky-groany start, I'm still grateful for being back in routine. I've been cooking like crazy since last week, when I took a stab at planning a menu out ahead of time. (Last week's menu: burritos w/fresh avocado, homemade pizza, breakfast-for-dinner with fresh biscuits & bow-tie broccoli alfredo!) Yesterday I made a to-die-for (fake) chicken fried rice, and tonight T & I baked a black bean spinach pizza. Yum!

In a Super Mario Wii update, I am on level 5 but appear stuck at the Big Castle.

Sometime not long from now, I would like to empty out some words about this new laptop I got as an "early graduation present" and how different the law school experience has been since taking a computer to school. But not tonight. I think I need to start scheming my way out of humiliation in the morning.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Friday, January 8, 2010

snugga wubba!

I don't remember exactly when I vowed I would never buy my dog a soft toy again, but it was more than two years ago. There are so many cute soft toys out there, and they're so cheap, but E would tear them apart within minutes. Inevitably, I'd be left with mountains of synthetic cotton all over the house and the sad shell of a chipmunk or M&M character. It sucked because E loves to play with the softies, and the disemboweled remains are often his favorite part. His toy box is filled with scraps of fabric, a graveyard of stuffed goldfish, carrots and miniature Santas.

This year, though, I discovered the Best Dog Toy Ever. It combines the fun (for a dog?) of a plush toy with the indestructibility of a hard rubber toy. Best of all, there's no stuffing! We always get E a stocking for Christmas, and I usually take advantage of the splurge to try out a new toy. This year, it was the Snugga Wubba by Kong. It's essentially a Kong (indestructible rubber chew toy) wrapped in a soft cotton exterior, with stringy octopus legs hanging off of it. Let me tell you: it's a hit.

For the last three days in a row, since we returned from our holiday travels, my dog has picked up his toy, marched up to me and knocked me in the knee. He wants to PLAY! With a TOY! Usually his idea of playing is to force me off my lazy behind to chase him around the house. In order for me to get him to use a toy, I have to bribe him with treats, or it has to have stuffing. Not with this toy.

Some of the things he likes to do with this toy:
- Have it dangled over his head so he can jump for it.
- Play tug of war
- Fetch it

Notably, he is not interested in having me chase him around the house. His little trick of bringing me a toy to get my attention, only to have it devolve into chase? That's not happening here. And I'm so happy! (And lazy.) So, because I am still trying to avoid writing cover letters, and because I just got interrupted by a game of jump-pull-fetch, I thought I'd take a moment to urge any other dog owners to try this thing out. And no, I'm not getting paid or endorsed in anyway for this review!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Law School: the meme

I'm going to try my hand at a law blawg meme, because it beats the hell out of working on cover letters!

LAW SCHOOL: The Meme (a work in progress)
In class, have you ever:
Handwritten your notes? yes, it's all i do.
G-chatted? no.
...with other people in class?
...about things people are saying in class?
Secretly read classmates' computer screens? all the time.
Raised your hand? yes.
...during the last 5 minutes of class? yes...shh... correct a professor? no correct a classmate? no

In the library:
Earliest time you've arrived: 8:00 a.m.
Latest you've stayed: 12:15 a.m.
Favorite place to study: the first floor - it's less embarassing to fall asleep when everyone coming in and out can see you.
eaten in the library? yes
been given dirty looks? yes
been asked to move or be quiet? yes...sorry.
asked someone to move or be quiet? yes
witnessed someone flipping out? no, but i narrowly missed someone being escorted out by police once during finals
flipped out? not out loud
sabotaged a book or old exam? no way
been the victim of sabotage? i checked out a book and a couple pages were missing once..

During finals:
Longest time without showering: 5 days
Longest time without eating: 12 hours
Favorite procrastination method: cooking, wii, blogs
Favorite study aid: E&Es
Outlining: yes or no? yes
Study groups: yes or no? no, sadly
Earliest you've finished outlining: 5 days before an exam... usually it's hours before...
Most ridiculous thing you've been jealous of not being able to do: grocery shop
gone two or more days without changing? yes!
...underwear? ...yes...
gone two or more days without stepping outside? i don't think so...
had a meltdown in front of others? yes
...who? my BF/fiance/husband is the only one whose had the pleasure of witnessing them
wished you didn't go to law school? duh
avoided classmates? yes, i hate them during finals
avoided live-in significant others? yes, sorry T
avoided phone calls or visits from parents/loved ones? 12 new voice messages...yes!

Study habits:
Group or solo study? i study best alone
Best advice you've received about studying: just do the reading, don't worry about extra stuff, and you'll be on top of your game.
Do you...
highlight? yeah!
...How many colors? six
...What is your yellow highlighter for? Facts
...Green? Reasoning
...Blue? Issue / Question presented
brief cases? nope
...How far into the semester?
...In the book or separately? i kind of book brief sometimes
belong to a study group? No
finish most reading before class? Until the last third of the semester.

In general
"What kind of law do you want to practice?" - what's your standard answer: Public interest; immigration or employment law
On a scale of 1 to 10, rank your school: 7
Best food truck or eating option: 24-hour cookie truck
Ever been called a gunner? Yes! Can you believe it?!
If you hadn't gone to law school, what would you be doing right now? Living in VA, working in HR probably.
Belong to any clubs or extracurriculars? Yes
...what's one? NLG
Would you do it again? Yes, mos def

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back when I knew it all

It's been almost two years since I started this blog on February 22, 2008. I started it at work, from my private office, behind my mahogany desk, in a fit of feeling old. My first entries were about my short-lived experimentation with the South Beach diet, my attempts to manage my personal finances, and suddenly feeling grown up. The entire tag-line for my blog, "in which the author expounds upon life over the age of 25," stemmed from this sense that 25 was an invisible, equatorial line, and most of the people in my life were below it while I was above it. T was 24. Our friends in Richmond were 24 or younger. I was "about" to turn 27. I felt older and out of place.

Isn't it funny, then, that I feel so much younger now? Younger than I want to feel, I might add. I feel this way for three reasons: First, because I don't have a kid. This is the kind of younger that you feel when all your friends got their period and you hadn't yet. It's the kind of younger that isn't really a reflection of your age, but is actually some kind of milestone or rite of passage with as much or as little meaning as you choose to bestow upon it. Second, because I am in school. Unlike the private office and the bi-monthly salary, Jansport backpacks and student loans just exude an aura of youth. There's no two ways around it: while everyone else has to get up for work in the morning, you are up all night doing homework or going out with friends over winter break. Third, because I am not getting paid. For many people, having a steady job is not an indication of adulthood. There are non-traditional employees, stay at home parents and med/PhD students who are quite grown up. But for me, part of feeling like an adult is knowing I have a steady stream of income upon which I can rely in times of financial need, or simply for the comfort of knowing that I don't have to ask my parents for any help if need be. In fairness, I don't. T is doing the bacon-generating while I'm in school, and I'm so grateful for that. He plays the responsible one who wakes up early every morning and puts on nice clothes, takes vacation days to have time off and sits in a cube from 9 to 6. Thanks to him, I can be investing full-time in my future career as a lawyer, which will hopefully pay off for both of us, and will result in me feeling much more adult than I ever have before. But for now, I am still the one playing Wii to alleviate the stress of final exams.

I could write a whole post on why the fact that I feel less grown up now than I did two years ago is a good thing. I have a love-hate relationship with the stage in my life. But I have to stop writing because I have a date with the people at the work-study office on campus. With any luck, that whole lack-of-income thing will be taken care of before the spring semester starts!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I am thrilled that we are beginning not only a new year, but a new decade. I'm surprised to find myself happy about such a heavy marker of how quickly time passes. But when it comes down to it, I'm happy to be moving forward rather than trying to cling to the past. Moving forward means progressing, getting better at things, becoming wiser (hopefully)... That's my hope for this new year, anyway.

Resolutions aren't really something I make a big deal out of each year. In the spirit of my first post of 2010, however, I think it's appropriate to reflect on what I could do better. So, in no particular order, here goes...

1. Be a better partner.
T and I were talking on the plane ride out to Colorado about something that I had read out in the blogosphere recently, in a post about things nobody tells you about marriage. I remarked to him that getting married has really made me see how selfish I am. Surprisingly, he said he felt the same way. Before we were married, I felt like everything I did to help out T was a gift out of love. You don't give gifts every day, do you? They are special, a treat, something that can be bestowed or not, at the pleasure of the gift-giver.

But almost immediately after we became marrieds, I began noticing all the opportunities I was not taking to help with all of the little things in life that makes running a joint household so much smoother -- unloading the dishwasher, paying a parking ticket on time, studying during the day so I have more time in the evening to hang out, making the coffee in the morning. I have so much to learn about being a good partner, and it starts with my attitude. So, my first resolution of this year is to work on being a better partner by viewing my actions less as gifts and more opportunities to give T a reason to feel as grateful as I do for this partnership.

2. Plan ahead.
We knew we wanted to go to Denver, but we weren't entirely ready to commit to a date. I watched the plane ticket prices skyrocket from a non-stop flight out of our home airport for under $200 round-trip, to $400 for a flight with two layovers each way. We ended up having to drive an hour and a half to get to a smaller airport, where we'd have to stopover in my hometown just to pay the same price. And I had to defer an exam so we wouldn't miss our flight.

That's just the latest example, in a year where I lost a chance to get grant money for the summer, had to pay exorbitant late fees on parking tickets and swore up and down to my aunt that my failure to make car reservations for our all-expenses paid honeymoon trip wasn't out of a lack of gratefulness but due to my embarrassing procrastination. I could rattle off a list of reasons excuses, but what's the point? I can do better. This year, I resolve to have the difficult conversations, quit avoiding unpleasant tasks and simply get the job done sooner.

3. Appreciate my family.
I lost my uncle in 2009. One of the things I am most grateful for when I reflect back on my relationship with him is that it existed beyond my childhood. He and his family moved away from the area where I grew up when I was very young. I remember someone telling me they'd be back in 5 years, and thinking that 5 years seemed like an eternity. I kept waiting and waiting for my cousins to live closer again, and eventually I realized that well over 10 years had passed, and they weren't coming back. Shortly after, my uncle divorced his wife and moved back to his and my dad's home country. It would've been easy for him to remain a distant character in my life at that point. He almost did.

My junior year of college, he was visiting home and my dad drove him down to see me at school. At the time, a professor was trying to get me to apply for a grant and travel abroad, since she knew I was restless and itching to get out of town. As I told my uncle and dad about this idea, they encouraged me to consider going down to Colombia. My uncle invited me to stay with him there, and for some reason, I uncharacteristically jumped at the invitation. I scribbled out a grant proposal and within months was down to my family's country of origin for the first time in my life. I've been back every two years since.

At our wedding, my uncle wasn't there, but my aunt who lives out in Colorado was. So were my two cousins that had moved away so many years ago, who never returned and who I saw for the first time in years only a month earlier at their father's funeral. There is so much family out there that I love dearly and don't want to lose touch with. This year, I resolve to make a greater effort to stay in touch with my loved ones, including my own parents. I've got Skype now. I've got a husband who actually likes getting to know all the characters in my gnarled family tree. I've just gotta do it!

4. Get through some of those 30 things I want to do before I turn 30.
Enough said!

So those are my resolutions for 2010. None have anything to do with law school, thank goodness. I'll be happy simply to get through my second year and get a job. And if I stick to resolutions #1 & #2, I should be able to get paid. There ya have it! Anyone else got any resolutions?

Friday, January 1, 2010

year end meme!

i stole this from Leah at A Girl and A Boy:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
In chronological order, I finished a complete year of law school, I attended a funeral for one of my parents' siblings and I got married. Inter alia, of course.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I'm pretty sure I didn't have any new year's resolutions for 2009, except maybe to (convince T to) set a date to get married and actually do the whole wedding thing.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Hmm... Not anyone super-close. But one of T's friends and business partner had a baby girl in the spring. And my best friend got pregnant and then lost the baby and now is pregnant again, which is pretty damn exciting/scary.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. My tio -- my dad's brother that I grew up knowing, who repatriated to Colombia and is the reason that I have ever even been back there in the first place. I miss him still. Also, T's grandmother, who was like a grandmother to me after my own Southern belle of a grandma passed away. I miss her too. It was hard to have them both absent from the wedding.

5. What countries did you visit?

I went to Colombia to say goodbye to my uncle, and I went to Spain with T for our honeymoon (with flight stop-overs in Germany and Canada).

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
More appreciation for the things I have, a paying job and a plan for our family's future.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 8, 2009. Our wedding date :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Easy. Getting through the first year of law school. That was a DAMN big achievement. Not because law school is the hardest thing in the world, mind you (though it is a challenge) but because I actually got myself (back) into school completely of my own volition and completed an entire school year. I mean, come on! I thought those days were over! I'm proud of myself for that :) A close second would be getting through the first dance with T in front of all our friends and family while the speakers were so badly connected that nobody but nobody could actually hear the music so it looked like we were just dancing a jig while really drunk.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Taking my family for granted.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fell down the stairs on my first day of summer vacation after finals. That wasn't so bad, but it makes a good story. Worse was that I got super SUPER ill with some kind of a flu on the train ride to Georgia to see my niece graduate, which caused me to not only miss the graduation but also lose my shot at Journal. Still haven't decided if that was a good or a bad thing, though, if I'm being completely honest!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My wedding band! Technically, I guess T bought it for me. Or it came from wedding money or something. But seriously. It's awesome.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Obviously, T's. He was a wonderful fiance all through the first eight months, and supported me through two horrible bouts of finals. He helped me when I was devastated by the loss of my uncle even as he was going through his own devastating loss. He made me laugh when I needed it, and gave me space when I needed it. He made me feel lucky every day of this past year.
The less obvious answer is my aunt S. She baked 16 wedding cakes for our reception -- one for each table -- even when she got terribly sick the night before the wedding. Then she attended with a smile on her face! And to top it all off, she made us a cross-stiched heirloom wall hanging as a wedding gift.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Hmm. I honestly can't think of anyone. Unless you count the people who make crush videos. I learned about those in Political and Civil Rights. That made me appalled at the capability of human beings.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Good question! Um... food? Beer? Rent? Oh, duh. I didn't even see most of it. It went to my stupid school tuition. And books, of course.

15. What did you get really excited about?
The wedding and, specifically, having all of our friends and family in one place at the exact same time, and even more specifically, dancing with them all at the reception!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
I'm embarrassed to say it's probably going to be "I gotta feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. But there are a lot. Other top contenders include: "Bedrock", "Empire State of Mind", "I Invented Sex" and "Whatever It Is".

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

- happier or sadder? Hmm... Happier, I think. More contended anyway. I actually think I was pretty happy this time last year, but I also had an enormous wedding to plan and my first year of law school to get through, so I must have been way more stressed than I was now. At least, I had more stress to look forward to. And there was a lot of heartbreak to come. This year, I am grateful that I don't have a big event to plan, and I know to cherish and appreciate a lot more than I did last year.
- thinner or fatter? Sadly, I am probably fatter. My weight hasn't really gone up, but I pretty much constantly feel fatter every day.
- richer or poorer? Poorer. I'm not making any money. I'd like to remedy that in 2010.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

I almost wrote studying but that's a load of crap. I wish I'd had more sex!

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Studying and stressing about stupid things.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With my family, doing the 2nd generation Latino half-assed Christmas eve thing and then drinking and playing board games all day on Christmas.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
I ended 2009 more in love than I began it!

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Honestly? The Office. I just discovered that I actually like the US version on the plane ride back after our honeymoon. But I also love Supernanny, 30 Rock, Modern Family and Deadwood. Duh, and Lost.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

As much as I hated Constitutional Law and the hide-the-ball crap that my prof pulled on us each and every day, I do not hate my professor.

24. What was the best book you read?
How bad would it be if I put Dukeminier's Wills Trusts and Estates casebook? Cause that was damn juicy! I also really enjoyed The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Nicki Minaj

26. What did you want and get?
T as my husband. Exercise clothes, a suit and Settler's of Catan. A job.

27. What did you want and not get?
A Wii Fit. Paid.

27a. What did you not want and not get?
Swine flu.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I hate this question. We watch way too many tapes at our house. I really liked Sin Nombre, which we watched recently.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28, and went to my grandmother-in-law's funeral. In the days prior, however, we did have a barbeque cookout in an alley.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If the speakers worked from the get-go at our wedding reception.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Two pairs of jeans I bought from a cheap urban clothing store, a couple nice tops from H&M and a closetful of frump.

32. What kept you sane?

My dog. The 24-hour cookie truck (at finals week). T. Baths.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Harlow Winter Kate Madden, obviously.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Immigration reform and the horrific joke of a criminal trial in Shenandoah, PA, where the guys who killed Luis Eduardo Ramirez got off on a simple assault charge.

35. Who did you miss?

My uncle. Even though he was a continent away, I immediately felt his absence. I missed my brother, what with him being near the other side of the country. And T's parents, who are hard to visit from where we live.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I think that honor has to go to my classmate and study buddy A, who is friggin awesome. We studied together in the spring, and I realized that she is one of those people that I just hit it off with without worrying the way I frequently do about whether or not I am too this or that. I can just be myself and be straight with her and she tells me when I'm acting weird and asks me if she worries she's acting weird. We're both a lot alike, and I like hanging out with her. It's nice to make friends.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was a perfect marriage.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"God is good / Beer is great / And people are crazy"