Shire Couple #1 Come to Visit

Kim and Blake came to visit from Yale over the weekend! We see each other embarrassingly little (seeing as how we only live two hours apart), but whatever…it’s one of those things that you can just pick right up again, even if you’ve set it down for too long.

The beautiful weather continued, so we had to drag them through the Public Gardens. And Andrew came too! I think he’s going to remain a Bostonian long after we pack it in for the west coast, so any chance we have to hang out with him while we’re local is fantastic.

We had every intention of just stopping back by our apartment for a second to become appropriately fancy for dollar oysters at Marliave (read: put on pants), but M decided to show everybody the teasingly beautiful roof garden on the building right next to us. How lame that it’s so close, and no one is ever up there, and that we can’t use it, right?

Or can we?

Did we all climb out of our bedroom window and crawl down the fire escape to hang out on that rooftop terrace? Um, obviously. Ivy, brick, and grapefruit-vodka drinks in the sunshine is something you just do. No one came up to holler their disapproval at our antics, but we would have just made them a drink. Totally would’ve worked, too.

And after we had successfully hauled everyone back inside, we took them to Drink, because we love them and care about their happiness. I swear the bartenders there are actual magicians. Who else can take your measure as a human being with a few ingredient questions and then deliver such perfection? They’re such beasts. I will seriously miss this place.

(Not that it matters, because the drinks are so cray, but they also make perfect fries. I did not know this until Saturday night. Steak fries in which you can actually taste the potato are so undervalued. For reasons unknown, I feel quite strongly about this).

This trip sounds very alcoholic..but there was a lot of church-visiting the next day, so that sort of evens the cosmic balance. There was also a lot of olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting at some fancy spot on Newbury Street, but that’s beside the point. Unless the point is that Andrew is going to be invited over for dinner a LOT this summer, and his new blueberry balsamic better come too!

We had so much fun seeing you guys! Come again soon!

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Escapes

This last week has been a respite. Our parents arrive tomorrow morning, and the graduation festivities commence, but this was our week to just hang out and do whatever we wanted. Which turned out to be a lot of nothing, followed by a lot of reading. I guess we’re still the same people, despite this three year adventure wrapping up in a few days.

Sometimes I forget I’m an adult. I’ll be sitting around, extremely bored, looking to M for entertainment (while he does the same) and then we both simultaneously realize we can do whatever we want; we live in a major US city and have legs and T passes. It’s kind of hilarious how easy your own agency is to forget.

It’s also amazing when this realization is made on a random Tuesday night, and you can therefore get into Hungry Mother at the last minute.

The cocktail I’m holding in this picture was insane (fiery perfection) but the best thing about it was its summertime picnic serving glass. It reminded me of the glassware my mom used when I was little, and that somehow propelled me into a thought-train about how we should strive to be elegant and retain our joie de vivre as future parents. And also that we should have three kids instead of two. (Did I mention it was mostly tequila?) Inspired by the celebratory mood, M snuck off to the bathroom and told our waitress that I was graduating from law school. Which is technically true, but…shouldn’t this cake have two candles? Still, totally sweet.

And then obviously he had to work off all that sugar in the only way he knows how. (I was totally going to join him, but  I was wearing a dress. The only reason I couldn’t get on top of a lamp post).

The next morning was insanely bright/sunny/warm (Spring in Boston, you may stay) and in our quest to “have adventures,” we walked literally TEN feet from where we normally get off the T and saw stairs leading up. Neither of us had ever walked up there before, so we trekked up to take a look. Oh, no big deal. It was just basically Narnia.

That last picture is from a public dock where you can recline and picnic and read. I’m going to cover my embarrassment at not knowing this was steps from my apartment by saying that it wouldn’t have been useful until this weather anyway. Which is true, but let’s just all forget about how awful I am at exploring cool cities, and concentrate on how well a BarBri study guide is going to fit into this picture next week. That is happening.

Cocktails: The Long Beach Triumph

Sometimes I think I want to have children soon, and then M comes home from the gym and makes me cocktails. So.

His mastery of the basics is pretty great (if you are into dirty martinis or manhattans, you should hang around this guy), but he also experiments with great success. This one is called “The Long Beach Triumph,” and you’re going to have to go ahead and ask him for an explanation of that moniker. Something about three (fruit) ingredients, and the number 3 making him think of “liberty, equality, fraternity,” and therefore of the Arc de Triomphe…I’m pretty sure if we could harness his crazy brain, we could power a small city.

The Long Beach Triumph

Gin (however much you feel is right, for you, in your particular circumstances)

1 clementine

3 oz. grapefruit juice

1/3 of a lemon, juiced

-Toss the clementine (peeled) into the food processor (or blender), and then pour in the grapefruit juice. Add gin and squeeze lemon over the top. Finish with giant ice cubes. Receive the adoration of all around you.

Paleo Coffee Creamer

I am a major fan of black coffee. That being said, I spend a significant amount of time in coffee shops, and often turn into the sad little Paleo lurker when everyone around me is downing delicious-looking frothy concoctions. No matter how great your coffee is straight-up, there are times when you want something a little less acidic, and just more fun.

One of those very moods was descending last night, and so M googled around until he found a great recipe for coconut milk “creamer.” We adapted this recipe and used:

3 dates (halved, with the pits removed)*

1 tablespoon of hot water

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

a ton of ground cinnamon

1 can of coconut milk

We put everything except the coconut milk in the food processor first, so we could make sure the dates were finely chopped up, and then dumped the can of coconut milk in. Then some pulsing happened. It just…wasn’t very hard. And this made so much creamer…we’ve had four cups of coffee since then and it’s still around.

This stuff is incredible. The jury’s still on whether it’s good or evil, though, since coconut milk is not exactly low in calories, and I could see myself becoming majorly addicted to it. Still, if you’re trying to minimize the amount of dairy you’re eating (and let’s be real, you’re not giving up cheese, right?) then this is a pretty fab addition to your life options.

*Dates are sort of a random thing to have on hand…until you buy them once, and then you can never go back. They are AMAZING. Seriously. Stuff them with goat cheese and drizzle them with thickened balsamic, and then swan around your apartment with a feather boa because you are so fancy. Or wrap them in proscuitto. Or wait until you have a sugar craving and there is no chocolate in the house and then praise the everloving lord that you bought dates, because they are the sweetest thing to exist in nature. Do as you please, just buy them. At Trader Joe’s. For like four dollars.

I’m Obsessed With You

The last day in Southern California…I’m pretty happy with how we spent it.

First things first– picking the little guy up from college (which is the same campus where we got married, although neither of us is an alum. Whatevs) and taking him to his favorite place on earth.

He would probably subsist completely on plain cheeseburgers and Dr. Pepper if he could; thank God he can’t get to the nearest In’N’Out on foot.

Anyway, so we go nom on this staple of our (collective) childhood with Mongrel, and then when I ask about his finals, he starts talking about Nietzsche. With fluency, and with opinions about whether he was really anti-spirituality, and how he doesn’t like him as much as Darwin, but he’s still pretty epic. Right…..me too.

We couldn’t monopolize him for too long, because clearly college finals are an entirely different animal these days. So we dropped him off and proceeded downtown to kick it while waiting for Smash and Caitlin to be free to play. And somehow this day turned into a self-guided food tour of LA.

First up was Intelligentsia Coffee, where Mitchell from Modern Family was chillin with his java, but we did not take a picture. Because we are cool about celebrities? Probably not, as we are rarely cool about anything. Instead, we meandered over to a farmer’s market and I finally got to introduce M to pupusas. They’re from El Salvador, and are basically corn tortilla pockets filled with pork and cheese. They were a staple of the summer after 1L at my office, and are basically heaven. If heaven were just terrible for you, but tasted amazing.

We also made friends with a vendor selling flavored goat cheese, and it actually pains me to talk about how delicious this stuff was. He kept handing us wooden taster sticks with dollops of cheese, and it was a great sales technique in the same way that holding a gun to my head would have been. He was basically forcing me to buy this cheese by letting me try it. We ended up getting the Honey Lavender and Garlic Herb flavors, largely because M wouldn’t let me buy all ten. (Something about how we were “about to get on a plane.” I wasn’t really listening.)

Poor Cait was still stuck at work, so we made a detour to this place called the Pie Hole to pick up dessert for later. It was allllmost in Skid Row (but not) and then once we parked we realized it was across the street from Wurstkuche. What I’m trying to say here is that I could live happily on this street.

Basically, I could live happily in this pie shop. It’s become a running joke between us that Boston, for all its glorious advantages, is a pie wasteland. Once, when we lived in Cambridge, I was overcome by a pie craving that took us (in VAIN!) to four different restaurants and a few grocery stores before I settled for Dutch apple from the freezer section. Literally, there is no berry pie to be had in this entire city.* Disaster. So you can imagine my reveling in the existence of this little shop.**

A menu that changes daily. Written on scrolls of butcher paper. Yes, please.

So all of this was great, of course, but it was merely a prelude to getting to see two of my favorite people in the world. Cait may be the originator of being “obsessed” with anything and everything, but I am really and truly obsessed with her. She is a “kitchen table” friend. Does that make sense? You don’t need to do anything to have fun with her. You just sit at her kitchen table, talking to her and eating goat cheese on walnut bread and drinking wine out of mason jars…and think about how you seriously couldn’t be happier.

But obviously it gets even better when Smash shows up and you all stumble out to the random Korean BBQ restaurant down the street. Chopsticks and many, many tiny dishes of vegetables? Feel great about that.

Pretty sure she was telling us about music festivals in Denmark at this point…

…so, that’s happening.

Lap it up like Kit-tens!!

Smash obviously makes a far better kitten than I do, but it’s something I’m working on. That was some strange milky sake, but not as strange as the Korean mafia lighting up in the restaurant as we left. (At least, they were the K-town mafia according to M. We thought they were just two girls awkwardly and illegally smoking, but he seemed very sure.)

And as for the pie…well, it was ok.

That’s obviously a blatant lie. It was spectacular, and I felt morally obligated to rein myself in so that I didn’t eat it all. I guess two pieces for four people was the “right” amount, but what is “right,” really? Isn’t it about seizing all the pie you come across and enjoying life to the fullest? Carpe Dessertum or something? Whatever. I love these people, so I shared. (Sorry love, but the ladies both look amazing, so it’s an autoshare.)

So, that’s basically how I would spend an absolutely perfect day…family, friends who are family, and an awkward amount of incredible food. Good lawd, I am excited that we move home soon. The thought that this could be a frequent weekend occurrence gladdens my very soul.

*I am aware that this paragraph has been reprinted in the dictionary under “First World Problems.”

**It had to be really chill reveling, because all the salesclerks were intimidating hipsters.

Snippets from Home

Now that everything is finished (except bar studying, but we are not going to talk about that), we can do normal things like attend baby birthday parties. The littlest Fish turned one while we were home, and we drove down to Escondido to pay him our respects. And to watch his big brother do “bobs” in the pool. For the uninitiated, a “bob” involves ducking underwater for a second, surfacing, and squealing “I DO A BOB!” all while laughing hysterically.

Almost as funny as him jousting with the pinata, running full-tilt at it with an outstretched flyswatter and forgetting every time that it would rebound on him with a cardboard-to-the-face smackdown. These Fisher kids, I’m telling you. They are a serious good time. Their parents are also fantastic…especially since Hope promised to give me the recipe for her Tres Leches cake! It’s pretty great being friends with Martha Stewart.

Smash showed up in the LBC post-fiesta, and we tricked Open Sesame into serving us dinner at eleven o’clock at night  (“Our kitchen closes in four minutes…” “I AM READY TO ORDER!”). I like having friends who will drive excessive distances to spend about four waking hours with you. Thanks, lovebug.

I also love visiting the holy grail of breakfast foods:

…and coming to terms with the fact that a certain person’s intuition should just basically always be followed. Are you using avocado on your breakfast burritos? Turns out there is only one correct answer to this.

And then it was time to go home and do this for two days:

and this…

I think the above picture might literally be my favorite sight in the entire world. Obviously you’d have to factor out sights like loved ones’ faces and…yeah, that’s about it.

Cresting the Hill

Like all important life events, law school sort of ended with a whimper rather than a bang. I mean, there was a pretty significant bang when I typed my last keystroke and slammed my laptop shut. (Probably could have absorbed more of those “taking care of your things” childhood lectures.)

Most of it was an awkward timing issue. My darling friend Kirsten was getting married in Sacramento on 4/28…the weekend in the middle of finals. There was obviously NO way I was missing her working that white dress, so we took our first three finals and then booked it back to California on that Saturday morning, touching down in time to attend one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever witnessed. Seriously, it was fantastic. Kirsten looked beautiful, the venue (the downtown Citizen Hotel) was seriously swanky, and I might have cried during her dad’s speech. For like a second, whatever, it’s not a big deal.

The library. Quite possibly my favorite ceremony site ever.

My photos do not even approach doing it justice, but the whole event enveloped us in the best possible wedding feeling: that you are a true “loved one,” invited to watch as two people celebrate how much they love each other, with all the people that they love, and with crab cakes and dance parties. We even became insta-friends with our table-mates and crammed eight people into the photobooth to take a (quite inebriated) Table 4 picture. I kind of just wish I could live full-time at weddings. Maybe if this whole law thing doesn’t work out, I’ll explore the wedding-planner world. You know, with my abundance of skill with details and returning phone calls. Right.

We peaced out super early for our flight down south, and studied for out last final: Prison Law. Or, my poor husband studied, while I did my best to distract him with photos and pleas to do anything else. You know you’re a horrible study partner when your own mother is sending you texts telling you to stop bothering your husband. Whatever, Pup. Who taught you to text anyway?

And then we woke up at 4:30am on Monday to take that final. I don’t want to talk about it.

Which left only the foster care paper, aka the albatross that has been around my neck since literally SEPTEMBER of this school year. In other news, I received my official placard for Procrastinator of the Century, if anyone wants to come over and look at it. It’s really shiny, because I didn’t want to work on my paper.

Instead, I wanted to drink almond milk lattes at hipster coffee shops in Long Beach. And M wanted to play chess with those gentlemen in the background. So we did.

But obviously we also finished our papers. Isn’t it kind of sad how much you hate your own written work by the time you turn it in? So stoked about the idea to start with, and then I always end up hitting the “send” button with this weird mixture of resignation and relief. And you always have to stand up with extreme gravitas and say, “Well, it’s in the hands of the gods now!” At least you do if you are a child of my father.

M and I were literally actually giddy when we finished. I pranced out of the Starbucks yelping, “We’re done! We’re done!” until M hauled me to the beach to run off my cray. And then we went to Costco and did this:

That’s his guilty face. I don’t think he’s had a churro in like five years.

And we ended the night at Javier’s in Crystal Cove with some of the homies who have seen us through this entire crazy process.

Darren. Get in some pictures.

And that’s all, folks. Until the next graduate degree.*

*Oh man, I slay myself.

At Last

We’re done, we’re done, we’re done!!! No matter how often I say it, it still hasn’t sunk in. Don’t think it will, until we touch down back in Boston tomorrow. Right now is still the never-never land of being home, that last keystroke on the paper hit, send button clicked, and the perfect timing of this suddenly blazing sun coming out to meet us.

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It was a pretty intense slog there for a minute (a month-long minute) but everything eventually ends, even if you’re pretty firmly convinced it won’t, this time.

And now I’m back in a coffee shop, but the view is less “a Mac screen is all you shall see for ever and ever, amen” and a lot more…..well, this:

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I just finished the Great Gatsby while watching a Silver Lake hipster hula hoop in the middle of a farmer’s market. There’s honey lavender goat cheese chillin in a cooler ten feet away, paid for and ready to be spirited away. And we’re about to go drink copious amounts of wine from mason jars at Cait’s house.

So, yes, I guess I’m glad I went to law school… But is it ok that, for this moment, I’m far more glad that it’s over?