It Was The Best of Times, The End.

So, Friendfest felt mostly like this during the day…

…and more like this at night…

…and it should be recorded for posterity that a floating beer pong table was mostly responsible for the transition from the former to the latter. Well, the table and these little things, though some people did protest that they contained “too much tequila,” which, huh? I don’t understand those words.

Palm Springs greeted us warmly (110 in the shade, baby), which meant the pool was essentially a giant bathtub. Most of us found creative ways to stay cool, though.

And when we couldn’t, we just reveled in the fact that we were all together. Honestly, that was my favorite part of my wedding weekend (other than the whole marriage part), just handing in my bride card and in exchange getting the people I love all in one place. Getting to do it again a year later feels like cheating…if the correct response to cheating is a total lack of guilt and a desire to repeat your conduct as soon as possible. Seriously, I love these humans in a way I can only express to you in blurry Instagram photos.

So yes, these people and their antics. (Most adorably, the adoption of a “talk like Scooby Doo” rule during King’s Cup, which resulted in our poor new addition being hailed as “RAAANNNE!” all weekend.) Add to that mix an amazing chef for whom “cooking is my vacation,”* and you have created the weekend about which I dreamt during bar study. (Actual dreams were had about eating Salpy’s garlic paste while sitting by a pool. And I am not ashamed.)

Cliff Notes: It was the best collective idea possible, and may it be repeated forever and ever, amen.

*This is a direct quote.

An Affirmation of Previously Held Beliefs

My darling maid of honor and the man I married have a lot in common. They’re incredibly friendly, curious, and athletic. They were probably both puppies in a former life. They are also both blond, which is pretty much irrelevant.

However, they also share a profound love of a game they like to call, “Let’s Convince Her to Go Camping.” The “her” is me, an individual who was recently caught up in that game and is consequently covered in bug bites…but still somehow very much in love with both of these scoundrels.

The Culprits

Now, in their collective defense, I was a willing (if temporarily insane) participant in this latest excursion. Both M and A.Bo’s boyfriend were having birthdays soon, and we hadn’t been to the Cape yet (despite living here for three years…law school, you are just embarrassing everyone). Somehow those two facts merged into a plan to surprise the men with camping at the Cape for a weekend. A. Bo says this was my idea. If so, it was only because I was distracted by the boatload of brownie points that were to be mine once M was made aware that I had voluntarily gone camping in his honor. You guys, I can’t even count that high.

Despite the fact that it involved flesh-eating bugs and sleeping on the ground, (totally understand why people do this for fun) the trip actually gave us a chance to be with several of our favorite people (Andrew came too!) and meet some new faces. This group shot of our Troop Beverly Hills is brought to you by Mike, a dude at a fire pit half-way down the beach whom A. Bo somehow convinced to come play iPhone photographer. Be careful around her, the people-wrangling skills are not to be underestimated.

I will have you know that, actually, camping is not all bad. Since we were at the Cape, there was a lot of time to do this:

You know, play beach volleyball. Or sit on a towel and watch beach volleyball. However you personally happen to roll. There was also time to sit around a campfire and drink whisky and make s’mores. I may not like dirt, but I am firmly in favor of Johnny Walker and chocolate. (Side note: what is it about s’mores? One obviously great ingredient + two elements that in real life would merit a resounding “eh” = oh my everloving melted sugar high. That’s the kind of math to which I could’ve applied myself in high school.)

Chocolate and lounging aside, the best part was realizing how lucky I am to have these two in my life. A. Bo knocked herself out to plan this trip. She coordinated everything while I was in finals, brought us extra tents, shopped for all the food…this kid, I swear. And M really was so flattered that I had faced mosquitos for him that, by the end of the weekend, I was getting “survivor of a personal tragedy” level compliments. “I am just so proud of you…this experience is making me see you in a whole new light…thank you for tapping into these reserves of strength just for me!” (To refresh, we were just…camping. Like, not in Bosnia.)

So despite their love of the (previously aforementioned) game, I seriously count these two tow-heads among my blessings.

You know, when I get tired of counting the mosquito bites.

27 1/2 by 27 1/2

Maybe it’s just the looming feeling that the bar is imparting to my life these days, but I feel a little compelled to pump up the “human” part of my life. It doesn’t need to be swallowed by the law. Well, it kind of does for the next month, but after that, I want to reach for more balance.

I’ve never made a list like this before, but I don’t believe in waiting until January 1st to start a new life practice anyway. So, here is a list of things I’d like to accomplish before the earth gets a chance to rotate again…

1. Pass the California Bar Exam the first time around. (I guess this one is obvious, but it’s earned the number one slot for this rotation).

2. Go to ballet class at least once a week.

3. Actually make it past barre consistently.

4. Become more re-attuned to my body, eating, and fitness plans so that I feel like I have my dancer body back instead of this more athletic situation.

5. Do one pull-up. (What? I like contradictions.)

6. Post at least twice a week on this blog.

7. Move the blog to a hosted site and actually configure the design in a way that looks somewhat professional.

8. Go to Spain.

9. Attend the first ever annual FriendFest! (I am embarrassingly excited about this one).

10. Buy a bar cart for our new apartment and stock it with everything so that I can make any guest any cocktail upon request.

11. Have a living space that feels like it reflects us and the things (and people) we love.

12. Use the Rosetta Stone and become somewhat conversational in Spanish.

13. Speak to all my closest friends once a week. (In person or on the phone, ideally.)

14. Institute a girl-only night so that I see my (local) female friends on a weekly basis. (I’m thinking a standing brunch date sounds like a really good idea…)

15. Paint something good enough to hang in our apartment. (I used to love to paint before high school, and just totally let it go.)

16. Go to New Orleans.

17. Read at least two books a month.

18. Buy fresh flowers for our apartment every week (or so), and arrange them in all the rooms. (Such an inexpensive and fast way to make sure you wake up every morning and are greeted with beauty).

19. See my family at least every other week.

20. Talk to Dan at least once a week.

21. Go on a real, get dressed up, wear perfume and meet at the restaurant date once a week. (With M). (Obviously).

22. Have a perfume wardrobe. (Scent has always been my most immediate and important sensory impression, and I’ve always felt like my mood can be changed immediately by a spritz of a different perfume. I love it, and yet it’s something I never buy for myself.)

23. Have an edited, adult wardrobe that’s stocked enough that getting dressed for work every morning, for brunch with friends and for dates with M are not sources of stress (and hopefully even fun).

24. Have an operational budget.

25. Pick a cause in which I feel invested, and start offering my time and money.

26. Learn to make at least ten totally new paleo dishes.

27. Take a weekend trip somewhere with just my female friends.

27 1/2. Be a delightful human being as often as possible.

What do you guys think? Any suggestions/substitutions?

Little more of this, little less Rule Against Perpetuities.

Little more of this, little less Rule Against Perpetuities.

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.

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.

Self-soothing

We’ve been getting commencement emails like crazy lately, including a summons to meet with a financial aid officer. Apparently they want to be there in person as we acknowledge the Monopoly-esque number that leaps into the “now due” column in six months. Sure hope those meetings have tissues. Or cookies. Both would be advisable.

I’m trying to stay the course in terms of not letting this last 20 days stress me out too much. You can do anything for 20 days, right? I mean, maybe not hold a plank position. But the basic idea is a sound one, and whatever…regardless of how it goes, in 20 days it will have gone, you know?

So this morning, after signing up to take the bar and paying our respective $800 fees to do so (WHAT?), M and I escaped outside for a hot second to literally smell the roses and eat lunch in the Common. And yes, he did use the old Otterbox to bump his Ridin Solo Pandora station for all to hear. It was beautiful.

20120410-170726.jpg

20120410-170804.jpg

Even Ate Sunflower Seeds

20120403-151438.jpg

This is what I was doing all weekend. Well, let’s be real….this is what I was watching. Eye-hand coordination has never been my forte, so there was certainly no softball bat in my hands.

Every year UVA holds a law school softball tournament, and M had such a blast last year that he convinced me to tag along as team cheerleader this time. Sitting in the sun, watching my husband and friends play softball (but really reading)….yeah. Pretty excellent way to spend a weekend. I loved getting to see my sports-loving guy in his element…

20120403-152022.jpg

…getting to hang out with people I rarely see…

20120403-154515.jpg

…and meeting some truly excellent humans who had been right under my nose for the past two years.

20120403-160858.jpg

Charlottesville is so beautiful, and the cherry blossoms popping up all over were making me seriously rethink the decision to attend law school in the northeast. Add to that our Friday afternoon stop at Chick-fil-A (the southern chicken sister to In-N-Out, in both quality and inducement of devotion), and I am loving some Virginia. (Not to be confused with Loving v. Virginia,* although that is extremely important and awesome as well.

*aka the case ruling that inter-racial marriage was protected by the Constitution. Am I a nerd? Yes.

The One Where We Finally Get Ourselves on a Bolt Bus

M had promised to take me to New York for my birthday, but then finals were looming, and the city was being all wicked expensive during the Christmas season (rude), so we put it off.

And so it happened that, just a few days ago, I happened to find myself sitting across from this handsome dude at The Stage, introducing him to the concept of Matzo ball soup.

He enjoyed the concept very much, but kindly requested that I not take pictures of him mid-chew. So much work, this marriage.

We were staying with a friend from M’s summer at the USAO, who was pretty much the best hostess on record. Seriously. If you looked up “superlative host” in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Michelle going across town to stay with her boyfriend so we could have the entire apartment to ourselves. They’re coming to Boston in a month, and I’m already feeling lame about only having an air mattress to offer them. (My secret weapon will be happy hour at Marliave. Who’s thinking about an air mattress when they are delightfully tipsy on Boston Tea Parties* and dollar oysters?)

Since we were staying at her apartment, we spent a lot of time in the subway stop for Columbia University. Not trying to be biased or anything, but it’s most def the prettiest one. Look at that blue tile! Semi-Grecian swirls! Really wishing I had taken art history in college!

We ate at Prune on our first night in the city, and that was the only disappointment of the trip. Not because the restaurant wasn’t great, because it was! It just turns out that lots of drinks plus way too much bone marrow equals sick me. However, by the next morning I had totally rallied in time to embrace my inner Jew yet again. Bagels and lox! Never has such a beautifully perfect food been created. And Murray’s in Chelsea is THE place to admire it up close and personal.

I am not exaggerating when I say I wanted to order everything in this establishment. Bagel crates stacked almost to the ceiling: cinnamon raisin, onion, salt, everything. 17 kinds of cream cheese. It’s a good thing we don’t live nearby.

Or is it?

After consuming our weight in smoked fish, we trudged through the snow to the Guggenheim. Such a cool building.

The exhibit while we were there was Maurizio Cattelan, who apparently is kind of a prankster and displayed his life’s work by stringing up all his sculptures and hanging them from the ceiling.

M and I liked Cattelan’s work a lot more than we anticipated. They’re pretty simple, bold pieces, and I liked the immediate, visceral reaction they evoked. Especially this one:

And this one, which we thought was just a chill elephant decked out in the easiest Halloween costume…but Conrad informed us was instead a KKK elephant.

I didn’t know. I would never have patted his trunk had I known.

This little girl was just the greatest. She was perched on the floor in the Kandinsky exhibit with her sketchbook, so seriously copying the artwork. She was just shadin’ away with her colored pencils, and you could tell from her look of concentration that she saw no reason why her finished product couldn’t match the one on the wall perfectly.

New life mission: get back some of that innate confidence.

Museums make you hungry and exhausted, and then you have to get burgers. (It’s the law). We went to Shake Shack to put the old “In-N-Out versus SS” test to rest. (SS= Shake Shack, not the Gestapo. Let’s be clear, cheeseburgers win over fascism every time.)

Verdict = come on. Seriously? I mean, Shake Shack, your custard is very nice. But my tiny imaginary chihuahua ate one of your burgers and then asked when we were having lunch. You straight cannot charge eight dollars for that little guy.

 Good thing we had (somewhat) fortified ourselves, though, cause then we stood in line at ye old TKTS and got tickets to…MEMPHIS!!!

Do you like gospel music? Soul music? There is only one correct answer to such a question, and as soon as you say it (“YES!”) then I will tell you to get yourself over to this 2010 Tony Award-winner with great speed. (Also, go to Lantern’s Keep in the Iroquois Hotel for drinks first. That’s a very important step.)

Oh man. It was so great. It was GREAT. And the greatest thing about it was that M now truly enjoys going to see shows (even musicals) just as much as I do. And it is so much fun to look over at your partner during an amazing experience like that and be able to tell that they’re loving it as much as you are.

 

The one event of which I have no pictures is our dinner at Hudson Clearwater. It was epic and totally worth taking documentary evidence, but the busboys were so gay-beautiful, and the waitress was so skinny and eyeliner-y, and I felt altogether too nerdy to pull out my iPhone and starting snapping away. However. Some cabbage-y slaw thing, an amazing duck dish and an apple-and-salted-caramel dessert were all filed into the mental vault marked “Please Sir, May I Have Some More?”

The next morning we made our way over to the West Village for brunch at Home. They had $5 dollar brunch drinks, which is clearly the price point at which you become financially irresponsible by not ordering one. So I got a bloody mary (which I always feel like I should like, being such a lover of savory things) and this time I really did like it. Very successful brunch, is what I’m trying to say here.

Afterward, we wandered around an elevated park called the Highline, which was constructed out of an abandoned railway platform…

Apparently these benches slide around (when there isn't a bunch of snow blocking their tracks) and you can configure them into chaise-y couches for you and your beloveds.

…and said goodbye to our wonderful hosts and their absurdly cool city. Before we left, though, we had to make a pit-stop at this place I heard makes a decent cookie.

I can’t even talk about it. We got chocolate-chip with walnuts, and dark chocolate. They were enormous, gooey in the middle, and made out of heaven. We brought one home and now it’s gone, and… seriously, I can’t talk about it anymore.

M’s final shot of the city, the beautiful trees on Columbia’s campus lit up for the winter. Does he have an eye, or what? So, so beautiful.

I love you, New York. See you in three weeks!

*Tequila, Earl Grey Tea and Ginger beer. Check it out. You’re quite welcome.

Weekend

We were planning on capitalizing on our free Friday by going to our favorite Indian buffet place, but then we realized that it’s all the way in Inman Square. Tricky business, this “remembering you live somewhere different now.” Good thing that mental lapse paved the way for…

hint...delicious tea...

Dim Sum!! I don’t think I’ve ever had dim sum outside of San Francisco before, and other than one recent trip to a sushi place, M and I hadn’t explored Boston’s Chinatown at all. I think it’s the last neighborhood to remain untouched, which is totally bizarre given my fixation on Asian foods of all kinds.

M put me in charge of ordering, and I was really hungry, which resulted in a never-ending stream of steaming little dishes arriving at our table.  Sadder things have happened.

Obv, Yelp was our trusty guide yet again, and Winsor Dim Sum was the biz. I hope they await our imminent return (and overlook that I got distracted by the excellence of my shrimp dumplings and used the wrong end of my chopsticks to speed their delivery to my mouth. Oops).