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.

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We Can Never Forget His Birthday

The last time I showed up at a hospital because of an impending birth, I was back home within the hour, tucking into some macaroni and cheese and laughing at Mej doing the grandparent voices in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was mildly aware of the gravity of the occasion (my brother was being born, after all), but I was only seven, and not fully cognizant of what was transpiring in the delivery room. I just knew I had tossed every lucky penny in every fountain, and blown out every birthday candle, with the same wish (“I want a little guy to play with!”) and soon that wish would be granted.

Recently, I was lucky enough to see that same wish granted for our good friends…only this time, there was no delicious cheesy pasta to temper the immensity of the experience.

Arriving at the hospital...the first time!

Arriving at the hospital…the first time!

A few weeks before Dane was born, Ron and Trina asked if I would film his birth. I was totally honored that they felt we were close enough to share that seminal a moment, and of course I said yes…and then wondered if I should watch a few on YouTube so that my first reaction to a human being entering the world didn’t result in fainting. (“Um, no, I didn’t get any footage of your firstborn…and I broke your camera when I passed out cold. Sorry!”)

We were “on call” starting on Monday morning. I woke up to a text from Ron saying that Trina was laboring at home, and they would let us know when to head to the hospital. Around 10:30 that night (aka FOREVER if you are waiting for a fun baby to be born, and are instead stuck studying for the bar) we headed to the hospital. Of course, because we wanted to fit in some pregnancy cliches, we first ran to a few different convenience stores to find the right brand of crackers for Trina. (“We can’t take her regular Wheat Thins! She is in labor! Where are the reduced fat ones? What do you mean you don’t carry them??”) It was so fun to be on this side of the experience first. Honestly, it make me much more comfortable (prospectively) about asking people to help me when I’m pregnant/in labor. We were so incredibly excited to meet the baby and witness this actually happening in real life…forget crackers, I would have stood on my head.

Anyway, so we get to the hospital, take blurry excited pictures in the entryway, hand over the crackers, and…wait. Several episodes of Community later, Ron came out looking semi-exhausted and told us to go home. Apparently “labor” was not interested in the fact that we wanted to meet Dane immediately, and had decided to return again another day.

So, back to the waiting game…until a certain day which was already fantastic for other reasons. Mostly because this guy…

…happened to be born on it, twenty-seven years prior. Correct: Dane was born on M’s birthday. At the exact same time. If that’s not a clue that this new human being is destined for greatness, I don’t know what is. (Maybe the fact that both his parents are great themselves. Whatever. You see the point I’m going for here).

Round two at the hospital happened so fast, there wasn’t really time to absorb things as they were happening. Ron called as we were finishing breakfast, with the instruction “Come now! But not so fast that you hurt yourself.” We figured a cab was a good compromise. I left M in the waiting room, and Ron swiped me in through the giant double doors of the delivery wing.

Being present at a birth was overwhelming. I rounded the corner into Trina’s room, Ron pressed the video camera into my hands and turned back around to her, and suddenly I was a fly on the wall, overlooking the most intimate experience possible. Granted, there were also two nurses and a midwife in the room, but the amount of tension and emotion encircling these two people who were about to be parents made it feel like they were steering a ship into port themselves, and we were all just around to pull on some ropes if called.

At one point, Ron had to leave the room to call their parents, and asked me to step in and hold Trina’s hand as she pushed through a contraction. I guess I thought she would be more shy, that my stepping in for him would throw her off balance. Not in the slightest. She just grabbed me and squeezed (so strong for so small a person!) and it was just so clear that she was in charge of what was happening, and not the other way around. It was thrilling to watch. People might talk about “mama grizzlies,” but this was the true manifestation of that core instinct– a woman tapping into her deepest physical being to do what is needed to help her child.

The rest of labor was over so quickly. Trina asked for a mirror so she could see the baby’s head crowning, and when they wheeled it up, she could reach down and touch it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone squeal with glee under an oxygen mask before. That was it; if she could touch him, she wanted to hold him, and within five minutes there was a head…and then a shoulder…and then astonishingly fast, the whole rest of a whole baby. The wave of emotion that accompanied his entry into the world knocked me right in the face. I’ll be very surprised and grateful if their birth video is not set to the tune of my muffled crying.

And then there was so much to do right afterwards. There was afterbirth, and placenta, and weighing and blankets and learning how to breastfeed immediately. Even as only a witness, I was internally echoing Trina as she was continually turning to Ron, saying, “I can’t really hear them…will they tell me all this again later?”

I’m not sure he was hearing them either, because he was following Dane around the room, affirming every part of his seconds-old existence. The nurses were dictating his weight, (“8.4! What a great weight!”) assuring that his little head would immediately round out (“And even if it didn’t, that would be ok!”), and the new father just couldn’t verbalize enough of his love and support.

And…can you blame him?

I think we can all agree that is one perfect little baby.

And that this picture is just not. even. fair.

Welcome to the world, Dane Davis. We sure do like you already.

Double-cross

On Monday night, I told M I had wanted to make him a super-awesome paleo dinner for Valentine’s Day, but that there wasn’t any time to go to the store for ingredients, so he’d have to wait a day. Obviously a total lie for which only sweet, simple men would fall.

Too bad I only thought I was the only spy in the family. As I was running around the kitchen (okay, stepping. Two feet in either direction. We still live in Boston), he stuck his head around the corner and held up a crinkly brown bag. “I know we said we were doing it tomorrow, but these guys wanted to come home today.”

He normally laughs at my obsession with all things beautiful-paper-related, so I cocked an eyebrow when I saw his card was from Papyrus. He said in his defense: “I had to go in! It was the first time I could look at the ones that say ‘For my Wife’ on them!”

Sometimes adult males can be nature’s most egregiously cute creatures.

And They’re Also Just Really Hot…

I love Valentine’s Day. I know why other people don’t; commercialization is annoying, and being reminded that you don’t have a romantic partner is less than awesome. But even though I do get the benefit of having a man order me flowers, I like February 14th even more because it reminds me to celebrate all the people that I love…especially the ladies (if you didn’t say that with a Tim Meadows accent the first time, try again). These women are crucial to my happiness all year…it’s the least I can do to send some glitter love their way every February to remind them how much they’re appreciated. Admittedly, this is a day late; it just took me a while to be able to handle how much I love you, my…
…childhood friends…

Why are you guys always matching? That's so weird...

They were NOT kidding about how good that pizza is...

…College buddies…

Oh, my beloved personal space invader...

Is it scary that this was taken 5 years ago? Or just awesome that there are two tiny people who would be in this picture today?

At Huntington Gardens...we don't DO weddings there.

Long ago and far away before you moved to the other side of the universe...but now you're home!!

My fellow sufferer through the evils of law school...I plan on using our time together next weekend to talk you into opening a cupcake shop once and for all. Be Forewarned.

…including the ones I wish I saw more often… I miss you guys!
…and the other amazing women who have come into my life as co-workers…

This one's getting married in two months!! So excited!

…or friends of friends….

So fierce. They never even knew what hit them.

I have no photos of you. Can we talk about that?

and stayed to make it a better place (by far).
I love you goofballs.

Sweet Tea

I came home from class today to find this on our coffee table. The only thing that’s more fantastic than the roses is the fact that it’s warm enough outside that he decided to make iced tea. Boston isn’t the only thing stepping up its game.

A Frozen Yogurt Prophecy Fulfilled

I knew I wanted to marry him.  I told Smash that once, a long time ago, accidentally, during one of our “wedding nights.” We would drive to the drugstore and purchase at least four absurdly expensive wedding magazines and some frozen yogurt, and then spend the rest of the night passing the tomes full of lacy dresses back and forth between us.

“No WAY!” “Would you EVER?” “He is wearing a grey suit or he is not marrying me, I’ll tell you that much.”

There were no men in our lives, only boys. Boys from college. Boys from work. No one involved was anywhere near ready to commit to adulthood, to promise anything on that scale.

But she showed me some dress, some concoction of frothy, brilliantly white chiffon. “Oh, as IF!”  I squealed. “If I wear that, I’ll look so pale, M won’t even recognize me.”

I didn’t even realize what I had put out into the world, but she slowly lowered her magazine and stared at me, smiling. “You just said it,” she laughed. “You said you’re going to marry him someday!”

She was right.

It took us a long time to get here. There were some patches that rocked my serenity, that made me question whether I was ready, whether the path we shared then would translate into a road we could walk on all the way into the future.

I didn’t need to worry.

Our families taught us what we needed: how to build a home for each other out of love, no matter where we are.

The people we surround ourselves with give us strength and a joy I can’t even begin to quantify.

These loved ones have helped us carve that path that I once wondered about into a road I would follow anywhere.

Baby, I would follow you anywhere.

Sometimes the enormity of what we’ve signed ourselves up for doesn’t hit us until much later.

And when it does, we’re not sure we can ever be grateful enough.

Traditions.

My sexy husband, dubious about the need to photograph everything within an inch of its life.

I’ve always loved the idea of “tradition,” despite the fact that we didn’t have many in our house while growing up. [That’s what happens when you’re the child of two people schooled in two very different religious traditions–they don’t quite know what to do with their own children when it comes to “tradition” with a capital T. His involves menorahs….hers involves daily Mass…so their compromise is…I don’t know, snuggling? My parents are pretty much the best 🙂 ]

Anyway, M and I have developed a tradition of an “antipasti” plate. It sounds too simple and silly to be a tradition, but it’s actually the best thing ever.

It doesn’t particularly matter what it’s composed of…we use whatever is on hand. You dip the cheddar in the fig jam, maybe have some rosemary and sea salt almonds, tear up some proscuitto if it’s around. The point is that it’s our little late-night ritual. You can’t watch the Sopranos without fig jam. Come on now.

A particularly fantastic use of plastic

M is what some might (affectionately) call a “food nazi.” A few years ago, he discovered Crossfit, which led to the paleo diet, which led to us never eating cereal again…and, ok, to feeling fantastic, if I’m being honest.

But occasionally (ummmm, all the time) I will ply him him my feminine wiles and score myself a date ending in JP Licks, that heaven of refined sugar and hipster scoop-wielders.

We always have to order a pint. Of course. It’s a dollar more than a regular cup, twice as much ice cream, and it’s just the fiscally responsible thing to do. (And you know how he feels about fiscal responsibility. He thinks it’s sexy.)

But we do not eat twice as much ice cream…oh no. M asks to try all the new flavors, and hoards the tiny sample spoons. “Baby spoons,” he calls them.

We walk back through the Yard, digging up infant-sized chunks of frozen sugar with these ridiculous shards of plastic the size of my thumb, and it just feels hilarious, feels good in a way that’s so out of proportion to what we’re actually doing. I just love these random sparks of delight in him at odd things no one else would notice. ..how he imbues ordinary trips to the ice cream shop with rituals only for us. No one else would know to save their sample spoon and look askance at the giant scooping utensils set out for the others.

We keep them, too, past when we’re over dessert for the night. The baby spoons just huddle together in the freezer, lying on the pint’s lid for when someone decides that making it to four in the afternoon = ice cream reward.

It gets kind of silly, a little messy down at the end, when your knuckles are brushing against the inside of the carton, trying to retrieve the last peanut butter chip with this stub of a spoon. I don’t care. I just lick the sugar off the back of my fingers and pass my baby spoon to my baby.

I don’t think I could love you any more.