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?
Yesterday, M and I were walking out of Costco when he said something that reminded me so much of my dad.
We were steering our overflowing cart out of the exit, and the path to our car was blocked by a little girl looking up at us with giant eyes and meandering veeeerrrry slowly across our path. She was maybe two…not old enough to realize that she was in anyone’s way, and just concentrating on absorbing the world around her.
I just stood there, waiting for her to finish her toddle, so that we could pass. We weren’t in any terrific hurry, and she was trying her best to exist, so there wasn’t any point in rushing her. M, normally a hustlebot of the highest order, watched quietly next to me, and when she finally crossed, he said emphatically, “Beautiful kid.”
She was; all blond ringlets and huge blue eyes. But I heard my father in his statement, because most people probably would have described her as “cute.” “Aww, so little! Excuse me, sweetie!” But my husband and my father are both people who, while they normally fling themselves headlong through life, will recognize and stop to pay homage to actual beauty. She was perfect, and what an amazing thing to have a tiny, perfect person cross your path while you push yourself through the minutiae of your day.
And how lucky I am, that I could watch my father see the world this way, and that I found a man who shares that gift.
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.
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.
Certain people seem to have become obsessed with bagels and lox. Like, want to eat it several times a week obsessed.
Look at the concentration. Bagel. Cream cheese. Capers. Tomatoes. Onions. Lox. There is a specific order, and it is now his domain. He says he’s “embracing his honorary Jew,” and pulls out all the Yiddish words I’ve taught him while he throws the ingredients together. (“Wanna schlep that tomato over here? Quit kvetching, it’s almost ready!”) It is the one non-paleo food he craves, and even though it’s about a kajillion calories…how can you say no to this face?
(It probably also helps that I’m obsessed with it too. Let’s be real, this is not a martyr situation.)
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…
…getting to hang out with people I rarely see…
…and meeting some truly excellent humans who had been right under my nose for the past two years.
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.
Sometimes a day that you think is going to be kind of a drag turns out to be the best thing since sliced bread. (Sliced tomatoes? I don’t know. Something grain-free). Exhibit A: Today. We had to get fingerprinted by the police because the California Bar exam nonsense was due, which meant trekking out to a part of Cambridge we never visit. In the rain. Lame, right?
But then it all just got crazy awesome. The guy doing the prints was incredibly nice, even when he had to re-roll every single print literally six or seven times because…I don’t know, I’m secretly a Man In Black? According to James the Harvard Police Detective, I have “the worst fingerprints ever,” and “Your husband just raced right through this. Best fingerprints I’ve ever seen. Rolled them all himself! You should call him Ace!” I was dying. This man alone would’ve made my day.
After bidding adieu to James, I called M to see where he was. He had found a hide-out in this fantastic little coffee shop right across the street. It was exactly like a place we went frequently during the random 4 weeks we lived in Santa Monica (in a haunted house…don’t ask), complete with individual coffee press and free Intellectual Magazines so that Monsieur could enjoy his beverage in the finest possible environment.
We were super hungry at that point (finger-rolling is exhausting) but the rain had broken into a completely open, gorgeous sky, and so we walked to this fantastic Portuguese place in Inman Square called “Casa Portugal.” Spontaneous lunch dates with your husband are pretty fun, especially when he totally engages with you in a debate about the benefits of French v. American parenting styles despite the fact that bebes are totally hypothetical creatures at this point. (I really want to read this book!) The absolute best thing about this place is their dessert, “natas du ceo” (quite truthfully translated as “cream from Heaven”). With these tiny espressos, you could pretty much be in Europe, and I am in everlasting, committed, tend-you-when-you’re-ill type love with any place that gives you that feeling.
And then. On the way back to the square to mail the Bar Bizness, we happened to pass a used bookstore (aka the kind of place that should be all over Harvard Square, but it only has the Gap because the rent is too high and all the independent businesses get shunted to Central). I ran in just wanting to look for a second, but then it was the BEST used bookstore ever, because everything was in amazing condition and five dollars. And instead of housing tons of Pliny the Elder and other books you should want to read but just don’t, it was full of everything I had been stalking on the Kindle. M caught my bug, and we walked out of there with quite a haul.
There’s something about being around books that seriously quickens my pulse. I love everything about them: the way they smell, the cover illustrations, the weight of a stack in my arms. On the walk back to the Square, we talked about all the books we’d loved when we were little (The Giver! The Phantom Tollbooth!)…..or rather, I rambled on and on about them until he laughed and said, “Our kids are going to be pretty well-read, aren’t they?”
Yeah, they probably won’t have much of a choice about that one. But as much as I want tiny bookworms with whom I can read in the park, I really want kids just like M: always open and ready for the kind of random fun the world has to offer.
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.