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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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.

Mongrel

Once in a long while, you come across an artistic talent of such immense proportion that to shelter it from the world’s view would be criminal. Such beauty lurks in corners of the earth where it might never be suspected…like Trader Joe’s.

Yeah, he draws SpongeBob freehand. When you least expect it. And he’s rakish.

He also owes me an email with all his newest music, since I burned it all eagerly while we were home…and then left my precious cd in the Battered Beater (aka M’s car). Come on, Mongrel, I didn’t push you around on my knees in your baby carrier all those times* just to be musically bereft. Help a (biological) sister out.

*This is one of approximately 10 (maybe 12?) stories about our collective childhoods that our parents (and sometimes grandmother) like to tell…let’s say “kind of frequently,” to be extremely generous. A smattering of the collection:

6. The above-mentioned baby-pushing, which occurred an old house with a circular floor pattern, and me, on my knees, pushing Mongrelito in his baby-carrier for endless laps around the house, singing to him so that he would go to sleep.

5. The time I got tired of doing the above, and left him in said carrier at the bottom of the stairs, swaddled and with a bonnet on his head, and a Victorian-orphanage inspired note, reading “This is my baby, and I cannot care for him any longer. He is a good baby, please take care of him as if he were your own. God Bless you.”

4. The time we were walking around Venice Beach when he had barely learned to read, and he looked up confusedly at a group of monks protesting China’s presence in their country, and asked them, “Free To Bet on what??”

3. The time my grandparents were taking me to the movies at our local mall (unfamiliar to them), and they stopped to ask for directions from a saleslady, and I indignantly yelled, “I could’ve tooken you there!!” (Unfathomably, this has the highest number of family dinner rehashings.)

2. The time my dad decided baby Mongrel’s desire to participate in all my girl-centered play-dates would negatively affect his burgeoning masculinity and went upstairs to separate him from my Barbies, only to find him gleefully bashing their heads together.

1. The time our grandmother, when asked by Mongrel (in a clearly joking manner) which one of us she thought was better looking, seriously considered the question, and then answered him, “Your sister, definitely. But that’s alright, because you have the music to fall back on!” And then we died.