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?

Still Pushing

That title sounds vaguely birth-related, but I’m too lazy to fix it. I am not giving birth any time in the next century…the pushing obviously relates to finals. I just finished an 8-hour one, and am about to dive into studying for the next (and last!) but needed to download my brain first.

First: Studying in the park is the totally correct decision during Spring finals, but watch out for little kids who will steal your concentration with their cute frolicking. And also by playing some game that inexplicably required them to yell, “FISHY, FISHY, CROSS MY OCEAN!!” at the top of their lungs every five seconds. (It looked like a variant of Red Rover? Whatever, I don’t know their lives.)

Second: Never leave your bobby pins around that guy who lives with me. This happens:

Are we starting a fraternity? I don’t even know.

Third: Our wonderful friends Ron and Trina are having a baby boy in June, and I ran over to the South End for her baby shower on Sunday. I realized halfway through it was the first one I’d ever attended! Apparently all my other friends have babies when I am inconveniently across the country. Anyway, the mother-to-be looked beautiful surrounded by all her new baby gadgets…

…including the tiny clothes we brought. When I was wrapping the present the night before, M looked over and was like, “Oh, I’d totally wear that.” And…yeah. This is basically his summer wardrobe, shrunken to fit an infant.

Fourth: Boston is beautiful. Still. Despite the fact that I am trapped inside studying. The nerve.

And finally, to herald the soon-to-be ending of this scholastic business, I looked up from hour 7 of my test to see an a capella choir practicing on the roof of the building across from us. Seriously? Seriously. They were actually really good; their “Lean on Me” probably made my FDA analysis far better than it otherwise would have been. What they were doing practicing on a roof, I cannot tell you.

 

School is Out

I’m currently sitting in my last class of law school. Unless the universe has some tricks up its sleeve, it’ll be my last class of any kind. Three finals and one giant paper, and then this place will have receded into the rear-view mirror. It’s hard to be nostalgic while knee-deep in law review citations…but it is a beautiful place, and I’m lucky to have been allowed to improve myself here for the past three years.

 

It’s hard to believe that it was over three years ago that I was sitting in the physical therapy office, getting the best voicemail of my life. Full circle feels so strange.

Planning Ahead

Finals are annoying by themselves, but they’re also a crunch time that makes me think about this whole two-professionals thing we’re going to have happening here pretty soon. When we’re both slogging through the 100+ pages of Con Law we didn’t do during the semester, neither of us is jumping at the opportunity to make dinner or wrestle our laundry down the stairs. We end up ordering a lot of take-out, and the Bar Method studio* sees my awkward sit-ups a lot less. None of this is the biggest deal when it’s only for two weeks. But now that it’s our last cycle through this pattern, I’m looking ahead to our lives after graduation and wondering…is this what it’s going to be like all the time?

There really is something to the whole concept of one partner heading off to earn, and one being in charge of making a home liveable. Taking care of the domestic side of life is a full time job in a serious way. During early parts of the semester, I easily take up entire days doing laundry, making meals, cleaning…if I go to the gym and take the time to make myself attractive, there’s no time to be bored. Plus, I can listen to the Pandora Kimbra station all day and drink Pinot Noir while I make dinner. Best life? I believe so.

But obviously I didn’t go to law school to be a domestic diva. I don’t think it’s a pattern I’d want long-term, and it’s not even on the table for the first few years because of all those lovely loans sitting around. I’m excited about starting work in the fall, about doing my last round of “back to school shopping”….only there’s no more school ever and the new clothes will be pencil skirts and heels for striding down the hallways toward the cappuccino machine. I really can’t wait to be fully adult, to be sipping coffee on the drive to my office every morning, to finally be the professional that I’ve been growing into all these years.*

I guess I’m just nervous that the “professional” life that I’ve been looking forward to for so long will come with the disastrous home life that we’re wading through right now. Not as far as our relationship goes–obviously, we’d rather be going on dates than making outlines, but we’re always pretty happy with each other–but in terms of coming home to a  cluster every night. We’re not fastidious people (if you know me, you are doubled over at the truth of this right now) and I can just picture our sad apartment three weeks into our work lives: clothes piled on the sofa, dishes in the sink, me running around frustrated at 7:15am looking for my other shoe while trying to pack a lunch. I’m sure there is a totally competent way to handle this life, since couples who pursue dual demanding careers are not exactly news. I just have to find a way to put in the long hours at this desk job and still work out and eat the way I need to.

Essentially, we just really need a wife. Currently accepting applications.

*I am very seriously obsessed with this place. It’s like dance class on crack, and you feel like Jello afterwards. (The red kind).

**Why do so many of my work fantasies involve caffeine?***

***Do normal people have work fantasies?

Couch-bound and Crazy

I don’t think I’m going to have any weird food combinations left to obsess over by the time I’m pregnant. Pickles and ice cream? Playa please. It’s clearly all about sweet potato fries and German mustard.

What? You’re cringing, but if you tried it you’d be purring. I think so anyway…I don’t know your life.

I am one hundred percent supposed to be writing a paper for my legal profession class, on the subject of “Problems in Legal Education.” The only such problem I can be articulate about right now is the fact that they consider it a good use of 3L Spring semester time to be writing said paper. What about building my sexy attorney wardrobe? Working on the last tan I’ll ever have?* Coming up with unexpected but dazzling food combinations? You feel me.

*If you said, “and first!” we’re friends. I like your sass.

Procrastinator of the Year

This is the good part about writing this paper.

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The bad part is the paper. 56 more pages. 3 weeks. Three other finals and one other paper.

Pray for me.

And please pray not that I get through the next few weeks unscathed (because I will, somehow, and totally undeservedly), but instead that I begin to be an adult and stop shoving myself into these cycles of chill-panic-PANIC-never learn. All the coffee in all the world doesn’t make these binges fun, and they’re just so fundamentally unnecessary.

Well, anyway! How is your day going?

The Key to the Next 8 Days

Yesterday, at brunch M and I were talking about how we’ll handle the billing requirements of life at Major, Lawfirm & Co. when we MOVE BACK TO CALIFORNIA and start working there next October. (3 guesses as to which part of that sentence excites me the most.)

He was planning out his typical day, trying to mentally fit in 8 hours of billable work with inevitable procrastination, gym time, lunch and leaving the office at a human-being-esque hour. Such a planner, this one. But I love it… so much more fun to speculate with him about even the most mundane details of our life-to-be than to devote any more mental energy to the soul-draining existence that is the present moment. (It’s finals. I’m allowed to be melodramatic.)

So, he was all hopped up on the Q about this method for increasing productivity, (“90 minutes of work at a time! You just focus with laser intensity for a hour and a half and then you can do whatever you want for ten minutes. Go to the bathroom! Walk around! Get a coffee to fuel your next intensity binge!”) and I was nodding in total wifely agreement. Best method ever, love. You will be the superhero of timely memos.

BUT! After the amazingness of brunch was over and I was ensconced in the (dreaded, quiet, awful, not-a-coffee-shop) library, I figured  might as well give it a try. One might say that laser focus is not my strong suit, and five days before a final (for a class I have not read for all semester) is not the best time to be sucked into a vortex of blogs and Facebook. And, dude, IT WORKS SO WELL! Apparently winning at tiny contests is what has been missing from my attempts to study. Who knew talking to yourself (“You can totally do this for forty more minutes…twenty…five..GREAT SUCCESS!!”) was the key. So glad to have discovered this vital study skill FIVE MINUTES BEFORE GRADUATION. Just kidding, it’ll be worth it for two more sets of finals. And, you know, my entire career. Whatevs.

Anyway, the whole point of this was to say that I’ve been spending my ten minute rest periods…looking at blogs with cute pictures of babies (c’mon you knew that was coming).

Please observe: http://www.natthefatrat.com/2011/12/how-to-frost-cupcake-sprinkles-way.html

I am subsequently really thinking about my life choices.

Three more days…

In the middle of finals…

(On the upside, I won an iPod touch today! Which is hilarious since I had been in the process of trying to convince M for the past month that I really needed an iPhone…so that I could take pictures on the Hipstamatic app. He said that “wasn’t a good  reason” [humph] but Westlaw apparently decided my burgeoning photography skills were worthy! And they were so right. Look at that shot! Can’t you just feel the desperation…the boredom…the desire to fast-forward to the moment of hitting the last key-stroke on the paper you’ve been putting off for five months…Oh, just me? Alright then.)

See you on the flip side…

Motivation

The whole point of being a law student is that you’re supposed to totally love working on Saturdays.

Oh. It’s about liking law? Mmmmm, no one ever informed me. And while I do, (like law, that is) I must inform you that NO MADAM, I am not fond of spending Saturdays doing anything other than hanging around my hunky fiancé and trying to get him to take me out to eat. (Success rate = approximately fifty percent. This would be astronomically higher if someone would just OPEN A PALEO RESTAURANT for the love of God.)

Anyway…having chosen law as a career, and actually wishinghopingpraying to get a job offer at the firm this summer, I need to acclimate myself to the concept of putting in the hours andnot seeing that concept as death-on-a-stick being served to me by Satan. So…things I love about studying:

1. The opportunity to consume copious amounts of caffeine and have society see it as a useful tool rather than a sad, sad addiction.
2. The fact that the Starbucks nearest the law school is effectively a library, populated by friends who like to commiserate.  And share their outlets.
3. Reading is fun. I used to read so much as a kid, I would get in trouble. Granted, I was not reading about Civil Procedure. (I was a Level 3 nerd. That would have been off the charts. Like, Level 11 at least.)
4. Studying = not failing = job prospects = financial stability = buy a house? = that is the goal, I think = I no longer remember exactly why I am here.
5. Praise and affection from M whenever he sees me battling my nature and actually working. Pretty sure this is why I do most of my studying…we’re in this together, and I want to be a fully functioning earner to help support him, just as he wants to take care of me.
6. Semi-profound wonder that they let me take class here. It feels normal on a day-to-day basis, but on days like today, when the gorgeous hits…it reminds me of when we first got here. We allen-wrenched our way through all the giant IKEA dresser, stuffed inside it all the sweaters people told us we’d need so badly, and wandered out into the humid, crazy city 3,000 miles from everything we’d ever known…just so gobsmacked that we had gotten that huge binder in the mail, that we were allowed to meet all these new people, that we were going to get to be sponge-brains on this level. Mostly, that we were able to do it together. Insane.

Cheers, indeed. Star-brary, I comin’ ta GETcha.