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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Normally Costco Is Not This Profound

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.

I am a hot mess and we went to New York a million years ago

The last month or so has been just a crazy whirlwind. Our families came for graduation, we took Megan to NYC, bar exam studying is in full force, M turned 27, we helped welcome a friend’s baby into the world, we went camping, and now Baller is here visiting. I want to write about everything that’s happening, but that’s an extremely optimistic goal given that blogging is going to be a “write furiously in snatched snippets of time” thing for the next month and a half. Oh, bar exam. How I thought I was going to dominate you, and instead you are just owning my very soul. Please just make your presence intense enough that we need never meet again.

Ok, so. Begin at the beginning? That would be graduation, but as I was one of the be-tasseled, I didn’t take that many pictures. I’ll save that for after I get some from my mom, and hopefully by then I’ll feel emotionally connected enough to make it seem like the “life event” that it (theoretically) was. (I can’t help feeling very ambivalent about big events on an arbitrary day, graduations especially. They always feel a little…forced, I think? Anyway).

Megan had to miss her graduation to be at ours, so M’s parents funded a little NYC trip so that we could show her around as a consolation prize. Um, yes please? If I could barter for a trip anywhere, my cap and gown would be sitting in a lonely heap in a corner. (That’s probably exactly where they are right now anyway, since we’ve had to return the rented ones we used for the ceremony. There is no ceremonial hood chillin on the wall.)

Hotel prices were kind of astronomical, so we rented a VRBO place in Brooklyn. It turned out to be wonderful (all loft-y and clean, with a full kitchen and Vogue issues littered about) but the trip getting there was…interesting. Neither of us had been to Brooklyn on our previous trips to the city, and so there was a lot of frustrated, suitcase-laden wandering. Google maps said we were supposed to go over some bridge, and then somehow we were walking into an industrial shipyard trying to get directions…let’s just say it was a good thing there were three of us, one was a male and it was broad daylight. Good grief. BUT! The Box House Hotel (as that was, in fact, its name) once found, was situated about 40 seconds from the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory. I’m pretty sure that’s all we need to say about that.

It was kind of subversively fun showing Megan around the city and pretending we actually knew it (“Oh, I have to take you to this cookie place…No, let’s go to this show…”) and she was pretty game for all of it. We haven’t spent that much time together, so this was a chance for me to get to know her more as a person, and less as “his sister.”

Speaking of sisters…Sister Act! While we were leafing through the programs and waiting for the lights to darken, Megan realized that Raven-Symone was playing the Whoopi role. I didn’t believe her at first, and then was a little freaked that I had accidentally picked the Nick Jr of Broadway shows for her first experience. Um, joke’s on me. I don’t care if she was annoying as a four year old on Cosby, current Raven is just an excellent showgirl nun. Talk about accolades you’ve hoped for your whole life.

Best bloody mary EVER at the Clover Club in Brooklyn. This was literally the Platonic brunch. They had deviled eggs with different toppings as appetizers, and M’s shrimp and grits made him a little weepy. There were huevos rancheros with quesadilla instead of tortilla. I can’t even talk about this anymore right now. Just go.

Siblings! And the spiciest jalapeno tequila drink the world has ever known!

And the view from the bar in the Standard. Win.

In Case You Are Also Missing Your Mommy

Today, I didn’t accomplish half of what I needed to do…so, it was basically like every other day in my entire life. My personal limitations seem overwhelming sometimes, and I get frustrated and blocked. So, like every other twenty-something female… I call my mom. But sometimes I don’t have time, or I can’t reach her. The beautiful thing is, though, I can just tell myself what I already know she’ll say. It’s a simple mantra, but it keeps me sane.

This, essentially, is my mother: Never be unkind. Everything else…well, whatever.

Try again tomorrow. You probably needed your sleep. One test is not everything. Too much pie never killed anyone.

Maybe they come off as excuses. To me, these bits of forgiveness and space are the little corners of grace that I need to get through the day. Through my life, really. Nothing is the end of the world, and so I can tell myself, because she told me, over and over again: You really are ok.

Life is so stressful, so often. Will my grades be good enough? Will I get a job? Can I compete with all these people? Can I pay my rent? It is so small, but this bottom line saves me. I will try as hard as I can, with the resources I can muster on that given day, and then…that will be it.

And I will not waste any energy on self-criticism that could have been spent on effort or on love. Again, because it is the crux of how I was raised, and the foundation of my life today: on effort, or on love. The only two things that matter in this world, and the greatest of these is love.

May I someday do half as good a job, Pup. Maybe like a quarter.

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.

The Next Adventure…

And so it begins again…

Somehow all the major life events that I couldn’t picture possibly ever happening have not only sounded the trumpets of their arrival (LAW FIRM SUMMER! WEDDING DAY! HONEYMOON!) but have swished right by me and now reside in the rear view mirror of my life. I secured an offer of employment after graduation. I am a married woman. I have reclined on the sand in Maui and watched my husband snorkel around the bluest water I’ve ever seen.

And now we’ve started the third year of law school. The last year of living in Boston. The final chapter of formal schooling. This May we will graduate (and take cap and gown pictures together this time! We have none from college. This is absurd.) and move back to California, with all the school we will ever attend behind us. For some reason, this–not marriage, not a job offer–makes me feel like adulthood is waiting for us on our return home.

I can’t wait, but I am also determined to make this last year the best possible use of our “pre-adulthood” time. I’ve become obsessed with paleo food blogs and have been flexing my domestic muscles (and getting sore easily…they are weak). We moved to Beacon Hill, the best decision ever because it makes just walking to the T an adventure in East Coast charm. It also makes it an adventure called “All Your Shoes are Now Destroyed,” but that’s a negligible sacrifice at the altar of THIS YEAR. That’s how I want it to be…all caps, all adventure.