One year later…

It’s a little hard to believe that it’s been one whole year since I posted on this blog.  I kept meaning to give an update to what few remaining readers I may have, but the days and months kept escaping me, until here we are!  A new year, a new decade, and that’s right, my 30th birthday is tomorrow.  In 3 hours, I will officially kiss my 20s goodbye and move on to the next phase!

I must admit having mixed feelings about turning 30.  I’ve never been someone to get particularly worked up over my birthday, but this is the first birthday in a long time that has seemed like an actual milestone.  And even though I am very happy with my life, there is something about this birthday that has gotten me a bit wistful/nostalgic.  Still, I am trying not to dwell too much about the past and the coulda, woulda, shouldas.  Of course there are things I regret in my last 3 decades of life, but I know it doesn’t do me any good to think about those things and I need to just keep moving forward.

So what has SF been up to in 2009, you ask?  In a nutshell, 2009 was a year of long hours at work but also numerous special occasions to celebrate and lots of travel.  I worked on two trials.  I traveled to New York and Chicago (for work).  I traveled to Colorado, Oregon (twice), Mexico, Las Vegas (twice), Indiana, Washington DC and Jamaica (not for work).  I was a bridesmaid in two friends’ weddings and attended two more as a guest.  I met some of my oldest friends’ new babies and learned that others will become moms and dads in 2010.  I continued to grow even closer with my wonderful boyfriend, and spent some time with his immediate family.  And I made some steps forward in thinking about what I want to do with my career.

With respect to my career, I decided to look into moving out of the firm world and into the law school world, as a Legal Research and Writing professor.  Most recently, I applied for a teaching position at a West Coast law school that shall not be named.  While I am still unsure about whether I would want to move to the city where this partcular law school is located, it makes me feel good to be putting myself out there and getting the ball rolling.  Yesterday I received a thin envelope from the law school and I assumed that it was the standard, “Thank you, but no thank you” letter.  But instead it was a letter informing me that consideration of applications will now continue after winter break, and that I should let them know if I get another position in the meantime.   So we shall see!

It’s really difficult to know what will make me happy in my career.  Sometimes I think that I would really love to work less hours, to have more time for myself, to do something less stressful.  Other times I feel like I love the challenge of my job, the level of clients that we represent, the problem solving and intellectual aspect of it.  And I’m trying to decide not only what is good for me now, but what will be good for me if I get married and if we have kids.  On the one hand, I feel like I should be working as hard as I can and saving as much money as I can right now, before I get to that stage; on the other hand, once I want to start a family I know that I will want to already be settled in the job/career that will be good for that life, so I should probably figure it out now.  Sometimes I feel like I’m looking at a giant puzzle, and so few pieces are set in place that the rest of the puzzle is a mystery.  To work at a firm?  At a law school?  Somewhere else entirely?  To live in LA, or to move somewhere different?  To have kids?  Not to have kids?  In a way the uncertainty is exciting, but I also would really like to have things more figured out.  And I don’t know how to get out of the limbo phase because all my decisions hinge on each other and will also be affected by conversations that my boyfriend and I will need to have, but aren’t having just yet.

The bottom line is that 2010 is a huge question mark.  The only thing I have no doubt about is that this will be a year of change, and that I am very excited to find out what those changes will be!

Till next time, dear readers, Happy New Year!

xoxo, SF

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Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I have to admit, I’m sad that I’m done with my trip recaps already, because now I am faced with the daunting task of deciding what to write about.  I fear this will be very stream-of-consciousness; consider yourself warned!

Everyone has been lovely in welcoming me home, but I think no one is happier to see me than he is:

My beautiful furry friend has been following me around like a puppy, nuzzling me at every turn and even sleeping with me.  I hadn’t been sure whether my absence would provoke lots of love or vicious attacks upon my return, but thank god it’s the former!

Last night I went to a networky get together with my friend J.  A guy she knows who is also an attorney put it together.  He seems like one of those people who knows everyone and is really good about staying in touch with people and networking and shmoozing and all that good stuff.  I wholeheartedly admire people like that, but I myself am just not like that.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually love meeting new people.  I try to always be friendly, and given the right situation I can be really outgoing.  But sometimes in big groups I am more inclined to just hang back and take it all in.  And when it comes to marketing myself, I’m sometimes shy.  I never want to seem like I’m being pushy or obnoxious, so I feel like it’s a fine line.  My firm has gotten really gung ho about the marketing thing lately too — today we had a workshop on “elevator pitches.”  So I know this is something I need to work on.

Still, I’m never quite sure how others perceive me, so it’s always interesting to find out.  Last night one of the guys was extremely charming and gregarious and J. and I and two others were talking to him.  He turned to J. and said, “You look very Nordic.”  [We cracked up.  J. is petite and blond, but I think “Nordic” may be a first.]  Then he turned to me and said “You look very…tall.”  Then he continued, “…unassuming…and gentle.”

Hmm….okaaaay.  I suppose there is nothing particularly wrong with unassuming-ness.  And there’s certainly nothing wrong with being gentle.  I’m just not sure that’s the image I want to be projecting to the world.  In the dating world, unassuming is probably just code for boring, no?  And in business?  I mean, I’m a litigator for God’s sake!  If you were going to trial, would you hire the “unassuming and gentle” trial attorney?  Unassuming and gentle makes me sound like this:

 

So yeah…guess I need to work on that. 

Baaa.

The most adventurous thing I’ve done this year

Warning, dear readers: I am about to confirm to all of you that I am officially crazy when it comes to all things dating-related.  This recent turn of events was enough to make my friend T., who has pretty much seen all my dating craziness, say “I’m speechless.”  Here goes.

As you know, I had done a fairly long stint with online dating, during which time I experienced a lot of first dates and a lot of “deaths.”  (You know, not real confirmed deaths, but guys dropping off the face of the earth — and what other explanation is there??)  In the middle of May I resigned from Match, and at the beginning of June I did the same with eHarmony.  I really wasn’t missing them at all, either.   Online dating can be extremely frustrating and way too time consuming. 

But then I had my most recent dating-related confusion/angst (about which I have been purposely vague – let’s just say I think it is decidedly a He’s Just Not That Into Me situation, though I still like the guy), and this confusion coincided with my receipt of an email from eHarmony offering me a special rate if I rejoined.

Being of the opinion that sometimes the best antidote for fretting about a boy is fretting about LOTS of different boys, I rejoined (against my better judgment).  Did the eHarmony process become any less aggravating in my three week hiatus?  Did the questions become any less daunting?  Did my selection of miniature Asian men decrease in favor of men who come up higher than my chin?  No, no, and no.

But, dear readers, I did start corresponding with one fellow with whom I’d been matched just a few days before I ditched my subscription the last time.  We somehow made it through the eHarmony process.  I even managed to answer the annoying essay questions — including the one that most instills me wth dread: “What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done this year?”  (Thank GOD for that white water rafting trip.  “Adventurous” isn’t exactly the 1st word I’d use to describe myself.  Or the 10th, or the 100th.)

Anyway, we made it past all the nonsense and started the normal emailing.  He’s funny and smart (but his emails are normal, not the long and TOO funny / well written type that signal that the guy will never ever live up to his emails).  He’s cute — and tall.  He even likes cats.  So far, so good. 

Yesterday morning, he emailed me and asked if I might want to have drinks on Thursday night.  I responded that I’d like to, but that my firm is receiving an award for my pro bono case and I have to go to the awards dinner.  Despite my very whiny post about my lack of guest, I really hadn’t been concerning myself with it since I wrote that (yet another example of writing something down helping to diffuse the intensity of my reaction) and I realized that it was a very cool honor and was fine doing my own thing an just enjoying the moment and being proud of myself. 

Anyway, I told him over email that I had the dinner that night.   Later that same day, he appeared on Gmail chat and we started chatting.  We were talking back and forth about all the various things keeping us busy (he has been working long hours, he is going out of town next weekend, etc. )  Then things took a turn for the very, very unexpected:

eHarmony Boy (hereafter “EHB”):  anyway, what i wanted to say is that if you have any time, i can try to meet up at some point even if it’s just for a little bit

SF: yeah, i’d like that

 EHB:  what’s not exciting is when you get talking with someone and then they quickly become a memory.  it’s all about the momentum 

 SF: yeah I am not a fan of the long drawn out email thing.  I don’t need more email pals 🙂  so, I concur!

EHB: email pals, ha ha

SF: I could probably do later drinks sometime this week, just not thurs.  or we can play it by ear for next week

EHB: I guess I’ll stop pushing for an invitation to the special dinner where no one would have any idea who I am.  😉

WHOA!!!!!!  Come again?   I know what you’re thinking, dear readers.  Come on, SF.  There is no way that this guy actually suggested that you go on a blind date to your work function.

Oh, but he did.  And what did I say?  Well, there’s not even any suspense, is there?  You know I said yes. 

And this is how I have managed to combine the most nervewracking things possible into one single event.  1)  I am meeting this guy for the 1st time.  2)  I am meeting this guy for the 1st time in the presence of several of my co workers (oh and by the way we are now sitting at the firm table, where he will be subject to up-close scrutiny); and 3) I have to go up on stage to accept the award.

ACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One blessing is that I don’t have to give a speech.  That might actually send me into a full blown panic attack.  As it is, I am actually getting rather excited.  (Once I got over the “what will I wear” panic, that is.)   This will either be sheer genius or it will be an unmitigated disaster, but at any rate I’ll get a good blog out of it.   And at a minimum it will be good for other peoples’ entertainment — my co-worker L., who will be at the dinner, was pretty much beside herself with excitement that she will get to witness this whole event go down.

And one more plus — I think this might beat out white water rafting in the adventure category…don’t you?

To be continued…

I guess that’s why they call it the blues

I meant to go to bed early tonight.  I really did.  But I was talking on the phone, then I was eating a belated dinner, then I was watching something sappy on TV, then I was chatting online with my friend A., and somehow the hours just slipped by. 

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and I think it’s a combination of factors.  First — drinking Diet Coke in the afternoon/evening, as always, is a killer.  Bad SF, bad.  Need to wean myself off DC and at the very least, if I am not capable of cutting the soda cold turkey, back onto Diet Sprite (which I convinced myself I loved but I think I may have had one two many of and now the thought makes me feel a bit ill.)  What’s that you say?  Water?  Yes, I know, I know…that is the next step.

Second, stress always does it to me.  Tomorrow I have to take not one, not two, but THREE depositions, and I have a feeling I will wake up in the middle of the night (read: two hours from now) in a cold sweat with my heart racing.  The partner on this case seems to pretty much trust me to do anything, which in my humble opinion is a questionable judgment call, at best.  You remember I’m a lowly third year associate, right?  Right?

Third, my darling cat (bless his attention-whorish heart) has seen fit to start waking me up with meows, steadily increasing in volume, beginning at about 4:30 in the morning every day.  If only he weren’t so damn cute… (Story of my life, right?  Big sigh.)  He won’t even do the normal cat thing of jumping on the bed; instead, he’ll lay outside of my door and meow plaintively until I 1) shut the door (somewhat muffling the meows); 2) fall back asleep (highly unlikely, given the stress factor above); or (and this is the most likely scenario, because I’m a sucker) 3) trudge sleepily out of bed to feed him. 

Let me ask you — is there ANY reason for a cat who gets fed every morning and night and who always has dry food in his bowl and who weighs at least 15 lbs as of the last vet appointment, ANY reason why he should be fed in the middle of the night like a baby?  No, of course not.  Will I do it anyway to shut him up?  You bet.  Who’s the boss of the house, anyway?  Not even a contest.  In the month of June so far, Noodles: 15, SF: 0.

And finally, I’ve just been feeling a sense of general malaise (really wish I could use that word without thinking of Dr. Evil, because it is so apropos here).  I swear that I will elaborate more on this, dear readers, but for now my eyelids are closing (miracle!!!) and I need to take advantage.

till then,   SF

At the start of me

….I’d plot a course to the source of the purest little part of me…

My last post was such a Debbie Downer post, and I am feeling so much better now (thanks to all of you for your kind words — sometimes I really just need to whine to get it out of my system) that I want to share with all of my dear readers some things I’m excited about (big and small).

1.  The Weekend

Tomorrow’s Friday and it continues to be the calm before the proverbial storm…even though trial is coming up way too soon (la la la la I’m in denial!!), somehow it looks like I won’t have to work this weekend.  Which is glorious.

2.  Nesting

My desire to decorate my walls (esp in my bedroom, where until today there was a lone framed photo of a sunset) has coincided perfectly and serendipitously with my ongoing de-cluttering project.  In going through the depths of my closet, I came up with a poster I love that I bought in Barcelona when I studied in Spain in college (um…EIGHT years ago!  sigh).  The poster is quite battered, having seen the walls of at least two dorm rooms and my old apartment, but no matter, I still love it.  So it is now gracing my bedroom wall.  Even better, I was going through a bag of goodies that I had kept from my post-bar trip to Spain, Greece and Italy three years ago, and I found no less than 15 or 20 awesome postcards — mostly of cool pieces of art like Dali, Picasso, El Greco, etc.  I think I bought and kept them all expecting that I would scrapbookmy trip (I sadly never did) or put them on my wall (I never did).  So now I’m creating sort of a cool arrangement on my wall with the beloved Barcelona poster as the centerpiece.  I only managed to get a few up tonight before I realized that it was 10:30 pm and an apartment resident could get killed for lesser crimes than hammering at that hour, so I tabled it for tomorrow.  But seeing all these things come together gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling, especially since I adore Spain and it brings back nothing but great memories.  Maybe I will post a photo when it’s all done.

3.  Pampering

My back has been hurting lately for no reason, and today I mentioned to my friend T. that maybe I would get a massage this weekend.  It turns out she still has a gift certificate to Burke Williams that we bought for her birthday, so now we are doing a mini spa day on Saturday.  Yay!  I feel more relaxed alreadt, just thinking about it.

4.  Dreaming

I know I don’t talk much about my job, but for the most part I do enjoy being a lawyer — even though it’s stressful.  I love the people I work with, it challenges me, and I have a lot of great opportunities.  Still, even when I’m relatively happy at work, I like to daydream about what other paths I could follow.  Having a stressful job at 28 when I’m single with no kids is one thing.  When I have to work late or on the weekends, no one misses me but my cat, so i can put nose to the grindstone.  I just don’t know if that’s something I want to do forever and ever.  So, my brainchild of the moment?  I have been contemplating what it would be like to open my own bookstore.

The way this came about was this.  I had been joking with some of my friends that if the law thing didnt work out for me, I would open a boutique that sold things for cats called “Crazy Cat Lady” (or CCL for those in the know).  My plans for the store became more detailed, and over the weekend I was sharing the joke with my mom.  She commented that there was a bookstore we used to go to on the Oregon Coast, where there were cats that lived in the store, and when I was a little girl I said that I was going to open a bookstore someday.

And the crazy thing?  I still remember that store even though I probably haven’t been there in 15 to 20 years.  I still think about that store, and what it would be like to own a place like that.

So then I began giving it some thought.  Isn’t there something powerful about your childhood dreams?  It’s like it goes to the essence of who you are.  Some of my childhood dreams, like becoming an elementary school teacher, I discarded and have never regretted.  But there are some that still hold all the wonder and fascination that they did when I was a child.  The bookstore is one.  Being a writer is the other.  (And really, don’t those two dreams go perfectly hand-in-hand?)

So call me nutty, but I’m doing some research on what a venture like this would really entail.  For now it’s a pipe dream, but at some point it may become something real…I’ll keep you posted!

What were your dreams for your life when you were a child, dear readers?

***********

“1983” by John Mayer

I’ve these dreams I’m

Walking home

Home when it used to be

 And everything is

 As it was

Frozen in front of me

  

Here I stand

 6 feet small 

romanticizing years ago

it’s a bitter sweet feeling hearing “Wrapped Around Your Finger” on the

radio

 

 and these days

I wish I was 6 again

Oh make me a red cape

I wanna be Superman

 

 

 

Oh, if only my life was more like 1983

all these things would be more like they were at the

start of me

 had it made in 83

  

thinking bout my brother Ben 

I miss him every day

He looks just like his brother John

But on an 18 month delay 

Here I stand

6 feet small

and smiling cause I’m scared as hell

kind of like my life is like a sequel to a movie

 where the actor’s names have changed

 

oh well 

well these days

I wish I was 6 again

Oh make me a red cape

 I wanna be Superman

 

Oh, if only my life was more like

1983 

all these things would be more like they were at the

start of me

If my life was more like 1983

I’d plot a course to the source of the purest little part of me

 

and most my memories

have escaped me

or confused themselves with dreams

if heaven’s all we want it to be

send your prayers to me

 care of 1983

 

you can paint that house a rainbow of colors

rip out the floorboards

 replace the shutters but

that’s my plastic in the dirt

 whatever happened to my

 whatever happened to my

whatever happened to my lunchbox

 when came the day that it got

 thrown away and don’t you think I should have had some say

in that decision

 

 

Warm Fuzzies

Thanks so much for all the nice comments, thoughts & prayers after my last post! Not only did they inspire me and bring a smile to my face, my dear readers will be happy to know that things went exceptionally well at the hearing and the judge granted my client asylum. It was truly the most magical moment I have experienced as a lawyer. When the judge announced that she was granting asylum, I got choked up, had to wipe the tears from my eyes, and my client (who is a monolingual Spanish speaker who I have never heard speak English) turned to me and said in English with tears running down her face, “Thank you! Thank you!”

This is exactly why I became a lawyer in the first place — because I thought it would be a way to do good, to give a voice to people who for a variety of reasons can’t speak up for themselves. And yes, now I work at a private firm and represent real estate developers and business owners and corporations. But I am so grateful that my firm supports me and allows me to do this other incredibly important work at the same time.

I guess you could say I’ve officially been bitten by the pro bono bug. I think I might have to wait awhile before I take on a case like this again — my firm is really great about this stuff, but at the same time I do need to focus on the paying clients too — but this will definitely not be my last asylum case.

In other news, I appear to have officially exhausted the dating pool of the greater Los Angeles area. Proof? One of my recent eHarmony matches is none other than my ex-boyfriend A.’s brother!!! (The whole story of my relationship with A., which is briefly described in the above post from my old blog, would take way too long to recount. Suffice it to say, we were friends, we dated, he broke my heart, we didn’t talk for several months, and now we are buddies again.)

Anyway, I met A.’s brother a couple of times when we were dating. He’s a few years older and is a high school teacher in Laguna Niguel. He’s a funny guy, but sort of a perpetual player — always seemed to be dating multiple women and insisting that none of them were serious. So imagine my surprise when I was surfing through my new eHarmony matches this weekend and come across “S., 33, Laguna Niguel, 5’9″, high school teacher, Jewish.” There was no picture posted, but based on that alone, I was 99.9% sure that it was him. Then I scrolled down and in the section titled “Last book read and enjoyed” he wrote, “Marley and Me” and then said that his parents have a dog named Marley. It was official. My ex-boyfriend’s brother was my supposed eHarmony match.

This could only mean 1 of 2 things. 1) I am actually meant to end up with S., and fate is causing our paths to cross once again; or 2) I have actually already met every possible guy in the greater L.A. area that I could possibly ever date, and I should just give up and either a) move elsewhere or b) declare my eternal celibacy.

Seeing as how I’m not nutso, I am ruling out option # 1.

That only leaves one thing to do ….

eHarmony, I’m sorry, but we’re through.

Say a Little Prayer

My dear readers probably know by now that I’m not a religious person. I grew up celebrating Chrismukkah (though wasn’t as clever as Seth Cohen so never came up with a catchy name for it) but never attended church or synagogue. I tend to classify myself as an agnostic.

Still, as I get older I tend to believe more and more that there is something out there that’s bigger than all of us. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t necessarily conceptualize it as God in the typical sense. But sometimes I feel it.

And today I did something I never do — I closed my office door, I closed my eyes and I prayed. Now, I know my focus is normally taken up with boys, boys, boys, so I share very little of my work life or otherwise, but I may have mentioned at some point that I have been handling a pro bono asylum case. This is the case that, time and time again, has helped me to gain some perspective. My client, a transgendered person from Mexico, is this incredibly beautiful spirit who has experienced violence and abuse that nobody should have to bear in their lives. She has lasting scars and wounds and post traumatic stress disorder and depression and anxiety. And still she keeps on keeping on.

So my prayer today was this: If ever in my life I am able to use whatever lawyering skills I have to reach a positive outcome, please, please, please let it be now. Nothing would make me happier than knowing that she won’t have to return to a country that has caused her nothing but sorrow.

Off to try to sleep….