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.

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

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….

Tough Cookie?

“Tough cookie.” That’s what my favorite client likes to say I am…and I’ve been giving it some thought this week because that is not a word that I would have ever envisioned being used to describe me when I was younger. I was what you might call…sensitive. I cried at the drop of a hat, I had a horrible time adapting to change, I would avoid confrontation at all costs. (Ok, so in my personal life I am still very non-confrontational…I guess you could call it passive-aggressive…I’m working on it, I swear!!) If you’d have told my parents that I’d be working in a high stress job where I essentially argue for a living, I’m sure we all would have had a huge chuckle about the idea.

I don’t know when or how it happened, but somehow my skin thickened up. And it’s a good thing, since otherwise I’d probably be crying at work every other day!

I think especially since I’ve become a litigator, it’s changed me somehow. I’ve never ever been an arguer; I can count on one hand the number of actual fights/arguments (as opposed to just gentle bickering) that my ex-fiance and I had during our 3 year relationship. I’ve always said “I’m a lover, not a fighter.” But now I have to be a fighter for my clients. Today I defended a deposition and my claws definitely came out several times. Now that I’m a “fighter” at work, I wonder, will that carry over to my personal life? I don’t know…I still don’t think “tough cookie” is exactly what those who know and love me would say about me.

And I know that getting the fighting spirit will help me in my work life, but I’m not so sure it would be a good thing if it carried over. I’m sure my mom would add that to the growing list of reasons why I’m completely un-dateable.

Speaking of Mom, she must be feeling my vibes (omg, that was such a phrase Mom would use — I’m too young to actually turn into her!!) from my recent blog posts about her matchmaking, because she apparently bought me a book called Have I Got a Guy For You: What Really Happens When Mom Fixes You Up. Mom read it in anticipation of giving it to me, and said it’s hilarious, so I’m looking forward to it (if only because it sounds particularly blog worthy. Just to get my readers super excited about my future blog on the topic, here’s the synopsis I pulled from Amazon.

“In this take-no-prisoners collection of hilarious, wince-inducing true stories, you’ll meet two dozen victims of Mom’s well-meaning meddling and hear the unvarnished details of what they suffered through:
The schoolteacher who never wants to leave his house-or the couch
The mother who writes letter after letter to Michael Gelman, then-producer of LIVE with Regis & Kathie Lee, hoping to persuade him to ask her daughter out
The woman who’s set up with her cousin-by-marriage
The writer who endures eights hours of a Dungeons & Dragons convention
The over-zealous actor who performs a monologue at Starbucks
And the lawyer who sadly can’t perform . . . at all”

Leaping out of your seat to buy it, aren’t you? No? Ok, well stay tuned and I’ll give you the Cliffs notes in a few weeks (I’m picking up the book when I head up to Eugene for a long weekend at the end of the month).

And now, a confession. Just when you thought my taste in TV could not get any more adolescent I am newly addicted to Gossip Girl. I know, I’m like a year 1/2 behind on the show and like 14 years older than the target audience. But hey, we all have our vices. I suppose that given the various and sundry bad things that lawyers can get themselves into to keep their heads above water, if my worst thing is captively watching the lives of NYC high school students, well…it could be worse.

And now if you’ll excuse me, this tough cookie needs a sugar fix before the season finale of the Hills.

xo, xo!

Sailing Away …

I have arrived back this afternoon from a spectacular weekend in Santa Barbara, and it was exactly what I needed. It was my firm’s annual litigation department retreat, and it was such a fun trip. I’m very lucky to have hilarious, entertaining and nice co-workers that I actually really enjoy spending time with, and my firm doesn’t even force us to do work-related activities, so it was really nothing more than a heavily subsidized vacation! Ahhh…

First of all, we stayed in an amazing hotel. It would be a great place for a romantic weekend getaway with one’s sweetie. A lot of people brought their spouses or sig o’s (most of my co workers, even the other junior associates, are married) but I got to room with one of the first year associates, and we totally bonded — it was great! She’s my “little sib” at the firm but this was the first weekend we’d ever had a true heart-to-heart, and I really enjoyed getting to know more about her. She and I made plans to go out sometime soon, so that will be fun.

Other highlights of the weekend were sailboat racing (it was a gorgeous day, and my team’s boat won! — much to the dismay of my boss who is extremely competitive), wine tasting in Santa Ynez and Solvang, and of course, LOTS of eating and drinking. Somehow, despite drinking quite a bit both Fri and Sat nights, I wasn’t hungover at all this weekend! (This is nothing short of miraculous considering that my drinks on Fri night included white wine, red wine, an Irish car bomb and 2 Cosmopolitans!) My boss was not so lucky, and in fact, he ended up having to stay home to nurse his hangover on Sat in lieu of wine tasting. Later that day, my co worker overheard him utter the best quote of the weekend: “Man, my back hurts. I don’t know if it’s from playing tennis or throwing up.”

I have to say, I totally welcome scandal and hilarity on work trips, so long as it’s not me! 🙂

Last night after a delicious wine pairing dinner in downtown Santa Barbara, my hotel roomie and I decided to venture out and bar-hop on State Street. Wow, if there was ever a way to feel incredibly old, that was it! We had a beer at one pub (where we monopolized the jukebox with Journey and other goodies) and then moved on to another bar where we claimed a booth and people watched. We were thisclose to calling it a night, when two guys slipped into our booth and started chatting with us. My hotel roomie and I share the same name, which the guys loved (leading us to decide that we need to take this show on the road in L.A.!) and they convinced us, in spite of our reluctance, to follow them to a dance club down the street. They were on a bachelor party and as it turned out, they were the only guys in the bar who didn’t look like they were using a fake ID.

I was hoping for some good stories to ensue, but sadly, as soon as we got to the club the other guys disappeared who-knows-where and then left us with their dorky friend. Poor guy…he was perfectly nice and smart, but as far as cuteness goes, this was the classic bait and switch. When we learned the club had a cover charge (only $5, but c’mon, it’s the principle — who wants to wait behind a velvet rope in a college town?) we used that as our excuse and we hopped in the next cab.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I feel very relaxed and zen to begin the new week. I need to really kick it into high gear now, as I have been slacking at work (deservedly, after the hours I billed last month, but still.) Starting tomorrow, will work hard, I promise!

I have an update about New Guy, which has officially come to an end, but I sort of don’t want to dedicate space to him! Let’s just say that I think I may have preferred it when I thought he died.

Is that mean? 🙂

Wishin’ and Hopin’

Warning, dear readers: I’m in a funk tonight, so this is bound to be a major Debbie Downer post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I was hoping that I could get some much needed R & R this weekend, and instead I’m incredibly burnt out, exhausted, and on-edge in that way that only “that time” of the month can accomplish. I feel sad and frustrated and lonely and anxious and I don’t know what to do to fix any of it. Normally the best thing to cheer me up is to start making fun plans for the week or weekend, but since I am officially consumed by the black hole that is trial, that’s impossible.

Wah wah wahhhh.

The trial? Awesome for my career, but brutal for my life (such as it is). We picked a jury, did opening statements and started in on the 1st witness. During the day, my tasks consist of keeping track of which exhibits are identified; paying close attention and taking notes; and perhaps most importantly, babysitting the client when the partner needs his time and space to prep for trial, instead of listen to the incessant running commentary by the client about all the things we need to make sure the jury hears. It’s a lot more tiring than it sounds, and then once I get back to the office the “real” work begins.

One week down…two to go. Sigh.

The good news is, I am learning a lot and it’s fun watching the partner in action. But I really, really badly am craving a whole weekend of no work.

Last night I had another date with New Guy, and as always, we had a really nice time. We went to dinner, shared a bottle of wine and talked and talked and then went to a comedy show, which was quite funny. When we were walking to the comedy show from my place, he grabbed me and kissed me, which I love – the spontaneous gestures like that. We had to wait quite a while in line for the comedy show and we were sort of holding hands and snuggling. Then when we got back to my apartment after the show it was already after 1 am and we basically just pounced on each other. 🙂 He spent the night and it was soooo hard to get up and go to work this morning! He’s really darling.

But as much as I enjoy our dates, I still find him to be a hard read. When we said goodbye today, he just gave me a kiss and said “Have a good week!” He is now headed out of town for a combined 3 weeks of trips. The last couple of times we’ve gone out, I’ve been the first one to follow up by email or phone. He always calls me back, and then he will initiate calling after I make the first call, but it always makes me wonder.

Dear readers, is this just me over analyzing? Do I need to just chill out?

I talked to C. online yesterday for the 1st time in a week or so, and he started going on and on about how this new girl he’s dating is the “real deal” and how she’s been really really good for him but he is super distracted from school. I asked what he was going to do when he moves to Portland and she’s still in school in Eugene and he said, “well, I’ve done the long distance thing before.”

When he told me he was never doing a long distance thing again and that he just couldn’t reciprocate my feelings, I was stupid enough to believe that it was just the situation. I don’t think he even realizes what a hypocrite he’s being. But I admit it pissed me off. More than I’d like it to.

Seriously, why can’t I be the girl that the guy just can’t help picking up the phone and calling because he’s thinking about her?