Category Archives: Life List

5 Years

We accidentally started house hunting recently.  I say accidentally, but it was sort-of intentional, and mostly, we fell into it.  It feels like the natural next step, interest rates are low, our apartment is starting to chafe a bit.

But house hunting means admitting that neither of us plan to be at our jobs for more than another year.  So does buying a house based on these jobs make a lot of sense?  And do we decide where we want to live, and build a life around that, or do we decide what we want to do, and build a life around that?

I do not know the answer.  But it seems to make sense to ask myself that age-old job interview question: where do you see yourself in five years?  And for the first time in my career, I have a real answer.

I see myself working in either public interest, or at a small firm (fewer than 10 attorneys) – but a bigger office than my current one.  I see myself working collaboratively with others.  I see myself having a strong relationship with my coworkers.  I see myself going to court no more than once a week.  I see myself doing some legislative lobbying work, some outreach work, and some academic work.  I see myself doing work that is challenging but not exhausting; well-paced and well-managed.  I see myself with more support than I currently have.  I see myself working at a place that has secure-ish funding, so that every year, I am not at the mercy of a single grant being renewed.  I see myself working the hours that I want to work (and I think that I want those hours to be something more like 7am-3pm) and being able to have the spare time after work that I need to stay in shape, stay healthy, and have a good relationship with my family.  I see myself being able to sleep at night.  I see myself being able to talk about my job at parties without bringing the room down.  I see myself having a commute that doesn’t make me feel miserable about my work or my house.

If I expand that, to where do I see myself living in 5 years, I still don’t see the answer.  Do I have small children who I’m preparing to send to an inner city elementary school?  Do we have a backyard and an adorable corgi?  Do we have a back patio and an adorable beagle? Do we have a garden or a garden plot?  Do I have small children who we load into the rear trailer behind our tandem and pedal around the local trail on the weekend?  Do we have no children and a life filled with travel and adventure?  Do we have children and a life filled with travel and adventure?

Home ownership, it seems, is maybe something that you should do when you feel ready to settle down, when you are at a place that you are happy with, in your career and everything else.  My friends who bought houses when they were in a state of flux seem to have regretted it, or at least wound up with lousy commutes.  And I remember the lease we signed five years ago two weeks before my then-boyfriend got laid off.  How stuck I felt.  That was a one-year lease!  This is a HOUSE!

But then I consider how terribly happy we are here.  How we committed to building a life here even though I didn’t have a job.  That committing to that for the future doesn’t seem impossible.  I have job options here and I like practicing here.  So…why not commit to living here?  Why not continue to be terribly happy?  (The property taxes are insane in this city, that’s why.)

Has anyone else faced these issues?  What did you do?

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Filed under Job Search, Lawyering, Life List, Marriage

Race Report: Shamrock Marathon Virginia Beach

We picked the Shamrock Marathon for a couple of reasons:

1) It was in March.  We wanted to train in the winter and run a springtime race because it wouldn’t be so hot to train for or run.
2) It is a pretty big race. We wanted a good crowd of people to keep us going.
3) It was flat.

I’m really really happy we picked Shamrock.  Mostly because of reason number 3, because reasons 1 and 2 turned out to not be so true.   I’ll start at the beginning.

When we woke up, it was pretty mild out.  We got dressed in shorts and t-shirts for the most part, because it was warmer than even the weather report had called for.  We made our way to the start line, which was pretty well organized and had pacers marking every 30 minute interval.  Two of us lined up with the 3:25 group and three of us lined up with the 4:30 group.  There were four starting corrals, but it was unclear what it meant or how they grouped us into them, but it helped keep stuff relatively organized.

We had agreed to start at a 10 minute pace, and we did.  We chugged along nicely behind the 4:30 group and skipped the first water stop (it was on the left, we were on the right, and we didn’t notice it.)  Somewhere around Mile 2 or 3 was the Bridge.  The bridge was the only real hill we encountered on the run.  We were told in advance to not be the sissies that walked over the Bridge, but after running Uwharrie, that bridge was a piece of cake both times we ran it.  After the bridge, we got to the next water stop, where we stopped and noticed that we were already sweating.  There were water stops every mile and a half, which seemed excessive when we first read through the book, but on race day, they were necessary.  The first ten miles took us south of VA beach, through one of the military bases that was there.  This was one of the coolest parts of the race – we got to run past crazy helicopters and all of the enlisted men came out to cheer us on and give us high-fives.  They were fantastic and totally made my day – I always consider military folk to be absolutely the most hardcore, badass people I’ve ever met, and here they were acting like we were awesome.

Around 9.5 miles, we hit the bridge again.  My friend J. fell down and S. stayed with her while I stayed with our pace group (I was too in the zone to see J. fall and we had agreed we would stay with the 4:30 runners and catch up to it if any of us fell behind at a water stop, etc.).  I was still feeling really good at this point.  We ran through downtown Virginia Beach again, through the boardwalk and then out onto Atlantic Avenue and hit the 13 mile mark.  Shortly after that was the 13.1 mark, and we started looking for S’s parents, who were cheering from the sidelines and waving giddily at us.  S’s mom joined us for a few short moments and checked in on how we were all doing.  Once we left them, we started looking for my sister, who I knew was going to camp out around Mile 14.  At Mile 14, there she was, with my husband and my brother-in-law.  I grabbed a handful of gummi bears from them, because my husband was on the other side of the course with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I was able to hang-ish with J. and S. for another two miles, but around Mile 16, J. and I went to the bathroom.  I could feel myself falling back, and I knew I was through the toughest part of the race and it was downhill from there, and I could do it on my own, so I told J. to go ahead and that I’d see them at the finish.  As I powered through Mile 16, I thought about my iPod Shuffle which was in my SpiBelt.  I had put together a playlist for the race, since I knew I would be running at least a portion of it on my own.  I decided that I would break out my shuffle at the next water stop if I really needed to, so I ran for the next mile, enjoying the cheesy shamrock and leprechaun jokes that were on the sides of the race course and enjoying the company of the crowd.  At mile 17, I had a bite of my cliff bar, but couldn’t even get it down because my mouth was so dry and I didn’t have enough water yet.  Around here, I passed the Lululemon race station, which was awesome and they were blasting music and waving signs and cheering everybody on, and we all picked up the pace for a bit at that.  At this point, I settled into a groove, but it was hard to ignore how much I was hurting.

Thanks to an utterly fantastic tape job on my knee by E’s husband, my right knee, which would usually be bothering me by now, wasn’t at all, but everything was just starting to hurt.  I was pleased to notice that my toenails weren’t hurting yet, which was good.  At mile 18, I thought with relief, “ah, only 6 more miles” and then realized that I cannot do math.  Around here, we went through Ft. Story, which my friend warned me was really boring.  It was true.  There was virtually no-one here, and we were all low on energy and just trying to get through to the end.  And it was HOT.  It was really hot out.  It was whatever my temperature threshold where I have to run slower because I get sick running fast in the heat.  One rest stop around Mile 20 had a table of food, including bananas, which I snagged, and jelly beans, which I tried to eat but instead got rid of.  I started walking at the water stops plus a bit at this point, because I was just feeling so leaden, but I realized pretty quickly that my body hurt more if I tried to walk than running, but my lungs hurt more if I ran.  So I kept running.  And I ran most of the way until Mile 23, which I knew would put us back on the crowd-heavy part of the course.

Around Mile 22-23 we came out of Ft. Story and back into the residential part, which wasn’t nearly as crowded as earlier – because a lot of people had finished, and even more people had gone to watch their racers cross the finish line, but I knew that my team was still going to be at Mile 25, so I kept going.  I wanted to look strong for them, and I felt like it was very important that I not let them down by walking the last three miles.  I felt my toenails and my feet felt so swollen.  My back had started to hurt, and my calves and hamstrings were incredibly tight.  I was running at the same pace that several people around me were walking at.

At Mile 25, I was relieved to see that my sister was dressed in her running capris and her green t-shirt from our wedding weekend 5k.  She had told me she was bringing running clothes in case I needed a pacer, but I wasn’t sure she’d be ready.  I’ve never been so happy to see her, and as I passed them, I said, “are you coming?” and she jumped out to join me.  She gossiped with me, let me complain about my back, ankles, feet, legs, everything else, and got me through the last mile.  As we tore towards the finish line, she hopped off to the fenced in spectator areas and I crossed at 4:55 clock time (4:48 chip time) and hobbled to pick up my medal, hat, sweatshirt, and then got handed water, gatorade, a banana, and a shamrock shaped cookie.

I expected to feel something huge and powerful after finishing.  I expected it to feel as emotional as finishing Uwharrie.  I expected to let an incredible sense of accomplishment wash over me.  Instead, I just felt tired, and I felt a desperate need to put on the crocs I knew were in my dry bag.  My sister met up with me and got me my crocs and then we walked over to the beer tent and met up with everybody else.  Team in Training was selling cokes and I bought one and downed it, and after that I started to feel better.  We all hung out at the tent for a bit and then hobbled back to our hotel (Holiday Inn Express – can’t recommend it enough – clean, reasonably priced, nice showers, comfortable beds) where three of us made quick work of a bag of potato chips (my favorite post-race food, and especially important for our gluten-free friend.)  We also realized that we were all sunburned and chafed (I will write more about what to pack in your marathon race bag later.)

So that’s that.  I get to check it off my 30×30 list, and make a nifty race-medal/bib shadowbox, and put a sticker on my car, and all of those other annoying marathon-y things that people do.  And I think, much like being married and being a lawyer and being 26, being a marathon runner is something that I have to settle into a bit, because it is kind of huge.



Filed under Exercise and Fitness, Life List

Race Report: Uwharrie Mountain Run

(Note: I wanted to write this up for any new trail runners who are considering doing Uwharrie, or who signed up for it and are wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into.  It’s very long and kind of rambling, but it’s the kind of thing I would have found pretty helpful.)

There are several ways you could react to coming in 200th (ish) in a field of 220 finishers.  Some might choose to react with horror at being so low in the pile.  Some might choose to laugh it off the way my friend does when he signs up to run a race, doesn’t train, and then comes in last in his age group.  Some might take it as a lesson for tomorrow.  I’m not really sure what my reaction is, except, “well, I guess that’s a little disappointing.”

Apparently what my reaction should be is that only crazy ultrarunners run the Uwharrie 20-miler and normal people who think it sounds “fun” do not.  After reading a few race reports written by other 20-mile runners about the difficult terrain and treacherous rocks and general  insanity of making this your first 20-miler or your first long distance trail race, I choose to believe I have confirmed this.  (Also, a guy at the finish line told me we picked a really tough race for our first long distance trail race.  Which made me feel badass.  I did not mention that we came in 200th-ish.)  So what you are reading is not the race report of an ultra-runner, but rather the race report of a normal 26 year old runner who runs standard road races at a 10 minute mile pace.  Let’s start with how we trained for this race.  We is me, my friend S., and my crazy ultrarunner friend E who talked us into this race and then took charge of training us up for it and making sure we bought good shoes.

Training: S. and I run almost all of our long runs together for training.  Since we were marathon training and 20-miler training, we alternated long runs on road and long runs on trail, and did a few combination runs at a local trail that has a 4.5 trail loop and then a 9-12 mile flat road loop.  The furthest either of us ran on a trail was about 13.5 to 14 miles, the furthest either of us ran at one time was 14.5 miles.  That being said, we did somewhere between 6 and 8 runs that were 10+ miles long.  I’ve been running 10+ miles every week or every other week since Thanksgiving, I think.  E., who came with us while she trained for the 40-miler, says that the most important part is spending a lot of time on your feet, and you shouldn’t stress too much about the mileage.  After this weekend, I believe she is right.

Race Weekend:  We had to drive down to North Carolina and did so the day before the race.  Ideally, make a four day weekend of any race you have to drive more than 7 hours to.  7 hours is a LONG time, especially in a Subaru Outback, which is a remarkably uncomfortable car.  We stayed at a Days Inn in Troy, NC.  It was okay.  It was not particularly clean (hair in the shower, soda can top on the floor), but the sheets were clean and the beds were pretty comfortable.  We stayed in Chapel Hill afterwards at a Hampton Inn.  Definitely stay in a nice hotel after the race, one with a good hearty breakfast and an ice machine.  We paid twice as much for the Hampton Inn and it was money well spent.

The Race Organization: This is a REALLY well organized race.  Apparently this has not been the case in the past, but they had well organized bag drop (you got handed a bag to put everything in) that you left at the start, not a half hour before the start and not before getting on the shuttle.  So we stood around in our warm clothes and then at 10 of 8, when we were starting, we took off our warm layers and checked our bags, then stood by the fire.  When we finished, we were immediately handed our bags by volunteers who had checked our bibs and gone to get our bags.  A field of 220 people apparently means you get really good service.  The aid stations were also fantastic, although after all of the 40-milers had come through and the 200ish 20-milers ahead of us, well, there wasn’t much food left (but I ate a lot at the 40-mile finish as we waited for our friend to finish).

The Race Itself:  I’m going to break this down in between the aid stations, because that’s how I organize things in my memory.  Aid stations start at Mile 5, and are every 3 miles.  This was pretty much perfect.  I carried my camelbak, but because I filled it at the hotel and the water tasted gross, I didn’t drink much from it.  (Tip: fill camelbak with filtered water at home, even if it is the day before, it will be better than hotel sink water.)

Miles 1-5: Mile 1 is straight uphill, and it’s 200 people getting onto a singletrack trail.  We walked for about half a mile, and then we finally were able to run along the ridge and admire the views and let the fast people who’d gotten stuck at the back pass us.  Eventually we went down the hill and then back up another hill.  Other than the uphills that were too steep to run, we were moving pretty well.  S. found she was more comfortably running slowly uphills, I found I could powerwalk at the same speed.  Contrary to our training, she stayed in front of me for most of the first half, and I struggled to pace myself with her, although I mostly kept up.  We hit the first aid station, grabbed water and some fruit, and then rolled onward, saying things like, “It’s only 9:00! We’re a quarter of the way done!” I stopped to put some body glide on my neck, where my CamelBak was chafing, and my feet, where my new shoes were starting to cause a couple hot spots.

Miles 6-8: We made some friends right around Mile 6 and spent some time leading a pack of runners who warned us about a tricky stream crossing after Mile 9.  This was also where we encountered our first stream crossings, which are challenging for S., but she didn’t fall in once.  We kept going up and down, and then we started to feel rain drops.  There had only been a 30% chance of rain, and it wasn’t supposed to start until noon, so I left my rain jacket in my drop bag.  It started to rain heavier, and I was concerned that the course would get really slippery or muddy.  The mud wasn’t too bad, and even the wet leaves weren’t slippery.  At this point, we realized just how varied the terrain was.  We had started in a pretty standard East Coast forest, but by now we were traveling through a beautiful pine area, and then we went through that back into regular trees.  This really made the most difference with the trees and how much leaves were on the ground – I’m not a fan of running through leaves, but this trail was mostly leaves.  The trail was pretty clearly marked up until about Mile 7, which was when things started to get dicey and the people in front of us had lost us.  Around Mile 7, we started to see the first of the 8-Mile runners come tearing through the forest.  Our strategy was to yield to everyone on this run, so we jumped out of the way and cheered for the 8-Milers.  At the 8-Mile stop was the only bathroom on the race course, along with plenty of food and drink, because it was the 8-Mile finish line.  It was raining a lot harder here, so we stopped pretty quickly to hydrate and I decided not to fix my sock at the time because it was raining.

Miles 9-11:  The rain started to really come down as we crossed the road (the course crosses the road twice – once at Mile 2 and once at Mile 8) and plunged back into the forest.  We were pretty much completely alone here, which freaked S. out about getting lost and made me finally start to feel comfortable and able to have a conversation – for some reason I felt self-conscious when we were surrounded by people.  Eventually, we caught up with a couple other runners and let them go ahead so we could follow them.  This is where the white marks on the trees really start to blend in with the bark.  The white gets covered in a kind of greenish-gray stuff (probably just mildew), and starts to really blend in with the lichen.  If you look closely, you can see the paint, and for the most part, if you look up ahead, you can almost always find another tree with a big white mark on it up ahead, even if it is about 100 yards away.  We found the tricky stream crossing where you don’t actually cross the stream, but instead make a sharp left and run alongside the stream.  There weren’t many steep uphills or downhills here, and we both felt good, and we tried to keep up a decent pace, although S. had to ask me to run a little faster a couple times because she was having trouble running so slowly.  (I was trying to conserve because I didn’t know how much we would need for the end.)  We didn’t have mile markers, but we were able to tell generally when we would be coming up on the aid station.  At the Mile 11 aid station, they were running low on a couple of things and we felt pretty good, so we paused briefly to grab a quarter sandwich and cookie and blow our noses, and then we were off.

Miles 11-14:  For the most part, this is the easy stretch.  We knew there was a big hill coming at Mile 16, and we knew there was a steep drop before it, so when we started going downhill we wondered how long it would be for.  To be honest, the uphills and downhills started to blend together and I tried to count the uphills as we went over them, but I lost track pretty quickly.  The terrain kept changing and I think this was where we went through the part where we could hear frogs loudly and as the rain tapered off and the trees continued to drip, it really felt like we were in some kind of rain forest.  We both sort of hit a wall around here, nothing as bad as some of our training runs, but more of a generally discouraged feeling.  We talked each other through it and reminded each other that we are awesome.  Around Mile 13, we started to see the first of the 40-mile runners coming the other way, and we tried to keep our pace up since we knew we would be walking Mile 16.  There were a few more stream crossings here, but most of them had pretty big rocks, or were narrow enough to jump over.  The course started to get pretty muddy here, from the rain, and the 40 milers who had run through it, and the 20 milers ahead of us who had already run through it.  We were going down and I started hoping we would go back up soon and be on higher, and dryer, ground.  Eventually it happened, since the 14 mile rest stop is at the top of a hill.  Mile 14 was where we really stopped to refuel, ate quite a bit, and I finally took off my sock and tried to get out the tiny stick that I was pretty sure was poking me.  There was no stick, but I added some more body glide and had a sandwich.  We chatted a little with some of the other runners, including a 40-miler coming back who had decided he was done.  (I didn’t realize at the time that he was dropping out, and so tried to be encouraging and tell him that 16 miles really wasn’t that far and he could do it – I felt like a jerk once I realized he was actually dropping out, although I saw him at the finish and he told me he was sitting in the car ready to go and then decided to finish the race instead and was really happy about it.)  At this point, I switched into thinking, “all we have left is a 10k. We can TOTALLY do that.”  My legs didn’t even feel anywhere near as badly as they did when we ran our last 14 mile run.

Miles 15-17: When we left the aid station, we came across a stream crossing pretty quickly.  It was a two-part stream crossing, and it was really deep.  We made it across the first part, and were staring at the second part when one of the 40s called out to us, “it’s much easier if you cross over here”.  When we went over to where he was, we saw that the “stream” was actually an inlet, and you could run around it.  Otherwise we would have been ankle deep in water, and I was already getting chilly.  This was the biggest obstacle around this section – we were wet and cold, and we kept having to stop and walk the hills, when I just wanted to run and warm up.  We knew that somewhere along here, we would see E. coming back, and this was also when we started to see the first female runners from the 40. We saw the three women who we would later see win, and then we saw a few more women and a lot more men, and finally we saw E.  We had just come up a pretty steep uphill, and we thought this was the beginning of the mountain at Mile 16.  E. was happy to see us, and we stopped for a minute to check in and take a picture.  E. told us not to hate her once we finished the mountain, which was good, because otherwise we would have been mighty upset when we realized that what we just climbed wasn’t the mountain.  We had a short downhill, and then we started up.  The first part was hard, and steep, and we ran up a bit of it and quickly admitted defeat and trekked up it.  Then we got to what we thought was the top, and started running.  We went downhill for a bit, and suddenly the terrain changed.  Instead of being straight up and steep, the course started to twist and turn, and we started to meet up with other runners who were currently being owned by the mountain.   We fell into a pattern where we would run a little, then need to stop and walk to get up fairly short, but incredibly steep, sections of trail.  They got a little slippery from the mud, so there was no way to get around them.  The train turned a lot, and you kept turning around a corner and suddenly needing to go up another hill (best expressed by one runner, who upon finding yet another hill, cried out, “SON OF A B*TCH”, which at least made the rest of us burst out laughing when it echoed across the forest).  I think that this was actually somehow the downhill section of the mountain.  We finally saw the aid station up ahead, which after being visited by almost all of the other runners in this race, was almost out of everything, but I grabbed some trail mix and water and we scurried onward to make up for lost time, and because if we stopped running for too long, our legs stopped working.  S. tried to take her inhaler here, but wasn’t able to get enough medicine in her lungs to actually be helpful.

Miles 17-20: This is where it got fun.  I mentioned that early on I was trying to conserve some power in my legs, because I didn’t know how the race would end. It turns out this was the right move for me, because I had plenty of legs left at Mile 17 for the rest of the course.  Or I just got some kind of crazy third wind.  All I know is that after three miles of walking uphills, I suddenly started running them.  It seemed like it was just easier to keep running and I started having fun with it.  I was ahead of S. at this point and she was having trouble on the hills.  When she saw me tearing over them, she just said “wow!” and I said, “I have no idea where this came from, but I’m going to go with it.”  For the most part, she walked the small uphills that were left and then ran and caught up with me, but I kept losing her behind turns and then she would catch back up.  I walked a few of the steeper hills here and there, but for the most part, I ran the last three miles and I felt like it was the easiest 5k I’ve ever done.  Around mile 19, we saw two 40-milers who told us we were a 15-minute walk from the end.  Spurred on, we charged ahead.  At some point my husband called to make sure we hadn’t finished already, since he had watched about 200 people finish before us, and I assured him that we hadn’t.  Which brings me to another point – Verizon gets pretty decent service along the trail – and the Red Cross called around noon to remind me to come in and give blood.  I didn’t answer that one.  We started to hear the road, and then we saw a man in an orange jacket up ahead and we knew we were getting close to the finish line.  We were walking up a hill and saying, “okay, lets get up this hill and run to the end” and then we focused on the bunting they had at the finish, which was the same as every rest stop, and we knew we were there already, so we both sprinted towards the end.  Our final time was about 5:30, which was better than our guestimated time of 6 hours, and could have been far better if we hadn’t stopped for a good 5 minutes at every aid station.  However, I think for your first long distance trail race, it’s important to pace yourself well, so I’m pretty happy with how we did. I would also like to point out that we did not fall at all (S. touched her hands down in a mud pit near the end, but in figure skating it wouldn’t be a fall so I decided it didn’t count) and we did not get lost, and I attribute both of these to us taking our time.

Overall, I will definitely want to run this race in the future, but I need to find a new person to do it with because S. decided she can’t run for more than four and a half hours, so I either need a new running buddy for long trail races or we have to get faster.  Also running a 50k seems a lot less crazy.  I’m not sure what that says about me.



Filed under Exercise and Fitness, Life List

30 by 30 – Progress Report

Becky inspired me to update my 30×30 list.  I decided that I’m going to leave it un “finished” for now, because I might add things to it in the next four years.
  1. Run a marathon (in progress – hopefully will meet on March 18)
  2. Do a century bike ride
  3. Do an Olympic distance triathlon
  4. Make my own cheese (done)
  5. Make my own yogurt (done)
  6. Go back to Egypt
  7. Do a trail race (hopefully will be achieved on February 4th)
  8. Pace my friend E. on one of her Ultramarathons (done! twice!)
  9. Go diving in the pacific ocean
  10. Take an overnight train trip with my husband
  11. Put a backsplash up in the kitchen (done!)
  12. Grow vegetables (we are on the waiting list for a community plot)
  13. Go on a racecation (race + vacation)
  14. Volunteer at the nature center where we got married
  15. Try CrossFit
  16. Take a boxing class
  17. Take a photography class (done – I took a four week intermediate photography class this fall)
  18. Take baked goods to the new neighbors
  19. Go to Australia
  20. Do a bike tour of Niagra wineries
  21. Do a beer tour somewhere new
  22. See a Broadway play
  23. Run a half-marathon in under 2 hours
  24. Learn Spanish
  25. Score the winning goal in a hockey game (done!)
  26. Earn a salary and have health insurance.

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Good Things About 2011 (And Better Things To Come in 2012)

2011 was, for the most part, for me, clouded by one thing, and one thing only – the loss of a very dear friend.  As my parents health starts to fail and they get older, that pain is compounded by the fact that we no longer have our dear friend, the one my sister and I could always turn to and who we thought would be there for us as our own parents aged, is no longer here.  Instead, we struggle with being there for his family as they need us, and we struggle to accept his death as anything more than a completely senseless tragedy that did not need to happen.

So that was the downside of 2011.  But, in keeping with the spirit of Petite Chablis and her post, I’m now going to say the things that happened in 2011 that didn’t completely suck.  In 2011, I:

-Got a job!!! Two, actually.  I got my first attorney job, where I learned how to be an attorney, and then I got my law clerk job, where I have learned to be a private-practice attorney.  I’ve been very lucky to have wonderfully supportive bosses in both cases who are committed to helping me be the best attorney I can be.

-Ran a ten miler and a half marathon!  I didn’t meet my time goals for either race, but I’m happy that I’m not injured and I’m doing really well with my marathon training.

-Lost 14lbs!  I finally shed the pesky post-wedding weight and the five pounds that showed up my third year of law school and wouldn’t leave.

-Decided to keep my name!  I am really proud that I finally came to a decision, and also really happy that it’s the decision that involved the least amount of work.

-Went on a bike trip through Wales!  Without fighting with my husband AT ALL.  It was really amazing.  We also did several long bike rides leading up to it, which was awesome.

-Went camping, twice.  Goal is to go 4 times in 2012.

-Read a LOT of books.  Thinking about it, I think I read somewhere between 15 and 20 books in 2011.  Thank goodness for libraries and library lending on Kindle!

-Made new friends.  I made new friends on the internet, in the city where I live, and within the legal community.  I also kept in touch with old friends in a meaningful way, which takes a lot of totally-worth-it effort.

2012 will hopefully bring me a finished marathon, a finished half-ironman (or at least Olympic Distance triathlon!), a PR for my half-marathon, a permanent, salaried, lawyer job, and a solid relationship with my spouse, my family, and my friends.

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Filed under Exercise and Fitness, Family, Job Search, Lawyering, Life List

Plenty of tea. No parties.

I’m not going to say that if Obama dooesn’t win reelection, I will definitely move. But if some of the more extreme candidates win, I’m definitely going to consider it.  My husband is a UK citizen,so when I fantasize about where to move, my first thought is England. There is also the possibility of Scotland or Wales.  We can realize my retirement dream of running a B&B fifty years early, (since I don’t really want to go through more school to be able to practice law) and maybe rescue corgis.

At our B&B, we shall serve a proper high tea and quite possibly run a small-scale restaurant that serves plenty of vegetarian English specialties like vegetable lasagna and vegetarian pies, and a lot of locally sourced and humanely raised meats.  We shall have a monthly Cheese Feast in which we sample many kinds of cheese in many kinds of dishes.  I think the B&B shall be in the south of England, where cider is quite popular, and if our guests wish it, we can arrange for them to go on tours of the local Cidery.  We shall purchase many acres of land so that my parents can’t come build a house right next door.  I will learn to speak proper British and stop talking about pants.

Will you join me? Or perhaps you would like to join me instead in contributing money and time to any candidate in this election cycle that doesn’t hate science and poor people?


Filed under Life List, Volunteering

30 by 30

Originally I didn’t want to do a 30 by 30 list, mostly subscribing to Sarah’s philosophy that it’s okay to not be quite so goal oriented all the time.  But then we sat down and made a summer to do list, and it makes me pretty happy.  I think there is an upside to sitting down and writing out the things that you want to do.  So my list is going to be small things that I hope to do, like making my own cheese (it’s actually on the summer list), instead of big life things.  Because the big life things are going to happen whether I put them on a list.  It’s the little things that fall by the wayside, and I’m hoping this list will help keep me grounded as life picks up and we turn into full fledged grownups.

So here is the beginning of the list:

  1. Run a marathon
  2. Do a century bike ride
  3. Do an Olympic distance triathlon
  4. Make my own cheese
  5. Make my own yogurt
  6. Go back to Egypt
  7. Do a trail race
  8. Pace my friend E. on one of her Ultramarathons
  9. Go diving in the pacific ocean
  10. Take an overnight train trip with my husband
  11. Put a backsplash up in the kitchen
  12. Grow vegetables
  13. Go on a racecation (race + vacation)
  14. Volunteer at the nature center where we got married
  15. Try CrossFit
  16. Take a boxing class
  17. Take a photography class
  18. Take baked goods to the new neighbors
  19. Go to Australia
  20. Do a bike tour of Niagra wineries
  21. Do a beer tour somewhere new
  22. See a Broadway play
  23. Run a half-marathon in under 2 hours
  24. Learn Spanish
I will think about the rest, but goal #1 for today is to not be late for work, so I should get on that.

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Filed under Exercise and Fitness, Life List

England! And Wales!

We’re going to England this summer.  I’m insanely excited for this trip.  Our honeymoon was great, but I really held off on planning anything and I think a bit of planning might have helped us.  So the England trip is getting planned.  I spent a bit of time getting excited over the weekend, and think we have a pretty good trip planned. 

We have Husband’s sister’s wedding reception/party in Leeds four days after we fly into Heathrow (Wednesday).  We don’t plan to spend any time in London (expensive, loud, crowded), and instead will hopefully just get right on the 201 and take the 3hr trip to Cardiff, Wales.  We will spend the first day exploring Cardiff (suggestions welcome) and stay overnight in a hotel or hostel. 

The next morning, we will head over to the Cycle Hire shop and rent ourselves some bikes. Then we will get on the Taff Trail, which is a 55-mile trail to the Brecon Beacons National Park.  (Yes.  We’ll need to train.)  We will stay overnight somewhere in the park (UK parks are huge and include towns and hamlets, unlike US parks which, if you’re lucky, have campgrounds) and then spend Friday “walking” (British for hiking) or doing something else grand.  Depending on what we do Friday, we will either leave Friday afternoon and cycle back part of the way to Cardiff, staying in a town along the Trail, and then cycle the remaining portion in the morning, or we will cycle the entire Trail on Saturday and then catch a bus to Leeds in the evening and spend a very smelly four hours on the bus.  We could also stay another night in Cardiff and get on a bus early Sunday morning, spending Sunday and Monday with family before catching a train back to London to leave on Tuesday, but it seems like we’d have a much better chance of seeing people and not being stressed if we come in Saturday night. 

Did I already mention how excited I am?  Even if the cycling thing doesn’t plan out, there are plenty of buses up to the Beacons, and plenty of cool things to do in Cardiff, that I’m unconcerned about our biking plan falling through. 

Has anyone ever been to Wales? Suggestions for places to stay, etc. would be appreciated.


Filed under Entertainment, Exercise and Fitness, Life List

Life List

I saw Toni Morrisson speak recently and she said something that really made me stop and think.  She said, “I didn’t write my first book until I was thirty-nine.” 

So I thought to myself, “maybe I still have time.” 

I’m not saying I want to write a book (well, I do).  But with our 30×30 and 1001 in 101-type lists, I feel like we are trying to tell ourselves more and more that we need to accomplish a lot Right Now. 

Some of the things on my “list” are things I want to accomplish Right Now, like work hard at my job to improve the lives of my clients.  (Also join a book club and learn to quilt.)  Some of them are things I want to accomplish Soon, like find a permanent job and run a marathon.

But things like, “write a book” and “get my Advanced Open Water Diver Certification” are simply on the back burner.  And it was nice to be reminded that I shouldn’t expect to be able to write a book and sell it right now.  I’m not even sure what I would write about.  But growing up, I wanted to be a writer almost as badly as I wanted to be a lawyer, and if I want it badly enough, that dream will still be there in ten or twenty years for me to chase, but for now, I think I’m going to settle for chasing one dream at a time. 

But it’s okay.  Because Toni Morrisson didn’t write her first book until she was thirty-nine.


Filed under Life List


When I first started this blog, my purpose was to have my “married” blog talk about the reality of being married, but also about my life after marriage.  I didn’t want to get sucked into a “we” and talk about throw pillows all the time.  I get really sad when smart, funny women bloggers go forth into their next endeavor and feel like they have to write about their married life together.  I started writing a wedding blog to write about the challenges I faced when planning a wedding, and I started this blog to write about the challenges of being an unemployed, twenty-something lawyer working to navigate the world of job hunting, employment, and professionalism. 

Nonetheless, I’m four weeks in at work, loving it, even though it’s really hard, and my husband’s sister just bought a house.  As we walked around it last weekend, I found myself getting increasingly jealous of their home improvement.  I’m not jealous that they have to completely redo their bedroom and bathroom, repaint all of the rooms, and put down hardwood floors, but I am jealous that they get to do those things, and also they’re really happy about it.  I also saw Bunny’s goreous and well organized closet and got majorly envious of her organization.  When we moved in, my husband promised me a proper shoe rack, but I’ve been putting it off.  Finally, I decided I must have one, because I am now in a position to be using my closet daily and need to keep my shoes organized. 

Then I thought, well, if I put in a shoe rack, maybe I could also finally live my dream of painting our apartment just a little bit.  I would really like, for example, to paint my closet a bright, sunny color.  Maybe a yellow or a blue, but I’m open to ideas and suggestions.   


I’m also obsessed with doing some kind of temporary backsplash or other improvements in our kitchen.  Or at least painting the backsplash.  Maybe the same color as the closet.  Our kitchen is extremely dark and the cabinets have these really ornate old fashioned handles, which I would like to replace as well.  I’m thinking something modern, perhaps in an aged copper-type finish.  Our cabinets are really dark (and I don’t want to paint them), so a bright chrome would be too much contrast.  We also desperately need a new kitchen rug, as husband decided to use ours as a potholder and melted it.  Also it’s too small for our kitchen and very old.  I think it’s actually a bathmat. 

Anyone have suggestions as to what projects are good to undertake, or where to start?  The aim is to just generally have a place that I’m happy to come home to.  (Not that I’m not happy now, but I feel that a few small changes would make a big difference.  We’re pretty sure we’ll be staying another year (at least), as long as our rent doesn’t increase, so I’m looking to actively nest this summer.   (I also want a new couch for the living room.) 


Filed under Crafts, Life List, Marriage