Saturday, May 29, 2010

Note to self

Do not eat donuts and then try to go for a morning run.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Picture Day - A Progression

Remember back in elementary school when picture day came around how exciting it was? My mom almost always dressed me in fluffy dresses and lace-edged ankle socks with my black patent leather shoes and sent me off feeling hopeful that I would get a good photo. When I got to school, I was invariably the only one dressed "fancy" while everybody else was in nice-but-normal jeans and t-shirts or sweaters and I spent the day feeling both special and embarassed at the same time. 

A few weeks back we had photo day at work - a photographer came in and set up his flashes, backdrop and reflectors and I was assigned a time-slot. Like most portraits, I'm not crazy about the result.

BUT, since I'm completely self-absorbed and deluded enough to think that some of you might take pleasure (or at least amusement or distraction) from the good, the bad, and the ugly of my growing-up years, here is a progression of photo-day portraits that I scanned way back last autumn at my parent's house. And just as a warning, I had some really terrible hair days growing up. Don't believe me? Scroll down.

Pre-school.  Is it just me, or am I smiling with my eyes a-la Tyra Banks?  My four-year-old self was fierce.


First grade.  Ugh - this must have been taken after recess because I look like a mess.

Sometime between first and second grade I got my first perm.  Mother, I love you, but why oh why did you do this to me? 

I actually like the curls here though.
Here's where things start getting bad though - fourth grade. Woof.

I'm missing fifth grade. It was a red dress with gigantic puffy sleeves and black polka-dots all over it. Not good. Not good at all.

Sixth grade - the year I got contacts.
Since I skipped eighth grade, I only have a photo for seventh. I loved this sweater. It's not visible in the picture, but I wore it with a red pleated skirt.
Ninth grade. What is going on with my bangs? I HATED wearing my hair like this, but I couldn't figure out how to do it some better way.
 Just for kicks and giggles, here is my ninth grade photo from Pageantry (aka Dance Team/Colorguard). Wolf-whistles and cat-calls are permissible.  No need to restrain yourself.
I moved back to Nebraska between ninth and tenth grades. You can see I was trying to figure out something better to do with the bangs that I despised.
Remember when the triangle hairstyle was totally in? No? That's because it never was. Ever. I sported this triangle head look for an entire year, hating it the whole time. I hadn't had a perm in more than five years, so the curl (which was the bane of my existence) is all natural. It's toned down a lot in the intervening years after being repeatedly straightened into submission.

Senior portrait. I finally managed a normal looking style for my bangs although my hair was still pretty big.  When I try to think of an image of myself, for some reason, this is the look that usually comes up in my mind's eye.
And finally, present day. It may not be the most flattering photo I've ever taken, but at least my hair looks sleek and smooth, just how I always dreamed it could look while I was growing up.  Do I look like a lawyer?  I think so.

Oh, and I just counted and turns out I wore some form of turtleneck in seven of these photos.  I obsessed over turtlenecks as a child.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Frumpy McFrumpster

It may be true that my normally put-together look has dwindled to something less than perfect over the last couple of months.  I always imagined myself wearing tailored business suits, fabulous shoes and immaculate hairstyles once I started working at a law firm, but turns out, I just don't have the energy.  Nor does it really seem to matter.  Unlike law offices elsewhere where the attorneys are required to wear actual business attire, at my firm (and in the Bay Area in general) business casual is really pretty casual.  As in, jeans are okay as long as they aren't sloppy and that's probably not something you want to wear everyday (although some people pretty much do).

Most of my work requires that I shut myself up in my office every day to do research or draft portions of motions or hammer through documents.  And so I have taken to wearing brightly colored flats, a cardigan and a loose skirt, with barely touched hair most days.  And now that I have new glasses and they really feel so much better than contacts when I have long stretches of doc review, I wear those fairly often too.  Once I even wore my hair in a braid.  But despite the changes, I thought I was pulling the quirky-business-casual-chic look off. 

Except that lately I have been getting emails from a personal clothier - someone who comes and dresses you when you aren't doing such a good job yourself.  I haven't had one of those since I was two years old and started voicing my opinion about my wardrobe by telling my mom one day when she found me in my room surrounded by the contents of every drawer I could reach that I only had "stupid clothes" to wear.  Even now when she tells that story she seems bewildered/shocked that at two years old I even had an opinion on that matter.  "You were only two!  You didn't even know what stupid clothes were," she always adds.

But it just so happens that every time I get one of these emails I look down to review my clothing choices for the day and grimace.  And although I know in my mind that these are surely just a mass-marketing email list that someone came up with by searching all the female employees of law firms in the area, I find myself suspicious of the people I see during the day who may have actually referred me for this person's services. 

Was it you?

*Disclaimer:  You all who read this blog are such great friends and I can already envision the wonderful comments you are mentally preparing to tell me that I look super-cute all the time (thanks guys!), but I did not compose this post with the intention of fishing for compliments refuting the above stated facts.  Trust me, the photos I post on the blogospheres do not reflect what I look like at work most days.  That would be just too, too embarassing.  More than anything, I just thought the story was funny and wanted to share.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hum-drum but feeling grateful

Lately life has been more or less routine.  Wake up at 6, eat breakfast at 7, get to work by 8, lunch at 12, home by 7, dinner and tv till 9, then maybe some reading or a little more work before getting ready for bed.  It gets kind of monotonous really. 

I am on a new project at work doing doc review with contract attorneys.  In BigLaw litigation law firms deal with hundreds of thousands of documents - emails and spreadsheets and analyst reports and press releases - that are created or used or looked at by a big company in the course of business.  One side asks for pretty much everything under the sun and the other side has to produce all of it.  But you don't just hand over all of your info - it all has to be reviewed first.  That's where young associates come in.  We have to look at every single document to make sure we know what is being given up and to save the client from handing over important information that they might want to hold on to and fight about later on.  The process takes FOREVER and it gets really old really fast sitting in front of a computer screen clicking through scanned document after scanned document.  So when you have a huge production like this, often times large firms will bring on contract attorneys - independent attorneys who go from firm to firm to help out with these kinds of projects.  And having these independent attorneys on board is a huge help, but it also means that I have been spending a number of hours each week at the off-site doc review location supervising and responding to the many questions that come up when looking at unfamiliar, highly technical documents dealing with chemistry and statistics and accounting information that makes my head spin. 

One of the newest contract attorneys who just started last week came up to me the first day and said that he thought we took the bar exam together.  He described just where I had sat during the exam and turns out he sat right behind me.  Kind of interesting that he remembered since I don't remember ANYTHING about that experience except the trauma and stress.  We talked about how he has struggled to find work since then what with the economy the way it is and I really felt for him.  I am so grateful that both Paul and I have good jobs.

I'm even more grateful that we both passed the bar on our first try.  Just tonight I learned that one of my friends that I went to law school with took the Utah bar for the second time and just found out that he didn't pass again.  My heart literally clenches at the thought of what he must be feeling right now.  I know that there are much worse things that can happen to a person, but not passing the bar is pretty much my worst nightmare - literally. 

Is it just me or is this post kind of a drag?  Here is something disturbing yet hilarious to lighten the mood.  I probably watched the Jammy Shuffle twenty times this weekend and cracked up every time. (Mom, don't watch - its not bad, but I'm pretty sure you won't find it hilarious like I do).

Friday, May 7, 2010


...years ago today Paul and I got married. 

Yay us!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Yosemite Day-Trip

I get really bad wanderlust.  So this past Thursday when I was struck with a particularly strong case of it, I sent off an email to Paul asking what he thought about doing a day-trip to Yosemite this weekend if work allowed.  He was all for it, and nothing blew up with any of my cases on Friday afternoon, so we woke up early Saturday morning and headed out. 

Really the drive isn't bad.  It takes about three and a half hours, but the southern route past Casa de Fruta and around the southern border of Henry Coe State Park is incredibly scenic.  And I really enjoy passing all of the agriculture that goes on in the central valley - fields of strawberries just springing up from the black dirt at this time of year, orchards full of orderly rows of trees, etc.

We got to the park around 9:30 a.m. and drove through the valley floor, staring up through the sun-roof or out the windows at the sheer granite faces of the valley walls.  There were waterfalls that we have never seen before, this being the earliest in the year that I've ever been to Yosemite. 

And the waterfalls that I have seen previously were much larger with the early snowmelt.  Here is Yosemite Falls from the bridge over the Merced River.  The water in the river was so clear that even in the deeper parts I could distinguish the grains of sand at the bottom. 

We actually stopped to take a photo of the old chapel that I always admire but have never stopped at before. 

After a quick stop in Yosemite Village to pick up a turkey sandwich on sourdough with cranberry mayo to supplement our lunch of chips, oranges, and juice boxes, we rode the Yosemite bus over to Happy Isles to start the hike up to Vernal Falls. 

The weather was a gorgeous 65 degrees which was perfect for hiking. 

But even with the great weather, there was still snow up in at the higher elevations. 

The Mist Trail is closed this time of year still because of ice, so we took the Horse Trail (also called the John Muir Trail) up to the level of Nevada Falls, then dropped back down to eat our lunch at the Silver Apron, which is just above Emerald Pool. 

We also went to check out the top of Vernal Falls.  The sound of all the water rushing over the edge of the granite cliff was deafening.  We practically had to shout at each other to be heard.

This is a picture from the overlook on the way down to Vernal Falls from the Horse Trail.  I had never approached the falls from this perspective before, having usually taken the Mist Trail.  It was stunning.  I like the people in the photo because they really give a sense of the size of the falls. 

It took us about 2 hours to hike to Emerald Pool and about 1 1/2 hours to hike back down.  We saw the Yosemite Search and Rescue practicing their techniques on the bridge below Vernal Falls on our way back down. 

After our hike we took the bus back from Happy Isles to the Awahnee for some relaxation time.  It felt wonderful to sink into the comfortably upholstered lounge chairs in the great room at the Awahnee (a super elegant yet rustic hotel on the valley floor where we would love to stay but can't afford to shell out the dough - even to eat at their shi-shi restaurant where the men have to wear suit jackets).  The iconic structure is made entirely of stone and concrete pressed and painted to look like timbers so that it is fireproof. 

We also stopped and checked out the Ansel Adams gallery and the lodge where we always stay in October when Paul's extended family does the annual autumn trip.  Although we debated eating dinner at the Mountain Room (another favorite eating spot in the valley that is less expensive then the restaurant at the Awahnee but still pretty fancy for our budget), we decided against it when we learned that our favorite dessert - the berry cobbler - is seasonal and not available in the spring.  So instead we headed out of the park around 5:45 p.m. and stopped in Mariposa, a quaint little town left over from the gold rush of 1849 with old west looking buildings and ate burgers at a surprisingly great little restaurant on the main drag. 

We made it home around 10:30 p.m., sore and road-weary.  But it was a wonderful day.