Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My First Blogiversary

A year ago today, on a Sunday afternoon in the student lounge, mostly on a whim, I started this blog. I was sitting roughly where I am now (back table near the SBA office), and wondering if the third time would really be the charm.

I'll have to get back to you on that. So far, so good.

This year has been a rollercoaster. I doubt that many people survive their first year of law school without describing it that way.

When we moved here, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Sure, I knew law school would be tough, that it would break me down intellectually and reshape my thinking, that it would be wonderful and horrible and the hardest academic work I'd ever done in my life, and that I would probably hate it (because everybody does) and love it (because everybody does) all at the same time.

All of the above is true. Plus more:

I found out that my gut instinct regarding friends was absolutely true. The five people I consider my closest friends are funny, amazing, joyous, bawdy, and in the exact same boat as I am. We've done everything together this past year, from studying to drinking, to boating on the river, to the State Fair, to celebrating landmarks.

I found out that school broke me down mentally as well as intellectually. I was broken my first semester, and it almost cost me everything. My grades suffered, I was depressed, and though I put on a good front for both myself and my friends, I knew deep down that it was as close to the edge as I ever wanted to be, and there was a strong wind blowing which could knock me over without warning. Thank God I figured out how to send up smoke signals and get the help I needed. Lord knows where I'd be without it.

I found out that my body *still* does not react well to changing birth control methods. The last time I did that was around six years ago, and the result of that change now rides a yellow school bus to kindergarten every day. I'll meet the result of this last change sometime after finals, and hopefully before New Year's.

I found out that a Summer of Awesome is just the remedy for a first year like mine.

I found out that things aren't always the way they seem.

I found out that I should give my husband more credit where it's due.

I found out that Craigslist is the ONLY way to go to sell a used car.

Mostly I found out that I'm the only one who can light a fire under my own ass, and it's got to be constantly tended and stoked if I want to accomplish anything.

Here's what I wrote last year, and I think it's apropos that I update it.

I'm a first year law student, or "1L." I live in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. I recently relocated here from another part of the Midwest, specifically to attend law school.

I am now a 2L, still living in the Twin Cities. It's looking more and more like we'll settle here after graduation. I'm okay with that.

I'm a wife. Happily married to my high school sweetheart, going on 8 1/2 years. To say it's been unadulterated bliss would be a big ass lie- no marriage is perfect. However, we love each other, we communicate, and we are very happy. He provides, he's a great father, he's my best friend. I can't imagine my life without him.

Still true. Our tenth (!) anniversary is next May. We'll have two kids, half a legal education and an amazing ride under our belts by then, and I hope like hell we're aging like good whiskey.

I'm a mother. We have a beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed, sassy-mouthed, loud-laughing, fast-running, ticklish-tummied, soon-to-be-five-year-old daughter. She puts the color inside of our world.

The Girl is now nearly six, and a kindergartener. She's looking forward to being a big sister to V2.0 come winter.

I'm a huge John Mayer fan...you may find my posts sprinkled with lyrics and references to JM and his various influences...and I make no apologies.

This year I got to meet John in person, and I saw him in concert five times this summer. I still make no apologies.

I am a triathlete. I am heading into my third season, and hopefully can talk a little about that. I am seriously hoping that I can fit some training time into my schedule.

If you see a very pregnant woman in a trisuit at the campus pool, that's me. I had to put my season on hold this year and I am looking forward to getting back into the groove this coming spring. I also hope the exercise-induced endorphins will help get me over the post-partum depression I fear might set in.

As of right now, life is good. The rock candy has melted...only diamonds now remain. I need to remember that.

No, I'm not the same girl I used to be lately -- see, you met me at an interesting time. I'm still on the lookout for clarity, but if this year has taught me anything, it's to be even more vigilant against gravity.

I don't know how many people actually read my blog, but for those of you that do, thanks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The First of Autumn

I noticed the first change of leaves two days ago, as I sat on the corner awaiting the girl's school bus to arrive. I often watch her, in her enthusiasm, bound off the bus and run across the street, legs pumping and blonde hair flying in the wind, reflecting the sun. Being five and a half must be a tough gig for a five and a half year old, but the only thing I see in her is innocence and curiosity.

It took me a minute to realize that it was the first day of fall, and I was reminded of my friend K., who took his own life when I was pregnant with the girl, right around this time of year six years ago. I'd seen him a few weeks before his death, and though I knew of his depression and manic episodes, and knew he had ups and downs, the last time I saw him, he was happy and smiling, and gave me a huge hug and congratulated me on the impending arrival of the girl. As it turns out, he was happy because he, like most suicidal people, had a plan and a way out. He was happy because he had made his decision and felt inner peace.

K. hung himself on the last day of summer, before the sun could rise on autumn, before he had to see the leaves change and wither and die, before the snow flew and the air froze and he had to live through another winter of seasonal affective disorder, which I'm told (but never knew personally) exacerbated his depression and kicked his mania into overdrive.

The timing of his death coincided with the anniversary of my grandmother's death as well. She died relatively young (age 66) after an extraordinarily rough life and a case of hepatitis, contracted at the hospital where she worked in the 1960's and '70's, which basically destroyed her liver. I was sixteen when she died and I think I still harbor resentment at my mother's choice to hide the extent of her illness from me. It was a shock when she died, as she was not only my favorite grandparent, she was also the first of my grandparents to die, and the first death I'd ever truly experienced firsthand.

Perhaps that is why I'm so attuned to the change of seasons. This year in particular because I can't help but relive the loss I experienced in the wake of the girl's impending arrival. I mark time in her face and growth. I listen to her voice and watch her eyes sparkle, and I hope like crazy she stays small for just a little longer. It's a joyful thing to raise a child, but nothing else makes you fly headfirst into the wall of your own mortality.

As I sat at the bus stop, and looked into the breeze, I reveled in the movement of the air, and felt warmth. I wonder why the earth takes so long to go dormant, and then in one moment, revive and turn green again. The most beautiful time of the year signifies the end of active growth and a slow retreat into hibernation. It was one of those unexpected moments of reflection and solitude. God gives us life, and retreat, and hibernation, and renewal, and the fleeting moment should be captured, cherished, and I suppose, ultimately released. In that moment, I felt actual loss. The end of summer is upon us, and so many things come to pass when another summer is done.

I breathe the mist
Floating about the stars
I can caress with velvet hands
I breathe the mist
Floating within without
This pen between my fingers

I know you are there
Within without me holding me
I know you are there
Catching carrying this beautiful mess

Escape the pain
Within a room somewhere
Escape the pain
So deep inside the soul
I have no key
No map to find

-- "Within A Room Somewhere" Sixpence None The Richer

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Night

It's Sunday night, and I'm feeling rather peaceful.

The girl is bathed and fed, and is now watching her umpteenth episode of Spongebob whilst happily munching on blueberries, a substitute for a third (!!) piece of pizza or MOAR DUNKERS, MOM.

We ordered pizza for dinner. The kitchen is now clean, and I rearranged the pantry, which was reaching crisis point for disorganization. For some reason the shelves like to throw up of their own volition and things end up on the floor in there, to be discovered months later when one is searching for the reusable bags in an effort to be environmentally responsible at the grocery store.

We went to a very fancy party last night, a grown-ups only affair in honor of Jon and Julia's engagement. It was a lovely time, and I had the chance to do up my hairs and put on a sparkly frock and peep-toe heels. I actually wore makeup, for the first time in about a year (I think.)

The girl stayed at a friend's house from school, and said friend has a lovely little girl, around nine months old. Apparently the girl got a taste of what life would be like when 2.0 goes from theoretical probability to actual, real life baby. I have a feeling we'll have a rude awakening. On the plus side, my friend said that the girl was awesome and very cute.

If I can get ahead on Family Law and Con Law, I plan to volunteer for Obama on Tuesday night. Other highlights for this week: Robin Williams in concert on Thursday, and a shrimp boil on Saturday night with the boy's coworkers.

Six weeks into school and the novelty's definitely worn off. I need (NEED)to get my binders reorganized, and start getting ready to outline. We have a Property midterm in two weeks and I haven't even thought of it. On top of which, a Family Law paper... and yeah...then there's this impending thing that keeps kicking me in the innards and reminding me that this is supposed to be the easy semester.

And for those interested...the OB stats from last week's 24(?) week appointment:

BP: 117/70
Fetal HR: 150
Fundal Height: 27
Maternal Weight: +5 (+4 overall during pregnancy)

Glucose challenge at my next visit...oh the joy of drinking flat orange soda and then giving vials upon vials of blood... the lab monkeys will just LURVVE me...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Enough To Be On Your Way

Oh, it's enough to be on your way
It's enough just to cover ground
It's enough to be movin' on
Home, better build it behind your eyes
Carry it in your heart
Safe among your own

-- Enough To Be On Your Way, James Taylor

I just wanted to remember this.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


My belly is swollen.

My feet are swollen, and have been since 9:30 this morning. My internal thermostat is also off -- I'll be freezing, then sweating, then freezing, then fine, but warm to the touch.

My hands are also starting to swell.

I am going to take a cool shower and then get a good night's sleep, and in the morning if I'm not un-swollen, I'm going to go to student health and have my blood pressure checked, and if it's high, I'm going to call my OB. I have an appointment on Thursday anyway but I generally trust my gut when it comes to my health. Since I'm so rarely sick, I know when I feel this way I should pay attention, especially since pregnancy brings its own set of weirdnesses -- what is one day a freak occurrence can turn into something serious very quickly. Granted, I've done this before, and I'm probably more laid back than a lot of other people about it, but like I said, gut reaction.

I am planning to clean up my eating a bit more in the next few months -- laying off the soda and sodium, caffeine and chocolate. I figure if I can lay a little groundwork now, I can hit the ground running, swimming, and biking after the baby is born. We've already got the strollers purchased (yes, plural -- I have my jog stroller from the girl, and we just bought a pram for the first six months), and I also have YakTrax for my shoes, so going for a stroll on "warmer" winter days will be doable. I also need to figure out how to get back into the pool - I can walk or do the elliptical with the bouncy seat or stroller next to me. The search for a sitter is on!

I will compete next year, and with any luck, better than ever. I want to break 1:50 at Danskin, and I want to do an Olympic. Sooz challenged me to a half Ironman, but I can't fathom that, even in the best of circumstances next year. I think I'd be satisfied with running a half mary at the end of next season, then ramping up to a half sometime next season.

I want my kids to be proud of me, and I want to set an example. I want to be able to write a story like this. More than that, I want to do this for myself. Because any other excuse isn't enough. It's not about a number on the scale, it's about my performance and training and knowing that I can *maybe* look in the mirror and be okay with what I see.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I know where I was.

Do you?

I know what I wore that day.

Do you?

I remember how I found out.

Do you?

I remember what I did.

Do you?

They say that every seven years, the body is renewed. All of our cells are replaced, all of our stores are replenished. On a cellular level, we are not the same person we were seven years prior. It's part of the aging process. It's why we look so different when we look back at old pictures and go "wow...we were really young back then."

I'm not the same person I was that morning. My hair is longer, my soul is older, and I have images and people and souls that haunt me each year on this day. I am not a New Yorker, I am not a Washingtonian. I am a Pennsylvanian by birth, but I have no ties to that rural Somerset county field.

Today, though, every year, I am a New Yorker, a Washingtonian, a Pennsylvanian. An American. I'm not the same person I was that beautiful late summer morning, which dawned with promise and ended in heartache.

Are you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Who'd have guessed I'd learn to let the walls around me burn
Light up the hillside
My words, I ate them for so long and nothing changed...it was just the same
And I don't know if you see me here, but I can tell you your face is clear
I will see you...

Forever, forever
I will see you...forever, forever

I wanted you to be everything to me, now I've got to learn to carry on
I know I cannot hide this emptiness inside,
But nothing is the same since you've gone

"Forever" -- Vertical Horizon

The last few weeks have been a study in change. I returned from a trip to Florida to find that the last throes of summer in Minnesota had left in my absence, and left a trail of cool winds and 65 degree temperatures in their wake. It's as if the State Fair closed, and the carnies took the summer with them as they towed the midway rides off to their next engagement.

The baby has begun to kick more noticeably and more frequently. I'm beginning to follow her rhythms of activity and rest, and the movements no longer feel spontaneous or erratic. She's learning her own circadian cycle and it's quite interesting to note that I can now recognize her patterns, something I never knew to watch for with the girl.

Speaking of whom, the girl started kindergarten yesterday. She gets to ride the bus and pack a lunch, and we are working on our school and chore routines. So far, so good. She came home yesterday with a glowing report and this morning was after us to go out to the bus stop a full 45 minutes prior to bus time. I hope the enthusiasm carries forward.

My sister and her husband have decided to divorce. There was a bit of limbo for awhile, and the decision was made after a few months' contemplation. Apparently they came to the conclusion a couple days ago and, while it is never an easy thing to see a couple part, nor is it a good thing to see my sister hurting, I hope the decision is for the best.

The fact that both my parents and now my sister are divorcing in the last year makes me want to run home and cling tighter to the boy -- with all I'm worth. I can't imagine loving someone for as long as I've loved him, sharing a life and a bed and a family for as long as we have, and then turning it all over into sadness and acrimony. I can't say how long we'll last -- but I can say we will always be a work in progress.

As for me, my changes are physical and educational... after a massive growth spurt in the last two weeks, I am officially full-time into maternity shirts and am working my way out of my regular jeans. I have a feeling I will be into my maternity jeans this time next month. School is so much better this year -- perhaps it's all the work I did last term, but I'm feeling more solid academically, I have a much better mindset, and things are looking up. I'm watching the change of weather, knowing things will stay green for awhile, and preparing for the leaves of fall.