02 August 2016

Starting My Second Year of Law School

I still have a couple more weeks before the daily grind starts up again, but I've been thinking a lot about school as it looms in my future.  Last year the journey from no plans whatsoever for the future to actually starting law school was so short that I scarcely had time to digest.  I found out that I got into law school within two weeks of orientation starting.  While some of my colleagues had known for months that they were going and their parents had purchased them "how to survive law school" guides, mine just kind of handed me a credit card to buy what I needed.  I kind of liked my journey better because there wasn't time for second-guessing or worrying.  I just did.

Going back to school in your late 20s is definitely different from going straight out of college at 22.  Granted, I had gone to grad school, so there wasn't this huge lapse of time from one to the other.  And fortunately, I had taken a year off between my last bit of school and going to law school.  I think that year saved my life in many ways.  I had time to think and do and experience.

I firmly believe that there is a huge transformation that occurs around the age of 25 or 26.  I look back and feel like I was a completely different person one day--for the better.  It's like a switch got flipped and suddenly a lot of the concerns I had, the drama I fed into, no longer mattered.  It was like I suddenly became more chill in a lot of ways, tending to view minor setbacks as OK in the larger picture.  The important thing was the way forward--not the details.  My friend and I actually chanted that Cs get degrees before taking our criminal law final.  Because that's true.  (Granted, you need to strive to do your best, but when you're in your late 20s, you tend to have other things going on outside of school that are important, so you realize that while school is important, other things are more important)

And I feel like that chill attitude helped me immensely in starting and adapting to law school.

Your first year is so much adapting to new demands and new ways of thinking.  I was able to see that really quickly.

I have no idea what your second year is supposed to do to you.  And that's OK.

They say that whatever way you studied as an undergrad will no longer work in law school.  I agree and I disagree.  I think everyone develops some foundational habits and methods for how they collect, store, and process information.  Everyone is different and that's OK.  But you have to adapt those methods to the demands of law school.  Being willing to try new things is also good and important.

For instance--my first semester, none of my professors allowed us to type our notes.  The second semester, all but one of them allowed you to have laptops in class.  Many times during that first semester, I wished that I had been able to type because I type pretty fast.  In the spring, I brought my laptop each day.  Not 100% sure that that was the best thing because the laptop has its own set of distractions--Facebook, iMessage, etc.  And some of the classes are really boring and sometimes you don't have very engaging professors.  I'm one who just doesn't deal well with being bored, even when my grade really depends on my paying attention.  So...

I think this year, I will be doing a lot of handwriting my notes because I think I retain the information better that way.  Then I'll type them up in outline form as I go.  Last year, I'd wait until the end of the semester to make a feeble attempt at outlining.  The grand outline never really helped me.  What would help was outlining an outline.  Those condensed versions, stripped of the fat were super helpful because I was able to memorize those verbatim, but also remember some of the fat on top.
I also learned that notecards really don't work for me.  Also, that's OK.

Really--"And that's OK" is my theme for law school.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my degree.  I still don't know.  I definitely want to pass the bar and a pay my dues so that I can practice...but I'm not sure that I want practice to be my full-time job.  I think a law degree can help so much in opening your own business.

We'll see what happens during this second year.  It's scary to think that by December I will officially be halfway through with law school.

I want to keep making time for the people and things I love, while digesting the information better than I did my first year.  It might be smart to read up on the topics I took last year to try to make some sense of what the hell that was all about.  :)  But we'll see what I have the time, energy, and inclination for.

13 July 2016

Un-Sauce

I love pasta.  I love it so, so much.  Whenever I scroll through collections of recipes, I always wind up collecting more pasta recipes than anything else.  It's easy, endlessly variable, and yummy!  I recently got to thinking about a new pasta mixing that I thought would be great.  Fortunately, Steve (though not big on pasta himself) is always willing to try what I cook.  Bless him for that.  Truly.  I finally got the chance to try it out and it was every bit of what I was hoping.

I call it an Un-Sauce because it reminded me of regular spaghetti sauce, but without the tomato sauce.  I've even been thinking of variations for the next time.

Here's what you need:

1 lb hamburger meat
1/2 white onion, diced
Garlic to taste
1 or 2 cans diced tomatoes (I only used one because I had some fresh grape tomatoes that I cut up too)
Bay leaves
Fresh basil
Fresh rosemary
Red pepper flakes
Pepper
Salt
Louisiana Hot Sauce (Tobasco would also be good)
Pasta

Super easy assembly.

1.  Brown the meat
2.  When the meat is almost done add in the onion and garlic; this is about the point that I put the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water; I did not drain the fat off the meat--I think if you wanted to, you might add some olive oil so the onion would have something to cook it
3.  Stir in your tomatoes and bay leaves
4.  Stir in your basil, rosemary, red pepper, black pepper, salt, and hot sauce
5.  Add to cooked pasta

Typically when I make pasta, I only cook what will be eaten because I'm not a huge fan of leftover noodles, and I'm a firm believer in everyone determining their own mixing to noodle ratio.  Therefore, the noodles went into the bowl, then we put our own amount of un-sauce on top.  I added some extra hot sauce and fresh grated parmesan.  But when I had this for leftovers, I didn't add either.  It was great both ways.

I also left the bay leaves in the concoction when I put it in tupperware.  Obviously, I'll pick them out when I go to eat the leftovers.

One variation that I am very excited to try some time is to use half a pound of hamburger meat and half a pound of Italian sausage.  Naturally, you could make this with only Italian sausage.  Chef's choice.

I meant to take a picture of this when I first cooked it, but I was so excited to try it that I forgot.

Anyway, it was really good.

11 July 2016

Yoga for When You're Angry

Yesterday I did a yoga stretch video, just to mix it up.  Then I did the Let It Go flow again this morning.  I sat and drank my coffee and tried to read, but I was still feeling a bit off.  I was able to (temporarily) let go of what I've been trying to let go of, but I developed a type of anger at myself and began feeling like a horrible human being.  Lots of negative self talk ensued.  I let myself sit and stew for a little bit, but then I decided to get back on the mat and work through Adriene's Yoga for When You're Angry.

I've done this video a few times in the past.  Whenever I come to the mat to do that video, I am always wanting do something really physical to get out my anger and frustration.  Yet, that's not what this video is about.  It has you do a lot of deep breathing in order to calm down.  You acknowledge your anger, your feelings, and then you really get yourself calmed down through the breathing, potentially leaving your mat with a new perspective.

I'm always grateful when I do this video that it's not a super physical sequence because I think that that would just add fuel to the fire.  Slowing down and feeling acknowledged is a much more peaceful and pleasant and probably constructive way of dealing with the anger.  Just like with the Let It Go flow, there typically isn't a whole lot that you can do to change a situation except changing your perspective.  When I get angry, I usually primarily just want to be acknowledged because there isn't a real solution except to change myself.

I love that this video exists because it feels like a lot of the time people act as though yogis aren't supposed to get angry.  I even find myself getting caught in this.  Recently I spent some time with someone whose yoga classes I've attended in the past and I found myself thinking that she never seems to be in a bad mood, that she's always so upbeat and cheerful.  But I'm sure she must get angry sometimes; she must feel wretched sometimes.  She's human--she must.  And that's OK.  The problem isn't in getting angry; the problem is in how you deal with the anger.  Doing something constructive versus doing something destructive.

I'm glad I chose to do something constructive, like getting on my mat for an additional 20 minutes.  I breathed it out and am at the moment feeling quite a bit better.  I may be wretched, but that's OK as long as I make the attempt to deal with my wretched moments in a more positive way.

In fact, I think I need to start doing the whole count to five before reacting thing, at least in certain situations.  Breathe in, breathe out, see the good in others and myself, and let it go.


09 July 2016

Let It Go Flow

Earlier this week, I had the great, great fortune to pass through Austin on a day when the yoga instructor I have been following online was teaching a class.  It was an even greater fortune because this was a class that she normally did not teach.  The live class was amazing.  I love going to classes and feeding off of the energy of others.  Adriene had been traveling quite a lot and finally came home, so her theme for that class was "home."  That really fit perfectly with me since I was on my way home.

Her theme got me thinking about all of the different manifestations of home.  Some homes are physical places--the home of my parents that I grew up in, the home of my grandparents that holds so many happy memories, and the home that Steve and I have created.  All of those are wonderful places.  But "home," I think, can be manifested in a person.  That absolute feeling of safety and surrender and love that you can get from be near, let alone embraced by, a person.

I left the yoga studio with a renewed sense of gratitude for my relationship with Steve and the physical home that we have made.


Since that day, I have made an effort to do a little yoga each day, something that I hope to continue.  Fortunately, Adriene has a ton of videos available online or through her subscription service, so you could do a different video each day for several months without repeating any.  I like to just scroll through her videos until one pops out at me.

This morning, the Let It Go Flow video got my attention.  It was a 20 minute video, which is really a perfect amount of time for me for an at-home practice (I really struggle to stay motivated to do a longer practice by myself).  Not that I have a lot of crap going on in my life, but there are some things that I wish I could change.  Or barring that, some things that I can't change, but I know could change my feelings and attitude towards--that's the thing you have to remember, you can really only change yourself most of the time.  Sometimes you're lucky enough to be able to change circumstances.

Anyway, the sequence of this video was fantastic.  But it was also the words that Adriene said that helped me and have inspired me.

"See the truth, speak the truth, feel the truth."
AKA--the three parts of the namaste.  I always knew that you put your hands at your forehead, mouth, and heart during namaste, but I never knew the three parts, so that was good.  Kind of a way of accepting and letting it go.

"In namaste, we acknowledge the best version of ourselves and in others too."
I knew this one beforehand, but it was nice to have it reiterated.  Acknowledging the best in others is really a big part of letting it go.  Most people have some redeeming quality and the challenge is to see that and focus on the good.

"Everything is as it should be."
I'm not the grand puppeteer in charge of the whole world or even my world.  Whatever has happened, has happened for a reason and that is beyond my control.  I need to let it go and accept that it is what it is.

"The universe is for me and so is everything else."
This one is a positive attitude/outlook kind of thing.  When things don't go my way or aren't as I like, there isn't some big conspiracy to keep me from being happy.  There is some lesson, most likely patience, that I should be learning from the situation.  The better I can accept it and let it go, the more peaceful I will feel.

Like I said, there are things about my life that I wish I could change.  But I just can't make some things go away.  So I have to learn to let it go.  I think I'll be doing this video fairly frequently until I get to that point.  Today, however, was a big step.

08 June 2016

Exercise

I'm finally getting a FitBit.  I've been toying with the idea for a while, especially after seeing so many of my Twitter friends talking about having them.

I texted one of my friends who lives nearby with some questions about her FitBit experience.  I know they cost a bit and I'm broke, so I wanted to make sure it was really going to be a good thing for me.  As luck would have it, she was selling hers because she bought a new one.  It's gently used and she's giving me a good price.  So I'm really excited to give it a shot.

It's summer and I'm fully ready to be outside!  I remember last summer how much I loved running in the mornings around my grandma's neighborhood.  The humidity was high and it was hot and I loved feeling like I was getting a great workout as a result.  But then I stopped.  Steve and I started a little running routine over the spring, but it got sidelined by school and allergies and weather.  I've decided that I am going to start running again.

Tuesday, actually.  I am going to do the Couch to 5k program to gradually build up.  I feel like I push myself harder at interval training when I have that voice in the phone keeping time as opposed to when I have to keep track myself.  My plan is to do C25k on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.  I feel like that spreads it out pretty well throughout the week.  We are so fortunate that our little town has a fantastic running path system!  I love taking advantage of running amidst the beautiful scenery.

I'm also wanting to do some yoga on the off days.  I find that at home, I do best with a 20-30 minute video.  Fortunately, Yoga with Adriene has a huge variety of video lengths and focuses to choose from!  It's such a wonderful and inspirational community.

Other than that, my goal is just to move more throughout the day.  Yes, I am sitting on my butt a lot of the time reading at the pool or at home, but I can walk laps around the pool and I can clean the house (which is a side benefit).

I'm excited to see the challenges of getting to 10,000 steps per day and seeing how addictive it becomes!  (Have you read this piece by David Sedaris about his FitBit? Hilarious!  Also, I hope the link works)

07 June 2016

Currently...

It's been over thirteen months since I last posted in this space.  Rather than run through the myriad reasons of why, trying to make excuses, I'm just going to skip right back into writing about whatever I want to write about.  I've missed this space more and more over the last few weeks, so I'm back at it, with the hopes of crafting something that really makes me happy and is me.

Time and Place:  10:06am, sitting on the love seat in the living room.  The house is mostly quiet, except for the sound of the dryer going.  I have the front door and the back sliding door open, listening to the sounds of the birds outside as I type.


Loving:  Being at home.  I've been out of school for about a month and I haven't done anything and it has been wonderful!  I can finally breathe and relax.  I can really enjoy the house we've been living in since November--and get around to those annoying organizing tasks I've been putting off.  :)  It's so nice to have a space and to be able to make it our own.

Seeking:  A way to get my tomato plant back on course.  I can't tell if I'm over-watering or under-watering, but it looks like hell.  Any thoughts?


Craving:  Some time to chill at the pool this afternoon.  I know we're at the pool quite a lot, but it doesn't feel like we're ever there enough to really get to chill and relax and read.

Destroying:  Nothing really.  I've really just been trying to take it easy--not put too much pressure on myself to do anything.  Maybe my reading list.  I was on quite a streak during May.  I hope to keep it up.

Cherishing:  Hanging out on the back porch with Steve in the evenings, having a nightcap.  It's starting to stay warmer in the evening, so we're able to sit outside pretty late.  We'll turn on the radio, get lost in our own thoughts, and just chill.  I love our porch--it was a total mess for quite a while because the previous occupants left a bunch of pallets that covered half of the porch.  We bought some plants, a little fountain, and a patio set--it's Heavenly!


Cooking:  Uh...nothing in the past several days.  This was a hectic weekend, so I didn't plan on cooking at all.  I haven't had the time to go to the grocery store because we keep going from one thing to another, so we really don't even have anything to cook.  I should probably get on that.

Playing:  The classic rock station.  I guess this isn't entirely me playing it, because I don't know how to work the radio at the pool, but I am loving having that going in the background all day.  I don't think I've heard any songs on repeat yet!

Eating:  More pasta than I probably should.  But that's one of the few things we actually do have the in the house that can be whipped up quickly.  I've been toning it down though and using simple ingredients with it--like pesto and some fresh parmesan or some butter and red pepper flakes.

Hating:  The thought of having to email the people I said I'd do an unpaid internship with this summer.  Part of it is that I just don't want to--even at only 10-15 hours per week.  Part of it is that I'm kind of embarrassed because school has been out for a month and I've been putting it off this whole time because I really would rather enjoy life than answer phones.

Anticipating:  All of the books I'm going to read this summer!  I've decided that I'm going to get a library card and I'm nerdily excited about it.  One of the ladies that goes to the pool recently checked out a book that looked really interesting.  I'm broke, so I need to not keep buying books.  So--library.


Collecting:  Recipes.  Despite regularly putting off going to the grocery store, I have a ton of recipes to try.  I have been putting them in a three-ring binder so I can organize them, write on them, and throw away the ones that don't work out.

Celebrating:  Summer!  I love that it's finally here.  I love the freedom.  I love the relaxation.  I love the food.  I love everything about it.  It's had been feeling pretty inspired lately.