February 15, 2013
A few weeks ago Amy Kardel, a friend from back home, messaged me to ask whether I knew of anyone who might be able to show her daughter around DC. Amy was going to be coming to DC to do some advocacy on the Hill for IT and small business issues and was going to bring Sophie along. Sophie is in seventh grade – the typical age for students visiting DC. I let her know that I don’t have class on Wednesdays and that I’d be happy to show her around.
If I had to choose a theme for the day, it would probably be ‘cupcakes.’ Georgetown Cupcakes was probably the number one thing that Sophie wanted to see in DC. We also visited two other cupcake places and had a taste test. Then we had to go back to Georgetown Cupcakes to get a t-shirt since it was her favorite. Then I saw on Facebook that the two of them went back to Georgetown Cupcakes again today! But we didn’t only visit cupcakes shoppes – we also visited the law school and main campus, Chinatown, the Archives, the Old Post Office, Georgetown, and Teddy Roosevelt Island. Overall, the day completely reinforced my desire to be a tour guide when I retire!
I had dinner with Amy and Sohpie that evening and enjoyed getting to know Amy a bit better and hearing about everything that she’s up to. She’s really involved in the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, and the city back in San Luis. All things that I want to get involved in! She said she’d make introductions and such for me once I get back, so I’m excited!
Today begins an eleven day break for Presidents Day. Then I have two days of class. Then I have eleven more days off for spring break. These are the advantages of being a 3L. I’m trying to come back to California for part of it, but am having a ton of trouble finding a flight that works. Flying across the country (especially to and from DC) is the absolute worst. One of those things I’m not going to miss at all once I’m back in California.
Whether or not I make it back to San Luis, I’m probably going to need to plan a staycation. I made a long list of everything I wanted to get done over the next eleven days and got most of it done today, so boredom is going to set in soon! Any ideas? We’re having our second monthly potluck next week, which I’m super excited about, so that’s one thing.
One of my roommates (in order to preserve privacy, I’m not going to use a name) recently got his first girlfriend. When we began questioning him about it, it quickly became apparent that he didn’t know what day Valentine’s Day falls on or that he was expected to do anything for Valentine’s Day. So we’ve been giving him a hard time about that for the last two weeks or so. I have no idea how it started, but about a week ago we started saying that if he didn’t make plans then the asteroid that was passing earth the day after Valentine’s Day would make impact. He then made reservations for a nice Spanish place in Chinatown for Valentine’s Day. However, at the last minute they decided that they were going to be too busy in the 14th, so they rescheduled for the 15th. Then our predictions kind of came true. We all woke up to the news that a large meteorite had crashed into Siberia and caused serious damage. I feel terrible finding humor in a natural disaster, but I can’t stop laughing at the sheer improbability of it and the unlikely chain of events. The moral of the story, of course, is that you need to take your significant other out on Valentine’s Day to avoid natural disasters. We have proof now.
February 11, 2013
Friday was officially 100 days until graduation, which makes today 97 days to go. It was also restaurant week in DC last week so a bunch of us decided to go out on Friday night to celebrate. It turns out that making a decision about a nice restaurant is an exceedingly difficult task for a bunch of law students. It’s pretty much the only thing we talked about all week. There were proposals and counter-proposals. Whenever it seemed like we had made a decision, it turned out that there were no reservations left for a Friday night during restaurant week. So we returned to the drawing board. We finally settled on a Spanish tapas place called Jaleo. It was delicious and a ton of fun. Afterwards people came over to watch the Matrix 2 (since we had watched the Matrix earlier in the day).
Yesterday I went over to the Pennington’s after church to have lunch and hang out. It was really nice because I hadn’t seen any of them since before Christmas break. They’ve recently gotten really into Settlers of Catan, so we played that after lunch, which was a lot of fun.
The paper I’ve been working on since starting the semester is finally finished, which is why I was able to have so much fun this weekend. It’s going to feel really nice to finally start acting like it’s my last semester of school ever. It’s time to truly start taking advantage of my two day school weeks and four day weekends! Luckily, I’ve just received word from several people that they’re going to be coming to DC this spring, so I’ll get to show all of them around. And a friend from San Luis is coming to DC this week for a conference and is bringing her junior high daughter along, so I’m going to be showing her around the city on Wednesday since I don’t have classes on Wednesdays.
I’ve increased my mileage for running, so now on some of my runs I’m running across state lines into Maryland. How cool is it to be able to say you regularly cross state lines on your runs?!?
January 26, 2013
Sorry for not writing in a while. My last semester of law school is turning out to be way busier than I was expecting. I think it’s due to a few factors. First, there was the Inauguration this last weekend and I had some friends in town for it, so I didn’t get anything done for four days straight. I think I’ve mentioned before that law school makes you feel guilty if you don’t do a significant amount of studying every day, so whenever you get back to the grind after a weekend like that you have to double down to make up for lost time. Second, I’ve got a paper for my Week One class on top of my semester classes. I finally got a solid start on it today and am actually starting to enjoy it. Third, I only have class two days a week . This means a few things. The days I have class, it’s all day long. So I have to do all my reading on my off days instead of spreading it throughout the week. Fourth, I go to campus on the days I don’t have class to go to the gym, which means an hour total commute each day. Finally, my Trial Practice class is turning about to be a bit time intensive. There’s more reading for it than any other class I’ve ever had and each week we have to do a mini trial, which is a lot of preparation. But I’m loving the class. It’s only 12 people and is in a model courtroom. About half the people are people who were in my section 1L year that I know and like a lot. The other half are 2Ls. The professors seem great. They’re full time attorneys at a big firm here in DC and invited us to join them throughout the semester in the firm’s boxes at the various sporting arenas in DC. The class should be really useful since it’s so hands on.
All that to say, I’ve been busy. But I’m not complaining! I’m loving life! And several of these factors are temporary, so I should have free time again soon enough. In fact, I have two 9 day spring breaks that are just a week apart, so my roommates and I are trying to figure out what kind of adventures we’re going to go on for them.
Brian (my roommate from college) and his little brother Timmy arrived on Friday for the Inauguration. (As a side note, I’ve realized over the last year that I call people by names that no one else really calls them by; I’ll call them by their full name if they go by a nickname or vice versa. I guess I just get it in my head that’s what they go by and then don’t realize that everyone else is calling them a different name. It turns out that Timmy is one of those people; I learned while he was here that everyone calls him Tim and that he doesn’t like being called Timmy. Brian is the only other person who calls him that.) I had been looking forward to them coming out for quite a while and we had a ton of fun.
Here’s the rapid fire of what we did. After they got in, we walked to the National Cathedral and had dinner at 2Amy’s (pizza licensed by the Italian government). Then we all crammed into my bedroom for a sleepover. We woke up the next morning to meet Raffi for brunch in Dupont. It turns out that we woke up too early since nowhere opens for brunch before 10am, so we ended up waiting for this place called Rosemary and Thyme to open. Over brunch, Raffi grilled Brian and Tim(my) on whether San Luis Obispo is as great as I always make it out to be. From there we took a bus to Georgetown, walked down M St. (the main street in Georgetown), meandered through the neighborhood, and walked around the main campus. From there, we walked across the Key Bridge to one of my favorite places in DC: Teddy Roosevelt Island.
From there we went to Arlington Cemetery to see the Lee House, the Kennedy Graves, and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. We also found the Seabee memorial because their grandfather was a Seabee during World War II (Seabee = CB, which stands for Construction Battalion – the men who built all the bases, airstrips, harbors, etc. during the war). From there we went to the Old Post Office to get a beautiful panoramic view of the city. We randomly ran into a former coworker of mine in the food court there (the place is a tourist trap) and talked to her for a while. (I also ran into another former coworker of mine the other day. She was getting off the metro train and I was getting on through the exact same door. I don’t know why this city is getting smaller and smaller.) That night we went to my favorite Ethiopian restaurant with my roommates (and my roommate Ben’s brother who also came down for the Inauguration).
Brian and Tim(my) at the Seabee Memorial.
Brian and me at the Lee House in Arlington Cemetery with DC in the background. This is where we saw the first iPad picture (see below).
Sunday morning we did a whirlwind tour of the Smithsonians (you would need several days just to see all the main ones thoroughly). From there we walked around the Capitol, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and Capitol Hill. We ended up at Good Stuff – my favorite burger place – for lunch. From there we went to Lois Capps’ office to pick up our tickets for the Inauguration. While we were there, her chief of staff recognized me from the campaign so we chatted for a while. That night we toured all the monuments – seeing them in the dark is a must. It’s the dead of winter, but it felt like the spring when 8th graders descend on the monuments since there were so many people there for the Inauguration.
Brian, Lois, me, and Tim(my).
Tim(my) is on the left and Brian is on the right.
Roomies for life!
Me and Tim(my) at the World War II Memorial.
Ben’s friend, Ben’s brother, me, Tim(my) and Ben at the FDR Memorial.
Brian at the Jefferson Memorial.
Monday morning we woke up early to get down to the Mall for the Inauguration. It turns out that security was way more organized than the last Inauguration, which was a relief. We had decent tickets, but not as good as my tickets from last time. We had to wait around for a long time since we got there so early. The people around us were pretty entertaining – part of which probably had to do with the fact that it was cold, they had woken up early, and had been standing around for hours. One woman got up on a milk crate as soon as the ceremony started, which ticked off a lot of people behind her. These two big older guys were laying down on blanket right in front of us while waiting for the ceremony to start, so it looked like there was a big gap in front of us, so people would push through the crowd to get there and then realize that they couldn’t stand there, so they’d step across these big guys to get to the other side of them.
Sunrise on Inauguration morning.
I think I was most excited about getting to hear Beyoncé sing. I don’t care if she was lip syncing. After Kelly Clarkson sang, I shouted “I voted for you, Kelly!” which got some chuckles (but wasn’t true because I’ve never watched American Idol).
That afternoon we took a nap, which was great after waking up so early and walking so many miles over the weekend. Afterwards we went out for steaks in Cleveland Park at one of my favorite places in DC.
Brian had to fly out the next morning, but didn’t wake up in time so he got to spend an extra day in DC! Unfortunately he had to spend most of it at the airport trying to get on flights. Tim(my) and I went out to breakfast at this place called Founding Farmers before I headed off to school and he went to see some of the things we weren’t able to get to over the weekend. As a side note about Founding Farmers, I’ve been there twice before and something interesting has happened both times. I’ve paid with my credit card and the transaction has clearly worked because I get a copy of the receipt with my name on it. But both times the transaction hasn’t showed up on my credit card statement. We’ll see what happens this time. If I don’t get charged, I’m definitely going back and ordering something really expensive!
That night we decided to lay low since both guys had to (successfully) wake up to fly out the next morning, so we just ordered a pizza and watched TV.
Our running joke throughout the long weekend was how ridiculous people look taking pictures with an iPad. And it was happening a lot. People were filming significant portions of the Inauguration on their iPads. So we just started taking pictures of them.
As soon as they took off the temperature dropped like 20 degrees, which was fortunate for them since we spent so much time outside. On Wednesday I went for my first run in 20 degree weather, which was less than pleasant. The coldest part of my body was my lungs. You’re breathing so hard and so deeply and so rapidly that they don’t have a chance to warm up! I don’t know what you’re supposed to do about that. They were seriously aching by the time I finished.
After the cold arrived, we got our first snow. After two and a half years here, snow is still magical to me. I love it and don’t think it’s inconvenient or anything. I love the way it makes mundane things look so beautiful. For example, I love the way it makes our alley look. And I love the sounds that it makes – the crunch under your feet – and the sounds that it doesn’t make – how it makes everything muffled and quiet. All that being said, I took entirely too many pictures of the snow.
Rock Creek Park.
Last night my roommates and I decided to make dinner together, which I always enjoy. I’ll share one funny story. Kyle, my 1L roommate, decided to make homemade pesto from a recipe that he had made before but hadn’t turned out quite right – it just had a little too much bite. So he made it again and it turned out the same. So we reviewed it and found the mistake – he got a clove and bulb confused so he put in two whole heads of garlic instead of two cloves. So let’s just say that our breath was incredible and that we weren’t afraid of vampires! Everything still tastes like garlic today.
As you may be able to tell from some of my pictures, I’ve started using Instagram and am loving it!
Dylan (another roommate of mine from college) and me at the Inauguration in 2009.
January 16, 2013
I only have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is taking some getting used to. The first thing I noticed is how many books I have to carry on those days since all my classes are concentrated then instead of spread out over the week. I’m also having to figure out what to do during my days off. So far I’ve been running and going to the gym on campus to lift. I’ve also been cooking things on my days off that can last me for a few days and be transported to campus easily since I’m there all day long when I do go. Today I made a black bean and quinoa salad that was really good.
My first class yesterday was International Law II. It’s all about international trade, which I’ve always found really interesting so I think I’m really going to enjoy it. The professor has had a lot of different experiences and has a lot of stories, so that’s a plus as well. One of my roommates is also in it, which is always fun.
My second class was Evidence. It’s where we learn about the various objections that you always see in courtroom drama shows. It looks like about half of each class is just going to be the professor asking students whether or not they would object in various situations, which is kind of a different approach. Almost everyone in the class is a 2L; there’s only one other 3L that I know of in it.
My third class is Trial Practice, which is a really small class of about 10 people. We learn about all the mechanics of how a trial works and various tactics and things like that. It should be pretty hands on and useful. Especially if I’m going to be thrown into a courtroom in less than a year!
My last class is called Strategic Intelligence. It’s a national security class about the intelligence community (CIA, NSA, etc.). I haven’t been to it, so I can’t really tell you much yet!
January 13, 2013
Yesterday was awesome. I woke up early and made a good Saturday breakfast. Then my roommates and I all cleaned the house together, which I still find surprisingly enjoyable. It was especially satisfying after three weeks of dust accumulated during break and a bit of neglect during finals.
Afterwards I went for my first run since being sick. I really wasn’t looking forward to it, thinking I had lost the little bit of foundation I had laid recently. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that being sick and taking a break had acted more like a taper. I felt really good for the entire run. I ran down to Dupont Circle to stop by Raffi’s house. I stopped on a bridge over Rock Creek Park to take this panoramic picture. It doesn’t really do justice to how beautiful it is – even during winter. (Try clicking on the picture to get a larger image.) I just love those old historic buildings peeking over the tops of the trees that stretch down to the canyon below. (I took the time to take the picture during the middle of the run because I was way ahead of pace!)
After hanging out at Raffi’s for a while, I came home and went grocery shopping in anticipation of a potluck we were going to be hosting later in the evening. Afterwards I fell asleep on my couch while reading international law. I love being a 3L.
Then the cooking commenced. Somehow we all managed to prepare each of our dishes for the potluck. I’m starting to realize that I really enjoy cooking. I also enjoy a crowded kitchen. I decided to roast a chicken for the first time in my life. I got the recipe from my friend Cherish. She made it last spring and I think it was the best chicken I’ve ever had. I’m glad I finally had a chance to prepare it. You stuff the chicken with lemon, a whole head of garlic sliced in half, and fresh thyme. Then you roast it on a bed of carrots, onions, and fennel. It’s so good – including the carrots, onions, and fennel. They end up all caramelized and tender. I didn’t have any kitchen twine to truss the chicken with, so I had to be resourceful and use mint dental floss. I rinsed it off first and no one mentioned minty undertones, so I think it was a success!
The number of people coming to the potluck ballooned at the last minute (as usual) so we were trying to figure out how we were going to seat everyone. Luckily, it turns out that we have one of those cabinets where you can pull a table base out and put more and more leaves in them (another one of the perks of living in a furnished house – always discovering new amenities). Lining that up with our table, we were able to fit everyone comfortably. We had 14 and I think we could have squeezed up to 18. Not bad for the dining room of a couple law students! Dinner was delicious and the conversation was great.
January 11, 2013
This week has not felt normal at all. I’ve never had this much reading for a week of class and I couldn’t get started until I got back to DC because that’s where the book was. On top of that, I was pretty sick all week. So all I did this week was read, sleep, and go to class. I’m happy to report that I’m still on track for my goal of graduating without skipping a page of reading.
Now that I’m done with this hectic week and feeling a whole lot better, I’m getting really excited to be back in DC. I’ve got some New Years resolutions that I’m looking forward to getting started here. I want to do the city-to-the-sea half marathon next October, so I’m starting to run more. I also want to branch out a bit and try cooking a lot of new things. We’re having a potluck tomorrow, so it’ll be a great opportunity to get started!
This last semester is already looking like it’s going to be a lot of fun. 3Ls are all pretty relaxed now that we’re 128 days away from graduation. My roommates and I had lunch together on campus every day this week, which I really enjoyed. I’m hoping we can do it throughout the semester. Another one of my goals is to spend more time on campus than I usually do. I have done all of my reading for the last two and a half years in my bedroom, but I want to start doing most of it on campus for a change of scenery and to be around more people. I’m also doing it because I only have class two days a week this semester and I don’t want to be sitting at home alone for the other five days!
My class this week has been at 9am, which means that I have been a morning rush hour commuter each day. I only had night classes last semester, so I never got to experience rush hour. Other than the higher metro fare, I enjoy it. It’s kind of fun seeing people running for trains (even though they come every two minutes since it’s rush hour). At first I was annoyed at how cramped it was, but I’ve figured out which cars are less crowded. I also thought everyone was grumpy at first, but I’ve reconsidered that. Everyone was really excited this morning since it was Friday. I also enjoy the rhythm at different metro stops; certain ones are where a few people get on, others where a ton get on, and others where a ton get off. There’s one stop that I always get to sit down after since so many people get off. I also enjoy that people are like clockwork in the morning – including myself. I leave at the same time every morning, which I never did before since I had all morning and afternoon to mosey on down to campus. As a result of this consistency, I see a ton of the same people every morning. There’s already one woman that I’ve seen at a bus stop every single day and a guy I’ve seen in the metro station a few times.
January 6, 2013
After a delightful break and a miserable transcontinental flight, I’m back in DC. It feels good to be back and to be 133 days away from graduation.
I’m taking a one week class this week and then the semester starts next Monday. My one week class is on the law and health. There’s a ton of reading but I enjoy the subject matter, so it’s not too bad.
Yesterday’s trip back started at 4:45am and took 15 hours. It involved getting de-iced, a broken de-icer, deboarding, flying in a mechanic and a part, having one agent to reschedule everyone’s flights, going back and forth through security multiple times, a plane door that couldn’t close, inclement weather in San Francisco (as always), deboarding again, changing airlines, replacing the plane’s radio, and a metro that was greatly delayed due to single tracking.
All that to say that I’m still recovering and am going to bed early.
I’m excited to be blogging about this last leg of the journey!
December 13, 2012
Two finals down and two to go. I think it just struck me tonight how bizarre it is to have your whole grade riding on a two hour final. After all those hours in class, reading, studying, and outlining. It almost makes them all seem like a waste. But I guess it’s really the other way around. You have to put in all that time beforehand so you can be on your A-game in that small window. There’s no time for messing around or backtracking during the actual final.
Ben and I were talking tonight about how law school makes you feel guilty for ever relaxing or taking an evening off or anything like that. I love law school, but I could do without that feeling. I’m hoping it doesn’t take too long to wear off after graduation.
Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to graduation and having a job and being a real adult so much! It’s pretty much all I think about these days. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for post-graduation in any of my three previous last years of school. Of course, they weren’t really true last years of school, so I guess this time it really is different.
Tomorrow night we’re doing Zoo Lights at the Smithsonian National Zoo. It can’t wait!
December 8, 2012
The last two days have been filled with even more Christmas spirit!
Thursday night Ryan, Raffi, Kenny, some others and I went to the White House Christmas Tree Lighting. Ryan has been in DC for seven years and has tried to get tickets every single year and finally got some. And they were seated tickets, so we were pretty close! It was great. The entertainment incuded the U.S. Navy Band, Colbie Caillat, The Fray, Jason Mraz, Phillip Phillips, and James Taylor. Neil Patrick Harris and Rico Rodriguez (Manny from Modern Family) were the hosts. Of course, the First Family (minus Bo) was there. I think my favorite part was when Neil Patrick Harris said he’d tell us who the mother is in How I Met Your Mother. This season has had me making all sorts of crazy predictions and reevaluating them every week, so I’ll take any hint I can get!
Towards the end, President Obama got up to say a few words and opened with a line that went something like this: ” Michelle told me to keep it short because she wants to get back to the music.” The jumbotrons on either side of the stage then showed Michelle rolling her eyes and shaking her head. I thought it was a really humanizing moment. Who doesn’t know the husband who says stuff that embarrasses his wife?
The Christmas tree is just to the left of the stage but inside the arch.
Last night the roommates, Kenny, and I went to see Handel’s Messiah at the National Cathedral. We went to 2Amy’s beforehand, so it was an all around excellent evening. It was the first time I’ve seen a full version of Handel’s Messiah performed and it was incredible. I’ve been meaning to go the last three years, so I’m glad I can finally cross it off the list during my last year here.
December 3, 2012
I’ve caught a bad case of the Christmas spirit. It all started when I went over to the Pennington-DeLaney household on Friday night to watch Elf and help decorate their tree.
Ben’s dad works for a milk company and he sent a whole lot of high quality egg nog down to us this weekend. So that didn’t help.
Then on Saturday night Ben and I watched It’s Wonderful Life. I cannot express how much I love that movie. I see so many new things in it every single time I watch it – and not just small things. I want to write a book on George Bailey. He’s my hero. Ben and I decided we’re going to watch it each weekend of December.
Yesterday we made a shopping excursion to Trader Joe’s to pick up stuff for a Christmas party this week. I grabbed some clementines and gingerbread coffee.
Last night we all sat around our wonderful gas fireplace and listened to a Christmas episode of Adventures in Odyssey.
I’ve created the perfect Pandora station by combining Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole.
This Friday we’re going to a performance of Handel’s Messiah at the National Cathedral.