Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thank you all for the nice greetings and birthday wishes over the last few days. By the way, another reason for you all to put it in a comment in the blog? When I got those e-mail notification thingies about new comments I remember I have a blog, and then I remember to update it! This one's going to be a doozy!

This was our first Christmas spent away from Josh's family. It was just us and the cat...and my friend Mark and his brother came over for dinner. It was low key, it was casual and it was actually pretty darned nice. I had wondered if inevitable family drama was that certain je ne sais quoi of a proper Christmas but actually you can do jeeeest fine without. Plus you can get the presents portion done by noon, as opposed to 5 a.m. We had some (store bought) appetizers of spiced olives, hot phyllo hors d'ouevres, rosemary chips and Max Brenner chocolates (provided by Mark and Chris) and then for dinner we had herbed roast beef, scalloped potatoes gratin, yorkshire pudding and tomato and onion salad. For dessert I made chocolate orange pots de creme which even Josh said were good, and he's not a fan of the chocolate/fruit combos. If Mark sends me a picture of the food I'll be sure to add it in here.

I went back to work yesterday (yup, on my birthday!) because I actually did have work to do and a status conference to attend at court. I don't know if I'll ever quite get over the fact that court is nowhere near as glamorous as I grew up thinking it would be. Even once in law school, when you haughtily think you've left all your Law & Order illusions behind, you cling to some of those fantasies...then you actually go to court repeatedly and realize what a gong show the whole thing is. Yesterday we spent the first fifteen minutes at court being verbally bitchslapped by a very irate client (something that the movies and T.V. don't quite prepare you for). Then the judge arrived and we all stood, as is proper and at one with my expectations from movies and T.V., so we were back on track. Then the "hearing", consisting of setting a date for the next status conference, took place over the next three minutes. The most disconcerting thing was that once the date was set? The judge sat back in his chair and started shooting the shit with his clerk and stenographer. None of that "all rise" and making a dignified exit or anything. Then the attorneys sauntered off from their podium and started chatting too, all while the judge was still lounging about in his chair and for all I knew court was still in session since no one had said we were adjourned. ??? Weird. Where is my pomp? Where is my circumstance? Why did I sign up for this if not for the trappings??

I've mostly gotten over the angst of my job being nothing like Hollywood. It just sometimes rankles. It's especially annoying with the pro bono ("for the public good", i.e., free) work because the whole point is supposed to be that you're helping people who need it. It kind of crushes your illusions though when you realize that half the time your client thinks that you're God and that you're going to get the Supreme Court, the U.N. and Bono to champion his case because you're Just That Good, and the other half your client hates you and thinks that you must be crap because you're working for free. I'll always do the pro bono work because I just think it's the right thing to do, and the firm is very encouraging of it, but damn is it ever demoralizing sometimes, especially in the criminal context because you really have such a slim chance of actually winning. There's no fighting the good fight, crusading for your poor innocent downtrodden client against all odds and making a powerful legal argument that makes the judge weep with its eloquence. There's just fighting for fair process in the end. Whether that leads to fair results, I can't even say because I don't know what that looks like yet. I'm not sure if I'll ever know, really. That's why we have Hollywood, though, right?

Anyway - another year older, another year wiser. My cousin started this new birthday listing thing this year that tells us whenever there's a birthday in our (very large) family via e-mail, so I got a lot of birthday wishes this year. Always a nice thing. My mom and stepdad sent me flowers at work! That was exceptionally sweet. I've never gotten flowers at work before (yes, probably because I've never worked before...shaddup). It felt awfully grown up. They are really gorgeous too - red roses and white lilies and orchids! I felt terribly guilty though, because delivered flowers are sooo expensive. Even a small, simple arrangement of wildflowers cost an arm and a leg. Then last night we went for dinner with my officemate Nina and her husband Chris, which was totally exciting in and of itself because all through school no one was ever around to celebrate my birthday - not even just a casual dinner or anything because everyone just scattered over the holidays. Not only did they have dinner with us but they picked up the check, which was so incredibly nice. We are so lucky to know cool people here already. We're even invited to a New Year's house party, which was really unexpected and nice.

All the best to everyone in 2007! *Hugs* and as always thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's 8:07 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and I'm lounging on my couch, unshowered, just coming off my most recent period of madness at work. Normally I leave the house at around 8:45 to get to work for around 9:30 but I'm treating myself to a late start today. Fortunately we aren't forced to have any real set hours at work so no one really cares about when you get in. Definitely one perk of being a so-called professional ;).

Last week I got put on a new assignment, which brings me up to five cases - three paying clients and two pro bono criminal cases (one appellate, one that will likely end up as a plea bargain). They all sort of just vomited on me last week, with every single one becoming active. That doesn't happen too often but when it does, frankly, it's just not cool. I had a few 14 hour days in there, plus a 12 hour day on Saturday. It's probably still not over, but I'm not above taking advantage of a quiet moment or two in the middle of it all. It could definitely be worse - my girlfriend on a bigger case billed 100 hours over six days last week. She was working until 6 am every day, going home to shower and sleep for a few hours and coming back. Total madness. I'm already stealthily thinking of my exit options...not because it's overall such a horrible place to be, at least not in the short term, but I just don't understand how anyone could keep this up as a lifestyle choice. They must have more fortitude than me, or at least be able to turn down assignments with more good grace, because I haven't discovered that trick yet. I'm a people pleaser. I tried to book off two vacations days - that's right, days - and am cancelling both because there is just too much going on for me to be gone for a day at a time. No wonder so many of us turn to drink!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm so excited by the discovery that people actually still read this that I'm inspired to post again. That, and the 7:30 a.m. meeting that I was supposed to attend this morning was pushed back to 8:00 and I didn't realize it until I woke up at an indecent hour and checked my Blackberry. So, may as well update while I can.

I think the most recent string of celebrity divorces is giving me some kind of subconscious angst. I'm so not a stressful wife in any way, but I had this awful, vivid dream last night that Josh had an affair and left me for a very young blonde girl who looked suspiciously like Carrie Underwood. This dream went on forever! I had a few hysterical fits and tried to beat the crap out of him more than once during it...and even when I woke up I was disoriented and sad. Totally strange to feel that kind of violence of emotion while dreaming and then still feel it once you've woken up.

I left work at the unheard of (well, in recent weeks) hour of 6:30 last night to hit Macy's. The festive decor at the department stores in New York City is truly something you have to see at least once in your lifetime. Every suburbanite in a 100 mile radius drags their kids here to look at the windows, which accounts for much of the insane foot traffic in those areas on the weekends. Still, it's not something you can bask in for too long because the frenzied pace follows you everywhere. I just went to find a reasonably priced (!) clutch for this black tie dinner I'm attended on Saturday that I had seen on their website, but no banana when I actually arrived - apparently not everything that they have on their website is available in the store. I did learn, however that there are some fugly purses out there selling for prices that you would. not. believe.

While we've on the topic of prices that you wouldn't believe...there's been something that's been bugging me lately and that is, who are these people browing the Michael Kors and Chloe bags at every department store I go into and how can they all have so much more money than I do? I'm genuinely curious. This entire city seems full of people with limitless disposable income and I don't know if it's just because billionaire hedge fund managers' wives casually shop at Barneys with the rest of us or I'm just doing something terribly wrong with my income management.
I make a decent salary and yet to me, a handbag from Banana Republic is a naughty indulgence. I used to feel fairly well dressed with most of my clothes from Banana or Ann Taylor but compared to the other lawyers at my firm I feel frumpy and poor - lost in a sea of Jimmy Choo, Prada and Coach on the cheap end. I have a mental block against feeling that $600 is a reasonable price to pay for a handbag, I think, even though this city has already completely warped my preconceived notions of what a "lot of money" is (happens when $3000 a month goes to rent alone!). I feel like I'm occupying a strange place right now, wanting to fit in and be stylish and not stand out as "that girl in the hideous polyester pants and faux croc shoes" but neither do I want to completely succumb to the pressures around me. Someone reccommended this book, The Overspent American, that I think I'm going to check out for some validation over Christmas.

Morgan - if you're reading this - best wishes for your wedding in ten days!! From what I hear about the weather in your city right now you'll have the perfect winter day that you were planning for. Can't wait to see pics :).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

As a result of the terse directive I received in my inbox from my brother recently ("Update!") I became sufficiently ashamed at my lameness to update this blog. Truth be told - it's hard to update a blog when you have nothing much to discuss besides work...and all aspects of your work are confidential...and any indiscretions are likely to end up posted on Gawker. I'm digging deep here to think up fabulous things.

To get work out of the way - it's definitely busy. Only one of my cases has been really active but it's been keeping me sufficiently busy. A normal day is fairly quiet until about 3 or so, when the partners call me in to give me work, and then I end up working until 9 or so. It's just the cycle we tend to work on at the firm. The partners are crazy busy with meetings all day and then they remember me and the work they want to give me in the afternoon. It's all interesting work, but the learning curve is steep, and I spend most of my time near-catatonic with fear that I'm screwing everything up massively. Still - not fired yet - and most of the more senior associates assure us that this is just how everyone feels when they first start.

In other fascinating news - I found out I passed the bar a couple of weeks ago. There aren't words to express what a relief that was. I was physically nauseous every time I thought of the results for at least a week before. So, I'm now "certified" to go for my Character & Fitness interview, where they figure out if I', I guess. Apparently it's not too searching an inquiry. Thank god for small mercies, right?

It's not all work and no play, of course. Josh and I have managed to spend like drunken sailors - there always seems to be something fabulous to drop a lot of money on. Our social activities mostly consist of lazy brunches and swanky dinners with friends, most of whom I know through work. Josh is more proficient than ever in lawyerspeak. We just celebrated American Thanksgiving with an old friend who was in town with his girlfriend. And very cool news - Josh is starting his job tomorrow! It's the same type of work, in a totally new industry, and they are paying him more money than he made in Toronto! Which is great for me, because I can now rest assured that I totally didn't ruin his career by dragging him here.

I'm sure that's enough for now ;). I love your comments so pleeeease keep sending!

Friday, September 22, 2006

I've survived a week!

That's kind of an accomplishment or something, right?? We're not done training by a long shot, though - still another four or so days next week before we get Real Assignments. And from what I hear? There will be many, many Assignments since Litigation is ridiculously busy.

They put so much time and money into training us, and I sincerely appreciate the effort, but I think my brain was full at some point on Tuesday. There is just too much to take in - everything from witness interviews, to online research, to library orientation, to document production and management. We spent the entire day today on just document production and discovery techniques and it's just overwhelming - the main thrust of the matter is basically that we can get into deep, deep trouble for screwing this up, to the tune of billion dollar verdicts and big trouble from regulators. Mostly I'm alarmed at how no one else in training seems utterly terrified at the prospect of being in charge of litigation analysts, assistants, paralegals, secretaries and temps. I don't want this kind of responsibility...waaaah!

Of course, getting used to a full working day is tough. The commute to work is only about 45 minutes including walking to and from the subway since I take an express train most of the way, and of course working past 8pm means you can take a car home and charge it to the client. I foresee much of this! I've already been staffed on a pro bono death penalty case, at my own request, and the rest is totally up in the air. At least things are sweet on the home front - Josh has been absolutely amazing!! Not only has he been sweet and comforting, he's got the whole apartment straightened out, dishes done, laundry's incredible.

It could be a while before the next update because things are so up in the air, but I'll try to post even brief bits whenever I can.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday morning and I’m waiting for my Fresh Direct delivery to arrive. For you non-Noo Yawkers, Fresh Direct is how you order groceries online. It’s genius because you save time and the sheer physical exertion of dragging your groceries home, but there’s some serious sticker shock in going from Ontario grocery prices to this. New York is so weird like that – some stuff is surprisingly cheap, like cute little neighbourhood restaurants and decent takeout, while 16oz of strawberries are $5 and the good toilet paper is $10. I’m hoping to use Fresh Direct for the big stuff that we need delivered, like cases of water and Red Bull, and then to find a good place in the neighbourhood where we can grocery shop, although I’m not holding out for much better prices – it’s absolutely true when they say it’s actually cheaper to eat out for every meal in NYC than it is to cook for yourself.

Josh arrives tomorrow! I’m so excited that I’m a little sick with it – also probably because the day after that, I go to work. I have the added advantage of having worked at my firm last summer so I know what to expect, but my insides are still all twisted up with the anticipation. Imagine the first day of school jitters compounded with the fear of performing so badly that you’ll be kicked out. It’s times like this where my performance at law school means really nothing – you’re rewarded for doing well on the 100% exams but that doesn’t always necessarily translate into having the practical and social skills necessary to do well in an office environment. Or any common sense for that matter. I briefly worked on a matter last summer with a student from Yale Law School (the best law school in the United States) and she couldn’t figure out how to download publicly available documents about a company from the SEC’s website. Even after I had explained the concept to her. More than once.

It also doesn’t help that the ever-present fear of failure (to which I credit my first year grades!) is exacerbated by such little things as the $36,000 lease I’m accountable for now. Josh might be getting a job where he needs a car, which will cost us around $1200 a month alone when you take into account parking ($350 a month!), insurance, gas and the like. I’ve had many a shivering moment when I realize that if I fail at this I am up shit creek in a more substantial way than I’ve ever experienced before in my life. I'm also responsible for dragging my husband to a new country and starting afresh here. On a bright note - said husband has a job interview for Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When I said I moved to the U.S. for the shopping...

...I was only half kidding. I definitely wasn't kidding when I said this move has caused me to hemmorhage money, but let's not quibble over such minor matters. This shopping is Important. It's work-related. And the $50 per day I'm spending at Duane Reade is apartment-related. And the odd dinner delivery, manicure, pedicure and massage are just the little indulgences I need to get through each week in a strange, frightening city. Hee!

But I digress - the shopping! I went to Century 21 today first - breaking my own rule that I'll only go there obscenely early in the morning to avoid the crowds. I always intend to do that, but it never works, and then when I actually get there it's an absolute zoo. I got a cute soft leather wallet, interesting Calvin Klein tights and Nine West black pumps for around $70 altogether. On the way home I stopped in at Aldo for a bit of "home", where I purchased tan heels, and Banana Republic where I got some new black pants. And the absolute best part?? Vanity sizing! Holy shit, people...the Americans have turned it into a total debacle. I bought a size 0 and it is roomy. Hysterical.

Lest you fear I've become all stomach and frivolity, however, I am spending the day at the Met on Thursday. Balance is key ;).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Surreal sounds about right.

My first week here is coming to a close and I'm still being alternatively pleasantly surprised and alarmed at my new life every day. Most of my waking hours are spent unpacking boxes now and realizing that this apartment will maybe fit 70% of our stuff. Something's going to have to go and my first vote is for Josh's ancient baseball card collection and this god-awful stereo from the late 70's that is quite frankly a fire hazard.

What is completely delightful right now, though, is my apartment building. I knew it was a "full service" building but this is crazy. I called the front desk to ask where I can take my empty boxes and paper out and they sent someone up to collect it - yesterday and today. That's how things are done around here. Also, when you call with a work order there's someone there within fifteen minutes. I know because I've already called about a suspected gas leak (which was confirmed) and a non-functioning fridge (which was not plugged in...yes, I am That Girl). There's a doorman who stands outside specifically to get us cabs. All in all, it's approaching a fair trade off for my $3000 a month and the paltry amount of cupboard space I've been given.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We take a break from our regularly scheduled NY updates... say a little hello to the WB folks who will be visiting! Thanks so much for your kind words, everyone! It's nice to feel that I'll be missed by at least some. I meant what I said, it was a lovely distraction for a bit, and obviously I met some great people, but it seemed like a natural break. Truth be told? It was getting a little weird for me because it felt like I was being flamed for completely ridiculous stuff on a regular basis. I don't mind a sincere, hotly contested debate about things like religion or politics because those things are inherently contentious, but a couple of weeks ago I got flamed for my opinion on skinny jeans. I shit you not. At that point it was like, mmm, yeah...time to move on! I seemed to be getting a reputation for being a very controversial poster as well, and I didn't like that - I'm fully aware that I'm very candid with my thoughts and that won't always endear you to people (!) but I hate that people think I'm looking for arguments or something. Anyway, that's the whole sordid tale that I didn't want to bring up in my final post because I truly hate those "Goodbye Cruel Forum" flounces.

One step closer to being settled!

My stuff arrives today!! Thank god...I've only spent two days in this place with nothing but an airbed and a laptop and I'm already a little nuts. I've also spent a small fortune on eating out and running down to the drug store every couple of hours so hopefully I can start that Special K "diet" I've been talking about for months tomorrow.

Last night my friend C visited after school to check out my new apartment. The original plan was to head down to Chinatown for cheap food and household goods but it was pouring rain and, being princesses, we just headed to the Indian restaurant next to my building for dinner. They have $20 bottles of wine on the menu. Granted it's not J. Lohr or anything spectacular but I don't think I've ever seen such a cheap bottle of wine on a restaurant menu since, well, ever. They have a loyal customer in me already!

After that I'm off to get a library and gym membership so I can squeeze into my suit on the first day of work.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Have news, must start spreading...

Wow, so - I've been an official Noo Yawker for about four days now and I'm oscillating between being deliriously happy and a little stunned too. It shouldn't be this overwhelming, really, seeing that I was here for three months last summer, but it's different when you start to feel like you actually belong here. It's not even like I'm from a small town or anything but it's hard not to feel a little, well, provincial. I honestly felt giddy with happiness when I discovered there is an exellent sushi restaurant literally across the street from my apartment. There's a drugstore downstairs and an Indian restaurant next door. Starbucks is a city block south and Blockbuster is a block north. The subway is a five minute walk for a local train, ten minutes for an express. For the rent I'm paying I frankly should be able to be beamed anywhere I need to go, but this will suffice for now.

I stayed with my friend A in Chelsea for a few days and she was just delightful (much much love to you A!) - she's a mid level associate at a large New York firm and has taken me under her wing a little with advice and introductions. Not only did she insist I stay with her for a few days, but she had set up a whole bunch of social activities for the long weekend as well as tours of where I needed to go to buy initial household items and the cool places to eat and just generally "be seen". On Friday we went out for Mexican in Chelsea; Saturday we had very swanky Italian dinner in Soho and then went to a cozy little wine bar after; Sunday we went for a dinner party in the East Village; and finally today I came home and tackled a whole bunch of household chores I'd been putting off.

I promise to keep you all updated from now on - it's probably more sensible than my former mass emails - and I hope you all keep in touch either here or via email. I'm so glad I got to see most of the Toronto people before I left but those of you I missed I hope to be back in the fall for at least a weekend!


Saturday, August 26, 2006

First off, I'm not starting any more entries with lame excuses about why I haven't kept updated. Suffice to say, no one reads this blog and even if they did there'd be no real need to explain the obvious...essentially, that I'm a shitty blogger.

This last week we had Josh's immigration interview and it seems like everything's a go...unless of course the FBI turns up some funky stuff when they run his fingerprint check! But he assures me it's all good so, wow, mission accomplished. The interview was actually the most pathetic thing evar. We showed up at 7am (btw, we learned all these tips and tricks from the good folks at Visa Journey), were the first people let in at 7:30am, and were basically done and back at our hotel by 9am. About five minutes of that entire process were spent speaking with a human being. I was actually a little annoyed - I mean, after all the expense of the forms, and getting the documents together, and painstakingly filling every durned detail out to their specifications and spending over $800 to fly to Montreal for a freaking day, the least they could do was be thorough, dammit!

The last couple of weeks have been taken up just gradually meeting up with all of my friends to say my goodbyes. I'm sad but can't very overly sappy considering I've barely seen anyone for the last little bit - what with third year being a freaking zoo and the New York bar ruining my life for those few months there. Still, in the back of my mind I can't help but be saddened at the inevitable...this move changes everything. I'll do my best to stay in touch but when you're not in everyone's face it's hard for them to not forget you.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wow I am the saddest blogger of all time. But! Now I have the most amazing incentive to procrastinate! The New York bar exam looms on the horizon - late July - and I oscillate between strange moments of zen-like calm and utter, compete, paralyzing fear.

Today was a sort of shitty day, something less than a shining moment for me in that I think I may have been unintentionally (well, somewhat) snarky to someone who may or may not have been giving me attitude. What's worse is that a friend of mine called me on it and I basically told her to shove it. Oy. I hope she'll be talking to me tomorrow! I briefly considered apologizing but then scrapped that. Realistically, I'm not sorry, and I'm still pissed off at the 'tude. So forget it!

Otherwise things have been lame around here. I struggle to get any productive work done, waste copious amounts of time online and that's pretty much it. We're "dieting" again in preparation for our holiday to Mexico in late July. I've been riding the bike for about 50 minutes a day and frankly I'm not seeing results yet. So tonight I figured, shitty day, I deserve a beer, which I drank with my not-particularly-health tuna melt.

HU out - best show EVAR about to start.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Why can't you people take a joke??

NBC just ran a couple of spoof public service ads during Will & Grace and they were totally hysterical...for people with more sense than a grasshopper I guess. It featured actors from The Office - Pam and Ryan - doing those "The More You Know" bits. Pam encouraged people to keep the information cards from wedding invitations rather than call the bride three days before the wedding, while Ryan insisted that 5'8" is not short for a man - check your almanac. Hee-larious!

Do you need to actually watch the show to get that those are supposed to be funny? Someone on my favourite message board just complained that those were hardly public service announcements, more like trivia! Oy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Back with something to say!

I couldn't tolerate Josh's mocking me for having a lame blog. I can't imagine it'll be a lot cooler at the end of this post but it won't be so embarassingly bare.

Today's pretty momentous, in that it's a day that occurs every few months at my house. Josh and I are "dieting", which generally means that for a couple of weeks we won't order takeout or go out for dinner. At least not until the weekend. Tonight's meal is fish - salmon - which Josh makes a big deal of hating but I think he secretly likes. It's getting impossible to keep making dishes that he likes, that are still low fat, fairly easy to prepare and not extremely expensive. He's a darling man, tidies all the time, in fact picks up after me, but he can't cook and has no imagination for new dishes. But of course he likes food and is critical of a whole bunch of things I like! Fish, curry, soup, "ethnic" food and the like.

Will return with update on results!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's a little embarassing to think I'm actually jumping on the blogging bandwagon at this late date. So two years ago and all that. But I figure I spend enough time on line that I must have something to contribute. And I like to talk. I lurve it, in fact. I know my husband is going to say it's "so gay" but I'll bet he bookmarks it.

More to come.