Saturday, February 17, 2007

What's with the 'tude...

About etiquette? Seriously? As if using the right fork and stationery were ever meant to be so inflammatory!

Of course...anyone who knows anything about etiquette would know that it's hardly about cutlery and inner envelopes. It's about respect, courtesy, graciousness, thoughtfulness, generosity...all those things that never go out of style and are not only things that miserable old biddies with wagging fingers care about.

One issue that particularly interests me is how people who are anti-etiquette have been successful as recasting it as a class issue. I guess that's not surprising when harpies like these get play in the popular media (they had good advice in some cases but honestly, the pearl-clutching, modern martini-eschewing, Sinatra-worshipping really grated on me). I don't care about white after Labour Day, I care about good manners, and it's such a crying shame that some people seem to think that only snobby people would concern themselves with being mannerly. There is one particular poster on a forum who I would dearly love to slap, hard. She keeps screeching about how etiquette was made up by rich people and how she loves to rub her "poverty" in their faces by doing crass things. ??? As if etiquette finds poverty to be crass! What's crass is people straining to live beyond their means and expecting other people to bankroll it. There is no shame in living and entertaining simply...I would have far more respect for someone who had a lovely dessert and coffee wedding reception for everyone they wanted there than someone who felt that they had to make a big splash at a fancy hotel and then asked for cash gifts and asked me to pay for my own drinks and dinner after they clearly B-listed me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Reading over yesterday's post, I realized two things. One, that was a crazy jumble of unconnected thoughts...and two, I forgot to mention something kind of cool that happened last week. I was admitted to the bar! I am actually a lawyer now, licensed to practice in New York, appear in state court, give advice and all...and in more realistic (and immediately likely) terms, I get my own business cards and finally get to use firm letterhead to write my letters.

I'm sure some of you are like "What?? You haven't been a lawyer all this time?" It's a loooong, drawn out process! First you graduate from law school, then you write the bar exam plus an ethics exam, then you fill out a painful application and send them eleventy million references, then you show up for a character and fitness "interview", THEN, if nothing's screwed up along the way, you take the oath of office and tada. Done.

And now, for fun times, pictures of Fergus the dog.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It seems as though winter is finally gracing us with her presence, just in time for Valentine's Day tomorrow. A majorly shitty thing about NYC? You don't "get" snow days. If the subway's still working, you're going to work. Still, it's okay, it'll be nice to visit the flowers Josh sent me at work today! They were some beautiful favorite! Can't wait to see if they've opened up and to smell their springy goodness!

Things have been mercifully quiet although work is definitely gearing up in preparation for the April start date of our trial (although we recently filed a motion for adjournment...pray that we get a decision soon!). We are now starting 9:30am conference calls to keep the partners abreast of what we're working on. Bleeeurgh.

Fergus is growing by leaps and bounds and actually going outside to potty now!! We took him for his first walks, all over the Upper East Side this weekend. He went to Petco and sniffed many a dog's butt. Good times. At first he was wrenching and pulling and scurrying all over the place - it took us like ten minutes to walk three blocks! - but he was in better shape on the way home. The guy loves attention - gotta give him that. People keep stopping and fussing over him and he eats it up shamelessly. It's the perfect amount of physical activity in the winter, really!

I just had to go to a new salon for an appointment this last weekend and I found myself in a stunning part of the Upper East Side I'd never seen before. Who knew? Madison in the upper 50's...stunning! Bitter jealousy-inducing! My salon was in the Fuller Building, adjacent to a Prada (but of course). That's the stuff fantasies of Manhattan are made deco buildings, fabulousy expensive boutiques and couturiers, tree lined streets, yellow cabs and sleek Lincoln towncars and limos lounging outside the Hermes nonchalantly. Reality, of course, is jockeying for position on the 4 train in the morning, trying not to have your butt get too close to the pervy looking guy behind you and praying hard that the next sudden stop or lurch doesn't send you sprawling.

I did some really good pro bono work today. Not that I don't love my other cases, but they're more like your standard issue litigation which will go on and on and on until I'm dead and the worms are eating me. This was a Wills Clinic shift at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, where we draft and execute estate planning documents for indigent AIDS patients. We executed a will, power of attorney and health care proxy for two clients today. It's great work in that you get to see results almost immediately when you hand those documents over...but wow, so weird to sit there and talk to someone really calmly about their funeral arrangements and have them be an imminent reality. Not necessarily super imminent, of course, as AIDS patients can live very long and mostly healthy lives nowadays, but still. We actually have done bedside visits for very ill clients. This time was the ceremonial/formal parts of document execution (a lot of signing, legalese, notarizing, etc) but next time I'd like to do a first interview and actually discuss estate planning.

Oh, forgot to mention, almost. I went to my first New York City Ballet performance at the Lincoln Center last week. It was really so lovely. A huge perk of my job is getting free tickets to hockey games (Josh went the week before) and other cultural events. As much as I love the arts, it's not really in the New Regime (i.e.: living on a budget) to pay $80 a ticket for me to see this stuff on my own.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Blissful quiet...9:30 on a Saturday morning, Josh is at the gym, the dog's in his crate and all's well with the world.

Uneventful week on this front. I ate like utter crap and will continue this trend into tomorrow with my Super Bowl party. I've actually been avoiding one of my favourite blogs (MrBunsRocks', for those of you who haven't checked it out) because she recently conducted a Vegan Week experiment and I'm sure she's brimming with stories of her virtuousness. I, on the other hand, have carb bloat and my butt hurts from sitting squarely on it all week. I fully plan to work out when I get back from this morning's meeting with our investment advisor (hee! I feel so grown up) while watching 10 Things I Hate About You and reading last month's Vanity Fair. That's after we swing by the Crate & Barrel at Madison & 59th to pick up a few party supplies for tomorrow.

Work's been fairly lame. I had a bit of a meltdown this week where I decided I was going to another firm because people at my firm are Sew Meen. Then I calmed down after talking to my friend who is a fourth year at my firm. Honestly, people aren't really so much mean as they are...well, busy. No one really has time to look out for the juniors. It sucks, but I guess part of being "grown" is sucking up the little disappointments and as Lizzy would put it, putting on your big girl panties and dealing with it. Sometimes I think I'm just too soft and squishy for BigLaw. Thank god I'm not in corporate, where the super cold and uncaring bastards are. Litigators tend to have more humanity about them. On the Houston front, an appellate court will be hearing an important issue in my case next week and hopefully shortly after that we'll know if the case is going to go ahead more or less as scheduled. Wouldn't that be New York-based blog all of a sudden turns into The Trials and Tribulations of a Baby Lawyer in Podunk, Texas. With shining examples of literary genius in such entries as "Had Taco Bell for lunch today. Awfully hot out. This hotel bed's pretty far as hotel beds go."

I've spent way too much time on the Internet lately, particularly at a Canada-based wedding board which I was supposed to have left a long, long time ago. It reminds me of home, so much, and there are some sweet and smart people on there, although sometimes I really have to give my head a shake and remind myself about why I "left" in the fall. There's this really pervasive attitude on there that if you don't subscribe to the school of "It's YOUR wedding! Do what YOU WANT!" then you're an evil judgmental bitch. I used to flinch against that epithet - judgmental - but honestly, I'm beginning to wonder if the negative connotations of the word have overtaken the fundamental meaning behind it. Because really, what are we without judgment? I don't judge people for essentially harmless practices that I think are just silly (such as vow renewals - another topic of discussion at a different forum) - but I come down harder on other things that I find inconsiderate or as my first year philosophy prof called it, actions that are "Other-regarding". Like, I just can't believe that it has to be explained that one's guests should be told whether they are witnessing a "wedding", based on common societal expectations and the bare definition of the word, or what is essentially a "commitment ceremony", particularly where they're flying their asses out to Mexico to attend. And the people who justify not disclosing this salient fact do so on such grounds as "the guests might not take it as seriously if they knew it wasn't a legal wedding." ?!? So you get to make that decision for them? I think somewhere along the line brides have been fed this nauseating idea that the day is All About Them. In a basic, obvious sense, yes, of course the day is about the couple and their love, etc, but to me, the principles of hospitality still trump. When you're inviting people to share that day (which is pretty integral to the process, otherwise you wouldn't invite anyone!), their comfort and enjoyment takes priority. But try telling a forum full of single-minded brides this and you're the nasty "harsh" judgmental pariah. Hooey.

Okay, enough of that. I know a lot of girls from there read here, and I don't want to offend anyone, but it does get frustrating that the discourse can be so incredibly one-sided. Who knows, if I'd spent tens of thousands on my wedding, I'd probably have gotten quite single-minded myself. I can only hope Miss Manners would have kept me grounded ;).

I should get moving. Hey - best of luck to you, Ali, if you're reading! (Ali's my brother, who is writing the LSAT next week...hopefully I haven't totally terrified you with my whining about'll be great.)