Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Little-known facts about yours truly

It's that time again, kiddies. Awards season is upon us. Thanks goes out to R. Wallis over at True Beauty who nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger award! This award, as with most blog awards, comes with the ol' post-seven-things-about-yourself provision, then nominate seven other blogs you like to do the same. (Why seven? I don't know.)

Here are my seven facts:
  • Even though I usually wish the best for people, I selfishly reviled in some news I heard recently about one of the "popular" guys from my high school that always had straight As, good looks, any girl he wanted (yes, I too liked him in 8th grade) and was destined for Harvard. Oh did I also mention he was a jerk in the vein of Mike Dexter in Can't Hardly Wait? Anyway according to Facebook he now lives in Philadelphia and is going to a third-tier medical school. Double whammy. So petty yet so satisfying. (The immature side of me wants to gloat: "That's what you get for being a prick to me in junior high!")
  • I take things too personally most of the time. I can't believe I'm admitting that here, but this post is supposed to be honest, so there you have it. Surprisingly I still consider myself a confident person, I just think I'm too sensitive and definitely too emotional. (Which is hysterical when things go well, not so funny when things go bad.
  • Part of me secretly wishes I could try this with my hair, even for just a day.
  • When I was a teen, there was nothing I wanted more than to be like Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith's "Cryin" music video. Two words: Bad ass. How could you not be after bungee jumping off a freeway overpass in LA and flipping your good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend off? Yeah, exactly. Also loved her with Liv Tyler in the "Crazy" music video.
  • Though many of you probably think it's tacky, I adore leopard. It's my favorite print and I can't get enough of it. I was never all Liberace with it, but I've definitely toned down my obsession (my comforter, poppasan chair, bikini, makeup bag -- it all used to be leopard. Rowrrr.). Now only the inside lining of my handbag and my bikini are blessed with this print. Ugh, I've become so boring.
  • I have an odd fascination with the Kardashians. I have no idea why.
  • I might have mentioned this before, but I am deathly afraid of spiders, no matter what size. Every night, the last thing I do before I go to bed is scan the walls and ceiling for any spiders. It's become a ritual. I've actually found some before during my nightly scans and had J smash them after my freak-out sessions over spotting them. My advice to fellow arachnophobics out there? Don't leave any stone unturned ... especially if you don't want to wake up with a daddy longlegs crawling across your face. And if you're single, perhaps it's time to invest in one of these bad boys:

Yes, that is a distance bug vacuum. Brilliant.

I love all of you, but since I'm limited to this mysterious number seven, I nominate:

Mandy @ Mandy's Life After 30
Chloe @ Naturally Frugal
Carolyn @ Hang on Little Tomato
Penny @ La Belle Dame Sans Nice
Suzanne @ Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness
Tamela @ A Brunette Making it One Day at a Time
Kevin @ Something Like That

Monday, September 28, 2009


"F*ck me, I love Keats." - Daniel Cleaver

All right, I'm just going to come out and say it. I hate living on a budget. I know, I know, why the hell did I name my blog after such a personal abomination? Well, because for right now (in my late 20s, at least) I'm on one, and even more so after quitting my job.

Most of the time I completely forget I'm on a budget because I have and/or buy whatever I want. But there are other times -- like, um, Saturday morning when J and I sat down and looked over our spending for this last month -- when you realize you've been a little too breezy in some fiscal areas of your life. Take groceries. We usually spend about $250 to $300 a month in our combined Costco/Trader Joe's journeys. This month? So far we've spent over $400 ... and I'm already out of diet root beer. Ugh. We both balked when we realized this overall total, especially since we've been eating out constantly (Baja Fresh, you are ruining my life) and we spent another combined $100 at CVS and Rite Aid.

"What do we even buy at the drug store?" J asked, completely bewildered.

"Um, candy and beer," I responded.

"You mean to tell me we spent one hundred dollars on Swedish fish and Miller High Life?" asked J, even more surprised because we aren't big beer drinkers ... and he thought he was in some way cheating the system by buying one of the cheaper, albeit "champagne of", beers.

"Yup," I answered ... a faraway look of disbelief in my eyes.

So, after we scrutinized our recent finances, we've decided we need to clamp down on our spending ... as in, not spend at all (okay, I admit allotting $80 a month to our "Target needs" is still spending, but to me it's like not spending at all). This is how it's going to be, at least from now until we move in 8 months. After all, J's Bar fees are ridic and moving expenses will add up.

Being the masochist I am, I forced J to come shopping with me at the mall that very same day and used him as my financial barometer. The typical convo that ensued:

Me: "Ooooh this is cUUUUuuuute ...." (I hold up a dress/necklace/sweater/pair of shoes/peacock-feather headband in J's stolid face.)

J: "Yeah, but do you really need it? It's a short-sleeved dress and the temps are dropping, you wouldn't be able to wear it for another six months."

Me: "I know, but it's SO cute!..."

J: (Sighs). "Do what you want, but do you not want to be able to move back to California because you spent all our money on dresses and headbands and 'cute' pink doggie-poop-bag holders that you don't even need?"

(Twisted look of frustration pervades my face, and I angrily stuff said dress back into rack/fling said headband back onto shelf/leave said pink doggie-poop-bag holder next to cash register.)

Then I festered in self-pity and pouted in the car ride home until J -- again, my genius voice of reason -- says "You know, it's a trade-off. Would you rather be doing what you did before and shopping all the time, or working on your book and not spending much money?"

Sigh. How can I argue with this?

Looking at it like that, hell no. I would not want to do what I was doing before, no matter how much I got paid, and I am SO HAPPY that I instead get to do what satisfies and inspires me. It turns out true freedom is never free (as our budget so deftly points out).

"If you want to be an artist, you're going to have to live like one," J said.

Leave it to J to boil it down to an absolutely excellent, valid, puts-things-into-perspective point. He's right. I've never had to live the life of an artist, so I didn't know what to expect. And even though I loathe living on a budget, I'll do so because while it may seem that I'm irate now, I was even more exasperated before with my other career and all the money I had. Go figure.

Of course our limited spending also means limited spending on our "outings", like going to the movies and incessantly eating out at restaurants. But J had an excellent idea Sunday morning -- why don't we read to each other? "It's free," he pointed out. As if that was the major draw with his idea.

"Oh my god," I thought. "So Victorian, so romantic, so Bridget-Jones-and-Daniel-Cleaver-reading-Keats-in-their-rowboats." (Note: In real life J is, was and always has been Mark Darcy.) I was definitely in. I love reading and analyzing lit, and J is the perfect person to do it with. So that afternoon we took a Starbuck's gift card we had lying around, ordered a couple coffees and read Heart of Darkness to each other at a table near a window. Didn't cost a thing, and I loved every minute of it. We decided it's going to be "our thing", and I've already gotten out my old Hemingway short stories to read aloud next. I guess being on a budget right now isn't as bad as I originally thought?...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Your weekly cup of Zoe

I'm elated to see that I'm not the only one who (shamefully?) hearts the hilarity that is Rachel Zoe. Her assistants Brad and Taylor, her penchant for boho muumuus, her interaction with husband Rodger, who's been called "Rod Blagojevich in a Zac Efron wig". Yes, these are all comedic in their own right. But the true entertainment value of her show shines through with her random and oft-clueless quotes on profound topics like life, work, Ashton and Demi, and fashion. (Two episodes ago she mentioned that she "loves herself a sequin." See? Sequins are doable.) As one reader put it, "she's a hot mess, but that's why we all love her."

Anyway, her musings are too hysterical and/or poignant to let fade away into the cable television abyss, so I'll be compiling the best here for a weekly cup of Zoe. Email me if you've got any gems to share and I'll include them.

The new must-have Fall accessory: a Brad.

"Nothing makes a woman feel better than a whole slew of gay men cheering you on, striking poses and just making you feel good about yourself and making you laugh when you're feeling insecure."
- Rachel Zoe

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

For the last time, it's NOT Bildoe Baggins

On Thursday my husband's friend Billy flew out to visit us from San Diego for a fun-filled weekend of Mojitos and general debauchery. They've known each other for years, after first meeting when they worked as baristas in a San Diego Starbucks. Just before J proposed to me I met Billy and instantly loved him. He's just like that -- always the one that "gets the party started", charming everyone with his humor, charisma and tan good looks. In short, everybody is friends with Billy. You know the type.

Well, that charisma began to wane a bit this weekend. Don't get me wrong, we all had lots of fun reminiscing and taking him around DC since it was his first time here, but I began to quickly notice that Billy does, in fact, have one flaw that most would probably not even notice: He knows as much about pop culture (and other things) as my grandparents probably know about the '90s rap scene in South Central LA. (Insert long, exasperated sigh here.)

Normally it's not that big of a deal. I've met my fair share of those who just have no clue what I'm talking about when I refer to Carmen Electra's humble beginnings with Prince, or I allude to the fact that Nicholas Cage had a 3-second role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High ... and a year later went on to headline as "Randy" in Valley Girl opposite Deborah Foreman. "Who's Deborah Foreman?" they ask. Okay, I get it. Not everyone knows these things, and really, they could care less. I don't even know how I know these things. They just stick in the smorgasbord of trivia and facts that is my mind and never leave. Kind of like the darts on those velcro dart boards we used to play with as kids. But even though I admit I probably know more useless pop culture trivia than most, it never ceases to amaze me at just how little some people know. And if you tell me it's because they actually know important things, you are so wrong, my little dung beetle. I do know some -- like my dad -- who can espouse any sort of calculus or physics you'd need at a moment's notice ... and yet he still knows that The Bee Gees penned Barbra Streisand's hit "Woman in Love," or that Neil Young actually wrote Nicolette Sheridan's "Lotta Love." (Disclaimer: My father despises The Bee Gees, yet he still knows these things.)

So here we are. Back to Billy. He's 26, has a Netflix account, uses the Internet on a normal basis and has friends who seem to have a handle on most things, even when they're surfing, smoking the mary jane, or building skateboarding half-pipes in their driveways. (Did I already point out they're from San Diego?) Anyway, I know that not all is lost since he's a self-professed Grey's Anatomy fan and "says" he loves Mad Men ... even though he missed the entire Season 2. (Don't worry, I fixed this during his visit. I can now proudly assert that yes, it is possible to cram an entire season into two days. Just make sure you've got the martinis flowing.)

But some of the things he'd ask or tell us made me gawk at him like he'd been born on another planet. It was maddening. Perhaps it was because the weekend didn't kick off to a good start for me -- what with J's sour job news and me surfing the crimson wave -- but it's always bothered me when a group of us will be laughing and I'll bring up some movie quote or song lyric and one person (in this case, Billy) sits there clueless, asking "What? what? I don't get it," as they laugh. If you don't get it, then why the hell are you laughing?! I want to ask, but at this point said person already has to be embarrassed. Right? And of course, when the "in" joke is repeated it's not funny anymore.

But I digress. Some highlights from the weekend:
  • J and I found a pub called "Bilbo Baggins Tavern" that we wanted to take Billy to, thinking it was a cool take on the Tolkien book and he'd appreciate it as much as we did. Silly us. Apparently Billy not only has never read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, he had no idea that a character named Bilbo Baggins even existed in the literary sphere. He told us that one of his co-workers calls him that at work, and that same co-worker must have visited this little pub because where else would he get that name? (Cue crickets chirping.) We explained to him where it actually came from, and he said he just figured it was a play off his name Billy. Um, no. And the next day he brought it up again, saying "Bildoe Baggins is such a funny name." Just ... no. In my mind I was banging my head against an imaginary desk.
  • Billy had never heard of the "fail" blog, or any of those viral "fail" videos that have made the rounds on Youtube. Okay, not a huge deal. But it turns out he's never really used Youtube in his life. He just figured everyone he knew used the term "fail" as an inside joke, not because they had seen some funny 2-minute video on Youtube. That single word has entered our generation's lexicon for a reason. Learn why.
  • There's a character on Mad Men named Freddy Rumsen. Hilarious man who ended up not only helping Peggy move up in the office ranks, but also pissed himself after getting too drunk before a big meeting. Billy loves Freddy Rumsen, recognizes him well enough to pick him out of a line up. What does he call him when we're analyzing Freddy Rumsen over dinner? Teddy Ruxpin. Repeatedly. As in "I can't believe that scene when Teddy Ruxpin peed on himself." At this point I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Epic fail.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

No more pouting

After I dropped J off at school I had a good cry yesterday and vowed to not be sad about this whole shiteous debacle anymore. The way I look at it is if Britney Spears can overcome two failed marriages, a drug problem, temporarily losing custody of her children, gaining a bunch of weight, shaving her head and maniacally attacking paparazzi with the butt of an umbrella while still emerging as a well-respected pop star, well, then I can certainly pull myself out of the doldrums handed to me by a pathetic little law firm passing on my brilliant J.

My decision to shrug off the bad news was based on one question: WWJD? If you're thinking "What Would Jesus Do", um, no. I don't swing that way. More like:

What would Jackie do?

What would Johnny do?

What would James do?

Yes, I look up to all these people for different reasons, be they fictional characters or otherwise. They are the trifecta of cool. Each one overcame their obstacles (hello? I'd like to see you escape from being pinned to a table with a deadly laser inching toward your crotch) and did so with class and style.

But, I suppose the real overarching question here that I've been unwittingly avoiding is: What would Don Draper do?

I'll tell you what he'd do. He'd sit and brood alone with a cigarette and a glass of scotch at the end of a smoke-filled bar, and think things like:
"Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car… It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay."
"Mourning is just extended self-pity. In New Guinea, pygmies grind up their ancestors and drink the powder in a beer."
(Quotes are both from season 1.) Then he'd finish his scotch, light another Lucky Strike cigarette and be over it. Damn, that guy is smooth.

So I took Don's approach to it and simply reminded myself that J and I are a young, educated couple who are resilient and can prevail over any curveball thrown our way. There will be many rejections for both of us in our lives, and that's okay. It's not the end of the world. Is anything, really? (Besides being homeless, hungry and slowly dying of throat cancer, like a man my dad told me he saw the other day?) So yeah, rejection sucks, but it's a part of life. I suppose if we never got rejected, we'd never know how fulfilling it is to finally attain success. And like Don said, mourning is just extended self-pity...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bob Seger saves the day find out where we're moving to next June.

So it looks like my plan of avoiding both Peter Griffin and my mailbox failed. Miserably. The letter came yesterday. I didn't check my mailbox till late last night -- both J and I decided to open it as sparingly as possible this week. All I can say is damn you, curiosity. Once again, you've gotten the best of me. *Raises clenched fist to the sky.*

I was having an excellent day, singing along to the radio at the top of my lungs in the car and proudly wearing my new six-dollar eye shadow as if it was a new Dior dress. I felt hot, sassy and in control. I even chatted with Peter Griffin a bit, just to brighten his perverted day. But later all that didn't matter.

I suddenly felt sick when I opened the little aluminum door and saw the back of the single, ecru envelope sitting inside. Kind of like someone had punched me hard in the chest, or like the time I belly flopped into a pool after one too many margaritas and gotten the wind knocked out of me. I thought I was going to hurl. I took the letter to our apartment, handed it to J, then -- even though I told myself I wasn't going to cry -- shed a lone teardrop. Oh the dramatics. "Great," I thought, "now, on top of everything else, I'm carrying on like a tacky supporting character in a Lifetime movie."

And of COURSE the day the letter came was a day when we got no other mail -- not even the usual pile of junk inserts that make me feel like a semi-important person for having to sift through them. That was the salt in the wound. Is it too much to ask to somehow find a way back West? Also, whether we could go back home for Thanksgiving hinged on this job. Now that it's gone we don't want to spend our savings on $1,200 worth of plane tickets for a four-day weekend, so it looks like this will be the second year I'll have to Skype my family over turkey dinner. Someone up there must really hate me -- first the Patrick Swayze news, now this.

J took the bad news as he usually does: even-keel and stolid. The man has nerves of steel. Unlike me, things just don't get to him. I'm the hyper-emotional one; he's the rational one. If this was The Birdcage, he'd be Robin Williams and I'd be Nathan Lane, begging for my aspirins "with the little A's scratched off". So after about an hour of sitting in silence, me wondering whether it was a good time to suggest my brilliant idea of living out of a VW Bus and pretending we're hippies on a trip across America, he simply said "Well, that's that. Nothing we can do now, just keep looking." The problem, my fine-feathered friends, is that there's nothing to look for -- there are almost NO jobs!!!* Sure, I have the luxury of sleeping in a hippie bus and living off Costco samples, but that's because I have no debt. His expected debt is oppressive.

Anyway, he went on to reassure me that this doesn't mean that we won't move back to California after graduation, it just makes the search narrower and harder. This opportunity would have been a diamond in the rough. "Stupid collapsed state budget," I mumbled.

Well, after his pitiful attempt at cheering us both up, it was my turn. I put on Bob Seger's "Night Moves", cranked up the volume and opened a bottle of red for us ... the bottle we were saving to celebrate with when he got a job. Eff it, I thought. Rules were made to be broken anyway.

(Photo source.)

*Except here in good ol' DC, and I refuse ... refuse ... to stay here. I told him my "contract" was for three years -- the duration of his school's program -- and after that I'm outta here.** I've also recently added that I refuse to have babies here, so if he doesn't want a family, then he can stay.

**Realistically I cannot live without J, but reiterating this "contract" bit seems to scare him enough into not getting too comfy with the job market here. That's what he gets for marrying someone he's referred to as "slightly deranged." Muwahahaha.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Burt's Bees, Rachel Zoe and The New Yorker


I've been told I occasionally have the temperament of a Chihuahua, so it comes as no surprise that I'm still freaking out about my husband's job in Newport Beach. Did he or didn't he get it? If we get a call it's a good thing; a letter in the mail, a bad thing. So now, on top of covertly avoiding my perverted 42-year-old neighbor who looks like Peter Griffin from Family Guy and "just happens" to always check his mail at the same time as me no matter the hour, I'm also avoiding our mailbox. I'm beyond tempted to call the firm anonymously and yell: "Look I understand you hot-shot lawyers are busy or so you make it seem, but convene already and make a decision about my husband!!! Jesus Christ, you people make me SICK. " But alas, that tactic would only work in my fantasy world. In reality? Epic fail. I'm in purgatory and can do nothing more than pick incessantly at my lips and finger nail polish, which is what I do when I'm nervous. I suppose it's better than chain-smoking or doing crack, but I've been buying a lot more Burt's Bee's Lip Balm and nail polish lately...

Anyway, my sister emailed me yesterday from Santiago, Chile, where she and my mom arrived earlier this week. My dad is flying down next week to meet up with them in Santiago, where they will commence their Hollywood blockbuster of a road trip. Two words: Flipping jealous.While they're out gallivanting around the Andes, imbibing on spirits and having a jolly time frolicking across the hallowed grounds of Machu Picchu, I'll be sitting here in my husband's polar bear pajama pants fretting about someone else's job and cleaning cat vomit out of my carpet. Oh how the mighty do fall.

On a brighter note I submitted my first humor piece to The New Yorker on Monday. The chances of getting it published -- heck, much less looked at -- are probably even more dismal than running into a shirtless Matthew McConaughey and his rippling biceps in Malibu (sigh), but it never hurts to throw my hat in the ring and see what I can hook right? Let's see if I can win the lottery. Mama wants a new Buick.

Oh and the other day I went out to happy hour with my husband and friend, and I learned that two half-price pitchers of Sangria between three people who haven't eaten dinner yet always makes a Monday night delightful. Not only that, it makes watching my DVR-ed episodes of "The Rachel Zoe Project" thatmuch funnier. Thank you Sangria, and thank you Rachel Zoe.

(Photo Source)

Monday, September 14, 2009

He's like the wind

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze.

When I was in 4th grade, my world consisted of two movies: Grease and Dirty Dancing. I was convinced that my soon-to-be high school experience would resemble Grease in at least its musical numbers (sadly, this was not so), and I was convinced that my soon-to-be love life would resemble Dirty Dancing in that I would meet my soulmate on a family roadtrip to a mountain resort. Sadly, this too was not so, though I can live with my fate of instead marrying another kind of soulmate.

Nevertheless in 4th grade, the stars of these two movies were it. It was John Travolta and Patrick Swayze, mano y mano, in my table-group debates with girlfriends about the strengths of each man ... like we even knew what a real man was back then at 9 years old. (Tom Cruise playing "Maverick" from Top Gun was always runner-up behind these two "hunks", as we called them. Zack Morris, who was a "boy" compared to these "men", we'd retort, was a distant third.) I loved me some Travolta, but was always on Team Swayze, without a doubt. I would recall to my table-group friends, while some dug into their snack bags and nibbled on pretzels during break time, that Patrick Swayze was a legend in his own right ... a modern-day Rudolph Valentino, if you will.

"Do you remember the scene from Dirty Dancing where he finally broke down in his room with Baby and admitted that he envied how strong she was?" I would ask, and they would nod, pretzel crumbs sprinkled down the fronts of their shirts. "That's a real man," I'd say, pointing at them, assured in my conviction. His chiseled features. His smile. His endearing dance moves, even when he was forced to do the merengue. For much of my young life, I remember using Patrick Swayze as a marker for what I wanted in a man, and it wasn't just because of his roll in Dirty Dancing (although it was my favorite). Roadhouse, Ghost, Point Break, heck -- even Too Wong Foo -- I grew up with Patrick, and therefore it saddens me to hear, as I read the news tonight, that he's died at the young age of 57.

It's just another day when famous people in your parents' or grandparents' generations pass on, inevitable of their old age. It's quite another when someone you've grown up with, and even heralded in elementary school, dies. I can't believe he's gone. As I listen to his recording of "She's like the Wind" on repeat, I can't help but think it's like the passing of an ideal, yet I suppose such is the way of life. I have no words.

Random thought

"A great social success is a pretty girl who plays her cards as carefully as if she were plain."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Friday, September 11, 2009


I realized last Sunday that I am sublimely happy. Like, happier than I think I've ever been. Life is good.

The feeling came out of nowhere while I was waiting in my car at the airport to pick up my husband. All of sudden, sitting there alone listening to Gloria Estefan's "Conga" on my iPod, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm -- kind of like being in the eye of a tornado. All I could do was smile. It was the feeling of ultimate freedom.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older and can appreciate the details in life that elude so many of us in our youth, but I started thinking about things and came up (quite easily) with this laundry list of where I am right now:
  • 100% healthy.
  • Friends and family are all healthy.
  • Just got back from a fabulous trip to never-before seen countries.
  • Wake up every day beyond ecstatic that no one owns my time except me.
  • Money situation is stress-free, thanks to all the saving done within the last year (can afford to comfortably buy not only what I need, but also what I want ... like these. To quote Rachel Zoe: "I die.").
  • Have a fabulous family and circle of friends.
  • Married to an amazing man that not only makes me laugh constantly, but inspires me to be the best and work hard at whatever I choose.
  • Do what I love every day: Write.
  • Live daily in a country that is relatively safe compared to many, many others in the world. (Warring mujaheddin and/or bombs flying overhead in the dead of night would not be conducive to a good sleep!)
I think the most important thing on this list is the fact that I am healthy. I appreciate this above anything else, because even though one can buy better treatment for illnesses, they cannot buy excellent health (just look at Steve Jobs). As weird as it sounds, I'm so, soo thankful that I still have the ability to use my hands and fingers, that I can stand on my feet without wheelchairs or crutches and that I have no chronic problems or impediments. Sometimes I see people my age and older who are obviously going through chemotherapy or are confined to motorized wheelchairs with breathing machines and it crushes me. It's a constant reminder of how much I have to be happy about. If you're in good health, then the sky is the limit in terms of what you are capable of accomplishing. It's a liberating thing to realize. (Hats off to people who persevere in the face of adversity and overcome their health-related obstacles.)

Do you ever stop to think about how lucky you are, even when you feel like the world is weighing on your shoulders and you've seemingly got nothing to feel lucky about? I think a lot of us -- me included! -- tend to focus on the negative and what's "wrong" in our lives. Once in a while stop to think about what's "right" in your life. It might surprise you to see just how much of your life is actually positive. Understanding this can be as soothing as a mellow Bob Marley song, telling you that everything's going to be "okay".

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Waiting to exhale

Oy, and the waiting begins.

It sounds like my husband's interview on Friday went fabulously. He met with five lawyers at the firm (two partners, three associates) and they all seemed to like the fact that he's been exposed to real-world practice during his time in law school, which would make his transition into full-time litigation easier. (Hoofing it at all those extra internships with judges and pro-bono efforts hopefully paid off.)

Now all we can do is wait to hear back from them ... and it's KILLING us!! Typically you're supposed to hear back within two weeks, so it's still early, but with every passing business day (three so far) I'm secretly getting more and more disheartened, even though I'm not showing it. I'm an impatient person, and I expect answers right away, but I guess this is a good test for me. After all, it's not like they were going to give him an answer on the spot and in-person (although that's what I expected at MY interview for my last job, and subsequently sat in the throes of agony until I got offered the job two weeks later). So reminder to self: Patience, grasshopper.

The best thing I can do for him and us is stay positive and optimistic about our future, with or without this Newport job. I'm lucky to be married to a guy who is more than positive and supportive of my career decisions (he says that he can't wait to someday say he's married to a novelist -- haha), so the least I can do is stay positive for him too, even though I'm scared.

My dad pointed out the other day on the phone that it's not the end of the world if my husband doesn't land this job, and I know it isn't. But he deserves it just as much if not more than most, what with his background and steely work ethic, and I hope he gets rewarded for the hard labor he's put in to his career.

To make him laugh and cheer him on during the wait, I ordered "The OC: Season 1" off Amazon ($6 total used!) and we had a back-to-back marathon all Sunday and Monday. I've always been a big fan of the "The OC", and thought now was the perfect excuse to educate my husband in the ways of Newport Beach and Marissa Cooper, since he'd never even seen one. flipping. episode. (Yeah, I know.) I'm happy to report that he loves the show (good man), and Season 2 has been ordered and on its way. Let's just hope all those hours of prime-time drama were for naught!

Friday, September 4, 2009


One of the hardest hit careers during this recession has been those in the legal field; this I know firsthand from my husband. Earlier this year there was one particular day -- I believe it was dubbed "bloody Friday" -- when over a thousand lawyers were laid off at firms big and small across the country. It was a scary thing considering that the legal community is a rather small one compared to others, but it was also more unnerving than usual since this is the year my husband finds out where he'll be starting his career after graduation in May 2010. (Cue frustration and anguish in his voice every time he talks about it, especially when he's hearing that all his friends who summered at Big Firms weren't extended job offers and so they, too, are scrambling to find jobs for post-graduation.) This NY Times story sums it up nicely.

We don't need much to live on, and I made it clear even before our wedding day that I'd rather see more of him and be poor then never see him and be rich. But he says the looming problem in needing to land a huge job after school is that he needs to pay off his law school loans, which, even though he received a $75,000 scholarship upon admittance, will still come out to about $125,000. Let's just say we worked out the numbers and it would be like paying a small mortgage off every month -- which was doable pre-recession when many law students made $160,000 their first year out of school and could pay their loans off in the first five years. Let's just that "norm" has definitely changed. Sigh.

Well, I've got some semi-good news (fingers crossed!). He's been watching his school job boards like a hawk and last week saw that a Newport Beach firm was going to be on campus the last week of August, interviewing for summer associates for next year. Turns out they also have one opening for a third year to start immediately after graduation in May. (Woot!) Instead of just submitting his paperwork to their resume call (which virtually guarantees it would have been stuck in some pile of resumes and forgotten) he personally emailed a secretary his cover letter and resume, she sent it on to one of the hiring partners who was impressed at his credentials and proactivity, and invited him to a cocktail social at the W Hotel here to meet him. The next morning they squeezed my husband in for a formal interview before their scheduled interviews ... and two days later called him back for a second interview to their Newport office!

People, this is huge. But I don't want to jinx it, as it's uber competitive out there and well...he just really want this bad. So bad he can taste it. First and foremost he won't have to stress out anymore about paying off his loans (let's face it, I'm laid back and like it when my normally mellow husband is too). Secondly, this firm pays for all relocation expenses (double woot!), covers all Bar fees (about $5,000), and pays a large living stipend during the months he'd need to study for the Bar. I'm most excited because it will be our ticket back to California, which is the highest priority for me in whatever job he takes. I belong back on the West Coast, and though I never saw myself living anywhere in Los Angeles (much less Newport Beach), I will take it over staying here. And hey, it could be marvelous. It is "The OC" after all, isn't it? ;) If all goes well, it looks like I may be hanging out with Marisa Cooper at malls like this.

So this morning I was up bright and early at 5am to take my husband to Dulles airport about 30 minutes away. They booked him a ticket flying into the Long Beach Airport and have him staying Friday night at a really nice hotel near the water. I'm jealous and wish I could go with him, but it's only one night so I'll survive. We both can't believe that all that the interview hubbub just happened last Tuesday -- it feels sooo long ago -- but like Carly Simon said "Anticipation is keepin' [us] wai-ai-ai-ting." (Carly always knew how to tell it like it was.)

I'm not one to pray, but I am *praying* that his interview goes well today. Most of you know that it's hard out there in whatever field you're in, and unfortunately his is no exception. So, this one's for you, Love. Knock it out of the park!!
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