Wednesday, November 30, 2005

being married is the best!

I love it! I love being married. We got married a little over four months ago and it has been the best thing I've ever done. There was no talk of 'ball and chain' or any of that at our wedding (if you feel that way, why get married?). We had a reading from the Goodridge MA Supreme Court decision. It is such a beautifully written decision- and I'm not one of those people who was in love with law school and swooned over the casebooks.

We excerpted the parts of the decision talking about how marriage comes with rights and responsibilities, and how it's a privilege. Then we went to the part about how people of different races could not marry in the US for the bulk of this country's history. And how 'that history availed not' upon the Loving v. Virginia and Perez v. California decisions (fairly recent- the 1960s!!). So having the Goodridge reading was our way of acknowledging the pain and hard work of those interracial couples who have (quite recently) gone before us, and also our way of supporting those who cannot marry today.

international corporate crime, anyone?

After considering all sorts of fascinating career possibilities, I've decided I want to focus on international corporate crime. Before you say 'get thee back to Washington DC from whence you came!' I should point out that my fabulous husband has his dream job as a tenure track physics professor here in the Bay Area. So- it's gotta be a job where I can work from here, or at least make this the home base from which I travel.

Anyone have good reading material you'd like to recommend on the subject?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Reading Rainbow

I'm in the midst of about ten books, but am close to finally finishing Mrs. Dalloway. I really like Virginia Woolf's voice. I like that it's poetic but also clear- sometimes alarmingly crisp and cut off.

I'm just starting Satanic Verses. If you've got thoughts on the book, do share.

Back to bar review!
So I've decided to have a new lease on life WRT studying for the bar. It's something I'm doing now and want to do well, so I'm devoting all this time to it. And to figuring out the next phase of my career.

In the back of my mind, though, the baby stuff is there. Friends recently told me that they're expecting I'll be the first in that group to conceive. ?!?!? This was definitely news to me. I had no idea people were keeping track of that kind of thing. Makes me feel like a racehorse at the track. It doesn't bother me (yet), but... well, we have told people that we're thinking about trying to conceive (or, TATTC on the indiebride message boards!) next summer. And if they start asking me about it next August, and I have to say "nope, not this month" over and over, it could wear me down.

And if anyone has ideas about how the career and baby plans could overlap, let me know! Meanwhile, I've got to purchase another copy of _The Price of Motherhood_ by Ann Crittenden.

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's so funny to be newly married and thinking of getting pregnant. We're almost four months married and before meeting the Mr., I never longed to be pregnant or be a mother or anything. I was, however, a labor coach (aka "doula") because I wanted to do volunteer work for low-income women in our area who didn't have partners or families to be with them. It was incredibly rewarding and I loved it. But people asked (rather, declared) that I must want kids and love babies to do that work. Actually, I liked making a difference to the women and being helpful to people who were so often alone in a challenging situation. (But the greatest compliment I received was when women I was coaching would ask if I was a mother/had kids- it made me feel like they thought I had some skills at the coaching thing, which was nice!)

But after meeting my husband, I wanted to have kids. It's a surprising shift, and fun. I feel so lucky to have been a labor coach in the Bay Area, because I know there's a great circle of women around here who are excellent support during pregnancy and postpartum. It's just fabulous to be in a place where motherhood is so empowered. (Though with many workplaces unfriendly to parental leave and flextime, this country is way less family friendly and mother friendly than it purports to be.)

We're starting to put thought into planning- it's a bit daunting but also inspiring and fun. I'm looking forward to, in a couple of quick years, meeting local moms my age. D and I are already writing a journal to our future kids- sharing a lot of those "I wish I knew this when I was your age" thoughts, anticipation and love for them, and having fun with this record of our pre-parenting thoughts on parenting. :)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Just one more thing to add today (I think it's buried somewhere below too)... I'm studying for the Feb CA bar! I've got a great coach. It took me awhile to decide to do it, but I've decided. I enjoyed my work before but want to go in a different direction, somewhat, in my career.

Career shift is always a hard thing to decide, but the time is right.
Amuse Bouche!!
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Date: 2/26/05 at 10:21AM (8M1w ago)
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Could there be a more whimsical title for such a tiny thing? The funny thing about weddings is that you learn more details about more traditions and etiquette than can possibly possibly be healthy. But in this case... this is food! I am a foodie. Therefore, I am always glad to learn more. This tiny little whimsy, the amuse bouche, literally a delight for the mouth, is like a fancy jalepeno popper. It's an hors d'oeuvre, but with something to make it more fun than two shrimp on a cucumber.I'm going to the Berkeley Saturday market this morning. Is there anything better than the Berkeley Saturday farmer's market? It's the happiest place. I'm going to find some amusey bouchey inspiration.
Date: 3/25/05 at 5:03PM (7M1w ago)

Living in the beautiful Bay Area means we're part of a very outdoorsy community. And living here makes it very easy to practice loving the place you are. I have to apply that skill to my career. Accepting that I'm learning what I need to know for the next step in my career provides sweet relief from the worry that I'm actually on no career path at all. (I'm doing work that is good for the world and that teaches me a lot, but it's not *quite* where my heart is.) All this is good practice in being where I am, not needing things to be as I want them to be *right now*, and perhaps believing that I'm getting there.Now I need to practice writing gracefully!


Date: 3/18/05 at 3:39PM (7M2w ago) Modified: 3/18/05 at 3:54PM (7M2w ago)

So I am embarking on this thing called reading for pleasure. I used to do this about ten years ago, and now I really want to pick it up again. (Speaking of which, I just ventured back into the dance studio again after five years, and it was fabulous!!!!!!!! And intimidating and I'm sore, but still!!!)So I've got Mrs. Dalloway, and I'm really glad I got it. I haven't read Virginia Woolf before. I love this style where characters express one thing, but the opposite happens. It seems that there are distorted mirrors everywhere in this novel- things are not quite as important as they seem, or the actual duration couldn't be as long as implied, or the people not quite as grotesque. But it's the lens of the narrator and Mrs. D herself, and that's interesting.Any helpful comments on this book? :)
Date: 10/19/05 at 12:30AM (2w1d ago)

I remember in December last year, Derek and I watched a documentary about Maya Lin. She's very brave and stoic. Very even-tempered and totally consistent in her vision. She never compromised, which is perhaps partly why she wasn't too moved by waves of controversy and furor over her work, even when controversy rose around her. Maya just designed simple pieces carrying powerful messages. And she truly believes in her own creative force. This is inspiring.
Another old blog post:

I was checking out Daily Kos today. There was a diary about Seymour Hersh. There's an incredible man. He's quite fearless in his writing and speaking. I admire people who just 'speak truth to power.' I'm practicing this, and I feel like I'm improving. But it's a daily process, like any kind of development.What I really admire is his ability to speak forcefully, and to admit when he's not 100% correct, but to not let that slow him down or silence him. He has integrity.
Art and...: the theater
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Date: 10/19/05 at 12:40AM (2w1d ago)

I love live performances. I love every aspect of them. I grew up loving being an audience member. When I was in law school, my other life was as a house manager at a dance studio that doubled as a (thriving) performance space. I remembered the satisfaction of setting up the house, of timing the box office and the backstage and the lights. Of creating a warm space in the middle of chilly DC winters, where the audience could surrender to stories told in dance and music.

A live performance is a living thing on its own. It breathes, it sighs, it changes. It's always changing. There are the anchor points that are comforting- the dimming lights, the music cue- but it's always fresh because the audience is always different. There are plenty of bad performances (many of which I saw at another dance space in DC- oh the horror), and many mechanical performances. But at least with live performers, I can appreciate that their effort- they are flesh and breath and sweat making an effort to communicate and tell a story.

What I love isn't limited to the time and space between the curtains. I love old community theaters. I love the warm enveloping darkness of the house; the worn wood beams overhead; the gentle lights that will dim and dim. But mostly it's the feeling that I'm well-cared for, that this space is meant for me, this worn red velvet chair that creaks, this smooth armrest. I'm meant to settle and nestle and release everything, so I can be fully present for a story.
Bringing in the old posts from the other blogging site I used:

Here's my most recent (and longest, and it rambles and has holes in the thinking, but there it is):

I love Berkeley. It is home to me. When I lived in DC and told people I was from Berkeley, I got a lot of eye rolling. People asked me if it's crazy here, if I really wanted to live there, and said that California is irrelevant and crazy anyway.

Not that Joan Didion helped much with "Where I Was From." I agree that she has a distinct and spare literary voice, and she made valid points. Yet the absurdity of the story of California's development remains absurd only as long as you isolate it. When you look at the development of any state, its history, its leadership (or lack thereof), its culture, you will without a doubt find some festering sores. Many people used the book to justify that "California is full of crazy people," making the old fruits-and-nuts joke, and wrote off the state. (Though in 2003, CA did earn $7.84 billion from the fruit and nut crops; $6.96 bil from vegetables; $7.1 from poultry-

This is a grave mistake. California holds 12% of the nation's people. Many of us are immigrants or their children and grandkids. Joan Didion tells an engaging story, but people should be aware that there's more to it, and those parts are important.

Border states are important because they often represent the first place the US interacts with the rest of the world. Yes, we're very diverse in CA. I love that about it here- there are many languages, many cultures, and it's not always easy to deal with. Obviously there are tensions and inequalities. But people find ways to connect, to communicate, or to just deal. These are valuable skills that are uniquely developed in a diverse place. You can learn these skills in a homogenous place, but you really put yourself to the test and hone your skills when you're in a place where people are different from you.

There are ideas here as well- ideas that benefit the nation as well as our communities in CA. Take, for instance, Silicon Valley; the world's largest public university system (CSUs); the new stem cell research center in SF. There are so many ideas developed here that are critical to the advancement of society. Again, of course, ideas are borne and refined everywhere, beyond and including CA. But I get tired of the whole "Californians are too laid back/get so little done" crap.

I love Berkeley because it's this wonderful little community. People who have never been here describe a place that's totally unknown to me- crazy, dirty, countercultural. Here's Berkeley as I see it:
- The place for food lovers. Some of the world's best food is here, in amazingly high concentration. You can find nearly any international and American cuisine you would like to try, and you can find it at prices ranging from cheaps to high (but for sublime food).

- People see the connection between the food they eat and the people who grow it. Berkeley holds three farmer's markets a week. People get to know the farmers and the produce. You can eat with the seasons- strawberries in summer but not in winter; squash in fall but not in summer; everything fresh and according to its season. You know it hasn't been trucked for hundreds of miles in a huge diesel truck. You know the people who picked it aren't in the hospital with pesticide poisoning (and this did just happen in the Central Valley of CA- it's unconscionable how farmworkers are often treated, which is why the increasing awareness of local food is important).

- People see that children raised on good food are healthy and happy, and that there are ways for the community to help its kids eat better. Alice Waters started the "Delicious Revolution" and the Edible Schoolyard. She replaced an old, torn-up asphalt yard that no one used with a garden that the kids maintain- and eat from. The garden provides food for their school menu. The amazing tale of how it came to be is here:

- People are dingy drivers. Yes, it's true, I bemoan the horrible driving around here. Especially in the ubiquitous Volvos. My husband's theory is that the Volvo drivers feel that the road is so scary and unsafe because in reality, they themselves are atrocious drivers. In any case- there are plenty of people who drift, don't signal, miss 'one way' signs, endanger pedestrians and bikers, speed, sit there when an emergency vehicle is behind them (this was a HUGE peeve for me in DC too). Yep, Berkeley's not perfect.

- Berkeley people can be snotty about having money. And Berkeley people can als be extremely private about their money- you can never tell.

- You can be out in the woods hiking in less than twenty minutes. You can be surfing in half an hour. You can be skiing in three or four hours. You can climb in Yosemite in five or six hours. And people around here *do*.

- Berkeley Symphony, SF Symphony, SF Opera, Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, tons of smaller venues- after you visit an amazing restaurant, enjoy some live performances from large and small companies. There is no shortage of stories being told, and no shortage of creative outlets.

- There are lots of people who think they're 'enlightenend' because they go to yoga class, but they have deeply-held racist/classist/sexi st beliefs. Oh yeah, Berkeley's full of those, no doubt. People who think they're open-minded but aren't. Sigh.

- There's a history here that people respect. It's a history of speaking up, of learning and teaching (it's a college town with 19 Nobel Prizes) and of actively working for the poor, underserved, dispossessed, and others disowned by the mainstream. And that' s enormously important to me- to live in a place where social justice is understood- even if not always practiced perfectly, it's practiced courageously. I am proud to be in a place where in the 1980's sanctuary was given to refugees from Central America, where there are so many services for the homeless to get back on their feet, where people really make an *effort* to participate in democracy.

- People generally read books here a *lot* more than they watch tv. There are tons of independent bookstores- and they're bustling.Berkeley isn't perfect, but it's where I want to be. I want to raise my kids to participate in the Edible Schoolyard. I want them to see that loving families, no matter what they look like, deserve to be loved and supported by the community. I want to be in a place where I'm accepted, free to do the work and live the life I feel called to. That's why Berkeley isn't "Berzerkly" to me- it's home.