Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Civil Action

You know how sometimes you read a book about a doctor or a nurse or a teacher or a female train magnate and you think, "Man, I really wish I were a doctor/nurse/teacher/female train magnate"?

Right now I'm reading A Civil Action, a novel on which a John Travolta movie was based. It describes this case in which a group of families sue some companies for dumping chemicals into the groundwater and inflicting the town with bad health and an unusually high incidence of leukemia, even before anyone knew that things like chemicals in groundwater could cause leukemia. It's pretty great.

But I'm reading it, and I keep thinking, "Man, I really wish I were a lawyer." And then I realize, I AM!

Also, pretty, pretty great.

(Also, lest you wonder, the stuff I do at work is actually pretty much like this. Not personal injury stuff, as in in this book, but some big cases, important. Interesting. So cool! Makes me want to go to work early on Monday.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sarah, Esq.

So I'm a lawyer.

It happened today at noon, Eastern time. I walked into the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York, and walked out Esq.

I will say this: The ceremony was nice. Very nice. Like a mini-graduation, with 700 other students (okay, like three times bigger than my law school graduating class), led by a panel full of NY Supreme Court Justices, and a soloist who sang, "Count Your Blessings" from A White Christmas. ("When I'm worried, and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, so I fall asleep, counting my blessings.")

And the justice who was leading the ceremony followed the keynote speaker's talk with these words: "Thank you, Honorable Dunne, for that special and meaningful speech. It was so--special and so--meaningful. Thank you."

Great. All great.

Anika drove down from Syracuse (thanks to her friend for taking the children today) and Elizabeth J. (a former roommate from Austin, newly, NEWLY moved to Albany, of all places) came, too. And it was lovely to have them there holding down the fort for friends and family. We went to lunch afterward and ordered chicken enchiladas, and then all made our way to Syracuse, where Elizabeth and I are hanging out with Anika's family for a few days. Reija will join us tomorrow too, I believe. If my stars are aligned correctly. Turns out, upstate New York is a great place to be.

Upstate New York: Walk in a girl, walk out a lawyer.**

*The great Anna Kohler Lewis used to have a sign hanging over the door of her freshman dorm room: "Walk in a girl, walk out a legend." Pretty much encapsulated Anna's freshman year. And, the rest of us hoped, our lives, providing we lived long enough.

**Also, I'm not yet licensed to practice in DC yet. Just in NY. I have to file some paperwork, etc., to be licensed in DC. Then I'll be a real attorney, with business cards and everything. A new day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In case you were wondering

These are my inauguration day plans:

1. Wake up.
2. Check the weather.
3. Look at my bike.
4. See how I feel.
5. If I feel okay, bike the 4.5 miles down the trail that goes right past my house all the way to the National Mall; park my bike at the free bike valet by the Jefferson Memorial; battle the crowds; see the sights; feel the feelings; be one with the people; get cold; come home. Watch the rest of the festivities on TV.
6. If I'm feeling homebodyish (or cold), stay home. Watch TV. Or a movie. Do some work. Nap. Try to figure how I'm going to explain to my children and grandchildren why I did not go into the District on this historic day.
7. Eat food, no doubt. No doubt.

Note: My office building will be closed on Tuesday, because it's one block from the parade route, so no commute for me.

Yay for popular presidents!

Friday, January 16, 2009

When one is cold (or in need of comfort)

one needs a hoodie.

This truism leads me to two thoughts:

1. The Hoodie Foundation. Maybe I should start a non-profit the sole mission of which would be to distribute hoodies to (1) the underclothed (e.g. the homeless, the scantily clad, the poor), and (2) the undercomforted (e.g. orphans, cancer victims, earthquake survivors). Think of the cross-cultural, multi-demographic populations this would serve. Maybe we could partner with this new college intern in my ward who, after she's done daylighting as a grunt in Sen. Hatch's office, goes to her newly rented office space on K Street, where she oversees her three East Coast employees (she may or may not have an office in California) (and Utah), as they work on establishing a non-profit factory in Rwanda that will commercially extract fibers from banana plant refuse, which they will then sell to another factory in Rwanda that makes, of all things, fabric from the fibers. Apparently, very soft, very durable fabric. (Sometimes they even mix the banana fibers with silk for high end apparel.) I know. I know! I know. The banana fiber craziness (and her awesomeness) totally aside, consider--super soft hoodies (made from banana plant refuse) for all. The Hoodie Foundation. Making Millions of Heads Happy.

2. Hoodie Suits. I have, on occasion, ridden the elevator from the first floor to the thirteenth, thinking the whole time: I wish my suit were pinstriped. And I wish it had a hoodie.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Better Adult

Fruit Trees by the Lake, Gustav Klimt

I've been thinking a lot about adulthood, now that I'm clearly here. Adulthood has been dawning on me gradually. I think part of me has always felt middle-aged. I used to say, "I feel like a grandma." Said it quite often, actually, until my then soon-to-be boyfriend said, "Sarah, no one wants to date a grandma!" Excellent point.

But I remember being a newly elected 10th grade class president, wandering the decks of an end-of-freshman-year party we had on a boat, listening to my classmates throw up in the bathroom. (It wasn't from the water; it was from the alcohol.) And I felt so old then, so old.

I've been growing into my skin ever since. I went off to college and became financially independent. (Though my parents have bailed me out with airplane tickets home and a few generous checks now and then, which they have never held against me. Thank you, parents.) Did my own taxes. Started buying my own "art." (Cheap prints of Klimt I hung on my wall.) Taught a year of high school. Moved to Texas. Got an array of jobs. Traveled. Made Important Life Decisions (to move there, not to move there, to apply to school there, not to marry him, etc.). I bought two cars. I graduated from law school.

Now here I am, with a bedroom, a bathroom, a car, a job, a commute, a professional wardrobe, a secretary. I'm 28. No longer beta. A full adult.

But still sometimes I miss the bus. I have few well-running routines. My finances are moving forward but sometimes only by the skin of my teeth. I'm sure that at some point, I will be good at much of this. Or at least, it will feel more normal. I'll have savings. I'll actually use my dental insurance. I'll be more likely to remember to bring the garbage to the curb on Thursday nights than to forget. At some point?

And then I wonder, surely God meant more for adults than just this, a competency at routine. And I wonder, What is adulthood anyway?