Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I'll admit it.  I caught Royal Wedding fever.  I never caught Bieber-fever, Jersey Shore-itis, or needed an American Idol-ectomy.  I was long overdue for a full-on pop culture obsession.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.  During my first week of exams, the extensive Today Show coverage was enough to get me out of bed and it was just the distraction I needed Friday morning to get over the anxiety I was feeling about my property exam.

It was beautiful, a real life fairy tale.  I'd long been in love with Prince William with the hopes of becoming Princess Andrea and being able to wear a tiara everyday of my life.  But I don't think I could have looked as stunning as this:

[photo cred]
I mean really.  Check out this dress!

[photo cred]
She looked like Grace Kelly.  The whole thing was wonderfully romantic.  I even shed a few tears when William saw her for the first time and said, "You look beautiful."  It happened a little before this moment:

[photo cred]
I did unfortunately miss the kiss(es) because I had to go take a gigantic test, but thanks to BBC America I got to see the instant replay later in the day.

A lot of people expressed to me (either to my face of via facebook) how silly this whole royal wedding obsession was.  And well, I have to say I honestly disagree.  

For the little girl inside me, it was so exciting to see a real fairy tale unfold yesterday morning.  Princess Catherine was plucked out of obscurity by a handsome prince.  They fell in love.  He proposed.  She wore a beautiful gown and a tiara and now she's a princess.  And even though yesterday's ceremony was supposed to be a solemn occasion, every time they looked at each other they were beaming.  Silly as it may be, that made me hopeful that just maybe there's someone out there who will look at me like that one day, even if he's not second in line to the British throne.

For the grown up inside me, I was so happy to get to witness happy news.  One thing I have been dedicated about doing is keeping up with the news.  Everyday I tune in and hear about civil unrest, missing children, earthquakes, genocide, untrustworthy politicians, natural disasters and other reminders about how dark and scary this world really is.  That part of me enjoyed witnessing a happy world event.  No it doesn't affect my life.  And no it doesn't take away from the severity of other world events.  But it did remind me and, I believe, billions of other people across the globe that good things happen just every once in a while.  And when they do, its perfectly ok to stop for a moment and celebrate them.

And for that reason, I really do wish William and Catherine, a very happily ever after.

[photo cred]

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Unexpected Side Effects Include

We all know (because I've pretty well documented) my relatively new-found love/obsession with running.  I like to think that someone will stumble upon my little blog and I'll inspire someone to lace up their sneaks and pound the pavement.  I've blogged about it before, and I'm sure I'll blog about it again.  This post is kind of the opposite sort of post - its about the unintended consequences of becoming a running devotee....

The great thing about running (just bear with me, because its the equally awful thing about running) is that your body becomes dependent on it.  The runner's high, the stress buster, the physical exhaustion after a good, long run.  Like milk, it does a body good.  

The bad thing about running is that your body becomes dependent on it.  So when life, say in the form of finals, interrupts your life and all of its regularly scheduled programming, things get a little crazy.  Like me for example.

Its been a while since I've been able to get a run in.  Like a week.  A week is too long for me to go without running.  Around day 4 I notice my irritability heightens.  Little things drive me nuts.  Loud sneezes, having to empty the dishwasher, communicating with unsuspecting and innocent bystanders.  

Day 5 my muscles start to ache.  I know its ALL mental, but its like they're screaming at me "USE ME!!!!  USE ME!!!!"  I can usually stave it off if I can make it to the gym or do a set or two of squats.  But if left to my own devices and unable to exercise....I wind up with a wicked case of the jimmy legs a la Kosmo Kramer.  

By the time a full week has rolled around, my ability to process information and focus has completely left me.  At this point my brain is running faster than a five year old on a sugar high while my legs are jittery and twitching left, right and center.  

So what does this mean?  Well for starters it means I'm a human equivalent of a dog that gets daily exercise.  Without it, I go crazy and tear up the house (except I usually focus my extra energy into cleaning UP the house, which actually is a positive benefit to this whole thing).  It also means that I need to make my daily run a priority.  Especially right now when I need to be able to focus my brain on solving the world's contractual issues instead of obsessing over the relative cleanliness of my apartment.  

So watch out world (or at least the greater Charleston area)!  Tomorrow morning, a mad woman with enough pent up energy to rival that of an unexercised border collie is hitting the streets, and its not going to be pretty.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Law School Exam Survival Guide

It's that time of year again!  Finals!  YIKES!!!!

One of my least favorite things about law school is the grading method.  See, we study, HARD, for three and a half months.  Reading, taking notes, reading, going to class, reading, studying in groups, reading, doing practice problems, reading, making flashcards, reading, outlining, and did I mention reading?  After all of this, you kind of are reduced down to the legal principles and theories that have been consuming your life since January (honestly I can't remember the last time I had a conversation with someone that didn't end with me babbling incoherently about negligence or property rights).  And how are you evaluated?  ONE test.  ONE test decides your ENTIRE grade.  

It's a lot of pressure.  You want to do well for a lot of reasons including the fact that this stuff has taken over your life for the past 100 days to the point that non law school people (including your parents) are getting weary with you and your recommendations to stay in the class action suit they were notified (hear that Mom and Dad?!?).

It's a stressful time.  So much material to review, learn, commit to memory so that its readily accessible on test day.  How is a little law student to survive?!?

Well I've compiled some of the things that I think are essential to surviving the two week hell that is the exam period.

1.  Yoga pants/comfy lounge shorts
     I lived in this pair during winter exams.  Seriously, they stayed on my body until I did laundry when I washed them and then immediately put them back on.  Best.pants.ever.  Its warmer now, so I'm currently rocking my Nike running shorts, but I have a feeling a trip to Target is on the agenda for later this evening for a pair of these.

2.  Running shoes
    In college, I ate my stress.  I also gained about 40 pounds over four years.  In an effort to avoid that, I'm trying this new thing where I work off my stress instead.  Its way better.  I even lost weight last finals period.  Honestly, I'll just be happy to maintain my weight during the next two weeks.  The half hour of exercise also helps me sleep better, which helps me focus more when I'm studying which helps me do better on exams.  All in all, this is a much better plan than the eat-my-feelings method I prescribed to in college.  Really, its win-win-win.

3.  Coffee/Diet Coke
     We all know I'm a caffeine addict.  I don't know if I'd make it through without the stuff.

4.  Wall calendar
     Looking at it reminds me that my current hell is temporary.  I can see my future and it involves freedom, sunshine, and the ocean.

5.  iTunes/Pandora/Complete Friends series on DVD
    I've never been one who can study in complete silence.  I start thinking about how quiet it is and get anxious that people will be annoyed when I sneeze or cough or make any kind of movement/noise at all.  Background noise helps me tune all of that out.  Plus I've only seen every episode of friends at least 25 times, it doesn't distract me anymore because I know I could quote it line for line if I really wanted to.

That's all for now!  

Monday, April 18, 2011

New York State of Mind

For just about my entire life, I've wanted to live in New York City.  Not for long.  Just a year, maybe two.  When I was in my teens I romanticized meeting a celebrity in the market, running in Central Park, drinking coffee in Central Perk, heading to the Bronx to catch a Yankees game or to the Broadway to see the latest Tony award winner.

When I decided to go to law school, this was one dream I realized I may never experience.  Since attorneys take the bar in the states where they want to practice and because comity laws can be restrictive and hard to navigate around, I came to the realization that I may never live in the Big Apple, but I was ok with it.  Not long after starting law school, I came to the realization that South Carolina is not where I want to settle down but that the Virginia bar would be much better suited for my future career goals.  Then the lights of D.C. were motivating me.  The museums!  The history!  The politics!  And I was ok with it.

Until tonight.  And New York State of Mind (a la Billy Joel) played on my iTunes.  For some reason, that song makes me feel like the city is speaking to ME!  And all over again, I'm head over heels in love with my romanticized notions of NYC.  

I think I have to remove it from my iTunes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Got Over It!

Charleston is home to this bridge:

photo credit: here
Every year, Charleston closes down this bridge for the annual Cooper River Bridge Run.  Its a 10K and attracts about 40,000 runners.  Far and away bigger than any other race I've ever run.

In order to fully understand this story, we need to rewind a few months.  I was deep in my half marathon training and talking with my roommate when the topic of the Bridge Run came up.  She said she was going to run it and I quickly followed suit, never being one to be outdone.  

Flash forward to January when two important things happened.  First, we got our syllabus for the spring semester and had a MAJOR paper due the day before the run.  Second, I tried to run the bridge.  The bridge has a bike/walking path that's open for people to use on a daily basis.  One beautiful January afternoon in Charleston, I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and give that bridge the good old college try.  Not only would it help me with my half marathon training, but it would also help me get ready for the bridge run.

So off I go.  I drive over, park, pay for parking, and head for the bridge trail.  I continued onward (and upward) for about three minutes before panic set it...FEAR OF HEIGHTS!!!!  I was suddenly overcome with an overwhelming fear that I was going to lose my key, it would fall into the Cooper River and I would be stuck in Mt. Pleasant FOREVER.  I was worried that a car would fly over the guardrail and hit me.  I was afraid to run next to edge of the bridge for fear that it would suddenly collapse and I'd fall into the river.  I couldn't stand to be near the edge, so I ran in the bike lane which only made me afraid that I'd get hit by a bike, thrown onto the main road, where I'd quickly be hit by oncoming traffic.

Still, I was determined.  Onward, upward.  Constantly checking my watch.  Frantically trying not to hyperventilate.  I made it about two more minutes before I could FEEL THE CARS whizzing by and all paranoia and fear took over and forced me to turn back where I pledged I'd never run the bridge again.

Ok, so fast forward to April 1.  I'd just handed in the biggest paper of my academic career.  My nerves were shot and I hadn't been soundly sleeping like I usually do.  Needless to say I crashed into bed only to be awoken too soon thereafter for the damned bridge run.  It took about everything in me to wake up, get dressed and get to the starting line.  

Honestly, this was not the most fun race I'd ever run.  I felt queasy when I woke up in the morning.  My legs felt like lead.  But I kept them moving, one foot in front of the other.  Over the bridge.  Up and up and up.  I didn't look to the left or to the right and wound up taking pictures like this during the run:

But still I made it over.  It took me longer than I thought, but I finished the race.  I can't say that I'm proud of my time, but a lot of factors affect that.  But I can say that I'm proud that I faced my fear and made it over the bridge.  There's always next year to set a PR...