29 June 2011

So this is what it feels like to be a lawyer.

Throughout law school, especially during the first year, there is a lot of discussion about what it's like to be a lawyer. Some professors use this topic to lower expectations for students who believe the practice is going to be like Law and Order (all courtroom action); others use it to raise expectations for students who think that the practice is going to be like Boston Legal (all play and no work). Truth be told, I think that all lawyers like to tell war stories and love to scare those with less experience. About halfway through my first semester, I was ready to pack it up and quit. I was not sure if I was really cut out for a job with such incredible pressure...from clients, from bosses, from the bench, from the profession...without any true escape. While the idea of a 9 to 5 job without a thought of work after closing time still sounds pretty good to me, I decided that I felt passionately enough about practicing law to keep going. Besides, I convinced myself, it won't be that way for me.

Today was one of those days when I know that "it" can't be escaped. I'm currently working against some seriously fierce deadlines in order to keep two clients from being deported. Legal emergencies don't know that they are supposed to play nicely and take turns. I worked a long day yesterday and even longer day today - not because someone told me that I had to, not because I was asked to, not even because I wanted to. I'm doing it because that is what needs to be done to get the job done. It's critically important to me - and even more so to my clients - that their deportations be stopped. It's not a responsibility that ends after 8 hours or even after I finally leave the office. I'll keep going until the job is done...and even then I'll probably wake up at 2am thinking about a "t" that I forgot to cross.

So back to my title: so this is what it feels like to be a lawyer. It feels like a lot of responsibility and a fair bit of nerves. It feels like you can't go to the bathroom because you don't have time to get up for even a second. It feels like you have more to do than can ever possibly be done within the time allotted. It feels like constantly thinking of the next thing that needs to happen, even while driving home and trying to drowned out your thoughts with loud country music. It feels like juggling ethical obligations with client advocacy with practicality.

I could stand a little less pressure and less intense deadlines, but I must admit that this is exactly what I want to be doing. I feel passionately about my clients' cases and enjoy the challenge of advocating for them. I can certainly see how people burn out of the legal profession, but - for today - I'm pretty happy with where I am. Today, I don't want to escape "it."

26 June 2011

Treats

This morning, George whipped up some sorbet that we got to taste after dinner tonight. The tasty and beautiful basil, lime, buttermilk sorbet looks great in Grandma's Fostoria and tastes even better in my belly. Yum!


We indulged in this treat after we ran across another treat. We went out for a walk this evening to get some exercise and, when we reached the place where we were going to turn around and head back (at the bottom of the hill), we discovered that there was a wine release party going on. The folks at Celaeno Winery were having a party, complete with free tasting, discounts on purchases, free appetizers, a friendly dog, and some live guitar music. It was a pleasant surprise. Turns out, there are some good perks that come with living this close to wine country.

Have a good week!

22 June 2011

19 June 2011

Mini Pies

We had some friends over last night for a bit of a dinner party, and we ended the night with mini fruit pies. Would you like peach, apple, peach and blackberry, strawberry and rhubarb, or berrytastic (blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, and raspberry)?


12 June 2011

Neighborhood Pride

Our neighborhood was recently annexed by the city, so it's pretty exciting to see this shiny new sign in our neighborhood:

06 June 2011

Hong Kong and Growing Season


We loved Hong Kong so much on our brief visit in September that we decided to make a long stopover in Hong Kong again. Unfortunately, this trip was a bit of a non-stopper as I came down with some sort of flu after the first day in Hong Kong. This is particularly disappointing because I love the food in Hong Kong and had absolutely no appetite for nearly the entire time there. Ah, well, I guess we'll have to go back!

We did manage to get up to the Peak to have a look at the city from above...and a huge city it is. We also ate our first mangosteens, and we did manage to take in one meal of dim sum. Photos are here.


And now a word on traveling during the growing season...

When we left Seattle, it felt a lot like winter or a reluctant spring. Things were sort of beginning to grow, but it was generally cold and overcast. What a difference two weeks makes! We landed on a beautiful Seattle summer day complete with sunshine and a pleasant breeze. Despite having mowed our lawn a couple of hours before leaving, our grass was completely overgrown by the time we returned. Weeds that did not exist before we left were now taller than my knees. So, we spent a good portion of Sunday slaving in the garden, making things a bit more livable. This makes me think that I will think long and hard about traveling during the growing season again and longer and harder about traveling during the growing season without getting someone to care for the yard. Yikes!

Philippines

Our Philippines trip was a long time in the making. When our friends, Seon and Ki, returned from their trip last April, they immediately started planning a group trip to return. Traveling with a group of (mostly) easy-going, fun divers definitely has its perks. As groups go, this was a good one!


We arrived in the Philippines after flying from Seattle to Vancouver to Hong Kong to Manila. Once we arrived at our hotel, I stayed in its glorious air conditioning, ate sushi, and spent a couple hours at the spa. Now that is how to beat jet lag. :-)

The next morning, we headed back to the airport for our brief flight to Puerto Princesa. I'll never forget the flight because it's the first time I've ever seen flight attendants coordinate trivia games for passengers. When we landed, it was clear that we were in the tropics. Any products I had on my face instantly melted; my deodorant went into overdrive; and my hair tripled in size. Before I knew it, we were aboard the boat that would be our home for the next week. A couple of hours later, we were steaming toward the Tubbataha reef for a fantastic week of diving.

Most of the days we were on the boat, we did four dives. It's a hard life. Most days looked something like this:
5 or 6am: wake up and grab quick snack
6 or 6:45am: first dive
8:00am: breakfast
9:30am: second dive
11:00am: sit in the sun and read
12:00pm: lunch
1:30pm: third dive
3:00pm: sit in the sun and read
4:30pm: fourth dive
6:00pm: dinner
9:00pm: retire

The diving at Tubbataha was spectacular. The reef is in excellent condition (despite the number of plastic bags we saw floating and picked up when possible), so the coral, sponges, and sea anemones were beautiful in their color, quantity, size, and diversity. In particular, the fan coral and barrel sponges were enormous (like 2-3 meters wide and a meter wide and deep, respectively).
I could have crawled inside a lot of the barrel sponges. The anemones provide homes to lots of critters, and I was particularly taken with all of the anemone and clown fish (think Nemo) playing in and around the anemones. Despite Tubbataha being an attraction for big life, I often found really interesting small life whenever I got frustrated looking for octopus (my favorite, anywhere in the world) and decided to check out the reef at close proximity.

As far as the big stuff, the highlight was definitely the 20' long whale shark that came out of the blue at 80'. George spotted it and called me out to join him. It took a while for the rest of the group to notice, and I was able to swim about 50 meters with the shark.
Apparently I didn't get quite close enough to get in George's video, so I'll have to remember that for next time. We also saw a sole manta ray, though I have a hard time getting excited about one manta when we were able to spend whole dives in the Maldives with 10 or more mantas at once. There were also some turtles, cool lobster with purple antennae, lots of moray eels, tons and tons of reef sharks, a handful of octopus, and a wide variety of somewhat ordinary fish, including schooling jacks, large tuna, bat fish, puffer fish, and many, many more.

By far the most memorable dive aboard the Siren was wormageddon. On a night dive, our lights attracted the worms out of the deep. Within minutes of our lights being turned on, we were surrounded by worms of varying lengths, colors, girths, and shapes. I lasted 25 minutes before I reached my creepy limit. This was about the same time that most others did the same. When it was all done, we were completely grossed out and even had worms in our hair. Interestingly, this is something that the dive masters on the boat had not seen before. Needless to say, that was the only night dive at Tubbataha.

It seemed like our time on the Philippines Siren flew by, and we were soon bound for Manila again. From Manila, we took a bus and a boat to get to Puerto Galera, where we stayed at the Atlantis. The staff at the hotel included some of the nicest strangers-turned-friends I've ever met, and we were lucky to have been assigned some truly excellent dive masters to show us the waters around Puerto Galera.

The diving in Puerto Galera was completely different than Tubbataha. While some dive sites had beautiful coral, many were muck or wrecks. And rather than look for big life, we were looking for tiny things. It's truly amazing how many complex and interesting critters are the size of a fingernail or smaller. We saw things like pygmy seahorses (which is on most diving bucket lists), regular seahorses, many varieties of shrimp (including mantis shrimp), and a whole host of other interesting things, including lots of variety of nudibranch (sea slugs). We also quite a few octopus, which made me very happy. I was also happy to do my very first wreck penetration.

In the evenings, after the diving was done, we spent most nights celebrating at the hotel's ocean-front bar. Sadly, we also spent a lot of our non-diving time talking about the sex tourism that was quite obvious around Puerto Galera (hopefully none of it went beyond that into human trafficking). At our hotel, for example, there was a group of British men who had, quite obviously, hired young girls for the week. It was sad, sickening, and frustrating to observe and made it more difficult to let the mind rest and truly be on vacation.

All-in-all, it was a good trip, though, and I'm glad that George and I were able to spend it with some great friends. I think I speak for both of us when I say that the trip made me realize why I love diving and inspired me to splash in the Puget Sound a little more often.

More photos are here and here.

05 June 2011

Trip photos...

...are up. Philippines photos are here. HK photos are here.

I'll try to write a little something about the trip before the day is over, but given my 5am jetlag wake-up and the morning I had in the garden, I am not making any promises.

04 June 2011

Milestone

We just landed a few hours ago after more than two weeks in the Philippines and Hong Kong. It was a great trip, and we have tons of things to take care of tomorrow (lawn work, laundry, photo editing, etc.).

In the mean time, I want to take a moment to recognize our nephew, Beathan, who graduated from high school today. Unfortunately, we missed being at the celebration in person but were there in spirit.

Time flies - here are some photos from his earlier days:

This was the day that some high school friends and I took Beathan to Six Flags to ride his first roller coaster.


CONGRATULATIONS to BEATHAN and the rest of the KILBOURNE class of 2011!