Archive | December, 2012

It’s Actually Happening

19 Dec

After a long hiatus, I am happy to have the mental capacity (sort of) to post again. I’ll be honest with you, I’m mostly writing to avoid doing a myriad of other tasks that are more time-consuming, urgent, and miserable than writing a blog. While I’m here, I’ll fill you in on some wonderful news: After quite a bit of research, consideration, and Google-mapping, I’ve found it. The perfect cupcake bakery near the hospital!  

I mean... what??

I mean… what??

It’s perfect, and they toast the icing on top of the cupcake for crying out loud. (www.sweetlobby.com)  Now that I have that load off of my shoulders, I can go back to focusing on more trivial matters, such as my apartment ( http://www.equityapartments.com/Virginia/Alexandria-Arlington-apartments/Clarendon/Sheffield-Court-apartments.aspx, if you’re interested), and my job (Almost forgot about that little guy).

I started to draft a post last Friday morning while at the copier, because I was feeling an overwhelming excitement that I really wanted to share with everyone. My offer letter was in the mail, someone had contacted me about relocation, I finally felt like I was moving to DC. I found myself grinning at the copier like a fool. I came downstairs and checked the news, and immediately all thoughts of excitement and happiness were extinguished. The tragedy in Connecticut is too terrible to forget about, but I’ve been trying to only let myself think about it for small bits of time. I also feel a renewed sense of urgency to do something with my life, as is common when I hear about something as terrible as young lives being lost too soon. It definitely puts things into perspective.

I read an article yesterday that discussed considering your worth not by what qualities you have, (i.e., “I’m nice”, or “I’m a great listener”) but by what you can actually produce/do for others. The article itself was tedious, preachy, and obnoxious, and so hopefully this fellow isn’t measuring his worth based on his writing, but it did give me something to think about. I often make lists of things I want to educate myself on, or hobbies I want to pick up. I never really follow through with most of them, but every December I’m back to the notebook paper writing about all of the things I’m going to do. I’d still like to run more races this year, and read more books, but I think I’m going to up the ante a little bit. Over the next six months, I’m going to have a decent amount of alone time on my hands. I want to spend some of it aquiring a real skill. Whether I start reading articles on a particular subject and become an expert, or I actually learn how to cook a nice three-course meal that I can whip up any time company comes over. Maybe it’s making the committment to write something, every single day for 365 days. I talk about being interested in public policy, but truth be told, I don’t know one blessed thing about public policy. Some things I would need to go to school to learn, but reading the thousands of free online articles on the subject probably wouldn’t hurt either. I’d like to put some specificity on the way I spend my time; I’d like it to be both more productive and more relaxing. I often stress about what to do when I have  free time, thus undoing any possible benefits of not being at work. 

Is it worth is to be so detailed in drafting “resolutions”, or should I just be myself and let my day-to-day interests, however fleeting, take the wheel during time out of work? Also, if I go through with a committment to write every single day, does that justify a daily cupcake??

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This Dog’s Day in the Supreme Court

5 Dec
Obviously this is Christina but I can't figure out how to flip it.. very annoying

Obviously this is Christina but I can’t figure out how to flip it.. very annoying

In life, there are few mornings that you want to remember with the utmost clarity and attention to detail, very few times when you wish you had a little video camera in your brain because you just don’t want to forget a single moment. Monday was one such time. Corniness aside, it really is amazing to be an outsider invited in to see something like this. Forgive the play by play, but if I don’t type out every last detail, the memory of it could get away, and I don’t want that to happen.

I’d like to open with a little poem describing Sunday night around 11pm:

‘Twas the night before SCOTUS,

And all through DC,

Not a creature was stirring,

Except, of course, me.

The suit was laid out

On the desk top with care

In hopes that good fashion sense

Would play a role there.

I was tucked in my bed,

And my tummy was rumbling

“How about dinner?”,

I knew it was grumbling.

“Now what should I eat?”

I wondered aloud

Nothing too heavy,

To my stomach I vowed.

I perused the menu,

And chose with care,

Creamy crab bisque?

Of course, it was right there!

As I greedily inhaled

Every last decadent drop

My brain stepped in, too late,

And yelled Stop!

As I lay awake knowing

I’d be up the whole night

I smiled and thought,

I wouldn’t mind one more bite!

Naturally I didn’t wake up feeling my best, but I hauled myself into the shower. Christina looked flawless and professional, I looked like a tacky teenager. Luckily Chris had enough on her mind, and didn’t seem to notice my desperate need for highlights or new dress pants. We had made the decision to cab it to the Supreme Court, despite its proximity to the hotel, considering sweat and high heel factors. When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was the line already coming down the stairs of the building. This thing doesn’t even get started for another two hours and people are lined up to get in. Too bad they don’t have the sweet hookup like I do. The other thing I noticed was that the entire front of the building was covered by a tarp (accurately designed to look exactly like the front of the building); I imagine there is some renovating going on. We were able to scoot right to the side entrance, no waiting required. ( Honestly, I feel so bad for the common folk, with their lines.) Of course a metal detector was necessary, and I walked through confidently knowing that I hadn’t even had the sense to pack jewlery. To my chagrin, but not really surprise, I managed to set off the alarm, and had my kankles aggressively patted down.

From there I followed Christina around until we located the “admission office”. I’m calling it that because I don’t know what it’s really called. There, we met a very friendly gentleman named Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson handed me my guest pass with a big smile. It was not exactly a golden ticket, but it was perfect and I couldn’t wait to put it in my box of things I want to scrapbook but never do. (Sadly, down the line I would have it unceremoniously snatched from me. Honestly what do they need it for?) In the hallway to the right of Mr. Thompson’s desk, the 15 or so applicants and honored guests were already waiting. Of course, we got to the end of the row, and there was only one chair, and Christina didn’t take it. I looked at her and told her to sit. She said no, she doesn’t want to get wrinkled, she was shifting from foot to foot, and I figured she’d rather me not fight with her at a time like this. So I attempted once more to get her to sit, and then gave up and sit down. Every eye was suddenly on me, the dishonored guest who clearly isn’t a lawyer, and isn’t letting her lawyer sister sit down. “People, you don’t know her like I do; this is really what’s best,” was what I wanted to say to them. Immediately, the very-attractive-but-pompous-looking man offered her his seat. Amateur, I thought to myself. She turned him down. Then Old Man River next to me popped up and wouldn’t take no for an answer. So now, V.A.B.P.L. Man and I look like jerks, and Sir Wrinkles is the hero. Oh well. Mr. Thompson gave us a brief on what would go down, and asked if we had questions. Chris asked if the guests will get to stay for the whole argument… and he says yes! I was so excited I started grinning like a fool, which I can assure you, no one else was. I felt better though, because Chris turned and said “Yay!” in an excited whisper. Everyone else got up to leave for their designated place. We got special treatment and were taken straight up to the Lawyer Lounge to wait for Professor Mann and the others.

We walked into the Lawyer Lounge, and Mr. Thompson left us. Party time. Portraits of old white men everywhere, courtyard outside with a fountain, just one photo op after another. Now I figured Christina was in no mood for a photo shoot (so unlike her!), but I knew I needed at least one, and honestly, she seemed in great spirits for being nervous. So I looked around the room, hoping for some quick inspiration for the perfect shot. I looked in the corner where they had shoved a podium to the side for storage, and sitting on top of the podium is a seal. Bingo. I picked it up expecting it to be heavy, but it was plastic. I didn’t want Chris to be embarrassed if someone walked in, so I was very thankful to have an iPhone at that point for some quick shots. I even got her next to a statue of some historically relevant judicial man. You all will have to look on Facebook for all the pictures because this blog is not good for posting pictures. After our photo shoot, other people started filtering in, so the fun was over. All of the other way less important applicants showed up, and you could totally tell they were like, who is this Christina Michael chick? They were about to find out. Professor Mann and colleagues appeared, and I just sat in my chair looking around, with my original grin from downstairs still plastered on my face. Some boys who looked younger than me sashayed in the room, looking immensely impressed with themselves. It was at this moment that I realized, I really need to step up my game a little. I’ve started to allow myself to look pretty shabby, and that’s just not going to work for me in D.C. I’ve been riding on my good genetic makeup for too long, time to make some serious effort here. I also realized that there are a lot of people in Washington who need a little dose of Nicki reality in their large heads.

After a time, a man with coattails appeared. Yes, a real man, not in costume, in real-life coattails. I could have gone home after that feeling fully satisfied. At first I thought, coattails must be making a comeback, but then I looked at him and realized he may have in fact been part of the original trendsetters of revolutionary times. He started talking about what would be happening and reminded everyone of their time limit to talk during the argument. He also mentioned that the justices don’t like it if you glance up at the clock to check your time, which I thought was funny. Next he checked to make sure that everyone in the room was either getting sworn in, or was part of the argument, or had already reserved a seat. I did not fall into any of those categories, and so I immediately started sweating. Chris and  I stood up and talked to some woman in the corner in charge of seating everyone, and she looked horrified  that I didn’t have a seat. One of Mr. Thompson’s friends came to the rescue, and happily whisked me downstairs. He led me to the front of the line of honored guests outside the chamber. Not moments later, a minion from inside beckoned us, and we trooped inside.

The chamber (I don’t if that is what it’s called, but I think it is) took my breath away. I am so sad I couldn’t take a picture, because my words will not suffice. But the ceiling is three-dimensional and just gorgeous. I was seated in the front row of the audience area behind the other lawyers barred in the Supreme Court. We sat for what seemed like hours. I told God I didn’t care about anything today except everything going well in the chamber. Everyone began filtering in, and soon, they were telling us all to rise. Show time! Even though I knew it was coming, my heart stopped when the justices started filing in. Some of these names I had learned a decade ago, I just couldn’t believe I was looking straight at old Ruthie! (Who turned out to be quite the feisty fossil) First order of business: Christina Michael. It was AWESOME, no other word for it. She went first and Professor Mann asked the court to allow her in the their cool little club, and Chief Justice could not have looked more pumped about granting that request. She said her lines and got to sit with Professor Mann.

After all of the swearing in was finished, it was argument time. I had  no idea how this was going to go down, but it was crazy. Those justices go right for the kill. Every sentence was interrupted with a barrage of questions, each of them went directly over my head. At times it was actually painful, like you had walked in on someone getting yelled at and then couldn’t leave. Professor Mann went first, and after they had chewed him up nicely, the other lawyer had his turn and the other justices had a go at him. At different points of the argument, different justices would look like they were asleep, but would then pounce at a moments notice. Clarence Thomas, kept leaning all the way back and closing his eyes. It was actually comical because they all looked so bored, but never all of them at once. I didn’t have a clue what was being discussed or how to gauge who was “winning” but I just sat there in awe of how smart people can be. I felt a little left in the dust, but in a cool way, if that makes sense. A third man came up to speak and he also had coattails on, but he looked about 35 so I don’t know what his excuse was. He was absolutely eaten alive during his five minute talk. I don’t know if he managed to get a full sentence out and at one point he began with “If I could finish my…” Did he really just start with a justice like that? I was blushing and uncomfortable at that point, but thankfully his time period was short. Professor Mann got his four-minute rebuttal, and the end! I didn’t know if Chris and her crew were staying for the second argument, but I felt like they weren’t so I exited. When I was outside the chamber I saw the back of Christina’s head going around a corner, so I booked it after her, looking ever-so-graceful and Supremely I’m sure. I caught her in the Lawyer’s Lounge. She looked so relieved, so I immediately felt relieved and unclenched. I can only imagine how she was feeling. She had done everything perfectly, and everyone was congratulating her. My body started to ache from all the smiling, clenching, and digesting of the crab bisque.

We were able to conclude our exciting DC adventure by walking across the street to the Capitol building where my friend Tommy Andrews graciously brought us up onto the balcony to see the best view in DC (again, see Facebook). After this amazing morning, we had lunch (Hand to Jesus, I ordered another bowl of bisque, I’m an animal), and we turned to a less rewarding task of seeing apartments. But that is a far less interesting story not fit for today’s entry. Congrats to my big sister; I could not be more proud.