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Thank You!

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Thanks to everyone who congratulated me on passing the bar! It has been a real weight off my shoulders, and I have been surprised about how great I feel! I think part of me never really imagined that I would be finished with my degree, or realized what that meant. I’ve spent so much time thinking about what kind of lawyer I didn’t want to be, or thinking that I didn’t really want to practice at all, that I never really looked at all the possibilities that are out there. (Some of this is just my weird thinking, and some of it is that there is incredible focus in law school on particular modes of practice that do not interest me at all.)

I have always been attracted to books that argue for living your dreams and doing what is most important to you, instead of merely following some pre-determined arc of existence. Many of them talk about ways to fund your dreams by doing temporary work, or creating your own business, or consulting, or just a Good Enough job that isn’t toxic to your (mental/physical/spiritual) health and gives you free time. I used to wish that I had somehow figured out how to do that. Why I never thought about a career in the law being shaped into those things, I don’t know–even though there are temporary firms that provide attorneys, solo practitioners, and probably plenty of attorneys who are consultants. I’ve worked with attorneys who actually have balanced lives working for the government and for banks, but they didn’t seem like most attorneys.

Just having the sudden realization that those are possibilities that allow me to continue to work on my adventure list is enough. Not that I’m hanging out my shingle here tomorrow, but in a dozen years or so that could be something I do–or I could switch over to some kind of temporary work in a specialization that gave me three months to hike half the Appalachian Trail one year. And, yes, I do think that cramping the adventure list’s style (for 30 years) is a big negative for a job.

I want to work so that I have the ability to make my life as full and rich as possible, not just live so I can go to work. (If I lived to work, I’d be upstairs scrubbing the textured floor of our stupid shower right now.) Frankly, I don’t want a job where I am so drained and dead that I can’t take tennis lessons twice a week for a few months, or go camping three times a year, or take a hot air balloon ride until I’m 60. This is in addition to having a life where I can be a good daughter, sister, wife, friend, and person.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal of talk about being able to take a single hot air balloon ride pre-retirement with respect to the legal profession (and a lot of talk about how hard it is to be a good wife/mother/caretaker/person). Instead, people make jokes about how if law students think they are busy now, they should wait until after graduation. (The day I heard an attorney say that, I almost quit school.) Or how when they began working part-time it meant 40 hour weeks. Or that one third of attorneys have alcohol and substance abuse problems. We had a panel of about 5 female attorneys come to talk about different career paths once, and I think one might have been married. None had children. Which is fine, if that is what you choose, but not ok if your career means you don’t have much of a choice.

Since so much of the above paragraph is the background noise for law school, I have not been very positive about practicing law. It seemed as if you had to follow a certain path to success, and I didn’t want that. My master’s degree was supposed to be an out for me, a way to avoid needing to be ground down by the private legal profession. But for some reason, as I was looking through the New Lawyer Toolbox (or whatever it is called) CLE form , I realized that I could do whatever I wanted to do with this. I can focus on learning a specific type of law for one or a half dozen years and then…decide to do something else. I could learn how to do several types of things and then specialize. I don’t even have to work for anyone else (although right now I want to).

It’s like the world just opened up. Reed has to listen to me now chirping, “I am my own business!” or whatever similar silly thing pops into my head. Life is pretty grand.

Adventure Lists, In General

Apparently, making adventure lists is the new trend. This week, there is an article in the NYTimes (reg. req’d) about people making life lists. There is also a comments section where people have posted things that they would like to do in their lives, which can be an interesting read (and provide suggestions if you are stuck on your list!).

From the comments, I think my favorite one is plant a tree every year. Most people want to write books and travel, though. Nothing wrong with that, especially since probably half of mine (if not more) have to do with traveling somewhere.

I think that all of my readers should make a life list! It doesn’t have to be 100 items long.

Also, I found out that I will probably have the opportunity to go sea kayaking soon, when we go to the beach. Woohoo!

Adventure #95

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Congratulations! I am happy to inform you that you have passed the July 2007 North Carolina Bar Examination.

That is what the letter said from the BLE, so who am I to argue? Woohoo! I think I’m at least as excited that I don’t have to do it again as I am that I passed!

Also, this is my joke adventure. It’s a challenge that takes no little amount of hard work and persistence, but it’s not really my kind of adventure, you know? I’m still going to cross it off my list, though. Next month, I already know what my adventure will be. It’s like I’m picking up steam!!

Perseids

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Reed and I went out tonight to see the meteor shower. The paper mentioned that UNC has an astronomy group that would be meeting at a park about 20 minutes away, so we drove out there. We were about 15 minutes late for the meeting, but we didn’t end up trying to find the official group because there were people everywhere.

We were at Jordan Lake’s swimming beach, and the parking lot was mostly full. We parked in the bus parking, and then carefully picked our way through the people who were sitting and lying on the grass all around. Of course, we didn’t have a flashlight or a blanket or chairs, so we had to move cautiously through the dark as our eyes adjusted. We ended up sitting at a picnic table that no one had claimed, which was a pretty good deal.

It was a nice evening, warm with a good breeze coming off the lake. A family with two children ended up sitting on the other side of the picnic table from us. There were lots of children there, laughing, and swinging flashlights around. I imagine they were having a blast being outside so late.

We were there for about two hours. About three spectacular meteors with trailing tails and a few small, dusty ones were what I saw, although Reed saw a few more when I was looking the other way. Of course, it wasn’t near the peak time, so if we could have stayed a little bit later we could have seen many more.

Even though there were so many people there, the traffic wasn’t bad at all. Many people left around ten, and we left at almost eleven when there were still probably half the people there. It was a nice, relaxing way to spend an evening.

We did learn that we should keep some folding chairs or a blanket stashed in the trunk just for adventures like these! And we talked about how amazing it would have been to be at Max Patch for the meteor shower–it should be very dark there, with a huge sky. Maybe next year, we’ll go camping on the peak night. In any event, we’re going to try to go to another of the astronomy nights when there aren’t a zillion people out, and see if we can’t look through the telescopes.

An Adventure for Everyone!

Just to let you know, tomorrow night should be a good night to see a meteor shower! It would be the peak of the Perseid shower, so you could probably go out and see some tonight, too. Best times are before dawn and after midnight, apparently, but you will probably see some if you are watching whenever it is dark. Whee!

Happy Anniversary!

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To us! Reed and I have been married for five years now, which seems like a long time and yet not really. We went to Hot Springs, NC this past weekend to celebrate.

Hot Springs is about 45 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains, and it is a trail town for the Appalachian Trail. Reed actually picked it as our getaway spot, though, not me! We stayed at a little hotel there called Bright Leaf Junction, which was fun.

We got there on Friday night and walked through town a little bit, exploring the main street. The Appalachian Trail comes right through the middle of town and the AT symbol is painted on the road and embedded in the sidewalks to mark its route.

On Saturday, we went to the outfitters after breakfast at the Smokey Mountain Diner (YUM) and picked up a book about NC hiking. It gave us directions to Max Patch, a bald on the AT that I had read about before we got there. We drove out through the mountains that afternoon and along the windy gravel road until the trees opened up and we saw this huge, grassy hill rising up beside us. It is beautiful, and surprising. Reed and I walked the short (1.5) loop up to the summit. There are blueberries and blackberries along the path, waiting to be snacked upon. When we got almost to the top, we met up with the AT again. Because there are no trees on Max Patch, the blazes of the trail are on posts through the bald.

At the top, you can see for miles all around. None of my pictures show how great it is to be up there, or how tall the hill is. But, if you are ever anywhere near Hot Springs, this is definitely the place to stop and see. The trail is pretty easy if you go clockwise around the loop, otherwise you have to tromp up these stairs to get to the top. A good hat would be a great piece of gear to have with you, too! There were lots of people up here, but because there is so much space it doesn’t feel crowded at all.

After Max Patch, Reed decided that we should drive home via the Forest Service road through Tennessee. That was kind of a wild ride, because it is a very mountainy gravel road, but the road was in good condition and it was actually a fun trip. We also saw Round Mountain campground, whose road and campsite driveways are actually paved. Pavement all of a sudden is kind of bizarre in the middle of the forest, but I think they did it just to make it look more like a hobbit campground–all the pavement is covered with moss, making it ancient looking.

We eventually ended up back in town, and tried to go to the hot springs that evening. Unfortunately, they were booked for the rest of the day, so we made a reservation for Sunday morning first thing! Then we walked around a little more–this is the Old Red Bridge that was recently restored. It leads to the Magnolia Manor B&B, which looked like it was hosting a wedding that night so we didn’t go up to explore over there.

That evening, we ended up not going to dinner until 8, which meant that the pub was the only place to eat that was open besides Bridge Street Cafe (where we ate on Friday night–my pasta was ok, Reed’s trout was excellent). If we could have gotten a table outside at the pub, that would have been great–but that was not to be, so we ate on the screened porch with the (very loud) band. I was a little worried about it, but we ordered the cheeseburgers which were fantastic. Reed said it was amazing how much the pub improved when we got our food, and I have to agree.

Sunday morning, we walked over to the Hot Springs for our reservation. The Spa rents hot tubs filled with mineral water from the spring for an hour at a time. Ours (#5) had a great view of the French Broad River, and it was a nice and relaxing way to start the day. You can fill water bottles with spring water for free, so we bought a gallon jug and brought some home with us. We walked back and saw the little wading beach that is near the hot spring, and waded in the cool river water before walking back to our hotel and packing up.

On our way back to Raleigh, we decided to drive through the countryside and see Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Gorge. The gorge is beautiful, with high walls where there is lots of exposed rock at the top. We didn’t go up Chimney Rock, because it would have cost $14 a person and we were cheap at this point! Driving through Chimney Rock, the town, and Lake Lure, is like driving through Helen during Oktoberfest–they are cute places and obviously very popular! Maybe one day we will make a trip to that area specifically for a little bit.

Overall, Hot Springs was great. We will probably go back someday and do some whitewater rafting and more hiking. Although we really liked our hotel, we might also try one of the other places to stay–the little motel in town has a pool (and maybe tv, which we didn’t have but didn’t miss).

4/365

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