Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Post Bar Exam Disconnect

Since the bar exam I have felt really disconnected from almost every aspect of my life and I'm not sure why.  I should be feeling really connected to everything at this point in my life because I am no longer spending 8-12 hours a day studying, yet that isn't how I feel.  I feel almost like because of the bar exam I lost part of my life because I couldn't be around for people, so they just in a way forgot about me.  I know that is silly, but that's how I've been feeling.

Pre and post bar exam, about the only people I still feel connected to are the bf and my best friend CS.  It's hard for the bf and I to grow apart because well we live together and see each other every day even if it is only for a short amount of time.  I've hung out with my best group of girlfriends (KT, NS, JG, and SS) only once since taking the bar exam and have seen my other friends basically once (some of them twice) since the exam.  I also haven't been to NJ since Memorial Day weekend.  So this is leading me to feel disconnected from what my life was pre-bar exam.  But maybe this is supposed to happen...

Maybe post-bar exam I'm supposed to be immersing myself in the legal world and starting to associate with lawyers and not all of my amazing pre-law school friends.  But that doesn't seem like it is right or fair... does it?? I have heard rumors that people lose touch with everyone during law school, but I didn't think it would happen to me especially because a lot of my friends faithfully stood by my side during the hard times that came with being a law student.  So why is it now that I'm no longer a law student I feel as though my faithful friends are no longer by my side??

I know if my friends were reading this they would say that I am crazy and that they are all still here for me, but truth is, it just doesn't feel like that.  I wish I could make these feelings go away... but right now... I just can't...

Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart

Love, Charleston is a book about finding love, finding yourself, and finding God.  Each chapter is from the perspective of the various characters showing how they have questioned much of what is going on in their lives and how they have overcome their struggles with the help of each other and of course with a little help from the big man upstairs. The book centers around the relationship between Lish, Anne and Della who are not only family but best friends.  Each woman has their own life, yet they are all still intertwined and part of one bigger picture that includes all of them no matter where their life journeys take them.

I had a really hard time starting to read this book and it wasn't until I was about 75 or so pages in that I decided that I actually did like the book.  I don't know if I had trouble with it because this is not a book that I would typically read (I'm more into the murder, mystery type books) or  if it was just slow to start off.  What I do know is that I'm glad I stuck with reading it, because in the end I really enjoyed it.  While reading it at times I would find myself in shock and disbelief, and other times I was overcome with joy for the characters.  The more into it I got the more I felt for the characters and the more I felt like I knew them (I know, cheesey, right?)  Overall this ended up being a really good book and I think anyone who has ever questioned their faith should check it out because well it makes you see how God has a plan for all of us and how everything will somehow work itself out in the end.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Relaxing Weekend @ Lake Wallenpaupak

This past weekend the bf and I headed up to Lake Wallenpaupak with some friends for a nice relaxing weekend away.  Our friend ML has been trying to get us all to go up to his family's lake house probably since we graduated from Bucknell and after 3 years we FINALLY made it up there.  We headed up on Friday and of course the bf and I were the first ones there, so we played cards in the back of the car for a while, and then hung out on the back deck while waiting for our host to get there.  Here is our view from the back deck... how gorgeous is this?!

When ML finally arrived we decided to grill for dinner and then wait for the rest of the guests to arrive.  Everyone was there safe and sound by about midnight.  My best friend N and I decided to go to bed fairly early because we were determined to get up early and have a cup of coffee out on the back deck early the next morning. 

Saturday started off as planned with N and I having our coffee out on the deck.  It was sooooo incredibly relaxing... almost makes me want to buy a house out that way just so that I can relax like that on weekend mornings in the summer. 

This was our view during our morning coffee.

After coffee N and I decided that even though it wasn't the sunniest of days that we were going to make the best of things and claim the chairs down by the lake and start trying to get some sun.  Some of the boys came down to join us and get the boat/jet skis ready for the day, but the rest of the girls just stayed inside because it was too cold out.  Personally I thought it was colder up on the deck than it was down by the Lake.  It was ok that no one joined us because N and I had some good conversations and were able to catch up more than we had on the phone a few nights earlier. 

View from my Chair

The boys finally got everything up and running and the day was filled with jet ski rides, boat rides, drinks down by the water and of course reading some Cosmo out loud for all to hear.  All and all it was a really relaxing day filled with lots of laughs and lots of good times with amazing friends.  After spending the day by the lake we went to The Boathouse for dinner and drinks.  The Boathouse was a nice restaurant though they need to learn how to cook their chicken better.  The theme for all the chicken dishes was a really burnt outside, but the chicken inside was pretty tender.  Dinner was also interesting because we had some complainers with us.  I'm not going to mention any names or initials just because well I don't know if any of them read this, but in a way I felt like I had to defend the restaurant business to them because they just didn't seem to understand how things worked and how sometimes things don't always go as planned. Maybe it's because I work in the restaurant business or maybe I'm just more tolerant, but I really was upset at how these people were getting upset and handling things.  Hope they tipped our waitress well because there was no gratuity on the check, and for us being a party of 11 she did a pretty good job with it all.

After dinner N headed home and the rest of us headed out to play mini-golf.  The mini-golf course was close to impossible because it was just very tricky and the holes just didn't make sense at all.  MM, the g-little and I ended up in a tie for first out of the 10 of us and I think we were only a couple of strokes over par!  Go us!  After golf we headed back to the house for some drinking and TV watching.  We watched Whitney Cummings on Comedy Central and omg is she funny!  I'm not really one for watching Comedy Central unless I am watching Jeff Dunham BUT I think that if I can find out when Whitney Cummings is on I may start watching it more.  Seriously if you haven't seen her, she is a MUST see... I think I'd even consider going to see her live if it was at all possible.  *fingers crossed* that she comes to AC or to somewhere in Philly!

Sunday was a rainy day so the bf and I headed home after breakfast.  I think the others were considering going to a movie or something, but we decided that if we were going to be stuck inside we'd like to be stuck inside at our home.  All in all it was a fun weekend and I really enjoyed getting out and just relaxing before my first week back at work. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Spirit of Giving

Once again this having a lot of free time on my hands has made me think... I want to get back into volunteering.  I used to volunteer ALL the time when I was at Bucknell.  Partially because being a Chi O meant that because of Bucknell's Plan for Prominence I had to do a certain number of hours of community service to avoid facing consequences in the sorority, but also because I enjoyed doing it.  I enjoyed helping others and always went above and beyond the number of required hours.  So in remembering that spirit of giving that I embraced while I was in college, I decided to start volunteering again. 

The first thing I have decided to do is to sign up to do a Memory Walk on October 9, 2010 in Wilmington, DE.  The Memory Walk is a 3 mile walk that is organized by the Alzheimer's Association to raise money and awareness about Alzheimer's disease.  For anyone who has read my previous post you know that this is something that is very important to me and I'm actually super excited to do this walk.  I'm forming a team... so anyone who wants to join check out My Memory Walk Page from which you can get to the team page to sign up to walk with me!  From my page you can also make donations to the cause.  Any help and support that I get for this will be greatly appreciated.

I have also decided to fill out a volunteer application for the Delaware Make-a-Wish chapter.  Chi Omega is nationally affiliated with Make-a-Wish and during my time at Bucknell I participated in a number of events that went to benefit our wish children.  To me that was so gratifying, being able to help a sick child obtain their one last wish.  I think it will be a great opportunity for me to get re-involved with Make-a-Wish and I'm really hoping that they have something that I can help with.

Though being unemployed is scary, it is also giving me some good insight into what I want to do with my life.  I remember why I loved helping people and it makes me realize that I probably am best suited to a job in some sort of public service... be it at the Attorney General's office, the Public Defender's office (who am I kidding, I'd make a horrible PD, but ya never know), or some sort of legal aid agency, I think I was meant to use my law degree to help people and will not be pursuing my original goal of working for a corporate firm or some international business.  Of course I could change my mind about this all again, but something tells me that I really was meant to use my degree to help people, and for now, that's what I'm going to try to do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Talking About Grandma's Cooking Makes Me Think...

This is my Gram... a.k.a. one of the best cooks ever.  This picture of her is from her bday (the bday that my cousin and I took flowers from our Pop's garden to decorate her cake... don't think he was too happy about that).  This was also probably the last bday where she had her health.

My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's this past year, and I'm ashamed to say that I have not been dealing with it well at all.  Lots of people have tried to comfort me and have tried to remind me that she will have moments where she remembers us all and remembers how much she loves us and remembers everything.  People have tried to tell me that I need to cherish those moments and to cherish the memories. I am trying my very best to do just that, but it's hard.  It's hard because I know what's coming.

I know it's hard to imagine that I know what's coming, but in a way I do.  When I was in 6th grade my Grandpa died from Alzheimer's.  Much of my life was spent making weekly visits to the nursing home where he slowly deteriorated to the point that he didn't recognize us anymore, then he couldn't take care of himself anymore, then it was like he was a lifeless lump who existed but didn't. As a child I found it very hard to visit him in the nursing home.  I didn't like the way it smelled, I didn't like all the "old people", and most of all (as horrible as this sounds) I just didn't like seeing my Grandpa.  Sure I loved him very much...in fact I do still love him... but it was just so hard to see him the way that he was.  It was painful to visit him and to know that the man who loved me so much no longer knew who I was an who pretty much didn't even know I was in the room when I was there.  There were times that I resented the fact that we had to go to the nursing home instead of being able to go other places and do fun things... especially in the summer.  When he died my biggest regret was that I hadn't treasured the moments I did get to spend with him and that I had resented him for making me spend part of my childhood visiting him in the nursing home.  To this day I still think that how I was with Grandpa when he got really sick is my biggest regret in life... and it pains me to know that there is really nothing that I can do about it.

With my grandma being sick, I'm afraid I'll make that same mistake again. The bf and I met up with the family to visit Gram for her bday on the 4th of July and going to see her in a nursing home was hard. When we first got to the nursing home all those familiar bad feelings came rushing back, but I knew I couldn't not see her.  I also knew that I didn't want to make the same mistake that I had with Grandpa, so I was going to go visit her no matter what.  This bday visit was the first time I had seen her since she had been flown up from FL to be back in NJ and was the first time I had seen her since she really started to deteriorate.  Needless to say, nothing... and I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for the person I saw in that room.  She looked so small, fragile, weak, and sick.  I'm not sure anyone besides the bf noticed it, but I almost started crying right then and there.  But I knew I had to hold it together because well this was our birthday celebration for her.  I couldn't let her see how upset I was... this was her special day.  I haven't been able to see her since her bday (studying for the bar exam pretty much consumed my life) and I have to say I'm kind of nervous about what the next visit will bring.  Yes I know what to expect, but I'm not sure I'm ready for another grandparent to go through this... it is really such a heartbreaking disease.

I know you probably thought this post was going to be about Grandma's Cooking, and her cooking is what made me start to think about all of this.  I've been obsessed with cooking since finishing the bar exam.  Last night the bf and I actually made some pretty good ham and cheese melts that I found a recipe for.  But what I really want to do is start making all of Gram's recipes that I have.  She was such a good cook and I loved cooking with her.  She had all kinds of cool gadgets and it was just always so much fun to cook with her or bake with her or to help out with whatever she was up to in the kitchen.  I have so many fond memories of waking up early when we were down at the shore to help her make a Bisquick coffee cake for breakfast... or the times that we made homemade bread together using the bread machine... or helping to make salads for dinner... or getting things together for the men to grill...going to Wegman's with her to do shopping... or to Delicious Orchards to get fruit for various things (like peach crunch... mmmm... my favorite).  It hurts to think that I'm never going to be able to do those things for her again.  But what I do know is that I'm going to keep on making her recipes to keep her alive in me.  I have those memories of me with her and nothing can take that away.  Cooking her dishes is going to be what keeps her alive in me long after she is gone.

I love you Gram!  And Grandpa, I miss you more than words and describe and can only hope that you are looking down on me from heaven and that you are proud of me.. I love you too!

PS,  Sorry for the depressing post, but sometimes you just need to get these things out.  Depressing as this post may have been, it definitely helped to make me feel better just thinking about Gram and my Grandpa!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gotta Love Him for Trying

So I didn't make it home to Jersey this weekend to see the family and I must admit, I was thoroughly depressed about that.  Of course the bf tried to make me feel better, and it worked, but didn't.  I was pretty much evil to him at first because well I didn't really want to spend any time with him if I wasn't spending time with him in NJ.  He insisted that I get out of the house and dragged me (not quite kicking and screaming, but pretty close to it) to Booth's Corner (our local farmer's market).  We walked around a bit and didn't get anything... not for his lack of trying.  I shot down everything that we may or may not have needed to buy and was pretty grumpy the entire time we were there.  But I was mad... I was mad that I was stuck walking around the local farmer's market instead of spending time with my family in NJ.  He then proceeded to take the LONGEST drive home ever during which I refused to talk and refused to agree to any of the other ideas he had planned for the day (a picnic in the park, tennis, etc.)... all I wanted to do was stay at home and read and do nothing... after all, all I wanted to do was be in NJ and since I wasn't going to be there, I wasn't going to be a happy camper.  I was a grump most of the day Saturday and although I wasn't feeling happy, I decided it would be easier to feign happiness instead of having the bf continue to harass me all weekend long.

Today wasn't too bad because although I do feel a little bit better, I'm still annoyed that I didn't get to spend my weekend in NJ, the bf wasn't on my case as much because I didn't seem like a gloom and doom kind of girl.  We actually spent some quality time together today... grocery shopping and then working on a puzzle together. Maybe it was just doing those normal every day tasks together that helped make me feel a little better, or maybe it was the fact that I talked to my parents every day since Wednesday, but I do feel a bit better.  I also have to give the bf credit for trying all weekend to make me feel like my old self, even though for the most part I wasn't being receptive to his efforts and in fact think I may have done everything in my power to ignore them for at least most of the day on Saturday.

I guess I did that because part of me was mad at him because he didn't want to go to NJ with me even though I had told him how homesick I was.  I understand that it would be putting a bunch more miles on his car and that he's been doing a lot of driving recently, and that he'll be driving next weekend when we go to the Poconos... but it still didn't stop me from being annoyed.  I haven't been home since Memorial Day and haven't seen my family since the 4th of July.  For those of you who know me, you KNOW that's unheard of for me... I am usually home once a month if not more if I can swing it.  So this is a huge switch for me.  We've actually been out to visit his family more than we've been to see mine recently, which is just different.  I mean don't get me wrong, I LOVE his family, but they aren't my family.  I need my family, especially when I'm feeling down like this.  And now it doesn't look like we'll be able to get up to NJ until sometime in Sept, which really has me bugging.... that means it'll be probably close to 4 months before being home in NJ and 3 months since I've seen my family.  I know that other people go way longer without seeing their family, take one of my best friends, C, for example... her family is a plane ride away and she really only sees them at holidays or special family events, and she doesn't complain.  I guess I should feel lucky that I get to see my family so often and get to go home often too.  But for me it's still not enough.  I'll always be a Jersey girl at heart and need trip to Jersey to keep me sane.

*fingers crossed* I can get to Jersey soon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Homesick and Lying About It

I don't like to lie.  I don't like people who lie. I think lies can cause a whole lot of drama, yet today, I told a lie.  I was on the phone with my mom and she told me that I sounded depressed... I responded with "I'm just tired....that's all."  She seemed to accept that as an answer though I'm probably sure she didn't 100% believe me because well she's my mom and she knows me better than most people... I mean come on, within 5 minutes of being on the phone with her she knew something was wrong.

I've spent a good part of the afternoon debating about calling her back and telling her that yes something is wrong and that yes I need her to talk to about things with.  But something is holding me back.  Not only do I have stressful things going on in my life down here, but there is a lot of stressful stuff happening back home in North Jersey.  Let's just say that in both of my "homes" (North Jersey and with the bf) things seem to be falling apart and I'm just not sure how to put them back together.

What I really want (and I think need) is to find a way to get home to North Jersey this weekend.  Though it's not looking good... my car is broken (and I don't have the money to fix it), the train is expensive (if I don't have the money to fix my car, I certainly don't have the money to take the train), the bf doesn't want to put the miles on his car (let's face it, we have been traveling a lot recently and have more travels to come), and buses, well they just scare me.  So it looks like I'm going to be stuck here this weekend... missing Jersey and my family more than ever.  Of course there is always the option of asking my parents to help me out with the train ticket and add it to the IOU I have going with them, but I really don't want it to come to that.

The more that I think about it, I realize I didn't just lie to my mother because I know she's stressed out, I also lied to her because I am homesick and I know that if she knows I'm homesick she'll launch into her trying to convince me to move back home thing again.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love, Love, LOVE to move back to North Jersey, but my life isn't really up there anymore.  Sure my family is there, but most of my life is now between the Philly and Wilmington areas... some of my best friends live between the two cities, my jobs, my bf, etc.... all in the Philly/Wilmington area, so there is no real reason to move back to North Jersey.  Though I must admit, the idea right now is very tempting. 

Maybe once I find a job and have less time to sit around thinking about things I'll start enjoying life down here more again.  But right now all I really feel is homesick.....

Down here, dreaming about pizza, bagels, and everything else that is the essence of North Jersey... man I need to get home soon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Domestic Goddess?

Today one of my best friends called me a domestic goddess.  I know she meant no harm by it, and was pretty much kidding with me, but it got me thinking... is it true?  Since taking the bar exam I seem to have dedicated my life to cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry.  I almost feel like I went to law school and instead of coming out with a JD I came out with my MRS degree. Is this what life post law school is going to be like?

I feel silly because one of the highlights of my day today was the fact that I now have a completely clean toaster oven and microwave in my kitchen.  I rearranged some stuff, pulled everything out and cleaned pretty much everything (except the stove and the bottle collection above the cabinets... didn't feel like tackling that today).  It feels so good to know that I have a kitchen that is now clean by my standards... not boy standards (sorry Mark, I love you, but your idea of clean is NOT my idea of clean).  Does this make me a domestic goddess?  Am I destined to be a wife at home instead of being a kick butt lawyer like I always thought? 

I think part of the problem is that I tried to look for entry level attorney jobs again today, only to find out that there are NONE out there.  It's really depressing.  I have loans that come due in a few short months and I still have NO idea when I'm going to get a real job.  What if I didn't pass the bar exam?  My chances of getting a job then are SHOT.  I spent 10 weeks studying my butt off for this exam and to think that I might not pass and might end up being a housewife makes me CRAZYYYYY!  I mean sure being a housewife is for some girls, but it's not for me.  I've always been ambitious and have wanted a career... and I don't want to give that up... I don't think.

Sure I've enjoyed being home at times, but a lot of time I get bored (hence starting this blog).  Having so much time leads me to think about a lot and that might drive me crazy.  I need to find a job, any type of job... do I go back to working at Fridays? do I get a job in retail? What to do, what to do....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Central PA Fun

This weekend was Mark's Family Reunion out in central PA.  Every year the Benson side of his family gets together at the family cabin for some food, fun, and an amusing auction.  Everyone cooks something for a pot luck type lunch... this year Mark made a delicious pumpkin pie (I didn't eat any there, but had some today that was delicious, so I can only assume yesterday's was just as good).  After lunch I learned how to play this washers game... it's kind of a combination of horseshoes and that game with the beanbags that we play when tailgating for the Phillies (yes, I know real descriptive, but I don't know how else to explain it).  Needless to say, it was NOT my game, I don't think I got one washer in the hole, thus explaining why Mark and I lost terribly.  After getting our butts kicked I felt it was best to sit out and observe and man, is his family interesting.  There was a lot going on and all I can really say is wow.

Besides spending time at the family reunion we also went to the races... again.  I was really bored on Friday night... time trials and small heats are not exciting enough for me.  I actually found myself dozing off at one point... whoops! The most amusing part of the night was Terry (Mark's mom's bf) throwing peanuts at me and me throwing them right back at him.  He is definitely a kid at heart!  On Saturday night the races were a lot more fun, I didn't even mind the time trials too much.  We placed quarter bets on all of the heats and I actually won one of the heats because I bet on the only girl racing and she kicked some butt!  She later was pretty bad in the feature race, but apparently that's only because she just started racing in the 410s (look at me acting like I know something about racing ;))  I also had a good time cheering for the 0 car because he's a Jersey Boy and you know that no matter where I live I'll always be true to my Jersey roots!  Overall it wasn't a bad night... though it can never be a bad night when you're in good company, which I sure was.

Now it's back home and back to the grind.  I'm thinking that tomorrow maybe I'll start cleaning the house... I'm finding it really hard to occupy my time now that I don't have the bar exam to study for, so I think we're really going to get a clean house out of this.  Also going to start getting into the job hunt again, because although I have a prospect (more on that in another entry) I want to make sure that I have something solid before I have to start repaying my loans.  I can't keep living off of Mark forever... though I am eternally grateful for all of his support this summer both emotionally, mentally, and financially.  I'm not sure I would have made it through the summer with any sort of sanity left had it not been for him.

I guess that's all for now... lots of rambling on tonight... I swear I'll get better at this as time goes on...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Starting a Blog... Me? Really?

Never in a million years did I think that I would be one to start a blog.  But then I realized how awesome and therapeutic it could be, so I'm giving it a try.  I don't know if I'll be any good at this or if anyone really wants to read what I have to say, but you know what, I don't care.  I'm looking forward to starting something new and putting down in writing what is really going on in my head.

But now the problem is, what to say.  I have so much going on in my head, life is changing and I'm growing up and sometimes I just don't know what to do about it all.  I've graduated law school, am looking for a job, one of my best friends already moved away, another one is moving away on Monday, friends are getting engaged, friends are getting married, I might be getting engaged soon, I'm looking for a new car, I signed the lease with my boyfriend, my grandmother is really sick, my grandfather just had surgery, I'm scared to death about my loans coming due and not having enough money to pay them all... the list goes on and on.  I know I need to take these things one at a time, but just getting them out there makes me feel a little bit better.

I think that's it for now, maybe more later on a single topic, but just wanted to say Hello Blogging World, I'm here! :)