Number TWO in 10 to 10! Looking back on my first ten years in Pittsburgh

I moved to Pittsburgh in 2010 at age 17 to attend the University of Pittsburgh. I still think of myself as a “California Girl” but it’s crazy to think that I’ll soon be approaching the day when I have lived longer in the ‘burgh than I did in CA. I never got to know my hometown the way I know Pittsburgh, because just when I was getting old enough to be a little independent, I up and moved cross-country. But wow, these years have flown by.

Decade in Review

January 1, 2010
I haven’t had any time to do any resolutions or reminiscing or anything.  I got back from Vegas on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were CRAZYCRAZY catch-up at work, Thursday was also crazy catch up except I was VERY sick. I would have stayed home, except my boss is leaving for vacation on Monday and he said he HAD to talk to me about 2 cases on the January trial list, and that can’t wait until he gets back.  Of course he made me wait until 1pm to talk to me (when I was hoping we could talk first thing in the am and then I could go home).  I finally ended up getting home around 4ish and crashed.  I had to miss a fun fancy NYE dinner that Mike and I were going to attend with Sandy and Ben.  I am very sad about that.

I am not sad about missing the party with Mike’s parents.  I was planning on faking sick so I didn’t have to go to the party, and then of course, I actually get sick.  Serves me right I suppose.  Except Mike called his parents and said “We can’t go, Elizabeth’s sick” and they said they want us to get together with them for dinner this weekend. NO. I need a BREAK from them. I just spent 5 straight days with them, I need a couple weeks’ space. Geez.

Ok, on to the reminiscing:

I graduated Lancaster HS in Lancaster, CA, and moved across the country to attend the University of Pittsburgh. I wanted OUT of California, and was SO impatient to graduate.  I left behind a lot of friends, although only 1 of them (Jenny) has remained friends with me (I reached out to others a few times, but they never responded).  I met Christine on the first day I moved in to my dorm. My weight ballooned in the first semester of college, I was eating a ton, drinking a lot of beer, and even though there were gyms all over campus, I was hardly exercising at all.

I began working in the campus computer labs, where I would keep working through the rest of college and even during my first semester of law school.  It was very tedious but not a bad job, and I made a lot of good friends there, including Annette and Nicole.  I started dating Justin, although in retrospect we didn’t have much in common, so I don’t know why we were even attracted to one another to begin with. Around this time, I realized that majoring in chemistry probably wouldn’t pan out because organic chemistry made me MISERABLE, it was so boring.

Around this time I decided to major in German. I didn’t think this one through, I just realized that I liked my German classes well enough, so why not.  I moved off-campus into my own apartment this year.  It was kind of a dumpy studio apartment, but it was what I could afford.  Living in an apartment on my own really wasn’t much of a transition for me, because I was more or less independent as soon as I moved to Pittsburgh, because all my family was in California. Justin and I were still dating. Our relationship wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. We didn’t have any reason to break up, so we didn’t.  It just kept dragging on.  I was still in the dumpy studio apartment.

I think this was the year I was promoted to Site Assistant in the labs (like an assistant manager position).  I did things like scheduling, etc, basic managerial duties, but I worried SO much that I’d mess things up or get myself in trouble.  I started having dizzy spells and blurry vision.  I had to go to the Ear Nose & Throat Institute at UPMC, and it turned out this was all caused by stress.  This is when I learned that I am not good at managing stress.

I think this was the summer I studied abroad in Germany. The classes themselves weren’t super hard, but I made a lot of friends from all over the world, and really learned to travel.  I was terrified of public transit before (although I had adapted to using it in Pittsburgh), in Germany I had no choice but to use public transit all the time.  I conquered that anxiety, which I am very proud of.  I also got to see SO much when I was abroad, and I learned that international travel can be relatively inexpensive and accessible, as long as you plan it right.  When I was in Germany, I started running.  I remember the first time I could run for 20 minutes without having to walk. I was so proud, and I began losing some weight.

This was also the year that Justin and I decided to move in together.  While I was in Germany, he and his dad moved all my stuff into a dumpy basement level 1 bedroom in the same building.  Justin’s dream was to go to law school, so I decided to take the LSAT with him. I didn’t think much about it, except I don’t like to do things half-assed.  I actually studied, while he did not.  I got a good score, while he did not. Around Thanksgiving, I applied to 3 law schools: Pitt, Temple, and Georgetown.  I got acceptance letters to Pitt and Temple just before Christmas.  I decided to go to Pitt, in part foolishly thinking that Justin and I would get married, so I needed to stay close by.  I don’t know why I thought that, because we were starting to fight a lot, and generally didn’t like each other much.

In January, I started this LJ.

I graduated college, which was a huge and exciting experience for me, in part because it was the first time my Dad ever came to see me in Pittsburgh.  I had spent the last 4 years shuttling back and forth as best I could between Pittsburgh and California (to see my mom) and Oregon (to see my Dad).  He had been promising to come visit the whole time I was in college, but he never did.  He almost didn’t come to my graduation, because he couldn’t find a flight/hotel package he liked.  He did make it, though, and I was very happy.  My mom was also there, but she had come to Pittsburgh many times, and there was no question that she’d make it.

Justin and I broke up over the summer. We were fighting constantly by this point.  I went through a period where I was very angry at myself for having wasted all my time in college with him, and angry at my self for staying in Pittsburgh (in part) because of him. This began a period of me quasi-dating a bunch of guys who were really terrible for me. I suppose I was trying to live it up for all those college years I wasted.  I was lonely and wanted to be close to my family, except my family wasn’t all in LA anymore, they were scattered around the west coast.  There wasn’t a “home” to go back to. I was still living in the awful apartment Justin and I shared, which was a constant reminder of my anger.

I started law school and met Sandy on the very first day! I spent the first semester or so jumping from group to group of people, trying to figure out who the “right” friends were for me.  I did this same thing in high school, and I have no idea why, because by the end of high school I just felt like i more or less knew everyone, but wasn’t close with anyone.  I found a really good group of friends in law school, though, and we’re still friends now.

I got more and more into running, and ran my first 10k. On Thanksgiving, I decided (and announced to my family) that I would run the LA marathon in March.

In March I ran the LA marathon.  I was the most fit and at the lowest weight I’ve ever been in my adult life.  I also ran the Cleveland marathon in May.  I completely burned out on running, and I’ve hardly run at all since, although I’m very glad that I accomplished what I did.

Sandy and I took an awesome roadtrip to Memphis to see Graceland. My summer was spent in a bizarre chaos of simultaneously working 3 jobs (interning for a judge, interning in the DA’s office, research assistant for a professor ). I went gung-ho on the criminal law thing, and really wanted to be a DA. I loved everything about it.

In the summer of 2005, I moved into a terrible houseshare with two roommates who were, to put it mildly, not the right fit for me. That lasted 3 weeks.  My mom flew out to help me move out in secret. I found another (not crazy) roommate through craigslist which was luckily in a rowhouse only a couple weeks away.  I’m not good with having roommates, but the roommates I had in the rowhouse worked out pretty well. I stayed in that rowhouse until  Mike and I bought our house in 2007.

I met Mike at my birthday party in 2005 (we had mutual friends who had their birthdays around the same time, so we threw a combined birthday party).   I was somewhat seeing someone else at the time, but was attracted to Mike the second I met him.  He started reading this LJ, though, and we talked over AIM a lot (ha, AIM, i used to be on that CONSTANTLY, but I don’t think I’ve used it since like 2006).

The 2nd half of 2005 and first half of 2006 was perhaps the absolute busiest time for me during this decade.  I was very busy at law school, I was interning for the DA’s office, and I was working as a law clerk for a labor and employment law firm. Actually I think I may have started at that firm toward the end of 2005, but I’m not sure.The firm was a bad fit for me, and ended up scrambling for a job wherever I could find one.  I needed to work because I needed the money, so I wasn’t free to just quit.  I found a job posting seeking a law clerk at the firm where my Trial Advocacy Professor worked.  Apparently I made an impression on the teacher, because I later learned that as soon as she found out I had submitted my resume, she told the guys at my firm that they would hire me.

I began fretting big time over what I’d do for work after graduation, and in the 2nd half of the year I sent my resume to any place that would look at it.  My biggest fear was graduating and having no job.  I applied to jobs all around the country.  I applied to a lot of jobs in the criminal law arena, although after interning in the crimes persons unit (concerned with sex crimes), I was beginning to get burned out on criminal law.

In September, despite several months of not talking much, Mike and I reconnected.  In October we started dating. The first few months were simultaneously wonderful and scary.  Scary because I would be graduating in the spring and we didn’t know what would be happening with me work-wise, and by extension, with him and me. In November, Mike drove me out to Lancaster for an interview in a law clerk position.  He later told me that was a terrible experience for him, because he felt like he was driving me out there only to lose me.

In January, I ended up with 3 job offers: the law clerk position, the Philly DA’s office, and the small firm in Pittsburgh where I was clerking.  I went with the firm for a number of reasons.  I was a little sad that I would miss out on the excitement of Philly, but was happy I’d have Mike.  I was worried I was making the same mistake as before, that I’d be staying here for a guy only to have the relationship fall apart.  Luckily, that didn’t happen with Mike.

In May, we bought our house. I also graduated from law school that month, and we got our keys on graduation weekend.  After graduation, Mike and I brought our families to the new house for a champagne toast.

The first few months were spent on all kinds of rewiring and construction, conveniently when I was stuck studying for the bar exam.  The bar exam was a miserable experience, with plenty of dizzyness and blurry vision and stress and stress and stress.  My weight started to climb again, and continued to steadily do so over the next 2 years.  With all the stress of the bar, my new job, etc, eating healthfully was not a priority.

After the bar, Mike and I went on a Caribbean cruise and had SUCH a fun time.  When we came back, I had a week of “staycation” and then I started my new job with the firm.  It was exciting and terrifying at the same time.

We got our baby bird, Alida, that summer as well.

Mike proposed on Valentine’s day, at my office.
2008 was my first year of working full time and not being in school.  It was plagued by a lot of anxiety, but also a lot of accomplishments.  I had my first arbitration (I won), and my first trial (I won). I made myself crazy with wedding worries and work worries. Sandy and Ben got married, and she didn’t kill me as a result of my constant inane wedding chatter.

We didn’t have much money in 2008, and I was working at Kayak Pittsburgh (hauling kayaks) in the summer, then at the Mall at nights and on the weekends in the fall/winter, just so that I’d be able to afford paying my student loans.  Luckily in December my boss agreed to give me a raise, and while it’s not like I had lots of money after the raise, at least I could pay the bills.  We couldn’t afford to take much of a vacation that summer, so we went camping for a week, which turned into camping for a couple days, because it rained rained rained the whole time (and a tornado touched down in the park where we were staying).

Thanks to the raise in December 08, things were less financially dismal for us, and we were able to have a small wedding in the style we wanted, without going into debt. January through March were just insane with wedding preparations and family madness. In March, we had a beautiful wedding. We were lucky enough to be able to take an exciting Honeymoon, and went on a Mediterranean Cruise that visited Barcelona, Athens, Izmir (Turkey), Alexandria, Cairo, and Valetta (Malta).  What an amazing experience.

When I came back from the honeymoon, I realized that my weight had ballooned back to where it was in college, and decided it was time to take it very seriously.  I started using weight watchers in April, and lost 26 lbs through December (where I hit a plateau, which will be the subject of my resolutions…)

The theme for my year was “working hard”. I had become a lot more knowledgeable at work with regard to what I was doing, but there is still a lot more to learn.  I finally got into the swing of working cases up and trying to get them settled. I set a goal for myself in terms of what I needed to bring in, fees wise, and surpassed that goal significantly.  I had a fun summer, though.  Lots of social outings, nights out at the bar, all around a nice time.

We adopted Ricky-bird during the summer.  He seemed to like me at first, but now he only likes Mike.  He hisses at me when I come by.

During the fall I participated in a leadership class that helped me with my confidence at work, and with balancing work requirements and my outside “life” interests.

Also, I did not kill my family or inlaws on our trip to Las Vegas.  That is an accomplishment in and of itself.


Now, looking forward.

Before I set 2010 resolutions, I’d like to look back on my 2009 resolutions.
My resolutions were to lose weight, bring in the value of my salary in attorneys fees, and have fun at the wedding. Holy heck, I accomplished all of those.  That’s totally insane.

My goals for this coming year are to keep working hard at work, but to be more efficient about it.  I think I’ve reached the point where I can reasonably estimate how long tasks will take and can reasonably set a plan for how to handle a case, etc. I need to sharpen my time management skills and focus my efforts.

My other resolution/goal is to finish the cross stitch for Sandy’s baby before the baby actually comes…which is in a matter of weeks, not months, so that goal is going to be a stretch.  Now that I’m feeling less like death, I should be able to get some good stitching time in today.


Number 8 in 10 to 10

This is a rather typical specimen of my “early” blogging style (“early” as in the first 9 of my 10 years). Enjoy some senseless rambling. Electric blankets really are nice, especially in such nasty cold winters, so I thought this was a fun one to share. There was a little more purposeless profanity in there, which I have removed for the sake of everyone’s eyeballs and the little dignity I cling to. Also I can’t help but laughing at how much I lamented having 4 straight hours of class. Isn’t life hard? What I would give these days to spend 4 hours sitting in one spot just listening. It sounds like heaven.

busy busy bumblebee

October 18, 2004

Christine came over for dinner last night, and it was a good night. I, as is typical for me, prepared WAY too much food. I sent her home with half a quiche, but I still have a whole one left in my fridge. Looks like I’m eating quiche every frickin day this week. We spent the evening eating and then (in true nerd fashion) studying til like 11pm. She has a test today.
My profs keep changing our class schedule, due to various reasons (all of them are valid, so I can’t really hold it against them…but a constantly changing schedule does get kinda irritating…) so today i’ve got class NONSTOP from 10am-2pm. I’m not really looking forward to that…especially because the last 2 hours is torts, and 2 hours of torts is a lot….
Today seems to have potential for being good running weather. I feel like going running right now, but don’t have the time to. I’m hoping to go this afternoon after class.
Oh, and I used my electric blanket last night. I LOVE my electric blanket. Seeing as I’m *so* musically inclined, I wrote a song for my electric blanket while I was in the shower this morning.


Ode to my electric blanket:
Ooooo eeeeeelectric blaaaaaanket!
Hooooow I looooove you!!
You keep me so toastily scrumptiously warm!!
Some day I’m sure your wires will wear thin
and you’ll spark and smoke while I’m sleeping
and I will slooooowly smolder to deeeeeath!
but I don’t care, because you treat me well right now!
So toastily scrumptiously
toastily scrumptiously
toastily scrumptiously

It really is a song meant for singing. Perhaps one day I’ll sing it for you.
Oooo breakfast is done. Must go eat. MMMM pizza bagel in the morning. Yummy.


Counting down– 10 to 10

January 24, 2014 will mark my 10 year blogaversary.

Ten years of sharing my thoughts with the world. Or ten years of the world being subjected to my mindless drivel. You decide.

I did not start off on this blog. I started off on LiveJournal. If you’ve been blogging a long time, you probably remember LiveJournal. Remember Friendster and Xanga and AIM, too? Yeah. My college and law school years were lived entirely on LiveJournal and AIM. All those LiveJournal entries are now hidden from public view. Simply: my writing was ridiculous. It’s not much better now. But I’ve got a better handle on the profanity at least.

To celebrate these ten crazy years, I’m going to share ten entries from the past with you. No one will be rushing a Pulitzer to my house for these, but each holds a special place in my heart. Enjoy.

10.      2 little jewish girls trekkin it through South Central

March 7, 2005

We did it! Hari & I ran the LA marathon yesterday!  And I came home to find sooo many people had im’d me that they tracked me on the website, it was so encouraging!! Thank you everyone!!!

The course was through Downtown, South Central, and some other areas. I don’t know that entire area very well at all, so it was pretty cool to get to see a part of the city I haven’t really explored before.  I grew up outside of LA, so I don’t really know much of it at all.

The marathon was rough. Really really rough. I definitely wouldn’t have gotten through it without Hari.  We ran the first 6 miles, and then did walking & running after that. Oh, and I puked in my own mouth at the 7th mile. That was pretty foul. (If I puked on the sidewalk, the cameras would have inevitably picked that up, and it woulda been broadcast all along the west coast. I wasn’t down with that, so I choked it back down…)

There were SO many people out supporting us, the crowds were amazing. There were little kids lined up all along the race course giving us high-fives!! And there were people out giving us oranges and bananas and water and ice and all sorts of good stuff! I’m talking people who supplied these things on their own, in addition to the rest stops that were officially set up. It was sooo sweet!!! It was SO hot out. Ice has never ever ever been so tasty.  At all the water stops I kept dumping cups of water on myself. There is a big difference between training in 10-30 degree weather, and running a race in 70 degrees.

We came in at 5 hours and 12 minutes. (chip time) Of course i was SO glad to be finished, and SO glad that I finished at all, that I was all choked up and practically crying when we crossed the line (maybe I was crying? I don’t really remember. I was WAY tired). We got lots of juice and water, and then sat down for a bit. I was pretty sick and exhausted and miserable.  But sooooo happy.  I’m so glad that we ran this…not so sure I’ll ever want to do it again though 😉   We’ll be running a 1/2 marathon in Cleveland, and now Hari’s saying that we’re gonna have to do the New York marathon! (Not this year! Maybe next year….)
Here are some photos I took. The course photos aren’t available yet, but you can see the official marathon photo album here.

me making our race signs in my jammies

Striking poses in front of the Staples Center. (Notice the background!!)

Waiting in the line for what turned out to be the foulest bathrooms in the history of the universe

Starting the race!!!
There will be many more photos to come, I have to wait for the race photos to be posted, and for me to develop my film (I might go do 1 hr photo today). Yaaay!


Good Morning

Hello. It is Saturday Morning. Well, afternoon technically. It’s 12:05. So far I have survived Baby Beez’ ballet class, got a little coffee, and got a little work done. None of this has been easy. Baby Beez is in the “Fighting about Every Darn Thing” phase which involves a lot of screaming and flailing. Plus she’s aggressively cuddly, meaning that she throws elbows and knees in a crazed race to climb into and monopolize my lap. That makes it very hard for me to any work. I got so unbelievably frustrated and irritated that I was yelling too, and had to hide up in the bedroom to get my work done.

I hate being so angry in response to her WANTING to be close to me. I know that the time for her cuddles is limited. And I never want her to feel like I am pushing her aside to get work done. But sometimes I just need a darn hour to revise a Complaint, and she just needs to WAIT one darn hour (watch Tangled again for goodness sake!) and she’ll get all the cuddles she wants. I am thankful for Mr. Beez running interference today. I try to be patient. But try is not always the same as succeed. And when I don’t do as well as I would wish, I’m glad he is there to help out.

So the remainder of today involves holiday parties and writing briefs. I have two very big filings at the end of the year, which is unusual because December is usually a slow month for litigation. Truth be told, I would rather work hard and bank the hours now, and have a little more room to breathe in the warmer months. Winter is not my thing and I don’t mind spending the hours in the warm indoors takin’ care of business.

I’ve been looking forward to the release of the BlogHer Food agenda, ever since BlogHer announced that the conference will take place in Miami this year.  It was released earlier this week, and after much thinking and talking with Mr. Beez and thinking some more, I have decided I am not going to go this year.  This year’s conference has a much more commercial focus than last year. Most of the sessions are tailored towards brand/blogger relations, and people who want to turn their food blogging into a career, whether through a book or company or what have you.  It focuses a lot more on the cooking side of food blogging, and has nothing on the restaurant/food enthusiast side of blogging.  This is not a criticism in the least. The conference provides a totally valuable forum for a huge number of people. It’s just not the right emphasis or approach for my interests, so I decided that my time would be better spent just picking my own weekend to visit Miami at another time. I was considering buying my ticket earlier, but now I’m glad that I held off, because I think the event would not be the right fit for me. Big Summer Potluck is still TOTALLY in the cards, and now that I see that Big Traveling Potluck is only a bit of a drive from my Mom’s house, that too is a possibility….gotta choose FAST though, because tickets go on sale Monday!

During the last few weeks I have gone a little crazy with Amazon purchases (lots of sales!), so I’ve got the following books locked and loaded: The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt). And the Mountains Echoed (Khaled Hosseini), Burial Rites (Hannah Kent), Orange is the New Black (Piper Kerman), Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card), Books 2-5 of the Song of Ice And Fire (aka Game of Thrones) (George R.R. Martin). I am also 2% into Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace), but I can only hope to get that read by the end of my life, forget the end of this year.
What do yinz guys have on your nightstands?


Consciously Rose-Tinted

Kate at Yinzpiration published a thought provoking piece yesterday about seeking out the “real” on the internet.  The balance between publicly sharing struggles, the gritty side of life, and the defeats against the (admittedly easier) sharing of successes and joy is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  I toyed with sharing the private details of my life in a previous blog.  While it was a valued outlet at the time, and created a community of support where I thought none existed, exposing the “real” is no longer the right fit for me.

I’m surprised by the backlash against only posting the highlight reel of one’s life online.  Blogging to me is like Disneyland.  It kind of looks like life, but you really know it is fake, but it’s ok, you don’t care, and you have fun anyway.  When I publish posts about our outings and adventures, I leave out how the kid had a total meltdown at 4pm or that we got lost and Mr. Beez and I got in a big fight over directions.  I leave these things out for the sake of my own memories. This blog is my scrapbook, and when I read past entries, I want to remember the fun things, the things that made me smile.

Maybe from these posts, my life comes across as all-happy-all-the-time. It is not. No one’s life is like that. I don’t write like that to make others jealous or feel like they’re missing out.  I write like that, assuming that they know that Cinderella in her plastic wig is not a real princess.  She’s an exhausting twentysomething actress, caked in makeup looking for a break. We all know that, but we still smile and take pictures with her.

I value the bloggers who keep it real.  In my private struggles, I find meaning and support in seeing how others have similarly struggled and have overcome. I am glad they are there, I am proud for them, and I hope they keep sharing for their sake as well as the sake of their readers. But for me, sharing that struggle is outside my comfort zone.

There’s still a “real” in my rose-tinted posts.  It’s not the same “real” but it’s there.  This is by no means a criticism of Kate’s (and the bloggers she shouts to) initiative to give the full 360 of their experiences.  There is value in both, and certainly room for both in this boundless internet.