Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"I didn't get any presents"

I lugged a Nordstrom's bag out to my cousin's car at the end of the night. "Can you pop open the trunk?" I asked. She had driven me to the family party.
"What's that? Gifts?"
"Oh no, it's just food, leftovers."
"Oh, I was about to say, I didn't get any gifts!"
"Me neither."

My cousin and I grew up like sisters. We were the only children in our age group for a long, long time, so naturally, when Christmas came around, everyone showered us with gifts. I remember leaving these annual Christmas Eve parties with piles and piles of gifts. We were allowed to open one on Christmas Eve and the rest in the morning. I never waited. I just stayed up until midnight and declared it to be Christmas based on a technicality.

We got older. The gifts got smaller. We were handed envelopes full of cash or gift cards and sometimes, expensive cosmetics. Our older cousin introduced me to Hello Kitty and Sephora, the loves of my life. We still received gifts in college. I may have gotten some Starbucks gift cards in law school. There was a time I lamented this transition in a high school diary. I felt sad that no one could tell what I wanted anymore, that I wasn't easy to predict anymore.

I don't even bother looking for gifts under the tree. No one presses envelopes in my hand after I started working. Last night, we drove off with full bellies and an empty trunk. I've never felt more like an adult.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

comfort food

I feel like I should post this on "Hare-Brained Schemes," which is a blog that Yves and I share.  The concept of that blog is that we would post our business ideas/ventures on it, the dumber the better, and you would get a laugh. There's been two entries, both written by Yves.

I (and maybe some others) have been kicking around the idea of a restaurant that serves food you can only get at home. Home, in this case, is a concept, not your actual home. Restaurants tend to serve roughly the same fare. For example, I can get bowl of pho anywhere in the city, but when the craving for chicken ro-ti strikes, I have to call my mom. Then I have to wait until Sunday and drive 35 miles to my parents' house. Or I have to make it myself, like I made some meat stuffed tomatoes the other day. My friend was coincidentally eating the same thing all the way across the country, except hers was from a frozen batch made by her mom during her last visit to NYC.

I wouldn't limit it to just Vietnamese food; it's a cross-cultural thing. During lunch at LAFLA (a non-profit where I used to work), my Taiwanese coworker would share her food, things I wouldn't even know how to order. My ex-boyfriend loved this souffle egg thing his mom made. It didn't appear on any of the menus of the three Thai restaurants she owned. She had just the basics, stir fries and noodle dishes, while at home, we ate home Thai food.

Clearly, there is an underlayer of regional cuisine that hasn't been explored. Since this is just the germ of a hare-brained scheme, I don't know what the demand would be for such a restaurant, but it is LA--plenty of foodie appetites to fuel a burgeoning concept. If I build it, will you come? Or better yet, if I pitch it, will you Kickstart it?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Reality Show Pitches by my friends

This Is How You Spend Your Money. Patience is going to find people with money and spend it for them.

It's as simple as it sounds. Patience came up with this when she noticed that a lot of rich people spend their money on tasteless things or not spend it at all. She is going to show them how to live it up.

Surprise Wedding. Instead of proposing, a guy (or girl) will plan the whole wedding and ask his/her significant other to show up. The significant other says yes or no at the surprise wedding. Credits to Ray for coming up with this one. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

family time

Spent some time with the fam over the weekend. I gave the kiddies my business card. Their mom (my cousin) advised, "If you ever owe anyone money, give them this card, and say 'Call my auntie. She will pay you.'" -___-

Me (to the 13 year old): If you want a car, start asking now. It's going to take 3 years to get one.
Rachel: Yeah, and if they say no, you can ask for a cellphone and it won't seem so bad in comparison.

I added the 13 year old on facebook. His mom is my facebook friend. She found out and made him deactivate. He was not that mad about it. They still have Xbox. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

lawyer jail

My friend Mercy had her first hearing in federal court last year. Her name wasn't on the pleadings. I've never appeared in federal court (even though I am admitted), but apparently, appearing when your name isn't on the pleadings is a big no-no. She came back from her hearing and we asked her how it went. "They didn't send me to lawyer jail!" she exclaimed.

And thus the term "lawyer jail" was coined.*

Today, another friend (let's leave her anonymous for now) asked me, "Hey, is it okay if someone else contacts a party represented by counsel? As long as it's not me, right?"
"Yeah, as long as it's not you or at your direction."
"I don't like that answer."
"Fine, then make up your own rules!"
"No, I don't want to wake up next to [sleazy lawyer name omitted] in lawyer jail!"

*I'm still not sure what lawyer jail actually is, but my understanding is that there is a special jail for lawyers when you act in contempt of the court.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

night runs

Drake and I have had a long history. I first met Drake first year of college, when I could barely run a mile. I jogged/walked with my roommate and floormates. It was bad times.

I kept at it though, and by second year of college, I could run four miles without collapsing. I used to come to Drake late at night, after the lights have gone off, and run until I was too exhausted to think about my problems. Second year was kind of tough on me. My grades weren't where I wanted them to be. The freshman 15 made me feel self-conscious about my body. I was mentally recovering from a death of a friend. I didn't realize how depressed I was until I emerged on the other side during senior year of college. Drake was there, with its open inviting lanes, giving me peace of mind in the darkness.

By senior year, Drake and I were regular buddies. I turned to Drake to clear my mind. I didn't really have problems, just the occasional boy drama. Whenever I was frustrated or angry, I would just leave my phone at home and hit the track with my mp3 player. By the time I got back to my apartment, I had a bit of clarity, new resolve, and a couple of new text messages (sometimes).

I met up with Drake again tonight. Ran the 3.7 miles from my apartment, felt the familiar rubber under my feet. Hello old lover, I've missed you.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


We have an unofficial General Counsel at the firm. I say this because the first time he found out he was the GC was during a firm presentation when the managing partner announced that he was the new GC (in addition to being a new partner) and everyone clapped. No one questioned it from that point, not even Steve.

As our GC, he has to counsel us when potential liabilities arise, so the associates have taken to tagging our emails with donttellsteve whenever something remotely scandalous is mentioned in an email. (We still do it even though hashtags don't work in Outlook.) I have the distinction of being the only person to ever say it out loud in front of Steve.

Today, Steve came in my office to tell me that he told our client about #donttellsteve and he received an email from an employee of the client who had included #donttellsteve at the end. Love it. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

California Bar exam nostalgia

Write, I tell myself. Write something. Write anything. No one reads this blog anyhow.

     The California Bar ended today. It's been two years since I took the bar, and I'm starting to feel nostalgic? My friend's boyfriend is taking it this year, so it seems more real to me than it did last year. Last year was too soon for me to feel any nostalgia about the bar. It was just this terrible thing that happened to me once. The memories have dulled, and now it doesn't seem that bad? (I am seriously questioning my own memories. Did I imagine how terrible it was?)

      By far the worst part about the bar was the possibility of failing. During bar prep classes, urban legends began to surface. Everyone knows someone who went to Harvard/Yale/Stanford who failed. The word failed is delivered in the most ominous way possible by the storyteller while the rapt listener chugged some more Red Bull, grabbed a highlighter, and furiously attacked the Conviser guide. What about that guy who suffered a minor concussion and still passed? The legends span both sides of the extremes.

     What made studying so difficult was the fact that no one knew how much was enough. You're never done studying. It's impossible to master all 16 or so topics, so you try to learn maybe 70% of each topic, or maybe master 11 and hope that the 5 that you don't know don't come up. I think I tried to master all the topics in three months. That was prob not the best strategy for my health, but it made me feel better going into the exam.

     I miss the comraderie of having a ton of friends going through the same hell. I miss making up stupid acronyms and teaching them to each other. I miss spending way too much time in coffee shops, not really getting much work done, then coming home and actually doing work. That summer just flew by, just like this one. The end of summer always feels a little sad to me, because it seems like we steamroll right into the new year, and all these changes start to unfurl.

    I guess all this nostalgia isn't really for the bar exam itself, but for that part of my life that ended with the bar exam.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

that time plaintiff's counsel walked away with no money

I was scheduled for a trial which was supposed to start today. It was pushed back to next week-ish. Plaintiff's lawyer kept calling with lower demands until finally, today, he was willing to just give up and dismiss the case with prejudice and our client doesn't have to pay a penny! Say what? Not very common, but this is the second time I've seen it at my firm. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

wisdom from younger me

     I used to believe that strength meant steeling yourself and not letting anyone hurt you. It was shutting yourself off, walling yourself up, making yourself impermeable and impervious to everything around you.

    It took me some time to learn that strength starts with your own open, hopeful heart. It's being able to handle the pain that comes from being vulnerable. It's being strong enough to handle disappointment with grace and humility.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Be a woman.

My guy friend sent me this link today:

I thought he was giving me some brotherly advice about men, but turns out he was trying to tell me to stop being a girl and start being a woman. Thanks dude. Worth a read.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

non sequiturs

me: This opposing counsel was such a jerk.
CK: He might be hot. Was there tension?
me: This is not like that movie with the family law attorneys, you know with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones?
CK: Intolerable Cruelty?
me: I can't believe you know the name of that!

[minutes later]

CK: The worst thing you can do is rob a man of his time.
me: Okay now you're just talking about the Justin Timberlake movie, you know, the one with Amanda Siegfried?
CK: Life is not a movie. These situations are not movies!
me: Out of Time! That's what it was.


Clearly I cannot have a normal conversation without linking it to movies.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

catch-up post

      I was scheduled for three trials in July. They were scheduled for July 15, July 22, and July 31. Pretty much I was certain I was going to die.

     The July 15 one settled in late June. Right before 4th of July weekend, we won on MSJ for the July 22 trial. The only one pending is the one going forward on July 31. It's strange to so busy with trial prep and then being told to abruptly "lay down your tools" (partner's words). It happens so quickly. My last case settled right before I was going to take plaintiff's deposition. I was excited to do it too.

     I've been obsessed with looking for the cronut; more bakeries have them now. Semi-Sweet Bakery in LA was the first to have it, and I went that next at lunch time, but of course, they were all sold out.

     Vanessa and I went to the Bay the day after 4th of July. We spent 4th of July at a friend's bbq where there was a ton of grilled meat, guys, and a huge ole pie. Then illegal fireworks exploded everywhere, because we were purportedly in the 'hood. Vanessa repeatedly attempted to take pictures with her camera phone, but the shutter was too slow and all she got was blurred smudges of light. I can't tell you how many times she tried that night. Jake and his brother Nate decided to twerk in the kitchen at our behest. I hope someone has a video of that.

     We went to Escape from the Mysterious Room in SF while we were in the Bay. I bought some tickets from a guy off of Craigslist and made Jared and Matt come with me to get them. When the guy came out, he looked at Jared and asked, "Are you the muscle?" Jared laughed and I replied, "No, he's the guy who's going to run away and call the police if you try to murder me."

    The escape game was really fun; it spurred Yves and me to start playing online escape games. We would gchat each other for answers even though walk-throughs are easily available online. More fun to problem-solve with a friend, even though it is online. That place also had Japanese toilets, which had a water rinsing option. Yves was in the stall next to me and told me the front option felt like the back option and she told me to try it too. I didn't. I kind of wish I had, but I think it would have been too invigorating.

   Melissa delivered my bridesmaid dress yesterday. We went to UniqueLA and then HomeGoods. It kind of felt nice to have an afternoon shopping, something I don't do much anymore.

   I felt kind of inspired to write this post, because I went back to my old xanga, and I had a ton of these snippets of life with friends, which I haven't been keeping track of anymore. I guess adults don't narrate their lives the way college kids did back in my day. I'm kind weary of pithy FB updates and relying on photographs and check-ins to tell the story of where I've been. So here it is, an entry for later-me, with all the blanks filled in. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


No stories. Just my fave pics. 

Even Jerry came out to Hakkasan.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

being "soft"

    I bought cupcakes for the assistants for no reason. My coworker pointed out that I had a "soft" side. Several days ago, I sent a package with some thoughtful things to a friend, also with no occasion attached. That word came up again. "Soft."

   Wtf does that mean?

   The word tugged at me as I read cases, started outlines, and went through my daily tasks. I started to unpack it in my head.

    At my work, there are no female partners. All the men are younger (early 40s), so there's kind of this informal, relaxed, aggressive culture to work. Since everyone is relatively young and male, I kind of act like them. I say "dude" a lot to my bosses. Everyone wears jeans and the one time I wore a pencil skirt, one of the partners asked me if I went to court earlier that day. Against this backdrop, I come off as kind of a tomboy, which is not really something that I ever thought of about myself. I accepted this designation without much thought.

   Then this "soft" business came up. I just hated how smug she seemed, as if she discovered some great secret about me. She acted as if being a tomboy (which I still don't think I am) meant that I was trying to hide the fact that I am nice to others. I balked at this fundamental misunderstanding of my nature. I often share food, buy gifts just because, and am generally amiable around my colleagues. Why is that being conflated with "soft?" If I were a man who showed the same kind of generosity, would anyone jump on it and think that it was a telltale sign of femininity?

    Further, I am not trying to hide my femininity at work. I just don't think about it. I don't think about being anything but a smart and aggressive advocate, and somehow that translated into not being feminine. You can be aggressive and bullish without being a miser. You can be generous and kind to people on your team, and still be a fierce litigator when the time comes to be strategically aggressive. I don't understand what being "soft" has to do with any of it.

Friday, May 3, 2013

I'm a real person now

I celebrated my work anniversary two weeks ago. I've been a second-year ever since I started getting paid like a second-year, but I never really stopped to think about it until now. There was a barrage of work, which thankfully let up recently, so now that the dust has settled, I can type some words of reflection.

I spent most of my first year prepping for arbitration on a big case. We actually went to arbitration, which was exciting to see. My first year of practice was mainly spent just learning how to do things. It's true that you don't really learn the mechanics of practicing law in law school. We practiced writing memos and briefs, but I never learned all the possible pleadings and how to use them. Legal strategy never came up either. That's the exciting part, picturing the ways a case can go, but I wonder if the novelty will wear off.

The most valuable thing I learned this past year was how to write a clean brief. In law school, all our prompts kind of had a close universe of facts. In practice, the universe of facts ends up being closed after awhile, but at first, there are just so many facts out there for the culling. It's a challenge not to get lost in the thicket, but when you're around experienced, talented attorneys, you get to see how they keep their head straight when so many things are going on.

I've been to court a bunch of times for hearings, getting used to being addressed as "Counselor." I still kind of hate suits, but my most recent purchase actually feels comfortable to me now. I love running into friends in court; it's happened quite a bit. I was really nervous before a hearing, but having my friend around before having to go in front of the judge for oral arguments soothed my nerves. (I won that one btw. Woot.) I'm still trying to figure out where I want my career to go---working on that 5-year plan. So far though, everything seems to be falling into place.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

all smiles

despite the emo ish I've been posting.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

some emo ish

We must learn to let go, to give up, to make room for the 

things we have prayed for and desired.

Letting go doesn't mean we don't care. Letting go doesn't mean we shut down. 
Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. 
It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. 
It means we stop trying to do the impossible--controlling that which we 
cannot--and instead, focus on what is possible--which usually means taking 
care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Done With Invisalign!

I have so much to blog about, such as, what happens when you lose an Invisalign tray? Refinements- which added another 4 months on top of the 8 months that I wore the tray. I finally got all the hooks off last month. Someone at work thought I had teeth deformities and never mentioned it to me. He knew I had Invisalign! Anywho, all of these burning updates will have to wait for another time. I still think that one tooth kind of tilts to the inside, but it might just be because I'm not as vigilant about wearing my trays as I was in the beginning. Hopefully with a year of wearing retainers for 22 hours a day, that one tooth won't tilt in anymore. I will blog about the retainer process after I get them in a couple of weeks.

Left: December 2011
Right: December 2012

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Post-Wedding Bridesmaid Thoughts

Weddings, like death, don't really hit you until it happens to someone close you. (Is she joking, you are wondering. Is this going to be morbid, because if so, I'm going to stop reading. Keep going. It won't be.) When weddings happen to someone close to you, it really forces you to contemplate the fact that one day, it might happen to you too.

I use the word "you," but I really mean me. I was forced to think about how a wedding might happen to me.

The cost. Good lord, the cost. This is the only time in my life I am going to spend a thousand dollars on flowers, and maybe another couple of thousands on a dress, and pay someone to make sure my hair is an immobile helmet. 
The planning. I hate planning. If it was up to me and not society, I'd have a big potluck and everyone will come with food and make the decorations, like at my last birthday party. 
    But you can have a small wedding. Though this is true, I will then I have to deliberate whether I want a small or big wedding. My future husband will have input too, I suppose, and everyone's parents will have something to say about it. 

I dread it all. 
    Then you don't have to get married. You're right. I could just not get married, but then I will have to think about whether or not I want to get married. 
    Didn't you make a wedding scrapbook when you were 10? I think I was practicing to be a wedding planner and not planning my own wedding, because I had like 5 diff weddings in there. 
   Didn't you pick up a bunch of free bridal magazines off of Craigslist in 2008? Yes. I like magazines, and I was dumb(er). Oh, and they were free.
   You can still go clubbing and have fun with your friends after you're married! No one invites the married girl out. Trust me, I've deleted plenty of numbers from my phone. Kidding!
   Didn't so-and-so just propose/get married? Yes. I was hoping he would die sad and alone, but it looks like he's not going to. Fiddlesticks.

What I hate the most are the cliches. Good thing my friends are smart and verbose, because if any one of them uses the phrase "made for each other," I will turn off the mic. I will probably not be friends with that person anymore. Fair warning. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

From around the interwebs

A description of women at a speeding dating event by a blogger: 
The other girls looked like the Asian female students you saw in your high school hallway carrying a stack of books walking with their head down with glasses; but now that they’ve somewhat grown into their boyish figures and have a career, they’ve built a confidence that is too good for what they can offer. 
  Why the semicolon? Also, I'd rather be one of the confident career women than someone hoping for a tip from them. Justsayin. I can't tell if she's describing arrogance or if it's just a bunch of sour grapes from the local bartender/actress wannabe.

XXX is an undergraduate Biology/Pre-Med student and Biology Teaching Assistant attending the University of La Verne. XXX also works for AHMC Health Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the health and wellness of those underserved. There is not just one word to describe XXX. Barely turning 21, she has accomplished much more than many of those at her age. XXX has been involved in Speech and Debate for seven years, using her unique sense of humor to advocate and inspire others to be better on a local and national scale.
My friend wants to give this girl the benefit of doubt and is assuming that her bio consists of a copy/paste job of the topic sentence of every paragraph of her personal essay. I want to believe that too, but somehow, I don't think that's what happened here. It seems a bit boastful to say that "she has accomplished much more than many of those at her age" when all she's done is go to a no-name school in the middle of nowhere while volunteering at a nonprofit. Is her myopic gaze limited to her own reflection? Surely every single student at a reputable university has accomplished more than this lady. I am not even going to touch the phrase "There is not just one word to describe XXX." Few people can be described by one word.

Following college, XXX graduated from Southwestern Law School's prestigious 2-year accelerated SCALE J.D. Honors program in May 2012. 
I guess prestige is relative? Either that or she doesn't know what prestigious means.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Of Loss

Nothing stalls my heart more than a text message from family that says, "I heard your dad is in the hospital. Is everything okay?" The whole world felt melt-y. I know that's not a word, but everything, the seat that I was in, the road that I was on, the reality that I thought I knew rippled and shook. I just saw him two days ago. What could have possibly happened? I called my mom. His primary care physician recommended some tests after he complained of pain in his shoulder and there was some abnormalities with his heartbeat. He is essentially fine.

Two weeks ago, my uncle-in-law passed. I was there in those final moments when he stopped breathing. My aunt lifted up his blanket and his body was so frail from fighting the cancer. I thought I would be frightened, but I wasn't. I barely recognized his face.

We prayed, all the loved ones in that room. The respirator was removed. My aunt hesitated in calling hospice, worried that his body would be removed from the home before she was ready. She was dry eyed and calm and it wasn't until I hugged her and wouldn't let go that I could feel her ragged sobs. My dad didn't know what to do with it, tried to offer some words of comfort, but I knew better. Sometimes the grief just has to wash over you, before you can start healing.

So today, I feared the worst, but I thought back to our last interaction. The last time I saw him, I hugged him goodbye as I usually do, and am grateful for these little rote, built-in niceties, because he'll always know how much I love him every time we part. 

safe topics

Sometimes I itch to write, but the expression stalls. Sometimes I want to commit something to the screen, to hit publish, to record, to practice. I want to eventually be a writer. This day job, I like it, I might even love it, but old dreams aren't easily abandoned.

As I get older, it's harder. It's not easy to pump out snark-filled criticism like on my old xanga, so I withdraw inside myself, searching for a safe topic, something uncontroversial, something that won't shed too much insight on my inner life. I don't want to be mocked. I don't want to be someone's "Can you believe this girl wrote this?" link, but I'm starting to feel like it's okay. It's okay to write a bunch of shitty things, because maybe one day, you'll write something good, something worth of writing, but you can't ever write that second thing if you never write at all. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

That Time I Threw a Birthday Party Two Months Later

Over Hello Kitty brunch, I agreed to throw a birthday party two months after my actual birthday. I made my guests bring the food, make decorations, and serve each other. Thanks Josh for being such a gracious host. 

I made cupcakes using yogurt as a substitute for oil and eggs, per Pinterest board suggestions. This was a total mistake, as the cupcakes were disgusting, and the four people who ate them described them as "like cornbread" and "the best part was the frosting."

Good thing everyone else brought food and Anne bought me a book on how to make macarons, which is probably helpful for the next party in which I will try to make the macarons healthy, and probably inedible. 

I then held a snowflake making a contest and everyone failed except for Cathy, because no one read the link that I posted. (No one reads after the first couple of lines where it says "see more." Next year, the theme of my party will be, "Wear fucking red, people."- Raymond

When it was time to bring out the cake, I had no candles except a 1 and a 5 from a birthday long past. My friends collaboratively Macgyver'ed the correct numbers out of the 1 and 5. We held the pieces together with frosting, because what I thought was glitter glue from Kevin's craft box was just glitter paint. At this point, they asked if I had a lighter and of course, I did not. We burned some chopsticks ("I have enough wood to last the rest of the night."- Shawn, Whole group: that's what he said.) and lit my candles. 

At this point, I had no more clean plates and we served the cake in cups. Finally, cup cakes that people will actually eat.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


This was taken at a downtown loft party where we rang in the new year to old YouTube video of previous new year celebrations. Best part was hearing all of downtown counting down from 10.