Memoirs of a Spring Break at Home

It’s a marshmallow world in the Springtime?!

As I type this, I am sitting on my coach enjoying a snow day!  Mother Nature decided we needed just one more day for Spring Break.  So she dropped over a foot of snow on Champaign-Urbana and now instead of Con Law lectures I get to watch Neil and Tom build a Snow Bro and cozy up the couch catching up on Netflix.  The Lawbrary is even closed.  It’s like they want us to have one more day of fun.  Not a bad welcome back to town if you ask me.

Snow Bro created by Tom and Neil!

Snow Bro created by Tom and Neil!

Spring Break was absolutely amazing, although painfully short.  I did not accomplish anything near what I thought I would.  I didn’t see some really important people I wanted to see.  But I did have the chance to do some amazing things and I made some tremendous memories.   Those experiences that you just want to last forever, which you know they won’t because the very definition of a moment is that it is fleeting.  I had a couple of those.  Aren’t these more important than law school?  That’s what our professors tell us, “don’t forget to live your life.”  So I did.  And I loved it.

My favorite person to hang out with is far and away Jessica Lynn.  The (mis)Adventures of Sarah and Jessica are universally funny and we can make just about any evening into a night to remember.  Including sitting at the bar people watching and butting into the very loud (awkward) conversations going on around us.  It was a gem of a night- which was followed by some much needed Southport Boutique shopping.  Even the owner of the Mint Julep missed me.  So great to be home.  So nice to be reminded of where I want to be and why I am doing all this.

Sunday I got to spend the day with my beautiful princess Amanda Caitlin.  When I lived in Chicago I took Amanda to get Mani-Pedis all the time.  So we took a godmother-goddaughter spa day, then did some shopping and had lunch with our family in the afternoon.  I am absolutely amazed at how grown up she is.  Amanda is so smart and independent.  Already in second grade gossiping and talking about boys.  I am proud of the caring and compassionate girl that she has become.  Any memory I can make with Amanda is the most precious in my eyes.  It kills me to miss seeing her growing up.  She will be in 5th grade by the time I am done with law school!  I assume at that point she will be taller than me and trying to borrow my clothes.

Then and Now- My fabulous goddaughter getting pedicures over the years.

Then and Now- My fabulous goddaughter getting pedicures over the years.

The little kids in my family are quite accomplished.  I often find myself bragging about them because they do amazing things.  I’d like to take this opportunity to throw major Congratulations to Sammy on his 5th Place Finish in the Youth Illinois State Wrestling Tournament.  This is a tremendous accomplishment and everyone is so proud of him!

Sammy looking so great getting is wrestling medal!!

Sammy looking so great getting is wrestling medal!!

Michael and Amanda participated in their school spelling bees this week and both kicked some butt!  The 1-3 grade bees are grade level only and completed in partners.  Amanda is now a back to back champion, winning both the 1st and 2nd grade bees.  Michael, a 3 time Spelling Bee Champion (1st through 3rd grade), was competing in the intermediate bee for the first time, against all 4-6 grade participants.  I knew he would do well, and after several grueling rounds he took SECOND PLACE!  The winner was a sixth grader and he is so proud.  I am so proud.  We are all so proud of the people the little kids have become.

Photo collage of Amanda the 2nd Grade Spelling Bee Champ!

Photo collage of Amanda the 2nd Grade Spelling Bee Champ!

Photo Collage of Michael's 2nd Place Finish in the Intermediate Spelling Bee!

Photo Collage of Michael’s 2nd Place Finish in the Intermediate Spelling Bee!

Being able to share in thee memories with these guys, getting texts from Sammy each night and actually going to the spelling bee means more to me than they realize.  I know what it was like having my family at all my stuff when I was a kid and I want to be that dedicated to them!

I also had the privilege of shadowing the Honorable Judge Durkin for the Northern District of Illinois.  Hannah and I were able to watch an evidentiary hearing.  The petitioner in this case was convicted of murder in 2001.  He appealed to the Federal Courts for a violation of his rights, namely ineffective counsel.  This was the first time I heard questioning in person and not on TV.  It was so different, but really inspiring.  I was also able to see the opening arguments in a federal mortgage fraud trial.  Both these experiences rejuvenated by desire to be a trial lawyer.  Also I got to spend the day with Hannah, so bonus.

That night Hannah and I had a delightful staycation in the Gold Coast.  We had a room at the Inn of Chicago and treated ourselves to a fabulous and decadent dinner at Michael Jordan’s Steak House.  We had every intention of hitting the town afterwards, but ultimately ended up curled up in bed watching a movie by 11pm.  I couldn’t have asked for a better night or a better friend to spend it with!

Michael Jordan's Steak House- fabulous dinner with my law school twin.

Michael Jordan’s Steak House- fabulous dinner with my law school twin.

Friday I spent the day watching basketball with some of my favorites.  The NCAA tournament is one of the best weekends of the year and the Illini played Friday afternoon.  So we spent the afternoon at Joe’s on Weed.  Alex and I even got invited to sit in a table up in the VIP section.  (This sounds way cooler than it actually was.  I assume it had just opened when we arrived and one of the employees caught us aimlessly wandering.  But- it was VIP and we were specifically asked.  So…..)  Jessica even got to come out for a little while and meet some of my Law School Pals, which resulted in a little bit of ganging up on me.  Typical.  The Illini were victorious and the celebrations were joyous.

After the victory and the celebrating- everyone needed a quick nap.  So after some down time, including a trip to the J.Crew at 900 N. Michigan, we were back out.  It was a great time with some of my favorite people.  Oh and basketball.  So much basketball.

So here comes the countdown.  Final Exams are approaching….briefs are due….outlines must be finished (or started).  I’m glad I sent Spring Break out in a stunning fashion, because seclusion is coming.  This is what I anticipate I will feel like over the next 6 weeks.

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Overall I made some amazing memories and got a little bit accomplished this break.  I am well rested to tackle the end of the semester.  Next year, however, I am sneaking into Julia’s luggage and heading to Arizona for Spring Break.  (Thanks in advance for the hospitality Julia).xoxo

-Sarah

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I Believe I Can Fly

Last weekend, when I made my daily checklist for the week I was so excited.  Readings were manageable and it looked like I was going to have some free time.  I could do things normal people do, like catch up on TV, talk to my family, read a book.  Well the universe had a different idea and my eternal battle with lingering headaches and migraines manifested this week.  I am actually not complaining.  I have been anticipating their arrival for weeks.  I am thrilled that the stars aligned and it occurred during my slow week.  I could handle camping out in the very quiet library, getting my work done and going home without much incident.  I’ve never been thankful for a migraine, but this week I am grateful for their forbearance until my brief was turned in.  It’s a Law School Miracle.

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Despite the headaches I feel like I got a lot accomplished.  I applied to quite a few more jobs and started reading my supplements in anticipation of all the outlining I am going to begin next week.  I am hoping to get enough done prior to Spring Break that I will get to spend a ton of time with my family while I am home.  I miss those crazy kids and based on the texts and facebook posts, I have a sneaking suspicion they miss me too.  My friends have some adorable children as well, so I am excited to catch up and see those little tikes too.  (and my friends, I guess)  I found out today that my beautiful talented goddaughter will be defending her 1st Grade Spelling Bee Title in the 2nd Grade Spelling Bee on March 19th and I will be home to see it!  Her older brother, the equally brilliant Mike T. swept the primary (grades 1-3) spelling bees.  (I referred to it as the 3Peat Bee-Peat).  Now a big bad 4th Grader, Mike T will make his debut in the intermediate (grades 4-6) spelling bee on the same day.  I am so close to Michael and Amanda and have missed so much of their lives this year, I can’t wait to see them put their phonetic skills on display.

This week I also bought my Law School Prom Dress.  I got it on sale at Nordstrom, like 70% off.  I am pretty sure it was the only one (and it was in my size!)!  (When I went back to show it to Hannah and Meagan my color was no longer available…finally my internet shopping/trolling has paid off)  I have a knack for hitting the stores and finding amazing deals, so thank heavens this has translated to my online shopping.  It’s perfect, silver, straight, beautiful.  I can’t actually gain a single pound so I might have to make true on that whole eating right, doing to the gym pledge.  Ugh.  I need to get shoes, maybe a purse.  I am thinking a color, to add some pizzazz.  My number one choice is:

Love.  Love.  Love.

Love. Love. Love.

However, since they are $1000 Manolo Blahniks, so I am going to need someone to sponsor them.  Is this something I can start a website for?  Law student in desperate need of fancy shoes…donations welcome.  This seems highly unlikely, so I am guessing a trip to DSW will actually be in my future.  But if any of you faithful readers have an extra $1000 laying around or you want to get together I promise I will take real good care of the Manolos and they will have a great home with me.  Just saying…

Finally, this week was my Nana’s 74th Birthday.  I am sad I missed being home to celebrate.  Birthdays in my family are always something special.  We congregate at someone’s house, eat dinner together, dig in to some delicious bakery cake and cupcakes and sweets.  I adore family birthday parties.  More importantly, I love taking time to celebrate my Nana.  I grew up across the street from Nana’s house, so Nicholas and I are exceptionally close with her.  When I say she is the greatest Nana/Grandmother/Granny/Grandmum/etc.  I am not exaggerating.  Whenever we went to Nana’s there was something fun to do.  She always had great activities planned for us and games and movies.  She also loved making sure Nicholas and I had the coolest stuff.  For example, the summer McDonalds had all the Michael Jordan toys she took us to get a Happy Meal every week so that we could literally collect them all.

Michael Jordan Happy Meal Toys

Michael Jordan Happy Meal Toys

Every once in a while we will come across one of these collectible gems at our parents house and remember that sweet summer.  So many cheeseburgers and McNuggets.  Ahhhhh that was the life.

Even now, Nana is the most amazing woman.  She sends me cards regularly.  Maintains an  active interest in my life, while spending countless hours with Michael and Amanda and giving them the same glorious childhood Nicholas and I had.  She is truly a special lady and we are all blessed to have her in our lives.  🙂

Nana and Papa with some of their grandkids!

Nana and Papa (the best grandparents in the world) with some of their grandkids!

I am looking forward to this weekend.  Hopefully I will get a lot accomplished- because that is my plan.  Saturday night is the Apples to Apples event at my professor’s home that my classmates and I won during the charity auction.  She is really excited and so are we!  I would say I’ll write more about it next time, but we were sworn to pledge that “What happens at Kordik’s house, stays at Kordik’s house.”  This is going to be good.

As I sign off I am curled up on the couch watching my favorite documentary.  The compelling story of Michael Jordan’s commanding return to basketball, while preserving the talent of Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Mugsey Bogues and countless others, and saving the Tooniverse from control by aliens.  Yep, Space Jam.  So amazing.

R. Kelly really inspires with “I Believe I Can Fly.”  Then the Quad City DJs get you fired up with the title song, “Space Jam.”  So much emotion.  As a Chicagoan I struggle with the years when Michael tried his hand at basketball and love this feel good story about his triumphant return to the court.  And doing it in such a dramatic fashion, well MJ wouldn’t have it any other way.  My basketball team is actually named the Toon Squad…at my request.  That’s how deep my love of this movie runs.  I request that they nickname me Tweety, because I think this is what I look like pregame:https://i0.wp.com/media.tumblr.com/4b3c03131c6a0fcc8e27d84d2f8d91af/tumblr_inline_mj1o7xdFuQ1rrpsd7.gif

No but seriously, who doesn’t get excited when they see MJ finally return to the court:

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I watched my other favorite documentary…Forest Gump this week.  I should watch the ESPN 30 for 30 Profile on Allen Iverson this weekend and round out the top 3.

Until Next Week!

Love Ya’ll

xoxo

Sarah

PS…Enjoy these bonus videos.

If I Were Superman….

My thank you letter campaign for lent is off and running!  I am doing well at staying up to date.  The downfall is that my free time doesn’t exactly coincide with Post Office hours of operation.  So I had a solid pile of cards sitting on my desk until yesterday.  I rectified this problem by buying 40 stamps in one sitting.  However, now that I have the stamps, I will still likely only make it to a mailbox once per week.  So for those of you getting letters this week…ENJOY!  If you didn’t get one, never fear there are still many days and letters left.

Last summer, when The Avengers came out, Michael and Amanda and I watched a handful of super hero movies and talked about our favorites and what super powers we want to have.  I want to be able to fly.  I hate driving and it would be nice to cruise around the skies and clear your head.  During one of these conversations, Amanda said, “Sarah you would be the best super hero.  You are awesome.”  (Compliments from 7 year olds make your heart melt)  In any case, I always wondered what my downfall would be.  Too short?  Lack of muscle definition?  Crossword Puzzles?  Well this week, I figured it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am taking appellate advocacy this semester.  Our major assignment is a full appellate brief.  It is a 5000 word maximum.  Which sounds like a lot, but believe me you will need and use each of those 5000 words.  The argument section, the major portion of the brief, is due March 1st and I have been in full writing mode this week.  (3000 words, approximately 10 pages)  It really is a rough draft and we are graded on the basis that we make a “good faith effort.”  The phrase “good faith effort” was whipping around the law school as 1Ls buckled down to get their brief written.  For the first time during the spring semester, I settled in for a late night library stay.  (This involved a table full of snacks, an outrageous number of youtube videos messaged between my pals, and of course attempts to contain laughter….in short it’s safe to say everyone hated out table).

Snacks for days in the Lawbrary

Snacks for days in the Lawbrary

As we worked on our briefs and I started stressing, hard, about my arguments and finding the exact cases I need to support my points, Julia and Ashleigh kept reminding me, “Sarah- it’s a good faith effort.  Calm down.”  So I take a deep breathe and then 5 minutes later I am back to nearly having an anxiety break down.  This is a vicious cycle.  Suddenly it hit me…I know my downfall.  Being a perfectionist.  The evil villian in the Gotham City of my life would simply have to ask me to complete a project and wait for me to self destruct as I obsess over the minute details.

I absolutely can’t let anything go until it meets my own ridiculous standards.  I rarely cry.  When something is objectively sad, strong possibility I still won’t produce tears.  However, when something goes significantly off course or someone yells at me and makes me feel like I did something wrong, I end up on the verge of tears.  Now this is not to say that I don’t appreciate the value of mistakes.  I in no way think I am perfect, nor to I respond negatively to constructive criticism.  But I am hard enough on myself, that when someone gets aggressive with me I don’t respond well.

So there I sat, buried in research thinking to myself “This will never end.”  Cursing my own personal kryptonite.

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But now that my rough draft is finished, I appreciate my kryptonite.  Who is going to organize the t-shirt orders for my friends?  Who is going to keep my family on a schedule?  Who is going pay attention to the little details and memorize rules, for anything.  It’s who I am.  It’s how I got to where I am.  So, I’ll take it.

So everything for the week is done.  My checklist is checked.  I can put my perfectionism and anxiety on the shelf for a bit.  Unoffocial is here and I get to once again experience one of my favorite days of the year.  I love an excuse to day drink and wear matching shirts.  The girls and I got football jerseys, so stay tuned next week for the pictures!  I also found out Colleen, one of my college roommates, will be in town!  I haven’t seen her in months so this will be the greatest!

My favorite Unofficial.  Sophomore year with Amanda.  We both look so young....love love love!

My favorite Unofficial. Sophomore year with Amanda. We both look so young….love love love!

Until next week!

xoxo

Sarah

PS:  Bonus site to visit, because each of these events give me anxiety just thinking about them.   http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/13-awkward-situations-that-will-give-anyone-anxiety

I Want Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere

When I was a kid I wished I was Belle.  In my 8 year old mind we were exactly the same.  She was brunette (a Disney princess rarity), she loved books (me too!), both our dads are a bit nutty, and we are both restless and needed to get out of our small towns.  (Yes, even at age 8 I knew I needed to get out of A-town).  Throw in the fact that she becomes a princess and got to hang out with Lumiere and she was living my dream life.  Even now I have designs on being Belle.  I watch Beauty and the Beast at least once a month.  (No shame).

 

Me, Chip and Liz Halloween 2012.

Me, Chip and Liz Halloween 2012.

This semi-embarrassing confession explains why I will often sing songs from Beauty and the Beast while doing mundane things.  This week I finally pulled it together and did laundry for the first time this semester.  (Yes, I have that much clothing.  I actually hadn’t even made a dent in my full wardrobe.  I like pretty things- it’s a curse).  Since Liz heard me belt out the entire Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack (probably twice) I turned on the Disney Pandora station.  First, in the hopes that these songs would still come up, but not by my choice, but also because the soundtrack to Disney movies is amazing.  In the meantime listening to these songs brought back so many great memories.  I have been feeling kind of homesick and reminiscent this week so the trip down memory lane was welcome.

**Prior to falling in love with Belle, Ariel held a special place in my heart.  The Little Mermaid was one of the first movies I saw in theaters.  I loved singing “Part of Their World” and pretending like my bedroom was Ariel’s cave.  This year when we were in Disney my mini-princess Amanda Caitlin told me that Ariel is actually her favorite princess and when she went to the Bippity Boppity Boutique got the full Mermaid Makeover.  (As if she was not the most beauitful girl on earth before the make-over, she really did look like a princess).  In any case, Aunt Mary found very little humor in me singing “Part of their World” and Amanda lip syncing, in the hallway of our hotel.  Despite her disdain, we did the big finish, including some sweet ballet moves.  (Jury is still out on how the other hotel guests felt about our performance).  I mean, when you are dressed like a mermaid, you have to do a big performance.

Princess Ariel/Amanda and I in Disney 2012!

Princess Ariel/Amanda and I in Disney 2012!

Amanda & I with our favorite Princess tattoos.  So much Disney Street Cred.

Amanda & I with our favorite Princess tattoos. So much Disney Street Cred.

**We didn’t own Jungle Book when I was a kid, but my Nana did and it was one of her favorites.  I would frequently ask to watch it at her house.  Nicholas and I would endlessly re-enact the scene where the birds keep asking each other, “What do you want to do?”   When we got older I realized I didn’t really know how it ended, despite watching the movie countless times.  Finally I realized that the end got kind of scary, with fires, vultures and Sheere Khan trying to attack Mowgli.  So, I used to stop watching.  When I finally watched it to the end, I was still a bit disturbed.  Call me a wuss, but the jungle is a scary spot.  (Same reason I can’t really watch Jumanji- being attacked by wild animals terrifies me)

**My mom loves the Lion King and she regularly sings the songs.  Which is usually just fine.  Except the beginning of the Circle of Life is not in English.  Yet mom goes for it, says what she hears.  This drives several family members crazy, which only encourages her to continue.  Even funnier, is when Mom lifts up one of the little kids and holds them up like she is Rafiki and they are Simba.  At Christmas this year, Michael actually requested she do this.  Oh Karen.

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**My Aunt Lily owned Mulan on VHS and I am pretty sure I tried to permanently borrow it more than once.  When I turned 21 my mom finally bought me the DVD version.  I should probably dig out Aunt Lily’s VHS copy from storage, I am sure she wants that back.  Mulan is my fall back movie to quote when I am trying to inspire.  Saying things like “Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons” and “you are bringing shame to the ancestors” are some key lines.  In fact both the cheerleaders and dancers came to anticipate my usage of Mulan one liners.  Last summer at camp one of the dancers did a full interpretative dance to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” in my honor.  Classic.

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As I said this week I was feeling particularly home sick.  I’ve had a lot of cancelled classes and more “free time” than usual.  Apparently when I’m not busy, I realize I haven’t seen my friends or family in weeks.  I miss my munchkins, the puppies, my grandparents and perhaps my brother.  (I just saw my parents and sorry aunts and uncles but your children and puppies are clearly the stars of the show).  My dad actually asked if he could still take Jess and Rachel to Wrigley Opening Day if I couldn’t come home.  The idea that Chicago Celeb Stalking and day drinking will go on without me is the most terrifying thought ever.

I also really miss Nicole, Jess and Meghan.  Normally Jess and I watch the NBA All-Star game today and satisfy our quota for snarky comments for the year.  Truly no other female I know appreciates a well timed joke at the expense of Lebron, D Wade, or any other NBA player.  The fact that I wasn’t home to continue this tradition broke my heart a bit.  Then I read about how National Margarita Day was coming up and Margaritas are mine and Nicole’s thing.  We won’t even be able to celebrate together.  Finally, Ms. Audrey Anderson is too cute for words and everytime Meg posts a picture of her I die a little bit.  Her adoreableness actually crushes me, because I am missing it!

My besties and I on my birthday- 2011

My besties and I on my birthday- 2011

I knew it was bad.  However, when “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” popped up on Pandora and I nearly teared up, thinking about my long-distance pals I considered seeking professional help.  (Additional fact, I was in the library which made this even more awkward).  I told Nicole I was missing home and in return I got the cutest video of Cullen telling me he misses me.  (This also nearly induced tears.  I think I need more sleep, nobody has time for unrestrained emotion.  Also, when did I get so many emotions?)  So I know that as the years (especially the next 3) go by, our friendships will never die.  (Especially with Jess- we’re cousins too.  She can’t ever get rid of me!)  We all see it’s our destiny….I’ve got a friend in them.
Lucky for my psyche the amount of work I have to do is ramping up.  I am starting my appellate brief this week and I should really start synthesizing now that my classes are finished with the first of our big units.  Also- it might be time to turn up the heat on finding a job this summer.  So…hopefully I can keep my emotions in check.
Until next week!xoxo-Sarah

The Lucky One

Mom and dad came to visit this past Friday and Saturday for Law School Family Weekend!  The Public Interest Law Foundation and Student Bar Association co-sponsored an auction, to raise money to provide stipends for students working in Public Interest positions during the summers, on Friday Night.  Anyone who was a Sigma Kappa with me knows the lengths I will go to to win what I want in an auction.  With the power of my grandmother’s wallet and the will to win, nothing ever stopped me.  Turns out, I get that from my dad.  There was both a live and silent auction.  The live auction items are events with professors and a relentless group of my pals and I had our eyes on an Apples to Apples game night at our favorite professor’s house.  (Complete with cocktails, pizza and a rule that “What Happens at Kordik’s house, stays at Kordik’s house).  The bidding got fierce and since it was a group effort I was only authorized to go as high as $300.  Then mom showed up, $50 in hand.  We were still in the game.  $375!  Oh no, we’re toast.  Mom to the rescue part 2….another $50.  We won at $400, thanks to our commitment, some mockery by the auctioneer (and fellow law student) and a really generous mom.

Dad on the other hand was dead set on some of the silent auction items.  This guy loves a silent auction.  I can’t blame him.  He did a considerable amount of hovering and clock watching.  He strategized, held back at times.  I mean, it was pure genius.  The best thing is he won me a parking pass for the Law School lot during Fall 2013 final exams.  That’s right, all those late cold nights next December I’ll be sitting pretty with a front row spot. (I get the sneaking suspicion I will be driving the shuttle for all my friends as well)  When asked why he backed off the spring 2013 pass, he said I didn’t need it.  It’s warm in May.  Apparently he forgot that I am lazy.

I am so glad mom and dad got to come down and visit and meet my pals.  They hear so much about these people it’s nice that they get to meet them.  My mom saw the 2L who tried to convince her he was a professor last year on my spring visit.  She immediately recognized him and shut him down.  Such a class act my mom.  Of course, everyone finds them adorable.  I mean duh, they produced me.

Saturday my doll of a friend Joyce had a surprise party for her boyfriend and my basketball team’s captain, Bide.  I was the delivery man.  Sometime on Saturday Joyce told Bide I was swinging by their place to pick up her roommate Aditi for dinner, so he texted me and asked for a ride.  (Pure genius on our part)  The car ride there I played it so cool, engaging Bide in a convo about my love of Kams.  (this comes up more than you think)  When we got to the apartment I had Bide lead, saying oh I’ve never been here before.  I’d called up beforehand so it was deadly quiet when he knocked.  It was perfect.  Bide had no idea!  The party was filled with my favorite law school people and ended with some serious dancing and overall randomness at High Dive.  (Well actually it ended eating pizza and watching Mean Girls….sounds like undergrad me)  Bide said that I deserved an Academy Award for my acting skills.  (blush)  I also got a shout out at the party from the DJ.  (double blush)

I know it’s not about me.  But we all know I am addicted to attention and  I felt a little bit like this:  (and obviously Joyce should feel like this too)

Me, Jaime, Julia, Ashleigh and Hannah (creeping in the background) at Bide's Birthday party!

Me, Jaime, Julia, Ashleigh and Hannah (creeping in the center) at Bide’s Birthday party!

Sunday morning as I sat around with Ash, Julia and Chiedza at brunch rehashing our night and laughing at the hilarious things we do/say, I was overwhelmed with how close we are in such a short time.  I can’t imagine sharing this with anyone else.  It’s just like having a conversation with Meg, Nicole and Jess at home.  We have no filters and have yet to discover the outer bounds of appropriate to discuss.  (I am guessing there are none, but you never know)  Plus, our stories are literally not funny unless you are in law school and know the other actors.   Trust me, I’ve tried to tell my really funny law school stories at home.  It doesn’t work.  (And for that I apologize)

I put a lot of thought into what I am going to give up for lent this year.  I considered meat- but since I often eat one meal a day I figured that was probably a bad idea.  Then I thought about caffeine in general and I laughed when I thought about my professors letting me know that lent is not a valid reason for falling asleep in class.  Coffee would be a cop out since I only drink a ton of it during finals.  And I am sure Jesus would be against me giving up soda.  I don’t think he wants to take away the one bright spot of my day.  That’s not his jam.  (I also considered sweets, but I rarely eat them).

So I cruised some catholic blogs, read the latest about the pope’s retirement and searched for some creative ideas.  One of the best things I read was an article about the spirit of lent truly being about giving of yourself.  Which can be accomplished by doing something you wouldn’t normally do or working on a vice.  Or in my case, improving my gratitude.  So for the next 40 days I am going to write one letter or note to a person who has been a positive influence in my life, and thank them for being a part of who I am today.  I started making a list last night (since some people will require work to get their addresses) and 40 people is a tall task.  Once you get past the obvious family members and friends you really have to think back on the timeline of your life and remember who made an impact.  Some things happened as a kid or adolescent and you didn’t see the value at the time.  I am so excited to be able to take time out of my day and do something positive and recognize those who were a part of me being me!

Should be a calm couple of weeks.  I have a lot of classes cancelled next week which will give me the opportunity to get ahead and start tackling some bigger things I have been putting off!  Until next week!

xoxo

Sarah

That’s So Sarah Moments….

Over the last week I’ve had quite a few moments where the only response, typically from my Mom the perennial commentator of my life, has been “Oh that’s so Sarah.”  In honor of my week of Sarah-isms I will share my favorites…

One of the best parts of coming back to U of I is that I already knew the social scene.  Places to eat, where to shop, bars I liked…I did not have to discover any of these vitally important details.  While I may not spend every night at Kams and Clys, anymore, the occasional trip is never turned down.  Let’s be honest, there is something special about a place like Kams.  There are no rules.  Long line…walk in the exit and tell the bouncer you were already there.  Of course he will believe you….go right in.  Pay for drinks with currency….well it’s preferred but occasionally other inanimate objects will do as well.  It is a staple of U of I tradition and the place all alumnae love to love.  Even non-alumnae love Kams.  Nicholas and Jimmy were so excited to come down to U of I and celebrate my birthday, at Kams, that they sponsored a keg.  In summation, this is how I feel (along with most others) whenever someone suggests going to Kams

So imagine my surprise this winter when I found out Kams would be turning in to a 21+ bar for the spring semester.  In my mind I thought, “nothing will change” and “everything will be the same.”  In my heart, I knew the truth.  I went to Kams this past Friday with a bunch of other law students.  First, I arrived on a Friday night and there was NO line.  This was unheard of.  I looked at Ashleigh in shock.  We didn’t have to cut the line, there was no line.  I looked inside and instead of wall to wall people, I could see to the back.  My friends were all really easy to locate.  This was not the chosen bar of my youth.  The place to see and be seen.  (Well if you ever moved from the spot you secured once you made it in the door.)  I was about to question the entire situation when I heard..”$5 cover.”  Some things never change.
This is not to say that my Friday at Kams was not the best.  Really, when it comes to my friends it doesn’t matter where we are it will always be fun.  Also, not matter the situation Kams does not disappoint.  I also met the 3L version of myself, so really it was still a great night.
The rest of the weekend was pretty low key.  Liz and I spent a good chunk of Sunday ironing out food plans for our Super Bowl party and enlisting Neighbor Tom to build the framework for a snackadium.  (photos to be posted next week.)  As most of you know I am a huge football fan, so the Super Bowl is always bitter sweet.  The farewell to another season.  The count down to training camp.  I am already tearing up.  In fact this is typically what I look like post-Super Bowl, when I realize the season is really over:
But the real “Sarahism” of the week came Monday and Tuesday when I actually fell ill.  Despite my well documented history with doctors and hospitals, I am of the opinion that I should not over medicate and that if I just keep going all will be well.  Monday I was running on about 60%, but I powered through the day, took a nap and by day’s end was ready to go.  I thought, aha the Sarah medical method wins again.  I mean I should write a book, I am a genius.  Mom warned me that perhaps seeing a doctor would be a good idea.  No way!  McKinley will likely suggest my sore throat and dizziness are related to an impending pregnancy (as opposed to the more obvious flu or strep) and send me on my way.  Yikes, I’ll pass.
So color me surprised when my alarm went off the next morning and I couldn’t get out of bed.  Well this is odd…the Sarah Method was working last night.  Curse you know it all mom.  So I did as she suggested, made an appointment at McKinley.  Then  I made arrangements with friends to take notes during my classes and went back to bed.  (I also texted my mom and begrudgingly informed her that she was right….the horror).  Upside- for an attention lover like me being absent from law school is quite the event.  So many “I hope you are ok” and “Get Well Soon” text messages…I really do have the BEST friends!
Needless to say I listened to the doctor, stayed in bed the rest of the day.  Ate applesauce and pudding and rested.  It was the worst.  By the end of it all I wanted out of my Germ Cave.  (It’s what I started calling my room, because I didn’t want to go downstairs and further infect Liz).  Thankfully, after a couple doses of penicillin, my throat was better and I was not achy.  Despite still being a bit tired (which is insane to me….I literally spent close to 24 hours in bed),  I was able to go back to school this morning.  Although at one point the exhaustion started to get the better of me and I hoped my professor would not call on me.  I was concerned she would ask a meaningful question and my loopy brain would answer with something ridiculous, like unicorn.
Can’t wait for the next couple weeks.  Birthday parties galore this weekend, as well as our Super Bowl Party.  Then mom and dad come down to visit the following week, which is always a delight.  So much fun on the horizon, I should probably get back to reading.  🙂
Love ya’ll!
xoxo
Sarah

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

As I mentioned in my last post I went home last Saturday night to attend a benefit for the beautiful Ms. Maci Lou Villarreal, the daughter of my dear friends Maggie and John.  First I have to say how wonderful Hannah and Liz are for making the drive up with me and supporting my friends.  Sure, the prospect of staying at my parent’s house and hanging out with Karen and Nick is always a draw, but it really meant so much to have two of my new friends there helping two of my old friends.  🙂  Second, walking in to Princess Maci’s b.A.L.L. I was nearly knocked over by the outpouring of support for Ms. Maci.  It was truly an overwhelming experience seeing the number of people who came out to share their love.  It was no surprise when Megan texted me at the conclusion of the night to let me know they raised over $80,000!  I am in awe and so proud to call Meg, Jamie, Sara, and Katie (among the countless others who gave their time) my friends.

Ms. Maci was responding well to her latest round of chemo, which gave Maggie and John an opportunity to join us and take in all the love in the room.  After playing a game of “Where’s Maggie” for about 10 minutes, I was lucky enough to chat with her briefly.  From the first moment I met Maggie I said she was one of the most genuinely kind and beautiful people I’d ever met and Saturday was no different.  She asked me how I was doing and wanted to know about my life in Champaign, letting me know how happy she was to see me.  Her life is filled with infinitely more important things, and there she was wanting to hear about me as if nothing had changed.  When I asked about Maci, Maggie the eternal optimist had nothing but positive comments.  The strength that emanates from this woman, my friend, is inspiring.  Her daughter is a fighter, because Maggie is a fighter.  Maci is smiley and bubbly through it all, because of Maggie.  I hugged Maggie multiple times, extra tight on Saturday.  First, because I know our visits are few and far between.  But mostly because she inspires me and I am in awe of her.

I can’t help but think of my own mom.  While being born without a tail bone has given me a great conversation starter and one of the best random facts to throw out in ice breakers, it didn’t come without its share of medical drama.  For the better part of my early childhood my parents shuffled me from doctor to doctor looking for answers to a series of seemingly unrelated symptoms.  It was not until I was 8 and a Dr. Bill Cromie at University of Chicago put up two scans, a normal one and mine.  Well what do you know, there is a bone missing.  (I still question the medical degrees of the countless physicians before Bill who were unable to make this seemingly obvious diagnosis)

From then on it was a medical whirlwind, surgeries and lengthy hospital stays battling the poor health that came with my fondness for infections.  Staying in hospitals for weeks at a time.  Truth be told I am not a picnic when I am sick and I am even worse when I come to from anesthesia.  (I think my mom and grandma still have PTSD from dealing with me in post-op recovery rooms)  By age 10, I had preferences for how things should be done and what I wanted. (Some things never change)  But there was my mom, taking it all in stride. Somehow juggling a difficult and at times very sick little girl and my ever active brother Nicholas.  I am sure there were times he missed his mom and she did her best to make it to the important things, All-Star games, school assemblies, etc.

Mostly, I think about how much my mom worried.  Would they get this right?  Will things ever just be normal?  Every time I see Maggie, I hear my mom in her voice and see my mom in her eyes.  I am abnormally close with my mom and more like her than anyone else (with the possible exception of my grandfather), and I am so glad that Maci has a mom like mine.  Karen may have been tired.  She may have wanted to scream at some points.  I may have pushed her to her breaking points.  But I always knew she was doing everything in her power to fight for me.  When you are the sick kid, you are tired and those dreams of normalcy can be overwhelming.  But I was blessed with a mom who never let those thoughts get the best of me and I know Maci is too.

The $80,000 raised last weekend was just the tip of the iceberg.  Maci can use all the support she can get, because that is something you can never have too much of.  So if you have $5 or $10 or any dollars click on the link below and donate it to Ms. Maci.

http://macisworld.wordpress.com/donation-page/

xoxo

Sarah

French Quarter Fun

Let me start by saying that it is so great to have a social life once again.  From Thanksgiving Break until December 21st at 11:30am my schedule included getting up early, holding up in a library all day, drinking enough coffee to make Lorelai Gilmore nervous and then going to sleep.  Had I studied at home, I would never have had any social interaction.  This is what I felt like day in day out interacting with people via library whispers or online chatting:

But, now I am back in the swing.  Exceptionally large text books in hand and supplements loaded onto my iPad.  Let’s do this second semester.

Monday was an odd day because unlike first semester when we basically knew no one and had no seat preferences, I knew who I wanted to sit with and where in each classroom I wanted to be.  (I may or may not have threatened to cut someone if they took my chosen spot in the auditorium…but I digress).  I think my entire section was here by 8:15 for our 9am class. (This is ridiculously early by any standards.  Now that things are established- people starting rolling in about 8:55am)  We are bound to these seats for the rest of the semester and you don’t want to be stuck with a dud.

With new classes comes new languages and restarting the learning curve.  While I may have mastered study skills, it will take me a bit of time to adjust to looking for “consideration” in a contract and identify the finer points of Judicial Review.  It’s going to be a fun semester….

BUT…before I got back into the swing of school I had the amazing opportunity to spend a week in New Orleans volunteering as a legal clerk at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.  This public interest firm in Downtown New Orleans provides FREE legal services to qualifying clients on a wide range of issues.  This was an amazing experience and really highlighted how excited I am to practice law.  I want to give a tremendous THANK YOU to the amazing family and friends who donated to my trip.  Without your support I might have spent another week at home driving my mom and dad nuts and looking for something to do with my time.  You are amazing!  🙂

I worked with the managing attorney of the Benefits Division.  I handled appellate cases regarding unemployment and social security benefits.  I was asked to interview clients and work with them in filling out requisite paperwork.  I also conducted research and put together some filings.  I even got to file a couple of the petitions that I drafted.  The New Orleans Court House is relatively small and I was able to walk the paperwork through to the necessary judges and get everything filed and the respondent’s served within the day.  Being able to see the process from start to finish was a great way to book end my civil procedure class, where I learned about all these processes.

Of course, any trip to NOLA would not be complete without some playtime.  Lucky for our group my NOLA roommate Ashleigh went to Tulane and knew all the hot spots.  Acting as our cruise director we were never without something exciting to do.

Shivani, Chiedza and I on our first night on Bourbon Street!

One of my favorite nights was of course Monday when we went to watch the National Championship.  Fabulous night of friends, laughter, football dominance.  Perfection.  The night ended in a typical Sarah fashion.  My friends were off dancing and I sat watching the trophy ceremony with some random Bama fans I’d made friends with.  So typical….

There was also a night that something blew up and the lights went out in NOLA:

Photo of my street in NOLA when the lights went out.

So what are young law students to do when such a thing happens.  Well take to Bourbon Street and see where the night ends up.  Well it ended up that we stood out like a sore thumb.  Business casual and backpacks/messenger bags are not the norm on Bourbon and we got some looks.  But in all, it turned out to be my favorite night.  I got to bond with the other volunteers at SLLS and overall it was an amazing night!

Lindsey and I in our business casual finest the night of the blackout.

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=35146802bb&view=att&th=13c455899fa74188&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_TNQ_-jR3qyZhnfJM0yUfC&sadet=1358373151136&sads=BYODOmPsQmHngTl0Y3TVXCuaTdk

Wester sporting his business professional best and a back pack….

I was also introduced to some amazing jazz music as well.  Ash took us to see Kermit Ruffins, who appearantly everyone else under the sun knew about.  I feel so cultured now that I am in the know.  I’ll probably brag about this at some point to someone.

In the end I am so greatful to have had the opportunity to work and play  and EAT in NOLA.

However, after 6 days of eating out for every meal this is how I feel….

So it’s time to start on my 2013 resolutions….I’ve made healthy lunches this week and eaten actual dinners.  Big accomplishment.  I keep telling myself I am going to go to the gym starting next week when my schedule flattens out.  And right now, I actually believe myself.  🙂

One last thing.  I am heading back to Chicago this weekend to attend a benefit for my dear friends Maggie and John’s daughter Maci.  Shortly after her first birthday in September she was diagnosed with Leukemia and bless her heart she is fighting with all she has.  But this fight is not cheap and medication costs alone are astronomical.  If you are in Chicago this weekend, January 19th and want to participate in this amazing cause the tickets are available online at the link below or at the door.  The event is from 6-10pm at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest.  If you are a fan from afar (I know you are out there), but want to help make a difference in this precious little girl’s life please click on the link below and simply make a donation.

http://macisworld.wordpress.com/donation-page/

Check for new posts on Wednesdays…I think this will be my blogging day.  🙂

Love Ya’ll

xoxo

Sarah

Hurricane on Bourbon Street….so NOLA

Too Blessed to Be Stressed

I adore the start of a new year, as it gives you an opportunity to look at what you’ve accomplished in 365 days and set new goals for yourself.  I am so excited to see what the next 365 days bring into my life, although 2013 has a lot of live up to if it is going to be as amazing as 2012.  So here it is, my love letter to 2012.

Dear 2012,

Thank you for reminding me what an amazing family I have.  They are so supportive and truly the greatest people I have ever met.  Over the last year they have seen me through the agony of waiting for law school acceptances to come in, the excitement of choosing a law school, the pain of moving (twice!), any number of ridiculous overblown relationship issues and the adjustment of the rigors of law school.  No matter where we are, Champaign, Chicago, Crete, Alsip, Culver wherever my bunch of crazies are suddenly feels like home.

Thank you so much for giving me friends who are like my family and were equally hard to leave in Chicago.  This semester was a difficult transition and it was so easy for me to fall into a 100% Law School world and lose track of myself and my friends at home.  Whenever I would feel guilty they squashed it immediately.  To be fortunate enough to surround myself with such selfless and empowering women is something I hope everyone can experience in a friendship.

2012 also brought so many new friends into my life.  I was talking recently with a friend who moved from Chicago to Dallas several years ago.  He loves the city but does not feel like he has really made best friends.  It got me thinking about my new friendships and I realized how truly blessed my fellow Illini and I are to have grown as close as we are in such a short time.  I cannot imagine my life without Gossip Girl Mondays, shouting “Fireball,” making jokes about Starbucks and being a Diva, and so many more ridiculous things.  More importantly, these brilliant minds are my law school family.  When I am stressed or frustrated they get it and we have little by little learned how to calm each other down.

Finally, I am so thankful for the opportunity to pursue my dreams in 2012.  Making the move from teaching to law school was tough but I know now it was the right one.  While I have never been busier or worked harder in my life, I have also never been prouder of myself and the things I accomplished.

2013 is off to a great start and my goal is to strike a better life/law school balance.  I know what I need to do and what study habits work best for me.  So now I can incorporate some of the things I dropped, like eating normally, running (I refuse to abandon running 5Ks), and keeping up with the blog for all my fans back home.  (Well, all 5 of my family members that read this, and Deb and Nicole).

Roll Tide!

Love Ya’ll!

-Sarah

PS…Next Post: My actual adventures in the south, including volunteer legal work and watching The Crimson Tide roll right over ND to become back to back National Champions.