Tuesday, September 2, 2014

back to school

Nothing like taking the ENTIRE summer off from blogging, eh? From Memorial Day weekend until the day after Labor Day. Awfully impressive for an unplanned hiatus, if I do say so myself.

The practice is still cruising along. I still can't believe how much LESS stress I have, despite the fact that I don't usually know from week to week what my income will be. It's truly amazing. I have control over my schedule, the work I do, the way I spend my days. Complete control. The liberation is almost too much. My primary goal is no longer to make tons of money, but rather to reduce my expenses so that this freedom expands.

In other news, I am back to training for a race for the first time since January, and only 2 weeks in, I'm remembering how much I love having a plan on paper and checking off miles and workouts. LOVE. I'm running my favorite 12k in about 6 weeks and debating a local half marathon. And of course I'm doing my absolute favorite race, the Charleston Half, in January.

The summer was low-key and uneventful, though I procured my dream car (Fiat 500c, and Gucci trim to boot) and got my porch redone, finally. Of course it's too hot to put the top down on the car or sit on the porch, but soon. Soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

i'm the boss

Yes, I've been a horrible, horrible blogger. But I've been a good lawyer, business owner, doggie mama, wife, housewife, and champagne drinker.

Y'all. This whole self-directed life thing is AH-MA-ZING. I make my own schedule, 100%. I mean, of course when a client requests a certain time, I give it to them if at all possible (see: 6 pm appointment this evening for a client who gets off work at 530). But for the most part, I am running my world and it is a beautiful thing. After 5 1/2 years in state government jail--in a position in which I was expected to be in one building 99.9999% of the time--this is pure heaven. It's going to be a damn long time before I take for granted things like going running this morning with D from 830-915, having a 3 pm chiro appointment today and an 11 am Rolfing appointment Tuesday, and still sitting here in yoga pants and a tee drafting pleadings for clients. The other day I was sitting here in a similar outfit when a client wanted to stop by to notarize some documents. Since my office share is half a mile away, I told him I'd see him in 10 minutes. I threw on a dress and was there in 8.

I love helping people again, I love going to court weekly (or more), I love getting to know the staff in the clerk's office. Learning a new area of law has been scary/exhilarating, and very good for my aging lawyer brain. Networking lunches and getting involved in "civilization" (what I call downtown, because the state job was also in the suburbs of the suburbs) again with professional organizations and just being in town during the day? Icing on the cake.

That said, it's been a long 12 weeks of being in Columbia in an uninterrupted rut of the aforementioned lawyering, business owning, doggie mama-ing, wifeing, housewifeing, and champagne drinking. I'm a little burned out on being so available, emotionally and otherwise, to my divorcing clients. I'm more than a little burned out on Columbia. Luckily, tomorrow midday we head out (with Ruthie!) to Charleston for Spoleto opening weekend. We have an amazing itinerary of theater, dance, and live jazz, and meals at 2 new restaurants, and hope to pack as much sublime enjoyment into 2 days as possible.

Because we return Sunday and I have a client coming in Monday, so she doesn't have to take leave from her state job.

Isn't that just totally appropriate?


Friday, March 14, 2014

mine all mine

I turned 41 last week, on Day 2 of my new practice's existence. It was a horribly dreary day--raining, windy, and didn't quite make 40 degrees--and D was out of town, and I didn't really celebrate on that day. But I worked on firm startup tasks, ran 4.1 miles, ate healthy, lounged on the sofa all evening (working on firm startup tasks).

I had such an extravaganza of a going-away from my government job--we're talking a couple of weeks' worth of lunch out everyday, an epic happy hour, an official party with cake and punch on my last day--that a day alone to absorb and adjust was just what the doctor ordered.

I've yet to freak out. I've done two small jobs and made 2 small fees, and I'm about to launch an ad on a local news website. My firm facebook page has 150 likes. I have almost all of my systems set up: website, dedicated e-mail, google voice, google apps for business, credit card processing (including the ability to e-mail a client a link that takes them to a credit card form), online fax, letterhead, logo, twitter account, facebook page, post office box, practice management software, client intake forms (to be completed today), retainer agreements, accounting software.

I've been lunching with fellow attorneys like it's going out of style, and have three more lunches next week. And I'm going with D to Charleston because he has a hearing and WHY NOT? My boss allows me to work in the hotel room!

There have been lots of jokes about how great my boss is--but at the root of the jokes is the truth. Despite the pittance I've earned so far, the knowledge that everything I do, how I do it, when I do it is up to me is simply amazing. The 5 1/2 years of bureaucratic soul-crushing are melting away. No one has to have a meeting to discuss the pros and cons of software options (though the research has still been ridiculously time-consuming). I can work from 11-1, 3-5, and 7-11 if that's what works. I can work at home or at the office.

But most importantly, what I do is mine. I can build a practice just the way I want, handle cases in the way I feel is best, and change my systems and practices with changing circumstances. I can take the cases I want to take and politely decline the ones I don't. It's mine, all mine. And so far, it's wonderful.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

blossom

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anais Nin

I've neglected this old home of mine for weeks as I've been devoting hours and hours to my new venture--starting my own law practice.

As you know, for at least a year I've felt stifled, underwhelmed, unstimulated at my current position. I've interviewed with several firms and have been everyone's second or third choice. My theory is that not many firms want to hire a lawyer with 16 years' experience. I'm not malleable, and I have my own ideas about how things should be done, and I can't say I totally blame them.

Because the thought of doing it ALL on my terms is so exhilarating right now that I'm dizzy. Someone at the office today told me that I looked like a different, lighter person. I certainly feel that a huge weight has been lifted off me, and I still have 8 more days at the old crushing bureaucracy.

I'm going to focus primarily on family law, because I haven't had anyone I felt good referring folks to for quite a while, and I know I can pay the bills with it. Though, my bills will be few because I'm walking into an unbelievable situation with D's firm. I'm paying nothing and have access to all of their resources. I'll pay for my usage of things that cost money: copies, support staff hours, postage. But to walk into a furnished office and need nothing but a laptop and malpractice insurance? So rare, so lucky, so unbelievable.

I start March 4. I can hardly wait to build something of my own. To help clients again. To create the life and the career I want.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

13.1 X 4

Saturday I ran my fourth half marathon in 2 years.

A solid year and a half of injury-free, consistent running sure makes a difference. I am confident--I don't feel like an imposter anymore. And I ran the entire race, other than about 15 seconds per three water stations to gulp gatorade. (I carry a handheld bottle, because I am constantly thirsty, and so I don't have to stop at all stations.)

I had an attack of nerves early in the week, thanks to a flare-up of my monthslong IT band/glute/hamstring issue, and then an evening during which I was convinced I was coming down with the flu--but by midday Friday I was in GO MODE, thanks to a fabulous 2.8-mile shakeout run that morning. Starting line nerves were minimal. My usual first-few-miles panic (HOW WILL I KEEP THIS UP FOR 2 MORE HOURS?) was completely absent.

I just had fun! It was windy as hell, and cold, again, but I adapted by abandoning all time goals and just running as hard as I reasonably could. And enjoyed people who were shocked and amazed that I was wearing a running skirt, a long sleeve running shirt, and a cap. No gloves, hat, jacket, or tights. What can I say, I'm very hot natured. As the miles clicked seemingly quickly by, I continued to marvel that I hadn't yet had to take a walk break. I just enjoyed the scenery (6 miles downtown Charleston, mostly King Street), the crowds, the sunny weather, and didn't look at my watch. I had many moments of pure nirvana in the middle miles. Ah, endorphins.

I had 5 people at the finish line for the first time ever. At my first half, I was completely alone. Which sucked, of course. The next two: D was there, but no friends/family. Saturday I had D, two friends, my cousin and her husband. Knowing they were waiting at the finish was very much a motivator. Particularly near the end, when I wanted to walk, but knew that the wind had slowed me down to the point that I'd be unhappy with my time if I didn't power ahead.

It was just great. It was drama free. My playlist was awesomely motivating. My official photos are GOOD! All of them! Now--I was 2 minutes slower than my PR, but I have zero negative feelings about that, given the headwind. I mean, really. It was bad enough and constant enough that finishing was bad-ass enough on its own.

So, I'm dying for the next one, of course. The Palmetto Half is here in town, it's in April, I ran it last year, and it seems like the obvious choice. I have visions of training harder, upping my cross-training, improving my diet, and crushing a big PR.

Why not?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

charmed

In a few hours, we're headed to Charleston to celebrate our fourth anniversary, New Year's, and D's birthday. Ruthie's going with us and we're staying at our beloved vacation rental carriage house on Rutledge. Tonight we're eating a 5-course dinner at Mercato, one of my all-time favorite restaurants, with a couple whose friendship has lasted from my old life to my new life.

Tomorrow we're watching football at Leaf, a new restaurant in a nostalgic old spot for me (Vickery's on Beaufain) with D's son, another friend of mine from the old Charleston days, and my dear cousin, her new husband, and her son.

Before we leave today, I'm going to run 8.7 miles to bring my December total mileage to 80, my highest ever. I'm rounding out my first injury-free running year ever and running the highest consistent mileage ever. I am running my fourth half marathon on January 18.

Whose life is this?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Meanwhile, 33 Days til Race Day..

The training cycle for this half marathon (hell, who am I kidding? Also for my October 12k) has been a mental battle all the way. My long run motivation has left me, and I dread the time I'll put into it and how little will be left for everything else I have to get done in my few short weekend hours.

Meanwhile, my motivation for run frequency is at an all-time high. Oddly, my hamstring (that's bothered me for at least 6 months) stays happy and loose the more often I work it, and I'm now firmly in a 4-runs-a-week habit after only running 3 times a week my first 3 years as a runner. I've even done a couple of 5-run weeks and plan on it for sure during the holidays.

Today was no different. I knew I had to get in at least 10 to avoid freaking out about my race, which is January 19. I skipped my planned 3-miler yesterday thanks to crushing fatigue and pouring rain--a lethal combination--which means I'm below my goal mileage for the week even WITH the 10 miles. I ran the first 4 with D in our hilly neighborhood and decided my hamstring would do better with the remaining 6 on the old treadmill. I've really gotten into a treadmill groove since my injuries and am happy to put in lots of miles in my happy place: with MSNBC on close caption on the TV and one of my running playlists on Spotify in my yurbuds.

I told myself that I could take it as easy as I wanted, just get the miles in, since I'm working on speedwork during the week and have 3 more long runs before the race. But as luck would have it, I ended up between 2 hard asses, a guy and a girl, who were running hard and seemingly effortlessly. Damn them! I still had to stop to stretch the hamstring several times, but thanks to their kick-ass vibes, I ran an extra mile. Well, an extra 1.1 due to my poor math skills.

I was taking a water break after the treadmill shut off on me at 60 minutes with just under a mile to go, just as the guy next to me was finishing. He said "man, you're working your ass off, just like everytime I see you in here. That's so awesome to see!"

Thank you,sir, for the motivation boost. It was much needed and perfectly timed.