Monday, June 8, 2015

Made in the Shade

Over the last few months, I've spent plenty of time in front of my computer at the office, but--in my personal time--have made it a point to close my laptop, get outside the house and interact with friends and family. It's been fun, but it's also why I haven't been checking in here often.

On New People

After a flurry of first dates last winter, I met M, a smart, charming and handsome guy, who I dated for a few months. He had told me his divorce was complete, but later admitted that it was not due to a protracted custody battle over... wait for it... their puggle. I am a dog lover and had warmed to this fun, wriggly little puggle in particular, but M obviously wasn't ready to let go (of the puggle or the marriage), so it was time to move on.

Once you reach your thirties, there are a lot of folks in the dating pool with baggage and I'm no exception. As a result, I've long been open to dating divorced guys, but after one too many lies regarding the status of these guys' divorces, it's time to make a rule that I won't be the first post-divorce girlfriend ever again. (Demanding to see a filed copy of the divorce decree is not an appealing alternative.)  In what may have been an overly dramatic course correction, I'm now dating a never married guy that I've known since I was nine years old. More on that later.

Happily, there is more to life than dating and I've been working on some new female friendships too.

On Family

Before the rainy season descended on Central Texas, my family came to visit Austin and see my new house. It was a lot of fun. The highlight of the trip from my point of view was kayaking Ladybird Lake and checking out the bat colony under the Congress bridge:


We got on the water in the late afternoon, saw the bats leave the bridge, and paddled back to the east side as the sun set. The weather was perfect and the view of Austin from the water was beautiful:


My extended family is in the process of moving to Texas (Dallas, mostly, but that's a lot closer than California). I am looking forward to the day that outings like this will be more frequent.

On my New Home

Improvements to the new house are happening at a snail's pace. I follow a strict budget (big law salaries aren't forever!), but have found a side hustle that requires minimal time investment and generates cash flow that I use to fund projects around the house. Here's what my process has looked like so far:

  1. Brainstorm a wish list of home projects;
  2. Divide the projects into two groups--those that will increase/preserve home value and those that do not;
  3. Set aside those projects that do not increase/preserve home value; 
  4. Rank in priority order those projects that will increase/preserve home value; and
  5. Complete each project after the side hustle generates enough net revenue to cover the cost of the project.

I have to admit it's a daily struggle to say no to beautiful decorative accents or picture-perfect new furniture. Pinterest and Instagram, you tempt me so! I hope, one day, I complete the projects that relate to home value and get to take on some of the more fun, decorative projects.

My first priority was to install window coverings on street-facing windows on the first level of the house. I picked natural fiber roman shades from The Shade Store. Here are the installed roman shades on a couple of my smaller windows:


Some people may not like the translucency, but I find that the shades provide just enough privacy while still allowing sunshine into the house. One day, I want to layer on some floor-length drapes for a more finished look, but this is a good start!

Just last week, I had my fence sealed in order to preserve the appearance of the cedar and extend the life of the fence. I seriously considered doing this work myself, but after pricing out the materials and equipment costs (I don't even own a ladder!), collecting a few quotes and considering my work load, I realized I needed to hire someone for this task. I'm happy with the results:


On Work

No regrets about the lateral move. I'm happy to be here. I'm challenged. I have so much more to learn.

Generally

Life is good. Really and truly.

Austin sunset (June 7, 2015)


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Texas Bar Exam

Due to a laptop malfunction on the first day of the bar exam, I have spent every subsequent day convinced that I failed the bar exam. Per usual, I took my pessimism to extremes and haven't even hung my framed artwork in the new house. You know--just in case I'm fired, lose the house and have to move out. (I'm rolling my eyes right along with you.) Today, as I walked from a partner's office to my own, I hit the refresh button on the browser on my iPhone, pulled up the pass list, and found my name. The surge of relief was every bit as powerful as when I found out I passed in California.

That's it. The final step in my relocation to Texas. Y'all are stuck with me now!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Running the Boardwalk

While I was away in Tokyo, Austin constructed the boardwalk trail at Lady Bird Lake. I followed the progress pictures and looked forward to the day that I'd get to check it out in person. This was when moving back to Austin was still very far from a reality, but I was holding out hope.

Hitting the hike and bike trail was something I did my very first weekend in Austin, but I didn't make it out to the boardwalk until the first weekend in January. It was a beautiful, but very cold day and I remember it clearly because that Friday night I had gone on a first date that had left me smitten. I picked up the message asking for a second date while I was shuffling along the boardwalk (you'll hear more about that story line in a future post).

Then I took this picture and stood there and soaked up the moment. The cold crisp air, the sun, the waterbirds fighting over bread crumbs, the sounds of the (English!) conversations of people passing by and water. It was one of those I made it to Austin, I made it happen (!) kind of moments. Even on the not so good days I find myself stopping to think of how grateful I am for this change in my life and how very lucky I am to be here.

And the boardwalk lived up to expectations.