Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Exactly two years ago I was sitting in the afternoon session of Day 1 of the Minnesota Bar Exam. I distinctly remember wanting to kill the guy sitting next to me (he was twitchy, a heavy breather, and just all around a spaz) and simultaneously vomit as I prayed to sweet baby Jesus my computer wouldn't die.

As the next few months dragged on, I put the bar exam out of mind and applied for jobs.. feeling like nobody would EVER hire me, and that I'd wasted a significant chunk of change on a useless degree and tortured myself with that test for nothing.

As I see the posts on Facebook from the few 3Ls I still know, expressing their fear and nerves about walking into Day 1 of the bar exam today.. I can't help but feel really, really grateful to have made it out on the other side: happy, healthy, and with a job I truly enjoy (most days). As I sit here hammering out motions in anticipation of our motion deadline for a trial I'm second chairing in October... I'm really grateful for how the last few years have played out- above all else that I'm employed in my field and in an area of law I find incredibly interesting.

It hasn't always felt like this here.. of course I don't write about it all because- duh. In fact, I'm sure if my husband is reading this post (I think he's abandoned the blog, but if not- Hi honey!) he's probably wondering if this is an invasion-of-the-body-snatchers moment and what I've done with his wife.. because there were several days of tear filled car rides home, and (embarrassing) histrionics about my job, life, future, and self-worth.  Hi, my name is Kelly, I can be a spaz. In what I may call a turning point though I can gladly say the good outweighs the bad usually and I'm feeling very content.

So this is my  message to you bar exam takers: there's hope at the end of the tunnel.

Just wanted to pop in and get this out. Apologies for the delay in Seattle recapping but M and I spent this past weekend at a friend's cabin with approximately 25 other people and it was a BLAST, from which, I am still recovering. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


We're back from our excursion to the pacific northwest and slowly adjusting to our routines. 
I am slightly ashamed to admit that this area of the country didn't make it onto my list of "must-see" places until fairly recently, but I'm happy that it did! 

The purpose of the trip was a 100th birthday party and thus, a mini family reunion on M's dad's side. If you can't celebrate 100 in a big way, when can you!? M, his sister Natalie, his dad, and his dad's gf drove out west starting last Wednesday. They bumped into a teeny issue when the transmission in his dad's 2013 Mazda blew somewhere west of Butte, Montana. (Yeehaw, right?) So, they were towed back to Butte, got a rental, towed the car to Missoula.. the location of the only Mazda dealership within 100 miles.. and somehow made it 2 hours past their original destination for the day, to Moses Lake, Washington. It only took them a 9 hour detour to do it. Woof. I, generally speaking, am NOT a fan of road trips. Granted, the longest I've ever sat in a car is approximately 3.5 hours but any longer and I fear I'd lose my mind. So, I was sad for M -who was really looking forward to the road trip aspect- when he was texting me with these updates. 

I flew in Friday morning and they picked me up on their way to town and we settled into Tacoma for our first 2 days. Tacoma is about 35 minutes south of Seattle and gives you a nice flavor of the region with a little less commotion. 
Sarah gave us some nice tips of things to do in Tacoma (as well as Seattle, which comprised most of my itinerary!), but first, I wanted to see Titlow Park. 

Titlow Park is the scene of one of our cases going on at work that I've been somewhat involved in. I'm aware how weird this will sound, but I felt like I was seeing a major landmark or a celebrity. You hear these names and places over and over and over again at work and there's this wonder and hype about them. To see this place we've discussed so frequently as a real (and BEAUTIFUL) park was very cool for me! 

Next up was downtown Tacoma, a cute little downtown nestled by the water that reminded me a TON of Duluth, MN- where I went to college. Hills, lots of industries and factories by the water.. it was a pretty place to explore. 

We walked along the Chihuly Glass Bridge- which spans the freeway and leads to the Tacoma Glass Museum- thanks to Sarah's tip, we got to experience some Chihuly glass exhibits fo FREE (the best kind) and skipped admission to the museum itself. After that, we walked back to Harmon Brewery for some local brews and split some apps. (Sorry Sar, the fish and chips will have to wait.. ;-) ). We walked off the calories along the water and sat down to enjoy the view for a while.

Saturday morning I got up early and snuck out of the hotel room to walk the block to Starbucks by myself. I struggle being around lots of people for prolonged periods so I needed some "me" time to recharge (hello, textbook introvert). I grabbed a chi tea latte and walked back to the hotel just in time for M's sleepy "I'm up now" text. We lounged around and then got ready for the big birthday bash, which was in a prep school down the road. 

I had met M's dad's side of the family only twice before this trip, since they're pretty spread out, and I'd never met the extended family (and sad to say I probably won't see many of them for a long, long time) but it was such a fun day. There's something about knowing you're all related that takes off the awkward social aspect, and I enjoyed chatting with a ton of people. 

That's "Roy the Birthday Boy" (so said his nametag) in the middle. He's 100 years old. Talk about a milestone. We found ourselves saying the phrase, "gosh, can you IMAGINE what he's seen?" quite often. He was born in 1914, lived through 2 world wars, saw the advent of the Model-T, all the way through smart phones. Talk about wild. He was soft spoken, and unfortunately due to a very recent fall, spent most the day in a chair. 

These are 2 of his only 3 remaining siblings, and Arlene there in the white was the sweetest woman I've ever met. She gave me a big hug when I met her and I honestly wanted to take her home with me. She's 92! Looking pretty fabulous for 92 if I do say so myself. 

Just a few short months ago, prior to his fall, Roy loved to go dancing. He had a bunch of friends from his dance hall there, and easily the highlight of the day was when one of the ladies got him up to dance to "All My Ex's Live in Texas." It was absolutely adorable and amazing. 

After a great rendition of "happy birthday" the birthday boy let out a little "woop!" and threw his hands up. The blue lips are from sneaking frosting after they set down the cake. :) 

It was so cool to be a part of and I couldn't help but look at the big group photos (those are just his kids and their kids) and think of what an incredible legacy he's made for himself. It was really a memorable day and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it. 

Saturday was chock-full of more family, and Sunday we woke up bright and early to hit the road to Seattle- stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I heard on the radio not too long ago that the way to make a weekend feel longer is to actually DO more things over the course of the weekend. 
Not necessarily run yourself ragged, but having some plans can stretch those 2 and a half days. Not that I'm ever ready for Monday to roll around but I didn't dread it as much as some weeks. This weekend was SO great: full of tons of fun events and yet relaxing at the same time. This weekend was all about that guy I married, M! 
On Sunday, M turned 30, so I planned us a whole weekend of surprises. 

Friday night (not pictured) we went to dinner with his mom and step dad to kick off the festivities. 

Saturday morning we got up bright and early to hit the road to Surprise #1. I was concerned about the weather but thankfully the forecast proved true: overcast, but no morning rain, which was perfect for a morning of hiking at Taylors Falls. Taylors Falls is about 40 minutes straight north of Minneapolis/St. Paul, followed by another 20 minute straight east, until you hit the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. 

The only thing I was disappointed with was that the trails weren't LONGER. This was seriously the most beautiful trail I've ever seen (not that I've done a TON of hiking), but wow. I honestly felt like I was in Montana or somewhere significantly more rugged than a typically farm-area of Minnesota. 
After hiking we devoured lunch at Romayne's in town.. all that exercise worked up quite the appetite. 
We hopped in the car and made the long, rainy drive home to shower up and get ready for Surprises 3, 4, and 5. 

Surprises 3 and 4 were stops at 2 local breweries in town: 612 and Indeed (for you locals). M loves beer, and finding new beers, so I knew this was right up his alley. A selfless date-idea indeed for the girl who doesn't drink beer (and poo on 612 for having nothing besides water from a Culligan stand for us non-beer drinkers.. womp). Thankfully Indeed had flavored San Pellegrino. 

After encouraging him to nurse the second beer a bit longer (he slammed his beer at 612 in about 20 minutes.. I had allotted about an hour for each brewery.. haha.. I think he was just excited to keep the day rolling :)) we drove over to Surprise 5: Dinner at Hola Arepa. Ho-ly SNOT that was a fabulous dinner. For locals- Hola Arepa was (still is) a food truck during the week in downtown Minneapolis and they recently opened a restaurant on 35th and Nicollet. It was out of this world tasty. 
Surprise 5.5 was going to be dessert after a walk around Lake of the Isles, but we took home dessert from Friday night's dinner so we went home and scarfed that and watched The Wire instead. 

It's quite possible I was more excited about Sunday's surprise than Christmas morning, but first, Sunday morning. We woke up early and walked to the Caribou that's about 8 blocks from our house, where we sipped coffee on the patio and split a lemon poppyseed bread. 

By the time we got home and showered I knew Surprise 6 was close. M's dad lives in Moorhead, MN (about 3 hours northwest of where we live) but emailed me and told me he was going to be at a motorcycle rally in Iowa and would be passing through on Sunday on his way home. It worked out perfectly to surprise M with a birthday lunch with his dad. He had NO idea, I was very casual about everything... right up until I saw the motorcycle drive by the front of our house to head out back and park. M wasn't expecting anything so he didn't glance twice at it but I hopped up and began pacing as M's dad took FOREVER (it was probably 7 minutes but OMG I was jacked up) taking off all his cycle gear and coming inside. I honestly thought I was going to pass out I was so excited because I know how much M loves spending time with his dad. 

I opened the back door and motioned him in, but put my finger over my lips to tell him to not say anything.. and as we walked into the living room I said "Surprise #6 is here!" and the look on his face was PRICELESS. It was similar reaction to the surprise trip to Florida reveal

I had arranged for M's sister who lives in the cities to come to lunch, too and realized I never told M's dad about it, so that was a fun surprise for both of them when she showed up. His dad had told me he wanted to be "in and out" since he had a long drive in front of him so I picked a place nearby with fast service typically (Rojo at West End, for locals- again!). We got back home around 1:45 with plans to visit for a little bit when the guys realized the World Cup final was on at 2:00. Well, "in and out" slowly devolved into all 4 of us watching the final together (and when I say I watched I mean I watched the entire first half then napped through the second. woops). So, he hit the road later than expected but I know how much M loves watching sports with his dad, too.. so that was extra special. 
By the time his dad left we only had about 45 minutes until the 7th and final surprise of the weekend, which was going to be a casual surprise get together with some of his friends. Nothing huge, just about 12-14 of us in a back room at a local restaurant. Except, unfortunately 6 people bailed shortly before so it was a smaller group of 8 of us.. but it was almost preferable that way.. it was a small enough group that we all had one big conversation and it was an eclectic mix of his friends so it was nice to chat with people I sometimes wouldn't. We also got to hear some big news from 2 of his friends- they're 12 weeks along and expecting a baby in January! This is the first baby in a while, and they just got married in April 2013, so I'm excited to see the wave of kids start, now that almost everyone is married in the group! 

That was the last surprise of the day- after which we head home and watched more of The Wire- duh. 

I'd be remiss to not mention that it was also TJ's honorary birthday. We got him in late August and he was about 8 weeks old so we estimated his birthday back to be around early July. Since I was a bad cat-mom and spaced it until this past weekend, we celebrated tootie's birthday too. He's 3! So he was treated to some sloppy smelly wet food and just wolfed it down, squealing and purring the whole time- hilarious. 

It may have been M's birthday weekend but I had SO MUCH FUN planning it and enjoying all of it with him. I love doing things like this and I think he had a fantastic weekend. Make me want to plan weekends like this "just because" more often! 

Friday, July 11, 2014


Hi, bad blogger here. Just stopping in to tell you as much.

Got soaked to the bone, despite the umbrella, walking from the car to work today. Just some casual hurricane strength rain. Barf.

Actually I'm dedicating an entire blog post to tell you that you NEED to click this link and make these burgers that Jess posted or should you die tomorrow your life will have been truly unfulfilled having not eaten these. SERIOUSLY.

mkay, have a good weekend! It's M's dirty-30 Sunday, so I've got a whole weekend of shenanigans planned. :)