Winter Interlude: Reality, Plus Lots of Books & Day Trips

Reality

Not so long ago, I finished eighty-one pages of seminar paper writing in about 10 days — and that’s not counting various drafts and outlines. This wasn’t just any writing, but intense research and original analysis (see my previous post for more), and it was exhilarating and exhausting to think so hard about new-to-me concepts. My brain was pooped.

Fortunately,  the lengthy sigh of relief known as winter break followed this mega-crunch. (Unfortunately, grades come out in five days from now. Breathe!) For a solid month, I’ve relaxed hardcore. I’ve relished — with the kind of relish only a person who’s been out of school for the better part of a decade, with two weeks of PTO per year, can — this reprieve.

What does a 30-year-old third-year law student do with a month more or less to herself? Mostly, she thinks about her future.

To get the un-fun stuff out of the way first: My husband’s office pool did not win the Powerball. 🙁

Slightly more fun than not being an instant millionaire: I have a few interviews coming up, all for wonderful positions I would be delighted to get. They are intensely competitive, so I just have to do my best. Mock interviews and frequent conversations with the BU Career Development Office really help! While it would have been convenient, given all my free time, to apply for lots of jobs over the break, this is a slow time for job postings. So, the hunt continues!

In case you’re interested: I would love to find something that would allow us to stay in the Boston area, but thanks to the realities of the job market, and a growing love for all things New England (see below!), we’re casting a wide net, looking for good work somewhere in the region. (Insert commercial for an enthusiastic, experienced 2016 graduate willing to put in the hard work to become a great attorney.) 

Now, back to winter break: I socialized less than usual, but when I did, I made it count. Today, for example, I hosted a fun brunch party for people from a lot of different social circles who we’ve been fortunate enough to meet (or reunite with) in our time here. I am so happy to have made friends in Boston, and even happier when I can do something nice for them to show them how much I like them (like supply them with platefuls of my favorite breakfast foods and plenty of mimosas).

Lots of Books

 

But mostly, I read and explored.

This break, I read (with links to articles about some of the more interesting titles, and my reviews in parentheses):

From King Cat #75, by John Porcellino

 Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (real! fun!), Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (essential/easy feminism), The River King by Alice Hoffman (pass), Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (ick), Hear the Wind Sing (proto-Murakami) and 1Q84 (sharp, fast) by Haruki Murakami, Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV by Jennifer Pozner (dated, incisive), Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate by Letty Cottin Pogrebin (slow payoff), Vegan Before Six by Mark Bittman (do it!), The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter (too ambitious), Not on Fire but Burning by Greg Hrbek (almost amazing), King Cat #75 by John Porcellino (magical tearjerker comic), and various cookbooks and bits of books that I couldn’t bother finishing, plus lots of long articles online, and a real, cover-to-cover print edition of the Sunday New York Times (a vacation day by itself!). I’m currently reading The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman (wow!), and I have The Best American Short Stories 2015Coming of Age at the End of Days by Alice LaPlante and The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski ready to go.

Day Trips

As for day trips, we spent a day in Providence, Rhode Island — no more than 90 minutes from Boston, but we’d never visited — eyeing old-timey architectural details, browsing bookstores, shops, and galleries (tip of the hat to Ada Books and Craftland, two  of our favorites), and indulging in one good meal at The Grange.

Another day, we ventured to the Quincy Riverwalk for what turned out to be a rather desolate “nature” walk along the Neponset River, adjacent to some unattractive manufacturing sites. Unless you’re already in the neighborhood, pass.

Pond in the Noanet Woods, late afternoon, early January

More exciting was the afternoon exploring the Noanet Woodlands near Dover, MA. Easy trails, nice ponds!

Later, we indulged in a meadery tour at Crave Meadery near the RI/MA border. The meadery is the size of my living room — there is no tour; but the tasting of the plain and flavored honey wines is generous. We took home 2 mead glasses and a cute bottle of delicious honey thanks to a Groupon, and bought a bottle of the dry mead to sip at home.

Most of this was in cold, but not unbearable, weather. We did see a bit of snowfall in January, and had our first snowy trek of the year at Fairyland Pond in the Hapgood Wright Town Forest near Concord, MA, after which we visited the site of the first shots of the Revolutionary War, the Old Manse (where both Emerson and Hawthorne once lived!), and Concord.

Hapgood Wright Forest near Concord, MA, after the first snow of 2016

Still, I’m excited to start my classes Tuesday (tune in later for more about Trusts, Wills & Estates; Education Law; Restorative Justice; Advanced Trial Advocacy; Tai Chi at the BU gym; and an exciting independent study externship at the Victim Rights Law Center). Just typing out that list makes me want a break!

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