September 5, 2007

Rookie Mistake

I didn't take a day of vacation between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Ostensibly, that's because E & I are saving up for 2008, which promises to be a big traveling year, for which we are both very, very, excited. But, after crunching the numbers, I now realize that I probably could have afforded a day or two this summer, and I should have taken them.

First year associates who are about to start -- take note! Everyone takes vacation in the Summer in the bay area. If you don't, you'll end up being the catch-all go-to new lawyer scapegoat all summer. This will result in some amazing experience. You will know much more about being a lawyer than you did before you worked straight through the summer. Kids, if you work in big law, and business is booming, then, you should plan to have work to do on at least one day on most weekends. Which means that, if you are me, and you didn't take any vacation, you will have worked for 3 months straight with approximately 12 days off. Total.

This will mean that you will be *fried* by the end of the summer. Just worthless. You will realize that you should do your best to take one day off completely each week, even if it means working harder on the other 6.

Anyways, enough with the first-year-associate-wisdom pez dispenser. Let's talk about vacation.

On Friday night, E and I took a red-eye to a house on a lake in the South with his parents for Labor Day and I took my first day of vacation in quite some time. 4 days without any work (okay, so I sent two emails, but really, other than that, I was completely work-free).

It was everything you would expect: languid, relaxing, hot, humid, light thunderstorm showers in the afternoon, sunset cruises on the pontoon boat with wine and gourmet snacks, yoga on the boathouse, gorgeous running in the greenery, wonderful post-run jumps in the lake, sleeping in, showers, solid football by the Bears and, of course, I read wonderful books.

Books have been sorely missing from my life as of late. I made up for it this weekend by plowing through:

1. For One More Day, a contrived and oh-so-slightly manipulative Mitch Albom brain candy snack in big font with few pages. A guaranteed tear-jerker if you know anything about death, or alcoholism, or complex fathers and sports, or mothers and fighting. Needless to say, I cried. (Thanks Arvay!)

2. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, a tale of two boys undergoing re-education in the 1970s as they come of age under the influences of a beautiful young seamstress and some forbidden western literature. I very much enjoyed this book. I know nothing of this time period in China and in addition to a gorgeous story, I found myself fascinated with the cultural and historical backdrop against which it was told. It was a sad tale, but about a life so different from my own that it was a transporting escape, which is the thing that books I love so often give to me. (Again, thanks Arvay!)

3. A dirty Job, thanks to Sarah, which was *exactly* what the doctor ordered. The only book I'd managed to make my way through as an escape in my minimal spare time of late had been You Suck: A love Story and my second introduction to Christopher Moore's imagination and prose was just as wonderful. I love that half of the jokes are webbed to poke fun of San Francisco as only a local can and only a local could understand.

4. The Average American Male, again thanks to Sarah. It was funny if you can laugh at jokes that point out someone's pain and laugh at it. I thought it was edgy and brilliant, but I did not like the main character. In that way, I guess, it reminded me of Sideways. A good story, but sort of like watching a train wreck. I was happy to be an observer, but I wouldn't want to get any closer and I thanked my lucky stars that my life did not make this story seem like a reality.

And, now that I'm home, I'm still trying to make it through Founders at Work. I like the stories. The anecdotes are educational, inspirational, full of valley history, and very interesting. But. I must admit. It's a bit like work. Which is why, I'm guessing, that though I'd started the book prior to the weekend, (prior to You Suck, if I'm honest) I still haven't finished it.

Anyways, that's the short vacation report. It was not nearly long enough. I guess I'll have to hold on 'til Thanksgiving.

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