On becoming a lawyer 6 years later

So everybody’s been saying it the whole time. I mean my mom, your mom, Disney, the Bible, our gut biome. I’m talking about life wisdom. Lame preaching yaya but for real.

The golden rule gold: get out there, show up, smile, do shit you love, speak honestly, serve others, do the best you can.

For the past six years, and the three years of law school before that, I thought the golden rule of practicing law was suits, and ties, and slicked back hair, no tattoos, no piercings. No thanks.

So I did food trucks, dishwasher, Christmas tree salesman, Whole Foods Baker, and then graduate school in creative writing.

Now I’m back to the bridge I thought I left behind 6 years ago. Paying unpaid bar dues, catching up on 6 years of CLEs, yada yada.

This afternoon  I called two of my dads lawyer friends and they said yeah yeah you can def do law. Just go to where the people are and give of yourself and have a positive attitude and be social and help other lawyers and everything will be groovy. They said giving is the best thing for business because it shows people you care and it puts my face in front of their‘s. It’s the best advertising. I was rather mind blown by the simplicity of their advice. As simple as the golden rule: do onto others as you would have done to your self.

Which woah. Like I said. The whole time it wasn’t what I thought. Law, I mean. Was I projecting? Or just afraid? Or was I not ready? I’m seeing law differently now. Nothing to do with suits ties and hair gel. After law school, I chewed the heavy gum of bitterness toward the world and sucked on the jolly rancher known as rejection of the old order. This resentment turned into vengeance violence in a way, where I lived to spite the Establishment. But this sort of imploded. The way all things implode when you carry them.

It’s funny how fate spins you full circle. Funny may be the wrong word. Fishy. Freaky. Fascinating.

Love list after line cook shift

I love waking up at 4:15 and watching the sleepy nothingness and stillness and the dark. Oh the dark.

I love swimming at 5am, toes in tepid Lake Harriet water, deserted except for ducks and father who needs a head start.

I love the wetsuit even though the zipper jams and I have to put it on twice because it keeps me warm and buoyant.

I love the coffee hitting lips first thing in morning and the wake up buzz. With cream, but not too much, so the coffee turns light.

I love writing. Slow sentences that are quiet and loud because they are simple but true.

I love the baby, who’s almost always smiling toothy and surprised and curious. Crawling and pulling up and almost walking.

I love Mouse, my marital partner, and other half. Like sand paper, we’re smoothing each other’s rough edges. Without her, I’d be sunk drunk at the bottom of a creek. Even right now, she’s the lighthouse illuminating the dark within me. It’s a thankless job but I love her for it and in-spite of it and because of it.

I love baked apples and walnuts and cinnamon and ghee and the oven that smelds them all together.

I love my mom, even though she’s not here, because she pushed me out and the thing is she’s still pushing me. The tendency is to focus on the dead or forget them. The goal is to overdo neither and balance both.

I love my dad not just because he has this thermos that keeps the post swim coffee hot but because he reminds me that I’m not insane I’m just genetically challenged lol. Which may be the same thing.

I love all of you. It’s utter horseshit sounding but I thought about it while swimming this morning, somewhere grey and wet between the second and third buoy: Ry, wake the fuck up and be grateful for all these folks who read read read your stuff every day. I’ve been meaning to write a book and this morning in the lake a voice in my head said, you need to do it and stop talk talk talking and the voice with his hand on the steering wheel agreed and I’m grateful.

I’m grateful too for my family, which is hard to say sometimes, but I mean my family and Kate’s family, because it has to be the same. I’m grateful for them just for being them. It’s hard because of the above logic about sandpaper, but it’s good.

Wax on, wax off.

Thanks for reading.

The paradox of serving others and letting career come to you

I love spending the 7-noon morning with the baby while Kate is working at Black Sheep Coffee. The little toothy diaper peanut is so squirrely and fun and gratifying.

Her fever has passed. And appetite returned. Blueberries, baked apples with walnuts, over easy eggs, Cheerios, ginger Kombucha.

Be positive. Be very careful with your words, Ry. And be even more careful with facial gestures. This is my project number 1 on the domestic front.

And also. Be kind to Tacoma even though he overheats on the morning run and annoyingly slow down. It’s not all about you, Ry.

Studies show happiness is haphazard and satisfaction simmers from serving others.

Work on being responsible and serving instead of pursuing my happiness me me me because in the end helping others bends makes metal me into chill chi me, paradoxically, at least according to this book I’m reading slmost done with called the 10% happier.

Hello mom. I still wish wish wish I could call you. I suppose you’re very pleased I’m after much ado returning to law. Not that you’re that kind of high achieve parent, but you kind of were. All those scholarships and what not. I hear you. Now I’m going to law to help people and also to make money for Kate and the baby and other peanuts who come down the line. But now it feels more like my decision and 6 years ago it didn’t.

Pulled chicken for dinner. Or more carbonated water and peanuts. I don’t know. Being full isn’t pleasurable. But being hungry and snacking is delectable.

Fage yogurt, baked apples, cashews, chia seeds and watermelon flavored carbonated water

So rewinding to 4;59AM. Silver dark early morning swim. Arms lead heavy sore. Finally left my damn watch in the car, letting go of TImex obsession of FitBit quantifying every damn aspect of every day.

Bulky arms. Slap slap.

Are you sore because you did push ups for the first time in months yesterday? Or are you sore because the universe is trying to teach you to slow down, trot instead of thrash, and enjoy the damn swim around the lake instead of race race race?

Why are you sore? Pushups or universe? Or both? Physics or metaphysics?

I keep having waking dreams while swimming and regular dreams while sleeping about my grandma. She’s locked in an old folks home in Texas and apparently has been repeatedly found stripping herself of her Depends. The dreams take place in Grandma’s ole house in New York, where she lived until recently. Everyone else on the planet is gone and it’s just me and her. Or that’s what it feels like. In the dream, I’m more afraid of her than loathing, which is the inverse of how I feel now. In the dream I’m mostly afraid because I think her judgementalness and religiosity is a contagious disease, but also that her age is a disease I might catch. That’s all I remember because I’m relatively sleep deprived but also dreams fade. The point is I have a weird feeling that my grandma is going to die soon. And I don’t feel terrible about it. Probably because she’s said terrible things to me about me, and terrible things to my mom. Which is basically unforgivable. I know she’s old and I know she’s of another time and I know you should have compassion on the old and to a certain extent I do, I just don’t feel bad for her.

I’m going to become a lawyer. I’m going to start with expungements. I’m going to work for myself and the people.

Andrew Yang for President in 2020. I’m actually going to vote this time.

The banana muffins round one were a little dry so in the remaining batter I added honey and the no fat Greek yogurt from Aldi that’s ugh compared to full fat Fage. Bam! Better muffins.

No AM swimming tomorrow. 

My control issues

I’m learning there’s much demand for short and sweet. I’m also learning there’s hardly ever any truth there. It takes a while. You have to wear the shoes a while to know if they fit. Same with truth.

Like I could say damn dawn was beautiful as it erupted across lake horizon this morning. But the words are flat tin cans because you really had to be there.

So that’s one reason for this mornings podcast. Which is up on the website but not the podcast app for some reason.

The gentle herbal laxatives worked wonders. Feel 10 Ibs lighter. If we owned a scale I’d confirm. I took 3x the recommended dose. I felt that backed up. Like I’d eat very little and feel super full and cramped.

I think I have some sort of order disorder. Or overarching control issue. More than one days supply of food in frig makes me anxious and I begin planning meals or I consider freezing options, which fills freezer space, making me more anxious. This guy on Sam Harris’ latest podcast says most people are most of the time motivated by a fear of scarcity, and that this is evolutionarily inherited.

Swim you reptilian worrier. Next time I’m leaving the watch in the car. I know I keep saying this. Again the control issue.

Check out the 20 minute podcast I’m dying to hear what ya think.



Nap revelation

It’s 6pm.

I was dozing deliriously. Am still barely post dozing, post PM nap drool. Disoriented. Warm head. Cool A/C. Blackout curtains. I turn over. The baby is cocooned. Kate is gone. The dog is gone. I press indigo on my watch. 6:01 PM. I’ve been asleep asunder atrip to planet sleepy sleep for a solid hour. Maybe more.

Houston, prepare for reentry.

Then I realize something and it feels like being struck by lightning while swimming, blasting me up and off my own horse of habit and patterned thinking. The g force of earth.

For the last 12 months, when Kate and the baby have been in bed napping, or in bed in the morning sleeping, I’ve been up and at em, busy writing, lifting, swimming, cycling, running, teaching yoga, sipping coffee. I’ve been going going going.

Plagued by busy.

And the penalty, the wages of these sins, has been when it’s 7pm and the baby is crawling crawling crawling like she invented hand knee hand knee hand knee, I’m horizontal on the couch, counting down the minutes until final lights out and I can close my eyes and rocket blast off to zzzzzz.

The realization is that I’ve traded sleep for stuff. Lately, I’ve been IV-attached to caffeine. Dependent in order to jet pack through the mid-afternoon slump.

While pancaked on the bed a few minutes ago, this perspective felt like a world class epiphany. Now I’m not sure what it is. You know the way the details of dreams fade upon waking up. In the haze of sleep, I thought I struck my ax of awareness on a psychedelic revelation. Something like the law of karma. I’ve been so tired because I’ve been so violently 100MPH. So simple. So collosal. Said from a different angle: the baby is always happy and smiling and baba clap clap, because she’s always rested.

Karma kicks. Take more naps.

Aloe Vera and bone broth

Hard hard sleep. Like sedated rhinoceros. 12 plus hours. Except brief moments of crying fever baby. Squeeze liquid ibuprophen. Back to sleep.

Woke up at 9.

Dissolving ego is the mutually agreed marital game. Which I guess means meditating while living in order to think about every word, action, emotion. Choose wisely, consciously.

Nothing to report from swim swim today. OFF. Of course I miss the water. But I can’t get up at 4am daily without severe daytime suffering.

I think automation is threatening many jobs, except I think there’s room for me and Kate to put out a podcast where we deliver real talk about life inside a small apartment in South Saint Paul and our grocery list and cleaning list and how we dialogue or don’t or bicker or don’t or divide time between parents or decide on time optimum level of fullness of the frig. All this real talk is compassion medicine if it’s truly honest and I don’t think it’s automatable.

As far as law goes, I’m meeting with someone who appears to be a badass attorney this week who specializes in recovery and addiction. Should be very interesting. I’m also going to write a letter to the MN Supreme act about my past due dues. $1200 for time I in grad school. I wasn’t even practicing. Seems like bureaucratic extortion.

Googled homeopathic ear infection remedy for baby. Also Googles What Is Ear Infection. I love learning. Onion ear muffs was one solution. Veggie broth another. So the stove was all burners on, this morning. Green beans simmering for tonight’s Grandpa dinner.

I’m drinking water with aloe Vera and apple cider vinegar and lime and fingers crossed I sidestep what Kate and the baby have.

To Carhartt or not to Carhartt

8:26 AM

Oh jeepers. 20 minutes before work. Short shift today.

Even after ibuprofen and ice bath, baby still has a fever. Up all night. Me, Mouse, baby.

Instead of staying in bed, I got up at 4 am and drove to Lake Harriet. Was planning on 5:40 toes in the water. Instead, I pulled up to the north beach at 4:35. Dad’s CRV was already there. Lunatic genetics, Jesus. Who gets up at 4AM on a Saturday morning to swim in a lake before dawn? This morning was my first double—meaning twice around. Dad brought coffee with cream in a thick thermos to keep it warm. The first lap was sleepy silver predawn slow stretch. The second lap was bright sun day quick stroke fast brain thinking. 55 minute first lap. 52 minute second lap.

I’ve been eating a lot lately. Gorging, it feels like. Uncontrollable urges. At night. In the middle of the night. In the middle of the morning. Like it’s feasting season.

I’m moving my way through 10% Happier. Chewing on the proposition that the Buddhists herald: stay present. So much suffering is in the mind’s clinging to the side of permanence, when there is none. This morning’s swim is a vivid illustration. Watching night turn to day.

Head in the water. Head out. Head in the water. Head out.

I’d say more later. But does that take for granted the now? Can’t be perfect. I spent 20 minutes with the baby sleeping in my shoulder last night, the 20 minutes before screaming, looking at Carhartt overalls and Duluth Trading Company work pants. Despite my minimalism and buy nothing preaching. We’re wired to shop and believe we can buy our personality.

More later.

Also if you haven’t jumped in a lake lately, put your head down, and paddled past the buoys, I’d recommend it.

What would you recommend?

Self assessment at 4:21

4:10 PM.

Future career discernment teeters on thin ice after listening to Andrew Yang’s Audible book about the very very near future of automation and AI of not just trucker and McDonalds jobs but any and all jobs with repetitive behavior, including lawyers, doctors, accountants, financial analysts, and the like. Mind TNT. EllieRoo might never know fast food served by humans. Bots aren’t just the future. They’re already in trial restaurants. Uber is experimenting and predicting 2020 60% self driving fleet.

It’s not what you know, is who you know. Keeps proving true. At least for social success. If you value knowledge for its own sake, then yes, obviously, what you know is intrinsically valuable.

I need to be better about helping out, domestically, in a wide array of tasks. To sort this out, I’m going to make a list of all tasks. Help visualize. Help Type A mind.

Any ideas on what area of law would be wise and prudent and fun to specialize in?

I need to clip my nails. And put the clean sheets back on the bed.

Joe Rogan says reading has been supplanted by podcast. Maybe I should record this writing.

Maybe I’ll surprise Kate and hang the remaining picture frames. There’s a sizable chance she’d really rather not. Despite the good intent.

Ran 5 miles at 7 min mile. Give or take. Hills slow me down. Why run so hard? In the final analysis, I think it’s one tool in the former alcoholics tool kit.

I hope Uncle Mike gets better.

I hope I stop being lax and pushing tasks onto Kate’s plate.

I want to download the headspace app or meditate on my own.

I want to get on it and write a book about my experiences being a millennial and how my mom died and semi sobriety and the scam of higher education and the humbling education of marriage and the learning of open water swimming.

Toes in Lake Harriet tomorrow at 5:40.


Miso soup and bar dues

109 over 54. Pulse is 39. 147ibs. 6 foot 1. Nodes on groin are weird but probably because I’m skinny. Moles normal. MCL probably stretched not torn. First doc visit in 4 years.

Another dose of lake therapy. Toes in at 5:40AM. Means alarm at 4:45. Time in water: 51:31. Was going to leave the watch in the car as insurance against racing the clock but on the south side when the chop chopped up, I started hauling. God good therapy. All the thoughts bubble up. The doctor explained that’s what lymph nodes are: the body’s trash cans for toxicity.

I called the MN Bar Association today. 6 years in unpaid licensing dues amounts to $1200. I inquired kindly about exceptions. We shall see. Is it possible to be a badass lawyer? Anything is possible if you stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, make your bed, work hard, patience, believe in yourself.

Caffeine is becoming an hourly necessity. Getting up at 445, I mean. Traditional Chinese Medicine says reliance on caffeine burns life energy too fast. But but but.

No buts. Life is a transaction of costs and benefits.

Kate ordered some books from Amazon. Jordan Peterson’s book made the list. And a Hand Maids Tale.

I’m trying to extinguish my reflexive negative judgment of people. Hold the door open to something anything positive. It’s tough because I wait a long time. Kate is skillful at reminding me. We’re both trying to be more gentle with each other. In casual conversation.

Miso soup and salad for dinner. Kate’s battling a summer head cold. Which means I’m trying to rev my immune system.

Tomorrow am is Black Sheep Coffee in the kitchen making sausage and bacon breakfast sandwiches and quiche dough and capitalizing on the coffee shop perks experimenting with espresso and honey vs espresso with half and half.

I’m pumped about law. Took 6 years. But I think I can be a badass and bull through the china shop. Thinking is the first step. The second step is taking a step based on that belief. They say everything after he first step is incrementally easier.