Posted by: irrational basis | February 3, 2010

Moving On

I haven’t written much on this blog since I started my other blog about our sailing trip.  I’ve found that everything in my life these days revolves around the boat, and since I’d like to keep this new chapter of my life separate from here, all my thoughts and writing energy have been devoted to WeatherHelmed.

So, I won’t be posting on here anymore (well, at least not for a really really really long time.  I’ve learned to never say never🙂 )

I first started this blog back in 2007 as I was preparing to graduate law school and take the California bar exam.  It was mostly to chronicle my own efforts and give me an outlet for “networking” with other bar bloggers.  What I didn’t expect was to find a community of people who were so supportive and encouraging and willing to share their notes, their advice, their struggles and their victories with ME – a total stranger.  I cannot tell you how many times a comment from a reader or another’s blog post gave me the strength to get through another ten hours of studying or the determination to not let the bar beat me again.  When I failed the bar, I was overwhelmed with all the readers who left comments of encouragement and who let me know that I was not alone.  Those of us who didn’t pass in round one found comfort in each other’s posts and rallied around each other so we had the courage to face that awful exam a second time.

And, on the day I passed the bar, my blog had over 1,000 views.  Somewhere, out there in cyberspace, there were hundreds of people, most of who I will never know, rooting for me.

I cannot express enough my gratitude for all the readers who followed me through my last year of school and as I struggled with the bar and finding a job and being content with who I was becoming.  At every step, when so many people in my “real” life couldn’t understand what I was going through, you understood and shared it all and made me feel less alone.

My hope is that others who come across my blog (especially those who are studying for the bar for the first – or second or third – time) will find encouragement and virtual support through my posts and the comments left by others.  It made such a huge difference to me to know that I was not alone in the questions and thoughts and anxieties that the law career inspires🙂 and I hope my blog can do for others what so many other blogs did for me.

I also hope that my new blog can serve as inspiration to others that you don’t have to live the life “everyone else” is living. Take the amazing opportunities for adventure and risk that come your way.  People always say “Life is too short…” and it IS.

I’m not independently wealthy – I have a hundred thousand dollars in loans I’m still paying off.  When we leave (maybe next week!?!?!?), I won’t even have one year of full-time legal experience under my belt.  So many people feel I am taking a huge risk with my future, my career, my finances, etc, by going on this trip, and I probably am! But we are not guaranteed anything in this life and we must not take TIME for granted.

Ok – off my soapbox now!

Thanks to all who read my blog and care about what’s happening/happened in my life even though we wouldn’t know each other if we stood face to face on the street  🙂

It’s time to move on and I hope you continue following our adventures on the boat, but if you’re just passing through, or moving on yourself, my very very best wishes for happiness, JOY and peace in your life however and wherever you may find it.


Posted by: irrational basis | January 11, 2010

2010 – Resolutions

A belated VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!!  Can you believe it’s 2010? Not only a new YEAR but a new DECADE as well.  So amazing how time flies by so quickly some days and not quickly enough on others…

Even though I don’t think I’ve ever successfully “completed” any of my new year’s resolutions, that doesn’t stop me from making them.  I really love the idea of a new year, a starting over of sorts.  I think about how different life would feel if we simply considered this, for example, the 1,343,284, 761, 289th day of existence.  I know minutes, hours, days, months, years are just our way of fooling ourselves about how much of life exactly has gone by, but there is something to be said for putting “time” into more manageable quantities 🙂

For 2010, I’ve come up with FIVE resolutions.  How many do you normally have?  I know there are some people who only make one and others who make dozens.  In the past, I’ve definitely made more, but I’m hoping that I may actually remember these ones as I can count them on one hand!

So, my 5:

1) BE MORE POSITIVE.  This year, I found myself being really negative about everything. I wouldn’t have even wanted to be my own friend because I was such a negative nancy.  I also found myself in situations where I was surrounded by lots of negative people.  I’m going to work on changing my attitude and try to cultivate a more positive environment for myself.

2) FOCUS ON BEAUTY.  I know that sounds weird, but even after only being on the boat for a week and a half, I realize how easy it could be to just *ahem* let myself go…  We only have a couple mirrors on the boat and, lately, they are generally always fogged up, covered with fiberglass dust or located in very inconvenient places.  Also, living on the boat is sort of like living in a campground – the showers are 1/4 mile away and you have to carry all your stuff and sometimes wait in line for one to come open.  So, some days, it’s easy to go without showering and while we are sailing, showers could be few and far between.  So, taking a little extra time to make myself “presentable” and focus on the little things (like cute painted toes!) could go a long way to keeping my self esteem up and keep the husband happy :)   (note: this also includes finding some way to work out on the boat without banging my head on the mast or falling off the boat!)

3) BE MYSELF.  I know this, too, seems a little strange as a “goal” but I think sometimes I am afraid to really be my true self because I’m worried that people who’ve known me for a while (i.e. friends, my mom) will find I’ve changed too much or feel like they don’t know me anymore.  I have changed a lot in the last ten years and am pretty sure I’ll always be changing.  But allowing myself to embrace those changes and not be afraid of them is a different story.  So, I want to focus on being more true to myself this year and not hiding it.

4) SET TANGIBLE GOALS, MAKE PLANS TO MEET THEM & MEET THEM!  Ok, so this isn’t one of those “specific” goals in itself, but I’ve started a list of a few things I would like to do while we’re on the boat.  Like: learn how to play a song on my guitar, knit a hat that actually fits and is ok to wear in public, etc.

5) EXPERIMENT WITH LIFE. I think too often I try to stay “inside the box” in what I do.  I want to play more with life this year – try new vegetables even if I don’t know what they are, experiment with things I’m already sure probably won’t work but should try anyway, mess around with colors/fabrics and not be worried if they “match,” view life and the world as more of a playground instead of a place of rules and regulations.

I’m going to post these above our bed so I can look at them everyday and be reminded of how I want to live my life  🙂   Any of you making resolutions?

Posted by: irrational basis | December 29, 2009

How big is a tuna?

First things first – a belated Merry Christmas to all!!  Happy Holidays!!  We had a great Christmas in my hometown with my mom although we were a bit sad to miss the snow on the east coast.  For the last two years, we’ve spent Christmas with my sexy man’s fam out in NJ.  Of course, those two years were as dry and bleak as the Sahara, and then the one year we go to Bako, they have five feet of snow.  Hmm.  Note to self: remember that God’s timing is not my own.

Anyway, Christmas was nice and we are back home in the Bay Area trying to simultaneously entertain guests, sort stuff to go to my mom’s for storage and stuff to go to the boat, clean up our apartment as we have to be out by Sunday, find room to store everything on the boat, break up with friends, make major structural repairs to the boat, celebrate new years, and somehow maintain some degree of sanity.  Good times over here!!

Our friend Jon, one of the 3 boat owners, is visiting over his christmas break (he teaches).  One of the dominating subjects of his visit has been how to catch and prepare fish while on the boat.  Dominating so much so that Jon and his girlfriend gifted us (well, the boat) a tackle box, lures, and fishing line.  Matt also brought home a book called “Cruisers Guide to Fishing” so Jon could read it.  Tonight, at dinner, the topic was how to kill the fish once you reel it in. (I love how we all gloss over the part about actually catching the fish, we seem to think the killing will be the hardest part…)  So far, we’ve discovered the following techniques to kill a fish:

–  Whack the fish on the head

–  Stuff the fish into a dark canvas bag and beat it against the deck  (To our delight, Matt wildly demonstrated this, but the group decided that perhaps that’s not the best way to keep the fish in good condition)

–   Pour alcohol over the fish’s gills so it suffocates more quickly

–   Execute the Vulcan death grip on the fish’s head, behind the eyes, and then stab its brain with a spike

Yeah, it’s gonna be interesting.  No matter how you put it, it all sounds extremely caveman (except maybe the alcohol method, but who’s going to waste good alcohol – or bad, for that matter – on a stupid fish?!?!)  I remember reading in one book that the people kept a bucket handy just for getting water to wash the fish blood out of the cockpit.  DISGUSTING.  We really are so spoiled here in the US that we don’t ever have to see our food prepared for us if we don’t want to.  We are so removed from all of that.  And, ya know, I think I kind of like it that way.

Eventually, we started talking about the catching part.  Jon mentions a gaff – a huh?  A gaff, we learned, is a HUGE hook that you use to bring the fish onto the boat.  As we are debating whether you need a hook or maybe just a net, Jon casually comments that it’s going to be difficult to net a thousand pound fish.  A THOUSAND POUND FISH?  He says, yeah, like a tuna.  A THOUSAND POUND TUNA FISH?  I called Jon’s bluff.  There is no such thing as a thousand pound tuna fish. That’s like a Smart Car. You’re not going to find a TUNA the size of a Smart Car.

Meanwhile, Jon is furiously flipping through our fish book trying to find evidence to back his crazy theory.  I tease him, daring him to take it to Google.  So he does, and after a moment, leans back confidently in the chair and reads from wikipedia,

The largest bluefin tuna ever caught weighed a whopping 1,496 pounds.”

I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Posted by: irrational basis | December 8, 2009

A note about safety

We are getting ready to go on this big sailing trip, you know, and two of the most common questions people ask us are:

– Is it safe?

– Are you scared?

And – yes it is safe, and no I’m NOT scared of going sailing – for lots of reasons I won’t go into here – but I’m REALLY not scared because it cannot be anymore scary than what I go through everyday here in SF.  Right now I live in one of the most earthquake-prone places in the world and everyday I cross under the bay twice and I spend more than 8hrs of my day surrounded by huge, tall concrete structures that are more or less sitting on a pile of sand… and everyday, I get on BART, surrounded by crazies – I’ve sat by two definite weirdos just last week – like the one today who was screaming at people that he was clean-and-sober-and-unemployed-and-couldn’t-you-just -spare-some-change as he is swinging his huge black bag around and becoming more and more agitated by the second and who I gave a dollar to just because I’m thinking – for all I know he’s got a knife or a gun in his bag and is going to freak out in a minute and if he turns on me, at least I can say, “Dude! I gave you a dollar! No one else gave you anything, but I gave you a dollar!”  and you think maybe I’m a little paranoid or whatever, but you know what – over the last month, some crazy man on MUNI just up and stabbed four random people as they were riding the train.  And, to top it off, everyday I get off BART and walk through a couple of unlit parking lots at a super ghetto station in a super ghetto area, constantly looking over my shoulder.

It is the nature of the beast – large cities have higher crime rates and SF in particular must be top o’the charts for wackos.  And yes I know I am prone to an overactive imagination, but I cannot say I will be sorry to leave this city for the SAFETY of our little boat  (yes, with its own risks, I know) and the unknowns of the great wide ocean.

Posted by: irrational basis | December 8, 2009

Wrapping up the SF life & some reflection

So, we’ve officially given notice on our apartment and all our jobs.  As of Dec. 18, we will both be unemployed and as of January 3, we will be out of our little studio and moved onto the boat!  Our apartment looks more bare everyday and in the midst of the chaos, I feel a bit nostalgic.  I caught a glimpse of the very last page in my journal the other night and this was what was on it:

October 8, 2007    (note: bar results came out Nov. 16 that year; that was my first attempt)


– I want a place of my own

– I wan a job that pays well

– I want a job that allows me to be flexible with my scheduling

– I want my loans to get paid off early

– I want to find something to be passionate about

– I want to pass the BAR

At the time I made this list, I was living in a near empty house in Sacramento, finishing up the last bit of my judicial clerkship, waiting for the bar results to come out.  My future was living in a house with 5 other people + my sexy man, and no job.  I was feeling incredibly lost and desperate for something wonderful to happen in my life.

Fast forward two years and my sexy man and I are married and, after having some crazy living situations, I finally had a “place of my own.” After a nasty bout of not being able to find a job, I found a relatively low-key job that paid reasonably well.  My student loans are NOT getting paid off early, but they are being paid every month.  I still haven’t found anything I’m truly passionate about, but, then again, maybe being *passionate* about something is overrated (!??!?  haha).  I DID pass the Bar – thank God! – on my second attempt, but there were several months there where I felt like a complete failure and felt like I would never be able to recover from the blow to my self-esteem.

It’s great to see how some things I wanted came to pass, but also funny to see how the list isn’t all that different from the things I want right now.  One thing is for sure: everything requires a sacrifice of some sort, an obstacle to overcome, a test of one’s inner strength.

I’m almost afraid to make another list 🙂

Posted by: irrational basis | December 1, 2009

Updating my resume – a different approach

I’ve been reading a book called “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron.  It’s a FABULOUS book for those, like me, who have been, can be and are undeniably driven to write.  The book is not about writing for money or publishing or fame or anything material – it simply talks about writing for the fun of it, because you simply need to, or just writing for writing’s sake.  In that way, it can be a little “artsy-fartsy” if you will, but for me, who assesses my world via pen and paper (or keyboard/computer), so much of it truly resonates with me.


Anyway, at the end of each chapter, she gives a little assignment.  It’s generally something to encourage you to write, to think about your approach to writing, your understanding of what being a “writer” means, etc.  I haven’t actually done any of the exercises yet, but the one I read this afternoon struck me as particularly appropriate seeing as how all I did today was read resumes for people looking to take over my position.


The intention of the exercise is to strengthen your sense of self.  Why? “[I]n order to do self-expression, we need to have a self to express.”  A little esoteric, perhaps, but play along for a second…  She suggests that you set aside a couple of hours and make a list numbered 1-100.  Once you’ve finished numbering, go back and write down 100 things you are proud of.  From the smallest, silliest thing, to the biggest, grandiose honor.


She comments, “Think of this tool as a private resume.”


And that’s when I paused and wondered:

What would my PERSONAL resume look like?  What qualities would I highlight? What personality features and character strengths would I advertise for myself?  What personal accomplishments would I focus on? Would I still have the same categories as my professional resume – education, experience, skills? What would I put under them?  Would I have different categories?  What would they be?


How would I break down my personal life – the *real* me – if I only had one page on which to summarize, and “sell” myself?

Posted by: irrational basis | November 24, 2009

Just like a baby

Tonight my sexy man and I got into an argument.  It was dumb in some ways, not so much in others, but what I noticed (although not for the first time) was how I hold my breath when I get upset.  The first time I realized that I did this was when my dad was sick and I was trying to deal with that.  Whenever I would think about him or start to cry, I would hold my breath and completely shut down my mind.  I would continue holding my breath until the moment passed and then just let out a huge sigh, as though pushing all of the approaching emotions far far away from me.  It has since become my M.O.  I don’t think that was the first time it happened, I just think that was when it became really really obvious that I hold my breath A LOT when confronted with my emotions of anger, sadness, frustration, distress, and *mostly* FEAR.

Tonight, I was thinking more about it and wondering how I learned to do the breath-holding thing, or WHY I do it.  I suddenly recalled having heard that babies have a tendency to do this, too.  So, of course, I googled it.

The few google entries I read all suggested 1) breath-holding is a reflexive response; it’s usually not intentional, but 2) babies can do it to get attention.  Strange because those conclusions seem somewhat contrary to me…   Anyway, breath-holding when upset seems to happen most frequently in children ages 6 months – five years old.  When I tried googling to see if adults do a similar thing, I came up with nothing other than cheesy lyrics about “you take my breath away” and “kissing you makes me hold my breath” and various articles explaining, “I wouldn’t hold my breath/I’m not holding my breath…” that X, Y, Z was going to happen.  So, according to Google, I apparently have more in common with two-year olds than I thought.

Tell me – do any of you out there do this breath-holding thing as adults??  I’m curious if this is common or if I really do have some unresolved childhood issues to work out…   🙂

Posted by: irrational basis | November 20, 2009

CA Bar results tonight….

hope all of you get the good news!!!!



(and if you don’t, I promise you your life is not over!)

Posted by: irrational basis | November 16, 2009

Sometimes we’re brilliant…….

and sometimes we’re not.  For a lawyer and a physicist, the decision to put pizza dough onto a manila folder and load it with toppings before attempting to slide it onto a pizza stone was certainly not the brightest idea we’ve ever had.   I’m even creating a “stupid ideas” category just for this.

We initially thought there was no way to recover from this disaster…

But, the end result wasn’t toooooooooo bad….

and, yes, we still ate it.


Posted by: irrational basis | November 13, 2009

Easily amused…

It’s my youtube debut!!!   

With all our money being channeled into the boat, we need really cheap entertainment🙂

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