Why You Gotta Go And Get So Domesticated? (or A Lawyer Turns A Shower Curtain Into A Tote Bag)

For the last 10 years or so I’ve been a total workaholic.   I never thought of myself as a workaholic until recently.  Suddenly, finding myself with more than just occasional free evenings and weekends, I find myself thinking, “whoah, people actually do things besides work and study??”  Ok, I don’t really think that, but I didn’t really realize how hard I worked and studied until I suddenly found myself with free time.  Suddenly I’m cooking, painting, and getting into crafting and DIYing.  Why did I never do these things before?  Oh yeah, I was too busy working and studying.

My last year of high school, I took night school on the side so I could graduate early, babysat a ton, volunteered in my church office and worked on the youth staff.  In college, I took 17 credits per term, worked 30+ hours per week in an office job, volunteered in my church office and on the youth staff, and babysat on the side.  Then came law school.  Between going to class, studying, interviewing, and internships… I wasn’t really swimming in free time there either.   In my entire 3 years of law school, I am pretty sure I only cooked one meal.  Then came the summer of hades studying for the bar exam.  I spent all day every day studying.  I think the only day I took off was the 4th of July.  And even then I brought flashcards with me to randomly flip through throughout the day.  And then came my job at a Big Firm.  Once I got busy, for months on end the only thing I did besides work was occasionally sleep.  I thought I had been “busy” in my life before.  I thought my schedule in college was rough.  I thought law school finals were rough.  I thought the BAR was rough.  But, whew, nothing compares to the crazy, busy times at work.

And suddenly I have found myself not so crazy busy.  Just regular busy.  And suddenly I’ve found myself wanting to do tons of things I haven’t had time for in the past 10 years, including things I’ve never really tried.

Enter: New Sewing Machine.  In the back of mind, I’ve always been interested in sewing.  Even though the first time I tried to sew, in home economics in middle school, I failed miserably.  The thing is… I am ridiculously tall, and it is ridiculously hard to find dresses and skirts that fit right.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to make my own?  And seriously… How can you browse Pinterest and NOT want a sewing machine??  There are so many cute DIY dresses and projects on pinterest these days!  So I got the idea in my head that I needed to buy a sewing machine and try my hand at sewing.  Then, several weeks ago, Dave bought me a sewing machine.  And last night, I finally got the motivation to try my first sewing project.

I’ve had this tote bag pinned on pinterest for a while now.  And while I haven’t purchased any fabric, I have a few old shower curtains that I saved, thinking I could turn them into something.  Like this one, which my mom bought for me when I moved into my first apartment in L.A.:

Bathroom in My First Downtown L.A. Loft

So last night, I pulled out the shower curtain, a pair of scissors, and my sewing machine… And, viola!  A tote bag from a shower curtain!  (Also, it only takes about 3/4 of a yard to make the bag, so I have a ton of fabric left!)

My First Tote Bag!

I thought about taking step by step pictures, but the blog tutorial I followed already does that.  The bag is a little bigger than I would like.   I plan to make another one, and I’ll probably shrink the measurements the next time around.  Also, the button on the bag?  It was the spare button from the sweater I’m wearing in the picture.  It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty proud of my first bag!  Lawyer by day, seamstress by night, y’all 😉

In related news, I’m going to need to buy some buttons before all my sweaters end up missing their spares.  Also, I’m going to need to buy a new shower curtain stat.  (Just kidding.. like I said, I wasn’t using that shower curtain anymore).

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Perils of Travel: Keurigs Won’t Work in the Car, Y’all.

I have recently managed to make Dave a believer in certain products that seem overrated/overpriced.  One of those products is the Keurig.  Why would one need a Keurig when they already have a working coffee pot?  Enter the beauty of having a fresh cup of coffee ready in under a minute, whenever you want it.  He’s sold.

So when we realized we’d be in the car for a combined total of around 40 hours on our recent roadtrip to/from Portland,  Dave had the idea that we should bring the Keurig in the car.  How awesome would that be?  Driving down the 5 in the middle of nowhere, and fresh coffee available on command!  I, being the lawyer, could only think of all the ways that could go wrong (mainly of the spilling hot coffee all over my car/all over myself variety).  Imagine that lawsuit:

Girl Sues Keurig When Hot Coffee Spills All Over Her Lap After Trying To Use A Keurig In A Car While In Motion

I would never live that down.  But Dave was convinced it was a good idea, so I decided to give it a whirl.  I left the machine sitting on the floor in the passenger seat.  I hooked it up to the adapter, poured in the water, put in the k-cup, and pushed brew.   NOTHING.  The machine made a sound for a second and then shut off.   Was it a balance issue?  Did we blow a fuse?  Was there not enough power?  We didn’t know, but Dave was we were determined to figure it out.  This might come as a surprise, but apparently people don’t really google “How to make a keurig work in a car,”  and FAQ lists just don’t cover this issue either.  Why aren’t others as brilliant as we are?  Why hasn’t anyone else tried this awesome idea??

Unable to find any help via google, we tried various alternatives.  (Honestly, I was totally up for giving up at this point but Dave was determined to find a solution).  If it was a balance issue, maybe finding a flatter surface would help.  No cigar.   I tried the handy unplug-replug idea.  Nothing.  I tried holding down the brew button, which ultimately forced a brew of cold, weak coffee.

I was pretty sure at that point that something was up with the heating element.  So Dave suggested I google how much power it takes to make a Keurig work.  It turns out it takes 1500 watts to be able to heat up.  It also turns out our adapter only put out a maximum of 300 watts.  Mystery solved!  Dave’s solution?  “We need to get a bigger car!”

With our instant Keurig coffee dreams shot, we were forced to “rough it” with gas station and Starbucks coffee for the rest of our trip like normal people.  Clearly, this is not as rough as the people who travelled via covered wagon back in the day, who did not have coffee machines and heat, and google at their finger tips, but it’s all relative, right?! On the bright side, what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.  😉

Taking The Road Less Travelled (i.e. Not Interstate 5).

My first road-trip to California was in 2005 when my 6’7″ brother and I (6’3″) piled into my tiny Nissan 200SX and drove straight through from Portland to Highland, CA to visit his girlfriend for a couple of days… Before turning around and driving back two days later.  We took I-5 most of the way there, and we ultimately got lost somewhere around Rialto and then I ended up bawling my eyes out on the side of the road in downtown San Bernardino late at night, pretty sure that I was going to get carjacked.  But that is a story for another day.  Not the greatest experience for a first drive, but we ultimately made it.  (I am not sure if GPS was not around yet, or I was just too poor to have GPS… but my printed out Yahoo Map failed me big time).

Since I decided to go to law school in Malibu the following year, that trip was the first of many, many drives between Portland and the Los Angeles area, almost all of which were straight through drives, many of them by myself (and even with company, I usually did most or all of the driving).  That is nearly 1000 miles straight through, y’all.  Every single time I have told myself “OMG THAT WAS AWFUL.  I AM NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN.”   And yet, the opportunity presents itself and I do it again.  At least a couple of times per year, for the last…. 6 years?  Why?  Well, I have completely lost my mind, obviously.  Additionally, there is the therapeutic nature of the open road, the fact that even with gas prices these days driving is cheaper than flying (and I am nothing if not a bargain hunter), and the fact that it is nice to have my own car in Portland and bring as much luggage as I want (and sadly sometimes the motivation is the need to transport giant binders of work).

So… Thanksgiving was rolling around and Dave and I decided to go visit my family in Portland.  And we decided to.. you guessed it… drive.   The gas was DEFINITELY cheaper than the price of putting two humans and two dogs on a plane (or two humans on a plane and two dogs in day care), plus we knew it would be nice to have our own car up there.  Dave refused to follow the Michelle-Crazy-School-Of-Thought and was not willing to drive the 1000+ miles all in one day.  He also was not interested in taking I-5 the whole way, even though it is by far the quickest route.  For those who have not had the pleasure of driving the 600 miles or so of I-5 through The Middle of Nowhere, California… Let me just ruin the surprise for you and tell you that it leaves much to be desired.  We decided to split the drive up into two days each way, stopping both times to visit Dave’s friends in Monterey, and taking the prettier coastal route on the way up.

BEST. IDEA. EVER.

The drive was beautiful, and with the exception of some really bad traffic at one point, I never reached the “OMG GET ME OUT OF THIS CAR I WOULD DRIVE OFF A CLIFF RIGHT NOW IF THERE WAS ONE JUST TO GET OUT OF THIS CAR” point.

Parts of Highway 1 totally reminded me of my drive around the Coastal Causeway of Northern Ireland.  So beautiful!  It’s one lane each way most of the time, and very curvy at points, and I imagine the traffic can get pretty bad at high travel times.  Luckily for us, we were driving it in the middle of the day on Tuesday so there wasn’t any traffic.  Just miles and miles of beautiful views… and me attempting to take pictures of said views with one hand with my iPhone while Cosmo “held” my other hand.

Cosmo "holding my hand"

On the way back from Monterey, we wanted to be sure to get past L.A. before the worst of rush hour traffic, so we took the 101, and cut across near Fresno to return to the dreaded I-5.  It was 6 hours instead of 8 though (and 6 hours would put us in L.A. ahead of the evening rush).  And L.A. traffic is awful.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.   However, even our short cut turned out to be pretty.  It turns out the 101 from Monterey takes you right through some California wine country.  Unfortunately, I don’t really have good pictures of that but I’m so glad we took that route back!

Now, safely back on solid, flat, sunny, dry ground in Southern California, we both swear that we won’t make that drive again, even the pretty one, unless we are moving there.  We’ll see next year 😉