Wednesday, October 31, 2007

dining out

In an effort to move on from my recent funk, I'm going to write about the other thing that is mildly interesting in my life. I dine out a lot - at least 3 days a week. I've been to the vast majority of "fine" dining restaurants in St. Louis (well, except Tony's, but honestly, I hear its not worth the hype).

Anyway, on Monday night I tried a place that's relatively new for the first time - Sage. I think my expectations were overly high because one of my top five ever restaurant experiences was at a different restaurant named after an herb
(Thyme in Chicago). Sage a nice little restaurant, located across the street from the AB brewery in Soulard. The atmosphere is relatively nice, although its a little too bright for in there for me and I can't really agree with the decision to have a TV in the dining room of a restaurant that charges $20 an entree. Its not like they don't have a separate bar area. The nicest element of the decor/atmosphere, in my opinion, is the stonework. It makes it very earthy (something that the metal chairs detract from - why not go with wood when you are doing an earth tone restaurant).

Moving on to the food - I order the spinach salad. The greens were fresh and it wasn't overdressed. The bite of the sundried tomatoes were a great contrast to the dressing and the salty-sweet pretzel croutons made a nice "local" touch (they were made with pretzels from a local pretzel maker). All around a good way to start the meal.

The entree was a disappointment. When I order seafood at a restaurant, I have high expectations - fish should not have bones and shellfish should not have shell. Getting a half peeled shrimp grossed me out. I have no objection to peel and eat shrimp, or fried shrimp with the tail on, but when its clear that the shrimp were meant to be peeled (umm...all the rest of them were), I do not want to have to either pass on the shrimp or get my fingers all saucy to take the tail and legs off my dinner. Plus then you have tail and legs still sitting on your plate. I felt bad about mentioning it to the waitress (did not expect to get anything free, but if I worked in a kitchen at a new restaurant its the kind of thing I would want to know). She appologized and gave us free desserts, but it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I'd go back to the restaurant, but probably will not order that otherwise tasteless pasta again. The pasta really was pretty uninteresting - I was expecting more seafood and its texture was a huge letdown. It was just very mushy and bland - fine for oatmeal,not so great for pasta.

The desserts were more interesting. They come in little shot glasses, and you can take them right off the waitress's tray. We order the key lime pie, the pumpkin, and a brownie thing. The pumpkin was by far the best, but it didn't really meet its description - described as a pumpkin gooey butter cake but there was nothing resembling gooey butter cake in it (gooey butter cake is a weird St. Louis thing that most resembles extra buttery under cooked sugar cookies). The brownie was a bit dry, and the key lime pie was almost inedible. The first taste was yummy and good - the smooth creamy sweetness you expect from key lime pie, but then immediately after that first taste there was an explosion of sour, as though it was lacking the right amount of sugar or too much lime juice had been added.

Anyway, while I wasn't impressed with this place, I'll probably go back. We had heard that the sandwiches were good and they are more reasonably priced.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We can work it out...

My funk continues. When people ask me how I'm doing, how the elbow is, my standard answer is "fine" and I really mean that. Its not bad; its not good; I'm not bad; I'm not good. I'm "fine." Fine as in, it could be worse - I could be unable to do my chosen career as a result of my injuries - like a doctor or an artist or a chef. So what if I can't knit or do needlepoint or take kick boxing classes or go rock climbing or eat with chop sticks (I think its that last one that makes me cry the most - strange isn't it).

I've come to realize that I'll probably never eat or run or even wave goodbye to a friend like a normal person again. I'm frustrated, and I'm angry, and I'm scared. Its not getting better, and in some ways, its getting worse. My wrist hurts; it pops when I turn it and now sometimes the physical therapy for my elbow makes me have sharp pain in my wrist. I'm convinced that my wrist is trying to make up for what my elbow can no longer do. The last two fingers on the hand have started to hurt - its a GREAT new development. At the same time, the screws under my skin itch. Its a constant annoyance.

I know I shouldn't be so angry and upset about this. I could have so many worse problems. Still, it feels like my life was turned upside down on a hot sunny Sunday in August. I hadn't even planned to go riding that day, but I needed to take my mind off the boy I was seeing that evening. Yay, I really managed to take my mind off him.

I think I'm most frustrated right now because I have so many unanswered questions. Should it be acting this way? Why isn't it making any improvements? Why is it making those popping feelings? What's physically keeping it from turning? Is my wrist alright?

Sorry I'm such a downer lately. This is harder for me than I even expected it to be.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Leaving the comfort zone

Last night at about 3:40 a.m. (I know that because I got a text message then that woke me up and got me thinking), I made a decision about my future. I decided that I can't stay in St. Louis next year, that I have to see if I can make it in Chicago or D.C. or someplace else.

I've wanted to stay in St. Louis because its comfortable. I know my way around here - I know where to find the good grocery store, the quick post office, the best sushi. I've got some good friends here, and I can happily drive my little car to work every day, never having to interact with anyone. Yet, when I go out on dates with people who have never left Missouri, never experienced living anywhere else, I am immediately bored. I judge those people, and in that same way, I judge myself. Why not at least try "making it" in a big city? Its not like Chicago would be that big of a risk - my family is there, I have friends there from law school, I kind of know my way around already. I can get advice as to which law firms treat their associates like slaves and which ones respect a work/life balance.

And then there is the money. After talking to my friends here regarding the amount they work, I'm more and more convinced that the hours are little different from midsized firms in Chicago, but the pay - well, that's very different. Since Chicago firms would count my clerkship as credit toward pay and partnership, I would come in as a third year associate up there. Also, I would get a clerkship bonus which these days is not something to sneeze at (down payment on a condo). In St. Louis - I get jack. Plus, the firm I previously worked at is likely merging with another firm to become a mega-firm (600+ attorneys), I don't see how this could possibly be a better "work environment" than most Chicago firms.

So, that was my thought process in the middle of the night. Does it still make sense in the light of day? Possibly, no probably. Now, I just need to take some action.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

a good ache

My legs hurt and so do my abs. I tossed and turned all night because in every position, I was just a little uncomfortable. I was exhausted and yet I felt more alive than I have in months. No, I didn't break my dry spell - I went running.

My doctor finally gave me approval to do everything I can do (meaning, if my arm physically can do something, I'm allowed to do it) on Thursday last week. My gym at work is closed for remodeling so I have to run outside, and I had to deal with my landlord on Thursday after work and I had to work late on Friday night. So, yesterday was the first chance I've had. It was both wonderful and miserable. It was a grey cool day and on the second half of the run, I was running in the rain. It was wonderful because there is nothing like running - feeling like I am really working myself hard, getting the head nod from other runners (amazing how ignored I felt when I was walking the same path with a giant arm splint), feeling my skin flush, going from slightly chilled to overheated. I love the feeling. Still, parts of that run were miserable - I hate running in the rain (generally I avoid it at all costs) and this time I didn't even have a hat so I was getting rain in my eyes, I had forgotten how sore my legs and butt get when I haven't run in a long time. Its a good ache, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

To update you on the arm, I'm really beginning to get scared even though the doctor and my physical therapist have told me "I'm not giving up on you yet.' See, while those words are encouraging, they are also frightening - might someone want to give up on me now? My supination is terrible and my therapist is now allowed to touch me. She's doing one of the most aggressive types of physical therapy on me "level 4s" or some such - takes me to the point of pain and then stays there with a slight pulsing. Also, the hardware is pretty close to my skin - if you touch my elbow you can feel the pin heads - um...neat huh...

On a note of life getting back to normal - I am again a terrible dish doer, even with a dishwasher. Today, we were out of bowls and spoons. I did finish loading the dishwasher and turn it on, but I ate my breakfast cereal out of a decorative dip bowl with a plastic spoon - yeah, and I think I'm a grownup...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

If your going through hell...

So, I lied.

Have you ever had one of those days where you can't decide whether you want to vomit or cry because you are just so angry and frustrated,where every light seems to be red, where you realize that you messed up,but its not really your fault, where a stupid electronic recording caused all your problems? Yeah, that's my day today. time to eat something to settle my stomach, and possibly grab a box of tissues.