parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Thursday, March 31, 2005
    News from Back Home
    i spoke to a friend of mine from the law office I was working in before i came out to law school. We had the best office. First of all, it was super casual. Nobody dressed up unless they had to go to court, and since I was a legal assistant, it was NEVER for me. So I got to wear jeans all the time. I sometimes was more comfy in a skirt, but usually not, b/c as I said in a previous post, I ride my bike in the summer/spring/fall, and in Berkeley, CA, it's *always* summer/spring/fall.

    Second, it was super-liberal. We weren't actually a firm, but rather a bunch of sole practitioners sharing a suite, and almost everybody had their progressive legal mission. My boss and I did family law, but with a heavy concentration on alternative families (we did adoptions for lesbian couples, and would have for gay men, but it never came up, even though we would do 3-4/month for lesbian couples; created relationship agreements for gay or lesbian partners starting out a domestic partnership; and we had some custody battles, and some break-up negotiations); another attorney represented tenant groups in nasty landlord/tenant cases -- oakland, california has some nasty-ass places to live, let me tell you. Cases where babies got their fingers and toes chewed on by rats. ugh. Another did bankruptcy law, another did death penalty cases -- even argued in front of the good old U.S. Supreme Court last summer. Oh, and then there was the ambulance chaser. Yeah. he wasn't so progressive.

    The attorney I worked for was known as being really "difficult." Or, a bitch. But we really clicked, in a professional kind of way, and we worked together fantastically. I worked there for 3 years, with people looking at me with their eyes bugging out of their heads as my boss would come out at 2:30 and say, "I'm sick of working, let's go home!" since apparently, her last assistant was mistreated to the point of being forced to bring her puking child to work, even though there wasn't anything to do. But it wasn't the case for me. I even had one summer where G went on a trip for TWO MONTHS, and I sat there reading a book. Or 10. Or 20. (why law school is such a shock). And I got paid. Full time. I had mail to open. A few phone calls here or there.

    But since I left in August .... her EIGHTH assistant just gave notice. Because G is just being MEAN. She was never mean to me. I don't get it. She is scaring people off left and right. I feel terrible, fleetingly now and again, as if I left her stuck, unable to get decent help.

    I thought maybe she was mad at me, for leaving. But she sent me a really nice email recently, saying she heard I was all set for the summer, and that I should always remember I can go back to CA and practice with her. So she's not mad at me. I wonder if she has been holding out, though, on committing to an assistant, thinking I may want to return for summers. It wsa never on the table for me (and she never mentioned it outloud!), b/c I can't go moving my kids back and forth like that, and my summer isn't the same as their summer; I'm done on May 13, and htey're not done until June 29 or something obnoxious like that. So I couldn't up and run off to CA 6 weeks before they're done with school. Even though they'd love to come. They miss their friends :(

    And I miss my sister. I left her behind there. And she's great.
    posted by Zuska @ 1:54 AM   0 comments
    My Favorite Thing
    is my iPod. Since I don't have a car, I am a public transit rat (well, in the winter. In the spring/summer/fall, i'm a cyclist). I only live about 3 miles from my campus, but if I take the T, it takes 40 minutes, and if I take the rush-hour bus, it takes 30 minutes. And the iPod that my momma bought me for Christmas keeps me very occupied.

    Lately, the thing I *love* to do is put books on the iPod. I get them on disk from my library (for free), load them up, and listen to and from school. Since I started law school, I haven't read one single novel. Perhaps I read one over Christmas break ... yeah, I did. (The Amateur Marriage, and I did not like it). I checked out the latest Saramago novel from the library recently, but I don't know why. It's on paper. And it's not full of cases. So I can't read it. But the iPod and the train work together so that I have read/listened to: The Namesake; some Elizabeth Berg book which title I cannot remember; Dean Koontz' By the LIght of the Moon (which was very entertaining, if not intellectually stimulating), I *tried* to read "I don't know how she does it" by one of these chick lit authors, but I just .... ugh. My ears were about to bleed. It was HORRID. Oh, and I read Little Friend by Donna Tartt. That was a good one. I loved that one.

    Now I"m doing another Dean Koontz one, for the sheer entertainment factor (which I felt deserving of, after this damned school project fiasco), and then I'm going to read (listen to) the new Bojal .... uh, the guy who wrote Midwives.

    It's nice to have one foot in the world of fiction again :)
    posted by Zuska @ 1:48 AM   0 comments
    Wednesday, March 30, 2005
    Healthy again
    I'm healthy, and my project is winding waaaay down.

    Nutsy day. I had a Con Law discussion session (as 1/2 of a midterm grade; the other half was a paper). Fascinating topic: one of the recent Guantanamo cases. I was in heaven. Then I also had my gigantic 200 page group project to scramble around for - editing interview transcripts, tracking down cites and appendix materials from 14 fellow students, writing a piece describing our interview process for the client. Ugh.

    Then I had an interview for the pleasure of being allowed to do this to myself again next year. The class is run by upper years. Which I'll be next year. So I applied. The interview was extremely intense. An hour and 20 minutes of how to handle conflict b/t students, especially since I'll be a student myself. Also discussions of how to rope professors into helping me on a large writing project when they're too busy planning their classes and their own career-advancing writing projects. And I was also expected to remember all 27 articles we read for class in the Fall semester. I have NO IDEA how I pulled that one off, since .... um, I never read the articles. But I don't think my interviewer knows that -- What paying attention in class will give you.

    I had a really crazy week kid-wise, too, b/c of this project. It was really the first week that school has cut into my family time. I spent Easter Sunday with the computer on my lap, writing, while my Beloved partner took the girls to the park to play. I worked (more or less) for 14 hours straight. On a Sunday. After going into school for the FIRST TIME EVER on Saturday for a 6 hour chunk of time (the girls' dad was in town, and took them off for the day, so I wasn't blowing them off that time). And then on Monday night, I for the first time ever, came home to meet the sitter, waited until my Beloved came home, and instantly walked back out the door to school where I stayed until 11:30.

    I was able to get through it, b/c I knew it was very short-lived, and now it's over. now I just have about 100 pages of reading to catch up with, b/c this project got the priority while I was sick, and getting over being sick. Reading fell behind.

    Friday morning is a "family breakfast" in my 1st grader's class room where the parents get to do some hands-on science experiments while eating bagels. I'll be late for Contracts, as a result. There are so few of us in my class with kids, and honestly, in law school in general, and so many professors WITH kids, I get the utmost understanding when I explain that I have parental duties. I am convinced that at least FOUR of my professors try to re-live their now-adult-children's childhoods through me explaining the kid-duties that necessitate a (very rare) missed class or late arrival. It's nice.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:23 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, March 24, 2005
    The longest week ever.
    Tuesday felt like Thursday. Wednesday felt like Friday. Thursday feels plain cruel.

    The flu was rough and long-lasting. Well, the *cold* I had, which happened to come with constant earaches, a practically bloody throat, fevers, chills, profuse sweat, foundation rumbling coughs, and dizzy spells which made walks to the bathroom hazardous to my life, was rough. I went to health services and the "doctor" was very uppity with me that I have a COLD, and that she is NOT giving me antibiotics (which I didn't even ASK for, I just wanted to rule out strep and bronchitis and pneumonia and on-the-verge-of-death-disease). But then she gave me some cough medicine with codiene and some "magic mouthwash" which manages to numb the throat for hours, so I won't say I outright hate her. But I did not appreciate being told that my misery is coming from a COLD!!!

    I have done about 10 minutes of reading for classes this week. 10 minutes. Almost 3/4's through my 1st year, and I have never done this little reading. And you know what? I don't even think I'm that far behind! I should do 10 minutes of reading *every* week!!

    So much is coming up on me, though, I'm about to drown, I think.

    But the biggest problem in my life ... my partner is developing a major snoring issue. I don't know what to do. We've been taking turns giving it up and moving to the couch for a week or so now, and it's really on my nerves. We just got a new bed, and it's comfortable. And when I am reading (or writing), *he* goes to bed first, and then he starts to SNORE, and I can't go into the bed, b/c it's so damned loud. I just don't understand WHY, after 3 years, this is starting up now. he insists it's b/c it's his first winter in a climate where the windows aren't open for months on end (since we moved from sunny CA), but I think that's poppy cock. I think he needs to address it. I don't know how, though.
    posted by Zuska @ 12:00 AM   1 comments
    Monday, March 21, 2005
    Not exactly what i had in mind ....
    I am being shocked out of my slump. With a nice attack of the flu!! I am going to be so behind after taking this weekend off b/c of being bed ridden and achy and feverish, that I won't have a choice but to get my ass in gear. I stayed home today (for the first time all year) b/c I hadn't read for my classes anyway, and I was sick as hell, and have 2 pieces to write for my big fat project, both of which are due to my co-group members TONIGHT. Nice.

    So I'm sitting here sweating my ass off as my fever is breaking, trying to research and write.

    posted by Zuska @ 12:19 PM   0 comments
    Wednesday, March 16, 2005
    Post Spring Break Slump
    I am very uninterested in all things law. I care not for criminal law. The odd nuances between conspiracy and complicity are not intriguing me. They are boring me. They are causing my book to jump up in front of me and SLAM shut while I start browsing the Net for Fiona Apple downloads (and found them! and they're not as great (IMO) as everyone said they were!). Contracts? Same thing. Constitutional Law is still interesting, it's just so .... wooorrrrrddddyyy. I don't have it in me.

    Tonight my Beloved went to volunteer at our local PBS television station, and therefore, I had no dinner. He's my cook. My chef. My nutritional planner. He was gone. So I took the girls to Target and Friendly's. Yes, I'm pathetic. I bought new sheets for my new bed, and new jeans for my ever-growing daughters (although, they were from GAP, not Target), and I bought ..... hmmm. I wanted a purse. B/c my coat pockets are forever bulging with the necessities of my days. Cell phone, iPod, Wallet, Bus Pass, miscellaneous change, keys, hair elastics, etc. My damned school bag is so big and full all the time that I don't want to engage in the HEAVE-HO required to move it from my back to my front in order to gain access to these items. So I wanted a purse. A little pocket-purse, to go over the OTHER shoulder and have all my stuff right there at my increasingly-ample hip. My needs, however, are not in style.

    So I didn't buy a purse. Oh! I bought duct tape! And little nails to hang things with. Things like ... India-style fabric that I bought 3 years ago to hang on my walls in Berkeley, but moved across the country before I could find a way to fit it into my (non-existent) decorating scheme.

    We took a Zipcar to Target. I love these things. We have like 13 in our neighborhood, not to mention the other 10+ in the areas that my Beloved and I spend our days (school and work). Because of my status as a pathetic no-money-earning student, I was able to join for a mere $25/year. Woo hoo! It's been great. Anyone in the D.C., Boston or N.Y. areas should check it out. I know that the S.F. Bay Area had something comparable ... City Car Share or something like that.

    I think I will now go fold laundry, and then perhaps sleep. Or maybe I'll consider doing some actual reading for tomorrow's classes. Or sleep.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:25 PM   0 comments
    Friday, March 11, 2005
    Wreck of a Day
    Today was rough. Beginning to end. For some odd reason, my Contracts class, which is from 12:20-1:50 on Tues. and Weds., is held from 8:30-10 a.m. on Fridays. The only day of the week that I need to be at school before 10:45, and it's on a *friday?* wtf?

    So after inserting toothpicks into my eyelids to stay awake in Contracts, I had our "we are a very progressive law school" class. This class is very unique to my school, and is hard and .... of questionable usefulness, at the same time. It's required for all first years, and lasts the full year. The first semester, we basically read some articles and some newspapers then had discussions in our class. These are small classes - 15 students. And they're run 2L's and 3L's, not by professors. I really liked the class last semester. I enjoyed talking about touchy "issues" and getting different views on the table. Although the nature of my particular school is such that there is only one person with conservative views, and 2 with complete centrist views, and the rest of us are at varying points and flavors along the far left of the spectrum.

    This semester, it's different. We have a client. Not just make-believe (which we had for our Legal Practice (writing, research, argument) class), but a real non profit group which works for social justice. There are a lot of different clients, and mine is one that works toward promoting legislation to decrease the discrimination against people who had previously been incarcerated. The Re-Entry Process. The 15 of us have to work together to come up with a cohesive report which focuses on "success stories" and how we can take the positive information we got from these people who went to prison or jail, and upon their release, picked up all the pieces they needed and acheived long-term stability without re-offending or being homeless and/or addicted to something or other.

    In this semester, we had another "Teaching Facilitator" - a 3rd year student, for the first half. But we are on the quarter system, and everybody goes on co-op on alternating quarters (after first year), and so she left. So we had to nominate and vote for a new "facilitator" from inside our group.

    I was nominated, and I got voted for. So now I have to run these meetings, and make sure that all of this project happens. We're talking about something which will end up at around 250 pages of information gleaned from field interviews, research, and our own analysis.

    Today was the due date for our first cohesive draft. And I'm also on the writing committee. So all 15 people handed in their pieces of the project, and the writing committee had to piece it together and make it look nice.

    Easier said than done. It's only about 100 pages right now, but it's a piece of crap. There are people in my class who apparently skipped grades 1-12, and can't write a sentence to save their lives. Some of the amazingly wretched paragraphs, phrases, and sentences that I was staring at left my head reeling!

    This also left it to me, as the facilitator, to have to tell the class that our draft sucked, and that people aren't pulling their weight, and that the work that was handed to US was not the quality that we wanted to give to our professors, but it was not the writing committee's job to rewrite 100 pages of 15 people's work in 24 hours (we'll have much more time for the final draft, but still, we're not there to DO their work).

    That was very taxing for me. I *hate* having to be critical. I think it went okay, but the entire 2 hours of the class were me feeling like I was being smooshed by a steamroller. I did have someone make an issue in front of the class about an individual conversation that I had with her, but I was able to mellow that out.

    Then I had to meet with a partner about a Constitutional mid-term paper, which we have less than a week to do. I'm excited about it, b/c the case we have to analyze is Rasul v. Bush (that's the Guatanamo Bay case re: foreign nationals, and whether or not the U.S. Courts have jurisdiction). It's only a 5 page paper, but there's a lot of research and focusing to do.

    But it was okay, b/c I was picking up the girls from their drawing class by 3:15, and we went home to pack while my partner was picking up the rental car b/c we were driving down to Connecticut to visit my parents, and go to IKEA!! We rented an SUV size vehicle so we can strap a mattress and a wall unit of shelves to the roof and have lots of room to put light bulbs and hangers and batteries, and other wonderful things IKEA.

    (After living about a mile from an IKEA in the SF Bay Area, having such spotty access is difficult).

    We almost didn't go b/c a storm was coming to New England, but I'm an expert storm tracker (also read as ridiculously obsessed storm freak), and could tell it was going to fizzle, so we still went. My poor partner was born and raised in Southern CA, and then spent a long, long time in Northern CA, but not near snow. He didn't know things like how the wet snowy road kicks up lots of dirty spit onto the windshield. He has complained in the past that I will squirt washer fluid on the window while driving - "how can you see!" But now, after one night of driving in the snow, he no longer thinks i'm crazy.

    My parents live in a pretty rural town. On a pretty rural road. Up a very hilly curvy rural driveway. And this driveway is in the shade. When I later examined it closer, I saw that the inch or so of powdery snow on the driveway was NOT the only obstacle. There was another 2 inches of ice underneath.

    My partner couldn't get up the driveway. He tried, but we got stuck on the ice. He had to back down the driveway again, but was having trouble b/c of his unfamiliary with the layout of the driveway and the WOODS it runs along. But he got down it. He was frustrated at that point, though, and surrendered the driver's seat to me. I was so excited! I hadn't driven in snow in like 10 years! Woo hoo! I got to drive up the driveway!!!

    When I was young, when my mom drove, and when I then got my license, the answer to our icey driveway was SPEED!! The slower you went, the more likely you were to get stuck on the ice. 10 years later, I was not accurately remembering the extent of the required speed, and when I stepped on the gas, I overdid it. We went fishtailing into the woods. The kids were soooo freaked out (we weren't going THAT fast), although I came short of hitting some trees. But there was a small tree (4 inch diameter) that i went up alongside ... it scratched and dented the 2005 SUV we rented, which has only 6000 miles on it. Not too bad, but enough that our insurance will ahve to kick in.

    And it was only after I crawled out over the passenger seat to allow my father to laugh at me that I realized .... the damned thing has 4 wheel drive. 3 different kinds. The Renault Alliance and the Volkswagon Jetta that I had driven in high school and college didn't have that option - hence the speed. This car ... we could have flipped a switch, and driven as slow as we wanted.

    So, another hassle to deal with. As if 2 midterm projects, one take home exam question, and one 25o page paper, as well as 2 children and the regular things of life aren't enough!!!
    posted by Zuska @ 11:51 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, March 05, 2005
    Bye-bye spring break
    Well, Spring break is over. I really don't feel like it was ever really here, since life seemed to go as normal. I had work to do, kids to pick up from school, snow days to deal with, a book to read for school (which I didn't read), and on and on. But I did get some extra sleep, and I did get to go to the aquarium with the kids, and I did have a friend come in last weekend from CA.

    Now it's Saturday, and my 8 year old and I are going to see Because of Winn Dixie, which we read together a few weeks ago. She actually read it aloud to ME, which was wonderful. She did a fantastic job. I had just finished reading Harry Potter V, after reading Harry Potter IV, and I was really sick of reading. Especially since once I'm done reading to her, I'm off to read Con law, and words get all fuzzy on the page.

    I have a big project for my 1st year social justice class due on Friday, and I am on 2 different committees for this project, and the week will be pretty intense with research and writing. A fine "welcome back, how do you do."

    On to the movie!!
    posted by Zuska @ 2:17 PM   0 comments
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