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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  • Tuesday, January 31, 2006
    Weekend photos are up!
    as i mentioned, beloved and i had a great time. we were in Manhattan the whole time, but still in areas which, to me, seemed "out of the way." We stayed at the Gershwin hotel, and we spent most of our time in Chinatown, Little Italy, and Noho. We had dinner and a movie in Union Square on Saturday night.

    Movie: Tristram Shandry was fun. I found it humorous, although definitely not "mainstream."

    Dinner: we struggled with what was a good place to eat. we were dressed pretty casual (being New England folk, not New York folk), and felt a wee bit weird about a few of the .... more sophisticated? .... places. I loved the place we ended up. I had a salad and an appetizer (crab cake), and we had some VERY interesting characters seated next to us ... 2 brothers (with quaint british accents) who were clearly trying to 'make it' in the music world ... but one of them was too busy bitching out his girlfriend on the phone to really focus on the plans for world fame. he was also a bit drunk, i think, and almost got into an "altercation" with a large fellow at a neighboring table when he stumbled into his chair and knocked his jacket onto the floor. beloved's comment - think Drive Shaft -- and he was so on target with that.

    On Sunday, we walked around in Greenwich Village, having coffee in a nice cafe which made us realize that our town, dominated by Starbucks (despite the lone Peets stronghold), is lacking such independent New York Times reading spot - kids and dogs welcome. We then walked on to the water, and sat for a bit. just as i commented on the fact that we'd by chance been in nothing but beautiful, safe, and thriving parts of the city, we walked along Canal Street and found some of the opposite.

    We really had a great time. I was really sold on the city -- for the first time. We were at Union Square at approximately 11 p.m., and there were HUNDREDS of people around. I was actually shocked upon arrival in Boston at the amount of people out and about in the later hours of the evening, because in Berkeley/SF, things got pretty quiet as early as 8 or 9 p.m. it is understandable why those who live - even for a short time - in NYC have a hard time leaving.

    We got back to my parents' house in CT around 4 p.m. or so, took a ride to see my brother's house which is still being built, and then had some dinner, and got on the road. we got home around 9 p.m., and quickly got the kids (and beloved and i) to bed.

    as fun as a weekend away is, and as much as i wnat to go places and do things ... it makes me feel old when i get home, and wish i had a weekend in which to relax! beloved and i were up by 7 each day, and up and moving quickly thereafter. whether to catch a train, or to avoid wasting our day away in a hotel room.

    now it's tuesday, and feels like thursday. except i have too much to finish in the next week for it to be that late in the week.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:03 PM   0 comments
    as he passed our table II
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    as he passed our table I
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    soup sacks
    Sunday was the day of celebrations in NY. beloved and i went to Joe's Shanghai for lunch, which is famous for its soup dumplings. i had a hard time envisioning what people were saying about this delicacy .... chinese dumplings with soup INSIDE. For some reason, i kept picturing the steamed buns ... pork baus, and such. with soup inside. i was wrong. it was more like potstickers, with soup inside. when beloved picked one up to put on my dish, i was momentarily grossed out .... soup was dangling in a pouch created by the dumpling, and it looked like, well, quite frankly, balls. testes. but i allowed it to be placed upon my spoon, and i nibbled a hole in it, and slurped out the broth .... wow!!

    they were fantastic. i loved them.

    While we were in the restaurant, the parade passed by outside, and 2 dragons came in. This is supposed to be good luck for the business throughout the year. It was very exciting, and loud, with drums and cymbals in the restaurant. we got pictures .....



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    posted by Zuska @ 9:58 PM   0 comments
    see?
    how could we possibly get our cameras out with all these people in the way?


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    posted by Zuska @ 9:57 PM   0 comments
    closer still
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    things were getting messy ....
    this was approximately 1/4th of the confetti on the street by the time 1 p.m. rolled around. when things got really messy ... we were unable to move in order to get our cameras out of our bags, and were unable to capture the chaos on film. Chinese New Year in NYC exceeded my expectations ...

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:53 PM   0 comments
    he's not disabling it.... he's RIDING it.
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    not old, not small, but rather ....
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    posted by Zuska @ 9:51 PM   2 comments
    lanterns, dragons, american flags ....
    huh?

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    the phillip seymour hoffman fish
    we saw a remarkable resemblance. before we saw the "no photos" sign.


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    NYC grafitti
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    posted by Zuska @ 9:45 PM   0 comments
    work projects
    both yesterday and today, my time was mostly consumed researching an issue that came up last week. A bob threat was emailed to Brandeis University. The police traced the email as sent from a local public library, and then further narrowed to 3 of the public-use computers. A warrant was secured, and the computers were seized (removed from the library seized) by the FBI. There was some press that before a warrant was secured, the librarians were all heroic and refusing to turn over the computers, and it took 12+ hours for the agents to get the warrant, and there was a stand off at the library until well beyond closing. that's sort of in dispute by those in the know.

    My job was to find out whether all the OTHER users of the computers - those who did not send bomb threats, have any claims available to them, considering that it is unlikely that they had a reasonable expectation of privacy while on a public-use computer. I personally wouldn't mind taking a stab at that argument, knowing how my public library works, with security measure after security measure, requiring you to type in your library card number at least 410 times.

    So I was researching the wiretap act, the stored communications act, etc. For a long time.

    Now I'm back to looking into what kind of damages are available in a 1983 (first amendment violation) action when there may or may not be causation problems. I'm trying to bolster an argument for presumed damages.

    Then I'm moving on toward buffer zone legislation - as in the buffer zone that some states (mine included) provide around an abortion clinic/provider where protesters are not allowed. my organization is not so comfortable with buffer zones, and despite my disagreement with that discomfort, my job is to see what else can be crafted.

    I've got to fit in here, somewhere, some research to "follow the money" for a creepy 1984 post-9/11 information gathering collaborative thing b/t the state and federal watchers.

    Feb. 10th is my last day. I have a feeling I may be burning some midnight oil in the near future!!!! I will probably be donating a few extra unpaid days to the organization after the official "end" of co-op. One thing I do not like about our system is that just as you're getting your sea legs on, and the people around you start to trust you, and compete over your time, the stupid co-op is over.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:08 PM   0 comments
    Monday, January 30, 2006
    home, but too tired to type
    beloved and i had a really wonderful time. this was the first time i ever thought about NYC, "huh, I could imagine living here!"

    We got home late last night. Got up early and wrestled everyone out the door - the girls' play is coming up fast, and Thing One has rehearsals all week - every day - from 2-5 -- and next week.

    We went to the Emergency Town Meeting today. Turnout was good - not great - good. beloved guesses 400-500 people. we were on our local news this evening.

    but i do not have it in me to upload photos and do a full update. i will try tomorrow -

    work is INSANE right now, and i'm now down to less than 2 weeks to get everything done, and i'm afraid i'm not capable!! agh!!

    california in 2 weeks.

    Ex-schlurg just found out he got a closer one-year visitorship. It's at a VERY well-respected green leafy school. It's not too close, still a good sized ride. perhaps a train. i am not too happy about having him closer. we shall see.

    thing one has a weird blinking thing going on - some have said perhaps it is a blocked tear duct. i think that knowing thing one, she's developed a tick, and it's a habit. but i am trying to work things out iwth the ex-schlurg to get insurance to kick in for an opthamologist appt ASAP so that i can berate her for purposefully blinking with a clear conscience.

    i think that's all, considering that i'm too tired to type and all.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:21 PM   0 comments
    Friday, January 27, 2006
    Cat blog II - the boy, a plant, and a box
    beloved PUT him in hte box to take this photo. I never thought he'd stay.

    There is a child's sock next to the box ... it is there b/c they were folding their laundry a wee bit to the right of this box while the photo was taken. They never did find the match. I think the boy took it as revenge for being stuffed in a box.

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    cat blog I - the girl
    Here is Trixie cuddling on a towel. It was mine. She hates me, but loves my towels. Go figure.

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    posted by Zuska @ 12:05 AM   1 comments
    Thursday, January 26, 2006
    pitter patter
    You Are Rain

    You can be warm and sexy. Or cold and unwelcoming.
    Either way, you slowly bring out the beauty around you.

    You are best known for: your touch

    Your dominant state: changing


    Seen over at Confessions of an Exhausted Mind.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:28 PM   0 comments
    20 years later ....
    I was 13 years old. I was home sick that day - I don't know what was wrong with me, and I kind of think I may have been faking. My mom went and rented me Gone with the Wind. I had read the book earlier that year, and L-O-V-E-D it. (I read it on a drive down to Disneyworld, in a rented RV with my sister, my brother, and my perverted cousin - who was 8, but kept grabbing mine and my sister's boobs. ewww? mom says i was "instigating" the younger kids, so she bought me books. I went in the little balcony/alcove part of the RV that is on top of the driver - just a little bed like place - and read Gone with the Wind, and Mommy Dearest. I felt my mom could probably compete iwth that woman.)

    Mom thought that a day that I was home sick was a good day to watch the movie. I thought it sucked. I thought that Rhett was ugly in the movie, and that was really depressing. So I turned it off, and there was the explosion - I went and told my mom, who had a friend over for a Girl Scout Planning Meeting (I hated her friend .... I think I have hated every single one of my mother's friends, come to think of it. Not just "didn't like" or "found her annoying" - but a true HATE for various reasons). I told her, "the space shuttle just blew up." and she looked at me like I was a bee buzzing in her ear, and she kind of shook her head to get me away. and i said, "it's on the news, the space shuttle just blew up" and then she remembered that really, her eldest, her first born, zuska, was not a liar, was not a bad person, and she dropped everything and RAN into her bedroom where I had been watching t.v. and she, her friend, and i, sat and watched for a while.

    it stuns me that it was 20 whole years ago.

    It is so rare that I have landmark memories in my life - especially my childhood. Where I can say for certain that I know what I was doing 20 years ago, today. my memories are so spotty. It's almost surreal to know that the above happened - that was my day - 20 years ago, exactly. I can picture my mom's bedroom, the television, the movie -- all of it.

    Huh.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:19 PM   1 comments
    blog you, you blogging blog!
    i was very irritated this evening, b/c i went to check some favorite blogs, and they would not load. then i thought i would check and see if it was blogger in general, and blogger would not load. i was angry. i was already stressed trying to meet a deadline, and all i wanted was a brief respite in blogland. but nooooo-oooooo, blogger had to be dumb.

    i just finished the project i was working on for My Judge. It was a fun project, I just wish I wasn't such procrastinator --- born and bred. Then I could have enjoyed it more. Instead, I was scrambling to get it done -- even while sitting here in the living room with kids on either side of me telling me of their day. I don't usually do that. But I needed to get it in today!!

    Not only was it "due" today - but tomorrow, we leave for New York City [said in the manner of that chili commercial].

    work was good today - i went BACK to the State House for a press conference. there is an organization protesting the methods of the organization that collected signatures in support of a ballot initiative to put an amendment in the MA constitution which spews hate at non-heterosexuals. the signature-collectors were evil in their methods (i.e., showing people pictures of abused greyhound puppies, and asking them to sign a petition to help .... for those same people to months later check a website and find out that their name showed up on the list of those who signed the anti-gay marriage petition. The press conference was held in order to ask the Attorney General and Secretary of State to launch an investigation.

    The group that i was supporting knows that no matter what -- there are enough signatures. enough legally obtained signatures. they don't think they can reverse that process. they just want to ensure that protections are put into place within the system so this kind of fraud and manipulation can't happen again. There was a senator there speaking in support of the investigation who seemed to be saying he supports such an amendment - but wants to come by it honestly, and not have it tainted by fraud and bad behavior.

    I am not bringing the computer to NYC. So I won't get to post or read my blogs this weekend. Considering I'll be off at a swanky hotel with my beloved celebrating the start of our 5th year together, I'll more than survive. I'm sure you will, too ;)
    posted by Zuska @ 9:24 PM   1 comments
    Wednesday, January 25, 2006
    Processes and Protests.
    I spent my day at the MA state house today, watching the House of Reps debate a bill that I had researched extensively. I was marginally against the bill, so I was pleased when it lost 147-3.

    But while I was sitting there, my mind kept wandering to the protest at Georgetown yesterday, and I was feeling so encouraged. There was a little blurb about it in the Boston Metro this a.m., and i was wondering - could this be the start? could it be the beginning of people voicing their unhappiness with the things going on right now with this current administration?

    The debate that i was watching also gave me a little a hope - a hope that people truly can be snapped out of apathy. it wasn't a federal issue at all, but it was a situation where a senator had tried to really RUSH something through the system, and if she had succeeded, something of questionable constitutionality would probably have passed both houses of state congress based purely on rhetoric and without any real discussion or argument. Fortunately, some groups mobilized and contacted their legislators, the brakes got put on the process, and today - 3 months after it was supposed to happen - the bill was defeated.

    I'd love to see more of both these things -- citizens affecting legislation and the visible protests. I think part of why it hasn't been happening on the federal issues is because the Bush administration doesn't usually give talks at open forums where students of any political persuasion are welcome. I just read the other day about Bush's recent town-hall style talks, and how it's filled with people who are there by invitation. He's not answering spontaneous questions of the Zuska's of the world -- but rather questions of the President of the Young Republicans. The general public don't get access. But perhaps this recent invigoration provided by our friends at Georgetown will help all of us who are concerned to say so.

    There is an "Emergency Town Meeting" pertaining to the Domestic Spying issue being held on Monday the 30th at Fanueil Hall here in Boston - it's sponsored largely by the organization i'm working for right now, and i wasn't going to go, b/c it's from 6-8 p.m., and i usually get HOME at 6 p.m. and I have kids. And it's too hard. But I've decided to ask my babysitter to bring the kids over to the city for 5:30, and taking them with me, and meeting beloved there, too. I can probably even get us on t.v. -- if we plaster stickers from this organization on our clothing.

    We took the kids to an anti-war march in 2003 in San Francisco. I am glad to have them participate, too - even if they grow up to have different views than I do (which I try hard to let them know is their perogative) - they will grow up knowing that they CAN and SHOULD express those views. Their right and their duty.

    So I think that's where we'll be next Monday. And the next evening, we will all be watching the State of the Union. As nauseous as it makes us!!
    posted by Zuska @ 6:13 PM   3 comments
    visual pleasure
    b/c e.mcpan made me - i am spending the 40 minutes before i leave for the state house doing google image searches and posting random photos, instead of working on the project that i need to finish up for my judge. the rules are to do google image searches (without quotes) for the following items, and then post your favorite of the images that come up on the first page. here we go.

    The Town I grew up in:


    The Town in Which I Currently Reside:



    What should be my first and last name without quotes - but my last name is too odd - nothing came up. so i did my first and middle name without quotes:


    My grandmother's name:


    My favorite food:

    My favorite drink:


    My favorite smell:


    Finally (i do really need to leave) - my favorite song (for today)



    Off to watch the democracy at work.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:48 AM   1 comments
    playing the wednesday game
    I first read about this new Wednesday fun over at E.McPan's, as started by Legally Blonde.

    1. For the Men: Boxers or Briefs? For the Ladies: Thong or Boyshorts? I love thongs. Any other kind of underwear I put on tries to make it into the thong-position anyway, so in my mind, thongs are the solution to a problem. There are some occassions where I will switch to "normal" underwear - exercising, for example. i prefer more coverage in that instance. Also skirts without tights. Otherwise, I'd feel naked.
    2. What is the weirdest place you've ever had sex? Um. I don't think I've ever had sex in a weird place. I can't think of anywhere. Oh, I'm so boring. The craziest I can think of is a hot tub, and that wasn't really that fun.
    3. What is your policy on telling your significant other your "number" Okay, the boring trend continues. Including my current partner, my number is 3. Therefore, my policy is - tell the truth. I am truly and really a prude.
    I don't think I'm gonna play this game anymore.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:36 AM   0 comments
    ya know, mornings SUCK
    this is a 100% Mom post.

    I cannot stand the mornings. I hate hate hate them. I already hate having to wake before 8:30, and since the kids' school starts at 8, I'm pretty much shit out of luck there.

    But right now, Thing One is in Math League at the school at 7:30, and she needs to leave the house 3 days/week with beloved at 7:20. She just cannot get herself to move past "running 10 minutes late" speed - b/c I have been waking her up 5 minutes earlier each day, and she is always the same - it's 7:20, and she's scrambling to get things together. No - not scrambling. Plodding.

    Of course, the solution is to have her backpack and everything that she needs by the door the night before. But that requires a MOTHER who is on track 100% of the time, and she just plum doesn't have that. I suck at that kind of thing. I think of everything .... just all within that same 10 minutes before she's ready to leave the house.

    Then Thing Two and I leave at 7:50. Supposedly. We often don't leave until 7:53. at that point, i'm rushing to get all of her stuff together, and my stuff, b/c I go straight to work after dropping her off.

    Today, we forgot her lunch on the kitchen counter. I had told her "brush your teeth, then get your lunch box" and she did .... something else. I'm not sure what, but we left the house without her lunch, and on the way to school she smiled at me - and eww. I had to scrub her teeth right there on the sidewalk with my glove. ewwww!!! Fortunately, I was not going into work today (acupuncture in the a.m., work at home until leaving for the State House to witness another debate over another bill), so I was able to go put her lunch in the fridge so it can be consumed by her tomorrow, instead of by the trash can today.

    The scariest part of all this is that next quarter, I have 8:30 classes every day. So I really won't be able to be running late - and there is always so much more to gather in the a.m. when I'm going to school, as opposed to work. When I go to school, I need my laptop, my a/c adapter, my iPod, my plug for my ipod (need those mid-day charges sometimes), and this quarter, I'll need gym clothes, and then - oh yeah - books. ha.

    I guess I need to work out some kind of system - but I am not sure what. We've been doing this for 4 years, and I have been running late for most of that time, and no matter what "system" i think of, it falls apart.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:28 AM   0 comments
    Tuesday, January 24, 2006
    and this is what i was waiting for?
    they came. my evaluations. i am not surprised, and on the borderline of pleased. I think. I got some of the lowest "grades" that I've yet to receive, but I know that I had a trade off going b/t the class i taught, and the other 3. Evidence was a happy surprise. I'm glad to see that Zuska can still Cram, just like in high school.

    Family Law came with the longest narrative I have ever received in my LIFE, and I think the most I ever WILL receive. (it was also the lowest grade/evaluation I have yet to receive here - a "good") She wrote LITERALLY 17 pages - I kid you not - typed, single spaced. 10 pages about my take home exam (which was 12 pages long), and 7 pages about my research paper (which was 8 pages long). They were all just for me - they're not part of my transcript. The "official" evaluation is one page.

    I'd never had an evaluation like this before. She discussed (and ripped apart) every sentence I wrote. She was much more complimentary of my research paper, which she actually gave a "Very Good" and said it was close to an "Excellent" - so I'm hoping that since that comes first on the "official" page that people will get bored of reading after that, and skip where she says something about me being good at everything BUT the family law concepts in the take home exam. Seriously. She did say that. If anyone wants some snippets, I won't mind typing some of the funnier parts up. It will help me process, I'm sure.

    i have now been humbled. I wish I took Balancing Security and Liberty, instead.

    The other day, Lyco had asked if these evaluations are "helpful." I had never had a professor who was quite so prolific, and certainly not one who criticized (constructively, I'm sure) every single sentence I wrote. In some ways, yes, she was very helpful. On the research paper part of my evaluation (a mere 7 pages), she did talk about ways I could improve in a constructive way that I can take with me. HOWEVER, the 10 pages devoted to the take home exam, which was a fact pattern, was hugely unhelpful, in that it rehashes fact after fact after fact, and there is nothing i can do with this information (other than burn it). I honestly had a hard time reading it. She was talking about each party's income, and what their bills were, etc., and I just don't care anymore.

    Two of my other evaluations were 1 page (really, 1 paragraph), and one was 2 pages - that was the class that i taught, and it's b/c the entire first page is needed to describe the class, which is very unique to my law school -- not a word about me. The second page is about me. 2 pages is the longest I've ever gotten -- until today. With the 18 page monster.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:23 PM   0 comments
    isn't this supposed to be illegal?
    so - i went to the meeting of the board of my organization. things went well. then i came home. i was *soooo* anxious about my EVALUATIONS that i was forced to watch a video on my ipod during the train ride in order to keep my nerves at a normal level. i was planning my entry into the home as i was walking from the train to the house..... "first, say hi to the girls. ask them how their day was. find out how things went for beloved. remember to ask Thing One how cello practice went. be sure to see if Thing Two was able to have her friend come over after school. see if the cats' new fancy water system arrived .... then, and only THEN do you ask beloved where the envelope from the school is. Must. Keep. Priorities. Grades. Do. Not. Matter. That. Much. (Especially. Since. You. Don't. Get. Grades.)

    I got home. The girls said, "do you hear that noise?" they meant the new watering system for the cats.* I said, "how was your day?" My eyes were on the coffee table, where mail gets plopped. they told me. i didn't hear them. Thing One stood up and showed me that she ripped her knew very nice stone colored khaki style ($20) pants today due to icey walkways. i said (properly) "oh! did you hurt your knee??!!" I went into my room (pretending to hang up my suit jacket) to look and see if beloved put the large envelope on my pillow. girls talked. beloved talked. talk talk talk talk. where are my grades!!! oops. that was outloud.

    they did not arrive. i do not know why. in the spring, when they mailed my grades, i got them the next day. they come from boston. i live one zipcode away from boston. literally one mile. why? why would it take from friday to TUESDAY? when will the agony end? i do not understand. i am upset. i am frustrated. this is torture. torture i tell you. the one consolation --- the inheritance i received gave me the license (internally) to subscribe to the Nation. It arrived today. salve for the soul. (not as much as my FUCKING EVALUATIONS would have been). at least i got to watch 24 without agonizing over the shoddy narrative i got from my family law professor.

    * when Boots got sick last week, one thing we wondered (the vet, beloved, and i) was if he was getting enough water. Both cats tend to prefer drinking from my leaky bathtub more than they do from their water dish, but the leak isn’t consistent. So we splurged on something that has caught our eye for some time – one of those flowing water dishes for cats. it's a little loud - makes the sound of gurgling water - but no louder than a fish tank. The little kitty was slightly afraid of it last night. I'm not sure if they're using it yet, but I think once they get used to it, they'll LOVE it.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:33 AM   2 comments
    confusled
    i recently finally got with it, and subscribed to bloglines. i saw how it gives me the option to post to my own blog from bloglines, so last night, i tried it. but i do not understand it. the post shows up if i am looking at my blog through bloglines, but it is NOT showing up on my blog. i am about to repost it through blogger, but i really don't understand what is going on. either i did something wrong, or it only posts to bloglines. which to me, seems dumb. but i'm sure that to IT (and perhaps some others, who understand it) it is ME who seems dumb. i apologize for any double posting resulting from my ineptness.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:28 AM   1 comments
    Monday, January 23, 2006
    more needles
    A long time ago, my sister and I discussed getting a tattoo. Together. Perhaps 3 years ago now. I keep putting it off, saying I want to “lose weight” first – my sister being a skeleton, and me being slightly more “curvy,” shall we say. But I’ve been putting her off for 3 years. She found a design, which I like (although our plan is to thin it out a bit, make it a little wispier than pictured). She’s getting it within the month, no matter what. I’m about 85% certain that I’m going to join her.

    She is getting it at the base of her neck. I believe I will get it on my left shoulder blade. I don’t like the run-of-the-mill base of the neck place as much, and I don’t want it to show at inappropriate times. She is getting dark green ink. I am not sure what color ink I will get. i am sure either green or black.

    That is one of the things I will do while in California next month. Another will be holding my friend’s 3 month old baby. Another will be coordinating with my kids’ friends’ parents so that my kids get to see all their friends. Another will be eating at Pho 84 (see previous post). For their very delicious eggplant chicken with fish sauce, onions, and so very much black pepper. We will also shop at our favorite kids’ consignment shop, Laura’s Closet, where my kids are often able to dress themselves like the hippy-children they are for a very low cost.
    posted by Zuska @ 4:11 PM   1 comments
    blah dee blah
    I’m having a relatively quiet day at work, so I am being bad, and posting from here.

    There is a meeting tonight at this organization and I am going to witness a debate over an issue that I have researched extensively. I was just informed that the board members may end up directing some questions at me, knowing that I did some of the leg work on the issue. It’s a super complex issue, and I hope all goes okay.

    (Meanwhile, my evaluations are presently sitting IN MY MAILBOX, while I am here, 3 miles away.) I was able to register for classes today. I also completed the little “credit hours worksheet” to see if I’ll be in okay shape for completing all my required credits. Uh, yeah. I will. In undergrad, I had one semester with 21 credit hours. I just realized that I really only need 12 for my final two quarters in law school. I have NOTHING substantive to say right now. Why am I even posting? I have substantive things going on in my head, but they’re work and client related, and therefore cannot be shared.

    We are going away this weekend. It is the Chinese New Year this weekend, and in the past, that has been a special weekend for beloved and i. we think of it as our anniversary, of sorts. This will be our 5th. All others were spent on the Left Coast, in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and consisted of a day trip. This year is new and different – we are dropping the girly-q’s off at my mom and dad’s, and heading to the Big City to see that *other* Chinatown. We’re even staying overnight in a hotel!! Oh, the luxury. The shame of this year’s Chinatown exploits is that there is no new Lord of the Rings movie to watch. The first three years of our togetherness, that was how we ended our day – by going to see the latest installment of the trilogy (the first was my favorite). Last year, I suppose, we did not go to any Chinese New Year celebration. I was in the throes of my first year of law school, and we had not yet put the pieces together to see how accessible NYC is to us.

    But this year I had that small financial treat, and I’m working – not schooling, and the kids really have a great time with my parents, and so beloved and I are off for some fun. We’re staying in a really cool hotel which I *think* is walking distance both to Greenwich Village (which I’ve never been to), and Chinatown. Too bad there is no House of Nan King there. Man, is their food good. They do Japanese eggplant like no other. (oh, except for Pho 84 in Oakland, which I may very well be eating at one month from today!!! Woo hoo!!)

    I will have to do some research (and any suggestions are welcome) into the *best* restaurant in NYC’s Chinatown. I do not mean the fanciest, not by any means (house of nan king was FAR from fancy, and I think ran about $7/plate). I mean the absolute YUMMIEST.

    Thanks a bunch. Off to do some research into what damages are available in first amendment suits. Bye-bye.
    posted by Zuska @ 3:18 PM   0 comments
    Sunday, January 22, 2006
    well, they should know what they want
    You are "Inclusio unius est exclusio
    alterius"! You presume that the
    legislature chooses words very carefully when
    it drafts statutes. Because they could have
    used a different word, but didn't, the word not
    chosen was deliberately excluded. You assume a
    lot based, not just on what's in front of you,
    but on what isn't. You have great faith in
    others' ability to know exactly what they want.
    Probably too much.


    Which Canon of Statutory Construction are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla


    Found over at Ambivalent Imbroglio's.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:18 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, January 21, 2006
    crap
    evaluations didn't come today. i guess they'll come monday. but i'm going to a board meeting for the organization i'm working at after work, and i won't be home until late, and that SUCKS.

    i'm very very very grouchy today. beloved and the things, i'm sure, wish they had the opportunity to further explain the extent of my grouchiness.
    posted by Zuska @ 12:40 PM   1 comments
    Friday, January 20, 2006
    desperate attempts at breathing
    grades were mailed today. okay - here's the explanation.

    we do not get grades. there is no A or B, and there is no numerical scale. we get narrative evaluations. here is a sample:

    Your overall performance in the class was, for the most part, excellent. You did an excellent job on much of the exam. Your analysis was regularly sophisticated and highly persuasive, reflecting an excellent knowledge of the governing law. Your lgal writing is excellent. This was impressive, lawyer-like work. Your consistent class participation was always thoughtful, and often quite sophisticated. Congratulations on a terrific performance!**
    These narratives are supposed to keep from having our performanced reduced to 1) an evaluation of only the exam, and 2) a single letter or number.

    However. both employers and students work it out. and professors comply. because we've all developed "buzzwords." This is the way it works:

    1) Outstanding
    2) Excellent
    3) Very Good
    4) Good
    5) Competent
    6) Fair
    7) Marginal Pass
    8) Fail

    So, although we do not have "grades," I have every reason to be worried. I'm worried that Family Law was a disaster, as well as Evidence, which was all multiple-choice-y. That is so objective! and therefore, bad!!!

    They should arrive tomorrow. Wish me luck.

    ** this was my shortest one. some of them could have spanned 3 posts.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:31 PM   2 comments
    Group Session II
    Thing Two and I started a mother/daughter bookgroup last night. There are 5 kids and their moms. For some reason, Thing Two thinks that boys are icky. Thing One does not, and has never thought that. She has, at many times during her social development (odd as it may have been for her), got along much BETTER with boys than with girls. But Thing Two says --- ewww. So there are 5 girls whose moms have decided this would be a fun thing to do with our younger children.

    The girls are all in 2nd grade - some have already turned 8, some will turn 8 before they start 3rd grade (my girl will be 8 in May). they are also at (not-necessarily corresponding) varying reading levels. so while Thing Two was saying "Let's read Little Women!!!" others were saying, "uhhhhhhhh" Charlotte's Web-type books seem to be the top of the reading level.

    Thing Two has a best friend. I was going to say a "best friend," b/c in these young grades that I am acquainted with (2nd and 4th), it's important to have a "best friend." I know that I started with that NONSENSE somewhere in middle school - 6th to 8th grade. and honestly, i'm sad that my kids are starting with it now. Thing One was on the phone with a friend in CA that she stayed close with, and I heard her say, 'my friend ____ already has a best friend, but she wants to stop being her best friend, and be my best friend instead, but she's scared to tell her other best friend." shit. that's what i HATE!!!! the label, the catty-ness, the (as i remember it) heart break and ostricization.

    Thing Two's best friend is not in quotes b/c they haven't quite gotten to that labeling stage. they're on the verge ... but not quite. and Thing Two is comfortable with many many girls, and is a little more socially secure. her and this friend of hers just mesh really well. they have a great time together, and have a hard time doing anything other than laughing. but there was some difficulty in choosing potential invitees in that Thing Two's friend didn't want certain other girls to join the group b/c she's jealous of Thing Two's friendship with them. The friend's mom is the one who explained this thinking of The Friend to me. So perhaps I should put it in quotes.

    I'm very excited about the group. we're planning on it lasting a long time (um, college graduation? since we're all CERTAIN our children would never choose a school far away from us, especially since we live in the Boston area, where they have practically hundreds of choices.

    It's also nice, b/c I have felt "new" around here for about a year and a half, and this to me feels like a bit of an initiation. a first "belonging" into the parent-end of the social life of the town. it is a quite affluent town (judges, doctors, Harvard professors, etc., live here, and are the parents of the children that my kids go to school with. i feel like this weird baby-parent for 1) still being in school, and 2) being 33 to their 47+), and it results in a lot of stay-at-home moms. that makes it, in some ways, hard to break in. b/c i'm NOT a stay at home mom. but i'm not exactly a working mom, either.

    Oh, the blessed work v. stay-at-home mom debate. i don't have the energy to even TRY to explain to those without children.

    but i fall somewhere in the middle, as a student. I have the flexibility to be there for the things that really matter, but not be there for the daily 2 p.m. pick up. I can work out my schedule to do things like mother/daughter bookgroup - things like Game Night, and Together Time.

    So - Thing One is jealous. She wants to do a book group, too. I told her to think up a list of friends - friends who LIKE to read, and friends who get along with each other. So, we'll be working on that, probably to START when we get home from California.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:56 PM   0 comments
    Group Session I

    I spent my day at the Massachusetts State House of Representatives yesterday. They were debating whether or not to have a “primary seatbelt law,” which would mean a police officer could pull you over solely for not wearing a seatbelt. Right now, MA has a “secondary seatbelt law – so you can only get a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt if you get pulled over for some other reason. 22 states have primary seatbelt laws.

    I was there for 6 hours, so I really ended up with an understanding of the arguments on both sides. And I didn’t like either.

    The side that wanted the bill railed on and on about it being a “public safety measure” and that it would “save lives.” The side against seemed to being saying, mostly, “you can’t tell me what to do.” They spoke of Big Brother, and of personal responsibility.

    I disagreed with the public safety/saves lives side b/c I felt that those little catch phrases could be used to pass ANY piece of legislation. No matter what infringement it puts on people’s daily lives. As one Rep said, we should outlaw, along these lines, smoking and fast food, as well. I have a problem with “public safety” being a phrase that can be thrown out to quell all debate or argument over an issue. The saving lives question – I again felt like it was a catch phrase used to win people over, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s true. One of the Reps putting this argument forth said, “everybody knows that they’re not going to speed right past a state police cruiser with his radar gun on. When you see a cruiser, you slow down. Well, that’s what we want to do with this bill.” What? Make everyone put on their seatbelts as soon as they see a police cruiser? They also had a lot of stories of gory deaths and unfortunate events. They had some parents in the peanut gallery (with me) who got to stand and look sad while a picture of their daughter who died in an accident at age 18 was held up for all to see. It was said that if this law were in force back then, this girl would be alive today. Huh? I didn’t hear anything in the story of her car accident where there was a police officer ready to stop the girl and issue her a ticket – or even scare her into putting the belt on while passing by his car.

    Another story was …. Odd. The Representative telling the story had been a claims adjuster prior to convincing people to vote for her. She told a story of a woman who was “an up and coming professional” who had her 2 year old daughter in a car seat – securely fastened – in the backseat, but no seatbelt for herself. While driving her daughter to daycare before going to work herself, she went across an intersection and was “t-boned” by a man who ran a stop sign. Because of the lack of a seatbelt, she was somehow pushed OUT of the driver’s door, and was hit and killed by an oncoming car. The Insurance Adjuster said, “of course it was the man who hit her’s fault” (the one who “t-boned” her – that was the Claim’s Adjuster’s word) but the story of tragedy was not the death – not the 2 year old in the back seat who was there for this – who knows what she saw, and what she went through with no caregiver present –

    The tragedy was that the man who t-boned her was sued, and because this woman was sthe primary bread-winner in her family, and because of all the promotions she would have had, and all the money she would have earned, HE was forced to sell his business, to mortgage his home, and was even forced into bankruptcy!!! Horror of horrors!!!

    There were more, but they were gross. Stories told by Cops-Gone-Representatives, and Funeral-Directors-Gone-Representatives (the goriest by far).

    But the other side was no more convincing. I wanted to get up. I felt like raising my hand. But alas, I stayed in my seat up in the peanut gallery (good thing, I was being paid to observe, and getting thrown out of the peanut gallery would probably have made it onto my evaluation).

    The opposition to the bill kept talking about the fact that they have the right to do whatever they want in their own car. And that if these other people want to protect their own families, then fine – but I’ll protect my family!!!

    The problem I have with this (as is obvious to me) is that there is already a law stating you must wear your seatbelt.

    One representative came close – he gave an awesome speech, and the best part was (oh wait, there’s more than one) 1) clearly at least someone knew what this guy was capable of, and they called for a quorum right before he spoke, so the House was full. 2) for the first time all day – once everyone was there -- no one spoke during his speech. During all other presentations, the other representatives on the floor were obnoxious. They were having raucous conversations, loud laughter, little cliques of people rambling on and on about clearly unrelated topics. But while Mr. Engaging was at the podium – the entire House was silent. Except when they were laughing at his jokes.

    He was the closest to my own opinion. I bet you’re just *dying* to know my own opinion.

    My opinion is as follows:

    It may very well be that we already have 345 traffic laws that allow you to be pulled over by a police officer. But very few – if ANY – require the police officer to be peering into your car. One of the many laws that were brought up as so very insignificant was the “license plate light” or “expired registration” – but those are things that are on the OUTSIDE of your car.

    We have a lot of laws that govern what you do inside your home. For example – smoking marijuana, giving your kids alcohol, neglecting to have a smoke detector in your home, and of course tons more things. But that doesn’t mean that the police can go peering into windows to be sure that these laws aren’t being broken.

    Some Representatives put forth amendments to the bill that shifted the effort from punishment to education – billboard campaigns, television ads, etc. I’m all for that. Education is great. But I really have a problem with what *I* see as a (albeit slow and small) infringement on privacy for the sake of this ill-defined, and often mis-cited “saving lives” or “public safety.”

    Perhaps part of what makes it sit poorly with me is that I had a professor this past quarter for Advanced Crim who taught about the shift from criminal procedure to “regulation” and how “public safety” claims are what Congress uses to take things out of the court, and put into Congress as regulatory instead of judicial. And the instances where this infringes upon due process rights in criminal proceedings. Preventative Detentions being the thing that first comes to mind. It’s not about punishment, it’s about PUBLIC SAFETY.

    So I was upset when the bill was passed, 77-74. My organization had worked with one progressive representative to get an amendment that required data collection pertaining to racial profiling, but that got gutted in some fashion up at the podium during the chaos that is the consideration of amendments to bills. It passed, but it was gutted. And I still don’t know what the substance of the amendment ended up being.

    posted by Zuska @ 7:47 PM   0 comments
    Wednesday, January 18, 2006
    Eeny Meeny Miney Moe
    tonight is game night. that means that the 4 of us come together around 7 p.m., and one of us picks a board or card game, and we all play together until 8:30. Last week we played our favorite word board game from like 1973 or something, and which i think is no longer available, Probe. The week before, a card game. before that, i think, was Sorry.

    the kids love it. it's rare that we let anything come in the way of it, although once summer came last year (and they were still in school), things did tend to push it aside, but it was fun stuff, and largely benefitting the girls. but in hte winter, it's perfect.

    The other nights of the week, we do our "together time" - this is where beloved spends 30 minutes1:1 with a child, and I at the same time spend 30 minutes 1:1 with the other. Then we switch. This does sometimes get either shortened, or cut -- in honor of things like unfinished homework, special projects for school, or some kind of event in an evening. I used to read aloud with the kids during our time, and beloved would play games (he and Thing One invented one game), do projects (he taught Thing Two a card trick - they worked on it for over a month, and she still does it flawlessly). I then stopped reading with them once I finally got to the end of Harry Potter 6, and I play games, help them do extra stuff for school, or whatever else they want to do. Thing Two and I are planning on reading the Chronicles of Narnia soon. Thing One is getting to where she just wants to be with me while she works on newspaper articles for the school newspaper she and her friend just started - a little guidance with research, etc.

    it's nice, though, to make this time for the 1:1, and I know it makes the girls really happy to know they have that time with each of us.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:10 PM   1 comments
    Tuesday, January 17, 2006
    as i predicted ....
    some of you may remember, i started to freak out about my spring quarter a couple of weeks ago -- it starts on 3/6/06. I had said that all of my anxiety over the issue would probably be moot once they post the class schedule, because it would be likely that 3 of the 6 classes i am interested in would be at the same time.

    I was right. 3 of the 6 are at the same time.

    However - the 4 that I *can* take are the 4 I'd already settled on in my brain, knowing that the plan may change.

    The *bad* part, is that they're all 4 on the same days. So my schedule will look like this:

    Monday:

    8:30 - 9:50 - Corporations
    10:15 - 11:35 - Employment Law
    1:45 - 3:05 - Fed Courts
    3:50-5:20 - Trusts and Estates

    Tuesday:

    Repeat. (except that Trusts and Estates doesn't start until 4:20 .... odd).

    Wednesday - no class.

    Thursday:

    Repeat Monday (again)

    Friday:

    No class.

    I am not sure how I feel about this. But looking at the schedule, and what my alternative schedules would be - I'm not changing it. I feel like Corporations and Employment law are STAYING. I have convinced myself that i'd rather take Fed Courts as a 2L (which some people say is risky, and that 2L's are too green and ignorant for Fed Courts) and perhaps struggle through than take it in my final quarter. Further, I think I will be glad to have it in my last 2 co-ops. I may have said this before, i wish i had it now.

    My M,T,Th will be L-O-N-G, and I will probably have to ride the bike come rain or shine in order to make it work with the kids. I'll have to be very disciplined about reading ahead on Wednesdays and Fridays (knowing how hard that is to do on a Friday, but I am strong, I am tough).

    The other bad thing is I was hoping for things to be a wee bit more open so I would ahve time to go to the gym M-F. I am going to make it work, though, in the 2+ hours smack in the middle of classes.

    And on Friday .... grades will be mailed (since we have "evaluations" we do not get to check our grades on line. we must wait for the leather-bound book to arrive via First Class Mail). why am I not nervous? it's not confidence - it's more of an apathy. I know I gave my ALL to the "class that I was teaching" and I'm confident that my grade (ehem, sorry, evaluation) will reflect that. But you can't give your ALL to one class and not have the other THREE suffer to some extent. We shall see.

    ________________

    *** Update. Uh, I changed my mind (think this is the last time?) I'm going to forego Trusts and Estates, and instead take Administrative Law, at 8:30 on Wednesday and Friday. I may be the only person in the world who would CHOOSE the 8:30 class over the 10:15 (Land Use, also on Wednesday and Friday), but I may also be the only person in the SCHOOL who has 2 kids to drop off at school by 8 a.m. anyway. So it's no skin off my nose.

    This way, I don't have to RUSH home every evening, and can spread out my prep time some. Furthermore, it will get me at school earlier for gym purposes on W, F. AND Trusts and Estates is one of the classes I can take next Spring, that seems relatively easy, and that I don't anticipate needing at Big Firm this summer, or in anything I hope to do during next winter's co-op. I also think I'm more likely to use Admin law in the future than I would be to use Land Use.

    These things truly freak me out.

    Oh - did I mention that the Admin Prof. is known as One of The Best??? So, I look forward to it.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:40 PM   4 comments
    one where zuska goes on and on ....

    Last night, beloved and I managed to watch both the second installment of 24’s season premiere AND Al Gore’s speech on C-Span.com.

    24 was only okay. I'm kind of irritated at the ridiculous repetition of themes. i was reminded that there are only so many forms that a national crises that require CTU's magic touch can take. But I am sick of first ladies. I am sick of Jack destroying people's lives. I am sick of his connections to people mucking up the works. Like his annoying daughter. Ugh.

    Doesn't matter. I'll keep watching. And I'll enjoy it. Probably once it's an HOUR a week, and not 4 hours out of 48.

    I then spent some time looking for a link to the Al Gore speech which I'd heard about I think only on a blog here and a blog there - I had heard enough to tell beloved about it, and he had heard nothing about it, went onto his computer, and said he saw nothing reported about it. I had to retrace my footsteps and finally found the link over at Scoplaw's blog. We then nestled in to watch him on my laptop, with RealPlay real big-like, making Al look a little more bloated and fuzzy than I suspect he looks in real life. we kept giggling at the little sound effects my computer was making as my sister was Googletalking me, some buddies were entering and exiting from AIM, and my Yahoo Mail Alert was making weird missile sounds, all through the speech.

    While watching Al Gore, I was very pleased to see him bring up:

    1. television and its numbing effect upon society, and the administration’s manipulation of that numbing effect -- also how the nature of television has removed any meaningful debate from our public fora.
    2. the fear factor and the administration’s creation and manipulation of that fear factor (which pisses me the fuck off, and makes me practically not believe in terrorism – which I am sure is purely irrational, but Bush’s talk of restricting travel in honor of the bird flu also makes me not believe in the bird flu. So, as I've been told by others, even those that I live with - I am irrational.);
    3. global warming;
    4. Media conglomerates;
    5. The responsibility of the people to be informed and to speak up;
    6. The fact that there have been times in the past where the nation faced great dangers – the cold war, for example. I had never heard anyone mention before that this is not new! For us to be facing risks, dangers, and threats is not a unique situation, and by acting like it IS a unique situation – that we are in the MOST DANGEROUS TIME EVER right now, so very dangerous as to warrant this erosion of our government’s organizational safeguards – is to spit on the plight of the generations past [that is so my paraphrasing].

    I was upset about some things, too. Beloved chastised me for my cynicism. But upset I remained:

    1. that there were tons of empty seats in the auditorium. Beloved said he doesn’t think that people knew that Gore would be giving such a talk, and that perhaps if they did, it would have been fuller. Pfft. I think I was upset because I the empty auditorium also squelched any hopes that I’m harboring that impeachment may really happen.
    2. that of the millions and millions of people who did not hear the speech when given, only those who are already inclined to agree are going to take the time out of their “busy lifestyle” to listen to a one hour and 6 minute speech.
    3. that the appeals to “the people” to act, to make themselves heard, is not going to reach or affect those who don’t agree with his message (which is many) or those who don’t care enough to listen long enough in order to find out if they agree – or care.
    4. that there are people in this country who are so tapped into the fear factor that they are unconcerned with the things that are going on. I have very close family members who say that anyone who is against torturing terrorists should be tortured alongside the terrorists. What is the answer to the question of “how do you KNOW they’re a terrorist? If there’s no trial, no fact finding, no process to be adhered to – how do you know that you’re not just torturing someone b/c they have black hair?” -- “better safe than sorry.” The same family member says he does not care if his emails are read, and no one SHOULD care unless they are terrorists. But like Mr. Ex-Vice-President said last night - *this president* is concerned about terrorists. What if the next president is concerned about pornography? And decides to listen in on everyone who may be calling those phone-sex lines (what are they called?), or monitors everyone who may be visiting XXX websites? Or perhaps – gun control? What if this very close family member ends up on a “target list” b/c it is discovered that he is the owner of SEVERAL fire arms – of many varieties – those used for hunting, and those not? And therefore, he is watched and listened to – clearly by a president he would not agree with.

    A friend of mine at work and I were discussing the Alito nomination. I had seen a segment on Meet the Press a couple of weeks ago where a discussion between Tim and a couple of opposite-side senators about the nomination focused on the Roe v. Wade issue.** I was frustrated. I wanted to hear more about Alito and presidential power. To me, that is more dangerous. At least give the 2 issues equal billing!! My friend disagreed. She said that a reversal of Roe v. Wade would have much farther reaching effects, and that the presidential power issue only relates to this president, in this term. I disagreed for 2 reasons. 1) The “war on terror” has no end date. It will never end. You will never find a period in the future where there are not people who hate the United States. There was never a time in the past (if someone knows of such a time, please fill me in); and 2) because this changes the role of the president. It sets a precedent, and it WILL apply in the future.

    ** I also take issue with the abortion issue constantly being called the “Roe v. Wade” issue -- by everyone. Those less likely to condone abortion love to talk about the fact that Roe v. Wade was badly decided, it’s a bad decision, “even the liberals concede.” Will someone better versed in Con Law please explain to me where I’m wrong – did not Casey create a new legal structure under which abortion is to be considered? So that the "badly reasoned" Roe decision kind of doesn't matter? Did not the weird trimester test get completely replaced by the undue burden test? Isn’t Casey a better “code word” to sum up the state of the law pertaining to abortion? I understand that Roe first created the idea of a woman having the “right” to an abortion, but the framework, rationale, and even the test applied to abortion-related legislation has MOVED ON. No?

    Anyway. Here’s the link to the C-Span file. It's down under "video/audio" about 1/2 way down the page. he really did an awesome job. The speech was passionate, and historical, and risky. I applaud him. And the entire hour was interesting. Sorry, Hour and Six Minutes.

    If you want to skip to the summation/5 point outline, go to about minute 58. but you’ll miss a lot of good stuff!!

    posted by Zuska @ 3:20 PM   1 comments
    Monday, January 16, 2006
    Books
    Can you tell today is a day off? The kids are goofing off on the computer (i'm being a good monitoring momma, checking in to be sure they're not venturing into scary parts of the Internet. But they're mostly restricting themselves to the American Girl site, and all the games contained therein, and the Captain Underpants site, both of which may be seen as scary by some, but I am personally fine with both). They don't usually get to do this. We were going to go ice skating at the Frog Pond today, which is an outdoor rink in the Boston Commons, but it's cold. It was 18 degrees at the time we were making our decisions. we decided we don't want to be that cold today. Next weekend is scheduled for 45 degrees, according to my most reliable sources, so we've postponed the Wintry Fun for a less wintry day.

    I am frustrated that I have not read more during my non-school time. I love to read. I have checked out many books from the library, but I have returned almost all of them, unread. My time still feels short, even without study obligations at night. Part of it may be that my kids don't have the world's earliest bedtimes - they often disappear to their room between 9 and 9:30.

    I know I have read at least 2 books all the way through since November 28. One was margaret atwood's Penelopiad. I adore that woman. The other was The Secret Life of Bees, which may as well have been a magazine article for how challenging it was. A friend of mine and I are reading From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman, but we're going preeetttyyy slow. We're on page 80.

    I wish I could read on a train, because then I'd have at least 1.5 extra hours per day to devote to the literary edification of my mind. But if I did that, i'd throw up. I used to do books on tape, but I find that I can't usually get high quality books on tape (or rather CD, which I then transfer to the iPod). There's plenty of Dean Koontz and Anne Rice ... but I have yet to find the Garbriel Garcia Marquez and Jose Saramago. Further, the times I have attempted to listen to more serious books on tape, the experience was frustrating. I want to SEE the language. I want to see how the words play together. I want to make these voices in my OWN head, I don't want someone else's voice messing with my imagination.

    And I also discovered podcasts, and have gotten back into my NPR and other news commentary shows. That was something else I missed.

    There truly are not enough hours in the day. I know that many people say "well, if it matters to you, you'll make time" about many things - exercise, reading, time with kids. Time with kids is there - exercise and reading have not found their place yet.

    Although, I could be reading right now .....
    posted by Zuska @ 1:19 PM   2 comments
    updates
    i have used the first half of this day off to update my list of blogs that i read. i am shunning the terminology. seems kind of silly, when blogroll is one word, and "list of blogs that i read" is six. but, i shun it nevertheless.

    i also think i've decided that i am going to start to participate in Friday Cat Blogging, as seen over at E.McPan's among other places that I can't find right now. A search (both google and blogger) show that it is quite the phenomonon. I'm going to start.

    I think that only Boots will be featured. Because my suspicion is that Trixie, the *other* cat is slightly feral. We acquired her through a Craigslist posting with promises that she was very friendly. We were told that she and her brothers were abandoned somewhere in rural Mass., with no mommy, and no human. She was kind of old for a kitten - perhaps 3-6 months old. We do not know for certain, because she is very little. She's very beautiful with shiny glossy black fur, and bright green eyes.

    But she's very skittish. She jumps at EVERYTHING - a cough, a sneeze, even a sigh. Sometimes the sound of a turning page in a book will freak her out. She spends most of her day in the bottom shelf of the linen closet, where she has her "hidey hole" as I've termed it. She also hides under our bed, where she gets lost in the blackness of a comforter that's being stored under there. She likes Boots, and they play together, but they don't curl up and sleep together, b/c he may breathe, and that could scare her.

    She does like beloved more than anyone else, and will have nightly cuddle sessions with him on the bed. But that's been the case for over a year, and she still hasn't warmed up to the rest of us. And I am really a cat person. Cats always love me.

    She's due to get spayed (or neutered, i don't know which is which) on March 22. I am hoping that this will result in a change of her personality, and that she will become more personable, and will even ocassionally be featured on Friday Cat Blogging. She is very pretty, and I'd love to share her prettiness with all who care to see.
    posted by Zuska @ 1:00 PM   1 comments
    4s
    Lyco has tapped me on the shoulder, with one of my favorite things to do -- Lists!! [with the caveat that for me, it means lists of paragraphs. i know no other way].

    Four Jobs You've Had [I'm going with all non-legal, to avoid repetition and boringness]:
    • Newspaper delivery, when i was 13. it was horrid - i had to run through a retirement complex with the newspapers at 4:30 a.m. Once, a very very old old man was waiting in his doorway for the paper --- he was naked. and very very droopy. his skin was so droopy, it took me some time of recreating the scene in my head to be certain he wasn't wearing some kind of flesh colored one-piece long underwear.
    • Dispatcher for my dad's company. started soon after the newspaper delivery, and didn't fully stop until i was 21. worked summers and weekends. it was hard, b/c it required a knowledge of the layout of the state in order to send workmen to the right places in the right order, but i excelled at the organizational aspects of the job, and there are still places there where my handwriting remains.
    • Copyeditor for an internet newsletter company. it was part time, and eventually included some writing. not a good atmosphere, not a good place - but i liked the actual work, and it would be one of the directions i could have gone in life.
    • Lead Bookseller at a Barnes & Noble in California. I made crap for money, but I loved this job. I loved the people, I loved the customers, I loved the books. The hours sucked, too. But I met Beloved there. So perhaps that was my favorite job.
    Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
    • Labrynth (and I have)
    • Grease (much to beloved's dismay)
    • So I Married an Axe Murderer
    • [agggh! i can't think of a 4th!!!] Neverending Story, I suppose.
      • Paragraph time! When I was young, I could watch movies over and over - and my sister and I often did together. All of the above, except Axe Murderer, were watched in my childhood, with my sister, dozens of times. Axe Murderer was a college thing, and I saw it in the dollar theater over and over. But now I don't like watching movies over and over anymore. I've bought some movies, thinking I would watch them over and over: The Dancer Upstairs, and Wings of Desire. I think they both still have their wrapping on them.
    Four Places You've Lived

    • Small Town, Connecticut
    • Lynchburg, Virginia
    • Birmingham, Alabama
    • Berkeley, California
    Four TV Shows You Like to Watch

    • Meet the Press
    • Lost
    • 24
    • Party of Five [no, it's not on the air anymore, and I really *miss* my brothers and sisters!! I don't watch any other t.v. currently, and often forego Lost for family or school obligations. Beloved and I watch 24 together]
    Four Places You've Been on Vacation
    • New Orleans, Louisiana (with beloved in 2003? 2004?)
    • London and York, England (the year 2000, b/c ex-schlurg was living there)
    • The Bahamas (high school graduation)
    • Burgos, Spain (when I was 15)
    [slightly pathetic - i've had very few vacations in my life. between being married to a full time student, with kids, across the country from all grandparents, and then being a penny-pinching single mother, and now being a penny-pinching law school, true vacations have not made it to the top of my priority list. Some day.]

    Four Websites You Visit Daily
    • lawschool.westlaw.com
    • yahoo mail
    • my school's electronic bulletin board
    • the washington post
    Four of My Favorite Foods
    • Cheese
    • steak, very pink in the middle
    • milk chocolate
    • mashed potatoes
    Four Places I'd Rather Be:
    • The cabin in Vermont that I've had a very nice time at with both my family of origin and the family i've originated
    • some mythical cottage on the beach - cold weather is fine.
    • Exploring cities in Europe
    • in a house that i actually own, with a good bit of space.
    Four Albums I Can't Live Without
    • Sinaed O'Connor -- I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
    • Aimee Mann -- Bachelor No. 2
    • ColdPlay -- Parachutes
    • and right now, perfect as background music to aid in concentration: Henry and June, the soundtrack.
    Four People to Tag With the Lists:

    Legal Quandary; Frequent Citations; E.McPan; and the Musing 1L
    posted by Zuska @ 11:24 AM   2 comments
    Sunday, January 15, 2006
    Cat Drama
    First, before talking about my trip to the pet hospital, I want to say that I want a new template for this blog. I have been searching the internet for the "right" one, and I have yet to find it. If anyone has any fun links to little template-stores, where I can find the "perfect" Zuska background and sent up, please do share.

    Yesterday, my boy was acting funny. he kept going into his litter box. and then he was attacking his tail. beloved thought perhaps the boy had worms (which honestly, beloved *always* thinks, and i really never agree), and so we gave him a pill. at one point, he was so crazily attacking his tail that he got his own claw stuck in the tail. deep. he was stuck all curled up in a ball, and was yelling at himself. it was odd. not typical Boots behavior (Boots is his middle name, Chessie Boots Johasafeather Berkeley __________ [true last name of my daughters and their father and no longer their mother]. That is his full name. So perhaps Boots is not his MIDDLE name, that would be Jahosafeather (i'm really not sure how that is spelled, so i'm not going to even try for consistency within this post).

    But today, he was worse. he was so obviously agitated. jumping up to the window sill, then jumping down as if something was AFTER him, and then running to the ltiter box, doing nothing, and running over to his food. We thought yesterday, and continued to think today, that he was constipated. In the spring/summer/fall when he is allowed out of doors, we see that he sometimes eats grass, and we think he's going for some roughage by doing so. in the winter, he stays in (b/c snow freaks him out), and he has no access to roughage.

    but when we looked up kitty-constipation, we found that there's a VERY SERIOUS condition that plagues male cats which is often mistook for the much less serious constipation problem. It's a urinary blockage, and could make him die.

    So I took him to the hospital. His bladder was small and empty, and there were no poops in his intestines. I was not too surprised, b/c he did let me poke and prod at his belly - but he would let me cut open his belly and examine his organs with a toothpick if I wanted to - he's that compliant with me. so i couldn't take his lack of scratching, biting or otherwise complaining as a diagnosis.

    Instead, I paid $140.04 to the vet for an exam and an anti-inflammatory (in case his bladder is swollen, and causing him the irritation), and $20 for the cab ride there and back.

    but my boy is okay. and that's what is important. b/c i love him, and if he was not okay, i would be super-sad. He is curled up next to me right now. i think he knows that despite the fact that it involved being shoved into a cat carrier and forced to ride in one of those scary (the first cab driver was *especially* scary) car things, and then have a strange woman poke him and prod him with the noises of barking dogs coming from the surrounding rooms, just to then be shuffled off to a lab room where urine was extracted directly from his bladder ---- he knew it was all an expression of my love for him, and that I, in the end, took care of him.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:29 PM   2 comments
    I'm pleased with the outcome ...











    Sofia Coppola

    Your film will be 68% romantic, 25% comedy, 33% complex plot, and a $ 33 million budget.

    Relatively inexperienced (The Virgin Suicides, Lost In Translation) as a director, but already highly respected and connected -- her dad, Francis, directed all The Godfather movies, Apocolypse Now. Also, at last word she's dating Quentin Tarantino, so I'm sure he'll have some input into the substance of your film. Sofia's good at making the romantic drama that is your life. Who didn't have at least a lump in the throat at the end of Lost In Translation? She's already won one Academy Award for her writing, now she'll be the first woman to receive one for directing -- YOUR FILM!
















    My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 95% on action-romance
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 13% on humor
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 26% on complexity
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 43% on budget




    Link: The Director Who Films Your Life Test written by bingomosquito on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

    I stumbled upon this quiz while reading a few archives over at E.McPan's. Man, I love quizzes.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:23 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, January 14, 2006
    a bit more on football
    i never cared about sports. i dated a boy in highschool who played, he was ..... something big (like, he was big), and he was number 34. he tackled people. that was the extent of my knowledge.

    when i graduated from college, i went home, b/c the religion i was a member of did not allow really for me to move down to Birmingham, AL where the ex-schlurg lived, b/c i would be "unchaperoned" and it would be illicit, and sinful. so i moved back home to wait for our wedding date. (actually, come to think of it - to wait for my engagement ring, i graduated in May, and we got engaged in July - on July 4th, to be exact, after a Mets game, and the wedding was set for 12/17. that was the year 1994.)

    the POINT IS. I lived with my parents. And my brother. He was in 10th grade. he played football.

    He was a star.

    I was his biggest fan.

    My brother was a .... tight end. yes. that's what he was. i think. he played both offense and defense, and he ended up winning All New England for the number of Sacks, and he also was able to run with the ball, even when 3 little puny boys from the other team were trying frantically to hold onto him and make him STOP or, on a good day (for them), FALL!!

    i learned the rules of the game. I yelled, I shouted. I did not miss a SINGLE game. My closest friend from college had moved from Virginia to Connecticut and had a nanny gig in a nearby town, and we would travel all over Connecticut to see his games. We were my brother's biggest fans.

    Honestly, I adored my brother that year. I thought he was the best thing to grace the face of the earth. We hung out all the time. i would get up early and drive him to school before work, i would pick him up after practice, and Jasmine (my best friend from college) and I would even take him out, and if the waitress would serve him, we would get him drunk. that was bad. he was 15!!!!! 2 beers did it for him. and then he would ride home, with me and my sis in the front seat, and jasmine and my brother in the back seat .... they were sometimes flirting more than us two big sisters would appreciate. she was 21.

    oh, those were the days.

    Once. we were on the way to a football game. It was a saturday afternoon. for some reason, both Jasmine and another old friend of mine, G, were taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get ready. G didn't often come into town, so it was an unusual weekend. we finally left the house to get to the game (a home game, so no real travel), and Jasmine had to pee. we lived 6 minutes from the high school. what the fuck? i told her fine, we could stop at the gas station near the school. she said no. she was NOT about to pee in a GAS STATION. she wanted to pee in a restaurant. i fancy restaraunt. i was used to her prima donna ways, so i just relented. when we got there, she insisted i come with her (b/c i was bitchy, and people had a hard time saying no to my stony face). So we go in, and I walk into the restaurant to a "SURPRISE!!!" It was my wedding shower.

    My wedding shower. On a Saturday. On a GAME DAY!!! I had to fight so hard to relax and enjoy all the Williams Sonoma gifts that were being handed to me. To be polite to my aunts and cousins and great-aunts, and friends and my father's co-workers. I kept checking the clock.

    At around 4, my dad and his boss came in - they had gone to the game! I ran over, "did we win? how did dave do?"

    3 sacks. I missed 3 sacks. I'm still slightly resentful.

    but that experience - being #1 fan of my brother, the All New England 10th grade star - sort of drew me to football. then i married the ex-schlurg, and he was a HUGE fan. he would watch college and professional, whatever. When we first married, the deal was that I would watch football with him if and only IF he would play with my hair at the same time. That lasted until ..... 3 months before the wedding. (loser)

    Ex-schlurg was a Raiders fan. the moved back to Oakland the year that we moved to Berkeley. nice timing. In one of our final years, I bought him tickets to a playoff game. I went with him. It was, honestly, fun. He had been to two other Raiders games in Oakland ... once with my dad (while Thing One was a baby, and it was about 100 degrees outside, and my mom and I stayed home and watched the English Patient, which I found to be the world's Most Boring Movie Ever.) and once with his step-dad.

    I hate the Raiders. They suck. They are annoying. They make stupid mistakes, and get stupid penalties, and even when they seem in the first 1/2 like they're gonna win, they give it up in the second 1/2, and can't bring it back to save their lives.

    I spent years dealing with my husband's depressive reaction to the Raider's losses. I also spent years where Football was Church, and when it was perfectly acceptable to have football on t.v., on mute, while baseball was on the radio, filling the tiny graduate family apartment with sound. i hated it. i hated that he had "no time" to do anything with the girls and I, but had time to watch every sporting event to grace the airways. I hated that i could not speak to him, b/c i was talking over any pre-game show that may grab his attention. i hated that when he 'had to work' i was forced to leave the house to give him peace, but the football games were welcome distractions. i hated that if he was "working" and i went in to talk to him, or to ask for some help with the Things, it was a great imposition, but that if he came out to check football scores, or baseball scores, and that "checking of scores" stretched into an hour of watching (which I could not interrupt), it was fine.

    so for 5 years, i've been anti-sports.
    But now Thing One has this job as writing sports articles for her class, and we live in Boston, and the Patriots are from here. All those years that ex-schlurg was a football moron -- i learned a lot.

    So now that Thing one is a "sports writer" - i can actually teach her about football! which is weird, since i've considered myself to be adamantly "anti-sports" (all sports) since the ex-schlurg and i split up. although i don't think i've missed a super bowl. no other sport grabs me the same as football, though. i did not watch the world series this year, and i'm not really sure what basketball even IS.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:48 PM   0 comments
    even MORE sleepiness and big tickets
    the girls had their sleepovers. thing two came home with a great resemblence to a dish towel. or perhaps a slinky. she had no firm bones. her bones were jelly. her voice ... grunts. she napped for about an hour, and woke up no better.

    Thing One was in better form -- perhaps it was feigned, b/c she wanted her friend to come home with US, b/c her mom had some boring errands to run, and she didn't wnat to go. so they had bright eyes and bushied tails to ask me if they could continue their together-time at our house for a few more hours. i am a softy. i said yes. it went well. i fed them, let them bring my laptop (!!!!! I used to be so possessive, but now it's feeling old, and people (sister, mother, partner) tell me that Thing One needs a laptop, and that she should get this one and that Summer Associate should buy me a new one .... and my protectiveness lapses, and I'm afraid I"m going to end up without a laptop during the spring. i need to be strong. i need to be firm. "No, Thing One, you cannot use my laptop! it is mine. leave it alone.")

    where was i? oh yeah. after Thing One's friend left, she (not the friend, but the Thing) had a fit b/c I called time on the computer game they were playing ... it had to do with puppies, and it was on the American Girl website, and the music was ANNOYING!!! and my sister was trying to talk to me via GoogleTalk.

    but then it was time for the football game .... between Seattle and Washington (isn't seattle IN washington?). Thing One is a "sportswriter" for a paper that she and her friends decided was lacking at her school, and took the initiative to start up. so we turned it on. before kickoff, Thing One was twitching in the chair. TWITCHING!!! she was OUT!!!

    Thing Two watched for a while, figured out who the quarterbacks were. I chatted with my sister, and realized that if this trip to CA is going to happen (in just a month), i needed to buy the tickets.

    So, we're on Jetblue, and we're leaving in the evening of 2/15, and returning on a redeye that lands at 7:10 a.m. on 2/26. I called my friend, figured out when her kids are out of school, talked much with my sister about the trip.

    So reservations are made, and we're going back. beloved is not coming, which kind of startled the Things. but he has work to consider, and we want to go to Disneyland for Thing One's bday in September (a long standing promise - her 10th bday), and it's my sister, and my very long-term friend from the pre-divorce days.

    i wonder if going will make me homesick? my sister lives really only 1 house away from my old home. we loved that home. it had a garden. it was a nice pretty house. it was old, and it had its flaws, but it was my first real home post-separation from ex-schlurg. the girls and i had our struggles there, but we found happiness, and stability. beloved and i really formed our relationship there.

    and berkeley in general has so much meaning in my life. it was the place where i stopped being a republican - where i stopped being a christian - where i stopped being a wife. where i stopped being scared. where i stopped feeling stupid. where i started to have confidence. where i felt empowered. it's where i started riding a bike. it's where i started to recycle, and not just b/c everybody else did it, but because i cared.

    i love the smell of the place. the jasmine, especially. i love the feel of the air. the mildness, the wetness.

    i arrived there when i was 8 months pregnant with Thing One. I left there when she was 7. my kids had first days of school there. i got skinny there, going to the Y every day for hours on end. I first got high there. i first felt pretty there.

    i hope that it doesn't hit me hard. i hope i don't fall into a depression of how much i loved it there, how much i loved myself there. how i became myself there.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:30 PM   0 comments
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