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.

law students
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  • Wednesday, March 29, 2006
    oh my god corporations is so boring!!
    i'm not sure if it's really that it's boring, or if it's b/c i am so tired that i just can't focus. the alternative to reading 50 pages of corporations? oh, i don't know - blogging 50 posts worth of inane drivel?

    Other than my illness of last week, I have done very well at maintaining my exercise schedule since school started. I am very pleased about this. I am enjoying it, and I am working hard.

    I am wanting new sneakers, in order to make my feet happier. My sneakers are kind of old, and while on the stairmaster, my toes tend to feel like they're falling to sleep.

    I also need new brown shoes. I had some very nice and comfortable brown Dansko shoes, but they inexplicably developed a squeak - a persistent, loud, unfixable squeak. it sounded like a nail was loose way deep inside the sole of the shoe, and i could not abide by that noise, so I chucked them. Then I replaced them with some very fun and cozy Merrills ... cozy, as in, fur lined.

    It's 55 out today. I cannot be wearing fur-lined shoes! And I cannot be wearing my sandals yet. Clearly, something must be done.

    I believe I will need to find me a zipcar this weekend, and go to some stores in which shoes are sold.

    So, I suppose, back to Corporations. I'm about to read a decision written by a local judge. that people i know have worked for.

    see how good I'm being?
    posted by Zuska @ 3:06 PM   3 comments
    no, really, i'm not obsessed, i just want to share.
    when i lived in berkeley, the San Francisco Chronicle's website, SFGate, was my home page. At some point, I discovered the columnist Mark Morford [scroll down to the bottom of this page for his picture, it becomes pertinent], and really liked him. he talks about politics and sex and sex toys and the evils of the current administration in a snarky ranty run-on sentence kind of way. The first few times I read his stuff, I thought he was unique and refreshing. Then after a while, it got to be a bit much, and a bit stale. Then, due to some kind of blow-up [i don't remember the details] about something he wrote, his presence and his newsletters got scaled back a wee bit, after disappearing entirely for a short while. I really miss the old newsletters, b/c he used to alert his newsletter recipients to new music and other products that were fun to check out. He also used to share some of the crazy hate-mail he would get, which was hysterical. Now he's back, and I have much less time, and am only able to really read his stuff approximately once a month, instead of three times a week, and so I don't have to worry about his tone getting a little old, or his word choices repetitive anymore, and I still like him lots.

    I'm pretty sure that when my sis lived with me, I had her read an article or two of his. That was at least 2 years ago. recently she sent me a link to one of his pieces saying, "you should check this guy out, you'd really like him!" and then recently when i was with her in CA, she told me that after having read his articles for months, she finally found the link that led to his photo and was SHOCKED. she said she had always pictured him as some fat hairy guy sitting in the dark of his apartment ranting away at the keyboard. Now that she knows that he's not old, not fat (and I think?) not hairy, but rather thin, relatively attractive, and teaches yoga, she's in love.

    The image she had created for some reason really cracked me up. i've always pictured him in a very modern sleek and airy apartment with minimal furniture, a beautiful apple laptop sitting on some modern shiny coffee table, while he is spending much time with his beautiful significant other on the balcony looking over SF. Somehow, picturing a fat old hairy man in a dark apartment going on and on about sex toys was very ..... WRONG .... to me. I couldn't imagine liking his stuff with that picture in mind.

    all that to say, i enjoyed this week's article.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:24 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, March 28, 2006
    A Kid Post
    Somehow, I ended up with extremely disobedient children. I have asked them at least twelve times to stop. growing. at least until I get out of school. Do they listen? noooo-ooooo.

    Thing Two is at that stage in her life where I feel like I am buying clothes every week. She has gone up 3 pant sizes since August. She had recently taken over a pair of her sister's pants, and then yesterday upon exiting her bedroom all bleary eyed and grouchy, I had to send her back to put on pants that at least reached her mid-calf. Same thing with the second pair of pants she came out in. This is not a good stage to be hitting while I am still a law student.

    Fortunately, Corporations is a relatively boring class at times, and I was able to go shopping at L.L.Bean for kids, and purchase a few pairs of pants and some t-shirts. I bought her some capris. I'm not sure she'll wear them, but if she will, no one will notice when they are shorter!! She is very slender, so pants fit her waist, etc., long after they've become too short. Yeah for Spring and capris in kid sizes!! [oooh, i just realized that this means she'll need new shoes].

    It is also the time of year for Spring Sports Sign Ups. Both my Things will be playing Softball. Thing Two appears to have a good bit of athleticism in her. She's really good at soccer, but has never played on a team. I've been pushing (i mean, ASKING) her to play, but she never wants to. Then yesterday she came home saying, "I want to play soccer and softball." I jumped on line for the registration sign ups to find out that the spring soccer deadline was March 1. Oops. (or as Thing One keeps writing .... opps.) When I shared this passing of the deadline, tears ensued. Why? I swear, i've been suggesting soccer for like, 2 years, and the answer is always no. Now all of a sudden she's not only willing, but she's IN TEARS over it. Geez.

    I am pretty sure they'll still let her play, I just have to call, rather than having the ease of the world wide web (which is open 24 hours a day, which works for someone like me who already has to fit 12 hours worth of things to do into the 9 hour business day). I may not be able to get her on the team with kids from our school, in which case I think she will need to wait for Fall Soccer.

    Last but not least (well, yeah, it is least) - the carrier of the semen that contributed to their genetic make up has pissed me off again. Or, rather, disappointed me as one who feels vicariously for my children.

    They have a week off from school coming up, and even have an extra day on one side of the week. They are going to visit him. Their last vacation week should have been with him as well, but he (graciously??) allowed them to come to California with me, instead. For this week that is in the future, I emailed and let him know of the best dates for travel, which included spending that extra day off with him after morning travel. It also included a day for them to wake up at home before the first day back at school. Instead, he completely truncated the week, and reduced their time with him by about 3 days. I just cannot fathom that. i cannot fathom someone knowing these kids, and not wanting to slurp up every last second that is available to them. They do not know of the process or the details, so they are not offended, but I am. On their behalf.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:55 PM   1 comments
    the other day, someone at my school found my blog. I know that b/c of my little sitemeter doohickey. seeing the post immediately prior to this one, you may see that it kind of freaked me out. who was it? did they know it was me? [highly likely, since so few of us have children, and even fewer have children the ages of mine .... I know someone with a 3 year old, and someone with an 18 year old.]

    Today I checked my little sitemeter, and at that time, I had 12 visits for the day, but 58 page views. That is very unusual for me. 58 page views? So I looked, and saw that one person had viewed 45 entries. what the hell? did they have nothing better to do with their day? Then I saw they were from McLean, Virginia. Beloved and I were laughing about what could possibly be there, and I said I thought there were gov't entities in McLean, but couldn't remember what, so I looked it up.

    Oh, no big deal. Just the CIA.

    pfft, and i was worried about future employers? ha!!

    Also - has anyone heard of this "Umbria Listens" company? They seem to troll the blogs out there to find out what "people are saying" about a product or an issue. I guess companies pay them to create these "reports" about what is being said, and who is saying it (demographics, not addresses and phone numbers). A few people have been to my site from these reports. The concept is pretty interesting. I suppose it was just a matter of time, but yet it makes sense in this ingenious kind of way.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:40 PM   2 comments
    The Fearful Blogger
    Earlier this week, my school posted on our internal electronic bulletin board a little warning re: blogging and employment.

    I told myself that it didn't concern me, that I feel I've been quite careful in my blogging - I have not blogged about things that could get me in trouble - I've not spoken of classmates, I've not spoken of details about the inner world of my school. I do not feel that I've ever shared anything on this blog that would hurt my standing with the firm I'll be working with this summer.

    Yet, even though I *said* I wasn't concerned, and I spoke with Beloved about it, and he said he didn't think I needed to be concerned, I haven't posted much lately. I'm feeling a wee bit more reserved, and a little like I'm looking over my shoulder in the blogging context.

    I will keep thinking this through .... any input on the issue is welcome. Should I be concerned? Especially as someone who will be on the job market within the next year?
    posted by Zuska @ 7:22 PM   2 comments
    Thursday, March 23, 2006
    Hodge Podge
    I am feeling overdue for a post, and have several brewing (as always) in my head. Decided to make one long post with all the updates.

    1. Health. I missed 2 days of classes for the flu - or whatever the hell it was that made me burn up and ache all over and feel generally like I was going to die. Today I missed my 8:30 class, not so much for the flu (although I wasn't feeling up-to-snuff), but rather for a child's classroom's Family Breakfast. If I was well, I could have hopped on the bike afterward and booked it to class, but alas, I was not, and instead i slowly walked home and took it easy, and then took the bus to school for the 10:30 class.
    2. Beloved is Sick. he seems to have the same thing I did, although perhaps milder. His fever wasn't as high, and his aches seem to be a little less. he was awake and reading and communicating normally for most of the evening, although in bed, and unable to eat. It hit him through the day today, and he came home early from work. I'm encouraging him not to push it for tomorrow - just take the day off. He has at least one errand to run (see entry #4 below), and I think that it would be nice if that is all he really does. Then he can get better. Which is probably important, since the Things may be getting this thing after us.
    3. School. My missing of classes and readings was almost harmless. Harmless in 3/4 classes. Fed Courts today was brutal. I had read today's reading, but had not caught up on what I hadn't read for Tuesday b/c I got hit with the bug on Monday night. There were about 400 SUPER IMPORTANT cases, apparently, in that reading and discussion. All of today's class was spent referring back to those cases. I had notes from a friend, but that's not the same as having been there, and I believe I need to have a Fed Courts Weekend. Woo hoo. Tomorrow being Friday would typically mean I have the entire day to read for Monday/Tuesday classes, but I have a meeting scheduled with My Judge (from last summer) to go over the file that I'm working on with him. That will probably eat up 4 out of 6 of my "free" hours. oh well.
    4. Pets. Baby Cat was checked in at the vet last night. Today, she was Cut. There will be no more caterwalling in this house (i.e., baby girl cat in heat no more!!!) I am so happy. That cat was going into heat every 2 weeks. And there's a boy cat (neutered as he may be) in the house, and his disinterest was driving her even MORE crazy. This is Beloved's one errand for tomorrow. He needs to go pick up Baby Cat. I hope he's better enough to do it, b/c she hates me. She thinks I have poison emanating from my pores. If he is on the bed, she goes over, rolls all over him, curls up on his belly, plays with him, etc. I come in the room, and she runs and hides. hopefully this surgery will make her more mellow, and a little less feral (b/c that is what I think it is). Speaking of cats ... I have some really great cat blogging photos on my camera, but I can't upload them, b/c I can't find that little connector cord that goes from camera to computer. I also have a card reader somewhere, but I don't know where that is. I am sure I could find them if there weren't people sleeping in most rooms of the house.
    5. Kids (i.e., shameless bragging). My Thing One cracked me up today. I went to pick her up from her theater group, and we were chatting. I mentioned that Thing Two had gotten an email from their paternal grandmother stating that their pregnant aunt recently found out that her fetus has a vagina, and no penis. Thing One said, "yeah, I know." I said, "how did you know?" she said, "I got the email, too, but I organize my email, so you just didn't see it when you went looking." [as of right now, me "going looking" is not a problem or privacy concern. Thing One will often ask me to check her email when i check mine, and I have made it known that there are protective reasons why I need to just do spot checks of what's in their inboxes.] I was impressed by her organization, and told her, "oh, that is so good that you're organized, it will make you such a good student, and such a good scientist, and such a good adult!" [i was being goofy!]. She looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, "don't count your chicks before they hatch, mom!" she's so cute. I can't believe that this tall girl who will barely fit on my lap at all anymore was my first little baby. This baby that I so felt was a part of me. This girl, almost 10 years old, is not a part of me. She is her own self. She has a fabulous brain, an amazing sense of humor, and is incredibly capable. But she wasn't always so separate and distinct. She was a little tiny baby who was incredibly needy, and wouldn't sleep unless it was with me nearby, and who was as happy as pie 95% of the time - b/c that was the percentage of time that I was with her. Then she was a little cuddly toddler. But it's the baby that's been on my mind lately. That my mind can barely wrap around. Just amazing. her pre-teen face used to have chubby cheeks, and a bald head.
    6. Day-to-Day Blathering. The girls and I were pretty much on our own this evening. We were all a little mopey over Beloved's absence, b/c we were sad for him that he was feeling poorly, and we missed him. I even had to cook. I am not sure who was most upset about that .... me, b/c I don't like to cook, Beloved, b/c he had to sacrifice a well-planned recipe to perhaps disastrous hands, or the girls, b/c they had to eat my food. I think dinner came out alright. They ate. I ate. (I never like food that I prepare myself as much as food prepared for me, so I was underwhelmed, knowing that if He made the same dish, it would have melted in my mouth like buttah). They had some little chores, THing Two had to shower, Thing One had to practice her cello. Then I decided I would humor them and play this "baby game" they have. We play a lot of games in our house. We like games. 2 out of the 4 of us are quite competitive (that would be ME, and Thing Two, who i created). They got this game from - well, I don't know. But not from me. And not from Beloved. It's called Cadoo. And you have to either draw, act, or sculpt (out of clay) the clue given on a card, or you have to perform some task. it really has always seemed, to me, from afar, just too babyish. I never wanted to play. But tonight, since we were down, i said yes.

    We had so much fun, and laughed so hard. Thing One couldn't wait for me to get an acting card (basically charades), but I kept getting drawing or sculpting, which I was successful at (which should not be taken to mean that I have *any* proficiency at either of those things ... the game is a little young ... I had to draw a skateboard, and sculpt an airplane ... not too taxing). But at last, I got an acting card. The clue? Shark. Well how the hell am I going to do THAT while maintaining some maternal dignity? Apparently, not at all. I tried to just slink around with a hand at my back trying to be a fin. i don't remember what their guesses were, but they were OFF, so i started snapping my jaws. Thing One managed to spit out a "shark!" through her guffaws. When I returned to our circle she said, "mom, you have no idea how ridiculous you looked!"

    This from the girl who last night, while playing with her sister got the clue "corn on the cob" and chose to act it out by lying on the floor. that's all she did. she was a cob of corn. talk about ridiculous.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:31 PM   0 comments
    Wednesday, March 22, 2006
    it says i have very low femininity!!
    I took a new test that i saw over at ambivalent imbroglio's. it took a long time - it wasn't one of those "dorky quizzes someone made up while drunk so you can think of a post to put on your blog!" quizzes. It was more like the myers-brigg tests. If you mouse over the different colors, it tells you what they signify.

    posted by Zuska @ 1:13 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, March 21, 2006
    i woke up on my own at 4:50 this a.m. b/c I dreamed that everything highlighted on the Google News website was designed to make me throw up. huh? so i awoke, and realized that i felt really really bad. i wandered around the house for a wee bit, thinking it would pass, or otherwise go away, and it did not.

    therefore, i am home today. i have missed all three of my classes for today (one starts in 30 minutes, but i just woke up 30 minutes ago, and while the pain in my stomach is less, my all-over body aches now exist, and how). i don't mind so-so much, except that my book for tomorrow's one class is in my locker. If I had a cold, I would risk the train, bus or bike. With today's flavor of illness, not so much.

    i also found out this a.m. while sending an email to my Corporations group members that the IRS made a big (BIG) snaffoo with my direct deposit refund (hello! not direct withdrawal payment! direct deposit REFUND!). So while experiencing great pain, I was having to
    call the bank, and then the IRS, and then the bank again. As friendly as all parties were with me, the end result was that there's nothing to be done TODAY. Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps Friday. Perhaps Monday. And that's just until I get my money back - the refund won't be coming any time soon now, the IRS guesses.

    beloved has been very loving and helpful - he took the girls to school this a.m., even though it made him a wee late for work, and he made me tea, and he has been checking in with me via email.
    posted by Zuska @ 1:14 PM   1 comments
    Sunday, March 19, 2006
    The Big Date
    i went out on a date last night. the guy was super nice (and really cute), and we had great conversation. we went to a restaurant near to my house, and i loved the atmosphere. we went kind of early, and were there before the crowd by about 15 minutes (my typical luck, a nice little perk in my life). the place is known for good food, but its reputation is stronger as a bar. we had a couple martinis, and shared a sampling of appetizers - skipped the entree.

    Then we hopped on the T and went into downtown Boston to see V. I liked the movie, but I found it depressing. I found it depressing for several reasons. Here are two of them:

    1) I do not think that our population can be roused like the fictional British population was.
    2) If I felt that I was required for extreme rebellion (not violent rebellion, I really don't think I'm capable of rebellion), I do not feel that i could do it. B/c of the Things.

    I enjoyed the movie. When it got out, both the T stop and every single train that rode through was jam-packed. Apparently a Boston team moved up in the whole basketball doo-hickey thing that both my date and I are paying zero attention to. They were not letting people on trains. They were chanting something about how great their school was, and were blocking the door of the cars. So we rode inbound first, and then got on BEFORE these crazy people got on, and then were able to get home.

    We had a fantastic time. A wonderful date. I hope he asks me out again soon!!
    posted by Zuska @ 7:56 PM   3 comments
    optimism and the South Dakota Ban on Abortions
    this almost feels like an "old" issue, but i've been thinking about it for some time, and my reading cases for my Fed Courts class continues to solidify my prediction:

    The Supreme Court will summarily dismiss the efforts of the South Dakota legislature in prompting a reconsideration of Roe v. Wade and the constitutionality of the underlying idea that a woman's right to choose is protected.

    I believe the the Court is historically offended by such outright defiance to its decisions. i think that one example of that is Congress' attempt to override the Courts' decision in Employment Division v. Smith by passing the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act. That was struck down. I am reading several cases where legislative actions designed to usurp the Court has been smacked down - over and over.

    South Dakota (or any other abortion opponents) did not need an outright ban in order to prompt reconsideration of Roe v. Wade. Casey, in 1992, did not involve a state's outright ban, and it was a wholesale reconsideration of a woman's right to choose. Considering that lesser action was required to bring the issue before the Supreme Court, i do not think that this blatant defiance is going to be smiled upon.

    My optimism does not come from a belief that the Supreme Court as it exists today feels any sort of commitment to a woman's right to choose -- i beleive the opposite. However, I do think that the traditionalism and the respect for the institution of the Court that is held by the most conservative members will save the right to choose through this recent manufactured challenge by South Dakota.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:42 PM   1 comments
    and yet another quiz!
    I found both of these over at Confessions of an Exhausted Mind.

    You Are Coke

    A true original and classic, you represent the best of everything you can offer.
    Just the right amount of sweet, just the right amount of energy... you're the life of the party.

    Your best soda match: Mountain Dew

    Stay away from:Dr Pepper
    posted by Zuska @ 1:11 PM   1 comments
    two days late
    You Are Mint Green

    Balanced and calm, you have mastered the philosophy of living well.
    Your friends seek you out for support, and you are able to bring stability to chaotic situations.
    You're very open and cheerful - and you feel like you have a lot of freedom in life.
    Your future may hold any number of exciting things, and you're ready for all of them!
    posted by Zuska @ 1:10 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, March 16, 2006
    on marriage
    beloved and i are not married. this has been a conscious decision of ours ... it has nothing to do with fear of commitment, nothing to do with a desire to "get out" if we need to later on. we are very committed to one another. the things we have done together and for one another have proven that much more than a marriage certificate ever could. (although when i think about those things, they tend to point more from him to me -- he is the one who moved from his home state to the opposite coast for the sake of MY schooling --- he is the one who has taken on responsibilities and infringements on his life because of the Beautiful Things -- he is the one who is working at a less-than-desirable job in order to help me get through school).

    Why have we not gotten married?

    1) because we have been married. each of us, to different people, and we found the institution flawed, or broken, or imperfect, or something bad. it did things to both of us - to our persons, our inner selves, that we do not want to repeat. I will not speak for him, but for me .... I lost myself. There was no "zuska" while I was married. There was "schlurg's wife."

    2) because I see marriage as being so much of a religious ceremony - and i do not belong to a religion. i do not feel that i need to be "one in god's eyes." I feel that we are truly partnered, in our eyes, in our lives, in our actions, and this ceremony is unnecessary to validate that. (or should be).

    3) because it would have no impact on our relationship. so ... why do it? for what? not for god, not for "us," so for who?

    it used to be that it was not required by "our society." We used to live in Berkeley, California, where i knew many couples who had not gotten married ... they had kids, they owned a home, they were a couple. but they were not married. one woman told me that every year they would ask their accountant at tax-time, "should we get married? will it help?" and every year he shrugged and said, "not really." (i do now know enough of tax through my family law class to know that IF I were to get my way and have beloved quit his job upon me getting settled into a post-grad firm, it actually would make more tax-sense to be married).

    but we don't live in berkeley anymore. we live in New England. and i'm finding it to be more and more required by society ... that a couple living together (especially with children in the house) be married.

    furthermore, i see that the Beautiful Things see it as required by society. Thing Two has asked many times why we are not, if we could please, and made it known that she feels that we would fit more into the world view that she is being raised inside of if we were in fact, married. we have told the Things our view .... that all marriage consists of is a piece of paper, and we don't need a piece of paper to tell us that we love each other. that we ARE a family, that we ARE a couple.

    and there is a part of me that wants to get married. i can't even put my finger on why. as i said - there will be no changes. there is nothing that we are holding back in this relationshpi. there is no doubt that we are in it for the long haul. but there's something about having beloved be my husband that is very appealing.

    which is odd, especially considering that fresh from the last marriage, the word "husband" or "wife" was like poison on my tongue. it meant something ELSE. but now, to me, it means a woven fabric. something super-homey. like, something that IS here, but yet, isn't.

    that's the part where i feel that societal expectations are within me, b/c i am a part of society. i am one of its members.

    but then there's the other part of "societal expectations" affecting my view .... i don't want for people to see us as less than what we are. i don't want them to think, "oh, there's that single mother with her live-in boyfriend" - b/c that is not US. i don't want the girls to feel like we're not as complete as we could be, that we're just one sheet shy of a true family. i don't want the judgment. and that, to me, is the WRONG reason to want something.

    I also want the shortcut. I'm sick of saying, "my partner and i are going out this weekend" and know that people are wondering about my sexual orientation. the judge i worked for over the summer was absolutely appalled that i used the word "partner" to talk about beloved. he was a tad conservative (duh), and was like, "but don't you realize? if you say that, people are going to think that you're a lesbian!" I shrugged it off and said, "you know, that doesn't bother me. I'm not a lesbian, so i don't want to be ... misleading, and i often do somehow say "he" shortly after, but if someone is left wondering, i'm not offended or insulted, so that's really not an issue for me." He could not believe it. But I'm not going to say "boyfriend." I'm 33, not 13. Not 23. And "boyfriend" doesn't convey our commitment to each other. I'm not going to say "significant other," b/c as far as I'm concerned, that's a sentence. I used to be made fun of in my teaching circle last year b/c I always said, "my [his name]" when referring to beloved, and i was told i had ownership issues. (all in good fun).

    We've thought of just using the shortcut - in fact, i think he does call me his wife when talking to others at work. but most of the people i talk to know that i'm not married. it would just be weird. i could perhaps call him my husband, but then people would be all, "oh, did you get MARRIED??? WHEN???" and i'd be forced to say, "well, really, I didn't, but husband is just easier to say!"

    beloved and i have had discussions about this issue over and over. sometimes at the prompting of the Things' questions, and sometimes at my raising of the issue. i think he's raised it once. we vascillate. sometimes i'll start a discussion b/c i want us to think it over, and end the discussion saying, "ewww, no, i don't want to!" i think it's pretty well settled that it's going to happen some day - whether b/c of taxes or b/c of insurance reasons. but i think that the stronger and stronger our relationship gets, the more i think i want to b/c of me and him.

    i don't know. it's all very muddling.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:18 PM   4 comments
    untitled gibberish
    I think this is one of the longest gaps i've had in my posting since ... um, a little while.

    I am absolutely positively LOVING my classes thus far. So for fun, instead of blogging, I read. For school. One of the things I am really enjoying is the fact that these classes (Administrative Law, Corporations, Employment Law, and Federal Courts), well, minus Fed Courts, are just so practical in this society that we live in. Corporations isn't only teaching me about the kind of finagling I may be asked to do this coming summer, but it's teaching me about hte way that these favored entities start, how they function, what the law requires (or not) of them. I'm really enjoying this.

    God, I am such a nerd!!!

    I've been busy, and my work load is far from insignificant, but my life is still so much more relaxed and balanced than it was during my last in-school quarter. I'm working in exercise, which greatly enhances my energy level throughout the entire day, I have large chunks of time where I can prepare for classes and work on assignments, and I'm never rushing out the door of a class in order to pick up the kids. I have time. I can leave earlier and stop by the store before I pick them up - or if it's a wretchedly blustery day as it was for the past 2, I can allow myself more time on the bike.

    I've had a few substantive posts floating around in my head, but I am trying so hard to stay on task so that this new-found flexibility is used for good in my life, that i have not taken the time to work through them. thoughts on abortion laws and bans; thoughts on raising kids; thoughts on "sending the wrong message;" thoughts about being a "working mom;" and thoughts on working for a big firm; and so on.

    maybe later tonight, if I finish my 27 pages (not too bad) of Administrative Law before I'm exhausted, I will have a chance to pontificate. oh, lucky readers ;)
    posted by Zuska @ 7:05 PM   0 comments
    Monday, March 13, 2006
    Catchin' up with me
    I am so utterly exhausted tonight!! I am just a blob in the chair, having a hard time moving toward getting anything accomplished.

    The weekend didn't feel restful enough. The things wrapped up their sleepovers around 10 a.m.but then Thing The First got a phone call around 2 saying, "can't you come over right now?" and I, being me, said yes. Then Thing the Second and I went to a play that her friends were in. We got home around 6 p.m. and ate dinner, then beloved and those Things of ours watched some silliness on t.v. while i shut myself up in the bedroom with Fed Courts.

    I had bad dreams last night, which robbed me of quality sleep. I have absolutely no recollection of what they were about. None. But they were bad, and depressing. I think that there was one point where a man was trying to kill his wife and kids in a fire. See? Bad. Depressing. Quality Sleep Inhibiting.

    I remain the Gym Queen. Today i had been on the verge of allowing a small little hiccup turn into an Excuse, but I stopped myself, and I went anyway, and I sweat like mad, and I have soreness now to show for it. Not painful bad soreness, but good, "I worked hard today!" soreness. I added sit ups into the routine, as well. Thus far, the routine is still under an hour, and 1.5 hours if you count the shower. I would like to add in some weight-training, but it will have to be limited b/c of the time constraints. I wonder if 3x a week is enough to get anything out of weight training? When I was at my peak, I was doing upper body every other day, and the lower on the OTHER every other days. now I'll have to pick a few prime things to do, and fit it into a smaller piece of time. On M, T, Th, I get out of Employment Law at 11:50, run to my locker, grab the gym bag (and every day after today - my school I.D. so I can get into the gym without having to go BACK to the locker, and then BACK to the gym, in the rain), and get across the street to the gym, work out, shower, return to the law school, eat food (usually microwave some delicacy that Beloved has packed up for me from nights past), and get up to Fed Courts for 1:45.

    On W, F, however, I am done at 10. With scheduled classes, anyway. So those are the days I can play with new exercises with impunity. Only 2 days/week. The only way a third would come in is by going back to the gym one day at 3:00 after my last class, or trying to get to the gym on a weekend day (ptooey).

    Beloved has also started a new exercise routine. He is getting up at FIVE!!! every other day, and going running before work.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:52 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, March 11, 2006
    flip flop? John Kerry has NOTHING on me!!
    I graduated from liberty university in 1994. it is a school founded and run by Jerry Falwell.

    I really hate telling people where I went to school for 2 reasons: 1) It's a bad school. The academics suck, the priorities are screwy, and I feel that I got a nasty-ass education. 2) For those who know what "Liberty University" is, it creates a set of assumptions about ME that could be no further from the truth. I am not an evangelical. I am not a christian at all. Perhaps I would be somewhat of a "christian" -- if I didn't go to liberty university. But I did. I hate having to feel like if I'm going to tell people where I went to school, I have to find a way to say, "but i've changed, really, i have."

    the school sends out a newsletter. It probably goes to more than just alumni, since Jerry is really good at asking everyone with a pulse (or rather, with a credit card) for money, and the newsletter does as much to ask for money as it does to update on the school. I also know that my Ex has written and called them on numerous ocassions asking them to stop sending him the thing, and they have been most unresponsive.

    It also updates on a lot more than the school's doings. it updates on the "moral majority" (or whatever it's called these days - didn't it disband?), or what some people refer to as "the religious right." I am going to concede that not all of the religious right is aligned with jerry falwell, and will therefore resist saying that this newsletter and its sweet little articles are representative of that entire population.

    I am, however, going to quote this little journal here, in this blog, for those who may believe that perhaps Jerry Falwell isn't as bad as some people say.

    Here we go!!!

    1. The New Law School. It was granted provisional accreditation, and they are so excited! "the school is propelled by a refreshing excitement, energy, and devoted sense of purpose." after all, it is "the realization of a dream. the School of Law has a distinctive Christian mission. The law school combines superiore legal education in the best of our Western legal tradition. the law is good if it is used properly, but the law can do great harm when it is separated from faith and eternal principles. The law school is training the next generation of lawyers and world leaders to use the law as a fulcrum for good."

    I am surprised to see that the dress code has relaxed some since I was at the undergrad .... girls can wear pants now. I wonder if that's the case at the undergraduate campus, too? At the law school, they're allowed to be in "casual dress" after 5:30 and on Saturdays. This still may not include shorts, hats or caps, or sandals. Of course. We all know how inappropriate that would be.

    They have a nondiscrimination policy, too. With this (among other) caveats: The School of Law does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation but does discriminate on the basis of sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, non-marital sexual relations or the encouragement or advocacy of any form of sexual behavior that would undermine the Christian identity or faith mission of the University.

    Oh, look. An Honor Code (pdf). It requires the following: All students of Liberty University School of Law have a duty to live a chaste, honorable and virtuous life, which encompasses many principles, including honesty, integrity, respect and self control, as well as reserving sexual intimacy for marriage. Honesty, respect, I can definitely stand behind. But the sex part? No, I can't stand behind that. We are talking about adults. We are not talking about high school students. We are talking about people who are an average age of 25.

    There's also a tattle-tale provision - if you know someone's having sex (extra-marital, homosexual, or even "promiscuous or predatory" behavior), and you don't tell on them, you have violated the honor code. They also are not allowed to become "involved with" pornography (view, own, distribute), nor may they drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.

    2. President Jimmy Carter apparently, desipte his southern baptist roots, is Disfavored by the Liberty Crowd:
    We realized that President Jimmy Carter was a pitiful man, but never more pathetic than the ocassion of the February 8 memorial service for civil rights icon Coretta Scott King. With President Bush sitting on the platform, the man who is considered by many to be the most ineffective president of the 20th century denounced [wiretapping] ... We wonder if President Carter would be so vengeful if he were to similarly face open criticisms of his unproductive presidency during the funeral service of a Republican leader. Political dissent is one thing, but utilizing a memorial service to boost up one's own delicate ego and play partisan political games is truly shameful.
    3. There appears to be an argument in the world of Evangelicals over Global Warming. A group of them (ECI) have decided that "This is God's world, and any damage that we do to God's world is an offense against God himself." Jerry Falwell not so much. He is "not even convinced that global warming is occurring" and even if it were .. trying to stop it "will devestate the American economy." He is "deeply concerned that a mass endorsement of global warming by evangelicals could pressure the U.S. to sign on to the flawed Kyoto Accords or similarl global agreements which would greatly damage America's national economy."

    4. Liberty (the undergrad) has a debate team. I guess it was recently written up in Newsweek. This newspaper of mine is finding much scandal in some of the Newsweek reporting that took place. Apparently, Jerry referred to a bible verse that talks about "salt of the earth." He said that the debate team was a "salt ministry." The Newsweek article said that the team was "an assault ministry." The Journal says, "once again we see that the secular press is lost when it comes to having any knowledge of the Bible."

    5. Abortion. There's a lot. 6 full newspaper sized pages. I honestly couldn't read it. It makes me feel literally sick to my stomach. Needless to say, there's a lot of use of the word "murder" and "Planned Parenthood" and "sexual immorality" and "innocent children."

    6. Abstinence Education. See #5. For personal reasons, the abstinence education is almost worse than the abortion issue for me. I absolutely hate the religious rights' position on this. It angers me. Deeply. And it has 4 pages in this newspaper. Perhaps one day I'll write a post entitled "How Abstinence Education (or brainwashing) Ruined My Life." I sort of tried with my "Religiosity" series ... but they weren't really getting across what I was going for.

    7. Barbie. Or is it White People. Or is it Racism. I can't figure out what the problem is here. They have this little ditty called "the dirty dozen of absurd college courses." Apparently this list was put out by the Young America's Foundation, which the NLJ states, is committed to the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values. Therefore, they're very angry about these 12 courses which are examples of "the most bizarre and troubling instances of leftist activism supplanting traditional scholarship in our nation's colleges and universities." 5 of them involve homosexuality in some way (although "lesbianism" is in the title of three of them). 3 involve Marxism. But the one that I find the oddest is "The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie: Race and Popular Culture in the United States." Huh? This is offensive cuz ..... what? The title of The Cultural Production of Early Modern Women seems just as confusing until you read the blurb. since that course examines "prostitutes," "cross-dressing," and "same-sex eroticism" I can see why a fundy would be upset. But Barbie? Why are they upset? Is she somehow woven into the fabric of their faith? I missed that while at Liberty.

    There is also a course called "American Dreams/American Realities" that examines the "myths" of "rags to riches" and the "frontier." I'm a bit stimied on where the offense is found on that one as well, but still. Barbie has me more flummoxed.

    8. The Establishment Clause. There apparently is a case going on in Florida where some Wiccans are challenging a state law which allows the sale of bibles to be exempt from sales tax, but not the religious texts of other religions. I find this pretty interesting, b/c the cases cited are ones that I became intimately familiar with during my last co-op; Texas Monthly v. Bullock and Walz v. Tax Commissioner. It seems to me, after reading 2 short columns, that this Florida law does in fact prefer one religion over others, which should be Bad. But Matthew Staver, Liberty's counsel guy (who is quoted throughout the entire 30 page newspaper as if he were God Himself) says,
    Even if Florida's law were questionable ... any attempt to tax religion will not be met with enthusiasm by a majority of the Justices on the Supreme Court. In case the Wiccans haven't been paying attention lately, they should realize the times have changed. We have a new Court.
    Oh. Wow. If I wasn't scared of the changes on the Supreme Court before, I may be now. I hope this guy's wrong.

    9. And finally, the daVinci Code. These people really don't like that book. they find it as being Really Blasphemous in that it tries to make Jesus a human (I haven't read the book, b/c I shun bestsellers, but I will likely see the movie, b/c i'm a sucker for visual stimulation), and b/c it glorifies Mary Magdeline. Is that right? Something else about the feminization of god. This really has their knickers in a twist. This was their cover story - the "ballyhoo" about the coming movie, and how wretched it is that people are saying that god may be a she. that is terrible. for someone to suggest that an icky filthy pooey WOMAN could be the form taken by GOD? pfft. Apparently, some years ago (40), the author was listening to this theologian who damned near predicted the future (oh yeah, and stated the past)
    When people come to the end of their rationalism, they will come to the end of their rationality ... [they will finally conclude] there is no god. they will rationalize the reality of god away; they will deny jesus, the resurrection, and truth of the gospel. then they will fall for anything .... the time will come when we would see a return to the very roots of ancient paganism again. people will mark and deface their bodies with tattoos ... people will worship feminine deities. people will stare into crystal balls and they will try to talk to those who are dead, and on the other side.' i remember sitting there, 40 years ago,thinking 'oh, come on! i know you're a brilliant man, and you've got a lot of insight, but people aren't that stupid!
    These were some of the things that stood out to me as ... almost other-worldly. There was another little blurb on terrorism, and how people should only be bothered by the spying program if they are terrorists or cavoring with them. Otherwise, they are as ridiculous and as uninformed as that Pinnacle of Evil, the ACLU.

    What would Liberty ever say? What would Jerry Falwell do if he were confronted with the fact that one of his little itty bitty graduates from 1994 not only got a divorce (and from such a promising young man, who was handed an award directly from Jerry himself for his athletic and academic prowess), but then went to law school at one of the most blatantly liberal law schools in the nation, and then spent time working at Liberty's arch-enemy?

    How weird that I used to be in that world. It is so surreal to read this paper and try to picture myself in 1994 -- reading this smugly, with the idea that everything printed ws right, and wondering why the rest of the world didn't "get it." Was I doing that? i don't clearly remember. I think I was not. But I know I was quite conservative, politically and ideologically. i do not know if I would have swallowed all of this .... without at least questioning or searching for some balancing act in my mind. Some sort of toning down of the material. I know that well before graduation I was squirming in my seat every time Jerry got up to speak - whether in chapel (3x a week) or in church (another 3x a week) - his jokes about homosexuality - while i knew that one of my nearest and dearest friends was a closeted gay man, struggling with the reality of his sexuality b/c of the messages of hate and fear that were being sent to him constantly. his (still Jerry here) political sermons on Sunday mornings at Thomas Road Baptist Church. I was so angry that he used a church to wax political. he would throw out a token bible verse at the start of the service, and never return. never tie it in. he would just go on and on and on about Bill Clinton and how bad his policies were. about the media. about the liberals. about the ACLU. And it made me mad.

    There were so many changes in me during those years, I'm not sure what came when. I had many reasons for doubting the soundness of the ideology (i always struggled with the religious aspects .... always. To me, that world was a culture, not a faith), but i don't think that the major changes came until the Ex and I were in Alabama, because that is when we stopped attending the fundy churches. We went Episcopalian for a while. Then we moved to Berkeley, CA, and were presbyterian for a little while - actually I was - he had already thrown in the towel completely. I was about 6 months behind him.

    Whenever it happened - the changes were profound, and complete, and I honestly haven't looked back once. My parents are in it, going strong, and I just cannot fathom subscribing to the belief system that they have, or the one exhibited in this newspaper from my old school. I cannot fathom it.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:11 PM   10 comments
    trying to fit two lives into one weekend
    another saturday night at home while one child is at a friend's house, and another has a friend here. i once again have the privilege of saying, "girls, you need to quiet down and go to sleep now!" once again, I can be ignored as two girls under the age of 10 giggle wildly in the other room. i'm sure they'll eventually drift off . . . . . they always do.

    beloved and i had tentatively talked of going out this weekend -- the two of us. you know, like on a date? but i dropped the ball. i forgot, and did not line up a sitter in time. i suppose it isn't too surprising, considering the chaos of the First Week of Classes, but I wish I had. It would have been a nice cap to a crazy week. I have already contacted Babysitter Extraordinaire and next Saturday it is. Dinner and a Movie for Us.

    We were going to watch a movie here at home while the girls giggled in the other room, but by the time I got the kids into their room with lights out, and we wrapped up what we had been doing, it was 10:20, and hte movie is 2 hours long, and we are Old. So instead, I curled up with my alma mater's monthly newsletter (separate post forthcoming), and Beloved with a design book .....

    Tomorrow the girl-swap happens around 10 a.m., and we have a play to go to at 4:30 p.m., if Thing Two isn't too exhausted. Otherwise, I'm going to do a couple loads of laundry, perhaps try to straighten my bedroom, and at some point ..... read 2 days' worth of Fed Courts, write a complaint for Fed Courts, and read 2 days' worth of Education.

    Sometimes, law school gets in the way.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:03 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, March 09, 2006
    highlighters and sweat.
    Today is really my hump day. I have three out of four classes on M, T, Th, so when Thursday's over, I feel about 10 pounds lighter. At least that's the case for this first week. I still have about 18 pages to read for Administrative Law tomorrow morning, but otherwise, I am feeling okay.

    I need to draft a complaint for Federal Courts this weekend. I do not look forward to it. it is really just an exercise, not graded. but it is also in addition to the 100 pages of reading for that class. welcome back, Zuska!!

    I am finding myself going back to my old 1L habits, socially. which means i am in a world of my own. i was much more socially involved in the fall, because of the teaching thing. i had my students, and i had the fellow teaching-people, and i was required to be in touch with many people on a pretty consistent basis. but now i'm just a Student again, and that means that I have my list of things to do, and more limits on the hours in which I can do them than most of those around me. If I do not hunker down, I'm not gonna get done.

    And this quarter I'm really insistent upon the gym being a priority. i've always tried in the past, and things always took priority. Understandably. but now i'm determined. 1.5 years of other things taking priority is not good for a girl's body image. and i'm sick of it.

    so i'll be a solo flyer, and i am fine with that.

    b/c then i come home, and i have dinners cooked for me, and little(ish) arms thrown around me, and i feel good about the work i'm doing, and good about meeting goals, and good about where i am. and i am no longer 22 or 23. or single. or responsible for only myself. and those things, i do not miss.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:59 PM   0 comments
    Wednesday, March 08, 2006
    Update on the Clinic and Other Things
    1) I went to the gym today. I worked out hard, and it felt great. But I forgot a brush, and my hair is really thick and shoulder length, and not brushing it after a shower is not fun. I need to remember to add that to the Gym Bag.

    2) Administrative Law was good. I really like the professor. She is SUPER COOL. But she likes GROUPWORK. I am so sick and tired of group work. The class seems so much more interesting than the pre-law-school Zuska ever would have thought Administrative Law could be. Once she categorized it as "advanced Constitutional Law," I started drooling.

    But I think I'm going to drop it. because ....

    3) I spoke with the professor about the cert clinic. he spoke to one of my other professors about me, and he pulled my transcript, and he's pushing hard for me to do this. He is a very good salesman. Before i spoke with him, I spoke with some classmates, and they put me in touch with a 3L who did the clinic last year and said it took up ALL OF HER TIME. That it was all-consuming. Someone said it's just as bad as the Class That I Was Teaching as far as time suckage and stress is concerned.

    I told Clinic Prof my concerns, and the reasons why I hadn't registered for the clinic from the outset despite my interest, and he said that this particular case is very clear cut. That most cases don't have clear issues, and 60% of the work is digging through the entire record to try and find an issue to present to SCOTUS. But this one has very clear issues, and therefore, is mostly writing. and, says he, it should be filed by the end of April, so it won't interfere with my exams for my other classes.

    i called and wrote to my academic advisor (who I worked closely with in conjunction with the Class That I Taught last year) begging for advice on what to do. Clinic Prof wants an answer today. Advisor-man hasn't called or wrote me back yet .... I think he's teaching a class. He is going to tell me to do the Clinic. It's kind of his job to do so .... He's the Clinic Director. He oversees them all.

    I had no reading assignment for Administrative Law, but I thought yesterday afternoon that it would be a good idea to get started on Friday's reading. I highlighted ONE PASSAGE, on page 59. Do you think if I drop the class that the bookstore will take the book back? Or will I have to sell it as used?

    One other thing .... I ran into a professor from the Class That I Taught, and she said that they're revamping the program for next year, and that one of the faculty is looking for me. She wants my help in the redesigning of the unit.

    So much for a quiet quarter.


    I never did hear back from my advisor, and clinic-prof emailed twice needing an answer. i had spoken with other students -- i went looking for ANY professor who could weigh in, and found none!!! (it was 4:45, way past professor-hours, apparently). I spoke with a fellow parent-student, who is a 3L and knows people who did this clinic in the past, and found it to be MORE CONSUMING than the 6 hour clinics.

    So, feeling slightly backed into a corner, I said no. The main thinking is that this clinic is offered every quarter. I know he has a slot that NEEDS to be filled now, but I just don't want to make a hasty decision b/c of a deadline that I'll regret later.

    So it feels like a wasted day, and a lot of wasted emotional energy.
    posted by Zuska @ 1:51 PM   2 comments
    Tuesday, March 07, 2006
    tempting, tempting .....
    i've always known that my school offers a certiorari clinic for death penalty cases. i thought for certain that if i did a clinic, that would be it. it's much fewer credits than other clinics (i thought it was 2, rather than 6), and it's an area that i'm really interested in (appellate, criminal). Since I committed to a summer associate position, however, I sort of shifted my priorities. Hence the Corporations, Employment Law, Administrative Law, and Fed Courts.

    The professor who runs the clinic just posted on our little website thingy that he needs one more student. i have an email drafted. i feel like i'm about to take a classic Zuska step ... biting off more than I can chew.

    It would put me at 17 credits. 17!!!! B/c it is 3 credits, not 2. That puts me above the 16 credit maximum (although I could probably get it waived). I think it would make a potentially calm quarter chaotic. But I also think it could add a little cheese to my broccoli.

    I'm going to finish and send the email. I'm going to tell him I'm interested, but not 100% decided. And perhaps I'll speak with him in the next couple of days, and make my decision this week.

    I'd love any 2 or more cents that anyone has for me on this.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:53 PM   2 comments
    worst day ever
    god, this day sucks.

    it is 10:30 pm, i'm utterly exhausted, and there's no way in hell i can sleep b/c of the yarnball of anger nestled in my chest. i'm angry with my significant other, i'm angry with my mother, i'm angry with the requirements in life of laundry and cleaning and chores and responsibilities.

    i'm really mostly angry with my significant other.

    isn't there some other word you can use for someone when you're so mad at them that you feel like you need to just go run for 1.5 hours? (while preserving anonymity and his sense of paranoia about Names on the Internet). like, when i'm happy with him, i can call him my SO (significant other) and when i'm mad, i can call him my SOI (source of irritation). is that harsh enough for the twisted-up-inside-can't-sleep angry? how about SI ..... Shitty Ick-face.

    angry, why? b/c he snored last night? b/c he folded his own clothes tonight? b/c he asked Thing one too many questions before helping her with some extracurricular task?

    b/c i'm angry - that's why. (b/c he went to sleep when things were tense and when he knew i was angry - and that's a violation of the Rules of Zuska and it most definitely and inevitably causes Night Number Two of No Sleep or at least Crappy Sleep. And while I'm out here, in the living room, angry, he's in the bedroom .... SNORING!!!!)
    posted by Zuska @ 10:30 PM   0 comments
    Monday, March 06, 2006
    back in the saddle
    i am exhausted!! exhausted, but happy and feeling successful and fulfilled. I had a solid day of being a Real Law Student. Not a Law Student on Co-op, but a REAL Law Student. With books, and classes, and professors, and classmates!

    And as an odd throw-back to my latest co-op, I stopped by our co-op office today and picked up a copy of my evaluation that my supervisor sent in (ON TIME!!), and was very pleased to see that they liked me! they really really liked me! certainly not enough to offer me my dream job, b/c it's well known that there are no jobs there (their use of co-op students is a budget-conscious way of getting work done, not a form of recruitment), but enough to enhance my transcript.

    I had three of my four classes today. I did manage to get all readings done before their respective time slots, and even squoze in some time to get 2/3rds of tomorrow's readings done as well.

    Corporations was first, at 8:30 a.m. sharp. the professor is fine. i had met up with a couple of friends at registration, and we found good seats - not in the front row, but nowhere near the back row, and I was sitting on my beloved center aisle. the last thing we did in class was to count off by 20(!!) for our little "groups" that we must sit in and work with. So I lose my seat. Damn. It was also not my favorite thing b/c in my group of 5 is one person who i worked with extensively last school-quarter in the course of the Class that I Was Teaching, and to say that our interactions were strained is putting it mildly. We worked through any issues we had encountered between us, but i believe it's fair to say that we BOTH ended that quarter thinking, "at least THAT is over." and now we're starting up again. together. in a small group. only a few minutes after the groups were solidified did i think that clearly the universe feels that this person and i have some more work to do on each other, and that this cannot, with the inifite number of possible combinations of groups of people in the classes of 2007 and 2008, be a completely random coincidence. so i will welcome the lessons to be learned, and the opportunity to walk away from this endeavor with a slightly better taste in my mouth.

    Employment Law will be my favorite class. that is my prediction. the professor is new to me. the material is enjoyable, and he pushes us to really think things through, and zings us when our comments deserve it. That is slightly rare at my school. Pushing isn't rare - zinging is.

    Fed Courts is likely going to be my most challenging class. Same professor I had for Civ Pro, and she's fast as hell, but really good, and I like her a lot.

    Tomorrow is my first day of Administrative Law. Hopefully that will be good, too. the professor is supposed to be awesome.

    I am getting into the groove, at last. I started this post yesterday, while stunned that I actually had NO TIME and already was scrambling to get my reading done. But my week is front-loaded, and I'm already through the rough patch, I think if I use my Fridays wisely, I will be okay. Tonight, I have no school work to do!! (see below as to why that is not resulting in a fun evening).

    tomorrow is also Day 1 of the new Gym Routine.

    not much else right now worth sharing. i slept really poorly last night, and am a bit of a zombie today. the kids were grouchy and tired yesterday (monday), and i hope they're in better shape tonight. I'm not sure my exhausted self has the reserves required to not be a bitchy momma if there is a repeat performance. I just went for a walk to the bank to get $20 in quarters. I fully intend to use them all tonight on laundry. oh joy and rapture.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:39 PM   0 comments
    oscar night
    yes, we watch the oscars. we enjoyed it enough. i tried to get some Fed Courts reading done at the same time, but i wasn't so successful.

    of all the nominated films, these are the ones I saw:
    1. King Kong
    2. Chronicles of Narnia
    3. Corpse Bride
    4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    5. Syriana
    6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    7. The March of the Penguins
    8. War of the Worlds
    these are the ones i have wanted to see, or still do want to see, but did not:
    1. Constant Gardener
    2. Junebug
    3. Brokeback Mountain
    4. Crash
    5. Good Night and Good Luck
    6. Walk the Line
    7. Match Point
    8. A History of Violence
    9. Howl's Moving Castle
    10. North Country
    11. Batman Begins
    There have been years (in the early days of our relationship) where Beloved and I made it our business to see all of the major category nominees, and as many of the minor category nominees as possible.

    It is kind of pathetic that the only non-kid movies that i saw this year (of the nominees) were the 2 "big dumb movies" (as beloved and i call them) - War of the Worlds and King Kong.

    I guess we have some DVD renting to do. hopefully this year, I will do better at getting out without the kids, and with my love, or with a friend, to see some movies.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:29 PM   2 comments
    Sunday, March 05, 2006
    Remember how excited I was to get reading for classes? Well, I, um, didn't do it.

    I was GOING to do it yesterday, while the kids cleaned their bedroom (which honestly is not fit to be a human habitat - it's only saving grace is that they never bring food or drinks in there, so there isn't any rotting or molding going on). They haven't cleaned it since before their play, which was almost a month ago.

    But one of Thing One's friend's mom called that something came up for her on Friday night, and could her daughter please please please come over. I said of course, in line with a feeling of Single Mother Solidarity that I have, "and we may as well make it a sleep over." At book group on Thursday, one of Thing Two's friends begged for a sleepover, and we left it vaguely as "some time this weekend" but once Thing One had something to do, I thought I'd couple the two so that I didn't have a whiny kid who was feeling left out of the good times her sister was having. so on Friday, I had the 4th graders, and the 2nd graders were elsewhere.

    The 4th graders were fantastic. They played a game in the living room while Beloved and I sat on the couch and read, then they watched a movie while Beloved and I hung out in our bedroom, then they went into the Disaster Zone and chatted in bed until around 11:50, when they turned out the lights, opened their door, and went to sleep without comment, complaint, prodding or difficulty. I woke up around 9:30 a.m., and had to STRAIN to hear the television - they were watching the special features from the DVD. Then they made pancakes, and played a wee bit on the computer. When the friend's mom came, we chatted for 30 or so minutes while the girls sat mourning the end of their Time Together.

    Meanwhile, the mother of the friend that Thing One was visiting called, and said that first of all, the 2nd graders weren't done being together, and second of all, her 5th grader wanted to hang out with my 4th grader, so let's all go to a museum as a family. i said a-ok. This probably would have been the perfect opportunity for me to say, "I have two days' worth of reading for three classes to do, so I'm really not available." Instead, I said, "sounds great!!!"

    We got home from the zoo (!!! Plans were changed en route) at approximately 4:30, and I let the girls watch a movie sent by their paternal grandmother. They said, "Mommy, won't you watch with us?" and I said, "I have school work to do." and they said, "awwwwww!!!" and i said, "listen, i have to get it done, and if it's not now while you watch a movie, then i'll have to do it tomorrow while you're wanting me to do something ELSE." They, being my daughters, said, "do it tomorrow! do it tomorrow!" So we watched a Fairy Tale.

    Then we had a fantastic dinner, and a post-dinner session of reading (not school reading, but rather blog reading -- I did actually open my Corporations book, and I even read 3 pages, with a highligher, and notes in the margin and everything), drawing, and listening to music, sheparded the girly-q's off to bed, and enjoyed the later evening hours with my Beloved.

    This a.m. I woke at 10:30 (agh!!how will I ever get to sleep early enough tonight to have a good morning at my first class??!!) and pretty quickly turned to helping Thing One make chocolate chip cookies for a party she's going to this afternoon. Now it's 12:46, and I'm not showered or dressed, and I need to leave to walk her to her friend's house in an hour.

    I will have to dedicate the hours of 2:30 to 5:30 to reading, b/c tonight we're having some Oscar festivities.

    This does NOT bode well for my quarter. I should have done the reading while the kids were in school last week, rather than try to fit it in on the weekend. I really never read on the weekends. Isn't that a good way to think of this abysmal failure? Fortunately (2 things), 1) first class assignments are pretty short; and 2) I looked up the room assignments, and I have at least 2 of my classes in a classroom that I thought were used only for 1st year classes, and is my favorite room in the world. It even gets internet.
    posted by Zuska @ 12:16 PM   0 comments
    Friday, March 03, 2006
    I have reading to do!! Woo hoo!!
    My 2 months of being jealous while all the OTHER law school bloggers get to do homework and prepare for classes and go to classes is OVER! Classes start Monday, and I have my syllabi for all 3 Monday classes, and I can do my reading this weekend! [no, i do not have a fever.] I will even do my reading for Monday and Tuesday!! The lucky classes are: Corporations, Employment Law, and Federal Courts. They are all Monday, Tuesday, Thursday classes. My one Wednesday/Friday class is Administrative Law, and as far as I can tell, that syllabus has not been posted.

    I ran into a professor of mine at our town library (he lives near to me, and has a daughter Thing One's age). He saw that I had bags from the school store, and he kind of laughed at me for it. Perhaps indicating that I am some kind of nerd. I said, "I had to buy my books!" He asked what I was taking, and I told him, and he [again] laughed at me and said, "it's like broccoli! all these things that are good for you, but perhaps not so yummy." He was my criminal law professor. And before that, a criminal defense attorney. in order for him to think my classes were interesting, i would have to be taking all crim classes.

    I'm still excited. Even if it does mean that I will be having six servings of broccoli this weekend (two reading assignments for three classes).
    posted by Zuska @ 1:04 PM   1 comments
    discussions and discipline
    Thing Two and I had our monthly mother/daughter book thingy tonight. all in all, it was a pretty good time. we left the house in order to get there at 6:30 about 20 minutes after i returned from picking up Thing One from her community acting/singing/playwriting class. she had a great time, and is very excited about the project.

    the book group feels like a really good opportunity for me, but in a way that really eccentuates the fact that i am straddling that introvert/extrovert line. I really DREAD going to a house where there will be 4 other moms and 4 other kids -- all the rest of whom have been close since these 2nd grade 7 and 8 year olds were in preschool together, and me being the newby. but then i have a nice time while i'm there, and it's nowhere near as painful as the anticipation is. We had very nice conversations with the kids, and then later sent the kids off to play, and had a ladies' chat where we discussed everything from prior careers, to fears about our kids getting older and the question of drug use in teenagers, which of course led to a discussion of drug use by us as kids, if any. We talked about homosexuality, and our varying acceptance levels of homosexual relationships, and about gay people who find themselves trapped in a straight marriage and lifestyle. Rather intense conversations for me to have with people I barely know. But it was a nice conversation, and I was glad to be a part of it.

    outside the enjoyable conversation aspect, the book group is a good opportunity because it allows me to become a part of this community, rather than someone who drifts around the edges - where i'm usually most comfortable. it allows me to get to know Thing Two's friends and their parents better, and allows me not to disappear into my own self too much, which, as a parent, can serve to cut off my kids' social opportunities.

    altohugh in reality, i am so different than others. first of all, the next youngest mom is 7 years older than me. she's 40. and she is young by the standards of this area for having kids our kids' ages. the oldest is 50 something, and her oldest child is in college. second of all, none of these other moms are in school. either they're comfortable in their role as a stay-at-home mom, or they're well established in a career. i'm trapped between those two, it feels like sometimes. third of all, i seem to be [odd to say this] the strictist of the moms.

    i never thought i'd be a "strict mom." but i do not have the ability to tune my kids out. i can't see Thing Two being all hyper and keyed up and inappropriate without stepping in. i can't watch her stuff her face with too many grapes and strawberries without telling her to slow down. i. just. can't. do. it.

    Both the girls pushed and tested today. Thing One in hte afternoon, when I overlapped with the babysitter for about 45 minutes, and Thing Two at book group. They both were testing what would happen when someone else (or many someone elses) are there to watch -- what will I do? I called them both on it after the fact. Thing One pretty much acknowledged that she was behaving badly. she was being what can be described as nothing but annoying, and i heard the babysitter very clearly telling her to stop hopping, stop squeaking, stop yelling (thing one is, if you recall, NINE!! Not three - which would make the hopping and squeaking more appropriate. yelling is probably never appropriate, but tends to happen at all ages.). The babysitter's obvious frustration served to let me know that this was not typical behavior. phew. so i spoke with my child on the way to her theater group, and she seemed to be okay. I have known that this happens if the babysitter and I are home at the same time, and this is why all week I did my best to leave the house before they all got home. But today, I did laundry all day (while watching Friends, and cracking up hysterically dozens of times!) and would have had to rush to leave the house by 2:30, and knowing that Thing One needed to be walked to her theater group, i decided to stay home, and let the babysitter and Thing Two stay home while I walked Thing One to her class. I thought "40 minute of overlap - how bad can it be?" Well, it can be very bad.

    Thing Two, however, didn't take her discussion so well. She had pretty much refused to listen to me while we were sitting in the book group circle - 5 moms, 5 girls - using the fact that we were in said circle as a shield from me doing anything about it. I did let it go at the time, b/c it was not a huge deal (she took one more cookie after I told her no more). When I brought it up with her on the way home, however, she pitched a fit, and it ended up a huge struggle where she denied what had happened, blamed me of accusing her falsley, was indignant that i dared to reprimand her, and cried and became generally quite obnoxious. It was quite an ordeal, for over an hour, over something that should have been quite small.

    Eventually, she admitted that I was NOT hallucinating when I saw her take that final forbidden cookie. She had said she was upset and felt like i didn't even LIKE her, b/c I didn't ask her if she did it, I just assumed that she did. I told her that IF she and her friends were playing upstairs in a bedroom, and we heard a giant CRASH, and the moms went upstairs to see that a lamp had been broken and I instantly said, "Thing Two! Why did you break that lamp!" that she could then say that i should have asked her first. That instead, the appropriate thing would be to say, "wow. what happened?" and then wait to see what the girls all said. But that when I witness something with my own eyes, there is no need for a request for information. I have the information. She seemed to understand, and gave me a hug, and went to sleep.

    What I am truly hopeful for is that the fact that I stuck to my guns tonight (and this afternoon with Thing One) is all it will take to let the girls know that the tests failed. Because I don't want to be put in the position where during the next book group I am required to remove Thing Two from the group setting because she again took advantage of the setting. But if she tries, I really do have to follow through, or else she's learned that in a group setting, Mom is nothing.
    posted by Zuska @ 12:11 AM   1 comments
    Thursday, March 02, 2006
    kids and healthy food choices
    through one of my daily favorite blogs, Frequent Citations, I found this post pertaining to kids and the choices they make about food. As the title suggests (McDonalds v. Broccoli), the author suggests that kids are more likely to prefer well-known brands of junk food (attractively packaged) than they are to healthy unbranded foods. I much more agree with Citations in her assertion that kids' preferences are actually formed by their caregivers, and not by the "market" or marketing.

    my children and i have a lot of conversations. they are 7 and 9 now, but we've had these conversations for years. at least 3. perhaps more. we talk about health, and about foods and what they do to the body, and things that are done to foods in order to make them taste good, and how that doesn't always correspond with how your body is affected by these foods. After reading Fast Food Nation, I did some age-appropriate regurgitation of the information I took in.

    The result? My kids would GAG if I suggested we stop at McDonalds. One day in the past 12 months, the girls and I were driving home from my parents' house in Connecticut (a 2.5 hour drive) and we were starving! The kids were 100% opposed to McDonald's, based upon the information I shared with them, and refused to eat there. We searched and searched for a "fast-food" place that would have a salad bar or some other healthy choices to no avail. We ended up stopping at Burger King, and getting chicken fries .... they were really gross, and we all had stomachaches afterward. They are the ones who now remind ME to be sure we've eaten or packed good food for any road trips.

    Sometimes while we're at the grocery store (which is not often, b/c Beloved does most our shopping without me or the kids) something will catch their eye. A chocolate cookie. A cracker shaped like a bear. The next step? We check the ingredients list. The kids know what to look for. If they find things they can't pronounce - they don't even ASK ME to buy it. They put it back with their noses wrinkled in disgust. [I will say that this is less problematic b/c of where we shop if we DO go to a store. We are often at either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, where snacks and treats often do have organic and all-natural ingredients.]

    Honestly, it wasn't always this way. There were days, when they were very young and I was steeped in a depression resulting from an unhappy marriage, where I allowed them to eat whatever ... if it made them happy and quiet. They drank a lot of juice and snacked on a lot of cookies and treats. there were obvious negative results, though. They were extremely picky. They ate very little at meal time. They were demanding while shopping. I was living in Berkeley, CA at the time -- the land of the hippies and the Crunchy Granola lifestyle. I had friends who did better than I, and their kids ate better, and I was jealous. It took a LOT of effort to change things. It didn't happen until I was on my feet again post-separation, and had a [relatively] well-paying job and a Whole Foods around the corner. When I first tried to buy the girls the organic graham crackers, they spit them out and begged for chocolate milk to wash away the bad memories of the taste.

    Eventually, however, things changed. I stopped buying ANY crackers, ANY snacks. when I then re-introduced the organic all-natural variety, they were much more welcoming. They used to drink apple juice all the time. When I started with The Change, I allowed for one cup of juice, and then any refills were restricted to water. Now? They always choose water. Always. Dried Apricots are a favorite snack. Today, they were ecstatic to find that our Boston Organics box came with lots of pears. And after learning the ins and outs of the area grocery stores, it costs absolutely no more than it would to fill a cart with processed foods from Stop & Shop or Safeway. That, also, took effort. When I first purposed to eat healthier, it was very expensive. But with time and experience, that changed. We now pay less per week for food than I did for 3 days' worth in the past.

    If I were to go out and buy the girls some Oreos, I'm sure they'd love the treat. They would probably ask me for more within the week. but the answer would be no - b/c there's a difference b/t a treat, and a habit and/or way of life. I feel the same way about chips - of any kind. Our big "treat" on New Year's Eve was potato chips and dip.

    My girls went from people who prefer mac & cheese or raviolis with jarred sauce to people who now ask for home-made pea soup, and who beg for kale to be added to meals for the sake of the good taste and vitamins. Sometimes, they have treats: packaged foods or coca-cola. But they recognize that they are just that - treats. I try not to stigmatize things that are "unhealthy" out of a recognition of the fact that it would drive them to those foods all the more. At the same time, they have truly come to appreciate good, fresh, natural foods. Because they are used to such foods, their little bodies react negatively to packaged and unhealthy foods. They get stomachaches. They feel the difference.

    Beloved gets a large part of the credit on all of this. he has been our cook since last August, at least, and he has worked with me, in gentle ways, to expand the girls' food-world, and to incorporate healthy foods and get rid of unhealthy foods AND ingredients. We all have an almost-constant dialogue about what our bodies need, and what the physical results of foods are. None of this focuses on "fat." Never.

    The transition that I made 4 or 5 years ago was not by accident, and it had its bumps, for certain. but the results are great. I love the way my kids eat, and I love the things they look for and ask for. I do not feel I've sheltered them, or deprived them. They are healthy and happy kids who, at least for now, make good choices, even when lesser ones are in front of them - even lesser ones in pink wrapping with fancy designs and cartoon characters on them. [which makes me wonder .... should i start in on a rant about t.v. and the commercialization of children? Nah. Not tonight.]

    Conclusion: Kids are no more slaves to the market and marketing than adults are. Perhaps without education and conversation susceptibility to gimmicks and branding is higher - as is also true with adults. Kids can think, and weight their choices as effectively as larger people. If raised to look beyond fancy packaging, and beyond something that offers an immediate craving, kids can assess the quality of products and consider their usefulness.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:30 PM   5 comments
    Wednesday, March 01, 2006
    i bought my books today. Surprisingly, it only cost $350. My Employment Law professor has gone the route of 100% photocopied materials. No book. Only one of the two packets was ready for pick up today (of course ... that's what I get for thinking I can get all my errands done while the kids are in school ... it won't be ready until "maybe the 3rd" - which is Friday), but it was only $15. If the second is the same, then this is almost the least expensive law school class. The truly least expensive was the class I taught - I believe we were given those materials at no cost to us. We also got a discount (either 10 or 15 percent) on all our other books as a perk of the position. I miss that perk. Although I do not miss having the stress and responsibilities that came with teaching the class. I still am planning on soaking up the luxury of pure student-status.

    The course description for Corporations was posted today. It said that "in keeping with the cooperative education model of the law school, this class will be an experience in cooperative education as well" or something like that. It said that we will be spending some of each class in lecture, and some in small groups working out problems. grrr. argh. [that's a Buffy reference]. I am not looking forward to spending part of each session of this 8:30 class in "small groups." I hear that my Administrative Law professor runs that class in a similar manner. Admin is my other 8:30 class.

    I spent about 45 minutes before I left the house for my book-errand getting my bike and paraphanalia in order. I have historically wimped out on taking the bike in cold weather, but I do not feel that I have that luxury this quarter, since I do have those pesky 8:30 classes, and the Things are due at school at 8. I could, theoretically, force them to either eat breakfast at school or attend these little math and reading "clubs" which are held M-Th -- all starting at 7:30, instead. But they don't like that, and it makes for a very early morning just so I can have the pleasure of sitting on a crowded bus for 45 minutes instead of going for a chilly ride for 20 minutes. I have gloves. I have scarves. I have hats. I even have those nifty little ear-bands that keep the frigid wind from blowing directly into my ear canal and causing a severe jaw ache for the rest of the day. I can ride in the cold.

    So today was my test ride. In the cold (18 degrees, to be precise).

    But when I got outside, and on the bike, it was all wobbly. The rear tire. I had checked the tires before I left, and the front needed air, but the rear seemed okay. But it was not. I went back inside and checked the pressure and added a bit of air, and went back out - still wobbly. It didn't feel flat, it felt all off kilter. But I couldn't figure out where, and i didn't SEE anything off kilter.

    I ended up taking the train. If beloved can't help me figure out what's up, I'll have to beg him to let me use his bike until I can 1) get mine fixed, or 2) use my tax refund to [beloved's going to roll his eyes at me when he reads this] buy a new bike. mmmmm. a new bike!!!!!

    Before I got the bike ready, and before I left to get the books, I watched a movie. I borrowed Garden State from the library. Beloved saw that I brought it home and gave me a look which said, "you don't expect me to watch this crap, do you?" and I responded with, "I'm going to watch it during the day" and he nodded in approval of that plan. I loved the movie. I thought it was great.

    And guess what else I borrowed from the library? Season 8 of Friends. I believe that is the season I left off on. I had watched that show religiously from Season 1 through the first few episodes of Season [i think] 8. Then I left the ex-schlurg, and was a single mom working evenings and commuting an hour to my job, and my life was chaos, and i couldn't afford cable and reception sucked and my t.v. was constantly threatening to break. The result was a cessation of my previously habitual t.v. watching. I had been watching Friends, ER, West Wing, and I know there was more, but I can't remember what at this point. I know there was a lot more. That was one of the most positive changes in my life. Getting rid of t.v. and the feeling that I had to watch these shows. I have been dangerously close to returning to the old habits - something I do not want to do. Right now it's Lost and 24. 24 is mine and Beloved's show, and I will not stop watching that. I'm also not giving up Lost. After the Superbowl, I was hugely suckered in by the advertisements for Grey's Anatomy, and I watched and loved that show, and the follow up one week later. But I will not watch it. I also for a little while was watching that show Invasion which comes on after Lost. But then this guy made this other guy cut his arm off with a chainsaw, and I said - you know what? I do NOT have time for this. And that was the final straw - far from the first.

    I am happy to see the end of Friends, though. And it's on DVD. So no commercials, no schedule to be a slave to. I'll probably watch a couple episodes, return the set, and then rent it again at some point over the summer. I watched every season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer this way. With my Sis. Back in Berkeley. I find it much more pleasant than real-time television watching.

    I am writing this post in the public library, because my girls and the babysitter are at the house. If I am home, the kids are all "off" - showing off for both myself and the sitter, and it's just difficult. She had lost last week's pay because of our trip, and I didn't feel it was right to make her miss this week as well. So I'm making myself scarce while they're doing their routines at home. But the computer just told me I only have 5 minutes left, and I am going to post this rambling nonsense without any edits. Sorry.
    posted by Zuska @ 4:51 PM   0 comments
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