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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  • Friday, June 30, 2006
    News from The Middle of the Country
    My poor Thing Two needs to have oral surgery :( I am sad about this - nervous, anxious, and sad. She has a "rare condition" wherein she has an extra tooth in the very front top of her mouth. Some people have this extra tooth, and it's no big deal. But my Thing Two ... it's a bigger deal. It's causing a log jam in her gums, and the OTHER big teeth - the ones that are supposed to be there - can't get through. I've started to see things shifting in her gums, and yet the baby teeth aren't coming out - a full year after her first front baby tooth fell out and the big one grew in. So the Ex took them to the dentist, and low and behold - there is an Issue.

    They have a consultation with an oral surgeon on Monday. I hope all goes well. This is definitely not a fun time to be far away.

    Thing One got word today that she was selected out of several auditioning children for a production that her theater group will be putting on in the fall. This group doesn't usually use auditions for anything other than role assignments -- kids don't usually get rejected. But this is their .... "special' production, and auditions were required to be in the troupe. And she got in!!!

    She is very excited, but Beloved and I are nervous. The timing threatens to overlap with our trip to Disneyland, but we won't know for sure until well after we buy the tickets.

    What to do, what to do.

    Otherwise --- We're going away tomorrow!!

    And I'm NOT bringing the computer!! So I'll see y'all on Tuesday eve!!
    posted by Zuska @ 9:54 PM   2 comments
    It's Friiiiiiday!!!
    Beloved and I are taking off tomorrow morning! Last night I did the laundry, and tonight we shall pack. We'll get up bright and early in the a.m., get the Zipcar, and head out!! I'll be back on Tuesday.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:53 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, June 29, 2006
    ** Yes, I committed a faux pas in deleting a post that sat very poorly with me after I published it - here is a condensed/toned down version of the main ideas.

    This summer, I'm working at a very large and reputable firm. There are two ways in which my experience differs from most of my colleagues: age (life station) and academic credentials.

    1) I'm old. I am the third or fourth oldest of the summers -- but what I think distances me more from my colleagues is the fact that I have kids. It is more than just the summers, too. The associates who spend the most time with summers are the newbies, and I'm older than approx. 99% of them as well. Many women have come to me for ideas on how to balance kids and work. B/c what is my past is their future. Sometimes, it makes me feel like a real fringe person. If we go around the table with our ages at lunch (which happens more often than you'd think), people's eyes pop out of their sockets. I am often told (today at lunch, for example), that I do not look 34 - that people would guess me in my mid-20's. So their surprise is even more evident when they find out I'm 34.

    The age/life experience difference does affect my willingness to participate in the 20-something activities. I can't/don't want to keep up with the constant drinking activities. I'd rather be home - with Beloved (and the girls while they were home) than out getting shit-faced.

    So other than the formal firm-organized events, I've mostly sat out. This also makes me (or reinforces that i am) a fringe person.

    2) My school. The fact that I go to a lower ranked law school has been a topic of discussion a few times on this blog. I have talked about my reasons for attending this school, and about my experiences. I have pointed out to some that despite the lower ranking, I'm doing rather well for myself. But the effects are still felt - even with the big firm summer position.

    While there is a chance that overt discrimination toward my school (and me by extension) exists from some who are Ivy students/graduates, I do not believe it is prevalent. Perhaps there is a raising of an eyebrow, or a glazing over of the eyes - but it goes away very quickly. People can see that I am capable of complete sentences, and that my conversation exhibits the fact that i can (and do) read. Beyond the initial "and where do YOU go to school?" and its reaction - I feel very little effect.

    however, there is the networking factor. I do not have the same pool of loyal comrades that those from the top 10 schools, which are very well represented, have at this firm.

    Again - I believe this is (and has been) surmountable. When I felt that I wasn't getting enough work, I saw this as a possible reason. And I made phone calls, and contacted people I knew, and I got myself some work. I have been working with partners and associates who have prestige dripping off their resumes, and we are more than evenly matched, and have very strong working relationships established already.

    So while I believe that my school may force me to put forth more effort, i do not believe it has a devestating effect. It is not a non-factor ... but it is not a death knell, either.

    It is just enough, however, to make me feel like a fringe person.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:33 PM   3 comments
    Wednesday, June 28, 2006
    Two Happy Things

    My eldest child e-mailed me today and asked me if she could have instant messaging. I told her I would rather she wait until she gets back home. I'm not ready for her to be off into the world of 567 buddies and 15 flashing bars on her screen -- especially not from where I cannot monitor, and I'm not sure that those who are in such a position have the time or inclination to do so. As an after thought, I asked her who she wants to talk with, anyway. Her response was one word in length: "you." (not capitalized!!) It kind of warmed my heart.


    I am getting involved on a corporate deal - starting today. I have been actively using my Blackberry this evening to arrange an a.m. meeting with some associates involved with the deal, and have some agreements to draft. I'm feeling useful!!! I doubt I'll end up on the corporate side of things, but getting to be engaged with something is really tasty.


    Beloved is reading snippets from the Coastal Maine book he picked up today - we are getting even MORE excited!!
    posted by Zuska @ 8:19 PM   2 comments
    Tuesday, June 27, 2006
    The 4th
    Beloved and I are going away this weekend. I have Monday and Tuesday off, and we're going to leave Saturday a.m., and return at some point on Tuesday evening. I am THRILLED. We almost weren't going to go, b/c we were stressed and busy and preoccupied with the end of the school year madness, and then we were stressed and grouchy and premenstrual and sad that the girls were leaving (no, Beloved was NOT the premenstrual one), and we snarked at each other about the planning of the trip. Then we dropped it ... for a long time.

    But this past weekend, while wandering around town, perusing book stores and watching FIVE movies*, we made our plans.

    We are going to Maine. We are driving. The Zipcar, we reserved way back on Memorial Day weekend, knowing we'd need to pre-plan if we were gonna snag a car. We're driving a Volvo S40. I tried to get my convertible Mini again, but it's being used by another (jerk).

    We are both very excited, b/c despite the fact that I grew up in New England, neither of us have EVER been to Maine. We have hotel reservations at different points along the coast, and really look forward to exploring.

    Ever since we were first a couple, we used our summers sans children to go on trips. We've camped, we've explored the California coast, we've done trips to Portland, OR and to Disneyland. But since we moved here, we've been lucky to squeak in an overnight in NYC while the girls are at my parents' house. Last summer I worked for no pay with the judge, and otherwise, uh, I'm in law school.

    To have the chance to go and just explore new places, with no real agenda (and no real budget constraints) is wonderful. I am very excited, and I'm glad that the stress and snarkiness didn't rob us of it.

    * our movies were:
    1) Match Point
    2) The Island
    3) Goodnight and Good Luck
    4) Crash
    5) The Wedding Crashers

    I honestly liked them all, but my favorites were by far Match Point and Goodnight and Good Luck. I think Goodnight and Good Luck takes first place. I found it to be amazing.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:26 PM   0 comments

    Those are the sneakers from earlier today. They are not what I want to talk about here.

    We have this independently owned shoe store here in town which is run by a very old man who was born and raised here. he's so cute, and nice, and loves his shoes and his customers, absolutely love when I can shop there. Sometimes he talks too much, but it's okay, b/c he's nice, and he hasn't gone out of business.

    I went there yesterday, b/c I've really been struggling to find good brown shoes. I have a pair of black heels that are very basic, very versatile and relatively comfortable. I got those at this old man's store, and I wanted to see if he had them in brown. Because I was feeling desperate. he had them in brown, with a slightly lower heel, which I liked. I bought them.

    Then I went to the Gap, looking for blouses - they had NOTHING. T-shirts and tank tops, but NOTHING that even resembled professional wear. Then I wandered into this boutique that happens to carry shoes. I saw a beautiful shoe. And then I saw another beautiful shoe. I had them both in brown, tried them both on, and really liked them both. They were soooo comfortable. But I was choosing b/t 2 brown shoes, and I chose the first.

    Now I want to go back, and get the second in black. I can wear them with jeans, once school starts. Right?

    I do, however, now have 2 pairs of brown shoes. Actually, I have 4. The first pair was bought in a flurry right before my first day of work on which I wanted to wear a brown suit, and ended up chewing my feet up and being grossly uncomfortable. The second pair I bought to replace the first, but they're an odd shade of brown ... and they squeak. Which we know I hate.

    I threw away the chewy shoes, and will probably keep the squeakies as a back up. But what to do with the 2 new pairs? I'm pretty sure I want to keep the dansko's, but what about the Aerosoles? They are slightly more professional. Should I keep them? Should I return them?
    posted by Zuska @ 6:13 PM   2 comments
    From the Couch .....
    So, those jeans I donned this morning? I'm not sure I'll get to wear them again. The shirt was practically soaked through with water, sweat, and other odd substances, and the sneakers are pretty much slated for the trash.

    Not every one left the worksite with clothes to incinerate, but some got paint in their hair, and on their pants. Others had some bandages .... future lawyers and NAILS don't seem to get along too well.

    Although I suspect that one of the nail injuries was faked in order to give this person the opportunity to get a darker tan.

    The group I was in had the honor of demolishing a wall. That sounded like a lot of fun, and we were happy. After we demolished the wall, and looked at the "dry wall" which was now wet wall-crumbs sitting in a puddle, we realized that happiness was short lived. We shoveled and hauled buckets of wet slop to a dumpster at a very far away spot.

    My arms and legs are sore. As I'm sure are everyone else's from my group.

    It was hard work, but it was fun. The house I was working on was really cute, too. I was also happy for the future owners that we did rip the moldy dry wall down. After the crazy rains we received in late May, the basement flooded to about waist level, and mold was growing all over it. The site manager decided to just rip it down and rebuild (just the basement wall) rather than try to treat the mold, which is often an uphill battle.

    I also got to use a "screw gun." Otherwise known as a drill with a screwdriver bit stuck into the nose. Between demolishing a wall and becoming a pro with a power tool, I think I had a good experience.

    I am now home, showered, and sitting on my couch.
    posted by Zuska @ 3:45 PM   0 comments
    Habitat for Humanity
    Today is Community Service day at Summer Firm. I'm out the door for my run right now, and when I get home - I do not have to put on a suit, or a skirt, or high heel shoes. I get to put on JEANS, and SNEAKERS, and a T-SHIRT and even a BASEBALL CAP if I want to!! Not only that, but I'm done for the day at 3:30!! My office mate is driving me, so I do not have to go to and from the office to get on the bus they provide, adding 2 hours to the whole endeavor.

    And I get to help contribute to a more than worthy cause. Woo hoo!!!
    posted by Zuska @ 6:13 AM   0 comments
    Sunday, June 25, 2006
    The Start of the Summer
    The kid-part, that is.

    So they left yesterday. It went pretty well. I told Beloved that I think I processed the whole situation before the day of their departure. I was sad all week, and then yesterday, it was just "alright, get on the plane! have a good time!" No tears (from anyone), no belaboring the point.

    On our way home from the airport, Schlurg called. He wanted to 1) apologize for an overtly offensive comment he made on the phone the day before - although, apologize isn't exactly what he did - he just said he didn't MEAN for it to be offensive. and 2) tell me that he got married 2 weeks ago. He hadn't told the girls yet, but they are having a party today to celebrate with friends and with the girls. THAT was kind of weird. They went to Vegas.

    I think that this announcement and party at the very start of the summer will help the girls. Last year, they arrived at his apartment right as he moved in, with his parents there, and all the adults working on decorating and painting, while telling the girls to go watch television - all day long. They aren't television people. They were miserable, and were calling me in tears that they wanted to come home.

    So hopefully this will start this year on a positive note, and all will go well.

    Beloved wondered aloud if this marriage would lead Schlurg and his Wife to have the girls call her Mom. They don't call Beloved "dad" - although they sometimes refer to him as such with me. They sometimes say they can't call him Dad b/c we're not married. However, it's been a very slow (deliberately on our part) transition - Beloved and the girls, and this being a "family." I wonder if all of our footwork, our deliberate care and ease of transition - will have done the work for Schlurg and Step-Mom?

    I also wonder if having a "Mom" at Schlurg's house will make the girls feel more grounded and connected. If it will give them more security.

    I also wonder how I feel about them calling someone else Mom? I would not stop them. If it is what they need, I would not take it from them. But, still. I think at the very least, my nose will wrinkle up at the sound of it.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:14 AM   1 comments
    The Half Way Point
    Oddly, I have two summers going on at once. The girls' just left yesterday to spend time with the Biological, and they don't return to ME until early/mid August, and they don't return to SCHOOL until post-Labor Day.

    But the other summer is my job, and it's, believe it or not, just about 1/2 over! i cannot believe it. I have my "mid-summer review" on Monday. I can't believe that I've already been there for that long.

    After a rocky start, with no real work to do, and a feeling of uselessness, I think things are going generally well. I have lunch almost every day with associates, and am getting a general understanding of how this job works. I do not believe that I've gone to a single lunch where someone hasn't used the phrase "Exit Strategy" and I do not think I have met one associate who plans to be a partner.

    I met an attorney from another big firm in town who shared with me that the big firm job can be seen as a medical residency. You learn a lot in a lot of different areas, but you then need to move on in order to apply that knowledge. Trial experience will not be had - not even deposition experience, in reality, is available to the non-partner. This person is just leaving a large firm for a position in the state government where s/he will be given such experiences, tenfold, for probably .... 1/5th their current salary.

    But if you're wise, which I believe I am, you can be hoarding away the salary. Pay off loans; for me, save for children's college; and save for other purposes.

    The Judge I've been working with (but am done!! yeeeehaaaa!!!) keeps telling me that the reason why you shouldn't work for a large firm is b/c if I do, I'll get used to the lifestyle. he predicts I will buy a car. That I will buy a large house. And then I won't *be able* to leave the large firm.

    I rather frankly told him that while that may be a concern for some people who are in law school straight from college and do not have family obligations, I do not believe that it is true for me. I am in my mid-30's, and I have specific goals and responsibilities.

    I do wonder, as the girls get older and if they're still playing sports, and have to go to neighboring towns, if I will decide to buy a car. Perhaps, instead, I will just increase my zipcar spending. As I have this summer.

    This is my 1/2 way-point thinking. A few years with the nose to the grindstone at a large and reputable firm - leave on my own terms and into a field that I'm happy to enter - perhaps enter into the family law field at a higher level than I could straight from school - perhaps look at employment discrimination and civil rights litigation.

    Now I need to decide whether or not I want to apply for a judicial clerkship this year (moan groan grumble).
    posted by Zuska @ 10:00 AM   1 comments
    Tuesday, June 20, 2006
    a hard time of year
    the girls are taking off for the Middle of the Country on Saturday.

    This is hard. There were times in the past month where I actually looked forward to their time with their father ... it gives Beloved and I some time; we rush less; we stress less; there are less schedules to coordinate; we can eat dinner later.

    but now that it's right up on me, i'm really just sad. i'd just as soon keep rushing. keep eating dinner earlier. keep juggling softball and plays and family breakfasts and jobs and internships and babysitters.

    and have my girls home with me.

    so ..... i'm feeling pretty sad.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:05 PM   1 comments
    Limited Cool
    A friend showed me this website this evening. You can type in either an artist or a song you like, and it will compare the music (not the purchasing patterns) and spit out similar recommendations. I thought it was fun. Beloved has pretty obscure tastes in music, and he found that on some of the things he was interested in, the database associated with this website doesn't run too deep, and ended up disappointed. But when I did some entries, I had several recommendations of people I hadn't heard before, which I see as success.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:03 PM   0 comments
    Monday, June 19, 2006
    Preparing for Law School
    My friend and fellow momma-law student (although her kids are REALLY old) Frequent Citations has a post up about pre-law school reading.

    I thought I would share my strategy for preparing for law school.

    1) Tag/Garage Sale. Sell all your personal belongings. This is a great pre-school purging process. It also helps earn some dollars, which is useful if you are needing to move in order to attend.

    2) Pick up some temporary work. Any $$ you can earn is useful during moving, book-buying, etc.

    3) Complete any assignments from your destination school. I waited until the weekend [i.e., night] before school started, but some may choose to do so earlier.

    4) Spend time with your loved ones. It will be difficult (although not impossible) once school starts.

    5) Enjoy some of the tourist attractions in your destination city, b/c that you almost *definitely* won't have time to do once school starts. Even go beyond tourist ... look for those little hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are actually treasures. Figure out which is the best grocery store. Perhaps even meet some non-law-school PEOPLE that you can talk to during the year.

    6) Read novels. (not John Grisham, please.)

    As you can tell -- I didn't really *prepare* for law school. I don't fully understand the concept, actually. I have done well, despite that fact. I have done well while putting in relatively little time during the year/semester. I have done well regardless of not reading a single hornbook during 1L, not briefing more than 1/4th a case.

    I think that the time before law school should be spent doing non-law school things. Law school will consume the next 3 years of your life. I do not think that preparation before you're in the environment will make you do better. I think either the style/methods/reality of law school works for your way of thinking --- or it does not.

    There's my 2 cents.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:22 PM   3 comments
    Sunday, June 18, 2006
    Beloved Day
    Today the Things celebrated Beloved. This is our second Father's Day on which we're all living together, and the year before, the Things had already left for the Middle of the Country. Last year, they weren't "there" yet. This year, they came to me, concerned, about what to do, b/c they wanted to do something for Beloved, but didn't feel they could take Father's Day away from the Biological. So we came up with the option of Beloved Day - it's today, on Father's Day, but they're not calling it as such.

    We made him breakfast, and they made him cards. The cards were very thoughtful, and appreciative, and loving.

    Thing One said that next year, she wants us to skip both Mother's Day and Father's Day, and just have a Parents Day, where they can celebrate both of us at once.

    The odd thing -- as much as they're uncomfortable calling Beloved their father or dad -- they refuse (i mean absolutely) to do anything for the Biological. They stuck their tongues out at me when I asked them if they could make him a card to mail. They said no - they'll just celebrate it when they get there. So when I suggested that they work on something to bring, they said no - it's too far away, they don't want to start yet.

    I am very grateful to Beloved. He has added so much to the girls' lives, and so much to mine through them (as well as just mine as me). I fully believe that these girls are much better people for having him in their lives. he's taught them to question, to explore, to imagine. He's given them an example of men who are willing to cook, to clean, to care for children, as well as go to work day after day to support a family. He's taught them how to watch movies in thoughtful and critical ways, how to thing about story-telling, how to imagine. He's taught them a love of travel and exploration.

    we love him :)
    posted by Zuska @ 1:23 PM   1 comments
    Wednesday, June 14, 2006
    This post really has nothing to do with my previous post about kids and race.

    I have shared my background on here plenty of times -- that which involves me praisin' jesus and running between chapel led by Jerry Falwell to church being preached by Jerry Falwell.

    well, at work the other day, we had a diversity training. we were given an exercise at one point wherein we split into groups of 3, and shared some main (but deeper than usual) points about our "identities."

    I went first, b/c no one else wanted to. I said that my culture/origins are Eastern European. I said that my religion was non-existent, but it used to be fundamental/born-again, and the change of that plays into my identity in a big way. I said that one thing about myself that makes me feel unique in the setting of the summer associate is my age, and my status as a mother (i'm the only one).

    Then a boy took his turn, and said something about his status as an older student and a married man. Then a girl [i call everyone boys and girls. eternal youth -- this is the fountain of it. Boys and Girls, thank you] said, "Zuska, mine will be very similar to yours" and I thought, "yeah, just b/c we're both white!!!" [we actually were all three white].

    but no. i was wrong. this girl is an ex-fundy. she went to a super fundy college. she is now an "agnostic" and is married to an atheist. She is out of her 20's.

    It was so weird, b/c while this diversity-diva is up there preaching to us, she's talking about ways in which we feel like we're the "only" - the only Black summer, the only mother, the only person from Georgia - and so on and so forth, and how that makes people feel. We are honestly in a firm that was historically the Harvard Club, and is working hard to shed that image and typecast, but I'd definitely call it slow going.

    I felt as if I had MANY ways in which I was an "only." The only ex-fundy, almost the only person from my school, the only divorcee, the only mother, the only almost-34-year-old, the only one who attended liberty university.

    but connecting with this person with such a similar background as mine was really surprising! the fact that we were there to learn about diversity, and randomly ended up in a group of 3 who found really odd connections with each other was also comical. In a not-laughing-out-loud kind of way.

    In other summer associate news .... a friend of mine decided to propose a gathering of those of us who are .... graying. i at first thought it was silly, weird, typecasting, boring. but in the week or so since it was first proposed, a lot more has dawned on me, and i have realized that this is probably the only way to connect with people who aren't out trolling for the firm credit card in order to carry it off to a bar for hours upon hours of slamming down drinks. Now i'm eager for the old summers to get together. we're going for coffee this friday. i'm even willing to share home brewed remedies for arthritis poultices. if it means i get a reprieve from the frat house that is perpetually trying to invade my newly acquired (temporarily) blackberry.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:39 PM   3 comments
    Tuesday, June 13, 2006
    a cautious rant (update included)
    when a school requires - as a part of its curriculum - that you work 40 hours a week twice a year, and then during one of those times, schedules a one time informational session on gov't honors programs and clerkships, should that be seen as okay? For the ONE TIME CHANCE to figure out what is required - and how to take this particular school's non-traditional ways of doing things (i.e., "ungrades" and work requirements) and make them fit into the requirements - to be smack in the middle of a work day? Does that seem RIGHT? And when the people who have this information, who are VERY closely related with those who enforce the REQUIREMENT of the school that people be working full time, doing jobs which they are EVALUATED for, only make themselves available to those who have 'stopped by the office and signed up on our door' for an appointment? an in office - not telephonic appointment?

    I do not understand why this is okay.

    And I am sure that any protests I voice will be met with the response "you could have dealt with this while you were in school in the spring." To which I reply, "well, in the spring, I had not yet spent 3.2 weeks highly frustrated, unfulfilled, and generally unhappy in the job that I had ASSUMED I would be thrilled to accept come August."

    All I really want is a hand out (as in a bunch of papers stapled together -- b/c I know that asking for it in PDF form would be too much). A hand out that explains our unique timelines due to the fact that the Dean has to read through all of our evaluations and assign a grade to them so they can then be uploaded into OSCAR and whatever other technologically savvy systems exist out there in the world of post-law-school employment.

    To be fair (i.e., cautious), I just sent an e-mail asking for this very thing (information in written form), and I have not given them a chance to respond. I will post an appropriate update if I am given such an opportunity. I would love to be able to say tomorrow "oh, they gave me a handout! They sent me an email with a concise statement of all the deadlines and requirements! I know now what I have to do!!"

    Update: Alright, alright. I cannot join the ranks of hundreds of law school bloggers constantly complaining about their career services. I received an e-mail before 9:30 a.m. reassuring me that they would CERTAINLY take care of me, get me a hand out, and even post it on the school bulletin board.

    Update II: I also decided to be proactive about my thus far "highly frustrated, unfulfilled, and generally unhappy"-ness from my summer experience, and I believe things are about to turn a very happy corner. There are many summers in this program who are more than happy to have nothing to do, and bill all required 7 hours to the summer program as they visit their drinking buddies down the hall. I, however, am not one of those many summers, and apparently, to transform the summer to one of my own personal priorities and forms of enjoyment (i.e., intellectually challenging work), a little solicitation on my part was required. Looks like the summer holds promise yet :)
    posted by Zuska @ 9:39 PM   0 comments
    Sunday, June 11, 2006
    softball is over
    Today was the last day of softball for the Things. And surprisingly, I played!! Thing One reminded me that last year, I refused to play. This year, I thought "that's dumb, who cares if I don't know first base from third, it should be fun!" and I borrowed a glove and got on the field.

    I got 2 outs, I hit the ball my first time up at bat, and had decent hits the other 2 times, and I had a good time. Some other moms abdicated their spaces on the field and had little mommy pow-wows on the side lines, but not me. I kept at it.

    It was fun.

    And, if you can tell, this means that the sun came out today! I celebrated by going for a delightful jog this morning, hitting not one, but TWO stair paths along the way. I think the good weather invigorated me more than I realized, because my legs are quite sore (in a good way), even though I took the same route I've been taking.

    I also sorted the Things winter/summer clothing, sent beloved to the donation bin with a huge bag, and have another pile to pass on to friends. I said I would then work on my own pig sty -- and I should, since the girls are struggling through the cleaning of their room. It would be good to be a Not Hypocrite in front of my children.
    posted by Zuska @ 5:43 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, June 10, 2006
    wet weekend #785
    i have always been just lazy enough of a person that when rain forces me to hunker down at home, i'm pleased. i smile inside, and parts of me say, "ahhhhhhhh."

    but you know what? I'm sick and tired of hunkering down at home. i'm sick of plans being cancelled, picnics being rained out, softball being almost non-existent. i think that more than 1/2 of the girls' games and practices were canceled this spring.

    i'm sick of being damp. i'm sick of shoes drying out by the front door. i'm sick of peeling jeans off myself the second i walk in the door. i'm sick of the warm icky greenhouse feeling of my rain slicker.

    today - we didn't let the rain get us down. we had plans, and we stuck with them. Thing Two and I went to a fancy lunch out, and Beloved took Thing One over to Cambridge for some yummy burgers and I think a museum exploration. some random museum at some college? i guess there's a college over in Cambridge? not sure what it's called. [oh wait, it must be that one where 85% of attorneys and summer associates i work with come from ......]

    Thing Two and i went to a puppet show. And we bought some craft materials, and we bought shoes, and we bought books.

    I did a very stupid thing, which I seem to be doing a lot of lately. I left my ATM card in the machine after making a deposit. I do not know why. I just did. I didn't realize it until I got to the restaurant, and we were already short on time, but I thought I couldn't just leave it there, and things were so quiet while we were out, I thought there was a chance that no one had been there (the bank) since I left. So I make Thing Two abandon our table, and we ran back. It was gone. People were in there, they said others were in before they were, it was gone.

    I guess I should call the bank.

    Then, at the restaurant, I got lasagna, and the middle of it was cold. This pissed me off, b/c it first drove home the realization that it was NOT fresh (duh), and second because, well, my food was cold. and i didn't have time to send it back and get new, b/c we already bought tickets to the puppet show. So when the waiter came by and asked "is everything alright?" I told him that my lasagna was cold in the middle. I just couldn't hold my tongue. I already thought he was treating me like I was a weirdo, b/c I had been seated, then dashed out (to find my card), and then returned. I told him I didn't have time for him to get it reheated, but that the kitchen should know that they need to heat it up for longer.

    He shortly returned to tell me that the lasagna was removed from my bill.

    So I gave him a big tip. "Weirdo" looks and all.

    We were sad b/c our local kids' shoe store is closing. Going out of business - death to another independently owned retail establishment. I really liked the place :( I like locally owned non-chain places. I feel good paying a wee bit more than I perhaps would on Zappos if I know that it's going to a small business. But it's going away. I bought Thing Two some new sneakers, and I picked up a really cute pair of Teva flip-flops for Thing One.

    THEN, at the puppet show, I was feeling snarky.

    We have this very cool artsy puppet theater in town. The people who run it take their puppets VERY seriously, and they have some puppets in glass cases that are works of art by "puppet masters." They give kids a little lecture at the end about different types of puppets, and show them how they work. it's very cool.

    We'd been there just during an open house festival thing that our town does around Thanksgiving called "First Lights" where all the holiday lights are first lit up, and all the stores open up, and serve cider, and Dunkin' Donuts is the starting point where they pass out bags with goodies from different stores and stuff. Very cool, actually.

    Even though I'd always meant to go back to the puppet theater, we never did. I wanted to do something special with Thing Two, since Thing One accompanied me to the theater to see a play earlier in the week, and this is what we thought to do.

    The show was Shoemaker and the Elves, and was said to be for ages 4-9. There was a b-day party there. Lots of kids, b/c it's for kids!! Right?

    So then why was I so irritated when a woman came in with her 18 month old (maybe younger), who was scared of the dark, and cried and cried and cried? Her response to his crying? Well, of course --- the most reasonable thing - narrate the show into his ear in a much louder than normal speaking voice. isn't that what all people do? And when he still doesn't stop crying? Oh -- go to the window where the theater staff/owners have placed a heavy black curtain and STAPLED it to the window frame, and yank the staples out so you can open it IN THE MIDDLE OF A SHOW to show your child that it's light outside.

    Perfectly reasonable.

    I'm sure it was very hard for her. She had a 5 year old who was engrossed in the show, and a baby who hated being there. But even the kids (4-9 year olds) in the room were visibly agitated that the ENTIRE show had the soundtrack of a crying child. Isn't there a point? Somewhere before the end of a show, where you realize that there are others in the room? Other people to whom your baby's crying has NOT become a normal sound? who have NOT learned to tune it out, no matter how good you yourself have gotten at doing just that?

    Thing Two and I had a great time together. She's a great kid -- fun to be with, and has a good sense of humor. she makes me laugh a LOT. I believe I will keep her.

    Next week, she goes off with Beloved, and Thing One and I will watch Pirates of the Carribean (the first one) and eat sushi. Good sushi. mmmmmm.
    posted by Zuska @ 5:05 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, June 08, 2006
    Thorny Things --- Kids and Race
    Last night I went to say goodnight to Thing One, and she had been waiting for me, with her finger holding a place in the book (magazine) she had been reading. She asked me to read this short story that she really liked. i was pleased - that she would read something moved her, and wanted to share. She said she had a friend at school who she also wanted to share it with.

    I read the story. It was about a freshman in high school who was ostricized by the other students because she was at a rich New York private prep school, and she was a scholarship student (one of three), and Black (one of one). She lived with her father, and the story takes place about 2 months after her mom left her father. The daughter had refused to go with the mom - the mom asked her to.

    The story overtly spoke of the girls feelings as the only Black student (her classmates were mean and horrible), and her feelings as a teenage (or almost) girl without a mom (her dad was kind of a non-presence).

    The friend that my daughter wanted to share the story with 1) is the only Black student in her class (but not her grade and by far not her school); and 2) lost her mother in a car accident some years ago.

    I know that my daughter had nothing but good feelings and thoughts when she wanted to share this story with her friend. But in order to have the thought that this friend of hers had so much in common with the main character of the story, and that she would like it for that very reason, to me, was problematic.

    I was lost about how to bring up inadvertant racism, and about how we need to keep in check the assumptions we make about people, their thoughts, their feelings, even their lives, based on the color of their skin. But I did bring it up - I believe slowly, delicately, and age-appropriately. Thing One threw up her walls soooo fast. Almost like she knew it was coming. She said, "Mom, if you don't want me to bring the book to school, I won't bring it, now can you stop talking to me about it?"

    I wonder if I should have skipped the talk? Let her learn from her own experiences? But the experience isn't only her own. Her friend at school may feel poorly as a result of my daughter's actions.

    I wonder how Thing One would feel, honestly, if someone said, "Hey, this story is about a white girl, so I think you'll really like it!" or more realistically, "oh, here's a book about a girl whose parents are divorced, i bet you'll love it."

    When i spoke to her about it - before she closed the conversation - she did bring up that she more was thinking of the loss of the mother as the reason to share the story with her friend. She was so quick to be defensive about the race component, I did wonder if she is more sensitive and careful than I thought.

    I'm not sure if I handled it right. I'm not sure if there was really something that needed to be "handled."

    Any thoughts?
    posted by Zuska @ 10:12 PM   3 comments
    Wednesday, June 07, 2006
    The peace and quiet
    on this blog is an illusion!!! life is really exploding over here, with the girls' school nearing the end of the year, the Summer Firm populating my calendar with events, big changes happening for Beloved, and the judge nagging me about this stupid project that I stupidly agreed to back in Stupid November having no idea that it would stretch into Stupid June.

    I'm having to throw up my hands a wee bit, I think, and just concede that posting will be quiet. the Things take off in 2 weeks, and I suspect life will be quieter then.

    I still haven't read a book. damn.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:29 PM   0 comments
    Monday, June 05, 2006
    My beloved is so wonderful. He is a helpful, caring, selfless man who is constantly working to improve his relationships, himself, and the world around him. I love him.

    And I am so happy for him that he has just been given an opportunity in a field that he really wants to be in. He gets to walk away from administrative stuff, and be working toward the career that he's wanted for some time ... something more creative, something much more "him." I believe he deserves it.

    woo hoo beloved! Congratulations!! I love you!!
    posted by Zuska @ 9:34 PM   2 comments
    music, chatter and plays
    My Summer Firm is taking us out to dinner and to a play this week. We are allowed to invite a guest. Beloved and I were excited about this event - the restaurant we're going to is not too shabby, and we don't usually get to go out. Then it turns out that my babysitter doesn't really like to work on weeknights, b/c she has to be at another job at like 6:30 in the morning or something gross like that.

    No childcare means no date with Beloved.

    I therefore decided to bring Thing One. I was a little leery at first, wondering if it was too weird. But then I found out who was in my group (we had to split into groups of 4 for this event, b/c there's too many of us to go to one restaurant at one time), and they're mostly people i know and am familiar with, and they're all very excited to meet my daughter. I know she will be able to hold her own in the restaurant, and I think she can handle Shakespeare comedy. We'll see. The play is tomorrow.

    I took her shopping yesterday, and bought a new dress. She tried it on for Beloved and he suggested a hairdo and that she find some earrings. She's very excited.

    Thing Two was jealous at first, but she got over it once she realized that she doesn't have to eat potentially spicy food or sit through a likely boring play. And after I promised a special something for her and I before she takes off in less than 3 weeks.


    Tonight was Thing One's cello concert. The music was HORRIBLE. It was 4th graders, and they're all just learning. Even if they each do a fantastic job, they haven't been trained on how to play together .... you should have seen the flutes and cello bows that were bonking neighbors in the face, arm, hair, eye. But it was very cute just the same - it was the beginning of many years of lessons (for those who stick with it). Thing One has improved so much this year, and she is very interested in continuing. In our town, the lessons are in school during 4th grade, and then in 5th grade, those who want to continue are required to get private lessons. She wants to continue.


    Today I did very little work. My office mate has been, for the most part, really slammed with work. Today was the first day that he was not, and while I had work, nothing was at all pressing. So we talked. All day. It was a nice day, and good to get to know the person that I will be sharing space with for several weeks to come. He's really cool. I'll get to meet his wife tomorrow night at the play. She's in law school, too.

    I even finished one of my 3 projects, and the other one sort of fizzled away due to extenuating circumstances (nothing to do with me frittering the day away - i was just lucky).

    All-in-all, not a bad Monday.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:19 PM   1 comments
    Saturday, June 03, 2006
    when i was working before i started law school, i was not very busy. my job was kind of slow. i was able at one point to go down to 4/5ths time, things were so slow. (actually, i'm told, the issue was more that i was fast in getting things done, and previous people in my position were not lacking things to do, as i was). My employer was not comfortable having me there for less time, though, "in case something came up." So I listened to NPR. All. Day. Long.

    Law school made me give it up. I so miss it. It was the most informed person in the WORLD back then. the WORLD. (which was, by the way, one of my favorite shows).

    I am finding, since first year is over, that during co-op, i can revisit my obsession with politics and the world that I live in. During school quarters, I can scan headlines and blurbs. But on co-op?

    on co-op, i take the train. for about an hour.

    And while on the train, I can listen to podcasts!!!! Of my old shows!! I don't know why I can't focus on them so well while in school. While in school, I listen to novels. On co-op, I listen to podcasts -- mostly NPR podcasts, but I do also like Slate.

    Last night while burning disks for dad, I re-subscribed to all my old favorites. I'm very excited to start listening. It's really not as good as the days when I was listening to everything (not selected snippets) in real time, but I'll deal.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:31 AM   0 comments
    rain and music
    it is 7:20 a.m. i woke over an hour ago to go running. the rain is pouring from the sky, however. so i've done sit ups, push ups, and other assorted exercises involving weights, but i just can't bring myself to step into the downpours.

    i need to pick up my zipcar in 30 minutes, though, b/c i'm heading back down to the folks' house today. i'm going to a wedding, by myself. leaving beloved and the kids home alone - it was going to be so the girls could play in their softball games tomorrow, but now i'm not sure they'll HAVE softball games.

    mom and i are giving my dad an iPod for Father's Day. I spent a couple of hours last night burning disks from MY iTunes so I can load his pod tonight, and give it to him tomorrow, all ready to go. I think he's pretty lucky to get an iPod pre-loaded with 200 songs. What kind of songs do you give your DAD, though? That was the question.

    Dad was in Vietnam, but he didn't see combat. He's never been "into" music, and doesn't have stuff that he likes. There was one point where I know he listened to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and another where he was listening to Barbara Streisand. You know what? I don't have either of those in my library.

    I gave him the Beatles, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Diana Krall, and a wee bit of classical. Oh, and some Fleetwood Mac.

    He and my mom listen to Praise Music in their car. Funny that i don't have any of that, either. I'm sure it shocks you all. That I don't have CDs of people saying "thank you, jesus!" in the background to the chorus of the songs.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:23 AM   0 comments
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