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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  • Monday, July 31, 2006
    First Step Success
    As I mentioned the other day, I have prioritized fixing up my credit score. The divorce had affected it negatively, and I know that some of it can be fixed with a little diligence.

    I ordered a free credit report on Saturday was STUNNED - i mean STUNNED - to find that I had a tax lien on my record!! It looked, from the report, that it was a property tax lien, and I have never owned property. So I was sooo confused. And it was Saturday, and nowhere was open, and I was just feeling so frustrated and helpless and upset. The lien was for approx $1300.

    Today, I made some phone calls. I found out it was NOT a property tax lien, it was a state (California) tax lien from 2003. This makes no sense to me for soooo many reasons. First of all - I paid all my taxes. Things were pretty straight forward -- I was working full time, I had W-2's, and I filed them. Second of all - I've had no notice of the issue. The lien was recorded in August of 2005. In April of 2005, I filed my 2004 taxes with California -- using my current address. So they had my address. They sent me no information about this problem from 2003.

    The problem was that I had filed as Head of Household. I filed as Head of Household in 2002, as well, and they sent me a questionnaire asking some Q's about my marital status and about my dependents. I filled that out in 2003 (applicable to my 2002 taxes) and sent it in.

    Apparently, in 2004, they sent me the same thing, applicable to my 2003 taxes. I was already across the country, so I did not get it, i did not fill it out, and I did not send it in.

    Also, apparently, they didn't send me the refund I was owed last year .... I somehow didn't know this. So, there is a mistake on my part. I will blame it on 1L, and move on. But I did file. And they kept my return $$, but they still didn't send me a notice to let me know that things were amiss.

    All of this was so easily rectified, it was like something out of the Twilight Zone. I called a tax agency? and I was on hold for less than 5 minutes? and they apologized to me? and they took down my information, and solved the problem? They're faxing me a letter saying that the "filed in error" report is in process. I am vindicated!!!

    And a check for $257 is coming my way!!!! (that's last year's tax return that i never got).

    This is very good news, b/c when I found out it was the state, i figured it was an old tax mistake that the Schlurg had made when we were married, and if that was the case, I knew I'd get stuck with the full bill, b/c there was no way in HELL he would pay 1/2. I may as well ask him to castrate himself.

    but it was something completely within my realm to deal with, and it was fixed almost instantly.

    So, i think that one day, i may be able to buy a house!
    posted by Zuska @ 6:57 PM   2 comments
    Sunday, July 30, 2006
    That 17% and ramblings pertaining thereto
    Thursday was a downer of a day. i went to a breakfast that had to do with some pro bono work that i'd done at work, and a judge was our keynote speaker. She brought up the Number. The one that has been written about in the New York Times, and perhaps even the Wall Street Journal - that despite the fact that law schools are pretty much 50/50 female/male; law firm partners are only 17% women.

    She said it was b/c of the hours, and that it's a shame -- but didn't really offer a solution. she mostly just encouraged women not to leave the law entirely. she said perhaps we can go into public interest law, perhaps we can start to represent "normal people." She mentioned one of the things I saw before law school, and that brought me TO law school - the middle income gap.

    There are legal services available for people who are poverty stricken (of course, not enough ... it's never enough), and then those who are wealthy can afford the high costs of legal representation. but the middle class is pretty much priced out of the market, and they have "too much" to get assistance. I suffered from this when I was getting divorced. I was making approximately $45K/year, but it cost that much (and more) to support 2 kids in a high cost of living area. I didn't have the extra $1,500/mo that it costs to hire an attorney to represent me. Some people will argue that the result is that I got shafted and agreed to more than I should have, giving the Schlurg the advantage, but I'm not sure that's true.

    Anyway.

    The 17%.

    I then later had a nice long conversation with an associate who was letting us know what the reality is for female partners. it included some of the following:

    1) Two nannies;
    2) Husbands who stay at home;
    3) Bringing kids into the office on the weekends, and forcing your secretary (who you clearly made work on the weekend) to watch them while getting work done;
    4) Bed time stories via speaker phone;
    5) Questions of missing major events in the child's life due to a big corporate deal going through at the same time.

    I find myself thinking the following in response:

    1) yeah, but these are all people who had SMALL children, my kids are older.
    2) yeah, but these are CORPORATE partners, I'm going into litigation [at this firm, the cultures are pretty different]
    3) yeah, but these things may have happened like ONCE, and then just were transformed into an urban legend and are considered par for the course.

    But .... why? Why am I thinking this? Why am I making these excuses, these "buts"?

    I did not come to law school to work in BigLaw. I did not come with the goal to be a partner in a major law firm. I came with the goal to use my intellectual abilities in something I am happy doing. Preferably, something that helps others. As I've discussed ad nauseum, my first choice of type of law when I was entering law school was Family Law. because it helped people. People who were in a crisis point, and who needed help. I wanted even moreso to allow for people to HAVE help when they otherwise could not - i.e., offer my legal services on a sliding scale.

    But things have happened, and I find myself at a Big Firm (and how), and it's so easy to get swept along. One partner who I recently had lunch with has argued in front of hte First Circuit numerous times, and loves it. She's done a bazillion trials, and really loves her work.

    But she's single, and has no children.

    Another thing that's come up is that "back in the day" - becoming partner meant 3 p.m. T times and 10 a.m. strolls into the office. IT doesn't mean that anymore. Partners work their butts off.

    At the breakfast, I was sitting with an older partner from our firm, who was with the firm when it was less than 1/8th the size it is now. I thought he seemed slightly squirmy during the talks about the lack of women partners. On our walk back to our office, however, he was the one who brought it up. He mentioned the fact that not only women - but also men - are no longer in the big firms for the long haul. People move on at a much higher rate now, and don't stick around to become partner. He did acknowledge that for women with children, unless they have a lot of $$ to hire a nanny, it's harder.

    I wonder what's going to happen to the big firm? With so many people coming in with a 2-5 year plan .... who will be left? There has been much written lately about generational differences. That the generation that is now 24 and 25 years old is a less tolerant one. They aren't willing to accept 12-14 hour days, and so they just .... leave. They want flexibility, and they want balanced lifestyles. If everyone in an entire generation turns their backs on jobs that don't offer that - what will become of those jobs?

    Beloved and I debated over this issue before I started this summer. He was working in Human Resources, and was putting together a report on this newer generation, and what they're looking for. I said that at least in law, it doesn't matter. There are SO MANY people scrambling for the same jobs. Right now, only 5-10% of graduates end up in the type of job that I'm talking about, and there are many others who apply, and aren't successful. The layers are just too deep.

    But what if we {even though i'm of an older generation} get in, and all these other, older, 12-14 hour/day people DIE - I mean, they're gonna die. They're gonna retire.

    Will it change?

    i am pessimistic. When these lawyers are in the office at 10:15 p.m., or sometimes even 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., they're talking to clients. They are on conference calls. They're shooting e-mails back and forth.

    So it's not just the legal culture.

    It goes beyond that.

    It seems like if the men join the women in demanding a humane schedule, a humane job, that things must change. But do the bills then not get paid? If the corporate law firms don't do what the corporations want them to - do they disappear? Or do the corporations then adjust their expectations?

    And - does someone get to make the kinds of money that these partners (and even senior associates) are making without giving 120%? Will enough people decide that they don't want or need $600,000 a year? $1.3 million a year? That they don't want or need a summer home? Or a boat?

    Like I said. Pessimism resides within me on this point.

    And I'm usually a pretty optmistic person.

    I'd love to hear the thoughts of others - whether they see changes in the culture, the climate. Not just that of law, but that of employees in general, and what they're willing to give, and what they are willing to give up receiving as a result.
    posted by Zuska @ 1:13 PM   4 comments
    dick and jane
    for some reason this summer, i cannot read. i have picked up at least 3 novels that i cannot get into, cannot finish. i do not know what my problem is.

    first, it was Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. I'm on page 71. I have been since June.

    then it was White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I think it was stupid of me to try, because i had started it back in '03, and couldn't get into it then, either. i just hear so much about how wonderful she is, that i thought i'd give it another go.

    I was able to read one book ... the Attack, by Yasmina Khadra. It was very odd that I read that book when I did. How long has this "Middle East Crisis" been going on? 3 weeks? Then I read this book 4 weeks ago. I finished it, and practically the next day, things blew up over there. This book is about [not a spoiler! it's on the flap in the book] an Arab-Israeli doctor who was treating patients that were victims of a suicide bomb in a restaurant in Tel Aviv ... and was later informed that his wife was found among the rubble, and that her injuries were consistent with that of a suicide bomber. She was the bomber. He had no clue. The book was about his journey in trying to figure out what happened - with her, mostly.

    Then, I was very excited to see that one of my favorite authors, Jose Saramago, had come out with a new book, Seeing. When I then saw that it actually is tied into his older book, and my favorite book of ALL TIME, Blindness, I bought it.

    But it kind of isn't good. I couldn't put my finger on why for a while, but on about page 75, I realized that there was no character. No narrator, no protagonist, no nothing. Now I'm page 120, and I *think* that the story is focusing on a character. Maybe.

    I find myself looking wistfully at hte girls' shelves. Maybe I'll re-read Watership Down? Perhaps pick up Eragon. Something a wee bit more .... story driven? I'm not sure what it is I'm looking for - whatever it is - I'm not finding it.
    posted by Zuska @ 12:45 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, July 29, 2006
    Final Childless Weekends
    My Things come home 2 weeks from today. This weekend is my last do-nothing weekend, and I may be glad for that. Doing nothing isn't so fun for me. It's so damned hot outside (95), that I really do NOTHING. If it were 80, I would be happy to be out and about. But 95 pushes my limits.

    Beloved is working on the girls' room - drills and saws are going strong. It's freaking out the cats, and one went outside after just sitting here YELLING at me for a while. The other is all antsy and can't decide what she wants to do.

    Next weekend is my mother's birthday (she's 56), and I decided to go and have dinner with her. I wanted to just get a zipcar for the day, and go for lunch, but she has to work all day, so I'm going for an overnight. I think my brother is going to come to dinner as well, and hopefully that will go well - he and my mother seem to not be getting along as of late. Beloved will not come, b/c of the girls' room. Which is why I didn't want to stay the night ... but we'll survive.

    Last night, Beloved and I went back to the home of the Allagash Tripel. While we were there, thunder boomed, lightning flashed, and rain came down. As we were leaving, a rainbow was arching in the sky right above us, and the sunset through the breaking clouds put an orange hue over the entire neighborhood. It was gorgeous.

    I also did much better with the beer - knowing what it does to me. I slowly sipped 2 glasses, and was only slightly buzzed in a happy and appropriate way.

    We then rented Napolean Dynamite, on my suggestion after hearing so much about it since it was in theaters pre-law-school. I never felt like I had to turn the movie OFF, but I certainly won't be seeing it again. I hate that. Every time there's a movie I hear about and I want to see, it sucks. Beloved, the Film Dude, rarely has this happen. He picks a movie, and it's b/c he learned about it in Film School, or b/c he knows the director inside and out, or whatever, and we rarely don't like the movie.

    Oh well. At least now we've kept up with the Jones. (Or Juniors.)
    posted by Zuska @ 1:55 PM   0 comments
    Then, you have to unpack the boxes.
    A few weeks ago, Summer Firm provided us with a "financial planning" seminar. Since most of us are going to be starting out making more money than we've seen during our lives, they thought it would be helpful.

    Their advice boiled down to two things: Pay off school loans ASAP; buy real estate ASAP.

    First of all, their estimate of school loans was woefully low. I think mine are even larger than others' because Ih ave gotten "budget increases" to allow for extra loans, due to child care expenses.

    Second of all, their estimates for real estate prices were for 1 bedroom condos in the city. Which has crappy schools. So, they were estimating $400K for a 1 bedroom condo.

    I need at least 3 bedrooms, if the place has an office/den; and 4 bedrooms if not.

    Third of all, he spoke not at all about saving for kids' college in exactly 8 years (holy shit! Thing one will be starting college in exactly 8 years - unless we can convince her to defer for the sake of backpacking across Europe and having an extra year of maturity before being forced to decide what to do with her life).

    I really think that the quick pay-off of loans is still applicable to me. I would like to do that. Right now, other than the school loans, I have no debt. I paid it all off before coming to school - I had a considerable amount, due to my divorce. Unfortunately, the high debt and other circumstances of the divorce (i.e., lost credit card bills that schlurg and I thought the other was paying) really did a number on my credit score.

    So I want to pay off the loans, and at the same time, work to repair my credit.

    But buying a house? That really doesn't seem too possible. Like, ever!!

    Starting back in March, I decided to look at home prices in the area we have settled. The houses that were the size I would want (at least 4 bedrooms) were running at $1.3 million. What's worse, b/c this area is highly desirable, there were very few. Maybe 3. (Is that worse? Does it matter if there's 25, if they're $1.3 million and I live off of loans?). Condos of similar size were approx $950,000.

    Today, there was a 4 bedroom condo listed at $700,000. It was also beautiful, with large windows, a beautiful view, and nicely sized rooms. There were other, smaller, 3 bedroom condos for $500,000. Those would have been $700,000 or $750,000 earlier in the year.

    Hopefully, in the next couple of years, things will either hold steady, or better yet, go down.

    If they do go down, I may actually be able to buy a house. Something I did not think I could do a mere 4 months ago.

    Although, this week we had a "how to buy a home" seminar at work, and the Realtor informed us that June, July and August are the slowest months, and prices tend to go down just b/c buyers are on vacation, and it's too late for people to get settled in time for kids to start school in the fall, so summer prices aren't a fair indicator.

    So perhaps it's all artificial, and when I do my monthly check of hte local market in September, I will once again see myself as the Permanent Renter.
    posted by Zuska @ 1:20 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, July 27, 2006
    a few work-related tidbits
    I have a mere 2 weeks left at work.

    I don't know how explicitly I've shared my Theme of the Summer Job on this blog - but I'm ready to do it now:

    Boredom.

    That's the theme. I believe that from what I've gathered, a new assignment system was rolled out for this year, and I"m not sure it works. There were too many instances of the right hand not communicating with the left, and while some people were buried in work, many were idle for a great percentage of their time.

    Including me.

    And I didn't like it.

    But now, finally, my voice has been heard, and I'm getting work. Lots of work.

    And I'm pleased, because I like doing the work.

    But.

    My friends who were busy when I was not? Well, now they're not.

    Fortunately, the work I'm doing is very exciting, and I really do like it. I'm using my law school learning, I'm doing "complex litigation" and addressing exciting issues (remember? police misconduct?) I'm using my Corporations (not on the police misconduct case - another one); my Federal Courts; my Civil Procedure; and more.

    So now that I'm on the way out, things are picking up, and I don't really feel ready to be done. I think, if my kids weren't on their way home, i could easily work another 2 or 3 weeks.

    Now that I'm actually working.

    But I finish on the 11th, and my beauties come home on the 12th, and we get 2 weeks of fun and leisure, and I can't wait to have them back.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:23 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, July 25, 2006
    delicious dinner
    My mentor was not able to make it, b/c she actually works for a living, as a lawyer, and a client had an emergency, and the partner on the case didn't think a fancy dinner out with Zuska was reason enough for her to stay behind while the rest of the team went 911 on the case.

    My supervisor and his wife, Beloved and I all had a very nice evening, with very delicious food.

    Beloved sat next to the wife, who ordered the wine, which I enjoyed. When we got home, Beloved told me that he was able to see the menu during ordering, and that the bottle was $90.
    I know for some, that's nothing. Perhaps it's just a typical bottle to share over pasta at home. For me, this was a first. I had never had a $90 bottle of wine before, at least I don't think I have. I buy wine at Trader Joe's. If I pay $12.99, it's b/c I splurged.

    It was really good, too. The wine.

    The other amazing part of my meal was my dessert. I had a beet and goat cheese salad for an appetizer (I love beets. I love goat cheese) and Sole with spinach for dinner. They were both, really, "okay." I wasn't really up for dessert, and the choices weren't thrilling me. But i was not about to be the only person not ordering, so I went ahead and got some ice cream.

    Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

    When it came, it looked normal. Normal Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

    So I took a bit.

    Oh.

    My.

    God.

    This was NOT Bryers.

    This was NOT Haagen Daaz.

    This was NOT mint extract.

    It tasted like a mint leaf.

    A sprig of mint.

    It was AMAZING.

    yet, I was good Summer Associate Girl, and only ate one of the three little golf ball sized scoops, and left hte rest melting in the bowl.

    Because Summer Associates who eat all their dessert get fat[ter].

    [My mentor and I are thinking we may be able to get another meal out of the summer program - to make up for her absence. i'll keep you posted.]

    Tomorrow night, Beloved gets to accompany me for a cocktail hour and dinner at a local museum. We're looking forward to it.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:43 PM   2 comments
    the Cable Guy loves my boyfriend*
    *I hate referring to him as my boyfriend. I've taken to just calling him my husband. I'm sick and tired of the requisite explanations and sharing of my life story if I do otherwise.

    The other day, Beloved shared with me that he is addicted to news. He loves it and he wants MORE. We currently subscribe to the most basic of basic cable. We get the networks, and like, 1.2 other channels. So he checked into how much it would cost to get more news. i.e., more cable.

    It would have taken our monthly charges from $10.37 to $54.29. Which we decided was NOT ACCEPTABLE.

    This evening, I called him at 5:07 to say I was not leaving work at 4:30 as I originally planned, and he said, "Did you order me more cable???" I said no. Because I did not.

    But we now have EVERY CHANNEL. MTV, CNN, my favorite ever THE WEATHER CHANNEL (is there a hurricane channel?), the Food Network. Everything.

    When I was a kid, and we had some limited cable package, we would randomly get HBO for a week or so, which of course would get us used to having HBO, and we'd beg mom to buy it for us. Perhaps that's what is going on here?

    or perhaps Beloved has been making some kind of weird offerings to the cable gods. But now I am not sure he wants to go to dinner, b/c Camp Lazlo is on the Cartoon Network.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:26 PM   0 comments
    Earrings, projects, dinner
    So, first of all, I have these pearl earrings that are out to get me. I've left them in Connecticut, dropped them down the drain, had the post come off the pearl, and then, today, the back just FLEW off my ear. I reached up upon arriving at work and after killing approx 45 minutes on the internet and catching up with e-mails to fiddle with my earring, and it was being held in by NOTHING. NOTHING.

    Then, I spent the whole morning waiting for an associate to come in so I could go and meet with her and go over the deposition outline I created for depositions that were supposed to happen this week. She was meeting a delivery person at her home, and was going to come in after that. I left for lunch at 12:30 without having heard from her.

    Then, I thought I was settling in for a long afternoon with nothing to do, and instead had a flurry of e-mails, a meeting with some people from my pro bono project, and then a call from a newly appointed supervisor (b/c mine gave his 2 weeks notice, and his last day is Friday) who had a project for me.

    What kind of project, Zuska?

    Oh, I'm so glad you asked. Just your run of the mill Section 1983 Civil Rights Case.

    But Zuska, I thought you were working at a big firm? Spending your time tromping on the little guy in order to benefit Corporate America?

    Nope. Police Misconduct. That's me. Miss Police Misconduct. Miss ANTI police misconduct. I am working on behalf of the plaintiff.

    ______________________

    Tonight is a dinner. Beloved and I are being taken out by my outgoing supervisor, and my mentor. They're bringing their spouses, too. I am home now, and reservations are for 7:30. I can't really decide if I should change my clothes. I don't think I will. My supervisor and mentor will be coming straight from hte office (I could not have filled the hours of 5 to 7 if I wanted to), and will have on their work clothes. So I may as well do the same. What am I gonna do? Put on jeans? Hardly.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:17 PM   0 comments
    Bar Day
    Good luck to all of you!! I am nervous on your behalf!
    posted by Zuska @ 7:27 AM   0 comments
    books and classes
    My school, it appears, does not offer any of the commercial paper classes that were mentioned in the comments. The closest thing is Secured Transactions, but the course description explicitly states it's Article 9 only - not 3 and 4. And you know what? I'm not gonna take it.

    I am going to try and sell my books. I am someone who always buys new - from the bookstore. I don't have patience to hunt for bargains. But I know that some do, and I'm willing to provide them with that bargain!! I checked out Half.com and Amazon last night, to see how things were looking. I am going to sell my books that have tight bindings, and just clearly disclose the underlining and highlighting. I will probably charge $35 - and they will be $15 cheaper than anything else that I saw.

    Off to work!!
    posted by Zuska @ 7:23 AM   0 comments
    Sunday, July 23, 2006
    Law Book Selling Etiquette
    The romantic blush of my first year of law school is over, my book shelf is over full, and I want to sell last year's books. I do not know, however, if I can. I do not brief cases; I take notes directly into the margins of my books. I highlight somewhere between moderate and heavy - although my highlighting is not color coded (b/c I think that practice is kind of freaky). Some books have underlining in colored pencil, underlining via gel pens, and highlighting. All have notes in the margins.

    Are these books sellable? I took a gander through my Corporations book, thinking it would be a LIGHT one, and actually, it was pretty heavy.

    Those of you who buy used books ... would you buy them with moderate highlighting and notes in the margin? i.e., outlining in the margin?
    posted by Zuska @ 3:36 PM   4 comments
    oh yeah, corporations
    i got my evaluation for corporations the other day. I received a "very good" which is the equivalent of a B+. All in all, the spring went "fine" for me. Just fine. I think that the return for effort put in was likely HIGH. There were some issues that had to be addressed on my corporations take home exam that I read for the first time while writing my exam. If I can do that, and walk away with a B+, I'm gonna just deal with it.

    I wonder how difficult it will be to put forth a solid effort in this third year. hopefully I can find it within me, based only on the satisfaction of doing well (and not screwing up so much that offers are revoked).
    posted by Zuska @ 12:10 PM   0 comments
    This weekend's adventure
    Yesterday, Beloved and I took a fast ferry to Provincetown (the very tip of Cape Cod). I had never been, he hadn't been since 1985. It was not what I expected. I think I expected a city. It was NOT a city. It was a very cute beach town. There is one main road with all the shops, restaurants, bars, etc., and it's very long.

    We had a very nice time, and want to have a full blown vacation in the area, with the kids. It would be nice to have a little place of our own some day, but it would also be nice to win the lottery. We felt the same way about Bar Harbor - but it was so far. We can be in Provincetown without a car. We can bring our bikes onto the ferry, or rent bikes there.

    We are thinking of taking the girls for a week after the bar exam next year. After they get home from the Biological's house. But we also want to go to Europe, before they get home. So our plans may be exceeding our means. We'll see.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:25 AM   2 comments
    Zuska is a Lazy Butt
    This summer, I have had a major change in my persona. i have gone from the person who will sleep as late as she possibly can, sometimes even getting BACK into bed after the shower if I find that I'm running early, to a person who wakes up at 5:30 every day, despite there being no need for me to be at work before 9. And I do NOT spend much time "getting ready" in the morning. In the beginning of the summer, I thought I'd look "professional" and put on make up, and dry my hair. Turns out, I don't really look any different when I do those things (considering that by "make up" I mean mascara) than I do when I do my USUAL routine - brush my hair, put some type of color on my lips, and be done. So I stopped. I don't dry my hair - it's hot enough now that the heat outside dries it for me well before I get to work, and I don't put on mascara. I like having the freedom to rub my eyes.

    I get up at 5:30 so I can go for a run. I am engaged with a pretty long-term struggle to lose weight, and I need to exercise. I've done so well with finding within me the self-discipline to become an early riser, and run pretty much 6 days a week. (Due to Summer Associate lunches, I have mostly succeeded at maintaining my weight, rather than losing any, although some weeks I've been down a few, Other summer associates have gained. Up to 10 pounds for women, and rumor has it - 30 pounds for men.)

    This past week, however, I've lost it. I believe it started on Tuesday. Both Monday and Tuesday were extremely hot days. 95-100 degrees. That to me, is hell on earth. Monday, however, it was still in the lower 70s at 5:30, and I went for a run. On Tuesday!!! It pretty much did not cool off at night. It was already 79 degrees at 5:30. So I did not go running. I thought it was DISGUSTING outside, and that I would NOT go outside. Wednesday, I did go, but then on Thursday and Friday - I was sooooo tired. I think it's b/c of it being my time of hte month, I was truly drained. [Boys who don't want to hear it - avert your eyes for the rest of this paragraph.] Every month, i have a different experience. This month - no cramps, but utter exhaustion. Last month, cramps that made me feel as if I would puke b/c of their intensity, but no tiredness and no grouchiness. Other months, I have a LOT of soreness in my breasts, while this month - none.]

    So I really haven't exercised hardly at all this week, and I feel Lazy. I don't feel so bad about it that i'm hopping on the bike and going to the gym (my school's gym). I'm not. Not today.

    But tomorrow, I will start afresh, and run my ass off (i wish).
    posted by Zuska @ 11:11 AM   0 comments
    The Story of a Bad Mom
    Toward the end of the school year, definitely in June, Thing One came home from a field trip with the beginnings a story she thought of scrawled onto a paper bag. She was excited to write the story, and spent the evening curled in a chair with a notebook. Before she went to bed, she showed me what she had written.

    In the story, a girl had a dog. The dog was large. The dog was a bit mean. So was the girl. One day, at the park, the girl encouraged the dog to eat a cat (!!!!) and the dog did. The girl was happy, and congratulated the dog. (!!!!) Then, another day, the girl and the dog were playing, and the girl got a bit too rough with the dog, and the dog bit the girl's leg. People saw, there was a huballoo, and animal control took the dog, and put it to sleep. The girl was upset.

    Now, Thing One has never written this kind of story before. There has never been a mean streak, there has never been a start of a story with a "tragedy" for her main character. I was very surprised to read about a cat being devoured (it was not graphic in the slightest - it just said "killer ate the cat.") And I was surprised. And I reacted. I said, "I don't like it that he ate the cat! And why was she HAPPY that he ate the cat?"

    The result was that Thing One took her story, got up, went in her room, put it in a drawer - never to be touched again.

    I didn't realize that it was "never to be touched again" until I said something a week or so later, and she said, "You didn't like my story. It wasn't good." I told her that wasn't true, that I was just surprised by it. She said no - she's not writing it. Ever again.

    I think this was a mistake on my part. The child is so creative, and this little story was another step of her exploring her own creativity, and I STIFLED it. I feel terrible about it, and I don't think I can fix it. I can never again give any criticism to stories she's exploring in her head, but I can't make the story about hte girl who lost her dog come back and find its ending. Who knows what the ending was? Perhaps she was to become a cat lover? Perhaps she was to find another dog, who instead of finding pleasure from blood shed, found pleasure from helping others?

    I am hoping that when she returns in 3 weeks, she will pick the story up again, but i highly doubt it.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:59 AM   1 comments
    I'm curious ....
    What the hell is "commercial paper"? Not the obvious part, but rather - in law school, is there a class called "commercial paper?" There isn't in my law school. Nor is there anything that closely resembles such a title. Are the subtopics culled from all the other classes?

    See, I've read a LOT of posts wherein those who are a year ahead of me say that it is a brutal and difficult bar topic, and I really wouldn't mind knowing a wee bit about it before starting my bar exam cram-fest.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:50 AM   5 comments
    Thursday, July 20, 2006
    Beryl & Zuska, up in a tree
    I love storms. I am happy that this tropical storm, as weak as it is, is coming to my state. I am also happy that the pattern that keeps on cropping up this year is one that will likely put several storms in my state.

    I embrace those things about myself that make me a freak.

    Embrace them.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:48 PM   2 comments
    Lovely
    After I got home from the cooking, and during my constant stream of blather and ramble and chaos that I was directing into Beloved's ears, at aroudn 10:10 p.m., the phone rang. That's a little late for our phone to ring. But I quickly remembered that the girls are in the car with Biological, driving to the paternal grandparents home, which will require a couple and a half days on the road.

    It was Thing One. I told her of my surprise that her friend's mom was my chef, and she said, "oh! I saw that on your event packet, and I knew it was her mom, but I decided to surprise you. I didn't realize it was happening this late in the summer, though, I thought I would be there when you got home." My child is getting too old.

    She called to ask if please please please, one summer can WE go on a road trip together. I said sure. She said, "but we always have to go to [middle of the country] in the summer! How will we ever get to do a road trip!" I had a moment of inner glee that she just said that, in the tone that she said it, with her Biological and Step Mother in the front seat. Then I said, "honey, we get a few weeks together at the end of the summer, one year, I'll make sure i have vacation time for those weeks, and we'll go on a road trip." She said, "good, b/c I know it won't be this boring with you and [beloved]."

    la la la la la :)

    They were driving through thunderstorms, and the phone kept cutting out, so it was slightly frustrating, but otherwise, we both got to have a nice talk with Thing One, and I had a nice talk with Thing Two - as the phone was handed to Beloved, theirs cut out again, and I guess that is the point at which Biological said Enough.

    It was nice to hear from them.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:00 AM   2 comments
    who, me? a cook?
    Last night, Summer Firm sent us to a cooking class. The group was very small (12, including the recruiting person and the partner who came along), and I loved that about it. The 12 who were there consisted of at least 50% people I would have hand-chosen. The night before, the group was around 20, and I know that tonight, it will be 24. Turns out a lot of people switched nights, because Wednesdays are the days that the firms in town play softball against each other - and several people couldn't fathom giving up the cut-throat competition in favor of a cooperative activity.

    As it turns out, the chef who taught us is a mom at my kids' school. I know her. I just didn't know who she WAS. To me, she's the lady who walks her pretty daughter to school while walking her cute little doggie. She's the other working mom who made time to see our daughters in their play. She's the mom of the girl who was also a "new kid" on our first day in town.

    I was also thrilled to have an event that was not laced with 100 proof alcohol. We were working together on a common goal, and while we did slowly sip a glass of wine with the steak (that we cut, trimmed and grilled), we never got even close to drunk. We were small enough that we all sat around the dinner table with the chef, and peppered her with questions about cooking and area restaurants, about travel, and foods from other lands (which she taught to Thing One 2 years ago in school!!)

    It was funny, though, b/c when we first got there, I was exhausted. She gave us a mini-lecture/run down of the menu, and i realized, "crap! I do not like to cook. I don't cook. I don't remember the last time I chopped a tomato. Why am I here?"

    But the truth is, I am pretty competent in a kitchen. I do know how to whip cream, and how to use a pastry cutter, and how to roll out dough. And once I got into it, it was fun.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:52 AM   0 comments
    Sunday, July 16, 2006
    Onto the smaller things of life.
    After the Super Bowl this year, I fell into the hype of the special Grey's Anatomy episode. This is not a show I typically watch. But it looked interesting, with the whole bomb in the guy's chest, and Christina Ricci and all. So I watch it. Both episodes for that story line. I didn't really have the time or inclination to continue, though, and didn't watch any more all year. Although every time I saw commercials for it, I had a slight pang of "oh, I think I want to watch that show!" [in no small part b/c I find Dr. Burke EXCEEDINGLY attractive.]

    Now it's the summer, and my kids are gone. I have an amazing library, from which I can get whatever I want. I right now have sitting on top of my television, Season One of Grey's Anatomy. I watched, thus far, the first 7 (out of 9) episodes, and I am hooked.

    I am confused, though. B/c where I am now, Meredith and McDreamy are sleeping together, but yet, after the Superbowl, he was married to another. So what I do not know is whether 1) he is married right now, while sleeping with Meredith, but his wife hasn't joined him Seattle yet, and he's an asshole; or 2) he and Meredith break up, and instantly finds and marries another. Life - whiplash speed.

    I wouldn't mind if someone would let me know in the comments which is the case. I can't watch the first episodes of Season 2 until it comes out on DVD on September 12th, and I *will* be watching Season 3 as it airs this year (especially since I'm only taking 12 credits and since it's on at 10, which is late enough to not eat into my time with the kids). I really feel that I NEED this piece of information.

    I conceded to Beloved on our walk home from the coffee shop this a.m. that I am jumping onto a bandwagon by picking up Grey's Anatomy. I know that it's intensley popular, especially iwth the ladies (although Beloved seems to enjoy it as well).

    But I still refuse to jump onto the American Idol bandwagon. No No No. i will NOT allow reality (pshaw) television shows to rule my life and I will continue to proudly say "I have never seen that show" when people ask me "who I want to win." NO!!!
    posted by Zuska @ 2:45 PM   3 comments
    One final clerkship thought.
    If I do not do it this year, the door is not permanently closed to me.

    Right now, I'm taking the Firm experience one step at a time. I have seen that most associates have a 2-5 year plan for the Big Firm Experience, and I'm pretty sure that's my approach as well.

    When and if it is time for me to leave the firm, and pursue a different [more meaningful] path for myself, I could then apply for a clerkship as a bridge into a new career. Apparently one very common path for those who leave the firm is Firm to Clerkship to U.S. Attorney's office. I'm really not thinking at this point that the U.S. Attorney's office is for me - but that's really not the point.

    At the same time, during a clerkship informational panel that the Summer Firm gave us a few weeks ago, they said the Firm does not want us taking off a year to clerk - they want us to do it NOW. If we were to try to do it later, we would lose our job, and then have to hope that they need/want you back when you're done. Whereas if you do it NOW, you are still guaranteed your spot (assuming an offer at the end of the Summer Program).

    I therefore do not feel that making this decision now means that I am permanently slamming a door shut.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:38 PM   0 comments
    Today, the Answer is NO.
    Last week, I was thinking yes, I would apply for a clerkship. But it's been so topsy-turvy. After I wrote my post of last week on this issue, I thought the following:
    I have asked my family to make a lot of sacrifices for the sake of my going to law school. Everyone has given and given and given to me. I know that in the end, the decision was best for all of us, but at the same time, we're all putting things on hold for me to finish law school. I'm finishing law school, and it doesn't seem right to add a fourth year on the end of the three that we all agreed to.
    But then I spoke with some others, including those who had done clerkships, and I looked at the actual numbers (the salary for a clerkship, plus the bonuses that Summer Firm attaches to their incoming associates who secure federal clerkships, and in some cases, state), and I thought - well, maybe it won't be so bad? Perhaps it is worth it? And if between my g.p.a. and other factors I've earned this (only to be determined through the application process), then perhaps I'd be a fool not to do it.

    But now today I realize that I've had a week of thinking this, and I've not taken a single step toward the process. I have not e-mailed professors, I have not even opened my resume, I have given zero time to thinking about what would be an appropriate writing sample.

    I believe that I don't have it in me to do this. I am 34 this December. If I were to do a clerkship, I would be doing it when I turn 35, and then I would not be starting work until I was close to 36 years old.

    Enough! I want to get started. I don't want to have ANOTHER step. Another delay. Another application process. God, application processes are HELL. Just HELL!! I'm sick of it. I believe that since today, my answer is no, by the time I convince myself the answer should be yes, it will be too late.

    ______________________________________

    Odd moment of weird memory ... one of those things where I wonder why I hadn't thought of it before? When I was married to the Schlurg, right as we were nearing the end of our relationship, he was on the job market for a law school teaching position, and it looked like nothing was coming up for him. He started talking about clerkships. He was talking about doing clerkships for as long as he could, until he got a teaching job - meaning stringing as many together as possible. He said that the ones where we were living were too competitive, he'd have to apply all over. Thing One was on her way into Kindergarten, and if he had done the clerkships as he was saying, it would have meant she was in a different places for Kindergarten, First and Second grades, (at which point Thing Two would then be in school as well), and we'd just "hope" that he would have us settled in one place after that.

    I told him that if that was his plan, he was doing it alone. That we had sacrificed for so long for his education (3 years of law school, then 7,000 years for his Ph.D.), and I was done. That we'd moved three times against my will, that the girls had lived in so many different places, and left their friends and preschools enough, and that we were done.

    I think that was the first time I articulated my willingness to end the relationship. He later (not in that moment) found a way to convince me that I was over-reacting, being very emotional and irrational, and a typical woman about the whole thing, and that it was wrong of me to expect him to make career sacrifices, when CLEARLY, his career would do nothing but benefit the family.

    he ended up getting a teaching job that year. We were separated before he accepted the position, although I did go with him for a "wine you and dine you" tour of the area on the school's dime.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:05 PM   0 comments
    The Sunday of My Dreams
    This morning, I slept until 10:30. I woke up and watched Meet the Press with Beloved, me being unable to resist making snarky comments to the people on the screen (Newt Gingrich and Robert Novak, specifically). We then threw on some clothes, and strolled up to the neighborhood coffee shop where we had coffee and sandwiches while chatting about whatever came to mind while watching the runners and fellow strollers pass by the window.

    We then ambled home, where I read my blogs, and Beloved spread out the New York Times to read old-style. He has new reading glasses - he looks so cute in them! He has not needed glasses until recently (except for a period in elementary school due to a stigmatism .... I think).

    This, to me, is an ideal Sunday morning. Going out and being a part of our community, but yet - taking things kind of slow. Enjoying our time off, enjoying each other.

    ___________________________________

    The heaviness upon my soul was slightly lifted yesterday, after we spent 54 minutes and 6 seconds on the phone with the Things. the Ex did not cut us off, and they were not in the car. Thing Two is really doing fantastic after her surgery: she is in good spirits; and has not curbed her normal activity in the slightest. Thing One was in a much better mood than the past times I've spoken with her, and spent much time conversing with Beloved about some ideas for a short story, as well as getting some help on the logistics for a game she's inventing.

    Thing One is a pretty creative child, and Beloved has been the absolute best thing for her. His artistic background and his constant projects and stories and other creative pursuits give her a very safe and supportive environment to do the same. Supportive as in - really making things happen; teaching her how to make her projects a little more viable than they perhaps would have been without a helping, guiding, teaching hand - yet her projects are HERS. he doesn't take over or change things.

    Two Christmases ago, she wrote a story. It was inspired by some silly conversations that the three of them had during our first months in this area - while I was in my first semester of law school, and we hadn't quite worked out childcare yet, so Beloved was putting off his own job search until we worked things out. That was when they had their silly conversations which she turned into a book. Then, with Beloved's guidance, she illustrated it. Then, the two of them went to a craft store, and they bought paper and other supplies, and then they spent two or three evenings in December binding books. She made 10 copies of the book, written and illustrated by her. She sent them to friends and family as Christmas gifts. We have 3 in the house, and they are so awesome.
    posted by Zuska @ 1:54 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, July 15, 2006
    uhhhhh, okay.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:52 AM   4 comments
    Friday, July 14, 2006
    I've done it again.
    I am now posting my 5th post of the day. Beloved says that this is too hard on my readers. That when there are 5 posts, it's just HARD to read it all in one sitting, and so perhaps, people just don't read.

    I've thought some about that. And I think I don't care. I was trying to think about why I blog. Is it just to attract readers? I think not. Is it, as LawMommy has suggested, pure narcissism? No, I don't think so.

    I've always kept a journal. There have been quite a few times in my life where the keeping of said journal has caused me major problems, b/c of it getting into the wrong hands, or otherwise being read by the wrong person. This blog is, for the most part, just my journal. I am not keeping any other journals right now. The fact that it may be read by anybody who happens to be perusing the blogosphere or internets keeps me more cautious - more filtered - which I have learned is a good thing.

    It is fun when I know that people are reading my musings and thoughts, and perhaps if absolutely NO ONE was reading, I would have given it up. But I'm not sure that I'm going for some kind of ranking, and I know I'm not looking for some kind of recognition. It's fun to connect with others in other parts of the world/country through things I've shared that they've experienced. And that's kind of it.

    So if I have 5 posts in me, I'm gonna post 5 posts.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:10 PM   2 comments
    litigation v. corporate
    This summer, I'm splitting my time between the litigation and corporate departments. I've actually gotten woefully small amounts of work from both - which is the case for quite a few other summer associates as well.

    Right now, I'm involved with a team preparing for a closing next week. My work includes opening an agreement or other document which was created some time ago, and plugging in someone's name, then saving the document, then doing a "save as" and replacing that name with yet another. This then goes on for approximately 15-20 different versions of the document, when i then start the whole thing over with a second agreement, then a third, and then a fourth.

    The only good part is that it is a little hectic, it does require a good bit of collaboration, and I do feel relatively involved. These certain agreements are my "domain" and any changes that need to be made, questions asked, etc., come to me.

    But um. "Save As" isn't something I learned in law school!!

    I really feel secure in saying that I Want To Do Litigation. Not Corporate. Yet, I haven't gotten much litigation work. I have less than a month left. I have twice spoken with the person who is supposed to be in charge of getting me work, and today spoke to my litigation supervisor, who was supposed to get back to me, but did not.

    I just wish I were coming away from this summer with a bit more involvement with what I hope to do there. I suppose my biggest fear is that their needs for corporate associates are so much bigger that they're really going to push me into that side of things.

    One of my fellow summers said yesterday that at lunch with some corporate associates, he was told that they ended up in the corporate department because they "don't like the law." But see, I love the law. I don't want to be on the non-law side. On the "save as" side, and the "cut and paste side." I want to be on the litigation side.

    We have another 4 weeks to see how it all plays out.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:56 PM   0 comments
    and furthermore,
    I can't get a read on how the girls are DOING. They started this summer on such a positive note compared to summers past, and I was very optimistic. but now, when I talk to Thing Two on the phone, her chipper-ness seems forced. When I talk to Thing One, she says she's "happy" in a flat and dull voice. She says she's doing "great" as if she's barfing up the word.

    Ex only has a cell phone - and the girls often call me from the car. And they ain't the ones driving. So he's right there, and listening to every word. Once, as soon as Beloved got on the phone, and Thing Two was talking with him in a fun and happy way, the Ex immediately had to "talk to her" and made her get off the phone. Thing One once mentioned to me that it's hard to talk on the phone because of the "phone bill."

    So I don't know how they are. I know that today, Thing One was tired, because she had to get up at 10 this morning. TEN!!! She is up until 12 or 1 a.m. every night, and sleeps until 11 or noon. She's not yet ten!! This could be contributing to her flat tone and unhappy-sounding happiness.

    They're leaving the Ex's home early next week and traveling to his parents' house. I think that at the very least - this will put them on a normal schedule. Then I can perhaps get a better sense of how they're really doing.

    They come home in 28 days. I wish it were 2.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:51 PM   1 comments
    Completely Discombobulated
    I just feel "off" lately. This week, I went out after work every day except Monday, and today. I was soooo looking forward to coming home today, and just being home with Beloved, catching up with some blog posting, eating a home cooked meal ... and now, it's 9:39, and I'm restless. There's a flutter in my chest.

    I know what it is, and it seems pretty obvious. Well, I think I know what it is. I assume I know what it is.

    That it's the absence of Thing One and Thing Two. Thing Two had her oral surgery today. I spoke with her right before; with her Biological right after (she was too groggy to talk), and then again with her a couple hours later. She asked me then if she could call me again "later." Which seems like a silly question. She can ALWAYS call me - I have never limited them. But I think that their Biological might.

    So now I keep wondering if the phone will ring, if she'll call me. If so, I'm thrilled to talk to her ... if not, I feel sad that she doesn't need me today. Rejected.

    Then this restless feeling gets applied to everything. What if I don't get an offer this summer? What if that Corporations grade that has yet to come in was a big fat F? Will I have enough money this year? Will I ever own a house? What will it be like when Ex moves closer this year? Will the girls hate me because they have to share a bedroom for another 2 school years?

    I'm just all itchy on the inside. I don't like it.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:42 PM   0 comments
    A very nice bra
    this morning, i was on the T, and a woman got on the train. She had on nice work pants and a white blouse. Much like the white blouse I was wearing. She seemed to be SCREAMING "I'm going on an interview." She looked nervous, uncomfortable, was constantly adjusting herself, her pants, her hair.

    The first thing I noticed about her was her pants. They were a super-cool red. Not bright flashy red, not the typical deep ox blood - just a good red. Then I noticed the huge amount of giant curls on her head.

    Then I noticed that her shirt was unbuttoned to the point of an excellent view of her bra. Her bra was just hanging out there. and of course, so was what was in them.

    I felt kind of bad for her. I mean, she was clearly not all that comfortable with what she had on already, and she seemed just so ... unsure of herself. It did occur to me for a moment that it was on purpose - people show their bras to the world sometimes. But it didn't match the rest of her outfit, her demeanor, or any non-rock-and-roll-concert-stage.

    But I didn't know how to tell this perfect stranger that her bra was visible to the world. I wondered if I should. what if she DID mean to have her shirt unbuttoned? I pictured the possible scenarios. If I said to her, "your shirt is unbuttoned" she could look down, say "oh SHIT! thanks!" or should could look at me and say "fuck you, bitch, i know that my shirt is fucking unbuttoned, i'm the one who fucking unbuttoned it! you mind your own goddamned fucking business, and go button your own fucking shirt."

    I decided I could live with both scenarios. that if the first thing happened, I could smile, and walk away feeling that i helped someone to not walk around the streets of downtown Boston with their boobs hanging out. If the second thing happened, I could shrug my shoulders, and walk away.

    On the escalator, she was behind me (while I was thinking all this through). I turned around, and I said, "I think your button came undone." She looked at me sooooo quizzically and said, "what?" I don't think she understood me. I don't think English was her first language. So I placed my hand on my OWN chest, and said "your shirt."

    She was utterly HORRIFIED. She looked at me as if **I** had just unbuttoned her shirt. She grasped at her chest, and RAN away. While I was in Starbucks, I saw her come out of an alcove, with at least 2 more buttons done up - but she still had the deer in the headlights look on her face.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:38 PM   3 comments
    Sunday, July 09, 2006
    the end of the weekend
    I don't want this weekend to be over. I really am not looking forward to work tomorrow, for a few reasons: 1) I like wearing shorts; 2) we had to switch offices 1/2 way through the summer, and now i'm alone on a new floor and I have no office mate, and it's the corporate floor, and i decided i don't want to do corporate, and i wish i was on a litigation floor; 3) I really have nothing to do other than move into said office; 4) I really don't want to wear a skirt (all my pants need to be brought to the cleaners); 5) I hate riding the T during commute hours.

    Isn't that enough reasons?

    Beloved and i saw Pirates today, and I found little to complain about. I didn't really like the ending, but won't do any spoilers. We also saw the Da Vinci Code, which was exactly what I was expecting -- nothing fabulous, but got me up on what all the rage is over.

    I'm reading a book .. finally one that's keeping my attention after many false starts. It may even be the first book I'll read all the way all summer. That's just wrong.

    Haven't heard much from the girly-q's this weekend, and i think it has me borderline depressed. I really don't wish unhappiness on them, but I also don't want them so happy that they forget about their momma. Middle ground, here, please!! The Ex left for a 5 day trip out of the country, so they're spending some real quality time with the Step-Mom. Thing Two's surgery is on Friday.

    I guess I should go and try to get some rest in honor of my 5:30 wake up call a la running.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:28 PM   1 comments
    World Cup Final
    takes a back seat to seeing Pirates II. We're actually going to see a double feature - Pirates then DaVinci code. Perhaps the theater will be empty? We're leaving the house around the time the game starts.

    I'll call Thing Two when I get home, and ask for an update on the game - she's been following everything, watching every game, and updating us on what's to come when we talk.

    We bought the girls some books last night to send to their place in the middle of the country. Mostly used books, but a couple new ones - including Thing One's required book for the summer - Where the Red Fern Grows. I really loved that book. I remember most distinctly, though, when my sister read the book. Apparently, it was around the time that she was in 5th grade, and she was sitting on a brown chair reading the end, and she put the book down, and just BAWLED. not a quiet sobbing, not a gentle stream of tears trickling down her cheek, but just CRYING out loud, so upset over the death of the dogs.

    I actually had always wanted to read it TO Thing One, outloud, but that activity, as she's getting older, has come so near to an end, and now it's required -- it can't wait for us to find down time. I hope she loves the book. (If not, then I know I'm raising a foolish child.)
    posted by Zuska @ 9:46 AM   2 comments
    Saturday, July 08, 2006
    The Clerkship Application Conundrum
    I told Beloved the other day that on this issue, I need a Director. Someone to tell me what to do.

    I do not know what to do. I do not know if I want to put the effort required into the clerkship application process, and I do not know, if the gods were to smile upon me and I actually were to GET a clerkship, if I would even be happy to do it. So there are really the two questions: Do I want to apply? and Do I want to do the clerkship? I feel like I could say YES to the second question, but still NO to the first, and that would be enough to close the door.

    That's silly, right? Who would make such a big decision based upon such laziness?

    Here are some of my factors:

    • The Things share a room - it's getting old. They share a room, in bunkbeds, and they're getting old. Thing One is entering 5th grade, and there's no chance we'll be moving during that year - but upon graduation, she'll be on her way to 6th grade, and I feel like that's Solo Room time. That's middle school. It's also hard as they get more social to not have Space for them to be with their friends. We need more space. Our family does. Beloved is writing again, and he could use a place to do that. A place that has more space - not just a 2 x 2 desk. I could really use a room to serve as my closet. This "business casual" plus "casual" plus "business" plus "workout" plus "summer casual" multi-faceted wardrobe business is getting out of hand - not to mention the shoes to go with it all - and I'm OUT OF SPACE. In order to have more space, I need $$$. I want a 4 bedroom apartment - not a 2 bedroom apartment. That is going to cost b/t $2500 and $3000/month. That means I need a pretty salary. That does not mean a clerkship.
    • I do not go to a top rated school. That does not mean that the door is closed to me, but it means it's a heavy door, and I don't know if I feel like pushing that hard anymore. I have a door open to me - a door that is already open, and I'm feeling tired of the pushing.
    • I have MAJOR geographic limitations. I cannot plaster this entire country with applications. It's Boston, Boston, or Boston. If you combine that with the previous point, the applciation process really feels like an exercise in futility.
    • I hate transition. I just want to settle down! I don't want to have yet another year of being in between things.
    • If I were to clerk, I would want to be in an appellate court. If you combine that with the school's credentials and the geographic limitations, I just don't see any doors opening to me -- perhaps with our state's high court, but that just brings on a whole new set of questions. they do their interviews a couple weeks before the Federal judges, and so it really ends up being an either/or. That court does do some pretty cool things, and I think it could be a lot of fun (hello, gay marriage!), but it still lacks the prestige of federal courts.
    The reasons to do it? Isn't that so damned obvious? Resume; career; prestige; blah and blah and blah. I do feel like it could mitigate the lesser ranked school on my resume, but why? The firm I'm with does that. It's an outstanding firm, and can open several doors for me.

    So, I am lost. Don't know what to do. Since it seems so out of reach to GET a clerkship, I find myself thinking - what's the harm in applying? If my chances are so small, then I may as well throw my hat in the ring. Of course, however, if I do, and then by some miracle I do have success, I really have to take it.

    If a series of miracles happened, and I found myself with a clerkship, the firm would be most accommodating. The offer stays open - they still pay for the bar - they pay a clerkship bonus - they let you work for the first 6 weeks of the summer, and they pay you $2600/week to sit in your office and study for the bar (which does mean you do BarBri at night, and can't attend the events, and for me, that means I'm never home with my family from May 30 until the girls leave for the Middle of the Country, which is bad, and this is the first time that ocurred to me) - and you enter the firm after the clerkship as a 2nd year associate, both seniority-wise and with the same raise all the other 2nd years got.

    As I said, however, I do not know if I have the energy to even apply.
    posted by Zuska @ 5:58 PM   2 comments
    Next Quarter
    I received with my evaluations the schedule for the fall. If I get my first choice classes (only 2 are questionable, and as a 3L, I'm given preference for the seminar and clinical class I want to take).

    The schedule looks WONDERFUL. None of my first choices conflict with one another, which is fun. On Mondays and Wednesdays, my first class (Professional Responsibility) is at NOON!!! Last quarter, I had 8:30 classes M-F. So ... NOON???? Yummy. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my seminar - Balancing Security and Liberty - is my first class, at 10:30!! Huh? 10:30??

    Fridays? I have no school. No school.

    The one downer is that on Thursdays, I'm hoping to have Appellate Advocacy, which is 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Which means I won't have dinner with the family - but they will have a nice evening, and I'll be home well before the kids go to sleep.

    I am taking Tax this quarter. It seems odd to me that I'm choosing to do this, but I am. It's just too big and important of an area to know nothing about, I think. I think I'm going to take Corporate Taxation in the Spring, too, and it seems that I should have the general foundation before I do that. Tax will be my only 4 credit course, and it is held 3 days a week. Last quarter, almost everything was 4 credits and 3 days/week - so the emptiness of my class schedule this quarter is just beautiful to me.

    I think I will be doing two things with my time: 1) going to the gym every day before class; and 2) having normal evenings - no study time required. Bed early, etc.

    Woo hoo!!
    posted by Zuska @ 2:42 PM   0 comments
    Mail's Here!!
    I received three out of four of my "evaluations" today. I am not too upset, and not too thrilled. A pretty mediocre performance, I think. I was really hoping that I had aced Fed Courts, b/c I put a LOT of time into it. I received the equivalent of an A-, which, in my book, is not acing. I wanted an "outstanding" which translates to an A+. Instead, I received a "very good/excellent" which is b/t a B+ (very good) and an A (excellent) - i.e., an A-. I really wanted at least an Excellent. I sooo worked my ass off.

    I received the equivalent of a B+ in Employment Law, which was an odd multiple choice exam. I think that a B+ properly categorizes the effort I put into that class. Actually, a C+ or a C would have possibly been a better categorization of the time I put into that class through the quarter. I am, nonetheless, disappointed with this grade.

    I was happy with Administrative Law - almost all my work was done in groups, and sometimes I feel like I lose more control than I want to in that situation. We received a solid A, and I'm pleased with that. I really liked the class.

    Corporations - which anyone who's read this blog before knows was the bane of my existence - was not included in the packet. It will be mailed at a later date. I really don't know how I did. I know it was my least favorite class - although I have learned this summer that I did learn a lot. Although, I honestly did learn a lot in all my classes from last quarter - a lot of applicable information, which helps give me the required energy for another year of classes.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:33 PM   1 comments
    Friday, July 07, 2006
    Awesome post
    I just found this post, and was really blown away. How amazing! And the rest of the blog is just as impressive.

    I definitely now subscribe to the belief that my blog is the most boring in the universe.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:44 AM   1 comments
    Thursday, July 06, 2006
    Rain and grades and next year's classes.
    I just returned from my first run ever in the full-blown rain. I usually will use the excuse to stay home and put off exercising to another day (unless I am going to a gym, which I am not this summer). Today, I heard wet on the road, peeked outside, and thought it was just wet from rain that had passed. So I got dressed, and went outside, and it was POURING. I stood on the porch for a minute, wondering what to do. I decided to run anyway. Then I stood on the porch for another minute, and said out loud to myself, "this is kind of like jumping into a cold pool!" I talk to myself all the time.

    It was nice. It was fun, and I think I even picked up my pace. Now I don't have that excuse anymore.

    I am doing a trial practice training at work today. When I first signed up for it, back in March or April, i was very nervous, and thought it was a very big deal. Since then, I've more learned the vibe of this summer job, I've made it through a "public speaking" training, and I know that this is not, after all, a big deal. But it will keep me at work late.

    Tomorrow my school is putting my grades in the mail. Even typing those words makes my stomach jump around. It has been soooo long since I took my exams - I barely remember what classes I took. I hope I did well in Fed Courts, since it dominated my life and study time.

    This also means it's getting to be time to pre-register for next year's classes. The tenative list is as follows:

    Professional Responsibility -- 3 credits
    Balancing Security and Liberty (seminar) -- 3 credits
    Appellate Advocacy -- 2 credits
    Basic Income Taxation -- 4 credits.

    The back ups are Comparative Law and Labor Law I. I really don't want to take the back ups. I want my 4. I really have no choice about PR - most people took it last fall, but I didn't want to be dealing with the little exam thingy (MPRE?) while finishing up with the class I was teaching.

    If I get my way (the above 4 classes), it's a 12 credit quarter. That's the lightest I've ever gone. I hope I can feel it. I hope I'm home earlier, and studying less, and at the gym more. Isn't that what Third Year is for?
    posted by Zuska @ 6:59 AM   0 comments
    Wednesday, July 05, 2006
    Why do I keep doing these quizzes?
    Because honestly, they annoy me. The only reason why I got this character is b/c I said that I am capable of holding a grudge. The other answers, like, didn't matter at all. But Legal Quandary has it, and I want to be like her (even though we're not the same character).

    Inigo Montoya

    Which Princess Bride Character are You?
    this quiz was made by mysti
    posted by Zuska @ 10:11 PM   2 comments
    Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park - part III
    Part I; Part II.

    We showed up at our kayak place right on time, and got geared up and outside pretty quick. We were given a quick lecture on what to do if our kayak were to capsize -- although we were also reassured that no tandems have capsized since this business opened their doors 7 years ago.

    Once out on the water, we had a hard time at first. We had some time to just paddle around before we got going in earnest, and were struggling to figure out the steering and the paddling. Beloved was in the back, and had foot pedals that controlled the rudder and steered us. We were having to go backwards at first, and it was sort of tough. Once we got going (frontwards), things came together better. I felt like we were a little slow for a bit more, we were last in the pack. But not for long!!!! Oh no baby!!

    There was a family (?) with three teenage boys, and a very toned and obviously active dad in our group. They put two teenage (17? 18?) boys in one kayak, and the dad with the third. Well, very soon into the trip, beloved and i were keeping up with the boys, no problem. We had a very small spot with some little swells, and we rode up and over those - it was very fun. I could have used a bit more of that :)

    Our guide was pointing out the wildlife as we went along - we were hoping to see some porpoises and sea otters and seals (sea lions?) but all we saw were birds. That was fine. I just loved being on the open water. It was fantastic. It was a sunset tour, and we were facing the pinkish setting sun until it went down. It was cool with only a slight breeze. It was truly wonderful.

    The tour was 2 hours, and I think that for the first time, I would have prefered 1.5 hours. By the time we were heading in, my upper body was exhausted, and I wasn't sure I could make my arms keep moving. But, of course, I made it, and it was great.

    We are going to check out rentals to go out on the Charles, and in the next couple weeks, we plan to head to Provincetown on the Cape, and will hopefully go out onto the ocean there, as well. We are some years away from being able to own our own kayaks - for storage purposes as much as financial - but I would love to do it eventually. I also hope to take the girls out onto the Charles when they return. We can do a tandem, with beloved and i each paired up with a girl. They're both willing, which is fun.

    We docked the boats at around 9:15 p.m., and once we got settled with the group and tipped our guide, it was 9:30 - we had a dinner yet to eat! We had already chosen our meal, and walked over, making a couple stops on the way to pick up some last minute souveniers. We had a beer at the bar, and this is where Beloved had his first Allagash. I had some blueberry martinis (2), and a delicious beet salad.

    It was when we got home, and surveyed our day of hiking and kayaking that we decided it was best to just head home in the morning. I'm so glad we did. It rained on and off all day on the 4th, and instead of having to deal with that while trying to have fun, we were safely in the car, enjoying the peacefulness (and dryness) of the rain.

    All in all - a wonderful trip. Beloved and I travel well together. We have a wonderful time, and compliment each other. We're often in sync about everything - when to eat, when to sleep, when to JUST sleep ;) and when to talk. We are both willing to try new things, and to enjoy the things we know that we (both ourselves and each other) enjoy. We were also in sync this time with when we enjoyed each other, and when we thought of our Things. There were times I would think of the girls, and wish they were with me, and wonder "is that wrong? should i not be thinking of them?" just to have Beloved at that moment say, "when we come with the girls ......"

    I am very very appreciative of what we have together, the fun we have, and the level of enjoyment we have for each other.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:01 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, July 04, 2006
    Oh, one last thing.
    We did not go to fireworks tonight. We saw the Boston fireworks on t.v., after we finished our movie (The Matador, with Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear), but were not interested in going for the live version. We were there last year, and had a great time - but we had two wonderful little girls with us, then, and that made it all worth it. Tonight, we were alone, and had just returned from a trip, and decided to go and have a couple of beers and some dinner, and then crash at home before stupid work.

    So ... no fireworks. The girls called me from Biological's roof on Sunday night as their fireworks were about to start. They had them early in that town. So they got to see some. That's really all that matters.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:21 PM   0 comments
    I do not want to go to work tomorrow.
    That is all.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:20 PM   0 comments
    my tolerance is all messed up
    I do not know what happened tonight. beloved and i went out for dinner at a local favorite place ... i got a beer. I am typically more than capable of handling my beer. One, two, three. Usually - more than fine, perhaps a *slight* tipsy-ness from 3 ... SLIGHT!!

    Tonight, I got a Allagash Triple. It was so very drinkable and yummy and guzzle-able. Beloved had an Allagash White while we were in Bar Harbor, and found it to be low on the alcohol content, so he got a triple. My Beloved is a self-professed light-weight, and I often double his alcohol content WITH NO PROBLEM.

    I had two of these beers, and my vision was swimming. What the hell? I had already ordered a third before I realized the oddity of it, and I took it slow, but didn't leave #3 behind. Beloved was unable to make a dent in his second.

    Allagash Triple. Brewed in Portland, Maine. I highly recommend it (and am not the only one), but also recommend a halving of your typical intake. HALVING. Fortunately, we'd already dropped off our Zipcar, and were on foot after dinner. Beloved made me laugh on our walk home, which was bad, b/c the ensuing hiccups were so persistent, painful, and embarassing as I went into two stores to pick up some necessities (i.e., our respective favorite ice cream flavors) and walked on busy side walks in my community - the one in which I'm raising two children, and know people mostly through school activities. Not the one in which I typically go bar hopping and imbibing to excess resulting in hyper hicupping.

    Oh yeah, I'm super-mature.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:05 PM   1 comments
    Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park - part II
    I know that I've heard tons about Acadia National Park. I see it written on t-shirts and sweatshirts and tote bags all over New England, and I know "it's so gorgeous."

    I am now a devotee, and will tell everyone in the world that they MUST GO, and that they MUST spend at least 7 days, if not 10 or 14.

    We went for a hike. I believe it was the best hike I've ever been on in my life. It was a very rocky hill that we were climbing, and the trail head was off the beach ... a sandy flat beach full of screaming kids and sunning adults (who apparently haven't heard of skin cancer yet). It twisted and turned around a hill, giving a 200 degree (or more) view of ocean, bays, and coves. The thing I loved the best, and what made it my favorite hike ever, was the rocks. It was a very rocky terrain, and was almost like we were climbing nature's staircase. Perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising that I loved this, since my machine of choice in the gym is the stairmaster, but this was so invigorating and wonderful. I was bounding up the paths as happy could be. I could have done much more of the same, but we were dealing with some time pressures. This was, after all, an exploratory trip, and not really a week's worth of languishing.

    When we got back down to the beach I waded in the ICEY ocean for a bit before heading back to the car. We looked at the map for a little while to find the Hikes of our Future - and contemplated which were ones to take WITH the Things, and which we needed to work out doing alone. I think there's at least one that I may be doing ALONE. :)

    We stopped at a few overlookes so I could drool over the waves crashing into cliffs and rocks below. I will post photos when I can. Until then, here's a link to someone else's photos.

    We had lunch at a cafe which is oddly plunked down in hte center of the park. They're known for their pop-overs. That seemed a wee bit incongruous to us, but we enjoyed the pop overs and the sandwiches and the view - we sat on a screened-in porch overlooking a very large pond (which I would call a lake, but they call it a pond). They also had a gift shop, where we bought approx 400 post cards, a patch for Thing One's collection, and we started a collection of tourist pins for Thing Two.

    We also randomly bought umbrellas. They are the kind that is made specifically to withstand high winds. As it turns out, Boston is the #1 windy-est city. I always thought that was Chicago, b/c of their little tag line, "The Windy City." But someone at work recently informed me that in fact, Boston is the city with the most wind ... as in, from the sky - whereas Chicago's reputation comes from its politicians -- not the weather. Some quick research shows that this is open to debate, but as someone who has had three umbrellas destroyed in less than 6 weeks, i'm willing to say that Boston gets the prize as the Windiest (weather-wise) City.

    We then finished our drive through the park, and headed back to town to prep for our evening adventure, which is part III.
    posted by Zuska @ 5:21 PM   2 comments
    Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park - part I
    This is where our trip really shined :) We loved Bar Harbor and the park. We arrived in Bar Harbor, the town, at approx 6:30 p.m. Our hotel was a cheapy motel very close to the center of downtown. It had the basics, and that was all we needed - a bed and a shower. We were blocks from the hubub of tourist central, which was surprisingly enjoyable. We first got some dinner, and I splurged and got myself the surf & turf (after the shrimp cocktail .... yes, the same as what I had the night before, what of it?). I don't usually do that --- order the most expensive thing on the menu. But I recently had a bad lobster experience.* And then **

    After the dinner, we just slowly mosied along the road, looking at the different shops filled with touristy kitcsh. But then we hit the water, and we came upon a kayak place .... the entire time up the coast, Beloved was making cmments about the kayaks strapped to everyone's cars. He wanted to do it - he wanted a kayak - he wanted to play in the water.

    So, in my Zuska way, I marched us into the shop, found out the details, and signed us up for a sea kayaking tour of the harbor. Agh!! We'd never done this before!! I've seen people flip over! It looked scary!! And we were going into the sea, not a river. (okay, the harbor, but it opens up into the sea! and that's still scary.)

    We got up bright and early to go kayaking, and walked out the door at 7:30 to a fierce wind. Our hats were blown off, and the buildings around us were groaning with the gusts. When we got to the harbor, we heard an announcement that the Whale Watching boat ride was cancelled due to high seas. There were itty bitty white caps on the waves in the water. I'm surprised that I didn't get more nervous than I did. I was more concerned over the fact that beloved's had was not staying on in hte wind, because he burns very easily. The sun was already bright and strong (I was expecting a morning fog or haze, but it was not to be). We went inside to find out that the tour was canceled - there was a small craft advisory, and they decided it was not safe, especially for a trip that was advertised as appropriate for beginners.

    We switched our reservation to the sunset tour (winds were expected to die down), and got breakfast, showered, and went to Acadia National Park.


    * Last week, I went to a funky shack type restaurant with work. Called the Barking Crab. I decided to try a lobster. I haven't eaten lobster meat at all, let alone had a whole lobster, since I was a child. So I kind of didn't know what I was doing. Once the lobster came, a friend said, "oh, Zuska, i forgot to tell you - they don't have crackers here, you have to use a rock." Excuse me? a rock? and what am I supposed to do with that rock? Why, bash the lobster, of course.
    But we were sitting at a rickety table. If I bashed hard, everyone's food would fall on the floor.
    I did, though. FOr the claws. Then it came time to eat the rest, and I was very surprised to find icky slimy green stuff. It was disgusting. Absolutely, positively disgusting. And my appetite was almost gone. I didn't even eat the tail meat, b/c the green stuff was touching it. I later found out that the green stuff is liver and that people eat it, and that it's used in bisque and chowders, too. I am not sure that I would have done differently if I had that knowledge at the time. I ate my coleslaw. That was it.

    ** I usually get irritated by the asterick method. But sometimes, you just gotta add a star.
    posted by Zuska @ 4:44 PM   0 comments
    More on Maine - the Trip Up
    We left here at approx 9 a.m. on Saturday, and headed north. We got onto Route 1 as soon as we could, and meandered along the pokey road until we reached Kennebunkport where we had some lunch in a hotel/restaurant over the water. We continued our meandering, making mental notes of places to stop in the future, and then had to hop back onto 95 so we could make it to our hotel to clean up and go get some dinner.

    In Portland, ME, we had dinner at a brew pub, Gritty McDuff's, where I had shrimp cocktail and then a very delicious amazing fantastic salad. We also had some of their very own beer - their Vacationland brew. We liked it so well, we brought a case to bring home. It was GREAT. We had been toying with going to a bit more formal of a restaurant, and I forced Beloved to break the tie between the two places. The other place had nothing to offer that was distinct to Portland, Maine, and this place did, in that it was a local micro brew. That was the tie breaker.

    Otherwise, I was NOT impressed with Portland. There were things I did like about it. But it seemed somewhat hollow. There was a very pretty espalande/park near the water where boats were congregating (private boats - sail boats, etc.), and they had a cute shopping district that reminded me so strongly of the west coast - and even, I think, the Other Portland. It just felt like once you left this ONE street with shopping and restaurants - the city was empty. It didn't seem so very vibrant.

    We had a very nice time, regardless. We enjoyed what was there, and got a lot out of being there. I just don't think it will be a place that we MUST return to. The vibe just felt "off."

    What we did do:

    1) The Portland Museum of Art. This was one of the destinations we had marked in our tourist book, but we had arrived on Saturday later than we expected, since we meandered up Route 1 instead of just flying up 95. On Sunday, however, we were up and out early, and after shopping in the L.L.Bean store, we went back to where we parked our car, and I saw a sculpture in the middle of a lawn that was very intriguing. [click the link ... i don't think i can copy the photo due to copyright issues -- but it's REALLY cool, in my opinion, and the link should be clicked upon - at least three of the next photos on this series is of the statue, before it was moved to the museum - check them out, too.) We checked our little touristy-guide book, and realized we were at the museum. We checked the clock and decided we had an hour to spare. So we went in. They did not allow us in the garden, and Beloved's camera didn't have a zoom, so we never got a better picture of the sculpture, but I bought a post card. There were some nice paintings, but we did have to whiz through. It was worth it though.

    2) Portland Observation Tower. Beloved had modified a camera so that it is a pinhole camera, and wanted to take some photos from the tower. We were surprised (at least I was) when we got there, and we could only go up with a tour, and our time at the top was limited. The wind was also INSANE, and even with a tripod, he doesn't think the camera was steady enough for the photos to come out. Apparently, with a pin hole camera, very long exposure time is required, and the camera must be held perfectly still. It was fun nonetheless.

    After Portland, we continued the meandering route, saw a few fun towns for future exploration, specifically Rockland, Camden, and Belfast. Rockland seemed like a fun place to call a "home base" of some sort .... whether it be a rental for a week with the kids, or a far-off-in-the-future summer home. But that opinion was formed before we made it to our north-most destination .... Bar Harbor, Maine. Which blew the rest away. Unfortunately, it's 287 miles from the Boston area, and takes 5 hours to get to with NO traffic and no stops (on 95, not Route 1).
    posted by Zuska @ 3:37 PM   0 comments
    The End of the Adventure
    Beloved and I are home again. We had an Excellent time in Maine. Excellent. We did lots of driving, and will be paying extra dollars to zipcar for mileage overages - but it is more than worth it, in my opinion (and i'm fairly certain his, as well).

    We headed back home early today, after toying with many different ways to jam more into this day. There were, however, 4th of July parades scheduled not only in the town we were staying in, but all along the way. The difficulties of staggered road closures and time pressures on our end (while trying to factor in holiday traffic) were just too large. We (I mean by that, I) were also anxious to get home and check on the kitties and see what mail we received in the days' absence. We do also have to work tomorrow, and I hate rushing in at 10 p.m. or so just to feel that I must jump in bed so that I can handle the return to work.

    So it's 3:30, we're home, we've said hi to our kitties, I've talked to my daughters (as I did yesterday, and the day before), and was able to fill them in on what teachers/classes they're in next year (the thing I was wanting from the mail). I spoke to their father and found out that Thing One is manipulating the situation to the best of her ability and showering her Biological with rudeness and snarkiness. Which, I must say, she does NOT do here. She tries. Most definitely. But she's not allowed. I was able to explain to him a wee bit and I think he received it without bucking the idea of getting parenting advice from his ex-wife.

    They are, however, according to him, receiving his NEW wife very well, and not having the same difficulties with her. (Although I heard of no difficulties from Thing Two). he said she never has to ask them to do something twice. They are very happy and eager to please. Which is good.

    I am going to post in more detail about our trip. Beloved took some photos, but they're not digital, so I'll have to add some of those at a later time. Needless to say, we're in love with Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, AND --- My arms and wrists and forearms and shoulders and hands are very very very very very very very sore.
    posted by Zuska @ 3:31 PM   0 comments
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