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, October 30, 2006
    Mellow Monday
    First off - a question. Why am I getting traffic from westlaw? It kind of freaks me out.

    Today felt like the calm before the storm. I worked some on the paper, but not too much, b/c I had classes all day. I am LOVING working on the paper. I hope that after handing in my draft on Weds., I can hurry up and get my Appellate Advocacy brief done and finalized with all of its Table of Authorities and other formalistic nonsense so that I can turn back to Afghanistan. I am reading about Islamic law, and about culture as a component of legal systems, and I just can't really learn enough. It's fun, and engaging. My interest is more than piqued.

    The girls are good today. j. had practice for her play in which she is the lead. She is practicing her solo song all evening. She is a funny bird.

    Tomorrow is Halloween. Oh! Look! beloved did his punkin! Doesn't it look GREAT??




    You know what's funny? He can sooooo impersonate this fish. This is the BF = Beloved Fish.

    Tomorrow night is requiring a good bit of coordination on my part. 2 kids in 2 directions, and beloved is working late enough that I'm on my own for the initiation of the evening. e. is going straight to a friend's house from cello practice (at 6), and i'm picking j. up at 5, and bringing her HOME to feed her and get her all set with her costume. Then I walk j. to the friend's house, and then run to e.'s friend's house to eat a costume-themed dinner (they're being the kids from the Series of Unfortunate Events, and we're eating Pasta Puttenesca. I somehow don't think many people who may read this will get that reference.) Then we will have to negotiate with these 10 year olds just how far behind them we're allowed to walk, and probably mosey our way on over to j's friend's house to hang out with that momma, too.

    Will I study for the Professional Responsibility final exam on Weds? No.

    Will I work on my paper for whcih a draft is due at 10:15 on Weds? No.

    Will I prepare for my presentation which is at 10:15 a.m.? No.

    Tomorrow I am free until 3:15, when I have tax. So I will do the following:

    1) Wake at 5:30
    2) Go running
    3) Come home and check e-mail
    4) Take a shower
    5) Wake e. for her shower
    6) Do the morning routine
    7) Leave the house at 7:45
    8) Sit for Tutoring Office Hours until 10 - crossing my fingers that no 1L's want help, so I can spend my time taking a practice Professional Responsibility exam to see how much work I need to put in;
    9) Go to the library to either a) put the time into Prof. Resp. so I can pass the test; or b) work on my paper/presentation
    10) go to tax for 3:15.
    11) ride bike to j. for 5 p.m. to take her home and feed her


    and so on and so forth.

    ______

    The Patriots are on. I have officially declared myself a Patriots Fan, but honestly ... I don't think they need me. Everytime I turn on a game, they're at least 3 touchdowns ahead, and it can be slightly boring.

    ALSO!! I am confused. B/c the Patriots are on. They're on Channel 5. It says ESPN all over it, but it's NOT ESPN ... it's Channel 5, which is the same channel that Lost is on. So ... why am I watching the Patriots? I'm guessing that the NFL did not decide that it was mean to block all people who don't pay for extended cable from watching Monday Night Football, and instead, some local deal was struck for the sake of the fans of the local team.

    Still, it's weird.

    ___________________

    Something's wrong with one of the dryers in my building. It keeps overheating and turning off. When you are required to feed quarters into a machine, it's more than inconvenient to return after the appropriate number of minutes to find that the dryer overheated and turned itself off 20 minutes ago, requiring yet another dose of quarters (yet another load of laundry undone), another 45 minutes, and just .... lots of frustration. I need to remember to call the building supervisor tomorrow, but I'll likely forget, b/c of items 1-11 plus the un-numbered items which were adequately outlined above (did I mention that when talkign to the moms of both e. and j.'s friends the word "wine" came up more than once?).

    ___________________

    Tonight at dinner, J. informed us that she thought of the 200th reason why I, her mother, wants a house: to have a place to display pumpkins. Other reasons include: e. having her own room (j. doesn't want one as much); having more space for when the kids have friends over; beloved and i having an extra closet, b/c i need one; a yard to decorate for fall; an attic or basement in which to store our ridiculous amount of STUFF; a place to store kayaks and cross country skis and snowshoes and other things we want to do; a place for company to sleep that does not involve a blow up mattress and all available floor space in our living room.

    Is that enough? can I have a house now? Please? Pretty please?
    posted by Zuska @ 10:35 PM   1 comments
    Sunday, October 29, 2006
    punkins, 2006
    When we got home from leaving $20 at Whole Foods, we carved pumpkins. That went well, too!!! Once again, we had crazy weather on our pumpkin-carving day. Last year, it was snow. This year, crazy-ass wind.

    E. said she did hers alone for the first time this year -- but last year's post (and my memory) say she did her own last year, too. J picked a large pumpkin (like last year!), and a complicated design. She ended up frustrated that she couldn't do more herself, but look! It's cool! It's nose is a gourd, and it's a pirate, and that eye patch is sort of whittled out, but not cut through, so in the dark, it looks less bright, but the light does show through. It was hard to get that way. To say the least. It was also difficult to get the hole for the gourd to be the right size.



    E. was going to do a witch ... but it required all kinds of materials which beloved and i kept saying no to, b/c we were afraid it would catch on fire. so instead, she did this character, and remember, 100% on her own!


    I know the photo is blurry, but in order to have the right amount of light, the flash had to be off, and honestly, I should be reading more about Islamic Law, and not taking photos of pumpkins, so the blurriness must remain. Here it is in the dark:


    [my underline function just turned on, and I do not know why, and I do not know html to figure out how to turn it off] Here is my pumpkin. he is evil. E. said that since HER fabulous pumpkin has pupils, when she looks at my pathetic undertaking and sees its lack of pupils, she thinks he looks dead. I told her he is EVIL and very few EVIL characters are living beings. So ha.




    I like him.

    Beloved has a pumpkin, but did not carve with us -- we girls tend to do it together, and he tends to take time on his own to be a bit more creative than our chaos allows for. His pumpkin last year was really very cool, and I see I didn't post a photo of it. Bad Zuska.


    We did have our inaugural shephard's pie for dinner, since daylight saving's time is GONE. It was delicious, and e. ate more than either myself or beloved. yikes.

    now i'm going to read more about Islamic Law, and try to quickly write another 10 pages (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .......
    posted by Zuska @ 7:35 PM   0 comments
    Blustery II
    Wow! The wind was amazing today. The girls and I went to Walden Pond again, so they could attend the program where they looked at artifacts and different items. I was a "bad mom" wherein I went and sat in the car and read an article on Islamic Law while they were learning about pencils and shoes from the mid 1800s. I felt like a bad mom. I thought that the woman who was doing the talk would think "what an awful woman, why can't she stay with her kids for an HOUR, is that so hard?" It took a lot to think to myself, "I will never see her again. She doesn't know me, and doesn't know how rarely this happens, and how okay with it the kids are, for that reason, and I'll never see her again," and to leave my kids who were really more than happy with the arrangement to go sit in the car and read.

    I wonder if anyone remembers my Walden Pond post from 2 weeks ago? Was it really only 2 weeks ago? it was Columbus Day weekend ... the girls had rolled up their pants, and went into the water as much as possible. Today?



















    That's J. She has on her winter coat.



















    [please excuse the crappy photos - they were taken with my cell phone. i'm very proud of myself for getting my cell phone and computer to talk to each other via Blue Tooth, though, even though the pictures aren't so hot]

    Look at the WAVES! In a POND! It was insane. It was gorgeous, but insane.

    I didn't sit in the car while they were at the pond. We went there together, and then for a short walk, and THEN I was Bad Mom of the Year (or not).

    The article was really interesting, and will definitely be incorporated into my paper.

    We then went to Whole Foods, and I bought the kids some of the prepared foods, and they sat in the eatery area and ate lunch while I shopped. I bought cheeses, for cheese night. But then I realized, cheese night is on Tuesdays, and Tuesday is HALLOWEEN!! J has been asking me to make Reubens, and I've been saying no, but i'm thinking that since it's HALLOWEEN, before I pick them up from school, I'm gonna stop by the sandwich shop that makes reubens, and pick some up for all of us, and some tater salad, and just shove our faces full of that before we go out trick or treating.

    I think. Either that or I'll have Beloved pick up some of their favorite microwavable mac & cheese from Whole Foods.

    See? Again with the bad mom stuff.

    It was actually a nice time. The girls had fun, and I enjoyed feeling like my kids were independent and capable, and that having them with me did not curb my activities in the slightest - they were adaptable and flexible. They are getting old.

    The bad thing ... I got cash back from the stupid grocery store, and b/c the girls were dealing with combining their leftovers into one container and so forth, I left the damned $20 behind. I called from the other side of a horrendous traffic jam due to construction at a major intersection, and they confirmed that they had my $$. I could not get back through the traffic twice and still return the zipcar on time, so I left it under beloved's name, and he can pick it up for me tomorrow.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:36 PM   0 comments
    Winter Solstice
    Because I am bitter and hate all things religious (with good reason), we do not celebrate Christmas in my house. We partake with my parents, and the girls with their other grandparents, and with their father, but not in our house so much.

    We celebrate Solstice.

    This has worked out on many levels for us. First of all, it's on the 21st, and even years that they go to their father's, they're home for the 21st. Second of all, there's no hype. Third of all, things that go with the solstice are nature-based - not plastic and glitter-based, and are more pleasing to my eyes and nose and such.

    Something that comes with this for us our gift-giving. We do not purchase gifts for eachother - or at least, we minimize the purchased gifts. we MAKE gifts.

    The last year we were in California (2003), I made the girls skirts. I don't know what I was thinking ... me? sew? but my sister was living with us, and she can sew, and has a sewing machine, and she helped me. They came out nice enough. I bought them shirts to go with. I also "made" them fleece scarves that year. In other words, I went to the fabric store, I picked the color of fleece material I wanted, and I had them cut it. Then I went home and took a pair of scissors to the ends to make a fringe.

    They still have those scarves.

    I do not remember what I did in 2004 - my first law school year. I probably found a way to bow out. j. says that we did Christmas. I think that she's right - we started out only doing Solstice on the years they did go to their father's. Last year, I made them boxes for their journals and such. they still use those, too.

    This year, I've decided I'm making them scrap books. From our time in berkeley (our last house). I have the week of Thanksgiving OFF, and I will go through my giant photo box (its like 3x3) and pull out the proper photos. I have to find the right "style" for the scrap books b/c I am not that "scrapbooking" person that usually makes scrap books. I have to find something either funky or elegant. but not cute-sy. B/c I am not cutesy. Not to say that I *am* funky or elegant, just to say I can't do cute-sy.

    They have been wanting to compile photos and such to remember their time in berkeley for a long time, and I haven't been on the ball. I've saved the stuff, but have not been on the ball.

    I also have an idea for Beloved, but since he reads this thing, i can't share.

    I am thinking of making either smaller scrapbooks for extended family, or just framing photos of the girls. we have some VERY cool ones right now. I think I'll make my parents a scrapbook, but find good frames for others .... there aren't many others. I will probably help the girls pick a frame for the Schlurg, and for his mother, and perhaps his grandmother as well.

    Last year, e. and beloved had a great idea of making luminaries ... and then this year, I saw them being sold somewhere for like $150 --- just b/c someone punched holes in a can. beloved said, though, that it's actually harder than he had anticipated. which is too bad, b/c they're VERY cool looking. VERY cool.

    I can't believe I just wrote this post instead of writing my paper. I am such a jerk.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:51 AM   0 comments
    blustery
    it's so pretty outside right now. the sky is a crisp blue, and the sunshine has that autumn hue - a little yellow. The wind is blowing - hard - and I wish it were a little warmer out so I could justify opening the window [a la sweatshirts for me and mine - I opened the damned window - it's too gorgeous out not to). It's 8:20 a.m., but feels LATER, which is always a treat.

    unfortunately, as soon as my tea is made, I must go back to Afghanistan. This paper is such slow going, i can't even BELIEVE it. I worked on it all day yesterday (okay, okay, I didn't start until around noon b/c a friend called and wanted me to run to a sale at Bloomingdales with her, so shoot me), for at least 6 hours, and got only 8 pages in - out of 20. shit.

    I have a lot to do. Today or tomorrow morning (i have class all day) HAS to be the cut off point for the paper, because I have my professional responsibility exam on Wednesday, and have to study for that on Tuesday. agh! I'm already only leaving approx 2 hours on Weds. a.m. to prepare to my presentation of the paper which is happening immediately before the professional responsibility exam. Which is kind of reckless, isn't it? But if I'm this immersed in the material now, it will be well-ingrained, and I'll be fine.

    Either way, today is cut off time.

    However ...

    1) We have to carve pumpkins;
    2) I told beloved I'd go to the grocery store,
    3) I promised e. I would take her back to Walden Pond for a thing called "Thoreau's Garrett" where they look at artifacts and such (i believe related to writing and publishing) from his time. It's from 1-2, and takes at least 45 minutes to get there (and then again back, of course)

    I think if I get started now, i can squeeze in about 3.5 hours before we must go to the pond, then we'll come home (ASAP) and carve pumpkins while Beloved cooks our Daylight Savings Time Is Over Inaugural Shephard's Pie.

    THEN after dinner, I guess I'm back to it. I'd rather not. I'd rather play with Beloved. We had a fun time together last night, and I want to again.

    The thing the girls are going to is for kids only, so I'm going to peruse an article on Islamic Law while they're exploring writing utensils of the 19th century.

    And, also, this paper is just a draft. I think I'm working on it as if it's the final draft, and perhaps that's part of the problem. Perhaps I should just throw some words on paper ... but I don't want to purposefully do a shitty job just so I can go back and fix it later. If I am able to be closer to the final draft with this first draft, then I'll have less to do on finals week.

    Which would be a good thing.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:19 AM   0 comments
    Friday, October 27, 2006
    barbri
    well, today was my initiation. it felt big while i was going - "this is the path that i will be taking ALL summer. this is the building i'll be walking in ALL summer. this is the elevator i will be riding ALL summer."

    the review course was surprisingly painless. it was mostly 5 hours and the dude on the t.v. was pretty entertaining. whatever sound system they use is pretty realistic, b/c there were times that I was tempted to raise my hand as jotting down notes to ask for clarification. i thought i was a freak until a few others said the same during the break.

    i got to see a couple of people from summer firm, which was nice, and there were a good # of people from my school (which is unusual, in a town with, uh, at least 6 law schools).

    i am taking professional responsibility right now, and my professor spends a lot of time on which Rule says what. i've been making an outline of the Rules that do involve the Rule #.

    Waste of time. I don't need to know that Rule 1.13 says (who the hell knows). i just need to know that i can't do (who the hell knows). That made it seem MUCH EASIER than i thought it would. pfft. it will be a piece of cake.

    (she says approximately 6 weeks before getting the notice that she FAILED).
    posted by Zuska @ 4:41 PM   3 comments
    beloved loves me
    last night, after i wrote my pathetically whiny post (from which this one may be no different), i fell asleep on the couch. the girls played games in their room, e. offered to make me some tea, and i then fell asleep. beloved called as he was leaving work, and e. told him i was sick, and asleep on the couch. he then proceeded to do the following:

    1. talk to the girls and encourage them to continue with their good behavior and high level of tolerance for their mom's state of unhealth
    2. buy me three different kinds of medicine
    3. make me tea
    4. bring me water
    5. make me lunch for the MPRE review course
    6. scratch my back
    7. make me go to sleep (again) ASAP so I could be well rested
    He was very kind. and loving. and appreciated.

    i got a good night's sleep, and woke up still congested, but okay. i was more than okay through the review course, but now, at 4:30, i'm beat again. Just beat. I feel sore and tired and icky. but i have 12 minutes until i have to leave to pick up j. from the school, and then e. from another school where she has practice, and then somehow think of something to feed them, bring them home, call a friend to come pick them up (oh yeah, i have to pack their stuff), and then ....

    and then? beloved should be home by then. and then what? if i wasn't feeling like i'd been hit by a truck, i would CERTAINLY go to my favorite restaurant with beloved to get mac & cheese (the best!) and some Allagash Tripel. But I do feel poorly. So I am not sure it's wise.

    We're getting a big giant windy rainy storm tomorrow. the town has already declared the fields CLOSED for the entire weekend. so there is no soccer in the a.m. but i will have to go get e. from the sleepover and bring her to the day-time "playdate," probably right as the storm is hitting. i was hoping for some serious paper-writing time during the day, but it turns out that with this hand-off for e. (from friend to friend), i'm going to spend a lot of time on transportation. i'll probably barely get sat down again, and it will be time to go get j.

    agh.
    posted by Zuska @ 4:35 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, October 26, 2006
    still sick
    i am feeling truly ill. my head is full, i mean FULL of snots.

    in other news, i've parceled my kids off for Friday night into Saturday. i wish i were healthier. there are a million movies i want to see, and can't b/c I feel like dookie.

    and b/c i have this paper to write. damn.

    beloved is working late tonight, and i had to COOK. ha. i had to heat up leftovers. thursdays are left over night. woo hoo! now they're cleaning their room, and i'm farting around on the couch, hardly able to see b/c of the congestion squeezing tears out of my eyes and my head feeling like a float from the macy's thanksgiving day parade. I keep trying to doze, but it doesn't work.

    bleh.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:27 PM   2 comments
    Wednesday, October 25, 2006
    My Two Favorite Things (for today)
    and no, I don't mean my daughters. Maybe some other day - when I don't have a headache, and I'm not coughing and sniffling, and I don't have to pee every 5 minutes, which is most inconvenient in class, b/c I'm super-hydrating myself to try and get rid of this damned cold. Perhaps on a day like that, I'll feel more maternal, and my kids will be my favorite things. Today, i am selfish.






    1) My new sweatshirt. I have it in black, and absolutely love it, so I bought it in blue. It's from jjill. You can't tell from this photo, but it's super duper soft .... like velvety, but not. sweatshirty-velvety. Beloved wishes they made it for men. But alas, men are stuck with rough, scratchy clothes, so they can prove that they were not skipped over when testosterone was handed out. (although, he does have a cashmere sweater, so perhaps there is equal opportunity here)




    2) Black tea. I have been consuming approximately 4-5 cups per day for the past 2 weeks. I used to be a coffee person. Very recently (like, 2 weeks ago). For 6 years now, beloved has been NAGGING me (yes, dear, that IS the appropriate word!) to give up coffee. I understand that coffee isn't good for me, I do. And for that reason (the health, not the nagging), I tried several times. I was even successful. I weathered the headaches, I endured the foggy head in the a.m., and I spent up to 3 months at each point without coffee. But I resented it.

    This time, however, I decided I was consuming too much sugar. Not related to coffee. Just sugar. So I quit my [get ready] Triple Venti Non Fat Caramel Macchiatos, which have too many to count pumps of vanilla syrup in the bottom, and then, if I'm lucky and the barista is nice, TONS of caramel swirled on top. But I said you know -- this isn't good for me. All this sugar. Why get up at 5:30 and go running around the resevoir just to stop and pick up a 5 pound bag of liquid sugar (or its equivalent) on the way home? So I stopped.

    Then I started getting regular drip coffee at the ABP across from my school. But again with the sweetness. It's a TALL coffee (not starbucks tall, but height tall ... I mean it's BIG). It's probably like, 415 ounces. That's why I was putting 8 packets of sugar in it. B/c you need 8 packets for 415 ounces.

    And I decided that was too much. So I cut it down to 7. Then 6. then 5. Then 4. Then Zero. And it was fine. Really.

    But then I realized, coffee's no fun anymore. It's not a treat. It's not a yummy thing that I can't live without.

    So I switched to black tea ... which I drank from a VERY young age with my mother and grandmother. Liptons used to be the only kind I'd drink. But now at home, I have the Whole Foods 365 brand, and it's super yummy, and at school, I get "Harney & Sons," and it's fine.

    I like black tea b/c I can have more of it. A second cup of coffee within 8 hours would be too much caffeine, too much decadence. Which is how I ended up with the "triple venti" from above - if it was bigger, and had more caffeine, I could last longer without MORE.

    Also, I put less fat in tea. With coffee, I liked 1/2 and 1/2. With tea, however, I like 1 or 2% milk. When I used to have coffee in the a.m., and tea in the evening, I would drive Beloved CRAZY. "Ohhhhhhhhhhh, darrrrrnnnn, we're out of milk! I wanted teeeeeeeeaaa!" and he would patiently say, "oh, my darling love of my life, no we are not, I purchased some half and half for you just this morning!" and I would respond with more whining, "but I don't liiiiiiiike 1/2 and 1/2 in my teeeee-eeeeeeaaa!! I like MILK in my teeeee-eeeaaa!"

    As if I would whine like that. Ha!

    The other day, on the way home from Connecticut, we stopped at a starbucks and got hot cocoa for the kids and beloved, and I got a coffee - my old kind. The Triple Venti Non Fat Caramel Macchiato. I figured it was just a treat.

    It tasted bad. All milky. And I didn't like it.

    I'm a true convert. (for now)
    posted by Zuska @ 2:22 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, October 24, 2006
    woo hoo! she cooks!!
    and what's better - he cleans!!

    my stew (Chicken Stew with Shallots, Cider, and Butternut Squash) was FABULOUS, if I do say so myself. Everyone had seconds, and e. cleaned her bowl. j. was served too much rice (by me), and did not clean her bowl, but beloved cleaned it for her!

    Here is a link to the recipe. I did not have shallots, so I chopped up 4 cloves of garlic and a small red onion. I later crushed 4 MORE cloves of garlic and let them simmer in the final simmer. It did NOT require the final 55 minutes of simmer-time. It was ready within 30. It calls for 2 cups of butternut squash, but i would do at least 4 cups, and 3 pounds of chicken. I only did thighs and the dark meat absorbed the flavor of the cider beautifully.

    I will be keeping this recipe, and hopefully making it again. So perfect for fall.

    I think it will also inspire me to pull out my old butternut squash SOUP recipe that i used to make in my paralegal days, and bring for lunch every day (b/c I was the only one who liked it -- the girls did not).

    woo hoo!! cooking is fun!!
    posted by Zuska @ 8:09 PM   1 comments
    I'm making a stew!!
    and i think it's gonna be a good one. very autumnal.

    but for ONE PROBLEM. i know that i told beloved on Monday that I needed shallots. I KNOW I did. the damned stew is called "shallot chicken stew with cider and butternut squash" -- not sure how I can make that without shallots. And I said, "I think I need 6" and he said, "They usually come in little bags, typically of 6-8." So see ..... I did tell him.

    But they're nowhere. No. Where. He forgot them.

    I did a combination of red onions and garlic instead. I hope it isn't lacking too much b/c of it.

    It's simmering now, and that's without the squash. It's 6:40. We are not eating before 7:30.

    I am sure it's my ex's fault. He called, and we talked for like, an hour. Probably more like 30 minutes. We shared complaints about things that the girls informed us each was said by the other - but we did not yell, we did not get angry, and we were quite mature. It came up because of e.'s hesitance to go to his house over the Christmas break. I told him that she had been upset about his marriage, that she had been upset to overhear him talking negative about me, and i think that's it.

    it went alright.

    i am still a little sick. sore throat and headache all day long. so i made beloved bring me home some mint chip ice cream. mint chip heals throats. it's been proven.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:38 PM   0 comments
    Monday, October 23, 2006
    that ache, that itch
    not really an itch - but a soreness. the aching in the back of my head, and the soreness in my throat that seems to demand constant tea of me. This is the second day.

    Usually, i can talk myself out of getting sick, and I suppose it's still possible now. However, the nagging feeling in my throat seems to be gathering steam.

    there is some continued debate going on at my school, and I decided to throw my 2 cents onto the table -- which means the obsessive checking of the discussion board has begun. I'll probably set my alarm for 3:15 a.m. to make sure no one posted while I wasn't looking.

    I'm off to watch Heroes. The show which I find to be pleasantly improving with each episode.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:54 PM   0 comments
    The Sheep Hog Tabernacle
    we are back in our own state. it's nice to be here.

    the drive between mine and my parents' house is approx 2 hours and 30 minutes. we have historically gone on Friday evenings, arriving between 9 and 10 p.m., and returned on Sunday evenings, typically getting home at the same time. This time, however, due to soccer on Saturday and a day off for the girls on Monday, we left home at around 2 p.m. on Saturday, and left their house at 10 a.m. on Monday. It was nice. I liked the way the trip went with the altered times.

    On Sunday, we did wake early-ish (8:30 instead of 8), and went for a hike. We were really going blind, and weren't sure how it would go. Well, it went fabulously.

    I had looked at the internet for directions, and thought I had a rough idea of where i was going. We went to Washington, to Steep Rock Reservation, which is approx 30 minutes (but only like 13 miles) from my parents' town. My parents have a lot of friends from their church who live in Washington, and they're familiar with the area. My brother's just young enough that he was still riding along in their back seat for just longer enough than me that he knows these church friends quite well. so when he decided to give me directions to the park, uh,

    Him: So you go down that road where the Training School is.
    Me:
    Okay ....
    Him:
    Then when you get to that intersection where if you go straight, you go to Tom's House, instead take a Left.
    Me:
    Tom?
    Him:
    Yeah, Tom ____.
    Me.
    I don't know him. I don't know his house.
    Him:
    Oh. Well, it's the only intersection in that part of the road, so just take a left. Then keep going until you get to Paul Newman's HOuse.
    Me:
    Paul Newman's House? I didn't know it was there. [1] I don't know where it is. Him: Oh. Well you keep going straight past it. Then you'll pass Harry's road.
    Me:
    I don't know Harry's road.
    Him:
    How can you NOT KNOW where Harry lives?
    Me: I haven't lived here in 15 years!
    Him:
    Yeah, but still. Then you'll pass the church where that woman hit me when I was on my bike.[2]
    Me:
    I never knew where that church was.
    Him:
    It's a stone church. Remember? When I had to get stitches in my ass?
    Me:
    I remember the accident, but not the church.
    Him:
    Well, then you go through the town, and I'm pretty sure it's the only left you can take at that point.
    His wife, in the background:
    NO, there are like 3 lefts. You have to tell her which one.

    Therefore, I went back onto the internet, and found out if I went 67 to 6 to 47, and took the left immediately between 47 and 109 split, i would be there. It went very smooth. I did take his way back, but only because seeing everything jogged my memory. I still don't know where Harry lives, though. but since his wife is the one who tried to teach my kids that god didn't let john kerry win the election because he would have let boys marry boys and girls marry girls, and that if they ever sleep in a bed with their sister (if they're a girl) or their brother (if they're a boy), then they will grow up wanting to marry the wrong gender .... i don't really give a shit where Harry lives.

    The park was great. It had gotten down to 31 degrees the night before, and the air was definitely crisp as we were setting out. J. was a little disappointed at first, b/c the trail looked a little flat and very NOT challenging:


    But then we found a spot where the girls tried to put countless hours of climbing walls to real-life use:


    She really couldn't get a second leg up, but she had fun trying. e. tried a different spot, but had no better luck. Probably a good thing, since I doubt the climbing wall at the Y, or at the Children's Museum, is truly enough to teach them how to do it for real ... we of course wouldn't have let them get too high up off the ground if it had been possible. I need to see if I can get at least j. some kind of kid lessons, b/c she loves it.

    The trail stayed flat and wide for a while, and it followed the river:


    Beloved and I took the opportunity to school the children on the electoral process in the United States.

    Then the trail had a sign: "Dangerous trail - do not bring horses," and after I taught e. how to pee in the woods, we figured out why. The trail became steep and rocky, and at some points, had to be reinforced with boards b/c of wash-out sections. it was not dangerous for those who walk upright on 2 legs, though, and we had a great time. in fact, j. absolutely LOVED the rocky climb. she was saying, "i love this! this is the best trail! this is so great!" I agreed, and she and I tended to go at a faster pace than e. and beloved, which actually worked out fine. The trail then led to an old suspension bridge, which we crossed, and then dallied on for a while:


    Then the trail looped back, but I found the return part to be quite dull. It seemed more like the dog trail, and it was all flat and gravel - it was a road. no fun rocks to climb and hills to conquer. so next time (and there WILL be a next time), we're picking a more challenging trail. My brother maintains that the trail we went on was 4.2 miles. We disagree. We think it was more like 2 miles, and we definitely had more in us.

    We were so invigorated and felt so good being outside and enjoying nature and our abilities in this way, that we made all sorts of plans. Including:
    • From now on, when we got to visit my parents, we will always go to this park to hike while they are at church. We had been just sleeping in, watching Meet the Press, and basically bouncing off the walls until they got home. No more. This is our Church. The Shepaug River trails.
    • We will work to have at least 1 weekend per month include some type of outdoor activity (this past month, I think we've had THREE)
    • We will try backpacking with the girls. beloved and I have been a short overnight trip back in the bay area, but the girls have not. I never thought they could handle hiking with a pack on their backs (we are 100% unwilling to have a backpacking trip where the kids carry nothing - that's not what it IS.) Now, however, I think they're ready. Their packs will definitely be light, but they will wear packs. Our first trip will be an overnight, with a short hike in/out, and plenty of daylight hours to explore our camp.
    • We will try winter outings, as well. I feel ready to go ahead and buy the kid snow shoes over at L.L. Bean, but Beloved feels strongly that we should try and rent/borrow some first, to see if the kids can handle it. Okay.
    Soon after we got home, I forced everyone back in the car to go to a pumpkin farm. we spent $40 on pumpkins (j. needed two - one for school, and one for home. her home one was THIRTY POUNDS!!). Then we went and were mellow at my folks' house. Mom and I played Scrabble (beloved joined us for a couple of games), and the kids wrote stories, played Yahtzee, and watched Myth Busters.

    We got home at around 1, and by 2:10, the girls were off in different directions doing different activities, and Beloved and I are home, doing different activities.

    Nice mixture this past weekend of activity and rest. It went well.

    [1] Turns out it's not there. the dude lives in WESTPORT, CT, not ROXBURY, CT, and honestly, the two could not be further apart. Other people live there, but not Paul Newman.
    [2] My brother was in high school, and we were pretty close at the time, b/c I had lived at home for approx 6 months between college graduation and my wedding to the schlurg. so brother went for a bike ride with dad and some friends, and while climbing a hill on a main route in Washington, a little old lady hit my brother - her side mirror gashed his butt. It was a big joke. he went to the hospital and got stitches, and he and I laughed about it for a long time. We used to get along very well.

    posted by Zuska @ 2:14 PM   2 comments
    Saturday, October 21, 2006
    change of venue
    okay - we're at my folks' house. beloved drove today, so of course, there was no traffic, no bad weather. i shouldn't complain that he gets the good conditions, b/c it means i have a nice look out the window. e. spent the ride listening to her ipod, and j. was quietly enjoying the foliage with her momma. it was a good ride.

    tomorrow includes a hike and a visit to the pumpkin farm. i am going to try to squeeze in a ride to one of the nearby malls with my mother to check out (in person) eddie bauer's new professional clothes. they have a lot in the catalogue right now, and i am not used to seeing business clothes from them. they also just came out with three different fits, and i need to go see what works for me, if any.

    the girls had soccer this a.m. i am using last week's complaint about a lack of connections to try and forge new ones. seems silly that it's in my 3rd year here that i'm working toward this, but i'm just slow. had some nice conversations at the game with other parents that went beyond the chit-chat of which classes our kids are in and how much homework they have.

    apparently - my religious background is considered fascinating by many. huh. who knew. (ha).

    beloved's napping, and if i don't wake him RIGHT NOW, he will be grouchy.

    this post is therefore OVER.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:23 PM   0 comments
    Friday, October 20, 2006
    exhaustion and starvation
    i did my nutty run-around with the kids today. it went well! i had plenty of time on all sides. the sad thing was that it started rain literally the SECOND the kids started pouring out of the school, so I had to walk them the 8 blocks in the rain. my kid is the only one who is used to having to walk in the rain, and the others were sort of narrowing their eyes at me for not having a car.

    I have to say, at 5:30 when it was time to go back and get e., and then walk to get j., and the skies had opened up and dumped 9,000 gallons of water upon my head, along with assorted leaves and other fading vegetation, I rolled my eyes at MYSELF for not having a car. Either that, or not having on my more powerful rain gear. i had on a pretty water resistant rain coat, but otherwise, jeans. stretchy-jeans are MOST uncomfortable when wet.

    BUT - i love kids these ages. 8 and 10. they're conversant, and interesting, yet still INTERESTED. they listen and are curious.

    my nutty run-around, however, did not allow for lunch. so i'm starved. i had a bagel at 9:30, and some tea, and then just water. now it's 6:58, and I've ordered our Chinese food, but they warned me that it will take a LOOOOOOONG TIIIIIMMMMMEEE for it to get here.

    there's a girl i sit next to in tax who has a real hippy heritage, as far as i can tell (she was one of my fellow teacher-people last year while we were 2Ls), and today, for the first time ever, when i told someone that we celebrate solstice, she said, "oh yeah, that's what we celebrated when i was growing up." that's never happened before.

    i think i want her to be my friend. sometimes, we share a book (b/c our table is so stupidly small), and once, i tried to the turn the page, and it wouldn't turn, so i went to lick my finger, and then i stopped myself, realizing it was HER book, and thinking it would perhaps be kind of gross to smear my spit on HER book, and she saw me and she said, "you can lick it, I don't care." so, I think we're 1/2 way there. to being friends.

    oh, and e's teacher wrote back and said the following, and ONLY the following: "she will miss social studies and it will be her job to make up her social studies work as homework." so, my daughter will be punished for her cognitive abilities by causing her to make up the work which is not challenging enough for her. we already struggle so much to fit this year's increase in homework into our day/night. we'll see how it goes.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:53 PM   3 comments
    Thursday, October 19, 2006
    i made latkes
    they've been better, in the past. i was enjoying conversations with my kids, and got distracted now and again, and some of them got darker than i wanted.

    eh.

    e. was recommended for the "gifted program" at her school. i signed the form allowing her to leave her classroom for 45 minutes a week for a "pull out session" to go and explore problem solving and critical thinking. beloved is skeptical, and e. is freaked out. she said that's her science and social studies time .... beloved thinks it means she'll get more homework to "make up" the science and social studies that she misses. i think that everything is still being put into place (the program just went through some major re-vamping). i emailed her teacher to ask what will happen with the class time missed while she's Pulled Out. I'll await her response.

    After my post on being lonely at law school this a.m., I underwent a little Internet Retail Therapy. I can't wait until boxes arrive, b/c until then, the depression may linger. I found some really cool looking boots ... not too casual, not too dressy - perfect for fall through that tail end of winter, and will look good with jeans as well as with (perhaps) some winter business casual clothes duing stupid icky-i-don't-want-to-go winter co-op.

    i agreed to help out a friend tomorrow. this means that i finish class at 1:30 p.m., ride the bike like a LUNATIC to the girls' school (to arrive by 2), walk 5 kids (one of which being my own) to their after-school activity (starting at 2:30), then keep 1 kid with me (j's "best friend" - but j will not be with me, she'll be at her after-school PROGRAM - not the 'after school activity' which i am escorting others - one of which being e. - to.), walking her to the synagogue where her mom is working for approx. 3 p.m., and then jumping back on the bike, and (hopefully) arriving to Tax by 3:15. Phew!! Wish me luck.

    and despite at least 2 references to Things Jewish, I am not in any way - not even the tiniest bit of my heritage - jewish. I am a gentile - through and through. and a heathen gentile at that.

    oh - and j. has a stummy-ache tonight. (she informed me that "tummy" sounds like a baby talking, and "stomach" is too "old" and so her compromise is to call it her "stummy"). I am not sure how serious it is. She wanted to eat Latkes, and tried 3 times, but had to keep leaving the table for the bathroom, and then I rounded the corner to find her 1/2 asleep against the dining room wall. so .... I told her to go rest (it was 7:45 ... she usually goes to bed at 9:15 or so), and she has not emerged from her room since.

    So perhaps I won't be racing from class to the kids' school to the after-school activity to the synagogue to class tomorrow ... perhaps instead i'll be racing from home to the school, to the after-school activity to the synagogue to home --- all with a sick kid in tow. We shall see.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:27 PM   1 comments
    Am I missing something?
    I'm just throwing this out there before class ... I'll go back later and track down the appropriate links.

    George Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006. There is a huge amount of talk about it - Keith Olbermann did one of his "special comments" on it - the Rude Pundit is going off about it - and I think rightfully so. It's legalizing torture, legalizing detention without review, and pretty much stripping our country's commitment to the Geneva Convention to NOTHING.

    However.

    A lot of these pundits are saying that George Bush has suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus, that he has made it so ANY ONE OF US (us meaning U.S. Citizens) can be locked up and the key can be thrown away.

    I was troubled. So I did this odd thing -- I looked up the text of the law. Library of Congress has it on line, and I read it.

    So it's true that "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" is defined in such a way so as to not preclude U.S. Citizens from being labeled as such.

    However!!!!

    All the provisions people are worried about? The application of military tribunals, the lack of habeas corpus - all of it? It only applies to "alien unlawful enemy combatants."

    I do not know squat about how the rights of non-citizens are protected in this country. I should, I know. But I do not. So I do not know what kind of changes are brought to non-citizens by this law.

    But it looks to me like none of it affects citizens.

    Please, oh great internet participants, enlighten me. Share with me exactly how this new law makes it so that citizens can be locked up with the key thrown away.

    I consider myself a very good liberal. I do not consider myself, however, a blind person who is unable to read the text of a law before I start frothing at the mouth over it. Like I said about - it's a sad day when we pass laws that allow torture and give the finger to international agreements that have been in place for over 50 years, and that we are condoning practices we have prosecuted others for in the past -

    but isn't that bad enough? do we have to make up MORE bad?

    :::::: open to new info that proves me wrong :::::::
    posted by Zuska @ 3:01 PM   1 comments
    sacrifices
    i was in the locker room this a.m., grabbing a jacket* before heading out to get a cup of tea, where some dudes in my class were talking about how sore they were after some sport-like endeavor they had embarked on the night before, and when one of them asked another to help him send a fax, b/c he does not know how to do it (loser).

    And it occurred to me - I do not have any true friends in law school. No one who I hang out with at night and do things with, no one to ask to come and help me figure out a new piece of technology.

    I am, for the most part, alone all the time at school.

    I know why. It's the answer to the question of "how do you DO it? how can you be in law school and raise two kids?" with the usual, "I can't even keep a PLANT alive!" or some similar exclamation about a dog.

    I moved here from the other side of the country, and quickly was immersed in a new life on the home front, with the kids in a new school, and beloved on a new coast, and we were struggling to figure out how we would keep it all together with the increased demands that were put on me by school. Coming here was also the time where Beloved joined this family on a full time basis, and that was something that required a lot of effort - emotionally, time-wise, etc.

    I did not make close friends. I barely made friends at ALL. I spent my entire first year as pretty much an island, with ocassional conversations with others. Oftentimes, I spent those conversations trying to make a conscious effort NOT to talk about parent/teacher conferences and bedtimes.

    There is not anyone in my class who is in the same boat as me - someone who I can talk with about ALL aspects of my life. The number of parents is pitifully small (I think there are 4: one dad whose kids are slightly older than mine, but he lives in N.H., and commutes to and from school while his wife cares for the home front - very different; and two moms of much younger children who have different concerns).

    In my second year, when I was teaching that class, I was much more social than in my first year. I had a little 5-person unit, and got along really well with two people and became very close with one. But when we came back after co-op (one of the critiques of the program), and were no longer teaching - the lives we had put on hold for the sake of that experience wanted us back. My family, and her friends from her last 2.5 years of school. We still keep in touch, but she graduated last year and lives in a far off part of the state, and has an SO in a different state.

    This past summer, I made a few friends who I feel I got close with, and I really enjoyed spending time with. It looks like we're all returning to Summer Firm, but I think two out of four will be in a different department, and it will not be easy to maintain our connections.

    I have plenty of people who I correspond with through e-mail and telephone calls. Old friends from CA, the aforementioned friends from the summer, and a couple of friends who graduated a year ahead of me.

    But no daily connections.

    There is another sphere of my life - the kids' school. I (all of us, actually) have definitely seen that we are becoming a part of this community. There are people we get along with, and that I love chatting with during soccer games. Even some moms who I carry on e-mail conversations with re: non-kid stuff.

    But it's been a long time since I've had a friend like what I remember - someone who you check in with constantly**, someone who knows what puts you in a bad mood, someone who knows everything that goes on. A friend as opposed to an acquaintance.

    I think when I start work, it will be much more likely that I will find women who I truly connect with. As I said, it's already started. But now that school is winding down, and the academic pressures are cut in like..... 1/4th, I guess I'm feeling lonely. I have time to throw my shit in the locker and go get a cup of coffee with someone. I have time to have lunch WITHOUT spilling salad dressing on my school books. But after 2+ years of NOT doing that, there isn't anyone to do it with.

    And I don't want to change the way things have gone, either. I've enjoyed a ridiculous amount of success in law school for a women in my situation. ridiculous. This would not be the case if I did not spend the time I did on my own. Not only b/c of the literal time I would have spent with others, but b/c of the shift of priorities and time. In undergrad, I did pretty well for the most part. But there was one semester where I was so intensley socially connected, and so involved with activities and outings and a social network - I did HORRIBLY in school. HORRIBLY. I failed theater. FAILED. (fortunately, Liberty University is really really dumb, and allows you to REPLACE a grade - not average it, but REPLACE it, so I was able to re-take theater, and the F was erased from my transcript.) I got a C in some computer class I took, which was teaching WordPerfect (huh?), Excel, and something else .... I got a 98 on my final exam, but just NEVER DID the paper. Never did it.

    That's the kind of student I have been determined NOT to be in law school. I'm sure there could have been some kind of balance .... but no I'm not. I'm not sure. I think I needed the dedication that I've put into this in order to get all out of it that I have.

    I just need to deal with the consequences.

    * I am a HORRIBLE mother. HORRIBLE. I checked the weather last night, and it said that it was going to be 70 and sunny today. I shared that with the girls. They're wearing clothes appropriate for 70 and sunny. When they were getting ready to leave the house, I told them that if they didn't wnat to bring a jacket, they didn't have to. Guess what? It's 59 and overcast. And my kids have no jackets. And this is NOT the first time I've done this. Fortunately, e. has like 17 sweaters and coats in her locker that she's left there on other days, and j. has on long sleeves, and does run pretty hot. I bet they'll be okay.

    **[I can't believe I have a double asterick here] of course, there's Beloved, and we do all these things - but he's in my house, and that's not what I mean. He's my family. I'm talking about non-family friends.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:52 AM   1 comments
    Wednesday, October 18, 2006
    reality is sinking in
    i wrote the check today. $175 to bar bri. i suppose i can no longer maintain my refusal to acknowledge that i will be taking the bar exam. hopefully the MPRE will be a happy little orientation to what's to come. I have my bar bri book. It was "free" with the $175 I paid. Cute.

    i think i'm taking the review course next friday. fun way to spend a friday, eh?

    J's soccer practice was canceled today. problem was - no one told us. so beloved went over to the school with J's bag in hand, hunted her down on the playground where she was with the after-school program, just to have her tell him that the news of the cancellation had been passed around "telephone style" - originating with the mother of the girl who was covering for their coach today.

    "telephone style" does NOT mean that the woman picked up the damned TELEPHONE. Nor does it mean she used her TELEPHONE LINE to send an e-mail. Even though all of us have the team roster, and have access to everyone else's telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

    that pisses me off.

    you know what ELSE pisses me off? Damned forwarded e-mails. when people send me CRAP just b/c it happened to cross in front of their noses, and they for some reason found it "interesting" or "worth noting." Once it was one of those "congratulations to those of us born in the 60's and 70's for SURVIVING" and then went off on a litany of "freedoms" that "lawyers" took away from kids and childhood. Freedoms including:
    • not wearing seatbelts.
    • sitting in the backseat of a car, at the age of 2 or 3, or perhaps even 1, without any restraint system whatsoever (also known as the freedom to fly out of a windshield, head first, when mommy was too busy reaching in the back seat to find your bottle to notice that the light was red)
    • sleeping on your stomach in your crib at ages under 6 month with plastic covered pillows up against your face so that you could stop breathing and die
    • riding a bicycle without a helmet - since we know that bicycles are so much less fun without helmets - it would be much better to be able to ride a bicycle without a helmet, have your tire get caught in a rut on the road, and hit your head on a rock (at age 8, mind you), causing severe brain damage with which you could live out the rest of your life in your mother's house.
    Yes, lets curse progress. lets curse saved lives and lower fatality rates. no problem.

    today's cute little e-mail gem was some odd "press release" from the summer of 2004 ranting and raving about Barack Obama's heritage, and how his entire life is a pack of lies, b/c he has not come straight out and admitted to being a MUSLIM. The "press release" itself did not say it was a bad thing if Obama were a Muslim (although the preamble to thing said his information was potentially proof that Obama was a danger to "Jews in America") - but the comments that were inspired! Unbelievable.

    Why would someone send ME that? Why, so I can hear both sides of the "issue" of course. What issue? What the hell? The dude won the election 3 months after the damned "press release" started floating around on the internet, where's the issue? Oh, b/c he "might run for president." So then, yes. Let's start the smear campaign now.

    But do me a favor - start with someone else. Apparently, the people to start with are those who have been convinced that Muslim=evil. And those who won't bother to fact check the crap that comes into their inbox.

    I have never done well at just rolling my eyes at things that come to my inbox (from people I know and who know me - or should know me well enough to do better at sending me things I may be interested in). A few years ago, my mom sent me some "if you don't accept Jesus as your savior, you will go to hell" chain mail, and I went off on her. I called her to task for sending it to me - despite the fact that we've had numerous conversations, and agreed to respect each other's differing perspectives, and then I went off on the ridiculously faulty logic that the thing put forth.

    yeah, my mood is slightly foul.

    but on a good (but weird) note - I got my draft brief back from my "professor." I said it was "very strong" and that my argument had "excellent organization." pfft. did not.

    off to pick up E., and then go home to meet Beloved and J. no work tonight - I've done enough for one day, and have a good chunk of time before class tomorrow to do more. Tonight is Lost, and hopefully (!!) sex.
    posted by Zuska @ 4:39 PM   3 comments
    Tuesday, October 17, 2006
    Tuesday Summary
    • I spoke with E's teacher, and all is well. she had a "great day" today, and the teacher was very understanding about last night, and happy that the kids had the opportunity to go. She also made it clear that E is a good girl who does a good job on her work, and gets everything done, and is a Good Girl. Phew.
    • I did dinner. I didn't do much - I picked up roasted chickens at TJ's (they're little, and we Like To Eat, so I got 2), and some pita, and some hummus, and some tabouli, and I cut some red onions for myself (b/c I can never have enough), and we had little baby carrots to dip in the hummus. It was really quite yummy, even if I did not even a lick of cooking (does heating up the chickens in the microwave count?). I decided, however, that from now on, my tuesday endeavors will be the kind of cooking i like to do. I will take Lyco's advice, and engage J in the evenings work (E. has cello lessons, and beloved works), and we will have Fun, and make meals to be proud of.
    • Today was E's first day getting herself from Point A to Point B without an adult escort (but with a buddy). She is SO CUTE. She came home and I smothered her with questions and kisses about how it went. It did take them a longer time than it would if an adult was setting the pace (23 minutes to get 10 minutes away .... but whatever). But my last question was, "were you nervous?" She nodded sheepishly and then said, "but I didn't show it."
    • Beloved's first day at the new job went well.
    • I enjoyed tax today. It made me think I need to 1) buy a house; and 2) get married.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:46 PM   0 comments
    Kid Stuff
    E. went to a literary event with some friends last night.* The book that they were celebrating and having signed is a popular one - which I'm well aware of. I knew the "doors opened" at 6:15 p.m., and therefore assumed my kid would be back on my doorstep by 8:30, perhaps 9, since it was in one of the many suburbs around our city.

    Yeah. She got home at 12:10 a.m. I received hourly updates via telephone, so there was never a panicky moment - but it wasn't what I had planned on. There were approx. 650 kids waiting in line to have their books signed, I was told. Geez, you would think it was Harry Potter or something.

    E. had a great time, but was really feeling it this a.m. She was so tired, she was in tears on the way to school. Quiet tears, but tears. i was feeling twinges of guilt for two reasons: 1) making her go to school; and 2) inflicting her exhaustion on the school professionals. But I could certainly NOT JUSTIFY keeping her home b/c she went to hoopla the night before. I mean, seriously. It was like a 10 year old's version of a rock concert. "oh, poor baby, the music was too loud? and you didn't stop dancing until 12:30? Well, I think you deserve a day off from school to nurse your aching head, I'm sure your teacher will understand."

    yet, at the same time, elementary schools put the responsibility of ensuring our children's rest and good nutrition upon US, the parents. And I failed at that.

    This year feels like a failure in general. She's missed days, she's come in late, she's been behind, I've forgotten to write notes to the teacher so that she could anticipate all of this - and it's all just because. Just becuase she wanted to be in this acting group that travels to other schools during school time. Just because we wanted to go to Disneyland for her birthday.

    But if this were 4th grade, or 3rd grade, or 2nd grade ... this would have all been fine. This is the first year that it's NOT fine.

    I assure you - all family trips next year will be taken during weeks off (for the kids). And I don't want her to do the same acting thing next year - but she is (thus far) really upset by that. She really wants to do it again, b/c it's her last year to be involved with it.

    Sometimes being a mom is hard. And while I've been on an easy stretch, after the hardships of babies and toddlers, I have a feeling that the difficulty level is working its way up a steady incline.

    *Update to say - there was a parent with them. No way was there a group of 10 year olds out at an event until midnight ALONE.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:21 PM   3 comments
    Temporarily In the Swing of Things
    I have an outline due tomorrow for my paper on the judicial system in Afghanistan according to the 2004 constitution. I thought it would be miserable to work on all day - and instead, time is flying by. I'm enjoying it, I have plenty of reference materials, and I find myself wishing i didn't have to go to class, so I could stay engaged with this material.

    Now THAT is more like it. zuska LIKES law school. This recent apathy is not Me.

    tonight I will be a typical law student - I will do WORK at HOME. i will work on more than one thing, in more than one subject area. Not only will I be working to complete/polish the outline, but I will also do approx. 50 pages of reading for Professional Responsibility tomorrow!

    Check me out.

    of course, that happens AFTER the mad-dash to Trader Joe's (where they sell WINE!) to pick up dinner and then to the school to pick up my daughter and then to the house to meet my other daughter and then to cook and then to do another 4 loads of laundry b/c I couldn't do it all last night without dominating the laundry room and creating enemies out of my neighbors.

    So perhaps I should not make any declarations beforehand, eh?
    posted by Zuska @ 2:17 PM   0 comments
    Monday, October 16, 2006
    changes in the distribution of labor at home
    damn.

    i've known that i was OVERLY spoiled for some time now. something in the back of my mind was saying, "zuska, this isn't right. why is this right? the reverse wouldn't be right, so why is this right?" and i wondered if perhaps, i was letting an important and valuable part of myself atrophy. making myself less capable than i truly am. because i am capable.

    now i am being FORCED out of my luxury. ousted.

    beloved got a job. after our summer of ease and lack of double-demands, and our fall of Slow Transition and feeling out of different opportunities - it's time to return to a dual-working-parent household. Which means juggling of chores and responsibilities.

    Which means .....

    i.

    have.

    to.

    cook.

    sometimes. 2-3 nights a week. The only way it will be 2 is if I make one of the 3 nights be "leftover night."

    tomorrow is my first day, and I even have to do the grocery shopping necessary prior to cooking. And I'm stressing out! I get out of class at 4:35, and I must ride the bike to the store (I think I'll do Trader Joe's), pick up some kind of grub (lazy-man grub), then zoom to pick up J. from the after-school program, and then zoom home - oh, no. Then walk the bike home, with J. alongside me, to get here by 6 so E. can be dropped off from cello practice.

    after this craziness, I'm going to do better with planning - but I don't have that much notice for tomorrow.

    After tomorrow, I'm going to start to plan ... make an actual menu and put my ingredients on beloved's list for his weekly shopping trip.

    I already know what I'm doing on Thursday. I'm making potato pancakes (what many call Latkes). Beloved hates it when I make them, b/c they are cooked in a very generous amount of veggie oil, and honestly, they make the air icky. But the girls and I think that the deliciousness is worth it. Since he'll be working in the evening on Thursday - I am taking advantage of his absence to cook them.

    ______________________

    now more on the job:

    This past summer, his old company was moving (this is a repeat for some, I think), and he didn't want to move with them, b/c it would have meant us needing a car, or some other atrociousness, which involved long commutes and low quality of life. And at the same time, I was starting my stint as a Summer Associate, and at the same time, the girls were heading into the End of the Year, and there was a LOT going on, and he wanted to write a book.

    So he didn't get a new job right away.

    Then he stumbled upon some other opportunity - an internship - that was a foot in the door in a field that he's wanted a foot in the door of. It wasn't paid, but that was okay, we could afford it - I had the job, and the girls were getting ready to take off for their dad's (less people to support), and it seemed like the perfect thing. In the back of our minds we were thinking, "and it could lead to an open door, and a full time permanent job in this field."

    The summer went great for him - he got a lot of writing done, his internship was fantastic, and he built the girls a new bedroom. Then the internship was over, and sadly for all of us, we knew it was time for him to get a job. I had hoped that perhaps we could make the summer $$ stretch so that he could not work full time (or not at all - just write full time), but the trip to Disney and the new computer, and all of our weekend trips made it so that didn't look likely.

    But just as he was on his way out the door from the internship, a potential related opportunity came along, and it sort of put the job search on hold.

    It was not really that easy of a thing - the potential opportunity was a huge Step Up for him, and while I was confident he could do it, he was a wee more skeptical. It also meant we were going to have to re-think the idea of him being around during hte days while I'm being worked to the bone by the Future Firm - which was an I idea I liked, b/c it gave me confidence that all would be well, and that he liked, b/c it meant he could delve into writing. But this opportunity was not something to casually turn away from. So he went for it.

    in the end, the Opportunity went to someone for whom it was a Lateral Move, not a Step Up.

    And we were back to the drawing board.

    But now, still through the internship and in the desired field, yet another possibility came along. It was not such a Step Up, but it's local, and it's an independent something or other that is nice, and it's a part of our community, and it's part-time (but enough for us to be okay, especially with my co-op right around the corner).

    today he was offered the job.

    So, tomorrow he starts.

    And I have to stop being a spoiled brat.

    It's likely about time.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:03 PM   3 comments
    senioritis, interrupted
    jerks. my professors that is. don't they SEE that i am disinterested in their fields of study? don't they SEE that i could care less about mortgage interest deductions and client conflicts? do they not see the boredom on my face? the stifled yawns? the obviousness of my internet surfing?

    So why, then, WHY? do they keep assigning me reading? and then telling me that my row will be "on call" - and then, just for good measure, letting me know that because we are behind, from that day when some other row was "on call" and people were going off on ridiculous tangents about what some lawyer did during their great-aunt's sister's divorce, I am "on call" for a double reading.

    I have to hand in an "outline" for my Comparative Law paper on Wednesday, so I can sit down with a classmate and have a "writing workshop." Ugh. Then, on Thursday, I have to have a meeting with my Appellate Advocacy professor to go over the draft brief I handed in last week, so I can find out what I have to do to make it into a final. I'm sure he'll say the words "more research" and perhaps "organize" maybe even "strengthen the writing." ha.

    I brought home some Tax reading, which I believe is a first. Not sure I'll get to it, though. there are a couple of glasses of wine in the kitchen, and Heroes is on at 9.

    Heroes sucks. I mean, the acting is atrocious, the special effects are deplorable, and the story line is super weak.

    As if I care. It has nothing to with deductions and deferred taxes and questions about whether or not something is considered "income."

    And then, at 10, Studio 60 is on. that show is better, but not so very COMPELLING. I mean, I'm glad it's on, and I like seeing that Chandler can be Not Chandler, and do it well. I really love Amanda Peet's character. But it isn't set up in a "I can't wait to find out what's gonna happen next! Will they stay together? Will he divorce his wife? Will his hand stop shaking? Will Izzy and Alex get together again, b/c he was, after all, so sweet when Denny died ...." and that kind of thing. Although not even Lost rises to that level anymore. Nothing does.

    But it's not Tax. And I think that may be all that matters.
    posted by Zuska @ 5:48 PM   1 comments
    Sunday, October 15, 2006
    Another fun day
    Today, we went to Salem. We rented a zipcar for the day, and were pleased to see that we were correct in our memory - the drive was only about 45 minutes. We feared that because Salem is Halloween Central for the entire month of October that we wouldn't find parking -- not the case. We were in and parked in record time.

    We started our day at the Witch Dungeon Museum, which I remembered from my childhood - I had a great-great-aunt who lived in that part of MA, and we would go visit her once a year. I distinctly remembered a catacomb-like experience (I was probably 8), and was hoping to find which it was. This was it. It was fun to re-do, and this time with the kids. I think J. was slightly skeptical as we went down the stairs, thinking perhaps she was not given all hte requisite information before agreeing to partake in this endeavor. She's a dork. She says no no no - she WILL NOT do anything that is slightly scary.

    So we're in the dungeon, and there are mostly windows to peep through at wax and porcelain statues in various states of torment and suffering, and then at the very end, a live person jumped out at us from one of the cells --- *I* yelled and jumped, J. yelped, and E. jumped. Beloved laughed.

    But guess what? At the end of the day? THAT was J's favorite part! See? A dork.

    We then went to the bizzare bazaar - which was mostly a bunch of tables set up outside selling a bunch of crap. Like any other "street fair" -- there were chairs set up with people giving massages, the police department had a table, there were sweatshirts for sale, blah blah blah. Oh yeah, and lots of crappy jewelry.

    We went to the Witch History Museum, and frankly, it was a little dull after the Witch Dungeon Museum. You get to hear the same story about the hysteria that resulted in the witch trials, the same story about that dude who was killed by crushing [tons of boulders on his chest until he was dead], the same story about how finally when "the girls" accused the governor's wife of being a witch, the governor put a stop to all the nonsense, "but not before 15 women, 4 men and 2 dogs were hanged and one man was crushed to death."

    I'm very curious about these "girls" who ran around accusing everyone of being witches. They kept being referred to as the "girls" and then the judges and preachers were demonized, and the girls were "afflicted." I think the girls were evil. I'm gonna look them up.

    We also went to a Pirate Museum, and a Wax Museum, and E. and I went into the "Haunted Witch Village."

    This Witch Village, however, was the source of much angst. She's never been to a Haunted House. I haven't been in forever. We knew J. wasn't gonna go, and as always, Beloved had no issue with staying behind with her (the wax museum had a "gravestone rubbing" thing set up, and they were working on those when we split off - something beloved has always wanted to do for REAL).

    She vascillated b/t yes and no - so I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't want her to have nightmares, but she was frustrated, and unsure what to do. I decided that if little kids were coming out, she would be fine, and she'd be more upset if she didn't even try. she was more than quick to agree.

    So we went.

    The thing sucked. There was no theme, there was no --- nothing. We couldn't see; the whole thing was strobe lights in our face, and fog machines - all designed to make us stumble around while people dressed in jeans, flannel shirts, and a token mask jumped out and said "grrrrr!" E. started just saying "rar!" back at them, once she realized what was going on. It was a huge disappointment.

    We had dinner at Salem Beer Works (very kid-friendly, I assure you). and then, we drove home.

    Oh yeah, and we went for a walk - before dinner and before the haunted house - down teh wharf. here are some photos:

    Some scary ladies:

    Boats on the water; not too long before sundown:



    Not everything is beautiful (this was just a hair to the left of the last 2):


    Although, she is:

    And her:
    All in all, another fun family outing.

    Next week: My parents' house. I'm hoping for a relaxing evening at their home, a morning of hiking with the 4 of us, and perhaps my brother, his wife, and their dog, and then an afternoon at a pumpkin farm with my parents. we'll see if i get my way on all of that.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:32 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, October 14, 2006
    more fun
    Tomorrow, beloved and I are taking the girls to Salem. We've been wanting to take them up there for the 2 years that we're here, and never have made time. This year, we're going to Witch-Town in honor of Halloween. there's a ton of stuff going on there in honor of the holiday, and I think we're gonna have a great time.

    Except it will probably be busy and crowded and such, so we will need to be out the door early.

    ick. i think i'm going to bed now.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:20 PM   0 comments
    caught up!!!
    I did it. I caught up with Grey's Anatomy. I am not sure I like what they've done to Burke. Can't they find some OTHER way to soften Christina up? And leave my Burke alone?

    I also am not sure if I like being caught up. It means if I find myself with some idle moments (i.e., overwhelming desire to procrastinate), i can't just go click on an episode in iTunes.

    My MacBook is sooooo pretty for watching stuff.

    Speaking of the MacBook - I just switched everything over to Firefox. I was having too many issues with Safari, and I got sick of juggling between the two. Safari doesn't let me play with the new Yahoo Mail in Beta, which I love, b/c it automatically refreshes (as does gmail, so i can keep a tab of each, and not have to check my mail, which i am compulsive about, b/c if I have a mail, my tab says so); Safari doesn't let me put pictures, links, or hardly anything else on my blog - I have been blogging from Firefox since I got the new computer.

    And sometimes - Safari unexpectedly quits.

    So, farewell, Safari, farewell. I'm even going to take it off the dock.

    I love the dock.
    posted by Zuska @ 5:38 PM   0 comments
    Ex Issues
    I have the girls for Thanksgiving in "odd numbered years" and the Ex has them for "even numbered years." Further, I have them for Christmas in "even number years" and he has them in "odd number years."

    This is his year for Thanksgiving. Fine. We've already made arrangments.

    It is my year for Christmas, but he asked if he could have a few days during their week off. I looked at the calendar, and said fine - if we can work it out so they're back in time for New Year's Eve, b/c we have some fun and loved traditions around that day.

    I did not, however, talk to the girls first.

    When I did raise it with them, they went NUTS. They don't want to go for Thanksgiving. they don't want to go at Christmas, and come to think of it - they don't want to go for the summer, they're sick of going there ALL THE TIME, and they want some time to just stay home.

    E. actually put her foot down - she's not going. not at all.

    of course, her foot isn't big enough to really make much of an impact. much to her dismay.

    i told the ex that i actually am not going to force them to go visit him on a week that is mine - i asked him to talk to them about the trip, so that they could feel involved, and perhaps in that way, be more receptive.

    He said no. that if I don't want them go, then I should have the balls to say so directly to him - that I should not be using THEM to tell him no, and that there's no way in HELL he's asking their PERMISSION for them to see their FATHER.

    okaaaaaaaaay.

    but today, E. continued her tirade over not going for Thanksgiving. I made it clear to her - she's going for Thanksgiving. she cried, and yelled, and cried, and said she's locking herself in her room - that she is NOT going, and he's NOT her dad. That if he was really her dad, he would at least tell her that he was going to get married, and he didn't, so he's NOT her dad, and she's NOT going. That if he were her DAD, he would care about her more than he cares about his work, and if he were her DAD, he would LISTEN to her when she talks to him, and not be mean to her, and not hang her sister upside down by her ankles and not tickle E. to the point of having a mark that lasted for weeks all because of cookies, and that if he were her DAD, he would care about her.

    i work SO HARD to stick up for him. It feels so counterintuitive. All I want to say to her is, "no shit!" Instead, I tell her taht she's not being fair to him, and that if she feels hurt and upset, she needs to talk with him. I suggested she write him an e-mail, letting him know how she feels (about his getting married, for one thing). She refuses.

    She is upset, I know, but she doesn't act like this when she's with him - so I don't know why now - about 2 months since she's seen him - she's having fits. She said she's supposed to spend Thanksgiving with her family, and that WE are her family, and she just wants to be here.

    I really am not sure what to do. There's nothing to do about Thanksgiving - he's not going to give it up, and I am not going to make it an issue - there's nothing BIG enough here to make an issue out of. If she was accusing him of some kind of child abuse - then sure, I'd make an issue, but I don't think that's waht we have here.

    But I have been toying with trying to get the summers shortened. That came up last night as well. The kids want to go to camp, they want to play with their friends, they want to do the library summer reading contest. J. said she wants to alternate summers .... I don't think that would work, b/c he's too far away, and it would sever any relationship they have with him. But I think a 3-4 week visit instead of a 6-8 week visit may be in order.

    I'm sorry that E. is so sad. I'm sorry that she's having issues with her father. I am not exacerbating the issues, but I'm also not surprised. She's a smart girl, and nothing she's said surprises me about him.
    posted by Zuska @ 3:03 PM   0 comments
    Friday, October 13, 2006
    horrid monday
    we've had 3 mondays off so far. Labor Day, Yom Kippur, and Columbus Day.

    Today was a Friday. however, we followed a Monday schedule.

    This was NOT FUN. Instead of having a rogue session of Professional Responsibility (designed to get the class over before the 11/4 MPRE) at noon ... I had 3 classes - Comparative Law, PR, and Tax. Tax!!

    And there's another make up Monday *next* Friday. Which means next week, I have Tax 4 days out of 5.

    Having Tax on Fridays also makes my afternoon a little hectic. Being done at 1:30 is nice - I come home, spend some time relaxing, and then go get E. from school and take her to soccer practice. While she's at practice, I go and get J., and we hang out a bit before collecting E. and going home for movie night.

    today, however, i had to frantically ride home, drop my stuff, go get E., take her to practice, and THEN go get J., later than usual.

    It was a pretty unusual day, because Beloved had an event to go to in the evening - otherwise, he could have pitched in (as he always does). but that also meant that we girls had to do dinner on our own, and since they're afraid of me cooking ... we went out for sushi!!

    after we went to our local children's bookshop to pick up the 13th (and last) Series of Unfortunate Events book with a friend of E's, we went to dinner. When we got home, Beloved was still out galavanting, and the girls watched Singing in the Rain for the 400th time, and I goofed off on the internet.

    Stupid Mondays.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:20 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, October 12, 2006
    growth
    I spoke to the 1Ls. There were not 8 of them. There were probably 75 or 100.

    I was fine with it until some girl asked me my grade in a class that I showed an outline for. That flustered me. The problem was - she didn't say "what is your grade" - but rather "did you get an A?" i said i didn't, but didn't say what I did get. i'm not standing up there and telling 75 or 100 1Ls what my grades were. jeez.

    so that made me blush, and once i start blushing, i don't stop.

    I am pretty sure I freaked them out. They were freaked out by the fact that I said they needed AT LEAST 20 hours per outline, and they were freaked out by my charts and indexes. I told them that it didn't take that long, and that it was the way I used up my nervous energy before exams, and that once i made them, the info was stuck in my head, and i barely needed them during exams. but they were still freaked out.

    my professor/supervisor said it's good for 1Ls to be freaked out. that she wouldn't want someone to get up in front of them and say, "oh, it's not too much work, you'll be FINE - just study the night before."

    I do love my outlines. I think when I graduate, I'll have to go to Outlines Anonymous.

    I would say, however, that this was one of my more successful public speaking experiences. Why? b/c the nerves just weren't there. I felt confident and capable before hand. This was not something I would have EVER volunteered (or agreed) to do, even a year ago, I think. I was fine with it today. I had enough nerves to make me not super-casual - but I don't think I would have blushed at all if that girl didn't probe me for PERSONAL INFORMATION. I probably seemed nervous while up there to those who know me, but i think it went well.

    I'm slowly but surely breaking through the barriers I've had up, deterring me from doing the things I've wanted to do. The law school experience has been very good for me in that way.

    It seems like someone at my school has found my blog. Not sure who it is - not even sure if it's someone in the law school.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:32 AM   1 comments
    Wednesday, October 11, 2006
    Post-Brief Spasticity
    The brief that was due was just a draft - so it wasn't a huge stinkin' deal ... but I'd blown it off for, oh, weeks. Pre-Disneyland. And I felt that I had to show a good-faith effort in this "draft" - even though it wasn't going to ROCK by any stretch of the imagination. I signed up for a conference on the draft on as eary of a date possible, so I can have lots of time between DRAFT and FINAL to fix things up .... since it needs it.

    But now it's 3:45, and I don't pick up a child until 5:30 from her acting doo-hickey, so I have time to kill.

    And I have to give a seminar at 9 a.m. tomorrow on OUTLINING - so I thought I would use this forum to sort through my thoughts on what to say.

    I don't think anyone's going to come, b/c the 1L's don't have class until 10:15, and since I'm usually around between 8 and 10:15, I know that NONE OF THEM are here earlier than, oh, say, 9:50. I think that's why I'm not stressed.

    So. I'm bringing the following to show to the 1Ls:
    • My Property Outline (first 3 pages should do it);
    • My property index/condensed outline
    • My Civ Pro Outline (again, first 3 pages)
    • My Civ Pro Outline of Rules
    • My Civ Pro Index of Issues (cross referenced to Main Outline, Rules Outline, and Notes);
    • My Fed Courts Table of Cases (I am going to FLASH it on the screen sooooo fast, so their poor 1L-fragile senses of balance are not too screwed up by the INSANITY of what is expected by Fed Courts - just to show them an OPTION of how to organize material in preparation for an exam)
    • My Con Law Chronology of Cases
    I am going to talk to them about:
    1. Timing - don't start too early, b/c you won't have the entire course put into perspective; but start early ENOUGH that you can get your main outline done before reading week, and spend reading week both creating indexes, sub-outlines, and writing out practice exams (I never got to practice exams - or at least, hardly ever.)
    2. Organization - I'm a huge advocate of structuring the outline around the syllabus -- it's the way the professor things - the professor who is GRADING YOUR EXAM!!
    3. If the exam is closed book (Torts is open; Property is open; last I knew, Civ Pro was UNDECIDED!! How can they not KNOW that yet???) --- don't bother with an index - the point is to get to the info you need as quick as possible, and if you don't have info to get to!! You need to shove it into your brain instead. Instead of a condensed outline - make notecards. One per rule; one per case; one per issue.
    4. How to use your Outline as a Study Tool: 2 ways.
      1. [why not a? why is automatic numbering always so USELESS??] read through the outline, highlight areas you are weak on; then:
        1. Get together with others who are as far along as you and chat things over. help each other with highlighted portions that others may NOT have highlighted (usually the case)
        2. Take that same group (or skip the group, and go on your own) and go to professor's office hours. Don't waste their time before you get to this point - they don't want to re-teach an entire course to you in a 15 minute block.
        3. Get a little supplement book-like thing, and read a different take on those issues. I am NOT a fan of doing this before this stage. Again - b/c of my belief that you should be speaking to YOUR professor. I bought Glannon's for Civ Pro, b/c I felt confused, but by the time I finished my outline - I was no longer confused (and I was kind of out of time). Fed Courts, however, I used. Extensively. But still only for exam prep (how others found the time to read 2 books before each class is BEYOND ME!!)
    I forget what else. I have a list of things I want to raise at home (I think. in a pile, on the floor, next to the white couch. or perhaps that's the pile of papers that fell off the coffee table over by the Snake Plant?). I have to now go downstairs to a computer with Word on it (I don't have word), stick my magic little memory stick into the USB port, open up my outlines, and create ONE document with all the pages I plan on showing in the morning.

    I also need to read through what the professor is going to say. She said I can feel free to repeat her, b/c students will probably listen to something I say, even after NOT listening to something SHE said, b/c I'm a student. a peer, if you will.

    I'm sure it will be fine.

    As of right now, the plane in the building in NY is being deemed an accident - not terrorism.

    The kidnapping in the West Bank, I'm assured, is routine.

    North Korea is a little nutso.

    People are dying by the hundreds of thousands in Iraq.

    Who cares about my stupid talk for approximately 8 1Ls?
    posted by Zuska @ 3:46 PM   0 comments
    Huh?
    [brief is going better, but I'm currently eating a sandwich, and surfing the net ... a well-deserved break. I've been working for 5 hours straight -- leave me alone]

    Okay - so I'm reading this article on cnn.com, thinking "oh, i hope that it is true, and that 1) the public will start being more engaged in the democratic process, instead of lying around while Corporations use their financial investments to monopolize the input to our elected officials (even though if voters were more engaged, I bet that corporate monies would make less of a difference - i think that the parties are slaves to corporate entities b/c the voters have become apathetic); and 2) the Republicans will go bye-bye."

    Then I read this odd-ball quote:

    "Women are very, very concerned at the direction that this country is going," said Shannon Hargrove of Fort Worth, Texas, who talks politics frequently with her friends. "A lot of us have sons that are the age to participate in the wars, and we have daughters and sons that are of the age that are trying to find jobs, and that's very difficult."

    I mean, I think it's true - women are very concerned at the direction that this country is going --- but b/c we're worried that our kids won't find jobs? That's not a "women's issue!" what the hell? I'm concerned with the demands being put on our military, and with recruiting methods and results, and with the death of American soldiers and servicepeople - of course. And of COURSE I want my kids to grow up and have many options and opportunities --

    But Beloved isn't EXEMPT from those concerns just cuz he isn't a MOM.

    Mom issues? Are they only about the well-being of our children?

    Or are we allowed to be more? to be worried for OURSELVES as well?

    Do women = moms?

    Not sure why that left such a bad taste in my mouth ... but it did.
    posted by Zuska @ 1:37 PM   1 comments
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