parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Saturday, December 30, 2006
    Christmas from Afar
    While I was visiting our friends, I was asked what my ex got the girls for Christmas. The answer? A magazine subscription. Jaws dropped. "What? You're kidding me? That's it? Does that bother you? Are you mad? How could he do so little? What do the girls think?"

    These are my first thoughts: I am NOT bothered or mad. And I don't THINK the girls are phased by it. he typically gets them A gift -- he doesn't create a Christmas for them. I think they spent one Christmas in his home (as opposed to his mother), and they were young ... there was no Santa Claus, and there were no stockings (this was pre-Solstice in our house). They didn't like that. But after that, they started going to his parents' house, where the fact that he got them one thing in addition to the several things from his mother and the few things from his sisters was lost and they were happy as can be.

    My nastier, later thought (which I did share with my friend) - I'm almost glad. To me, it's a chance for what I see as the overall situation (me pouring myself into them and him giving crap - emotionally, time-wise, geographically, ANYTHING) to manifest itself in a physical way. I certainly don't point it out to them, but there is a moment where they're going to notice. "Mom and [Beloved] spend a lot of time making us gifts, making a holiday happen, getting a tree, getting ornaments, (sometimes) baking with us (it's often Beloved), and they pick us gifts that we like and we never are wanting more .... while dad gets us a magazine subscription." It seems kind of fair.

    An even LATER thought was a bit more forgiving. I have made my pickiness be known since the girls were babies. I had pretty hard and fast rules as to what I wanted in the house at holidays. This is something that causes a good bit of debate in some parenting forums -- is it rude to set parameters? Or is it responsible and actually more respectful?

    I have always been limited by space. ALWAYS. I have always been interested in giving my children objects that stimulated their brains. I have also always been very committed to NOT raising materialistic little people. I didn't want kids who wanted more more more more, and I didn't want kids who would sit in front of t.v. and demand everything they saw in a commercial.* I also didn't want them to grow up to want something b/c it was "in style" even if they didn't like it or couldn't be bothered to own it if it weren't for its current popularity.

    I also was relatively interested in reducing waste, and in that vein, I didn't want toys that we'd be throwing away - things that wouldn't survive, or that I would need to get rid of b/c the kids didn't use it after a month. That also worked nicely with my ever-present space limitations.

    So both sets of grandparents (and that's it ... not friends, not extended families) were told (in a very loving and respectful manner) that we preferred not to receive character-based toys or clothing EXCEPT for pajamas and that we preferred wood toys to plastic ... and that quickly resulted in them checking with me on EVERYTHING. Everything.

    Now, I highly doubt that the ex chose one of the 4 suggestions I gave him (that he asked for) out of a concern that he would make ME mad, b/c I think he actually revels in doing just that, and wouldn't seek to avoid it. But I do wonder if it makes him and his parents curb their giving at the holidays - if they wonder if I'll just throw things that I don't like away, or whatever. I would never do that, and I do resent them thinking I would - b/c by thinking it, they're not thinking of "Zuska" - they're thinking of a "nasty ex-wife" --- which I strive NOT to be (at least, outside of blog posts).

    I also told my friend that one of the suggestions I gave the ex when he asked was that he invest in some board games and other 8-12 year old activities for them at HIS HOUSE, where they still have all the same board and pictures books that he took upon our separation - when they were 3 and 5. He has bought NOTHING age-appropriate for them, according to them. According to him, he buys them markers and pencils and pads of paper at the start of every summer (never books, never even a trip to the library .... grrrrr).

    I am not bothered. I do not know if the girls are bothered. The other day, we came home and had 2 bundles near the door which contained their new health insurance info, but j. saw it and said, "oh! i wonder of those are packages from daddy!" So perhaps when the holiday season is completely over, and there are still no "packages from daddy" she actually will be upset. I know he told e. on the phone that he sent them something, and that "it will come in the mail more than once."

    I wonder if I should let them know what it is? I got my dad a magazine subscription (in addition to the 2 other gifts we got him), and it said 4-6 weeks. If in 4-6 weeks the girl start getting National Geographic for Kids and Crickett magazine, it may not be enough for them to get over any disappointment they're feeling right now.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:14 PM   0 comments
    Zuska's Home Adventures
    Today is .... funny.

    First of all, I woke when Beloved was getting ready for work, and I made him wake the girls with a goodbye kiss (it was 9 a.m.), and when he left, I yanked them from bed and took them to Whole Foods.

    We did New Year's shopping. We're having our same Schmorgasbord day as last year, with games and movies, and we HOPE a walk in the snow. So I had a lot of shopping to do. It was funny, b/c the girls came with me. I never shop ... they never shop. I'm not very familiar with the store, and we don't have "systems" in place like we used to when I was the primary, and then at least 50% time, grocery shopper. Now Beloved does it consistently, usually on the bike alone.

    I think the funniest part was when we were checking out - the cash register showed it had gotten to $102 (I thought it would be more like $300, considering all we had to buy), and e. was like, "mom!! this is so expensive! it's going to be a LOT of money! she isn't even DONE yet!" When it stopped at $163, she was agog. ha. I know that Thanksgiving was more like $180, and our weekly bill is well enough over $100 that her amazement came from nothing but ignorance.

    We came home and unloaded the groceries, and then I went to bring our friends' car back to their driveway. That's when i told the girls how much free time they had, so they chose to watch Zoom and Dragonfly T.V., and when I got back, the t.v. was off, and they were writing (e. on the computer, and j. in a book). They were slightly worried b/c the phone had rung rather persistently, but they're not allowed to answer the phone or the door when they're home alone. It was my parents, calling to say that they got a MacBook, and they one-upped me, and got a better one than mine (frizzum frazzum).

    I started laundry, and on my way down to the basement, I asked e. to start the dishwasher. i said, "the soap is in this bag over here by the door" and went downstairs.

    I came back up, and the dishwasher was on, b/c of my daughter being oh-so-obedient. I don't know what made me ask ... b/c the bag didn't look any different? It hadn't moved, or been wrinkled? (it was a whole foods paper bag) - but I said, "e., did you use the soap from the bag?" and she said, "no, there was dishwashing liquid on the sink."

    'TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!!! STOP THE DISHWASHER!!" (that was me). She used hand-dishwashing soap. We scooped it out, and wiped down the dishwasher door, put regular soap in, and started it.

    Then we played Yahtzee, and some guy called to ask me about the different grocery stores in the area (I'm pretty sure that Stop & Shop keeps funding these surveys, b/c everyone in this town is flocking to Whole Foods, b/c Stop & Shop had rats - we were already Whole Foods People). I enjoyed trashing Stop & Shop, so I stayed on the phone with him.

    J. won at Yahtzee ... she got Yahtzee twice, which was good, b/c we all 4 played last night, and she lost mercilessly, and b/c she was very tired (game wasn't over until 11), she cried. Today definitely healed that.

    While we were playing, I happened to glance into the kitchen .... where soap bubbles were taking over the floor!! e. was VERY worried that she'd be in trouble, but I told her she wasn't, b/c I'd never actually taught her how to run the dishwasher, and it was okay. We sopped it up, and placed some pans under the dishwasher door to catch the REST of the suds.

    But the cycle is over now, and there are still suds all in the bottom, and I'm not 100% sure what I should do about that. Do I run it again? and just let it run and run until the suds are gone?

    I feel like this is a day out of Mr. Mom or something .... only I'm the Mrs. And I suck. I also made my kids microwavable soup for lunch. Beloved would *never* do that. NEVER!! But it was organic and low sodium? So isn't that okay?

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    posted by Zuska @ 1:48 PM   0 comments
    Finally, we have a patch of snow. It isn't supposed to accumulate even to 1/2 inch, but right now, as it's coming from the sky - it's very pretty.

    I had told the girls they had a reprieve from chores and room cleaning until 2 p.m., so they could enjoy their Saturday - but now that it's snowing, I extended their reprieve until whatever time they get sick of the snow. They're going to go to the park and run around in the flakes.

    They're very happy about this. Through the coughs and the sore neck and the questions as to whether we'll get our friends' bug. Happiness prevails.

    I think this has been a good week.

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    posted by Zuska @ 1:43 PM   0 comments
    Year in Review
    The "first line of the first post of the last year" meme, as seen at Mommy Grows Up (and many other places):

    Zuska's year in review (I did oldest first):

    a great Eve, and a rather mellow, if not worse, Day.

    Thing One's dr. appointment was this a.m. and her blinking is NOT just a habit/tic, she has occular allergies. the insides of her eyelids are all red and irritated.

    I bought my books today; surprisingly, it only cost $350.

    I called the soccer people for Thing Two, and they said yes, she can still be on the team, I just need to send my $55 ASAP, and all will be well.

    today, i am a terrible person.

    it is 7:20 a.m. i woke over an hour ago to go running.

    Beloved and I are home again -- we had an Excellent time in Maine.

    i just received news that a dear friend's 8 month old baby was seriously burned over the weekend.

    also known as; wimping out.

    yesterday was 2 soccer games, a nap, and a birthday party that i almost spaced out on.

    Today I had my presentation, which went well; I handed in my draft of my paper, and I think it came out well; and I took my professional responsibility exam, which felt like crap.

    Here is an illustration in the kind of crap I often get from my ex:

    I think it is a pretty good snapshot of my last year: kids, school, beloved and our trips, and so on.

    No tagging. Whoever wants to do it - go for it.


    posted by Zuska @ 9:37 AM   0 comments
    Friday, December 29, 2006
    Express Delivery is the Bane of my Existence
    I bought Beloved a camera for Christmas (not through Amazon, that's just the quickest link). Not Solstice, b/c I don't make cameras. But for Christmas. At my parents' house. I ordered it on the Tuesday before Christmas, and paid for 2nd day delivery, with it due to arrive -- GUARANTEED -- by Friday. But it looked like it would actually come on Thursday.

    It didn't come Thursday.

    It didn't come Friday.

    I checked the tracking on Friday night, and it said that the expected delivery date was the 22nd (Friday). But I guessed that since it was 11 p.m., they just hadn't updated.

    I called on Saturday a.m., and they said at one of the transfer points the package had accidentally been shipped ground, even though all the paper work said express. They said they hoped it would arrive on Saturday.

    But we were leaving! To my parents' house.

    We were going to leave at noon, but b/c I was working with DHL to see if I could perhaps stop by the local whatever-the-heck-they're called --- shipping centers? Warehouses? The place hte big truck drops stuff off and then they sort stuff onto small trucks and send it out to houses --- we left late.

    We left for my parents' house right AFTER DHL told me that no, my package wasn't going to arrive, and I could not pick it up, b/c it was in Pennsylvania.

    I tried to let it go, b/c really, for us, Christmas isn't such a big day. I could give it to him the day after without popping any magic bubbles or anything.

    It came Wednesday.

    But it didn't have a memory card at ALL. I couldn't tell when I ordered it what kind it took, and I assumed it would come with a small one -- but I was wrong. It came with none. So he had his camera, and he could gaze at it, and hold it, and read the book taht goes with it, but he couldn't USE it. So then I went on Amazon and ordered the card. I (foolishly?) paid for the OVERNIGHT (i.e., NEXT DAY) shipping. I ordered it at 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday, and it shipped Thursday morning.

    Today I returned from the Berkshires to find a note on the door.

    UPS had been here. No one was home. They'll be back on Tuesday.

    So I paid overnight shipping, and it's coming approximately a week later.

    It makes me so MAD.

    Why would I pay for overnight when I knew I wouldn't be home, you may ask?

    Well, I was home by the time our usual UPS guy comes by. Not only that, but the UPS guy who regularly delivers to our house also delivers to Beloved's work, and he can always tell Beloved while beloved is at work whether or not we have packages, and he often gets it off the truck and gives it to Beloved then and there.

    But (of course) TODAY -- due to holiday back log --- they split our route b/t two drivers. Not only did the other (bad, mean, horrid, nasty) driver come to our house at like ... 2, instead of 6, but he didn't go to Beloved's work first.

    It made me mad. Obviously.

    So now, Beloved will not get to use his camera for 2 weeks after it was bought.

    posted by Zuska @ 11:52 PM   0 comments
    Home Again
    We had a great time. It was fast, but I think that was good - since this whole week is so damned fast. I can't believe that a week off has felt like 30 minutes. Unbelievable.

    We went for a great hike this morning with all the kids. Both e. and one of the host-children were feeling less than perfect, but they both participated happily, and I think were better off from the fresh air and exercise.

    I really missed Beloved last night. Not consciously -- but in my sleep. I dreamed odd dreams. I dreamed one of my usual "I'm going to miss my flight" dreams --- I had gotten onto the wrong train (a commuter train instead of my in-town train), and way over-shot the airport, and "Beloved" (it was HIM, although not in the body I know him as .... he was just different - I don't even remember the physical characteristics, almost as if I never saw them - but it was **him**) drove by and scooped me into a vehicle of some sort, and was going to take me to the airport. But we (of course) got lost. Then we drove into some water, but I hovered above it, b/c I didn't want to get my dress wet (I was going to a wedding). By the time I got to the airport, he had spent his entire day helping me out, and I said to him, "Doesn't your wife get irritated that you spend so much time helping me all the time?" and he said, "oh, sometimes she's irritated when she gets home from work and I'm not home, but she doesn't mind that I'm with you." and we hugged and I got on the plane.

    I woke up after the dream missing him - and slept poorly for the rest of the night. e. was in my bed (it was too cold and drafty on the floor) - but she wasn't a bad bedmate. She stayed still, and didn't snore. I just was so unsettled without Beloved.

    I was very happy to see him this evening ... since I missed him and all. But he's working a few extra days this week, due to the holidays, and he's nearing the end of a run. He's tired, and I think it made him grouchy. The dinner process saw snapping in different directions, and I got pouty over it (understatement). I told e. I was irritated with him, and then I went out to do something, and she told HIM what I said, but I didn't know that.

    All I know is when I came back in, he cornered me in the hallway and gave me the Kiss of the Year. I just melted into a pool on the ground. I was mad when he approached me, and I just felt it melt away.

    Not only was the kiss itself the most amazing feeling - but it was also an amazing feeling that he can still make me feel that way. And it was an amazing feeling taht he knew what the right solution was for that particular brand of poutiness. (Which was disappointment that things could end up snappish so quickly after I'd missed him and so looked forward to seeing him.)

    It's now 11:50, and to say that "I'm bummed" over the fact that the kids aren't asleep, Beloved's exhausted and still has a grocery list to compose for me to go shopping with tomorrow, and everything combined means there's NO CHANCE for that hallway kiss to be repeated/continued/elaborated on ---- well, that's the second understatement of this post.



    posted by Zuska @ 11:40 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, December 28, 2006
    out the door
    we're on our way to our friends' house in Western Mass. for an overnight. E. is feeling better, but we're still going to segregate the kids during sleep .... mine may end up sleeping in their sleeping bags on the floor in my room .... but that is better than not going at all.

    Beloved has to stay home to work. Poo.

    Our friends lent us their second car, which is nice. No worries about the return time for the Zipcar, and while it will be a shock to actually have to pay for gas (it's included with the Zipcars - there's a gas card in every car), but it's going to cost a good bit less than the Zipcar would have.

    Today is payday, and I wasn't sure how things were going to work out with me taking this week off ... both Mondays are supposed to be paid holidays, but since I took off the week, I thought they may not pay me for Christmas.

    I got paid for the whole week. I am not sure this is on purpose. I think perhaps the people who told me that I could have the week off didn't talk to the people who process payroll. Even if it means I get a week less pay later, I'm glad that the extra is here now. Holidays are freakin' expensive.

    As soon as we find out who won the Showcase Showdown, we're out the door --- we're back some time tomorrow evening.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:48 AM   1 comments
    Wednesday, December 27, 2006
    Now what am I supposed to do?
    I acquired all this lovely holiday music (Aimee Mann's being my favorite, I think, with Sarah McLachlin a close second), and now .... I just, what? Put it in the back of the line on the iPod, waiting until next year? Crap.

    Or do I get until Monday to listen?
    posted by Zuska @ 9:52 AM   0 comments
    It's 9:48, and the girls are still sound asleep. e., at least, was up until midnight last night, so it isn't all that remarkable, except that she was up at 8:15, and wanted to get out of bed, but I was able to convince her to rest more --- and it seems that she fell asleep.

    There is only one thing that could make my e. fall back asleep in the morning:

    she's sick.

    j. still being asleep is no biggy. She's a sleeper. e., however, is not.

    She has a nasty cough, and her voice is hoarse, and she's full of ooey gooey snots. j. also has the snots. Not the cough, though.

    I've had a low-grade headache for 2 days now, (yesterday and today) but no other problems.

    We are supposed to be heading out to the Berkshires tomorrow to visit friends for an overnight - but I don't know if we can with e. feeling as poorly as she is.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:48 AM   0 comments
    Tuesday, December 26, 2006
    And we're home!
    Playing pac-man that Beloved got me - e. and j. have a hard time figuring out the joystick, and I'm nowhere near back up to my middle-school prowess, but it's fun.

    The drive back brought thick but moving traffic. It's good to be home.

    During the drive home, I was thinking of a few good post ideas. But I forgot them. Perhaps after Beloved gets home with Chinese food, and my tummy is full, I'll remember.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:28 PM   0 comments
    Monday, December 25, 2006
    Merry .....
    Christmas Day! Beloved and I just returned from a "walk" which turned into a "hike." The girls didn't want to come, because they were still enjoying Christmas gifts.

    We had a gift exchange last night with my parents, my brother and his wife. It went pretty well. I rarely spend time with my brother without having complaints - but last night, he didn't piss me off once.

    I have complaints, though --- I drank too much. I'm a wee nauseous today from it. I ended up dissolving into a giggle fit at around 11 p.m., and the girls were like, "MOM!! You are drunk!" Not really my idea of a shining moment as a parent. I also was otherwise overly talky and dumb. Fortunately that was the worst of it.

    Oh, other than the odd background nauseousness of today.

    But the hike helped with that.

    We all cooked some yesterday - I made stuffed mushrooms, and then 2 other dips/veggie things. The mushrooms came out really well. Beloved helped with those. My dad made bacon-wrapped scallops, and my mom made Lasagna rolls. She also made cookies with the girls, and e.

    Today, mom is working. So we've had a pretty lazy day. Despite the fact that I abused myself last night, I was the first of my family to wake up. My dad had been up since the crack of dawn prepping the Christmas Feast, but we all slept. I got up at 9:30, and the rest of my clan at 10.

    My parents got me a little hand-held electronic Sudoku game. I played with it a lot this a.m. Beloved got me a little joystick-operated pac-man game that you plug into the t.v. I can't wait to go home and play. And he got me a scarf I've been fingering in a local store for WEEKS (a $100 big wool shawl-type scarf thingy) --- it's purply. I love it.

    The girls got digital cameras from my mom. From us, they got musicals and board games (they're LOVING Stratego) and art supplies -- E. got Prismacolor Pencils and J. got a TON of sculpey.

    They're downstairs now, re-enacting scenes from both their plays from last months. Singing their hearts out .... I bet they're using the video function on their cameras to tape each other. If I had to guess ....

    Beloved got a turntable from my parents - one that plugs into a computer and you can ..... do something. I don't know what. Put music from a record player onto the computer? Put music from the computer onto a record? I have no clue.

    Funny note -- I have been looking EVERYWHERE for the new Sarah McLachlin Christmas album, b/c someone had put down her song "Wintersong" on their top 5 in the Christmas Song meme that was going around - and I do truly like her. I couldn't find it anywhere. It had been in Starbucks before I decided I wanted it, but by the time I decided - it was sold out everywhere. I've asked at 5 different Starbucks, and had them go into their back room and check. Then I came here, and mentioned to my sister-in-law that I wanted it, and my mom ran into the other room and brought it out. She had it.

    So now it's on iTunes. Yummy. I'm listening right now.

    I suppose that's all for now. I'm going to heat up some more artichoke dip. Mom should be home within the hour, and we'll have more of a "Christmasy" Christmas night.


    posted by Zuska @ 2:33 PM   0 comments
    Sunday, December 24, 2006
    And because with Solstice over, gifts all bought, and work behind me for a little while - I can breathe again -- I will finally participate in the tagging from Lyco - the Christmas song meme.

    My 5 faves:

    1. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer -- I always loved this song.
    2. The Grinch. The real one - from the soundtrack.
    3. In Excelsis Gloria - I'm not religious, but I think this is a very pretty song.
    4. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer - my kids love it, it becomes a fave of mine.
    5. Bing Crosby's Jingle Bells - but I can't find mine :(

    I'm not tagging anyone. I think everyone's already done this one.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:38 AM   0 comments
    Movie Meme!!

    I got tagged over at unblague. I am excited. I like memes.

    I also think that She Says would like to know that one of j.'s Christmas presents this year? Sound of Music. It was on t.v. last night, and we wouldn't let her watch it, under the auspices of it "being too long" when in fact, it was b/c it was sitting under the tree, and we knew she'd want to watch it upon opening.

    Movie meme

    The holiday season is when the networks traditionally broadcast the tried and true favorite movies to draw in all of us who are overstuffed with cookies and candy and have no interest in moving off of the sofa (especially if it's cold out).

    Well, that inspired this movie meme... here ya' go:

    1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
    Neverending Story.

    2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater.
    So I Married an Axe Murderer --- we had a dollar theater near school, and this movie CRACKED ME UP - so we went often.

    3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
    Javier Bardem. I first saw him in The Dancer Upstairs, where he played a relatively dumpy middle aged investigator of some sort. I next saw him playing some dashing young fella with long hair. I was so impressed. I love him.

    4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.
    Nicolas Cage. I don't like him.

    5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
    I used to quote the Juliette Lewis character from Cape Fear all the time. I loved impersonating her. Again, that was college.

    6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
    Most definitely, like She Says, Grease.

    7. Name a movie that have been known to sing along with.
    Grease AND Grease II.

    8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
    Wings of Desire. Which they have on stage right now, I read - I think just in Boston.

    9. Name a movie that you own.
    Wings of Desire.

    10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
    Will Smith. Or Marky Mark.

    11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
    I do not think so. I have a vague memory of being at a drive-in, but I think it's manufactured. If so, I do not remember the movie.

    12. Ever made out in a movie?

    13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't yet gotten around to it.
    Now THAT is a long list ..... The Departed; the New Bond Movie; Stranger than Fiction; Blood Diamond; and anything else released since summer (see below).

    14. Ever walked out of a movie?

    15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
    It's not hard for my emotions to be tugged at by what's on the screen. I cry almost at everything that's designed to make me cry. I therefore cannot right now think of a particular time.

    Once, in 1st year Crim Law, my professor played Sophie's Choice to show true Duress --- the part where she is told to choose b/t her kids. And I found myself BAWLING. I mean .... I don't even know what happened. I just was spewing tears. I was so embarassed. I think b/c everyone knew I had kids, people tended to look at ME during the scene to see how I'd react, and boy did I give them a show.

    16. Popcorn?
    No. Milk Duds. And water.

    17. How often do go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?
    Beloved and I used to go a lot when the girls left town - even double features. But the past few times they've traveled, we've rented moves - even though there's a lot out that I'd love to see. So, I would say 2-3 times a year. Which kinda sucks.

    18. What's the last movie you saw in the theater?
    Beloved and I are stunned to think that it was Pirates of the Carribean II. Either that or Talledega Nights. But it was in the summer.

    19. What's your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
    In the theater? The kind of movie that Beloved and I (well, Beloved started it) term "big dumb movies" -- lots of special effects, big noises, preferably (for me) giant tidal waves smashing into buildings. Bond; War of the Worlds; that kind of thing.

    20. What's the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?

    It was either E.T. or one of the Star Wars movies ... I think it was the second Star Wars that I remember seeing, but I'm not certain. I by FAR remember seeing E.T. I guess I was 10.

    I (of course) tag my Beloved, and Lyco.


    posted by Zuska @ 10:14 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, December 21, 2006
    It was great!!

    J.'s proclamation at dinner: "I love our family."

    That was *before* we moved into gifts. She said she loves the people in her family, and the way we run it. That we do fun things, and have good ideas.

    That was nice.

    I think they lvoed their books -- they spent a good deal of time leafing through every page when they received them (although I do think it inspired some melancholy in Em), and then later, after everything else was done, they switched, and spent some time leafing through each other's. It was nice for me.

    The idea of kids spending time with each gift --- rather than ripping wrapping off one after the other after the other --- is my idea of a fulfilling holiday.

    Tonight qualified.

    Every gift was given attention and thanks.

    I appreciate my children!!!

    We are having Christmas at my parents'. This is the girls gift list (from us):

    Prismacolor pencils and a giant sketch book
    A giraffe print iPod Nano cover
    a DVD: The Music Man (1961)
    a book or so
    a game
    [from my mother: a digital camera(!!!); earrings; clothes (I think))

    Sculpey; with tools and instruction book;
    a giant sketch book;
    fancy pencils and lead refills (b/c she is a budding writer)
    a DVD: Sound of Music
    a book or so
    a game
    [from my mother: a digital camera (!!!); earrings; clothes (I think)).

    not too much - not too little. It's hard - b/c if you ask them what they want, they look at you like you have 2 heads.

    This could be b/c we have succeeded in raising non-materialistic children ..... or it could be b/c we (I) spoil them so rotten during the year that the idea of waiting until Christmas to get what they want is foreign to them :)

    I asked them tonight ... if we were to have Christmas (i.e., December 25th) together, but NOT with my parents, what would they want to do?

    E. said she would want a fun/fancy breakfast; stockings; and an afternoon at the movies. Not major gifts.

    This pleases me.

    It also pleases me that I'm mostly DONE. All I have to do is get my mom some earrings (at lunchtime tomorrow), my brother an iTunes gift card (at whatever CVS or Walgreens I feel like stopping at), and his wife some stinky lotion, or a basket thereof. Then I'm done.

    posted by Zuska @ 9:44 PM   2 comments
    Peace on Solstice
    That's my new greeting for my holiday.

    I am wondering ... what makes our Solstice different than Festivus? I guess we don't think of it as a joke, which Festivus seems to be. But we don't have religious significance attached to it. I will not say that we don't have a spiritual attachment, b/c I am not sure that is true. There is something spiritual in the annual celebrations - celebrations of each other, of family, of our lives together. There is something truly *magical* about this time of year - whether we believe that it has to do with Mary and Jesus and eternal salvation, or not. Perhaps those beliefs are what started the tradition of THIS being the magical part of the year (in this country), but that's not it for me.

    I mostly finished e.'s book, and I wrapped it that way (mostly finished). I think they're going to like their books. I have a couple of little things for Beloved, and I ended up making him something quickly as well.

    He is picking the girls up relatively early today - and they will finish up their stuff and clean up while he cooks our Solstice Feast (Shepard's Pie Deluxe). I will stroll in just in time for the start of dinner and gifts and holiday music and .....

    shit. i forgot to do a dessert. I suck. Well, I'm buying the girls lots of candy to put in their little cones (which are like stockings ... but not), so they can just have candy for dessert.

    It is, after all, a school night.

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    posted by Zuska @ 1:21 PM   0 comments
    Jealous of Denver
    Man, this morning, our weather girl (I like to call her Barbie) was talking about the fact that since 1857, there have only been TWELVE years that the Boston area had less than 1/2 inch of snow - like this year thus far. And out of those TWELVE years, 10 of them had less than average snowfall for the entire year.

    I was really, really bummed about that.

    Then I'm forced to read about stuff like THIS, and I get even MORE bummed.

    I just think it would be so fun for Boston to shut down b/c of a GIGANTIC blizzard.

    Instead, we keep getting highs in the 50s, and lots of nasty SUN.

    Christmas-wrecker, the weather is.


    posted by Zuska @ 1:15 PM   1 comments
    Wednesday, December 20, 2006
    muuuuch better
    Last night I stopped what I was doing at 10:30 p.m., and went to SLEEP!! I got up at 5:15, went for a run, and now I'm getting in the shower at 6:30.

    I had a productive evening - I am slightly surprised, b/c toward the end of the day at work, I was having to map out (on paper) everything I was reading in order to comprehend the words. If I didn't write things down, I would find myself 3 pages in without any clue as to what I had just read. I have a super-duper lot to do this week, and potentially not enough time to do it. Bringing things home is not an option, with the Solstice prep that is going on around here.

    When I got home, however, I hit a 2nd wind. First of all, the book I made for my parents came in, and it's GORGEOUS. I am very happy with the quality. VERY HAPPY. That put me in a good mood. Then I cleaned up the kitchen from the night before, then I took my first two loads of laundry down, then I came upstairs and started cooking dinner, then as it was simmering, I ran down and brought the second two loads of laundry down, then i came up and served the family, then we ate, then I ran downstairs and put the second two loads in the dryer, brought the first two loads up and dumped them on the floor for the kids to fold,

    Then I locked myself in my room, and got 2/3ds of e.'s scrapbook completed.

    Tonight: stop on the way home to pick up a frame for e.'s gift to her sister and some supplies from an art store; then complete e.'s gift, and wrap them both.


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    posted by Zuska @ 6:23 AM   1 comments
    Tuesday, December 19, 2006
    The Last Post of the Morning
    Work is actually picking up this week.

    One very interesting thing: an attorney I am working with is writing a law review article. She's super busy, and decided she needed a crony to help out. That would be me. Now I'm kind of writing the article, and will be getting publication credit.

    This co-op that I didn't really want to do is turning out to be the most valuable of all 4 (well, other than the fact that the Summer Firm gave me a JOB!!!). I'm doing a TON of work, I may end up with a publication credit that can go on my resume, and uh, well, that may be it. But I'm really liking this job, and I'm learning a TON.

    I'm getting very conversant - through many different assignments - in the law in MA pertaining to close corporations. You know why this is fun? B/c a lot of close corporations are run by families. There's this one HYSTERICAL case - oh yeah, I quoted it here. It's about a father and son warring over the family business, and the judge is constantly commentating in the decision about the time that was wasted listening to witness after witness offer evidence as to one or the other's (father or son) worth or despicable-ness.

    It's like divorce law, but without the child support and division of assets. he.

    My last quandary: The writing contest I wanted to do. I think if I'm going to do it, I need to start working on it right after Christmas. I think I want to do it. I need to re-read some of the Federalist Papers, and read others for the first time. It's that different-ness about the topic that makes me really want to write the paper. I want to look at the "founding fathers" as well as some international judiciaries. I think I could write a solid paper. And if I won ... (pfft, as if) -- it would be $10,000 less in school debt.

    I think I need to do it. It would mean I'll have to really sort of draw some serious lines at work - go back to the mentality I meant to have before I started and loved the work --- take nothing home with me. I worked on stuff at home pretty much every night last week. It was fun stuff - death penalty cases (pro bono project), law review articles (another one, which was abandoned b/c the case sucked), prisoners' rights cases, and the like. I purposefully brought the most interesting stuff home, and did the drier stuff at work.

    But if I'm going to write this paper, I need to not bring work home. It's due March 1, or something like that. I could just do my typical cram (you know, start the damned thing on February 21), but not if I want to WIN. The contest is nation-wide.

    I am so sure that a student from my low-ranked school would ever win such a contest.

    But I still think it's worth trying, and will be something I'll be proud to have done.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:16 AM   2 comments
    Something New To Do .... Yea?
    I am very happy about this ... I've been invited to join a book group. It is not with kids. It is for Grown Ups.

    This is really good for me right now, with my seeking to increase my level of social activity. I think it was inevitable, for a 1st year of law school in a new city - I was relatively stand-offish at my school, b/c of constantly running home (b/c that's what I wanted to do) to be with the family; and also relatively stand-offish at the GIRLS' school, b/c of constantly running home to study.

    But now school is winding down, and my life can (re)start.

    There are 9 other women in the group, and I know 3 of them (I probably know more, I don't know the full list of members yet). One of the 3 I know is the mom of the boy that e. has been struggling with -- us moms have started to talk, to see what's up with the kids, and we're going out to dinner next week, to talk more - not really about these kids' problems with each other. More just to vent to another mom about some of the harder aspects of parenting. I think that it's hard (perhaps especially in this town) for moms to talk about their STRUGGLES. Bragging about kids - perfectly okay. But I think if you share about your difficulties -- the grapevine kicks in, and people start to think of your kid as a "problem." Which e. is NOT. I think that since this other mom and I have now experienced our kids being a difficult with each other - there's a certain safety zone.

    And she seems a wee younger, like me, and she's pretty friendly. she also works full time, which is a rarity around here. Part-time is getting to be less and less of a rarity, as kids get older ... but full time is still unusual.

    My first meeting of the book group is the week of New Year's, and I guess I have to either go to the bookstore, or the library!! I have a book to read!!

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:05 AM   2 comments
    that's about all the energy i have right now.

    But I do have enough energy to say that this news made me so happy. I don't know if it's my exhaustion, or what, but I read this post 2 hours ago, and I'm STILL getting teared up thinking about it, I am so happy for my fellow blogger.

    my ipod is playing a favorite song of mine from the year that i left my ex. it's alanis morissette's "That Particular Time" - it never got radio time, that I know of, but it was so perfect for the end of that marriage. For the most part. Mostly the refrain (I think that's what it's called ... the part that starts with "I always wanted for you what you wanted for yourself" ..)

    the point of this post? Solstice is kicking me in the ass. It's my own damned fault, and I feel like e., b/c I keep telling myself, "oh well, that's me. That's Zuska. There's nothing I can do about it in order to make it better next year. I am just not CAPABLE of starting projects early - of getting done without cramming at the end." But you know what? This should be a FUN time of year!

    Instead, I'm so exhausted I could PUKE. I went to bed after 1, I couldn't get up to go running and that really upsets me, and I'm only done with ONE scrapbook. I haven't even started e.'s.

    j.'s, however, ROCKS. Sorry if that's obnoxious, but if someone made that for me, I swear, I would just hug and hug and hug them.

    I have to be more careful when I make e.'s:

    the books are reminiscent of our time in Berkeley, at the LAST house we lived in. Not their whole lives in Berkeley.

    j. only had kindergarten there. We were here for 1st grade. She was pretty young when we left, and didn't have a very difficult transition. While making her scrapbook, I felt like I was building memories for her, and that I could do what I wanted with it. I also could trust that for her, it's a pretty distant memory, and she has built so much more here than she had there.

    e. however, is trickier. She was there through 2nd grade, and she had a really hard time leaving. So first of all, her pictures and such tell their own story (where j.'s had more commentary than I think e.'s will need). Second of all, I don't want her to cry when she looks at it. I need to find a way to make it a happy thing, and not a sad, "I miss my old friends" thing. I *think* she has enough distance between now and then at this point, and it will be okay. I do feel that it's a more delicate undertaking.

    J.'s, however, ROCKS.

    Every year, when I make them things, I love doing it. I love pulling things together, and it looks so good when I'm done. (I thought I posted photos of last year's project, which also came out really well, but now I remember I didn't, b/c they had the girls' names on it -- they were storage boxes. They each got 2 - one for journals and writing, and one for art. I decoupaged some fancy papers and old drawings and such of theirs onto them, and e.'s were very "e," and j.'s were very "j" and I had fun, and loved the final product.)

    This year, my favorite thing is stamps. Beloved has 3 alphabets of stamps, and he and the girls have a lot of others. I was a little leery about doing a "scrapbook," b/c no offense to those other moms who love "scrapbooking" - but it ain't my thing. I am a shunner of "cutesy" for the most part. I knew that I could make my kids a scrapbook without making them a "Scrapbook." But I wasn't sure how I was goign to pull it off.

    The answer? Cool stamps. I'll post some photos tonight, if I have a moment to breathe.

    The worst part about my exhaustion and my cramming and my last-minute procrastination mess?

    There's no way in HELL that I'm gonna have time to make something for Beloved. No way in HELL.

    I have wanted to make him something (a certain something) for 3 years now. Every year, I run otu of time donig the girls' stuff, and don't get to his. This sucks!

    But, in some ways, I'm sort of glad ... I wish I could share my idea, but I can't. In the past few days, however, I've thought of a SUPER KICK-ASS refinement of my idea, and when I thought I still had time to make him "something" - I was bummed b/c I didn't have time to collect materials for the SUPER KICK-ASS version. Putting it off means that I can make that other version work.

    And I'll just buy him stuff. The girls will yell at me, but you know what? I'm the mother, so be quiet.

    I also did laundry last night. 4 loads. And guess what? I did nothing but my own clothes. I was selfish, putting myself first (it was either that, or pull a Britney today .... well, 1/2 a Britney, in that I wouldn't be wearing underwear, but not a Britney, in that I would never be caught dead in a skirt as short as hers, and my private bits would still be covered up - either by tights, or by pants. But still. All my undies were dirty.)

    tonight, I do the girls' clothes. Tomorrow night, I do Beloved's.

    Oh, woe is me.

    now I have actual work to do. Shit.

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    posted by Zuska @ 8:43 AM   0 comments
    Monday, December 18, 2006
    Sick of the chaos ... already.
    Today kinda sucks.

    I received an e-mail first thing of the day saying that our hostess' kid was sick, and that perhaps we'll have to put our party off for another day. The "perhaps" is what caused all the chaos - between friends and family and food.

    Beloved was making me a vat of soup to bring to the party - that was put on hold.

    Then we received a follow e-mail that the child was feeling better - so I told him to make the soup, and wrote back that we'd see them later.

    But then another mom wrote and said No! We've been sick for a week, and can't afford to get sick again, please can we reschedule (this family has a child who leans toward "sickly," which is the exact opposite of us. e. has been wondering if the fact taht she hasn't been sick for YEARS means something is wrong with her - b/c we haven't been sick for a long time. When we do get sick, we shake it off really quick).

    So I called Beloved and told him, no way - don't make the soup, b/c now it looks ilke we're going to reschedule,

    But then our hostess said - we can't find another night, she really wasn't THAT sick, and since 2 other people said tonight was okay, perhaps we needed to still go ahead.

    So I called Beloved and said, "I don't know what to do!!" We decided he'd make the soup - if the party was canceled (which was, remember, just for j. and I, so he still had to make some OTHER food for he and e.), we'd all eat the soup, and we'd have to bring something else later in the week of the party was rescheduled.

    Then it turns out not only is the party on, but since we lost 2 families to the fear of prolonged illness (both have been sick recently, and Christmas is around the corner - so I totally understand their feelings on that), our hostess invited Beloved and e. to come along as well.

    Beloved and I have our bdays back-to-back, and it means we both are under teh same astrological sign. I'm not a huge believer in that mumbo jumbo, but I do recognize that there are some personality trends that seem to coincide. For us, it's all the negative ones.

    We're very different people, with very similar faults.

    For example ... when someone calls me with the possibility for impromptu plans, my knee jerk reaction is NO!! I can't!! I was going to sit and stare at the wall for the next hour, I can't go out and enjoy the company of friends!! I need time to digest change. I have gotten to where I can tell people, "I need to give it some thoguht and call you back - I don't change plans without freaking out - let me get right back to you."

    And I believe (my interpretation of our chaos this afternoon) that Beloved is the same way. I want him to learn to say the same thing, "I"m freaking out, let me think on my own and get back with you."

    Because then, I would have less of a headache than I do now. [unless it's the first hints of the buggy wuggy that's going around -- then Beloved's [grouchiness] has nothing to do with it]

    But I love him dearly, even if he IS like me. In all the wrong ways ;)

    We are all going. To eat Latkes and soup and such.

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    posted by Zuska @ 4:46 PM   0 comments
    as you can tell ...
    Work is slow today. I have 2 projects to plod through (nothing pressing - I have all week to do one, and until this co-op is over to do the other), and I'm happy to have them here, but am not feeling too rushed about them. I would rather drag them out then rush to get them done, and then have nothing.

    It is the week before Christmas, and Chanukah is NOW - I think things are winding down. Almost everyone I've spoke with is taking next week off, including ME!! I am not expecting this week to be too busy. Perhaps it will surprise me, and if so, that's okay (as long as I can leave at 5 or before today, tomorrow, and Thursday).

    Last week got so intense. I really do thrive on intensity. There was one time where I was in such a hurry to meet all the deadlines that I rushed finding an answer, and wasn't spot-on, but I caught it before I turned it over to the attorney who assigned it, so all was well. Otherwise, I think I do better work when pressed.

    I am not goign to stress over the fact that this week is slower. I am going to enjoy it. I know that I am going to get work, I'm confident about the work product I've turned in thus far, and I have enough stress and chaos going on in the personal life with the holidays that I think I should enjoy and bask in any quietness on the work front.

    I'm gonna go plod through one of my projects now ....

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:53 AM   0 comments
    Projects and Puking
    I worked for at least 3 hours on j.'s Solstice gift last night. It is coming out really well, and I'm happy with it, but it's taking too long. I think I'm more than 1/2 done ... I think. But this is only the first one. I still haven't started e.'s. I have a project planned for Beloved, as well, but I don't know if I'm going to get to work on it.

    I am using some of her old artwork from preschool and kindergarten, and pictures from those times as well. she used to be such a little girl. To spend that time with her photos from her 4th birthday, with the cherubic little face she had, and all the chub on her cute little self, and then to emerge from the cave in which I'm doing my work, and see this tall, lanky, athletic looking girl - it's disorienting.

    J. and I were supposed to have a book group gathering tonight - we were just having a Latke party at one of the members' houses - no book discussion. But the hostess's daughter woke with a fever today, and so it looks like it will be canceled. I am a little nervous. This girl slept over our house on Friday night, and there are reports of some nasty, nasty bugs going around (a few towns over). If we are going to get it this week, I'm going to cry. First of all - I don't think that either Beloved OR I can comfortably take the time off from work. I say that because my job is temporary, and his is not, I should take off the time, but when it comes down to it, I get freaked out when I need to miss work. I have a work ethic to a fault (so I'm told).

    When I was in high school, I did not do sports, I did not act, I did not play an instrument, I wasn't in student government --- I worked. I worked on the weekends, and after school, and often more than one job. I worked with my father first, where I formed, I suppose, this work ethic of mine. He was often out the door at 6 a.m., and worked hard. He hardly ever got sick, and i think only once in his LIFE didn't go to work b/c of an illness. His boss was(is) a freak, and if someone DID miss work, the man would go on a RAMPAGE.

    And so now, here I am, with the work ethic from hell. "What do you MEAN I need to stay home and nurse a puking child? I can't!!! I must go to work!!!!" Yeah, right.

    I'm sure the girls will be fine. And if they do catch a bug that may, or may not, be going aroudn - then this office will be MORE than fine without their silly little intern.

    Besides, throughout my entire life, I get sick on CHRISTMAS. And now, following my footsteps, so will my children. We've already had at least two Christmases where the illnesses were pretty extreme. Once in 1998, while we were in California - my parents came to town and brought a nasty flu with them. We had 104 degree fevers --- me, my dad (he didn't go to work THAT day! Although he may have, if he was in the proper state), poor little 7 month old J., and 2 year old E. We have pictures. We all look pathetic. And then 2 years ago, in 2004, we went to my parents' for Christmas, and my sister was there from CA, and e. puked all over the living room. Then it hit J. on the day we were due to drive back home, and so I had to bundle her up in the backseat, with a little garbage pail on the floor "Just in case." Then, while driving home (Beloved had to go home earlier than us for work), it hit me, and when we drove up to the house, I left everything (and everyone) in the car, ran in the house, yelled at beloved to go and look after the kids, and promptly puked into the toilet.

    That was fun.

    Ahhh Christmas.

    And now just talking about allo f this, I think I have a slight headache, and some nausea. Ooooooohhhh, woe is me.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:17 AM   0 comments
    Sunday, December 17, 2006
    days of past
    I went through the girls' old keepsakes from when we lived in CA, in preparation for the scrapbooks I'm making them for Solstice (on THURSDAY!!! ACK!), and then I went through photos. Wow. We have a LOT of photos!!

    Here are some from a few old disks I came across:

    On a trip Beloved and I took through the Redwoods of Northern California:

    This was on our way to the ferry to Angel Island for a short overnight backpack trip. I needed my Starbucks before leaving for the Island ....

    A shot of the Golden Gate Bridge from Angel Island:

    This is a collection (and I don't think a complete one) of the birds that Boots massacred in Berkeley order to try and convince us we should NOT move to Boston. In various states of disintegration (Beloved did this):

    The first snow of 2004 - the first year we were here, and pretty much - Beloved's first snow EVAH:

    2004's Punkins. I made the Spider. I was damned proud of that thing. Beloved did the moon:

    Well, that's all. I was sort of hoping when I found the disks in the box that they'd be even older. Like from '96 or from '98 and that I'd be able to post baby pix of the girls. These were fun to find, too, though.
    posted by Zuska @ 12:05 AM   0 comments
    Saturday, December 16, 2006
    Totally Wicked!!!
    I just bought tickets to see Wicked!! We're going next year -- October 9. I will be working at Future Firm by then. How strange.

    I have wanted to see this show for soooo long. And I think this is the first show we'll bring the girls to.

    I'm so excited!!
    posted by Zuska @ 7:54 PM   0 comments
    Getting over it.
    Our apartment is kinda small. We have 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and then a very healthily sized open space that is the living room, dining room and kitchen. Those rooms aren't really cramped, but we could really use MORE rooms.

    Because of this, and my feelings about it, I am always hesitant to have people over. I don't like having both girls invite people over, b/c there isn't anywhere for 2 sets of kids to GO.

    I am trying to get over it. I'm trying to think of ways we can have people over. Last night, j. had a friend over, and they slept on the couches in the living room (made up as beds). e. was talking with a friend about when they could have a sleep over, and I took a deep breath and said, "she can sleep over here tonight."

    I am also wondering if we can have other families over. I'm thinking that perhaps if mine and beloved's room is clean enough, we can put the t.v. in there, and perhaps have a movie going for kids who may want to watch a movie, and then other kids can play games in the girls' room, and the adults can sit in the living room or at the dining table? Perhaps?

    I do think I need to find a way to get over it. We really cannot move any time soon. I would like for my social life to be richer. I can't do it if I'm not willing to open my doors to people.

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    posted by Zuska @ 1:29 PM   0 comments
    My ex mother in law really irritates me. (duh?) She did before she was my ex mother in law - she did before she was my mother in law. Really, she's an irritating woman. through and through. The girls love her, though, of course, and she's very good to them.

    HOWEVER, every time a holiday comes up for the girls, she says, "did they get my cards? did they get the package I sent them?" The answer is, 7 out of 10 times - no.

    This has happened with whatever house I live in. This happened when I was in California, and it is happening now. I feel like she's accusing me of taking the stuff out of the mail and throwing it away so the girls can't have it - but I'm not. These things are honestly not coming.

    I believe she isn't sending them. I think that she is forgetting, or purposefully not sending, just so she can make these veiled accusations.

    As I have said to her - we NEVER have trouble with receiving mail. Never. Unless she says "Did the girls get my Valentine's Day Cards?" Or "Did the girls get my Christmas card?"

    We got the card from her daughter yesterday, and I told them that we received it.

    Okay, grumble over.


    posted by Zuska @ 1:25 PM   0 comments
    Friday, December 15, 2006
    Optimism continues
    I'm feeling better on the e. front. I still feel like I've fucked up, but I don't feel like it's out of hand.

    Today, she made arrangements for a sleep-over with a different friend than the one who's been making me a wee worried lately, and we had the evening together without j. (who is at Temple with a friend and they're being dropped off here for a sleepover any minute), and she just talked and talked about things going on with her.

    Also, one of the (teachers?) from her after-school program approached me to "apologize" about the fact that she had never discussed e.'s issues with that boy - now what the teacher said was: this boy has issues ..... he's trying to work through them .... it seemed like e. was a good friend for him ... it didn't so much work out ... his parents want his behavior to stop, and inasmuch as it's attached to e., they want it to stop from her, too .... the boy has outbursts .... e. was not so much the problem, as she was an .... impetus? .... there was only one incident in the after-school program.

    I felt like she was saying that e. is *not* the problem. That was later confirmed.

    So, I'm feeling a little better. Like things are NOT going to spiral out of control.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:11 PM   0 comments
    Lunchtime Meme
    I found this over at Mad Mom's place, and thought it would be a good thing to do while sipping on soup. My soup has strange stick-like things in it. They're yummy, so I'm not gonna complain.

    These are the "rules" (which were made for scoffing at, as I will explain):

    1. Go to, and find the greatest hits for the year you turned 18 (1990 for me)

    2. Select the first 50 [to which I say - pshaw. #51 is INXS, and if you even THINK I'm leaving that off, well, you're wrong. So then I decided to do all 75. B/c it's funner.]

    3. Bold the ones you like [no. I will make the ones I like purple]

    I also decide that the ones I LOVED will be LARGER, too.

    4. Strike out the ones you hate [this is why I changed the rules ... i don't know HOW to strike out. So the ones I don't like will be RED]

    5. Italicize the ones you are familiar with but neither like nor hate [these will be BLUE]

    6. Leave the ones you don't know as is [yeah, they'll be the default - black].

    Also - I'm doing it according to my opinion in 1990. Not my opinion in 2006 (I almost typed 2004).

    1990 Greatest Hits

    1. Humpty Dance - Digital Underground
    2. Here and Now - Luthor Vandross
    3. I Wanna Be Rich - Calloway
    4. Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice
    5. U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer
    6. Groove Is In The Heart - Dee Lite
    7. Vogue - Madonna
    8. Pump Up The Jam - Technotronic
    9. Here We Are - Gloria Estefan
    10. Everybody Everybody - Black Box
    11. Blaze of Glory - Jon Bon Jovi
    12. Tom's Diner - Suzanne Vega/D.N.A.
    13. She Ain't Worth It - Glenn Medeirous
    14. Step By Step - New Kids On The Block
    15. Unskinny Bop - Poison
    16. From A Distance - Bette Midler
    17. Cherry Pie - Warrent
    18. The Power - Snap!
    19. Love Will Lead You Back - Taylor Dayne
    20. All My Life - Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville
    21. The Way You Do The Things You Do - UB40
    22. Just A Friend - Biz Markie
    23. Black Velvet - Alannah Myles
    24. Hippychick - Soho
    25. Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over) - Technotronic
    26. Jerk-Out - The Time
    27. Janie's Got A Gun - Aerosmith
    28. Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson
    29. Miracle - Jon Bon Jovi

    30. Joey - Concrete Blonde
    31. Epic - Faith No More
    32. It Must Have Been Love - Roxette
    33. Cradle Of Love - Billy Idol
    34. This Old Heart Of Mine - Rod Stewart and Ronald Isley
    35. Close To You - Maxi Priest
    36. (Can't Live Without) Your Love and Affection - Nelson
    37. Vision Of Love - Mariah Carey
    38. Wiggle It - 2 In A Room
    39. I Don't Have The Heart - James Ingram
    40. All Around The World - Lisa Stansfield
    41. That's What I Like - Jive Bunny (50s medley)
    42. Heart Of The Matter - Don Henley
    43. Swing The Mood - Jive Bunny (1940s medley)
    44. Personal Jesus - Depeche Mode
    45. Do Me! - Bel Biv Devoe
    46. Enjoy The Silence - Depeche Mode
    47. Up All Night - Slaughter
    48. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven - Phil Collins
    49. Downtown Train - Rod Stewart
    50. Freedom - George Michael
    51. Suicide Blonde - INXS
    52. Pictures of You - Cure
    53. Dirty Deeds - Joan Jett
    54. King Of Wishful Thinking - Go West
    55. Escapade - Janet Jackson
    56. Cuts Both Ways - Gloria Estefan
    57. Think - Information Society
    58. Lambada - Kaoma
    59. Two To Make It Right - Seduction
    60. Oyo Mi Canto (Hear My Voice) - Gloria Estefan
    61. Got To Get - Leila K with Rob 'n' Raz
    62. L.A. Woman - Billy Idol
    63. Bad Love - Eric Clapton
    64. Free Fallin' - Tom Petty
    65. Black Cat - Janet Jackson
    66. I'm Free - The Soup Dragons
    67. Dangerous - Roxette
    68. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) - Jimmy Somerville
    69. Deadbeat Club - B-52s
    70. Doin' The Do - Betty Boo
    71. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You - Heart
    72. Hungry - Lita Ford
    73. Opposites Attract - Paula Abdul & The Wild Pair
    74. 911 Is A Joke - Public Enemy
    I'm Your Baby Tonight - Whitney Houston

    I can't believe how many I don't know. Depending on my energy level when I'm at home, I may go and listen to some of these, and see if I know them by sound, if not by title.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:15 PM   2 comments
    Thursday, December 14, 2006
    Working themselves out
    I've been a wee worried about e. lately. There has been the issue with that boy, and then her bad grade on a project, and then the cello issue, and now she received another mediocre grade on an end-of-the-unit "assessment" (i.e., TEST!!). She received 17/24 at the end of her geometry unit. When we talked about it, she said, "well, I decided not to be upset, b/c I know I just can't do angles visually, and so there's nothing I can do about it." NO!!! You, my child, are TEN. You do NOT give up on an entire area of learning when you are TEN by throwing your hands up and closing the book on increasing and improving your abilities!!

    And then I feel torn because I am also upset that she's been choosing not to share things with me. So do I harrass and drive my point home, thereby preventing her from sharing in the future? Or do I back off, and think that things will work themselves out. She is an energetic learner, an avid reader, and in things academic, an optimistic person .... can I trust this?

    I worry mostly b/c she's in 5th grade. 5th grade was my last good year. Once I hit middle and then high school, I was a solid C student ... after being an A student for so long. I will just be MISERABLE if I see her do the same thing.

    I also worry b/c I feel she has a friend who is NOT as motivated as her ... not with homework, not with cello, not with soccer, not with softball ... and I worry that this is part of why e. is sort of slippin'. I'm really not the person who says my kids can't be friends with someone ... b/c why? B/c they're an "underacheiver?" (according to nothing but my own judgment). Nonetheless, I was trying to think of what I could do ... encourage friendships in other directions was the only thing I could come up with. Really super-subtlely. As if I have ANY CLUE how to do that.

    But then today, e. came home complaining of constant arguments with this person. Wondering aloud how she can start to develop friendships in other directions without ruining her little "group" of friends that she is comfortable with.

    Then, at dinner, she wanted me to draw angles for her, so she could make guesses at how many degrees they were.

    I realized another thing - I have backed off too far from overseeing her homework and her curriculum. This has been a huge year as far as the kids being more independent. Teachers are purposefully involving us parents less, and in some ways, I've been relieved, but I think I've rolled a bit too much with it. I need to have a closer eye. I should have known that she was having trouble with geometry before the end-of-unit assessment grade came back.

    I'm so used to her having zero struggles.

    But now she's doing fractions, decimals and percentages. I can help with that. I can keep my eyes open, and be as involved as possible.

    And I am determined to do just that.

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:26 PM   2 comments
    What about AIDS? The Iraq war? Poverty in the U.S?
    Racial disparity? Homelessness? The atrocities in Darfur? Education (worldwide)?

    no. absolutely not. None of that matters. Not as much as Malaria.

    I wonder how long it took her to find something that required so little of a political stance?
    posted by Zuska @ 7:21 PM   0 comments
    Wednesday, December 13, 2006
    this is a non-post
    b/c i do not have time for posting. i saw a meme over at butterflyfish that i want to lift - but i do not have time. i am cleaning my room - changing the clothes from summer to winter, and then have at least 100 pages of cases to read, and i want to be up at 5 and out the door running .... since it's 10:21 right now .... I'm kinda screwed.

    I'll try to have more to say tomorrow.


    posted by Zuska @ 10:20 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, December 12, 2006
    Holiday Week
    I posted a couple of weeks ago about the question surrounding the girls' holiday plans. The final decision is that they are NOT traveling.

    So then I realized ... FUCK! They have the week off, and I am, um, on co-op. Meaning, 9-5, at the least, and only have Christmas Day off.

    i thought, "well, perhaps I can take off 2 extra days" - the days Beloved regularly works. But before I could mention it to him, he filled me in on HIS holiday situation - they need craploads of help that week, b/c all the college students are going home for the holiday.

    crap crap crap.

    I decided, however - this is a *co-op* - it is a temporary arrangement. I do not owe them the loyalty that I may owe someone with whom I had a long-term relationship.

    I also remembered last year ... how Christmas week was so dead at the office. I did not think it made much sense to struggle to find childcare (if it would even be possible) just to go into work and twiddle my thumbs for 4 days.

    Co-op needs to last 11 weeks. That's the requirement - 11 weeks of 35 hours/week. Yet, in February, the girls have a week off -- which last year I was able to take off and spend with them, and then the NEXT week was my spring break. That was quite delightful, and I wanted it to happen again. It happened last year while I worked through Christmas week, so I was concerned.

    But then I counted the weeks ... 100% do-able - I could take off Christmas week, and still have 2 weeks off b/t co-op and school, and fulfill the 11 week requirement.

    Then I spoke with the person who hired me. I explained that I *thought* my kids were going to be traveling after the holiday, but things didn't work out, and he said, "I'm off that week, too, and I know a lot of other people who are - Zuska, this is NOT a problem, you can have it off."

    Three minutes later, I received an e-mail sent to 'all attorneys' stating that "Zuska requested the week of Christmas off before I hired her, and I agreed to it - please mark your calendars accordingly." He totally covered my ass!! I didn't think it was a big deal until I got that e-mail, then I thought "huh, is this a big deal?" but then I realized - no. It's not.

    Our plans? Connecticut for a few days, then home. Then the girls and I may go visit friends for an overnight - but Beloved has to work and will be staying behind. Then we will have our usual New Year's Eve celebration (movies, food, games, walk).

    I'm excited, and glad that there is no stress.

    ahhh, no stress.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:42 PM   0 comments
    Al Pastor
    Beloved and I are sort of behind the 8-ball lately. I feel like I can speak for him when I say that, b/c he said it himself.

    Tuesdays had been, for a few weeks, my night to cook. Today, you may have noticed, is Tuesday.

    But Beloved hasn't gone on a big shopping trip in quite some time, and I haven't been able to look more than one day into the future.

    So this morning (perhaps late last night, with 3 kids running around screaming, my living room dead to me, and tons of work in front of me) we realized that not only did we not have a dinner plan, but we had no food. Oops.

    I pulled my usual ... "let's go out." I did pick a very reasonably priced and distanced Taqueria in the neighborhood that we haven't been to in a while (b/c I haven't been so good at finding reasonable prices lately), and eventually we decided that was the best thing to do.

    I had Al Pastor tacos, at $1.35 a piece (3 make a mini-meal; 4 make a meal, and 5 make Zuska stuffed .... I had 4).

    Tomorrow night, e.'s after-school program is having a family pot luck. We are BUYING potato salad, dumping it into a bowl, and passing it off as my own creation. (yes, beloved, MY own creation!). Then Beloved is going out with some friends, and the girls and I have some Solstice-prep plans .... if we can get cello practice and homework done F-A-S-T. We shall see.

    Thursday? We have nothing. NOTHING. Nada.

    Solstice is a week from Thursday.

    I think I'm gonna throw up.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:04 PM   0 comments
    random superficial quandary
    Has anyone else ever experienced the phenomenon of LOVING the smell of a certain shampoo/conditioner to the point of sniffing your hair throughout the morning, yet HATING the effect it has on your actual HAIR??? Like, in that it makes it dull and drab and generally poo-ey?

    Yet I'm not willing to give it up. It smells so .... lemony.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:00 PM   0 comments
    thus far
    I am just about 1/4 done with this co-op. Already.

    I believe that it's my favorite. But I realize, when I say this, that the summer associate experience did not strike me as a "co-op." It struck me as it's own experience - 90% social and 10% work. And it's own world. Miles and miles and miles away from my school.

    This co-op, I am just really enjoying the WORK in a way that I have not before. When I was at the ACLU, I worked mostly for 1 person, and at most - 3. I often had work, but it was never pressing, and most projects were quite long term. They were always interesting projects, but they were so intense and [dragged out].

    This quarter, I've got several people at my door per day with a nice mix of emergency assignments, long-term projects, areas of general interest, and more. The range of work I'm doing is astounding. Future Firm has "departments" - I will be in one of them. At this firm, however, I'm doing everything. If I were a real lawyer, though, that would not be the case.

    I will take solace in that.

    I am also very happy that for ONCE, and FINALLY, I am happy on co-op. I was upset during my first co-op, b/c I was mostly doing administrative things, although learning a lot, and felt done about 1/2 way through. I was upset during the second, b/c there wasn't enough ... vibrance? in the office. I was upset with the third b/c there wasn't enough work. Now? I think I'm content. I'm happy.

    Just when I was starting to think perhaps I was a pessimist, and even broken!


    posted by Zuska @ 8:26 PM   0 comments
    How much holiday spirit?
    E. McPan does Christmas cards. I wish I were so good. Of course, mine would be Solstice cards, and would probably irk 90% of my family ... but they aren't the only people I'd send to. I am super tempted to go out during "lunch" tomorrow and find some cards that I'm willing to send out. But for the problem that I don't have a lunch. I'm lucky I have time to guzzle down a cup of soup at 2:15 when I realize I haven't eaten anything but the orange I devoured at 10:40 a.m.

    Last year, Beloved and the girls had a good idea of a card to make and send out - but we aren't so good with timing. I think it was the year before that we tried to take photos of the girls all covered up with snow - but they didn't cooperate - j. kept crying that the sun was in her eyes.

    If I want to do it, I have to buy them. I don't want to go to a pharmacy or to TJ Maxx, I want COOL ones. Cool Solstice-y ones.

    Something tells me it ain't gonna happen.


    posted by Zuska @ 8:12 PM   0 comments
    Chaos (as usual)
    Yesterday was insane at work and at home. e. had a friend sleep over, which I would never allow on a school night, but the friend's mom had to be out of town for work, and needed a hand.

    But wow. 3 giggly girls is a huge jump up from 2. We strung cranberries and popcorn for the tree, and I felt like I was the one-person audience for a 3-person show. It was like they were all performing - for each other, for me - whatever. It was really really chaotic, and try as I might, I couldn't get them to calm down.

    Part of it, I think, is I don't know where the line is for getting other kids (not my own) in line. I'm not going to send a friend to her room ... she doesn't have a room. I tried pulling e. aside and asking her to calm down, and I did ask teh friend to chill some - but she didn't. Either did e. , really.

    I went running this a.m. at 5, and the girls woke up. They never wake up when I leave the house (but they're not generally sleeping on the couches, either, which e. and her friend did today, since we don't have an extra bed). I usually come back and sit on the couch checking e-mail while I cool off before my shower, and today I couldn't do it that.

    I'm all thrown off.

    I'm also PMSing pretty bad, and I'm having a very stubborn month. Like where the "P"-part is so drawn out - why can't it just ARRIVE already? There's no doubt it's on its way .... but I'm sick of getting zits and being bloated. COME ON!!!

    Between the PMS, some slight congestion I've been fighting, and my exhausting Monday - I was a lazy butt this a.m. I barely ran, I mostly walked, and some may even have called it a "stroll" were they to witness the majority of my time out there. But I got up and I went out, and that is better than staying in bed .... I'm sure I'll be more rejuvinated tomorrow a.m. - after having a normal night.

    Now back to work. Man, do I have a lot to do!! The assignments are definitely coming in faster than I'm finishing. I wish my summer was more like this. So far, I'm getting enough assignments that are conducive to me bringing them home to work on that I haven't been having to stay late. I worked for about an hour last night before passing out, and will do the same tonight. Well, hopefully more than an hour tonight. Since I won't be dealing with a Circus in my house.

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    posted by Zuska @ 8:57 AM   0 comments
    Sunday, December 10, 2006
    mmmm, apples.
    I had been unsure what to get my parents for a while. I (still) plan to make the girls scrapbooks for our solstice gift this year, and have an idea for Beloved as well, but wasn't sure what to do about my parents. They are the people who not only have everything, but spend quality time thinking of all possible future scenarios of their lives so they can anticipate what they MAY need, and as soon as they think of that thing that they MAY need, if X, Y and Z happens - they BUY it.

    I just spent some time going through my year's photo library on my computer, and I threw together a photo book using iPhoto. I can't believe how easy, fun and cool that was. I showed Beloved and the girls, and they were all duly impressed.

    This book had 80 pictures in it, and was 35 pages. So the fact that it cost $40 did not seem like too much. We'll get each of my parents some else to open for themselves - I think a bottle of good gin for my dad, and something else (who knows what) for Mom.

    I think that I'm in love enough with the book idea that I'm going to make a couple of others. I'll let the girls pick some photos to put one together for their dad (although not EIGHTY photos), and I think I'm going to make one for his grandmother right now. She's getting quite old, and loves the girls so much, and since the divorce, I don't stay in touch so well.

    I kind of didn't before the divorce, b/c I find the woman quite creepy, honestly. But I don't have to hug her or kiss her, I just have to send her a book with perhaps 10 photos of the girls in it, and I'll make her happier than she's probably been for a while.

    Holiday spirit and all.

    Labels: ,

    posted by Zuska @ 9:31 PM   1 comments
    Cat Blogging
    I know, it's been a while. Our baby cat has been getting a good bit less skittish, but no less weird. One thing she loves to do is run and slide on the hallway runner-carpet, making it into a rumpled ball for us to trip over in the morning on the way to the bathroom. She also likes to hide from Boots under there, and then pop out and attack him, to wit:

    A very very strange cat ....


    posted by Zuska @ 9:28 PM   0 comments
    weekend in brief
    • Watched A Christmas Story with the kids on Friday night. I hadn't seen it since either college or high school ... not sure which. I thought it was funny enough at the time, with the whole "you'll shoot your eye out" nonsense, and the tongue freezing to the lamp post. But watching it on Friday, after having read some David Sedaris and those who attempt to follow in his footsteps, the story took on a whole new sophistication. I really enjoyed it.
    • Then we watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town, which is like a very close cousin to Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. I'd never seen it before - which is really hard to believe -- there's a Christmas special out there I haven't seen? But it's true. I liked that one, too.
    • On Saturday, we lazed around until around noon. Then a friend of e.'s came over, and we went to the kids' school to watch a play put on by the 7th and 8th graders -- Oklahoma. It was a wee bit shocking to me to see kids who seem still-so-young acting as loose women and horny men. The 7th graders are only 2 years ahead of e. They kissed in the play. Yikes!!
    • The boy that e. was having trouble with at school ... he and his family were at the play, and his mom approached me. I had thought of talking to her about what was going on, and just letting her know that we were doing our best to get things under control on our end. She said that she was actually the one who pushed the teacher to have a meeting with the kids. Which means she got a call home well before I did. She said it's entirely likely that her kid is 100% of the problem, that he's been in therapy for years (he's 10), and that they haven't talked much about the situation at home. We are probably going to get together and talk some more - she was a bit distracted with approx 4 kids in her charge.
    • e.'s friend came back home with us after the play, and we all sort of hung out while Beloved made a cake to bring to the friend's house, as we all had dinner plans together. We then went for dinner and very nice chatting time around a fire with food and wine. We all had a good time. Even though it was 30 out, the kids went out for 45 minutes TWICE to play on the trampoline. The second time they went, it was 9 p.m. Kids are extremely hardy creatures.
    • Today we assembled our tree. It is unusual that I have a fake tree. I have many times in my life swore that I would NEVER have a fake tree. But I've raised these kids thus far to be concerned about the destruction of nature, and our attempt at having a living tree failed miserably a few years ago. It died. Profoundly. And the way most real trees are shipped in all tied up and thousands of miles from where they grew, they all looked like crap last year. And we ended up at Target, deciding that a fake tree was an excellent investment for us. [Beloved just told me that he and j. think we should get pine scented air fresheners and hang them in the tree. 1) ew. 2) kinda funny that he said that while I was typing about the decision to go with fake]
    • We're getting ready to decorate the thing. As soon as we finish watching the Patriots get TROUNCED by Miami. Crap.

    Labels: ,

    posted by Zuska @ 3:11 PM   0 comments
    Friday, December 08, 2006
    recklessness. foreseeability.
    yeah, i'm bloggin' from work. i am justifying it in that it's a temporary gig, and that i'm not talking about people i work with. so even if people i work with DID find the blog, they'd just know that i ramble a lot.

    i'm also .... explaining? it by the fact that if i post from google docs, my comments get all messed up.

    today was odd perk #980. a wine and cheese party for the last hour of work. huh? the cheese was soooo delicious.

    i am seriously getting soooo much interesting work. wanna know what kinds of stuff?

    • insurance law (no, seriously, it was quick enough -- 1.3 hours to be exact -- that it was interesting) research
    • trademark law research (!!??? -- not something i ever thought i'd do, or that i've ever done, which makes it all the MORE interesting)
    • environmental law research (seriously, still !!!!!!!)
    • shepardizing 9,658 cases in order to answer the question of whether a 12+ year old law review article merits updating by the octogenarian author (it doesn't) - oh yeah - the topic? statutory construction. okay. that one? BORING!!!
    • a civil rights (sort of like police brutality, but not really) case which is coming to trial while i am here, and this firm is NOT representing the meany-head brutalizers, but rather the poor (maybe innocent, maybe not) victim. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • landlord/tenant issues, which are fun b/c they don't really exist yet. i'm researching to figure out if MAYBE, in the near future, they MIGHT start to exist.

    yeah, boring day? i think not.

    i continue my positive trend.

    now i go home. after i go to the store to buy stuff for dinner. because beloved has the babies (ha!)


    posted by Zuska @ 5:07 PM   0 comments
    Temporarily Winter
    This morning when I woke up at 5 a.m., it was approximately 28 degrees outside. I went for a run anyway, properly bundled in 4 layers with a scarf and ear warmer. The wind was whipping around, but insulated by houses and trees, I didn't feel it much. Until I got to the reservoir. Then it felt like ICE was being pelted at my face. It was lightly snowing, but I couldn't see the stuff, b/c it is dark at that time of day. I am almost certain that it made me run faster, and I had little complaints.

    I returned to the house to find that the temperature had actually DROPPED 5 degrees while I was out there.

    And since then? It's dropped another 4!! It looks so cold out there!! It's 19 degrees and the wind is still whipping little biting baby snowflakes around. It's like DUST. There's no accumulation, no nothing - just white dusty coldness.

    By Sunday, however, we're back into the 50's. I was wanting to complain about that, but when I realized that it means I won't be frostbit while running, I decided to be grateful.

    But I would like some real snow. Please?


    posted by Zuska @ 12:09 PM   3 comments
    Thursday, December 07, 2006
    the usual theme ....
    You know, exhaustion.

    But today was a good, good day. Actually, a good, good week. I find out nothing is wrong with my booby, I find out that I passed the MPRE, my job ends up being fun, Beloved and I got to celebrate eachother, it snowed on my birthday and is supposed to snow again tomorrow a.m., I finally started to drag my sorry ass out of bed at 5 a.m. (although it's not yet a "habit"), my kids are good, the girls' schedules have calmed down a LOT and that has created a much more relaxing week.

    So as tired as I am, it is a happy tired. A tired that deserves a good night's sleep.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:26 PM   0 comments
    Comment Problems
    Something is wrong with my comments, I have been informed. I've checked the comments features on others' blogs, and there are no problems.

    I wonder if it's because of Google Docs, since I've been publishing straight from there during work, or if it's a bug in my template. Either way - sorry for any inconvenience it may be causing you, faithful readers. All 2 of you. ;)

    Update: A small amount of investigation shows that all the posts that I upload straight from Google Docs won't click through to comments. if I go in and edit them, though, and then re-post from Blogger, they work again. So, it's fixed now.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:18 PM   0 comments
    I am the happiest person in the UNIVERSE right now. I swear to god, I could not be happier.

    I was soooo worried over the fact that MA requires like the HIGHEST MPRE score in the universe, and that the test was hard, and that I didn't know the stuff (b/c I surfed the internet all through class).

    sooooo worried.

    And I think somewhere in my comments, someone had said, "don't worry, my friend thought she failed, too, and she got a 79!!" Ugh. 79 would so be a failing score in MA.

    I need an 85.

    I GOT A 115!!!!

    I absolutely, positively the happiest person EVER.

    I swear, if I got the equivalent of an A+ on every exam I ever took in law school, I would not be this happy. B/c that test SUCKED and that material SUCKED, and if I had to immerse myself in that awful awful awful stuff again, I swear, I would just DIE.

    I am very sorry if my gloating makes someone who perhaps did not pass feel really really bad right now. But you know what? This is my blog. I would not be this obnoxious to anyone face-to-face, but this is MY BLOG, and I will GLOAT right this minute, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!


    posted by Zuska @ 4:30 PM   1 comments
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