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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  • Wednesday, January 31, 2007
    Advertising Terrorism
    Boston was in freak-out mode today. I'm sure most people heard.

    "Devices" were found around town today - most on bridges. They had circuit boards, and batteries, and "resembled IEDs." Bridges were closed. Highways were closed - major highways. Right before I left the office for an afternoon hearing, I had heard that the RIVER was being closed (I didn't know they could do that!)

    Other news reported that one of the "devices" had been detonated. They were also reporting that while they had most of the components of an IED, they lacked one important thing -- an explosive. So then we were all speculating "was it a trial run? are there plans for an attack in the future?" Beloved wondered if the Boston police were doing a trial run - testing their own readiness.

    By the time I got back to the office, our governor and mayor were about to hold a press conference where they would state that the devices were actually a "hoax." I wondered how they knew? How did they know it wasn't a trial run or a success ... whoever put these "IED-like devices" around town incited terror in an entire city - enough terror to shut down the T in one area, and 2 major highways, as well as 4 or 5 bridges. How did they know it was a "hoax?"

    30 minutes later, Beloved IM'd me to tell me that Turner Broadcasting had claimed responsibility. WHAAAT??? How and why would a cable company places bombs all over Boston?

    Well, simple. They didn't. They had put these guys all over:

    It was part of an advertising campaign for some show on Nick at Night, or something. Beloved thought it was a projection device, but I later found out that no, they were just these glowing little figures that are stuck to walls and bridges - they were calling it "guerrilla advertising."

    And b/c that figure up there is so silly looking, the officials felt comfortable calling it a hoax. It was some little yellow guy giving them the finger. Watch out!! He may explode!!!

    I think that it's odd that the bomb squad would look at this thing and think it was a bomb ... and detonate one of them!!

    This article has a video of the "guerilla advertisers" who did this assembling and placing these "devices" --- check it out. See the major danger that came to my city today. It looks like it's made of Lite Brite pegs.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:22 PM   0 comments
    Trying to Heal
    I got hit with a nasty cold. I don't remember when - perhaps I said so on here, but I'm too lazy to go back and take a peek. Yesterday it was pretty nasty come 3 p.m., and I ended up leaving work at 4:30.

    It was weird leaving early ... I didn't know what to do. I don't have a "boss." There is the sort of liaison person who conducted my interview, but he isn't my "boss." I report to whoever gives me an assignment. My paycheck comes from accounting, and my time entry is monitored by the billing department - no boss.

    I have always worked in a support-staff capacity, and never had the freedom to sit and think to myself, "I came in early today; I've done all my work; there are no further expectations for me that MUST be done this afternoon. Therefore, I can take my sick self home and try to rest." I always had to ask permission.

    I did know yesterday that since I'd been there since 8 a.m., had not taken a "lunch break" per se, because at least one hour of my day was spent walking to and from the Federal Courthouse (3 times; 20 minutes per), and worked steadily the entire time -- I'd filled my eight hour "quota" that is required of me (not of billable time - just that I can account for). I knew that. I knew it was MORE than reasonable for me to go. Yet, I thought, "what if someone comes to look for me? And I'm not here? And they decide I'm a slacker, and report me to the Firm Administrator, and they decide to give me a lousy evaluation?

    So I called the liaison person, and his secretary answered his phone. I didn't know what to do - I felt stupid telling his secretary, "I don't feel good, but I came in really early, and so I'm going home." I did, though. She responded with an "uhhhhhhh, okay?" I somehow think that was worse than just going home.

    And I didn't stop there. The attorney in the office next to me "raised her eyebrows at me" [in quotes because that is a wacky Zuska-paranoid interpretation of "nodded in friendly acknowledgment"] as I walked by, so I stopped and asked her that if anyone asks after me, to let them know I was feeling like crap, and took some work home.

    I did actually take work home. But I didn't work on it. I played Spyro the Dragon instead. He he he.

    I am, most definitely, in every sense of the word, a dork.

    I headed toward bed at 10, and then got the bright idea that I should take some Tylenol PM. In the back of my mind, as I was deciding it, and going to get it, there was an itsy bitsy voice saying "it may have the opposite effect; it may have the opposite effect" - but I ignored it.

    Therefore, I fell asleep -- on the couch -- at approximately 12:30 a.m. I woke again at 4 a.m. (which is my typical reaction to p.m. cold medicines - I wake up when they wear off) and couldn't fall back to sleep.

    I woke up feeling like my head was full of toxic snot. The type of toxicity that would make someone feel sort of dizzy, and not really coherent. That was me.

    By the time I got to work, though I was okay. I had one moment where I had to leave the trial and head to the bathroom to keep the snots from filling the courtroom -- I'm sure they would not have liked that.

    I never hit a point today that I felt as bad as I did yesterday, but I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

    For some reason, that feeling of un-perfect-ness led me into a store to see what their ice cream choices were. This is pretty damned typical. I don't feel good, I want to eat my faves. This store had my fave Ben & Jerry's.

    I haven't had ice cream in weeks, and have been making a concerted effort to eat healthy for twice as long. I've been doing pretty well with that endeavor. And today I came home with ice cream? Damn.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:24 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, January 30, 2007
    Still, almost a grownup
    Trial was fun and exciting today. Sorry that more details can't be shared, but that would be unprofessional of me.

    One fun part I can share. We didn't start on time (to say the least) and so I left the courthouse and then later returned for the (supposed) new start time. This is federal court, and at least at this courthouse - and I assume most if not all - you have to go through security unless you're a member of the bar. I'm not. So I handed over my i.d., and readied to put my bag on the belt. One of the security men looked at me and said to his co-worker, "Harvey? Bar card?" and his co-worker said, "Nah, you would have heard me say so if she had one." And the one running the x-ray machine shrugged. I said, "no, not till next year!" he laughed and said, "well, congratulations, then!"

    I guess I'm starting to get that "lawyer" look!! Woo hoo!!
    posted by Zuska @ 3:24 PM   0 comments
    Monday, January 29, 2007
    The Culmination.
    Today was Day One of the trial I've been assisting with. It was very interesting. It was the first time I'd seen a jury impaneled. It was also the first federal court trial I've witnessed in the flesh. I can't imagine how it will feel when (and if) it's me who is sitting up at the counsel table, watching all these things you've planned for, hoped for, hoped AGAINST, and worked toward coming to fruition. When so much rides on a witness' demeanor, a judge's mood as to what evidence to let in and what to keep out -- just so many unpredictable factors. I found it nerve-wracking sitting back in the gallery! I can't imaging being at the table. The younger of the associates I've been working with assured me that after the first year or two of practicing - and ALWAYS being the gallery, I'll be more than ready to deal with the nerves for the sake of finally getting to sit at the table.

    I have no doubt that he's right.

    In other news, our wedding rings came today.

    In other news, I have a very sore throat. I was on and off sicker than just a sore throat. After eating lunch, I felt like a truck may have slammed into me. I had a cup of tea, and that helped me to feel better. Then I did more work. And more work. And more work.

    And tonight? More work. Laundry and cleaning and straightening and cleaning and laundry.

    But this is a short week, since we're going to the Cape, and getting married.

    Yee haw!!

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    posted by Zuska @ 6:26 PM   1 comments
    Sunday, January 28, 2007
    Thwarted Again!
    I do not believe it!! Remember how I said I so badly wanted to see the Departed, and finally, today was the day?

    The ex was a little late, b/c he again got lost, and needed me to give him directions. But not late enough to interfere with our movie plans.

    Beloved and I went to Starbucks for some caffeine/warm coziness (he doesn't drink coffee, so he had a hot cocoa), and then on to the theater. We were a little nervous as the T took some time to show up, but we got to the theater and in our seats about 10 minutes before the show was due to start.

    We saw a preview for Spidey-3, which looked pretty damned good.

    Then we saw one about some movie about the guy who wrote Amazing Grace, and honestly, I don't like historical pictures. Nor do I like biographical pictures, for the most part. Oh yeah, and comedies generally bug me. But really, I don't consider myself a picky movie-goer.

    Then came this really cool looking preview with Hilary Swank in it, who I like.

    [and if you can't tell, I like previews - a LOT. To me, missing the previews is like missing the first 10 minutes of the show.]

    The Hilary Swank one was about religion, in that creepy-magical form. I like those kinds of movies about religion. I like movies that are about the super-natural, and as much as I really despise religion in real life, I like movies that depict it as something magical and powerful.

    This movie, the Reaping, looked cool. Rivers of blood and lots of bugs and hints that it was the plagues returning.

    But I had to just look up the title on IMDB through a search for Hilary Swank. Why, you may ask? Since I was in the theater looking at the preview?

    Well, b/c half way through, the picture cut out. We were all hoping it was a temporary glitch - perhaps *that* preview. But then we heard a few more previews. HEARD a few more. The only one I could pick out certain voices from was a new Adam Sandler movie, about a man whose family died [I thought in a plane crash, but this blurb says a 9/11 plane crash].

    I was hoping hoping hoping that it would switch to a different reel for the film itself. Or that the movie theater would respond to the 7-10 people from our audience who went out to complain and let them know what was going on.

    But sure enough, as the screen remained black, Jack Nicholson's voice came over the speakers - and our movie was starting. Beloved told me -- they can't rewind these movies, we should go -- but I wanted to see. We'd been in another movie, once, where it got all fucked up, and they did in fact start it over. That was difficult for us today, though, b/c I was supposed to meet the ex at my house by 4 p.m. (although it's 4:31 right now, and he's not here, and he's not answering his phone). Finally, they turned on the lights in the projection room and someone started to look at it. They said no, they cannot rewind it at ALL, and all they could do was start it where they had turned it off (4 minutes in). I didn't want to miss the first 4 minutes of a movie that I'd been dying to see for a long time.

    So we left.

    There were some 50 or 60-something women sitting in front of us who beat us to the Customer Service desk, bitching up a storm, "you've wasted our time, we came all the way over here to see This. Movie., and we complained WELL before the movie started, and I want my money back AND a free pass!" The manager was all thrown off, saying "I just got here, I just got here." They said, "I don't care! You work here! You should make sure that when these things happen they get fixed IMMEDIATELY, not 20 minutes later when we've all missed the beginning to our movie!" He said, "okay, okay - you can have a refund and a free pass." I said, "I want that, too, but I want to use ONE of them to go see Pan's Labrynth, and it starts in 5 minutes, so please take care of it NOW."

    I had happened to see that Pan's Labrynth was playing at 12:55, and we had really wanted to see that one, too. So he had me sign a paper, gave me tickets to Pan's Labrynth, and told me to come back for my refund after my movie.

    We then got to see SOME previews. I didn't get to see The Reaping again, though. Damn.

    And I really loved Pan's Labrynth. It didn't have the same oomph that Children of Men had, because Children of Men was what could happen in the future, if you follow one possible arc of the present down an extremely nasty path of destruction and misery. Pan's Labrynth clearly had one foot in the head of one person, and the other into a certain point of Spanish history. It was less threatening, on the whole, to the world I live in. Not so with Children of Men.

    The child actress in Pan's Labrynth? SHE deserves and Oscar, in my opinion. Not that little girl from last night who spent 2/3s of the movie sitting in a van wearing headphones while SOME members of her family said interesting things and created a decent story.

    So even though I was yet again prevented from seeing the movie that was #1 on my list, I saw a great movie that I wanted to see, and a third that was nominated for an Oscar.

    I just went through Netflix to see what of the other nominees are available on DVD. Here's my list of rentals:
    1. The Devil Wears Prada (Beloved is less than thrilled, but Meryl Streep is nominated, so he's relenting)
    2. Half Nelson (I know nothing about this movie)
    3. United 93 (I used to refuse to watch this -- I don't like shameless emotional manipulation ... but it was nominated)
    4. The Black Dahlia Hilary Swank AND Scarlett? Yes, I'll watch this one.
    5. The Prestige (I saw both these previews - Black Dahlia and this one, at the same time I saw the preview for The Departed, and I thought "wow, there are a LOT of good movies coming out!) Also - it, too, has Scarlett, and the added eye candy of Hugh Jackman. Mmmm, mmmm.
    Everything else has yet to be released on DVD. I need to see:
    1. THE DEPARTED (Jesus!! I mean, really!!) **
    2. The Blood Diamond**
    3. Babel **
    4. The Queen **
    5. Little Children (Kate Winslet is prettier than the woman in the book. I would have picked Catherine Keener, or someone else with dark hair, and who isn't ALWAYS beautiful.)
    6. Dreamgirls (I sure as hell hope that an American Idol person doesn't win over the others - that's just not fair)
    7. Volver (This would be on my list even if it weren't nominated) **
    8. Notes on a Scandal
    9. The Good Shepard
    10. and I suppose Letters from Iwo Jima (can you hear it? The lack of enthusiasm for a war movie? A historical war movie? Ptooey.)
    Somehow, I doubt I'll get to see them all before the Oscars on February 25th. Even if Beloved and I see a movie every night during the week that the girls are with their father, that's 5. My top 5 are starred.


    posted by Zuska @ 4:19 PM   1 comments
    Ex stories
    Yesterday, he came by with his wife to pick up the girls. They were very civil, and she was warm and talkative, and Beloved was here, and there was little to no tension.

    Today, he came by himself. Beloved was in the shower. These were the things he said that he wouldn't say yesterday with an audience:
    • Geez, that cat is getting fat!! Why is he so fat? I can't believe how fat he is. [my cat is NOT fat]
    • What are those pictures? Chickens? Why? [with a snide tone]
    • "Potatoes would go great with that"? what the hell is that? Some kind of Atkins joke? [it's a sign we have on our fridge, which we all love]
    Like he now had the freedom to look around and actually be himself with me - the self he's always been - snide, critical and condescending. Of course, none of these things were all that egregious. No major hits against me or mine. It was just funny because he didn't do it yesterday - when there were others around. Yesterday he was civil, formal and decent.

    The girls were grouchy and sullen when he came - he had called to ask me if they had ice skates, but they'd outgrown their ice skates, and since all the places we go rent skates, I didn't buy new this year. Also, it's been so damned warm until very recently, ice skating isn't something we've done yet this year. But the girls heard me on the phone, and asked - and I told them that he may be taking her ice skating. When he got here, they asked, and he said no, b/c they don't have ice skates.

    J. wouldn't collect her gloves and hat and was being quite uncooperative. He said to her, "that's okay, j., you can just stay here." and then looked at me in shock, saying, "That's a risky thing to say, she may just take me up on it."

    He's right.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:33 AM   0 comments
    Moooooo vies.
    Finally, I got my heart's desire. Turns out the ex decided to take the girls to a relatively late movie, and then to dinner, and I ended up with enough time for a movie!

    We saw a 4:10 p.m. showing of Children of Men. What an intense movie. I may have given Beloved bruises on his leg from grabbing it at the more intense parts. He is usually not too emotionally affected by movies, but he showed me afterward that his ticket stub was all mangled from him folding and twisting it during this one.

    We talked about the movie on the T, over dinner, and for much of the evening before the girls came home.

    Once they were home, we watched with them an episode of Monty Python. It's always fun to see what parts of that nonsense they find funny. Sometimes, I'm surprised at the level of sophistication they seem to "get." Other times, I'm afraid that we're warping them for life for showing it to them.

    Then we put them to bed and watched Little Miss Sunshine.

    We joined Netflix this year. We've really enjoyed the way it works. We like that we don't have late fees. It feels good to know that a movie can sit on our shelf for a week if we don't have time to watch. I like the way the queue works - that when we think of a movie we want to see, we can add it to our list, and don't have to remember next time we're at the video store.

    One thing we always have fun doing (moreso on family movies) is rating what we see. We use their star system, and ask the girls what they think. It's anywhere from one to five stars. E. and J. gave "holes" 5 stars, and Akeelah and the Bee 4.

    Beloved and I gave Children of Men 5 stars. He said that he usually only would say 5 if he was willing to watch something again, and he couldn't watch that again right away, because it was too dark and oppressive to the soul. I mean, the world was ending. No babies were born in 18 years. London was DISGUSTING with garbage and graffiti all over. I need to watch it again. So much was going on that I missed some things, I know.

    We gave Little Miss Sunshine THREE STARS. Which is just on the verge of "not very good." I was thoroughly UNimpressed. And I see from blogs that poeple have either a "what a fantastic movie!" or a "what the fuck?" reaction. As in - THIS is what everyone loves?

    I did not find the little girl to be all that compelling, and I don't think the actress was fantastic. Yeah, she's a kid, so people think she's cute. And sure, she was cute enough. But I thought that the 15 year old son and the suicidal brother were by FAR the center and stars of the movie. If they were not in the movie, it would have gotten one star.

    I don't think (so far) that it should win best picture, or that the little girl should win as supporting actress.

    Today - we go see the Departed. Which I've wanted to see since I saw the preview over the summer. I cannot WAIT. And if the ex is late showing up so that we can't see it, I'm going to scream.


    posted by Zuska @ 9:54 AM   0 comments
    Friday, January 26, 2007
    I really liked Akeelah and the Bee. Perhaps it added to my enjoyment that I was in a room of kids who were clapping for the spelling bee contestants they liked toward the end of the movie. I got teary a few times, even.

    It does require patience, watching a movie in a room with 140 little kids. One kid had her foot on the screen (on a tripod), and so the picture was slowly migrating from the screen to the blackboard. Another kid decided to get up and go to the bathroom, and when she got back, she just stood, awestruck, in the middle of the room for an entire scene. Another kid kicked a wire, and it disconnected the computer from the projector, and the screen was blacked out. Then ANOTHER time, the sound inexplicably faded for another 2 scenes.

    THEN, the other 4 movies let out approximately 20 minutes before ours did, and there was a flood of older and younger siblings saying "Mom!! My movie's over!!!"

    Somehow, through all of that, I really enjoyed the movie.

    p.s. A week from today, I'll be married.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:54 PM   2 comments
    Busy February
    Who knew that February would be such a busy month? I thought it was a "hunker down and light a fire" month, but nooooooo. It's not.

    The ex is coming this weekend, we're going away next weekend. Then on the weekend of the 10th and 11th, we may or may not go to a fund raiser at the girls' school, and then the weekend after that ...


    Woo hoo!! She was going to come over Christmas, but tickets got so expensive, and since she's in California, it became cost prohibitive.

    So she's coming over the long President's Day weekend.

    Of course, she's bringing her son, who loves my girls and my girls love him. The kids are all very excited.

    She's going to my parents' house, not mine - which means, we're going to my parents' house. I'll go after work on the Friday, and then when she leaves on Monday afternoon, I will be taking the girls to meet their father, b/c the following week is their February vacation, and they're visiting with him.

    Friday the 16th was going to be my last day of work. I thought that I had the girls that week - the ex and I had talked about splitting the week, and he had at one point said that for HIS part, he was going to come to Boston, and just take the girls off on day trips. I think it ended up that his parents want to visit with the girls, too, though, so they're going to go to him. I think he basically decided we're NOT splitting the week? Although I do get to keep them until Monday. (But this whole thing makes it so I have to return to this other state the NEXT weekend to pick up the girls.)

    Well, that Monday is President's Day, and then the following is a 4 day week. I thought - why not work? Beloved and I can still go out for dinner and movies in the evenings if we want, and I can always use the money, and otherwise - 2 weeks off could be a bit much for me. Especially since most of the things I'd want to do require spending money (i.e., a hair cut).

    So I contacted the powers that be here at work and asked for the extra week. They said yes.

    Now my last day is the 23rd. I then have a week off before classes start. A week where the kids are in school, and I can blissfully do what I want during the day (except that on that Thursday, I committed to volunteer for something at the school). Blissfully. Ha. I plan on making an appointment for a pap smear. Ooooh, joy. Such overwhelming bliss.

    Since my insurance is through the school and we have a weird system, I go to the health center on campus. I could, if I wanted to, buy books while I'm there.

    I don't want to buy books. I had such a horrid experience buying books last quarter, I am seriously considering just NOT buying any this quarter. Or at least waiting to see if I can get away with using those on reserve at the library.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:49 AM   0 comments
    Woooooo eeeeee!!
    In response to all my whining, Winter decided to teach me that old lesson, "be careful what you wish for." Today, when I got up, it was 3 degrees with a windchill of 16 below zero.

    No, I did not go running.

    I was actually pretty worried about the girls in that cold. It just seems so extreme. "Windchill of 25 below zero" they were saying. Doesn't that sound scary? When I was a kid and we were dealing with that weather, we would go warm up the car before we got in it so that we wouldn't have to be cold. I don't have that option now - we hoof it everywhere. Sometimes, the T is delayed by as much as 35 minutes.

    Turns out I freaked out for nothing. We wore all our "extras" and when e. and I walked to school at 7:20, we were fine. It was definitely COLD, and I was glad my scarf could cover my face if I needed it to. But once we were covered, we were fine.

    Tonight is our usual movie night, but the girls' school is doing a movie night, so we're going there. Things will be a whirlwind after work, because the thing starts at 6:30, and I'll have to take the girls somewhere to get dinner first. Beloved gets out of work at 6:15 or so, and will grab something to eat on his own, and show up a little late.

    Looks like the ex is coming in tomorrow, but before he gets here, I have to take e. to the cello shop, b/c she dropped it the other day, and a string snapped (grrrr, arggh). Just what I wanted to spend my weekend doing.

    I still plan to sneak off to a movie while the ex has the girls. I'll have to see what's playing at our local theater, so I don't have to worry about timing too much.

    And with that, I'm off to work. I have lots to do, and Monday is the trial that I've been working toward, so I won't be in the office. Perhaps not Tuesday or Wednesday, either. And then I have a personal day on Friday. You know, so I can go get hitched.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:29 AM   0 comments
    Wednesday, January 24, 2007
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I'm so glad that Kerry made the right decision. I couldn't believe that he was even considering running again.

    Beloved chastised me the other day for my anti-Kerry sentiments - saying perhaps I should be slower in backing a candidate this go-round (when I declared "I am voting for HIM!" after watching Barack Obama's announcement on his website). I asked him what the HELL he was talking about, and he whipped out the Kerry signs that hung in our window in the fall of '04.

    But that wasn't fair. That was when it was Kerry or BUSH. Of course I was going to support Kerry at that point. But I did not like him for the nomination. I was really intrigued by Howard Dean at first ... but man, did he fall apart. I was done with him well before the "Dean Scream," though. I heard him on NPR one day getting really really snarky, and he spat out, "George Bush is NOT my neighbor!" and I thought -- man! I don't want him for president! I'm no fan of George Bush either, but if I were looking to lead this country, I wouldn't be spitting with a lack of charity - at least not if I expected votes.

    By the time the primaries in CA happened - Kerry had locked up the nomination. I didn't like him, I wasn't happy with the way his credentials and history matched Bush's so well, and I didn't like his persona. So I voted for Kucinich. I'm pretty sure he was against the war, and for the legalization of marijuana. Of course he wasn't going to WIN. But I refused to vote for Kerry.

    I don't think Massachusetts is any more relevant in the primaries than California.

    God, I love presidential politics. I just don't understand when people complain that it's starting already. I *love it*!!!

    And poo on those Democrats who are already nay-saying Obama. (Although, I'm naysaying Hilary, loud and clear ... which means she'll probably end up being the person I vote for in 11/08).


    posted by Zuska @ 2:23 PM   1 comments
    Moving Along
    Alright, we have an officiant, and ordered rings! We're a hair's breadth from it being a done-deal.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:14 PM   1 comments
    Little Miss Prim and Proper
    My younger daughter is starting to slightly freak me out. She's really quite a prude. If I say "hell" or "damn" she gets upset with me. Whereas e. is more likely to find a way to repeat what I said in such a way that she won't get in trouble for swearing, with a twinkle in her eye. But j. -- she gets all hot under the collar. "Mom! Why did you say a swear? You shouldn't say that!" I've tried to respond by explaining the difference between a minor swear, and a major swear. I have put shit, bitch and fuck into the major category, and hell and damn are in the minor category. I am certain she's heard me say all of them - from both categories - but only the minor ones on a regular basis.

    We were watching football the other day, and there were several commercials for the show "How I Met Your Mother" wherein the characters (including a 12 year old boy) were talking about sex. j. squirmed and said, "they are weird, why are they talking about sex?"

    She sometimes acts like the family policeman, telling us all what we should or should not do, can or cannot do. She dislikes television shows (which she's been exposed to at her father's house) that involve any violence or harm of any sort ("House" is her idea of the most horrible wretched terrible television show in the UNIVERSE) - including the commercials for said shows. Which are also on during football.

    She's also taken up knitting.

    So yesterday, we're sitting around, and I said damn (again), and she rolled her eyes and sighed at me, and I look over at her on the couch to see this 8 year old girl, with her legs tightly crossed, her lips pursed (at her MOTHER!) and her fingers working on her knitting. I felt like I was sitting in the room with my grandmother. And I don't even HAVE a grandmother!

    She then started complaining about global warming. She was upset to know that some major effects are expected by the year 2050, and said, "oh, great, so then *I'll* have to deal with it!" Again with the pursed lips and knitting fingers and crossed legs.

    My child is rebelling against me. I am truly concerned that I have some sort of Tipper Gore in the making.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:25 AM   2 comments
    Major Step Taken
    This morning, Beloved and I walked the girls to school for the first time in months. Not because they needed us to, but rather because, well, we had somewhere to go, and something to do.

    We went to our Town Hall. We filled out an "Intent to Marry" - our license is ready on Monday. I have a zipcar reserved for Friday a.m., and I found a hotel (a 2 bedroom suite, of course) for Friday night, and we're all planning on taking Friday off from work and school, and we're heading to the Cape.

    We are really going to do this!!


    posted by Zuska @ 10:56 AM   0 comments
    Tuesday, January 23, 2007
    We Have Snow!
    Alright, so it's just a dusting. Leave me alone - I'm trying to find a moment of happiness here.

    I got up at 5 this morning, and went for a run, in the snow. I thought it would be beautiful and peaceful and invigorating. It was everything I imagined EXCEPT peaceful. Why? Because the little layer of snow under my sneakers kept going "crunch, crunch, crunch" and it was honestly a wee annoying.

    Last week was absolutely frigid (13 degrees BEFORE windchill), so I skipped running most days. I went during the day (when it got up to a damn-near tropical 27 with windchill of 13) over the weekend, but today was the first time I woke at 5 in a while. I can do it IF and only IF I put my alarm clock across the room. Problem being that I have been sleeping with earplugs in, to drown out the snores of my Beloved, and I don't always HEAR the alarm clock when it's across the room. Fortunately, Beloved does not sleep with earplugs in, so he can grunt and kick at me, and then I get out of bed.

    I typically am pretty damned busy at work. Yesterday, for example, I was supporting an attorney who had to leave for a hearing at 1:15 p.m. I was working on that, and in the meantime, fielding new assignments and having "quick meetings" with partners and other associates on projects I'd finished or was about to take on. Before I knew it, it was 1:58, and I realized I'd been hungry for some time. But that was the first chance I had to look at teh clock, let alone eat.

    Today, however, I'm working on a few projects that are longer term, and have little pressure. I also got up at 5 a.m. and went running. I think that those two things converged to make me RAVENOUS before noon. I mean, STARVING. I did have breakfast (Beloved made me a blueberry smoothie -- mmmm), and a fruit snack (a grapefruit), and a latte this morning. That's more than I usually have. Yet hunger took over.

    Fortunately, we had some FANTASTIC leftovers (beloved's spinach eggplant lasagna). I had them yesterday for lunch, and again today. God, that thing was good. It was definitely the best version of this particular meal that he's made. Mostly because it kept its form like a true lasagna, and the thinness of the eggplant made me really feel like I was eating noodles.

    But I'm NOT eating noodles. Not this month. Because when I don't eat noodles, or white potatoes, or processed flours in general, I shrink. Historically. I'm in the mood to shrink.

    And YES, I played a video game this past weekend. Geez. You'd think I had ... I don't know ... went and worked on a Republican campaign or something, for all the "ooh, zuska's got a secret" hubaloo over there. It's a fun little game - like the Super Mario Brothers of my childhood. What I need is more time where I am home and the kids are not - so I can be a hypocrite in private!!

    I love the way, too, that my darling beloved mentioned not a word about the fact that HE was the one who brought the damned video game into the house (well, the Playstation), and that a couple of weeks ago, it was him who played "Parappa the Rapper" with the girls for HOURS on end. HOURS. Until I came into the room and said, "um, this isn't going to be our whole day, is it?"

    So it's his fault.

    I also read a book. I read the Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards, for my book group. I found that it dragged a bit over misery in the middle of the book, but I really liked the last 1/4th, and recommend the book. I am thinking of suggesting either The Night Watch by Sarah Waters or The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud. Both recommendations are kind of cheating, because they are books I've started, and didn't have the time to follow through and finish, because of a combination of doing work at home, getting sucked into perusing the internet with my precious few kid-free evening moments, or reading book group books. So if I can make the books that I want to read BE those book group books, well, isn't that two birds and just one rock?

    I was thinking, however, that my books recommendations may just secure my place as the baby of the group. Everyone in the group has a kid who is in e.'s grade. Some have younger kids as well, some have older, some have both. But regardless of the kids, I am the youngest in the group by at least 7 years. I am 34, and the next youngest is 41. These books I'm recommending? The main characters of both are 30-somethings. The two books I've read with the book group thus far cover a span of years - they take the reader through the different stages of families. Both of mine are wandering younger folk - not yet with families (I know this, because as I said, I've started both).

    Although, I know they read Persepolis I and II, and the main character of those was a kid.

    I think I'll recommend them, and see what happens. The Emporer's Children was right alongside The Memory Keeper's Daughter on the New York Times Best of 2006 list. [Actually - I was wrong. The Memory Keeper's Daughter isn't there. I thought it was ....]

    In the meantime, since we don't meet until next Thursday, I'm going to follow in my daughter's footsteps, and read Eragon. She enjoyed it so much, she refuses to see the movie. She said she heard that compared to the book, the movie stinks, and so she's not interested.

    Speaking of book-to-movie ... I read Little Children over the summer, and I pretty much hated it. I didn't find any of the characters to be likable, and more importantly, I didn't find them believable. I found the affair to be ridiculous and not genuine. For that reason, I thought I'd never see the movie. But now Kate Winslet is getting nominated for her role, and I'm wondering if perhaps it's one of those books that should have gone straight-to-screenplay (in my opinion, of course)? I think I'll try and see it. I really like Kate Winslet.


    posted by Zuska @ 12:43 PM   0 comments
    Monday, January 22, 2007
    From the Sad City
    I really wanted the Saints to win yesterday, and I found the game relatively painful.

    The Patriots game was fun, although the ending was not. I really really like the Colts, so I thought that I would be okay with either team winning - but I was sad anyway. I wanted the Patriots to win. I can now switch gears, though, and root for the Colts in the Superbowl. I really like Peyton Manning, and hope he wins.

    I do not like the Bears, although I have no reason for that opinion. I do not want them to win.

    I look forward to the game. I am fairly certain that Beloved and I will be watching it as a married couple.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:29 AM   2 comments
    19 Credits
    I just registered for classes. I threw it all on there, just to be safe. I may not get into my Security & Liberty class, so I registered for Trusts and Estates, just in case. (Although I'm pretty much decided - if I get into my political class, I'm taking it!) I also registered for First Amendment, thinking I'll go to the class on the first day, see if I like the professor, try to find out if it's a paper or exam class, and go from there. Still unsure if I want to take the 5th class. I'm pretty sure it would be my first time with 5. And since I want to go to our free bar review class on Fridays (which I am pretty sure is just "show up and be talked at" -- no out of class work), then it could be considered 6.

    I still think the busier I am, the better I do. It's a Zuska fact.

    Also - another thing that has me leaning TOWARD First Amendment - I looked at the professor's bio, and her expertise is Free Speech areas. The First Amendment stuff I had been immersed in last year on my civil rights co-op was mostly religious freedom issues. I think it is more fun to do something new. And I found with Family Law, after interning with a Family Law judge, it can actually HURT me to go in with experience.

    I guess it all depends on whether or not I like her!!


    posted by Zuska @ 9:19 AM   0 comments
    This is how things would be, even if we were still married
    Some may remember that there was some conflict with me, my ex, and the girls over holiday travel plans. In the end, it worked out okay, and the arguments and disagreements were kept to a minimum. (Quick recap - he wanted the girls for a couple of days - I said yes before I talked to the girls - the girls were upset, didn't want to go - major negotiations had to be had and interference run b/t e. and the ex, the girls then begrudgingly agreed to travel, the ex then, weeks later, insisted I pay for the trip, which I refused to do, and eventually, due to finances and lack of time for too much travel, they did not go).

    When that trip was canceled, he said he would come here to visit them the weekend after New Years. He "forgot" and stayed in the south through that weekend. He said he wanted to come the next weekend, but his friends that he stays with were leaving town, so he couldn't. Now he's decided to come this coming weekend. Remember, to see the girls. Right?

    I will be honest - I was hoping for some kid-free time when he's here. I was hoping the girls could stay with his friends, too - they know them well, the friends have kids the girls know and like. I am wanting to go out with Beloved. I want to go to the movies. I would see 2, or 3, or 4 if I could. There are a lot of movies out that I haven't seen, and I want to.

    Hoping for, but not expecting. The lack of kid-free time is not the only reason for my complaining (again)

    But why would he drive 10 hours in one weekend to spend approximately 3 hours with the kids?

    Why wouldn't he WANT to spend more time with the kids?

    He is coming in "mid to late afternoon" on Saturday, and said he plans to take the girls "for a few hours, until dinner time" (so, from 3-6 ). And that he "hopes" he can see them for a quick visit on Sunday as well. Other times that he's come for the weekend (plays and such), he doesn't come to visit until noon or one on Sundays. Is setting an alarm such an inconvenience? I mean, come on!!

    I really don't get it.

    Just like I don't understand how he can go 2 weeks without calling them. Sometimes a month. When they are gone in the summertime, I have a twice weekly schedule that I follow - I call them on Mondays and Thursdays. Oftentimes, they call me for other reasons between those phone dates. Once I made the mistake of thinking that since e. called me on a Monday afternoon, and I spoke to both kids, I didn't need to call back that evening, and they called me upset that I blew off our phone date.

    Sometimes, when they're gone and we're following our phone schedule, we really just say "hi, how are you, I love you" and that's it. Other times, we talk for an hour.

    But I can't imagine not talking to them for 2 weeks.

    Also, I really really really wanted a chance to go to a movie, and not worry about the time and such. I'm still going to try and squeeze it in on Saturday afternoon, but it's a delicate dance. I have to try and make it happen around him, b/c if I let him know that I'm trying to do something, he'll purposefully be late coming to get the girls, or early dropping them off, just to thwart my plans. Because he will be indignant, thinking I am using him as a "babysitter."


    posted by Zuska @ 8:45 AM   0 comments
    Sunday, January 21, 2007
    For posterity's sake.
    When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to leave my home town - my part of the country. I wanted OUT. I was personally anamoured with the southeast at the time (the result of my mother forcing me to read Gone with the Wind at 13 years of age), and wanted to head in that direction. D.C., or south.

    I thought every kid felt that way. They wanted to go elsewhere.

    But today, while walking e. to a friend's house, we were talking about the fact that she cannot have a dog until she's an adult, b/c by the time we have a home with a yard that can support a dog (if we ever do), she'll be getting ready to make plans for college. Then we talked about fish. She would like a fish tank. I told her sure, once she has her own room, but she has to do the research, and she has to raise some money (she'll get more than enough if she tells both sets of grandparents and her father). She was amenable to that, but then I asked her waht she'll do with her fish when she goes off to college, and we talked about WHERE she wants to go to college - not specific school, b/c we are sure to tell her it's not time to think about that yet - but if she could pick a part of the country, where she would want to go.

    She said, "Definitely somewhere in New England. I really really like New England."

    And I realize that when I was itching to get out of my town, I was not 10. I was likely ... 13 and up. I also was in a very different town. I don't think it was officially "rural" - but compared to living in the Boston area (and before that, the SF area), it's rural. We had to drive 30 minutes to get to a movie theater, there were no "coffee shops" - if we wanted to just hang out, we had to have our parents drive us to McDonalds. Ew. When we got old enough, we would find clearings in the woods that we could walk to from someone's house.

    e. and j. won't have that experience. They live in an urban area, where they can take the train to anything. They can walk to each other's houses, rather than being dependent on getting a ride from the parents.

    Maybe they won't want to "get out"?

    or more likely, they'll want to get out and find a life in the country, where there aren't trains clattering by, and sires, and street lights.

    Either way - I want a record that when e. was 10, she said said she loves New England, and wants to stay here.


    posted by Zuska @ 3:08 PM   2 comments
    Saturday, January 20, 2007
    Grown up decisions
    I am way ahead of myself here. But I have been spending a year watching the housing market, and I'm now looking at paycheck calculators and mortgage calculators to try and figure out what I will be bringing home, and what I can afford.

    The answer? I can afford very little (considering the market in this area, where the kids are well established in school). We may be able to find a low-end "starter" 3 br condo with little more actual square footage than we have now. We have 1,000 now, I think, and the condos I think we can afford are 1,300. There's a place that I really like that's 1900 square feet .... and $300,000 more than I think I'll be able to afford.

    So then I look at rentals, and really, right now, there are rentals in our neighborhood that cost $400 less per month than the small condo's mortgage would be --- and it's likely bigger.

    posted by Zuska @ 1:22 PM   3 comments
    Housecleaning and Football
    That's my weekend. Oh, and exercising. I am taking a break from scrubbing my kitchen, as my tea steeps, and then as a reward for finishing one room, I will go for a run. Then I will return, and attack my bedroom. It is unfortunate that I always have to attack major messes, instead of learning how to maintain a sense of order and cleanliness at all times.

    Really not an exciting weekend, I know. We tend to be homebodies in the winter - cleaning, watching movies, playing games. Not so many hikes and day trips and outings.

    I'm listening to NPR as I work in the kitchen - for the first time in a VERY long time. It's been fun, and makes me wish I had more time around the house during the week. I think I'm going to try and make it so during the coming spring quarter. I will come HOME after classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, rather than hanging out in the library until I'm done. I can work at home, and then I can go get the girls (early), and we can either hang out with friends, or come home and I can work on the house some, so my weekends aren't stolen by housework.

    And then come September? What do I do then?
    posted by Zuska @ 1:17 PM   0 comments
    Friday, January 19, 2007
    For the first time in almost 3 years, I just almost had to blink back tears for missing California. I just read a Slate essay, Disinheritance: The Sisters Welcome Their New Brother, written by a dad (Michael Lewis) sharing the experience of introducing his two daughters (4 and 7) to his brand new one-day old son. The whole thing was very real, and for that reason, touching.

    But that's not the part that got me. He first mentioned finding a parking spot in the Bay Area. That perked me up a bit, "The bay area, I used to live there." But then he said "Alta Bates" - the name of the hospital where his son was born. The name of the hospital where e. and j. were both born. He mentioned the room number his wife and baby were staying in ... on the same floor as the room I stayed in when MY kids were born. I could picture the rooms perfectly - their set up, the positioning of the beds, the damned television that the ex wouldn't turn off (even during delivery -- after all, basketball was on) - all of it.

    Then, if you click on the link, you see the photo of his daughter at the top of the article? I don't know her from Adam, and she looks nothing like my kids. But the PICTURE was taken from the parking garage across the way from the hospital. If you click to enlarge, you can see the door for admitting, and the little turn-about for cars to pull up and let sick people out. This wasn't only the place that I was wheeled through twice while discharged with my 2 babies ... it's also a place, a view, a sidewalk, that the girls and I walked THOUSANDS of times between their school and home - between our favorite cafe and home - between a park and home. You would see the park, the playground, if the picture would just pan slightly to your right (the little girl's left).

    It had a name, but we called it "Regent Park" b/c it was on Regent Street. It had (has) this spiral slide, which is pretty high up, and made of metal. Once, j. went down the slide, and started crying as she got to [what I thought was] the bottom. She said, "Mommy, I fell off the slide." I thought (my view was obstructed) that she just meant she went flying off the bottom too fast, and hit the sand harder than she wanted to, so I told her to stop crying or we'd go home. She tried SO HARD to stop crying. Then e. and j. started talking about it, and it became clear that the child went flying off at one of the curves, and was holding onto the edge, feet dangling over the ground. She REALLY fell off the slide. She didn't just go flying off the BOTTOM. Once I realized what happened, she had calmed down, and we all laughed about it.

    We *still* laugh about it. When I made them their scrapbooks for this past solstice, there were pictures of them from this park (I wonder if, since I don't have a photo scanner, I can take a photo of that page in the scrapbook later, and upload it?), and we remembered.

    I remember at least 2 melancholy walks to the park with my sister and her son and the girls. I think one was the one that's in the photo in the scrapbook, and it was our last weekend all together before my move. I had a lot of fun, hanging out in Berkeley with my sister and our kids. Neither of us were in the most stable parts of our lives, which actually may make the memories so special, because we had each other, and while the kids were all 3 dealing with different stages of their parents' separation, divorce, and visits between - they had all gained something in the form of aunts, and cousins.

    The girls loved walking by the hospital, knowing it was where they were born. It's so strange to see it, in that picture, and know those people are there right now. They live there. It's close to them. It is in my old town, my old neighborhood. It's like a block from the Whole Foods that we lived around the corner from. From the ever-present smells of jasmine and honeysuckle in the air, that I loved so much. From the casual, easy feel of Berkeley in general, that made me feel at home, and okay - even though by many different New England standards, I was probably NOT okay (i.e., a single mother, working full time, letting my kids run around in hippy-clothes [god, i miss those thrift stores] with dirt under their fingernails and e. with her hair cut short (like she wanted it) so people thought she was a boy).

    And of course, we can go back to none of it. We'll never be those people again - we can't. e. won't be 6 again. j. won't be 4. I will never again be the Zuska who always wanted to, but never went to law school. Hell, I'm even done being a single mom. We can visit, and re-trace our steps, but they won't be the same. We'll still be remembering when we walked from home to Espresso Roma, where the girls got hot chocolate and/or lemonade with a cookie the size of their head, and I got some strange Caramel Macchiato-wanna-be, and we all read books - my first taste at having kids old enough that we could all enjoy doing the same things. e. sometimes remembers that cafe and feels sad. We don't have a place like that here. There are Starbucks, with way too little seating, and that "there's another one 2 doors down" feeling. Espresso Roma didn't have that. It was unique, it was big. People from the neighborhood studied, talked, sketched, goofed off on their computers, read books, ate LUNCH (and the food was freshly made, right there - not wrapped in cellophane in a case), ate dinner, sipped wine, sipped coffee. We have *nothing* like that here.

    Ah well. There's plenty to love about our new lives. Plenty of things here we didn't have there (although this winter is taking the SNOW off that list). Fortunately, at least, I was good enough about taking pictures. And I am glad that despite the circumstances that were swirling around us then (financial unrest; divorce), we all 3 have some pretty damned good memories that dominate our image of that time.
    posted by Zuska @ 3:58 PM   0 comments
    Waiting is Done.
    I received my "grades." In 3 out of 4 classes, I did as I expected - I don't think for any of those 3, I expected to get our version of an A+ (Outstanding), and I didn't.

    In Tax, however, I thought it was on my horizon. I felt very comfortable with the exam, and walked out of there feeling confident.

    I got our version of a "C" (Fair). My first. I'm trying to feel upset about this, and I just ... don't. His comments were not negative at all -- they were actually FINE (or fair?) for someone NOT going into Tax, and with Tax being such a specialized field, I'm just not upset, and especially with our weird grading system, I do not think that it will reflect negatively on me for Future Firm.

    Eh, maybe this is just one of the benefits of having to wait 2 solid months to find out how you did -- you just care less.

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    posted by Zuska @ 12:54 PM   0 comments
    antsies in my pantsies
    I hate waiting. I had a decent morning with the kiddos and Beloved this a.m., a decent commute, a decent start to my work day, and THEN I remembered that I should really be getting my stupid grades in the early part of the day.

    I'm involved in a new project at work, which is growing. I now am becoming (slightly) knowledgeable on the world of Life Insurance. I'm serious, if there's an interesting set of facts behind it, I can find even the driest aspects of law exciting.

    I received my bar prep invoice via e-mail yesterday (I'm sure I'm not the only one) which prompted me to reconnect with some of my friends from the summer (since it made me think of Future Firm). I found some good ones :) Some in town, some not, but all great to hear from and catch up with, and it makes me excited for the fall.

    It snowed here this a.m. for all of 8 minutes. Stupid Non-Winter New England.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:17 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, January 18, 2007
    It is 2:02 p.m., do you know where YOUR grades are?

    I do not.

    Update (to the update) --- the announcement I predicted was made. The evals (i.e., grades) will be coming out TOMORROW, not today.

    Since we get narrative evaluations - they're long. Not just a letter to plug into a blank. I believe I said here once before - my longest was 21 pages. So WHY they thought in the first place that they'd be able to scan hundreds and hundreds of pages in one day AND email them out, I do not know. But they just posted, and said that today, they're scanning, and tomorrow they'll start e-mailing, and that they ARE going alphabetically. I do not think that the latter part of the alphabet will get their "grades" for some time. Fortunately, I'm not in the latter part. I'm not in the very beginning, either, but I think I'll get into the first day of send-pressing.


    posted by Zuska @ 2:02 PM   1 comments
    More Qs on Course Load
    They're internal, though. I don't want advice.

    I just was over at one of my favorite fellow law student blogs, and saw that Lyco is taking an INSANE amount of classes. The actual # of classes isn't so high, but her credits!!! My God!!!

    And I thought - I, too, love law school. I, too, would love to get as much out of my last quarter as possible. So I went to peak at the course schedule, and think about whether I could take 5 classes instead of 4. Right now, since all 4 that I'm planning on are 3 credits, my credits are low, again. Only 12. Which is what I need to graduate. I could take First Amendment, TOO.

    But then, in classic Zuska fashion, I vacillated. I thought - you know ... This is the last year that I'm not working full time. I ALREADY e-mailed the people in charge of the girls' play and let them know that I'm free on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to help out with play practice (70 kids are in this play - they need help!!). There are no Tuesday/Thursday classes that would make that impossible, but if I have reading for FIVE classes to keep up with, I am not sure I want to give up that 3+ hour chunk of time* twice a week.

    Although, it is only for the first 3 weeks of March, which is the very start of my quarter, and I won't yet be stressed ....

    And then there's the end of the year craziness that happens at their school. There are concerts and parties and open houses, and there will be sports, and MORE plays, and performances, and and and.

    BUT (tee hee) - I think most of that happens after I'm done. I finish a solid month before they do. I'll be in Bar Review, but that's only in the mornings.

    I think I'll register for the class, and go to it. Then I'll make my decision. If it was possible to take Trusts & Estates as the 5th class, I think it would definitely happen. But it conflicts with that seminar course I'm not willing to give up FOR THE THIRD TIME.

    * Play practice is from 2:15- 4:30, but it will take me at least 20 minutes to get to their school from mine -- unless I decide to drop the bike and my bag at home first, then it would take 30 minutes, and then at 4:30 - what am I going to do? Go back to school? No. I'm going to take my kids home with me, or to the library, or something. Whereas otherwise, on a Tuesday or Thursday, I likely wouldn't arrive at their school until 5:15-5:30 to pick them up from after-school care. In effect, I'll be leaving MY school at 1:45 instead of 5 p.m.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:33 AM   0 comments
    Random Bits
    1. I love Rufus Wainwright.
    2. My "grades" are due to be e-mailed to me either today or tomorrow. This is bad. It means that I will be obsessively (more than usual) checking my e-mail all day -- likely both days. If my school gives a window, they're going to push the very outer edge of it. I'll likely get an e-mail upon arriving HOME from work tomorrow. Either that, or I'll find a posting on my school bulletin board at 4:45 tomorrow saying that something went wrong with the software, and it won't be until next week. Yet, today, I start being obsessive. I started wondering if it could be done alphabetically, and so perhaps I *will* get mine today.
    3. Work is still busy, but I'm down to less than a month here. Which means my brain is starting to transition, and I am less excited by things.
    4. After months of a 50-70 degree winter, we were plunged into single digits for 2 or 3 days. Today, we're climbing out, and it may snow. But climbing out of the single digits means it's time to go back to the 40s, so our snow will melt as of 9 a.m. tomorrow, when we're back out of the freezing range. Frizzum Frazzum.
    5. I CANNOT WAIT FOR FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND. I officially declared myself a Patriots fan this year, being in the region and all. However, I've always been partial to the Colts, I am a fan of Peyton Manning (which apparently, from what I read this week on, is akin to saying, "oh, the Yankees are a really strong team!"), and I can really get behind the Saints. So I like 3/4 of the remaining teams. Perhaps it would be MORE fun if I hated the teams (like, the Raiders, or the Cowboys, or one of the Florida teams with UGLY jerseys), but I think this seems like fun.
    6. I am getting excited about going to Europe with my Beloved. It is hard not to be disappointed that circumstances make it so that we have to go at a bad time - August. It'll be hot, expensive, and crowded. But the bar exam is when it is, and my new job starts when it starts, and the girls are with their father for very small and infrequent windows. We truly have no choice, and I believe we will have a great time.
    7. Beloved told me there's a way to keep my digital holiday music without having it pop up on shuffle on my pod -- I need to figure that out TONIGHT. I love the way Aimee Mann sings God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, but honestly - it's 1/18. I'm done with the Merriment and the Gentlemen.
    8. "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me" is stuck in my head. Now everyone reading this knows what I did last night.

    I must go do some reading about Qualified Immunity.


    posted by Zuska @ 8:32 AM   0 comments
    Wednesday, January 17, 2007
    Getting there ....
    I have been working on a project for one of the attorneys at this firm that has required me to be a little devious. Not so much ... we just don't want the people I'm calling to know that I'm at this firm. So I've been trying to play a little dumb, I've been using my cell phone rather than the work phone, and I've been pretty much trying to pass myself off as a "concerned citizen" rather than someone at a law firm. It's perfectly appropriate, since it's all state agencies that I'm dealing with and trying to elicit information from on state processes and such.

    Today, one of the people I've been trying to reach for a WEEK finally called me back. He did ask me right out, though, who the heck I am. He asked if I was with a Town Selectman's office, or if I was just "a citizen." I said, "yeah" to being just a citizen. He said, "Oh, I never know who I'm talking to, and you sounded so official on your message, like a lawyer."

    Tee hee.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:12 AM   0 comments
    So What????
    When I was getting ready this a.m., it was 9 degrees outside, with a windchill of -7.

    When I got to the T stop this a.m., I had just missed a train. I waited a full 14 minutes before the next one came by, but it didn't stop. It rolled right on by.

    A solid 10 minutes later, another came along - and it was PACKED. Every stop was more crowded than usual, and the train was stuffed to its gills by the time we got 2 stops further - not yet to the center of my smaller outlying town.

    By the time we got to one of the final stops before going underground, a large burly boy, who sounded much like Philip Seymour Hoffman, was standing in the doorway (with at least a dozen other people), and basically telling people at all the stops that there was no room. He was, for the most part, correct. I was a bit away from the door, and could not see everybody there, but the train was packed. At one stop, someone asked, "could you move in?" and burly-boy said, "there's no where for us to go, sorry." (Not that he really tried.)

    So at this final above-ground stop, a girl who was waiting said, "you need to move in." Burly-boy persisted with the "there's no where to go." The girl says: I'm pregnant, and I just can't stand out here any longer!

    From another part of the train, someone (female) says "so what!" That enrages one of the door people (female), who says, "So WHAT? Jesus! I will get off!" and so one of those wedged into the door area got OFF the train so that pregnant girl could get on. She then leaned up against the doors as they shut, and while I couldn't see her, she sounded like she was crying.

    5 minutes of silence ensued, where everybody on the train was stealing furtive glances at the others who were stuck being part of a species, a crowd, a mob, that they were embarrassed to be a part of themselves.

    Eventually, burly-boy says to the girl: "Well, congratulations, at least."

    "Thanks," she said. "I'm 6 weeks along."
    posted by Zuska @ 8:57 AM   1 comments
    Every quarter, since my first year of school, I've had to choose my classes based on name and course description only until about 6 weeks before the quarter starts, when they release the actual calendar. Every time, I've had the understanding that it could very well happen that the course schedule could make it so that 3 of my desired courses are being taught at the same time, and I'd have to readjust my thinking.

    I've also known, every quarter, that it is possible that a class I *really* want to/have to take is offered at the world's shittiest time.

    But it's never happened. Other than the fall of my 2L year, when I chose Family Law over Balancing Security & Liberty (and it was a bad choice, at that), I haven't really had conflicts.

    Now, however, I do.

    This is the last quarter I can finally take that damned class, and of COURSE, it's at the same time as Trusts and Estates. Damnit. (okay, not the EXACT same time - Balancing Security & Liberty is at 8:00 on T, Th; Trusts and Estates is at 8:30 on T,Th, F).

    Also, Securities Regulations, which is my one absolute MUST class this quarter, is from 5-6:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Who me? Have a family? Couldn't be. (grrr, argh). It will be fine. At least it isn't until 7:30, or 8:30 or even 9:30, which I've had to deal with in the past.

    Advice, please? Should I take the bar course (Trusts and Estates), which is 4 credits, supposed to be relatively "easy" (short 1-2 papers due each week, with ONE of them expanded and improved upon as a final grade), or a "fun" course which will most assuredly be a paper course.

    I also have to eliminate either Intellectual Property, First Amendment, or International Law. I'm thinking of going with the "things I may be able to use in the future" and getting rid of 1st Am. I've had to do several 1st Am projects on co-op, and have done fine without the course. I'm pretty sure IP is staying - not only do I think it will come in handy, but it's my first year property professor who is teaching, and I love her. International Law is the same prof who taught me Corps, and honestly, I didn't think so highly of him (to say the least). However, this will be a smaller class, and I'm hoping for different.

    If I get rid of 1st Am., I could have gym time (I like exercising in the morning). International Law is at noon on Mondays and Weds., and that would be my first class on those days.

    Decisions, decisions.

    But again, advice? Please? Especially from those who have taken the bar exam - how useful was taking Trusts and Estates in school? For those who didn't take it - did you wish that you did? I know not all states are the same, but still.

    Update: I am liking the look of my schedule with Balancing Security & Liberty; International Law; Intellectual Property; and Security Regulations. Unfortunately, I have ONE class on T/Th (no matter which I pick), and everything else is Monday/Wednesday. But the one class is 1st thing in the morning, and then I have the rest of the day free. Maybe I'll even help out with the girls' play practices during the first part of the quarter, before things get hairy at my school.

    We also have a bar prep course that is offered for free (and no credits) on Friday afternoons from 1:45 - 4:45. I think I'm going to plan on attending. Maybe that will make up for any hypothetical decision I make to say NO to T&E in favor of the fun class.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:49 AM   1 comments
    Tuesday, January 16, 2007
    A Dose of Reality
    Today, my phone rang at 3:38. "Zuska, we have to file these papers by 5, and I need a few quick research things done, do you have 20 minutes or so?" Sure, I say, I do. But at 3:58 (20 minutes later), we were working on revisions, and I was proofing the briefs. Then my phone rang again, a different person, "Zuska, we are in a real tough spot here, and need some emergency research, can you come down and talk to me?" I explain ... brief due at 5, helping out with some last minute reviews, can I be there in 10 minutes? Yes, I can.

    Well, the second assignment was NOT proof-reading. Some folks were in trial all day, had a wacky issue thrown at them, and needed some kind of answer ASAP. Which they got ... at 7:30 p.m. I mean, it was a REALLY wacky issue. It was so wacky, it had never been touched on in my state. So I had to cobble some different things together from multiple sources, and come up with a persuasive "argument." Rather than authority.

    What was I *supposed* to be doing at 7:30? Oh, cleaning the kitchen up after dinner. Which I was to buy on the way home. You know, dinner? For my family?

    Fortunately, my Beloved is a wonderful wonderful person who didn't seem to even BLINK when he got the call that I had an emergency at work and couldn't leave. The girls were already slated to meet him at a convenient spot (e. is old enough now to leave after-school care on her own, go pick up her sister, and take her home or other places. It's always been other (closer) places thus far. I'm not quite ready to have latch-key kids.)

    All reports are that they had a great time, and were happy and not upset about my absence. Which is a good thing.

    I told them when I got home, "if I were a real lawyer already, in the midst of a trial, I would be getting home, oh, 6 hours from now."

    I really did get have an e-mail in my inbox this a.m. that was date-stamped 3:41 a.m. And that wasn't for the trial going on THIS week, it was for the one in two weeks.

    What have I gotten myself into?


    posted by Zuska @ 10:03 PM   0 comments
    I am not sure if I miss the Berkeley-Zuska, who watched no television. I am enjoying having a few shows that I watch.

    I am HUGELY tempted to watch American Idol for the first time this year - and to do it with the girls. Beloved is not happy about the idea, but I'm still pondering. I know when I was their age, I did have weekly shows that I watched with the family, and I enjoyed it. We have no shows that we watch together -- which I like. So do I want to trade the girls' non-t.v. culture (for the most part) for something that I enjoyed as a kid?

    The point of this post, however, is NOT a show I will be watching with the girls. It's to express my displeasure with 24. Not enough displeasure to even CONSIDER not watching the show - but displeasure nonetheless.

    First of all, I am displeased with the "more of the same." I read somewhere that it was NOT more of the same this year. That it was "different" and "brand new." Oh, really? So chasing multiple suitcase nukes around L.A. is "so different" than chasing multiple canisters of nerve gas around L.A.? Or chasing the fix to nuclear meltdowns of power plants? I think it's just like both of those seasons - first there's one catastrophe. And you think, "well, if this just happened, what will happen in the OTHER 20 hours?" And it's the same thing, "oh, but this was not the only one! There are 4 more! he he he."

    And, I was unhappy that they started the season with a middle-eastern family which is made up of at least one terrorist AGAIN. They did that last year!!

    I also found myself confused as to what political message the show is trying to send. Beloved said they're NOT - they're just taking every present-day situation to a logical end. But we see a family standing by a boy of obvious middle-eastern descent, just to have a gun turned on them and their lives threatened; we see blatant extremism as to the obliteration of our civil liberties portrayed as a negative thing - and then potential evidence that the suspension in those liberties is effective (i.e., men in the "detention center" talking about the bombs that are planned and clearly being on the inside of terrorist networks). I just couldn't figure it out, and it was bugging me. (that's an e. thing to say "she is bugging me lately" "he is bugging me." "that is bugging me" -- everything bugs her).

    I did, however, almost cry when Jack shot Curtis. I have always loved Curtis. I don't want him to be dead. I also liked that Jack was affected by it. Maybe we all need a little Chinese torture in our lives, so we can all be a little more human.

    Next Monday, Heroes is back, opposite of 24. Heroes will be an iTunes acquisition for me. Now I want one of those new Apple thingies that connect the computer to the t.v. Or else, I would, if I had a modern television, but I do not. And it is super low on my priority list. SUPER LOW.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:52 AM   0 comments
    More on travel
    I meant to address this in the last post, but I ended up going on a typical oldest-child guilt fest rant instead.

    Beloved and I still plan to go to Europe after the bar exam. I am really excited, and getting moreso now that it's actually 2007. We were talking some last night. I was trying to decide if I should grow my hair long again for the trip, or keep it short until? Beloved thinks I should keep it short, since showers are different over there, and having to wash my very thick hair while long could be a pain in the ass without the water pressure I'm used to. I think I'll do that - keep it short for a while.

    We were also talking about how we both would like to lose weight before our trip. And how it would be fun to not bring clothes, but rather shop as we go. That, of course, brings up my anxiety about $$$.

    $$$$ sucks. It almost sucks MORE knowing that a healthier income is in my future. I won't be starting work until months after I take the bar exam, and that includes the first part of the girls' school year, which is always expensive. I need to buy school clothes, and sign them up for their acting classes, pay for their after-school program, and on and on. It's crazy-expensive!! And I will have no income!! Nice.

    Really, I'm freaking out over nothing. Between the bar loan I'm planning on taking and the advance on my salary from Future Firm, I should be more than fine. I just need to take deep breaths, and not use retail therapy to get over bar exam stress ... but rather, exercise therapy. If I am worried about the exam, I'll go for a run, not to

    And then all will be well.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:26 AM   0 comments
    Traveling and lack of sleep.
    I slept HORRIBLY last night. Just horribly. I cannot think of a reason why - it felt like insomnia, through and through. I had nothing on my mind. I had gotten up at a reasonable hour yesterday a.m. I had a slight stomachache, which may have had something to do with it. I ended up going out onto the couch - just hoping that a change of venue would help.

    I remember when I was a kid (teen) and had trouble sleeping now and again, I would switch my head to the foot of my bed, b/c sometimes, just a break in the tossing and turning in the same damn spot helped. I can't really do that when sharing a bed with another adult. So I went out to the couch. Where I don't sleep well in general ... but at least I slept at all.

    Beloved and I keep having to re-write our plans for the whole knot-tying event. This is its third version, I believe? I had to cry uncle, financially, on a trip to Niagara. Kids are expensive, ex's who don't pay child support on time increase the burden, and I just don't see us having an extra THOUSAND dollars (at the very least ... that's just the hotel and airfare) to go to Niagara Falls in a month.

    So now we're hoping to go back to our first date - February 2 - and go to Cape Cod to have a Justice of the Peace do it for us. Kids will still come, we will drive instead of fly, and perhaps stay one night, rather than two. Details have yet to be worked out, though. Stay tuned.

    This offends my mother. The idea of Beloved and I going and getting married elsewhere without fanfare or, most importantly, guests. In some ways, I feel badly for her. I know she wants to be included, and I'm sure it's hard for her that she can't be. But I don't feel that I need to include her. And I'm not going to. My mother has an increasing habit of taking things over. Of deciding what "needs" to be done, when in fact, it is only a statement of her own preferences. Furthermore, I am not interested in her disapproval of the fact that our ceremony will have not a single DROP of god in it.

    She's actually already made it known what I "need" to be doing - I "need" to go to my home town (where she lives) and get married at the park near the house, by a waterfall:

    what? didn't I say I wanted to get married near a water fall? Oh, I guess I forgot to say I meant this:

    A wee bit of a difference, no?

    And I "need" to be married by her pastor (ex soap opera star gone born-again), and I "need" to have a party with all of her brothers, sisters, wives, husbands and kids afterward.

    My mom has lost track of my "needs" over time, and somehow morphed them into her own.

    Almost as frustrating as her declarations that I "need" a house with a study, 5 bedrooms, and 15 closets. Oh, and a yard. I am just as quick to say that I am sick and tired of my small space, and of my kids sharing a room, and of not having anywhere to put my 10,000 pairs or shoes or 5,000 bags. But I understand that what I *need* is a place that my family and I are comfortable, that we are warm, and safe, and happy. We need beds, and we need food. We have all those things. I WANT a bigger home. I don't NEED one.

    Now I feel bad for complaining about my Mom. I am probably being ultra-defensive, knowing that it hurts her feelings that we ARE doing this wedding-thing on our own. She did make comments as to who would be our witness -- to the ceremony -- "some stranger off the street?"
    I'm probably also very sensitive to the fact that this entire situation highlights the ideological differences between my parents and myself. That's what makes me so sure that I do want to do it on our own. I don't want our vows to become something that makes people all weepy, or that people throw confetti at. It's not how I see this. It's not a giant validation of my relationship "in the eyes of the Lord" as it will be to my mother/parents. I don't want to have people sighing in relief that their daughter is no longer "living in sin" and that their granddaughters are no longer being given the world's vilest example.

    I also feel that my mom will probably stumble across the blog eventually, and I really don't want to be unfair to her. She really has been quite supportive of Beloved and I - both my parents have been - despite the fact that they do not understand our decisions and way of thinking. They have been very accepting of him and our relationship as it is. They know that they do not have the experiences that I do (i.e., failed marriage and divorce), and I think they've tried very hard.

    I guess it just comes down to a recognition that I feel guilty, but not enough to change my plans or my mind.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:01 AM   1 comments
    Monday, January 15, 2007
    Yummy Meme
    I have been tagged! She Says found this delightful food-based meme, and tagged me with specific instructions to pass it along to my Beloved. Done.

    1. If you were stuck on an island and could only eat one cuisine (e.g., French, Italian, etc.) for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?

    Wow. That's hard. I hate to say this, really, but I think I'd choose classic American foods. I think it would be hardest for me to give up things like juicy steak, burgers and fries and Mac & cheese (contradicts my answer to #4) -- FOREVER. Saying this makes me feel very middle-america.

    2. What is the most unusual food you've eaten?
    I had a brain of some sort. I don't remember what sort ... but it was when I was visiting a family friend in Spain. It's actually a horrible memory, b/c our friend had always talked about eating (I believe it was brain of Lamb) when visiting us in Connecticut, and I always made it clear that I was NOT interested. When I went to Spain to spend time with her and her family, she "tricked" me and served me a breaded dish and told me it was "fish." I ate it, and I didn't like it. It was mushy, and distinctly NOT fish-like. When she told me it was brain, I was quite upset. Funny -- my parents just went to Spain this past fall to attend this friend's wedding, and they met her parents for the first time, and they told her that they were SOOO upset when I was there, b/c after that "trick" - I stopped eating. I wouldn't eat anything. I didn't remember that, and felt kind of bad that they remembered it that way. I was a jerk, really.

    3. What is the most unusual food you've eaten and liked?
    For me, back in 1999, it was very unusual for me to eat raw fish. Sushi is now an absolute favorite of mine and my daughters'. I'm really having a mental block on other unusual foods right now.

    4. What foods will you avoid eating (either because of a dietary choice or allergies or just plain don't like)?

    I try to stay away from pure starches. Pasta, white breads, white potatos, rice. I can't always (and don't always want to) avoid them -- but if I am able to make a choice as to what to eat, I will choose things that are not heavy on the white flour/white starch. The reason? In 1999/2000, I lost my baby-weight by cutting out these white flour starches, and I felt healthier than I ever had before. I looked good, I had less stomach-aches and gas, and was generally happier with my body.

    5. Do you cook (and by that, I mean prepare a meal that you'd serve to friends)?
    I am capable. I cooked for my family (extended) on Christmas Eve, and did a good job. Otherwise, we don't do much entertaining, mostly b/c of law school, kids, and a small apartment. When we are ready to do entertaining, I would be willing to cook for friends. Despite the fact that Beloved is the primary cook in our house for day-to-day, I think I would be the one who is more likely to cook for company.

    6. If yes, what is your favorite dish to prepare to impress someone?
    I used to always make stuffed mushrooms when I was going to people's houses and asked to bring a dish, and that is one of the things I made this past Christmas, and I still have the knack for them, apparently. I have also just picked recipes that look good from magazines and cook books, and had success.

    7. When you go to a restaurant, what's your ordering strategy/preference?
    I am so mood-driven. If I'm in a red meat mood, that's all that I even look at. I tend NOT to order fish at restaurants, b/c I fear it will be too dry or too fishy or too something, and I won't like it. I do tend to have favorites at a restaurant, and order that every time. I fear trying something new and hating it ... I don't go out often enough to waste the opportunity!

    8. Have you ever returned a dish or wine to the kitchen at a restaurant? Why?
    Once, at Applebys (I know, I know, what do I expect?) I returned a dish b/c mixed in with the spinach artichoke dip was a healthy-sized peice of plastic wrap. That was the last time I set foot in one of those restaurants. I wouldn't have been there then, if it weren't for the fact that it was my parents' choice, and going to one of their "safe places" is sometimes easier than forcing something different (for them). Another time, at another chain restaurant, my food was cold in the center. I complained, but didn't have time to send it back.

    9. How many cookbooks do you own?
    We probably have 10-15? We use them rarely, except for the [Better Homes & Gardens?] I like magazines (Cooking Light remains my favorite for at least 10 years now), and the internet.

    10. What is one food that you wouldn't want to live without?
    Cheese. Either as a snack or as a compliment to my food. I love cheese. On everything. I am so grateful that I am not Jewish.

    I already tagged Beloved, and I'd like to see also what Lyco has to say on the topic of food. All are welcome to tease me for my answer to #1. I must say, I surprised myself.

    Labels: ,

    posted by Zuska @ 1:50 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, January 13, 2007
    Stolen Meme
    No one (that I know of) tagged me with this, and I want to do it. So there. The world is welcome to take it from me.

    1. What was your first job (not including babysitting, etc...Job = taxes being deducted)?

    When I was 13, I started to work for my dad's company on Saturdays. My mother got sick of me not ever wanting to do anything yet always complaining that I was bored. I believe also that one summer, I had to work there 3 or 4 days a week as a punishment of some sort. Probably for getting Cs on my report card. I don't know.

    But you know what? They paid me under the table. So ...

    When I was 15, I worked or a pharmacy in my small town. I had to get special working papers, since I was under 16, and worked a few days a week. I had fun there. I got to know some seniors (I was a sophomore), one of which I went from a scary situation where she HATED me, and talked about beating me up at school. One day, I got to school early, and was walking down the hall and heard her talking about me. Over the next year, however, we ended up friends, and I liked her.

    I also had a paper route when I was 11 or 12, but they made me RUN all over this old person condo complex and I couldn't do it.

    2. How old were you?

    Like I said, 12, 13, 15.

    3. What is the worst job you have ever had? Why?

    My first job after the ex and i split up. I worked for a real FUCKER. There's no other word for him. he was an ASS. he was a lawyer. He was an ammoral, lying, stealing, cheating FUCKER.

    4. What is the best job you've ever had? Why?

    I could say the summer job, b/c they paid me tons to do nothing and then took me out to fancy lunches, dinners and shows and stuff ... but I like the work I'm doing right now a LOT (which I'll probably do there, too, in the future). I also LOVED my job at the book store. I loved it.

    5. What is the oddest job you've ever had?

    When I worked for myself, I did both paralegal and transcription work. While "transcription" tends to sound dry - I did it for sociology students and professors. One of the students did a research project on "sex workers" and interviewed them. To find out about their work. To call that job "odd" is quite the understatement.

    6. What is your dream job? And it has to actually exist somewhere.

    I always think it would be working for myself, crafting my own schedule, and doing appeals work on constitutional issues. But I don't really like working for myself. It's lonely. I think my ideal job has most to do with diversity and independence. If I could do appellate work 1/2 time, and child welfare 1/2 time. That would be fun. I also think it would be fun to have my own store. And to be an author.

    7. How long is the longest you've worked for an organization?

    2 years. Unless you count my dad's company, b/c I did that on and off from the time I was 13 until I was in my early 20s. But it was just on and off.

    8. What is the shortest period you've held a job?

    Not counting temp work, which I did many summers in college? I think around 6 months. It has happened many times. At least three. Once when I graduated from college and moved home for 6 months before getting married (as an Administrative Assistant for a utility company - and I lied to them so I'd get the job - I didn't tell them I was getting married and moving to Alabama); once when the ex was in London and I lived with my parents (I was a proofreader and eventually writer for an on-line publication); and then when I worked for the FUCKER (see above) My choice there was to either quit or get arrested for throwing dangerous objects at my employer. God, I hated that man.

    9. Have you worked in food service, retail, telemarketing or any other job that required that either you be nice to people and/or stand on your feet most of the time (for notsomuch money)?

    More than once. I worked in the pharmacy (see above), and I worked at a Barnes & Noble. The pharmacy was not as fun - probably b/c when I had to shelve stuff, it was post-it notes and soap. When I had to shelve at the bookstore, it was interesting things that I would keep track of in my head so I could buy it with my discount. Unless I was stuck in computers. But usually, I whined my way out of that (yeah, I was 28 when I worked there, and still whining).

    10. How many states have you worked in? Have you worked in any other countries?

    I worked in Connecticut, Virginia, Alabama, California, Massachusetts. While in Connecticut (the last time) and in California, I did work for people all over the country, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida and Michigan. They would send me stuff fed ex, I would do it, and e-mail the product to them (mostly summarizing arbitration hearing transcripts, sometimes other stuff, too).

    11. Have you ever dated or otherwise "gotten involved" with a co-worker?

    Once. I'm slated to marry him some time next month. Although, we didn't really get involved until after I left the job. But, still. I'd say yeah.

    12. Ever worked as a camp counselor in the summer?


    13. Any embarrasing on-the-job anectodes?

    I cannot think of anything right now.

    14. If you won the lottery for uber bucks, would you continue working?

    I think I would. Traveling would be my biggest pull. Sitting at home all day? Not so much.

    15. If no, what would you do?

    Travel. Probably do more volunteer stuff around the kids' school. Hopefully find some other volunteer organization to donate my time to - something related to child welfare.

    16. Ever had a job that requires you to wear a uniform?


    17. Ever worked for a boss that was younger than you?

    Hell yeah. Since I'm in law school, and coming up, I have and will be working for many people younger than me. I did not before ... but now, I'm the age of most partners, if not older. I am older than both my supervisors were at Summer Firm. I am working closely with at least one associate right now who is definitely younger than me. I have never had a problem (thus far) and never feel like I'm being ordered around by little brats. First of all, I'm not ordered around -- everyone's always been respectful.

    18. What's the longest commute you've had? The shortest?

    When I lived at home between college and marriage I worked 45-60 minutes away. With traffic, it was longer.

    The shortest was when I worked at home.

    19. Any "worst job ever" anecdotes?

    The fucker I worked for once asked me to go and pick up his dry cleaning, and said, "you know, the next time you go out for a cigarette break." I said, "I don't smoke." (I had worked for him for approx 4 months at that point.) His response? "You don't smoke? I thought all secretaries smoked."

    Another time, he said something ... I do not know what ... and turned around to walk back to his office, and I almost .... seriously ALMOST .... threw my pen at the back of his head. He was such an ass!!

    And, he did commit some serious misdeeds involving people's trusts. A grandmother and grandfather came in one day to amend their trust to pretty much exclude their fuck-up grandson. The grandmother died 6 days later. The grandfather was suffering from some unpredictible dimensia. The FATHER of the grandson came in to see my boss, and shortly thereafter, my boss handed me the amendment to the trust and told me to throw it away. I made a copy and hid it in my drawer. Later, another of the grandparents' childrens protested, saying that they KNEW this amendment had been signed, and the grandfather also stated that HE remembered signing it. I wonder if the situation ever exploded?

    I don't know, b/c I quit shortly after I almost threw the pen at his head.

    20. Ever work in an organization where one of your co-workers were caught in a scandal?

    Yeah, but it wasn't too major. Oh, twice. Once, at the pharmacy, one of the pharmacists hadn't shown up for work. A coworker went to his house to see if he was okay - he had NEVER not shown up. He spoke to the landlord, and was let into the apartment to check on the pharmacist. The pharmacist had gone into diabetic shock, and was passed out. The scandal part? His apartment was BURSTING with stolen items from the pharmacy. BURSTING. Including cash.

    At one of the law firms I'd worked at, a younger attorney was fired for reading confidential documents that were stored on teh computer system. The suspicion was that she was leaking information to the other side of the deal that was going on.

    21. Have you ever been fired? What for? If not, have you ever been severely reprimanded?

    I was once fired for a reason which was untrue - and admittedly so. I was working at a firm and had just been given a 3 week leave of absence, and then a week later, I was called into the office and fired for a stated reason. I was given a large severance package, and allowed to resign. Phone calls were then made to get me another job, and through phone calls between the firing and new employer, the following was said to be the reason:

    They had a secretary with rheumatoid arthitis, and who would not quit. They could not fire her for some reason (ADA?) and were sick of accommodating her. Therefore, they fired 4 other people along with her for this other stated reason. I was chosen because 1) I was taking that leave of absence, and 2) they knew I was on short time, b/c my husband was in law school and I planned on going to school (I used to spend all my time there studying for the GRE ... no, that was NOT the stated reason). One was chosen because she was relatively new, and hadn't been working out so well. Another had been missing a lot of time because of an ill child. We were all given the same false reason.

    The firm I next went to I was sort of reprimanded - I wasn't given a bonus. Neither I or the attorney I worked with got along well with the office manager. When it was bonus time, I was told that I wouldn't be getting a bonus, b/c "I hadn't created enough documents." The document system tracked how many each person created, and I had a very low number.

    Now, I worked my ASS off at that job. I worked late, I worked weekends, I did the work of two people (there were four people in our "team"--- two lawyers and two support people. The other support person was brand new, and had just finished getting her paralegal certificate. She had never worked in a law office in her life. I ended up doing a LOT of her work, as well as my own). I also did very good work. The partner I worked with was constantly asking me to hurry up and go to law school so we could leave that firm and start our own.

    HOWEVER - most of the stuff I did involved taking a document that the partner I worked with "created" and then fixing it up, filling in blanks, and completing what had to be done. She would write a motion with just bullet points, and have me fill it all in. Therefore, I did not "create documents." Also, during that year, my boss ran for the president of the city's bar association, and I spent 80% of my time working on that ... which probably didn't include "creating documents."

    When I told her what happened with the office manager, she wrote me a check out of her personal checkbook, and apologized and told me it was her fault, b/c of HER battle with the office manager (the only two women in a deep south law firm, both competing for power with the male partners .... only my boss wasn't SLEEPING with them).

    It was these two experiences, back-to-back, that turned me off of law firms and the practice of law for a long time. I left the second one when I moved to CA, while 8 months pregnant. That was in 1996.

    All should feel welcome to steal the meme!!


    posted by Zuska @ 1:41 PM   0 comments
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