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, February 28, 2007
    I'm not completely inept
    As anyone who reads regularly knows, my husband is the cook in our house. He does a great job, is adventurous in his cooking, and often pleases all of the famberly with his creations.

    Every now and then, I like to make a go of it myself in the kitchen. Now that I'm done working full time and have a decent school schedule, I told him I will cook on Tuesdays and Thursdays.* He works on those days, and it seems fair. I also can pick the girls up early on those days, and they're fun to plan and cook with.

    Yesterday was the first of my scheduled cooking days. I didn't know what I was going to cook until approx. 11 a.m. that day - which just proves that Beloved and I share zero genetic material. He plans out all the meals on the weekend, and does his shopping all at once. I know that's the right way to do it - but I can't do it that way, and never could. It's part of why I so willingly abdicated the realm of the kitchen to his rule.

    I made a sirloin steak with oven roasted potatoes and fresh green beans. What made the meal a hit was the Tarragon Garlic Sauce. It was drizzled (or rather, plopped) on the steak and potatoes, and seemed to be a hit for the girls as well as Beloved. Today, the sauce served as salad dressing on my steak salad.

    I enjoyed cooking last night - it went well. J. helped by prepping the beans, and I had all my timing right (another reason why I often suck at cooking --- things are NEVER ready at the same time). Beloved did help to assure me that the steak was properly cooked toward the end of the process, but he didn't have to step in and take over (like he has on past occasions).

    I did think, however, that it would have gone great with a glass of wine. Damn.

    *Oftentimes, because Beloved works late on Thursdays, I "cook" by saying to the girls, "who's in the mood for sushi!!??" Or, "hey, let's go to Chef Chow's tonight!" Thereby forcing my darling beloved to fend for himself when he gets home later in the evening. But we always have leftovers, so I know he's fine. Tomorrow is one of these times --- the girls and I are going out for sushi.


    posted by Zuska @ 1:04 PM   0 comments
    my poor baby
    Well, J. had her dentist appointment this a.m. My fears were unfounded - the dentist in the middle of the country did NOT pull a good tooth. It's in there. Way up there.

    The dentist today said since it seems like it's been up there for a long time (her other front tooth has been in for 1.5 yeras, at least), it will likely NOT come down on its own - even if we do move the tooth below it out of the way.

    He explained adult teeth coming in like a rocket taking off -- when it's ready, it has the energy to come down - but if something's blocking it, the energy is just wasted, and there is no re-fueling.

    So it will need to be pulled down.

    How? You may ask?

    Well, my poor, sweet little girl will need her gum sliced open, and will need to have a braces bracket put on her tooth that is currently way up high in the gum, and it will need to be pulled down that way.

    I don't understand.

    Will her gum STAY sliced open? Will they close it again? With the braces on it?

    Tomorrow is the orthodontic consultation - many strings were pulled to get it for tomorrow instead of June 6. I made the appointment for 1 p.m., so J. and I could get back to school in time for the play practice that she has and that I'm volunteering at.

    Then I got home, and Beloved reminded me that she has a field trip tomorrow. That she's been looking forward to for a long time. If I pick her up at noon to get to a 1 p.m. appointment - well, she'd have to miss the field trip.

    The child is going through too much right now to miss her a field trip on top of it.

    So I called and changed the appointment to 3 p.m., and we're both missing play practice.

    So now the play people can hate me.

    Better than my daughter having more crap placed on top of her current crap-pile.

    I mean, seriously - they're slicing open her gums!!!! The least she can do is go see a play first.

    We will also decide (with the orthodontist and the dentist) whether these braces will also take care of her incredible overbite, or if we'll put that off until later.

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    posted by Zuska @ 11:30 AM   5 comments
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007
    Now, that was fun!
    I picked the girls up when school got out today, which is a very rare ocassion. They typically go to their after-school program, and often have other activities at the school which they leave the after school program for, and then return when they're done. J. takes classes in knitting and magic tricks, and she has play (she is only in the chorus, because she's in 3rd grade) and E. has her play rehearsal a few times a week. Today, neither of them had anything, and I have a week off. I arrived at the school at 2:05 -- so they spent 5 minutes at their after-school programs.

    We took a nice slow walk for the entire width of our town, from our area on the southern edge to the very northern edge of town - where J. had a 3:00 hair appointment. The girls are fun to be with. They have good senses of humor and are happy and fun to talk with. The walk went quickly.

    J. got her hair cut, and she looks great. Her hair cutter remembered her, and didn't charge us for the hair cut. She said she overcharged us last time (how did she remember? It was November!), and so this time, it's free. I tipped her, thanked her, and went to Gap Kids to look and see what was on sale. I picked up a couple fresh tops for them both, and then we hopped on the T to another outer edge of town, to go to Whole Foods.

    We walked in our door at 4:30 - which is amazingly early compared to our usual 6:15 or 6:20. E. is trying to finish up her last of 25 books that she's reading for school (The Massachusetts Book Awards books - she will then get to vote on which book gets the award, IF she passes the test.) Now the girls are doing homework and reading, and I'm posting and getting ready to do some maintenance on the blog.

    Very nice afternoon, and oh-so-peaceful.

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    posted by Zuska @ 4:33 PM   1 comments
    Damn that nap
    Remember, earlier, when I said I enjoyed a nap this morning, and that I didn't feel guilty?

    While I didn't feel guilty then, i am certainly regretting it now. It's 1:02 a.m., and I am nowhere near tired. I tried to go to sleep with Beloved, but ended up tossing and turning like crazy, so left him in peace to fall asleep while I came out to the living room to whine about people telling me how young I look. I may have another go at sleep soon ... I need to resist the nap tomorrow. I need to go to the gym.


    posted by Zuska @ 1:01 AM   0 comments
    It really doesn't feel like a compliment
    I was walking home with the girls today, and as we passed our Town Library, I saw a woman who I had never formally met, but had dealings with around a school (kids) event she coordinated. I had done a wee bit of volunteer work, and then turned her down on doing more, since the end of the co-op was nearing and I was quite overwhelmed.

    She looked at me and did a slight double-take, but didn't say anything. I walked by before I put all the pieces together, and turned around to introduce myself:

    Me: Hi, you're _____, right?
    Her: You're Zuska?
    Me: Yes, I am [I shake her hand], nice to meet you.
    Her: I was going to say something as you walked by, and I thought to myself, "boy, she sure looks like those kids," but you looked so young, I figured you were just the babysitter. You look so young!"
    Me: No, they're definitely mine.
    Both of us: blah blah blah blah.

    Really, I get this all the time. Over this past co-op, I worked with a woman who's been practicing since 1998, and I knew that meant she was approximately my age. I had talked to her briefly a few times, where it came out that I had children, and how old they are. MUCH later, as we were forced to spend some idle time together, it came out (to her) that we both graduated high school in 1990. Then came the usual, "oh! you're my age! I was wondering how you had a 10 year old, but I figured it wasn't any of my business!"

    If I had E. when I was a teenager, and then had J. when I was a teenager, and somehow still went to college and law school, I would be damned proud of myself. So I think that if people are making that assumption, it shouldn't bother me - if that were me, I would be an impressive person.

    But it isn't me.

    According to the standards of the legal world, I was young when I had E. I was 24. Most (not all) female attorneys graduated law school when they were 24. They weren't poppin' out the little ones. So to them, even 24 is young to have kids. Same thing in my town. It is populated by professors and doctors and judges and lawyers and executives and artists and other people with successful careers (or else they couldn't afford to live here .... like me). They, for the most part, didn't have their babies at 24. More like 34, if not 44.

    But I'm not too young to be a mother to my kids. I'm not as young as a babysitter. The problem is, I look young for my age, and since my age is already a wee young, I end up looking way young.

    I may end up dying my hair GREY. Just so people can stop assuming I'm the babysitter.

    I think it's rude for people to assume anything, and especially rude for them to carry on about how young I look and how they thought I was the babysitter -- I often feel like it's laced with judgment. I don't know the people who make these comments. Once I introduce myself, and I shake your hand, and you know I'm their mom, why do you have to go back and comment on your previous assumptions?

    At school (mine), I know that people assume I'm their age. And their eyes do pop out of their heads when I say I have a 10 year old. In that setting, I don't mind just saying, "I'm 34" as I see them try to process the information. They then exhibit obvious relief - the tension just drains out of their faces and shoulders. And then I get to spend all my time feeling old.

    Really, I just can't win. I'm too young in one place, too old in the other.


    posted by Zuska @ 12:43 AM   2 comments
    Monday, February 26, 2007
    Wednesday Appointment
    I'm bringing J. to the dentist on Weds. morning. I'm really pretty nervous.

    She had oral surgery over the summer -- the dentist she had seen in the middle of the country said that she had an "extra tooth" and it needed to be pulled so that her adult teeth could come in.

    The surgery went pretty well, she was a real trooper. Pretty quick after the surgery, one of the two teeth which were supposed to be "freed" by this tooth's disappearance started to come in. It seemed to be coming in at the very center of where the 2 should come in.

    8 months later - there's still only the one tooth. It doesn't seem to be a front tooth, but it's in the place of a front tooth. Nothing else is coming.

    In another area, an adult tooth is coming in and breaking through the gum on top of the baby tooth - the baby tooth isn't even wiggly. I hear this is relatively common, and I'm not too concerned about it.

    The other "missing tooth," however, makes me really nervous.

    Isn't it funny that she used to have an "extra tooth" but now she has a "missing tooth"? It seems super odd to me.

    She also has a pretty serious overbite, and her one true "front tooth" sits funny in her mouth. I know she'll eventually need orthodontic work, but wonder if her issues are severe enough to warrant earlier intervention than I'd typically be comfortable with.

    Which is why we're going to the dentist. I'm nervous.

    And I am pretty sure she is, too.


    posted by Zuska @ 9:07 PM   1 comments
    Every now and then I wonder if I was sane, back in the days when I was home all the time and unhappy with the arrangement. Days when work or school is dragging, and the things I have to do are less interesting and feeling repetitive, I think of being home, of just cleaning the house (!!!) and reading a book, perahps going for a walk around town to pick up some groceries - and it seems so blissful.

    Inevitably, however, when I have more than say, 3 days, of said "bliss," I start to feel lost. Like I have no center, and I am just wandering aimlessly. I *don't* clean, and I *don't* read ... I sort of do nothing, and then feel guilty that I've wasted a day.

    Today, however, is not Day 4. It is Day 1. It feels like bliss. I have done 4 loads of laundry; I've cleaned the kitchen, I've straightened the living room, I've brushed the cat, I've gone for a walk to get coffee, AND I went back to bed after the girls left, and didn't get back OUT of bed until noon.

    Oh yes, you read that right -- NOON. I don't feel guilty at all. Beloved and I watched the Oscars through to the end, and then stayed up for the news/weather (we got SNOW last night), and I was tired. So there.

    I don't think that come Thursday, I'll feel useless. I have a "family breakfast" for E.'s class that day at 7:30, and then have to be back at the school by 2 in order to help out with play stuff. I will be there probably until 3:30 or so, and then I may bring my girls home with me, where we'll together cook dinner. I won't have time to wander aimlessly.

    Friday morning also requires early arrival at school - this time for J's class. I will then go straight to the GYM, and then perhaps come home and try to enjoy my last day alone in the house by reading or doing one of the many other things on my list.

    I know, though, that if I did take last week off as I'd originally planned, I would have been feeling adrift. No kids around, no school stuff to do (their school ... not mine). Blech. No thanks.


    posted by Zuska @ 3:21 PM   1 comments
    No Surprises, No Real Disappointments
    Beloved and I watched the entire Oscar show. Red carpet through to the final credits. Man, I'm tired. And we have to get the girls out the door by 7:45 in the morning! Too bad we aren't still on the west coast, where it's 9:24 p.m. right now, not 12:24.

    Yeah for Al Gore!!! His little joke when he was on the stage with Leo was so cute, where he pretending that he was making an announcement (that he'd run for President), and then the "end of speech" music played before he could get it out. So cute.

    I hope to hear a real announcement soon.

    I am so happy that Helen Mirren won for The Queen. I enjoyed Departed enough, and the cast was fantastic enough, that I am not upset at all that it took best picture.

    I was a little sad that Pan's Labrynth didn't get Foreign Language Film, but it got two others, and I have heard a lot about how excellent The Lives of Others is, and can't wait to see it.

    I think my biggest disappointment would have been if the little girl in Little Miss Sunshine won - mostly because of the fact that almost *every* clip of her acting that is played is her scream. I can scream. My kids can scream. I don't think a scream makes for an Oscar.

    I also would have been very disappointed if Devil Wears Prada won anything. Meryl Streep should have been ashamed. Stupid movie.

    I hope that in the coming year I will find more opportunities to watch movies throughout the year, rather than smooshing all of my viewings into a 1 month period.

    Now we're staying up to try and get an idea of what's going on with the weather. Flights are already canceled in New York, but we're hearing that we're not getting even an inch. Shitty winter.

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    posted by Zuska @ 12:23 AM   0 comments
    Sunday, February 25, 2007
    Open Houses
    In a continuation of my obsessive behavior, J. and I stopped into a few open houses today. They were both listed as 3 bedroom condominiums - one was 1297 square feet (which I thought sounded small, but wanted to see what it looked like), and the other was 1500 square feet. Both of them were asking approx $519,000.

    The first one was weird, because you walked in the house and the first thing on your left and right were bedrooms. I don't like that. I just was thinking earlier today that one thing I don't like about our apartment is you have a clear line of sight from my entry door to my bedroom. I don't want people instantly peering at my (always) unmade bed. Get out of my room.

    But the living room and dining room were nice. They weren't too small, but I don't think I could have gone much smaller.

    It also should NOT have been listed as a 3 bedroom. Two of the bedrooms were very good sizes, but what they called a third bedroom actually seemed to be part of the master suite. It had a crib and a dresser in it, and that filled it up. There was no way a twin bed could have fit in there with room for anything , and there is no way that I could have convinced one of the girls to take the tiny room.

    The rule here (is it everywhere?) is that in order to call something a "bedroom" it has to have a window and a closet. This closet was about 8 inches deep and had shelves from floor to ceiling.

    If we had only one kid, I would have loved it. The tiny room would have been a perfect (and bigger than required) office. I don't, however, have only one kid.

    The second condo was bigger, and better suited to us:

    You walked into a living room and dining room -- it was a very open space, but the current occupants had a japanese curtain up dividing the two rooms. We probably wouldn't do that. The kitchen was little, and didn't have a gas range (a requirement for Beloved).

    You then proceeded down a narrow hallway lined in shelves (which I liked a LOT)...

    to two (currently) kids' rooms. They were also good sized.

    The master suite here was a loft. There were very rickety feeling spiral stairs going from the dining room (?) to the upstairs, and the stairs came out pretty much in the middle of the bedroom. The suite as a whole was nice - there was a bathroom, skylights, a huge walk in closet, and a small study.

    But the main area, where the bed goes, ONLY fit a bed. And a full sized bed at that (we have a queen). There was one alcove right under a skylight which you could not access without crawling over the bed.

    $519,000 will probably be the outside edge of what we can afford in a year. That will result in mortgage payments (including taxes and home owner insurance) of approx $3600/month. Which is really freaking high. And they're going to be places we "settle" for.


    We can rent a 4 br, up to 1800 square foot apartment for $2800/mo.

    I am thinking it will be better to keep renting, while building up a down payment and getting annual raises and bonuses. Then, in 3 years, we'll be able to buy a place that we aren't settling for.

    [some examples of the space and quality of available rentals]

    The problem that is raised with that plan ... We'll then be only 4 years from losing one of the kids to college, and 6 years from the other. So is it a worthwhile investment?

    But yet, we don't plan on kicking the girls in the pants to get them out the door right after graduation, and we would like our home to be their home throughout college. I always hated stories of people who left for college and before the car even went around the corner, their room was turned into an office or a sewing room. We don't want to do that.

    Really, I'm stressing prematurely. But I have been enjoying looking at spaces and prices, and knowing what is needed. I know how much monthly payments will be, I know that I don't like bedrooms near the entry way. The only reason, really, why I thought I could buy now is because there has been story after story about the housing market doing a nose dive in this area.

    We used to say, before the market shifted, that we would rent here, and then buy/build a second home. We've been on the fence of country v. coast. I think I may start looking at that option again.


    posted by Zuska @ 5:41 PM   4 comments
    Famberly Back Together
    Sigh. The girls are home. The world is normal again.

    Beloved and I had a fine ride to my parents' yesterday, and the ex was even a little early. Therefore, we were able to get on the road toward home even earlier. The girls were in great spirits, starving for vegetables (as usual after eating nothing but noodles while at their dad's), and a wee hyper. The drive home was also without incident.

    Two bad things happened:
    • We decided to go shopping for some things around the house, and had picked out waht we wanted on line --- excited to find just what we wanted (frames for wall hangings) and drove there special to purchase the perfect items. We got there, and of course, they were sold out. Beloved was quite bummed.
    • While parking the zipcar in a non-spot which still counts as off the street (there's no on-street overnight parking in my town), we got too close to a tree, and it dented the fender on the car. We are on zipcar's insurance, but it has a $500 deductible. I looked at their website, and it said that we have to pay for up to $500 of planned, presumed, or estimated costs - regardless of whether a claim is filed. So they really could look at that and just pick a number any number under $500 -- regardless of what it actually costs to fix? The paint isn't scratched or damaged, and I think it can be just pulled out with one of those suction dent-puller things. I hope it doesn't end up costing $500. (Since I just got my last paycheck until September or October.)
    Today I spent some 1:1 time with each girl in turn. J. and I went for a walk to get some moisturizing body wash for the girls (they hate using my bar soap) and some of "her kind" of shampoo (they have different preferences). We stopped at 2 open houses, at Starbucks for hot cocoa and coffee, and otherwise wandered around a couple of neighborhoods for a little while. She was a lot of fun. More on the open houses to follow.

    E. and I went to Target to get her more undergarments, and somehow spent $114. On what? I have no freaking clue. We got paper towels, napkins, toothbrushes, Organic Frosted Mini Wheats (for her), under garments for each of us, watches for the girls (but they were $12 each) --- oh, and things to hold E.'s short hair out of her eyes. Does that really sound like $114?

    When I returned the Zipcar after the Target Run, I was doing the usual sweep for trash and personal belongings, and I found some headphones under hte passenger seat. When I pulled them out to put in the glove box, I found that they were attached to an iPod Nano. So I had TWO things to report to Zipcar.

    We are happy that they're back home.

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    posted by Zuska @ 5:26 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, February 24, 2007
    anxiety, already?
    I had a bad dream this morning. I dreamed that Future Firm sent me an e-mail that they wanted to have me work in their Connecticut office (in real life, they don't have a Connecticut office). I felt that I could just tell them no, but Beloved and I talked about it and thought "huh, we could get a house cheaper in Connecticut" but then I had the -dingdingding- of "oh, the girls would have to move and switch schools!" and I got up and walked into the office of the person who sent the e-mail (apparently, this office was attached to my mother's living room, where were discussing where in Connecticut to live). I told them, "you know, this won't really work for me, my kids are in school here, and I pretty much need to be here, like we previously agreed to." And they (administrators, not lawyers) told me - too bad, so sad.

    So I started to cry. And they basically offered me $10,000 to just go away (not because I was crying, but because I wasn't agreeing to the reassignment) - that they were SURE I could find a job elsewhere. So I cried more, and started blathering on about offer and acceptance - and they said no, the offer and acceptance was to work for the FIRM, not in the city. I told them they were wrong, and I knew they were wrong, because people who had yet to decide on their city had the same deadline to make that decision as they did to accept the offer (or some such nonsense - it was a dream).

    Eventually, the partner who actually offered me the job came into the room, and asked what was going on. I explained to her that I can't move to Connecticut. She rolled her eyes, went to her office, got her notes from our offer meeting, handed them to the administrators and said, "she's right - our agreement was that she would work here, now let it go."

    And I woke up. Relieved to remember - there is no Connecticut office.

    Insecure much?


    posted by Zuska @ 10:03 AM   1 comments
    Babel Disappoints
    I enjoyed Babel, really, but it didn't pack the punch I was waiting for. I was expecting it to be more political than it was - to have more of a "message." I didn't want preachy - I just wanted more substance. Like Traffic and Crash. It seemed to be modeled after them, but didn't quite meet up to their standards.

    After seeing all the Best Picture nominees except Iwo Jima, I guess I'm pulling for The Queen. I think the others that I watched (Little Miss Sunshine, Babel, The Departed) really fell flat-- in "best picture" terms.

    I wish Pan's Labrynth was nominated for Best Picture instead of Foreign Language Films, because I think I would give it the award - out of all the movies I've seen this year.


    posted by Zuska @ 9:55 AM   0 comments
    Friday, February 23, 2007
    Countdown: 30 minutes
    My last hour of work is spent in my office, frantically sending myself 30+ documents of work I've completed (who knows if it's anything I'll ever use again, or if I'll even be proud of it when I look at it again), and deleting my personal and non-work related e-mails and voice mails. I almost forgot to enter my time from the last 2 weeks. Oops.

    The firm is 2 doors down having a "wine and cheese party." I got some cheese, and some coconut shrimp, and a skewer of some kind of spicy chicken. I did NOT get wine - b/c of the whole "giving something up for 40 days will make me a better person" ridiculousness that I somehow allowed myself to get swept along into. Whatever.

    I've said bye to those I've worked closest with. I've given the firm feedback; they told me they loved me and thought I was just great (ha, I bet they say that to all their law clerks). I had lunch with an associate, and that was nice - kind of funny how I felt so much more at home in a place where I ran downstairs to the Au Bon Pain for soup at some point between 12 and 2 than I did at summer firm, where I was wined and dined almost daily. Today was my first experience back at a fancy-pants lunch place with a lawyer from a firm since ... August. Fortunately, I can still eat like a human.

    I've gotten more warnings about the insane hours I will be facing down at Future Firm than I care to count, but by the end I was ready to come back (respectfully, of course) with a recitation of the hours that people HERE work. I mean, seriously. No one here is 9-5. No. One. And I'm guessing they make .... 50% of what people at Future Firm make at a comparable stage in their career --- that # is gleaned from conversations with people who left large firms and landed here - I did not pull it out of my butt.

    I got some bar exam advice: don't take Trusts & Estates; do take PMBR. okeedokee then.

    Well, it's almost time to go pick up the zipcar. This is my last blog post from work! OR at least, this work.


    posted by Zuska @ 4:30 PM   0 comments
    Weekend Plans
    Tomorrow we have to head back to my parents' house as the meeting point with the ex to get my girly-q's back. E. called me last night and left a message that I should call her back later, but it had to be way later, because they were going to a movie, so either later-later, or really soon, like in a minute. [that's really what she said.] She left a message because when she called, I was watching (blech) Notes on a Scandal. I called her back "way later" but didn't get a call back. I hate that I always have to just cross my fingers that their father tells them that I called. I think it's important to them that I do respond, and I do follow through, and that I am always here for them. I think they notice.

    Since we're heading back to the parents' house, we had to get a Zipcar. The trip is approximately 120 miles each way, and we get 125 with each 24 hour reservation - beyond that, we're charged extra. I do not know the exact charge per mile, but it does turn out to be MORE expensive than just getting the car for a second day.

    I'm picking up the car at 6 p.m. tonight. We flirted with driving to a Mexican restaurant (Beloved's craving) in Salem, but since Babel is still sitting on the t.v., we didn't want to spend the whole night driving. We're going to a closer Mexican restaurant (with my favorite -- mole sauce) which sort of requires a car ... sort of. Either a car, or lots of T transfers. I hate switching trains. HATE HATE HATE HATE. Because I hate waiting. Because I'm impatient. It is probably closely tied with the whole transitions and countdowns issue - but whatever.

    A friend of mine is stopping by early tomorrow a.m. to drop off a book I lent her, and then Beloved is going grocery shopping. I am contemplating tagging along, since I rarely get to (and we have a car, so it doesn't mean I have to ride a bike uphill in the freezing cold like he usually does).

    We shall then trudge along to my parents' house. We'll probably get there around 4, and I may do a wee bit of laundry while we wait for the ex to show up, and then we'll eat with my parents, and drive home tomorrow night.

    I don't want to sleep there and drive home on Sunday. We were just there last weekend, and I like my home, and I want to be at my home, and the girls haven't been at their home in over a week, and I think they should wake up at HOME at least one time before they have to be slapped upside the head with the morning school routine.

    AND Sunday's the Oscars. I want to enjoy that. I don't want to be driving home and grouchy.

    AND. It may snow on Sunday/Monday.

    I need to think of some good Oscars food. I want to do an artichoke/spinach dip, I think. E. wants sopapillas for dessert. I think we're gonna need more than that.


    posted by Zuska @ 9:37 AM   0 comments
    7 hours, 40 minutes
    That's how much longer I have at this job.

    Transitions are always a big deal for me. My countdowns always start far in advance - and I recognize that sometimes I hurt myself in one way or another by doing this. Sometimes it's only emotionally, because I don't enjoy what I'm doing NOW because I'm too busy counting down to what I do NEXT. Sometimes it's professionally, because once I start counting down, the effort I put in is not as solid as it was before I realized a change was coming. Sloppiness ensues.

    I've had a few minor mishaps here since the countdown began - one of them (accidentally sending an unfinished e-mail to a partner) had more to do with my rush to get everything done in time than it did with a bad attitude. All in all, however, I think I've had a good experience and am leaving with a good impression in my wake. I've had offers for references, and I've enjoyed a few of the women here and their interest in mentoring me as one of the future Women Lawyers in this town. I hope to run into them again.

    My office is cleaned out. I started on Tuesday - bringing home shoes and water bottles. The last items (which I already put in my bag to bring home today) include: a lint brush; photos of the girls; a mirror; a final pair of shoes; and a notebook I've been using for personal jottings and musings. Oh yeah, shit, and a suit jacket. I didn't want to have to lug that home today.

    I've organized the files I'm leaving in my wake with sticky notes identifying the supervising attorney; and I'm spend the rest of the day finalizing and editing the Big Project that I've been working on. It has the potential to be my first publication credit, so I need to do my best to pass it on in good shape.

    I am grateful for this co-op. I believe that it taught me a lot more than I expected it could. I learned not only practice-oriented tips (i.e., billable time), but also a lot of substantive law in Massachusetts, in a wide range of practice areas. I was able to experience trial prep for the first time, and to sit in on the trial. I've done things that are considered more "academic" than I thought.

    And, as Beloved said on my way out the door - it's my last day, of my last co-op, in my last year of school. WOO HOO!!

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:18 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, February 22, 2007
    Grey's Anatomy - why so many commercials?
    I felt like it was - line of dialogue - commercial - line of dialogue - commercial - line of dialogue - commercial.

    For an hour.

    I suppose meredith "choosing life" was the most likely path for the show to take. I didn't understand the chaos of the after-life weighing station. Why were those people stuck there?

    I cried when her mom came and told her she is NOT ordinary, and they had a real hug.

    And Christina, I think, stole the show. Her crying was more important than almost anything else that happened on the show.

    I still think Izzy's a freak.

    The end. I have nothing else to say about that show. The build up was soooo much, and the climax so drawn out that I just feel like I spent an hour waiting for something that I knew was coming. Frus-tra-ting.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:00 PM   2 comments
    Getting Ready for Grey's Anatomy
    Last week when I decided to post about Grey's Anatomy (I think for the first time? No, I have shared my love of Burke here before ... and the love continues, even with him being in "rehab" -- what the FUCK is rehab for homophobia? I mean, really) - my little sitemeter thingy EXPLODED. I mean, it was really surprising. I more than doubled my hits for at least 4 days after I posted at 9 p.m. on Thursday. Four days? Who keeps thinking about a show for that long? Enough to search about it on the internet? Not me.

    I'm ready, though, to see if I can create a repeat of the situation. Will Meredith die? I am guess NO. Beloved wondered yesterday if they'd leave her in a coma (becuase of the whole "devestating conclusion" line they keep repeating on the teasers) and let her narrate from a comatose state.

    Maybe Meredith will die, but the other interns will keep her body and use it to practice procedures on, and that's how they'll get to keep the title "Grey's Anatomy." Get it? Because it will be her BODY that they're learning from?

    ha ha ha.

    Yes, I know I'm sick.


    posted by Zuska @ 7:43 PM   0 comments
    I didn't like it ....
    I don't even think it was that Notes on a Scandal was a bad movie -- I just didn't like it. None of the characters were likable (except Bill Nighy). It was a 92 minute movie, and it felt like it was at least 60 minutes longer than that.

    Just, generally, the movie left me with a bad feeling. I can't imagine anyone walking out of that theater thinking WOW!!!

    I can now say, as confidently as I'll ever be able to, I hope Helen Mirren wins for best actress.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:38 PM   0 comments
    I can see where the WALLS end, let alone the light
    Oh yeah, I'm just about done here. I am actually going to spend the next 2 hours cleaning up my office - getting ready to DEPART, and then will work on my final project tomorrow if I don't have time to revisit it today.

    I'm feeling pretty good.

    I also had some relatively happy news about my future firm. Now I'm too giddy to work. (It has NOTHING to do with money or salary increases, a game I would prefer my future firm stays out of).

    I've been having fun commenting back and forth with a Housewife recently. Wondering if I would be posting her posts, if I stayed on the old path. I don't think, though, that I could have stayed on the old path. The old path was not my friend, and I was not its friend. A commenter over there had said that when she was a working mom, she was more tense and when she quit her job, even her kids noticed the change in her. I am just the plum opposite. I am a better mom when doing Other Things.

    I also really like the example that is being set for my kids -- not just that they can do anything they want with their lives - and make it work (not at the expense of other Important Things), but also that they can hope for a true partner in life, who is not so married to stereotypes and the image of a "macho man" that he (if they choose a he) is limited in the forms of support he (or she) can offer and the role he can play in creating and managing a home.

    And all of us different kinds of moms will show our children different choices, and they will make choices that are for different reasons and in different ways from each other and the world will continue to be interesting. Hopefully even MORE interesting than it is now. Because some things right now sorta stink.

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    posted by Zuska @ 2:26 PM   0 comments
    Guest Blogger - Why Alcohol is Pooey
    Harmless Error made the innocent mistake of asking Beloved to prove his second-hand statement from my post about giving up alcohol for lent ... I received the following in my inbox as a comment begging to be approved, but figured - hell, why not let Beloved prove his point (ad nauseum?) in the main text?
    two general problems with alcohol: it provides empty calories (they have no nutritional benefit) that the body cannot convert into energy and it weakens the liver which is the primary organ for dealing with fat metabolism. in addition, alcohol is full of sugars, stimulates the appetite, and prevents the body from recognizing when it has been sated, especially by fats, allowing for an over-stimulated appetite and excess eating.

    all things you'd want to avoid if you were trying to lose weight.

    general stuff here on diets and alcohol

    i find dr. weil fairly credible

    here the point is that while alcohol itself doesn't add to weight increase in and of itself, the addition of alcohol to a person trying to lose weight is negatively impacted

    yes, it's thin on supporting documentation, but consistant what my doctor once told me

    here we get a report that says alcohol increases metabolism, but in doing so slows down the ability to burn off fat

    more of the same

    what i have found is that nay-sayers tend to suggest that alcohol in moderation is fine, and there are those studies showing the medicinal benefits of red wine, but the fact remains that alcohol has more going against it than for it in a person looking to modify their diet and or weight. and nowhere can i find anyone credible saying that you don't need to worry about alcohol when balancing a diet.

    zuska gets more benefit out of the cup of red grapes in her morning smoothie than she would in a glass of wine at the end of the day -- nutritional benefits of the grapes, medicinal from the skin -- and it's lower in calories.

    is this enough documentation?
    Perhaps WonL will happen by to read this, and be given the strength to get through her Dry Lent :)


    posted by Zuska @ 9:50 AM   3 comments
    Making Plans
    I have next week off. Tomorrow's my last day of work, and school doesn't start until March 5.

    These are the things I hope to do with my time off:
    • Go to the doctor for a pap smear;
    • Get my hair cut;
    • Read some books;
    • Help out with the girls' school play;
    • Cook dinner on the days that Beloved works;
    • Choose a third city for our trip to Europe this summer (or see if I think that 2 cities will fill our time)*
    Update with additions:
    • Add many wonderful people to my sidebar over there
    • Clean my house
    • Store my work clothes
    • Start a daily running routine
    • Do my taxes
    Notice that "go to school and buy books" is NOT on my list? I am not really sure what classes I'm going to take. I'm on the fence about both Intellectual Property AND First Amendment. The only classes I know for certain that I'm taking are the terrorism/liberty class and Securities Regulations. I am considering dropping one of the others and picking up a Legal Writing class (ick). It probably wouldn't hurt since I'm going into both the bar exam essays and my job where I'm expected to perform as the "Cream of the Crop." (Fuck). I used to be confident that my writing was more than fine (this blog should not be considered a sampling, since I'm rarely careful here, and don't intend to be), but this co-op has made me think that there's definitely room for improvement.

    I will sit in on ALL of the classes in the first week (won't THAT be fun), and make my decision by the end. The classes I will attend are:
    1. [Balancing Security and Liberty]
    2. Advanced Legal Writing
    3. International Law
    4. First Amendment
    5. Intellectual Property
    6. [Securities Regulations]
    At least one them has got to go - and perhaps two of them.

    I've really never done this before - I've always been such a hyper-planner and had all my decisions made and books bought before classes started. It is strange to me that I'm not freaked out by it, but I'm not.

    * We were going to go to Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona. However, some investigation shows that Barcelona is a miserable sauna in August - with temperatures of 95 degrees Farenheit entirely likely. The other two cities are far north enough that we can expect temperatures in the mid to high 70s - which is perfectly acceptable to me. 95 is H-O-T, and I don't like H-O-T weather. We're considering Frankfurt, Germany instead ... but I wonder if perhaps just splitting our 10-14 days between the 2 cities isn't a better idea? It is therefore my job to spend a good deal of time with the book that Beloved got me for Christmas, Rick Steve's Europe, to determine whether or not I can fill our time with 2 cities, and in the alternative, to pick a third.


    posted by Zuska @ 9:32 AM   2 comments
    All Hail The Queen!
    Yeah, I loved the movie. I won't give it my vote (as if I have one) for Best Picture, but definitely best actress. It felt like a fantastic character study, a glimpse into Great Britain, and just a really nice film. I loved what a mess Tony Blair's house was, and I loved the way the women (Tony Blair's wife and The Queen) walked. They both walked funny. I loved The Queen going upstairs and knocking on a bedroom door while saying, "Mommy!!!" and then begging her mother for help and advice .... and then ignoring it.

    I loved how pathetic Charles was.

    I loved the (real) clips interspersed throughout.

    Thus far, my vote for Best Picture goes to the Departed. I expect that Babel will put that decision to the test, but we'll see. As great as The Queen was, it seemed to restful of a film to get Best Picture. I think that a Best Picture should make my skin crawl in one way or another - it should have a real impact on me.

    And for Best Actress, Helen Mirren hands down. Meryl Streep shouldn't even have been nominated - a real actress wouldn't have taken that god awful role in that god awful movie (Devil Wears Prada), and I was, as I believe I said, wholly unimpressed with the little girl in Little Miss Sunshine.

    Oh - I see I didn't blog about Devil Wears Prada.* I sort of pushed that movie on Beloved, and as usual when I insist on a movie, I was squirming over how awful it was. I truly hated it. I felt like the lines were blurry in stupid ways -- was it good that she got herself from a size 6 to a size 4, or was it a bad sign of her succumbing to the fashion industry and losing herself? Because they treated it like a good thing, even though it was all those other bad things, too. Meryl Streep's character was unimpressive to me. Why was she nominated? Because she proved she can talk in a really quiet voice? Because she cried? Bleh.

    I do not think that someone who agreed to take that role should win an award for her performance, regardless of how she acted during it. Choosing what movies to play in is part of being an actress, and this was a failure at that. In my oh-so-humble opinion, of course.

    * If you click on this link and see the little interview with Meryl Streep, I think it seems that she also was not impressed with the movie or the role. Also, I love her childhood ambitions.


    posted by Zuska @ 8:53 AM   0 comments
    Wednesday, February 21, 2007
    A fun take on the working mom
    I think what I like best about this article is that there's nothing catty about it. There is not even a HINT of "if you don't make the same choices I did then you are subjecting your children to a lifetime of misery, therapy, bad behavior and a lack of priorities." Do you know how rare that is in the world of working moms talking about being a stay-at-home mom or vice versa?

    I also think I agree with the author - before I had children, I hated the pettiness of the workplace. I hated office politics and the competition over who is the "favorite" of the higher ups. Then when I had children, and I was home with them, I wasn't so appreciative of the constant work and the whining and the crying and the responsibility to keep them entertained and the guilt that I experienced if I chose to accomplish that entertainment through artificial means ....

    Now that I'm back to working, and have been since 2002, I appreciate both worlds more. I do not fault the work world for being so impersonal - I get enough of the personal and intimate at home. I don't fault the family-world for being so chaotic - I have my refuge (for the most part ... law school has its chaos - so does my desk right now), and the somewhat sterility of the work environment is a respite and home is a comfort.

    I like having both.


    posted by Zuska @ 1:54 PM   2 comments
    You have something on your forehead ....
    As I was walking to work today, I peered into a 7-11 store, and saw a man checking out at the cash register who seemed to have an injury on his head. A scar? A depression? A scab? I wasn't sure. Then I rounded the corner and saw the downtown Catholic Church that I pass every day, and noticed that several people around me had the same mark on their forehead. Ahhh, Ash Wednesday. Beloved mentioned yesterday that it was Fat Tuesday.

    The things this sent through my head ...

    is it nice to be part of a religion on a day like this? Where everyone does the same thing, walks around with a badge of perhaps not their faith - but at least their inclusion? What makes someone want to have this external brand, so that everyone who passes them (presumably) knows their religious identity? I wondered what it would be like if I stepped into that church, and accepted the blessing and the ash ... would it have any wonder to it? Even if not to the spiritual aspect, to the ritual?

    Beloved announced last night that in consideration of Fat Tuesday and it being the eve of Ash Wednesday - he decided to give something up for Lent - despite his lack of religious affiliation. He said he has done it several times in his past.

    I said, "oh, I thought you were going to say in consideration of it being Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras, that you picked up some beer to go with our chili." So, I was a wee disappointed that instead, he only picked up spaghetti - as his final dose of pasta before he gives THAT up for 40 days. (Due to my anti-carb influence, I fear).

    Then I impulsively (stupidly?) said, "oh, well, then maybe that's what I'll give up." No, not pasta. I already don't eat pasta. Beer. Alcohol.

    Damn. I really think I should start this thing that others do --- THINK BEFORE YOU TALK.

    Just kidding. I did think. I thought, eh. I'm losing my paycheck (tomorrow's my last), and I'm trying to lose weight. Every time I come home and have a glass or two of wine, I add another 100-200 calories to my day's total. Beloved says it also slows the metabolism, but pshaw on that.

    Therefore, I'm dry for Lent. Not for religious reasons, but rather for a wee exercise in self-control, and as an additional step toward my quest for a Size 8 by the time I go to Europe. If it results in quicker weight loss, my dry period will continue beyond the resurrection.

    Or is it the crucifixion?

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:26 AM   3 comments
    finally enjoying my break
    I'm adjusted! No more pouting over the few days sans children. Beloved and I had a pleasant evening last night, low stress and much American Idol watching.

    Then we watched a movie, but I felt like an uncultured buffoon when it was just a little too far outside the realm of your typical movie to keep me awake. It was The Weekend, a film by Jean-Luc Godard. I feel like if it were just a wee quieter - a little less brash with the sound - I could have done it. The blood coursing down people's bodies, and the burning of cars and corpses really didn't bother me too much. I knew it was meant to be absurd. It was the NOISE of it all that made me say "ENOUGH!" I wonder if my tolerance for awful noises would have been higher if the movie wasn't following American Idol. A girl can only take so much in one night.

    Tonight we're going out. We are going to see an Oscar flick, and have some dinner. I have e-mailed Beloved with my proposals, and am awaiting his response. I proposed seeing The Queen after an authentic (so say the reviews) Taiwanese meal in Boston's Chinatown.

    We aren't able to see all the Oscar nominees prior to Sunday's show, so we're focusing on the Best Picture nominees. I believe we'll be able to see all except the Iwo Jima. Babel is already on DVD, and it looks like Netflix is mailing it to me today.

    I wish I could have seen Volver, and Little Children, and Notes on a Scandal, and the Pursuit of Happyness. And I now happily report that Notes on a Scandal is playing in my town tomorrow evening ... a night on which Beloved works late. It starts at 5:15. I may have to leave work a little early. But I think I can do it. It's a super-short movie, and should be over by 7. I believe I'm going to go!! Woo hoo!! I will then stop on the way home and get a Chicken Shawarma with extra garlic sauce for dinner, and then I will eat it while watching the American Idol returns, waiting for my Beloved to come home!

    On Friday night, Beloved and I should watch Babel at home. Either while gobbling up take out, or if he's in the mood - something he makes for me. It should be slightly celebratory, whichever we choose to do, since it will be the last day of work for me, too.

    Another woo hoo!!!

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:50 AM   0 comments
    Tuesday, February 20, 2007
    I ran my errands across downtown Boston to return a file to the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency ... what a good day for that! It was so warm outside! I didn't have on gloves, or a hat, or a scarf, or anything.

    I even unbuttoned my coat on the way back.

    47 degrees, they say. Huh.

    The only downside was that a lot of roofs had water dripping off them to such an extent that it felt like rain. But who cares.

    We have a chance of snowish rainish muck again tonight - our weather of the year. We have another opportunity for muck on Thursday. Yet, there are no ridiculously frigid temperatures in the near future.

    ALSO --- I said no to an attorney today. He was someone I had never worked for before, so I really don't know how he took it. I'd already gotten a 3:30 phone call with a "please do this today" request, and his came at 4:15 to say "I need this in an hour." I could have called the other attorney and weighed the priorities, but if I do hers in the morning, then my other schedule is all fucked up (remember? the one about the BIG project?), and then I won't get done before I leave.

    So I said no.

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    posted by Zuska @ 4:43 PM   0 comments
    4 days left
    Or is it really 3? I mean, it's already 1/2 way through Tuesday, so I really only have W, Th, F left, right?

    I am ready to be done here. The stint has run its course, and I have 2 pesky things to finish, and then I'm done - really and truly done. I want to walk away. I feel ready to walk away. Let me clean up my office and GO.

    I hope to finish my big project between today and tomorrow, use Thursday to finish a smaller project, and Friday to clean out the office, enter time records, and try to track down westlaw approval signatures that I should have been collecting all along (unbeknownst to me ... the training has got to fix that next go-round). If today is any indication, people are no longer stopping by with new assignments. I think if they try, I'm going to have to tell them no. I'm not sure that's really smiled on, but I honestly am not out to collect smiles at this stage of the game. I'd rather have them mutter under their breath about having to do their own damned research than having them write on my evaluation that I accepted assignments and didn't complete them.

    Yeah, I'm ready to go. My typical co-op arc. I start with a pretty blah attitude, slowly get acclimated and feel on top of the world, and then as my time peters out - I get more and more ready for it to do so.

    Buh bye.


    posted by Zuska @ 1:16 PM   0 comments
    separation anxiety
    I woke up later than usual today, because I had to stop at a state agency on the way into work to pick up a file to copy. They don't open until 9, and are right near a major T stop. I slept until almost 7:30, instead of 6:15. It was nice.

    I was sad, however, to wake up to a voice mail message from J. Beloved and I turned off the ringer on the phone while we watched the Departed, because it rang a few times in the first 5 minutes -- my parents and a telemarketer. I had already called the ex to check on the girls, so there was no reason to leave the phone on. (Also, my cell phone was on, if the girls really needed me.) But yet, when I woke up, there was a voice mail. She had called at 11 p.m. with a sad sort of broken voice saying, "we got here safe. i miss you. i love you. [long pause] goodnight."

    So even though I woke up feeling much better about the girls having some time with their dad, I was again feeling crappy within 30 minutes.

    Update: The ex responded to my e-mail saying that really, J. was fine. They had finished watching a movie at 11 p.m., and she remembered that they didn't call me when they got in, and she wasn't really upset - just tired. Hopefully that is true - and I can finally start enjoying my break and my time with Beloved wherein we can have sex with our bedroom door open.

    he he he.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:11 AM   0 comments
    Monday, February 19, 2007
    The Wedding Dinner
    Well, that actually went well! Dinner was casual and yummy. We had a champagne toast at my folks' house before we went to dinner where my dad welcomed Beloved to "the family" and my brother and sister-in-law were congratulatory. My parents gave us a monetary gift -- I can't decide if I'll use it to open a savings account for our trip to Europe (it won't cover even one ticket) or if we'll use it to go out to dinner and do a few small things around the house.

    My mother didn't even try to take pictures out by a gazebo (which was really a dumb idea, since it was 10 degrees outside and the ground was covered with ice), and while we did have cake afterward, it was a perfectly normal dessert with no requests for Beloved and I to shove it into each other's mouths.

    So it was good.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:43 PM   0 comments
    At Long Last --- The Departed
    Beloved and I finally saw The Departed. I loved it. I was wondering the whole time which of the characters would be the one to "depart" from the land of the living. Ha!

    This is only the second movie from the best picture nominee list for the Oscars that we've gotten to see. The first was Little Miss Sunshine. So far, I'm pulling for The Departed. Hopefully, we'll get to see Babel and The Queen this week. I'm very disinterested in seeing the Iwo Jima movie.

    Now I'm watching 24. Alone. Beloved has given it up because he thinks it sucks and is boring at this point with repeat story lines and ideas. I think 80% of why I watched it was because it was our show - and now that he isn't watching it, I'm not sure I care enough for it to take up an hour out of my week.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:33 PM   2 comments
    Home, for the most part.
    Beloved and I are home. I would say that the weekend went really well. I got along with everyone, I did not over-imbibe, as I did last time, and all the kids had a blast with their cousins and aunts and uncles.

    The girls aren't here, though :( I always feel sad when they're first not with me. Fortunately for my summers, it eventually is something I come to terms with when it's for a long period. Tonight, however, I have a pretty lousy feeling in my gut. It didn't help that J. was in tears upon saying goodbye to me. She doesn't usually do that. But we do usually have more time to focus on the fact that they're leaving. We didn't have that chance today, because we were saying goodbye to my sister and my parents and and and .... general chaos was present. It was so sad to see her face crumbling on the other side of her father's car door. I went to give her a final hug goodbye, and she had tears just spilling over. It was very sad. He assured me later that she was fine within a couple of minutes. I am certain that is true - it's just saying goodbye that's hard - not being with him.

    It was also hard saying bye to E. We had spent a good part of the weekend looking at some new books we bought for her --- "My Body, Myself, for Girls" ooooh yeah. We also bought little training bras ... not that she necessarily needs them, but she's getting ready for when she does. Her friends told her that having to protect new little body parts AND having to get used to new articles of clothing all at once is quite hard.

    Of course, she won't be dealing with this stuff with the ex. She begged me not to tell him about any of it. I already had ... to prepare him and so that he doesn't make some "joking" comment. I didn't tell her that I told him, though.


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    posted by Zuska @ 9:20 PM   0 comments
    Sunday, February 18, 2007
    Happy New Year!!
    It is a little bittersweet that Beloved and I are not off in a Chinatown somewhere watching dragons and listening to drums. It's damned cold this year, though, so perhaps I'm not too upset. We're sitting in a cozy living room with kids who are growing and thriving and a good bit of happiness and comfort (there's even a fire in the fireplace!)

    We enjoyed reading our Chinese Horoscopes for the year.

    Rat : 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
    The clever rat will do well to spend this year planning for the beginning of the next twelve year cycle. This cycle has been a bit difficult, but starting with the rat year in 2008, plans should start to succeed. This year of the Pig is a good time to be with friends and family who are celebrating the fullness of the year. Take care of old business and tie up loose ends that might get in the way of your coming good fortune. Enjoy vacations and hobbies this year. You will need to be well rested when your year begins.

    This is fun for me -- as Beloved pointed out, this difficult 12 year cycle spoken of started in early 1995 when I was approximately 2 months married. The 12 years saw some really dark times for me --- and we know that the future currently looks bright!!! (E. is also a Rat. She was frustrated by the horoscope, though, since she hasn't been alive for 12 years yet. She wants me to find a kid one.)

    Ox : 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997
    The year of the hard working pig brings good fortune for the ox. The energy is there to get more done and this brings prosperity and success to the sturdy ox. Just remember that this is also a year of celebration. The ox should not become so busy with work that he misses the invitation to the banquet table. It is there that new opportunities will be discovered. The ox should take care to include time for romance in this year's busy work schedule.

    Hopefully this is true for him, too, now that he finally has a chance to turn to the work that he has loved and aspired to do on a full time basis for years. Here's to a great year!

    posted by Zuska @ 5:20 PM   0 comments
    Ready to let go??
    I have posted several times about my frustration, aggravation and anger with my brother. He has been obnoxious, irrational, selfish and generally impossible to get along with in the past two years. His wife has also been hard to understand.


    The past few times I have been here in my old town, where both he and my parents live, he has actually been NOT obnoxious. And NOT hard to get along with. We haven't become suddenly close and bonded, but we have gotten along, and we have not argued, and he has not offended me.

    I think, perhaps, it is time for me to let go of the things that upset me in the past (his screaming and yelling at me on the day of his wedding, for example), and just find where our relationship is right now.

    It is still hard, however, to not be insanely jealous over the fact that he not only has his own house, but he designed it, and a lot of their furniture and decor is *exactly* what they wanted. I have for so long picked up cheap furniture because it was all I could afford and I needed furniture that it is very foreign to me that someone can have *exactly* what they want.

    I tried to remind myself, as i felt the jealousy contorting my guts in circles, that the reason why a house (entirely designed by us ... all the space we need ... furniture that is our first choice) is out of reach for us is because of where we chose to live, and where we choose to live. We don't want to come back to the town where I grew up, where housing prices are tons lower and land is available in larger quantities. It's not where we want to be.

    I'm still jealous, though.

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    posted by Zuska @ 1:19 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, February 17, 2007
    Basking in the glow ...
    of my sister's presence.

    We arrived later than we wanted to last night - 11 instead of 9:30. I was actually stupid for thinking we'd be here earlier. It would have required me to have bags packed and ready by the door when I walked in from work yesterday. That was so far from the case. I hadn't even THOUGHT about getting suitcases down.

    We didn't leave until close to 7:30, instead of 6:30, and then hit more traffic than we expected. I sort of forgot if the girls have the week off next week, so does everyone else. And all of those everyone elses are leaving the state for a week of fun in the sun - i mean snow.

    I brought some work home with me. Why? I didn't even bring the articles and cases to my parents' house (oversight). I suppose if I end up sleeping less than others (ha!) then I'll have a chance to look at stuff, but I doubt it. Maybe Monday when Beloved and I get home, he'll want to do some things, and I can work.

    But we also have 2 Netflix envelopes sitting on the t.v. ... one of them is the Departed, which I've been trying to see for MONTH.


    posted by Zuska @ 11:45 AM   0 comments
    Friday, February 16, 2007
    Grey's Anatomy Maybe Spoiler - Skip if you hate knowing
    I really hate cliffhangers. They go against every fiber of my being. I am a curious and impatient person.

    Therefore, last night, I went scouring the internet for hints and clues about what's up with Meredith being dead. I really worried that she was going to die, because the "scenes from next week" (my favorite part of every t.v. show) said, "next week's devastating conclusion." Devastating? Nooooo!!

    I found this, and I now feel confident that she isn't going to die. When I saw Denny and the bomb dude, I did think "oh, they're gonna convince her to go back, because of LOVE or whatever." And I think that this little spoiler article confirms that. Despite the use of the word "devastating."

    I still think Izzy's a jerk. And I'm not the only one, either. You know what I really hate about Izzy? All the talk of her being a centerfold model and her being so beautiful, that people assume that she can't be a surgeon, because she's too pretty to be smart.

    She's not that pretty. I mean, seriously. Addison is MUCH prettier than her. Like 40x prettier.


    posted by Zuska @ 10:18 AM   3 comments
    The elements for a bad day.
    Almost every assignment I have gotten this week is "I need to know the elements of _____." Fill in the blank. Whether it has to do with life insurance, or with equitable subordination or with easement interference ... no one knows the elements.

    Today, I do not want to be at work. We're leaving for my parents' house to see my sister pretty quickly after we all get home; I have yet to pack. Beloved takes care of his own self, but the girls need at least guidance.

    Then, this a.m., I realized for the first time that I'm not just packing them for a weekend (which is no big deal, and my mom keeps jammies for them at her house, so all I needed was clothes ...) but for over a WEEK. I'm meeting my ex on Monday afternoon and passing the girls off until Saturday.

    I am also very excited about seeing my sister. This makes the day already seem neverending.

    It's cold outside.

    When I got to work, I did my usual routine - coat on the back of the door, boot up the computer, bag on the ground, change my shoes (from my excellent treaded hiking boots - perfect in our iceworld - to my cool Dansko Mary Jane heels with the double strap). Breathe. Drink coffee. Hear strange ripping sound. Feel cold wood on elbow. Huh?

    Was my cuff unbuttoned?

    Of course not. My shirt is torn. Starting below the elbow - about 2 inches from any cuff seam or placket, all the way to approx 3 inches ABOVE the elbow. A 7 inch gash. In my shirt.

    Not on a seam. The shirt isn't tight. It fits nice and loose - it's a button down blouse with french cuffs. It's a name brand. It has stripes - purple and black against an off-white.

    What seems to have happened is that the fabric on one of the black stripes got all brittle. (I bought this shirt around Thanksgiving-time). You can feel a difference between the black stripe and the other stripes next to it, as well as between it and the other black stripes.

    I think it just .... disintegrated.

    But I'm at work. I just got here. It took close to an hour to get here. I do not keep a spare wardrobe in my office, as many of the attorneys here do. I have nothing to change into. I cannot take 2 hours to go home and change! I have too much to do!!

    That's another reason why it's a bad day - people are not slowing down with the assignments and the questions and the rushes. I'm feeling like I'm never going to finish the things I have to do. NEVAH!! Really, after today - I have 4 days.

    But back to the shirt. Fortunately, I have a sewing kit in my desk (god, that is so NOT Zuska, to have things in the eventuality of emergencies - I never am that .... prepared. Or mature. This is not the first time it came in handy though - a button popped off a suit jacket a couple weeks ago, and I was able to tend to that, too.) I took the sewing kit and went into the bathroom, locked myself in a stall, stripped down to my bra, and sutured my shirt (no staples! that would be lazy). Fortunately with the stripes and the blackness, you can't really see it unless you look for it, and no one will do that. But it killed 20 minutes.

    And while I was gone (from 8:35 to 8:55), someone called me and left me a message saying, "Hey, can you call me as soon as you get in? Thanks." I wanted to say "I was here! I was here! I was just in the bathroom, sewing my shirt!"

    I have been working on a certain large project at work that is not going well. I'm having a hard time figuring out what the partner wants, and every time I follow instructions as to organization and analysis, I'm later asked why I did it that way, it doesn't flow right. I keep putting off the next go-round, because I am discouraged and daunted. But it's a big thing I need to finish before I'm done here. I am thinking that I'm just doing it MY way this time. Perhaps if I'm not trying to follow the outline of someone who isn't immersed in the material, and just has a vague idea of what's going on, everything will be stronger. I need it to be stronger, because the confusion is making my writing suck, and it's all around a shitty situation. Ptooey.

    Now, let's just throw in the final element: email exchanges with the ex wherein he insists that I procure for the girls ice skates in their proper sizes before I leave town. Which is 30 minutes after I get out of work. Wherein he also insists that he has no time to do laundry during the week that they're with him, so they better have enough clothes for a 9 day trip. And they better have spare gloves, because it's cold.

    I wish I could be home. And I wish that Beloved was home with me, and that we could be checking the weather on t.v. and listening to music and telling each other things we read on the news in between packing and cleaning in preparation for our trip. The girls can be home, too, if they want, but they can't be fighting with each other, and I think it would be best if they were in their room, either packing their own selves, or reading or writing, or something like that. They can come out and share with us what they've read, or ideas they've had, but they can't come out demanding attention for nonsense. Because I'm in no mood for that today. And they can't be wailing about how unfair it is that I'm making them pack their own selves.

    You know what? They should stay at school ;) We'll pick them up later.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:58 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, February 15, 2007
    Izzy Killed Meredith [Grey's Anatomy Stream of Consciousness]
    ... with her stupid "i believe" speech. That was the most crappy-ass bit of dialog I have ever seen on that show. "I believe that Denny will always be with me" and what the fuck is up with her picking on George? "I believe you made the biggest mistake when you married Callie" -- uh, hello? Meredith's like, dead. Shut up!! Also, you don't get to make that sappy speech and then HUG CRISTINA! No. It does not happen that way. You make that stupid speech and you go find sappy-doctor-girl - whatever the hell her name is. Little miss sunshine and briteness.

    It really upsets me that Meredith is likely dead. Beloved thinks that her voice droning on from the Great Beyond will be a relatively clever mechanism for the show .... I don't want her dead.

    Although I *love* Addison. So if Meredith is dead, and Addison gets Derek back ...

    No, I don't want Meredith dead. I just don't.

    [as i'm typing this, beloved is saying "so if meredith is dead, will you stop watching the show?" The answer was "only if Addison reacts to the news by throwing herself off of a very tall building." Because really, Addison is so much better .... she has better hair, better eyes, a better voice ... she is healthier-looking in the bod, and she got poison ivy on her coolie. I mean, come ON! She also knows how to have real relationships with real women, and not just whiney simpering "ooooh, i don't know what to do, i hate my life, and i don't do "happy"" I mean, SHUT UP.

    Anyway. I still hope she's not dead.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:14 PM   3 comments
    Not a full moon ....
    As long as this week felt, it sure went fast. It felt like it would never end on Tuesday, but the weather, I think, made things move quicker, and now it's already Thursday evening.

    We're going to CT this weekend, and I haven't packed or even thought about what we all need to bring. We're having this weird dinner-thing on Saturday night, and should we dress up? I am capable, but my kids sort of don't have any dressy clothes anymore. They used to ... they used to love dressing up. But now they hate it, and since we never go anywhere that demands it, they don't have dressy clothes. I suppose I could make it my mission to always be sure they have at least ONE dressy outfit, but chances are that they'd outgrow it without ever wearing it. Ick.

    I did purposefully do all of our laundry, knowing I'd need to have clean clothes.

    We had a *thing* at J's after school program tonight. It was just us girls, because Beloved works evenings on Thursdays.

    J was off with her friends, and E and I were sitting and talking. She had told me yesterday that she had a notice or something for me, and I forget to get it from her. So I asked her while she was eating "where's that thing?" she said, "it's in my backpack." I said, "give it to me" seh said, "can you get it out? You're closer." I just shrugged and ate my asparagus. Then later (20 minutes?) I said, "oh, I'll get that thing now, kick your backpack over to me?" and she did.

    As I lifted it, she got a look of panic on her face. "No, mom, I'll get it!!" as she frantically scrabbled to get her pack from me.

    I mean, come on. Who wouldn't be curious? Who wouldn't think somethign was up? I asked her why and she said, "uh, there are a few oranges in my bag, and I don't want you to get mad." I knew she was lying, but I said, "fine, then take your backpack over to the trash, and empty the oranges into it before they get all rotten."

    I knew that she was also getting rid of whatever it was she wanted to keep from me. I let it go.

    But then, like 20 minutes later, she was still at the trash. Her backpack is large, but seriously. This was ridiculous. I went over to her, and she was still rifling through things. She said she had lost the notice that she was going to give me. I started moving stuff around in the trash, "whatareyoudoing!!!???????!!!!! MOM!!!!????"

    Okaaaaaaayyyyyy. I said, "Maybe you threw it away, by accident." She said, "i did not! Mom! [because I kept looking] I went through every piece, it's not in there!" and as her voice was getting more frantic, I pulled the notice out of the trash. "oh," she said. But what person in their right mind would stop going through the trash at that point?

    What if there was a note from her teacher? What if it was a test with a bad grade? What if it was notes between her and her friends passed in class? So I kept looking. I came across an envelope - just like the one that I found in her backpack that was addressed to her 3rd grade teacher ... a Valentine ... only this one was for a boy.

    I'm sure my fingers twitched near the opening ... but I didn't open it. I handed it back to her, amidst her frantic protests. She threw it back in the trash. I told her she shouldn't throw it away there, in the middle of her cafeteria, because someone might find it. She started to cry that she couldn't bring it home, because I'd look at it. So I told her to rip it up. So she did.

    She stayed offended, but clingy. She said I should have stopped looking through the garbage once I found what I was looking for. I told her that she was so damned obvious, I thought she was hiding a bad grade on a test, or a note from her teacher, and once I saw that it wasn't one of those things, I let it go, and now it was time for her to. We talked again later, at home, and she's okay with it now.

    So then we got home. J asked for help with her homework. She actually didn't ask - she demanded. She insisted she "couldn't do it." Which is never the truth with her. I told her to look at it again while I took a minute to change my clothes, etc., and she said she COULD NOT! Okay, something was wrong - I should have known it already.

    It only went downhill from there. My usually cooperative and happy-go-lucky child went nuts. She couldn't wrap her mind around the "creative thinking" problem assigned to her - even though it was well within her abilities. she had to think of ways that someone could use straws, and seemed incapable to think of anything other than "sucking liquid out of a glass." I tried to give her ways to think about straws that would lend to new ways of using them - and I refused to give her answers. She screamed and yelled. I sent her to bed. She came back out, sniffling, saying she had to do her homework, and could I please help her.

    Now re-read the above paragraph.

    And again.

    Finally I told her that she was done trying - she was in bed for the night, and if she wanted to do her hoemwork in the morning, I would wake her up early. All the volume and screaming was multiplied by 10. She yelled so loud, I am sure the whole building heard her. I had to physically LIFT her and take her to her bed, with her grabbing onto the walls as we went through the hallway. It was UNBELIEVABLE, and it has never happened before, except maybe once, when she was 4.

    I thought, "Beloved can deal with her when he gets home, he's better at calming her down than I am." But then I thought it wasn't fair -- I am her mom, she is my kid - I can do it, too. So I went and talked to her, and calmed her down. She cried, and said she doesn't understand what happened, and why she acted that way, and that she was sorry. We talked about the fucking straws, and she came out of bed and thought of 13 ideas of ways to use straws.

    Then she came over to me and said, "I hope it's not bad of me to even ask this question, but can I still have my Valentine's candy? Or did I behave too badly?" She was so cute, and sweet (again), and back to NORMAL, that I wanted to let her have her candy. But I could not. Not in good conscience. Because then if this whole odd scenario happened again, it would be my own damned fault.

    I do feel bad for her - she was so clearly over tired. She went from school to play practice to her after school program, to the pot luck (where she was so hyper and riled up to be with her friends) where she did a performance, and then home .... she was just so tired, she short circuited.

    Now they're in bed, and Grey's Anatomy is about to start.

    Thank god.


    posted by Zuska @ 7:54 PM   0 comments
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007
    Appreciation, not Commercialization??
    Is it caving to Hallmark? To the pressure of the commercial lure? To say:

    My Beloved rocks!!!!

    I mean, seriously.

    So, we say we don't "do" Valentine's Day. But then he made this awesome meal, and it was kinda spicy. Which makes me want chocolate. And being the insenstivie unthinking smurf that I am, I say, "did you by any chance pick up any chocolate? Just a little bit?" he says, "we don't celebrate!" I say, "I know," feeling like a jerk - because I don't want to be that person who says, "I don't care about this day, please don't do anything" while actually wishing he will ... because that's not what I'm doing. I'm just eating spicy food, and it makes me want chocolate, and in the corner of my mind, there's a hope that I will have the desire fulfilled WITHOUT going into the ice-rink that Boston is becoming.

    I told him, "I don't mean fancy chocolate, I just mean, like, a token bag from CVS or something."

    he repeated, "we don't celebrate." He's right. 100%. I got him nothing. Nada. No chocolate, no card (even though I considered that), and no .... anything.

    Approx 30 minutes later, he went to the fridge, and came back with a cute little "to-go" container. he opens it at me, and says, "For my girls, on Valentine's Day" -- what was in there?

    Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Beautiful, delicious, chocolate covered.

    Just a few, just a little chocolate. The perfect amount to savour and enjoy, and to not feel like a piglet (or a full grown pig) afterward.

    he is wonderful.
    And so was my strawberry.
    posted by Zuska @ 7:27 PM   2 comments
    Today is February 14th.
    That is all.

    I have never been a Valentine's Day person. I am not a "love on demand" kind of gal.

    Beloved and I have, for 5 (or 6?) years now, celebrated Chinese New Year together at this time of year. Never Valentine's Day (oh, except our first year ... or maybe our second? he made me fillet mignon with an amazing cherry sauce). When we were in CA, we would go into San Francisco for the Chinese New Year festival and parades. Last year, we went to New York City for theirs. This year, however, we can't, because my sister is coming to the east coast, and we're all converging at my parents' house to hug her and her son. I'm really not sure that we would have made it to NY even if my sister wasn't coming. We just had a weekend away.

    Beloved and I talked last night about getting those Chinese New Year money envelopes for the girls, and putting some money it for them - sort of extending our New Year observance to them, and allowing for us to ignore Valentine's Day all around. They received packages from my ex and from their paternal grandmother - the ex sent them Godiva and his mom sent them Reeses.

    So, they're good. We're all good.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:34 AM   0 comments
    Fizzle - again
    This winter sucks. So did last winter.

    We were supposed to get up to a FOOT of snow today - a foot! I brought work home! The girls had hopes for a day off from school! [actually, only E. was hopeful, J. didn't want the day off, she wanted to go.]

    The snow started before Beloved and I fell asleep last night. It was so pretty, it was tempting to stay up and just watch the snow.

    This morning, though, a look out the window showed me less than 3 inches on the ground. WTF?

    Of course, there was school. So I trudged into work - intermittently being surrounding by floating white flakes and being pelted in the face with tiny shards of ice.

    The ice and then rain will continue all day. No effing snow until 8 p.m., and I think even then, it won't be more than an inch or two.

    This sucks! I want a storm! I want a blizzard!

    I'm moving to Oswego, NY.


    posted by Zuska @ 9:55 AM   0 comments
    The other reality is sinking in.
    Oh, the dual-life of the co-op system. What joy. What rapture. (What sarcasm.)

    I am used to coming to work every day. I am used to the routine and the lifestyle (that which comes with a paycheck). Yet, it is coming time to pull up stakes and head back to school.

    Right now, school feels like it's in the way. I wish it were over with. I wish that it was already a year from now, and that my work wasn't something temporary, but that I was settled and staying in one place for the foreseeable future.

    I read Lyco's recent post -- which I am calling "about graduation" but it was really about how darned cute and funny Lyco is -- wherein she pointed out to the world how many days there are until graduation for most law schools. Mine is 4 days after hers.

    I have yet to START my classes. They don't start until March 5. I have to start and finish my classes in approximately 100 days. That sounds super short.

    Also, I don't have time to graduate. I think that if it weren't for the fact that there are other people in my life who DO care, I wouldn't care to attend the ceremony.

    J's birthday is the day before graduation. She wants a party, but it would be pretty hard to be split between my graduation and her birthday party. Perhaps we'll do something for her the weekend after, but we wanted to go to the Cape that weekend. So then maybe we'll do something the weekend before, but oops - that's when I have final exams.

    Basically, school and graduation is in my way. I don't want it. I'm done.

    And don't even mention the stupid bar exam and the prep classes. Geez. Does it have to be EVERY DAY???

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:26 AM   0 comments
    Tuesday, February 13, 2007
    death and cake
    I had a long and intense dream last night/this morning, that a friend died. It was the father of a family who we're relatively close to - he had a heart attack. It was shocking, and devastating. I was there with the wife from the moment she found out through an entire day. There were so many odd details in the dream. I cried a lot in the dream.

    We're supposed to get a storm tonight through tomorrow night. I am slightly fed up with my job, and so I'm hoping the girls don't have school. I will bring work home with me so if we're home, I can "work at home" tomorrow. I will be so sad if our storm flops.

    I'm going to visit my parents this weekend, and, as usual, there are things that we have to stress about and negotiate with my mother. As we previously agreed, we're going out to dinner on Saturday night to celebrate the fact that beloved and I are married now, and no longer spitting in god's face.

    The other night, my mother told me that they switched what restaurant we're going to, and she's very excited, because this new place has a "great gazebo out back for pictures." Pictures? What pictures? I told her we don't need to take pictures in a gazebo at 10 p.m. on a winter night. She said she wants to take pictures. Beloved was not happy.

    Then, as I was telling her of this next stage that E. and her friends are reaching, she interrupted me to ask me what kind of CAKE I want on Saturday. Cake? We're having cake? I told her, "we don't need cake" -- she said, "not need, want. What kind?"

    Basically, instead of going out to a nice dinner to celebrate that beloved and I got married - we're having a wedding reception. I suppose my biggest fear and concern is that she's inviting more people than we discussed. My sister, husband and I are set to refuse the picture taking idea. And come on - who doesn't like cake?

    As far as what kind of cake - I threw out a super easy and casual cake that we like, purposefully trying to have a casual dessert, and not a major party where people are telling me to feed Beloved cake and smear it all over his face. She was clearly disappointed by my choice, and instead offered a purchased cake from a bakery. But the kind she suggested is too rich, and I don't want a fancy-pants party.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:34 AM   1 comments
    Monday, February 12, 2007
    My ride down the Nile has come to an end.
    Yesterday was a big day for me, parenting-wise. With both kids.

    One great thing was realizing how much I have a true partner in my Beloved. He has strengths in places I do not, and he is more than willing and able to take on certain parenting issues with love and kindness and fairness. He took the driver's seat with J.'s issue, and did a great job and he rocks. And all is well.

    I, however, was the one who was confronted with the fact that E. is at that age. The age where her concerns have opened up to the Wide World of Attraction. I first heard that there are some boys (notice the plural?) who "like her." When I then brought up the issue as a "oh, I hear that this stuff is starting to go on with kids in 5th grade, if you ever want to talk about it, I promise not to make a big deal of things or make fun of the situation." (Or something like that), she did actually take the opportunity to confide in me.

    Everything is perfectly age appropriate, with no concerns about it crossing any lines. However. I don't know how to parent in this landscape. I know how to talk about friends, and how to help them negotiate difficult personalities, and I know how to encourage them to act with dignity and forethought in platonic relationships ... but I don't feel equipped to start handling the romance aspect of life with my kids.

    I feel like I need a book. Is there a book? That will teach me how to be a parent to a tween? (Agh, what an awful term. I hereby vow to never use it again. That was disgusting. )

    I am done. I am done telling other parents that "E. isn't ready for that kind of thing yet" and done thinking that I have another couple years before she starts thinking about boys.

    One fun thing she told me ... E. has consistently been friends with boys. She has been teased for it on and off since 1st grade, but that hasn't deterred her (and the teasing has always been minor). She told me last night that last year, there was this "big clique of girls" and then a "giant group of boys" (I thought it was funny that she defined the girls as a "clique" and the boys as a "group"), and they would all sit around and titter about each other (she is not in this "clique" of girls), but that THIS year, the two groups are mixing all together and hanging out as one group instead of two, and it actually makes HER life easier, because before, when girls weren't getting along with boys, she (E.) was more likely to get teased for her friendships. Now, everyone takes it in stride, and she can be friends with boys in peace.

    I can't help but to wonder what it will be like for J. when she gets to this stage. She is not friends with boys, and avoids them like the plague. The only male persons she has any tolerance for are Beloved, her cousin (who we're seeing in 4 days!), her father and her grandfathers. The end. This is according to her (and this is also the order in which she listed these acceptable males).

    Eh. Maybe she won't like boys at all. Ever. I guess we'll see.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:36 AM   5 comments
    Sunday, February 11, 2007
    Another Crazy Weekend.
    Weekends are just too fast. Too too fast. I can't believe it's already Sunday evening.

    Our heater is fixed and our hot water is here to stay.

    We spent the day cleaning yesterday, since a friend of mine came to watch the kids. Then today, E. and I went to test drive a new cello teacher (and he got thumbs up from both of us), and then she went to a friend's house, and then a friend of J's came over. While I was bringing E. to a friend's house, Beloved took J. to get Valentine's supplies, since she has a party and a card exchange. E. seems to have outgrown it now (Thank God).

    Beloved and I went to a fundraiser at the kids' school last night. It was truly a lot more fun than we anticipated. The food was pretty good, and the company was great. We spent a good bit of $$, but it was all for a good cause.
    posted by Zuska @ 5:47 PM   0 comments
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