parens binubus

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

law students
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  • Barely Legal
  • Bitter Law Student
  • Divine Angst
  • Frustrated Law Student
  • In Limine
  • Life, Far Away
  • Peanut Butter Burrito
  • Preaching to the Perverted
  • Phocas and Francis
  • Stare Decisis
  • Think Like a Woman, Act Like a Man
  • WonL
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  • Harmless Error
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  • Legal Underground
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  • moms
  • Kids Squared
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  • combos
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  • Frequent Citations
  • From Engineer to Lawyer
  • Lag Liv
  • Law School for 30-somethings
  • Legal Quandary
  • Lots and Lots of Nonsense
  • Magic Cookie
  • Mommy Grows Up
  • Mother In Law
  • Reasonable Expectations
  • Who Cares What You Think?
  • Yayarolly Goes to Law School
  • miscellaneous fun
  • Anonymous Lawyer
  • Bloggy Awards
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  • Mother Talkers
  • Stay of Execution
  • beloved's blog
  • One Man's Ceiling
  • cool kids' stuff
  • Boden Kids
  • j.'s new sweater
  • Saturday, March 31, 2007
    Joy and Rapture
    I went to a fundraiser tonight. I had a great time. I went with 2 other women, and met up with two other friends there, as well as several others. Dinner was served, but very little was in line with my newfound "eating habits" (i.e., healthy foods people, healthy foods!) which brings up the joy and the rapture ...

    I came home from a movie that I'd brought the kids to (but somehow lost them along the way home - at a park, with a friend, who took them to her house, and then to ice cream) in order to try on clothes for tonight, wondering if I'd be happy enough with anything in the closet, or if I'd have to find my way to a store ....

    I put on the pants I thought I'd wear -- nice charcoal gray pants. They fell down. They were so saggy-baggy, they looked silly.

    I'd just worn them relatively comfortably during my entire winter co-op. They were looser than in the summer, but not by too much - not so much that I couldn't wear them.

    Tonight, I couldn't wear them.

    So I pulled a slim skirt out of my closet - from up on a shelf where I was "storing it until I could fit into it" and tried it on.

    It fit -- with room to spare.

    I went to another skirt, in another closet, this one a size smaller. I tried it on.

    It fit.

    With room to spare!!

    Yee ha!!

    I ended up wearing some chocolate pants that used to look pretty horrendous (and therefore kept hanging in the closet), and this time looked pleasantly loose, with a nice blouse.

    I felt great.

    I was also very happy to never feel alone in a crowded room. I felt good, and connected.

    I also bought a necklace in the silent auction. It's verra verra pretty, and I spent well under $100. A sneaky lady had tried to up me by $5 at the last minute, but she made the mistake of turning her back. Ha ha! No siree, no can do! Zuska has learned from her sneaky husband just how to win an auction. Older ladies in flower print shirts cannot grab pretty necklaces from Zuska!!

    But the biggest joys and biggest raptures were the result of the pants and the skirts.

    They are my friends.

    And I believe they will provide me with enough motivation to wake tomorrow (Sunday!!) at some time b/t 7 and 8 a.m. in order to ride my bike to the gym, and work myself into even the NEXT size down.

    Because I have proven that I can.

    So ha.

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    posted by Zuska @ 11:45 PM   0 comments
    Friday, March 30, 2007
    I entered a contest ....
    The other day, i decided to vacuum the living room. Unfortunately, I do this only once a month. This is bad of me. I should do it more than once a week, especially since two cats have allowed me to live with them. (On the plus side, we have largely hardwood floors ... the carpet isn't so large, and we do sweep several times a week, if not daily.) I was very frustrated, b/c little piles of dirt kept accumulating very time I paused with the vacuum, and I hate that. I have never had a vacuum that just SUCKS EVERYTHING UP. Why oh why is it always so frustrating?

    Then I saw why. The bag was full. Of course. Because it was something I hadn't thought of in forever. I thought, "no problem, I have bags in the closet."

    But of course (again), the bags in the closet were for the OTHER vacuum. The one Beloved brought into our world, and which I hate, what with the dragging and the hose and the attachments. Ptooey.

    No RR bags. The letters required by my STUPID NON-SUCKING vacuum.

    And of course, upon visiting the local stores, there are no RR bags to be found.

    Does anyone reading remember that I do not have a car?

    Does anyone remember that Beloved and I hit a damned tree with our zipcar a month or so ago, and until they get the claim straighted out, I'm suspended from renting cars?

    So I can't even go to Target to get the RR bag.

    Beloved has been drooling over a Dyson vacuum for years. They're bagless.

    BAG-LESS!! No need to run to Target. No "overfilling of the bag."

    But they're expensive.

    I thought they were like $1500.

    This post says no, they're $400.

    Which is a lot, when you consider that most vacuums (that I've owned) cost less than $75.

    But then there's this contest .... put on by Five Minutes for Mom. I'm a mom. I have two kids. They're kinda big, but they still make considerable messes. They tend to kick up the carpet with dancing and with playing of board games, and other assorted activities.

    We also refer to me as the "mom" of my boy. He's a very large carpet-offender (and couches, and chairs, and coats and piles of clean laundry). His little friend is really no better.

    So, I'd like to win. I want the vacuum.

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    posted by Zuska @ 8:22 PM   5 comments
    Uh oh, now I feel bad - Chris Sligh is *me*!!!
    I am getting so many hits from people searching for info on Chris Sligh getting kicked out Bob Jones University, which I discussed here.

    I just read his "exit interview" from the day after he left the show, and look what he said:
    I didn't leave Bob Jones through a choice of my own. I actually got kicked out for going to a Christian contemporary concert. It was a band called For Him. So they kicked me out. It was actually good because I had been figuring out how to leave. My parents had given me the option to go to two colleges, and I chose the less crazy one believe it or not. I was 18 and didn't have the money to pay for college, so I chose what I could. No disrespect to Bob Jones, but again, it's just not the sect of Christianity I want to be associated with.
    My parents gave me limited options! I was forced to go along, because "I was 18 and didn't have the money to pay for college, so I chose what I could."

    There is still the big difference ... from all I can tell from the slight amount of investigation I've done, Chris Sligh does still consider himself a Christian - and a born again one, which shares more than it doesn't with the Bob Jones ideology.

    And it wasn't the Bob Jones element that made me think twice about supporting him, because all of my friends from Liberty (no, MOST of my friends from Liberty) are no longer considering themselves Christian of any sort. If I heard someone went to a school like that, I'd have to ask a hell of a lot more questions before I drew any conclusions as to their current religious affiliation.

    But nonetheless, it's funny to see how similar Chris Sligh's decision-making process was to my own.

    Poor dude, he's getting raked over the coals by everyone -- for being religious, for not being religious ENOUGH.

    I like you, Chris Sligh, and so does my 10 year old daughter.


    posted by Zuska @ 2:57 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, March 29, 2007
    random sharing*
    Between Beloved and I, there's a lot of .... uh, "old fogie" music in this house. Me and my James Taylor and Billy Joel; him and his Who and Queen and Steve Miller Band. Both of us and our Fleetwood Mac. The list goes on.

    But we both keep apprised of recent stuff.

    I found and liked Death Cab for Cutie.

    He found liked OK Go.

    I actually "found them" at the library or whatever some time ago, but wasn't so keen on them. But when I started working out at the gym recently, and was looking for some music more conducive to reaching my "15 minute mile" goal, he threw it at me as an option, and I'm liking them a lot now.

    So, when we plug our shuffles into the Bose, there's quite a mix.

    I didn't quite go into the very WEIRD music that Beloved also dabbles in. Some of it is for the purpose of making the girls disks of "silly songs," some b/c, well, Beloved's a little weird.

    When I came home the other day, E said, "Mom, you know that song, "mediocre people do extraordinary things"? I said no. She said, "it came on [Beloved's] iPod." Which really narrowed it down not at all. I meant to ask him later what the song was, but in typical Zuska fashion, I forgetted.

    Today, at the gym, I was sweating buckets on the elliptical, and an OK Go song came on. It was pretty enough. Then they started saying, "mediocre people do exceptional things some of the time" and I thought --- HEY!! This is E's song!!!

    The last time she picked up on a song she really liked, it was Death Cab for Cutie. Some song that says "highway, highway, highway" over and over - which I don't really like. But she loved it. Out of the blue.

    I think she is properly in sync with her generation.

    J has one foot in past generations still. She's most into The Who. I don't have any of them on my iPod. So, she's off in her room practicing her recorder. Next year, she ditches the freaking squeak pipe, and goes to the violin! We are a house of strings! Beloved played the viola, E does the Cello, and J will do the violin. Cool. I don't do crap. Well, I do play my iPod.

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    *random seems to be an "in" word right now. Not sure if it's just my kids' school, or if it's nation wide (since I haven't left my town in some time). but EVERYTHING is random. "and then some random 4th grade came burning through the park on his bike, and he said, "hi, E" and ignored my friend, and just burned right in between us on the bike. It was so random." [and also -- "burned?" what the hell).

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:31 PM   4 comments
    Uhhhh ..... scratch that?
    I took a blessed nap after posting earlier. I never do that. NEVER. But it was beautiful. I don't regret it.

    The parent teacher conference.

    I was going in with such trepidation.

    First, as is typical, I was given E's report card. Waiting for all the Commendables and Grade Levels to have gone to Needs Improvement, and the 1's {highest} to have become 3s and 4s.

    Not so.

    She had all 1s. Except self control. Reason? She's so engaged in the classroom discussions that sometimes she still shouts out answers (but they do roundtable discussions -- so it's less inappropriate than in a "you must raise your hand or be silent" classroom setting).

    She went down in NOTHING - she didn't go up in any categories, but her teacher is constantly saying what a hard grader she is.

    In the little "teacher's comments" paragraph? It said she's an excellent student. That she's having a wonderful year academically. That she's ceased having trouble with other students, and that she is solving any small problems that do come up beautifully and on her own.

    I raised my questions. There had been 3 mediocre grades that I had seen. One on "prepositional phrases," one essay which E did at home and I saw the mistakes, but sort of didn't realize it was a BIG end of unit project, and so let it go. I thought she was sloppy, and deserved the feedback. The final was item was a geometry test.

    The teacher told me that the prepositional phrases was an "advanced unit" that an outside specialist is coming in to work on - I think, from what she said, that they're uber-prepping the advanced kids. She said E will see it again in a couple of YEARS, and that she was never expected to be at the level that a perfect grade would have indicated.

    She said yes, on the essay - it was a mess. But nothing has been since, and she's glad I didn't fix it for E.

    On the geometry test, she said yeah, E struggled, but the test was very hard, and she's done well since. She said it was an exception, not a rule.

    She said E is NOT slipping.

    She said E got in trouble twice for talking. One of the times, she made E write a letter of apology and that E was clearly VERY upset with herself for her behavior, and she didn't think any other action (i.e., a call home) was required.


    E is fine. I need to keep up with her, and be sure things DO NOT slip. But it seems like if I caught anything, it was the very early stage, and I can still help to avoid it being an issue. Like Housewife commented on my other post, this is a challenge year for E. I think, however, that she will pull it off.

    E is still in the highest reading and math groups, and is getting 100% on science and social studies tests (she doesn't get 100% on the others, but is performing at the high end of class).

    She's relieved. So am I.

    Why, I wonder? Do I jump to the most negative conclusion? At least my freak out happened on the day of a parent-teacher conference, so I could quickly be set straight.

    And she did still go too slow this a.m.

    So there.

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    posted by Zuska @ 6:09 PM   0 comments
    Parent Teacher Conferences - Version 2
    The first version was one where I was absolutely excited to go and talk to my kids' teachers. I knew that they would tell me that the girls were ahead of their grade level in all subjects, that they were respectful toward their classmates and their teachers. That I would be praised for the fantasticness of my offspring.

    This version? Where I'm looking at the clock in dread. Where I'm wondering just how serious the issues are, and how much of a difference will be apparent from the "report card" I get from the teacher. I'm also dreading a likely confrontation with the teacher.

    This would be E's conference that I'm dreading. I've known for weeks that this one is going to be different. E comes home telling me that she was held in from recess for talking during an assembly, but "it's not fair!" because they were talking about how good the assembly was. She tells me how her teacher yells at HER for talking when really it was her friend talking to HER.

    And this morning, I found a stack of papers by her bed, the top one being a test returned with an unacceptable grade on it.

    This is at least the third time.

    I think it's likely that there's a direct correlation between her "talking" issues and her decrease in performance - and if that's so, why am I forced to extrapolate from what she tells me that she's becoming a problem in class? Why am I not hearing this from her teacher?

    There's also a direct correlation between the fact that this year has come with MANY social changes. Some kids are learning how to balance the more mature social interactions, and others (E!) are not.

    I reacted quite harshly with E this morning. I saw the test, and she saw me see it, and she sort of freaked out about me looking at her stuff. Her school stuff.

    I know I asked for input earlier about privacy issues - but home/school communication absolutely positively DOES NOT count as protected material. No fucking way.

    yet she freaked "stop snooping through my stuff!" First of all, when you're stuff is splaid out all over the floor, it's not "snooping" for someone to look down. Second of all - well, see above. The stuff came home for the purpose of ME seeing it.

    I decided to let it go for that moment (she was still in bed and I was there to wake her for her shower), since it was the morning. Not only was it the morning, but it was the morning after I was out later than usual and didn't see her at night. AND, I have an 8 a.m. class on T/Th, which means I had to be leaving before them, and didn't want to start an argument just to sail out the door, leaving Beloved to deal with the aftermath.

    But then E was moving ridiculously slow: I had to tell her 3 times to get out of the shower; she took about 10 minutes getting dressed; she spent 8 minutes fussing with the shoelace of one shoe - I watched her incredulously for about 4 minutes, and then went to dry my hair (b/c it was 30 out, and I was on the bike - don't want frozen hair!) when I got out of the bathroom, I saw her fussing with a shoelace again, and assumed it was the OTHER shoe - but it wasn't!! She'd taken off the shoe that she'd put ON!! And was fussing, again!! Then I told her to go brush her teeth, and 3 minutes later when I went into the bathroom, she was just peering into the mirror - her toothbrush still in its cup.

    So I got SUPER bitchy and also laid into her for the test. Of course, she said it's "not her fault" because she didn't even know it was a test when she was doing it. Huh?

    I ended up NOT going to school on time, choosing to stay home longer and see the morning through. She wasn't a happy girl when she left the house - but honestly, I haven't even shared all of her behavior that I wasn't happy with -- she was not in top form, to say the least.

    Yet, of course, as is the case whenever our day starts off like shit, I felt awful all morning. While talking to a friend at school after class, I realized that I said by to J without wishing her luck on her speech that she's worked hard on all week, and I felt horrible.

    Tears horrible.

    And then I felt even more horrible upon stepping back and realizing how this year has just been full of "issues" for E, and that if we don't find a solution now - she's going to lose her standing in school, and is going to be an underachiever - like her mother before her.

    I so do not want that.

    I can't even put into words how much I don't want that.

    Yet I don't know how to stop it.

    Discouragement. My word of the day.

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    posted by Zuska @ 1:43 PM   2 comments
    Wednesday, March 28, 2007
    I Missed the American Idol Results,
    I had gone out to dinner with a group of people who I had been with in my first year writing class - a bit of a reunion - some of us are on co-op, some in classes. We usually try to do this at least once a quarter, but this was by far our best turn out. It was fun, and I think our farewell to law school is already creeping in.

    I came home to the news - Chris Sligh go bye-bye.

    I called Beloved on my T ride home, and he wouldn't tell me who got the boot, but he told me the bottom 3: Chris Sligh, Haley and Phil. So I thought things over - if we're doing over all talent, Haley should be the one to go. If we're going by last night's performance - bye bye Chris Sligh.

    So I guess we're going by last night's performance.

    I read a newspaper over someone's shoulder on the way home - it said that if Sanjaya wins this year - American Idol is over forever. It can't survive the ridiculousness of this clown winning.

    We'll see.


    posted by Zuska @ 11:22 PM   0 comments
    Quiet Study Area
    I'm in the library, having a quick check-in chat with Beloved, when I hear some men shouting through the window I opened. This is nothing unusual. Yesterday, I opened the window and spent the afternoon listening to a work van's radio at top volume -- commercials and all. 4 stories below me.

    So these voices are increasing in volume, and the men are YELLING. I turn my head, and they're 2 feet away from me! Outside the window, which is the 4th story.

    guess what they're doing now? the window that is 18 inches from me? They're using a hammer and a wedge to knock out all the bad caulking.

    I think I need to go find a new place to sit.


    posted by Zuska @ 10:39 AM   2 comments
    Tuesday, March 27, 2007
    American Idol Top 10 - Who's the First to Go?
    Who should go: Sunjaya or Haley.


    I voted probably 15 times for Blake, and probably 8 for Gina. Blake was J's choice (even though she couldn't watch tonight),* Gina was mine, and Chris Slight was E's. I voted for Chris Sligh once. He gives me the Heeby Jeebies now, and he ain't the Police. I just bought that song, because it was such a biggy in my life in my late teens. He's not allowed to butcher it. He probably did it on purpose. To prove that only music which exalts the Lord is "good music." [I am being mean - it's the laundry's fault.]

    Beloved didn't play tonight. He is sick of wasting time watching t.v.


    God, I'm snarky tonight.

    Gina butchered a song I really like last week, and yet I'm sure I voted for her more than once.

    I'm feeling guilty.

    I have 3 minutes left.

    I'm going to throw in new phone calls for Sligh.


    Okay - resuming our regular program.

    I'm still turned off to Melinda. She's great. We know. Get her off my damned television already.

    Lakisha also bores me now. I was pulling for her really strong - I didn't want her voted off because she's heavy, and I really felt some solidarity for the single mom (since I was one for a few years). I still find her much more compelling - and deserving - than Melinda. Melinda's already a professional. Lakisha's out of the blue.

    Gina really rocked tonight. I thought she was great.

    I can't believe that two of the contestants chose to sing Gwen Stefani songs when they didn't HAVE to. Yet, I give Jordin a lot more credit than Chris. Jordin went out of her mold. She didn't sing a Disney Princess song, and she sort of expanded her image, I think. I hope she doesn't go away. I give her a thumbs up (but not a vote).

    I don't like Chris Richardson. He's not my style.

    I missed Sunjaya. I was doing the fucking laundry. I saw his 17 ponytails, though.

    Oh yeah, and the other princess. Haley can't do Cyndi. Shut up, Haley.

    Blake - I want him to win. TO WIN. He is my American Idol.

    Well, him or Gina. I'll do with either of them. Is that all?

    Oh yeah, Phil Stacey.

    I guess Phil Stacey also freaks me out, but I thought he was good tonight. Better than Chris Sligh - they're compared because they both did the Police.

    Is anyone in the Police born again? Why are my two fundies doing the Police?

    Oh! Funny story!! E said she wanted to vote for Sligh, and I told her NO! i won't dial for him. He bugs me. She said, "oh, excuuuuuuse me, I thought we had free will in this house!" I conceded that yes, she does, and allowed her vote to go to Sligh.

    See, this is what I love about kids who aren't raised to follow the ideology in which I was raised. They truly understand what "free will" means. They do not parrot. They do not have a set of "expected beliefs" which they can/will spew out on command. E knows what I discovered about Sligh, and she knows about my past, and my feelings about it. She also is secure in a feeling that regardless of my beliefs, she is entitled to her own. Because she IS.

    "You don't like my opinion, but yet, you respect it, because I, too, am a person."

    She's 10, and she knows that.

    She also knows that reason dictates the boundaries of the statement. Reason, compassion, and membership in a community.

    And here, we seem to have reached the end of bitching.



    posted by Zuska @ 10:51 PM   2 comments
    In Unit Laundry or Bust
    One of the greatest benefits of a blog - I can go off on stupid issues whenever I want, and no one can stop me. If I go in the other room and try to tell Beloved about my upsetedness, he sort of looks at me from under his eyebrows in a way that says, "when is she going to stop yammering about this ridiculous issue? I am so fucking sick and tired of hearing about this!"

    But then I can come and bitch here, and really, ya'll can't give me dirty looks. You can quick-click-away - but what the hell do I care? You still show up on my sitemeter. I still get to feel more popular. I don't really give a shit if you hate my laundry stories. You likely have a topic that irritates me, and yet, I come back to you, and I have confidence that despite the fact that you every now and then must skim the first line (or in this case, 3 paragraphs) in order to say, "Jesus Christ, Zuska, I am so sick and tired of reading about your fucking laundry room! Buy a goddamned house already, and buy your own fucking laundry machines, or shut up!" you're gonna come back. Because tomorrow, I may have something insightful to say.

    About law school.

    Or working mommies.

    Or perhaps some truly invaluable parenting advice.


    I have had multiple issues with the laundry in the basement of my building. Issues surrounding asshole neighbors, issues surrounding shitty machines. Tonight, the two collide (and I'm sure not for the first time).

    7:35 - I go downstairs with two loads of the girls' clothes. All washers (2) are running. One dryer is running. I leave my basket and go back upstairs.
    7:55 - I go back downstairs and start my washers. One (out of two) dryer is running, with 10 minutes left on it. Washers take 3 minutes. All should be well.
    8:25 - I go downstairs - my washers are done. The dryer is done. Woo hoo! Laundry time! I check the dryers. The one that had been running still has clothes in it, but I take my time removing my clothes from the washers, allowing more time for the owner of the clothing to come and get their clothes.
    8:35 - Person still isn't there. No biggy. I will give them more time. I fill the now-emptied washers with MORE dirty clothes. I put quarters in the machine. I start the machine.
    8:36 - I put quarters in the one empty dryer. I push in the tray and then press the "start" button.
    8:36:05 - weird shrieking noise comes from dryer.
    8:36:06 - I let go of start button; noise stops.
    8:36:07 - I open and SLAM shut dryer; thinking perhaps something had obstructed the door.
    8:36:07 - I press the start button; noise resumes.
    8:36:08 - I slam door again, and sort of .... punch it. Thinking I can MAKE it close; noise persists.
    8:36:09 - Being a considerate person, I think, "I shouldn't slam anymore. Kids may be sleeping." and instead look for clues.
    8:36:10 - I feel up the dryer. It feels dented underneath the door. The door doesn't seem to shut, but it seems like perhaps something got FUCKING PISSED OFF and kicked the damned thing, and damaged it.
    8:36:11 - I think "fuck." The other dryer still has clothes in it - someone else's clothes. These clothes are not fully dry (b/c the dryers SUCK), and I don't think it's right to take the clothes out.
    8:36:12 - I weigh the situation: It would not be right to take someone's damp clothes from the dryer - it's still "their turn" - but at what point can I consider their turn abandoned? Their clothes abandoned? It's been over 30 minutes. I then consider the fact that there's only one working dryer, and decide that this should inspire a more vigilant consideration in those who put their clothes in the dryer.
    8:37: I take the damp clothes out of the dryer and put them on the table which seems to have no other purpose than hold the clothes that others remove from abandoned machines.
    8:37:01: I put 2 rounds of quarters in the dryer, as well as 2 loads of clothes. I feel like shit.
    8:37:06: I come into the apartment and complain to Beloved that the laundry room sucks. He tells me "oh, don't worry, I am not in desperate need for my clothes." I tell him to just SHUT UP (b/c I'm nice like that), since I already started the damned washers before I knew there was a dryer issue!! So just ..... stop talking. He mutters something about me being an unreasonable bitch and him just trying to help and me sort of sucking. Not in the good way (although I do -- in the good way).
    8:38: I bring an apologetic note downstairs explaining that I waited for a LONG TIME before removing damp clothes from dryer.
    9:00 - I go to check on dryers. Damp clothes still on table, note still there. My clothes are still way wet. Fuck.
    9:45 - Back downstairs. Clothes still wet. Damp clothes still there.
    10:48 - My clothes STILL wet, damp clothes gone. No apparent retaliation.

    And still, I wait. I'm going to be up for a very, very, very long time tonight.

    Expect more posts. He he he - American Idol was on tonight, don't you know.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:27 PM   0 comments
    I cooked! It was great!
    As anyone who's ever read this blog before knows, my husband is the cook of the house.

    I have had failed attempts, thwarted attempts, and pathetic attempts at cooking since he took the throne.

    Today was a successful attempt.

    I was annoyed with myself last week for taking the easy way out (even though it ended up delicious and fantastic and hit every one's spots) and I resolved that tonight, I would cook a real meal.

    And I did!! I made "Pork Chops Stuffed with Feta and Spinach" and it was really really really good. I also created my own salad (not too creative, don't get your hopes up) with tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic (oh boy, GARLIC), olive oil and a wee splash of balsamic vinegar. Oh, and basil.

    Basically, it was all the yummy-ness of bruschetta without the carbs.

    It rocked.

    The whole dinner rocked.

    Wanna know why?

    Because I rock.

    So there.

    Let me know if you want the recipe - I looked for it on line to link to, but couldn't find it. I got it from my Cooking Light Magazine, and am not inclined to make like Beloved and type it out (I think he only types things out when he changes them, anyway), lest someone be fooled into bookmarking my blog thinking it's a FOOD blog, which --- ha!!!

    But if you want, I post. I type super-fast.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:59 PM   1 comments
    I think it's working out really well that my serious endeavor to get in shape coincides with my last quarter of school. What? Another 10 minutes of this funky treadclimber machine may eat into my reading time for International Law? Huh. Sounds good!

    It also works out with the spring-time at the girls' school and with their extra-curriculars and such.

    Senioritis is FUN!

    Today I get to leave school early so that I can take J out to buy props for a speech she has to give on Thursday. There was a day, probably both 1 and 2 years ago, where this would stress me out to no end, and I would consider leaving money for the babysitter to take her in the afternoon. Today there is no stress involved!! None!

    I was a little nervous walking into my early morning class this a.m., because I went to bed at 10:30 last night - instead of reading 30 pages of anti-terrorism statutes. I thought I'd be okay, since last class it was my job to "play the government" in the debates during class. I thought the professor would let me squeak by as a quiet little mouse today. No such luck. But we're behind, so the stuff he was asking about was the stuff I uber-prepared for last time, thinking I'd be called on to argue the government's position. Today, I got to be the ACLU instead of the government, and I enjoyed the discussion much more from that vantage point.

    Final piece of cheeriness for the day (well, other than the fact that the sky is blue and it's in the 60s outside, and I'm next to an open window at the library) --- the scale at the gym finally got a clue that I'm really working out a LOT and deserve to see results. Stingy thing that it is - it's finally showing some movement.

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    posted by Zuska @ 12:00 PM   0 comments
    Monday, March 26, 2007
    Freaky Friday
    My entire Securities Regulation class is still in a funk and bitter over the whole "professor doesn't show up for class" issue. He really tries to engage us, but he can't. Tonight he started to explain something that left many people perplexed --- and it wasn't even complicated, he just wasn't making sense. I asked a question, then others followed up with more, and before we knew it, we had our first truly engaging discussion wherein I think we all learned things. Amazing, I know.

    However, just as the ice was starting to get a little wet with the warmer air moving in, he started to diagram the issue on the board. He was discussing the concept of a "purchase representative" in the case of a Regulation D Non-Public offering of restricted shares.

    The problem was that he wrote "Non-PUBIC Offering" on the board.

    I was sitting with a friend who is not known as a giggly-girl. She's just not. She's the type who would often glare at someone who tried to talk to her during class. She takes class very seriously.

    Yet, I leaned over and whispered, "look, it's a non-pubic offering."

    Well, my poor friend cracked up. She couldn't stop laughing. I'm sure it was because of the tension in the room which was just starting to thaw. Her cracking up made me sort of choke, and other people were noticing, and then starting to laugh. I don't know if they noticed the mis-print on the board, or if the tension leaking away was tickling all of our funny bones.

    I am sure, really, that at some point during this day, one of my daughters started to involuntarily spew odd information about reliance, intent, and perhaps even public offerings.

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    posted by Zuska @ 8:51 PM   0 comments
    Mean Mom
    For E's birthday this year, I gave her an iPod Nano. It's the smallest one (240 songs), and I don't know for certain if I would have given it to her if it wasn't free with the purchase of my MacBook a la the educational deal they have. But it was, and so in August when I ordered my computer, I tucked the Nano away for her.

    I knew that J would be insanely jealous. When I received an MP3 player as a gift, I thought that it could appease J's jealousy.

    The silly thing wouldn'twork, though, and they'd just come out with the super cool Shuffle that clip onto your clothes and stuff. So I bought her one of those.

    Proof that 8 is too young for an iPod: She never uses it. Never ever. At first I thought it was because her little ears don't work with ear buds, but we tried 10 different types of headphones, and finally found some that worked perfectly - she still doesn't care. It's a little weird, because she used to listen to her CD player more than E did.

    E does use hers - she listens to books on tape, and she listens to classical music while doing homework, and she finds that it makes road trips more than tolerable. But J doesn't use hers.

    As we were walking home with a friend of hers yesterday, she said, "hey, you wanna hear a funny story?" of course her friend did, and J proceeded to tell the following:
    The other night, Mom was doing laundry, and she came up from the laundry room and said, "J, I am confiscating your Shuffle" and then she went back downstairs. I was scared, because I thought I left it in my pants pocket or something, and that she was mad at me, but when she came back upstairs, I asked her why, andshe said, "because mine is too big to carry around at the gym." So she's just TAKING it, because she WANTS it!!
    Her friend didn't quite get it, but I thought it was funny - to remember the conversation; to know that she was truly worried that she was in trouble; and to realize just how fine she was with the concept. I did buy the damned thing, and it wasn't for her birthday or anything. Why should it sit on her desk unused? It shouldn't.

    Last night, I charged up the Shuffle and loaded my gym playlist on it. I brought it with me this a.m., and it was GREAT. I kept feeling like I was forgetting something,when walking away from machines and so forth without that extra thing in my hand. I also felt silly heading to school today with TWO iPods in my pocket.

    But, whatever.

    J is saying she should get a bigger Nano (bigger than E's) for her bday. I'm not so sure. beloved's been corrupting her with classic rock, and she's loving The Who and Queen. Her tastes are broad (as opposed to E, who likes the Beatles, show tunes, and classical. The end. Oh - that's not true - she likes Death Cab for Cutie whenever they come up on my shuffle, and Corinne Baily Rae, too). Apparently, Beloved told her she needs more than 240 songs.

    I think perhaps that will be a gift for later, though. I haven't quite decided.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:53 AM   0 comments
    Sunday, March 25, 2007
    The Prestige - Spoilers
    Beloved and I watched The Prestige tonight. Netflix brought it over a week ago, and we don't usually let movies languish in the house like this.

    I had read sort of negative reviews about the film, but was still willing to give it a go, because who can say no to Wolverine? And even if you can say no to him, who can say no to Scarlet? Eye candy all around.

    Beloved drives me crazy to no end. This movie had twists and turns, certainly. But when it's over, and I'm stunned and surprised, and he says "oh yeah, I figured that out early on" --- I just want to throttle him!! The boy did study film, so despite my initial disbelief caused by irritation and frustration (and perhaps a tad of me feeling like I must be a dummy), I do believe him. Still. I had no clue that there would be 100 tanks full of 100 dead Wolverines at the end. I *know* there were 100 hats, and at least 2 cats. But I didn't know it meant 100 Wolverines. I thought the electrical freak fixed the damned machine!!

    Also, I just loved David Bowie in Labrynth. I think that he may have even been the first movie character turn me on, as a pre-teen or whatever the hell age I was. Unfortunately, he has not aged well, and I found that sad. Unless it was all make up (like in Labrynth).

    I recommend the movie. It was twisty/turny and engaging throughout. I like that in a flick.


    posted by Zuska @ 11:44 PM   5 comments
    My Growing Up Process
    Something that's been on my mind:

    When I got married the first time, I had just turned 21. I had graduated from college approximately 6 months earlier; I graduated college in May, and was married in December.

    I remember when I returned to college for my Junior year. It was my second year living away from home, as my parents made me spend my first year at a local commuter college, because they didn't feel I was "mature enough" to live out from under their watchful eyes (100% based on the fact that they were aware that I had a sexual relationship with my boyfriend during my senior year of high school). I had needed my car, because I had acquired a position with the University's Student Government, and had a lot of responsibilities that would require transportation - especially in the kind of "city" where I attended school. There was no public transportation . My little car couldn't hold everything that I needed and we didn't quite trust that it wouldn't crap out on the way, and so my parents drove the 10 hour drive in front of me -- and my siblings came along, too. I think they all went somewhere for vacation after dropping me off.

    I distinctly remember the distaste I had for my parents. The feelings of leaving my home town was a euphoric one - that there was nothing worthwhile there, nothing for me. I wanted so badly to be out - not only from the town, but from my parents' home.* It was the same three months previous - when I left college after my first year away from home. I remember lying on the back seat of their car, wracked with depression over the loss of the independence I had found, even in the very strict confines of my college environment. It also had much to do with the isolation I was returning to. Going from a closed campus, where I saw every student at the cafeteria (at least) every day to my parents' home in a rural town felt like torture.

    Similarly, when I returned to my home town after college graduation, I was miserable. Shortly after my return, however, my BFF from college joined me in home state, and I found a renewed love for New England. I was facing my upcoming marriage, thought I was leaving for ever (as my fiance was in Birmingham, Alabama, where I would be joining him, and where he was applying for post-law-school jobs), and was starting to understand it was "time to grow up." These positive feelings continued through my departure. Ahhh, home. Let me breathe it in and enjoy it while I have it. One particular day in late August, I remember driving on the freeway, on my way home from work. I had the windows down at the end of an 85 degree day - dressed in a sleeveless dress. The wind coming into the car was cool with impending fall, and it was so delicious on my skin, in such a "late summer New England" way. I was sad that I was leaving, but happy that I knew what it was, and how it tasted.

    Throughout my marriage to the ex, I lived far away from my home town. Every time I came home - regardless of the time of year, I drank it in. I loved the rolling hills - whether they were green in spring/summer, white with snow in the winter, or gray with pre-spring barity in the late winter. I loved the rocky landscape, and the sound of the crickets and the birds.

    During and after my divorce, however, I went through another period of shunning my roots and origins. I wanted nothing to do with my parents, nothing to do with "home." I hated going there, I hated when they came to visit. I envisioned judgment at every turn - from my parents, from their friends. Even the rocks embedded in the hills of New England turned my stomach. I assigned to my parents the very roles they had when I was a teenager.

    I often look back and think that the reason for that - for my negativity during a time where perhaps (and only perhaps) cleaving to my parents would have made life (temporarily) easier - was due to the fact that my childhood and my early adulthood did not allow for a true growing up, or a true coming into my own. That for me, shedding that child-like marriage was the same as shedding childhood. I needed that separation to find me - the real Zuska. I could not cleave to my parents - to my home town - and still find what was important to me. I could not re-set my goals.

    So I stayed away. My parents were hurt by my behavior, and still talk of that time as a very sad one for them. But I don't think it was my job, at 28 years of age, to placate my parents. I've told them honestly - I needed both the emotional and the geographical distance in order to become me. I had to find ME.

    But once I found me, I went back. I was able to embrace my parents. I was able to return to my home town without feeling the judgment (or at least not on the same scale). I was able to think of me, Zuska, as being "from New England" - and was able to enjoy the rocks again. The snow. The smells and the sounds. I don't enjoy it, as I did just after college, as the kid who lives with her parents. I enjoy as a separate person. An adult. With kids of my own, and a husband who I love, and a new life being forged. Such a different life, too.

    I am happy with the balance I've found. I am happy with the dance of closeness/distance that I created. Both with the people and the locale of my origins. I can see where I come from - its weaknesses and its strengths, and either improve upon or incorporate them. Sometimes, the weaknesses creep in and I don't see them - they're in that blind spot** that's in front of your face. Sometimes I shun the strengths without realizing what they are - but I'm always trying, and always aware, and I'm not rejecting for the sake of rejecting.

    I feel like I've come to peace with where I came from, and where I am, and where I'm headed, and how the first relates to the last.***

    *This desire was equally strong a year previous - when I left for Virginia the first time. However, when my parents decided - approximately 3 weeks before my departure date - to take in an "exchange student/teacher," and that she could have my bedroom ... I was highly affronted. This was not only upsetting as I was forced to clean my room "company-style" while readying to head off for college for the first time, but remained a point of contention. Really, to this DAY I harbor bitterness. Like over the time that I was home for spring break, and the law office I'd worked for in the past called with a one-time job for me - requiring my car - and I went outside to get into my car (which I paid for in full - purchase and upkeep, but had left home while at college because parking was not available for Freshmen and Sophomores), and watched as the "exchange student" drove it down the drive way to meet a friend for lunch. Not to mention when she would gleefully tell me in her Mexican accent that she was now my parents' oldest daughter, and that I was therefore her little sister, and must listen to everything she said. Bitch. No, fucking bitch.

    I have very deep-seated issues regarding my parents and foreign exchange students. When I was even younger (13? 14?) we had a person come for a month or so from Spain. She was a tad younger than me, but her arrival created such fervor in my house. Oh! Let's impress her!! She wants to go to Washington D.C.? well then, let's take her to D.C.!! What? Zuska's wanted to go to D.C. since she was 2? Oh, well, then doesn't this provide the perfect opportunity!!" I hated her. And therefore, when I was forced to go to Spain to visit her a year later, I hated that too.

    Zuska was an idiot in her early teens.

    ** Thanks to Anonymous Law Student for this link - although try as I might, I could not make the damned spot disappear.

    *** This does not mean that I've outgrown being embarrassed of my parents. I mean, geez. When you go to a restaurant, can you please, please, please!!!! try not to YELL? I mean, seriously. Must you say "SO, J., DID YOU LIKE BEING IN A PLAY!!!" she's across the table. It's a narrow table. So narrow that there isn't room for your plate, her plate, and a roll of paper towels (yeah, it was that kind of restaurant, and I was still embarrassed). Some things never change. Yet, when I ask my dad to keep his voice down, I'm wracked with guilt. I read every face he makes as he tastes his food as sadness that I said something. I worry that he's embarrassed, and that my saying "dad, shhh!" hurt his feelings and ruined his visit. Agh!!! Why the HELL did I talk of "peace" up there????

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:22 PM   1 comments
    Saturday, March 24, 2007
    The good, the bad and the ugly
    Play is over! I think it went really well. It's also nice that it's over.

    It's also nice that I came home to an e-mail from E's cello teacher saying he has to play in a concert tomorrow a.m., and so he can't do E's lesson. Which means we have the day OFF!!

    I always think that, and then friends of the girls inevitably call, and we end up running all over town doing drop off and pick up.

    I also really liked helping with the play, as I've said before. I enjoyed being with the kids and the other parents who helped out. I like being a "go to" person, and enjoyed taking on that role for the first time in this school. It's unfortunate that next year I'll be slaving away as a first year associate at Future Firm, and likely won't get to have the same depth of a role that I had this time. I will still be able to be present at performances, but not at rehearsals, and that's what enabled me to have a deeper presence at the performances.

    Unfortunately, as seems inevitable in these settings, I did have an incident this evening where there was a "misunderstanding" as the result of too many people giving too many directions about one single thing, and wires were crossed, and someone ended up mad at me for "taking her job" -- or her kid's job, or something. Hopefully it's something that won't be an issue once time passes and the stress of the evening is in the past. I honestly did nothing other than what people asked of me ... it just appears that it's the same thing that OTHER people asked of her. I think. I'm not really sure.

    On the brighter side - my kids were great. E had a relatively meaty part which she performed with sparkle and pizazz. We got many compliments throughout the day - even from complete strangers while walking home from dinner! A neighbor suggested that due to E's strong singing voice we pull her from her fun theater "club" thing that she does after school, and put her in the more serious theater group in town. E thinks she wants to look into it. Her love of acting and performing has to be strong if it's going to pull her away from the social setting of the group she's been involved with for so long.

    Tomorrow, we will watch Meet the Press and I will force my children to clean their room. I will try to read some Intellectual Property and perhaps even some (ewwwww!!!) Securities Regulation. We shall see ....

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:16 PM   0 comments
    Friday, March 23, 2007
    Happy Friday!
    I was so worried that skipping the gym yesterday was going to be a trend that I went NUTS today. I upped my workout by a hell of a lot.

    I also tried a new machine - the Tread Climber. I can't find the one that's in my gym on the internet to show you all. But they say it's a combination b/t a stair climber and a treadmill, and is supposed to burn more calories (up to twice as many) as the regular treadmill. It has two belts - so it looks like a treadmill cut in half - and each one goes up and down, alternating. So you're stepping up.

    It took me some getting used to the different step, but once I did, it went very quickly, and I liked it. I can also really feel the burn in my legs from it, still. Burn is good.

    I am thinking of waking early (but not TOO early - perhaps 8) tomorrow a.m. to run to the gym before my parents get here.

    I've been home for 2 hours, and have not cracked a single law school book. I have cleaned the kitchen, straightened the living room, written emails, and checked my fave blogs.

    Priorities, after all.

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    posted by Zuska @ 1:08 PM   1 comments
    Feels like Saturday
    Because of the play last night, it didn't feel like my alarm should be going off this morning. I even woke up prior to the alarm, sort of disoriented.

    I'm off to the gym. I purposefully left books that I need over the weekend in my locker so that if I was feeling lazy this a.m., I would have to go to the school - and therefore the gym.

    I love the way I have to trick myself sometimes.

    My parents decided not to sleep over, which makes the weekend a little less complicated, and perhaps more enjoyable. They were going to "leave their house at 7" (a.m.) tomorrow - but I told them that's too early. We're all beat after this week, and the kids will be moreso tomorrow after they star in the play tonight. When my parents say 7 - my dad pushes it to 6:40. I don't want them here at 8:45. No thank you. I told her that they can't come before 10.

    I really should read after the gym today.

    The kids should be home from school at around 2:15 - but they have stuff to do, and perhaps I can continue reading then.

    Ha! Like I have ever been able to read when the kids were in a 1/2 mile radius!!

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:50 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, March 22, 2007
    Shifting Focus for a Few Days
    The girls' play starts tonight. They're not in it until tomorrow (the school does two "casts," because so many kids are involved - each cast does two performances), but we're going tonight, and I am working at it. So the fun begins.

    Therefore, school (mine) is on the back burner starting .... NOW! I am home (at 10:18 a.m., after my 8:00 class). I decided to take a day off from the gym b/c it's gray and soggy outside, and I am exhausted, and yesterday was discouraging. I thought I'd rather take a day to rest, and then go tomorrow re-invigorated. I also took a longer bike ride home to compensate.

    I brought my IP book home, but I'm not too sure I'll be doing much other than staring at the spine. The house is a mess and my parents are coming. I'd like to spend some time cleaning.

    I'm picking the girls up pretty early both today and tomorrow so they have some at-home time before heading off to the school until 9 p.m.

    It is not very fortuitous that their standardized testing week is the same week as their play. They're getting the "sleep, sleep, sleep!" message from school, but the play is tonight, and will last probably until 9:30. I'm actually concerned for J, b/c ever since she was sick 2 weeks ago, she is just tired all the time! I am considering having Beloved swing by the school after he gets out of work to pick J up from the play - but I know that will feel like torture to her. And logistically, I don't know how he'd actually get his hands on her. I'll be working back stage, she'll be sitting in the "kid section" and it will generally be pretty difficult.

    One last law-school thing - my security/liberty class took a turn for the better today. We had a really good discussion about whether or not government agents should be going to public meetings, or accessing otherwise public information (i.e., google) without any sort of legal standard being required. I was "on call" to play an FBI agent, arguing that of course we should.

    What is funny is how many times I actually believed in my argument (especially since I tend to not believe in 'terrorism'). How can you ban an FBI agent from an open-to-the-public meeting? I don't know that you can, or should. Any more than you should ban liberals from meetings of conservative groups. Does the fact that I'm a Democrat who believes in gun control mean that I should be BANNED from an NRA meeting which is open to the public? A members-only meeting, sure - don't invite me. But if you're going to advertise around town for a meeting at Fanueil Hall, you can't stop me at the door because you saw a John Kerry sticker on my bike as I rode up.

    I think it's very different if the FBI agent is surreptitiously collecting information beyond than what is being voluntarily given -- you know, funky CTU technology that can scan retnas and find out social security numbers or something. I am also uncomfortable with photographs being taken for the purpose of getting identifying information on the participants - but just going to a meeting? I take issue with the idea that it should be banned more than I do with it happening!

    When the conversation shifted, however, to an FBI agent attending a Mosque ... I was a bad FBI agent. I just couldn't justify the religious profiling. I was eventually pushed into saying that okay - they can go to a large group meeting - but I didn't like it. And I don't think that you can take away the profiling aspect by saying, "oh, I'll go to a temple and a church, too."

    This is what I wanted from this class ... some squirming, some exploring of where our comfort zones are, and why. I hadn't been getting it until today.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:18 AM   1 comments
    Wednesday, March 21, 2007
    American Idol Results - buh bye Stephanie!!
    I am not surprised or unhappy that Stephanie left. I think that it was clear on an objective basis that she was talented, but she didn't really add anything to the diversity and style of the group (sort of what I think Melinda is starting to suffer from).

    I would have rather seen Phil Stacey go ... but Liberty-Boy likely has part of the Born-Again vote.

    [said as violent shudders course through my body]


    posted by Zuska @ 10:06 PM   1 comments
    On working out
    Since back in school (this is week 3), I've been pretty damned good about working out. I think I've skipped one day. I feel a little weak sometimes, when I hear about others' abilities and speed. But I know I've never been that person, and likely won't ever be. I am not in a position of wanting to lose weight because I'm in great shape -- if I were in great shape, then, well, I wouldn't be writing this post.

    I'm struggling to reach a 15 minute mile (granted, it's on the elliptical, and not true running - but I don't know what that means). Let alone a 10 minute mile uphill sustained for over an hour. Geez.

    Anyway, I'm doing 20 minutes each on 2 machines --- an elliptical and a no-impact running thing (not quite a treadmill ... I don't know what the hell it is). I'm burning around 500 calories. I'm also doing strength training a couple of times a week. And I ride my bike for approximately 30-40 minutes/day.

    I'm continuing my "healthy eating" campaign that I started in January.

    And yet ... I'm still stuck at the first 10 pounds I lost, back in February. I haven't lost a thing since.

    It feels like my pants are getting looser .... well, they ARE getting looser. To the point that at least one pair will likely need to be put aside for "fat days." I'm not quite ready to go down a size, though, and the scale stays the same.

    It is frustrating me. I know it shouldn't, and I know that in the past - I've had this pattern of losing weight. I start off, and it seems like nothing's happening, and then all of a sudden, my body decides I really mean business, and the pounds start coming off.

    But I want it to start NOW. Hello? Today? Hips? Go away, okay?

    I have been slowly increasing my workouts - Today I did 30 minutes one machine (elliptical), and 20 on the other, I'm working on increasing my speed. I've gone from a 22 minute mile to an 18 minute mile. I highly doubt I'll get far below a 15, but a 15-minute mile is my goal. If that ends up easy, I'll push further.

    I just needed to vent, so that I didn't get discouraged and go buy a candy bar or something.


    posted by Zuska @ 10:28 AM   3 comments
    Sometimes, pathetic hits the spot
    As much as I railed on myself for not "cooking" - dinner was GREAT last night. I bought two pre-roasted (itty bitty) chickens from Trader Joe's, pita, garlic hummus and tabbouli -- but the kicker was this "cilantro chive yogurt sauce" which I grabbed, hoping it would be as good as the cucumber mint yogurt sauce that Beloved makes.

    Not to diss Beloved's labors - but yeah, it was as good. I'm sure if they were side-by-side, the store-bought stuff would have been lacking, but we all loved it and wiped the container clean.

    I personally found it to be a great meal. We've had it several times in the past, and it was fine - but last night was better than fine. Perhaps it's because Beloved has our taste buds in a Meditteranean mood.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:19 AM   0 comments
    Tuesday, March 20, 2007
    What is that fantastic SMELL?
    Honestly, I know sometimes I sound like I gush too much, but this man who I sleep with is just AMAZING.

    The girls have their first day of standardized testing tomorrow. I knew they had to get to bed at a decent time, I knew they needed to be fed. But I'm not usually the food-monitor, and I didn't think too hard on it. They "reminded" us tonight (as in, said it out loud for the first time ... although we've gotten several e-mails from teachers) "WE NEED BREAKFAST!"

    Beloved went to the fridge. Then the cabinet. "I'm not sure we have anything - I boiled the last of the eggs last night." Zuska says, "la la la la."

    10 minutes later, Beloved's still in the cabinets. What the hell?

    The cook book is out.

    Some cans are getting removed from the cabinet.

    A mixing bowl is brought down .... it's 10:45.

    Now it's 11:56, and the apartment smells so amazing.


    Because our lack of traditional breakfast foods sent him on a hunt. He found PUMPKIN, and some flour, and a few other things, and just whipped together some pumpkin bread.

    Which they will love.

    And which will pair nicely with their daily fruit and yogurt smoothies.

    He just whipped it up.

    Not due to get out of the oven until 12:15 or some other very late time.

    Really, he's just amazing. He first of all gives a shit, and second of all, follows through. All the time.

    While I'm in la-la copyright land. (Thanks, IP)


    posted by Zuska @ 11:54 PM   0 comments
    Votes!!! American Idol
    I had to send J to bed before Idol was over tonight - tomorrow is her first ever standardized testing, and we need to be sure she rests. She needs more sleep than her sis, and so -- at 9:30, I cried uncle on her behalf.

    But not before she registered her vote. And, the family votes go to:

    1) J's future boy toy - Blake
    2) Beloved's fave of the night (taking into account that he was the slowest at registering his vote, and Gina was already taken) - Jordin
    3) My "I really want her in this thing" vote - Gina (even though I think she did a huge disservice to a great song).
    4) E's fave (who I likely would have voted for if she didn't claim him first, knowing Beloved would have gone for Gina) - Chris Sligh.

    Chris Sligh.

    Yes, I'm voting for Chris Sligh despite my post of last week. I will not be a bigot. How can I complain about bigots if I am one of them? Eh? He was good. I like him. So there.

    Blake ROCKS. I loved his choice, I loved what he did with it, I loved what he wore, I loved his moves, and I love his persona. He is the one I want to win.

    Or Gina. But I think Blake is better.

    I think I want Melinda to be voted off. She's too good, and I'm bored of them saying she's "in a league of her own." She is great - her voice is amazing. But --- it's more fun wondering if someone's gonna screw up. We know she isn't. It gets a wee boring.

    This is my first week NOT voting for LaKesha. I cannot and will not vote for Bond song. No freaking way. I said to Beloved toward the end of her song, "this sounds like a Bond song." He said, "it IS a Bond song!!" Eww! No! I will not.

    Sanjaya? It was his best that I've seen.

    Also, Haley has some freaking AMAZING legs. Even during the recap, I went on and on about how great her legs were. And I'm a straight woman. Those things were works of art, in my opinion. My kids laughed when Simon said that her voice was NOT the thing that people would be talking about tomorrow - they said, "no, her LEGS will be!" because of my going on and on about her legs.

    I hope Phil Stacey goes bye-bye this time. He was in the bottom 3 last week, he's a poo-head, and he really wasn't all that tonight. And when Simon said as much, he looked like he was going to cry.

    And, I'm fairly certain he gets his eyebrows done, and while that may be borderline tolerable from a girl -- I don't like that in a boy. AND!! He can't get away with pulling a Steven Tyler - he has NO HAIR!! Put the freaking microphone down, use a hand-held, do something - but you can't be bald and be a big hair rocker-boy. Hair is required.

    Thank you, Amercan Idol, for killing 2 hours of my evening.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:08 PM   2 comments
    Because I am, after all, a grown up
    I did do work after my last post. I read 2 assignments and wrote a short paper. Not too shabby for a lazy-sloth-like-being, eh?

    It is my turn to "cook" tonight. See the quotes? That means, "it's my turn to go and pick up some prepared foods at Trader Joe's."

    Tonight's lazy-ass meal -- a roasted chicken (perhaps 2, they're little, and we like our chicken), pita, hummus, tabouli, and if I can find some - yogurt mint cucumber sauce.

    Beloved just rolls his eyes at me. Why oh why, when I only have 2 nights/week that I'm responsible for am I so very pathetic? I am, really, so very pathetic.

    Thursday? It's my other night to "cook." Beloved works into the evening, and the girls and I are going to the play (I'm actually working at it ... my kids aren't in it that night), so I'm fairly certain I'll take the Qs out for sushi.

    If I can get my shit together, I really could COOK on T/Th. I could plan a meal, do the shopping, and actually take out some pots and pans. The problem is I need to carve out time to go through recipes. This is where I fall short - this is what I can't find within myself. The ideas, the planning. I am done with class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. I certainly have time to shop and cook.

    Other than complaining about my lack of domesticity, tonight will be an exciting evening. IN the works: American Idol and LAUNDRY!!

    The only good thing about hte laundry is that it will be primarily the girls' stuff tonight (with a few of my stinky gym clothes thrown in for good measure), which means they fold, they put the crap away. Which is yet another of my flaws .... I never put laundry away. I have 2 stacks of folded laundry next to my bed, b/c I washed it, I dried it, and I folded it. I just didn't put it away.

    Oh yeah, and I have a laundry basket with another load of clean clothes that I did NOT fold.


    Or, perhaps, just in need of some domestic assistance. Next year, Zuska, next year.

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    posted by Zuska @ 4:01 PM   1 comments
    Unproductive again!!!
    I arrived at the library shortly after noon, armed with lunch, tons of reading, and (oops) my computer.

    It is now 1:08 p.m. I have wasted 1 hour and 8 minutes. I've read 2 pages. Literally. Out of 20. For ONE CLASS (I did the first 1/2 of this reading last week)!! Then I have at least a hundred other pages to read.

    I have things that would be fun, but imprudent, to blog about. So I'm left with nothing but a recitation of the reading that lies before me.

    It is interesting reading - I'm liking International Law more than I expected that I would, and the Security/Liberty class less than I expected I would. The other two are somewhere in the middle, with IP creeping a hair ahead of Securities.

    By the way - last night was my evening class, and the prof was there EARLY. I think we needed to walk out last week. Really and truly. Or else he'd just keep coming late. Which is 100% not okay.

    Even with him being on time last night, he wanted to keep us past 7. Someone braver than I said, "I can't stay." And then I nodded in agreement. So he said, "okay, I'll tell you what, just stay 10 more minutes for a recap ...."

    Obviously, I didn't drop the class.

    I felt like I couldn't. Future Firm told me to take this class. Dammit.

    Also, I signed up for PMBR today.

    I'm taking the 3 day class that is held one week before the bar exam.

    People said, "oh, you should take the 6 day earlier in the summer, and THEN the 3 day last minute." Others said, "if you're not doing the 6 day, you should definitely do the earlier 3 day (which is the weekEND before the 4th of July).

    I said - pshaw to the lot of you. I'm someone who does well with short term memory, it will not kill me to do the 3 day a week in advance - not if I'm already working on the material on my own. Listening to CDs while running and so forth.

    Also, my daughters are leaving on 7/5. We are going into downtown Boston for the day on 7/4, and then the next day, they leave for 5 weeks. I'm not going to spend the 3 days prior to that in a PMBR class.

    I have made these sorts of decisions all through law school, and have yet to fail something because of it. It's not like I'm saying, "I am not studying for hte bar exam."


    Obviously, I'm looking for approval of my decision.

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    posted by Zuska @ 1:08 PM   2 comments
    Monday, March 19, 2007
    Striking yet another balance
    E and her friends are all working to get on each other's Google Talk lists. Last year (and even the year before), E was emailing with her old friends from CA, and ocassionally with her friends who she worked on a school newspaper with. I didn't find it problematic, and thought, "at least she's not IMing yet!"

    Now they are setting up the IMing.

    I am not completely concerned, b/c her computer access is quite limited, and never 100% independent - our home isn't big enough for that. I know all her passwords, and she often asks me to just check her email for her.

    As a parent, I certainly hear a LOT - not even including television commercials - about how important it is that we monitor our kids' computer time.

    Does this mean it's okay for me to sign into her email when I know she's at school and see what she and her friends are talking about?

    She's 10. But, of course, not for long.

    I know that people tend to feel VERY strongly in one direction or another, and I'd love to hear people's thoughts - not limited to those with kids. Since we've all BEEN kids.

    My mom was a snooper. I knew this, and I learned to use it to my advantage. I still didn't like it.

    I am at my core a snooper. It is one of my evil impulses that I spend time choking down.

    Therefore, if I'm going to decide that I will NOT be a snooper-mom (which I don't see an issue yet, but more as the girls head up toward 13, 14, 15, 16, and then I tend to think that at 17, those birds are done - for the most part - I'm sure I'll change my mind) I need to start prepping myself NOW.

    Opinions, rants and debates are hereby officially requested.


    posted by Zuska @ 5:09 PM   7 comments
    Imagine what they could do if winter were year round?
    We have had little to no "plowable snow" this year.

    In the Boston area, this brings frowns and grumbles - NOT sighs of relief, as those in sunnier climates presume. Somehow, those in Florida and California assume that we're just miserable over the fact that beautifully unique and fluffy whiteness comes down from the sky in the winter here. We're not. People who live in Boston have as much of the ability to move to milder climates as those who find themselves in the boiling infernos that I would hate to live in.

    We live here because we like it. Perhaps some people are the other way around - they like it because they live here. I've been both. I liked it when I lived here as a kid, and while there were things about the SF Bay area's weather that I learned to enjoy (after about a year of depression over the lack of REAL seasons), I moved back to New England because I like it.

    I like snow. It is fun. I like the cold. I find it 1000x more invigorating than I find the heat. The heat makes me want to melt into a puddle and cry - the snow and cold makes me want to pick up the pace and spin in circles and laugh.

    So I, like thousands of others, have been sad about this snowless winter.

    What's odd is that the winter of no snow turned the entire region into snow-ignorami. We had a "storm" on Valentine's Day, which mostly produced freezing spit from the sky all day. Then rain. A few times, the rain drops turned a little while, but mostly - it was rain. When I went home that evening, I was up to my mid-calf in puddles of slushy water. It was horrendous.

    not as horrendous as what that evenings' flash-freeze did to the roads, sidewalks and cars the next day though. Everything turned to ice. Very hard ice.

    There was a LOT of complaining.

    In my town, we have a law. Which is legally enforced by the issuing of tickets: property owners must keep their sidewalks clear of snow and ice. I think they have 12 hours? 6 hours? after precipitation ends, before they can be ticketed for not clearing the walk.

    This law is relatively important in an urban area. I didn't realize this when I lived in a rural area. I was used to waking up on a snowy a.m., and having the plows go by on the ROAD, which was all I really needed, because if I wanted to go somewhere, I had to drive. In my car. My dad always shoveled a sidewalk in our yard to our front door, but if he didn't, it didn't really matter. We would just go straight in through the garage to the house. No big deal.

    Here, however, people walk. People walk to the bus stop, they walk to the T, they walk to the library, they walk to work, they walk with their kids to their kids' school, they walk to their kids' preschools (usually with STROLLERS!), they walk to the grocery store. This walking happens on ... you guessed - sidewalks!

    On February 15, it was very hard to get around my smaller city which borders the urban giant known as Boston. driveways, sidewalks, parks pathways (which we have several of -- some with stairs, some not), T stops --- everything was ICE. Some sidewalks were icy on a lower level than others - like people had tried, but still - ice.

    I was kinda pissed, b/c it seemed like most people did NOT try. Not at all. It's irritating when you can't get around town because other people do not follow the rules of the community.

    But then I started to pay attention to a "discussion" being carried out in our town's newspaper. Homeowners were PISSED OFF. Why? Because they claimed they HAD cleared their walks. They cleared their walks and worked hard right up until collapsing into bed at 11 p.m. to keep their walks clear. But at 11:05 or 11:10 p.m., the town plow truck came by, and dumped more slushy water onto their walks, which then froze 100% solid during the 3 degree night, so that when the residents woke up in the a.m., their walks were solid 8" sheets of ice.

    Which was ticket-able.

    I sort of didn't blame them for being pissed. Seemed kinda shitty.

    This past Friday, it snowed again. Then the snow switched over to ice. Then a little rain came. Then the temperatures plummeted again.

    The park behind our apartment building is a sheet of ice. E and I made the mistake of walking across it after her cello lesson on Sunday. It was treacherous.

    On the way to her cello lesson, we didn't make that mistake.

    We walked on the sidewalk.

    The perfectly clear sidewalk.

    And up the path.

    The perfectly clear path.

    Later in the day, as I was walking the girls to various friends' houses, I saw a little mini-plow working on the snow piles - it was taking the snow from the street, and very carefully stacking it on TOP of the snow pile that already existed. This was precision work, I tell you - precision.

    There was a town truck with it's lights on, escorting the mini plow.

    I started to pay attention and found that on the sidewalks all the main(ish) (in addition to the wealthier) roads, the treadmarks of the mini-plow were evident.

    The town seems to be trying to solve the problem.

    I was very very grateful for this during my commute this morning - since it's still cold enough for ice, and for snow - and I was 100% unwilling to donate 1.5 hours of my day to a ride on the bus or the T when my bike would get me here in 20 minutes. It was very interesting to see the very very clean lines of snow - the meticulous piles on the shoulders of the roads, and the very clear sidewalks.

    If only the town had more time to hone its skills this year, it could have been a great winter.

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    posted by Zuska @ 3:35 PM   0 comments
    Sunday, March 18, 2007
    This morning I had an inkling that my efforts to become more of a part of my community are paying off. It felt really good. I am hoping that the new job (in late September) doesn't rid me of these forward steps, but I somehow doubt it will. Turns out many people in this community are balancing careers and families - and many of them are doing so with demanding careers, job changes, and other pressures. It is one of the high-points of the kids getting older, I think. More moms are going back to work, increasing work, etc.


    posted by Zuska @ 5:41 PM   0 comments
    Renewed Focus
    It feels slightly funny to put my IP book down in order to write this post ....
    For some reason, I've had an increase in focus thus far this quarter. It seems partially unusual because it's my last quarter - if there's a time to take school less seriously, isn't this it?
    The reason why I say no is twofold: 1) I didn't take classes that allow that of me - not in the professors' styles or in the content; and 2) I'm feeling like it's an area I have to improve upon if I'm to do well in the kind of work environment I've chosen for next year --- especially if I am going to make my little balancing act work. I also feel like it's really super-duper important that I make this work. I feel like I've been given an opportunity to do good things for my family, and if I navigate things right, it can be a very good thing. The fact that I'm not willing to become a stranger to my loved ones makes the pressure higher, but I think that being focused and productive while I'm at work will help justify the time that others are still there (say, at 7:30 p.m.), but I am at home.

    Therefore, I'm working to make myself do better; to waste less time. I leave my computer home more often and even when I have it with me, I don't allow myself "treats" of checking my e-mail except for upon completion of reading assignments.

    Geez, you'd think I were 14, not 34.

    I also feel more engaged with the material of my classes than I was in my 2L year, or last fall. This makes it all more do-able.

    I've also put other things (gym, daytime hours with the kids) higher up on my priority list than in quarters past. I learned in the fall that I could do that when taking only 12 credit hours - but I didn't then. I wasted a lot of time. Now that my super-flexible days are numbered, I'm doing what I can to use them wisely. This includes being better at staying on task.

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    posted by Zuska @ 5:31 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, March 17, 2007
    Lazy Saturday - with Scones!!!
    I was really excited about NOT waking up early today. This quarter is a little more relaxed than working was - 3 days a week. I go to the gym before I have any classes, so I don't even shower before I leave the house. Two days a week, though, class starts at 8, so I need to leave here at 7:30 (if on the bike -- 7 if weather's bad).

    This morning, though, I was awake at 6 a.m. To the sounds of my poor Beloved being ill. I was worried about him, but he came back to bed and was back sleep pretty quick, so I followed suit.

    We'd gone to bed last night without cleaning up from our Friday night Nachos & Monty Python evening, and had planned on doing it this a.m. Instead, I got up and shut the bedroom door so he could sleep, and took care of it myself.

    When he woke up (10:30ish), he said he thinks he's okay. He was going to make scones this a.m. in honor of St. Patrick's Day, but I took over the project, still being concerned that he's not okay (and I only just now thought if he's not okay - I don't want him kneading dough with his bare hands!)

    My scones came out TERRIFIC. They were very very very yummy, and I'm proud of them, and I am not ashamed to brag. They were chocolate chip scones. Beloved had suggested I put 1/2 cup of chips into the batter, which I did. Before I threw in who-knows-how-much-more into the mix straight from the bag :) I'm glad I did. They were great.

    The weather is nasty. Yesterday's snow is now slush, thanks to rain and fog and mist. E went out this a.m. to check out the situation -- wondering if they could take the sleds down the street to the big hill. The report was negative. She said it's awful out.

    So we're holing up here. J is still sick from last week - her strange fever migrated to her chest, and she has a nasty chest cough. She has her first ever standardized testing this week, and they have their play on Friday night - she really needs to get better. I'm keeping her medicated and forcing rest upon her.

    Unfortunately, a side effect of her sickness is that she's whiny, and honestly, as much as it's so very un-J-like, it's so annoying. I have zero tolderance for it. She's been sent to her room twice today, and was sent to bed ahead of E last night, and didn't get to watch the special features from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the clips from the Japanese version were HYSTERICAL).

    I need to do school-work today, too. Which is very hard for me to do on the weekends.


    posted by Zuska @ 12:50 PM   0 comments
    Who is Zuska? Visual DNA
    I saw this widget over at Lawyer Mama's place, but decided to stick it into a post instead of my sidebar - it was too big for my sidebar, and made the proportions all change. Like most quizzes and "put yourself in a category" games, I was frustrated by the options. "Love is" either 20 year olds, 60 year olds, lesbians, or a mom with her kid. There was no option for non-young non-old people who enjoy wearing clothes and being active together.

    Oh well, it was fun anyway.

    posted by Zuska @ 10:44 AM   0 comments
    Friday, March 16, 2007
    Snow Day?
    No bike for me today! We're due to get 9 inches of snow! Let's see if for once this winter, the weather man is telling the truth. They said the "heavy snow" would start by 9 a.m., but it's 8:37, and not a flake.

    I'm heading to school on the T to work out at the gym, and perhaps read some books, perhaps just fetch some books. If the snow materializes, I'll pick up the girls at around 3 p.m., and let them frolick in the park. If it doesn't-- I guess I'll just do school work. God knows there's enough of it. I may just bring the books home, though (even though I HATE carrying books around) - because if it is snowy, and there's a chance that the girls' school will close early, I will be anxious, and checking my home voice mail every 3 seconds. This compuslive behavior is not conducive to reading about International Law or Intellectual Property. Nosiree.

    I'm looking forward to a slow weekend - we have NOTHING planned! God, that sounds like heaven! Tonight is movie night with the kidlets and tomorrow is sweet, sweet sleep until at least 9:30 a.m. The weather is going to suck tomorrow (a large dose of rain to wash away any snow we may get, of course), so I'm staying in. Reading and resting.


    posted by Zuska @ 8:36 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, March 15, 2007
    Religious Right America's "American" Idol
    Yet another post about American Idol --- [see my update re: Chris Sligh's exit interview here.]

    Has anyone heard about Some say it's the reason Brandon went home last night instead of Sunjaya.

    Well, I'm about to start my own version ... Or, perhaps, Or something.

    I have made it quite public on this blog that I attended an extremely conservative university (None other than Jerry Falwell's Liberty University) and that I had been a sort-of member of the religious right, and that I had at least identified myself as a "born again Christian" when I was younger.

    I have also made it quite clear that once I left the cult (i mean, community), I was able to see just how much hate, judgment and closed-mindedness had been put upon me. In a 3 year period, I went from looking for the 'balance' of religion and secularism that was right for me, to becoming an outright UNbeliever. I could not stomach teaching my children the "lessons" of the bible, and I could not tolerate -- even in the most watered down of congregations -- the conversations about sin and hell and being "godly" (you know, refusing to befriend homosexuals, teaching your children that their body parts are evil and sinful, lobbying your politicians to ensure that abortion and stem cell research and gay marriage are banned .... stuff like that).

    Wait, isn't this a post about American Idol?
    Yes, it is.

    I have really liked Chris Sligh from the start. I like his sense of humor, I like his voice, I like his style. Perhaps I once or twice though, "oh, he's married? he seems young." I also remember during the early weeks of the boy and girl nights that he sang one song that I didn't recognize. What the heck is that song? I asked Beloved, "do you know this song?" He said no. I don't remember for certain, but I think the judges said they didn't know it either.

    I found out why I don't know it.

    It's by DC Talk.

    Who the hell is that, some may wonder?

    DC Talk is a band that is considered "crossover Christian" and whose members graduated from Liberty University a few years before I did.

    How did I discover that?

    Last night, after I posted about the results (and the bye-bye to Brandon despite Sunjaya's suckiness), my hits spiked, as is typical whenever I blog about television (which I find funny). I clicked through from Sitemeter to one of the blogger search results pages, and saw that the first result on the page was a post titled 'Christians on American Idol." According to this post, Melinda, Chris Sligh, and Jordin are all "born again Christians." Chris Sligh is even a "worship leader" at his church.

    And now, while researching this post, I found out that Phil Stacey is currently getting a master's degree from Liberty. Yeah, my alma mater.

    What the hell? What is going on?

    One of the linked sites claim that these Christian idol folks are hoping to win so they can "spread the word" from a national stage.

    Oh, joy and rapture.

    I was thinking I would stop voting for Chris. Just because my bitterness about the stupid religious nonsense makes it so that I don't want a born-again winning American Idol. What if he does as some of these bloggers hope, and takes his recording contract, and records love songs to Jesus with it? Ick. (although it looks like he's already done that.)

    But then I went and checked out some info on his band, and I didn't see them as overtly proselytizing. Really, I do have a bias against born again Christianity, and I have a hard time preventing it from leaking into my opinion of born-again Christians as people. But the people aren't really where my problem lies - my problem lies with the judgment and the proselytizing and the idea that everyone's going to Hell because they don't hate as many people as they do.

    I'm not sure, though. Because then I find things like this blog (read the comments for the real fun), and I get worried all over again.

    Update: I found Chris Sligh's blog, and although things written by him don't ever claim this, the comments make clear that he went to Bob Jones University(which caught its biggest heat for its rules against inter-racial dating - which I think they stopped while I was at Liberty, but I'm not sure, and don't care to look it up right now), AND Pensacola Christian College. They both make Liberty University seem like it's advocating orgies, with how strict and .... extreme they are.

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    posted by Zuska @ 12:52 PM   13 comments
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