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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  • Friday, June 29, 2007
    Yesterday, the Future
    yesterday was a fun day.

    1) Beloved made our reservations in both Paris and Amsterdam. I am very happy and I am very excited. I am also stunned that it's really so soon. We leave on 7/28. That wouldn't seem so soon (or maybe it would) if betwen now and then weren't this blur of time called the Bar Exam, which will FLY by, and keep me 100% occupied. It will be this looming thing in the future which will cause time to go by fast. I won't want it to go by fast, because I w'll want more time to study, but then, once it is here, and then over- BAM - it's time to get on the plane!

    2) We made camping reservations! We're going with the girls in Vermont, on a river, in August. My parents are lending us their car for some time, while they're off in another country, and so the expenses will be so small, I'm okay with going despite the lack of paycheck until October. Kinda funny that if we had found a hotel for $54/night in either of our destination cities mentioned above, it would have been a miracle, yet for 3 nights of camping, $54 is the TOTAL! It helps that we have all the gear. We camped regularly in CA, but haven't managed to make it happen once since law school started. I'm very excited that we're getting to do this - both because I've been craving camping, and because I want to do something fun with the girls when they return.

    Once I get past this giant wart on my future, the rest will be quite grand.

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    posted by Zuska @ 8:45 PM   3 comments
    Attempts at Being a Normal Person
    My family had to endure the story of the weird legal description question on today's MBE, and how my attempts at drawing the described piece of land resulted in a star-like pattern, and how my friend and I started laughing about it (I think we kept it silent, but due to my ear plugs' messing with my perception of sound, I'm not 100% sure ... I may have snorted) during the test.

    It's all I have to talk about: The bar exam.

    This week, that's going to change.

    Wanna know why?

    Because I'm not gonna study. Nope. I'm not. This is my plan:

    Saturday
    7 or 8 a.m.: Get up and go to the gym
    10 a.m.: Come home and shower, say bye to Beloved as he goes to the gym.
    11:30: Go with girls to "town" to get J's hair cut (E's not allowed to get her hair cut, no matter how much she begs) at noon. Probably get coffee and frappucinos. Maybe not.
    2 p.m. Pick up zipcar, drive to mall.
    2:30 p.m. Probably browse around some stores while waiting for my appt. at --
    3 p.m.: Take stupid demented lousy crappy fucked up laptop to the Apple store to get the plastic casing replaced (b/c they used shitty plastic on the early MacBooks which tend to get discolored and crack) and to complain about the fact that my fucking computer, which is less than one year old, won't stay asleep, and keeps cycling awake every 30 seconds, even when closed, and therefore running the battery down, and overheating, and pissing me off.
    4 p.m. (b/c I'm dreaming that the computer won't take longer than that, since I'm going to be in an Apple store on the weekend that the iPhone is released): come home and get Beloved and go to Target for toilet paper (which us girls go through at a rate of 8x faster than Beloved - at least. Girls.), and to Home Depot, b/c our couch is broked.

    uhhh, I don't know what else. But it doesn't include studying.

    Sunday:
    Gym.
    Swimming.
    Getting kids together with friends.
    Harry Potter 6.

    Monday:
    BarBri from 9:30 - 12:30 (why oh why do we have to do Professional Responsibility again? It just isn't fair, I mean, seriously. We took that test. We passed it. If we didn't pass it, in MA, we wouldn't be allowed to take this bigger, better, brighter, faster, harder, meaner test. So why the duplicity?).
    12:30 - head to the bowling alley.
    No, not to study.
    Beloved and I are going bowling with our girls.

    Tuesday:
    I have the day off. I'm spending it with my daughters. I think we're going to swim. And perhaps hang out in a cafe for a while. Maybe we'll watch the Price is Right. Maybe we'll sleep until noon. I'm really not sure yet.
    But I doubt I'll study.

    Wednesday:
    It's the 4th of July. Beloved volunteered to wake and leave early to go stake out a spot on the bank of the Charles River. The girls and I will ... I don't know. Maybe we'll pack up stuff. Maybe he will have already done it. I'm really not sure. But we'll meet him there in the early afternoon, and we'll hang out with the rest of Boston, and we'll go for walks up and down Newbury Street. Then we'll watch pretty explosions in the sky. Then we'll go home.

    Thursday:
    I have class.
    Life sucks.
    Then I go home, and I help the girls pack for their father's house.
    life sucks.

    Friday:
    wake at 4 a.m.
    get picked up by taxi at 4:30 a.m.
    Arrive at airport at 5 a.m.
    Put girls on plane at 5:30 a.m.*
    Wait in airport until 6 a.m. for plane to take off.
    Go home.
    Pout.
    Go to BarBri for Corporations II with my 2nd least favorite lecturer (the Car Salesman).
    Go home.
    Start Studying.

    Don't stop Studying until July 24th. Or perhaps 25th.

    *I'm a little worried about this. They don't want to go. They have both told me on separate occasions that they've decided they're actually not going. J said she was going to break her leg, or somehow become hospitalized (!!!). E said she's just not. getting. on. the. plane. They've never outright rebelled against me on anything, other than a couple of weird fits that they've had, and I came down pretty hard with. But I really fear a scene in the airport. I don't like saying bye to my kids. And if it's going to be dramatic, and difficult, it's going to suck. (duh)

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    posted by Zuska @ 8:24 PM   0 comments
    Fakin' it
    I packed my bag this a.m., including pencils, BarBri i.d. (which was never checked ... of course), cashews, money. Everything I needed.

    I walked down the sidewalk, listening to Crim now, since I haven't really reviewed it in a while. I turned right, up the path. I saw a train go by, and thought "oh, that's okay, I have plenty of time." Then I thought about my Scan Tron form, and how I know I didn't put it in my bag. Shit. Where is it, then? Oh, I remember, I stuck it in my ....... book. The book I'm supposed to bring today for the practice test. The book that I can't participate without. Yeah. It's home.

    I only killed 15 minutes. I thought I needed those 15 minutes for my coffee, and I was quite upset to think that now I'd have to be late, since I wasn't about to give up my coffee.

    Fortunately, Boston seems to have upped its train frequency in the past few months. Either that, or lots of Bostonians lost their jobs. Or something. Because the trains have just not been as crowded or as unreliable as they were last summer, or this past winter, or any other time that I've been a part of the commuting herds.

    I arrived at the destination station in plenty of time to get coffee. I ran into a classmate who was wandering a little confusedly, like me, and wanting me to search for the testing center with her. No, I can't. I am going for COFFEE. Leave me alone!

    Then I called my friend who had worked in the area, and said, "Um, I'm sort of lost, but not really, b/c I'm walking toward Starbucks, and that's all I really care about right now." She said, "Zuska, you're a dork, I'll meet you at Starbucks."

    I saw her coming down the sidewalk. She was laughing and shaking her head. Even though we'd hung up seven minutes ago. Yes, she was still laughing at ME.

    And oh, the test. Yeah. Right. That's what I was there for.

    At approximately 11:20, my head started spinning. In that post-essay-writing-I-need-a-break kind of way - where it's hard to focus and such. But I soldiered on (what the hell else was I going to do?) and it passed. I ended the morning feeling okay. I didn't feel like I was failing miserably (HA!), and I thought that despite the 10 minute blip of foggy-headedness, my endurance was ok.

    We had a hard time finding lunch. Apparently, this part of town is up-and-coming, but they're not quite there yet. At least not there enough to handle the demands of 1,000s of bar-exam-practicers. We ended up eating slices of pizza on our way back to the testing center. We arrived to find that some rude-heads had taken our seats. Jerks.

    The afternoon started with me thinking, "shit, these are harder." I didn't get foggy-headed at all, but I got super bored at approximately 3 p.m. With 50 questions left to answer. So I went and peed.

    Turns out, in the morning, when I thought I was doing great, I did worse than in the afternoon, when I felt like the questions were oh-so-hard. Go figure.

    All in all, I think it was a fantastic experience. Oddly, this is not sarcasm. We had the benefit of doing our practice exam in the place where the real exam will be, and I think that fact alone was hugely beneficial. I know how to get there. I know where Starbucks is. I know I need to pack a lunch (I already placed my order with Beloved). I also know how it will feel on Day 1 with 200 multiple choice Q's (not so bad), and I know I can sit through it.

    I also know that I need to improve dramatically if I'm going to pass, but that according to BarBri stats, it's well within my grasp. I also think I'm going into the wrong field. I freaking rocked crim law. Real Property? the subject we just learned this past with with the world's most annoying lecturer who Lyco and I want to stab with a fork -- man, did I tank. Second worst - Contracts. I know "they" say it's the hardest, but I feel like I understand Contracts. Why do I suck at them? I do not know. Torts is my second best.

    I have never before in my life been in a situation where I'm honestly content with 57%.

    This is my justification for my happiness with my obvious ignorance and lack of testing skills: If I was within passing range now, a month before the exam, I would spend the next month reading novels and playing goofy computer games. I am a girl who needs some flames lapping at my ass in order to do what needs to be done.

    57% is a red-hot flame. (The MA goal is 65%, I want to be at 75% so that I don't feel like one essay blown, or one multiple choice question messed up will mean failure.)

    But it's not a blue flame. If I had like, say, 35% ... I may be dying right now.

    Also, for anyone who cares, I'm pretty sure I'll have my period during the real bar exam.

    In MA, we're not allowed to bring anything to the test that does not fit in a clear ziploc bag, I think the Gallon size. They want to be sure we're not sneaking crib sheets in. Most women are thereby forced to bring their monthly supplies to the testing center while practically screaming I AM BLEEDING TODAY. I, however, am not one of those women. I am able to have my monthly disposals without broadcasting it to the world (ha ha ha! I just wrote it on my blog! I crack myself up.) I highly highly highly recommend this monthly method to all women of the world. Women who have been forced to go up to the perhaps not so close friend and say, "do you happen to have a tampon?" Also, for anyone who may be having a visit from that distant relative in July, and doesn't want the world to know. Or at least thousands of your future colleagues.

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:55 PM   4 comments
    Thursday, June 28, 2007
    Focus?
    Today was the mock essay test. It was so laid back, and people were just wandering in and out, and I only did 3 out of the 5 essays (I outlined the 4th, and totally skipped the 5th, b/c I hadn't even LOOKED at the material for a small subject).

    Because of the laid back nature of this stuff, I'm having a really hard time giving two shits about tomorrow.

    Which means I'll come home tomorrow absolutely STUNNED because I got 75/200 right, and I'll be crying, and I'll be stressed, and my little gmail tag line will say "I'm going to FAIL the bar exam!"

    Eh.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:18 PM   0 comments
    Wednesday, June 27, 2007
    Summer as Torture
    One of the worst parts of the days prior to the girls' departure: Tears.

    Tonight it's J. She said bye to her BFF tonight, because BFF leaves for their summer house, and they don't return until J's in the middle of the country, and then before J returns, BFF and her family take off for Europe and Israel. They don't return until J is on her way to CT for my brother's baby shower/party/celebration, and then school starts.

    This triggered an all-out tear fest about how the Middle Of the Country Sucks. About how all they do there is 5 things: watch t.v., go to the park, go swimming, go to their dad's office, and play on the computer.

    I was a little confused. All they do here is go to the park, go swimming, play on the computer ... and?

    She corrected me. We think of fun things to do. Beloved takes her to get iceys (she said that like 4 times. Who knew the power of the well-timed Slurpee?), we take them to movies, they have play dates with their friends, we go to concerts at parks.

    She said, "every body loves summer but me - summer is torture!" and she had 4 little tear drops coming out of one eye at a time.

    :(

    What can I say? What can I do?

    I got X to agree to a shorter summer from now on - 4 weeks instead of 6 (this year is 5). Two years ago, the girls were so miserable, they came home a week early. I paid the change fee for their plane tickets home.

    She wants to not go at all.

    Then she said she wants a break next year - she doesn't want to go at all. But she won't tell her father, b/c he'll be mad at her, or he will stop liking her, or he will think she doesn't like him.

    Things wouldn't be better for her here this summer. Not with this fucking bar exam. But she said it would. She said that she could hang out with Beloved, and she could go to the library, and she could go to the pool, and she could go to the park, she could get together with friends, and she could BE HAPPY (she yelled that ... it's not a typical Zuska-over-emphasis-with-annoying-caps-lock).

    She can't stay home this summer. I'll see how she feels when she returns (always better than before she leaves), and perhaps I'll pass on her request to X for a summer off.

    We'll see.

    I suspect that now that his financial obligations are being cut in half, and are no longer tied to time spent with the kids (which is how CA does it), he may very well say yes.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:56 PM   0 comments
    Damn that backbone!
    E and J went to the town pool today. They're really getting their exercise in this summer: swimming every day, and on days that aren't as hot as today was - biking through our park and to other parks. It's been great for them. I'm very happy with their activity levels.

    Today, they went to the pool, and found that it was free, because it was over 90 degrees, and because it's the "start of summer," the swim hours were extended. One of E's closest friends was there with her mom, and they hung out for a while. Both the girls told me, separately, "S was at the pool." They told me that they played and stuff. That was it.

    E had gotten a call from another friend, and went with her to see the Nancy Drew movie. While she was gone, S, the friend who was at the pool, called her. When E got home, we passed the message along, and she demanded, "What did she say?" Well, nothing. So E called her back.

    Now, E doesn't have the best phone manners. I remind her every time she dials, "Hello, this is E, can I speak with ____, please?" But sometimes she gets distracted, and when the person answers, she says, "Uh, Yeah. Is ___ there?" She did that today. Then she said, "you called?!" sort of snappish. But E gets snappish just b/c she's not paying attention - not because she's grouchy or trying to be mean. So as in similar situations, I remind her, "E, be polite." And she left the room with the phone, but not quickly enough for me not to hear her say, "yeah, I'm sorry, too."

    I asked J, "Did E and S get in a fight?" Yep.

    So how can both the girls tell me about seeing S, and her mom (a close friend of mine), and talk about playing together and NOT tell me that an argument ensued? How?

    I asked E what the fight was about. "nothing." She was being VERY tight lipped. Very. So without thinking, I said, "J, what did they fight about?" J looked at me with big round eyes, dramatically sealed her lips shut, and turned back to what she was doing. I laughed and told her she did the right thing.

    But damn! I wanted to know what happened!!

    So on the way to the concert in the park, I persisted with the needling at E, trying to break down her resolve to secrecy.

    Didn't work. I did probe, and I did needle. She said to me, "Mom! I'm not telling you. Not ever. I will not tell you because the argument was NOT between me, S, and YOU, it was just between ME and S. That's it!"

    I told her she was clever, and she was strong, and that I'd leave her alone.

    My friend (S's mom) was at the concert, and she didn't know what the fight was about, either, she was just happy they made up and apologized.

    So, I will honor my daughter and her maturity. I will honor her boundaries.

    And stop needling her.

    But geez ... what did they fight about???

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:33 PM   1 comments
    Once again, my true priorities shine through
    I whined a lot tonight, b/c it was 97,000 degrees outside, and I was strong-armed into going to a concert in a park. It started at 7, but my favorite weather website was still saying it was 92 degrees. It didn't feel so bad outside, though. And I hung out with friends, watched my kids enjoy new people, and oh yeah, there was music in the background :)

    I could have been home, struggling with the kids to stop distracting me from studying. I could have been reviewing notes for the subjects that I'm doing mock-essays for tomorrow a.m. I could have been typing up my stupid property notes. I started that, this afternoon, and I also did some property Q's.

    But I was not home. I was in a park, being a part of the community, with kids, moms, dads, dogs, and my offspring. It was good.

    I'm glad I made the choice I did.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:10 PM   0 comments
    Crack of Dawn
    Book group was fun. It's supposed to be my turn to host. The next book group is due to be either July 24th or July 27th. I said, "I can't do that." I mean - I can't do that. Can you imagine?
    oh, I loved the book, the characters were so well developed ... but really, can you leave my house now? Because the bar exam is tomorrow, and I should really get some sleep.
    I woke this a.m. and went to the gym. I listened to PMBR's Con Law CD for the 1.5 hours that I was there. I am really finding this listening thing to be helpful. If I were doing the same amount of work as those who do not have 9 and 11 year old appendages, I would think, "Zuska, you're a freak. An overacheiving FREAK." But this is just compensation for all the PMBR questions I'm not answering.

    Update to the following paragraph: Bose contacted me, and they're replacing the headphones, and they claim that they redesigned the ear grippy things, and that they're sending me new ones of those, too. I am a happy camper.

    I am very upset, because on the way home, while listening about the 10th Amendment, my ear phones started to do that thing where one ear goes in and out and there's static and stuff. This is especially upsetting, because I don't have crappy head phones. I got the Bose In-Ear Headphones for my birthday, on December 4. They're not cheap (for head phones) and they've been really great. I don't think that when you go to one of the better brands and spend extra money on headphones that they should break 6 months later.

    I checked the Bose website, and they said that the one-year warranty requires a proof of purchase. Of course, since I got these for my birthday, I don't have that.

    I wrote them anyway. I'm not happy. and I don't have head phones. And I'm spoiled, because these things really do improve the sound coming out of my iPods by at least 60% (no exaggeration), and now I'll have to pick up or borrow (thanks, Beloved) some crappy headphones and not have the rich sound I'm used to.

    If they don't replace them, I will be looking for another brand. Maybe a brand that doesn't have little cushions taht fall off constantly and make it really difficult to carry the iPod around, b/c you're always afraid you're gonna lose your ear cushions, and make the damned things unusable.

    Damn.

    Off to shower. I have my last day (THANK GOD) of annoying, squeaky, can't sing worth shit real property woman.

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:42 AM   6 comments
    Tuesday, June 26, 2007
    Proof that the bar exam is taking over my life:
    Me: I am uploading every subject in the world into my iPod.
    J: Every subject? Do you mean like, bar review subjects?
    Me: Yes.
    J: That's horrible.
    Me: Why?
    J: What if someone wants to listen to your iPod, and all these great songs come on, and then all of a sudden, here comes this boring man saying, "a tort is a tort because it is not a contract." [in a stuffy voice].

    Now they're re-writing the joke, "Pete and repeat were walking across the bridge," into "tort and retort were walking across the bridge."

    I've ruined them all.

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:42 PM   1 comments
    multiple choice hell
    I said yesterday that I was having a hard time a) feeling like I was getting the right ratio of work/family, and b) getting to where I need to be in order to pass the bar. Like I said, I was getting less than 50% of the questions right.

    It looks like I'm slowly, slowly creeping into the sunlight of the topside of 50%. Thank God.

    You know what that means, don't you?

    I've earned the right to go to book group tonight.

    Hell, no, I haven't read the book. As I told Beloved last night, the only thing I've had energy to read lately (other than outlines of Torts, Contracts, Wills, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, etc.) is catalogs! I'm thinking of bringing the latest J.Crew catalog over to book group, so I can show them why I have no freaking clue what happened in the book we'll be discussing. "See, I got to page 4 here, thought about how this woman does not have 2 fat cells to rub together to the point that that bikini does not look good on her, and then I fell asleep."

    No, honestly, I'm re-reading Harry Potter 6. I do actually have the energy to re-read a book. I want to refresh my memory before the 7th comes out, which I think happens 3 days before the bar exam. Which means when I get home on July 26th, I can pass out for about 18 hours, and then devour the book.

    (oh, oops. I think we're leaving for Europe about 18 hours after the exam ends.)

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    posted by Zuska @ 5:55 PM   0 comments
    1,000
    I didn't notice at the time, but this was my 1,000th post.

    Geez, I talk too much.
    posted by Zuska @ 5:53 PM   1 comments
    94 degrees
    It's hot outside. 94 is pretty damned hot. I'm inside, in air conditioning. I've been outside a couple of times. To walk to/from the train twice, and once to CVS to succumb to my chocolate craving.

    One of my kids is at a lake/pond today, and the other is .... somewhere else. Not sure what they decided to do on this hot hot hot hot day. I sent them both with bathing suits and sunscreen, though.

    I just wrote an essay. I think it was my best yet. Which is good, since my worst yet was a 3.1 out of 7, and my second worst-yet was a 3.75 out of 7. This time, I'm going for the gold .... give me a 5, baby. Give me a 5.

    What happened to the Zuska who used to want the A+'s and A's? She died.

    So, really, my essay scores seem to suck. The first one, though, I knew I did a shitty job organizing it, and that I didn't keep my rule separate from my facts, and that I'd do poorly. The second one, I realized after I finished that I missed a relatively big issue. I mean, I guess anytime there's a constitutional question, I need to talk about standing. I did not. Duh.

    THIS one, though. THIS one, I think I hit all the issues. I did hit the issues that were hit in the sample, but I came out differently on 2 points. One, I'm not all for this "well, he divorced the kids' mother" as "clear evidence" that a kid was intentionally omitted from a will. That's shitty. I know the dad is just Hypo-Man living in a Hypo-House dying in a Hypo-Crash, but I'm gonna impute decency upon him anyway. I'm not going to assume that he divorces kids when he divorces women. My Hypo-Man is not a Hypo-Loser-Man. So there.

    Also, my Wills guy told me that employment retirement accounts are non-probate assets, governed by their contract terms. So that is what I called the damned retirement account. But then stupid sample-answer-dude said "H has no non-probate assets." Yes he does!

    Who the hell writes these sample answers? Whoever they are, they should consider sitting in on a couple of BarBri lectures.

    Here's today's concern:

    I just wrote an essay. Okay, wait. Here are today's TWO concerns: 1) I just wrote an essay and it took 40 minutes instead of the 30 I was told to take. 2) I just wrote an essay that took only 40 minutes, and I feel like there are clouds in my peripheral vision, and I felt like I was so foggy headed and such that I needed a blogging break before I review my Contracts notes and then do my 37 multiple choice questions.

    Hello? On Bar Exam day ... I need to be doing this stuff for 3 hours in a row, 4 times. I can't have clouds in my vision and blogging breaks.

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    posted by Zuska @ 3:21 PM   2 comments
    Monday, June 25, 2007
    Precariously Balanced ... or not.
    Law school and motherhood didn't clash very often for me. My kids were cared for full time, and I had relative flexibility in case I needed to be with them extra, or something came up. In the summers, they've gone to X's, but the schedules have varied. Last year, I had them leave pretty early, b/c I thought summer firm would be all-consuming (ha!). The year before, I was working for a judge, for no pay, and no likelihood of permanent employment, and I took some time off around the 4th to hang out with them before they left.

    This year, I've pretty much been hit upside the head with a brick. A huge brick. A cinder block. Perhaps an entire cathedral. Maybe even the moon. The Bar Exam Moon.

    I didn't expect this stress so early on (it's not early on anymore, really, but it was 4 weeks ago, and I was already feeling it). I thought that I'd have less to do in the first month of bar review classes. I thought that I would go to class, and maybe or maybe not study in the afternoons, and it would be FINE. I had people tell me, "oh, it's less than a full time job during BarBri classes."

    Well, it was all bullshit.

    In the first week, I was feeling like I had a lot to do, and soon after that, with the girls' end-of-school-year activities, I was feeling like I was behind. For a good reason: I was behind.

    Things come up when you have kids. Things like, "can I have a friend over," "can my friend and I go to the library?" "hi, mom, sorry for calling, but can I go to the park?" "Mom, did you forget about soccer practice?" "Zuska, it's me, ____'s mom, can ____ hang out at your house for a couple hours because [insert dire emergency]."

    I think that I know [no, I don't just know] that I'm going to pass the exam. I have never failed anything without trying to fail. I am very engaged in class, and very engaged when doing the work assigned to me. I'm not blowing things off. Yet, I worry.

    The people I have surrounded myself with in class are all overachievers. They're all studying 6-7 hours an evening, and one person is studying about 18 hours per weekend.

    So I feel more behind than I am. I'm not doing PMBR questions. Until this past weekend, I was a week behind in typing up my notes. I was behind on essays and on multiple choice questions.

    This past weekend, I worked hard to catch up. I woke up at 6 a.m., and I was working 2 or 3 hours before the girls woke up. On Saturday, I continued to work while they read and farted around the house until around 1 p.m., and then we all went out and had the rest of the day together. Sunday - up early again, and worked at home until Beloved returned home from the gym at 11. Then I went to a cafe until 3:30. The girls went to the pool from 1:30 to 3:30, and I was home before them - again, we had the rest of the afternoon/evening together.

    Yet, while E and I were going for a walk, she said that she's felt slighted. That we only have 2 weeks together, and why do I have to study all the time? That she thought they were home until July because we were going to spend time together, and instead, I'm working all the time.

    So I think, "wow, I need to have some perspective, I need to realize that 2 weeks of less studying isn't going to be a question of pass or fail, and I need to just be with the kids."

    Then I go to class today, realize how much I need to learn, and I think, "wow. I need to have some perspective. I can explain to the girls that this is a) very temporary, and b) very important, and they need to understand that I can't blow it off."

    I think (duh) the answer is somewhere in the middle ... although I am not an over worker. This weekend was the most intense I've ever worked, and it really took very little from them. 2 or 2.5 hours per day.

    I'm finding it hard. The stress of the bar exam and the emotion of the kids - especially with them on their way out the door to X's house - I just can't do the dance like I could in law school. Law school was within my abilities, and I'm not sure this stupid test is. It's just so different.

    Classes I got an equivalent of an A+ in during law school are KILLING me on the multiple choice (I'm talking less than 50%). I don't know how to memorize every element of every issue in every subject. I just don't know how.

    So, I'm struggling.

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    posted by Zuska @ 8:13 PM   2 comments
    Another kid, another doctor
    Today was E's turn at the doctor. Then we got sent for x-rays at the Children's Hospital. Woe is me.

    They had scoliosis screenings in 5th grade this past year, and it came as no surprise that E was flagged for follow up. I was also flagged for follow up when I was her age, and I have an aunt who had a brace and surgery and still has problems from her scoliosis.

    Today was our appointment. The doctor saw something, too (I was hoping she wouldn't). So we got sent over to the hospital for x-rays to determine the degree of curvature.

    I also spent some time finagling schedules to try and get J a physical in time to start school, because 4th grade requires full physicals in our district, as well as updated vaccines (I think she needs a booster).

    The doctor's office was so confused by me. Until this year, X had their insurance per court order, and he used to bring them to the doctor in the summers. I got sick of that (having to do out of network crap every time I wanted to take them to the doctor), and so now they have insurance here. The doctor and all receptionists would therefore ask where she had been seen previously, to which the answer was "in the middle of the country" and they'd ask when we moved, or whether she lives with her father and just visits me in the summers (NO!!!), and they just seem generally very perplexed when I say, "no, we've been here for years."

    I'm so glad we're done with that now.

    Since we're new patients at this office, we had a hard time getting an appointment for J's physical in time for the school year. I ended up having to wait an eternity for a letter from the doctor to the school stating that we have an appointment on 9/17 (10 days after the school year starts), and that J's immunizations will be updated before then, and please let her go to school. Between that, the required trip to Starbucks for caffeine, and the x-ray process, the whole thing took 3 hours.

    I am now exhausted! I don't want to find an hour to do another 30 multiple choice questions tonight! I want sleep. I want to read Harry Potter. I want to snuggle with Beloved.

    Oh well. I will instead do laundry, multiple choice torts Q's, and do my best to get to bed in time for my alarm at 5:30 tomorrow for the gym-call.

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:08 PM   0 comments
    Sunday, June 24, 2007
    Sunday
    Up at the crack of dawn again - only this time, I don't feel like going running. I went to the pool with the kiddos yesterday, and swam laps for 90 minutes. 90 minutes??!! What am I, insane? That was after running in the morning. Tomorrow, I'm going to join the gym (my free-student days are over), and will start going to the gym before BarBri, instead of running. I'm more productive at the gym.

    I got out of the pool yesterday and found myself utterly exhausted. I somehow ended up with an extra kid (it had been 2, but the second was old enough to walk herself home earlier for a bday party), and so had to walk her home. My kids' bikes were at their house, so it wasn't so out of the way. But then she wanted to ride bikes with my kids, and her mom isn't the world's best at saying no. Since she ended up coming home with me, I guess either am I. Except when I said yes, her mom was going to bring the kids to the park (because it's her kid who just learned how to ride and needs an adult to feel safe -- not mine), but then last minute, she bailed.

    So I brought Harry Potter 6 and some water bottles to a bench in the park. I was too exhausted to work on Torts, anyway.

    Then I called my brother and his wife, who I hadn't talked to since I went to visit their baby in CT a MONTH ago.

    My mom's been pushing me to go to CT either this weekend (too late!) or next. The only thing that makes me want to is so I can see the baby. But I just don't have time. It stinks when you don't have time to do something like "see a baby" b/c they're only little for a short time! If I don't see the baby until after my trip to Europe (which will be the case unless they come here), he will be almost 4 months old! That's a very different baby than I saw when he was 3 days old.

    My Sister In Law said she wants to come here, though, even if it's just for dinner. So maybe I'll get to see him.

    Then kid's mom came to pick up her kid, and I ended up bringing her and her kid into the house for dinner. This house which I never have time to clean b/c I'm always studying for the bar.

    Beloved wasn't too happy with me b/c 1) the house was a mess; and 2) he was hoping we'd have leftovers for lunches during the week. We aren't used to feeding the kids lunches at home. When they're in school, they eat school lunch (in our school where the push for all-natural and organic foods in the cafeteria makes this a reasonable option), or bring sandwiches from home. But now that they're home every day, we need to really feed them.

    I nonetheless brought them home for dinner, and expect that Beloved will 1) get over it, and 2) find a way to become more flexible about bringing friends over. I have hesitated to have people over spontaneously for 3 years now because of the size of our place (tiny), and I'm really tired of it. I want to be walking down the street, run into a friend, and say, "hey! come on over for a cup of coffee!" without worrying that it's gonna piss someone off. So I need him to be more flexible.

    The house, really, wasn't even that bad. It was a cluttered, but I swept through in 90 seconds and got the most unsightly taken care of (i.e., a pile of clean, unmatched socks on the living room floor, 3 pairs of shoes, a pile of BarBri answer sheets/books, and a pile of the kids' summer homework). Furthermore, I've been to many people's houses, and their day-to-day lives create the same kind of atmosphere. There are piles on tables, under tables, on counters. Dishes are often dirty in sinks, dirty clothes on bathroom floors. And they don't seem to give a shit.

    I received a strange combination of genes from my parents. My mother is a neat-freak. She is the person who will take your cup of coffee from your HAND in order to clean it and put it away. She spent so much time cleaning when I was young, I was convinced that she cared more about cleaning than she did about me.

    I somehow responded by having an anti-cleaning gene. That cup of coffee can sit on the floor next to the couch all damned-day without phasing me.

    UNLESS

    we're having people over (planned guests, this is understandable, it's the quick stop-by guests, or the kids' play-dates or the cable guy that makes me think I'm a bit off). Then - BAM! I need absolute perfection. I want the floors polished, every dish sparkling, every child and/or husband's possession in its place, out of my living room, and shiny. I start looking at places I didn't know existed, and I want them perfect. Under the couch, the side of the fridge that's against the wall, the underneath of the kitchen sink.

    And so, if things aren't that way, I feel like I can't have anyone in my house.

    I so need to hire someone next year. Although, again, the size of the place embarrasses me, and it seems like too much to ask someone to try and make sense of it all.

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:05 AM   4 comments
    Saturday, June 23, 2007
    This is a Saturday?
    In order to squeeze in sufficient working time this weekend, I resolved last night to start working by 8 a.m. Since my daughters are slugs, I knew they'd be in bed or at least close to it until 10, and that I'd get in at least 2 hours of real work time before I was juggling work with caring for/being with the girls. We then plan to go to a Climate Action festival that my town is having, and then to the pool to swim and dive and laugh.

    Then I got super-ambitious, and said, "I think I'll get up at 6, instead, just like during the week, and go running."

    On a Saturday?

    It's really surprising that I would say that.

    What's even more surprising? That I did it.

    I actually got up at 7, and did a truncated run, compared to the weekdays, but I was okay with that, because I plan on swimming laps later this afternoon.

    So now, the bar exam has stolen at least 3 things from me:
    1) Sex
    2) Sleeping in on weekends
    3) Reading for pleasure

    After Beloved and I return from Europe, I am going to join my daughters in slug-ville.

    These girls belong to me. This fact is evidenced by the fact that as soon as the alarm stops being set, they stay up late, and sleep late. When left to their own devices (i.e., in X's care) this gets so out of hand that they're up until 2 a.m. and sleep until noon. I believe that's insane. So at MY house, the worst is gets is up until midnight, sleep until 10. Oh yes, I am so much more civilized than my ex husband.

    So far, we're doing okay. I send them toward bed at approx 10 or 10:30, and they read until they turn off their lights, which is around 11. And they are then crashing. And so far, at 9:08 a.m., they're still sleeping. So they are catching their Z's.

    When they come home, 2 days after we come home, I want to join them in the experience of sleeping in. I want to read until I have no choice but to turn off my light. And I don't mean, "I want to read notecards with legal rules about torts, con law, and criminal procedure." I mean, I want to read a NOVEL. I want to read a magazine! Right now, my reading for pleasure consists of leafing through catalogs every time I get an extra 3.2 minutes, b/c I know it's only going to be 3.2 minutes, and I don't want to get invested in something I can't follow through with.

    My day will come. It's on August 12th. The first day that the girls wake up here, at around noon. Since they'll be coming from X's house.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:02 AM   0 comments
    Friday, June 22, 2007
    The Fire Within
    When I get angry, really angry, I get a little ball of fire in my chest, and it makes me want to lash out, physically. Never at a person. I don't want to HIT people. But once, I hit the wall with a belt. Another time, I threw a banana. SEVERAL times, I threw phones. I've broken many phones, actually.

    I think the last time I remember throwing a phone, I was in CA, and a single mom, and living paycheck to paycheck. I had just gotten paid, and therefore had plenty of money to go grocery shopping, pay my bills, etc. Yet, when I went to the grocery store, my card was declined. I called the bank to find out what was going on, and they told me that they randomly selected my check for a hold. A 2 week hold. On a PAYROLL check. They said, "oops, sorry, didn't know it was a payroll check, but the hold's on it now, so, too bad." (I'm pretty sure it's illegal to put a hold on a payroll check. It was in CT, I know that.)

    I was so angry, I threw the phone from one corner of a relatively large room into the TOP edge of the wall on the opposite corner. HARD.

    I mean, come on. I had to buy fucking GROCERIES.

    And no, I didn't have credit cards. I had canceled them ALL after post-divorce necessities (i.e., rent and full time childcare before I found a full time job) ran them up toward $30K, and I only was able to pay them off b/c an uncle died. I was done living above my means.

    That's the last time I threw a phone.

    Today, I almost did it again.

    I held it tight, with my knuckles white, and I said 'FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!' a thousand times.

    I didn't throw. I held it tight. And I took deep breaths.

    And I opened up my Contracts notes.

    And I said "fuckfuckfuckfuck"

    Then I called:
    Hello, Insurance Company. This is Zuska. I just received the notice that you've denied the claim for my daughter's orthodontic work, which was thought necessary by her dentist and orthodontist as a medical procedure because her front tooth is trapped in her fucking gums [no, wait, i didn't say fucking], and so we applied for approval for dental insurance to cover the procedures required. This claim was denied. The problem is, the claim that was denied is in the name of my other daughter WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO THIS FUCKING DENTIST IN HER ENTIRE LIFE. [no, wait, I was still calm].
    Insurance company lady clucked sympathetically at me, and said:
    oh yes, you are right, that would explain why we had no x-rays and no medical records and no doctor reports and no ANYTHING on file for her, and so that IS in fact, why it was denied. I'm sorry. The only thing you can do is have your dentist resubmit the claim. And, no, we can't expedite it, it wasn't our fault, it was the dentist's fault.
    BUT IT HAS BEEN 10 FUCKING WEEKS, HER TEETH ARE GETTING WORSE, I HATE YOU!
    No, I didn't say that. I pushed the "talk" button and again wandered from room to room saying fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

    J hates her teeth. She is sad about the state of her teeth on a daily basis. There is of course the constant hope that since she is only 9, her teeth will get better on their own, but you see, they aren't getting better. They're getting worse. She's this gorgeous amazing kid who has to feel like she's NOT gorgeous or amazing, b/c she spends all her time trying to hide her fucking TEETH from the world. First she had a surgery to get an "extra" tooth removed, and the dentist in her Father's state felt that once that was removed, everything else would slide into place. But they did not. So I took her to the dentist, and we started this in February, what with the x-rays and the follow ups and the other baby teeth being pulled and the this and the that ....

    (see? beautiful and amazing and gorgeous)

    we were told 4 weeks.

    It's been 10.


    And I wanted her to have her braces ON before she left for the summer, so the braces could start to work (hopefully moving the blocking tooth to its rightful place so the blocked tooth can come down - also hopefully correcting her overbite, even a little, since that's not the goal of these braces - that will be left to the later braces, when she's in 7th grade, or something), and if it turned out that she needs another surgery (to put braces on the stuck tooth in order to pull it down into the land of sunshine), it could happen before she starts school.

    But now that's impossible.

    I called the dentist's office all afternoon. I called the right department about 100 times and left messages, but they didn't call me back. I think that the administrative offices are already in the summer "Fridays off" mode that takes over in Boston. Then I called the wrong departments, and told them that I was wondering if they were closed, since no one was answering their fucking telephones. They said "no, what do you mean?" They gave me another number, and so I left 15 more messages.

    I am trying to come to terms with the timing of everything. Since we only got our answer today, on June 22, the chances of her getting all the prep for braces done AND the braces put on before she leaves on 7/6 are pretty slim. So even if today's letter said yes ... it wouldn't have happened before she leaves for 4 weeks. Hopefully I'll be able to fight and argue and bitch and moan while she's gone, and get the dentists office to at least expedite as much as they can, and hopefully have approval in hand before she gets home.

    I am so mad at this dentist's office, which is one the few covered by current insurance, that I 1/2 just want to stop. We're going to be on ridiculously fantastic insurance come the fall with my new job (as opposed to the current shitty insurance), and I will likely switch providers then. But I don't know if she can wait - I was told by at least one person that there's a risk that if her tooth stays in the gum, it will start to break down. It needs to come out and play.

    I am not a happy momma.

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    posted by Zuska @ 4:47 PM   2 comments
    Tort Dude is Funny
    Lyco already posted some of the best moments. I was thinking what geeks us bar-exam-studiers are, cracking up at the Torts jokes. Since this was the class that ran the longest, I was grateful for the dude's stand up routine. He had me laughing hard on many occasions (WHY on god's green earth, can I never spell this word?). I think today's hypo about the purpose (or lack thereof) behind statutes criminalizing marijuana were my faves. He also put a tiger in a cage into some random back yard in MY town, and that was fun, b/c I like Tigers.

    The girls are at a friend's house today, and she doesn't want to bring them home. I'm almost through the Contracts notes, which means I'm only 2 days behind now, instead of 4. Progress, right?

    The outdoor light is yellow, on account of thunder storms rolling through. I love thunderstorms.

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    posted by Zuska @ 4:43 PM   1 comments
    Thursday, June 21, 2007
    My Big Indulgence
    Today was the second day in a row that I did not get up and exercise. I'm a loser. I didn't go yesterday, b/c it was the girls' last day of school, and I wanted to simply the morning. Beloved had made french toast and bacon, and they were excited, and so ... I didn't go.

    Today was supposed to be my first day swimming in the a.m. instead of running. My new bathing suit arrived, perfect for laps with no escaping boobies, the pool schedule was double checked, and then I pushed snooze one more time.

    This is a problem because it will be my first time at the adult open lap swim, and I'm nervous. The other day, I ran by the pool, and peeked inside to find out how crowded it was: very. I don't really feel like I'm good/in practice enough to feel comfortable swimming in a lane packed with people. I veer. I drift. So I was hoping to get there first. At the unlocking of the door, so that I could be the pace-setter, and people could be joining ME, rather than me joining them. I pushed snooze instead.

    Of course, there is no such concern with the reservoir. So there was absolutely no reason why I couldn't have gotten out bed and donned running clothes instead of swimming clothes.

    I pushed snooze again.

    THAT was not the big indulgence.

    Once I skipped out on exercise, and felt my uterus tightening forebodingly the entire way to BarBri, I thought, "this week sucks. I want a fucking bagel."

    I actually have wanted one every day that I've passed the bagel shop on the corner, but I resisted. Why? Because I have lost approx 30 pounds, in part, by cutting carb-rich foods from my day-to-day diet. I don't regularly eat sandwiches, or have rolls, or eat noodles, or rice. There are occasions that I will have such meals, for whatever reason, but a bagel has not been one of those occurrences. I probably haven't had a bagel in a year or something.

    Today (and yesterday, and the day before, and the day before) I wanted one. I wanted the yummy cream cheese, and I wanted the delicious onions and the toasty bread on the outside and the doughy bread on the inside.

    And I got me one.

    And it was NOT worth it. The onions looked fake, the cream cheese was messy, slimy, and sort of gross, and the bagel itself was second-rate at best.

    what's more - I got home at 2 p.m., after a train ride sprinkled with cherries and almonds for a snack, and I'm completely shaky. All jittery and weak-feeling. I'm never like this! Other than the bagel (which I also justified as replacing my morning smoothie, which Beloved won't be making for me anymore, I don't think, since the girls will be home in the a.m., and sleeping when I leave, and they were really the intended beneficiaries of the smoothies ..... I suppose (get this!) I could make my own smoothies. Huh), my routine was as per usual. Coffee in the a.m., fruit during class, home and eating around 2. I'm never shaky. Except today.

    I don't think that carbs are bad for everyone, but with my family history (Diabetes, Type 2 on top of heaviness) and my own personal reaction to pasta, rice and bread (bloating, gas pain, FARTS), I do believe they are not the best food choice for me.

    I'm glad that today's indulgence was a flop, rather than a moment of ecstasy creating the temptation of repetition.

    And tomorrow ... I *will* go running (the pool doesn't open early on Fridays). Sat/Sun, I will go to the pool, AND run, to make up for today and yesterday.

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    posted by Zuska @ 2:10 PM   2 comments
    Wednesday, June 20, 2007
    Capicity Reached
    When 10 cent favors are cashed in for $50+;

    when comments are made time and time again which are difficult to translate, and chances are that it was an insult, not a compliment;

    when reciprocity is made to feel like inequity, or a burden;

    when I stop sharing conversations with my husband, b/c I know that he'll be insulted (uh, b/c it was insulting);

    when I hear comments relayed from the child that I have found offensive from others in the past and have not tolerated;

    when I listen and listen and listen, unable to get a word in edgewise, and yet - when I speak, I'm given a look that says, "why does this matter to me?";

    I feel done.

    Guilty for being done, b/c early on, introductions were made - but done nonetheless. I can make my own way. Thanks a ton, but I feel the debt has been more than repaid.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:41 PM   2 comments
    20 months apart
    X is 6'3" tall. I am 5'7" tall. E is 20 months older than her younger sister, J.

    When J was born, she was 9 lbs, 12 oz (E: 7 lbs, 6 oz). The doctor told me that when he saw her crowning, he was scared to death that she had hydrocephalus, b/c her head was so damned big. Turned out, the rest of her followed suit, and other than some minor, temporary blood sugar problems, she was very healthy, and quite robust.

    She has always, since that day (birth!) been big for her age. She has been off the chart for height (although not for weight, despite the rolls she was born with, she's never run on the chubby side). My parents, my Beloved, myself --- we've always said, "she's gonna pass E by one of these days!"

    Yet, they've remained an inch apart in height (and 2 pounds in weight) since ... 2003? A steady inch. There's something about J that always makes her LOOK taller, or closer in height. I think it's the muscle. She's got a real athletic build, while E is more lanky. J also has her father's VERY long legs (looks much better on a girl, I must say), and that adds to her tall appearance.

    Beloved did his regular measuring last night. He's on a 6 month schedule it seems.

    J is catching up. They're now 1/4 inch apart.

    Poor E. I'm pretty sure that by the end of the summer, she'll be shorter than her younger sister.

    Their school isn't big enough for this to go unnoticed.

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    posted by Zuska @ 8:13 PM   0 comments
    Shrek the First (to Zuska)
    I really liked the movie today. I had not seen Shrek, or Shrek 2, so all the characters were new to me, and very amusing. I loved Antonio Banderas ... and the cat was so cute when it tried it's "i'm so cute how can you say no to me?" face.

    Far and away, however, my favorite part was when Snow White let Led Zeppelin rip, and sent all the birdies and deer and squirrels attacking the trees. Something about the beautiful birdy-loving princess going all Rock on me, it just cracked me up. I loved it.

    J's friend's favorite part was when the Queen/Mom freaking head-butted the walls to knock holes in them, which was also pretty funny.

    J didn't have a favorite part, but her friend (who wanted to sit next to ME, b/c I'm that mom) said that J laughed hysterically at every part.

    It probably added to J's fun that she's a wee more familiar with Monty Python (tv series and the Holy Grail) than most 9 year olds, so we were chatting about whcih voices belonged to Cleese and Idle, and we agreed that the trees had Python voices.

    I want to see Shrek now, and I think Shrek 2.

    HOWEVER, before the movie started, I was itching to skip across the hallway (somehow with Beloved at my side, even though he was at Whole Foods at the time) and see BOTH Pirates 3 and Oceans 13. I don't think we'll be doing grown-up movies for some time (July 7, July 7, July 7 -- you reading this, Beloved?), but when we do, it's going to be a quad-feature weekend, I'm telling you RIGHT NOW. Spidey 3/Oceans 13 one day, and Pirates/Silver Surfer another. Once I get all of those piped into my bloodstream, we'll start down independent path.

    We may just have to see them with french or dutch subtitles across the bottom, though. Not that I'm complainin'

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:59 PM   0 comments
    Contracts All Done
    3 days of contracts came to a close today. I liked our professor. I saw others complaining about the contract lecturer - but I'm not sure I had the same dude. My dude was relatively funny, and made the 10 hours approachable and sensible. And I liked his Texas accent.

    I'm not looking forward to 2 days of 4+ hours of torts ... especially now that the kidlets are out of school (and therefore after-school care) and I have to worry if they're doing alright.

    After class today, I wrote checks for over $900 so that next year, the kids again have after-school care. Even though E's one of the few entering 6th grade who will continue after-school care. Others are starting to just head home on their own. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. She probably is (or thinks she is). I'm just not. I need to see how she does once she's a 6th grader. It helps that 1) Beloved is home 2 out of 5 afternoons per week because it allows for a supervised transition; and 2) Beloved works right down the street in a (relatively) relaxed establishment ... so if problems arise, we aren't hoping I can run the 13 blocks to the T station and catch a train ASAP to handle it. He can be the first # on speed dial (yeah, she'll likely have a phone).

    Then I went to the school to pick up J and a friend, and we went for ice cream and a movie.
    there wasn't much about contracts in the movie.

    So yeah, now I'm even further behind.

    Oh well. I'll condense my notes after dinner. All 3 days' worth.

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    posted by Zuska @ 6:51 PM   5 comments
    Tuesday, June 19, 2007
    fires and wires.
    Our fire alarm went off tonight - the building-wide one. We have little smoke alarms in our apartment, but then there's a building wide one that is triggered for more serious smoke. It has been set off in the past by burned foods on stove tops down the hall, but never by us.

    We all left our building, and the firemen came and turned it off. It was nothing. No surprise there.

    When I was going down to do the laundry, though, I did smell something slightly burny in the hallways. It smelled kind of plasticky.

    I told Beloved about the smell when I got back to our apartment, and he said, "you know, while you were down in the laundry room, our door buzzer buzzed, and I went to see who it was, and there was no one there. Then I went to the back door, and there was no one there." I said, "eh, someone probably pushed the wrong button." he said, "No, we can always hear the buzz of the door being opened." True. "Probably just kids I said."

    Then it happened again. No one in either lobby waiting to be let in.

    He says he's a little worried that it's a short, and that there's something going on with the wiring in the walls, and that's what triggered the alarm, and that the fire department missed something. I said, "oh no! then we'll have a fire in our walls!" Then I said, "I think it's kids. I'm going in the hallway to watch."

    I went into the hallway, and kept my eyes peeled.

    I thought it was the kids downstairs. There are 2 apartments in the basement (it's only 1/2 underground), and they both have kids around E and J's ages in them. They tend to both leave their apartment doors open, and the parents let the kids just go wild in the basement hallway. I personally find it completely inappropriate and obnoxious. I don't see them as paying rent for the hallways. Not more than I do ... and you don't see me setting up a folding table and having a party down there. I mean, seriously. Close your damned door.

    So I figured it was those kids, horsing around downstairs, and getting clever with the door buzzers.

    Even though I'd just been in the laundry room, and both doors were closed.

    But, whatever.

    I stood in the hallway. No kids. No noises. But a woman and her baby were coming through the back lot, so I knew if there WERE kids, they'd be waiting until it was "all clear."

    I felt like a bit of a stalker or something, lurking in the hallway (not to mention the fact that I could hear every word of the conversation between a husband and wife in an apartment back there as they cooked dinner), so I went back to my house while I waited for the mom and baby to get in and up the stairs.

    I went back out, just to watch. Beloved said if it happened again, he thought we should call the building manager, and I just wanted to be sure before we bothered him at home that it wasn't horseplay.

    Sure enough, after about 30 seconds, from between 2 cars in the parking lot comes a boy. Not a downstairs boy. Not an "I live here, too" boy, but rather, a boy from E's grade. He runs up the steps, oh-so-stealthily, sees me through window, and turns and runs away. Following after him? 2 more boys from E's grade.

    I ran down the stairs, opened the door and yelled, [Boy One's name], [Boy Two's Name] and [Boy Three's Name]! I almost called the fire department! Stop ringing our buzzer!!!"

    I came inside laughing. Beloved said, "E mail their moms!" I said, nah. I'd rather them be on pins and needles wondering if I would e-mail their moms. This is the most innocent of childhood pranks. If they keep it up after being caught, okay - I'll consider contacting moms. But not for this.

    E, though, was indignant, and she and J went to the park where the boys were congregating. This is a very .... lush park. It's not that big, but it's pretty big and tree-filled for a city park. The neighborhood surrounding it is mostly $1 million (and higher) homes. Even the ones that are actually condos, but look like a castle. I would say that in the horseshoe that surrounds the park, there are likely 30 households, including my building, which has 14 of those. The park is mostly used as a toddler park and a dog park.

    One of the 3 boys just moved to this neighborhood. He's been in our school district forever, and is friends with the other two, and now they're all in the same neighborhood. Not necessarily the best combo, in my opinion. It's a combination of boys that E has struggled with in the past at recess, and now ... they're in our backyard.

    One of them had a Nerf Gun. (They had it when I saw them in the parking lot), and when E went out there, and "chased them" - they chased her back, while aiming the "nerf gun." I thought she meant a water gun, so I laughed and said, "did you get wet?" She said, "No, Mom, it wasn't a water gun, it was a nerf gun. It shot arrows, and I didn't appreciate getting shot, and you need to e-mail their moms." I still said no, b/c she went out there to confront them. She chased them first (even though she later tried to say no she didn't, but J verified that the first version was correct). I thought she'd go out there and they'd all laugh. I wish I didn't let her go out.

    While folding laundry I thought it over a bit more. I'm really not that happy to think that we're going to have park issues this summer. I've been looking forward to the girls having free play time there, and if the boys act like a little harassing posse (as they've done in the past, and it was stopped only by E's getting adult interference and the boys being spoken to by the principal), the girls aren't going to want to go.

    Also, I don't want boys shooting a gun (nerf or not) at my daughters. I don't think it's an appropriate way to behave toward others in a public place and with people who didn't consent to, and don't enjoy, that type of play.

    I am not contacting mothers today, and I told E as much. However, if they continue to shoot a gun at her (I think I'm going to except water guns, but we'll see), and if they continue to harass the girls when they go to the park, I will intervene.

    And then out comes my insecurity "oh, but they're home owners, and we're renters, and what if there's just nothing we can do about it b/c they actually have more of a right to be there?"

    Where the hell does that come from?

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:50 PM   0 comments
    Bar Exam = Unhappy Husband
    I didn't get much done over the weekend. I was busy swimming and attending soccer games and such.

    So yesterday, I told Beloved that I would go to the library for the entire afternoon, and that he should arrange for the kids to get home (they can walk on their own now, which is VERY nice), and that I would come home when dinner was ready, and please make dinner ready between 6:30 and 7, or actually, just plain old 7, thank you very much.

    Then I got home, and I was a bitch. Not really to him ... but to the girls, and I came in and totally changed the atmosphere of the house - from him cooking peacefully and the girls peacefully hanging out in their room (getting along, even), and made the girls surly and it wasn't very nice.

    I apologized to the kidlets, but not really to Beloved. (I didn't bitch at him.)

    So then we sit down to dinner, and Beloved says "I haven't planned dinner for tomorrow night."

    Now, it has been an intermittent rule in this house that on days he works until 6:30 (Tues. and Fri), I cook. Very intermittent. But I was afraid the rule was being invoked, and so I said:

    "I can't do that. I'm not doing it tomorrow. I just can't handle doing dinner on top of all of this."

    Yeah, nice of me.

    We finished dinner at around 8 p.m. (maybe a little earlier), and I was just BEAT. The glass of wine I had probably contributed to that exhaustion (and I made a note of that fact), and I just .... sat. I thought about doing MORE work, since I'm still at least 6 hours behind the "paced program" that the all-knowing bar review company has us on, but I just ... couldn't. I thought about doing laundry, but that thought made me want to die. I was overwhelmed b/c the dishwasher hadn't been run and the sink and counters were covered with dinner and Beloved's lunch, and that morning's breakfast ....

    I loaded the dishwasher, and sat on the couch with a mindless computer game. In between those two tasks, I went into the bedroom where Beloved was finishing up his latest writing project, and I said something about "fucking" and something about the kitchen and something about exhaustion, and I certainly didn't mean it would be fun to have sex on the table until exhausted. Actually, bar exam DOES NOT = sex.

    5 minutes later, while I was sitting on the couch, Beloved came out of our bedroom (also known as "his office") and said, "sweetie, if you're really that tired, you go on to bed, and I'll take care of the kitchen."

    I thought perhaps it would be wrong of me to take him up on it. After all, he cooked. And he's cleaned up the kitchen when it's actually MY job (he who cooks does not clean), but, I rationalized, he went back to bed this morning after the girls left, and I didn't. I went to class. Then I went to the library (after taking literally 8 minutes at home to wolf down some protein), and I worked for 5 hours straight.

    So I went to bed. But he seemed grouchy with me --- he really wasn't grouchy when he came in and said he'd clean up. I don't know what happened in between. Perhaps the offer was actually a test. Perhaps it was because he was looking at hotels in Paris and Amsterdam, and was mad that I hadn't already taken care of it (although he's been to both cities, and I've been to neither, and the one time I thought I found a cool Paris hotel, he said it was in a bad area, too far from the center, and so I feel like I can't do it without him, and we're never together - either I'm working or he's writing).

    I asked him if he was grouchy, and he said yes. I asked him why, and he said I shouldn't ask that kind of question ... or something.

    Then he said he was upset b/c the bar exam makes me self-centered and makes me put everything off. Or something like that. I think the point was: all you talk about is law; all you want to do is study; you never do the laundry; the living room is a mess; and you are BORING."

    So I went to sleep.

    But then this a.m., I texted him, and said that I WOULD take care of dinner. But his phone was on the kitchen counter, and he was at work.

    Tonight, though, I'm doing laundry. My 3rd and 4th loads are in the washer RIGHT NOW.

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:17 PM   4 comments
    Sunday, June 17, 2007
    Feeling Like a Kid, Again!
    The girls and I went to the pool. Wow, was that FUN! First they goofed off in the kiddy pool, and I spent 45 minutes doing laps. That was a little harder than I remembered! But it felt GREAT. Then E came over, and was wishing she could take what we call the "deep end test" in this town, and which allows them into the deeper pools, and allows them to jump and dive. The girls swim a lot, and love to swim, but haven't had lessons in a while. I told her to ask a lifeguard if she could come in the lap pool with me, so we could work on her swimming and get her ready to take the test. The lifeguard misunderstood, and called the Deep End Tester over. E jumped in the pool and took the test. SHE PASSED! She was so excited. She had to do the crawl, to tread water, to float on her back, and to do the back stroke. She did it all more than fine.

    Then I went with her to the diving pool, and we jumped and dove for a while. When the HELL was I last on a diving board? I have no clue! I can't remember! I grew up with a pool in the backyard, and we had a diving board, and I used to go to the town pool all hte time, and it had 4 diving boards, but i don't remember since then when I would have been on a diving board.

    Man was that fun.

    J was, of course, jealous. She said she thought she could do all parts of the test except the floating. Doesn't that seem silly? I mean, isn't that the easiest part? So I assigned her and E the task of practicing the floating, and I went back and did another 15 minutes of laps. Then J came over with a shy grin on her face, and they had a lifeguard in tow.

    J passed! And how! My goodness, you would not know from watching that girls swim that she wasn't coached on proper form for the crawl and the back stroke. E had to take a moment when it was time to breath - she couldn't work out how to coordinate the stroke and hte breath, but J was like a freakin' machine.

    And she was oh-so-floaty.

    So then we all played in the diving pool for a while. So. Much. Fun.

    Last year, I took them to the pool a bunch. I took them and a book. I sat in the bleachers while they played. It was hot, and stuffy, and I usually dragged my feet getting there, hoping we'd have one hour of open swim, instead of two.

    Today, we were there for the entire 2 hours. We all worked our butts off, and we all had a blast. My arms are feeling sore/strong. My legs, too. I want to do that MORE. I need a new bathing suit, though. I kept thinking my boobs were popping out of my beachy bathing suit. I need a speedo with a high neck.

    And, my kids rock.
    posted by Zuska @ 4:57 PM   0 comments
    Zuska the Dork, v3
    I have read on blogs, and in other places, about people who leave their iPods in their back pockets of jeans and then throw their jeans into the washer. I have a 30G video iPod, and I always think "how can people DO that? How can they not know it's there?" because I picture my large iPod.

    This past year, I bought J a shuffle. She is too young for a shuffle, and never used it. She just isn't into music enough to warrant having one.

    Then, I started going to the gym, and found my big iPod to be clunky and hard to handle, and thought, "I should get myself a shuffle." Then I thought, "why? J doesn't use hers, who cares that her name is engraved in it, I'm taking it." So I did. She didn't care.

    I've been using it since March. Last week, I went around the reservoir, and had the shuffle in my shorts pocket.

    Y'all know what I'm going to say, right?

    I washed my shorts last night. I went to get the clothes from the dryer, and thought, "what the fuck?" upon opening the dryer and finding my headphones dangling from the dryer door. Then I thought, "oh, shit." I hoped upon all hope that I had done what I intended - taken the shuffle out of my pocket and put it on the charger. Nope. There it was. In the bottom of the dryer.

    It wouldn't turn on. (Surprise, surprise). The headphones were wrecked, and the iPod wouldn't turn on. I showed Beloved. He said, "so! try and re-load it, see what happens." I said, "no way! I've heard of people washing them, and they're always ruined." He said to try it anyway. So I put it on the charger ....

    and the charging light lit.

    This a.m., I took it off the charger and plugged in my Bose headphones (thank GOD those aren't the ones that were in my pocket, I would have died), and pushed play.

    And there was Alannis. Singing her heart out to me.

    It seems to be working fine.

    Amazing.

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    posted by Zuska @ 4:43 PM   1 comments
    Father's Day - baking, studying, swimming, studying
    The girls and I made Beloved a coffee cake for Father's Day. I used this recipe, and had checked it yesterday. I looked at what we had in the cabinets, and surmised that I had everything I needed. Yet, when it came to the eggs, I panicked, thinking "I don't think we have any!" We did. We had 3 (needed 3). Then it came time for the sour cream, and I had thought yesterday "oh, we just used dollops of that on our tacos the other night, surely there's 1 1/4 cups left" - there wasn't. There was probably 4/5ths of a cup. So then I had to research substitutions. To get 1 cup of substitution of sour cream, you need 7/8th cup of buttermilk, and 3 t's of butter. In order to make buttermilk, you need 3/4 a cup of milk plus 2 t's of vinegar. I asked E to come figure out the fractions for me - b/c I needed 1/3 cup of buttermilk. Not 3/4, not 1. 1/3. I needed to know how many t's of vinegar for THAT? She couldn't really figure out the proper starting place. So I did it.

    Okay, fine. The batter came out great, we got the cake in the oven. A quick check, though, showed it was a little darker than I thought it should be after 20 minutes (of 55). I looked and thought perhaps the oven was running HOT, b/c last night, when Beloved did the dishes, he left a pot cover over the burner that serves as the vent. So no heat was escaping. Then I realized not only that, but the little dot that I thought was 375, was actually the little dot for 400. Shit.

    I think it's okay, though. It's out of the oven now, and cooling. Yeah it's sort of dark around the edges. But. Whatever.

    The girls made him cards last night. When they really put their time into making cards, they make masterpieces. E's is like a little scrapbook, and she did a pastel drawing of a sunset on a beach that came out really gorgeous (I may photograph it later and post it).

    Now I have to get them to call X.

    This is where Father's Day causes angst for my kids. They don't like doing it toward 2 people. They feel/understand/know that they have TWO people to honor on this day, but they wish they could just pick one. But they don't know who to pick. X is their "father" - duh. But Beloved is a huge part of their lives, and plays the role of "dad" 350 days a year. And honestly, he does it a lot better than X.

    Well, we're gonna eat coffee cake, and then the girls and I are going to the Town pool. They asked yesterday, and I thought, "I think they can go on their own" (it's 3 blocks away). Then I thought, "Oh! Wait! I am no longer unhappy with my body to the point of not putting on a bathing suit! *I* can go swimming! I can do laps! I can have fun!" So ... I'm going, too.

    I was going to go to the gym this a.m., too, but when I got up at 7, I thought calling to see what their Sunday hours are would be a good idea. They opened at noon. Glad I didn't bike over. Since I was going to swim today, I just did some sit ups, push ups and weights here at home.

    After the pool, the girls will either a) do something with Beloved, or b) get kicked out to the park with their roller blades and soccer balls while I sit here studying for the fucking bar exam.

    Fucking bar exam. I hate you.

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    posted by Zuska @ 12:06 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, June 16, 2007
    I love this little girl!
    I read this story on CNN this a.m., about a little girl who was presumed to have drowned, but while the rescue teams were searching the river for her body, she stumbled out of the woods, naked and carrying raspberries.

    How cool is that? How cool is this kid? She took off her bathing suit, because it was muddy and itchy. How 5! Yet, she found herself some raspberries, and kept herself in good spirits, and she survived, and is just the coolest.

    I showed the story to E, and her response was, "wow! what a smart girl she must be."

    As much as I just wanted to post about this cool story, and the kid who deserves the world's biggest High-5, I can't resist:

    What is up with this friend of the family (end of the article) saying, "obviously, we're giving all the glory to God on this one." God didn't have poison ivy all over his legs, and God didn't have thorns and prickers in his feet. This little girl ROCKS. Why does God get all the glory? She deserves glory!!

    frizzum frazzum.

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    posted by Zuska @ 10:48 AM   0 comments
    Friday, June 15, 2007
    I'm a Field Trippin' Mama!
    I went on a field trip today. We took a ferry to an island in the Boston Harbor. We had a very very very fun time. I love my daughter, and I love these kids.

    I'm also very very very red. It's my own fault. I put sunscreen on J, and thought, "oh, I'll put some on later, I need a litle sun first" and then (of course) forgot about it "later." J and I stopped in to say hi to Beloved on our way home from the outing, and he took one look at me and shook his head. "Zuska! You are BURNED!" We are both of the very chalky freckly persuasion, and he feels my pain acutely. (He actually gets it 100x worse than me - his dad is a pure redhead, and while Beloved's a blondy, he has his dad's redhead tendency to burn.)

    Those fellow bar-reviewin' folks who read this may be sort of confused. "Zuska? What do you mean? Why are you posting at 3:22 p.m. saying you were on a FIELD TRIP? How can you do this? We have the BAR EXAM in 6 weeks! You can't go on FIELD TRIPS!" To that, I say:
    Feh.

    I did a double class last Friday to make this work, and I've assigned all kid-carting to Beloved for tomorrow. I can so go on field trips AND pass the bar exam.

    Oh yeah, and I'm sort of behind. But not by much!

    And you should have seen those kids! So happy and sun-kissed and frolicking. It was a 100% FUN trip - no education whatsoever. Just fun. And I'm glad to have been a part of it. I'm thinking that I will commit to one field trip per year per kid. It will stay inside my own head, this commitment, just in case E's 6th grade class goes on only one field trip next year that just so happens to fall in the middle of a trial or something. I guess it's best described as a goal, rather than as a commitment. So yeah, this is my goal. As of today.

    Now I'll go condense my stupid notes for stupid 3 days of class --- for about an hour, because then I have to go bring J to soccer practice, and head to the liquor store for wine and to Trader Joe's for some "I'm a pathetic person who doesn't cook" appetizer components, because tonight, some friends and I are having dinner and wine on a deck.

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    posted by Zuska @ 3:19 PM   0 comments
    Wednesday, June 13, 2007
    Library Update
    Our town's main/head/senior/deputy/whatever librarian e-mailed me this a.m. He was very nice, and what I think is most important from his several paragraphs was that he said that there was no way that the woman should have chased me into the bathroom. He said they've had trainings on how to handle cell phone usage as well as other disruptive behavior, and that she should have ONLY said something if I was talking loudly before I entered the bathroom (I wasn't even talking, and if I was, I was whispering), and even then, she should have approached me after I emerged.

    I appreciated that.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:36 PM   1 comments
    Two Degrees of Separation -- Morning Routine Disruption
    This post seems closely connected, in different ways, to my two recent posts, and I find that funny.

    This morning my alarm went off at 5:30, as usual, and I stumbled out of bed. I sort of wandered around the house for a little while, confused as to why I felt like shit. Not physically sick, but just --- foggy. Shitty. Crappy. Pooey. I looked outside, and the weather matched my mood. It was spitting out, and it looked cold. I said, "fuck it, I feel like such crap, I'll be crawling around the damned lake." and I got back in bed.

    I woke at 7 to Beloved's concerned questioning - was I okay? Then I got out of bed to E's berating me, "Why are your running clothes hanging on the bathroom door???" I told them all to shut the fuck up (not in those words, because if I did, Beloved would be mad at me, and E would have a bad-mom who swears at her with the most profane of all swear words).

    But then I thought, well, I'm waking up now, and I feel FINE. There's nothing wrong with me.

    So on an impulse - I packed a gym bag! I haven't been to the gym since .... pre-graduation. I think. I've been running almost every day - but haven't been to the gym.

    I went after bar class. It was great. I loved being back on the elliptical, and I had really been craving weights, and did a full body work out (since I'm not going back tomorrow to alternate). I realized that I really do love going to the gym. I did this quarter, and I did back in my Berkeley days when I did the YMCA every day. There's just something more motivating about the gym than there is about running around a lake. I do more sit ups, I go faster for longer. It's just more fun.

    That made me wonder if I could work it into my routine after all. I can get a really cheap alumni membership. But it's still not in a convenient location, and the household rhythms still don't match up, and, probably most importantly for right now, I didn't sit down to start working until 3:30 p.m. Instead of 2 p.m. The kids were home by 6, and I just didn't get everything done (I keep saying that I'm about to turn back to it, but now it's 9:30).

    Once the girls finish school, though (a week from today), I can potentially go before class. I won't be getting them out the door, and they'll likely revert to a late to bed/let to wake schedule, as they always do when left to their own devices. Beloved will be here most mornings, and so I can get up and go.

    I think I just may do that.

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    posted by Zuska @ 9:26 PM   0 comments
    Fattism (that's 2 t's, thank you very much)
    Housewife posted about her concern that obese people may be on the way to becoming a protected class. I will overlook the fact that she clearly hasn't been steeped in Supreme Court decisions for the past 3 years, and therefore is not aware that the last thing that's about to come about in this great nation is the formation of another "protected class," and skip straight to my opinion(s) on whether or not people who are obese should be hated for it. Or blamed for it. Or told that it's just because they "are too lazy, stupid, etc, to put their fucking fork down" (this remark can be found in the comments to Housewife's post, and was not written by Housewife herself).

    This topic is one that I am naturally interested in, as I'm in the midst of a journey between "fat person" (for me), now at "relatively normal person" and hopefully on the way to "thin person."

    What does this mean about where I stand on the issue? Do I think that people who are fat deserve every bit of nastiness they get from the likes of this Ahab character (again, in the comments - I'm really not up for linking directly to his blog), because of their laziness -- after all -- look at me. I'm exercising, I'm eating healthy and I'm seeing results. Why can't they?

    Or does it make me sympathetic?

    Well, I think it's horrible to make an assumption that because one person can be a certain weight, and has a certain reaction to a specific exercise regime must mean that any other person has to do nothing but the same things, and will be the same weight. It's just not true.

    I come from a chubby (putting it mildly) family. I have an aunt who is 5'2" and 350 pounds. I have an uncle who is 6'6" and is likely 400+ (gosh, maybe 500, once you figure in how tall he is). I have a brother who is 6'5" and who I just found out had been just over 300 pounds (but is now 240, and that is his ideal/goal weight -- he's rather broad in the shoulders. A bit impressive, physically). Both of my parents are officially "obese." My mother has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, as was her mother before her (before she died at 62 of cancer).

    I have struggled with my weight since I was in college, at least. I was always a stick as a kid, puberty brought curves (real curves ... not fat ... yet), and the freshman 15 was fought for a few years. There were a few times where I bit the bullet and did the work necessary to get me to where I wanted to be. This time has by far been the hardest.

    Right now, and in the past, I am prioritizing weight loss. In January, when I first decided that I was going to pursue this as my latest goal (figuring that if I can go through law school, I can lose some weight), I started with my diet. I cut down to 1100 calories a day, after doing one of those little calculators to find out what my baseline was, and blah blah blah. I was very strict, counting every calorie and watching every single thing I put in my mouth. It was 20 degrees below zero here for most of January and February, and I have found that my cold-weather-running limit is approx 18 degrees ABOVE zero. So I was not running. I was not going to the gym, because I've got this thing called a family .... I like them and they like me and therefore, we like to spend time with each other.

    3 months of this, and I lost 4 pounds. FOUR. I had seriously put my fucking fork DOWN.

    And while it's true that I wasn't running every day - it must be remembered - we don't have a car! We are not sedentary people. We walk everywhere. I bike to/from school. Anywhere I go requires me to get off my lazy, fat ass and get myself there via my own feet.

    When I started school, gym time was factored into how I set my schedule, and I spent at least 2 hours a day in the gym (I think it was more like 2.5-3 when you factored in the shower). Per day. I continued to be more than careful about my intake. Driving Beloved crazy with the parameters I was setting, as they affected his cooking choices.

    For the first 6 weeks of this daily exercise, I had lost less than 10 pounds. Including the 4 from Jan-March.

    I put my fucking fork down. I got off my lazy ass. And yet, I was hovering at 190 pounds, still a size 16, and feeling very frustrated.

    I can understand how working so hard (or even not as hard as I was) and having zero results would make someone think that it just doesn't work - that they can't lose the weight, and that they are destined to just be fat. I mean, geez, how much do you hear that all someone has to do is eat less, eat healthy, and exercise. We even hear that all you have to do is go for a walk. Just do "something." Just "get out there and move" to quote Housewife herself on this earlier post of mine.

    Getting out there and moving, alone, for me means very little. It does not make me thin - to say the least. Walking quickly for 30-45 minutes a day and riding my bike for 40 minutes a day does NOTHING. Cutting my calorie intake by approximately 400 calories a day (because I wasn't eating poorly pre-January) did NOTHING.

    And sure, the fucking fork guy will likely rant and rave about how I got fat in the first place. Between the paragraph up there with my family history and statistics, coupled with a stress fracture, a sprained foot (that bothers me to this day), single motherhood and then law school ... I've got my reasons.

    Every time I have been my ideal weight, I have had to make it one of the HIGHEST priorities in my life. 2-3 hours of my time is required per DAY. Once I get where I want to be, it will take less to maintain, but if I lose the gusto, then I lose the drive, and before I know it - without changing eating habits and without eating like a pig (we don't drink soda, we don't eat chips, we don't do fast food, we don't eat candy (save the occasional deluxe chocolate) we cut out high-fructose corn syrup for New Years in 2005, and haven't brought foods with that ingredient into the house since then, we eat lean meats, we eat organic fruits and veggies).

    Does everyone who looks chubby have to defend themselves by listing their diet? Is that the alternative to this "fattism" question?

    And then - what about our kids? I have already struggled with the fact that I live with two young girls. They know I am exercising. They have commented on the change in my appearance. When we go out and E wants a snack and I casually say, "I don't want ice cream, let's pick something else" and she says "why NOT?" in a knowing tone - I feel like I'm really screwing her up. I try very hard to keep the conversation centered on "health" rather than "skinny" - but it's hard, and they're not stupid.

    Where also is the balance between accepting yourself for who you are? You eat healthy, you exercise a reasonable amount (which is less than 3 hours a day), and yet, people look at you and say "she's the reason I don't want national health care"? I can't accept that. I can't be that person walking around and sneered at (although I don't think I really was 25 pounds ago).

    The attention that weight gets sucks. Whether it's hating people for being fat, or if it's telling people that the ideal is 5'10 and 110 pounds through the inundation of the media (like the bathing suit I saw in the Eddie Bauer catalogue the other day that looked nice on the size 6 model, and stunned me when I looked and saw it was only available in sizes 16W-18W -- they must have had one custom-made for the model).

    I do not, however, hold any bitterness toward the person who is working from 8-5 and rushing to pick up her kids from day care and who potentially can't afford to shop at Whole Foods, and who does stop at the drive through window at McDonald's because a Happy Meal costs $1.99 (or whatever they cost these days) while cooking a decent meal costs at least $30, and who can't afford to join a gym, and who can't leave her kids alone to go running at 5 a.m. (whether it's because she doesn't have a husband, because her husband won't watch the kids, or because her husband got up at 4 to work the early shift so they can pay the rent this month).

    Nor do I hold bitterness toward the person who decided that it was time to try and lose weight, and after one month of walking/running/biking and eating "healthy" had zero results and thought, "Jeez, "they" said that if I did this stuff, I would lose weight, but I'm not losing weight, and so I perhaps something is wrong with me."

    I do, however, hold bitterness toward those who rant and rave about bans on trans fats. This culture has embraced shitty foods for so long, and then belittles those who are prone to suffering the negative effects, and if the culture can start to turn things around by saying, "hey! this is shitty food!" that is a good thing.

    And, if you haven't figured it out yet, I hold a lot of bitterness toward people who find it appropriate to spew hate, assumptions and names at people just because they aren't the size that was chosen as "acceptable" by the speaker (yeah, that commenter again).

    And I respect Housewife for her ability to mull over an issue and backpedal, if that's what reason and good sense requires :)

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    posted by Zuska @ 7:38 PM   9 comments
    Things Adults Are Made Of: Alarm Clocks
    My desire to be fit and to keep up with my exercise routines posed a bit of a conundrum for the mornings: I had been waking E at 6:30, and Beloved had been getting up at 7 and waking up J (I usually hopped back into bed once I got E into the shower, and dozed until Beloved's alarm went off). The bar class and the end of the law-school routine meant that if I wanted to go running in the a.m., I'd have to be back to wake E up at 6:30. Beloved and I talked about getting her an alarm clock, but it seemed so ... unreliable. She's just a kid. It would be so easy for her to just turn it off and go back to sleep, and it just didn't seem like something we could trust. We did decide, though, that it wouldn't hurt to try.

    But I kept forgetting to buy one for her. So Beloved (the King that he is) started setting HIS alarm for 6:30 so that he could wake her, and I could leave at 5:45 for my run.

    Finally, last week, I got her an alarm clock. I sent her off with the instructions to read and to set it up. She did a pretty good job - except didn't have the a.m./p.m. right, so the alarm would have gone off the next evening at 6:30 p.m. But that's exactly why I checked it.

    Another funny: She came out saying, "Hey mom, what's a "tuner"? It's one of the choices for the alarm, but I don't understand." The child has an amazing vocabulary - this wasn't a vocab issue. The issue is that she has never really listened to the radio. We don't really listen to the radio. How strange. I grew up with the radio (KC101 out of Hartford/New Haven, to be precise), and so did Beloved. But now --- we listen to XM in the Zipcars and to iPods (and before that, CDs) at home. When we were in Berkeley I listened to the radio some, but only in the car, and she was always in the back seat strapped into her carseat.

    It struck me as funny that at almost 11 years of age, she didn't know what a "tuner" is.

    Anyway - guess what? The alarm has worked great! The first day, she had it set way too loud, and wasn't sure how to turn it off. To be yanked out of sleep with the thing blaring like that was difficult, and it made J start to cry, and then E went running to sleeping Beloved a little frantic "I can't turn it off! I can't turn it off!" But we adjusted the volume, and now it's going really well.

    This morning I asked her why she was running behind, and she said, "well, I don't know. When I left my room, it was 6:31, and I set the timer for my shower for 15 minutes, but when I got back to my room, it was 6:51. So I'm running behind." Her talking about time with such precision made me giggle.

    To me, it's another step of independence for her. Honestly, I love this. I am just not one of those moms who sobs as my kids grow up and develop new skills. I'm excited for them. I'm excited to see who they're turning into ... especially since so far, so good :)

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    posted by Zuska @ 3:28 PM   1 comments
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