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Archive for September, 2007

As I come into this new phase of my life, I am finding that there are things I must give up.

1)  Sleep

I don’t need that much.  I am perfectly capable of sleeping past 10 a.m. on the weekends, but that messes me up and makes me an insomniac on Sunday nights – during the week, I typically wake around 6 a.m. (and that may go earlier) and despite that, I can never get into bed before midnight.  Perhaps, if I’m not feeling well, I will have one night where I get into the bed at 9.  Perhaps.  If I’m not feeling well.  Maybe.

And I’m fine.  So, who cares.

Right now it’s looking like …

2)  Television

This is not a hard one thus far.  I missed all the season premiers last week, and I sort of could care less.

Last year I watched a lot of shows.  I had a corner of my brain which was disappointed in itself, because there were years in my past where I watched a lot of television, and when life forced me to cut myself off, I felt great.  So why was I moving backward?

I was watching:  Grey’s Anatomy, 24, Heroes (when 24 came on opposite Heroes in January, I gave up Heroes, but recently downloaded the rest of last season’s onto my iPod, and find it a decent entertainment option while exercising), Studio 60, Lost (doesn’t start until January, and I think it may be the one I hold onto), and for the time that it lasted – American Idol.

It ended up quite a commitment.

Now I’m watching, uh, nothing.  And I don’t care.  I don’t have the energy for it – to care about it.  I don’t feel that it has a place within my priorities.

Not to mention the fact that one day, perhaps one summer while the girls are gone and Beloved’s on a publicity tour, I can rent the damned shows on DVD, or I can download them, and catch up – if I want to.  Which I may not.

But then there’s …
3)  Exercise.  

I don’t want to give this up.  Anyone who reads this blog has heard ad nauseum how I’ve lost 30-something pounds (34?) and I’m sorry to say – I would happily lose another 20.  I can’t believe I had gotten that far beyond where I wanted to be.  I’m quite happy with where I am right now, so if I don’t lose another 20, I’m not going to stress.  I know I’m not perfect, but I don’t feel that I owe myself – or those around me – perfect.  I am within normal size ranges, I am healthy, I am active.  I feel attractive.

But I could lose that other 20.

And if I don’t keep moving, I could also gain some of my 30-something back.

That would be unacceptable to me.

100% unacceptable.

I plan to be a little slow at work for the next ____ months as I get my sea legs on and the new class fully integrates with the others.  I don’t really have to worry about billable hours for a couple of months (that starts in December).

I’m hoping to use this slight reprieve to check out the gym in the building.  To toy with arriving at my gym at an earlier hour, before work (likely not gonna happen).  I would like to find a way to build the exercise into my routine.

The more I exercise, the more sleep I can give up.

But how do you exercise from work?   Because I was thinking it would work for me to work for a few hours.  Say, from 7  to 11.  Then go down to the gym and spend an hour or so sweating.

Then shower again?  Or do I not shower at 5:30 at home?  If I shower twice a day, will I be okay?  Will my skin scale off?  Will my hair turn brittle and break off at the scalp?

See, I just don’t know how it’s going to work.

But I believe I will use this week to figure it all out, logistics-wise (I’ll figure out whether or not I physically have time in the day later, when my workload is up and running).

If I can’t make it work, then I suppose I’ll have to go back to the idea of going to my gym here near home when it opens at 5 a.m., shower there, and then leave my gym bag in my locker all day while I traipse off to work.

Either way, I need to find a solution.  One that continues to work with my over all plan of being a full time attorney and being present in my kids’ lives.

Y’all can stop laughing now.

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I now have a moment to blog.  But I have nothing to say.  Of course there’s a ton of stuff swirling in my head, but now that I’m employed, I feel cautious (overly?) about almost everything.

Then I have stories to tell about my kids, and about trust issues (which they have earned, and show me over and over that they’re trustworthy people), about their growing and maturing, and I think, “I can’t – they’re getting too old, I can’t share those things about them.”  You know, sort of how when they’re babies and you’re giving them in the bath it’s fine to snap a picture, but by the time they’re – I don’t know – 5?  It just feels wrong.

_______________________________

The sharable:

We went for a walk today – just us chicks – to the fun part of town in order to run our several fun errands.  We started at Starbucks for my caffeine infusion* and so that I could cave at the girls’ begging and change my “no” to a “yes” as an answer to their request for food.  I did not get them a frappucino, though.  Well, either did they ask.  J wanted a cake-y thing, and I had originally said it was okay for them to share.  But J was in a chocolate mood, and E in a “lemon loaf” mood, and so they could not agree.  Rather than saying no to everything, I just got them each their heart’s desire, and in anticipation of their ensuing thirst, I had them grab some organic chocolate milk.

We then took our sugared, caffeined selves over to T-Mobile.  E got a phone.  I am jealous of the phone, and on Tuesday (when my bank day has passed, and when the fun, nice boy who helped us today is working again) I am going to upgrade my own damned phone.

Which is reckless.  I haven’t decided yet what I want to do with the work-PDA and whether or not I want an iPhone (those two decisions are intertwined).  And if I upgrade my phone, it results in a renewed 2 year contract.  So I should really think on this more, and not be so easily swayed by E’s better graphics.

We then went to Gap, because E had a ridiculous amount of $$ on a gift card from my mother.  She made good choices, and got cute clothes.  J picked some as well, which I put on hold.  For one bank day.

Then we came home where E curled up with her cell phone manual and I turned on football and plunked some quarters, clothes and soap into some machines.

Boring day, eh?

I also spent time stressing over my wardrobe (or lack thereof).  I decided a couple of weeks ago that I am an old frump, and that regardless of pounds shed, I’m just not a trendy kid who can wear clothes from Gap or Banana Republic.  I was looking today at some classic styles, and realized that if I were to follow this path, I would not be able to afford to move.

Why is it so hard to get dressed?

* I had given up Starbucks in recognition of my dire financial position over the past few weeks.  Now I’m only one bank day away from freedom, and 4 bank days away from freedom plus.  So I’m back to my triple venti non fat lattes.  Mmmmm.  ALSO!  I learned over the past few days that regular coffee just doesn’t cut it for me.  Wanna know why?  I don’t like coffee.  If I drink a regular cup, I just don’t get the caffeine my body desires (please remember, my sacrifice in order to make full time work and mothering work is sleep.  No sleep does increase caffeine requirements.)  If I get a triple venti non fat latte, I can have 3 espresso shots super-efficiently delivered.  I also get the protein from a LOT of milk, which allows me to skip breakfast without feeling too-too bad about it.

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I’m guessing here – going out on a limb:

If I want to “balance work and family,” blogging is going to have to fall by the wayside.

How can I possibly get to work at the crack of dawn, fight and claw for my right to be home by 7 to eat with my family, log back onto the network after the kids are in bed to get enough work done to be considered productive AND manage daily blog posts?

Seems bloody unlikely to me.

Especially now that I’m on the cusp of throwing “moving into a new apartment” on my list of tasks.

We may have found a great place.  Twice the square footage, but only $700 more a month.  Or is that $675 more?  Ah yes, that’s it.  $675 more a month.  I was planning on spending $1,175 more a month.

I haven’t seen the place yet.  Which is a major “Wo Nelly!” factor.  How can I be thinking of moving to a place I haven’t even seen?  But it’s location is more than ideal, the price is more than fair, and it has our major requirements:  Two bathrooms; Laundry IN THE UNIT; a gas stove; a small building (duplex); a separate office.  I’ve also been saying I want a separate dining room, for the sake of entertaining.  It has that, too.

I want to see it tomorrow.  I don’t know if they’ll let me.

But if they do, and if I like it, I have to then work on negotiating with my current landlord, so that we can get out of this place ahead of schedule.

I also need to find out how much local movers cost, to see if it’s possible.

Beloved is a lot more … resigned?  optimistic?  willing? than I anticipated.  I’ve promised over and over that I won’t move us to the wrong apartment.  I am not in such a hurry that I will blunder through and rush things along – necessitating an extra move in there somewhere.

He thinks we should aim for January 1.

I think no, December 1.

He starts school on January 12, and I think we need to be settled by then, and December 1 will allow it.

He thinks we won’t be ready, financially, before then.

Maybe we’ll pay 2 rents in December, and spend the month working our way from one place to another – move mid-December, and spend the second half getting this place ready to turn over.

Who knows.

Maybe he’s right.  Maybe 1/1 is better.  Because I can have off the week between Christmas and New Years without difficulty, and so we can spend a week devoted to relocating.

I just sort of doubt it will be open until then.  We may have no choice but to do 11/1, which is really soon.

And which may mean “this is not for us.”

We shall see.

 ___________________________

 I think I have a sunburn.  Spent the day at various soccer fields.  The girls both did great, both really ran their little hearts out, and really gave the game their all.  I was proud of them.  The weather was beautiful, and made for a nice morning.

Before the soccer games, we went to get J her instrument.  Now that E is done with the cello, J has taken up the viola.  She starts learning how to play on Monday.  She is very, very excited.

We are now just about 1 hour away from the end of this week’s craziness.  I have to bring J to a birthday party in an hour, and then I come home, and we’re a bit calmer.  A friend is driving her home at 8 p.m., so I don’t have to do that.  I am taking E shopping tomorrow, but we don’t have a set time to be anywhere, and so it won’t be stressful.  We’ll just wander up the street when we feel like it.

She’s getting her cell phone.  I wonder how long she’ll have it before it gets taken away because she left it in school one too many times?

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Between budget, time and energy constraints, the abode is unraveling a bit.

Today, I am optimistic about work.

Beloved again juggled all 17,000 balls with great success, and continues to impress me.  One day, though, he’s going to get tired.

I’m sure things will level out soon [ha!]

Tomorrow brings more chaos.  Insanity.  That sort of thing.

I need to do laundry.  That requires quarters.  I have literally $25 in my account.  $25.  It’s hard to get quarters with $25.  Because I have to pull out $20, which leaves only $5, and that’s sort of weird.

Thank god for child support checks.  (Can the 1st come any sooner?)

Oh yeah, and Friday’s pay check.

Since I was irritated that I needed quarters, I decided to look at apartments on Craig’s List.

Think I can find one for under $25?  One that will throw in a free mover?

No, really, I think I found one.  I sent an e-mail.

Tomorrow:

  • Performance x2
  • Sukkot w/ friends
  • Multiple seminars on drafting motions of all sorts
  • Soccer practice
  • Writing of a novel
  • Dept. Reception
  • The wearing of heels despite massive exploded blisters (the down side of a summer spent in flip-flops)
  • Making of ambrosia to bring to friends’ house

I think that’s all.  Y’all can figure out who’s doing what.

One clue:  I have band aids on both feet.

Oh yeah, and I had homework tonight!

And, I have business cards!  They’re so cute.

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Open House

Last night was chaotic in this house.  I had no part in it.  Isn’t that odd?

The girls had an after-school activity until 5:30, and Beloved had to get them home and fed within approx. 20 seconds.  He then had to turn back around, deposit them in a safe place, and go to their classrooms in their school to hear their teachers speak on their expectations for the year.  He then, finally, got to come home with the girls at 8:30ish.

I strolled in at 9:15.

Turns out I actually like bread pudding.

Beloved found out that E is, in fact, taking too long on her homework.  She should be spending no more than 2 hours, we’re told.  I think she is spending 4.  Last night was only 3, but she had less, because one teacher was kind, and didn’t assign anything.

We are going to talk to her, and limit her to the 40 minutes per subject that we were told she should be spending.

She won’t be happy.  She’s been enjoying her hours of homework.

No, I’m serious.

Tonight will be less crazy, tomorrow will be more similar to last night than the night before, but it will be partly due to a social engagement for the whole family.  I will likely show up 30 minutes behind the other 3 of my clan … unless I can sneak out early.  I probably can (unnoticed)? but it’s our first chance to mingle inside our building with the other attorneys – we’ve otherwise been off-site in a new employee bubble.

Good news!  My employee I.D. photo actually isn’t that bad!

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On the Home Front

Beloved managed the random, surprise day off quite nicely.  He is, again, my Prince.  He shuttled both girls to various friends’ houses and back, prepared for E’s bday celebration tonight, cooked E’s bday dinner, took J shopping to allow her to buy her sister a gift, managed getting E to soccer practice, and generally kept the house a home.

E’s birthday evening went fine.  It was a little anti-climatic, since her party was this past weekend.  She had gifts from her far-away loved ones, and seemed happy enough.  She is 11 now, and perhaps too mature to be all bubbly over the anniversary of her birth – because she was quite laid back.

On my 11th birthday, my uncle died.  He was 25, and he burned up in a car.  I remember the birthday as being shrouded in sadness, with my dad gone to pick up his father from a far away state, and my mom depressed in her bed.  She gave me Q-Bert as a birthday present, and I played it on the t.v. in her room (on an Atari, natch) while she hid from the world under the covers.

I was old.  I felt old.   I didn’t feel neglected or abandoned – I felt like I was initiated into life.

What’s funny is that my mom and I talked about my 11th birthday the night of my brother’s party.  She shared with me just how much she went through that weekend, and how so very abandoned she felt – for various reasons.

My 11th birthday seems to have been one of the worst weekends of her life.

E’s 11th birthday was one of the craziest of my life.  But far from the worst.

______________________________

E is so old now.  11 is old.   I love watching it, but I’m scared by how fast it seems.  Pictures from just last year show a little-girl face.  Now, we look at her face, at its new angles, and the new depth to it, and we wonder – how old is she?  She doesn’t look like a little kid.  She looks … 16.  Her legs are so long, and she carries herself so different.

Before I know it, she’ll be on her way to college.  From here on out, our relationship will become more and more distant – as a fact of life.  She’s getting closer to where she should be figuring things out on her own, and letting go of my hand, bit by bit.

7 short years left ….

Well, to this phase.

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Day 2

Once again, the theme I’m most comfortable sharing is that of my colleagues.

After spending a good bit of time (school) drifting, I’m happy to start work hopeful that I have found (or can create?) an atmosphere where I find like minds.  People struggling with similar issues, pondering similar quandaries, and excited by similar possibilities.  And who are fun to be with, and who know how to laugh (at me).

Oh, I also found out today that I have a very assertive personality, and despite the fact that I was in a room full of lawyers, including 60+ litigators, mine was the highest on the assertiveness scale.  The HIGHEST.  The letter that stood for this particular kind of personality was a “D” and I was convinced it stood for “Dick.”   And I’m the worst of them.

Still no real substance, and no initiation to the life that I have one foot in the door of.  I don’t expect that I will have that until at least next week.  I spent most of the day (anecdotes from young attorneys being the biggest impetus) vascilating between being very nervous and very excited.

At least I’m excited about the work part.  I am excited to think that I’ll be engaged with my work, and enjoy what I do.  If I’m going to be stuck working until 10 p.m., at least I won’t be stuck doing something like … making screws.  Or ironing clothes.  Or washing dishes.

And I am very much hoping that the rest will work out.

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On my way out the door

with 2 observations:

1)  Getting up at 6 is not easy after sleeping like a baby for 6 weeks; (although that’s not even true – I was fighting insomnia last week and had a scant 4 hours of sleep a couple of times)

2) When I do get up, and my gmail notifier says “Last Checked 7 hours ago” I feel a little better about the night’s sleep.  Seven hours is a long time, right?  Until I remember that I had at least 1.5 after last checking my mail, and at least .5 before checking it this a.m.

All that to say:

I’m tired.

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My first day

Today was not all that taxing.  It was surprisingly good to see people.  I think that there was a very mellow vibe amongst all of us – as opposed to last summer’s “I can outdrink you!” competitive spirit.

Interesting:  Last year, I felt like there was a lot of awareness of beauty.  I felt like outward appearance was really stinkin’ important, and I wasn’t comfortable with it.  But isn’t it funny?  That whole aspect seems gone.  Now, why is that?  Is it because the model didn’t accept the offer?  Is it because a few of the other “hotties” went elsewhere (not sure if it was a clerkship or a different offer).  Or is it because I am no longer 40 pounds overweight, and feel less scrutiny and inadequacy than I did last year?  I don’t know.  It sort of seemed like a nerdier group than I thought I was seeing last year.  In a good way, of course.

Other than my weird image issues:  It was a good day.  Very little substance, mostly orientation to benefits, business models, business practices, etc.

Highlight of the day:  I got my Blackberry!  Oh yeah, oh yeah!

Tomorrow is more of the same, and then the end of the week is more of the same, but slightly more specialized.

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I was in the midst of orientation.  I was chatting with a friend.  We had 10 or 15 free moments, and decided to get some water and have a seat in squishy seats to talk on a more-than-superficial level.  I pulled out my cell phone, having some slight separation anxiety from the fam after my 6 weeks of intense involvement.

1 missed call.

The number is local.  I don’t recognize it.  I’m 1/2 worried.  I tell my friend that I need to quickly check in with Beloved, because the # was local, and they didn’t leave a message.  She understood completely.

“Hi Beloved.  I had a missed call – I didn’t know the number – did you get a call?”

[Beloved’s maniacal laughter fills the cell phone air waves.]

“Uh.  Is every thing okay?”

“Do you have time to talk?”

“Not tons, but I’m on a break.”

“Well, something happened at the school, and they had to evacuate, and the after-school program could not keep the kids, and so I have E, J, and assorted friends of each.”

[Stunned silence]

“Will there be school tomorrow?”

“We don’t know yet.”

“Uhh, I have to go, it’s time for my afternoon session – are you okay?”

“We’re fine.  Don’t worry about it.”

So I relay the messages to my friend.  She is impressed with Beloved, and remarks on how much the assorted friends’ parents owe him.  I  point out that we are already owed, because I have been this uber-present parent who was more than willing to pull in the kids of others on multiple ocassions.

I return to orientation – a little freaked out, but content in the knowledge that Beloved has it under control.

Then my phone rings again (or rather, it’s screen lights up, since it’s silenced).  I answer, as the session hadn’t started yet.  It’s a recording from the principal – the school is closed tomorrow.

My second day of work, and the school shuts down.  Beloved works on Tuesdays.  Nice.

As I’m listening to the principal apologize for “any inconvenience this may cause” my  phone beeps in my ear … It’s the X on the other line.

“I got a message from the girls’ school, I assume you got the same one, is everything okay?”

“They’re fine, they’ve been home with Beloved for hours now.”

“They don’t have school tomorrow – do you have somewhere for them to go?”

“I assume Beloved won’t go to work, or we’ll work things out with friends.  It will be fine.”

“Have you started work?”

“Yeah.  Today.  Right now.  I have to go.”

“Oh, wow.  Okay.  Bye.” 

Is this really happening?

Oh, now it’s time for a survival exercise.  A teambuilding exercise.  Yes, I can argue and debate over which is the most crucial item while wondering how my children will be cared for tomorrow.  My friend and I ponder the merits of the compass over the matches.  She whispers, “the firm has a back up day care, maybe you could ask about that?”  I whisper back, “I don’t think we need it – Beloved probably won’t go to work, or if he has to, the girls can sleep in and then meet him there, and perhaps hang out at the library for a while.  It will be okay.”

We have another break – I call Beloved again.  He really is more than fine.  He could be happier – he had things to do with his day that got pushed aside, but he’s ok.

Turns out he did call his boss and let her know that tomorrow just isn’t going to work for him.  The kids’ school exploded (my exaggeration of the issue), and I am on Day #2 of playing a lawyer in the Real World.  She totally understands – her store being 1/2 block from the kids’ school, she knew something was going on.

It’s E’s birthday tomorrow – and she will NOT be spending it in school.  She will instead be spending a chunk of the day at her friend’s house, another chunk at home with Beloved, and another chunk at soccer practice.
Her friend – whose father is freaking out because his wife is out of town on business, and he has patients to see tomorrow, and 2 kids to figure out care for.  He’s working it out.

And J is also going to a friend’s house.

Her friend – whose father is freaking out because he has a 9:30 meeting and then was planning on working from home until the kids got out of school.

Yes, it seems that this disaster is falling squarely on the shoulders of the fathers.  While us mothers go to our respective jobs and tend to our non-kid-related responsibilities.

There’s something in the water in this town, I think – something that contributes to good choices in mates.

We’re lucky ladies, I think.

I know I am.  Eternally grateful.

Guess where Beloved is now?

At the store – buying food, in case kids end up here.

What a day!!

I sure hope school opens on Wednesday.

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