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I do not write this blog to educate others.  I am not here to give you instruction or advice.  There have been times that people have read my blog and thought perhaps I would have some advice, or experiences to share, and they’ve written to me through my publicized e-mail, and they received the advice and they’ve received more details. Through a private conversation.

If you want to know what it’s like to be a lawyer-mom, then you’re going to have to find people who want to tell you what it’s like.  You don’t have the luxury of just browsing the internet and stumbling on this blog, which is MINE (not yours), and having that particular detail of my life exposed to you.

Blogs are public.

My job is important to me.

It is not the fodder for public commentary.

Regardless of the “honesty” that you feel I have somehow committed to just by using up this URL.

Having a blog has NOTHING to do with my livelihood.  I will not risk one for the sake of the other.

If you want “honesty” from people – dig a little fucking deeper than clicking on a link.  That’s not where real sharing comes from in my life.

Real sharing comes from a give and a take – from an investment in each other’s lives.  From some sort of trust which – in my opinion – cannot be built amongst strangers.

Hell – in my experience – real trust can barely be built through years of friendship.

So if you want more – give more.  Make a fucking effort.   Don’t just sit there whining about other people’s choices and other people’s refusal to hand you your life’s research on a platter.

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{Before I get started:  Sue first of all, I know I owe you doggie biscuits. Your stupid-ass team won fair and square, and while I’m LATE, I’m not welching on my bet.  I’m just waiting to see if I’m sending for two or for one – did Mr. Nim get his way?  Or are the pants firmly belted at your waist?  Second of all – Leave me the fuck alone.  If I want to watch American Idol, I’m going to watch American Idol.  So shut up.}

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First of all.  I think dred guy is so fucking adorable.  I just love his face.  I like long hair – I don’t necessarily like it in dreds.  But there’s something about long hair on guys that I find really [cute?]

I don’t know that I think he’s all that great.  Other than by his eyes, and white teeth, and prettiness, I’m not really moved by him.  I also didn’t want to know that dreds “come off.”  Gross.

[Simon called him brilliant!  I just do not share that man’s taste.]

I told E when we started this show that I was not voting, but she could.

Instead, I am voting for 3 people.

1)  Little David.  (David A.) I wasn’t thrilled with his version of Imagine last week, with everyone else falling all over their puddles of drool – but tonight – the little boy, in my opinion, was amazing.  Just amazing.

2)  The other little boy.  The gay one.  I hated his interview, and I hated his text-message-talk.  And I was less than thrilled with his attitude with Simon afterward.  But his performance, in my opinion, rocked.

3) Uh, that cute boy?  The one who did The Breakfast Club Song?  I think his name is Michael [Recap says he’s Michael Johns].  I thought he did a great job.

4)  {yeah.  from my #s, it looks like I’m not voting for David A., I’m voting for the Hello dude.  David A. doesn’t need me.}

Others who I think were good but who don’t need my vote:  “Hello” (the Lionel Richie song) – holy shit.  He was really amazing.  It gave me chills;  Long Hair Boy.  Even if his dred did fall off.  He didn’t give me chills, but he’s not going anywhere.

People who should go bye-bye:  Chikezie … i didn’t think it was as unique as those I mentioned above.  It wasn’t different-enough.  Luke … whoever thinks that Wham should be given another shot is just totally fucked up.  No way.

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Beloved is home.  It’s great to have him back.  I think him being gone was also a good transition into his independent study requirements – I had some time being reminded that I can handle things.  More things.  Even while busy at work.  I can cook, take down the trash, clean up the house, do the laundry, and sort of handle the kids.  (Only sort of, due to E’s “attitude” lately.  I’m working on that.)   It’s great to have him back, and hopefully we’ll move forward with yet even more balance.  And perhaps, if it doesn’t work, I’ll hire a college student to be my “household manager” a few hours a week.

Work slowed down.  For two days, I did little else but read the newspapers (all 1,000 of them), puzzle through the evils and benefits of the “Economic Stimulus Package” and go the gym.  That will all end Monday – the Lull is Over.

I read Water for Elephants (I really think there’s another one in there) and the Book Thief.  Now I’m reading Middlesex.

I am feeling sick of the computer.  I feel a little bored of blogging.  I’ve been for a while now, but figured it would pass.  It hasn’t.  I thought maybe it’s because I was so busy at work, and I can’t blog about that (not that there’s anything interesting to say).  While I don’t think I dropped any balls at home while things were crazy, I was exhausted from keeping them all in the air and found myself passing out soon after the kids went to bed.

Maybe blogging just worked as a school-thing.  A transitions-thing.  Maybe.  It could be that next week or next month, I’ll again have the urge to post 4 times a day and share every little thing (the kids’ play! will I be house hunting?).

For now, I don’t have it in me.

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Bar exam result-day was an exciting one.

It was also an anxious one.  For all of us.

People did lots of searches on the internet for the Massachusetts bar exam results.

Seems like some found my blog that way.

Including at least one person who uses my place-of-employment’s IP address (which is shared by several law firms in my building and its general area).  The fact that it’s shown up again and again, I will interpret as “they like me!  They really, really like me!”  and not as “Oh no!  someone hates me and is going to out me and I’m going to get fired!”  because I think I’ve been careful enough and responsible enough to make that impossible.  I’m also reveling in the assumption that said “finder” – if they are from my firm – is a friend.

Either way … I’ve spent the last 3 or 4 days thinking.

Am I ashamed of what I’ve written? (For the most part – 99% – no)

Do I need to change what I write? (Not so much – even if that proves that I sort of suck as a blogger)

Do I need to delete what I’ve written?   (uhhh …. )

Honestly, I deleted one post, and part of another.

Otherwise –

This is a personal blog.  

It is not about work.

It is not about people at work.

Sometimes, personal and work intersect.  This is something I will dance around, and I will do my best to keep personal.

As in:  How does work affect my family?  How do I navigate the requirements of an intense full-time employment with the fun, joy and fulfillment of a family?

But no mention of my specific employer’s policies – or of particular interactions regarding thereto.

So if you’re sick of hearing about E and J, and you’re sick of me waxing on about the virtues of my Beloved …  well …

I don’t think you should read anymore!

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Pros and Cons of Anonymity

There has been an absolutely gut-wrenching situation going on at one of my favorite blogs.  It feels like it’s been going on for so long, and even when it seemed like an end was in sight, things got worse instead of better.  I just can’t imagine.
Here’s the thing, though – I don’t know this person.  I read her blog.  Now, while I know some of my favorite blogs are not a true representation of any real person (I just hate thinking that Ana couldn’t be my friend in real life, because she’s fake – every time the true author of the blog reminds me of that fact, I feel a slight hiccuppy cry try to escape from my body), that’s far from always the case.   And since it appears that other bloggers who I’ve followed for even longer have a personal relationship with Lag Liv, I doubt it’s the case for her.

(Even though I do have moments where my conspiracy-theory-believing self comes out and I can picture one person creating several blogging personas and maintaining them for years – all with this end goal in sight – a devestating story, corroborating tales, and alas, a paypal account.)

It is difficult  for me.  People have commented that they’re sobbing at their computers while reading the story of the baby being taken from his home, and I just don’t feel the same thing.  I don’t feel 100% conviction I’ve read the entire truth.  We all have such freedom, such flexibility – as we sit in our homes with our glowing screens, and a multitude of possibilities, requiring NOTHING of us.  Nothing.  No investment, no accountability, no information verification.

We all (or most of us) benefit from this anonymity.  We are able to say what we want to say without compromising our real-life selves.  We can be honest without hurting friends’ feelings.  We can put ourselves out there without opening ourselves up to scrunity from future employees.  We can get support without requirements of investing time into a real life friendship, without having to wonder if people approve of our external selves.  Without having to put on clothes.

Do we deserve these benefits, without having to endure some of the liabilities?

People don’t know who we are.  They don’t know, really, if we have presented ourselves accurately.  Like the very tired story about pen pal kids in grade school “my mom is a rock star!”  “I live in a mansion!”  “I go skiing every weekend!”  “I had 3 home runs in last week’s baseball game!”

Let’s pause to be clear:  I don’t think that this mother is hurting her child.  I don’t think this father is hurting his child. 

That’s not at all what I’m trying to say.  

I just don’t feel that I *know* that there is an injustice being done, either.

And in some ways, it sits poorly with me that so many people do.

I think it’s more a distrust of the “virtual community” than it is any sort of testament about this story in particular.  But we create these communities, and we feel like we’re a part of something real.  But are we?

As parents we know that we have to talk to our kids about internet safety.  About how they can’t always know that someone is who they say they are.  How you can’t give out your personal information.  How you have to be careful what you reveal.  How you have to question and re-question every thing.  And how they shouldn’t go giving people they don’t know money over the internet.

And if kids do have a blind trust – they could get hurt.  Really hurt.

Why is that less true for the adults?

I don’t think it is.

And it shouldn’t be.

And what do we miss out on?  How many people in our community – our REAL communities, you know, the people down the street from us?  The other families in our buildings? – are going through similarly tragic situations?  Do we know?  Do we care?  Would we trust them, if they told us of the injustices that they were facing, that they were being honest?  That they were sharing the whole story?  Or would we back off, edge away, afraid of people bringing their troubles to our doorsteps?

Even though we know their names, their addresses.  We could help them in the little ways.  We could cook them a meal, and bring it to their homes.   We could testify in court on their behalf.  We could care for their other children or pets while they sat in the hospital for hours on end.

But instead, we spend our time reading the stories on the internets.  And when people go through these difficulties, they have to pull the troops in on airplanes.  They have to hope that strangers will donate to help ease the financial strain.

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My hope is that on Tuesday, when Lag Liv goes to court, that the Powers that Be listen to her story, see her evidence, and realize the errors that have been made.  I hope that she and her husband can find the answer to their baby’s pain, and show it to those who have accused them wrongly. I hope that the hospital will be scared soooo shitless of a lawsuit that they do not bill for the night upon night that Lag Liv and her family were kept in the hospital.  I hope that because Landon is so young, he will grow up having no memory of this horrendous time, and that he be oblivious, because he will be safe and happy with his parents.

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Weird

I found out today that one of the girls’ friends’ moms has a blog. Huh. She uses her real name and has lots of pictures of her kids. And one of mine – which is how I found out, because she asked permission to leave it up.

I had to resist the temptation to comment. I don’t use my real name, so that people cannot google my or my kids’ names and find my blog … and my address.

I guess of all the moms I know, she is one I would be least surprised to see as a blogger. I am fairly certain that’s what many people would say of me, too, just on account of the age gap between me and most others.

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I’m behind the times on this one, I know.

There are all these Mom group blogs around the country, which tend to speak out on political and social issues more than diaper brands and bottle feeding.  There’s the D.C. Metro Moms Blog, Chicago Moms Blog, New York Moms Blog (coming soon) and the subject of this post, the Silicon Valley Mom’s Blog.  (I wish we had a Boston one!  I know I should grab the bull by the horns and try to start one … but that will have to happen some other time, not when I’m about to start a new job which I’m already nervous about.)

I read on Lawyer Mama, one of the posters to the D.C. Metro Moms Blog, about a firestorm that erupted over an earlier version of this post.  The Silicon Valley Mom (Rebecca) had written in response to a New York Times article regarding John and Elizabeth Edwards’ decision to have their younger children on the campaign trail with them.  From all reports, the original version of this post had been quite critical of the Edwards’ decisions, and went so far as to call Elizabeth Edwards a “terrible mother.”

The comments were immediate, and mostly people were appalled – how could the Rebecca be so critical?  Why feed into the “mommy wars” in this way?  Why attack another mother in this manner?  There were also several people pointing out that Rebecca got the facts wrong.
Shortly after the post was put up, according to Lawyer Mama (I can’t verify it myself, because of the fact that the original post and comments have disappeared), Elizabeth Edwards herself commented.  (I don’t think that comment is still on the site – again, the later revisions make it hard to sort out.)

Eventually, Rebecca apologized (I hope that it isn’t this post being categorized as an apology).  I think that happened in one of the versions of the post – all of which are gone.  Poof.

I’m really not interested in re-hashing the argument over the Edwards’ decisions and their parenting.  It’s old news since the original post was August 27th, and it would be silly to bring it back up (despite all of my opinions on it).

I certainly feel that to call someone a “terrible mother” goes well beyond criticism of someone’s choices and into an un-called for personal attack.  Apparently the poster later said it was “tongue-in-cheek” and perhaps “snarky.”  Bullshit. It was just unprofessional, catty, and from everything else I’ve seen of these metro area Mom Blogs, out of sync with the tone of the sites.

I do want to say, however, that I find the fact that the posts have been pulled to be acts of cowardice.  Yes, she made a mistake, and I’m glad that she apologized.  If there was a point in time where she got the first two comments, and realized that she had stepped over a line, and pulled the post – I may excuse it.  But once you get to the point where everyone is talking about it (like here (which includes an excerpt of the original post), and here, and here (which includes Elizabeth Edwards’s response), and here – not to mention the call from Good Morning America), you don’t take it down.  The apology should go hand-in-hand with ownership of the mis-step.

I know that blogging is a relatively new medium.  But if you’re going to put yourself out there, especially on such a public site as the Silicon Valley Moms Blog (which is far from a “hey look how cute my kids are” or a “today I went to the dentist” blog – it’s a networking blog, a political blog, designed to pull in readers, and to foster a community – regardless of how many “readers per post” there are), you should not manipulate the technology to cover up your tracks in a way that no other medium allows.  If this had been written in an op-ed piece, it would not have disappeared just because it pissed too many people off and made the author squirm.  This poster created news, she created a situation, and then she wimped out and tried to erase it.  But the blogosphere won’t let her completely hide.  Instead, she’s created a gaping holes in the information that the internet was designed to provide.  (Not even effectively, since while collecting links I was able to find most of what I wanted from other sources:  like here (which includes an excerpt of the original post), and here, and here (which includes Elizabeth Edwards’s response), and here).

I think less of her for deleting the post than I do for her comments.  I could excuse the comments, and would have found her apology to be worthwhile, if the post was left up.

Let me see the trail.  Let me see the wrong, and the reaction, and the apology. And I will think, “See how this works?  We have conversations, and we can change each other’s minds.”  I will see that yes, people say things (and think things) that we come to regret, but that through an open discussion, we can heal and move on, and leave in our wake a lesson for others.

Instead, all I’m left to draw from the situation is that someone made thoughtless remarks, empty apologies, and then ran and hid.

Instead, I see a coward.

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