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The Scene:  Harried working mom on her way home after a 12+ hour day, about an hour longer than she planned with.  The mom is wrought with guilt, feeling the pressure of months of a heavy work load.  She is concerned that her family is starting to get sick of it.  At the same time, said Mom is kinda tickled over her new iPhone, and is fussing with it in the backseat of the taxicab when she receives a text from her daughter:

E:  When are you coming home?

M:  I should be there by 7:30. Why?

E:  I just wanted to know.

M: Are you mad?

E:  No.

M:  Sorry that I’m running late.  It was a busy day.

E:  It’s okay.

M:  Are you sure?

E:  MOM!  I’m watching Heroes!  Stop texting me!

M:  So, here I am, feeling guilty that you’re missing me because I’m working too much, and in reality, you just want me to stay gone long enough for you to finish your television show?

E:  That about sums it up.  Now can you stop texting me?

Harumph.

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Beloved is in graduate school.  He attends a pretty cool low-residency program in Vermont specializing in children’s literature.  He’s doing really well, and is accomplishing VERY long-standing goals.  However, we (you may have noticed) do not live in Vermont.

Because it is low-residency, he only has to attend school twice a year, for 10 days.  January and July.

Last January, I was such a baby-lawyer, I could barely open my eyes.  I was a little busy, and it made me nervous when he was gone.  What if something comes up?  What if I get a new assignment?  But it was fine, and I think I left at 4:30 every day.

Last July – the girls were in the Middle of the Country with the Ex, and Beloved and I had already started our moving process.  There were no difficulties.

This January – total different picture.

I’m fully engaged in a case that is culminating this month in every way.  Discovery is closing, summary judgment is being filed, experts are being hired, court hearings are happening.  It’s insane.  INSANE.  And I’m heavily involved in every aspect of it.

I was already nervous – that getting out of work at a reasonable hour was going to be difficult.  Of all months, this is the one where deadlines happen.  I was nervous.

Then, ha ha!  What made me think I knew what nervous was?

It looks like I have the great honor of traveling to a very different part of the country to tend to one of the many aspects of the case that is my Life, even though it’s a bit beyond my seniority level.  It just so happens to be during Beloved’s absence (and over days that are (a) a national holiday, and (b) inauguration day.  Feh.)

At first, it looked like it was just one day, and it was a day that was a school holiday, so I knew that the kids would be fine with friends.  Then it ended up two days, and two long days – long enough that once you add in travel, it may affect 4 days.  Yikes.  Beloved’s only gone for 10 days — I’m having issues for HALF of them?  Unbelievable.

I was going to post about how my decision to make my community one of my many priorities with my time becomes oh-so-valuable in times of need.  I have friends that I can ask for a hand – friends who I’ve given a hand to in the past, and who know that I’m an active and engaged member of our community.

But now, it seems like my needs are too big, and instead, I’m turning to family.  I’ve begged my mother to (re)arrange her work schedule so she can come while I’m gone.

E is mad at me – she overheard me talking to a friend who is my back-up plan, and insists that I hadn’t told her the whole story about next week before telling the friend.  She is mad about the options I have considered for her while I’m gone.  Some friends are out of favor, and others are just plain old “annoying.”  Humorously, she thinks she should be left home alone.

It was hard not to laugh at that one.

All in all, the stress levels are high.  I keep thinking about how, in the past, I’ve looked forward to certain things – or dreaded them – and then they happen.  And before I know it, it’s behind me.

I keep telling myself … it will be January 22nd before I know it.  Beloved will be home, and this difficult time will have passed.  i have a lot of friends.  I am very lucky.  The girls are well-loved, and people are happy to be supportive.  We live in an awesome community, where people are nearby and hyper-willing.

It will be okay.

And I will miss my Beloved.

And I am sad that I should be more supportive, and excited with him about his exciting time, and instead, I’m kinda on the verge of tears over my own stress and fears.  He gives so much, and deserves better.

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Years old!

Today was my birthday.

Through fantastic home cooked meals, disproportionate investments by offspring, phone calls from loved ones, and yes, Facebook Wall posts, I felt as loved and celebrated as I wanted to.

And through 10s of thousands of documents that HAD to be reviewed today, and the ever-growing to-do list at work and at home (i.e., kids’ school commitments, which may or may not include, oh, i don’t know, producing a major school play????), I was reminded that 3 dozen is far from 3.  Or One Dozen.  I am old.  And my birthday does not matter all that much, except to those who are dear to me.  And I thank them for their love and consideration.

Onward !!!  (because tomorrow is Beloved’s birthday!  And I have gifts to wrap, and a cake to wrap!!!)

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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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First and foremost:  I love Obama.  I love him.  I want him to be my president.  And if he gets to be my president, I want him to do well.  And if he does, he will be my Kennedy.  I will swoon for him.  I will pay gobs and gobs of money to attend fundraisers where he just might appear.  I will love him more.

And if Hillary wins, I will hate her.  I will hate her more than I do today.  I will despise her for her manipulation of the only party that offers the tiniest spark of a chance of _______ [God – what can you plug into this blank that hasn’t been used before?  Not hope – absolutely not.  Solutions?  ptooey.  A country we can be proud of?  I think I’ll choose that – I will gladly shoulder some of Michelle Obama’s flack for saying what millions of us feel.  Even millions of us who have lived in this country as part of the powerful majority – we feel that way.]  I will be angry.

And I will vote for her anyway.

Despite my love and my pledges of undying support, I did not watch the debates tonight.  I went to dinner with my friend.

What???!!!

The girls are gone!  I was looking forward to this week!  And then I had to go and get a stupid cold and use the time to do nothing but sleep extra, and that was not my plan!!  I didn’t want to just SLEEP.

So, I let my friend drag me to the cool part of “town” over across the river.  Where the smart people live, and the pre-children people live, and where the post-children people or “my kids are in private school” people live,  and I let her take me to a funky and delicious restaurant.  I can’t wait to go back with Beloved.  He would love it.  I would love to return.

Conversation was good, sharing was had.  Parenting – romance – career.  The whole shebang.

And all of that was a follow up to an awesome day of work  – a day where I felt happy that I put the time into school that I did, and where I felt – even moreso than usual, which is a lot – that I made the absolute right choice for my career, my life, my personality.

The timing is nice, too.  Only a week or so after worrying that I’m not stretching and growing enough, I’ve had the most yoga-esque week of all, with many new skills and opportunities, and general happiness with the way of things.

On the homefront:  1)  I love my husband; and 2) my apartment is cold.  Despite the fact that in years past, we could not ever get the place below boiling point, blaming it on the boiler that our apartment sits on top of – we are now cold.  I’m chilly!  I need a blanket!!

I think it’s kind of nice.

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Holy shit.Work is just –  INSANE.I feel like if anyone who works in a big firm reads this, they will just laugh at me:Oh my god!  I billed 67 hours this past week!Yeah, it felt like a lot.  I’ve admitted to the fact that I’ve been spoiled up until now.Work and kids were hugely intertwined over the weekend; but I got a lot done.It’s been crazy but good.I know my weaknesses – they haven’t changed.I need to slow the fuck down.  I need to double check myself.I need to take less on.It’s hard, though.  Especially as a beginner.  Us newbies had a hard time getting a full plate.   I kept getting assignments with the promise that it would be “oh-so-busy” and instead, the matter was stayed for one reason or another.  So I’d ask for another.  And that one would be stayed.So I ended up with a list of 6 or 7 cases that I was on.On about Christmas time, all stays were lifted.I’m now the world’s most busy-est woman.  [oh, i guess i know that’s not true.]I don’t really mind.I just wish my husband was home.I miss his adorable face, and his apple-cheeks, and his overall presence.

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At approximately 5 p.m., someone in my firm sent out an e-mail offering Patriots tickets for tomorrow’s game.

The Patriots are my team.

I want to watch the Patriots play football, in person.

    But when the e-mail arrived in my box, I had a moment where 1,000 thoughts flashed through my mind, as follows:

  • I have approximately 90 seconds to reply to this email.
  • Where the hell are they even playing?
  • What would Beloved think?
  • I wish E were home – it’s her I’d really want to bring
  • Isn’t it supposed to RAIN tomorrow?
  • If they’re in New York (game’s against the Giants, that much I knew), I’ll have to get a zipcar for the whole day, and maybe more – this is a lot of money – I know I (for once) actually have it, but still.
  • We were supposed to take care of J’s computer tomorrow
  • What if the seats suck?

Well.

  • They’re here, in MA
  • The seats rock
  • Beloved if upset with me (as in, disappointed – not as in mad)
  • E is mad (not disappointed) – apparently preferring to hear first-hand accounts to nothing at all
  • We really can afford it (tickets were offered at $80/each …. uh?  yeah.  we can do $160).
  • This is an amazing year – probably not to be duplicated. 
Clearly, I didn’t snatch the tickets.  Someone had them within 60 seconds … and I could have, if I didn’t hesitate.  
I wish I didn’t hesitate. 

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I am really not a Scrooge.  I enjoy Christmas music.  I like the smells.  I love snow.  I love wearing sweaters, and scarves and having a red nose.

But have any of you READ this blog?

I just lost 35 fucking pounds.

I don’t need stuffing.

Or mashed potatoes

or fucking PIES.

What is up with the goddamned candy and cookies???

I am a lawyer now.

I can’t promise myself (and my fat ass) that i am going to gym EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I can only TRY.  And sometimes, I instead have to attend meetings.  Or wait for assignments.  Or sit in on conference calls. Or erase hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds of beautiful beautiful) words I had written.

Over Thanksgiving … [brace yourselves]  I gained SIX pounds.  SIX!!!

That’s a lot!!  That means I only lost 29.

Which is not 30.

It is less than 30.

and way less than 35

And it sucks.

but … guess what?

last week?

I lost it again.

Now I’m back to 35.

but I know that I’m on the very exploding verge of losing my ground, and gaining weight again.

And having a double chin again.

And that sucks.

__________________________

I now hate the holidays.

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I should be tired.  I have done a lot today.  A lot of work, a lot of exercising, a lot of socializing, a lot of sports practice schlepping, a lot of cleaning, a lot of chatting, a lot of cuddling.

Work still gets an A.  Sometimes I wonder what happened.  Why am I so happy, when people talk about work environments that are supposedly similar to mine in this manner?   I know I’m not in the cut-throat city, but still.  I’m just not seeing it.  And tonight, when I walked down my hallway at 5:30 to talk to a more senior associate about holiday-gift-giving etiquette, I walked past many, many empty offices.

I know, I know.  “Give it time,” or “just you wait and see.”

zuska = optimist.

I believe that my optimism makes good things happen.  It creates a better situation.  All the time.  It’s even, in the past, caused planes to take off when flights would have otherwise been canceled.  I promise.

Tonight, we all did chores.  E took out the recycling, J dusted in the living room, Beloved scrubbed the kitchen floor, I did the bathroom and 2 loads of laundry and straightened and moved furniture to get ready for Friday.

The house is taking shape.

Tomorrow I buy wine, Beloved buys beer.  I then come home (after the girls’ performance and taking the girls out to dinner) and scrub down the kitchen counters and the hardwood floors.  Then we sleep.  On Friday, Beloved vacuums the furniture and makes salsa; I work all day and then stop at the store on my way home to get paper plates and plastic cups; I wipe down the bathroom; throw the bathroom rug in the washer (how does it get dirty so fast?  it gets dirty SO FAST that I know that washing it today will do NOTHING toward it being clean on Friday.  NOTHING); take apart the kitchen table and move it to another room, vacuum the girls’ rug and the living room rug; do a final sweep of the wood floors; set up drinks and snacks; set up all the extra chairs; and otherwise freak out.

Then on Saturday, the girls have basketball games at 10 and 11.  This is okay.  Because basketball is played at the highschool.  The high school is like, 6 blocks from our house.  We do not need a zipcar.  Hell, E doesn’t even need us to walk with her.  And the games are at 10!!  And 11!!  Not 9.  Not 8.  It is downright civilized.

Then I have to make a key lime something or other ….

Anyone have any recipes????

Because that night, we’re going to an early Hannakuh party.

Sunday, I wanted to go out for mine and Beloved’s birthdays (Tuesday and Wednesday).  But I don’t have a babysitter.  😦  Woe is me.   While my kids are able to have spurts of time home alone, I’m not too keen on leaving them home in the evening while hubby and I go out on a date.  That’s a bit much.  Too much.

I really need to go to bed, or I won’t make it to Sunday.

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My swearing in ceremony was nice.  It was held in historic Fanueil Hall, and the ceremony and speeches capitalized on that.  In a good way, in my opinion.  I spoke with a couple of senior associates later in the day who said, “do they still tell all the same corny jokes?” and I said, “but I liked the jokes.”  I guess I’m corny.

They let Beloved give me my license.  A strange Massachusetts tradition, where your primary loved one (whether that be your grandmother, your toddler or your husband) comes up on stage with you, and THEY are given the license, and they can then give it to you.  Beloved and I played along.  This was not done in front of an audience, per se.

But my license!

When I received my notification that I passed the bar, it came along with a sheet to fill out indicating my swearing in preference.  Do I want to do it in Boston?  Or in Western Mass.  Is there a reason why I can’t do it during this week of formal ceremonies?

And finally … do I want my license to say “in the year of our Lord…” or just “in the year.”

It seemed like a funny question at the time.

We all know that I’m not only an UNbeliever, but a Bitter Unbeliever.  Even still, I felt a bit catty checking that box.  The “get the ‘lord’ off my license” box.  I checked it still.

Yesterday, Beloved handed me my license.  He kissed my cheek.  He took my picture (for my parents).  Then we stuffed the thing in my bag, and went out to lunch (delish, by the way).

When I returned to the office, I showed my license to a friend.  She said, “but you checked the box!”  Huh?

There it was, “in the year of our Lord 2007.”

Damn.

If I was feeling catty about checking the box, I certainly feel catty raising a stink because my license has the lord on it.

I think I’m just going to let it go.

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