Friday, October 3, 2014

Things

1. We had An Incident at Lis's daycare shortly after my last post. It necessitated time off from work while I looked for a new daycare, weeks of Toddler In The Office time, too much screen time for Lis, and general schedule upsets. We have a new daycare, and it is going swimmingly. I am still angry whenever I think about The Incident and I wish I had a crystal ball so that I could have seen it coming, and I wish that I had picked up a few things faster, and I wish a thousand things.

I really can't say any more than that about it because there are ongoing...things... as a result. AS WELL THERE SHOULD BE. Cue rage.

So, that is part of the reason I disappeared for more than a month with nary a word--I got so back logged at work I couldn't fight my way out.

2. I found a spot. On my skin. And it's growing. I... well. My parents have both had bouts of skin cancer, so let's say I am rightly FREAKING OUT as I wait to get into my doctor. Not a long wait, but any wait between discovery and examination is terrifying.

Good thoughts or vibes would be appreciated.

3. As if that wasn't enough, I have some how landed myself on the nightly news twice in the last couple weeks. People! They want to interview me! For Reasons! (Not related to Lis's daycare, related to my work). It is...awful to see yourself on camera. I mean, JEBUS camera woman. You are a woman, too! You know you shouldn't film someone from that angle! It's just mean! At least I sounded like I knew what the hell I was doing.

4. Speaking of Fake It Till You Make it, I joked with someone that I was wondering when someone was going to realize that they were putting ME out there in presentations and in front of the camera instead of someone who knows what they're doing. Instead of laughing, this person blinked at me, and was all "You're joking, right? You're becoming the go to person."

Well. I guess I'm not a baby lawyer anymore; I've been faking it long enough; I've made it.

5. My cousin died. Another cousin, from the same branch of the family tree that I lost two cousin last year--one to a sudden heart attack, the other to cancer. This cousin was only 14, and it was a plane crash. Fucking plane crashes.

6. My posting on here will be sporadic until January. My huge publication deadline is the end of December, and it is a dead sprint until then to get it all done.

Fake it til you make it, indeed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tomato Allergies Suck

Are you a tomato-hater? Are you allergic to tomatoes? I have a pasta sauce for you!

Personally, I adore tomatoes. Vor, alas, is allergic. Tomatoes are in EVERYTHING. I've come up with viable work arounds for lots of things over the years except for two things: barbecue sauce and red, marinara-like pasta sauce. I'm still working on the BBQ sauce, but I have mastered the pasta sauce.

Here you go:

2 tall cans of roasted red peppers
3 golden beets
3 carrots
1 package bacon or other meat
3 garlic cloves
onions, to taste
spices you like (I used rosemary and basil from my garden, as well as dried oregano, pepper, thyme)
cream or half and half
red wine
beef stock

Drain peppers; peel veggies. Sautee bacon, garlic, and onions together (start the bacon first, then add the others). When bacon is done but not crispy, add put in the peppers, carrots, and beets. Add a combination of wine and beef stock to come just short of covering the veggies. I added probably about half beef brother, half wine. Add the dry spices; save any fresh herbs for later (you can also add salt, but I felt like the beef broth was salty enough). Simmer until veggies are soft. Blend very well in a blender or food processor, then return to the pot. Add any fresh herbs, and a splash of cream to get it to the right color. Simmer until it reaches the consistency you want.

I actually stopped when the veggies were soft, let it cool off in the fridge overnight, then blended for dinner the next day. That also worked really well, since the flavors had time to blend.

Another variation: I once sauteed half the bacon, and saved the other half for when I added the vegetables. that was delicious--the bacon cooked with the veggies, and I had some crispy bacon pieces, and some not.

There you go. Red pasta sauce that actually tastes like marinara sauce, but does not make my husband break out in hives.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seattle: The Vacation That Wasn't


If you can’t handle some venting, imagine tears brimming in my eyes, and just skip down to the disclaimer, and read to the end from there.

Also: This post is likely to be heavily redacted within 48 hours. 

Also known as A Vacation In Four Parts: (1) [REDACTED]; (2) Most Of My MIL’s Friends Are Absolute Dingbats; (3) Weddings Never Count As Vacations; and (4) I Am Never Moving To The Pacific Northwest.

That should pretty much sum up my vacation, but in case you weren’t sure, let me just offer you this mental image: toddler puke, down my shirt, into my bra, in my hair, in MY EAR.

Part 1: [REDACTED] Lis stuff ed her face with watermelon and resulted in some of the most disgusting toddler puke I have ever been witness to. Watermelon puke. Ew.

[REDACTED]

Part 2: Most Of My MIL’s Friends Are Absolute Dingbats. D is a chain smoker who orders his wife to get him plates of food, and when his wife obeys, he gives Vor a smug look and actually says, “There. See? Learn anything from that?” Vor, wonderful man that he is, responds, “Yeah. That you don’t like sex.” (I LOVE HIM SO MUCH). L is a whiner who revels in being the helpless female. She wants so very much for Lis to love her, that as soon as she sees Lis, she gets in Lis’s face and starts demanding hugs and kisses. Lis responds typically by hitting her or running away, and then L is all weepy and injured. I couldn’t care less. J argues over every.single.dime he spends and whines about the cost of everything. If I had thrown a dollar into Puget Sound off the ferry, he would have jumped overboard to get it. C is an okay guy, but he lets the door slam in my MIL’s face, which bugs the crap out of me. Hold the door for her, dude! You’re dating her! Plus, he has zero experience with kids (not the problem), so when Lis got whinny, as toddlers do, he would mimic her crying and whining (THAT’S the problem). B? She’s really nice and chill. I like her.

Part 3: Weddings Never Count As Vacations. Especially when you or your immediate family members are in the wedding party. In this case, Lis was the flower girl, and Vor was the…man of honor? Best man? Dunno how to say that. His twin sister was the bride, and she was his woman of honor or best woman or whatever, and now, vice versa. So, Vir had lots of set up and duties and parties and obligations and Things To Do, and I…was on toddler patrol. All the time. So I was either chasing Lis in decidedly non-toddler friendly places or I was stuck at home while she slept. We (I) did ONE half day sight-seeing thing of the entire 8 days we were there. Every other time, Vor was busy and I was on Lis duty.

Part 4: I Am Never Moving To The Pacific Northwest. Look, I like rain and clouds. I am a definite sun avoider. But geez, it can be really miserable out there. It’s not just cloudy and rainy, it’s positively dreary. This actually was not a problem for me, but Vor’s moods are definitely affected by sunshine, and he was a grouch. He even admitted he was being grouchy, and then plaintively said, “I just want some sunshine.” Me too, buddy.

I cannot handle the level of hippiness out there. At one house where we had local family, she was getting some trees trimmed, and her neighbors started telling her that she was killing the threes and they could hear the trees screaming. They freaking took pictures to document it. Apparently, you have to have a permit to even trim your freaking trees out there (which she did), but her neighbors decided to report her anyway, for tree cruelty. She barely had them trimmed!  Another dude was pissed that there were signs pointing the way to the rehearsal dinner from the place we had to park to the house. He was walking around, ripping them off. He was grumbling about wasted paper and killing trees and the environment. There were like two signs. That’s it. Vor and I try to be conscious about things, but this just felt like a whole new level.

I can’t stand the “parenting” I encountered either. I took Lis one rainy day to the kids’ museum on Bainbridge Island, and I have never encountered such incredibly rude and manner-less children, and the same type of parents. I take Lis all the time to the zoo and to playgrounds and to the Children’s Museum here, so it’s not like I’m a newbie and didn’t know what to expect. These parents just stood around, talking, drinking their hippie coffee, while their kids (older kids, mind you, old enough to know better) cut other kids off, skipped ahead in line, shoved Lis down repeatedly, snatched toys out of her hands, etc. It wasn’t just at the museum, either. They were all like this, every parent and child I encountered on the island, at playgrounds, at parks, at the museum. I got incredibly pissed at the museum when a 5 or 6 year old shoved Lis off a stool so that she could cut ahead of Lis and take her turn, and I turned to her parent and said, “You should watch your kid so she doesn’t shove mine off the stool AGAIN.” The parent got a snooty look on her face and said, “I believe in free range parenting, not helicopter parenting.” I almost cut a bitch. It’s not helicopter parenting when I’m trying to prevent a mass of the most unruly children I’ve ever met from injuring my much younger, much smaller child, bitch.

So! Weather, over hippied people, terrible entitled children who are being “free-range” parented. No, thank you.

DISCLAIMER: I love my family. I am especially indebted to my MIL, who is the most awesome grandma Lis could have, and a second mother to me. The wedding was beautiful, and was one of the best days there. I had a great anniversary dinner with Vor (six years!) and we danced to our song at the wedding, which was the same day as our own anniversary. The puke only lasted for 24 hours. I’m sure there are plenty of nice people and children on Bainbridge Island (CP, I’m looking at you!) and in Seattle. I know the PNW is rainy and it’s really beautiful when it’s not rainy.

It’s just the combination of all this that made for a non-relaxing, pretty close to awful vacation, and I am so glad to be in office today that I cried with relief. I needed a break, and I didn’t get one. I am so burned out right now. I know Vor needed a break, but he ended up being so stressed that it was exponentially multiplying my own stress.

As a bonus bright side, Vor and I agreed that the next vacation will be a real vacation: We will go someplace with amazing weather and tons of sun; we will stay in a place with our own space; we will keep Lis with us and not allow other people to interrupt her schedule; if we want time on our own, we will hire a local sitter; we will have no major to-do list or vacation agenda. It’s just that this dream vacation won’t be happening for a long time.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sprint, Not A Marathon

I don't know that I'm going to have too much to say around here until after we get back from Seattle. It's going to be a sprint from here until vacation time; there are general wedding things to be done, packing, all the lists that accompany a long vacation, and oh God, work. So much office work to do before I leave.

I'm super excited about this trip except for one thing: pictures. Despite eating well and going to the gym/running 3-4 times a week, my weight is stuck. I kind of hate everything about my body right now. I feel terrible. I don't even want to talk about it. I sure as hell don't want professional photographic evidence of it.

Daisy posted this thing about life as Mom and whoa vacation lists, and I have nothing to add. Except, you know, my own lists: my list, Lis's list, the general us list, the electronic list, the work list, the food list (we are renting a house and need to get groceries when we get there) and so on. LISTS VACATIONS MEANS LISTS.

Work? Work. Jebus. I'm bringing it home at night, working through lunch. I'm taking it on vacation. I'm flying out for the change of command ceremony for my brother and I'm looking forward to the travel time so I can WORK. IN PEACE. This publication deadline is starting to loom, and I just submitting a grant for $600,000 and if that doesn't make you hyperventilate, then you're a better human than me.

The light at the end of the tunnel? That would be the mental image of me, sitting on the porch of our waterfront house on Bainbridge Island, looking across at Seattle, wine in hand. I will make it.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Grief In The Age Of Social Media

My coworker died, having lost her 11 year battle with cancer. She left behind three teenage daughters and her husband, not mention a legion of family and friends.

The day she died, all of her friends, family, and other people associated with her put up a picture of her as their F.a.c.e.b.o.o.k. profile picture. These pictures have been up for a week now, flooding my feed. People are posting messages on her wall, leaving memories or saying goodbye; families members have been posting their own items, memories, photographs, and so on.

Every grieves in a different way. If this is how her immediate family and closest family needs to grieve, so be it. My cousin died last year, and every once in a while, his wife floods her F.B. account with pictures of him and memories. That's how she deals.

I was talking to Vor about this, and I consider him to be a reliable and knowledgeable source; he lost his father ten years ago. I mentioned to him that my coworker had left behind videos and gifts to be watched and opened on certain events, like prom, or a wedding, or the first of a grand baby. He looked upset. "I never would be as healthy as I am now if my dad had done that," he said, shaking his head. "The only reason you heal at all, or move on at all, is because of time. Having the wound reopened at every good memory? I couldn't have healed, moved on. Good memories, like of our wedding, would have that element of sad attached to them, even more than they did already." He sat, thinking. "I do wish I had more video of my dad. I wish I had messages form him about little things, every day things, memories. But it was sad enough at our wedding that he wasn't there. To have to watch, on that day, a message from him about sad he was that he couldn't be there? No."

I told him about the social media thing, with pictures of my coworker everywhere. He sighed. "It's so hard to move on, to forget things. Things follow us everywhere."

"Grief on social media is like a hydra," I told him. He laughed.

I don't know where I stand; I haven't lost someone from my immediate family in a long time. It's hard for me to watch this happen on F.B.; I don't think I need or want to grieve that way. But, although it is my loss, it's not my loss, and it certainly isn't my right to say this is right or wrong.

It's a new frontier on so many fronts, but this grief one is particularly hard to navigate.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Click Your Heels Or Run Like Hell

There's so many trite terrible sayings about going home again that I couldn't even pick one for the the title. Yet, I'm feeling a mix of all them right now.

I love going home and seeing my family and our close friends. I love eating pizza and wings and swimming in my parents' pool, getting ice cream and the local dive, and fish frys in Catholic country. The church I was baptized, confirmed, married, and had my own daughter baptized in is there, in all its splendor, up on a hill, overlooking the cemetery where my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and unfortunately, some friends are buried. I know the best bakery, and the worst traffic intersection. Down that dark alley way, the one you might think is scary, is the place where my mother grew up--a house big enough for three people and yet it housed nine. They were dirt poor, and I mean that quite literally. My mother married hometown royalty, and it was quite the scandal that my dad married the poor street urchin. The nativity that they put out at Christmas? My grandpa made it.

And yet, oh God, I escape. I feel it all slowly closing in over me, cloying, insidious, pulling me back in, slowly boiling until it's too late to get out.

One of my cousins moved back recently. Her husband is also a patent lawyer, and he got a great job with a company that has its headquarters recently. She pounced on me when she saw me; we've always had a lot in common. This time, she was desperate to talk, and even used that word. "It's like getting married really young, then getting a divorce, growing up for fifteen more years, then reconnecting with your ex and trying to fall back in love with your ex. It's not working." I gave her a hug. "It's not forever, S," I told her. "You guys took this job so that more doors could be opened. If there's ever a good time to be stuck here, it's when the kids are small." "Yeah," she said. "It's just that I've never been more miserable."

We talked. There's no diversity there. It's a strange place; it's a conservative island in a sea of liberals, and it makes the people very defensive and feel like they are victims. The constant living in the state victim-hood causes reflective reactions to all viewpoints that aren't in line with their value. Yes, I am know I am really generalizing, but S and I were picking up on the same things. The moment S or I say anything that isn't what someone agrees with, there's no dialogue, thoughtful discussion, or even argument--you just get frozen out. I can see why S is miserable--she's isolated. She left Buffalo, moved to DC and reveled in the culture there, converted to Judaism and married her Jewish husband, and came back to Buffalo. They didn't want her and her experiences and her opinions and her new religion anymore.

Hanging out there on the horizon is a chance for Vor. He could pick up his old engineering company as a client, which would be huge. He could also become their major in house counsel. But that would mean moving back, and I...I feel like I would lose myself, slowly, day by day. I like living here; I like my job; I like my family.It's just theoretical at this point, but man, what an amazing chance for him and for us, truly. But..what about me? What do I do? Try to rebuild a career there? Or just stop?

I feel sick thinking about it. I feel terrible that I'm not breathless with joy at the thought of being closer to my family, whom I very much love. I feel ill about raising Lis in a culture where every one tells her to get married and have babies ASAP because that's what those of us with lady parts should do; where your math teacher tells you that all girls need math for is to count beans; where you are explicitly told it's better to be pretty than smart.

This is so theoretical. I am just going to leave it that way. It's not like I'll go to sleep and discover that a tornado dropped me back there, expect it would be the reverse--it would suddenly be all black and white, no color.

MILP #354

Here's the weekly Mothers in the Legal Profession Round Up. We're moms, we're lawyers, we blog. Sometimes, we manage to do it on time; that day is not today for me. (jebus, there were a lot to post this time, so tell me if I missed you!)


Let's do this one "In Her Own Words" style. For the week ending July 6, I present to you:

Alice in Wonderland: "It is meta. Profound. Universal. SUPER." And with an epic, awesome photo!

Magic Cookie: "We heard a crash around 10 p.m. and it was X, who had leaped up, clawed K awake, knocked over the lamps, and run out into the hallway yelling 'TIME TO PLAY!' I don't think he ever fell asleep." Let's not ever put our kids in the same room together, eh? Lis took all the photos off the wall in my parents' guest room while she was "asleep."


Nonsense and Frippery: "Meanwhile my friends in Japan and Canada are finishing up their year-long maternity leaves. Sigh." Yeah. Oh yeah. Leaving that cute behind is a KILLER. 


Only 3 Years: "I've been gone over a month, and it's all the same old stuff." I feel you--lather, rinse, repeat, right?


BJJ, Law, and Living: "I am not panicking, yet. I am just very aware." Preeeeeetty sure I just said the same thing to my boss. She laughed. 


Lag Liv: "Today was the first day I hit an impenetrable wall/cliff as a working parent." Did she EVER, people. I wanted to hand her wine though the screen after I read it. 


Mommy Maddness: "We're here for the holiday." Beautiful! 


Queen of Hats: "She likes the mistake hug well enough that she went from crying when she made a mistake to saying 'MORE MISTAKES HUGS!' which I count as a win." Well, you should! (This post also resulted in me asking for mistake hugs. QofH laughed at me, but when I asked Vor, he looked at me with his head cocked to the side. Note to self: explain concept before asking for it.)


Perspectives from a Hard Boiled Egg: "And yet here I am, at 25 weeks, praying I make it to 38 weeks, wondering, guilt ridden and scared out of my mind." Oh, girl. From one 
complicated pregnancy person to another, you DID NOT CAUSE THIS. It just happens sometimes.

Kderoll: "She is having the 'Is this really a good idea having a second child right now?' breakdown. Unfortunately it is a little too late to be asking that question, but I love having two and am not afraid (yet) of having more." Ah yes. Nothing like the good old pregnancy freak out--the second thoughts come when it's too late! I am glad to hear that some people like having two kids, because every time I talk to parents with two, they give me crazy eyes.

Daisy JD: "I'm back from a 4 night work trip to New York City and since many of you shared suggestions of where to go and what to eat I thought I'd share some of the highlights." Nothing I love more than a good trip roundup with pictures! Keeps the travel bug at bay. 




Full of the Dickens: "Apparently, there used to be a meth lab on our street...the sex offender apartment is still standing proudly...HOWEVER...trust me. It's a cute little neighborhood." (Sorry, CP, but that just cracked me up).