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 me. It's a cute little neighborhood." (Sorry, CP, but that just cracked me up).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Bar Exam: Up Hill, Both Ways, With A Broken Thumb

I am parked in the same location that I always parked myself in when I was studying for the bar: the corner window seat of the law school library. It's a beautiful room, with 3 story ceiling to floor glass windows that overlooks a nice park, the state capitol building, and downtown itself.

Of course, since I studied for the bar in this location, it's making me angsty, especially since I am surrounded by panicking recently graduated law students who are studying for the bar. In fact, I even know a couple of them, and they keep asking me questions. I'm all like, "Dude, I can field any and every family law question for you, but stop asking me torts questions. I took the bar and promptly erased it from my memory bank." Of course, this makes them come back and ask general questions, like "How do I plan time during the exam to pee?" and "What if my lucky [earring, ring, necklace, shirt, etc] starts to bug me during the exam?" and "What if my feet go numb from sitting still so long and I get pins and needles?"

You laugh, but these are worries. Mine was "What kind of pen is best to use?" I spent hours testing out pens and seeing what I wanted to use the day of the exam. Of course, BEING STUPID AND PANICKY, I finally found the right pen a week before the exam. But, I had been practicing with pens that had a smaller circumference, so the day of the exam, with my nice gel grip pen, I gave myself a stress fracture in my thumb from gripping a pen I was not accustomed to using, too hard, for too long. 

Yes, that's right. I broke my thumb during the first day of the bar exam, during the essay section. I had to finish the essay section with a broken thumb and then do the multiple choice the next day with a broken, swollen, extremely painful thumb. This was the last year before they let you use laptops, so I guess that's not really a problem anymore. 

So, all ye panicking bar takers out there: If I broke my thumb during the exam, yet still managed to finish and pass, you can do it. Hopefully without breaking your thumb. 

PPS: You may (or may not) be wondering why I am sitting downtown at the law library instead of in my office. Well, Kind Reader, that would be because (1) our internet crashed; (2) taking our server with it; (3) with all of our shared electronic files; (4) causing mass lawyer panic; (5) also causing us to use the actual physical books to look up the annotated statutes; (6) causing me to realize that one of the pocket part updates to West's Indiana Annotated Code is missing; (7) causing me to go camp out at the law school library; (8) so that I can use West's Indiana Annotated Code pocket Part to Title 29, Guardianship; (9) as I continue writing this PITA of a publication; (10) end scene.