Saturday, May 30, 2009

Left Behind at BigLaw

Two of my friends are here and we had an amazing time last night, but my friend L was stopped from making her flight. She was supposed to fly out early this morning and yesterday the evil female partner she works for told her no, there was too much to do, and she'd just have to stay at work to get it done. There's no hearing or trial next week, there's no immediate deadline, there's other junior associates around and my friend, while brilliant, is by no means irreplaceable. I was heartbroken for her. It's been a really tough past few weeks for her and she called our friend E sobbing on Monday night because the partner she works for had just yelled at her with a tirade laced with f-bombs. Classy. And infuriating. I hate that stereotype of the cold, bitchy woman who had to scratch her way to the top and I hate even more that like most stereotypes, it's occasionally true. It may not be fair, but it bothers me more than the occasional jackass male partner. Both are power-tripping, immature, and unnecessary ways to practice law, but when it's a woman acting awful the let down just feels more personal.

So anyway, L isn't here. It's the kind of thing I heard about the cold, cruel world of BigLaw that I haven't found to be at all true. I think the people I work with are genuinely good people and I enjoy working for them. I'm certain there will be a missed vacation or weekend off sometime in my future, we cater to clients who pay a lot of money for our services and it's a trade-off you take when you except the job and paycheck that come with it. But I know and trust that it will be for a good reason and that those forcing will care about what they're asking of me. A partner I had lunch with yesterday put it this way- you don't have to bargain away your personal life to be a successful associate, and when you do- whether because you're forced to or it happens through your own ambitions, life gets miserable in a way that is going to negatively affect your work product or the way you interact with those around you.

And because I'm still so sad for L trapped in her office all weekend with someone who yells at her on a daily basis, I thought I'd end on a totally different note. This is what Landon picked out of the pantry for his breakfast this morning:

It's a bar of crisco.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recharged and Refreshed and Red-Headed

Since our latest big deadline passed on Tuesday, I've been able to use the past two days to catch up on life. Yesterday was all about errands and cleaning and continuing to work on Landon's big boy room and today I focused on cleaning my overflowing desk and inbox and organizing things around the house (with a lunch date with JP and a trip to a new playground with Landon somewhere in between). It's nice to get a little breather to keep from feeling overwhelmed with all the non-work related tasks in my life. The latest round of home improvements are nearly done- we just have one more ceiling fan to install and a few finishing touches in Landon's room.

This weekend three of my best friends from law school fly in from Manhattan and D.C. and I could not be more excited. I miss my law school girl friends ten times more than I even miss Chicago. I started dating JP my first week of college and since he was already a junior, I pretty much just hung out with the team and his friends. It wasn't until law school that I found a close group of my own. Or maybe they found me. Regardless, I miss them terribly and am so excited that almost every one has been able to make a trip down to Austin to see me, my new city, and their adopted nephew.

And this has nothing to do with the above, but one of the other things I accomplished yesterday was organizing my pictures from the past two months. Among them was this one:

It's not really a keeper and would have been deleted except for the fact that seeing it made me realize my hair is officially red. Not blonde, which I almost wrote on last summer's Texas driver's license application- I was blonde for 16 years and it's a hard association to shake, not even strawberry-blonde, which I was for the first few years my hair decided to change, it's red. And Landon's is quite curly, when it was so straight up until a few months ago. Apparently we don't need salons or hair treatments here, we just need the passage of time to change up our 'dos.

(Also, I fixed the pictures in the last post and added another. I'm not sure what happened to them earlier)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pointing out the Obvious

Hello there. A lot more has happened since last Friday when I wrote about how there was no time to write about all the things that were happening, and this time I have a surprise day off, so you get a blog post about some of them!

On Saturday Landon and I flew to Houston. We had the bulkhead window seat with an empty seat in the middle so everything went as smoothly as possible. Landon ate copious amounts of Honey Maid Honey Bees (have you tries those yet? delicious!) and fruit snacks and only flipped out at the very end when we were landing and I wouldn't let him run up through first class. Once in Houston we went to a party at my aunt's house and saw lots of family we haven't seen in a long time (that's the reason we flew- JP was coaching a summer league swim meet and couldn't arrive until much later in the day and we figured out that it was cheaper to buy an $85 one way ticket than pay for gas for another car to drive round-trip). Landon got to play with a hoard of nerf guns owned by my younger male cousins and even though he's never seen a gun before, he seemed delighted by its existence.

That night we met JP and the dogs up at the lake house and spent 1.5 days of relaxing, boating, jet skiing, eating, and visiting with family and friends. Landon spent most of the time pointing. It turns out that about 90% of his current vocabulary is up on the lake lot: water, boat, duck (also includes the egrets and other aquatic fowl), bus (the tractor and our fleet of vehicles), Papa (my dad), Gigi (my mom), dog (four of them), and various others. And since my parents' lot is on a big point and we are surrounded on three sides by water, Landon excitedly pointed out the "WaWa!!" every 30 seconds, for the first 24 hours we were there.

Saturday night

Sunday morning

Sunday afternoon

Landon went on two boat rides and preferred to go very fast while snuggled into my neck. He's afraid of lawn mowers (just about the only thing he's afraid of so far) and when the engine cranked up he stuck out his finger towards the back of the boat, glared at me, and said "Mow Mow" in his most accusing voice. But he got over it. We also tried swimming with him, but it turns out he only enjoys pointing at the water and expended considerable effort to keep his body from actually touching it.

You'd never guess his parents are two ex-UT swimmers and his most frequent babysitter and adopted uncle is a world record holder. By Monday morning he had moved on from the water sightings and walked around showing his Papa the various trees on the property.

It was utterly lovely to have 2.5 solid days together as a family with no work, no JP on the phone, and no laptops. I had to work late Monday night, but our biggest deadline yet was last night at midnight (thus the gift of a day off today), so I knew it was coming and was just thankful for my two days totally out of pocket.

Today has been wonderfully productive and now I'm off to pick up the Lanman and play until bedtime. I hope you all had wonderful Memorial Day weekends!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I just put Landon to bed. We read our current favorite books, he snuggled into my neck as I hummed "You Are My Sunshine" and he whispered "nigh nigh" repeatedly in my ear. He curled up in his crib, puppy under one arm, and as I covered him in a blanket knit by my grandmother he made loud kissing sounds. I closed the door with a heart so full and happy I wasn't at all bothered by the fact that I have a million things to do before I go to bed myself.

This has been a very full week- it gave me fodder for a dozen blog posts, but no time to write them. I billed 12 hours on Monday, though I still had my obligatory 2.5 hours off in the evening with Landon. On Tuesday I left work at 4:30 to attend a new associate dinner at the managing partner's 800+ acre ranch outside Austin. It involved 7 courses, approximately 20 utensils (including a "marrow spoon" - a first for me), and thousands of dollars of the managing partner's prize wine collection. JP and I got back around 11:30 and I woke up hungover on a Wednesday morning for the first time since my freshman year of college. On Wednesday I left my laptop at work for the first time in months, met up with friends at the park with Landon, and then celebrated my big night off by painting his big boy room until 1 a.m. I can't even describe how little I wanted to do that and how much I wanted to sit on the couch, but I knew it was the only night we'd have free before we have company next weekend and I wanted to get it done. JP and I had closed the door so that Lilly wouldn't rub up against wet paint and when we stumbled out 3 hours later I had developed a splitting headache from the paint fumes, so Thursday morning involved a hangover of sorts as well.

Last night I hung out with two old college friends and drank daquiris and today I escaped work for two hours to attend a graduation party for an old family friend I've known since she was 1. I generally feel pretty young, but seeing her so poised and pretty and grown-up when I remember her learning to walk suddenly made me feel old. But I couldn't be happier for her and it was so wonderful to see her whole family. I felt all warm and fuzzy for the rest of the afternoon at work. I have multiple adopted parents and grandparents, but they are my true "other" parents and have been since we moved in across the street in 1988.

Tonight we finish painting Landon's room because tomorrow morning Landon and I will be on a plane to Houston, with JP and the dogs meeting us at the lake house later on in the afternoon. I'm going to spend 2 full days relaxing, laughing, and NOT working. I haven't been home since December and I'm very excited about this little trip- and then next Friday three of my best friends from law school fly in from NYC and DC!

So life is full. I haven't turned on my TV or personal laptop in six days, but I couldn't be happier. It makes me unsure what to write about. I think blog posts that just detail a person's day (like this one) aren't particularly interesting but I don't know what else to say, and waxing poetic about how happy I am or how much I like my job doesn't seem much better. I have deeper thoughts, about my career and the flux between what I want and what I'm not willing to give up for it, about Landon and how shocked I was to realize the other day that he's almost two, and about marriage and the dynamic between two people with separate ambitions and demands on their time. But I don't know when to write about any of that. So you end up with no posts or a post full of nothing.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Honey Do

I love weekends with my little family- even weekends filled with house work and home improvement projects. Our home to-do list has been growing during these busy past few months and JP promised he would start helping me with it as soon as his finals were over. Well, his last final was Thursday and Friday night found us at Lowe's buying paint for Landon's big boy room.

First up was changing our living room fan. I don't know why the original owners spent all kinds of money upgrading to beautiful wrought-iron light fixtures and then added a bright silver fan, but I've been itching to change it since last May when we moved in. The old fan will be a great addition to Landon's future room which was fanless until now.

JP spent the hours from 7 a.m. to noon coaching his first swim meet, so he was super excited about our little fan project. But Landon was ready to help!

If periodically running off with fan blades and other spare parts could be considered helping. But isn't that pretty?

Other major accomplishments included replacing our back doorknobs (they had stopped working completely, forcing me to walk the dogs around to the side gate every time they needed to go outside, including in the morning when I'm unkempt and half-dressed, and I hate getting their furry little hopes up every time they see the leash), installing rods and hanging curtains in the kitchen and study, taping the trim and doors in not-yet-painted room, and successfully finding Landon during several games of hide-and-seek.

And by game, I mean we'd look up from our illegible instruction sheets, notice he was missing, and then see his blonde curly hairs sticking up behind the arch in the play room. Every time. He was continually shocked and delighted when we'd find him. We also read "B is for Bear" eleventy hundred times and during each one Landon would get so excited to pet the D is for Duckling and point out the BUBBLES! on the "W is for Wet" page.

I love that he's so easily entertained, he makes our weekends such fun.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Beginnings, Endings, and In-Betweens

Wednesday night was the final push after two very busy weeks for JP and me. I was up until midnight along with every other member of our review team to meet our next production deadline- our goal had been to finish on Wednesday and at 11:58 p.m. we were done. JP was also up late studying for his last final, so when we got in bed at 12:30 we were exhausted. Landon of course chose that moment to wake up every half hour until 2:30 -- something he hasn't done in nearly a year. It was a horrific flashback to what life was like with a newborn.

On Thursday I ran around like crazy wrapping up the production set and JP finished his first year of business school. Landon and I wanted to make him a special meal to celebrate so we picked up a loaf of freshly made bread, meatballs, marinara sauce, provolone cheese, and a giant cookie cake that said "Congrats Dada!" JP was surprised and very pleased with his giant meatball sub. For the first night in a long time I didn't work and we relaxed on the couch drinking wine and watching our Thursday night shows. It was really, really nice.

And today I left work early to attend my sister's graduation lunch. We couldn't make it to the 10 a.m. ceremony, but I was glad to be part of the celebration with my brother, parents, mom's parents, and a bunch of my sister's friends I'd heard about for 5 years and never met. She now has a Bachelor's in Accounting and will be starting her job in a month. It's possible my parents are even more excited about this than she is.

So lots of things were finished in the past few days, but as always, plenty more are about to begin. JP has a company to start and is probably taking a one-year leave of absence from the M.B.A. program to do so. I have another deadline to meet and three new contract attorneys to train and supervise. The summer associates have arrived at the firm and it's been strange and rather fun to be on the other side of that whole process. We stopped at Lowe's tonight to pick out paint for Landon's big boy room- I'm hoping to finish that project this weekend.

Life is good and crazy and full of new challenges, but I think we've found our rhythm. It's hard to believe a year ago I was still in law school, a month away from graduation with barbri breathing down my neck, and preparing to embark on a cross-country move (remember this? yeah, that was a fun time). You know it's funny, I set out to write about all these endings, but all I can think about is everything I plan to do this summer and fall and next year. We've got a lot to look forward to as a little family and while some days can be overwhelming, I couldn't be happier with where we are right now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More Papa

This is my dad.

When I forwarded him the post I wrote on Sunday he replied with, "Made my eyes leak. I love you [LL]. Always have and always will."

Landon loves my dad too. He's been obsessed with pictures for a while and loves pointing out JP and I in our wedding photo in the hallway- every time we pass by he throws out his arm to point at the picture and exclaims, "MAMA! DADA!" and then gives a firm head nod as we continue on our way. About a month ago, Landon pointed at a picture picture on our fridge of my family at a cousin's wedding a year ago. He identified me and JP and then suddenly pointed at my dad and said "Papa." He hadn't seen my dad in months so I was shocked that he recognized him (we've also never called him Papa, though that is now his official grandpa name). I opened up my laptop and clicked through pictures from Christmas and earlier and Landon correctly identified his Papa in each one. When I emailed my dad the story he replied (by text message because he and my mom are very into texting now) with, "I am so proud of that young man. He is perhaps the greatest grandson ever. Can't wait to see him. He will have to spend a wknd with me at the lake house soon and many wknds thereafter. He is clearly gifted."

On Tuesday Landon was having a fussy evening, so I put him on my lap and we watched a slidehow of pictures from Christmas and Easter, clapping whenever we saw Papa. At the end, Landon turned his head around to look at me and made his little sign language sign for "more" - a sign that until now he's only used for food - and said, "More Papa... Peez".

It would totally have made my dad's eyes leak.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mid-Year Resolutions

I went back to the gym this morning. I packed my bag at midnight last night and put it by the back door. I woke up at 6:50 and spent ten minutes locked in a vigorous, internal debate over whether or not I should stay in bed. The bed almost won, but I knew I'd be disappointed in myself if I gave up this quickly. Besides, once I'm awake I can't go back to sleep so I might as well use the time productively.

And I'm so glad I did. The gym at work was nearly empty and I watched the sun rise over the city as I walked on the treadmill and did my weights. I read Real Simple magazine and now have strong zen-like urges to reorganize my pantry. Getting ready in the locker room was no trouble and because everything was packed and I wasn't digging through my closet or tripping over a Landon, I was in and out in less than 15 minutes. When you add in the fact I didn't need to close up the house or feed the dogs or get my stuff together, working out only needs to take away about 20 minutes of my sleep.

I'm really going to try to stick with this on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We go on walks with the dogs and run around at the park on weekends, so I get sufficient exercise on those days. Part of the problem with being a serious athlete at one point in my life is I feel like my work-outs have to be long and tough and serious and if I am only going to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes why bother? This is exactly the wrong attitude, but it's a stubborn one. I'm trying to set up a schedule that is realistic and sustainable. It doesn't involve a Monday when I know I won't feel like going and which sets up the possibility of convincing myself that if I've skipped one work out, why not miss the whole week?! (That always makes so much sense before 7 a.m.) And now that Landon sleeps in until 8 a.m. every day (isn't that amazing? It started at the last daylight savings time change and hasn't stopped), I don't see much of him in the mornings anyway.

I'm not doing much yet- 20 minute "cross-country" course on the treadmill with a steep incline and weights. But I was sore after Saturday and I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow and it feels good.

I didn't make New Year's Resolutions this year because I knew I wouldn't keep them, but I've made a few now and I hope to make them last:

  1. Work out twice a week
  2. Buy more fresh fruits and vegetables and eat them
  3. Make more simple, healthy meals (i.e. not casseroles, though they're so easy and I love them)
  4. Limit diet cokes to one a day
  5. Go to bed before 11:30 if I'm working and before 11 if I'm not

I've thought a lot about these and have already implemented most of them. They're good for me and while I probably shouldn't need additional motivation to keep them, I have to admit that thinking about writing this blog post was part of the reason I got out of bed this morning. Virtual accountability, that's what you all are.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Parents

A while I ago I did a post asking if people had questions they wanted me to answer; one of those was PT-LawMom who asked: "Seems like you are very close to your parents. What is the best thing about them/their parenting style that you'd like to emulate to Landon? What parenting mistake would you like to avoid?" I've thought a lot about this question since she wrote it but it seems I never have time to sit down and draft the kind of answer it deserves. Since today is Mother's Day and JP is giving me the gift of 30 quiet minutes in bed with my laptop, I think I'll try.

The greatest gift my parents gave us (my two younger siblings and I) was unconditional, frequently voiced, love- for us individually, for us as a family, and for each other. I knew without a doubt there wasn't a single thing I could do that could make them stop loving me and I knew without a doubt they would never stop loving each other. I can't imagine my life without those two constants and even though they seem separate, they were very much woven together in the fabric of my childhood. Their pride in each of us is also wrapped up in that. At night my mom or dad would stop by each one of our rooms to sit on the bed and have a brief (or sometimes not so brief) individual chat about our day. I remember the night before my first day of fourth grade my dad telling me how grown up I was and how proud he was of me. I'm sure he said this countless of other times, but that one always stands out- especially now that I look at Landon and wonder how I could possibly think him grown-up at age 9. But maybe my dad knew how much I'd love to hear that or maybe I really will look at Landon on the eve of his "upper" years of elementary school and marvel at the mini man he's become- the point is, my dad said it, always said the good that he was thinking about each of us, and I remember it 17 years later.

The second thing involves money. We didn't have a lot of extra growing up- my mom stayed home, there were three kids- we were middle class but always careful. Vacations involved driving, sometimes for days, and camping- not airplanes and hotels (though camping was so much fun it wasn't until years later that I realized part of the reason we did it was financial), meals were always eaten at home, pizza was frozen not ordered, etc. But even though money was tight my parents always saved for that vacation and splurged in little ways that were so special that I remember each of them to this day. In 7th grade I was obsessed with butterflies and during one of my friends and my big social excursions to the mall I came across a white tank at American Eagle with a blue butterfly on it. I had never owned anything from AE (or Gap or any of those stores) and I was completely in love with this $15.50 tank top. I never thought to buy it but was enthusiastically describing it to my dad that night before dinner when he suddenly pulled a $20 out of his wallet and told me to go get it. I'm totally crying right now remembering that and I wore that tank top until it could no longer be described as white. I very much hope that regardless of our future financial situation, JP and I will avoid giving in to our children's every whim and also occasionally loosen our budget so that they can one day have a story that means as much to them as the one I just told.

The third thing I hope to continue with Landon is the way my parents did little things to make big events special. The morning of my first high school swim team tryout there was a homemade card signed by all my family members and a bean bag mustang (our school mascot) with a blue bow tied around his neck in my cereal bowl. That's sweet in and of itself, but when you know that my mom's sewing basket contains only fabric glue and that bow was sewed on with little blue stitches, it just about makes me burst into tears. When I went to UT's orientation the summer before my freshman year she gave me a book with a note in the front about how proud she was of me and how much she was going to miss me when I was gone. I had previously berated her for never seeming sad that I was leaving when other parents were so emotional about it. She wrote about how even though she was sad, this milestone was about me, not her, and all she wanted for me was the happiness and excitement she felt when she went off to college.

Which brings me to I think the most important thing my parents did for me- allowing me to grow up into the independent person that I am. The more I see other grown acquaintances of mine completely enmeshed in their parents, the more I am grateful that mine cut the ties. I love my parents very much and I greatly enjoy their company and respect their opinions, but I make my own decisions and have done so for a long time. Whenever my mom suggests some get together or idea she always ends with "well you can talk about it with JP and let me know what you think" and she means it. We're our own unit and my parents respect that. I think the most important thing I can do for Landon is teach him to be his own person. I hope he will want to talk to me about the big decisions in his life when he's grown, I hope he values my opinion and enjoys our time together, but if he needs to talk to me before acting then I think I've failed. And now that I have a child I can see how tempting it could be to try to keep him dependent on me. JP's mother tried for years with him and it ended in a strained, resentful relationship that hurts everyone involved. So I thank my parents for that, for stepping back when I was a baby of 18 and letting me think I was all grown-up. They were always there to act as counsel and I still look forward to talking out decisions with them, but I've generally already made the decision. I hope to enable Landon to do the same.

They weren't perfect. Just like I can suddenly cry remembering these stories, I can also become immediately indignant remembering the injustices they delivered, generally involving some perceived unfairness among my siblings and I. But the fact that I remember those just as clearly as I remember the good, and yet the good stands out so much more, gives me hope that I can screw up along the way with Landon and still come out okay in the end. There's a lot more I could write (the fact they didn't fall into the trap of trying to be our best friends comes to mind), but I think the biggest gifts are the love, the pride, the little things, and the independence they gave us.

So Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, I need to pull myself together and go call mine.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Feeling the Burn

I worked out this morning. The last time I went to a gym was some time in 2006. Maybe early 2007, but by then I was pregnant and doubt I was doing much. I'm embarrassed to say that there's even a gym in my office building, it's free, well-equipped, and has a beautiful view of downtown Austin, but until now I'd never used it.

I used to be very fit. In college I worked out for at least an hour every day, sometimes twice a day, and I would never have imagined a version of me that could barely finish 20 minutes on a treadmill. I have all sorts of excuses, most of them involving Landon and the fact that I can't figure out a time to work out that doesn't take away from my cherished time with him or JP. But lately I've been plagued by insomnia much worse than usual and I've dreamed about exercise almost every night. I think my mostly sedentary lifestyle is getting to me. I miss feeling strong. My arms remain toned thanks to my occasionally clingy and always heavy toddler, but my legs aren't now that I no longer walk everywhere. And I miss thinking of myself as fit. I've decided I'm going to make a real effort to work out at least twice a week. It isn't much, but it's a lot more than I've been doing and JP takes Landon to daycare three mornings a week, there's no reason I can't get myself out of bed and to the office an hour early to fit in a quick workout. Something is better than nothing, right?

So feel free to ask about my progress. I hope that potential accountability will shame me into going because it is ridiculous that my legs are this sore and shaky after the mini workout I did this morning. But I feel good and I think I'm going to sleep better tonight. Happy almost Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Week

7:30 a.m.: drag self out of bed, dress toddler and bring him downstairs, give toddler milk and dry cereal in a cup to carry around while I jump in shower, get dressed, do hair and makeup and add shoes and other accessories

8:15 a.m.: grab toddler, work laptop, purse, and maybe a yogurt and get in the car

8:45 a.m.: arrive at work, minus a toddler who's now at daycare eating a pancake. Get tea and work without pause until

5:50 p.m.: race out door to daycare to be the last parent to pick up their child in his class. again.

6:15 p.m.: arrive home with toddler, think of various healthy things to make for dinner but eat pizza or cereal for the 3rd time instead (toddler gets pasta or some baked chicken or fish product with veggies and fruit, he eats much better than I do), feed dogs, play with toddler outside while leaving blackberry inside. Breathe deeply and enjoy the sidewalk chalk scribbling, dancing, singing, happy time of day.

8:00 p.m.: husband gets home from coaching, throw toddler at him for bedtime routine, go to study and work until

Midnight: close laptop, brush teeth, skip washing face (again), take some sort of sleep-inducing medication, and climb in bed. Toss and turn for an hour, fall asleep sometime after 1 a.m., repeat.

It has been an insane week. I am exhausted. I am in charge of more than I should be. I love it.

I am also extremely grateful for having a Landon to make me stop and switch gears for 2.5 hours every day. He took me on a 45-minute mosey around our circle yesterday, stopping every few yards to scribble an abstract design on the sidewalk with his pink sidewalk chalk. We also petted every dog that walked our way and admired every bus (car/truck/bike/wheeled vehicle) we passed. I've billed 12+ hours a day since Monday, but I've also enjoyed bubble gun battles, dance parties, and the baking of muffins with Landon as sous chef. I would never do any that if I was this slammed and didn't have a child to force me to take a break.

Another thing I'm grateful for- working for a firm who understands my family time. The other day I was on a conference call with four partners and a senior associate. One big partner in another office was describing an assignment and asking when I could have a rough draft for him and the partner who's in our office said, "Oh, by the way Big Partner, LL is offline from 5:30-8 p.m." Just like that- no big deal, no trying to hint I shouldn't be, just stated as fact and something everyone could deal with. And everyone did. And I got him his rough draft at 10 p.m. (it really was a rush job, we had a hearing in 2 days).

So I'm super busy, I'm really, really tired, and I was feeling sorry for myself, so I wrote a blog post to snap me out of it. I know some people think blogs are the height of self-absorption, but I've always found that writing makes me focus on the good

Also good? Central Market peanut butter cookies.

Man I'm tired. But good.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Puppy Love

Landon loves his puppies. His pretend one (creatively named "Puppy"):

And his real ones.

Given the large, furry role they play in our lives, I'm surprised I haven't written more about Rosie and Tex. And I can't talk about them without putting in a huge plug for SNIPSA, the organization that saved them from being euthanized in a San Antonio pound. SNIPSA works with local pounds to rescue the best of the dogs and then fosters them with a volunteer until they find their forever home. This is a wonderful way to find your pet because the dogs are used to living with a family (and other pets) and the foster family can tell you so much about the dog's personality. It breaks my heart to think of those left behind, but at least I know that because we adopted two, two more dogs were able to be saved. Please, please if you want to get a dog, find one through a rescue or adoption organization near you.

This is Rosie, our 80-lb. princess. She was an emaciated 40 lb. hairless sack of bones when she was brought in. They think she had been a stray for months, but you'd never know it from her sunny personality. She's not the brightest animal, but I think that actually saved her from being affected by her difficult life. She has the memory of a goldfish and would willingly go home with anyone who gave her a few pets and a smile. She has an enormous capacity and need for love and is so gentle Landon can take a ball out of her mouth. She's at least 7 years old, but doesn't act like it. She'll run circles around Tex until she suddenly gets tired and lays down for power nap. Then it's back up and at it again!

Tex is our noble man (note his dignified stillness in the above pictures). His heart belongs to JP and he loves Landon and me only as an extension of his master. He's a worrier and seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. The only time he's truly carefree is just before he gets his food, then he jumps way up into the air with a giant smile on his face. This love of food has given him love handles and he's now on a strict diet- every time he gets his bowl of a few kibbles mixed with green beans he looks so depressed, but the added weight was giving him hip pain so I know it's good for him. He spends a lot of his rolling his eyes at Rosie and staying at high alert, walking the perimeter or our yard or making rounds around the house to check on everyone. He also likes to show off his sexy white racing stripe.

And this is our 30-lb, curly headed Landon.

He's full of mischief and giggles and can't walk by one of his dogs without stopping to give them a hug. Every morning when one of us carries him downstairs, he still points and exclaims "DOG!" when he catches sight of them.

As crazy as our house can be with over 200 lbs. of animal in it (including the toddler), I wouldn't want it any other way.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dear Ms. Google, Part II

I love reading the Google searches that somehow bring people to my humble website. I hope a few find what they're looking for (with "pregnant in law school," "baby and working," "baby teething killing me" it's at least possible), but I don't think I was much help to the searchers below.

As before
, these made my list of favorites not necessarily because they were the funniest or strangest, it's usually more because of the way they are searching. I have to remind myself that someone opened up Google and typed in these phrases to find answers. A few others I included because I felt like answering them.

how to explain to husband about no sleep with baby: Every tine I read this I laugh and then shake my head. Has he ever been around babies? Does he really not know his sleep will be affected? Does he understand he needs to help you with the baby up at night thing? Maybe set an alarm to go off every 2-3 hours as a tutorial.

i would like to take my day off: Sounds great- have fun!

liv skinny drink: I get at least ten searches a week for this, is it some secret diet drink that tastes delicious, actually works, and doesn't involve any diet or exercise? If so, please include a few more details in your search so that I can find it.

sumtimes. i think its the bitterness rather than the caffeine that keeps me up: This one gave me pause. At first I assumed they meant they were so filled with bitterness about life that it was keeping them up at night. I was going to suggest they talk to a counselor of some kind. But then it occurred to me they may have meant the bitterness of coffee, which seems much easier to correct- either stop drinking it or add more sugar. Also, it is spelled s-o-m-e-t-i-m-e-s.

getting fatter i can't close my jeans: This just cracked me up. I'm not sure what you were hoping to add by including the closing of the jeans troubles along with your weight gain concerns, but maybe you should try the liv skinny drink!

is it crazy to quit law school after 1 year: This is a tough one. If law school was only 2 years long it'd be easier to say yes, but it is three, very expensive years of your life and if you are completely certain you do not want anything to do with the practice of law, I'd say get out now. I had two classmates do this from the University of Chicago and both are very happy in their non-law paths. That said, be sure it isn't just law school you don't like because law school and the practice of law are very different.

going to law school just to go to law school: Bad idea unless you're independently wealthy. And if you are, I can think of lots of other fun things to do with your money and time besides law school.

advice hate practicing law: That's a toughie. Have you tried a different practice area? I did not love my first specialty, but I very much like what I am doing now. There are many days when I can honestly say I love it. The switch has brought an amazing addition of excitement, competence, and control to my life. If trying a different practice area doesn't help, start job hunting and emphasize your excellent analytical skills and whatever else law school could have taught you besides law.

my two year old don't eat lunch at daycare center: I bet he would if you used correct grammar. Using "don't" instead of "doesn't" grates me almost as badly as the word "ain't" and that's really saying something.

one smart cookie for test taking: I love the phrase "smart cookie," it combines two such positive things! But I wasn't sure what this person wanted from their search.

does not getting into a lower ranked law school mean you wont get into higher ranked ones? You would think it worked that way, but it is not necessarily so. The only law schools that outright rejected me were Yale and Penn. At the time, Penn was ranked lower than every other school that let me in (I think it's moved up a few spots in the last 4 years, maybe because it didn't let riff raff like me in). I think your grades and LSAT score make you eligible for a certain bracket of schools and then it's just a crapshoot- the person reading your file just happens to think that your personal statement speaks to them, or maybe they were in the same college club as you, or your file number matched the random number they drew out of a hat. I really have no idea how it works, but if you're talking about schools within a range of 10-20, no, being rejected form a lower ranked school does not rule out the higher ones.

And then there's always a bunch of searches about the Bar, one example:

texas bar exam freaking out: Take a deep breath, eat some cookies (it helps with the smart cookie karma), and review your outlines. It will be okay. I honestly think at least 50 of the points I scored on the Bar were because I never freaked out about it. So many people looked so ill on that morning, I was sure they were going to miss a few questions while trying to control their nausea (and it's graded on a curve). It will be okay. It's just a test- and even though it would admittedly suck, it's a test you can take again.

That's all this time, Ms. Google and family are off to the park. Happy Googling!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy Dance

Meeting summary: no salary cut; altered but still existing bonus structure; past two months have been surprisingly good firm-wide; no lay-offs. After a night spent tossing and turning and thinking of more ways to cut back expenses, I feel like this:

I have an absurd amount of work to do, I am not going to have a day off until May 26. I don't care. I'm heading home right now to chase my toddler around the livingroom, have a dance party or two, and read books about bus-driving pigeons and runaway bunnies. I'll log back in at 8 and work until my eyes refuse to stay open, but I have the brownies I baked last night and a non-decreasing paycheck. Things could be so much worse.