Alright, the answers to your questions, generally in the order in which they were received:
What's the latest with your in-laws? Are you ready to share that story yet?
Nothing at all is going on with the in-laws. We last saw them in May 2010, before Claire was born (so no, they've never met her) and we last spoke with them in December 2010. I sent them a Christmas card, as I do for 145 other people, and they sent one back. For the first time this year, JP's dad added a personal note, writing, "Wish we were seeing you this Christmas, maybe next year?" But then, they never called over the holidays, have never called at any time, and I say the chances of a visit next Christmas are very small. JP loves that they are out of our lives, and even though I am generally an apologist for everyone, I must admit our lives are far less stressful without them in it (For example, I no longer have phone calls that literally make me want to scream and break my phone). But it's sad. It's a sad situation. I can't imagine what is going on in their heads or how they justify the fact they've never tried to contact us or arrange for any kind of reconciliation for a mess they created out of thin air. JP did talk to his dad once, about a year ago, and asked why his mom hadn't tried to call, if not for him, for the grand kids. And his dad said, "Well, you know her, she has her pride." So pride, pride over a meltdown she invented over a crisis she caused, is worth having two grandchildren who don't know she exists. That makes me sad and it makes me angry. The kids are so wonderful and have so much love to give. She doesn't deserve them.
Romance Readers Anonymous updates? I've discovered the Julia Quinn Bridgerton series and like it. (But why I can buy all bar the 5th book on Kindle is beyond me - it's not available to NZ!)
I should do a full post. I've mostly been re-reading lately, particularly the Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas (along with Then Came You and Dreaming of You by her as well), Immortals after Dark by Kresley Cole (love love them; she added a new spin-off book called Shadow's Claim and it was great), the Demonica and Lords of Deliverance series by Larissa Ione (the Lords of Deliverance are a particular favorite; she's adding a 5th one and I'm so excited), and Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (my favorite of the last 6 months; I'm completely irritated it's only the first book in the series and I have to keep re-reading it for lack of other options). Diana Gabaldon is finishing up her 8th book in the Outlander series, it should be out this Fall. JR Ward's next book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series will be out in March. And mostly, I just really need to find some new authors and series. (Also, the 5th Bridgerton book was my least favorite, so if you have to skip one, that's a good one to lose.)
Have you thought about doing any non-blog type of writing? I recall you were offered a book deal at one point?
Not really. I used to write a lot at work- formal legal briefs, memos, and articles. A very different type of writing than what I do here, but I enjoyed it and was good at it, or more importantly as an associate at a large law firm, was known by others to be good at it. I miss that. As for other types of writing, yes, I was approached for a book deal, but it involved the nightmare in Chicago and I just couldn't write about, market, or make money off that story at the time. Probably not ever. As for any other type of writing, for as much as I love reading fiction, I have absolutely no interest in writing it, and I don't think I'd be good at any kind of column or regular publication. I like the informality of blogging. It's comfortable. I write into a little white text box in blogger and it goes to the screens of a group of lovely people who are kind enough to read and comment on what I put out there.
Favourite character in the West Wing?
Josh, Sam, and CJ. And of course President Bartlet. And Leo. Not Toby, except sometimes when he is.
Are there women you've worked for who have inspired you/mentored you in juggling that balance?
Not really. I never knew any professional women growing up and I met my first female lawyer when I was assigned a mentor my 1L year of law school. She was quite nice and had three children, but she worked for the DOJ for 20 years before joining her firm as a partner after her kids grown. Impressive certainly, but not as applicable to my intended situation. I met a few more attorney moms as a summer associate, but all with different situations, different priorities, and different levels of satisfaction with their life. So no mentors, really, but lots and lots of examples. Good examples and not so good examples, but I found that every woman's story was helpful in shaping my own. Sometimes it was the exact thing they were praising that helped me realize I didn't want it. Often it was a tidbit, a thought, a way of thinking about a particular situation that made me reach an epiphany or an increased understanding of my own. Now most of my best friends are women I've worked with and all have children. Are they my mentors? No, in fact, I had kids before most of them, but they are my support and my sources of information, perspective, levity, and above all understanding.
And the kids are up from their nap! Time to close the laptop and start prepping the beef stew for tonight (part bourguignon, part old recipe for burgundy stew I recently re-found, and part of my new goal to buy and use a new item from the grocery store every week (the stew will involve turnips; I'm not sure I've ever had a turnip, but there also lots of red wine and slow cooking of beef, so it is highly likely to be delicious whether it turns out I like turnips or not)). Thanks to all for the questions, they're fun to answer. I'm not sure what I would have written without the prompts which means it's likely I wouldn't have written at all (and there are so many West Wing episodes to watch while the kid are sleeping). Parts II and III coming soon!