Disclaimer

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Three more weeks? How did this happen?

Where did summer go? I know where summer went. I worked/vomited/slept it away. Sigh. I had such big plans for summer. Traveling, swimming, reading lots of books for fun, brushing up my Italian, actually cooking my husband dinner (he's probably relieved that one didn't happen). And yet, here we are, three weeks from the first day of classes. Sad. Depressing. And I was starting to be such a nice person again too.

I found that law school makes me into someone I really don't like. It's not the legal profession, or legal work, it's just the law school environment. Yes, the practice of law can be just as contentious and adversarial, but with law school, it's every day. Every day it's someone calling on me in class, wanting me to prove to my classmates how ignorant I am. Every day it's some jackass asking ridiculous and irrelevant questions, wasting our class time. Every day it's one of my blowhard classmates (a few are even my friends) bragging how much they know about law. Every day I'm on edge, wanting to prove myself to, I dunno, somebody, but at the same time fighting a deep feeling of complete apathy, that none of this even matters. I'll still have the same grade, the same job in the end, so why am I stressing myself out? Good question.

I knew when I started law school I did not want to work at a Big Firm. We wanted to stay in this city, and the Big Firms here are for the most part sweat shops. Sure, they're very well-paying sweat shops. But I would really like to work 40 to 50 hours per week, not 70 to 80. Big Firms in other cities in other states are allowing paycuts for only working 40 hours, for those who actually want to see their families. But we tend to be about a decade behind the rest of civilization, so that's not really an option here. I would have liked a Big Firm summer internship however, because that would have been a nice salary bargaining chip for Mid Size firm. And I probably could have been talked into working at a Big Firm for a year or two to pay off Gigantic Student Loans. But again, that would require a lot of work I was not willing to put in. I made enough sacrifices to my time, my relationships, and my marriage just to get mediocre grades. Doing more is just not in me. Yet, I feel so guilty about it, like I'm a failure for settling for mediocrity.

My goal for the 2L year is to not take things so seriously. I'm going to be dilligent in my reading and my outlining, try to sound like a competant person in class, and the rest of the time, concentrate on what's important: my sanity. I have a lot to do, I've taken on a crazy amount of work for this semester, but I can't let it tear me down. I need to stay sane, I need to stay healthy, and I'd really like to stay married!

Monday, July 30, 2007

How to Write a Motion

This little gem was submitted to the bankruptcy court by an attorney in our state about a week ago. I'm rather entertained, thought I'd share. (I removed the case style to protect my own anonymity.)



Sunday, July 29, 2007

Family Dog















My mother will be horrified when all of her grandchild's toys end up in Family Dog's mouth. She'll be even more horrified when Family Dog is carrying around her grandchild like she does her favorite panda bear.

At least labs have a soft mouth. :>

Vanity

Can anyone recommend a good place to buy maternity business attire? All the sites I've seen on-line are ridiculously over-priced and, generally, quite ugly. I'd like to not wear muumuus to work, or to events such as the moot court competition, but I'm having trouble finding professional attire in a size "ginormous." I've checked local stores, and they don't have anything appropriate.

But I am excited that I managed to find "pregnancy navel rings" that are supposed to be able to be kept in throughout the entire pregnancy. Of course naysayer Husband pointed out that my stomach will be so saggy and stretch-marky that I won't care about a pierced belly button anyway, but I'm trying to hang onto my youth here, people! And besides once I'm done having children, and someday paid a decent enough salary that I can finance my vanity, I'll have my saggy stomach nipped and tucked back into place. Then I can embarrass my children by wearing age-inappropriate midriff-baring attire. Hmm. Might need more than a tummy tuck for all that.

Things that threaten the lives of husbands...

Sometimes Husband's survival instinct is dangerously lacking.

We filled out our life insurance forms this week. During that process, the agent asked for my weight. She also asked for Husband's weight. Which is only 20 pounds more than my weight. He's nearly a foot taller than me. I might be a bit of a fatty, but Husband is also a bit of a beanpole.

When we got in the car he casually asks, "So, your weight... is that with the baby weight?" No, I respond through gritted teeth, because I'm still slightly under my pre-pregnancy weight. "Oh, because I thought you weighed X." (X = Current Weight minus 20 pounds.) Well, yeah, I did... when we started dating nearly 6 years ago. And you've also gained 10 pounds and sprouted a lot of gray hair, so shutthehellup.

For the record, 15 of the extra pounds came from 1L year. 5 from fall semester, 10 from spring. Add 25 (hopefully only 25) pounds from Baby, and I'm gonna be bigger than I ever imagined I could be. Will definitely be time for some Weight Watchers post-partem!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sixteen going on seventeen...

I had my 16 week appointment on Tuesday. Again, I pee'd in a cup, got weighed, and 2nd Year Family Practice Resident located a fetal heartbeat. All is good. I won't go into how I waited for over an hour to be seen, and how I could hear them discussing my medical records from the lobby about 20 minutes before they even called me back (HIPAA? What's HIPAA?). Family Practice scheduled my ultrasound for an inconvenient date, so I rescheduled it today for August 29. I'm waiting the extra two weeks because my new insurance kicks in on August 27, and I'm getting really tired of paying that 20% copay on every little lab test. Fortunately new insurance is better. No deductibles, no copays. It's our University's hospital anyway, I think they should be treating me for free, regardless.

I'm still below my pre-pregnancy weight, which isn't surprising since I was so sick in the first 14 weeks, and even now I barely have any appetite. Well, I'm probably eating what an actual single serving is supposed to be, as opposed to the heeping portions I usually eat. Apparently I've been "eating for two" all along, but now, I can barely eat for one! Which is good, because I'm sure I'll be making up for it soon enough.

I realized yesterday that I only have two weeks left of work! I'm so sad! I like working at Midsize Firm, and I really like NOT being in law school. So August 10 is my last day for summer, and I'm going to try squeezing in 8 hours of work each week (2 afternoons) during the fall starting in September.

I know I should probably not work at all with as many hours as I'm taking this semester, but I find that when I am working, I'm a little more structured and I manage my time better. I worked full time to put myself through undergrad, and I worked at Midsize Firm before I started law school, while I was working on my masters degree. It keeps me focused, and I don't go home and find excuses not to do homework. I know I have exactly one hour to get this read, so I get it read. If I have 8 hours, I'm going to do nothing all day until it's time to go to bed and I haven't read it, and geez, I'm so tired now, what does this even say? So, I'm hoping to fight my own procrastination demons with work. And get a paycheck. Paychecks are nice, even small ones.

I've managed to spend more money this summer than I've actually made. With three weddings, two of which are out of town and required accommodations, repairs to my car (clutch, timing belt), some new clothes for me and Husband, year's worth of contact lenses, medical copays, new health insurance premium for the year, new life insurance policy premiums, and I'm just about to purchase my new textbooks. Yikes.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Because I need more to do...

I seem to have a real problem piling too many things on top of myself.

I'm taking 19 hours this fall: Advanced Torts/Dignitary Torts (2), Insurance Law (3), Tax 1 (4), Internet Law (3), Professional Responsibility (3), Moot Court (1), and Italian 201 (3, although this will technically be audited).

I'm organizing the Women's Law Caucus luncheon and I'm running the Int'l Law Society this year. I've got two students I'm mentoring, one at the law school and one at the graduate school (for the masters degree I'm concurrently working on), and I'll be at both orientations next month. I run a small women's book club, I volunteer for our local ballet company (working the box office at each performance), and I have choir practice one night a week for church (although there's no way I can guarantee being there at Christmas since I'll be a week away from my due date, so that'll at least take some of the stress off when the holidays start approaching).

Oh yeah. And I'm married. And I'm pregnant. Boy am I dumb!

Anyway, my newest project is another one for ILS. On top of fundraising, working to get our own study abroad program, trying to get our money from the bank, and organizing a lecture from an Oxford professor, our new thing is now Jessup. We've been hoping to do Jessup in the past, and I don't know if there's not been any interest, but it hasn't happened. Hopefully it will happen this year.

I'm not sure that Jessup is something I should personally do, though, although I would really really like to do it. I signed up for Moot Court because I thought it would be good for me. I get horribly nervous with public speaking (sort of stupid since I want to litigate). So, I keep trying to push myself into activities that will make me feel more comfortable standing in front of a group of people. I did pretty well on our 1L activities (that was for our research/writing class). My brief was mediocre, but apparently my oral argument was pretty good. We get one hour of pass/fail credit for Moot Court if we complete the brief and oral argument, and if we make Moot Court, we get an additional 2 hours over the next three semesters (since we have to judge 1L oral arguments, and work on teams and such).

If I make it through this year in one piece, I will in fact be Wonder Woman. I'm such a glutton for punishment. No wonder my gpa is less than impressive. Study? Whenever would I do that?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Preggo thoughts

I stayed up way too late reading Harry Potter. (Finished it! I stole it back from Husband when he went to take a nap. He said I could keep reading and he's finishing it today. Isn't that nice? We share.) It was rather stupid staying up so late, I knew it would be rough getting up, and I wouldn't be able to get up early enough to fully recover from the morning sickness. Plus, I had to cantor this morning at mass, so there was no playing hookie, there was just barf-and-go.

But I made it through, and then had brunch with my husband and another couple we're friends with who are also expecting. She's 8 1/2 months pregnant and I'm really rather mortified that I looked more pregnant before I got pregnant, than she does even now. She looks great. Glowing, not swollen. Cute little baby bump. Not throwing up. Sigh. Once I birth, I need to hit some serious Weight Watchers meetings and start doing my studying on the treadmill. Law school has not been good for my waistline, and I really doubt pregnancy will be any more kind.

Besides reading Harry Potter, I spent some time this weekend looking at stuff on-line to put into a registry. All the crap out there is so overwhelming. Do kids really need this stuff? Didn't people used to wrap their baby in a blanket, pin a diaper on it, and put it in a box to sleep in? Surely it doesn't need a $500 stroller to survive. And is it really necessary to buy a bottle actually shaped like a boob? Ugh. Anyway, aside from that all the brands and varieties are a little overwhelming as well. I just feel like I'm not going to have any real idea what I need until I actually need it. And what if I get a bunch of stuff and the kid hates all of it, just screams at me, and then I have to go buy new stuff? That would suck. I'm just glad I'm getting some hand-me-downs.

In other pregnancy-related experiences, there was a clear sense of intrusion yesterday while I was cleaning out my office that will soon enough become a nursery. Now, I've known since we bought the house, that we would be using that room for a nursery in the future and that my office was only temporary and would have to be moved. But I still experienced a slight sense of resentment that my peaceful, self-centered life, equipped with my cozy upstairs office, was about to turn into a noisy, sleep-deprived, baby-centered life, equipped with a nursery and me banished to the cold basement to work. As a general rule, I fear change and this one's a doozy.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I'm the best wife ever...

...because I let Husband have first dibs on the copy of Harry Potter delivered today from Amazon, while I get some work done for the office.

Friday, July 20, 2007

RIP Family Cat

Family Cat had to be put down today. She's had some sort of eye funk for awhile that the vet has been unable to diagnose and never completely cleared up. This week however, she had massive swelling, and couldn't even open her eye. Husband took her to the vet and it turned out to be a rather aggressive cancer. She was 18 years old, deaf, only had four teeth, and was definitely senile. So, it was time. I'm sad though. Back before she became completely senile and rather mean, she was a really good cat.

Family Cat and I have had a long love-hate relationship. She didn't like me at first. Back when we started dating, Husband had a one-bedroom apartment that he shared with her. When I started spending the night, she was not impressed. But then neither was I. I'm very allergic to cats, and to accommodate me, we had to get a HEPA filter to put in the bedroom, (until I built a resistence to her). She wanted me in the bedroom about as much as I wanted her there, considering one night she even threw up on the bed. Nothing spoils the mood like cat barf.

But eventually we warmed up to one another. When his air conditioning went out in the middle of a very hot summer, I took her to my house until it was fixed. I began feeding her "special food" (wet cat food) and brushing her, and I got rid of that flea collar she had on that had turned her rather yellow and Frontlined her instead. When we all moved in together, I even took her to her vet appointments. I dealt with all her bad behavior, including her love for peeing on my bathroom mats instead of in her litterbox (apparently they were so nice and fluffy on her bottom she couldn't resist), and lived for years without bathroom mats as a result. I saved her life when my husband wanted to kill her for peeing on the mat in front of her litterbox, which ruined a large patch of hardwood floor in our house. And I put up with the multitude of things she's barfed on of mine, including, but not limited to, my camera, my clean laundry, and all of my practice problems for Civ Pro sitting on the coffee table. She had her moments though. She was good company all the nights Husband was at work. She kept my lap warm. She was always purring. And Family Dog loved her (even though the feeling was not mutual, I did catch her a couple times licking Family Dog... that may have been to see if Family Dog tasted good enough to eat, but I like to think she was on occasion affectionate).

The past year though, things have declined. We noticed she had gone deaf, and as a result she would howl instead of meow, probably because she couldn't hear herself. That's always fun at 3 am. Also, she just wasn't very friendly. She didn't want to be petted, she was going senile and didn't seem to be enjoying life very much. She's been losing weight and she'd stopped grooming herself, she was always a matted mess and suddenly hated being brushed. Apparently, getting old really sucks. That'll be me someday, hissing at nurses trying to bathe me in the old folks home, beating them with my cane.

Overall though, she was a good cat. Husband had her since he was 11, so I know he'll miss her. It's a sad day at our house, and I'm leaving work soon to go comfort my husband. We just had to put his dog down at the beginning of summer, so it's rough. I'll miss her, but I miss the cat that was healthy and cuddly, not the miserable sickly cat we've had lately. Sad.

Now we're down to Family Dog, who is only 2 years old, and two geriatrics Family Rabbits, one who is almost 7 years old, and the other who is almost 11. Family Fish, I don't think, really count, although we have three of those left. We used to have four fish aquariums, but have been scaling them down over the years. We're slowly weeding out our managerie, I guess, and adding a baby instead.

We'll get another cat someday, and probably another dog, but we're going to wait until we have kids old enough to ask for them, and also old enough to not abuse them. Our four year old niece likes to carry her kitty around by the throat, and is just crushed because the cat always hides from her and runs when she sees her coming. Also, the incentive in waiting until they're older is to make our children take their geriatrics pets with them when they leave home, which was my in-laws' philosophy. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Balancing Act

When I first got pregnant, I went to a few of those pregnancy websites looking for information and advice. Unfortunately, the message boards left much to be desired. At the point I read a post and subsequent comments from women who were convinced they can tell the sex of their baby by peeing into a cup of Draino, I gave up. I decided I didn’t want any advice from women who are stupid enough to do that. But my biggest concern is that these women didn’t seem to have anything else in their lives except for their children. I’m not saying every woman should have advanced degrees and a career, but I think women need something more than staying home with their children all day (or getting on-line and talking about their children all day) to keep their sanity. Not just for them, but for their children too.

I don’t think there’s any “best” way to parent. I know several stay-at-home moms who are well-balanced, happy women who spend their days taking care of their children and still have other activities they enjoy. I know many career women whose children are in daycare or with a nanny or other relative during the day that are great moms with happy children. And I know women in both categories who are completely miserable and their kids are going to pick up on that, which is what’s really sad. I think whatever your situation, you have to remember that life isn’t all about just one thing. As much as I want a career, that’s not the only thing I want. And as much as I want a family, I could never see myself giving up on everything else that’s important to me in order to devote every waking moment to my children. They don't need that. There has to be balance. Sometimes it’s about the kids, sometimes it’s about the spouse, sometimes it’s about the career, but somewhere in there, it has to be about me too. I can’t be a good mom, a good wife and a good lawyer without being a happy, fulfilled person on my own terms.

That’s why I like reading the lawyer-mom blogs, because I’m inspired by stories from women who want the same thing I do: a career in law but still being a good mom (and wife!). It’s a hard balancing act, but I think it will be worth it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Complaining

I have to take a moment to complain about 2nd Tier Law School. We don't have a study abroad program. We would like one. We don't even have a summer school program. We have either Professional Responsibility and Insurance Law offered each summer, and I'm already taking both in the fall. Lame.

Anyway, I contacted our career services (2 months ago, but whatever) to discuss promotion of study abroad for our students, at the very least for participation in programs run by other schools. I finally talked to the dean today and she made sure to point out that she has a short blurb on the back of some page of some handout [that she hasn't updated in a decade or so] that has the URL of the ABA's list of approved programs, and the phone number of our education abroad office on main campus to help us research financial aid. I'm underwhelmed. But at least she said she'd support any efforts I'm willing to take to promote study abroad for our students. (Thank you for supporting me in doing your job.)

You know, when I first applied to 2nd Tier Law School, it was actually in the First Tier. (I deferred my enrollment for one year to pursue graduate work in international relations, so I actually applied in 2004.) Things like complete apathy for promoting our school and expanding our opportunities might have something to do with our continual slip. Not that the ratings really mean all that much, it's not like we'll ever be knocking Harvard or Yale down a few notches. No one will ever say "Ooooh! You went to [2nd Tier School]!" But it's just frustrating, because our school has so much potential, and we have a great, energetic student body who would embrace new opportunities.

I just hope my pleas don't fall on deaf ears to the administration that we can create our own study abroad program and there is enough student interest to support at least one class each summer, maybe even two. It's our main project at ILS this year, along with fundraising and actually finding interesting people willing to give guest lectures. I would also like to implement an annual networking luncheon with our students and with professionals in international law, I just don't think we'll have the money to do it this year and next fall would be perfect.

So, we'll see. Things to do, things to do.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lullaby

Although my Italian is waaaaay far from fluent, my great-grandparents were Italian immigrants and my grandparents spoke Italian at home with their parents. However, by my mother's generation it was considered to be a bad thing to grow up speaking two languages, that it confuses the child, so she only learned a little bit of Italian that she picked up from hearing her mother and grandparents converse. No one taught me any Italian at home. I studied Italian as a college student, but by the time you're an adult, it's just too late to speak like a native and it's tough work to obtain real fluency.

But some things do pass through the generations regardless of language, and one is lullabies. I didn't know the words, but I knew the tune, and I found it on iTunes. In Italian, lullabies are called "Ninna Nannas" and just like in English there are plenty of them. The one I know is "Ninna Nanna Fiorentina."

The chorus is:

Ninna nanna ninna nanna,
il bambino è della mamma,
della mamma e di Gesù,
il bambino non piange più.

It translates to:

Rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye,
the baby is from the mama,
from the mama and from Jesus,
the child cries no more.

It's a beautiful tune, if you should ever come across it. I'm looking forward to singing it to my baby.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

15 weeks -- still nauseous

The fatigue is starting to subside, I'm sleeping a lot less (like only 8 to 9 hours a night instead of 12 to 14), but the nausea has not gone away. It has gotten better, I don't throw up every day, maybe like once a week. Also the nausea is related more to specific events, like smelling something bad or having an empty stomach. So, I'm hoping that things will continue to get better.

Work is going well, but this past week was extremely busy. Midsize Firm does not pay us for holidays, and I also took a day off to go to a family wedding out of state, so I had time to make up anyway. I'm even doing work over the weekend. There's a big mediation coming up in a big case and so there's three of us summer associates busting our butts to get the work done. Of course, all the work and none of the glory -- there will be way too many people attending the mediation as it is, so we don't get to go. But at least the crazy work load coincided with me actually feeling better. I even made it to work before 10 this week, it was quite the accomplishment.

Other pregnancy news: my pants are getting tight. That might be because I can actually keep food down now, but I think I'm start to pooch in my lower abdomen. I also am frequently getting headaches, but that is probably because I can't take my allergy medication anymore and I'm constantly sneezing/having sinus congestion. Family Dog was upset to be kicked out of the bed. I'm actually allergic to dogs and cats (we have one of each) but when I'm on my meds I'm fine. No meds for me now though, and that Claritin stuff is like taking a placebo for me. So I'm trying to keep the pets off the furniture (and especially off my pillows) to cut down on the dander. Also, Family Dog is a 75 pound labrador so the bigger I get, the less room there is anyway. You'd think I'd started locking Family Dog in the closet instead of just making her sleep on a dog bed, she's so crushed.

I think that's about it. I'm starting to get hand-me-downs from Sister-in-Law (one of Husband's sisters). I got some maternity clothes, which are starting to come in handy because pants are starting to not fit. However, her shirts are all too small (I'm a lot more "busty" than her) so I will have to get more maternity shirts. I have bought some already, and I also need to get a maternity business suit, because I'll have a few activities later in the semester I'll need to dress up for. But I figure by the time I'm most enormous it'll be Christmas, and I just plan to wear a muumuu and slippers and not leave the house or have visitors. Heh. But Sister-in-Law also gave us her very nice infant car seat, that came with two docking stations so we can easily put Baby in either car. Our first baby item! It starts feeling more real when the house starts filling up with baby equipment.