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, December 30, 2008

Epiphanies

As I'm sitting in my office, doing research on an issue of civil procedure where I'm finding nothing useful to our position, and thinking this would be a lot easier if I'd actually learned something in Civ Pro (our prof hadn't taught the course in 30 years and didn't intend to suddenly start then), I began to daydream wistfully about New Year's. I'm looking forward to the party at our friends' house, and my mom is taking our kid and their kid overnight so we can get our drink-on and not wake up with hangovers to feed and entertain toddlers. Then I started to think about the New Year itself. It's always a new slate, new beginnings. What do I want to resolve to do in this new year? Lose weight, quit bad habits, etc., etc.?

Then I realized. This New Year? Is going to suck. One more semester of law school, with a rather tough schedule ahead. Four classes with exams, part time internship and a part time job. Having to study for the bar exam right after graduation. Taking the bar exam, and out of town too, because The Other Big City hosts the July exam, we host the February one. Waiting anxiously for bar results. Desperately looking for work and likely not finding any. Student loan residual money running out. Student loans coming into repayment. Oh, and then turning 30. Ugh. Oh, and Husband thinks we should go ahead and get pregnant again, because I don't have any job prospects anyway, I might as well sit at home and breed. I see his point, but hell. Double Ugh.

So what are my New Year's resolutions in this year of unpleasant things to come?

First, not taking shit so seriously. I think I'm getting better at it. While the no-job prospect/repayment of student loans thing would normally have me in Severe Panic Mode, like to the point of needing to be heavily medicated as I sob hysterically in the corner, I find myself not really giving a crap. I am doing the best I can, joining legal organizations, networking as much as possible, leaving no stone unturned, but if at the end of the day I end up waiting tables, meh. Such is life. I hope I will be able to take the same attitude with the bar. I'm going to study hard, do the best I can and not panic. Things will turn out all right. And if for some reason I were to fail the bar, well, it's not like it'll cost me a job. There's always February. Somehow, that does take the pressure off. I figure I'm about to enter my 30's, I'm overweight and I have a family history of heart disease. Time to make some lifestyle changes, and one of those is eliminating anxiety, otherwise I'm going to totally stroke out.

Second, I need to drink more. No, seriously. It'll also help with the first resolution.

Third, I need to go back to the gym. This one is my annual resolution, because by the end of the year I've stopped going. Once I graduate, I'm canceling my Y membership and going back to the "good" gym, that has fewer creepy old men trying to chat me up (even with the iPod on) and many more available machines. I'll be including that expense in my post-graduation budget, but it's so worth it.

Fourth, eating better. I've been eating significantly less, thanks to Cora always having her grubby fingers in my food, which is probably why I had lost ten pounds when I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago. The kid has quite an appetite, and she literally eats half my food. I hope since she has her father's appetite, she also gets his metabolism. (Husband's one of those annoying people who eats five times the normal portion size, and doesn't gain any weight. He did pack on some weight by being off work for two months when Cora was born, but he ate a few salads and went to the gym a couple times and dropped most of the weight. Bastard.) But hey, cutting down my portions has been good for me. Saves more calories for alcohol. And I now weigh less than I did when I got pregant, and am two sizes smaller. I bought new pants the other day, because my pants are all too big, and I only bought one size smaller when I should have bought two. It's good to be downgrading, instead of upgrading.

Fifth, enjoying life more. I've given up a lot of activities I enjoy during the past few years of painful law school agony. Reading books for fun, singing in the choir (which I'm starting back in January, so I've been doing some vocal work during the break... I need so much work, it's embarassing) and playing musical instruments (piano, violin, and I'd like to learn guitar), learning/practicing foreign languages (I definitely need to build my Spanish back up... it's amazing how much you forget when you don't use it. Even so, I had always kept up my reading proficiency, but even it's lacking these days. Sucks.). I want to play racquetball with friends again, and tennis in the summer. I'd like to start running again. I'd like to get a scholarly article published. I'd like to write a book. Hell, I'd like to write a screenplay! I'd like to learn to paint. There are so many things I want to do, and I feel that once law school is over, I'll have this weight lifted from my shoulders. Granted, if I actually get a job, I'll probably be working crazy hours and not have time for all that. But if dreams come true and I get a job where I don't work crazy hours (like a job with the state, that'd be real nice), there are so many other things I'd like to do, even law-related. Coach a mock trial team at my old high school, volunteer for our local immigration clinic. Who knows? I just think that, whatever happens, as of August, my life will be my own once again. (Other than being an indentured servant to the student loan people.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Carol-blogging

As a gift to my readers on this blessed evening, I give you a bunny singing "Silent Night," a capella. It's the bunny, I swear. (Christmas miracles and all that.) There would have been (electric) piano accompaniment, but my stupid amp has gone out, so the bunny is a little off key. I have nothing else to offer you other than song, I am sorry.

video

And here's my favorite little bunny and her Christmas photo:


Cora and Bernie, Christmas 2008

Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Finished

I finished my seminar paper on Friday afternoon, in all its glorious mediocrity. It has been turned in, and life can go on. Husband proofed my science, and I had to remove entire paragraphs because, apparently, I don't know "how science works." Bah. Anyway, it's turned in, it's done, and hopefully I will never be involved in toxic mold litigation, because frankly, mold is super gross and super boring.

Friday evening there was much celebration. We got together with law school peeps and had sushi and alcohol. Then we headed over to our friends' Christmas party, where I proceeded to have more alcohol. Saturday I was nursing a hangover, and then the in-laws came in. We finally got a Christmas tree, decorated it, and I think I'm allergic to it, because the sinus issues I had two weeks ago have resurfaced. I have super-terrible sinus headache. I'll go back to the doctor if it doesn't resolve by tomorrow and look into other options, like different allergy meds, nasal sprays, or having my head surgically removed. Whatever works. Anyway, I've got dinner plans tonight with friends in from out of town. In 20 minutes, in fact, but I'm going to be late because Cora's still napping. I'm letting her nap as long as she wants to, since she's had a very busy weekend of being doted upon by grandparents.

Back to work tomorrow, and then Christmas. We already opened our gifts today, since the parents were leaving... Husband totally rocks, I got an over-priced collectible X-Files figurine I've been wanting. Super nerdy, I know, but I'm a super nerdy fangirl, and my husband humors me. In return, Husband got two Doctor Who trade paperbacks and a verrrrry nice bottle of 21 year old single malt Scotch. (The scotch is so old, it can legally drink other scotches.) Cora got a ton of toys, and lots more clothes from her Grandma. We got DVDs from the parents, and they also got me a book on starting a solo practice that came highly recommended. More on that later on.

I still have some shopping to do, like I need to get a gift for my mom, but other than that, Christmas is pretty much done. Part of the problem was our semester ending so damn late. Last year it ended on the 14th. This year it ended on the 20th. Also, I just checked the academic calendar, and we only get three weeks off. That totally blows. Oh well, at least it's my last semester.

Tonight's project after Cora goes to bed is to catch up on an entire semester's worth of laundry disaster, and finally post the book review I was supposed to have done months ago. (Sorry, I suck. Good thing I'm not getting paid for reviewing the book... that might be why no one asks me to review books for money.)

Happy end of semester everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmastime in Hell

Only law students understand the special kind of hell that is finals week(s). How taking a four-credit-hour course means you get to sit and take a four-hour-long final exam. That's curved so you get a worse grade than you would otherwise have gotten because you had the misfortune of taking the same class as all of the smart people. That's completely demoralizing and awful. Don't even get me started on paper-writing and how asinine the citation system is compared to the ease of Chicago Style. (Oh, History, how I miss thee.) Law school sucks, there's just no getting around it.

But no one really understands that other than law students (and former law students). They don't understand that the 20-page paper they're writing on the US/Soviet space race is somehow significantly easier and less work than the 10-page paper on the material support of terrorism provision of the INA. I didn't understand that when I was writing that paper while a junior in undergrad, for a graduate-level course that was super hard but the class was open to undergraduate students and taught by an adjunct with my (future) graduate program. I rocked that paper, I spent an entire weekend doing it, and I got an A in the class, and was so proud of myself for taking a graduate-level class and getting an A.

I just spent an entire weekend writing my immigration paper. I decidedly did not rock that paper. I did a good job, I believe, but I won't be submitting it for publication in any law journals, that's for sure. I think I got a good grade, but unless no one else does brilliantly, I seriously doubt I'll pull the best grade. Definitely above the curve though, so that's something. It'll almost make up for the epic fail of the BA exam.

Anyway, I'm waiting for Cora's bedtime so I can get back to working on my 25-page seminar paper, of which I have a whole 2 pages written. (Right now she's eating dinner and making a mess of herself.) I think it's technically due Saturday, but I don't know where to turn it in on Saturday, and frankly, as of Friday at 5pm, I'm done. I don't care if my paper is written in crayon and 5 pages long, it's getting turned in Friday afternoon. But, it won't come to that. I can get 10 pages written tonight and get the rest written tomorrow, with Friday for revisions and fixing all of my horrific citation mistakes. Then I'm going to dinner with law school peeps for our annual post-finals outing, and off to a Christmas party to see some non-law school peeps. Then to the airport to pick up my mother-in-law. Hopefully she'll be up for some shopping on Saturday, because I have done absolutely no Christmas shopping, no decorating, we haven't even gotten a tree yet. Fortunately my in-laws have the same laissez-faire attitude about cleaning as I do, so they won't be offended by my disaster of a house.

On the agenda for next week: Going back to work on Monday (hopefully I still have a job... I've been sensing the ax is coming with the lack of work). Cleaning my disaster of a house. Going to the gym. Sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saving my breath

I know this is difficult for people to imagine but, even though I went to school to become a lawyer, I'm not madly in love with the sound of my own voice. I also have the unfortunate tendency to lose my voice if I use it too much, so I prefer to save it for when it serves a purpose (especially when I need it to sing). So, when people ask my advice, in long, drawn-out marathon discussions, I give it with the expectation that I'm not just talking to hear myself talk. That people will actually, oh, I dunno, take my advice under consideration at the very least.

I think even bigger than my pet peeve about people who constantly complain about their problems but take absolutely no efforts to change their situations, is my pet peeve about those same people who then ask me for advice and never follow it. I didn't get a degree in psychology or social work, but I think I'm a reasonably smart person who has learned a lot throughout her life, and does have actual training in conflict resolution. I can definitely give very good advice about what NOT to do in a multitude of situations in life, many coming from my own personal experiences. And when it comes to legal matters, I can't give actual legal advice yet, but I can give advice about who to go talk to for legal advice, what to take with you when you go, what questions to ask when you talk to that person, etc.

Anyway, I'm getting to the point where I'm tired of watching people make extremely bad life choices and still continuously being asked "but what should I do?" Simply? Stop making bad choices. And when you ignore that advice and make the bad choices anyway? Don't call me to ask me what you should do now. Sheesh. If I were a licensed therapist, I'd be making a lot of money off of my friends and family, that's for sure. And if I were a licensed attorney? I wouldn't take their cases, because if they're that much of a pain in my ass now, imagine if I were supposed to represent them in a legal matter.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Too much husband

Husband has decided to take a weekend position at the hospital. Which means he will only be working two nights a week instead of three (but still gets paid for three) and both of those nights will be during the weekend (Friday, Saturday or Sunday). This is all going to end badly. Very badly.

The biggest problem I foresee is the change in baby schedule. Generally he works Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights, then gets home in the morning when Cora wakes up Monday through Wednesday. Which doesn't really matter, because I work those three days and have to get then anyway, but at least I don't have to wake us both up extra early. My mom comes over to watch her on Mondays and Tuesdays, and on Wednesdays he takes her to daycare. Thursdays and Fridays, however, he whines every single morning because I want him to get up with Cora and take her to daycare so I can sleep in a little before heading to campus all day, even though he can come home, go back to bed and sleep until the evening if he wants (and often does), whereas I'll get an extra two hours sleep. I can only imagine what kind of whining there will be during the entire week that he's not working. I have class every day early in the morning, so while I'll get up, feed her and change her, he'll still have to be up with her after I leave to take her to daycare. Which will mean having conversations every single day about why I can't take her to daycare on my way to campus (uh, because I'm not getting me and the kid up an extra 45 minutes early to go further away from campus in rush hour traffic when he has nothing better to do other than sleep all day and can wait to take her until traffic has cleared). Gives me a headache.

The other problem will be seeing entirely too much of him. He'll be home all day, every day, while I'll have class all morning, then having worked all afternoon. (And eventually, hopefully, having worked all day.) And instead of getting the evening to myself after Cora's bedtime, he's going to drive me crazy.

The final problem will be having the kid all weekend by myself. Even if he works every Sunday and then either Friday or Saturday, if he works Friday night, he'll just sleep all day Saturday and wake up around 7 or 8pm, and if he works Saturday, he'll still sleep all day Saturday and go to work at 7. The weekends are usually when I get caught up with my homework. During the week, between school and work, I'm usually too tired to get much done at night. Now I'll have to figure out some other time to do homework.

I hate the new schedule. But what was I supposed to tell him? No, you shouldn't cut your hours for the same amount of pay, because you will irritate me? Sigh. I think I'll be spending more quality time at the newly asbestos-abated law library in the evenings for the good of our marriage.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This Day in History

It was Sunday morning on the beautiful island of O'ahu. Hawaii was not yet a state in our union, as it was 1941, but the United States had a naval base in Pearl Harbor, home of our Pacific Fleet. What was a beautiful morning soon turned deadly as 177 Japanese planes appeared from the sky and attacked the naval base. Simultaneously, the State Department and US intelligence received delayed word that peace negotiations had ended between Japan and the United States. Japanese headlines soon read: "War with the United States."

Four US battleships were destroyed, although only Arizona and Oklahoma were lost in action. (California and West Virginia were able to be reconstructed, only because the harbor isn't deep enough for those vessels to have sunk.) Light to moderate damage was done to four others which remained afloat. Also damaged were three cruisers, three destroyers and a minelayer, not to mention 188 aircraft destroyed and 155 damaged (lined up all pretty in easily-bombed rows).

History would prove this to be a foreign policy EPIC FAIL on the part of the Japanese: a preventive strike to destroy the US Pacific fleet and insure Japanese expansion into Malaya and the Dutch East Indies (rich in oil, which was needed after we initiated an oil embargo). Pearl Harbor was a clear strategic failure for the Japanese. They had hoped to destroy the US Pacific fleet, however, six battleships survived, as did the majority of the facilities at the naval base. What was destroyed was predominantly obsolete. Repairs were efficiently made, and the force rebuilt. Further, the attack taught the US a lesson in naval advancement, and instead of battleships, began to rely upon aircraft carriers. The aircraft carriers had not been in port during the attack, which was most fortunate for the US naval fleet.

However, 2,402 US servicemen and civilians were killed and 1,282 wounded. Franklin Delano Roosevelt described December 7, 1941 as "a date which will live in infamy." It marked US entrance into the Second World War, an event which resulted in the deaths of 72 million people worldwide. A war directly caused by the foreign policy failures originating from the previous world war. Sometimes we just fail to learn the lessons of history, and keep repeating the same arrogant foreign policy mistakes.

Of course, on a happier note, for us December 7 is also a notable date: Cora's birthday. As a history geek, it does amuse me that this is her birthday. She will be getting battleship birthday cakes for years to come.

So, happy birthday to Cora! We've had her for an entire year. It's been a great time overall, (even considering all the drama she causes).


December 2007


December 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Despair

I'm beginning to feel like this is the theme of my law school experience:



Sigh. More FAIL ahead. My BA final is on Thursday. It will definitely be craptastic. I know I have a week to study for it. That honestly will not make much of a difference. It shall be bad. Very very bad.

I saw a job posting on Monster today for a legal secretary job, which pays $40K a year. I'll be lucky if I get a job making that as a lawyer. I'll be lucky if I get a job at all. Weeeeeeee, unemployment, whatever. Our career services dean told me not to panic. I think she might just be saying that to avoid all of us curling into a ball and sobbing hysterically at our impending bankruptcy. Meh. I'll figure something out. I used to have such big plans and big dreams.

Oh wait.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Things

Things that are awesome:

1. NPH is definitely awesome. So is this video:

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die


2. Spending the break time between classes not studying, but rather searching for phallic/otherwise dirty kitchen utensils on Williams-Sonoma and repeatedly sending the links via Facebook to a friend creating a wedding registry. Our favorite? This. (If you don't get why it looks dirty, I'm not explaining it to you.)

3. The phrase "900-page cloud of flatulence" used to describe a wingnutter's guide to history. This is my new favorite phrase.


Things that are not awesome:

1. Standing outside for 20 minutes in 30 degree weather, having no coat (only a hoody), because someone accidentally pulled the fire alarm when their backpack got hooked on it.

2. Babies with daycare funk. My kid was up half the night coughing her little head off. Our friend's kid took a trip to the ER earlier in the week for a more severe case of what Cora's got now.

3. 1L's having a food fight in the library. I'm hungry, bitches, why are you wasting food?

4. Being at the courthouse until 9:30 again tonight for the final Lit Skills trial. At least I'm just a juror. I'm a 3L, I have mastered napping with my eyes open.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Home stretch

It's finally the home stretch. Last week of classes, two weeks of finals ahead.

Last night was my Lit Skills murder trial. We lost. We had no real evidence, we had two witnesses that were just terrible and one who was unrealiable at best (the characters, not the folks who performed). The judge suppressed key evidence that might have swayed the jury to convict. Oh well. That's just how it goes. It was fun though, I really think I'll enjoy the prosecutorial internship next semester, although I still have a long way to go before I would consider myself "good" at trial work. At this point, I'm acceptable though. I'm painfully aware of my weaknesses, and continue to work on them.

But, one class down, four to go. We made the official call last night to withdraw from the moot court competition. I'm incredibly disappointed, but I understand people's financial situations are changing, especially thanks to the sudden realization that none of us are going to have jobs next year. However, we are still going to fundraise in the spring and get next year's group started. I still learned a lot from working on the memo, and once the winning memos come out, I plan to look back over the problem and learn from the best and brightest. Terribly bummed that we aren't going though, and still pissed at the dean for her attitude concerning the whole thing. Not to mention, if we could have asked for donations, this wouldn't be an issue, we could have gotten the whole trip paid. Anyway, I'm saving my frequent flier miles that I was going to cash in to get my plane ticket, and instead, provided I find employment, Husband and I will go to Europe next fall.

Since I suddenly have less to do this week, we're going to dinner tonight with some friends. (Their daughter is three months older than Cora.) It will also be nice to spend some time with Cora. I've had to be at the courthouse at 6:30 the past two nights, and Husband was working, so my mom kept Cora at her house since Sunday night. Fortunately, our trial ended at a reasonable time last night and I got home at 9. Mom got there with Cora about 15 minutes later. She was very happy to be home. I think she was happy to see me, she gave me big smiles and a big hug... and then immediately reached for the dog. Sigh. I don't know why the dog is so cool, I find her rather annoying and disgusting myself. But Cora had a delightful time playing "fetch" with the dog using an empty coke bottle (the dog loves plastic bottles, she carries them around in her mouth and they make popping sounds when she squeezes them... best dog toy ever). Cora would take the bottle from Bernie's mouth, throw it (it lands like a foot in front of her), and laugh ecstatically when the dog would pick it back up. I'm glad they keep one another entertained. And honestly, if I could teach the kid to use the bathroom outside, or teach the dog to change diapers, it'd be a fantastic arrangement.

Anyway, today's my last day of work until after finals. Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to sleeping in because I haven't gotten more than 4-5 hours sleep each night. Since the moot court thing is bust and the memo doesn't have to be finished now, I'm going to bed early tonight. Yay for sleep.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sigh

It's not looking good for our international moot court team. While we're pretty sure we can raise the money to cover the registration fee and the accommodations in Vienna, I don't think we'll be able to raise enough to cover our airfare. I have enough rewards points on my credit card to pay for my trip (I use my credit card for everything), so it's not an issue for me. However, we need at least one more person who can definitely commit, and right now both of the other 3L's who initially said they could go are waffling. If they can't commit, we will need to withdraw our registration and get a refund, which will make me very sad. Especially since I've put in a lot of work on this brief, and so have a couple other people. But we can't argue a moot with just one person.

We have to make a decision by Thursday. I'll be disappointed if we don't go, but it doesn't mean I'll give up. I've learned a lot about International Business Transactions, that I otherwise wouldn't have, from working on the brief, so the effort was at least worthwhile. Also, we can still raise money this year and get a head start on the team for next year. It's not over yet, but I don't want to be too disappointed if this thing doesn't happen. And if it doesn't, maybe after the bar, Husband and I can cash in those frequent flier miles and take a trip ourselves.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Apathy

As the economic apocalypse looms, and the job market is quickly closing off to even those at the top of our class with big firm offers being rescinded, I find myself oddly apathetic and detached from the state of affairs. It's incredibly strange, because normally this is *exactly* the sort of thing that would have me developing ulcers. While I'm apathetic and easy-going about almost everything else in life, job security is the one I'm uptight about.

Yet... I can't make myself care. I can't figure out if that's a good thing or a bad thing yet. Maybe it's because the prospect of working for some giant asshole for $40,000 a year (or less) while working 60 hours a week, just reinforces a secret desire for unemployment.

Of course, I'm still concerned. I will do whatever's necessary to find a job, if there are any out there. But I'm not losing sleep over it in the meantime. Maybe I'm getting to the point where I just trust myself enough to know I'm resourceful and will figure something out. And actually feeling confident in my ability to practice [very basic areas of law] on my own if it comes to that.

My mother-in-law is convinced she can get me something at their Army base. Two hours away. I don't want to live in BFE, especially not in this state. (Remember my previous misadventures at the in-laws? Ugh, and the terrain isn't even the worst thing about the area.) Husband absolutely will never move back there. I told her I'd be willing to do contract work for awhile and commute, but we're staying here. (Or at least going someplace better.) But at least it's something. Otherwise, I'll wait tables. Need a will with your bourbon and coke? I gotcha covered!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey

We had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday. Husband's parents came in, my mom was there, Cora's godfather, and a friend from graduate school who couldn't go home this weekend because he has his comprehensive exam on Monday. We've had Thanksgiving at our home since we moved in together in 2003. It's always been important to us to invite people over who don't have other plans, we almost always have at least one person who isn't a family member, like a classmate, colleague or friend. Particularly to me, because until we started dating, I was one of those people. My family doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving (they're all in a crazy cult that doesn't celebrate holidays), so I was always grateful when a friend would invite me to have Thanksgiving with their family. So, I don't think Thanksgiving is so much about family as it is about just coming together with others and sharing an exceptional meal. And a significant amount of alcohol. My friend had to crash on our couch, because my husband kept refilling his glass of scotch.

Today, I slept in (yay!) while Husband got up with Cora. Then Oma took Cora shopping and bought her a ton of new clothes and shoes, and party decorations (we're celebrating Cora's birthday a week early, since Husband's parents are in town). Now Oma's changing Cora's diaper and putting on one of her new outfits. Then they're taking us out for sushi. Double yay!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Being public

Ooh, scary, I'm putting myself out there as, like, a real person with an actual identity. Using my real name, I've cross-posted over at Ms. JD.

But I'm still going to remain anonymous on here, even though I think the vast majority of you know my real name and what school I attend. I don't really care if any prospective employer or whatever reads this blog. I'd just rather it not be the *first* thing that pops up in a google search.

"ProtoAttorney: Breeder. Gets crappy grades. Fangirl with an unhealthy obsession with The X-Files and Doctor Who. Overweight gym bunny. Blogs during class." I can hear the shredders eating my resume as we speak... hmmm... okay, maybe I care after all...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bitching and mooting

I am currently a very unhappy law student. In fact, I'm pretty damn angry. I'm angry that I made the wrong decision in which law school to attend. Angry that my efforts to make this law school a better institution are met with indifference and even hostility. Angry that my problems are met with indifference. Angry that I've incurred a significant amount of debt for a degree that I honestly feel I could have completed by correspondence course with greater success.

I had this big plan when I applied to law school. I wanted to do work in international law. I honestly didn't know what form that might take. I figured I'd find out what I liked while in law school. I applied to four schools, and had two more applications ready as a last resort (two lower-ranked schools I knew I could get into easily). I was accepted at three of the schools, and wait-listed at one. The four schools I applied to had international law programs. Or so they said. Three of those schools seem to have international law programs. One of those most definitely does not. Guess which one I chose?

Granted, I'm glad I went to this university because of my graduate program. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being a state school, the expense was minimal, and what I received from the program is worth ten times the law school tuition I paid. However, I should have gotten my master's and then gotten the hell out and gone to law school somewhere else. Somewhere that isn't more concerned with using every penny to construct a new building that won't even break ground until after we graduate. Somewhere that currently has a real dean. Somewhere that doesn't have a record number of crappy adjuncts teaching courses next semester and record number of faculty on sabbatical (probably because they're trying to secure new gigs). I had a half-way decent undergraduate gpa, and a fairly good LSAT score. I had offers of scholarship from other schools. I had a significant scholarship offer from a school in Chicago, which would have made my tuition cheaper than what it is currently. I obviously make extremely bad choices. I have no doubt I would have gotten my money's worth from the other schools, even the two that would have cost more. The only thing I'm getting out of my tuition here is a diploma.

All of these feelings are nothing new. I quickly realized my mistake 1L year. Even so, I've done my best to be involved and try to fight for changes. But today I'm extremely upset by the acting dean's complete dismissal of our efforts to compete in Vienna. There are eight of us working on this moot. Three of us are willing to pay our own way to Vienna to compete. We've put in a lot of time working on the first brief, and the time we'll put in to write the second brief and prepare for oral arguments will be significant. She flat out told me she thinks this is a frivolous activity and it's nothing more than our desire to take a European vacation, which completely pissed me off. We aren't asking for money from the law school (heaven forbid we take money away from the new building we'll never get to use). We just want to be able to raise the money ourselves. She told us we aren't allowed to do it, because that would be money that those lawyers/law firms would otherwise give to the law school (even if they don't give money to the law school in the first place!), and we aren't even allowed to raise money from local businesses that aren't law firms. Which is complete bullshit.

This competition might not be the most important thing in the world, but it is important, and I'm angry at such an incredible opportunity, and the hard work of our team, being so quickly dismissed. It's important because it's *something* international, it's *something* concerning alternate dispute resolution, which are two programs that our school is completely lacking. Only 16 students each year get to take a course in ADR, and there have only been three international law courses offered over the past two years. After concentrating on diplomacy and conflict resolution in my master's program, in the context of international organizations, I was so excited to translate that into legal work. Which most certainly didn't happen here.

However, the experience we will gain by participating in this moot and the contacts we will make will be worthwhile, and certainly something we will not get from our school otherwise. And it's tough work, I know it is. The teams spend 12 to 15 hours a day preparing for the competitions. We'll be spending a lot of time preparing before we go. The only "vacation" time we get will be once we're out of the competition, and frankly, I don't intend on getting knocked out so easily. Not to mention that I pointed out if this were just about a vacation, I'd wait until the semester is over so I could go with my husband and child (and not the dude on my team, who I will probably spend most of the time bickering with).

Anyway, if my law school thinks they'll ever get another penny from me after next semester, they're bloody insane. I will gladly make large contributions to my graduate program. I would even make donations to my undergraduate program (directly to the department, not to the school itself). But the law school can suck it. I'll even make donations to student organizations, and will send a letter accompanying it every year reiterating that the law school itself can go suck it.

So, we're left with footing a 600 Euro registration fee ourselves. Any creative fundraising ideas? I'm going to the gym now to punch and kick things. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Follow-Up Question

This one will need to be answered by those of you who already had children when you entered law school. (You know who you are!)

A fellow mom/future MILP [with a school-age child] asks us:

How has spending so much of yourself on school affected your relationship with your child?

I'll start with my thoughts, even though my kid came during law school, so I have no real reference point for change.

Law school is entirely possible to get through without it consuming your life if you manage your time well, and as a parent, you probably already do that. As your child is school-age, I think it would be easier in some ways and more difficult in others. For me, my child is pretty high-maintenance at this point. She can't walk, feed herself, go to the bathroom herself. She constantly demands attention, and even when she doesn't, she's seriously loud as hell. But on the other hand, she doesn't really care that I'm not there all the time. She really likes her dad, she likes her Grandma, she likes her teachers, and she has several "uncles" and "aunties" she can spend quality time with. And she never whines about how I'm neglecting her needs, and hasn't started to keep a journal of my poor parenting skills to someday publish (yet). She doesn't require being transported to soccer practice or ballet or friends' houses, and I have yet to transport any of her little friends. (At this point, she's not really a big fan of any of her little friends, because that's someone else trying to chew on her toys.) So, of course there are big challenges for raising older children while in law school. But I've seen my classmates do it, with great success. One gal's daughter started kindergarten the year we started 1L. She brings her to the law library and they do homework together.

There are definitely going to be sacrifices. If you're coming from being a stay-at-home mom that goes to all the PTA meetings, makes cupcakes for the kids, goes on all the field trips and directs the school plays, then yeah, it's going to be a big adjustment for everyone. You can still do some of that stuff, but you won't have nearly as much time! But honestly, if you've been working 40 hours a week, it won't be that much of a lifestyle change. There will be times (finals, and the couples weeks before), where life will be hell, but the rest of the time if you stick to a schedule and make good use of your time, it won't be that drastic.

I also think there's a lot to be said for quality versus quantity of time. If you only have two hours with your kid in the evenings, instead of four, maybe you don't watch TV or check your email, or make any phone calls. Maybe you say, hey, this is family time, and we will spend it together.

I think if it's something you really want, then the sacrifices are worth it. Ultimately, while your child might have some trouble adjusting to you not being there as much, or eating TV dinners instead of a home-cooked meal, it won't be detrimental to your relationship. She will eventually look to you as a role model, as someone who showed her that she can be whatever she wants to be. And you'll still be there for the important stuff. You can still tuck her into bed, take her to and from school if you want. Help her with her homework, read her books at bedtime, and attend soccer games and ballet recitals. 1L year for us was only 4 classes a semester, 13 hours of class time a week. The rest of the time was studying. The further you get into law school, the more efficient you get at studying (and more apathetic, so then you stop studying). Some people study best on campus, but personally, I have to get the hell out of the law school to get anything done, the place drives me crazy. So I come home, make myself a cup of tea, plant myself on the couch and do my homework while watching the episode of General Hospital that I DVR'd. Most of which happens after a certain little bunny is tucked into bed.

So, I'll let the other MILPs chime in now, and actually answer the question! I'm going to try to finish my soup, I'm at Panera relaxing until it's time to pick up Cora from daycare. (Still no appetite, ugh.)

Ask a MILS

A new reader asks:

I just found your blog after googling "taking the bar exam while pregnant." I'm not in law school, but I am in the dead middle of a PhD. What is your take on the possibility of being pregnant during a major exam (in my case my "orals"). Terrible idea? Disaster? Not as bad as it sounds?

Just reading these comments on your blog makes me feel better about the prospect of pregnancy - so nice to see a bunch of women thinking about families and careers happening at the same time!


Congratulations on being a PhD candidate and not a law student! You obviously make better life decisions than I do. (I'm only half-kidding.) But I certainly understand the hard work involved in pursuing advanced degrees, in both graduate school and law school. To choose to become pregnant during such a time takes a special kind of determination, a special kind of insanity, and keeping a balance between the two.

The most important thing to realize is that your pregnancy could be a breeze, or it could be the most horrific experience of your life and you opt for immediate sterilization after it's over. Mine was somewhere in the middle, I think, although there was certainly emotional turmoil aplenty. Even the healthiest, lowest-risk women can have bad pregnancies, whether it's "morning" sickness the entire pregnancy, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or a random congenital defect in the fetus that requires prenatal surgical intervention and modified bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy, and results in delivering four weeks early right in the middle of final exams. Yeah, sometimes things just don't work out like you plan.

Also, during the later stages of pregnancy, I ended up with random baby parts shoved into my lungs. (I believe they were feet. Anyway.) I was incapable of standing up and speaking in front of a group of people without literally gasping for air from about seven months on. So, the timing of your pregnancy should also be a concern. You will likely feel your best between 16 weeks and 26 weeks. After that, you will likely feel like a beached whale. But again, every pregnancy is different, so you might feel like ass the whole pregnancy, or be one of those annoying people who "glows," still runs 5 miles every day up to delivery and leaves the hospital in their skinny jeans. You just never know. I certainly could have completed my oral exams for my master's degree during the latter stages of my pregnancy, but it would not have been good. On the other hand, I'm sure my program would have taken my physical condition into consideration, and it wouldn't have made a difference.

It's important to have flexibility and a back-up plan. If the pregnancy goes awry, can you postpone your exams? If the answer is no, I wouldn't take the chance. Do you have a job lined up that depends on you completing your degree requirements by a certain date? Yes? I wouldn't risk it. But what I've found with graduate programs (at least mine), and even with the law school, is that they will work with you if there are circumstances beyond your control. Personally, I do not plan to be pregnant during the bar exam. I'm a huge slacker as it is, and I don't need anymore distractions than I already have to study for that nightmare. I also can't afford to wait six months to take it on the next date if something were to happen. So, we're waiting awhile for the next kid. And personally I'm in no hurry to be pregnant ever again.

Overall though, I think having a baby while still completing your degree is a better alternative than doing it as you're just starting out in your profession. The legal profession, in particular, is not pregnant-woman friendly. It can be outright hostile, in fact. I've seen several women pushed out of jobs after having a baby. (Oh wait, I was one of them.) Especially in this time of recession, places will cut, or at least marginalize, the weakest link. And in the legal profession, that's going to be the lawyer who didn't bill for two months because she was on maternity leave. It's wrong, sexist, discriminatory, and even illegal, but that doesn't mean it doesn't still happen. And it happens frequently.

Also, depending on your situation, you might have the flexibility to take more time off or spend more time with your child. Although I didn't get much of a "maternity leave" after my daughter was born, I was able to spend a lot more time with her than I would have if I'd been working instead. The timing was really good.

So, yeah, it's definitely possible, and honestly, it's very unlikely to be disasterous. I'm one of those "worst-case scenario" survival people who has to have a back-up plan for everything that could possibly go wrong, so that's what I recommend doing before you make a decision. Most likely though, you'll go through the pregnancy with no hiccups, take your exams, and at the end you'll have a baby and a PhD. Which makes you totally awesome.

Hope this helps! I'm happy to answer any other questions!

***

In other news, I have recovered (mostly) from The Plague. Husband has since contracted it, and spent all last night violently ill. I was nice and got up extra early this morning to take Cora to daycare so he wouldn't have to.

If anyone has any tips on learning BA over the next three weeks, I would certainly appreciate it. I'm about 1/3 of the way through outlining for the class, still don't know anything, and wonder if I should even be wasting time outlining for a class that I'm guaranteed to get a bad grade in regardless. Perhaps I should be spending more time working on my immigration paper, or outlining for Con Law, in hopes of getting a better grade in there. Meh.

My lit skills trial is coming up. We're going up against one chick who's on our school's trial team and she's really good. This is something I'm pretty competitive in, so we're working hard on it. Also, we're hoping to finish up our memo for the international moot court competition this week so we have time to do a few revisions. It's due the first week of December.

Busy busy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend FAIL

I feel like ass. I have finally stopped vomiting (hurray!), so that's a bonus. I made a nice romantic dinner last night for Husband and I, which I promptly threw up an hour later, and proceeded to continue to experience in reverse all night and today. (Eggplant Parmesan is now completely ruined for me.) Romantic evening FAIL! I apparently caught a stomach bug that went around daycare. Cora has it too, but she isn't vomiting, fortunately.

I asked Husband if he would call in sick to work tonight, but he didn't think it was necessary and asked my mom to come over instead. Except she got stuck at work and was four hours late getting here. So while he was asleep, I got to alternate between dry heaving and entertaining an extremely pissed off baby. He went to work leaving me sick with a sick and pissed off baby, before which he accidentally deleted the episode of The Office I was watching, and left the baby gate open on the top of the stairs (fortunately my Spidey Sense knew the kid was up to no good, since she had snuck off and was being quiet, and caught her before she had the chance to take a header down the stairs). Ugh. Husband FAIL.

My head is killing me, as is my back (probably from spending half the night on the bathroom floor praying to the porcelain goddess). My mother finally got here about a half hour before Cora usually goes to bed (yeah, thanks for all the help), after continually telling me she'll be here "soon" since 3pm. (I could have called someone else to help me out if I'd known she wasn't ever going to show!) I made her take the baby with her so I can die in peace, and not change any explosive diapers in the middle of the night.

So, I decided to take a whining break and make a call for pity from the blogosphere. (No pity to be found from my classmates, they'll be sorry when I go lick all of their locker handles, mwahahahahaha!) Anyway, I've emailed the office and the profs, now I'm going to bed to suffer alone.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Babies, law and nerdom

Yes, it's official. My child believes she's a dog. She:

- carries toys around in her mouth, while walking on all fours
- thinks dog food is tasty
- drools a lot
- licks the dog
- eats food off the floor
- thinks the dog is much more awesome than her parents

Seriously, she loves the dog. I'm concerned she'll stop uttering coherent syllables and start barking instead. Bernie, of course, thinks the kid is awesome. She "pets her" (as in, pulls on her ears and grabs her face parts), climbs on top of her, and drops a ton of food on the floor. This last one, the dog especially enjoys. I think this is why she is happy to share her dog food with Cora. Sigh.










So, that's what's going on here. I got a reasonably good grade on my first assignment for Immigration, so now the pressure's on even more to do well on the big paper (the one I previously discussed). I like having good grades. It doesn't happen very often! My Non-Human DNA evidence paper? Not coming along at all. Total writer's block. Sucks. And we're up against the deadline for the first memorandum for the int'l moot court competition. That sucks too.

Also, I'm currently bitter against law school because there is a 1000-page book on the history of American foreign policy that I desperately want to read, just published, by my favorite history scholar. (Yes, I had a total nerdgasm over it. Yes, I'm truly an unbalanced individual.) I doubt I'll get to read it until after the bar exam. Over Christmas I've got the second memo to work on for the international moot court thingy. Next semester's reading load is going to totally suck, even though I have fewer actual classes.

I did get the internship (unpaid) with the local prosecutor's office, so I'll be getting my limited practice license and making the city safer. Yay! I don't know if I'll like criminal prosecution, but I definitely like the idea of getting some actual court experience. I'll get to argue motions and participate in trials. Should be fun. The question is whether I'll be able to keep my current job. I only need to work 8 hours each week at the prosecutor's office, so I have the time (if they'll let me, which I think they will). It's more of a question of whether I want to, or if I want to wait tables instead. I'd make more money waiting tables. However, it would suck. On the other hand, it would be some mindless work, whereas my brain is currently in overload. Even though I could keep my current job over the summer until I found something permanent, I'd probably end up waiting tables anyway, because it won't be enough money to pay the bills since it's part time. Oh the choices! I desperately need to start networking and bugging people about jobs. Not that there are any jobs. At this point I'll take insurance defense and like it. (Okay, so maybe not like it. But I'll take it.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Church and State

The protests in California to Proposition 8 have specifically targeted the Mormon church for its role in the campaign. The conflict has taken a dangerous “gay vs. religion” turn.

I have little sympathy for the Mormon church itself. Frankly, if you put your church in the middle of a highly emotional political conflict, on a side that seeks to deprive your fellow citizens of their civil rights, and you end up with angry protesters outside of your church… good. But I do feel bad for the Mormons who weren’t involved and just want to practice their religion and not be harassed by protesters -- the Mormons who are tolerant, and I have many Mormon friends who are. Who, even if they believe homosexuality is a sin, think that it isn’t their place to make decisions for other people and decide what rights they should get under a secular government. But I hope these protests will cause a rumble within the church of "See what happens when you butt into politics?!"

The actions of the church in calling upon its members to rally to this cause, is despicable. At a time of economic distress, at a time when unemployment has reached its highest levels in 14 years, a church that actively encourages its members to have as many children as possible wants its members to donate to a cause depriving people of their civil rights. Not helping its members who might be struggling in these tough times, not doing good in the world, but just spreading bigotry. Shame on them. But I don’t think the criticism should be just targeted at the Mormons, even if they were the most active in this campaign. Also, shame on the evangelical Bible thumpers, and other religions rallying to this terrible cause. But mostly shame on the Catholics.

The Catholic Church’s official stance on homosexuality and gay marriage is no different than the rest. However, individual parishes, and priests, have a great deal of autonomy when it comes to what they actually do. No, they won’t perform any gay marriages, but a large number of parishes have opened their arms to gay parishioners. In San Francisco, a significant portion of the parishioners is gay. Which I think is wonderful. I’m glad that so many priests in my religion have chosen to welcome gay members and understand that God loves them just as much as straight people. However, there is something especially wrong about a Church that welcomes a group of people to come worship, partake of the Eucharist, and in particular, give the Church money, and then support an effort to strip them of rights under secular laws. At least the Mormons aren’t taking money from gay people and then discriminating against them. (They’re just discriminating against them.) I just think it hurts a little more when it comes from your own religion.

Granted, it probably wasn’t the more tolerant parishes that were heavily involved in this effort. The Knights of Columbus, a group that donates considerably to charity but is mostly involved in political activism, had the biggest hand in this. It’s shameful and a complete disgrace that an organization that is supposed to be centered on “charity” chooses to spend its valuable resources on campaigns of discrimination.

Anyway, this issue isn’t about religion at all. Some people are just rallying behind it as an excuse to support discrimination and invoke God to do it. How often has religion been invoked when arguing why something horrible is justified? Slavery? Oppression against women? War? But it isn’t the time to blame religion. It's a time to separate religion from this conflict and not allow people to hide behind their Bibles (or Book of Mormon) as a justification for their bigotry.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Watching History Unfold

I have never been so proud to be an American citizen as I was last night. Americans came out in record numbers and cast their votes for our first black president. To watch the scenes on the news across the world, people celebrating in the streets, it was a wonderful thing. When was the last time that the world celebrated (that wasn't a scheduled holiday or a sporting event)? I'm not usually a big crier, but I was definitely all choked up last night.

I'm honored to have had even such a small part in volunteering for his campaign. While I voted for Gore in 2000, and Kerry in 2004, I didn't really believe in either man. I supported their positions, and I rather like Gore (moreso now that he has done great things in environmental awareness), but I didn't believe either man had the potential to change the world. I really believe Obama can change the world. Maybe he won't; maybe he'll fail like all the others. (Although I doubt he could be as much of a massive fuck-up as Dubya, so that's something at least.) But he has the potential to do great things, and I hope he will have the wisdom and the ability to seize the incredible opportunity that is before him. The dialog has been about the difficulties that are ahead, and that's painfully true. He has more problems to face than could be bullet-point listed in a 10-page memo. But he has momentum on his side, and I hope he'll charge through his first days in office in such an incredible way that history barely remembers FDR's first 100 days. Right now, he's made history for being the first black president. I hope he'll make history for being one of our greatest presidents.

I'm incredibly excited that our reputation in the world has improved just for electing Obama. (I have a lot of American friends who work, or serve, abroad. Their stories are similar.) The world's leaders are scrambling for the chance to work with him, friend and foe. His popularity won't solve all our problems, but I really believe that diplomacy is strengthened when our leader has the respect of the rest of the world. I hope he uses that advantage wisely. He has excellent judgment in foreign relations, that's the basis of his appeal for me. His presidency makes me want to sign up for the foreign service exam right now!

Anyway, I'm incredibly disappointed and disgusted that California voters passed the gay marriage ban. Bigotry prevails again (as it did in a few other states -- an especially big "fuck you" goes to Arkansas voters). However, there is a silver lining. The race was close, incredibly close. Just eight years ago, California had banned gay marriage by large margins. Times are changing. There's a long road ahead, but we will arrive at equality for our gay citizens. I have faith. It wasn't that long ago that it was illegal for people of different races to marry. I have faith that by the time Cora is an adult, if she wants to marry a woman, she will have that legal right. Even in our state. Although probably not in Alaska. (Another "fuck you" goes to Alaska for possibly re-electing a convicted felon to Congress. Apparently the only vote Ted Stevens lost after his conviction was his own.)

And someday I will tell her about how she got two "I Voted" stickers on the day Barack Obama was elected president. How her father stood in line with her for an hour and a half to vote for Obama, when she got her first sticker. And how, later that day, when I stood in line with her for only 45 minutes to vote, she peeled off and ate her "I Voted" sticker. (So we got her a new one.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

From debate to insult

I'll be glad when the election season is over, mainly because I'm tired of reading incredibly offensive email forwards and such written by classmates, family members, etc.

I love a good debate, and I usually take it good-naturedly. I think two people who are friends (or spouses!) can be on opposite sides of an issue and debate it respectfully. However, what pisses me off is when other people resort to disparaging comments to make their points.

My soapbox today has been the issue of taxes, and who should pay more.
I don't believe "trickle down" economics has been effective the past eight years. We're in a difficult economic time and a tax cut for the middle class could really help ease the pain of rising costs. Although I don't necessarily feel that the rich should pay higher taxes, a small tax increase for those making over $250,000 per year will not break the bank, and I feel very little sympathy for anyone making that much money crying that it will. Even so, I respect the other side's point of view. My expertise is not in economics, but I do understand the idea that higher tax burdens on the wealthy does stifle economic growth.

But my problem isn't the issue itself, it's the way it's being argued. The dialog on that issue has moved from the merits of fiscal conservatism in strengthening our economic system to, "Well, I worked hard, you didn't, why should I give you a handout?" If I see one more asshole comment from someone I know about how "lazy people" shouldn't get tax cuts, I'm going to block them.

Sending out messages that disparage Americans who work hard for little payoff, in order to support your view that the wealthy should get taxcuts: not cool. You know, I want to make lots of money so I can take lavish vacations and eat expensive meals (and drink expensive alcohol). I want my kids to go to whatever college they want, with no worry about how much it costs. But if I'm lucky enough that my hard work pays off and I make a lot of money someday, I promise, I won't act like those of you in jobs that don't have high earning potential don't work hard. I have friends in the non-profit sector, and who work in government, that barely make a living wage, and they work their asses off. Their salaries are so low, that even in their early 30's, they live like they're still in college. They entered those careers because they believe in the work, and they fill important roles. So it makes me incredibly angry when the notion of giving them tax cuts is described as "handouts" and "charity" and "undeserved."

It's this whole tone throughout this campaign that there are two types of Americans: rich and poor. Hard-working and lazy. Pro-America and Anti-America. Real Americans and, what, Fake Americans? It's insane, and it's asinine, and if McCain and Palin win today, it's four more years of this crap.

Anyway, so I'm tired of certain crazy wingnuts sending out these messages, as according to the messages coming from the McCain campaign. (There's one person in particular I absolutely cannot stand on a personal level. Several of my law school friends are far-right Republicans, and we get along just fine. But there's one person in particular I would not call a friend that I just find completely repulsive. It isn't the political positions, it's the way they're presented. And the overall nasty attitude, but that's beside the point.)

So here's hoping that divisive, nasty, slimeball tactics aren't rewarded today. I haven't gone to vote yet, I'm going this afternoon and taking Cora to cast our second vote for Barack Obama this year. Hoping we'll have a chance to vote for him a third time in 2012.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Choices

I'm breaking a personal policy of "Don't bait the trolls!" to write this entry. In a recent post, Lag Liv published an anonymous comment she received, criticizing her and her life choices. Let’s just start off saying my personal reaction to this woman’s statements included a lot of obscenities.

LL stated in her blog, and in private conversations, that she doesn’t care about these criticisms. She’s confident she is making the right choices for her and her family, and they are all happy and thriving. So, what anonymous people on the internet think, and comment, about her choices is completely irrelevant to her. However, it's extremely relevant in a larger sense. Anonymous idiotic opinions might not matter to us personally, but they do contribute to the dialog involving families and, in particular, working mothers. I classify these comments as idiotic, because when you make comments that not only disparage someone’s choices but also personally insult them, that isn’t intelligent dialog on any issue: it’s just ignorance.

The fact remains that different people choose different ways of living their lives. Whether you are a single mom, or a mom in a committed relationship with a partner to help raise the child; a stay-at-home mom or a working mom; or maybe you’re not even a mom, maybe you’re a dad instead: the fact remains that we are all parents who struggle every day to do what’s best for our children, for our families and for ourselves. There are serious social, legal and economic concerns for all of us depending on our different situations and choices, and any dialog that concentrates on “my way is best, your way is selfish/wrong” is not only offensive, but counterproductive.

If you are sitting at home on your computer, anonymously commenting that a woman is selfish and immature for having a child and still pursuing an education and a career, you are single-handedly contributing to the problems that face mothers in the workforce: reinforcing a culture that still views women in the workforce as outsiders who don’t belong. You are saying it doesn’t matter that women don’t get paid as much as men, or that pregnant women get pushed out of jobs, or that mothers get marginalized in the workforce. You are saying that women shouldn’t be in the workforce in the first place if they want to become mothers (and an overwhelming percentage of women in the workforce become mothers at some point in their lives). You are saying that fathers are irrelevant to the care of children, because they have a spouse at home, and it marginalizes their involvement in childrearing. You sabotage the efforts of decades of feminism and the rights of mothers (and fathers) in the workforce.

Keep in mind that (I know this is shocking) there are those of us who actually don’t believe that being a stay-at-home mom is the only way, or even the best way, to raise our children. I think what makes Mom happy is beneficial for the whole family, and if that means pursuing a career and dividing parental responsibility with the other spouse (if there is one), and utilizing professional childcare workers (or family members) when necessary, then that’s what’s best for them. Children don't suffer irreparable harm because Mom isn't there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are situations where always having a parent home with the child might be necessary, but that also does not have to be the mother.

However, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I personally don’t go trolling blogs of stay-at-home-moms and anonymously comment how they’re all selfish and immature because they didn’t make the same choices I have made. That would be ridiculous. Further, it would contribute to the problems that face stay-at-home-moms, such as being undervalued by society, facing poverty should they divorce and marginalization in the workforce when they attempt to return. If I’m using language that degrades the choices of a certain group of women, I’m in effect limiting the choices of all women.

This “mommy war” nonsense hurts all parents. Instead of bickering about whose way is best, and judging others for their decisions, concentrate the dialog on bettering the situations for all parents. So, I beseech you, Anonymous Internet Troll, instead of crawling up on your cross and bragging about your “sacrifice” of being a stay-at-home mom, and berating those who make other choices, I would suggest you ask yourself how you can pursue positive change for families of all kinds. While you view staying at home with your children as a “sacrifice,” there are women who would love to stay home with their children but can’t because of financial reasons. And there are women who would prefer to work, but stay home with their children because they can’t earn enough of a living to pay for daycare, and have put their careers on hold to do so. Those are the women who make sacrifices, because in order to support their families they have to make choices they wouldn't otherwise make. If you choose to stay home because you want to stay home, you haven’t made a sacrifice at all: you’re doing exactly what you want to do. So, why don’t we work on making sure that other parents can have these same choices, and that our choices are honored and supported by society, rather than disparaged?

Women, especially mothers, have a hard enough time without being attacked by other women. Even by Anonymous Internet Trolls.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween

I have a rough draft due tomorrow of my "spore" seminar paper, so I'm just going to post these pictures and not blog anymore tonight, even though I have lots to blog about, and would rather blog than write said crappy paper:


Cora as Chewbacca


Cora and one of her favorite toys -- a balloon I've been waiting for her to accidentally pop, but surprisingly enough has been quite resilient.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An afternoon of rambling, catching up and then relaxing

I'm about to delve into catching up on an entire month of BA. Yeah, so, I've been slacking (surprise, surprise). My level of apathy in that class is beyond reason. I actually care about all my other classes this semester, which is incredible. I really like my other classes. Even Con Law II, which I was afraid was going to be bad, because the professor seemed like a bit of a douche at the beginning. But he's actually a really good teacher, and doesn't spend the whole time Socratizing people and instead, he just goes over the material.

I hate the Socratic method. I think it's complete rubbish. Maybe for those of you who go to top law schools with highly intelligent people, you might get something out of a class where mostly your classmates talk rather than the professors. Here at Mediocre Law, nuh uh. And I fully admit, I'm one of those people bringing down the intelligence of the discussion during class. Oh, I can speak quite well, most of the time. But when I'm put on the spot, I tend to freeze like a deer in headlights, and lord only knows what sort of Sarah Palin-esque word salad is going to come out. I'm fine if I volunteer, and I usually try to do so in classes where that will get me participation points and prevent me from getting called on. But ick, I hate the Socratic method. Just stop dicking around and tell me what I need to know for the exam.

So, on this rainy, but still reasonably warm, afternoon, yours truly is curling up on the couch with a soy chai latte and a ton of BA materials. Tonight I'm going to a classmate's house for zombie movie night. I'm definitely not a fan of zombie movies, but said I would attend if one of the movies shown is Shaun of the Dead. I'm a British TV geek, and a big fan of Simon Pegg. I really wanted to see How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, but I don't think it even showed here. Supposedly it opened two weeks ago and I have never seen it listed. I guess I have to wait for the DVD.

Email issues

Okay, so I'm an idiot, and I forget to check the ProtoAttorney email address I set up specifically for this blog. Like for a month. I apologize to those of you who try to email me and never get a response. I'm not purposely ignoring you, I'm just stupid. You would think that as much time as I waste during class not paying attention and playing on the internet instead, that I would remember to check the email.

I would set up a forward of that email to my main email account, but apparently Yahoo won't let me do that, because I already have a separate yahoo account linked to forward, which was my maiden name, and a bunch of stuff still goes to that account, so I needed to forward it. I dunno. I'm technologically challenged. If there's a way to do it, I just can't figure it out.

Anyway, if you send an email to the ProtoAttorney address, just post a comment and say, "Bitch, check your damn email!" The comment notifications go to the email address I frequently check. And if you know my real name and email address, definitely use it instead.

Thanks!

More conservative douchebags

It's amazing how far people will go to push their agenda of bigotry. I don't even know where to begin...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Updating

I'll be glad when the election is over! Then I can get back to concentrating on law school. Okay, so probably not. But I have been rather distracted lately. I'm a news junkie, I can't get enough. And when there's so much going on... sensory overload!

The past week has been hectic. I had my presentation for Scientific Evidence on Monday. I think it went well. I just have to write my paper now. It's on PCR in DNA analysis, and I'm focusing my paper on non-human DNA analysis. Specifically the exciting topics of spores! Toxic Mold litigation and Bioterrorism.

I also have a paper to write for Immigration. That one is going to focus (somehow) on national security and terrorist organizations. Or more specifically the designation of groups as terrorist organizations and denying residency to those deemed to have been involved in said organizations. Stuff like this. This paper I want to be really good because not only do I want a good grade, but since it's a relatively short paper (minimum of 10 pages), I want to be able to use it as a writing sample for any job applications that require one.

Then I just need to start outlining for Con Law II (not really a big deal, I have really good notes, and our professor is really good and lays everything out for us, none of that hiding the ball crap). I also need to desperately get caught up in BA, like, you know, learn something. Trial for Lit Skills will be the week after Thanksgiving, so plenty of time there. Also, we need to get some brief-writing on for the Int'l Moot Court competition. (Oh, one good thing about the economic apocalypse is that airfare prices have dipped considerably and since we're passing that along to the Europeans, our dollar is gaining strength against the Euro. Hurray, economic apocalypse! Well, until I can't find a job next year and live in a cardboard box, that is. Bah.)

So, that's what's been going on in school. Husband's swamped with school too. He's got a big nurse presentation this weekend, so he's stressed about that. We like, never see each other except in passing. Which totally sucks. (If this keeps up, I'm going to be having an extramarital affair with canned vegetables, much like Tranny Head.)

But the big development is my child is completely out of control. Cora's been able to crawl for a couple months now, she just really didn't. Mostly she'd sit there and play with her toys, and unless her ball rolled away from her, or she spotted something really awesome she needed to shove into her mouth, she stayed put. I liked that. I liked my lazy kid. Now... sigh. I can't even keep her still long enough to change her diaper. I'm literally chasing her down the hall trying to put pants on her. Not cool. We finally had to put up the baby gate at the top of the stairs, and we've had to start attaching the two baby gates that connect to the kitchen to keep the dog penned up because she eats my stuff. Family Dog has an unnatural fear of, well, everything. But particularly of barriers of any sort. So, we've never attached the baby gates, just leaned them across the doorway. But now we have to attach it because Cora pushes it over, scares the hell out of the dog when it falls, and then tries to eat the dog food. Apparently they have an understanding. Cora eats the dog food, the dog eats the kid's food thrown onto the ground.

Cora is really liking daycare though. Today I picked her up and she was sitting on the floor with her teacher and two other kids, including our friends' kid. Surprisingly, they were actually getting along, which is unusual. They fight all the time. That's their kid, tackling our kid for the remote control:



Trouble! But anyway, Cora really likes her teacher, and even gave her a hug before we left. It was really cute! She's a lot of fun, though, even if she is all over the place and into everything. Completely wears me out though. Out of control.

So, that's what's going on here. I'm about to schedule for next semester, my last semester of law school. Hopefully my last semester of school, like, ever. (Well, maybe.) I'm taking Family Law, Crim Pro, International Law, and Non-Profit Orgs. I also plan to do some sort of externship, either USAO or our local prosecutor (which gives us a limited practice license). I can't believe it's nearing the end. I just hope it all turns out to be worth it!

STAY TUNED: I have a book review coming out in the next few days. I intended to publish it much sooner, however, my big presentation has been taking up most of my reading time. Look for it by the weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Conservative douchebaggery

I don't know why I continue to read conservative columnists. I suppose it's because I'm quite liberal, and feel I need to balance myself by getting both sides of the story in order to have a solid grasp of the issues. What newspapers do I read, Sarah Palin? Why, I read the Wall Street Journal, mostly. I've always enjoyed reading Peggy Noonan. I read our local rag during lunch at the office. I also read the NYT, various stories from the AP, BBC, and occasionally listen to NPR. I refuse to read our school paper, because it sucks.

However, most of the time, reading the crazy conservative columns just serves to piss me off.

This one did the trick today. It's a column by Cal Thomas. Of course, I adamently disagree with his opinion, especially his judicial philosophies. His assertion that "liberal" constitutional interpretation would dictate a return to slavery racial inferiority if the tide of public opinion thus shifted is so utterly absurd, it doesn't even justify a counter-argument. Also, fanning the flame of fear that churches will lose tax-exempt status if gay marriage is legalized is also an absurdity. But that's nothing particularly inflammatory or outrageous, mostly just idiotic. However, this statement really just takes the cake:

"The aim of the gay rights lobby is to destroy all remnants of biblical values and societal norms."

That one made me slam the paper down in fury.

Okay, just because your interpretation of biblical values includes depriving an entire class of people of their civil rights because they happen to participate in an activity you personally find offensive, does not mean that everyone else shares that viewpoint, you conservative asshat. Aside from the obvious offense, being the insinuation that the LGBT community is comprised of people actively trying to tear down Christianity, I'm personally offended for myself. I take my biblical values very seriously and I certainly do not want some jackass turning those values into something ugly. The values I take from the Bible? Things like love thy neighbor. Don't be judgmental. Don't be a hypocrite. Those values direct me to support gay rights, and support gay marriage, and contribute to efforts such as the fight against marriage discrimination. So don't use my religious beliefs as a justification for your bigotry. Because we obviously don't read the same Bible.

If bigotry and discrimination are "societal norms," then yes, let's destroy those immediately. Just as I firmly believe that Christianity can co-exist with the theory of evolution, I also believe that being Christian does not require condemning homosexuality. We are all human beings, beautiful, brilliant and flawed. We are all different, from our appearance, to our thoughts and actions, right down to our DNA... the very stuff that makes us human. It's time we started celebrating those differences, rather than viewing them as some sort of abomination. And it is sure as hell time that we stop using religion as a justification for hatred and intolerance. That isn't what my religion is about. Is yours?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall

Even though it's been in the 80's (thanks, Global Warming!), we hit the pumpkin patch this weekend. There was a corn maze, which was awesome. (Since we were going through after dark, I tried to get Husband to run through the corn with the flashlights shouting "Mulder!" and "Scully!" respectively, however, he's lame and wouldn't do it.) Anyway, Cora had a great time.


Cora in the hay


Cora and her gourd

I also spent the weekend working on my presentation for the scientific evidence seminar. It's on DNA, fun times. My presentation is next Monday. I have a ton of work left to do on it, which is likely to spoil my plans for this weekend, which was to spend the weekend with friends 3 hours away, and do a half-marathon on Sunday. Yeah, probably not happening. Also, Husband's working Saturday night, so I'd have to impose on friends to watch Cora overnight on a Saturday. Which I would do, except for the presentation. Sigh. Oh well, it's not like I could have run the half anyway, I was just going to walk it, thanks to my ankle injury. It's better, but not 100%, so I haven't been running.

Friday, October 10, 2008

South Dakota

South Dakota's at it again. Even though the forced pregnancy lobby got defeated in 2006, they're giving it another go. Watch this video here at Feministing.

No one likes abortion. No one gets a warm, squishy feeling about a pregnancy being terminated and potential life being snuffed out. But I certainly don't have a warm squishy feeling about making extremely important medical choices for other women. And Tiffany Campbell's story is exactly why these decisions need to be made between a woman and her doctor, not by strangers who regret their abortions and want to take that choice away from other women. I'd like to see someone "pro life" tell Tiffany Campbell that she should have let her son die because there was only one "choice" and that's "life."

Because for a lobby that claims that there is only black and white and no gray when it comes to abortion, that they would always "choose life," many times "life" is not so black and white, and the choice isn't so straightforward. The anti-choice lobby loves to act like all abortion is because of selfish whores out having lots of sex and then murdering their babies as a form of birth control. They love plastering posters on our campus of aborted fetuses and calling it "genocide." No, abortion isn't pretty. It isn't a good thing. But sometimes it's a necessary thing. And having a taste of what it would be like to make that decision, I wouldn't begin to judge any woman who had to make that difficult choice. And I certainly wouldn't prevent her from doing so. Hopefully the voters of South Dakota have the same amount of good sense. (Especially since I think they'd get a real big surprise by the Supreme Court decision in their own state, let alone SCOTUS. SCOTUS is willing to let abortion rights be chipped away, but Kennedy and I think even Roberts and Alito would not be so brazen as to overturn Roe v. Wade.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Live debate blogging

9:18 -- How many times has McCain accused Obama of having cronies now? Aren't cronies usually reserved for creepy old men?

9:22 -- McCain invades others' personal space.

9:27 -- Obama has a very professorial presence. He's starting to freak me out like he's going to call on me through the TV.

9:29 -- Okay, so we're freezing all programs except for defense and VETERAN'S AFFAIRS??? McCain already has the geezer vote.

9:30 -- Oh, the first 9/11 reference of the evening, fantastic.

9:34 -- Earmarks, earmarks, earmarks. Good comment about sharing the burden. The right wingers are all crying "Commie!" right now.

9:35 -- Oh, no, the scalpel comment again.

9:36 -- McCain is pulling numbers out of his wrinkly old ass again. And, ugh, why does McCain whistle when he talks? AAHHHHH! STOP!!!

9:38 -- "Straight-Talk Express lost a wheel!!" Ahahahahaa!!! Obama made a funny!!

9:42 -- McCain blows off a question. Shocking. He must be getting debate tips from his running mate.

9:44 -- Stop talking about Joe Lieberman!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

9:47 -- Is McCain drawing little pictures of Obama being eaten by polar bears on his paper? He's grinning like he is.

9:48 -- Candidates get scolded by Tom Brokaw for ignoring the pretty lights.

9:49 -- Pork barrel!!! DRINK!!!

9:50 -- Why is McCain pacing when he isn't even the one talking. Stop pacing!!

9:53 -- No, not it's not okay to go across state lines to get health insurance!! Oh, the legal implications of it all. I weep from the sheer stupidity.

9:55 -- McCain's nervous about government mandates. You know, because he doesn't like government telling people what they can do with their bodies.

9:58 -- THANK YOU, OBAMA!! Thank you for that wonderful response on health care, which stems from actual experience and knowledge of the system. THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING.

9:59 -- Peacemaker? Why would we make peace? Forceable democracy, that's how we roll!

10:02 -- Again, no hitting back on the surge. Sigh. They must know something we don't, which is why Obama isn't criticizing that point.

10:03 -- Yay, foreign policy doctrine!!!

10:04 -- "IF" we could have stopped Rwanda?

10:05 -- Okay, we stopped talking about Iraq. McGrampa is rambling on the wrong topic.

10:06 -- Uh, the Reagans don't like you, don't invoke President Reagan in your diatribe.

10:08 -- Exacerbating our reputation? What is that supposed to mean?

10:09 -- OOH, this is such a good question for McCain, since he was very pro-Cambodian campaigns during Vietnam. He can either agree with Obama here, or be a complete hypocrite.

10:11 -- AHAHAHA, McCain said "big stick."

10:12 -- So, let me get this straight? The Straight-Talk Express says attack within Pakistan, but shhhh!, don't tell them that in the middle of a debate, Dummy!

10:14 -- Speaking softly isn't making crude jokes about bombing other countries. NICE!

10:15 -- "I know how to handle these crises" ... that I cause.

10:16 -- Petraeus! DRINK!!!

10:19 -- "We're not going to have another cold war..." because we're just going to fight a real war this time.

10:20 -- Putin is KGB. McCain fails to mention he's also SUPER CREEPY!

10:22 -- YES! Thank you! Proactive, not reactive, is the way to go.

10:24 -- McCain: Maybe Russia is an Evil Empire. Uh...

10:25 -- McCain's invading people's personal space again!! BAD TOUCH!!

10:29 -- Carrots, sticks, communication -- it's this crazy thing called DIPLOMACY!

10:30 -- Obama's final comments were very well-done.

10:32 -- Steady hand at the tiller? Blarg.

10:35 -- OH GEEZ!! Make Cindy McCain turn off her dress! That color is hurting my eyes.

****

There was definitely a sad lack of new topics. I mean, I don't remember hearing anything new. Not really much of a lively debate. I can't imagine it will make a difference in the polls. But we shall see.

What Sarah Palin sees from her house

This is just frightening. But at least Putin's fully clothed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Politics of Character Assassination

One of my wing-nut law school compadres started posting "Obama is a terrorist because he associates with them" messages on Facebook tonight. I quickly smacked him down for being defamatory and inflammatory. But it looks like the next month is going to be full of nasty attack ads aimed at who pals around with whom. What a ridiculous distraction from what actually matters.

Everyone has shady associates, even the most moral and ethical people. Sometimes you just don't know who will turn out to be scum. I certainly have had my fair share. A guy I went to high school with, who I invited to various parties I had in college, got busted for breaking into a mutual friend's parents' house, cleaned out the place and stole his dad's sports car. It was sad, he was an entertaining guy. Of course, I stopped inviting him to parties after that. (Mostly because he was incarcerated.) And of course, I'm in law school. I can't wait to find out over the next decade who ends up disbarred or in jail from our class. Probably with someone I'm hugging and smiling big at the camera, in a photo immortalized on the internet. That certainly doesn't mean I condone, you know, burglary, or any other illegal or unethical action. But guilt by association is just silly. Sometimes you just don't know people as well as you think you do. And sometimes, you need to work with people, even though you might find their past activities repulsive. I've certainly had a few of those as well. All the while trying to cover my ass to avoid getting caught up in their messes. Ugh.

I don't think Obama's past ties to Ayers, or McCain's friendship with G. Gordon Liddy, is even worth mentioning. It's just not important. Nor is Obama's racist pastor, nor is Palin's witchcraft-denouncing preacher. I love our priest. He baptized me, he married Husband and I, and he baptized Cora. But if I were running for office, I sure as hell wouldn't want people thinking I agree with all of the things my priest says. (First, the man can't even pronounce my name correctly. Second, he gives rambling homilies about going to a political protest and getting detained by the Feds. Seriously.)

Even the Keating scandal is irrelevant. It happened almost 20 years ago, it was investigated, McCain was scolded for his part, but ultimately, that's it. It showed poor judgment, yes. Since he hasn't done anything like that in the past two decades, hopefully he's learned from his mistakes. Don't go to bat for shady friends. It's a good rule to live by.

All politicians have some sort of ties to lobbyists or corporations or some special interests, whether it's them personally, or staff members, or political friends, or whatever. No one's completely clean. But I personally think Obama's fundraising efforts throughout his campaign have been a refreshing change and an attempt to break away from a lot of those ties. No, that alone isn't going to magically change Washington, but it's a nice little start. And certainly his campaign has energized people. People like me who, although very interested in politics and like to stay informed, have never worked for a campaign before, or even donated money. As I've said before, I first fell in love with his foreign policy positions. With the failures of the past eight years, it was a refreshing change.

There are things about candidates' character that do matter. Their ability to work with others, to listen to other viewpoints besides their own, to act rationally and calmly under pressure, to make sound decisions based on the best intelligence available. Those are also things we've been lacking the last eight years. But all of this character assassination nonsense is getting out of control. It's nothing more than a distraction from the things that really matter, which is the economic crisis. No jobs, no health care, people losing their homes, banks collapsing. But oh, let's harp on some crazy pastor's racist ramblings, and let's hit back with a two-decade-old scandal.

If someone can prove that one of the candidates has done something clearly unethical or illegal, than that's relevant. Otherwise, I wish they'd talk less about how the other candidate is friends with someone who sucks, and more about why they personally don't suck.

Shame on McCain and Palin for turning such an important election into a slime-fest, and shame on Obama for not taking the high road and bringing the focus back to the issues.