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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Stuck

Sometimes I feel stuck. Not in life per se, but more geographically stuck.


My husband has always been willing to move somewhere else for my career. He was an Army brat; it's not a big deal to him. Also, he can get work anywhere. But I often feel like I've missed out by not leaving "home" and going somewhere else.


Maybe everyone feels like that, but I also hate the lack of opportunities here. I still feel myself pulled towards working for the federal government, even though I "officially" gave up that dream years ago. I've often thought Commerce or State would be a really good fit, even though I've always been more attracted to the "sexier" jobs of CIA and the Bureau. I've always had an interest in security, and my current qualifications could potentially get me there. But is it what I want?


I think my continued interest in the federal government is in part because of disatisfaction with my usual line of work. I want to feel like my work makes a difference, not just gets me a paycheck. That's often tough to do in litigation, when people are just squabbling over money. Sometimes in Plaintiff's work you get cases where people really need the money for medical treatment, etc., and it isn't just about greed, but I've seen that very rarely.


I guess I'm just feeling heightened disatisfaction with my work prospects. Even if I manage to get a job next year, in a floundering market here in Barely Metropolitan City, I'm beginning to realize it's probably not going to be one I want. I'm torn between satisfaction in my life, having a nice place to live, wonderful friends and family nearby, and poor job satisfaction, to taking a chance, going after my "dream job," uprooting my family, and possibly giving up the rest of the satisfaction, for a job I might not even like any better.


My husband believes I make many decisions based on complacency, my desire to keep the status quo and my lack of willingness to take a chance. Maybe that's true.


Anyway, in the spirit of taking a chance, I've decided to apply for the Presidential Management Fellows Program, as well as applying for jobs with the federal government. If I get interviews, great. If I don't, well, it wasn't meant to be. If I get a job offer in Washington, and none here, then I know my path. If I get job offers both in Washington and here, well, I'll have a lot of soul-searching to do.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Six month pictures

One of my good friends is a photography student. She took Cora's six month pictures a couple weeks ago, which are just beautiful. She definitely captured what a little ham she is!















Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Update

Not much interesting to report. Working part time, and it's been kinda slow (the boss has been enjoying the weather and playing some golf). Spending time with Cora and watching a lot of TV. Mostly X-Files since I'm going back and watching old episodes in anticipation of the new movie, but I occasionally let Cora watch some TV too -- she really likes Baby Monet, she'd watch it all day if I let her. We also spend some time taking walks when it's not too hot and swimming is always a popular activity.

Last weekend we traveled to the Chicago suburbs for a family picnic. Cora loves people. No stranger anxiety for this kid, at almost 7 months. As long as people are paying attention to her (and she's fed promptly), she's happy as a clam.


Cora and her Big Sister.

The dog is teaching Cora to lick things. The dog comes up, tries to lick Cora, and Cora sticks out her tongue trying to lick the dog in return. GROSS! Sadly, that's not the only gross thing she does, she does many gross things. Oh well. Hygiene will come someday I hope.

I'm experimenting in making my own baby food. I figure since Cora is already leaving a huge carbon footprint, I could scale it back a bit by not having all those little baby food containers around, even if they are recycled. We'll see how she likes my version of her favorites, I made some mushed carrots last night, and it's almost time for her next meal. I'm not sure if all of it will be actually saving me money though. It depends how much baby food I can get from, say, a sweet potato that costs $1.50. If it only fills two containers, that isn't any cheaper. However, I'm hoping it will fill four once it's mushed. We'll see. I'm going to the farmer's market tomorrow to get some veggies and fruits.

Today, Cora got a biscuit, one of those dog biscuit looking things that dissolve and make a big mess. She's currently covered in biscuit. She had a great time though. She gnawed on it while watching Baby Monet, like she was munching movie theatre popcorn while engrossed in a film. However, she kept dropping it when she'd get excited, as when her favorite zebra puppet (I think it's a zebra anyway) comes on the screen. Bummer they don't sell the zebra puppet. I might have to get her other favorite for her though: the yellow duck.

video

Cora watching Baby Monet. She does this thing when she gets really excited, she laughs with just a little squeak, like she's too excited to make much noise. Which is about the only time she isn't uttering a word. The kid talks non-stop. (She gets that from her father and his family, they're all chatterboxes.)

So, yeah, that's pretty much it. Nothing really law-related to report. I'll eventually be taking the MPRE this summer, but I'm not really worried about it. I'll do the on-line course thingy Bar/Bri has on their site, and (maybe) actually re-read the Model Rules.

As much as I'm looking forward to being done with the hell that is law school, I'm not looking forward to job hunting. The market here sucks. I can't imagine having to study for the bar, and take the bar, with the stress of finding a job (and six-figure loan debt) still hanging over my head. Ugh. Makes me ill just thinking about it.

Anyway, more cuteness:


Cora tries to steal Daddy's Bottle (Unfortunately for Cora, Daddy drinks his bottle very quickly and there was none left to share.)













Summer seems to be going way too quickly. I need at least another 6 months of summer before I can mentally prepare myself to start back to school. Seriously!

Friday, June 13, 2008

More reasons law school sucks

Husband and I, and three of our friends took a trip to Hawaii in January of '06, and it was fantastic. Three of us stayed with my friend who's in the Air Force and lives in Honolulu, the other two stayed in Waikiki. It was just incredible. I always thought Hawaii would be overpriced and overrated, but it was truly worth every penny spent (not to mention the free place to stay was awesome). Pictures do not do it justice. Also, I'm a wuss when it comes to getting into cold water, so when you can walk from the beach into the ocean and there not even be a noticeable temperature difference, I'm allllll about that. Sand that is like brown sugar. If it rains, it drizzles for a few minutes, and you get a rainbow for your trouble. I love Hawaii so much, I want to move there and practice pineapple law. (Wonder if Dole's hiring any legal counsel?) It truly is paradise.

However, I don't recommend vacationing there in the winter. Not because the weather isn't beautiful in Hawaii, it always is. However, it gets dark at 6pm, so you get less time in the warm sun. Also, when you have to get on the plane to leave and come back home to freezing rain and 30 degree weather, it really makes you even more miserable than before you left. We vowed the next time we went, it would be when there was adequate daylight, sometime in early summer.

I was hanging out with the girls last night, and we were talking about an upcoming trip to Hawaii. Our two friends are celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary next year, and are planning to return to Hawaii, but instead going to Maui this time. His parents have a timeshare they can get that sleeps 8, and they want to take a group. Granted, we couldn't totally commit right now. We don't know what our financial situation will be, what the actual cost of the trip will be (even though the lodging will be free, airfare will probably be outrageous; also, will someone watch Cora for the week, or do we need to bring her and my mother again to serve as our au pair? Lots of things to consider.)

Anyway, I'm getting excited about the trip and thinking, you know, I deserve this! We both deserve this! We haven't had a real vacation in the three years I've been in law school. I will have just graduated, I will be about to (hopefully!) start a job where I will be busting my ass trying to prove myself as a first year associate. I deserve this, we should do this, even if we have to rack up some credit card debt to do it.

Then I realized the dates, and why I can't go.

Bar review. Freakin' bar review will start that week. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Just as I'm free of law school, I'll be stuck at the law school, finally actually learning something about law. Stupid law school. Robbing me of Hawaii.

Can I do bar review in Hawaii instead?

Sigh.

Since Tranny Head posted some of her vacation pics, thought I'd do the same with Hawaii pics.



From the top of Diamond Head Crater


View of the Waikiki coastline from the top of Diamond Head


Sunset on Waikiki

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pissed

I got a bad grade in Medical Liability, a freaking C plus! I am so pissed off! Tax, I understood the bad grade, but I knew the Med Liability material backwards and forwards. I even actually did all the reading all semester and took good notes and outlined! I'm going to talk to the professor about it in the fall. He's an adjunct and has a huge trial coming up, I'd like to know how much he bothered to actually read my exam, or if he just threw the exams on a staircase and mine fell to the bottom. Here I was so happy my grades were decent this semester, and then we have to go and ruin it with the last grade. Ugh. Grades = stupid and arbitrary. I'd like to know how I get a bad grade in Med Liability and a good grade in International Environmental Law. Stupid stupid stupid. One more year of stupidity, then I can go back to feeling like an intelligent human being capable of contributing to society is some meaningful way.

Someone who doesn't get C pluses. Sucks. My gpa did improve. Until this! (Well, and Tax.) Now I'm likely in the bottom half of the class. ARGH!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Chatterbox


Cora was having a good time talking to Grandpa... then she tried to eat the phone.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Grades

I'm still missing one grade (from an adjunct professor who apparently hasn't submitted them yet), but overall I was pleased with my grades this semester. I stayed within the confines of mediocrity, and got B's, although this was definitely my most solid semester, even going above the curve. My highest B was in Int'l Environmental Law, oddly enough. I was disappointed in my Evidence grade, I really felt I could have pulled an A-, but alas, it was not meant to be. Unfortunately, one grade popped up from last semester that caused my GPA to take a dive. Tax: C+. Ugh. Four credit-hour course too. Bugger.

Ah well. So, the moral of the story is that pregnancy in law school will kill your grades, but having a newborn baby will improve them. Although it could be that I only took 13 hours instead of 15, but then again, I was also taking a language class and studying for comps, so that should even out the extra two hours. Anyway, that's pretty much it for the 2L experience. I registered for the August MPRE, and will probably pick up the supplement two weeks before.

I'm sad one month of summer is already over. It just flew by. I had a lot to get done, and didn't really have a chance to relax and enjoy myself. Then I'm doing all this traveling coming up soon. We're going to Chicago twice in three weeks to see Husband's family, then I'm taking a trip to Niagara Falls to visit my family. Although I love to travel, I'd rather just stay home and relax. Cheaper that way too.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Champagne and sour grapes



Last night was our 2-year wedding anniversary. We technically celebrated on Saturday, sans baby, since we had a sitter. We got gussied up and went to a fancy dinner. Last night we cooked at home, and celebrated by having family time, watching the results come in from Montana and South Dakota, and drinking a bottle of Dom Perignon 1995*. We toasted to our happy family, two years of marriage, and the primary finally being over (and Obama being the nominee).

What I'm disappointed about is how many Democrats are refusing to stand behind Obama now that he's taken the nomination. Yes, it was a tough race, and for awhile there, it was a very close race. There were two very strong, impressive candidates. But it's over. And it's time to focus on November, instead of pouting because Clinton didn't get the nomination. There are some serious sour grapes out there, who instead of fighting for Obama, say they will either vote for McCain or stay home, and in the same breath complain that Obama can never win the White House and Clinton was the only candidate who could. Democrats have a choice. Either back Obama, or accept four (possibly eight) more years of GOP stink in the White House. Four more years of trying to sustain a war we've already lost. Four more years of ignoring the real problems in this country and, instead, focusing on snatching away even more rights from Americans. Hell, if we keep the same foreign policy, then we'll probably add a few more "preemptive" wars to all our problems too.

Before our state's primary, I spent some time canvassing for the Obama campaign. I came across a lot of Clinton supporters, most of whom said they would vote for Obama if he took the nomination. I hope that's true. In response, I told them that if Clinton took the nomination, that I would be out canvassing for her next. I hope the party can come together, and stop the squabbling. Yes, I understand it hurts for all those people who dreamed of seeing Hillary Clinton as president, as the first woman president. I'd love to see a woman president, too. But I won't vote for someone just because she's a woman, or just because a person is black, or even just because the person is a Democrat. I've voted for local Republicans before (although admittedly in my state there isn't much difference between a Democrat and a Republican, they're all conservative).

Anyway, it's time to celebrate. The primary is over. And it's time to look forward to November.


*It was a wedding gift, we finally decided to drink it. We're entirely too cheap to buy expensive champagne. Twenty dollars is the most I spend on wine/champagne, and that's for a good bottle!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pirates! Arrrrrrrrrrrrr!

I'm not exactly a hardcore advocate of intellectual property rights. For instance, I think it's pretty lame that it's illegal to download a TV show off the internet, when you can tape it off the TV with a VCR. If, hypothetically speaking of course, I download an episode of Doctor Who instead of waiting three weeks for it to air in the US on Sci-Fi Channel (trying to avoid spoilers from the Brits who've already seen them), what does it matter? It doesn't harm anyone. They can't even argue I've missed being indoctrinized by the commercials on Sci-Fi, because I have a DVR and I fast forward through them anyway. But it's copyrighted, so it can't be distributed. And the production companies, etc., go through a lot of trouble removing the content off the web.

However, what I do have a BIG problem with are people who actually profit from the distribution of copyrighted materials. There's a big difference in passing around a recorded copy of a TV show between friends, and burning copies of a TV show and selling them. The book Illicit by Moises Naim paints a scary picture of where that revenue from ripped DVDs and designer knock-offs actually goes. It's not just some guy trying to earn a few extra bucks that he can't come by honestly. The fact that he's not out selling drugs isn't necessarily better. It's pretty serious stuff. Some of it's real sophisticated, some of it's not, but a lot of it's frightening.

And it's getting harder to tell what's pirated. For instance, I just purchased a 25-disc Baby Einstein DVD set from a seller on Amazon. It arrived timely in the mail, and it was in perfect condition. The problem? Apparently, Baby Einstein has never sold a 25-disc collection. How did I find this out? My DVD player is 8 years old, and it doesn't play ripped DVD's. It can't recognize the media, it's too old. My laptop, on the other hand, does play ripped DVD's. The Baby Einstein discs played just fine on my laptop, meaning I was pretty sure the DVD's were pirated. Baby Einstein confirmed my suspicions. But if my old Toshiba DVD player didn't have such a long life, I would have never known the discs were pirated. The copies were damn good. Incredibly professional.

I contacted the seller and told them the DVD's didn't work on my DVD player and I wanted a refund. They stated I could not have a refund, but if I sent them back the DVD's, they would send me a replacement. So I filed a claim with Amazon instead. Amazon told me to return the DVDs to the seller, but something just doesn't feel right about that. They're just going to resell it to someone else. They know it's pirated. So, I'm going to talk with the anti-piracy people with the Disney company. They might want the DVDs instead.

I'm disappointed though. Cora loves the Baby Einstein DVD's. We have Mozart and Monet, but Mozart is scratched (the result of wear and tear from my niece and nephew). Maybe they'll be willing to replace Mozart for being so helpful in the fight against piracy. Honestly, Cora doesn't need 25 Baby Einstein DVD's, I really only want her to watch the composer ones, which I can buy separately. Perhaps it can be argued that money going to the Disney company isn't really money well spent either. But at least (I'm fairly certain) it isn't going to terrorism and a whole assortment of international crime.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Confidence

For the past two years of law school, I've really felt all along that I just don't know enough. I don't feel that in any of my classes, even the ones I got good grades in, that I fully grasped all of the concepts of that area of law. Some of them, I'm pretty sure I didn't grasp a single concept of the law (i.e. Tax). But my work as a clerk has certainly improved my research skills, and my analytical skills. I want to take another legal research class next year, because I still feel like I take too long with research. I want to be really thorough and make sure I don't miss anything, but also I'm heavily dependent upon Westlaw, and if I work for a firm that doesn't have an account, or a full access account, I might run into some problems.

I've begun to realize that practically no one knows all the concepts of law anyway. That both reassures me and scares me. A friend who's been practicing for about five years now just started her own firm. We were discussing my fight with Evil Health Insurance Company, and she made a statement about an element of damages in insurance law that was wrong. She'd practiced insurance defense for four years. On one hand, I felt reassured knowing that no one knows everything about their area of law. On the hand, I always believed that after law school and a few years of practice, I would really know my shit. Maybe I won't. And I'm afraid of screwing something up, with no one around to check my work, to make sure I don't.

Those of you who practice solo, did that scare you at first? Does that still scare you? As I'm approaching my final year of law school, and will be expected to take the bar and practice law, I'm starting to wonder when I'll feel like a "real attorney." And I hope I'll be a good one.