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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Crisis of Faith

A priest once advised that if a person never has a crisis of faith, there's something seriously wrong. Believing without question, without thought, without exploration is harmful. If you believe after addressing your doubts, your fears, and your concerns, then you have a solid foundation for your belief.

This week, I had a crisis of faith. Not in Catholicism, (let's be honest, I've never been the best theist) but in my chosen profession. It's been a really bad week.

I completely lost faith in my abilities. I had two cases that were very quickly turning into clusterfucks. I've been completely torn up about them all week. One was supposed to be a simple matter that spiraled out of control and was causing everyone much turmoil, particularly me. Then there was the case where I made the right decision for the wrong reason which completely shook my confidence to the core. I was pretty much convinced I had no business practicing family law, or law in general, and should go apply for a job as a fry cook where I could do only minimum damage to people's lives.

Then a friend of mine told me how tore up she was about an upcoming hearing. She's been practicing for over 5 years, and she still gets nervous. We previously worked together, and she's this fabulous lady lawyer, smart and talented, but much too hard on herself and gets stressed out. That's when I realized that the same advice I'd be giving her for years (which is you're smart and talented, you're gonna kick ass) needs to apply to me too. My boss told me that even when you don't know what you're doing, always sound confident that you do. I think that's good advice.

Sure, I screwed up the law. Sure, my simple little case grew legs and started running a marathon. But I didn't screw up either case. What both clients needed was for me to be confident and be a strong advocate for them. That's what they paid me to do, that's what I'm bound by my profession to do. So, I can either sit around developing an ulcer or I can rely upon my negotiation training to reign in these cases and get the matters resolved in my clients' best interests.

I took some deep breaths, and did what I always do when coming into negotiations: I pulled out Fisher and Ury's book "Getting to Yes" and started thumbing through it. It always serves as a refresher for me on principled negotiation, reminds me of my days in diplomacy school and that, at least when it comes to negotiation, I know what I'm doing. I might not know what I'm doing in law all the time, being a baby lawyer and all, and I have very little courtroom experience. But I know negotiations, which is something they just don't teach in law school (at least not at mine).

Anyway, things are better, I feel back "in control" of both cases, and realized that I was never out of control of the cases, I was simply out of control of myself. Lesson learned. Hopefully. I'm sure I'll still have plenty of opportunities in the future to earn that ulcer, but for right now, my calm is restored.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MILP Roundup #138

Whoops, didn't link to the Roundup. My bad.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weight Loss Blogging

Week 2: -0.8

Well, that kinda sucks. But, hey, it's a loss, so I'll take it.

Last week was apparently Stealth Fail Week, starting with the realization last night that I was eating too many points last week and that's why I didn't have much of a loss. (When I had my loss last week, it apparently lowered my daily points allowance. Whoops. At least I still had a loss.) Today, I realized I made a strategic maneuver in a case based on completely wrong understanding of the law. I feel totally stupid; it isn't that I've screwed up the case; in fact, the action I took is the correct action, but my reasoning behind it was wrong, and I'm pissed at myself because why didn't I know that? Sigh. Now I have to spin all this in a different direction and make it look like that was totally what I intended to do that all along. In reality, I should quit law and mop floors and hope I'd be better suited for a career in janitorial services. Someone please tell me this job will get easier someday and I'll actually know what the hell I'm doing? Trying to keep my malpracticing to a minimum, seriously.

Anyway, this is supposed to be the weight loss blogging post. I worked out last week. I elliptical'd, and did this pilates class on Saturday that totally kicked my ass. Then I started 30 Day Shred last night. That totally sucked. I'm not sure how 20 minutes of exercise can hurt that bad, but apparently it can.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekly weight update

Week 1: -1.4 pounds

Well, not as much as I expected. Some people lose as much as 5 pounds the first week. Weight Watchers says you should drop the first few pounds very quickly, because it's water weight, and drinking all that water should flush you out pretty quick. Well, guess not. Maybe I'd been properly hydrating before (I do drink a lot of tea). Then again, I did not drink all my water over the weekend. I weighed the same this morning as I did Friday morning. But I also used more flex points over the weekend than I did throughout the rest of the week, so maybe that's why the scale didn't move anymore.

Even still, a loss is a loss, and I'll take it. It's been very hard to find the motivation to do any physical activity this week, because dammit, it's just too cold and gross to go out. Also, I was supposed to go to pilates Saturday morning, and I realized all of my sports bras were at my other place of residence. (I can't work out without a sports bra... actually I generally wear two of them when I run.)

I've been eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, and particularly salads. The salads are a good way to eat "real food" for one meal, because salads barely use any points, but are still very filling. I finished the week with about half of my flex points left, and that's even after I had a burger and fries for dinner one night (no cheese, no mayo and it was a small fry). So, overall, really good week. I feel good about how I did, I counted all the points, and ready for Week 2!

This week's goal is to exercise. I'm going to give 30 Day Shred a try. I'll let you all know how it goes. I also need to start a situp and pushup regimen, since that's part of the fitness assessment.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ms. JD -- 2010 Writers in Residence

Yours truly is one of the Ms. JD 2010 Writers in Residence, wherein I will be submitting a monthly column on practicing law in a small town (Swimming in Small Ponds), shedding the veil of anonymity within the blawgosphere. (Not putting my mug on there though; I don't have any decent head shots that aren't drunk-face and/or are professional.)

Here is a link to my first column. (Hopefully the editors will be cleaning up my failed HTML.) So, be sure to check out the monthly columns from the Writers in Residence. It shall be awesome. Particularly mine. Awesome.
UPDATE: I think I finally got it looking right now. Geez.

MILP Roundup #137

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup** is hosted on a rotating basis at the PT-LawMom, Attorney Work Product and A Little Fish in Law School blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday morning. Next week, Butterflyfish has it.

Before we begin with the happy, on a sad note, LC's beloved mother-in-law is in hospice, but not quite ready to let go. Keep them in thoughts and prayers.


In honor of Valentine's Day, this one's about loooooooove. Even better, love songs.

One day I'll fly away, leave all this to yesterday... (Cee reflects on Jacob flying the coup, and we also get photos of the men in her life.)

I hate myself for loving you... (LEO runs)

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies... (Butterflyfish)

Cupid, draw back your bow, and let your arrow go... (-R- has the cutest Cupid)

Happy birthday, baby... Dakota's munchkin is 5!


How do you know if he loves you so? It's in his kiss...
(PT-Lawmom)

Boots and boys, they bring me so much joy... (LL shows off her fab boots and her handsome boy)


Sugar pie, honey bunch...
(SFL provides the pastry love.)

If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Friday, February 12, 2010

Battles

The ABA Journal linked to this article on "how to date a lawyer." Aside from being pretty funny, there is a lot of truth to it. Particularly "citing sources" and "beliefs not supported by empirical evidence." This was always an issue with my ex. He would accuse me of some action (as in, "you always do X"), and then of course, I would come back and demand to know exactly when I did X. Then he would come back that it's just "how I feel." Which is ridiculous, because you don't get to "feel" that somebody else "does" something. They either do it or they don't. You might perceive there is a certain message or motivation behind one's actions, however, you must be able to point to the specific action in order to make such a claim that one's actions can be interpreted as X. You better believe that when I had a complaint about him, I'd already compiled a list of specific instances of the offending behavior, including dates, documentation and witnesses. Yeah... see the problem here? You don't get to argue with me unless you can back up what you say with specific evidence, so that I can then construct a proper counter-argument. And this was before law school. I'm even more difficult to argue with now. Fortunately, Husband is a lawyer at heart, and he takes what I dish out and throws it back at me. Which generally just pisses me off, because I'm the lawyer, dammit. Why am I getting lawyered? Oh well, I suppose it's really just foreplay for lawyers.

In other battles (of the bulge), I have been remarkably successful this week. I am already down 1.4 pounds since Tuesday. Of course, this is going to be water weight for the first couple weeks, I'm sure, but I'm looking forward to reaching my 5% goal. I spent Tuesday evening whining incessantly that I was hungry, but I did not eat anything more that evening. I had already had dinner, quite a bit of food, actually. I had vegetable and tofu moo goo gai pan with brown rice, and edamame. Dessert was the fortune cookie. About 9pm, I was starving again. Since I had reached my points for the day, I just didn't eat. I whined. A lot. But I stuck with it. I didn't need the food. Wednesday was easier. I used a few flex points so that I could have a brownie for dessert. Last night was really good. I saved enough points that I could have a snack (1 serving of goldfish) after dinner. That hit the spot. I found that Subway has great salads, and they're only 2 points when you get the ones with the lunch meat.

I did not really exercise this week, however. I was afraid, since I was teetering so close to the edge of "starvation" that the activity would make me hungier. So, that's the goal for this week, 1 hour of exercise each day. A friend recommended Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout DVD, so I might give that a try. I need to start making it to the gym 3 days a week so that I can run (it's a little hard to run when the outside world is covered in ice... suck).

But, overall, I feel good. I'm feeling optomistic. Every day is a battle for change. The biggest hurdle is the boredom eating. I normally sit at home, particularly alone, and eat. It's never really bad stuff. I don't go to the store and buy potato chips, cookies and ice cream. I don't go to McDonald's every day and get a burger and fries. But I do eat too much. The portions are too large, and if you eat half a bag of goldfish, well, that's 3 servings, and that's almost half a day's points value. That's always been my biggest frustration with losing weight, is that I don't eat badly and therefore feel I don't "deserve" to be fat. I get fake cheese, fake eggs, fake sour cream, low fat everything, light everything, diet everything. I'd be in the checkout line and see some fat lady in front of me with a basket full of junk food. Oreos, regular soda, potato chips, frozen pizzas, donuts, and know exactly why she's fat. Then I'd look in my cart, full of vegetables, fruits, tofu, high fiber cereal, and despair, wondering why I can't lose any weight. I never buy junk food, ever. Fortunately, Husband doesn't eat it. But, he is bad for suggesting we open a bottle of wine. And when you open a bottle of wine, wouldn't some brie go great with this wine? You can't eat brie without crackers, or better yet, some french bread. Before you know it, diet is officially destroyed. I do have a reprieve though: Husband is giving up alcohol for Lent. (And I'm preparing for 40 days of him being pissy.) He's a very bad influence when it comes to alcohol. I very rarely will have anything alcoholic by myself. It's empty calories, and I'm a social drinker. So, without Husband drinking, I should do very well. And no wine means no cheese/bread. Should be good. Husband will probably drop 20 pounds in 40 days just by not drinking alcohol/eating so much cheese. I hate that. Men suck.

But, it's just a matter of believing I can do it. I've had friends lose a tremendous amount of weight on Weight Watchers. I know for me it really has to be a lifestyle change. I can't eat as much as I want, any time I want, and there not be consequences. Over 30 and overweight is in particular a dangerous path. So, even if I don't end up becoming super-awesome investigator for the government, fighting crime and kicking bad-guy ass, I'll at least be a healthy lawyer, setting a good example for my kid, and athletic enough to outrun crazy clients.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More on weight, with a legal/political slant

Last night, I took Cora to Chick Fil A for dinner, as we usually do on Monday nights, so that she could run around the indoor playground afterwards. Indoor playgrounds full of other people's screaming children are my personal hell, but Cora loves it, so there we are. It's important that she gets the chance to run around as much as possible, instead of being stuck indoors all winter. Part of my plan for her not battling her weight as an adult. We are making good choices when we go out (grilled chicken and fruit cup), and she gets some exercise too.

Of course, I couldn't help but notice how many of the kids there were overweight. Back a billion years ago when I was in school, there was always "the fat kid." Like, one. You noticed "the fat kid," because it wasn't the norm. Now it seems like there's just "the skinny kid." In our region, it's been well-discussed (by folks such as Diane Sawyer) that Mountain Dew is quite popular here. You'll see kids carrying around 20 oz bottles of it. Younger kids, not just teenagers. Obesity and tooth decay, swell. Couple that with all the fast food restaurants, donut joints, and a lack of healthy options, and you have a health crisis. No wonder we've got a prominent hospital here specializing in cardiology.

So, I think it's excellent the First Lady is launching an initiative to fight childhood obesity. It's hard enough trying to not be fat as an adult, without starting out as a fat kid. Schools aren't helping, with no healthy food options, vending machines, and a sad lack of physical education. When I had gym class in high school, all we did was walk around the bleachers for an hour one or two days a week, and went bowling once a week, where we had the option of buying nachos from the concession stand. That was only freshman year, and there was nothing the rest of high school. Middle school wasn't much better. I can't imagine how it is now.

But it's also apparent our culture has changed, as well as our economy. I'm pretty sure people did not eat out so much 30 years ago. We're constantly busy, on the go, and too tired to cook. Eating out is no longer a luxury, it's the norm. Too many people don't know how to cook, or at least not well enough that they'd rather eat what they prepare than go out. So, when states like Tennessee want to pave the way for requiring restaurants to post nutrition information on menus, I think that's an excellent idea. It's not like you don't know a Big Mac is fattening, but other foods aren't so obvious. For instance, if you go to a restaurant and you order a side of vegetables, you think that's healthy, right? Well, it's not so healthy if they've buttered them up, or oiled them down. And you don't know that until you get them, and they're doused in butter. By that time, you might as well have gotten a side of fries instead. Sometimes the calorie content is very surprising. Marketfresh Arby's sandwiches? Holy crap. Get the cheeseburger instead. Or for instance, last week I got the carrot and raisin salad side dish at Chick Fil A, thinking it would be low calorie. It's almost as high in WW's Points as a small fry.

But, of course, some people hate government intervention. (People like those standing around city hall and teabagging each other, and paying a lot of money to see Sarah Palin read off her hand. Classy.) I personally really like government intervention. I like government telling banks they can't rip people off, and I like government telling people they can't commit crimes. I like government checking to make sure our food doesn't have mad cow disease or some flesh-eating bacteria. I like the government requiring the food I buy in the store have nutritional information on it, so I can make good choices. And I'd like the government to require nutritional information in restaurants, since I didn't get to see the label on the packages they opened to make my meal. It's not like it's that costly or time-consuming. It means that I have the ability to make an informed choice of what I eat. It means I'll know if my side of vegetables will arrive smothered in butter, even though the waiter assures me it won't.

Lower the obesity rate, you dramatically lower health care costs across the board. February is American Heart Month, to raise awareness about heart disease. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women in America. But I guess that's not the government's problem either, right?

Starving

Report after Day 1 of Epic Weight Loss Battle of Doom: I'm starving. I drank even more than the minimum water yesterday, so I just felt bloated and starving. I only exercised for 15 minutes. I ate all the recommended "stuff." I got all my servings of dairy, vegetables/fruits, protein, grains, and oils. I took a multivitamin.

I have become accustomed to eating a lot more, and also snacking at night. That's really really bad. I need to curb the bad habits, and stop thinking so much about food. The problem with being on a diet is constantly thinking about food. I guess that's the philosophy of Weight Watchers is just changing habits, so you don't have to obsess about food. I obsess about food. I love food. I love eating lots of it. That's why I'm overweight.

I also went out and bought a scale. I have not owned a scale since it was stolen from our apartment nearly five years ago. Probably explains how I let my weight consistently creep up. I weighed 20 pounds less when I started graduate school, when I got married, and when I started law school. I weigh about 5 pounds less than I did when I took the bar exam. I weigh 5 pounds more than I did when I got pregnant. I am 45 pounds overweight. I wear a size 14 in pants, a size 12 in skirts, and a size 16 in shirts/jackets.

In other news, this weather sucks. We're currently getting shaved ice dumped on us. And, I suspect the daycare will probably make me come pick up my snotty nose kid soon. She's probably got a sinus infection. Not that she cares she's a snot ball, it sure doesn't slow her down. But I'd hate to have to take her to the doctor, yet again.

So, that's pretty much it. I'm in document review land right now. We keep getting depos and such canceled because of weather, so I think until this crap resolves, we'll be slowing down around here. We don't have any appointments today, and the phone has been pleasantly silent.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Weight Loss Blog

Today I received my testing date for a certain awesome agency run by the fed that investigates stuff. Which means, I really need to jump start my diet/work-out regimen so I can pass the fitness test. If I'm not going to end up working there, I want it to either be my choice, or just the fact they don't need my particular skill set (what is that particular skill set, you ask? Good question!). I don't want it to be because I'm too fat and out of shape. That would just suck.

So, today starts my epic journey of rapid weight loss/getting totally buff. I'm back on Weight Watchers, drinking gallons of water, and spending most of my day in the bathroom, and I will be working out every day for a minimum of 1 hour of aerobics, in between bathroom breaks. I will need to add in weight training soon as I figure it all out. Later, I will likely add on a Saturday morning pilates class. In 10 weeks, I want to have lost 20 pounds and be able to meet the agency's minimum fitness requirements. Our city is having a half-marathon the end of March, so I would like to be able to do that, even just mostly walking.

Since I'm not going to Weight Watchers meetings, I'll keep a running tab on here of my stats for each week, in an effort to shame myself into compliance. For Lent, I'm giving up my all of my favorite things: pizza, burgers, fries, and "excess bread" (i.e. bread sticks, rolls, etc.).

Is it possible to be in great shape when living such a sedentary lifestyle? I guess we'll find out!

MILP Roundup #136

PT-Lawmom has it. Back here next week.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Prepare for Successful Repayment a/k/a Prepare for Constant Contact from Your Student Loan Collectors

It is ridiculous how many emails and paper documents I get each month from the student loan people. It isn't bad enough that somewhere around $1100 comes out of my bank account a month to pay for my way overpriced diplomas, but then they have to constantly contact me to remind me that I'm in debt for pretty much the rest of my life. Just take my money and leave me alone, seriously. Every correspondence I get from them stresses me out.

I don't know what it is, but I just cannot seem to do anything but live paycheck to paycheck. I have a strict budget, I spend very little money frivolously these days, and yet, I'm still broke. I don't get it. Like this month, I had to pay my life insurance premium, my car insurance premium, our AAA membership dues, yet another baby gift, and a birthday gift for Husband. Next month, I have a bridal shower gift, a wedding gift, a dentist appointment (I don't have dental insurance), and a new box of contact lenses. It's like that every month, just constant expenses that pop up. It's not like they're totally unexpected; I mean, I know I have to pay car insurance in February. But add that onto student loans, rent, utilities for two residences, cell phone, gym membership, child care, gas money, and food, and I'm barely making it. It's ridiculous. I know it would be a lot better if not for the credit card bills, but at this rate, I'll be a long way from paying them off. It'll also help once winter is over and I'm not getting double hits from heating bills.

Anyway, I knew what I was getting into when I decided to go to law school and take out crazy amounts of student loans to pay for it. I just thought I'd still have money left over after the loan payments to at least buy a pair of pretty shoes. Wrong! And I actually get a real salary, not the public interest salary. So, keep that in mind before you end up $175,000 in debt. Life decision fail. Good thing I really love what I do, because it would have been financially smarter to have never gone to college, and just kept my $35K/year job as a secretary.

Monday, February 1, 2010

MILP #135

Butterflyfish has it. Then next week, PT-Lawmom will have it. Then it'll be back here. You know the drill.