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, December 30, 2011

2011

At the start of 2011, I had just begun working part-time at the Clinic, was doing some contract work for a friend, and doing some solo work for myself. I had one kid. I was unknowingly pregnant. I'm reasonably sure it's my husband's, and not that of a mass-murdering angsty teenage rape ghost. But you never know.

Throughout 2011, however...

I wrote grant applications to fund my job that we didn't get.

I drafted a syllabus to pitch an externship we did get.

I lost a hearing and a friend went to jail. That friend lost to his addiction, and we lost him.

I grew a baby. It made me ill and uncomfortable, but thankful that everything was normal.

My car exploded. It tapped my savings to fix it.

A cousin got married. Another cousin had a baby. My husband's grandparents celebrated 60 years together.

We paid off most of my credit card debt.

My contract work dried up.

The world didn't end.

My kid plays the violin. I'm starting to remember how.

I applied for jobs and I didn't get interviews. I interviewed for jobs I didn't get.

In one month, I actually paid to practice law.

I had a baby.

I turned 29 again. My driver's license says 32. It's a fucking liar.

The Cult hurt my family once again. We had a roommate for 5 months. He learned to change diapers.

We refinanced our mortgage.

I had a baby baptised. I had another baby turn 4.

Husband is applying to graduate school for his doctorate. I'm waiting on a grant to see if I can work full time. So I can go back to school for my doctorate. We can't get enough of school.

Cora left her old school; her last day was today.

In 2011, I regained my confidence but lost my faith. I re-learned that I simply can't please some people no matter how hard I try. I learned that you make your own idea of success, and sometimes just rolling back the expectations helps. Keeping it simple helps. I had some wins and some losses. I think that's how it's always going to be. There were some people I really helped; there were others who just couldn't be saved. I try not to carry that with me, but it's impossible not to feel the weight of it anyway. I try to not let this profession engulf me, but it does. I struggle to not let it completely define me. But with two sleeping babies, a sleeping dog, and a husband off at work, it's what keeps me up at night.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bi-weekly blogging

Not doing a very good job of blogging, but so much has been going on, I can't even keep up.

I now have a four-year-old little bunny. All kinds of sassy.


Sassy

Cora very much enjoyed her birthday. On her birthday, I made dinner. (Good Eats Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and macaroni and cheese. Not pictured.) Cora really enjoys setting the table and eating dinner at the dining room table, so we've been trying to do that a bit more. But we held off on her presents until Saturday at her party. I spent several weeks cleaning the house, going through stuff, putting stuff away, trying to get the house ready for the invasion of family.

We no longer have a house elf. He moved out the day after Cora's birthday, once his finals were done. Just in time for the family invasion. One sister and two nieces flew in that night, so MIL picked them up at the airport and drove them in from Louisville. Begin tornado effect.

Friday, poorly-timed, Cora and Vee had doctor's appointments, including shots. It was a very traumatic experience for Cora. She got four shots, in the legs, and howled horribly. Two of the shots are very painful, I'm told. Poor little bunny. Husband and I took turns carrying her back to the parking garage, and when we got home, they took a long nap. When she woke up, she was still snuffly, but Grandma was there to snuggle, so life was better.

The rest of the family got in on Saturday in time for the party. I had 10 children in my house, along with parents and Cora's grandparents. It was a rather insane idea for her birthday, but it worked out well. We had wine (which helped tremendously). We had nibbles (mostly cheese). We did crafts. I got a bunch of wooden picture frames from Michaels for a dollar each, and a bunch of craft stickers to decorate them. Also got a bunch of felt snowflakes to decorate, and gingerbread cookies. It was a big hit. They were all girls (other than my nephew, who didn't participate), the oldest being 10 and the youngest 2, but most were about 4 years old. Total, probably spent about $60 on the craft stuff. I also had beads to make necklaces, and I was going to print out coloring pages, but we never got to it. I expected the kids would get bored, but they were pretty excited about it. An hour and a half later, they were done, and it was time for cake and presents. I got gluten-free cupcakes from a local bakery for my nephew and MIL who have celiac. They were pretty good, considering [anything gluten-free usually tastes like ass]. And Cora had her Hello Kitty cake, which she had picked out. (Everything's Hello Kitty these days. It's invaded the daycare. All the kids are obsessed with it. I'm like WTF? Cora's even watching the cheesy Hello Kitty's Furrytale Theatre on Netflix, made back from the 80's. Weird shit.) I'm still waiting for the group photo from my FIL of the kids, and I'm going to get one printed for each kid so she can put it in her picture frame.

After the party, we all went to a local sushi restaurant, and got a room. Hyped up on sugar, it wasn't the most pleasant with the kids, and I'm sure the restaurant would have been pissed if it wasn't making a butt load off of us (with seven adults and five kids who can seriously do some damage on sushi, sake and Japanese beer). At least we were contained, so we (mostly) weren't bothering other patrons.

Then Sunday was the baptism. Vee was a very good girl. She wore the Christening gown that was made from her great-great-grandmother's wedding gown, and that all the kids for the past three generations have been baptized in. Husband's older sister is her godmother and his best friend is her godfather. She made no fuss when she got wet, nor when she was passed around for everyone to make the sign of the cross on her forehead. She's a chill baby. Then we came back to the house for more cheese (and other nibbles... but mostly cheese) and wine.


Catholic Baby

The family left on Monday, and whew, it was nice to have the house back to normal. We have yet to put up a Christmas tree (since it's so late in the season, we're just going to put up our artificial one, which I prefer, because I'm allergic to the damn things but Husband still insists on buying a real one every year).

Since then, I've been working on putting the house back into order, and also getting work done before the holidays. My co-worker at the Clinic has been on vacation and things have been NUTS. I also arranged for interviews for my friend/colleague, who has been needing a real secretary for awhile, but just keeps putting it off. She interviewed six people. Hopefully she'll finally pick one. Still no word on our grant money, but I don't expect we'll hear anything until January.

In the meantime, we've got more birthdays to celebrate, Christmas parties and New Years parties to attend. Last night we went back to the aforementioned sushi place to celebrate our friends' daughter's one-year birthday. We left our hellions at home with Grandma, that was nice. Grandma watched our kids, as well as Cora's BFF J and J's little sister S. Good to have a night out, child-free. A few other friends' kids were there, and I did feel bad for one of Cora's other friends (she was disappointed Cora and J weren't there), but it's nice to not have to monitor your children and actually enjoy your meal!

Anyway, we went to dinner, then went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. It was nice, because we rarely go to the movies, unless there's something we really really want to see. Anyway, enjoyed it a lot, even if it is "kung-fu Sherlock." On the other hand, the BBC show Sherlock is coming back on in January for the second series. Super excited about that one, much more excited than I was about the new movie. Just re-watched the first series, and it's just so freakin awesome. (It's streamed on Netflix, if anyone hasn't seen it.) Of course, anything Stephen Moffat does is freakin' awesome, but the show is one of the rare modernizations of classic stories that really works (as opposed to really offending me), and speaks to how timeless the characters really are. (For example, the original Dr. Watson served and was wounded in Afghanistan in 1880 in the *second* Anglo-Afghan war. 130 years later, the Brits are back in Afghanistan thanks to us, where Moffat's Dr. Watson is wounded in battle. I guess some things don't change, and after numerous wars there, we haven't learned to stay the fuck out of Afghanistan yet.)

In other news, I'm getting ginormously fat. I rejoined Weight Watchers, and gained even more weight after that. I managed to gain 10 pounds since Violette was born. Fail. I crawled back on the wagon, and I've since dropped a few of those pounds, and now am only 5 pounds above post-pregnancy weight. Ugh. I have a friend willing to train me, for free, because he wants the experience. I'm going to take him up on that after the new year (and pay him some too).

Cora starts her new school in January. It makes me want to cry just thinking about it, but Cora seems excited about it, so that's good. Maybe she's less sentimental than me. She definitely doesn't have an issue making friends.

So, that's that. I think I covered everything. Yeah.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Instead of working...

Basically, since Vee was born, I've been working "part-time." My contract work dried up over summer, and I don't have any plans of going back unless they really really need the help. My court appointments have also dried up, but that is totally okay by me. I got the experience, and the time is not worth the money. I should finish out my last two appointments next week.


I have a few paying clients still, nearly all family law, and haven't been looking for any more lately. I've been hoping that we get the grant money we were sort-of promised, which will make me full time at the Clinic, I can then get employee benefits at the University and go back to school for free, and get my Ph.D. in something that will actually get me a job. Pipe dreams. I've been putting off doing anything else until then, so I'm in limbo. Moreso than that, I've been working in the direction of closing up shop. Closing out cases, wrapping things up. Getting things done I've been putting off. It's nice to not have anything pending.


It's different being a solo, and especially working from home. When I worked for my former boss, I could leave it at the office. I didn't do work on the weekends, or even most evenings. Rarely did I bring work home. I'd usually stay until 7 or 8 on the nights I didn't have Cora, but that was more out of a feeling like 40 hours isn't enough for an associate to work. But now, working for myself, I just don't stop working. If there's something to do, I feel like I need to be working on it, instead of reading a book or heaven forbid writing something for fun, like blogging, or trying to craft something academic and get published. So, even in the evenings and weekends, I'm not getting anything else done. I realized that it was really stressing me the fuck out. To the point that it was crippling me from getting anything done or enjoying myself at all. Anyway, I'm working on it. I'm hoping to blog more. I'm hoping to write more. I want to read more. I want to enjoy my time working part-time, before I either start working full time for the Clinic, or I have to devote all of my time to practice building.

But, days spent with Vee are so nice. She's an even better baby than Cora was, and Cora was a really good baby. Vee only cries for a reason. Cora would occasionally have bouts of inconsolable crying for no reason, but Vee never has. That's a huge stresser for me, the crying for no reason, and the times it happened with Cora, generally had me a total mess. I think I'd have a nervous breakdown if I had a colicky baby, so Vee must be the universe cutting me a break for once. Vee's a cuddle whore, but she is (mostly) sleeping through the night, and we've finally gotten the hang of nursing. I still have to supplement with formula, though not as much. We're probably up to about 70/30. Part of it is that I never got back up to production after the horrific mastitis episode, but it's also because she just eats a lot. Probably because she also yacks a lot, in a terrifying, Exorcist sort of way. It doesn't bother her though, and she's definitely growing a lot. I anticipated calling her "Flower" (Violette, get it?), as I still call Cora "Bunny," but something so nice-smelling and delicate is not fitting for this baby. Most of the time I refer to her as Honey Badger. (She's really nasty, and oh! it's eating again! She does not, however, run in slow motion.)



Honey Badger don't give a shit


Cora, not surprising, is sassy as ever, and is constantly giving me attitude. She also punched some boy who pissed her off at school (ugh), and then, being my Mini Me, was horribly upset because she got in trouble for it. I try very hard to help her cope with her emotions, but I fear constantly that I end up treating her just like my mother treated me, which did not help, and at least in part, created most of my childhood emotional issues. Suck. And I see that most dealing with the violin. She has made remarkable gains with the violin lately though, and we've been fighting a lot less, thankfully. She had a little Christmas group class last weekend, which was cute (although she missed half of her song because she was dawdling in the bathroom, but oh well). She does so love an audience. She asked me the other day what "shy" meant. I told her "The complete opposite of you, my little ham."


The kid turns four on Wednesday. Holy shitballs, FOUR! Sassy and girly as can be.




Yes, that's an almost four-year-old in lipstick. And a "horsey dress," one of her favorites. (If you play some Where's Waldo, you'll see me too.)


Other than kid stuff, I've been trying to branch out and do some stuff out of the ordinary. For instance, leaving the house other than to go to court. My college roommate writes poetry, and she was the featured poet at this poetry... reading? I guess, I dunno. Poets, poetry, poems, read out loud, etc. So, I dragged Husband out to listen to some poetry. It was actually pretty fun. Although I'm big into other areas of literature, poetry is totally not my bag, other than some erotica and the occasional Haiku, but I really enjoyed it. And of course, my friend was awesome. I discovered she has a blog too. She's much more entertaining than I am. She's getting stuff published soon, so I will shamelessly plug it when it's made available for purchase.


Another thing I did recently was go attend a play, starring this (I try really hard not to call him a little boy, but he's closer in age to my daughter than me... I'm so fucking old, Jesus!) young man who is a classmate of Steven's at the community college. He's adorable, and he apparently wants to be a lawyer, so he obviously suffers from poor judgment. Anyway, the play was interesting, this one. Well done, at least for a community college performance with freshmen talent. It ain't Broadway, folks, but oh well.


Anyway, this weekend is going to be insane. Family coming in for Vee's baptism Sunday, and we're doing Cora's birthday on Saturday. Steven's moving out on Thursday into his own apartment, then we've got to reorganize and clean since one sister and her kids are staying with us, as well as (I think) Husband's parents.


I also cooked twice this week so far, and didn't take pictures either time. First time, it was because the presentation was an epic fail, the second time (tonight), I just forgot. Oh well. Tomorrow is my Crock Pot experiment with a big chunk of dead cow. Then Wednesday, I'm doing a birthday dinner for Cora (meat loaf... Alton Brown's recipe, which is awesome). Thursday will be boring ol' chicken.

Monday, December 5, 2011

MILP Roundup #232

Is here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Progression

I'm still in the running for the double oven. Nearly the end of Week 2. Two down, 50 to go!

I promise this won't turn into a "food for the kitchen-handicapped" blog, but I need to document it somehow, and I figure blogging is good evidence to back up my performance of the aforementioned contract. (Not that the husband reads the blog anyway, although he makes claims to the contrary.)

So, I got a little bored for meal 3, didn't want to go to the store, and decided to do "breakfast as dinner." Voila! Spinach omelet and french toast for dinner:



It looked ugly, but it was tasty.


I got a little more creative for meal #4 that first week. This one was baked pork chops, using a rather expensive package breadcrumb mixture. There was a berry mixture green smoothie as well. For sides, I made mashed potatoes using only milk, not butter, which was more heart healthy but just not very tasty (cholesterol = yum). However, not pictured here, because I ate them before I remembered to take a picture, were extremely tasty mushrooms. I sauteed (ooh, cooking term!) sliced baby bellas in The World's Most Awesome Salad Dressing a/k/a the salad dressing from Nagaski Inn (our local Japanese restaurant). They just recently started selling the stuff in bottles. It's not exactly like it is in the restaurant, it's a bit thicker in the bottles. But damnation, it's tasty. When we go to Nagasaki, I will seriously drink the salad dressing. Anyway. Used on mushrooms = win.



Mushrooms are in my belly.


Not pictured is Thanksgiving dinner, which I'm totally counting, because per our agreement, if at any time I intend to cook, but he kicks my ass out of the kitchen, I get to count it. This occurred on Thanksgiving. So, instead, I poured wine for his parents, cleaned the house and set the table.

The first day of Week 2, I stepped out from my comfort zone and used an ingredient I've never cooked with before, and that's squash. I made Giada's Butternut Squash Risotto to take to friends' house for dinner.



Risotto love

The next night was a bit of a hodge-podge of things. I made chicken, using a Hawaiian marinade sauce and threw pineapple slices in for fun. The smoothie also had pineapple in it. I also made broccoli with cheese sauce (not heart healthy), and we had left-over risotto, left-over carrots and salad.


Cholesterol makes it yummy


The third meal is very simple: cheese quesadillas. Oops! Not heart healthy. It had sauteed onions and tomatoes. There's also refried beans from a can, with melted cheese on top, and Mexican rice from a box. Three ingredient minimum on the quesadillas makes it count.




And sour cream ftw!

The fourth meal of the week is not pictured, because apparently I totally forgot to take one. However, it was not terribly tasty. I cooked some steak on the stove in olive oil and thyme. The flavor was good, but the steak was kind of rubbery in texture. Didn't like it. Dead cooked cow fail. I also made broccoli and cheese again, but this time it was from a bag of frozen broccoli, and there's a definite taste difference. The House Elf assisted by making baked potatoes, but those took quite a long time, so we didn't make it for dinner, it became second dinner (not a foreign concept in this house).

The fifth meal was tonight, and is apparently on drugs. It was chicken fajitas. I sauteed green peppers and onions, then cooked chicken, used a package of seasoning, and voila, fajitas. Husband helped by chopping tomatoes and lettuce. At the same time, I was set to have dinner tonight with my law school friends, and made another batch of the butternut squash risotto to go with my friend's lasagna. So, technically, I cooked twice. Hell yeah, I rule!



Fajitas on crack

So, two weeks down. I rather enjoyed it, and (most) of it was tasty. I did, however, manage to burn myself twice. Once on the tea kettle while making Husband a cuppa. Second was tonight while making the risotto. I have yet to cut myself (knock on wood).


Also, I should totally get to count this, because it was quite an ordeal (even though it came from a kit):



Gingerbread construction.


My entire house is now covered in dried powdered sugar. But Cora had a great time and loved the finished product.


Stay tuned for more Idiots in the Kitchen next week, with three-ingredients or more (but not much more) meals.