Tuesday, November 30, 2010

worth 1,000 words

Last night, I was making fried rice.  I was cutting the vegetables using one of these:

Only without the guard, of course.  Very dangerous, apparently.  I made it through the broccoli, peppers, carrots, and mushrooms.  But when I got to the onions, I got distracted and cut the hell out of my finger.  It was bleeding all over the place, and Kathy made me a makeshift bandage consisting of a gauze pad and two band-aids, fortified with scotch tape.  I almost passed out.  I continued cooking dinner (which was delicious, if I do say so myself - the secret is really in the white pepper).  As I was eating I noticed my finger was bleeding through Kathy's bandage.  Oops.  We loaded up the kids and headed to the ER.  After giving me a tetanus shot, the doctor informed me that the cut was like taking a divet out of the grass when you golf -- a chunk of finger is missing, and it's not the kind of thing you can stitch shut.  There are 3 consequences to having this kind of cut that I can see so far.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I don't know anyone who would say that their family is anything but dysfunctional.  If they said that, they would probably be lying -- either to you, or to themselves.  All families are a little nuts.  Families are great at things like criticism, guilt, denial, etc.  My family of origin is no exception.

Popular wisdom tells us that this is because our parents messed us up.  Then, we mess our kids up in similar ways.  It's a cycle of dysfunction.  But, with the help of my brother and sister, I am bound and determined not to let this be the case for us.  And after today, I think we might finally be making some progress on breaking the mold when it comes to my family of origin's dysfunction cycle.

This is us, circa 1989. 
I am the one rocking the mullet with my hand on my hip in a really sassy kind of way. 
Yes, we are wearing matching shirts.

Monday, November 22, 2010


me woman girl portrait shadow silhouette beach magentastar

This weekend, my computer crashed.  Because of how I downloaded a virus onto it trying to watch a Scottish lesbian BBC series.  Yeah, I know.  So embarrassing.  Of course it crashed exactly when I was sitting down to work, so I used the desktop while distractedly clicking at my laptop trying to get it to work.  I'm not horrible with computers, but I'm not great, either.  It got itself all into a tangle and now Windows won't start.  Sigh.  This is why people use Macs, I suppose.  Or at least don't use Internet Explorer.  Anyway, this crashing was the genesis of a larger feeling of uneasiness when I realized that there was something completely irreplaceable and of indeterminate value on the hard drive.  My wedding pictures.

Yes, I was married before.  It's something no one knows how to talk about with me.  Whenever I mention my ex-wife, people try to change the subject or talk about her like she was my best friend who moved away or something.  The thing is, no one knows what to do with someone who is 29 years old and divorced.  But if you think that's bad, try being 29 years old and GAY divorced.  If same-sex marriage is a taboo topic, try same-sex divorce.  So far I have met one person in my entire life who can talk about same-sex divorce comfortably.  And she's a divorce attorney.

Photo Credit.

Friday, November 19, 2010

moving in, the final chapter

Today, I dropped off the keys to the apartment and paid the final rent.  It is finished, as they say.  As I rode the subway to the management office, I thought about my time in the apartment.  Warning: this is very sentimental.  I always get like this when I close a door.

When I first moved in, the dishwasher broke (which was one of the reasons that I chose the apartment in the first place).  Then, the fridge broke.  It was December, so I kept my perishables in plastic bags on the fire escape.  That meant that if I wanted salad dressing, or garlic, or veggie burgers, I had to go into the bedroom, open the window, get the correct plastic bag, brush off the snow and soot, bring it to the kitchen, root around for what I needed, and put it back.  It was such a pain.  But I did it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Sometimes, the misfortune of others makes me so grateful for all I have.  Sometimes, remembering the hard stuff I have already been through makes me so grateful for all I have.  I think that this is why hard things happen in life.  To teach us gratitude.

Photo via Father Goose.

Carlos the garage man

Last night, around 12:30 a.m. I went to the garage to pick up my car after work and drive home.  There was a huge, enormous scrape all along the passenger side rear bumper.  I have had problems with the garage dending, dinging, and scraping the car before.  I point it out to them, first a little irritated, and then progressively more irritated each time the car comes back with new damage.  I always point it out to the same guy, who always says to me, "It was like that when you brought it in.  We didn't do that."  Now, I drive the car home, and park it in the driveway.  The next day, I turn around and drive it back to work and park it at the garage.  Unless someone is sneaky rubbing white-painted cement poles on the side of my car while we're sleeping, I'm pretty sure I know where the damage is coming from.

Last night, I totally lost my temper on the "we didn't do it" man.  I was sarcastic, and yelled at him about "playing bumper cars" at the garage.  I can try to blame it on New York, but as you know, I haven't gotten much sleep, work is stressful, and this was pretty much the last straw.  It was really just me, losing my temper.  Finally, "we didn't do it man" says to me, "It's not my problem.  Talk to Carlos."  Carlos?  Apparently, Carlos is the manager.  I yelled something about how Carlos is there during the day and I have a job, thankyouverymuch so I can't just be trotting over here to chat with Carlos.  Then I drove away.  And squealed my tires.  I know, not my finest hour.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

worse than being a garbage collector?

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, anxiety-ridden over work issues.  I could not get back to sleep, so I did what every person who is half of a couple would do.  I woke up Kathy.  Our conversation went like this.

Me:  Kathy.  Kathy.  Kathy, wake up.  Kathy.  Kathy.
Kathy:  Wha-- huh?  What's wrong?
Me:  I can't sleep.
Kathy:  Oh no.  What's the matter?
Me:  I don't know.  I'm stressed.  [Exhausted crying starts.]  We seriously have the worst job in the world.  [Have I mentioned Kathy has the same job as me?  She does.]  Seriously.  For real.  It's so awful.  The worst job in the world.  Why didn't anyone tell me it was the worst job in the world?  Oh wait.  They did.  In law school they said that lawyers have lower job satisfaction than anyone.  Anywhere.  That's why so many lawyers are alcoholics.  Are you sleeping?  Why did I think that I would be any different?  It's like how everyone thinks they're an above-average driver.
Kathy:  I am an above-average driver.  I'm a really great driver!
Me:  No, you're not.  You're probably average, you just think you're above-average.  Just like how all law students think that somehow, magically, they will be the only lawyer who actually likes their job. 
Kathy:  No, I'm really a good driver. 

I was up for a total of 2 1/2 hours.  Finally I got up and just worked for a while in the middle of the night, so that I could relax enough to actually sleep.  For the second night in a row, job related stress = sleepless night.  So.  I would like to introduce you to my new best friend:

Because I got 4 new assignments today, all due before Thanksgiving and one big one due tonight.  Yipee.  Looks like this exhaustion-related headache is going to stick around for a few more days.  But at least I have the benefit of a partner who totally, completely understands what it's like.  And actually is an above-average driver.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the associate interview, part II

Since I know you are dying of curiosity.  The review went fine.  I told them I got boring work that I didn't like.  They were all, "Oh, of course, blah blah blah."  Maybe it will get better.  Maybe it won't.  But at least I did it.  At least I said something. 

They did manage to work a criticism in there, but you know what?  I didn't even care!  IT IS SO LIBERATING NOT TO CARE ABOUT SOMETHING!  Now, really, I do care.  I actually try really hard to do a good job at work, even though I'm not crazy about it.  It's just who I am.  I want to be the best.  At everything.  Or I don't want to do it at all. 

But I have never experienced the feeling of having someone say to me, "You know, you could really work on X," and thinking to myself, "Oh that's interesting.  I'm not doing that."  Especially since the "X" in this case was "more weekend face-time at the office, rather than doing the work from home, just so people see that you're around."  Yeah.  That's what I thought.  You wouldn't do it either.


the associate interview, and Walden

Today I have my "associate interview."  I had planned to write the first half of the post now, before my "interview," and the second half afterward.  But the first half seemed like a stand-alone post.  We'll see if I'm similarly inspired later.

(Photo of Walden Pond)

The "associate interview" is actually my review.  I think that calling it an "interview" is supposed to make us less concerned about getting fired.  Last night, I slept 4 hours.  I worked until midnight and worried until 2, then woke up at 6.  I had a nap from 6:30-7, so I suppose the grand total was 4.5 hours, but still, not much.  What I was worried about was not getting fired, however, but the fact that I do not like a single project I am working on right now (other than my pro bono stuff).  It's all the same type of work, and all stuff I find boring.  And hard.  Boring alone is one thing, because you can turn on music, sit with a friend, and still get the work done.  Hard alone is also fine, because you can dig into it and focus.  But boring and hard together? 

I have not spoken up about my dissatisfaction with the work I have been given to the powers that be.  When asked, I would say that I think it's futile.  The people in charge don't care if I think this work is boring and hard.  They don't care if I am getting pigeonholed in an area of law I don't want to practice.  So what is the point of bringing it up?  Besides, the partners giving me these projects are not going to be at my review.  I absolutely hate feeling like my own life, my own career, is out of my hands, but it is.  In my experience. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tom Terrific

So, my dad's birthday was last week.  I forgot it.  I feel absolutely terrible about it.  My dad, softy that he is, has forgiven me.  But still. 

My dad e-mailed me, my brother, and my sister this weekend with some advice in the form of a poem.  All my life, my dad has been chock-full of advice.  Sometimes, I didn't want to hear it.  Usually, that was when I needed to the most.  Now that I am an adult, I hear his advice coming out of my own mouth.  So, in honor of my dad, here are ten things I have learned from him.  Some are direct quotes, and others are things that I learned by his example.

1.  The job's not done until you put your tools away.  It is very convenient to have your tools in the drawer where they belong, isn't it?  How do you think they got there?
2.  Wiping off the counter is part of doing the dishes.
3.  Sunburn is bad for your skin.  Sun is not.
4.  Your friends will come and go, but your family will always be there for you. 
5.  Shine the flashlight where I'm looking, not in my eyes.
6.  You should spend your money.  That's the reason you make it.
7.  You should not fight with your brothers and sisters.  There are times when they will be the only ones who understand.
8.  Pitching in and working hard is part of what it means to be a family.  Sometimes, that means you will have to do things you don't want to do for the good of the whole.
9.  Being physically tired is different than being mentally tired.  At the end of the day, you will sleep best if you are both.
10.  Check the oil before you go on a long car trip.

And this, which he shared with me once when I was in high school, and again this weekend (so I guess technically, there are eleven things).  It is, as he said, a reflection of his spirit:

"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."  (Desiderata)

Thanks, Dad.  I'm sorry I forgot your birthday.  At least I remember all the things you taught me.

(This is my awesome dad, at the zoo.  I know, I know, I look exactly like him.)


(Photo by Peter McIntosh)

This weekend, for those who have been following, was moving-in weekend.  The truck came at 9 am on Saturday, so I was up and at 'em bright and early Saturday morning.  Kathy single-handedly did the soccer thing (last weekend of it, yay!) while I went to the apartment and met the movers.  That night, some friends from work had a dinner party, and when we got home after 2, our bed was covered in unfolded laundry instead of sheets.  So we were folding laundry and making the bed at 3 am.  Kids don't sleep in, although ours very nicely played games and put a puzzle together Sunday morning before waking us up, so we didn't have to get up until nearly 9. 

All of this -- moving, plus party, plus laundry, plus waking up -- means that I was tired, cranky, and headache-y on Sunday.  Sometimes I think I am significantly older than Kathy, because at one point, I said, "You know, going out isn't really worth it if you feel like this the whole next day.  Maybe we should not have the babysitter spend the night, so that we will have to get home at a reasonable hour."  Yeah, I'm not even 30 yet.  Adult moods wear off on small things, so all the kids were a little bit testy as well.  It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't all that pleasant either.

After lunch, the kids wanted to go for a bike ride.  I could not thing of anything worse, but one of them told me it wouldn't be fun if I didn't come.  So I came. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

thank yous

Don't you think that we take our significant others for granted, so much of the time?  I do.  So today, I am saying thank you to Kathy...

Printable Thank You Card - Box Thank You
(Adorable printable thank you card from e.m. papers
You should go buy it now and send it to someone you love.)

...for allowing me to publicly talk about her and our life together on this blog.  She is much more private than I am, although many people wouldn't know it from meeting the two of us.  She is not the kind to just go ahead and put it out there that we fight about our towels (ahem.  Discuss our towels).  But she indulges me, because writing this blog gives me so much joy.  So thank you, Kathy.  And if you enjoy reading about our "discussions," you should thank her too.  If you know her.  If not, you can just mentally send good vibes her way.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the uptown salon

Today I got my haircut.  I go here:

(I have no idea where I got this picture from, and now I can't find it again.  Whoops.)

And here's the inside:

(Photo from New York Magazine, and courtesy of Bumble and bumble.)

Bumble and bumble (the uptown salon).  I know, right?  Fancy.  According to New York Magazine, it has been "trend setting since the late seventies" and is an "arbiter of hipness."  And that's just in the first sentence of the review.  The woman who cuts my hair (Laura Jean, for those who are curious) is amazing.  One thing I like about her is that she does not make me feel like I am not quite cool enough to get my hair cut there, which is how I have felt pretty much everywhere else I have ever gotten my hair cut in my life, other than the Bo Rics I used to go to as a child. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

moving in, part II (or, organic tater tots)

(What self-respecting lesbian does not know what this is?  It's what you bring on your second date, of course.)

As you can see, we've progressed from suitcases to U-Hauls.  That means it's time to move more than just the birds.  This weekend, it's furniture time. 

The appearance of my stuff, and the reality of moving the furniture to the house, has resulted in resurgence of a more extreme version of a particular aspect of myself that I always new was in there -- Erin as domestic goddess.  Since Sunday, when we brought the non-furniture items from the apartment to the house, I have claimed ownership over the house in a way I didn't really even realize I hadn't before.  What's that, Kathy, you think you are in charge of laundry?  Think again.  I have mixed all the laundry soaps into one bottle.  Oh really, you think we should call the repair man for the thumping noise that the furnace is making?  Not so fast.  I have a plan involving home depot, masking tape, and a new filter.  I have become, suddenly, even more opinionated about all things house-related that I ever was before.  When you have an equally opinionated partner, as I do, this can be an issue.

We, as as couple, have always had an issue with relinquishing household control.  Our nanny drives us nuts on occasion, only by not doing things exactly as we would (sorry, Amber).  For example, she once bought organic tater tots.  I saw them, and said "WHAT?  ORGANIC TATER TOTS?!  If you're going to eat frozen, processed potatoes, why would you pay extra for organic?"  It's not the $0.50.  It's the principal, you see.  Ranty, ranty rant.  Then Kathy said, "But oh my god, they are so good.  So good.  So much better than the ones we buy."  She was right, they were so good.  The other thing is, we think Amber is pretty universally great.  The kids love her.  She helps them with their homework.  She communicates with us via e-mail.  She backed me up when I thought a compost bin was a great idea and Kathy was afraid it would be stinky.  And okay, now she has opened us up to the wonder that is organic tater tots.  But put a plate on the wrong shelf when you unload the dishwasher?  Watch out.  You should see what happens when we have a house cleaner come, and we can't find something.  That house cleaner is suddenly satan's long-lost cousin.  (E.g., "Why would you just throw someone's empty box away??! I had that sitting there, in the middle of the floor, full of garbage, for a reason.")  Anyway.  You get my point. 

I realize this is a rather privilege-y rant, but it's our reality.   And it's the reality of lots of dual-income families where both wage-earners have all-consuming jobs like we do.  I leave the house at 8, and stop working somewhere around 10 or 11 at night, on average (though, to be fair, often with a break to cook and eat dinner).  Kathy is the same.  And we have three kids.  And one cat.  And a house.  When, exactly, do I buy the tater tots myself during all of that?  For the record, we do not openly criticize the people who make our lifestyle a possibility for these horrible transgressions.  We mostly just mentally fume and stomp around a bit.  But think about this -- what kind of person decides to go out and get themselves that kind of job in the first place?  That's right.  A control freak.  And our house is now the full-time residence of not one control freak, but two.  It's really hard to be a control freak and hand over the running of our house to others, no matter how competent.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

watching tv

(And speaking of rotting your brain.  Or at least, having weird effects on it.  Photo from here.)

Kathy has often told me she has a fantasy life.  It involves the great American pastime -- no, not baseball.  Watching TV.  I've always resisted this.  I would rather watch a movie than TV, and I'd rather read than do either.  I hate commercials, it rots your brain, etc.  I've "compromised," and agreed to watch the occasional HBO series.  Or Showtime series.  But in general, no.  We both work long hours.  We live with 3 kids and 1 cat.  We have a house (although not an apartment).  We almost never have time to read or watch a movie, let alone watch network TV. 

But tonight, right now, in fact, we are living this dream life.  We're sitting here, watching TV, like an old married couple.  And she's right, it is actually kind of nice.

Monday, November 8, 2010

worth waiting for (?)

Kathy and I are not engaged.  This does not stop me from thinking about getting married to her all the time.  Some of my friends are rather impatient for us to get married.  One threatened to show up at our house with my sister in matching dresses if we didn't get a move on in some reasonable amount of time.  Their impatience does not even come close to matching my own.  There are a bunch of reasons, which I won't go into here, why we are not engaged yet.  They are all annoying.  However, there is one thing that I think might actually be worth waiting for.

(On wedding cake toppers.  I don't think anyone actually uses them anymore, other than as an illustration in a post or article about same sex marriage.  For real.  Also, if you google image search for wedding cake toppers, there are an appalling number where a bride is dragging a groom off.  But that is another post entirely.  I found this picture here.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

More New York

Okay.  Just for fun, here are two pictures of me acting crazy this spring in the city I love to hate.

(No doubt you recognize this one from my profile.  Not just the top siders that made me so smiley -- also the new jeans and the diet coke I was about to buy from that hot dog man.)

And now, I really have to get some work done.

I love/hate NY

Alright.  Well, anyone who knows me -- not even just those who know me well, this pretty much includes everyone who has ever made 5 minutes of casual conversation with me -- knows that I have a love/hate relationship with New York City.  And by love/hate, I mean I love to talk about how much I hate it.  Today, I came across this list of 50 reasons why I should like living here.  It stands in stark contrast to this article in the Onion about all the reasons to hate it.  The truth is that the number one feeling that comes up when I think about the big apple is "ambivalent."

So, here is my own personal list.  Five things I love to hate about living in New York City.  Appropriately timed, because of how, in two weeks, I will officially no longer have a New York, NY address (unless you count work, where I spend most of my time anyway).

5.  Being totally, completely New York-centric.  You know.  Like this:

(Does this really need a credit?  Come on, it's obviously the famous cover of the New Yorker from 1976.  Read about it here.) 

A law school professor once pointed out to me that this was a completely unrealistic picture, because would you look at all those open parking spaces?!  Right.  After a certain, unspecified amount of time living here, you tend to start a lot of sentences this way whenever you travel:  "WHAT?  In New York, you can...."  I swore to myself that this would never be me.  But I have to confess, when I travel now, and restaurants stop serving food at 10 pm, I cringe.  When the person in front of me takes 25 minutes to decide what they want on their salad, even though they had the whole time they were standing in line to decide (or on line, if you're from NY!), I tap my foot impatiently and mutter under my breath.  And more than once, Kathy has said to me, "You're not in New York.  Stop honking at people." (See Number 2).   

Thursday, November 4, 2010

moving in


I moved in with Kathy a long time ago.  I'm not sure when, exactly, because it has been gradual.  I brought more and more clothes, and we spent less and less time at my apartment in the city (I say "my" because it was mine, before, although really, the lines are blurred there too).  Over the summer, I started chirping about how we should just let go of the apartment.  We spent our summer weekends in Cherry Grove, not Manhattan.  Manhattan is unbearable in the summer -- the whole place smells like garbage and urine.  Then, fall came, and we still didn't spend any time at the apartment.  I forwarded my mail.  I changed my address on work and tax forms.  Finally, we decided.  No more apartment.  It was a financial drain, and an energy drain as well.  When we were there, the to-do list we were neglecting nagged.  When we weren't, we felt guilty for not "taking advantage" of the fact that we had this apartment in Manhattan sitting empty.  So, I wrote to the landlord and asked that they put the apartment on the market, so that we could break the lease.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Day

I did not post yesterday, because it was election day, and insanely busy.  Kathy and I went to the polls on our way to work.  I ranted for a while about how I think they should use public schools as polling places rather than churches (our polling place was our lady of the sacred heart, or something, and had statues of  crying Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus all over the place).  The poll worker got himself all confused by the fact that Kathy and I have the same address and he couldn't figure out what our relationship was.  I voted, and sent my ballot through the scanner.  BUT.  I did not get one of these:

I mean, what the heck.  That is half the reason I vote, to get one of those stickers.  And I don't know who this is, but according to this person, I could have gotten all manner of free stuff for having that sticker (like coffee!  and donuts!).  Free stuff aside, I think those stickers are important.  Unbelievable as it may be to me, people actually forget it's election day.  When you see people walking around with those stickers, it's a helpful reminder to do your civic duty.  Also, we needed to make sure Paladino didn't get elected ( I mean really, he runs around with a guy in black face and says "It's just a funny face in a picture"?), and I wanted people to know I had done my share on that front.  The sticker just makes me feel sort of proud of myself for the rest of the day. 

On top of all that -- as if that weren't enough -- I volunteered yesterday with Election Protection and I did feel a bit weird volunteering without evidence that I had voted myself.  Although I suppose that if they don't hand out those stickers in New York, then no one would have had one. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

the raven (or the crow, depending)

On Saturday, I went to a new yoga class.  I was inspired by my sister, who said she went to yoga last week.  I haven't been in ages.  I used to go all the time, and it was always time for myself, time I could pay attention to my inner promptings, if you will.  Also, time I could turn off the cell phone and just relax.  I started going waaaaaay back when I lived in Michigan. 

Anyway, I haven't been going for a long time.  In fact, I haven't really been going consistently since I moved to New York.  I tried different studios, different teachers, different classes, and didn't like a single one of them.  All the classes I tried in New York City shared one major drawback:  the energy was so competitive.  Several of the teachers used it as show-off time, bending themselves into impossible poses.  Many of the studios offered free classes to other teachers at the studio (maybe to make the classes look full, I don't know) and the result was that there was always at least one person in each class who weighed about 115 lbs., was wearing a sports bra as if it were a shirt, and was up in the front doing the "advanced" variation to every pose.  I always spent the next 3 days in pain from pushing myself too hard.  I never left with a feeling of zen, usually just with a vague sense of failure.  And most importantly, no one was ever friendly.  This includes the teacher.  So gradually, I stopped trying to find a class and stopped going.  I started running more and more, and just decided I would get my exercise/me-time that way. 

Then, my sister said she was going, and I was totally and completely overwhelmed with pretty much everything in my life.  And, conveniently, I found a class that conflicted with the Saturday morning recreational soccer that the kids all play (which is my own personal hell).  So we had a winner.  I put on my stretch pants and went. 

When I got there, I was nervous.  I hadn't practiced yoga in months, and I hadn't practiced consistently in over 2 years (how did I let that happen?! I asked myself).  My legs were tight from running without stretching.  My arms were weak.  I felt out of practice.  And the teacher made me sit front and center.  Because Halloween was approaching, she asked us to think of a pose that frightened us.  My first thought was "all of them," but when I had to say it out loud in front of the class, I went with the basic arm balance that I have never been able to do, even when I went to yoga every week and could stand on my hands.

The crow.
(This is a raven, apparently, not a crow.  It turns out they are different birds. 
From Curious Expeditions, which has an interesting discussion of the raven in literature.)