Tuesday, June 28, 2011

pride, part II

This past week was the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in NYC's Greenwich Village -- also known, more widely, as Pride.  I read Georgie's thoughtful post (over at Three Rivers Anthology) about why Pride doesn't particularly resonate with her, and it got me thinking about why it does, for me.

Georgie says:

Another, albeit minor issue is, I am not proud to be gay.  I don't know for sure, but I don't think straight folks are proud to be straight either.  I have never understood it.  It feels like being proud because I have blue eyes.  I am not any one thing and my sexuality is just a part of who I am.   Plus I didn't really have much to do with it.  I've been this way for as long as I can  remember. I can't really take credit for anything.

Maybe I've been studying for the GRE too much, and it's got me thinking in terms of antonyms.  But the thing is, I am proud to be gay -- sort of.  Mostly what I am is not ashamed.  Which, if shame and pride are opposites, I suppose makes me proud.  It's also, I think, why straight people aren't proud to be straight -- no one is telling them they should be ashamed. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

pride, part I

Tonight, right now, I am curled up with Kathy, watching Rachel Maddow's coverage of the New York state senate's vote on whether to extend the right to marry to same sex couples.  This would be the first time that a Republican-controlled branch of the legislature passed a gay-marriage measure.  It seems entirely appropriate to me that this vote is happening on the cusp of the anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion in New York City.

If gay marriage passes in the next few minutes, New York will truly have a reason to be proud.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

things i actually miss about biglaw

I've been in a list-making mood lately.  I think they might be the best blog-posts for avoiding GRE studying.  Since it's been about three months, give or take, since I quit my job, I took the opportunity to look back and reflect on some things I actually miss about working in Biglaw, in no particular order.

1.  Getting dressed in nice clothes each day.  This one's surprising to me, since I've always been a jeans-and-Tshirt kinda girl.  But it turns out I actually liked putting on nice clothes every day.  I also noticed that, for some reason, I have more confidence in business clothes than in casual clothes.  Hm.

2.  Seeing my co-workers.  Despite the best of intentions, I am extraordinarily lousy at keeping in touch with people, and they are no exception.  The other associates in my (old) department at the firm do get together from time to time, but usually on Saturday nights, which are tough for me with the Fire Island weekend thing going on.  And also the suburban kid thing.  Saturday night = babysitter, which is much more difficult than just asking the usual nanny to stay an extra hour or two to get happy hour with someone.

3.  Writing memos.  WHAT?  Yes, the actual work.  Not so much legal research, which I find kind of boring, but I really liked writing hard, confusing memos. 

4.  Being horribly abused by my superiors and never knowing when I would be able to go home.  HA, oh wait, that's something I DON'T miss.

On balance, I'm really happy with my decision to leave my firm.  But the things I miss have made me consider whether, possibly maybe somehow, another type of legal job might be an okay fit for me.  Ya know, if the whole grad school thing doesn't work out.


Here is the thing about studying for a standardized test.  It turns out that it's really, really boring.  I definitely learned geometry in 9th grade, and the ability to quickly determine the perimiter of that 30-60-90 triangle is not so much going to help me in grad school.  Or life.  Nor, frankly, is writing a form essay tearing apart an argument.  So, here are some things I have done today in order to avoid prepping for that test.

1.  Tidied the house.  Which, it turns out, was sorely needed after the crazy week we've had around here.  That means it took me nearly three hours -- and I didn't even pick up the kids' toys, I just dumped them all into a big IKEA bag for them to deal with later.  It has resulted in crazy talking-to-myself behavior.  For example, after my post-cleaning shower, I walked into the kitchen to find a bonzai tree sitting on the counter.  I whispered, "I do not want this tree here" to myself, while pointing at it like a wierdo.  A, who was sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, but whom I had not noticed, erupted in giggles.  Apparently she brought the tree home from school.  Goodie.

2.  Browsed my iPhone for photos-of-interest to put on the blog.  I found this picture of my favorite coffee mug of all time, from our Fire Island cottage.  It prompted me, last summer, to start calling Kathy "Lover" as if it were her name.  She hates it.  HATES it.  But with this mug in hand, sometimes I just can't help myself.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Yesterday, Kathy woke me up at 6:30ish.  Actually, I first woke up at 5:15 when she got out of bed but was too groggy to ask what she was doing.  Then I woke again at 6:15 and heard her typing in the office.  Then, she came in and said to me, "I think you should get up.  I think you should work out."

The thing is, when you have kids, the end of June is the end of the year.  And with the end of the year, comes obligation -- about a million obligations, actually.  Monday, I got up and went to C's class party.  I came home, took Kathy to the doctor, went directly to my horseback riding lesson, and went to the grocery store.  I got food for the week, plus food for A's graduation party.  I changed my clothes, and went to A's 5th grade graduation and the attendant dinner, which brought me pretty much to 9 pm.  I fell asleep on the bed waiting for Kathy to come in from the other room. 

Then, yesterday's schedule involved B's Coral Reef Day presentation and class party (from 8:30 to noon) then preparing for and throwing A's 5th grade graduation party -- which would go all afternoon and into the evening, between setting up, having the party, and cleaning up afterward.  So, really, 6:30 was the only time there was to work out.

After I emerged, sweating, from the basement, I thanked Kathy for getting me up.  Dragging me out of bed early is always risky.  "Ah, I knew it would make you feel better," she said.  "It seemed the least I could do, since your life is not your own."  There is that.

So, I hope you'll forgive the spotty blog-posts this week, but it is true that my life is not my own right now.  Really, once you have kids, is it ever your own?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Last night, the New York assembly approved our state's same-sex marriage bill.  I've been following the developments with a feeling that I can only characterize as guarded optimism.  Oh, how I would love to be able to marry Kathy in our own state, rather than having to schlep off across state lines like a second-class citizen.  The ironic thing is that we may ultimately decide to get married in Connecticut or Massachusetts anyway, for other reasons.  But there is a big difference between getting married somewhere because you choose to, and getting married there because they're the only ones who will have you, don't you think?

(obligatory pic of lesbian wedding cake topper)

As if in tune with the fact that our brains have been buzzing with thoughts about marriage lately, at breakfast this morning, C said to Kathy, out of nowhere, "Come ON!  When are you going to marry her?"  Kathy laughed, and said, "Who?" although obviously, she knew exactly who he meant -- but we are trying to train the kids not to talk about someone as if they are not there, when they are actually standing right in front of you.  Anyway, he said, "ERIN!" as if Kathy were the dumbest person on the planet.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

stop the insanity (or, our bedroom smells like a locker room)

Do you remember Susan Powter, the lady from the Stop the Insanity diet infomercials in the '90s?  Well, she's bat-shit crazy.  I know this because I saw her speak once, in Ann Arbor, MI, circa 2003.  It was hard to say who was more offended, Zoloft-using me, or my fat then-girlfriend sitting next to me, as Powter told the audience (while sort of leaping around the stage like a Muppet frog) that anti-depressants and ice cream cones were tools of the patriarchy, and we had to quit consuming them immediately in order to prepare for the revolution.  She then went on to say that if we saw a feminist eating an ice cream cone, it was our DUTY to run up to her and wrench the ice cream cone in all its delicious glory from the poor woman's hands.  Or something like that -- "delicious glory" is probably my turn of phrase, not hers, but she did say the part about stealing the ice cream.  FOR REALS.  Needless to say, after that was over, we up and went for some Ben & Jerry's.  Ice cream cones with men's names on them -- take that, Sue Pow.

I think it is because of that experience that every time I think about not doing my Insanity workout DVDs (which I received from my dad for my 30th birthday), I picture her scary face yelling at me to STOP THE INSANITY.  And that is really all it takes to get my ass off the couch, just out of spite.  If she is telling me to stop doing something, I'm doing it, goddamnit.

Monday, June 13, 2011

back in the saddle (literally)

For my thirtieth birthday, Kathy got me a gift certificate for horseback riding lessons.  I had taken lessons when I was in middle school, and absolutely loved it, but not since then had I really been on a horse.  Today was my first lesson.

(My stylish riding outfit.  Yes, I am wearing my hat in the basement. 
If you think I did not try on my outfit three times before my lesson, you are mistaken.)

But, because I'm me, giving me the absolutely perfect birthday gift was not exactly easy on her.  So let's go back to the beginning, where I gracefully accepted this gift...

Friday, June 10, 2011

booked, for real

Last night, I wrote the post below. 
(Munich skyline)

Kathy has to go to Munich and London for work this summer. I am currently unemployed and we have a lot of frequent flier miles. What does this mean? I GET TO GO TO EUROPE for the first time since 2001. More importantly, I get to go to Europe for the first time since 2001 practically for free. To say that I am excited is a vast understatement. We booked our trip about 5 minutes ago, and I am bouncing off the walls. There is but one snag.

difficult times

"[T]imes are always difficult... for those living through them."

The quote above is from the book I'm reading right now, and has been echoing in my head for two days now.  I have been struggling for some time with writing a post that explains why.  Here is my dilemma:  For a blogger, I am oddly private.  Whenever I am going through something that is tough on me emotionally, my tendency is to withdraw.  Not just a little bit, but almost completely. 

For example, when I was going through my divorce -- actually, for about a year leading up to it and a year afterward -- I cut most contact with many of the people in my life who were important to me.  With a few very limited exceptions, people did not know what was going on.  People did not even know I was unhappy in my relationship/marriage.  As you can imagine, this pissed off a number of friends who I was supposedly really close to.  They felt left out, unimportant to me, etc. 

This was decidedly not true.  I just have trouble talking about things that are deeply personal, with anyone.  I prefer to ruminate, and let them sit, and work out for myself how I want to handle them.  I don't want advice, or input.  Often, I just plain don't want to talk about it -- I spend time with others in order to take a break from the issues that are weighing on my mind.  I would rather write about problems than share them with another person.  I certainly don't want to be asked about my problems -- if I want to talk about them, I will bring them up.  I feel burdened by keeping people up-to-date on all the latest developments.  When I'm going through something difficult, the last thing I want to deal with is that additional burden of making sure other people are kept apprised.  This is hard for people to accept; many people do not understand it, and my explanations just seem to make them more irritated.

And so, maybe you can see why I have been having a hard time writing something that is fit for public consumption lately.  Mostly, they end up like this post -- vague.

Because times are difficult.  I am going through things that are making me take a hard look at the person that I am, the person that I thought I was, and the person that I want to be.  But, times are always difficult for those living through them.  Whenever I got discouraged as a child, my mom always said to me "This, too, shall pass."   Both of my yoga teachers also reminded me of this, using difficult poses as an analogy -- the discomfort is thirty seconds, and then it is over, as are the trials and difficulties of our life.  Perhaps that is true, but I don't happen to find it very comforting.

And so, I find myself wondering lately, when is it time to stop thinking of the "difficult time" as a temporary setback in the rest of life, which shall pass, and start to realize that the difficult time is not temporary at all: it actually is life?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

normally, I would not go out of the house like this

So, it's pretty hot.  Okay, it's really freaking hot.  It's so hot that they moved the 5th grade play from 5:30 pm on Thursday to 8:30 am on Friday (apparently with utter disregard for the fact that some parents work during the day).  It's so hot that about half of the grass I worked so hard to plant this spring has died, as has the spinach.

It is so hot that I am wearing a tank top which is slightly too small and softball shorts, and fully intend to go into the city dressed like this, with my hair soaking wet.  I am wearing the tank top because it is the only one I own with a built-in bra, thereby eliminating an entire article of clothing, and I am wearing the softball shorts because they are kind of big and only touch my skin at the waistband.  Also they breathe.

(if you are wondering whether I cropped a pile of
clothes on the floor out of this picture, the answer is yes.
also, my hair is now in a ponytail to get it off my neck.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


B's birthday was on Sunday.  She is now eight years old.  This is really crazy to me, because when I met Kathy, B was in preschool.  That year, she bossily told Kathy that she was going the wrong way to her preschool.  Even though she was only 4 and had no idea how to get to her preschool.  For her eighth birthday, we got her a black and white hamster.  She said she would have named it Bob if it was a boy, but when we told her it was a girl, she decided to name it Cutie.  So we have a hamster named Cutie.  I would post a picture, but Cutie lives next to B's bed, and it's after bedtime so I can't just go snapping pictures.

I know everyone with kids is always all "blah blah blah they grow up so fast, etc."  But it is actually true, they do.  When I met C, he was in diapers and ate out of a bottle (only once a day, but still).  Now he can read short words, and write sentences like "I lik my but.  I wat to tak my butl." ("I like my beetle.  I want to take my beetle.")  And don't even get me started on A, who is graduating from 5th grade next week, and will then (1) have a cell phone, (2) be able to stay home alone for short periods, and (3) be a middle-schooler, and, therefore, insufferable.  Also, she is nearly as tall as I am and has a size 7 foot.

So anyway.  It really is shocking, but they grow up so fast.  Blah blah blah, etc.

Update:  Some pictures of Cutie, since I know you were dying to see them.  Awwwww.

Friday, June 3, 2011

from the mouths of babes

Yesterday, I spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out why turning on my computer resulted in the White Screen of Death.  I also got kind of a wicked sunburn from working out in the yard (forgetting that the sun does actually shine even if you are not near a body of water -- meaning I did not wear one bit of sunscreen).  I also got a phone call in the middle of my timed practice GRE so I failed miserably at the math section, then cried.

Napkin folding instructions; What Not, Buffet, and Bow Tie styles

That night, while I was making dinner, the kids started squabbling over the table setting -- apparently putting on the napkins is the worst of the tasks, and one to be avoided if at all possible.  "ENOUGH!" I roared, "ALL OF YOU."  The silence that followed was, for the first three seconds, the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.  Then I started to feel just a teensy bit guilty.  I mean, when I set my mind to it, I can yell LOUDLY.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

dead things, mikey, dead things

Not the kind of dead things that these guys found:

But instead, the kind that are all around my yard.  While I have been enjoying myself on the beach on Fire Island, or at least sitting in the office studying for the GRE, summer has arrived.  With summer, comes heat, and with heat, comes dead flowers.  All those pretty spring blooms on my flowering shrubs have been replaced by this stuff:

As a result, just as it heats up into the eighties, I have to dead head and make a date with the hedge trimmers.  I tried to ignore this chore, until I was reminded by A Way to Garden that if you wait too long to prune, you risk ruining next years blooms, as the buds will already have formed.