Monday, November 30, 2009

Religion and Politics

There are some places I won't go in this blog. My extended family is generally off limits, although this pains me greatly to say given the availability of rich material. Let me just say that they are quite religious and quite Republican. (Note to husband, the point here is about my son, not the extended family.)

Last summer, we were at Family Beach Vacation in Marathon Key. On the last day, my son was telling his step-grandma about his school project on Buddha. Remember, he goes to an alternative learning school where they can study whatever they want. I was quite proud of his ability to recite the 7 Noble Truths. I heard him telling his step-grandma about this and left them to their conversation.

Later that day, at the airport, my son wasn't acting like himself so I asked him what was wrong. He asked me if he was going to hell. I, of course, asked him why. He said that his step-grandma had said that if you worship false gods, you will go to hell. I don't know whether it is more correct to say that I went bat shit or ape shit, but let's just say that I was not happy.

I spent the next couple of days trying to convince my son that he was not going to hell and that he was correct and so clever for knowing that Buddha is not even a god. And, anyway, as far as his dad and I were concerned, he could believe in and study whatever he wanted.

My son asked questions about religion and philosophies for a few more days. Other than insisting that we visit a stupa, he pretty much forgot about the topic and we never heard another word about it.

Until, that is, my husband's mother and grandmother arrived for Thanksgiving. They were all seated at the table with my son waiting to be served. My son is such a little shit. All of a sudden, out of the blue, he said, "So, mom, lets talk about how Buddha is not a false god."

At this point I took him into the bedroom and said, "Dude, no religion or politics at the dinner table." And he said, "You mean, I can't talk about Obama." Oh dear God no. No Obama. You are so going to hell.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Second Best $25

I got a fantastic statement necklace at The Limited earlier this week for $25. That is the second best $25 I have ever spent. The best $25 I ever spent was for a latte in Bora Bora. Of course, I didn't know (and could not have even imagined) that I was ordering a $25 latte, but once I found out, don't you know that I could only then conclude it was the best damn latte ever.

Here are two important lessons: (1) If you happen to be fish-belly white thanks to your Scottish heritage, statement necklaces are a great way to minimize the expanse of blinding white skin when wearing a v-neck; and (2) Don't order the coffee in Bora Bora - unless, of course, you are like me and when it has been at least a week since your last coffee, you find that $25 is an entirely reasonable price for a latte.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Roasted Turkey.

Youtube. Swedish Chef Roasted Turkey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Last Thanksgiving, after sticking the bird in the oven and waiting for the step-kids to come over, do you know what I did? I logged some billable hours. Do you know what I am not going to do this Thanksgiving? Log some billable hours. (And, yes, that's the good news.)

I have even logged billable hours on Christmas. So, all my dear associate attorney readers, let me put it to you this way - even if you bill all through the holidays, they may still lay off your ass come Spring. Relax. Enjoy.

But if I know associate attorneys like I know associate attorneys, they'll just go ahead and work. They will probably go in on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to make up for the Thursday. Do I miss living like that? Yea, I do. There's a kind of worker's high that comes along with being in that kind of a zone.

But this year - no billable hours. I am going to enjoy, with pure and utter blissful delight, watching the Broadway people lip-sync their numbers at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while the crew from the Today Show natters on about something incomprehensibly inane, opening a bottle of red wine at 10:59 a.m., and, as per tradition, after the pies, putting on A Christmas Story to officially start the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Praise of Southern Women

Speaking of cataracts (we were, I promise), I saw The Blind Side this weekend. Yay for Southern women! I get frustrated with anyone who perpetuates the stereotype of having your hair done and eyeliner on for a trip to the grocery store as a bad thing. At my grocery store, I see women in pajamas, nubby flannel and yoga pants. Is this any better?

Anyway, Leigh Ann Toughy in the Blind Side may be an extreme case, but I would certainly say that she is typical of many of the Southern women that I know who dedicate themselves to their family and to charitable service. (So what if they do it impeccably groomed?)

One of my friends from the South moved here a few months ago. We were having sushi and I was telling her about how I needed to solicit silent auction items for a non-profit that I am involved with. The next time the waiter came over, my Southern friend said, just as natural as if she was ordering another tuna roll, "Would you mind sending someone over to our table who has the authority to make decisions about charitable donations." Within minutes, my friend had secured, on my behalf, a sushi dinner for four for the silent auction.

See. Southern women use their implants for good, not evil.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey has a video report about a pet turkey that needs cataract surgery. Um . . . . I have a plan. Is he about 12-14 lbs?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend Treat.

This Robert Indiana would look so great hanging in your dining room for all of your holiday festivities.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Working Mom = Good Mom

My son composed a 21 slide Power Point presentation of why I am such a great mom. Let's just reflect on the awesomeness of that for a moment.

One of the slides is titled "A good mom" and then states "is a lawyer." So there you go, all you working moms out there. We make our children proud. Let that add evidence to the pile that as working mothers we are serving as good role models.

(We haven't discussed with my son that I am not currently working as a lawyer. It seemed like not something that an 8 year old needed to know and especially not when he had just announced that he wanted to study lawyering for his big school project. He wants to be a patent attorney. He's very concerned about the proper use of trademarked materials.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Extra Mayo Please!

This is how I know my husband is from the South. Yesterday I made Asian Pork. This wasn't just pork with a subtle Asian flavor. No, this pork simmered for 6 hours straight in the crock pot (all of the finest Asian dishes beginning, of course, in a crock pot) with soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon and ginger. There was no mistaking that this was Asian pork. Today, my husband put that Asian pork on a bun and ate it with mayonnaise.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Girls Are Work

One of the boys in my son's class has been teasing him about his girlfriend. If you ask me, this kid is way too agitated to be the son of a spaced out yoga teacher. But then again, this lady scares me a little bit so I can kind of see where he's coming from. She never blinks and she has a perma-grin, but not the good kind of perma-grin like when you are the only one who knows that your husband is leading an international conference call naked or when you had an extra strong cocktail before you got to the party. Its more like a perma-grin brought on by too much Lexapro and not enough human interaction with people not sticking their asses in the air. I always feel like if I stand too close to her that she is going to reach into her messenger bag made out of recycled organic potato sacks and sprinkle pixie dust on me and then I will be permanently afflicted with the not good kind of perma-grin.

My son and I had talked about the teasing and we agreed that this kid was probably just jealous that he didn't have a cute little girlfriend too. When I asked my son if this kid was still teasing him about his crush, he said, "Yeah, but he can have her. Girls are a lot of work." (I gather things are going well with his father's girlfriend.) I asked him what he meant by that and he said, "You know. Make me a marble tower. Give me your pretzels." Bitches. Its always something.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fucking Bluebirds

Do you remember yesterday when I had cartoon bluebirds chirping around my head and cartoon chipmunks dancing at my feet. Fuck 'em.

All it took was 8 hours in the Cube From Hell and I am back to "What the hell?" I know. I know. My husband just orchestrated the world's most perfect 40th birthday for me, and I have the world's coolest 8 year old for a son, but I am not a happy person for 5 out of 7 days of the week. I'm a weepy pissy grumpy unpleasant person a good majority of the time because of this damn job.

In times past, I would feel bad about feeling that way (I'm damn lucky to have a job, etc., etc.). Then I saw Ghost Town. It's a lovely movie with Ricky Gervais and Tea Leoni (and in my head I am cute like Tea Leoni without the sex addict husband). Anyway, you should watch this movie if only for the scene where Ricky Gervais goes in for a colonoscopy and gets frustrated about all the questions he has to answer to the charge nurse just so someone can stick something up his ass. But the main point I am trying to make here is that there is another scene where Ricky is telling Tea that he really has no grounds to be frustrated with his life, given how lucky he is compared to everyone else. Tea then explains to him that he has every right to be frustrated because you only have one life, and the world's other frustrations, while important, shouldn't change the fact that you deserve to be happy. She's cute and brilliant.

This past weekend, while staying at the hotel, I seriously wondered whether I would be happier being a hotel maid than sticking with my current job - and I don't even clean my own house! That's how bored I am at my job. And yes, I am asking around for work and even offering to fill in for the jobs that this company has posted as open.

My husband asked me this morning why they keep me around here. Valid. The best way I know how to explain it is by analogy. My cousin is an information technology guru and works for a company doing IT. Much like me, he is bored crazy because he has nothing to do. He has nothing to do because people have no idea whether an IT issue takes 15 minutes or 15 weeks to fix. Although he begs for other work, people need him to be available when there is an IT issue. He spends lots of time just sitting around being available for issues to pop up, and when they finally do, they usually end up being 15 minute issues. That's me, only replace IT with minor paralegal issues.

Because I am doing minor paralegal work, I am able to pad my resume during my unplanned legal hiatus with work that is tangentially related to the law. And they pay me. But every day I absolutely buckle and wretch at the idea of having to face a computer, located in cube with a lonely individual energy saving light bulb, doing absolutely nothing FOR EIGHT HOURS. Eight hours. Eight. Really. Long. Hours. In half minute increments.

At some point it's just not worth it to spend the days like this. I knew I needed to leave my ex-husband when I started to take my frustrations with him out on my son by being grumpy and easily agitated. Basically, the most important person in my life wasn't get the best of me. That's how its starting to feel with this job. I get home and I'm just beat and mental from sitting around doing nothing all day and for whatever reason I just can't switch over into sweet wife and good mom mode. It's at the point where my family just isn't getting the best of me, or really even me at all. And, yes, I am actively looking for another job.

Monday, November 16, 2009

And It Was Good

At 1 a.m. on the morning of my birthday, I woke up with a headache so bad that it, well, woke me up. There was no going back to sleep so I decided to get up and go into the living room. My son comes walking in. Here I should tell you that my son is, and has always been, an insomniac. I would have thought he was some freak of nature if this trait didn't run in my family (except that this trait totally skipped me). Anyway, the first thing my son does upon seeing me up is sing me Happy Birthday. Then he gets on the couch and curls up with me as I drift back off to sleep. That alone was enough for a perfect birthday.

But there's more.

When I got up the next morning and checked my e-mail, I had a message from a friend of the family. More specifically, it was a message from the wife of the son of my parents' best friends. (This is all relevant to the impact of the story.) I grew up with their son, but I have only spoken with his wife a few times. This is what the message said:

"I have to tell you I think of your Mom frequently. Her face pops into my head and I smile. She was a special lady. Peter adored her."

That is the best e-mail in the entire history of e-mail. Thank you thank you thank you Peter's wife. Thank you for helping me feel so close to my mom, like she is right here and such a part of everything. That alone was enough for a perfect birthday.

It was also a great day because I didn't have to go to work. That alone . . .. My husband and I were headed to Las Vegas for a long weekend to celebrate my new decade. As we got off the plane and were walking to baggage claim, I started to complain about my job, because I am nothing if not persistent. He was basically ignoring me until he said something about crazy Canadians. I was thinking that was not very nice considering that he is married to a crazy Canadian and then I stopped bitching for a few seconds about my job and looked up and there was my aunt.

Here's the part where I tell you about my aunt. When my mom died, my aunt assumed the role of her presence at all important functions in my life. She has been tireless in her support of me. I know she loves me, but I also know she does these things for my mom as much as she does them for me. I felt like my mom was standing right there with us.

Later that night, we all went to dinner. We went to Bouchon, not Bouchon Bakery (see below), which is a restaurant that my husband and I had been to in Napa, and there is also one in Las Vegas. We had just finished up a really good dinner and my husband says, "Would you like one more present?" Oh the gluttony! Yes, please! He presented me with a ring that is worthy of marrying him all over again.

Sidebar - If you are ever in Vegas, you must promise me that you will go to Bouchon Bakery (not the restaurant, although you can go there for dinner if you want, but here I am talking about the bakery). It is located at the back of the Venetian, facing the theater where they show Phantom. When you get there, you must have a macaroon. These are not the coconut macaroon teepees. These macaroons are the almond flour kind with the egg shell thin crust and the middle that melts in your mouth. When you try one of these, you will thank me and you will say, "I have found the meaning of life, or at least breakfast."

Anyway, here's the thing about turning 40. Last January, I was sitting in THIS VERY SEAT at the airport in Las Vegas waiting to go back home. I had spent our Vegas trip that January on the computer rewriting a legal memo that one of the partners at the law firm had asked me to rewrite for a third time. At that point in my life, and for the previous decade, the law had been the center of my life.

I'm not proud of the fact that my job was the center of my life, but it was. Everything else in my life spun around that job, including myself, my family, my friends and my home. But here I sit, 11 months later, and that has all changed. Now, at the center of my world is me, along with my husband, my son, my aunt and uncle, and my friends. I have, you could say, been saved - saved by a husband who saw a spark in me that I forgot was there, saved by an 8 year old little boy that sings me Happy Birthday at 1 a.m. in the morning and, in a round-about painful way, saved by a layoff. I have never been happier than I am at 40.

Don't get me wrong. I am still looking for that attorney job; I miss working as an attorney so badly that when I think about it, I literally ache. But I am one lucky, happy woman indeed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Early Treat

This is going to be my last post for the week. My husband is taking me away for my birthday and, for thing one, he deserves my undivided attention. For thing two, I just have not been able to find a fashionable and functional way to carry my laptop onto the plane.

Accordingly, I present you now with an early version of the Weekend Treat. Yes that does say "Holy Shit." This mug is fantastic, as is all of the Wally pottery. What a great Christmas present for all of your friends that like coffee and appreciate the fine art of swearing! (See also, serving bowl with quote "Jesus is coming and he's bringing the bean dip.")

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thoughts on taking your job search to a national level, tea and the Foo Fighters

1. The thing about setting out on an aggressive national job search is that you can then get rejected more frequently, on a national level.

2. If your office runs out of green tea, and you decide to make chamomile instead, just be forewarned that it smells like horse pee in hay. I'm guessing. I don't typically come across horses or hay during the day.

3. I am also guessing that most people who drink the apple cinnamon spice tea have cornflower blue kitchens with painted stencils of geese. And the geese are wearing bows.

4. Breakfast wine. My mom had some truly brilliant ideas. She was also a fan of the Foo Fighters.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Crush

My eight year old has his first crush, only the word "crush" doesn't seem to adequately describe the circumstance that has taken over our household. First of all, let me say that he and his lady friend are not behind closed doors making out between vodka shooters. I suspect that comes at age 10. They are, however, inseparable. They eat lunch together, play flag football together, do math homework together and, in honor of the fact that she has two younger sisters that need to be annoyed, they make up songs about shoving firecrackers up Barney's ass together.

Their affection is so strong and encompassing that those of us in the know can only sit back and wait for the inevitable fall. Sooner or later (and I suspect sooner) she is going to decide that she no longer wants a boy who seems to always have a milk mustache and draws trading cards of the United States Supreme Court Justices (true story). When she finally tosses him aside, after toying with him for a few days, no amount of consolation retail will be able to fill even a tiny part of the hole that has been left in his heart.

I would have preferred for him to go for the sweet little girl with the mini-boden wardrobe and the parents with the time-share in Cabo. But no. He picks the one who wears the soccer shorts to school, even on non-soccer days and - gasp - has a tattoo!!! (It is just one of those rub on things on her hand but seriously that is just one step away from the tramp stamp on the lower back you know it is.)

This crush has brought to light two very important lessons. The first is the mystery of what attracts men to women. Remember all those times in middle school and high school when you wondered what attracted the guy you liked to the girl that wasn't you? Mystery solved. When I asked my son why he likes this girl, his answer had nothing to do with her looks, her intelligence or her sporty demeanor. Nope. It was simply that she was there and willing. He was that easy.

The second important lesson is that you can totally use a crush to control your child. It's fun. Now, all I have to do to get my son to do something is to tell him that his crush would like it if he did so. Dude, you should eat more politely, chicks dig that. Brush your teeth, girls like fresh breath. Insert any command, she would like it!

Are you wondering what his crush is doing right now? At our house we are always wondering what she is up to right now.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weekend Treat

I saw these, and then I needed a cigarette.
The fabulousness of these shoes cannot be overstated. Part of it has to do with how utterly impractical they are - $385 and you can't even wear them to a job interview!

Friday, November 6, 2009

What Happens When You Try

So. . . my week of trying (See Post 10/29)

Let me start by saying that, if you give me 10 things to do, I will get all of it done - before noon! But give me just one thing to do for the whole day and I guarantee you that it will not get done. This week, however, I tried to get done the pitiful little that I had to do as soon as I got to work. Well, let me backtrack. Normally, I would get to work, check my gmail, check my yahoo mail, read, read, read the first couple of pages in books on using the Look Inside feature, then check my gmail and a second time to see if anything had happened in the world while I was reading the first three pages of lots of books. Then, and only then, could not working very hard commence. Now, because I am being the good worker-bee, I do not go back and check gmail and for the second time.

For the record, yes I do go around asking for additional things to do.

While my increased productivity went unnoticed, and nobody decided to promote me to an office with a window and oxygen, I do feel more on top of my not very busy job. I feel a day-by-day inspirational quote calendar in my future!

Update: Since I started the blog post above, someone came into my office and gave me a great big project. Could it be? Does the Victoria thing actually work?! Victoria 1, Sloths 0.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wonder Woman

I have a school carpool arrangement with another family. The mom is a high-risk OB-GYN doctor. I get a call this morning and it is the mom. She says, "I got called to do an emergency C-section early this morning so I am already up and about. Why don't you let me take the kids to school this morning?" Uh huh. She said that. This is her day: (1) Get out of bed in the middle of the night; (2) bring forth life; (3) drive carpool.

My first thought was that if she drives the kids, I will have some extra time to stop at Starbucks to get another coffee to help me through my day of not doing much. My second thought was WOW, did I just hear right? And my third thought was thank goodness for people like my carpooling mom OB-GYN friend. I had an emergency C-section and if it weren't for people like her, there is a large possibility that I wouldn't have the little grim reaper right now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Four Oh

In my decades, I have lived in four countries, danced on my toes, been the target of a vicious pack of teenage girls, been in a vicious pack of teenage girls, dated lovely men, stayed married to one man too long, lied by omission, caught someone's serious mistake before it was too late when I worked in the ICU, divorced, found the man I was meant to marry, been a terrible wife, been a great wife, never been domestic, walked with sharks in the knee deep waters of Bora Bora (okay so they were only a foot long but they were real sharks I tell you), went to law school, sat with my mother while she had chemotherapy and then, that same day, took her to work because, by God, she had a job to do, laughed harder than I have ever laughed in my life with my mom while trying on clothes at Nordstrom, thrown my cell phone at a wall, kept steely reserve at work while being degraded by a boss and then cried in the car all the way home, carried on the tradition of hot chocolate with homework, been a really good mom, been an okay mom, and buried my own mom while holding my ten day old son. Just to name a few things, in no particular order.

I have earned every gray hair that I artfully cover up every four to six weeks. But I will never damn it ever do anything to minimize my laugh lines. Those are a result of all the good stuff that has happened along the way. At red stop lights, I will lean up into the rear view mirror to admire them. And I require them of all my friends.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


In the latest issue of Food Network Magazine, Paula Deen, I crap you negative, has a recipe where you combine apple cider with . . . . A PAT OF BUTTER. I can't decide whether this is everything that is wrong with America or brilliant.

Of course, I have heard of hot buttered rum, but you are expected to make stupid mistakes (like drinking butter) (and setting the lawn on fire) while drinking rum.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Today marked the start of my birthday month. Because I am turning 40, I'm taking the whole month. My husband got out of bed this morning, got dressed, went to Starbucks and got me a latte to celebrate the start of my month. We all know that lattes are the very best when fetched by one's husband. I might add, he doesn't drink coffee or tea or even get himself anything from Starbucks and he's not even Mormon.

I reserve the full right to brag annoyingly about my husband and my son. In case you haven't read any other post in this blog, I am at the trough of my career - so I am allowed to brag about the rest of it. Trust me, unless you work in the world's darkest cube and get asked by the Sunshine Committee to join them for a fun craft hour, your job is better than mine. You heard right. Craft hour. No I don't work at a preschool.

(When I said that I was going to try to go the extra mile at work, you can't hold me to that for any work hour that is not actually an hour of work.)