Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I’ve been trying to blog; really, I have. Work conspires against me, however, and when I get home there’s the usual beddy-bye routine and then dinner/sack out on couch with CNN. So let’s see; what’s been on my mind?

1. Why do the chocolate chip cookies that I bake in Colorado always turn hard 30 minutes after they are out of the oven? Before I moved here, I prided myself on my ability to turn out a perfect Nestle toll house cookie, but now following the same recipe yields lousy results (not that it stops me from hacking away at all of them with my pointy little choppers). I’m guessing it has something to do with the altitude, but what is it I need to change?

2. Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. I can barely even watch you anymore. I cringe every time I see what new “scrappy fighter” tactic you’ve embraced in your race to the bottom. Before the start of your campaign, I was a huge supporter; I was a die-hard defender and genuine admirer of you and Bill, lamented the passing of his administration, thought you were cool as grits, and was excited to throw myself wholeheartedly into supporting your campaign. Shit, I even voted for you in our caucus. But while in the abstract I still want a woman president, I’ve stopped caring if that woman is you. I don’t like how you’ve handled your campaign at all, and I do very much like how Barack Obama has handled his. Every time you throw some more nasty politics-as-usual his way, he manages to keep his cool and stay above the fray. I think that will be a real diplomatic advantage. Also, you can try to drum it into my head that he’s not experienced, or that he’s a cult of personality, but with respect to the experience issue: (a) I don’t completely agree with that, and (b) I don’t care as much as you think I should, and with respect to the personality issue: (c) I agree he is getting a lot of mileage out of his positive message and his easy charisma, but I don’t think it means he’s not a person of substance as well, and (d) I LIKE positive. You could learn from that. Basically, my support for you was yours to lose, and so you did.

3. My birthday is next week – 39 years old. I can hardly believe it. It’s not so much that the age itself freaks me out (although, okay, it does a little), it’s more that I’m not sure how I’ve already gotten to it. Have I really had 39 full years of adventures already? Does that mean I only have 39 more? And really, at least from the perspective of my 17-year old self, it just sounds fucking OLD. Over the hill. Irrelevant. Of course, from the perspective of my 38 years and 359 days old self, I know that’s a load of horseshit. If I could get off my ass and do anything new with my life, 39 would be a good age to start. That said, I have no plans on the big day to get off said ass; in fact, I’m taking the day off, taking Eeyore to school, and doing whatever I want all day long. So far that only involves reading and getting a pedicure, which might be enough.

In other news, Cindy over at Figs tagged me for a meme, and now I have to come up with five things about myself. As if the 100 self-absorbed comments in the sidebar weren’t enough!! But hey, I’m always happy to talk about ME:

1. I live 45 minutes away from some of the best skiing in America, and I can’t ski. As is the case for lots of things in my life, because I can’t already do it I say I don’t want to do it. Then I feel secretly upset with myself for letting myself constrain my own existence.

2. After spending most of my life in major urban areas (Atlanta, D.C., the Bay Area, London and Paris), I find I am happiest with the scale of little ol’ Denver. It surprises me a little, because it is a slightly dinky city, but it’s a very easy place to feel comfortable. My biggest complaints about the place are the lack of proximity to water and the expense of flights out of here.

3. I’m not proud of it, but I have a hard time identifying with people that I think are, by my own definition, a little rough around the edges. I suspect my bafflement and vaguely disdainful lack of identification is written all over my face, which surely endears me to these delightful, undoubtedly salt-of-the-earth folk. It’s like that slogan from Café Press: “Intellectual Elite – you say that like it’s a bad thing.” So I like the obvious fruits of an education: reasonable grammar, a decent haircut. Is that so wrong? (Yes, thanks, I know it is.)

4. I regret the loss of some of my most important friendships; some of them have ended for reasons I still don’t completely understand. Still, I do believe that friendships wax and wane according to where we are in our lives, and that some friendships are not meant to outlive the parameters of the microcosms in which they flourished. See, e.g., most of my law school friendships.

5. In the interest of living a peaceful life I keep trying to convince myself otherwise, but try as I might I just don’t like my choice of career that much. I would love to stay home to write a newspaper column, books of essays, a novel; but this is the real world and baby needs a new pair of shoes. Or he would if he wore shoes, so maybe that’s no excuse after all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Women rock, too.

Reading Libby’s blog this morning made me nostalgic for playing the guitar. It’s been over a year since I played mine with any regularity, which is sad. Here are my guitars:

They’re all shuttered up in their cases and stuck down in the basement these days; I haven’t had any time to play them and I’ve figured the loud music would bug Eeyore. Maybe I should pull out my Les Paul and learn to “rock” like Laurie Berkner, that chick who sings for the toddler crowd. Before that, though, I’m tempted once again to go to Ladies Rock Camp. I heard about this last year and thought seriously about going, but I was too scared to perform in front of other people so I decided not to go. This would be yet another of those opportunities in life that I’ve screwed up because I am too scared to try anything new.

For those of you not in the know, Ladies’ Rock Camp is actually a fund-raising arm of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, which is a summer camp in Portland, Oregon for girls who want to rock. The idea behind it is that the world of rock has been traditionally male-dominated, and so girls should have the opportunity to learn to make music, express themselves and generally rock out in an all-female environment. Obviously, this has a broader social goal of encouraging girls to embrace their individuality and to be comfortable with themselves, as well as to provide an all-female environment where the girls are taught to support each other (as is not always the case with day-to-day female adolescent life).

A few times a year, the camp sponsors weekends for grown women who wish that THEY could have gone to rock camp when they were girls, and the fee for the weekend funds the summer camp for the girls. For $350, you get a full weekend of musical instruction, form a band with other campers and write an original song, then perform it at a showcase on the Sunday night (the part I struggle with).

The October camp still has a bunch of spots open. I really want to do it, and yet I still feel that weight pushing against me about the live performance…

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's blah de blah.

Here’s something I bet won’t surprise you: I’m not a fan of John McCain. Not only am I not interested in hopping on the Straight Talk Express to the nadir of world opinion, where we’ve already been headed precipitously over the last 8 years, I don’t like most of his viewpoints and I don’t like his grumpy old man attitude. He seems to get pissed off so easily – is that a good trait in a president? Then there’s his wife. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but man, is she weird looking. She looks like she should be a resident on the Starship Enterprise. And what is she hiding in that hairdo? And of course today there is the article in the New York Times dredging up talk of an improper relationship with a lobbyist; he says it’s untrue and that he doesn’t take articles in the New York Times at face value. Maybe it’s because I’m liberal, but that statement is ridiculous to me. The NYT isn’t some gossip rag, for Christ’s sake. I should probably get on over to Fox News, where they are undoubtedly reporting the true story.

Back in the Democratic camp, I am frankly depressed by the whole thing. Each of Obama and Clinton has his or her strengths and weaknesses, but the race for the nomination has taken on a sour tone that I think has blemished them both. Obama’s inspirational tone has blunted her real achievements, and despite/because of her scrappy, nasty attacks on the wunderkind, she can’t seem to get any traction. Meanwhile, he rides a tidal wave of momentum on his message of hope and change, but nobody seems to be able to get a true grasp on just what he could really do for this country. Many of his promises seem destined to run up against old school bureaucracy when he arrives in Washington; I think it’s naïve to think that just because this charismatic guy has a hopeful message that he is going to be able to get the entrenched political machine to bend to the will of his cheekbones and oratory. I get the idea; the change is supposed to come from us, the citizens of the U.S. of A., but… since I can’t motivate myself to change my own life when I know I could only improve it, how am I going to get off my ass to rally for America?

Maybe having a kid will help that; when he’s older I can take him with me to be a walker at Planned Parenthood. Just kidding; I would never expose him to the freaks that hang around there. I have thought about volunteering there myself, but I get so incredibly angry I don’t know if I could stay calm when walking women from their cars to the front door. One time when I visited a P.P. clinic someone yelled at me from off the property and I gave them the finger. When I lived in D.C. during law school, there was a P.P. right around the corner from my Dupont Circle apartment. On Saturday mornings, a group of Christian teenagers, their heads bowed in silent prayer, would walk in a bovine circle in the front of the building. They would try to stuff fliers in my hand as I’d walk by, and I’d tell them to mind their own business. I was thinking much worse thoughts, but I’m sure it would have just added even more to their sanctimonious feelings on the matter.

Well! Politics and abortion; two conversational turds-in-the-punchbowl if there ever were any.

More outfits, you say? OK; I got this dress, too, but in blue and white.

Won't I look cute in it?

That’s pretty much still what I look like even if it was taken before being put through the wringer of motherhood. I guess I am feeling a bit exhibitionist today!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I know I left it around here somewhere...

I'm down and irritable today, and I was all set to launch into some bitchy diatribe about everyone and everything, when R. sent me this picture of one of our cats:

I found it very cute, and so maybe I’ll just let that other stuff go.

OK, except for one thing: I am hungry. I want to lose the last bit of my pregnancy weight, since I’m getting pretty tired of having a closet full of cute clothes I can’t wear, but I’m tired of thinking about everything I put in my mouth. And it’s not as if thinking about it has kept me from shoving a metric ton of chocolate down my gullet in the last week or two; instead I’ve just rammed the guilt on down in there with it. I’m on Weight Watchers, and I’m allocated 19 “points” a day. At about 50 calories a point, with a few points-free veggies thrown in, that equates to between 950 and 1100 calories a day. That’s starvation mode. I’m allowed 35 extra points a week to use as I choose, but the weekend comes and I blow through that without fail. The whole thing is frigging tedious.

Now there all sorts of adorable spring clothes appearing in the stores, but I’ve held off on buying anything much because I want to get back down to my old weight first. Still, I have bought a couple of little things that I figure I can wear now or weighing 10 pounds less:

In this second one, it’s the Liberty-print shirt I bought, as I’m not quite sure just yet how I am going to handle bathing suit season. I’ve never worn anything but a bikini, but I fear those days might be gone – at least until I see my friendly neighborhood plastic surgeon. I’ve always been your typical, clean cut J. Crew kind of girl when it comes to bathing suits:

But now maybe I’m destined to be this girl:

I think my grandma had a bathing suit like that.

So perhaps the compromise:

That’s reasonable, right?

Friday, February 15, 2008

So really, it's my own fault.

Ah, the start of another weekend; the start of another 48 hour period without exhaling. I love that baby, yes I do, but weekends are pretty non-stop and no longer involve things like sleeping in, reading a book, shopping leisurely or eating other than on the fly. It’s now “what can we do that will keep the baby entertained and not screaming? Read him a book? Bounce him on my knee? Let him wobble on his back like a cockroach on his play mat? Wheel him around a mall or museum in his stroller?” Yippee! I’m teaching that kid to read by age 2 if it kills me.

I do have something nice and low key to look forward to this weekend, though, and it’s a massage – a Valentine’s gift from my husband. I am really looking forward to that, but even better was his gift to me of a subscription to Us Weekly! A husband who indulges his wife’s need for salacious celebrity gossip - THAT is a loving husband.

Tonight I am having drinks after work to celebrate my friend’s recent promotion to a vice president position in her company. I think am now the only one of my group of female friends who is not a vice president. Of course, there are not that many lawyers that are also vice presidents in companies, but there are some and I am not one of them. Sometimes I manage to comfort myself by telling myself that being a lawyer is totally different anyway, and I have my big, fine, expensive education to keep me warm at night, but honestly I find it kind of frustrating. Business people (that amorphous breed) make more money than I do, and at least in my own organization I don’t always see that they contribute more or work harder than attorneys. I think they see themselves as more on the front line, however, responsible for generating revenue, while lawyers are perceived mainly as an impediment to that goal. We’re so hung up on the minutiae of everything, and plus, you know, we’re boring.

I’m pretty well known at work not to fit that stereotypical mold; not to toot my own horn or anything (although Lesson One: If I Don’t, Who Will?), but I have helped to close several hundred million dollars worth of business for my company. So where’s my love? A while back, I complained to a friend about how I sure would like to make more money (as one of the aforementioned “business people” she makes probably about 3 times what I do). She told me if I wanted more money I should work for a law firm. I bit my tongue, but boy, was I pissed off. I’m an equal partner on teams tasked with closing deals for our company, so why is my contribution any less valuable?

I had my review yesterday and I discussed my prospects for advancement with my boss. It’s pretty much as you’d expect: if I want to move up the food chain then I need to put on my tap shoes for the powers that be. The eternal dilemma: more work/prestige/money vs. pretty good money/time to concentrate on home life? Will my thoroughly apathetic nature take over again?

Maybe I should hang it all up and become a painter, because I am REALLY talented:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Seeing the real me.

Today’s the big day where I work that bonuses and promotions are announced. There is a bonus, which is exciting, but less so for me because it will be prorated to exclude the time I was on maternity leave. Still, it’s way more than I ever got as a law firm bonus, so I can hardly complain. I also can’t complain about not getting promoted, since it’s only been a couple of years since I was promoted to corporate counsel and normally it would take at least one or two more to be considered for AGC, but it does put into relief for me that I don’t feel like quite the golden girl at work anymore. I’m worried that now that I have a baby, I am seen as unreliable or not a very hard worker. Honestly, I feel unreliable and like I don’t work hard enough, but then again I felt that way even when I was childless and promoted, so perhaps it’s all just insecurity. Being the mother of an infant just gives me new fodder for self-criticism, self-loathing, self-flagellation.

Speaking of babies, I have discovered something very new about myself in the last couple of months. If you read my old blog for the couple of years before I started this one, you know that I was pretty self-absorbed and spent a lot of time indulging myself. Why not? As a 36 year old, single lawyer with no apparent prospects for a husband or children, I might as well fill my time with whatever I enjoyed. I really didn’t mourn not having kids, because I had never had any exposure to them in my life, and really, I didn’t like them very much. So it has come as a real surprise to me that the best part of my day now is visiting my baby and all his little classmates at lunch. Of course I love seeing Eeyore, but the surprising part is that I am also happy to see all the other babies. I know them all by name, and they all recognize me now, too. Last Friday, this one tiny little girl who when I first brought Eeyore in had horrible stranger anxiety, so she would cry whenever anyone new came into the room, crawled onto my lap and held her arms up to me to be hugged. As I hugged her and stroked her nap-tangled hair, I could hardly believe I am the same person that I was before all of this.

The more I think about it, it sounds like a case of Stockholm syndrome - I’ve come to identify with my captors. My entire existence is ruled and dictated by a baby; it’s all I know now and so I’ve given in and embraced it. Cue the photo of me with drool pooling in the corner of my mouth.

I’m trying to decide if I want to make this a blog that includes pictures of me and my life beyond Eeyore. I couldn’t really do that with my old blog, and when I would post the occasional photo of myself I got comments like “you’ve jumped the shark,” as if I was a television series or something. Basically, people didn’t want to see what I looked like because it somehow spoiled the story. I don’t know if that would be the case anymore, since (1) there’s not much of a story anymore, and the things I say are unlikely to get me in much trouble if people knew who was saying them, and (2) all the people whose blogs I read currently and who seem to be reading mine all have pictures of themselves on their own sites. It’s a different kind of community – it seems friendly and homey, not something to hide behind with all my bad language and tales of Yankee Swaps. However, my husband doesn't think it's smart or safe to let the world know who you are. Part of me agrees with him, but then the other part of me notes that only about 30 people read my blog, so does it really matter if they see me?

Monday, February 11, 2008

For love of the mundane.

Thank Christ the writer’s strike is apparently ending. Sure, I’ve been able to entertain myself pretty well with a nightly dose of political commentary from the talking heads over at CNN, but I’m ready to have something else to watch again besides Max Headroom and his team of political hacks. So imagine my surprise last night when, after just winding up a Tivoed episode of House Hunters International, I flipped over to what appeared to be a brand new episode of Brothers and Sisters! Oh, happy day! And even better, despite a progressive sub-plot of the liberal Sally Field and Republican operative Danny Glover supposedly falling in love even while they clearly have no chemistry, there is another new one next week. Yay!

Speaking of House Hunters International, do you watch that show? It’s fun to see real estate in all sorts of different international locations, and it is ever so much better than the bizarrely mundane, original House Hunters set here in the U.S. of A. The American version seems to show people with not a lot of money circling classified ads for one bedroom condos and places with tacky, outdated kitchens. Why would I want to see that? R. and I tried watching one the other night, and it was like watching paint dry. A cheesy-looking young couple in Wisconsin wanted to move out of their beige rental into a house that would provide him with more “man-space” (“Look! Plenty of man-space for my two grills!) and her with more “girl-space” (“I loved my walk-in closet, but now I have my own room where I can sew and talk on the phone with my mom!”). Yes, it was truly fascinating. You know, like descriptions of what’s on TV these days.

So my mom left today for the annual arbitration competition in Paris that she helps to judge, and to which I accompanied her last year, and I am very, very jealous. She arrives tomorrow and her program doesn’t start for a couple of days, which means she has blessed time alone to do things like stroll, check out museums and SHOP. If I were there, I would throw Weight Watchers to the wind as I washed down my morning baguette slathered with Nutella with a lovely grand crème, knocked back my lunchtime croque monsieur with a nice glass of Sancerre, and shoved in my evening serving of foie gras with at least half a bottle of a St. Julien or St. Estèphe (not to mention the actual dinner and probably some profiteroles). Sure, I’d feel like shit by the end of each day, but so what? It all tastes so, so good. And then I’d bring home the magic with gourmet items like Monoprix-brand salad dressing and canned sauce for steak au poivre (Monoprix is like, oh, maybe Target?). Because like I’ve said, I’m all about the grocery shopping in foreign lands.

I can hardly wait until May.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Feminism springs eternal.

I have been wearing the perfume Lys Mediterranée since one day about 3 years ago, after smelling it on the woman dining next to me at The Wolseley in London. As I dined on the so-so fare, the scent of what I imagined to be the most beautiful, vibrant lilies kept wafting my way. I looked around, trying to spot the floral arrangement, but there wasn’t one. Finally, I realized that it was the perfume of the young woman seated next to me, speaking French with her father (or let’s hope it was her father). When there was a pause in their conversation, I told her I loved her perfume and asked her what it was. Fortunately, she was forthcoming, since sometimes women get a little cagey about their scent. She told me what it was, and said that one could only buy it at a small store in Paris and one other in London. Handily, that store, Les Senteurs, was just down the street from my hotel, and so the next morning I trotted over and purchased this rather expensive perfume, and I’ve worn it ever since.

This morning, however, I checked the website to see what it costs these days, since it is nearing time to replenish, and with the current exchange rate it has become rather prohibitive: 95 euros for the smallest bottle! It seems crazy to spend almost $150 on a tiny bottle of perfume, but I do like wearing a perfume that I’ve never smelled on anyone else but me and that French girl.

On another subject altogether, I got an email from Barack Obama’s campaign this morning entitled “Tell us your caucus story.” I wonder if I told them my story, they might stop sending me emails.

Tuesday night I went to the caucus alone. Eeyore has had RSV this week (another chapter in our lives newly fraught with anxiety and exhaustion), and even though R. had won our coin toss, he volunteered to stay home with Eeyore so I could go vote. Since we were both voting for Obama, we thought one vote was better than none; it would be our family vote. Ten minutes before I was supposed to leave, I started to freak out. As I brushed my teeth, I judged myself in the mirror and for once it wasn’t about my looks. Could I live with myself if when offered the choice for the first, and perhaps only, time in my life to vote for a Democratic woman who I knew could effectively run this country, I didn’t take it? Even if Obama genuinely appeals to me more than she does?

The answer was no. And so I came out of the bathroom, teary-eyed and wondering how R. was going to take this last minute change-of-heart. He wasn’t surprised.

“I knew before you did this would happen,” R. said. “It’s your vote; use it how you want.”

I voted for Hillary Clinton, but we’re still putting the Obama sign up in the yard.

And finally, here's a recent picture of our little devil.