Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I Was Thinking As I Hunted For Apartments in Manhattan Today

1) This is not fair.

2) It's immature of me to think this isn't fair, and it's probably unhelpful.

3) I should be working right now, but I don't even know if I could work because I'm so upset.

4) I'm so angry with Raj for doing this to me.

5) I shouldn't be feeling sorry for myself, but I am feeling sorry for myself.

6) I wish I could lie down and cry somewhere.

7) I hate brokers. They are all slimy bastards.

8) I hate the fact that brokers charge 15%, which comes out to be approximately $3000 for an apartment with a monthly rent of $1800.

9) That's a cute coffee shop.

10) I hate that I have to be looking for a new apartment right now.

11) He shouldn't have had me move in to his place and move all of my stuff into his place if he was going to quit on me.

12) Our apartment was finally looking cute. It's not fair that I have to leave it, and it's not fair that I have to do all of this work myself because of his decision to stop trying.

13) I'm never moving in with another male.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kicking And Screaming

I would like to say, for the record, that I am having a bad freakin' morning. Really, I'm having a bad f---ing morning, but I've been thinking that I probably shouldn't swear on my blog as a general matter because it sounds ugly, so I'm trying to restrain myself. However, if I was talking to you in person, I would definitely be saying that I am having a bad f---ing morning. By way of background, I always thought swearing for emphasis was fine until I started working with Dragon Lady and had to stand by as she cursed violently under her breath. I realized that when someone is sputtering out curses left and right that it can make others feel really uncomfortable, and it can stress people out. It's also tacky and completely lacking in class. So, I'm trying not to replicate Dragon Lady's annoying (abusive) habits in my own life. Bitch.

So, back to my morning. I'm discouraged. I've been looking for apartments around the clock for two days. I'm now intimately familiar with Craig's List and a host of posters, and yet, a solution to my apartment dilemma has not yet materialized. Nothing seems right. They're are problems with all of the possibilities, and maybe that's something I'm going to have to accept: I'm not going to find anything close to ideal because of this shitty situation that has been foisted upon me. Speaking of foisting upon me, don't think I'm only blaming Raj. Far from it. On my way to work this morning I was berating myself for deciding to move in with him and giving up my lovely, gorgeous, beautifully decorated apartment.

But you know, even now when everything has fallen apart, I wouldn't have done it differently. I loved him and I wanted to be with him. And, though I'm surprised to be having this thought at the moment, I don't regret living with him. I don't regret trying to share my life with his. Ok, enough of that mushy stuff that is going to send me back into a pit of weeping despair.

When I moved in with him we were in the midst of working through our "issues," but that didn't give me any pause because I was convinced that we would work out our issues and, basically, live happily ever after. Was I sniffing anything at the time? No. Do I consider myself to be a flighty, naive person? No. I just knew that I loved him, and I believed he loved me, and it seemed that we had come back together for a reason: to be together for the long haul. I never would have got back together with him after being apart for a year if I hadn't been sure that this time it was going to be forever. In that mindset, moving in together seemed like a natural step. Especially in New York when paying two rents and spending most nights together doesn't make a lot of financial sense. I totally admit that; we both took into account the financial benefits of combining our living space.

What I didn't bargain on was that the relationship would not work out. What I also failed to consider was how the ending of the relationship might impact me when suddenly I found myself without a home to call my own. I didn't think about how I would feel trying to come to terms with a break-up and trying to grieve while at the same time trying to find a new place to live. The reality is, you can not grieve while trying to find an apartment in New York. There's just not enough time! The last two evenings I've spent hours on Craig's List, pouring over ads and leaving messages, and I've done that because, frankly, I don't have any choice. Ok, I guess I do have a choice. I could choose to stay in a really shitty situation and do nothing to take care of myself, or I could choose to try to find a new place to live. I've chosen, wisely, to pursue the latter course, but the latter course (especially in New York) sucks.

I don't want to be looking for an apartment right now. It takes up almost all of my energy, and what I want to be doing right now is crying, getting perspective, grieving, drowning my sorrows with friends, and doing pretty much anything other than slogging through the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn trying to find the next place to which I'm going to have to move my stuff. I don't want to think about what to do with my bed, or how much stuff I can get rid off. I don't want to go through my clothes and sort the ones I can give away to goodwill. I don't want to be in this mindset like I'm on a sinking ship and in order to survive I've got to cut off all the dead weight. I'm not ready to cut off all the dead weight in a mad rush. I want time to sort through my things and get things in order. But, unfortunately, I don't have time.

I also need to work, which is incredibly difficult while being super stressed out about finding an apartment immediately. I think it's complete and utter bullshit that I (and only I) have to be in this frenzy to extricate myself from what used to be "our" life, immediately. He made this decision not me, and because of his decision my entire life has been turned upside down. Yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself. And, yes, I do not think this is fair. I did not know that we would be breaking up. But I guess you never do.

I'm pissed today. Mostly I'm pissed because, as a result of Raj's decision, I do not even have time to be pissed. I need to work, I need to find an apartment, and neither of those leave much time to revel in one's emotions. Now, after this blogging diversion, I have to go back to my f---ing work, so that I can finish it as quickly as possible so that I can continue my f---ing apartment search. I'm pissed, sad, and angry and I think all of this is unfair.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apartment Hunting: The Upper UWS

For those of you unfamiliar with Manhattan, the place where the red arrow is pointing (125th Street), is far, far away from where I currently live. I'm down in Chelsea, which is on the west side of Manhattan about midway down the island. 125th street is almost 100 blocks north of where I live, or approximately 5 miles. In most places in the United States 5 miles would be nothing. In Manhattan, it's the difference between being happy and feeling like you're stuck in Siberia. It's even North of Central Park!

Not that I'm being negative at the moment. On the contrary, I'm extremely impressed with myself. I had never been that far North. I took off the afternoon from work (fuck 'em) and explored the border of Harlem! I have one friend up there who swears it's the greatest because it's away from the buzz of the city, you get more space for the money, and it's just "cool" in the way that neighborhoods in the process of gentrification are that haven't yet become hip.

However, I happen to like the buzz of the city, and as I was exploring the area between 100th to 125th street, my overriding impression was one of depression and isolation. It just felt so damn far away from everywhere I want to be (i.e. The Village, Chelsea, Soho, East Village, Union Square, UWS, etc.; basically anywhere on the West side up until 96th street, and many places on the East side).

Despite not being enthused by the upper, upper West side, I'm still really proud of myself for getting my butt in gear and checking it out. I saw two places, neither of which was anything special and way to small for the money and the location. CG told me yesterday during our session that I could feel miserable and sad, but that I had to "empower" myself while at the same time allowing myself to work through those feelings. Basically, she was saying that I needed to take some control of the situation, and even if I continued to feel sorry for myself (which I was totally doing two days ago) I still needed to take some action and act like the competent, bright, confident woman that I am. She suggested "educating" myself about the available rental options as a way of empowering myself and damn it, she was right. I do feel empowered because even though this situation totally sucks, I'm taking action to try to get myself out of a bad situation and into a better one. Go me.

In educating myself today by tramping all over the upper, upper West side, I learned that 100th street is my upper most limit. I also realized that I need to consider my mental health and the impact the darkening days will have on it. As the sunlight faded on 125th street, the area began to look even bleaker than it had earlier, and I thought to myself that though I could bear not snuggling with who I thought I was going to snuggle with this winter, I don't think I could bear it if I was trapped all the way up in Siberia. The isolation would wreck me. I'm just not ready for that. I'm a Manhattan girl, what can I say. And if I'm going to live in Manhattan, I want to live in Manhattan, not Harlem (even if it is the new cool place to be with slightly cheaper rent). I prefer veggie stands over fried chicken and a steady stream of cabs over vacant streets.

In addition to looking on Craig's List, I've contacted almost everyone I know in the city and enlisted their assistance. Shockingly, for a girl who has been convinced that she doesn't have close friends here, there are a large number of people on my list and almost every single one of them has come through. In trying times, you always find out who your true friends are. Lucky me, I have a good number of them.

Tomorrow, the search continues.

Therapeutic Processing

Therapists are great because they help you process. Last night, I saw CG and, as usual, she was awesome. Together, we waded through the muck (I actually had her skim that blog post at the start of our session so that she could get a snapshot of my mental state). I realized that - putting aside the relationship heartache - one of the main reasons I'm stressed and anxious about the idea of temporary housing is that I want a safe, stable place where I feel comfortable, and temporary housing does not represent that in my mind. Temporary housing is filled with random crazies, my stuff scattered between my brother's house and storage, and me sitting alone on a bed staring at the walls. Who wouldn't be freaking out about that image?

The idea that I might want a stable home, as opposed to flitting around the world trying to find a sense of purpose, should not have been an earthshattering revelation to me, but with my emotions in overdrive, it came as something of a surprise. Having my space has always been important to me. In addition, for the last couple of months I've been incredibly stressed out because of my feeling that I do not have an "anchor" or a "rock." Well, of course the anchor and the rock has to be MOI, and what I realized last night is that I probably can not be a good anchor to myself if immediately after ending a serious relationship, I proceed to summarily uproot everything else in my life at the exact same time. Not a good plan.

I don't need more uprooting right now. Losing a relationship, a job (even a despised one), and a city that I love all at the same time would be too much. It just doesn't make sense. I need to take care of myself, and I'm thinking today that taking care of myself might mean giving myself a stable place to live. So, like my wise friend Fran said yesterday, the first order of business is getting out of the apartment. That's what I'm going to focus on for now, and I'm going to push all the concerns about the job to the side. It would be good for me to find a place to live where I feel comfortable. That would be taking care of myself, which is what CG always focuses on. She always asks, "What do you need to do to take care of yourself?"

Breaking up was not part of my plan. But, it's happened, and so now I have to change the plan in order to take care of myself. I can kick, scream and cry while I do it, but I have to get it done.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Overwhelmed and Despondent At The Thought Of Moving (Out) (Again) (On)

My first day back at work in 8 days was not as awful as I had expected it to be. It was actually mildly comforting to have the familiarity of my office - and particularly my computer - back. Dragon Lady refrained from harassing me, and the major thing I had to deal with workwise were some issues with my pro bono contested divorce case, most of which I was able to take care of or put off until tomorrow.

Which was good, because I spent a good part of today alternating between crying over the loss of what I thought was going to be "the" relationship and wondering what the hell I'm going to do in terms of living space for the immediate future. I cried over lunch and a glass of wine with a friend, and then I cried later while talking to another friend on the phone. I need to move out because "our" place is Raj's. I moved in to his place back in April, and now that we have broken up, I need to move out.

I find this completely and utterly overwhelming. First, because until two weeks ago, when Raj told me that he no longer wanted to "try" to make our relationship work, I had had a semblance of a future plan (which, admittedly, I was already freaking out about). My plan had been to quit this deplorable job in January sans other job, take a small break to travel, and then come back home and play house with Raj while looking for a job that I really wanted to do. A job that I was passionate about. Since August, I've had it in my mind that come January, I would be quitting this place come hell or high water. It's become imprinted in my brain. I've had a countdown on my blog. I was down to 38 days!! (As of today). The idea of not leaving when I said I was going to leave fills me with dread and disappointment. I know I would be so proud of myself for leaving and telling them, in my own special way, to f--- off.

Now, obviously (as I'm coming to realize slowly and painfully) this plan needs to be tweaked, and most likely completely overhauled. The more people I speak with, the more times I'm told that you should look for a job while you have a job, and that it will be far more difficult to find a job if I'm without one while I'm looking. Apparently, this is because everyone assumes you are a loser or psycho who was fired from your old job. It's like a third eye in the middle of your forehead. Nobody wants to hire a Cyclops. Initially, I was highly resistant to this information. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to cave in and not quit out of cowardice. That was before I suddenly did not have a place to live and before Raj broke my heart. Before everything crumbled all at once.

Depressing as it is, the reality is that the most stable thing in my life right now is my job. Oh my god, that's so depressing. And I wonder why I've been wanting to run way to Tibet? The very same job that I was hell bent on quitting not two weeks ago. The very same job that I still passionately want to to quit.

And, I am still going to quit. But, instead of quitting without having a job lined up, I'm now considering alternatives, such as going to another law firm for a 6 month stint if I'm unable to find a public interest job in the next two months (while dealing with heartbreak and finding a new place to live). Then, at least I'll have health insurance, money, security, and stability which will allow me to stay in New York while I think about what and where I want my next step to be. It's a safer route, and it might be what I need to do in order to get through this break-up - pathetic and sad as that seems. This might actually be the low to which I have fallen. This idea (of going to another law firm as a temporary measure) sounded good to me for exactly 25 minutes this morning, and then popped up throughout the day, without making me ill. Writing about it now, however, fills me with a sick feeling in my chest. The idea of going to another law firm is so unbelievably depressing.

How this relates to looking for a place to live is that I've had this timeline, of quitting in January, embedded in my head since August, so January has always represented the endpoint to my self-imposed timeline. Now, when I'm visualizing looking for a place to stay, I keep finding myself clinging to that deadline, and thinking in temporary terms, looking for a place to sublet only through January. It's like I can't think past January! I also don't think I'm in the best frame of mind to go out and rent a place and sign a one-year lease. Basically, chaos has erupted in my head. My relationship, challenged as it was, was stability to me because it was something I was committed to. Now, it's gone, and it has created a massive void on many levels.

The second reason I find looking for a place to live utterly overwhelming is because this is f---ing New York and it's really hard to find an apartment here. Not to mention the fact that it's New York during the Holidays. Almost every listing on Craig's List is for a "holiday rental," from mid-December until mid-January. That does not help me very much, because I need a temporary place at least through the end of January.

Third, I want to sublet a studio or one-bedroom, some place that does not involve sharing an apartment with other people, something I have not done for over 6 years (with the exception of my time with Raj). The thought of living with randoms makes me ill. The thought of living with and meeting randoms while I'm emotionally vulnerable and falling to pieces is pretty much the worst thing I could imagine. Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck finding a studio to sublet. Frustrated, I responded to some apartment to share ads and later left a message on one girl's cell phone who had written me back. She sounded like a drill sergeant on her voice mail. I can't live with a drill sergeant!

Fourth, in addition to the logistical issues, I'm trying to deal with a swirl of emotions. Sometimes I feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest, other times I feel panicky and like I can't breathe, like I can't believe that this relationship is over. That it didn't work. That we are not going to be together. I was so convinced that it was going to work once we had worked through our problems, because I love him and I wanted it to work. But now it's over, and I don't know what the point of any of it was. What was the point of all that struggle if it didn't result in us being together? What a waste! So, I'm grappling with the end of something I wanted with all of my heart. I'm feeling loss, rejection, tiny sparks of anger, disbelief, disappointment, and crushing pain. I miss him. I can not believe we aren't going to have a future together.

Sometimes I feel calm and clear, like I have some perspective on why the relationship was not working for me. But, most of the time I just feel sad and filled with disbelief that it's over. How am I supposed to find a sublet while dealing with all of this? A sublet. A hideous shoebox filled with someone else's junk.

I don't think I can do it. I also don't want to do it. I wanted us to work out. That's why I moved in. That's why I put up my pictures alongside his. That's why I moved the last of my things out of storage a few weeks ago; because I was committed to making our relationship work and I truly believed that we had a future together.

But now, he has thrown that away. He has thrown me away. And, I need to find a sublet and the job that I hate with every cell in my body has become the most stable part of my life. That's the reality. This is unbelievably horrendous.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Coffee With Starshine

While I was down in Houston for Thanksgiving break, I did something that I had never done before. Drum roll, please. I met one of my blogging friends, Starshine. As this was my first time meeting a fellow blogger, someone I had "gotten to know" through my blog and their's, I was a little bit nervous prior to our coffee date. The fact that my mother had to drop me off at Starbuck's like I was back in grade school did not help. (Thanks for dropping me off Mom).

It turns out that I had no reason to be nervous. Starshine was as wonderful, kind, and genuine in person as she is on her blog. That's her on the left with the gorgeous red hair, and me on the right. Yes, we are posing for our blogs. Shamelessly. Our conversation picked up easily from where our blogs and emails to one another had left off. There was no awkwardness or searching for things to say, and I guess I should have expected that because before "meeting one another" we already knew a lot about one another - and we liked what we knew.

We spent a delightful morning getting acquainted in the physical world, running back through our basic life stories, and filling in details that had been left out of our posts. It was so much fun! It was also exactly what I needed on that particular morning. I also got to meet her man, esuitor, who was incredibly charming and very sweet. The two of them are so cute together! I'm very happy that Starshine and I met for coffee, and I'm already looking forward to the next time our paths cross outside of the blogging world.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I woke up this morning to the same thing I've woken up to for the last six days that I've been down here in Houston visiting my family. A stillness and a silence within me, and a sense of disbelief that Raj and I are no longer together. Within the stillness there's also a feeling of being completely alone.

Later in the day, I'll feel other emotions. I'll feel sadness, disappointment, hurt, and sometimes anger. Unfortunately, I haven't felt a lot of anger since Raj and I broke up 2 weeks ago. Hopefully, the anger will eventually come. My dominant emotions have been crushing sadness, disappointment, hurt, and a sense of disbelief. I've also felt panic and anxiety, but I know that has to do with a lot more than the break-up. Lucky me, in addition to my relationship ending, almost everything else in my life is also in a state to transition (and I was already in a panic about all of that before this particular rug was ripped out from under me).

I've never gone through a break-up where I loved the person and wanted to keep trying, but they decided to leave. Which is what happened. Raj decided that after our 3 year on-and-off relationship (one year one, one year off, this past year on), he did not want to try any longer, despite continuing to love me. Obviously, I do not want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me, and I knew that the instant he said that he didn't want to try anymore. Putting aside questions as to whether this is for the best, because time will tell, I've never been on this side of a break-up. I've never felt like my heart is breaking because I love someone who I can no longer be with. Who no longer wants to be with me.

I'm sure I'm also feeling rejection and abandonment, but maybe they're too painful to deal with. Maybe that's why I wake up to the stillness. Does all of this sound pathetic? Maybe. Someone I'm not that close with recently told me, "Don't let them see you cry. Keep your chin up." I don't agree with that advice and I don't see the point of it. I know that I'm going to get past this and I'm going to come out stronger, but I'm going to have to go through a process. Crying is part of that process, and thanks to a year of therapy I no longer feel weak for feeling hurt or for crying. I'm glad that I have the capacity to feel emotions strongly. It means I have depth.

Unfortunately, depth brings pain, and that's what I feel pressing in on me on the edge of my stillness. Today, as I'm surrounded by my mom and brothers, I'm not going to give in to the pain. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. In a while, after they all wake up, we'll have breakfast, and probably see the Borat movie, which even if being horribly stupid will probably have at least a few solid laughs, which has to be good for me. Then, this afternoon I fly back to New York and the stillness of what used to be "our" apartment.

At least the apartment has half of me in it. After a week with my family, I need some me time. Even if the me time brings with it a lot of sorrow.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things About My Thanksgiving

1) I spent this Thanksgiving with my mom and two brothers, and overall really enjoyed my time with all of them.

2) I missed my sister, Bean, who spent the holiday with her husband in Utah. I think it was the first Thanksgiving that all four kids in my family weren't together. But, we all talked on the phone, so we stayed connected.

3) On Thanksgiving morning, my brothers and I went for a 3-mile run outside. I had to stop a bunch of times, but Bacchus cheered me on which was very cool. At the end, I was really happy that I had gone running with them, and I resolved to get back into running regularly once I get back to New York.

4) My mom's sweet potatoes were awesome, as usual. She mixes sweet potatoes and granny smith apples in an orange juice and grand marnier sauce and then tops them with marshmallows.

5) My two desserts were a hit, especially the apple crisp, which is all gone. We still have about 1/2 of the pumpkin pie left (so I guess that wasn't quite as big of a hit).

6) The four of us played 3 intense games of Taboo. (We're a little competitive.) We switched teams each time, but every time I was on the winning team. Coincidence? I think not.

7) At one point, my mother, who's word was "sausage," ended up saying that my brother Bacchus always says he has a huge one, and when that didn't work, saying that you could have it with syrup. My brother Frey yelled out, in exasperation, "cock and balls," and all of us were like, what the hell does that have to do with syrup? It was a little dirty, but hilarious.

8) At another point, my brother Frey had a word and got me to say "Borat," by saying that he has a new movie out now that we are all going to see. He then said that I needed to change some letters at the end, for which he was ultimately disqualified. He wanted me to say "Bor-ay." None of us could figure out what the word "bor-et" could be, until we looked at his card and realized the word was "bore" (without the gratuitous French accent). That lead to a lot of laughing as well.

9) I now have half of a scarf knitted and I'm fairly proud of myself, although I'm not sure how I feel about plain old knit-stitch as a pattern.

10) We all watched Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth. The situation is indeed dire. I always think about what a waste it is that all the buildings in New York keep so many of their lights on throughout the night.

11) Speaking of dire, I've been reading "Under the Banner of Heaven," about the fundamentalist Mormon church and their practice of polygamy. The idea of 14 year old girls being forced to marry men double their age and becoming their third or fourth wife is repulsive and extremely disturbing. The book, so far, is great.

12) I'm very thankful because I received very good news on my pro bono asylum case. I don't want to jinx it, but I'll share it later.

13) The weather has been gorgeous. Eventhough the Christmas tree in the square looks strange in 70 degree weather, after this week in the sunshine, sitting outside on my mom's porch swing, I'm starting to see the appeal of the winter holidays in summer weather.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Laughter and Relaxation

One of the things I decided to do while I was down in Houston this week was to try to do something positive and fun for myself each day. Yesterday, that was going with my Mom and some of her friends to see the new Will Ferrell movie, Stranger Than Fiction, also staring Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah. I went in search of light entertainment and laughter.

As a general rule, I'm not a huge fan of Will Ferrell movies, as they tend to be a little bit too idiotic for my tastes. However, there are a few of his movies that I've loved, including Anchorman (Christina Applegate was fantastic!), Wedding Crashers (hated Will Ferrell's character in that movie but Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Isla Fisher, and Rachel McAdams were all great), and Elf. The funniest part of Elf was when Will Ferrell gave his Dad a Christmas present which turned out to be women's Christmas-themed lingerie. Omg, it was so funny and it made me laugh so hard that no sound was coming out, the way my Dad laughs over British comedy.

Stranger Than Fiction is the story of a boring and bored IRS agent, Will Ferrell, who suddenly, on a random Wednesday, starts to hear a woman's voice narrating his life. The mysterious voice is the voice of Emma Thompson, a writer of tragedies suffering from writer's block and Will Ferrell is non other than the main character in Thompson's evolving book. As Thompson, with the help of Queen Latifah struggles with writer's block and tries to figure out out to kill off Ferrell's character, Ferrell becomes smitten by Gyllenhaal, a baker with anarchist tendencies and a dislike of the US Government's military expense budget.

I've always liked Gyllenhaal (check her out in Secretary and Mona Lisa Smile) and thought she did a great job in Stranger Than Fiction. She was wonderful, although I was hard pressed to believe that any sparks would have flown between Gyllenhaal and Ferrell's characters. Not to say that Ferrell didn't look decent in the movie, because, surprisingly, he did. Stripped of his usual deliberate stupidity and/or sleaze factor, he was actually fairly attractive and quite endearing. All in all, I enjoyed the movie and found it pretty entertaining. It made me laugh, so I got out of it what I wanted.

Today, I went for relaxation as opposed to laughter and had a hot stone massage and a manicure. I've been wanting to try out a hot stone massage for a while, and I was not disappointed. The hot stones against my skin felt like they were melting away stresses, and I left the spa after an hour feeling more limber and relaxed.

Other than that, I've been getting ready for Thanksgiving. I'm spending it with my mom and two brothers, and am looking forward to all of us being together. I'm baking an apple crisp and a pumpkin pie. I'm not big on cooking, but baking is fun. Speaking of which, the kitchen is calling.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I woke up sad today, and though I've been trying to ignore it, the sadness has stayed with me. I've been thinking about the recent break-up, and of course him. Driving to my Dad's this morning - a small miracle that my mother allowed me to borrow her car despite her contention that Houston highways are basically the equivalent of death traps - I heard a song from Outkast that we used to dance to. Horrible. I think part of this taking care of me thing will have to include trying to disremember happy memories, including eliminating some of the music that invokes those memories. I'm off to have lunch with my Dad and Stepmom. Houston is chilly but sunny, and I'm glad I'm able to spend the day here, despite feeling weighed down by all of these emotions.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Incompatible Love?

I've been thinking a lot about love and relationships recently for obvious reasons. I'm a romantic at heart and I have always believed (and I know I'll sound cliche here) that love conquers all. No matter what, if there is true love, the love is supposed to triumph and the two people are supposed to live happily ever after. That is how it is supposed to work.

Take the Princess Bride, one of the greatest movies of all time, and the story of another Buttercup, this one a Princess. In that movie, Princess Buttercup had a true love, Westley (who I had a crush on when the movie first came out), who she was separated from by a number of massive obstacles including: An arrogant king who wanted to force Buttercup to wed him, Westley's need to assume a false identity as a dreaded pirate, a Giant, a swordsmen, ugly swamp-dwelling rat creatures, and a maniacal evil little man set on Westley's destruction. Those are some serious obstacles, but guess what happened? In the end the love between Princess Buttercup and Westley prevailed; their love was true, and so they made it through the challenges.

Admittedly, the Princess Bride is a fairy tale, but if the point of the tale is wrong, if love doesn't conquer all, what's the point of love? If you can love someone, and they can love you, and you can't have faith in that love to get you through, there is no point in love. If love does not conquer all, love is is only a cliff from which you leap off into the unknown, not knowing whether you'll crash down upon the rocks below. There's no security in a love that can not conquer all.

Now, I'm not talking about a situation where two people allegedly fall in love and then one or both of them fall out of love with the other one. This by the way, I would not define as love. I would say that in hindsight, what probably happened is that the two people *thought* they were in love, but actually were not, or at least that they did not fall truly and completely in love. Prior to my last relationship, I had had many boyfriends, and at the time that I was dating them, there were several that I thought that I loved. But with time, I've realized that what I felt for them was not really love. It was affection, infactuation, tenderness, caring, compassion, admiration, respect, and a host of other emotions that all rolled together approximated something very close to love. But the love that I thought I had for them didn't last, so I broke up with them, and ultimately I came to realize that I hadn't really loved them, at least not as much as I'm capable of loving now. (And perhaps that's because your capacity to love develops over time as you grow and mature, but that's a different topic).

Perhaps, if the other person did something horrible to you, and you truly loved them, then your love for them could fade and die. But in those circumstances, probably what had happened is that you fell in love with who you thought they were, instead of who they actually were. Upon realizing that the object of your love did not exist as you had imagined them, it makes sense that your love would fade and die, after you accepted that reality.

What started me thinking about all of this, some time ago, was when someone introduced to me the notion that a relationship might not work out, even though there is love between the two people, because of some type of incompatibility. The idea being that the two people, though loving one another, might just not be a "good fit." They might just have different lifestyles, different views, different desires as to how to spend their time, different priorities. And so, the notion was put to me, love does not conquer all, because sometimes two people who love one another might just be a bad fit.

At the moment, though I'm struggling with this and open to opposing viewpoints, I think this is a load of crap, and I do not care if my sole basis for believing this comes from fairytales. If you love someone, then you love them. You treat them with care, you think about what brings them happiness, you make them a priority, not because you have to, but because you want to. You are there for them because you want to be, because you care about them, and because without them your life would be less meaningful.

This notion of a relationship not working because of incompatibilities as opposed to a lack of love just doesn't ring true for me. It sounds like an excuse. It sounds like a lack of love. Because if there is love between two people, they should be able to iron out the incompatibilities. The incompatibilities should fade away, not the love.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Glimpse of Me

I filched this from Wordnerd:

You can only type one word (although I had to cheat for a few of them). That's it.

Once you read mine, copy and paste your answers in the comments. I'll be checking in to see what you say!

Yourself: Passionate
Your partner: Gone
Your hair: Long
Your mother: Selfless
Your father: Tough
Your favorite item: COHJeans
Your dream last night: Telling
Your favorite drink: Jack&Ginger
Your dream car: Hybrid
Your dream home: Ecofriendly
The room you are in: Kitchen
Your ex: Unknown
Your fear: Wasted Potential
Where you want to be in ten years: Happy
Who you hung out with last night: Me
What you're not: Fulfilled
Muffins: Bran
One of your wish list items: Powerbook
Time: Stretched
The last thing you did: Breakfast
What you are wearing: Jeans
Your favorite weather: Rainy
Your favorite book: Fantasy
Last thing you ate: Cinnamon Bun
Your life: In Transition
Your mood: Contemplative
Your best friends: Loyal
What are you thinking about right now: My Future
Your car: Nonexistent
What are you doing at the moment: Thinking
Your summer: Mixed
Relationship status: Heartbroken
What is on your tv: Sports
What is the weather like: Sunny
When is the last time you laughed: Two Days Ago

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I went to a wonderful feminist conference today focusing on violence against women and the most recent UN report on the topic. Catherine A. MacKinnon, one of my former law school professors was the key note speaker and she was amazing as usual. I bought her new book, "Are Women Human?: And Other International Dialogues" and am looking forward to reading it this week in Houston. A lot of the conference dealt with two of my favorite women's rights topics, trafficking and prostitution, and it was quite inspiring. More on that later.

I'm getting out of NY for the next week (though I will be blogging) to rest, clear my head, and hopefully get some perspective on my immediate future. It's been a long time since I had a week to do nothing; most vacations I try to run around and see as much as possible, and though I have a great time, I often end up feeling like I need a vacation to recover from my vacation!

But this week, I'll just be hanging out in Houston with my family. I'm looking forward to a lot of sleep, time to get in some runs, reading, knitting and relaxing. I also need to do a bunch of mental house-keeping. Of course, at the end of the week there will also be Thanksgiving and my mom's famous sweet potato dish topped with toasted marshmallows. Yum.

Friday, November 17, 2006

33 Hours

It's done!! I'm writing this after crashing at 4 pm after the court hearing and waking up from a deep sleep at 9 pm wondering what day it was and what was going on - a disorientation induced not only from the sleep, but from the sheer, all consuming intensity of the last couple of days. It's something I experienced a lot my first year, where I would be at the office late into the night for days at a time, exhausted, and completely shut off from the world.

This time it was different, of course, because I was working for my pro bono client, and I was prepping for trial, something I had never done before, and something which is very different than meaningless document review or working for arbitrary deadlines. The similarity between the last few days and last year was that I was working extremely hard, and I was aware - a thought on the edge of my focus, that would wash over me now and then - that I was alone. No one was waiting at home for me to snuggle with for a few minutes when I rolled home at 5 am after burying myself at my desk for hours on end. I don't mean to be depressive, because I don't feel depressed. I feel strong, actually. What I recalled was that I've done this before. I've been in New York without someone to snuggle with at the end of the night, and I can do it. Sure, it would be nice to have someone who loves me waiting at home. It's not like I would mind them drawing a hot bath for me or giving me a little foot rub at the end of the day. However, I don't need it to survive. I didn't crumble last year, and I most certainly am not going to crumble now.

But, back to this trial prep, which was actually, dare I say it, kind Until yesterday, I would have told you, and I did, that I dislike the practice of family law immensely. Maybe it's because my own parents were divorced. Maybe it's because it never seems like there's a winner. Maybe it's just draining to wade through the minutiae of someone's relationship, their pains, their hurts, their abuse, their inability to move on. Or, maybe it's because I've never found it all that intellectually stimulating. But, intellectual stimulation in the law is probably over rated. I didn't get into the law for that. I got into it to do some good.

And that's what I did today! Woo-hoo! Now don't get too excited, because we ended up not having the trial. However, we did get all the temporary relief we could have hoped for, for our client. I'm saying "we" because I work with another associate on this case. The two of us worked through the night completing our direct exam and cross exam scripts, organizing exhibits, and putting together a last minute motion (at 3 am!) to compel the other side to respond to our outstanding discovery requests. For those non-lawyers out there, "discovery" is simply when you ask the other side for information. The other side is supposed to give it to you, but inevitably they stall. Our defendant hadn't given us anything, which made the idea of having a trial to decide such issues as the division of property more than a little daunting. We had know idea what this guy has!

We finished everything at 6:30 am, which gave me just enough time to go home, shower, hop into my suit, and get back to the office where my partner and I grabbed all of our exhibits and headed over to court. I was thinking as I locked my apartment, after showering and changing and forcing myself to ignore my bed - which was calling to me to come and lay down - that I am made of steel. That's actually what I felt like; like I had a rod of steel running through my core that was going to hold me up and get me through whatever we needed to do that day in terms of the trial, in terms of staying awake for the trial, and in terms of being focused enough to give the other side hell. Trust me, the other side deserves it.

Once we arrived at court, as I mentioned, we didn't have a trial, which is what we had been hoping for. I spoke and made our argument to the Judge and he agreed with me!! Not only that, but every time the other side's attorney tried to open her mouth with a counter argument, the Judge totally shot her down. It was so awesome! Mainly because it was the exact opposite of what I had expected to happen, which was that the Judge was going to attempt to crucify me for a number of things, including filing a last minute motion. But we won!!

Another interesting outcome, with personal implications for me, is that we agreed to reschedule the trial for the end of January. As you all know, I've been planning to be gone by then. However, post-poning the trial until the end of January was in the best interests of my client. Although I'm still sleep-deprived and probably not in the best frame of mind to make a decision, I'm fairly certain that I'm going to stay through the trial. I've worked with this client for almost 2 years and I think she would be devastated to lose one of her attorneys right before trial. I also think it's going to be kind of fun. Plus, at this point, I've done the bulk of the prep work, so it shouldn't be too bad in January, at least not with respect to this case. What's the moral of that? That even the best laid plans, or the ones that aren't made at all, can be broken and changed. You never know what's going to happen.

Ok, I'm off to celebrate with my girl friends. A bevy of cocktails awaits! Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


During the last few days, I have been frantically preparing for a pro bono contested divorce trial. It is the first trial that I have ever done, and I've been forced many a time to go back to my Bar outlines to figure out such basic things as rules of evidence and admissibility. Yikes! I'm having a mild heart attack.

I was up until 5 am last night, came back to the office at 9 am, and have been working around the clock today. All of this will be done by the end of the day tomorrow, but until then there's still a direct to complete, exhibits to identify, copy and mark, a motion to prepare, subpoenas to draft, and a myriad of other tasks. I'm freaking out a little because I want to do right by my client. We'll see what happens. Cross your fingers.

One thing I've realized is that Judges have a tendency to yell at attorneys, so I think I can handle that. I just "Yes, your honor" them to death. I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of yelling and a lot of "Yes, your honor"s tomorrow.

One thing is for certain: After 5 pm tomorrow, I'm going to be doing some serious drinking. (Which for me is like 3 drinks. Any more and I'm under the table!).

Thursday Thirteen # 16

Thirteen Things I Did To Steel Myself

1) Met a friend for a drink.
2) Focused on work and the needs of my pro bono clients.
3) Allowed myself to cry, and cry, and cry and then made myself stop.
4) Took anti-anxiety medicine.
5) Tried to sleep 8 hours each night, but kept waking up after horrible dreams.
6) Made myself get up each morning despite the silence of the apartment and the emptiness in my chest.
7) Gave myself a number of excellent orgasms.
8) Reminded myself that I am strong, that I will come out of this stronger.
9) Talked with my family and friends.
10) Wrote about my feelings.
11) Met with my therapist.
12) Went to knitting class.
13) Made plans to take next week off and spend it with people who love me unconditionally.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One of Many Reasons I Dislike My Firm

Since I'm so cheery lately, I thought I'd direct some negativity back towards my firm for a while. Why not? One thing I've noticed while going to countless depositions is the varying treatment that partners from other firms give to junior associates. For example, at today's deposition, it was clear that a junior associate was being allowed to "take the lead," while his partner sat at his side ready to offer him assistance. The junior associate made objections, counseled the witness, dealt with opposing counsel, and generally ran the show. The partner sat silently by, occasionally conferring with the junior associate. It was like they were almost equals. It was like they had mutual respect for one another. It was so bizarre.

This type of mentoring is something I have never experienced at my firm. Whenever I have gone to a deposition with a partner, it's never been a situation where I am allowed to take the lead under the partner's guidance. Rather, I'm there in a "second chair" capacity, which means that I sit next to the partner and hand him or her documents as needed. Usually such experiences are intensely stressful, particularly when second-chairing for Dragon Lady, because if there's any hesitation in finding a document, or any glitches, however tiny, there's a sense that you have committed an inexcusable error, that you are a total failure, and that you might as well go jump off a building since you are so completely lacking in worth. Those are the type of people with whom I currently have the pleasure of working.

In the long run, a lack of mentoring hurts both the firm and the associates. Associates get frustrated and go elsewhere in order to seek out the type of mentoring and training which is essential to their professional development. The firm loses smart people at an extremely high rate, and has to expend additional resources training new waves of first years - most of whom will go through the same process, become dissatisfied, and end up leaving after collecting their bonuses. At my firm, I believe we lose and gain approximately 100 associates each year. That's not a firm. That's a revolving door.

In this cycle, the ultimate losers are the firms. Of course, they don't notice this because they have a steady stream of income, and a steady stream of incoming first years to suck dry and abuse. At least all firms aren't like this, as my experience at today's deposition shows. But, a lot of them are, including mine. So, law school students, beware.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I went to knitting class today, and once again was happy to have gone. It's nice to be surrounded by relaxed women, and knitting - surprisingly - is so technical, at least at this learning stage, that it takes up all of my concentration and leaves little room for contemplating other stresses. Tonight, my performance was less than stellar. My stitches were tiny, tight, and twisted. A projection of sorts? Perhaps.

I picked out this yarn for my first project. It's a bulky, hand-dyed yarn made of 50% alpaca and 50% wool, made by "Blue Sky." (Color: 1020; Lot: 2618). Not knowing anything whatsoever about yarn, I have no idea if this is good yarn. As I'm writing this, I'm also thinking that I should have researched "Alpacas" and what they have to go through in order for this yarn to be produced. I have to use giant wooden knitting needles with this yarn which is kind of cool.

I have no idea if I'm going to be able to knit anything remotely attractive, but that's not really the point. The point is to practice and to occupy my mind. My plan for next week and the Thanksgiving break, assuming Cheaptickets comes through, is to hang out in Texas with my family and friends and relax. I thought starting a scarf might be therapeutic. If I'm up for it, I might try to figure out where I'm going to live until I quit my job, and what I want to do with my life come January. Big questions. But for now, I'm viewing the purchase of the yarn as a positive step in the right direction. That, along with arranging to be gone from work and out of the apartment all of next week. Baby steps to minimize stressors.

Filled With Ashes

Waking up this morning in the silent apartment was sad. I didn't sleep well, and I woke up feeling exhausted, with my eyes puffy and stinging. It was hard to get ready, and, while putting on my eye-shadow, I thought how ridiculous it was that I was spending energy on that. I went back into the bedroom to get a shirt and I saw the picture he has sitting on his bureau, the one with him, his brother, and his sister, where he looks very handsome. The one that, before, always made me contemplate how beautiful his eyes were.

That hurt, and I went to the kitchen cabinet and popped my anti-anxiety pill. I never thought I would take pills for anything. But now, it seems to make sense to dull the edge of anxiety and hurt in order to get through the day. It's helping because I've managed not to cry once today. Ok, I got teary when I saw the picture, and maybe a few tears trickled out as I locked up the apartment and left for work, but other than that, I've managed to hold it together remarkably. Later in the day, when I went to change my desktop background from the picture we took while we were on vacation last month to something else, I came across more pictures of us. Unfortunately, we were looking happy, and it made me so sad. Clearly, I need to collect everything that reminds me of him and put it away somewhere, eventually.

I've spent my day trying not to think about this and focusing on my pro bono client's contested divorce case. We've been in a meeting for most of the day. I've counseled her and hugged her and told her everything was going to be ok, all the while feeling like I had ashes inside of me.

I still haven't figured out if I want to write about any of this. I don't know if it will be more painful months from now to look back on how I was feeling. On the other hand, I like my blog, and I've been committed to writing consistently. The difficult part now, is that the best I can do is try to get through work, while trying not to let these feelings of loss and sadness overwhelm me. They're the only things I have to write about. I don't have any energy for anything else. At least not right now.

I think I'm going to take off some extra days next week and go stay with my family in Houston through the Thanksgiving break. My brother Bacchus is sensitive and caring, and he's also one of the funniest people I know. Plus he has two adorable dogs that will shower me with affection, along with pouncing all over me. I just need to get out of that apartment. It's too much.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Things appear to be falling apart on all fronts. Dragon Lady bitched me out once already this morning because I had not been able to review some documents as a result of all the depositions I've had to cover in the last couple months. And, to be truthful, as a result of all these personal issues I was focusing on and trying to resolve. Then, Dragon Lady emailed to say that a box of her documents with her personal notes has gone missing. Guess who is being held responsible for this disaster? Yes, that would me.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to have a trial at the end of the week on a pro bono divorce case. Can I say how much I hate family law? It is by far one of the most demoralizing areas of the law. My poor client, who I want to help with all my heart, is freaking out, and understandably so, as a lot of the documents we need for her case have been impossible to get because her husband refuses to hand them over. I don't even know if there is going to be a trial yet, which makes focusing on preparing a direct rather difficult.

As far as my emotional state, I'd say I'm a wreck. I was crying for most of the morning, and then around noon started feeling numb and a little dazed. I think it might be the drugs. My psychiatrist, luckily, had prescribed some anti-anxiety medication last week when I was already freaking out about my job and life; before everything else fell apart. Thank god, because I think my eyelids have absorbed as much salt water as they can handle. I look like a red-rimmed, puffy-eyed turtle. At least my skin is smooth. Have you ever noticed that? How crying your heart out ends up leaving you washed out and drained, but with very smooth skin. It's bizzare.

I just want to go home and cry. But I can't go home because I have to work, and because if I go home I'll be surrounded by all of our stuff that is no longer our stuff, but stuff I need to go through and sort, and then pack up, eventually. I feel like I'm walking around with a spear through my heart. The spear is at least six inches in diameter, and it hurts. Oh no, here come the tears again. Gotta go.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I feel like someone has carved a hole in my chest and taken a piece of me away. The feeling of missing him is overwhelming. I can't stop crying. I feel an incredible sense of loss. The loss of the present, and the loss of the future I thought we were going to have. I feel so sad being in our apartment alone. I feel like I'm suffocating. I don't think I'll be able to write for a while.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Party dress

Another 4 day week for me! I'm down in North carolina for one of my close girlfriend's weddings. At the moment I'm watching Wood and dutch get Juniper into her party dress. So adorable. See you in a few days.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #15

Thirteen Signs The Country Might Be Salvageable

1) We have a blue shift!

2) The Democrats recaptured the House of Representatives after 12 years of Republican control.

3) The Democrats gained 5 states in the Senate, Montana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Republicans made no gains!

4) The Democrats gained 28 districts in the House of Representatives. According to my reading of the map, the gains were made in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky. North Carolina, Texas, and Kansas.

5) The Democrats also may have taken the Senate.

6) President Bush described the election results as a cumulative “thumping” of Republicans, and apparently took some responsibility for the sea change. Yi-hah!

7) Representative Nancy Pelosi will become the first women ever to serve as speaker of the House of Representatives.

8) Voters rejected the referendum in South Dakota to uphold that state's strict ban on abortion by a 56% to 44% margin.

9) Voters in Missouri approved a measure to permit stem cell research.

10) Ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage were offered in six states, and all six of them were approved.

11) Rumsfeld is G-g-g-g-o-n-e!

12) The majority used their votes to express their dissatisfaction with Bush’s foreign policy, and in particular, the war in Iraq.

13) The stage is set for Hillary's presidential run in 2008. Go Hillary!!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is the Ceiling Still Made of Glass, Or Is The Other Side Merely A Miserable Place?

I sat for 8 hours in a windowless conference room for a deposition with 20 other lawyers, all of whom were men. The witness, court reporter, and videographer were also men. Most of them were graying at the temples. They had bad coffee, and it was so boring I wanted to stab myself repeatedly in the heart with an ice pick.

During the past few weeks, I have interviewed 6 candidates, all of whom are under the mistaken impression that they want to work for my law firm. All of them were male except for one women.

Both of these lead me to conclude that there is still a considerable gender gap at the law firms, particularly as you move in to the upper echelons of the law firm (where the crazies who don't care about having a life or family go).

It also makes me wonder about the source of this gender gap. Possibly, it's some form of discrimination once you get into the partnership process. I, of course will never find that out first hand because (a) I'm leaving, and (b) only about 2 people make partner each year. The chances of any one associate making it to partner are quite slim.

I personally have never experienced any type of sex discrimination since working at the firm. What I'm beginning to think instead is that the gender gap is, in part, a result of women being smarter than men, and thus getting out quicker upon realizing the hellish reality of law firm life. It's convenient that we can get pregnant and get out that way too. Not me, not any time soon. But if things were different, I would most certainly take my maternity benefits and go. Why not? They've already had my blood, and pregnant, I would be perpetuating the human race. They owe me. Maternity leave is a small price to pay for women's professional and societal contributions.

My boyfriend, also a lawyer at a big firm, would probably disagree that women's disproportionate representation in the law firm ranks is a result of their higher intelligence. Maybe not? I'm sure it also relates fundamentally to the gender roles that are still very much entrenched in our society, and the expectations that they create both on an individual and societal level.

Sitting in the conference room, I felt a familiar feeling of being torn, something I remember feeling a lot more when I first started my job. Torn because I am the equal to all of those men, and, as a woman, I should have the opportunity to work among them if I want to. It's important to create space for women in all these formally male-dominated professions. Remember that our time in the professions is relatively recent. We only got the vote 86 years ago.

But, I don't want to take up this space anymore. Not even a little bit. I don't want to grow up to be like the men I see at my law firm, working all the time, missing family events, going bald and developing guts from too little exercise, too much restaurant food and take-out, and too much stress. And, I certainly don't want to grow up to be like the women at my firm. What a miserable existence.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Knitters Are Cool

I had my first knitting class today, and I am so happy and proud of myself for signing up for it. Happy, because it was relaxing and fun, and there were a bunch of cool women in the class. Proud, because despite being in the midst of going through a rough time right now, I was able to take this positive step towards creating the kind of (non-lawfirm) life that I want. A more stress-free life that includes time for me, the activities I enjoy, and the people that I care about.

When the class started, we had to go around in a circle and introduce ourselves. I was the only lawyer in the room, and the only one who said they wanted to try knitting because they were "stressed out" and wanted to relax. Yes, I actually said that. My god, I can't wait for the day when that description no longer fits. The other women's energy was about 10 blissful octaves below mine. They seemed relaxed, genuinely interested in the creative process, and I got the sense that they all had full lives beyond their jobs.

It was like the Twilight Zone. No one was stressed out. No one was checking their blackberries. I loved it.

Tonight, we learned how to "cast on," "knit stitch," and "pearl stitch." My delightfully imperfect attempts at all of those skills are pictured above. All in all, I think I did a decent job, and I truly enjoyed it. It takes a lot of focus, and once I get good enough to get a rhythm going, I could see how knitting could be incredibly relaxing, and almost meditative. The perfect thing to practice while watching tonight's coverage of the election returns.

Go Dems!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Unwelcome House Guest

Forty-five minutes ago, Raj came home and found me jumping up and down on the couch on my tiptoes, making high-pitched noises of distress while peering furiously across the room into the kitchen area of our apartment. A minute before that, I had innocently gone to throw a piece of paper away into our kitchen trash can.

Can you imagine my horror when I opened the cupboard door and saw the tail-end of a rodent racing back into the darkness along the edge of the trash can? A rodent. A fairly big rodent. 8 inches away from my me! Ewwwhh!!

Completely grossed out (me, not him), we went immediately to Duane Reade (New York's drug stores) and purchased a mouse-busting arsenal. We came back to the house armed with 4 traditional mouse traps and 2 sticky pads. I prefer the traditional mouse traps as (I believe) they kill the mouse quicker, and are thus less painful and less cruel. The sticky pads, which are supposed to trap the mouse while it's running by seem more inhumane. Plus, what do you do with a live mouse trapped on one of the sticky pads? I don't think I could pick it up. I can hardly pick up the mouse traps with the dead mice on them.

Of course, all the traps are cruel. There's no getting around it. However, there's also no getting around the fact that I absolutely can not live with a mouse - or god forbid a rat! And, this being New York, it could very well be a rat. I see them all the time crawling around the tracks of the subway. I'm sorry, but my love of animals does not extend to sharing my home with rodents or roaches.

After we came back from the store, Raj cleaned out the cupboards and I started setting up the mouse traps, baiting each trap with a dollop of Skippy peanut butter. I'm usually quite good at setting traps. However, this time, my attention wavered for a millisecond and the very first trap snapped shut on my thumb. If you have never snapped a mousetrap on your fingers, please take this advice: avoid it. The trap snapped down on the knuckle of my left thumb, which is now a faintly greenish blue. Ouch.

The pain only made me more determined to get the mouse. I announced to the mouse my intention to kill it - on the chance that this mouse is of the Mrs. Frisby variety, I wanted to give it fair warning to clear out before meeting an untimely death - and then placed the traps.

I'm sorry Mouse.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


In the past year, I've had a number of revelations related to breasts and clothes, all of which have boiled down to one over-arching revelation: Little boobs mean that I can wear whatever I want. After years of feeling like there were whole genres of clothes that were out of my reach because my boobs were more like peaches than melons, this newfound discovery has left me feeling quite liberated.

The main obstacle I've found with little boobs is pointage. Although some women flaunt the pointy nipple look, I'm personally not a fan. Big-boobed women don't have to worry so much about pointage. Their voluptuous curves present different problems, such as bouncing, sagging, and falling out of tops, but pointage is usually one problem they don't have to worry about, or at least not as much as little-boobed women. Sure, headlights are a problem for boobs of all sizes, but pointage is more noticeable on little boobs - where it's not backed up by inches of bountiful cleavage.

My first discovery, which I came across at the Pink Slip - a trendy lingerie store located in Grand Centra that I absolutely adore - was the Nu-Bra, a strapless, backless bra made of two lightly molded cups that clip together in the front, with sticky, rubbery inner surfaces that grab, squeeze, and lift, hiding nipplage and creating miraculous cleavage. It's truly amazing, and although the description might sound a bit messy, I assure you it's not. The best thing about the Nu-bra is that the clipping feature sits low enough down on your chest so that you can wear it with very low-cut tops and dresses. It also stays in place perfectly, with the exception of heated environments, such as clubs, where the sweat factor can make the sticky surfaces of the Nu-Bra slip slightly out of place. This has only happened to me once, after hours of dancing, but I raise it in the interest of full-disclosure.

The second discovery I made was Gap's Padded Bandeau Bra, the perfect bra to wear with a strapless dress. I discovered it last summer after purchasing my first strapless dress. I had not realized that tube-top friendly bras like this existed! I don't like heavily padded bras, but I do like making the most of my assets. The light molding of the Bandeau Bra is perfect because it maintains a nice shape while at the same time hiding nipplage. Although I've noticed that the bra gets a little uncomfortable after several hours - because the elastic band fits so snugly around your chest - for the most part I've been very happy with mine. I bought one in blue, to go under a blue strapless dress, and another in pale pink. Love them.

The third, and most recent, discovery happened just last night when I had the brilliant idea to use small round band-aids - the kind that comes in the band-aid variety pack that I can never seem to find a use for - as glorified nipple guards. I was going out to dinner and then dancing and had planned to wear my new Chloe top, the backless, wrap-around halter top. The top is gorgeous, but cut with an extremely low "v" in the front that would have made it impossible to use any type of strapless bra. The silk fabric is luxurious enough so that I felt pretty confident going braless, but I wanted a little something to cover up the nipplage. Basically, I needed tassle-free pasties. To my surprise, the band-aids worked perfectly, and removal was relatively painless.

Got any more boobilicious ideas? Share!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I Humbly Concede That UFC Fighters Are Better Off Than Prostitutes

After my first exposure to the brutal and sometimes bloody world of Ultimate Fight Championship, I hypothesized that the fighters competing in UFC might have decided to do so as a result of a lack of other viable career alternatives. Having never encountered a boy who wanted to grow up to beat someone to a bloody pulp in a UFC ring (maybe I'm strange like that), and presuming that given the choice most people would choose an occupation that allows them to keep their bodily integrity intact, it seemed reasonable to conclude that UFC fighters were likely fighting because they had to, not because they wanted to. Similar to sex-workers. Yes, it's true, I compared UFC fighters to sex workers.

My brother, Bacchus, and Ben wrote thoughtful, convincing comments refuting my basic assumption - that UFC fighters fight because they have to, not because they want to - and challenging my comparison between UFC fighters and prostitutes. Bacchus pointed out that many of the UFC fighters had been all-American wrestlers and had had the benefit of college scholarships, and were thus not necessarily economically or educationally challenged. Assuming Bacchus is correct, he brings up an important difference between UFC fighters and prostitutes. Prostitutes certainly don't get scholarships for their sex work. Their sexual skills do not bring them educational advantages. And, young women who excel at sex in highschool are not recognized as anything other than all-American sluts - the sexual double standard being what it is in our society.

Ben also challenged my comparison of UFC fighters to prostitutes by arguing that UFC fighters pursue and achieve glory, whereas prostitutes, far from attaining glory, experience only a violation as a result of their occupation. He pointed out that "little boys are taught that being tough is good, while little girls are taught that having sex with strangers is very, very bad." Good points, Ben. Little boys who grow up to be UFC fighters are pursing a socially acceptable career path for them, while at the same time attaining the pinnacle of masculinity; a state highly valued in our society. Prostitutes, in contrast, are actively devalued for their participation in a highly unacceptable (though incredibly well-utilized) and (hypocritically) disdained occupation. In that respect prostitutes and UFC fighters are very dissimilarly situated. One might even argue that UFC fighters are rewarded for being ultimate men, whereas prostitutes are punished for being ultimate women (in a highly stereotypical, generalized sense).

Bacchus and Ben are right, comparing UFC fighters to prostitutes was not a fair comparison. I gave far too much credit to UFC fighters. I was presuming that reasonable, rational human beings - even if they are men - would not willingly choose to put themselves in a position where they had to either beat the crap out of their opponent or face the possibility of getting the crap beaten out of them. Ben calls this "intellectualizing" my own tastes. I call it emphathizing and hypothesizing.

It's true that I could not imagine myself pursuing the life path of a UFC fighter. However, that has nothing to do with my gender, and nothing to do with my general feelings on violence, which basically boil down to an uneasiness with our culture's desensitization and erotization of violence, particularly with respect to violence against women. I also, admittedly (with the exception of "Fight Club" which is one of my all time favorite movies), have developed a rather weak stomach for violence; something which I see as a positive character trait. I have become sensitized to violence, and so have a hard time not imagining what UFC fighters must experience when their noses are broken and blood starts pouring down their faces. Putting myself in their position and imagining the pain that UFC fighters must often experience - even in training I would think - it is difficult to imagine willingly choosing that career path. Hence my hypothesis that coersive forces were at work.

My hypothesis also failed to give UFC fighters, and specifically their maleness, enough credit. (Note: I'm assuming they're all men, but even if some women compete, the profession is still unquestionably male-dominated). UFC fighters are men, and as men, even the most underprivileged among them has a plethora of occupational options - which are not necessarily available in the same way to women. Men, left with only their bodies with which to make a living, can work in a number of respectable, physically demanding, male-dominated professions. Construction workers and soldiers come to mind. Women, of course, can and do enter these male-dominated professions.

However, arguably, the "easiest" route available to women without other options - easy in terms of entrance - is the sex industry. The demand and the possibilities, if you're a woman and you are willing to take your clothes off, are endless. You could become, for starters, an escort, a stripper, a lap dancer, a topless dancer, a street walker, a high-class call girl, a dominatrix, a porn star, a blow-job queen, or a happy-ending masseuse. The sex industry requires no training, you can start right away, the short term return is immediate, and it's always looking for a few good women to fill one of it's female-dominated occupations. Men can and do enter the sex industry, but not on a scale anywhere close to the number of women who enter the sex industry. What has become even clearer to me, through this examination of UFC fighters, is that, in part, this is because men have other options. They can make their money fighting each other in rings. They can strive for the glory of becoming a UFC fighter.

Women should have that option to. They should be able to strive for glory in all of its forms. So, for the moment, I'm throwing my support behind all the female boxers, wrestlers, and wanna-be UFC fighters. Kick ass, Ladies. I'm rooting for you.

One last point of Ben's that I couldn't let pass without comment. Ben contends that "What is repulsive to [Buttercup] [violence] is attractive to most men," and goes on to say that "most men generally enjoy watching people do violence to each other in the context of entertainment." What?? Say it ain't so!

Growing up with two brothers, boyfriends, and male friends, I had noticed that men did not share my discomfort with violent displays. However, I had always thought that it was a result of their ability to distance - you know, their infamous stereotypical ability to unemotionally detach - themselves from the violence, not as a result of a genuine enjoyment of watching violence! Can this be true? Does this sound accurate to the rest of you? Thinking about this question, suddenly hockey comes to mind, one of the only sports I enjoy watching. Fans certainly seem to enjoy, rather than distance themselves from, the violence that goes on in hockey games. Perhaps I'll have to concede this point as well. Damn.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I had one of those therapy sessions today that made we walk out feeling clearer, uplifted, hopeful, and calm; like everything was going to be ok, and like I was on the right track to where ever it is I'm going. It was worth the 60 bucks.

My therapist, CG, does a great job normalizing what I'm experiencing, while at the same time never devaluing or taking away the uniqueness of my experience. For example, today she helped me see that it makes sense that I'm stressed out and feel a little bit like freaking out because of everything that's in flux at the moment in my life. I'm exploring and dealing with significant career, personal future, and relationship issues. I'm also trying to figure out what I want and need in my life in order to make me feel happy, safe, and fulfilled. And, I'm realizing more and more that it's very hard to figure all of that out while feeling stressed out, demoralized, and exhausted from my current abhorrent job.

My current situation sucks, the future is uncertain, and I don't have any answers yet. Of course it makes sense that I would be massively stressed out and filled with anxiety!

As you all know from the counter at the end of my blog, the time is fast approaching when I'm finally going to quit my firm job. I feel confident in that decision, and part of me is really excited about it. This firm, and firm life in general, is not the right place for me, and I need to eliminate that (huge) negativity from my life in order to open up space for me to be healthy and happy.

But, even though I know it's the right decision, I still feel a lot of anxiety about leaving. I don't know where I want to go next, and as of this moment, I'm planning to quit without having a new job lined up. A few months ago, that plan seemed brilliant. I thought I would quit and then travel as a way of rewarding myself and giving myself space to regroup and refocus. The last two years have been draining, and I need to get back in touch with what I want to do with my life. Trekking through Tibet seemed like just the place to do that mental and spiritual regrouping.

Now, I'm rethinking that part of my plan, and wondering if it's foolish to quit without having a job lined up. I'm letting fear, but also my innate practical nature, infect me. Fear that I would make it far more difficult to find the job of my dreams while jobless than it would be if I continued to be employed. Just this afternoon, a legal recruiter told me that I would be committing "career suicide" by quitting before lining up something new. Thanks! He said that applying for positions while unemployed would "raise questions" and make it harder to compete with other applicants - many of whom will be, in a few months, where I am now, treading water in a firm and looking for an exit strategy.

In addition to the concerns about finding a job - any job - I also have financial concerns. New York is an expensive place and I'm not going to be able to pay rent, buy organic produce and chanel make-up, let alone go out anywhere, with just my smile. Yes, I have some money saved up, but I did not work myself raw in order to blow my hard-earned savings on living expenses while unemployed.

On top of that, my huge, enormous, over-arching concern is that I just don't know what I want to do with my life!!! I know I want to work on women's rights issues, particularly on international human rights issues that affect women. I'm interested in asylum law, anti-trafficking work, reproductive rights issues, and, in general, creating positive societal change. I want to contribute to continuing the feminist revolution, to creating increased gender equality in our society. So, I guess it would be more accurate to say that I know what I want to do with my life, but I just don't know how to do it. I know my long-term goal, my passion; I just haven't figured out my path.

Will someone please show me my path? It would make things ever so much easier!!

Ok, I know that's not going to happen. This is my journey, and I've got to figure this out all by myself.

In an earlier post, I said that "I don't have anything stabilizing me; no rock to steady and comfort me." Tracy thoughtfully challenged me to think about where I go to for stability, and then later, in the midst of describing all of my swirling emotions to CG, the same question arose. Where do I go to feel stabilized, safe, and protected? Where do I go to feel focused and centered?

The answer used to be me, but I haven't been in great shape to be there for myself because I've been feeling so stressed out, uncertain, and tired. I've become unanchored and I'm drifting about in a swirling sea, waves crashing, rain pouring down all around me, and no daylight in site. Forgive the nautical metaphor; it's the best I can do at the moment to describe what's going on inside of me.

I need to find my anchor. My center. Focused resolve. Tranquility. Certainty. I know it's there. Somewhere. It's been out, no doubt someplace far more fun, like getting a massage in Thailand, but it needs to come back now. We have a lot to figure out.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don't Taint Your Garden With Bigotry

Thursday Thirteen Is Below This Post

Bigotry Alert: A blogger friend of Heather's (a very cool, former lawyer, at Miles.etc) posted this email, written by one of the owners of a Houston-based landscaping company, Garden Guy, Inc., to one of the blogger's friends. Go read it. It's worth it. Apparently, Garden Guy, Inc. cancelled an appointment with the blogger's friends after learning that the friends were gay. Can we say poor business decision? I had no idea that there was a difference in the money earned from homosexuals as opposed to heterosexuals. Does it not pay the bills the same way? Earn the same amount of interest? Buy the same amount of food at the grocery story?

It's incredible to me that anyone would have sent such a bigoted email so casually. Do non-lawyers really not know that leaving behind damaging paper trails is not a good idea? Thankfully, due to the powers of the internet, the news is spreading like wildfire, and Garden Guy, Inc. will no doubt soon learn that prejudice does not pay.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #14

Thirteen Things That Made Me Happy During My Visit With My Family

1) Sitting out in the garden next to the pool in my Dad's backyard. It's peaceful, relaxing, beautiful, and smells like flowers.

2) Standing around the kitchen counter with Bean, Bacchus, and my Dad eating caramel popcorn, laughing, and feeling close to all of them.

3) Hugging my mom hello after not seeing her for many months. She always smells fresh and clean with a hint of perfume.

4) Sharing a late dinner with my brothers, sister, sister's husband, and my mom. My mom usually goes to bed at 10:00 pm, but when all her kids come to town, she pulls out all the stops. There was pork tenderloin for them, spinach quiche for me, and an awesome dessert. I love the good moments with them, when we can all be together, talking, catching up, and laughing.

5) Seeing Bean's baby bump. She looks so cute with her little belly and so beautiful. The baby-to-be is now, apparently 5 inches long. I still can't believe my baby sister is going to have a baby!

6) Hanging out with my Aunt Svea (from Sweden). She is strong, smart, and has an incredibly dry, quick sense of humor. I laugh often when I spend time with her. She's also very genuine and warm, and I had a great time talking with her.

7) The pot of coffee in my Dad's kitchen that was perpetually in the process of being emptied and refilled. Swedes drink lots of coffee, throughout the day, and often right up until bedtime. It's something I associate with feeling like I'm home.

8) Hanging out with my cousins, K and J. Last time I saw them, about three years ago, they looked like little blond-haired boys. Now, they've both grown by about 3 feet each, and they look like young men, particularly K.

9) My Dad and Stepmom made me a special piece of salmon after grilling piles of meat for everyone else. That was very thoughtful, and a much appreciated change from saying in jest, as they have during the last few years, "What? Since when are you a vegetarian?," and offering me salad.

10) Getting ready in my Mom's palatial bathroom. It's gigantic with tons of fun products, and my Mom always says nice things, such as how beautiful she thinks my hair is. It's nice to be surrounded with love.

11) Driving with my brothers. Bacchus picked Frey and I up from the airport, and on the way to my Mom's we chatted and listened to Bacchus' music. He's listening to a remix of Dolly Parton and some guy who makes all these sounds with his mouth. It's hard to describe, but it was super fun to listen to while flying down the highways in Houston.

12) Showing my cousins an American movie theater, and sharing with them the delights of junior mints. According to them, the theaters in Sweden are smaller and more expensive. They were blown away by the 18-20 theater complexes that we have here. They also really liked my junior mints; possibly the only American candy (along with good & plenty) that is as good or better than the average Swedish candy (which is awesome!).

13) Bean laughing until her stomach hurt after I sprinted out of the haunted house in order to escape the Texas Chainsaw Massacre guy. The minute I heard that chainsaw start, I was gone, leaving everyone else in the dust. Bean thought it was a riot that I nudged her aside in my haste to get out. Ooops.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!