Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's Raining Potential Suitors!

I've been running around town like mad, trying to find a new match. If I could find a new relationship that I feel positive about by February 14th, that would be perfect! So far, all of my dates have been basically successful. Out of the 6 "first dates" that I've been on during the past three weeks, all of them wanted me back for date #2. I only wanted to continue to get to know three of the six, so I tried to let the other ones down easy. I'm sweet like that.

On the first date, everyone tries to make a good impression while subtly feeling out whether they enjoy each other's company. It's important to be witty and engaging, and to show the proper amount of interest. If you show too little, you might come off like a cold fish, and no one wants that. If you show too much, you run the risk of appearing desperate. Along those lines, no one wants to hear about your failed past relationship, at least not at this stage. You don't want to be negative too quickly or you might scare off a good thing. Later, as you get to know each other better, you can divulge those type of details, but not until you know that they're really interested.

To my great surprise, I enjoyed almost all of my first dates. I was really nervous before the first one, mainly because I had been in a committed relationship for the past couple of years and hadn't had to put myself out there in a long time. Luckily, what they say about never forgetting how to ride a bicycle is completely true. The minute I sat down with the first guy and started conversing, I remembered how good I am at chatting people up when I want to be. The trick is to be confident, but not arrogant, and to ask them a lot of questions about themselves. Everyone loves to talk about themselves. Also, a little flattering and an encouraging smile go a long way to making people feel comfortable.

I charmed the pants off of Bachelor #1 and left knowing that he really liked me. I would have been stunned if he hadn't called after a day or two, and of course he did, just as expected. My date with Bachelor #2 didn't go as smoothly because he was a bit of an ass. He was rude, obnoxious, arrogant, and had a rather obvious Napoleon complex. He made all these comments about men who were bigger than him and how he was just as good as them. I don't want someone who isn't comfortable in their own skin, or feels the need to compete with other guys, so I told him I wasn't interested in going out again before he had the chance to ask me.

Bachelor #3 seemed awesome at first. He was European, projected a very relaxed vibe, and seemed super smart. For most of our date, I had a wonderful time talking with him and felt very sophisticated. However, at the very end of our date, he made a comment that made me think he might be a bit of a workaholic. Even though the rest of the date had been great, the red flag made me nervous. In my last relationship, I overlooked a lot of red flags right in the beginning of the relationship that I shouldn't have, and I don't want to make the same mistake again. Bachelor #3 really liked me and was ready to jump into a serious relationship after only the first date. If it hadn't been for that red flag, I would have been totally psyched about his interest, but ultimately I had to go with my gut and decline his offer.

Bachelor #4 was a great guy, but I got the sense that he was a little too... small. Regardless of how people try to sugarcoat this issue, size really does matter. Even if suitors have a lot to offer in other departments, if they're too small, chances are it's not going to work out. I gave it a shot with him during our date, and tried to get a sense for how I would feel in the event that we moved forward. Ultimately, I decided that it just wouldn't feel right and had to tell him that I wasn't interested. In declining, I was politely vague. He knows he's small and he doesn't need me pointing out the obvious for him. Despite his size, I so enjoyed meeting him that I almost sent him a card, rather than a simple email, but then decided against it. Mixed signals are never a good idea.

I agreed to meet with Bachelor #5 because a good friend of mine had gone on a date with him and really liked him, and thought that we would make a good match. I could totally see why my friend liked him. He was mellow, unpretentious, and a genuinely nice guy. I got the sense that he works hard but takes plenty of time off to enjoy life. A few things he said made me think that he might be too small for me, and that he has a slight complex about wishing that he was a little bigger, but overall I got a very favorable impression. The fact that he's recommended by my friend is key, because in New York there are so many of them and it's hard to get a true sense for who they actually are. On the spot, he asked me back for a second date and I agreed. I believe in giving nice guys a chance.

I didn't bring this up on my date, but my last relationship was with a flashy alpha-male type, and frankly I'm so over the whole more-superior-than-thou attitude. He didn't care about nurturing our relationship or supporting me when I needed it, and I always got the sense that he was looking around. It was like he had hordes of eager, naive little girls just waiting to fill my spot. He didn't care about me. All he cared about was himself. But, I digress. My point is, after being taken for granted for so long in my last relationship, I'm ready for a nice guy who will love me and treat me right. It's possible that Bachelor #5 could provide that relationship. I'm not sure, but I'll give him until date #2 to decide.

I was excited to meet Bachelor #6 because he has a reputation for being open-minded, socially aware, smart, friendly, and not too career-obsessed. On top of that, everyone who has met him says that he treats the women in his life superbly. He's also baby-friendly and not shy about showing it. Isn't that refreshing? I was not disappointed; this guy was awesome! Size-wise he's on the large side but I think it would still be a comfortable fit. I could definitely see a relationship with him evolving and I was thrilled that he called a few hours after our meeting to ask me back for a second date.

On the second date, things become a little more serious. Everyone's still trying to make a good impression, but there's more probing into backgrounds, values, and what each person is going to bring to the potential relationship. It's still about having fun, but the stakes start to go up pretty quickly. People don't want to become involved in something if it's not meant to be, so they start showing little pieces of themselves to test the waters early on in the game. It's always better to know sooner rather than later. However, a second date is still too early to lay everything out on the table, so there's still a lot of mystery. This is good and bad, depending upon how soon you want to commit yourself to a new relationship, and how sure you want to be about your new partner when you decide to commit to them.

I've only been on one second date, with Bachelor # 1, and it was great. He was just as charming, smart, and pleasant on the second date as he was on the first. I learned more about him and it seems like he works considerably less hours than I do, which is exactly what I'm looking for. I would love to have a relationship with a man who's not obsessed with his work. I'm so over that scene. I'm a little hesitant because I'm not sure if he's being completely honest with me, but I'm definitely interested enough to go out on another date. He might be ready to get into a serious relationship with me, but I probably won't know for a few days. I'm not going to call because I don't want to pressure him; plus, I have other suitors to keep my busy. Once he's declared his intentions, I'll be in a position to figure out what kind of guy he really is. My fingers are crossed.

Who knew that hunting for a new law firm could be this much fun?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pleasantly Guiltless

I'm feeling quite adult, organized, guilt-free, and generally happy today. Plus, my cold is almost gone. Yay! I have a call-back interview with a firm that's a contender this afternoon and I'm planning to do a pilates or yoga class after that as a treat for myself.

That's my new thing: rather than looking at this or this as a treat, I'm trying to view things that are actually good for me as treats, like all the things I've been meaning to do - yoga, pilates, me-time, journaling, eating healthy, exercising, yadda-yadda-yadda. You get the picture. If Lass can do two classes a night (one of them being "Butts & Guts"), then I should be able to do one class per week! I feel optimistic about it working tonight. Wish me luck.

Speaking of being healthy, I saw this and according to Popsugar's test, I'm a failure. I must drink more water. I had started carrying my purple nalgene bottle around with me again, but this morning left it on my bookcase. Curses, foiled again!

In other news, as some of you may know many of the top NY Law Firms have been announcing some incredible salary raises, causing a scramble of salary hikes across the board. When I saw the increases, I started feeling nauseous for several reasons, mainly because it's a ton of money, I expect they'll work us even harder than they had been doing before, and it does make it slightly harder to walk away. Plus, what I do is not worth that much! (Except for my pro bono work which is worth that much, but not to the firm).

That all changed after I learned two things. First, my little brother, who has a successful insurance business going, is well on his way to making as much as I'm making, and will probably surpass me in a couple of years, if not sooner. I have no problems making at least as much money as my little brother for the time being. Like I said, he's going to cruise past me shortly, which is perfect because then he can buy the beers when I have my public interest job (Note: He often already buys the beers. He's a good brother who takes care of his sister that way).

Second, I got my paycheck today. After the government, the state, and the city had plundered my earnings, I was left with approximately 40% of my salary. They took almost 60%!!! It's almost enough to make one become a Republican (kidding). But, seriously, I no longer have any guilt about making as much money as possible at the moment, especially if I'm allowed to keep only 40% of it.

Do you hear me United States? Do you hear me New York? I battled Dragons this year and you took 60% of what I earned!!

It makes a girl think about moving to Texas.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Oh Bollox, It's Monday Again

I was having such a pleasant weekend. Even though I was sick! I rearranged my bedroom, cleaned the bathroom tiles, listened to music, did laundry, napped, rested, rested, and rested, watched SATC reruns on HBO, and read my book. All in all, I did an excellent job of listening to myself and was feeling much better by yesterday afternoon. Go me!

I was feeling so much better that I decided I was up for going to my book club meeting and then meeting a friend of Em's for dinner/drinks. The book club meeting was great. We discussed "Everything is Illuminated," over tea in a cafe on the Upper West Side that John Lennon used to frequent. More on the book later, but for now put it on your reading lists if you haven't already read it. It's worth it.

Then I met Em's friend at another nearby cafe for dinner (salmon-avocado salad, a glass of white wine, and a shared chocolate dessert). Em's friend is a very tall (6'5"), smart (also a lawyer), sweet guy of North-Indian descent. We had such a nice time that I agreed to go for a drink after dinner to a nearby bar, the Shalel Lounge. The lounge has a very cool subterranean feel and is accented with attractive Moroccan inspired decorations like hanging lamps and cushions. It was super-cute. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best idea to have a Jack and Ginger (or so my glands are telling me this morning), but at the time that's what myself was telling me to do. I listened, what can I say?

So, now it's Monday again. I feel as if I'm off to the Executioner's block. Again.

Update: I just read Go Fug Yourself and Popsugar and feel considerably better. I'm now ready to face the day. Thank god for meaningless celebrity gossip. I don't think I could get through the work-day without it.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Random Resting Thoughts

Today was a day of listening to my body and resting, and though I don't want to jinx myself I think I might be feeling slightly better, although my head is still cloudy and stuffed up. I had 10 hours of sleep last night which was beyond awesome, and then spent most of the day laying in bed or resting on the couch, reading my book or watching some TV.

Among other things, I watched a dateline special on a UVA woman who was raped there at a frat party in 1984 when she was a 17-year old freshman. The rapist didn't admit it at the time and no charges were ever filed against him. The Dean of Students asked the woman if she was sure it hadn't been consensual. Nice. Little girls being raped at frat parties don't make for good publicity. Twenty-one years later, the rapist wrote the woman a letter apologizing for "harming" her, and they began corresponding, eventually culminating with her bringing charges against him. That's where I got sleepy and took a nap, but I DVR-ed it to watch the end of the program later.

On a lighter note, I also watched the SATC episode where Carrie starts dating the "new Yankee" a month after breaking up with Big. Out one night with the Yankee, Carrie sees Big and everything goes into slow motion as Big places his hand on Carrie's shoulder and tells her that she's never looked better. Then Big walks off into the crowd and Carrie is left with the new Yankee and her heartache. Later, when the Yankee started making out with Carrie in the street, Carrie started to cry and tore herself away from his embrace. Does this remind you of anyone you know?

Navy boy is the new Yankee!! That's his SATC character! Does this mean there's a SATC character for every boy? Possibly. I had a long relationship with a wonderful guy - a drummer - during the years between college and law school and he always reminded me and my friends of Aiden. He was the sweet, caring man that was a little too sweet and a little too into me. There was no challenge, and there wasn't a lot of passion. I felt secure with him, but I didn't love him as much as I knew that I should, as much as he loved me. Poor Aiden. Don't worry about the Drummer, though, he's happy.

I'm too close to the EXBF situation to make him a character. He's still too real and too painful. Not all the time, mind you, but every now and then the sadness catches me off guard and I'm forced to remind myself that this will take some time. Take last night, for instance. I was innocently scrolling down the list of HBO movies when my eyes happened to catch site of "Munich." I felt nothing for a second while I tried to place the title, and then it came back to me. He and I had seen Munich together. There was nothing particularly special about the movie or the night. During the three years we were on and off, we saw lots of movies together; we shared lots of things. I've prepared myself against memories and reminders of the significant things, but it's the seemingly insignificant things that sometimes catch me off guard. How was I to know that a memory of that movie would have brought up a piercing wave of sadness?

Just a moment before I had been feeling perfectly fine (minus the congested, stuffy-head, sore throat, fever situation), but then one movie title shot me back into a place of panicky sadness. I even felt for a moment that I wanted to call him, but didn't consider it. Instead, I took a deep breath, and reminded myself that everything was OK. As luck would have it, my brother Bacchus called a short time later and we had a good conversation which helped me banish away the lingering pangs of longing. Then, a little while later, my room mate came home and we hung out. All in all, it was a pleasant evening, marred only by that brief pang.

Charlotte (my favorite SATC) character, said something about how it takes half as long to get over someone as the length of the relationship. I'd heard that somewhere before, probably from the first time I watched the episode years ago. Anyway, I think it's totally true. As EXBF and I had been together only a year this second time around (really, 11 months and a week, but that's close enough), and as it's been about 2 1/2 months since we broke up, I have about 3 1/2 more months before I will feel completely over him (or maybe completely over us is more accurate?). Worst case scenario: expect random processing blogging about him until about April.

I had been going back and forth in my mind about whether I should write about this "getting over" process on the blog. People say you should "never let them see you cry" and other such nonsense, and I've puzzled over that. Is that really what I'm supposed to do, not let anyone see that I actually had feelings for this person that I'm grappling with? And what's wrong with crying? Crying is therapeutic. Although, it's notable that since the two-week period right after the break-up, I've hardly cried at all. When I was living with him, during those last few months, I cried almost every week. I was so upset and in such a vulnerable place with him. I can't believe I allowed myself to go through that for so long. It's effed up.

As you can see I'm leaning towards the side of writing, rather than staying silent. It's a part of what I'm thinking about right now, so if it feels right, I'm going to write about it. Even if he is still reading my blog (which he told me he was right after the break-up when I was crushed and pouring my heart out - can you believe that?) I'm not going to let him or anyone else make me feel bad about still feeling sad about him. This is what happens when you love someone.

But, enough of that. I'm off to bed. My body is going to start yelling at me again any second and the Nyquil bottle, my glass of warm milk & honey, and "Memoirs of a Geisha" are calling me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Internal Chit-Chat

BCB: You knew this would happen. Ever action has a reaction.

BC: What?

BCB: You knew you were pushing yourself too hard, staying out too late, too often. You knew you weren't taking care of yourself and that eventually it would catch up with you. We tried to warn you for both of our sakes, but you wouldn't listen.

BC: I've just been really busy. Between work and interviews, meeting new people, getting to know my room mate, going out... there's been a lot going on.

BCB: One week, we could understand. Even two, we could see how that could happen. But this has been going on since the middle of December. This is a month and a half of constantly being on the go. When was the last time you sat still with nothing to do, nowhere to be?

BC: Hello? Did you not just see me lying there on the couch for the last few hours sick as a dog?

BCB: Our point exactly. If we hadn't stepped in, god knows where you would be right now. No doubt drinking in some bar having a grand old time.

BC: And what, pray tell, is wrong with that?

BCB: We don't have a problem with you having a nice time. We have a problem with how we feel the next morning after you've stayed out all night. We have a problem with how we feel after months and months of not going to the gym. When you look in the mirror, we see what you see.

BC: Have you not heard of the concept of "self-love"?

BCB: We do love you. That' s why we're stepping in. We're talking about the circles under our eyes, the strain we see in our face.

BC: But, there's been a lot to do.

BCB: We know you feel that way, but we're done with the excuses. You haven't been taking care of yourself, and now we're putting on the breaks. We told you to start going to bed at a reasonable time yet you persist in going to bed at 1 and 2 am and even staying up all night -

BC: I was working.

BCB: On Wednesday you were working, but what about the weekend? Was it really necessary to stay up until 5 am with that boy? You don't even like him, and you felt sad afterward.

BC: I was processing. That was the walnut's fault, not mine!

BCB: Every weekend it's the same thing. You know you should be getting back into going to the gym, getting 8 hours of sleep, taking a yoga class or two, moving towards a state of balance. We want to feel balanced and we know you do to. We're also sick of the pasta. You need to get yourself together and make some soup. We need some veggies, and taking more than 6 minutes to cook us dinner would do you a world of good. And, start drinking more water. We made those resolutions for your health, you know.

BC: But, I've been doing positive things! I've been meeting all these new people, spending time with my friends, having fun, trying to find a new job! Have you been paying any attention? Did you see all those interviews I went on, all the scrambling I had to do to get out of work? Of course, I'm going to have to be there late if I'm gone for a few hours each day. What do you want, for me not to interview, for me to stay at this place forever? I don't think that's going to get us towards a state of balance. And, I had a trial! I have been super busy and it's not my fault. I don't have time to cook dinner, and I've been enjoying going out. Did you like it better when we were crying into our Harpoon IPAs watching HBO marathons?

BCB: Do you feel healthy right now?

BC: But that's because of you!

BCB: You've worn us down. We know you didn't mean to. It's been tough, and you've done a great job with so many things these past few months. Overall, we're really proud of you. Truly, we are. But, we're worried and we need you to take better care of yourself. If you're not going to do it, if you can't right now, then we're going to do it for you.

BC: By making me sick?

BCB: By encouraging you to slow down.

BC: How exactly is making me sick taking care of us? And what's up with the royal "we"?

BCB: What are you doing right now?

BC: Blogging.

BCB: Do you know what time it is?

BC: I like blogging. It is a creative outlet. It gives me pleasure. You're putting so much pressure on me.

BCB: Apparently, we're not sick enough.

BC: Oh my god, relax! Fine, I'm going to bed.

BCB: We're putting you on lock-down tomorrow. You can leave to get a movie or to go to the drugstore if you absolutely have to. Otherwise, you're resting. Don't even think about going to Bed Bath & Beyond or Home Depot.

BC: But, I really need another carpet and the stupid skylight leaked all over my sheets. And, I need to get that plastic insulation stuff for the windows. It's freezing up here; you know it is. If I don't take care of it this weekend, I'll have to wait until next weekend. I'll never get everything together and nice how I want it to be.

BCB: What do we have to do for you to get this? You are doing too much. Are you hearing us? Our glands are swollen, our head is filled with mucus, and our throat is raw from coughing. Please don't make us do anything more. Aren't we all suffering enough?

BC: No need to be so harsh. I'm going to rest this weekend... I swear.

BCB: We know.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #25

Thirteen Things About My Day
(Or: The Trial That Wasn't, But Not For Naught)

1) I left the office, after working through the night prepping for today's trial, at 6:30 am and went back to my apartment to try to get an hour and a half of sleep.

2) I arrived at my apartment at 7:00 am, looked in the mirror and thought to myself that I looked like death, washed my face, and then tried to go to sleep after setting two alarm clocks and the buzzer on my cell phone for 8:30 am.

3) The minute my head hit the pillow and I closed my eyes, every circuit in my brain that had been laying low this past week, as I devoted my attention to this case, started exploding in a cacophony of clanging thoughts. Suddenly, I was wide awake with my mind racing. I hate when that happens.

4) An hour later, I fell asleep. I woke up at 8:30 to the blaring of 3 unsynchronized beepings, feeling shaky, and dragged myself into the shower where I gave myself a 5 minute respite of stinging hot water to wake up my foggy mind and unclog my mucus-stuffed head. Apparently colds thrive on a half hour of sleep. I was out the door, fully suited, by 9:00 and back at the office by 9:20.

5) On the way from my office to the courthouse, I and the third year assisting me on the case leafed through a hornbook on evidence to remind ourselves about things like authentication and the spectrum of allowable objections, thinking to ourselves better late than never. I cursed inwardly at myself for failing to grab my Barbri evidence outline. The one time (other than the final exam) when it could have come in handy and I left it on my desk!

6) We arrived at the courtroom with binders and boxes filled with our exhibits, prepared to litigate the crap out of this trial.

7) My counterparty approached me and picked-up settlement negotiations where we had left them the day before, her low-balling and me high-balling, both of us feigning lack of control of our clients. Negotiating is kind of fun.

8) After some time, the Judge requested to see counsel in his chambers without either of the parties. In the eye-opening 45-minute conference that followed, the Judge narrowed the issues substantially, got us to agree to a settlement on grounds (favorable to my client), and rescheduled the second part of the scheduled trial (on property division) for a later date. Who knew that so much could happen in one little iddy-biddy conference?

9) The upside was that we made substantial progress on moving my client's case forward. The downside was that the direct exam script that I had so painstakingly prepared will never see the inside of a courtroom. It made me ponder the wisdom of foregoing all of that sleep.

10) After some formalities before the Judge, my partner and I went back to the office to drop off our boxes and binders. I ran up to my office solely to get my book, Memoirs of Geisha, and then went straight home.

11) On the way home, I stopped off at Banana Republic and bought two cute tops. I was tired and feeling ill, but I wasn't that ill, and this might have been the only afternoon off I'll have for a while. I had to take advantage of it.

12) Entering my apartment, I was so happy and relieved. It's felt like I haven't been here hardly at all. I made some tea, steamed some plantains for a snack, and settled in to watch some of my DVR-ed shows. It was awesome.

13) Just before getting ready for bed, I had my first bubble bath in my new apartment down in my flatmate's bathroom. It was so awesome, I can't even tell you. I'm still reveling in it.

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, January 24, 2007

A Near Death Experience

Last winter, on a chilly night, I was walking with EXBF. We were in a rush, trying to make it to a movie, I think "Underworld 2." I was wearing an oversized sweatshirt and jeans, and had my arms pulled inside to hug myself against the cold; the sleeves of my sweatshirt were swinging freely at my side. We stopped at an intersection with a "Don't Walk" sign, but then seeing that there was nothing coming except for a bus that still looked very far away, we decided to make a run for it. Correction: I decided to make a run for it, and EXBF started a second behind me.

Halfway across the intersection, I tripped on the end of my bootcut jeans and, not being able to stop my fall with my hands which were pulled inside my sweatshirt, broke my fall with my left knee, elbow, and shoulder, and then fell flat on my stomach in the middle of the road. By the time I landed, EXBF was across the street, and I was alone in the middle of the road. My hands were trapped underneath my body so I couldn't move. I looked in a panic to my right and saw the front of the bus speeding towards me. I thought I had reached the end, and all I could think of was how angry my parents were going to be that I had been so stupid. It seemed like such a ridiculous waste that I was going to die by being squashed by a bus.

Panicked, I started throwing my body toward the far side of the street, basically doing a really pathetic version of the worm. Everything slowed down, seconds expanded, and it seemed like I was all alone for several minutes trying desperately to shimmy to the other side of the street while everyone else looked on and the bus came closer and closer.

In reality, it was only a matter of seconds before EXBF ran back to me, and stood over my body with his hand held up against the bus. There was a loud sound, maybe the screeching of brakes, and then the bus came to a stop a mere 10 feet away from my squirming body. EXBF pulled me to my feet, and I mutely slipped my arms back into the sleeves of the sweatshirt. I was shaking and breathing heavily, and I couldn't speak.

We crossed the street and I had to sit down on a curb. I started to cry. I wasn't hurt, at least not badly. I had skinned my knee and an elbow, and had big bruises on the left side of my body, but I was really upset for a few moments. We decided to forego the movie and head home, picking up some mint chocolate chip ice cream on the way.

It was only several hours later, while wrapped up in blankets on the couch with an ice pack on my knee, talking to Bacchus on the phone, that I was able to laugh at what had happened. I was telling him the story, still feeling shaken up, and when I got to the part about doing the worm across the street - the really terrifying, serious part of the story - he couldn't stop himself from bursting out laughing. Hearing him laugh, it pushed me over the edge, and I started laughing too. His laugh is infectious like that.

The moral: On these winter days of bitter cold, keep your arms in your sleeves, where they belong.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Immersed In Trial Prep

I'm preparing for my first trial, a pro bono contested divorce, and I don't think I like it. While meeting with my client and my co-counsel for most of the day, I realized the obvious: that one of the reasons I don't like this subject matter is because it all comes down to money. Not whether my client should be awarded money for the pain and suffering the defendant (her abusive husband of 11 years) caused her through repeated acts of cruel and inhuman treatment, but rather, whether the defendant has money, whether she doesn't, and how the marital assets should be split up. Ugh! Give me a trial on persecution any day. Good lord, is there anything more depressing than dividing up people's assets?

Partially, I'm stressed. I want my client to feel satisfied, and I'm not sure that she will be. Trial is unpredictable, defendant's counsel keeps tossing us insultingly low settlement "offers," and no matter what happens my client will never get enough to make up for all the suffering that she endured while living with defendant. Under the law, grounds and the division of equitable property are almost completely separate issues, meaning that while I'm trying to urge the Judge to award my client more money, I can't rest my arguments on the theory that her husband is a no-good batterer and deserves to be punished. There is no restitution in divorce.

I'm also just grouchy because I haven't sat still for a while with nothing to do, I'm reaching my limit of going, going, and going, and due to last weekend's activities I'm sick. I'm all congested and was feeling lightheaded for most of the day because of a combination of congestion and medication. Yuck. I also look suspiciously like I have consumption, what with the dark circles, pallid skin, and chapped lips. I'm sure the Judge will love me.

Rather than complain about it (more than I already have), I'm trying to look forward to Thursday evening, and especially this weekend. Barring something unexpected, the trial should start and end on Thursday, leaving me free to crash into my bed sometime around 8 pm. This weekend, I'm not going to plan anything with anyone (except for with my two little clients, one of whom will be back from the hospital and is doing much better, thank god) and I'm going to make going to the gym, sleeping, getting well, and resting my top priorities. Ok, maybe just getting well and relaxing. I don't want to be too ambitious.

The next two days are going to go fast - too fast because I'm already stressed about tomorrow night - but by the end of the week things will be looking up. I've been stressed about this case and this trial for months, and it will be a tremendous weight lifted off of me to have it completed. For my client and me both.

And then, finally, I will be mostly free to look for a new job. I'm going to have to get out quick because my other case has been chomping at the bit in my absence, and I know they're going to pounce on me the moment this trial is over. Friday could be dicey. But, fear not! I've already set up three interviews for next week and a date (none of that will be occurring, I assure you).

Progress continues, hoof by hoof.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Walnut Wasteland

It's almost 2 1/2 months since EXBF and I broke up, and for the most part I think I've handled things smashingly well (yes, I just recently watched Bridget Jones' Diary, one of Prue's favorites, and now one of mine).

I loved him and for much of the time that we spent together, I was sure that we were going to spend our future together. When it ended, I could have crumpled into a little ball, and for the two-week period after the break-up, and for most of the next two weeks, that's about all I felt like doing. But, I didn't. Instead, I regrouped, dug down, and rediscovered a strength within myself that I hadn't felt in a long time. I crushed down all of the sadness, longing, and love for him, all of the good memories and thoughts of him, emotions that had been radiating out of me and overwhelming me, into a tiny ball the size of a walnut and lodged it just under my ribcage on the right side of my body, just opposite my heart.

I filled up the empty space left behind in the wake of the sadness and love with hard, impenetrable steel. Before I had been soft and permeable, wounded and easily cu; many times by him. But, to protect myself I encased my body, my heart, and my mind in armor, and I encased the walnut to, in order to keep it tightly compressed and held in place.

For the most part my strategy worked. Every now and then during the past month, I've had unwelcome thoughts of him, reminders that have caused the walnut to pulse with pain. Because I had it encased in steel, I was able to keep the flare-ups in check. I didn't allow myself to be overwhelmed by pain. I didn't allow him to hurt me any more.

I've only cried a few times since exiling my emotions to the walnut. Two of those times happened with Navy Boy, a 30-year old boy who once upon a time went on a handful of dates with me, and then became a friend of sorts. He's been a friend to me these past couple of months, he's helped me set up my internet connection, talked break-up stories with me, and understood when I said that I was not yet in a place to think about dating anyone anytime soon.

The first time I cried in front of him was a few weeks ago. We were in bed and I was naked, which tends to happen when I make out with boys who know how to kiss me well. I wasn't thinking that it was strange to be with someone other than him. Instead, I was focusing on Navy Boy's body, admiring his muscular arms and pecs, marveling at his smooth hairless skin. He laughed at our uneven-ness; his shirt was off but his bottom half was fully clothed. I told him that we weren't going to have sex, and he said very reassuringly, immediately, "I know," so I told him that as long as that was clear he could remove his top layer.

We were flirting. I was enjoying myself. His body felt nice pressed against mine, and his kisses were good - a nice mix of aggression and tenderness. It caught me completely by surprise when I began to cry.

I didn't cry hard. There was no sobbing. My eyes just started leaking silently, little streams making there way down my temples and pooling in my hair. I told him softly to stop, and I don't think he realized what was happening until he kissed my cheek and tasted the salty dampness. I was surprised and a little embarrassed, not because I was crying over EXBF, but because I didn't want Navy Boy to think that I was the kind of girl that cried during make-out sessions. My god! The mortification. He was understanding and kind, and told me it was OK. He said that I probably hadn't been with many people since EXBF, and he was right. He was the first on this little rebound adventure. After pulling myself together, we began making out again, and that night I had a nice little orgasm.

I thought the crying was a one-time thing, but two nights ago it happened again. The scene was very similar. Navy Boy and I were making out and it felt good. He was kissing me in ways that I liked being kissed, my body was keyed up, and I was enjoying myself. Suddenly, though, it became too much and I started tearing up again, this time saying, "Oh my god, I didn't think this would happen again." He kissed my tears, and again told me that it was OK, but I knew that it wasn't.

The kissing, the intimacy, the being close to another man that's not him has caused a crack in the walnut, and somehow my emotions have started leaking out. For most of this month, when I've thought of him I've thought about him with nice, healthy anger. Not the kind of destructive, white-hot anger that would make me think I was not getting over him the way I should, but the kind of solid, justified anger that come with knowing that someone you loved has treated you wrongly. He hurt me so many times, and when I told him that he was hurting me, instead of stopping, he continued to do it. That makes me angry. Passing his building or places that remind me of him, I've found myself instinctively mouthing, "Fucking asshole," and feeling vindicated and empowered.

That was before Navy Boy's kisses cracked the walnut and reminded me that I still have love for EXBF, that when I say "I hate him," I don't actually mean it, but wish that I did. It makes sense, because if I had been able to eliminate my love for him in the span of 2 1/2 months, then that would have shown that the depth of my love for him was wanting from the beginning. That whatever I had lost, it wasn't all that much. But, the fact is that I actually genuinely loved EXBF, and even if I haven't lost much, he has.

The two crying spells, neither of which lasted for more than a minute (just so the record is clear), were an expression of the feelings of sadness I still have over losing the things about EXBF that were truly good. They loosened up my emotions and made me feel a little less like I have to keep those feelings of love and pain imprisoned. They let them come out, and made me realize it's OK that I still have them. I loved him, and even though he did not act in a way worthy of my love, it's going to take a long time to get him completely out of my system. I've given myself permission to cry again, although hopefully not in the presence of any more boys. At least not while naked. At least not until I feel like it.

At least not until I think it will hurt a little bit less.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sleep Deficit Continues

The end of the weekend has come, so suddenly, and due to a series of events, only part of for which I'm responsible, I find myself almost as tired tonight as I was on Friday when I left work. One of my clients, the 17 year old girl, had a crisis late Friday night and was admitted to the hospital. She's been under a great deal of emotional and psychological stress, and it finally overwhelmed her. I was up until 4 am monitoring the situation. She is a minor, and we had been afraid that the hospital might refuse to admit her, but ultimately she was admitted without incident.

The next day, I spent most of the day visiting with my client in the hospital and then hanging out with her sister. Both girls are now doing ok, and I cannot express how grateful I am for that. I worry about them so much, but they're tough, and I'm confident they can get through this. I'm so pissed that it's taking so long to hear the results of their asylum application. Waiting is putting a tremendous strain on them. It's hard not to be depressed and overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness when they can't yet imagine a future free of the past that they have not yet fully escaped psychologically or legally. But, they are fighters and they continue to humble me with their resilience and strength.

Around 7 pm on Saturday night, after leaving my clients, I went by Starbuck's and grabbed a medium coffee (I don't do Italian names for coffee sizes), and then went home to get ready to go out. I probably should have stayed in, but it was my friend's birthday party and I was looking forward to seeing a few friends that I hadn't seen for a while. I finished my coffee - my dinner that day - between blowdrying my hair and putting on my make-up while listening to "Buttons" on repeat (Mom, the Bose speaker is awesome), and was out the door headed downtown to the Heartland Brewery in Union Square by 8:00 pm. Not bad, if I do say so myself. By the way, if you make it to the brewery, I recommend the Red Rooster Ale. It's the closest thing they have to an Amber ale and it's quite tasty.

Speaking of Amber ales, after the brewery we went to a karaoke bar on Park and 19th, Tracy J's. For some reason, all of my friends have been all about karaoking lately. Twice in one week is a little much, I gotta say; particularly when the place has a bad sound system, and a DJ more interested in throwing people out of the bar than playing requests. We didn't do a lot of singing, but we did have front row seats to an entertaining bar brawl between a skinny rich girl with perfectly flat-ironed hair, the psycho DJ, and an enormous bouncer who oddly enough took the skinny girl's side over the DJ even though the skinny girl had knocked the DJ in her face. If we could have heard the screaming a bit more clearly, it would have been as good as reality TV.

But, I was speaking about beer. At Tracy J's, the following exchange took place between me and the bartender:

Me: "Do you have any amber ales?"
Bartender: "What do you mean by Amber?"
Me: "An AMBER (enunciated slowly and loudly) ALE or something like it."
Bartender: "I don't know what you mean by Amber. Do you mean Amber in color?"

I was speechless for a moment, but rather than educating her, I simply ordered a Bass. What kind of bartender is unfamiliar with Amber Ales? Clearly, that bartender needs to get herself over to Michigan asap and grab her some Bell's. Then she'll understand the beauty of an Amber Ale.

After the barfight, around 2am, Navy Boy and I (the backstory on that will be forthcoming at a later date) left the bar and headed back to my place. I should have sent him on his way, but instead I invited him in and we stayed up until 5 am!! Five AM! All my fault! I was bad, bad, bad and forfeited my much needed sleep. Again. It would have worked out fine if I could have slept until 1 in the afternoon, but unfortunately I haven't yet gotten around to covering my windows and skylight with blackout blinds. Can you imagine how awful I felt when I woke up at 8:30 am to rays of sunlight drilling into my eyesockets, straight into the center of my head? Mental note: Do not stay up until 5 am again any time soon.

I would have gotten the blinds today, but I was too wrecked from the weekend to do much more than drag my butt to the hospital to visit my client, and catch-up on calls with my friends - one of the perks to being completely hungover and basically useless is that there is suddenly lots of time for phone calls. Among others, I got to have a long overdue, much-needed conversation with Wood. She is an amazing friend, and she has the distinction of being one of the few people in my life who is always there for me, no matter what. She has a two-year old, yet she always makes time for me. How phenomenal is that?

The other thing of note that I managed to accomplish today was making breakfast. I attempted to make cottage cheese pancakes like my friend Simone's mom used to make for me and Simone whenever I would sleep over their house in middle school. I must have done something wrong because whereas her's were fluffy and delicious, mine came out runny and doughy in the middle. I still ate them (doused in maple syrup). I suspect that my ratio of batter to cottage cheese is off, and that I probably erred on the side of using too much cottage cheese. If any of you have a good recipe for cottage cheese pancakes, please let me know.

I'm a little stressed about the upcoming week, which is no surprise as I often feel that way on Sunday night. This week, I have a trial in my contested divorce case, more law firm interviews, and too much work to do in the time remaining. Until Thursday, it's going to be a bit tough, but Thursday night I will celebrate. Perhaps by foregoing festivities, going to they gym, and having a good night's sleep for once. In other words, pretending for an evening that I have balance in my life.

Probably not, but a girl can hope.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Burning The Candle

I have to run to a job interview in 10 minutes so I will make this short. Today is Em's last day at our firm, and I'm a little sad. I'm going to miss her. Last night was her departure party and it was a doozy of a good time. We went to Morgan's Bar in the Morgan Hotel under Asia de Cuba, and then to Sing Sing. Let's just say, for now, that I drank way too many raspberry mojitos, flirted with way too many boys, and participated in far too much karaokeing for someone who had a job interview the next day.

This afternoon, I'm meeting with 4 partners and 2 associates and I'm praying to any supernatural force of good that might or might not exist to help me through the next three hours. These interviews are draining even when well-hydrated and well-rested; I have my doubts about whether I can dazzle them while still recovering from last night's festivities. I've already had to pop 4 motrins, and it's only 1 in the afternoon!

I. Can. Not. Wait. To. Sleep.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #24

Thirteen Interview DOs and DON'Ts
(For Lawyers Looking To Leave Their Not-So-Fabulous Current Place of Employment)

1) DO get there on time. This might mean running 12 blocks in brand new high heels that give you blisters while construction workers are yelling "whoah" and pretending to leap out of your way, and arriving at the place with you hair mussed and your cheeks bright red from the cold and your accelerated heart rate, but do it anyway. Dishevelment can be fixed with a quick restroom stop, either in the law firm or at the Starbuck's across the street. Getting their late can not be corrected.

2) DO dress conservatively. A tried and true winner is a black Ann Taylor suit and pearls. Most of Ann Taylor's suits are made with a triacitate wool blend fabric that does not wrinkle, even if you pack it in a suitcase. They are the perfect interview suits. Remember, don't wear brown, and save the eggplant suit for until after you've got the job.

3) DO be prepared to talk details of your practice. Have one or two "interview cases" in your back pocket that you can flash at the interviewer to demonstrate the interesting and challenging work you've been engaged in. This will give them a sense of your legal. They're not going to hire you on the basis of your fascinating interests and sparkling personality alone.

4) DON'T be negative about your firm, period. This might require a high degree of finessing, positive exaggerations, and outright half-truths, particularly if you believe that you work for a law firm from hell and have been counting down to the date of your anticipated departure for over 120 days. However, no one wants to hire a "malcontent" and that's how they'll see you if you talk any amount of trash.

5) DON'T say that you want to leave your firm for any negative reason such as being unhappy, not having a life, or simply hating the people, work, and lifestyle. This could paint you as a malcontent. (See # 4). It might also raise suspicions that you have had negative reviews and/or been marginalized at your firm, all of which ends up making you, and not your law firm, look bad.

6) DO say, when asked why you want to leave: "Firm 'X' was a great place to start because [insert innocuous reason, such as good training, good experience, sophisticated, challenging cases], but I want [insert innocuous desire, such as more variety in my cases or more responsibility to see a case through from beginning to end]." Keep it short and simple and then move on.

7) DON'T ask about hours until you have an offer in hand. But, if an interviewer offers information about hours, listen intently.

8) DON'T ask about vacation, benefits, partnership possibilities, or turnover on the first interview, and it's probably safer to wait until you have an offer in hand.

9) DO maintain your composure, even when the hiring partner keeps you waiting for 20 minutes and then, when the recruiting coordinator cracks his door open to ask if she should reschedule the interview, you overhear him say in an unfriendly tone, "If he wants a job, he can wait."

10) DO take notice of all information you learn while at the interview, including the extremely important and telling informal information you pick up without even asking a question. (See # 9).

11) DO prepare a cheat-sheet for each firm. Em gave me this idea, and it's been incredibly useful over the last few days. For each firm, I have a single sheet of paper listing who I'm meeting with, practice areas, education, and other interesting details about each person, basic info on the firm, and a standard list of questions.

12) DO ask each interviewer the same questions. If you get consistent answers across the board, you know that you're getting a clear picture. If not, you have some things to figure out, but at least you know where the murkiness lies.

13) DON'T get discouraged! Interviewing is great experience, you're getting out there, and eventually you will find the place that is right for you. As with men, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.

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, January 17, 2007

Off Their Rockers

I just finished interviewing at another law firm today, and the question foremost in my mind is: Why are female partners such awkward, socially challenged freaks? I just don't understand it. Most of the women going into the law firms start out relatively normal as associates, but then something evil and mysterious occurs in the years leading up to their promotion to partner.

Or, maybe it's not the process of working in a huge law firm and doing everything that you need to do in order to make partner. Maybe it's self-selection, and the only women deranged enough to want to make partner at a huge law firm started off with one or two (possibly invisible) screws loose well before they even entered the law firms?

I don't have a screw loose. I'm relatively sane. Hence, I want to get out of here as quickly as possible. Some women (and a lot of men, who obviously have equally loose screws), however, want to stay at a place like my firm, sacrifice the next 10 to 12 years of their lives, and miss out on their family, children, and friends, in the hopes of making partner and earning a gazillion dollars a year. I like money, but money can only enhance your life; it can't replace actually having one.

The woman I met today was nice, but she looked pale, unhealthy, slightly overweight and she had intense difficulties looking me in the eye. Her gaze kept skittering across the room and over the top of my head, in between nervous fluttering of her eyelids. I tried to be extra sweet to put her at ease. I felt bad for her. She's a thousand times better than DL. There's really no comparison. I mean, she was human and she smiled. But I get the sense that she, like DL, has sacrificed most of her life for her job, and that it hasn't brought her anything close to the level of health and happiness that I want in my own life.

More women than men that I know want balance in their lives, and I think that's one of the major reasons you find less of us in the higher echelons of the firms. Women want lives. They want to exercise, have brunch with their girlfriends on Sundays, and make time for their relationships. I think it's only the most crazy among us who choose to forego having lives in favor of the quest to make partner.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Few More Weeks (and Weeks) Only

Movies: Glad you all enjoyed the eye candy! Incidentally, I almost didn't go to see "Stomp the Yard" because Rotten Tomatoes, a site for film reviews, ratings, and schedules, gave them a big fat "splat." Normally, I like RT's reviews, but in this instance they did not give the movie enough credit.

They also gave "Dreamgirls" way too much credit in my opinion, giving it an 80% approval rating. Apparently everyone, including my mom, loved Dreamgirls except for me. Not that I hated it; I just didn't love it. True, Jennifer Hudson can sing, even to herself at the top of her lungs in an empty theater (a little awkward), and true, some of the music was great (like Beyonce's disco version of "One Night Only" which I've had in my head since last night). But, it would have been so much more powerful had there been less musical cheese and more drama in between numbers. For example, I was cringing in my site, mortified for the actors and actresses, while watching them croon to one another, "We are a family... like a giant tree..." Too much Kraft, not enough substance. I give it a 3 (on a 5 point scale). "Stomp the Yard," of course, gets a 4.5 for obvious reasons.

A Totally Unconnected Realization: An interesting thing happened at therapy last night, I realized that I was acting like an adolescent in regards to my attitude about doing work for Dragon Lady. For weeks, I've been internally, and sometimes externally, ranting and raving about what a bi-atch DL is and how I simply can not bear to do the work I'm supposed to do for her. Last Friday, when she left me a nasty message ordering me to finish some summaries for her, my immediate reaction was "Eff her! How dare she be so nasty to me." Then, pissed, I procrastinated and didn't do her work for most of the weekend. Served her right!... Um, no.

Basically, my attitude was, "Eff you, DL, you're not the boss of me!" Accept, of course, DL is the boss of me (for now), and the only thing I was accomplishing through my adolescent-esque rebellion was stressing myself out and giving myself mini-panic attacks. As an admitted over-achiever (at least prior to this year at the firm when I started actively pushing off as much work as possible in the interests of self-protection), leaving work unfinished does not sit well with me. I can procrastinate like nobody's business, but when it comes down to deadlines, I usually get everything done on time, and I usually get it done well. (It's nice how the firms crush that desire to do work well out of associates, isn't it? But that's a post for another time).

Here's what CG suggested last night: Clearing things off my plate is a way to take care of myself. Conversely, procrastinating and keeping things on my plate is not taking care of myself; rather, it's a way of causing myself unnecessary stress and might even be viewed as potentially sabotaging myself by invoking DL's ire and causing more problems for me.

CG is brilliant, no?

I left her office knowing what I needed to do: I have to stop my whining, suck it up, and do what I need to in order to leave this place on terms that I'm comfortable with. I need to get my work done because I'm an adult (eh-hem), and because I get paid a lot of money for it, and because I have personal integrity. If this means foregoing some social activities, missing Grey's Anatomy, and not being able to go to the gym for another couple of weeks while I put all of my remaining energy into interviewing, so be it.

Now is the time for sacrifice. Unfortunately, not everything can change all at once. Such is life. Soon enough, I will be free, and then the fun can begin. But, for now, I need to be patient. It's all a part of my as-yet-not-revealed-to-me master plan. I'm sure of it.

I'm a Capricorn; we are made to suck things up. Lest you think that we don't have fun while sucking things up, listen to this and get pumped. You go, Beyonce!

Monday, January 15, 2007

MLK Weekend

Aside from today, I've been having a very nice MLK weekend. Friday night, I went with two of my girl friends to see "Stomp the Yard," a movie with a predictable story line, some amazing dancing/stepping sequences, and so much eye candy that the women in the theater were going crazy hooting and hollering. Think "Bring it On," but with gorgeous brown-skinned boys. Channing Tatum better watch out!

Saturday, I headed to Queens to meet up with another one of my girl friends and a bunch of her friends for delicious Indian food and salsa dancing in this club that just opened up in Jackson Heights. I don't get out to Queens that often, because it's a hike, but it was worth it. Dinner was delicious and so much fun. I caught up with my friend and had a great time getting to know her other friends. I've decided that this is apparently the way to meet new people: Go out in groups with your friends and ask them to bring along their friends, and gradually everyone's social circle expands. In the last two months, I've met about 20 totally new people that way, several of whom I really liked and with whom I could see developing friendships.

Salsa dancing was a bit of a trip. I've never taken a class and didn't know anything! I felt slightly embarrassed for the guys who asked me to dance despite my protestations that I totally sucked, because I could see they wanted to show off their moves and I was just not the girl to help them. One guy told me to just "go with the music." Yeah, right! Between watching my feet, counting, and concentrating very hard in an effort to stay on the beat, there was no going with the music. You know Baby's older sister attempting to dance in "Dirty Dancing"? In her grass skirt and coconut bra? That was basically me at the Mambo Room. I think next time I'm going to take a lesson before going salsa dancing, for everyone's benefit.

Yesterday, I had a lovely time during the day with my cousin, who I recently found out lives in New York on the upper west side. Technically, she's my second cousin, but family no less. I had brunch with her and her boyfriend at one of my favorite places, Le Pain Quotidien, and then my cousin and I went to the Met. We spent most of our time at the Met looking at Chinese and South Asian art, and breezed through the Impressionist paintings in our last hour. It was so much fun and it satisfies one of my new year's resolutions, to do more cultural things in the City. Bravo, to me! I spent Sunday night drinking wine with my roommate talking about men, sex, and relationships. It's so much fun to live with a girl again!

Which brings me to today, a holiday on which I'm supposed to be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy, but am instead at the office slaving away for Dragon Lady. My firm is closed today, but I have some summaries that are overdue and on Friday evening, a minute before she left for the weekend, Dragon Lady left me a really nasty message saying that the summaries "Better be done by Tuesday [Insert sneer]." Apparently, she wanted to start the weekend off right by being a total uncompromising bi-atch to a junior associate. I hope it brought her a lot of joy. According to Dragon Lady each summary should only take a "half hour." Perhaps other mortals could accomplish such a task in a half hour, but there's no way I can see to summarize an 800-page deposition transcript in a half hour. She's basically on crack.

The fact that she left me a nasty message made me want to do the exact opposite of what she had ordered me to do, of course. However, since this is still my job, and since I know that I will only feel better once I get her off my back, I've decided that I have no choice but to grit my teeth and grind these summaries out.

This is a hideous, useless, and pathetic way of celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King day. However, it is what it is, and thanks to him at least I have an extra day to get this b.s. done so that I can focus on the real work that I need to do tonight: getting prepped for my first interview with another firm tomorrow!

Here's some eye candy (Columbus Short) from "Stomp the Yard" for you viewing pleasure:

Friday, January 12, 2007


I'm a bundle of anxiety today and I'm not sure why. I've made some significant progress on the job front and have 4 interviews lined up for next week. Not bad, eh? It's exciting, but I think it's making me feel anxious. Now that I've decided to leave (again), and now that I've got the ball rolling, I want to be leaving right NOW. It's like I'm itching at the bit, raring to go but instead I have to sit still and try to do my work.

But, I can't sit still because everything is swirling around me so fast and I want to be swirling too. My friends are leaving, taking time off before starting their new jobs, and one of them (Em) is setting up this awesome volunteer position in SE Asia. I want to be them, but I'm three steps behind!

Meanwhile, my work is piling up because I cannot bring myself to do it. I want to be OUT of here. I don't want to do atrociously boring summaries or any of the other work I'm supposed to be doing. It's dull, dull, dull. I've reached the mental end of the road, as it were, at this firm and I can't feign even a glimmer of interest any longer.

This is unfortunate because even with my interviews beginning as soon as next week, it could still take easily 2 months before I'm out of here. I don't know if I could bear that. I think I'd have to put myself on tranquilizers. It's not even bad. Dragon Lady is ignoring me, and probably hates me, because I owe her summaries. I just want this all to be DONE. I'm so completely OVER this place.

I'm glad you all liked my magic wand post! I think that would help me immensely at the moment, but alas it's all the way uptown. At least I only have 2 hours left until Happy Hour. I'm meeting up with a girl from work who is on her way out of here, and then meeting another friend for drinks and a movie. It should be fun, and then I have three whole days off of work!!! Of course, I have to do a bunch of work over the 3-day weekend (mostly catch-up stuff), but it's so exciting to have a 3-day weekend.

T-minus 2 hours and counting.

Don't forget to de-lurk!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #23

Thirteen Reasons Every Girl Should Own A Hitachi Magic Wand

1) It is the ultimate, most powerful, fantabulous Queen of vibrators.

2) It does not require any reciprocation whatsoever; it exists to pleasure you and you alone.

3) If you're looking for an orgasm, search no further; it's the perfect thing for "me" time.

4) If you're in a generous mood, it can be used to pleasure others, and it can add an extra layer of spice to together time.

5) It's an excellent sleep aid right before bedtime.

6) It's perfect for quickies, or not-so-quickies.

7) Your body, and especially your clit, will love it, and so will boys if they're smart (and not too insecure; it is a bit intimidating but don't worry it's just for outside!). What man would pass up the chance to give his woman a big "O."

8) You can hold it with one hand, leaving your other hand free to turn the pages of a trashy novel.

9) It's not obsessed with sports, and it's never heard of football.

10) It goes wherever you want it, however soft, slow, hard, or fast you need it.

11) Men come and go, but your magic wand will always be there.

12) In the event that you fry the cord and cause your wand to malfunction after 7 years of diligent use, have no fear, it's totally replaceable.

13) You don't even have to go to a sex store to buy it! You can buy it here at for almost half the price that my Exbf paid for mine at a sex store in New York.

If you have other ideas that you think might be able to compete with the Magic Wand, bring 'em on!

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, January 10, 2007

Now Is The Time To De-lurk!

It's my first ever national de-lurking week as a blogger. I'm growing up! For all of you who come by, linger, or just breeze through on occassion, now is your chance to rip off the blindfolds and show yourselves. You can leave fake names, but give me something to go on other than indecipherable numbers by leaving me a comment. An inquiring mind wants to know. Who are you all?

Plus, I really need the distraction from work, so bring on the comments!

Thanks to you for this button!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

For God's Sake, We're Talking Corporate Law, Not Sex Toys!

I know I said I wasn't going to talk about work in my next post, but my new case forced me into it. For context, here's the email exchange between Em and I right after I found out about it. You can tell how psyched I was:

BC: "I just got put on a 'sexy' car insurance case. Will you slit my throat for me?"

Em: "There is no term, and I mean NO term, that I hate more than ANY LEGAL CASE being called 'sexy.' If someone thinks a legal case is sexy, they have not experienced sexy, and should get out a lot more. I will not slit your throat for you, but I will slit the throat of the person who said it. Really. I'm in the mood."

I really love Em. (She gave notice today. Woohoo!).

It turns out that I was right to want Em to slit my throat. Not only is this case about the very unsexy, and totally uninteresting topic of car insurance (could we get more dullsville if we tried?), it also has a slew of self-important senior associates who are becoming more irritating as each day goes by.

Yesterday, one senior associate told me that for this week the only thing I had to do was get up to speed on the unsexy facts of this case. No problem, I said, because I had a bunch of other work stuff I was supposed to be doing, and more importantly I had to get my resume into tip-top condition.

Today, a different senior associate - who had not surprisingly failed to take the time to coordinate with the other senior associate - called me and started ordering me to do things before I could even get out that the other senior associate had told me to focus on getting up to speed on the case, and that I had another assignment due tomorrow.

I really, really dislike how no one at this firm asks if you can assist them. Instead, they order you about as if you're their peon. Did they not get the memo? I am not their F-ing bitch.

When I was finally able to get a word in edgewise and told her about my conflicting assignment, she said, "Oh, well, this is from [the partner] so here's what I need you to do," and launched into a twenty-minute discussion of everything she was commanding me to do. I love being disrespected and dismissed like that. It really fills me with motivation to excel at this job, and it really makes me look up to people like her. Based on how she treats her underlings, her life must be awesome.

The most annoying part of our "conversation" was that she kept punctuating her tirade, at really awkward nonsensical stopping points, with the repeated question, "Are you following me?" It was really bizarre.

An hour later, the partner on the case denied my request to take a week off at the end of January. The trial is scheduled to take place in April, so until then no one is allowed to take time off. F-ing lovely, isn't it? This is just the kind of stellar, associate-friendly place that my firm is. They don't even put any effort into being that way. It just comes naturally.

Since this exchange I have been in excellent spirits. I can not wait to get the F- out of this place, and I am simply elated about the progress I've been making on Plan D (aka My 5-Story Plan). I think this one might be a winner.

Clarity of Mind

I know all I've been talking about is work, work, work, and work this week! Sorry I've been so dull, but I've been making progress with my thinking as well as taking practical steps. I'm on my way to making a change and I'm really happy about the direction in which I'm going. Thank you to everyone who has commented. It's great to get different perspectives, and of course encouragement!

Today's small success was updating my resume and sending it to a recruiter. Woo-hoo! I also connected with an organization I'm interested in, narrowed down a list of firms that I'm considering applying to, and surfed a few job sites. Not bad.

At therapy this evening, for the first time in a long time all I talked about was work and family issues. That's one of the greatest things about being out of my last relationship; I don't have the weekly anxiety and hurt of it weighing me down and sucking up all of my energy and attention. I no longer feel emotionally wrecked on a weekly basis. It's amazing how the absence of that emotional turmoil can free up one's spirit. I no longer feel as sick and anxious all the time. Amazing, no? Finally, I feel like I can move on and focus on me and what I want to do with my life - what I should have been doing all along!

My therapist thought that Gypsy's analogy (Yes, Gypsy, you have the honor of making it into my therapy!) between jumping from my firm to a smaller, nicer one to jumping from a 10 story building to a 5 story building was "excellent." You go, Gypsy. It is a good metaphor and it makes sense. I feel comfortable with contemplating this type of move - to a 5 story building instead of to the pavement - at this time. Now, if a public interest position were to materialize in front of me, of course I would grab it. But at least, again for the first time in a long time, I have a Plan B (Plan D for all of those counting) that feels OK to me. With this plan, I can look myself in the mirror and feel good that I'm doing something productive and positive for me. I'm moving toward something strategically instead of diving off of the 10 story building head first, while at the same time putting myself in a position to be able to say "F-You" to Dragon Lady by the end of February. Oh, glorious day.

Apparently many people do these type of moves - from a despised place to more of a middle ground position - specifically so that they can regroup and gather the energy they need to find a place that they really want. When you think about it from that perspective, it makes sense, and for the first time I understand why thousands of associates might make this same move each year. Maybe a lot of them are more like me than I had previously thought? Maybe they too are trying to get out of corporate life and having trouble finding their way? There's a lesson here about being less judgmental that I'm making a mental note about.

I promise to not talk about work tomorrow. I have something far more fun in mind. Stay tuned. For now I leave you with one of my most favorite paintings by John Singer Sargent (American Painter 1856-1925), the Ostyer Gatherers of Cancale. How relaxing would it be to walk across the cool, wet sand in bare feet under a gorgeous blue, cloud-covered sky?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Super Connected

I am finally 100% fully connected at my apartment! Yay! With the help of one of my friends, Navy Boy, I successfully laid 100 ft of internet cable from downstairs up to my bedroom. This got me internet access on my desk top, but I also had to deal with a mess of pests, viruses, nasty spyware gizmos, and all of their annoying pop-ups. It's like someone was looking at porn on this computer! Not me, of course. After multiple failed attempts, I finally installed Norton Antivirus for 2007, and then watched with glee as it hunted down and eliminated each of the intruders. My sweet little computer is once again surrounded by a safe, impenetrable bubble. I can now work and blog from my desk top, and I have access again to I-tunes. The months of deprivation have come to an end! All is good with the world.

(Note: I'm writing this from the purple haven of my home, and have not yet gone to work this happy, rainy Monday. Expect a bleak email from the office sometime later this evening.)

Kettle To Fire, Or Some Place Less Toasty?

I've been doing a lot of thinking this weekend, in between staying out (again!) way too late, blowing off work, catching up with my friends, setting up my computer (which has some crazy virus on it and will not let me install the new Norton Antivirus System - aggravation), stringing internet cable from downstairs to my bedroom, and trying out my new running shoes along the East River.

As I mentioned, I've been thinking about jumping ship and leaving my large firm for a much smaller one. Each January after bonuses are given out thousands of associates make similar moves, leaving behind crushing billables and miserable work environments for what they hope will be more bearable existences at so-called "lifestyle" firms. Lifestyle firms are supposed to care about their associate's well being. More importantly, they tend to demand approximately 300 less billable hours than the top legal sweatshops in New York, for a slight pay cut. I could do a lot of yoga, sleeping, socializing, and career planning in 300 hours.

This idea is a dramatic one for me. Until Friday, the thought of jumping to another firm had filled me with dread. I was scared - and still am (note the title of this post) - that going to another firm would be a step to the side instead of a step forward, that I would find essentially the same situation that I'm seeking to leave behind at the new firm, that I would feel like I was selling myself out by not making a clean break and turning my back on corporate American once and for all. However, my new thought is that making the jump to a place that would allow me to cut down my hours substantially, that also allowed me to do pro bono work and had pleasant co-workers, might enable me to do the kind of networking I need to in order to get a public interest position. A part of me wishes that I could just quit without any kind of job lined up, but that idea doesn't feel right to me.

I tentatively shared this plan with my parents tonight. I expected my Mom to want me to stay at my firm, and for my Dad to be supportive of my decision to leave. Instead, what happened was that my Mom was really supportive of my decision to go to a different firm, and my Dad told me he thought I was doing the wrong thing. My Dad knows that I don't like my firm and that I do not see myself at a firm for any significant period of time and he wants me to be happy and follow my passion. I want to follow my passion too, and if a public interest job opened up in New York and they wanted to hire me, I would snap it up in a second. However, I'm not in charge of those things, so instead I need to accept reality as it is and make the best of it.

My reality is that I'm at a firm that I do not like, and haven't liked since I started there and I want to get out. My Dad says that I should admit that I should have quit earlier. I don't find that helpful because (a) I'm trying to deal with the now and (b) I've had reasons to stay and I didn't have attractive alternatives. If I had reached a point that I wanted to quit, I would have.

The point here is that I'm making progress in my thinking, and although the idea of going to another firm makes me feel anxious, it's a relatively painless, speedy way to make an exit from my firm. Headhunters are looking for people at my level all the time and they'll do a lot of the work in terms of setting up interviews, finding openings, etc.

I don't know if it's the right thing. Maybe I'll get to another firm and think to myself that I made a mistake. It's possible. But, if that happens, I can quit that firm (and firm life completely). I don't see what I lose in going to another firm other than the prestige of my more well-known, larger firm - which as I mentioned earlier I shouldn't care about because it's not going to open the doors that I want it to open.

My Mom thinks I'm making the right decision because she wants me to stay in the firms and be secure. My Dad thinks I'm making the wrong decision because he wants me to quit flat out and is afraid that I'll be just as miserable in a different firm as I've been at this one. Both of them want me to be happy and are just trying to think of what's best for me. It must be difficult for parents to watch their children find their way.

Here are some things that I want:

I want to get out of this job.
I want to get out of this job within about two months.
I want to be able to go to the gym 3 times a week, or more.
I want to eat healthfully, and I do not want to order in at my desk after 8:00 pm.
I want to work with people who appreciate and respect me and who don't treat me like I'm a worthless moron.
I don't want to dread going to work each day.
I don't want to be unmotivated and depressed from being at work.
I want to be financially secure, for now.
I want to have health benefits.
The idea of bumming around jobless makes me feel anxious, although it's also incredibly appealing and I think everyone else who has ever had the courage to do it is amazing.
I want to have time for my social life.
I want to be happy right now.
Not in 5 months, not in a year, not in 10 years.
Right now.

I don't know if jumping from this firm to a smaller one will get me all of that, but it may get me a lot of it. Under the circumstances, it's looking like a positive step. But, I just felt a sliver of anxiety in my chest and can hear the echo of my Dad's words telling me that he fears I will be just as miserable in a different firm. It's an echo of my own fear.

I don't know. But I won't know until I try. And short of quitting without a job, I don't have any other alternative at the moment. So, why not be less miserable at a different place that would give me the time I need in order to get to where I want to be?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Musings From The Dark Side

I have regained a bit of perspective since yesterday's moment of weakness when I contemplated continuing my pact with the devil. It's true Bubbles, Satan is calling me to do her bidding in the form of a new interesting case that would keep me in the rat race for at least 6 more months while the world and my life pass me by. I know this is true, hence my reference to the "Devil's Advocate."

See, I'm not miserable! I'm darkly humorous. In seriousness, a few of you have commented to me that I sound miserable and that I should get out. I hate that I sound miserable and I'm disappointed in myself for sending out vibes of miserableness into the universe through this blog. My feeling on people who are miserable has always been that they should stop bitching and whining and do something about the source of their misery. I hope that I have not sounded (in general) on this blog like I am just bitching and whining - eventhough that can sometimes be very therapeutic. When I talk about my job, and particularly Dragon Lady, I can understand how I sound miserable since I frequently express how much I hate it. Sometimes, like yesterday, I get down and I can also understand how talking about that could lead my readers to believe that I am miserable.

I don't think of myself as miserable. I can assure you that when I'm away from my job, in the evenings or on the weekends, I'm quite happy and engaged with the world. Even at work when I'm spewing off a tirade about how much I hate work, I'm not miserable. It actually gives me great happiness to be able to express how f-ed up I think everything about my job is.

However, there is more than a grain of truth in the assertion that I may be miserable because in some sense I guess I am. I'm miserable in the sense that I am very aware of how much of my potential I am wasting by staying at this firm, for not taking the plunge out of the rat race. I'm also afraid of what life on the other side would look like, and it makes me miserable at times to know that fear might be playing a roll in keeping me here. I'm just being honest.

I guess I would say that my soul is in a state of misery more often than it would like because of in large part my current position. However, I'm a lot stronger than I used to be, and whereas I felt genuinely miserable my first year at the firm, I've toughened up and no longer feel torn to emotional shreds by my daily reality.

I'm rambling, but being this introspective and contemplating the precise nature of my state of miserableness is challenging. It's going to take some more thought on my part. I'll think about it more this weekend.

I also wanted to respond to a comment by Racy Li who wrote: "Think of your job like an abusive boyfriend; you really want to stay with him because for various reasons it is helping you a lot, but the problem is he keeps bitch-slappin' you into the ground." Amen, sister. I hope you will not think of me as taking anything away from the experience of women who are actually in abusive relationships when I say that her words rang true. My firm and a lot of the people I work with are abusive, and they do attempt to rip you down as a way to keep you in line while at the same time occasionally pumping you up and dangling various carrots in front of your eyes.

This comment also got me thinking about what I get from this firm, and what the various reasons are that I stay. I guess I have stayed because of security (including financial security), prestige (god damned ambition!), my pro bono work (which is still continuing), the chance to gain experience, and the hope that this opportunity will open up other doors (which it has by, for example, allowing me to connect with public interest organizations through my pro bono work).

This afternoon I had tea with Sebastian, my friend who gave notice on Tuesday and in so doing became my idol. During our conversation, he commented that Eastern philosophers believe that happiness is attained through eliminating desire, not in the fulfillment of desire. Sebastian has been in this rat race for years, in large part due to the ambitions of youth which drove him to excel in school and at work. He told me that he believes that he has to eliminate that career ambition - that desire for prestige and professional success - in order to attain happiness. Essentially, he needs to turn his back on the allure of the rat race to attain a more meaningful life.

I am in complete agreement with Sebastian and I know in my heart that I need to do the same thing, ultimately, in order to attain a lasting happiness for myself. Sebastian has broken free, and for that he is my hero, but the rats still have their claws in me.

It's scary, bloody work to rip the rats away. They're claws run deep, and they bite when provoked.