Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I've Stopped Drinking The Kool-Aid

I just accepted my offer for employment with Bachelor #5! Although I had basically made up my mind last Friday, after meeting with Bachelor #1, I went out last night for drinks with all of the associates at Bachelor #5 for a last test of the waters. The whole group was awesome. I had so much fun, and the evening confirmed that I was making the right decision. I seriously can not believe that such a normal, cool group of people are lawyers!

Before I get too excited (which I already am), I have to take care of a number of administrative things. My offer is contingent upon a reference and conflicts check (conflicts occur if I worked on a case that my new firm is also working on, basically). Once all of the administrative stuff is taken care of, I'll finally be in a position to give notice!!!! I can hardly stand the anticipation. If all goes well, it shouldn't be much longer before that happy day is upon me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why DL Is Going To Come Back As A Cockroach (No Offense Roaches)

The evil Dragon Lady has struck again. I had my review today, and suffice it to say it was not exactly stellar. Which is incredibly aggravating because I'm actually quite stellar. My review included a single-spaced dissertation written by DL where she, somewhat incomprehensibly detailed all of my alleged faults, including that I am a picker and a chooser. I was told that everyone thinks I'm exceptionally talented, smart, creative, and an excellent writer and communicator, etc., but that I appear to have a lack of dedication and interest in the firm and that I'm not dependable.

Ouch. Other that the "exceptionally talented, smart, and creative," and "excellent writer and communicator" parts, I disagree with pretty much all of their other characterizations.

By "not dependable," they mean that I don't ask "how high," when they tell me to jump. Instead, I explain what else I'm jumping over and why I can't jump at that precise moment for them too, but that I would be happy to jump for them as soon as my current project is over. A dependable associate, on the other hand, always says yes, never turns down an assignment, is always willing to stay late and work weekends, and has no problem cheerfully and repeatedly sacrificing his life to the demands of the firm. They don't like when associates talk back to them.

By "lack of interest and dedication," they mean that I don't enthusiastically agree to take on every assignment they want to give me, that I push back when I feel that my plate is full enough, and that I don't kiss ass while I'm saying no. They have never cared how full I think my plate is. They only care about whether I'm saying yes, showing proper enthusiasm, and how many hours I'm churning out. I'm sorry, but if someone gives me an assignment and tells me I have to work the whole weekend, I'm not going to be enthusiastic about it. An interested and dedicated associate, on the other hand, would enthusiastically say yes every time, even while fried from lack of sleep, fighting with his girlfriend because he had to break another dinner date, and gaunt and pasty white from lack of fresh air, a healthy diet, and exercise. I'm not that associate.

The "picker-chooser" allegation - for which DL is the source - really pisses me off, but it's also kind of hilarious given the circumstances. If I was a picker and a chooser, about the last thing I would have done was to be assigned to a single, highly leveraged case that would take up over 2 years of my life. I also most certainly would never have picked to work with DL. Again, this is also a veiled way of saying that I should say "yes" all the time. Their view is that when I say "no," I'm trying to manage my caseload so that I only get choice assignments. The thing they don't quite understand is that I haven't been on any choice assignments!

Despite the inevitable rejoinder, "life isn't fair," I still feel that this review was not fair. It's not fair that I got put on one gigantic case at this firm, it's not fair that I was forced to work almost exclusively with DL for the last year, it's not fair that I had to fight my firm to allow me to represent pro bono clients that they had encouraged me to take on (that had no one else to fight for them), and it's not fair that I gave so much of myself to this place for so little in return.

But where does saying it's not fair get me? Not very far. Though I'm livid at my firm and at least a little bit resentful about the injustice of it all (especially the fact that DL sold me down the river despite all of the hours of my life that she made utterly miserable), had I the opportunity to do it all over, I don't think I would have done it differently. In the past two and a half years, I learned invaluable lessons about myself, and I was given the opportunity to profoundly affect six people's lives for the better. Maybe my pro bono clients would have found other representation and maybe their cases would have been successful without me? It's possible, but I don't know that. All I know is that for some reason I came to this firm, lasted far longer than I ever thought I would have lasted, made the absolute best out of an incredibly difficult situation, and in the course of doing so, despite my firm, I did good work.

If they want to call me a picker and a chooser and cast aspersions on my sense of dedication, interest, and dependability because of my commitment to do good work, both for my paying and pro bono clients, fine. There are worse things in life, and what they don't know yet is that I'm soon going to be out of here. It took an enormous amount of self-restraint not to quit during my review. It may happen on Friday, it may happen next week, but it's going to happen soon.

And when it does, I've decided that I'm not going to tell DL in person that I'm leaving. She doesn't deserve one more ounce of my time, energy, or respect. I shudder to imagine what her next life is going to be like.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Let's Talk About Sex

You know all that stuff I was saying about dating, where I sagely explained how I was approaching things the "right" way, meaning lots of dates and no sex? Crumple all of that up into a tiny little ball and toss it out the window. I'm back to thinking maybe, just maybe, if both people are on the same page, then you can go ahead and sleep with them outside the context of a committed relationship without either one of them getting hurt. Or, more precisely, I'm back to thinking that I could go ahead any sleep with someone outside the context of a committed relationship without getting hurt. In addition, I think it might be, um, satisfying.

One of the things that's prompted this about-face is that, for some reason, I simply do not feel emotionally wrapped up in this whole dating thing. I've questioned myself long and hard about this, and I swear I'm being honest with myself. Where before I used to obsess about the men in my life, now there's ... almost nothing. They have female friends, fine, no problem. They've been to strip clubs and burlesque shows and they had a nice time? Potentially sexist but as long as they're respectful, fine. They're super hot, big flirts, and have tried to sleep with me on multiple occasions (as I imagine they have with many other women)? Not a problem. They're away on vacation, have texted me a few times, and might call me to go out when they get back into the states? I'm not stressing about it, and I'm certainly not texting them, unless I'm texting them back. What the hell is happening to me?

I guess I'm really talking about two separate issues. The first is the ability to be casual about the dating thing, and to not take it all so seriously. I think I'm doing an exceptionally good job at that, and the way I can tell is that I literally do not care. Not that I'm not excited when a boy is sweet to me, because of course I care about that. But, if they don't call or communicate, I don't get concerned. I'm not filled with anxiety. I don't feel hurt. I just think, "Ok, they're not into me, and that's cool because I'm not into them." Instead of spending time worrying about whether they're into me, I just chill out, do my own thing, and assume that if they're into me they'll figure out a way to demonstrate it. Similarly, if they're not into me, they'll figure out a way to demonstrate that too.

This is a staggering change from the emotional turmoil I was in while dating EXBF. Who knew that I would feel far more emotionally secure while single and dating, than I did while in a committed relationship? (Of course, if it was a good committed relationship, that would be a different story). On that topic, I'd also like to add that there were possibly 1,000 things that EXBF did that should have made me realize that he just was not that into me, including repeatedly saying that he wasn't good enough for me. If someone really believes that they are not good enough for you, and they keep saying it and treating you poorly, maybe you should take them at their word? Despite his protestations of love, his actions spoke volumes, and I just kept hoping things would change. Silly Buttercup, trix are for kids, not grown up women. Boys Don't Change. Please, for the love womenkind, remember that lessson. It's true!!

Getting back to dating, my current blasé attitude would probably change if I started really liking someone, and of course none of the above applies to guys who are jerks. Spending any time with dogs, let alone being sexual with them, clearly can lead to no good and isn't worth any woman's time. By the way, that book, "He's Just Not That Into You," by the writers of SATC, is a quick, funny read, with several nuggets of dating wisdom. I'd recommend it if you want a quick window into the (worst of the) male mind, or if you want to remind a friend that a married man by definition is just not that into her. If he was into her, he wouldn't be married.

The second thing I'm talking about is whether dating can still be casual if you throw sex into the mix. I'm not talking about bad casual, I'm talking good casual, where no one gets hurt and everyone's happy. I respect women, including myself, as strong sexual beings, and if we want to have sex, and if we do it safely to protect ourselves and others, then of course we should be able to do it. But, in this cut-throat world of New York dating, where we're told ad nauseam that they're tons of single girls for each straight single guy, where the men assume they should be treated as kings as they move from one girl to the next, and where there's an expectation that when you meet someone they're probably involved, on some level, in something (blah, blah, blah, you've heard it all before on SATC), it had seemed to me like sex was a door too risky to crack open. But, now I'm not sure.

Is pure sexual pleasure, without any emotional strings possible in the context of casual dating? And, is it worth it? What do you think?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Girl Bonding Over Oscar and Ellen

I watched the Oscars with a group of my girl friends and decided that "girls only" Oscar parties are the way to go. We drank wine, ate chocolate and cheese with abandon, commented on the hotties, shredded the poor fashion choices, and laughed a lot. Everybody was relaxed and I think they had a nice time.

At one point, a male stopped by and scolded us for being "catty." We weren't being catty, just boisterous. For every woman we thought had a hideous outfit, there was another and another and another that we thought looked absolutely gorgeous. We promptly informed him that he was outnumbered, that critiquing the celebrities was part of the fun, and that he would be wise to go with the flow. I thought we saw the same old thing from her, her, and her, and though I'd already seen far too much of her in Babel, I thought she cleaned up quite nicely.

My chocolate mousse and meringue dessert were hits. The only problem is that I far overestimated the amount of food my friends would consume and have at least three months of cheese left over along with several Tupperware containers of dessert. Things do not bode well for me in terms of getting my health kick off to a solid start this month. I'm afraid, very afraid... But, also happy. It was a fun night.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Happy Birthday B&B

One year ago today, Bean and I started this blog. After learning about blogs from my friend Wood, I had been toying with the idea of starting my own blog for months. Then, one day, while sitting in my toxic work environment surfing celebrity sites and other blogs, procrastinating and avoiding my worthless work (take a look at my first post to see what I was dealing with), I called up Bean and told her that I wanted to start a blog with her. I thought it would be a fun activity that we could do together that would give us both a creative outlet. Like the perfect little sister, she immediately agreed. In the infancy of our blog, she was the technical expert who figured out all the basic html we needed to tweak the design of our blog, including finding the precise shades of purple that I wanted. We had countless exchanges that went something like this:

Bean: "Do you like this one?"

Buttercup: "Wait a sec, let me open it up. Yeah, kind of, but I like number 675632 better. Can we make it a cross between those two?"

Bean: "What about this?"

Buttercup: "What about that other one?"

Bean: "Hold on, I'm republishing."

Buttercup: "OMG, where did it go???"

In the past year, I've written far more often then she has, in part because she's nearing her last month of pregnancy, and in part because from the beginning I wanted this and needed this more than she did (if she'll allow me to speak for her). Bean's not a tormented soul. She's actually quite well adjusted, and she's amazed me repeatedly during the past two years with how together she is. She's married to a loving husband, expecting a baby, owns her own house in the mountains, has two dogs, works, runs her household, and still manages to find time to send our mom Valentine's Day flowers (from all of us) and to be a wonderful, loving, supportive sister, wife, and daughter. Other than Wood, she's one of the only people I can unselfconsciously crumble in front of when I need a good cry. I'm lucky to have her and I love her very much.

But getting back to me: As you probably know, unlike Bean, I have not felt very together for the past two years. I'm not being hard on myself, and I recognize that in many ways I'm exceptionally together. However, the last two years have been very challenging for me, both personally and professionally. In the midst of all the turmoil, change, and growing of the past year, this blog has provided a safe place where I could share my thoughts, be creative, talk about what I was passionate and pissed about, and reflect upon all that was going on in my life. It's also provided something I never expected, an amazingly supportive community and a network of wonderful friends. Thank you to all of you for being a part of that community.

I hope you like what you find here, because I'm going to be sticking around for Year # 2; a year that's shaping up to be pretty damn good (minus the muggers).

Friday, February 23, 2007

We Settled!!!

I'm pretty tired right now so can't fill you all in on the whole story, but suffice it to say that after two years of fighting, we finally settled my client's contested divorce case. Woohoo! It took almost 8 hours of back and forth informal conferences and hearings before the Judge, but we finally reached a mutually satisfying agreement. Actually, I should say mutually "unsatisfying" because I don't think either side was happy; however, they both reached a place that they were comfortable with under the circumstances. Christ, I never want to go through a divorce. What a freaking nightmare. It's enough to make you want to draw up a pre-nup, just so you don't have to deal with a messy circus in the event that things sour. I know that's not terribly romantic, but it's practical.

So, unbelievably, the case that would not end has finally reached a conclusion. Yesterday evening, after it was all done and we were on our way to take our client out to a celebratory dinner, I felt as if an enormous weight had been lifted off of me. This was a big source of stress that has finally been cleared off of my plate. Yay!!!! I'm so relieved, I'm happy for my client to finally be able to put this chapter behind her, and I'm also happy for me because, other than finalizing the judgment and taking care of some administrative details, it's all over!!

I also made progress on the job front. This afternoon, I went on a follow-up interview with Bachelor #1. I met two more associates and then spoke with the hiring partner, an awesome guy. I don't know why, but shortly arriving at their offices, something inside of me started telling me that they weren't right for me. I don't know if it was the hideous ID picture the building took of me on my first visit, and which they insisted upon using on all of my subsequent visits, or the fact that their building overlooks EXBF's offices and shares a subway stop with them, or the fact that everyone treated me slightly oddly because they knew about my mugging, but for some reason going into the interviews I already knew in my gut what my decision was going to be. Meeting the associates only confirmed what I already knew. They were nice enough, but nothing special, and though their firm is better in terms of lifestyle than my current firm, they still had a bit too much of a big-firm feel. Even though their hours aren't that high, it still felt a little too much like a machine. I found myself thinking fondly of Bachelor #5's offices, which only have about 20 attorneys in their NY office.

Both firms are basically evenly matched in terms of prestige, people, and type of work. However, at Bachelor #1, I'd have to do almost exclusively white collar work for at least one year. At Bachelor #5, I'd do some white collar, but would also be able to do a few other types of assignments almost immediately. #1 has approximately 60 attorneys in their office and, as I mentioned, #5 has only 20 - a fact that gives their offices a nice feel. I feel like I would get a lot of responsibility at #5, would not be able to hide or slip through any cracks, and I'd also get taken care of in terms of mentoring, assignments, and the ability to develop professional relationships. Plus, the main partner that I'd be working with at #5 seems like an incredibly cool guy who understands the meaning of having a life. He has a wife and a child, coaches soccer, and is signing up to coach little league. If your partner is coaching little league, you know you're life can't be that bad.

The biggest factor weighing in favor of #5 is that my friend Em just started working there, and it would be awesome to continue working in the same office as her. We're a great team, and it's always a plus to have a friend in your workplace. She's also been able to give me the inside scoop, since she started working there last week, and so far every thing I hear from her is basically positive. A few days ago we were talking and suddenly, at 6:20pm, she said, "Oh gosh, I gotta go. I have to get to the gym." Fantastic. Now that's the type of life I'm talking about.

This week was stressful and I had two minor meltdowns, one on Monday night and one last night, but tonight I feel hopeful and excited about the future. I am on the verge of making a HUGE change. Sometimes I get frustrated and am hard on myself for not having things together yet (i.e. not going to the gym regularly, not doing yoga, crying and being emotional with some frequency, though not a sixteenth as often as I used to in my past relationship - Yay!), but I can't do that to myself. I need to remember that I have made a lot of progress and once I get a new job which actually allows me to have a life, I think things are going to change dramatically. Bean said that to me last night and I think she's right.

I can not effing wait to get out of my firm. I'm starting to buzz with energy just thinking about it. I could give my notice next week. Do you understand how exciting this is?????

The other things that I'm excited about tonight are the following: (1) I sent out my laundry to get done for the first time ever, and am pretty much ecstatic that I don't have to do laundry this weekend; (2) I was good to myself and stayed in this evening, relaxed, and caught up on Grey's Anatomy (I cried), Lost (Bai Ling??), American Idol (go ladies), and Heroes (very cool); (3) I'm having an Oscar watching party this Sunday; and (4) I painted my toes and finger nails and they look delightful. I think I'm going to stay in more often on Friday nights. It's fun.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #29

Thirteen Reasons We Should Continue, and Can*, Thursday Thirteen (Even Without Our Fearless Leaders)

1) We have the headers.

2) We have a large community and know where to find each other from the TT blogroll.

3) We can also find each other on the technorati site by searching for Thursday Thirteen.

4) It's fun to think about 13 things about myself to share each week.

5) It's even more fun to read 13 things about everyone else each week.

6) It encourages creativity and reflection.

7) It's challenging and it gives my weeks a certain welcome structure.

8) It's something I've looked forward to for the last 29 weeks.

9) It's given me an even greater sense of community within the blogsphere.

10) It's the internet, which means it's an unregulated free-for-all, and we can continue to utilize it for our purposes, even without our fearless leaders to organize and encourage us.

11) It was such a great idea, and so successful; it would be a waste to let it end.

12) I'm going to miss it if we all stop doing our TTs.

13) It's brought me in contact with so many people that I've really enjoyed getting to know, and about whom I want to learn more.
* I wrote this post after learning a few minutes ago that this was the last week of TT. Since then, I've done some more research and it appears that the creators of TT are attempting to sell their creation, and do not want people to use the TT copyright, which I can understand. My point in this post was simply to say how much I have enjoyed this community and I hope that we could all find some way to continue it. Out of curiosity though, I would be interested to know whether this was a business decision. Was TT created with the intention of selling it? Does anyone know?

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, February 21, 2007

Fingers Crossed

I have a trial tomorrow; the third date for which the trial in my contested divorce case has been rescheduled (see here and here). Frankly, I would prefer if it were not happening tomorrow. I'm tired and sleepy, and once again find myself sitting in my office feeling unhealthy after ordering take-out and eating at my desk with a full night's work, and at least one stop at the vending machines, ahead of me. Is it so wrong that I want to be at the gym or at home reading "Prep," instead of in the office working on this never ending case?

While I've been prepping for trial today, I've received not one, not two, but three different email notifications - each one more nasty than the next - from three different people yelling at me for not having my hours up to date in our computer system. Never mind that I had some complications last week, and never mind that I have a trial this week, my hours must be entered so that the firm can bill, bill, bill! Nothing must come in the way of the firm and it's money. I get that they need me to enter my time in order to run an efficient business, but three emails in one day, after I responded promptly to the first one and they told me it was fine to get my hours in by tomorrow evening, is a tad excessive.

Also today, opposing counsel, who is a male, called me "dear" while attempting to get me to shut-up on a conference call today regarding his failed attempt to convince us to adjourn our trial. I told him, "I am not your 'dear.' Let's act with some professionalism." I'd like to be a duck and let these things slide off my back, but god did it make my blood boil. This is the second time that guy has acted completely condescending and unprofessionally towards me.

Despite these aggravations, I'm here, at my desk, plugging away. My client came to visit me today to do some last minute preparation. As she was leaving, she hugged me and sad, "I'm depending on you tomorrow." That's enough motivation for me.

Please let this thing finish tomorrow! And, pretty please make it end favorably for my client.

Hamptonian Ignorance

While out in the Hamptons this past weekend, I went out to dinner with Rumi and her bf, DWB. We went to a casual little seafood restaurant on the edge of town - nothing fancy or hip - that had stuffed lobster for about half the price you would pay downtown. DWB's version of slumming it. It reminded me of a nautically themed restaurant I used to go to in the small town in Connecticut in which I grew up; a place where I once bit into a cherry tomato, after stabbing it inartfully with my fork, causing all of the juicy tomato seeds to spray out across the table, while my boyfriend and his parents looked on. I am nothing if not graceful.

While we were munching on oyster crackers and sipping some wine that DWB had ordered, DWB said what a shame it was that the restaurant had been doing so poorly that it had had to expand it's customer base, and nodded towards the bar area where a small group of people sat drinking and laughing loudly with one another. The group was fairly boisterous, and the noise alone made them stand out from the rest of the restaurant patrons, a reserved and stuffy bunch of mostly families and older customers. The group happened to be black, and the rest of the restaurant patrons happened to be white.

Not wanting to assume that DWB was a racist, but not capable of letting that pass, I asked him what he meant by his comment. He explained that it was rare to see a black person in the Hamptons, and it was clear by the presence of this group of African Americans that the restaurant had had to expand its customer base by providing "special" deals. Clearly, he was assuming that the group of African Americans had less money than your typical Hamptons customer. I said that it sounded like he meant that the restaurant was expanding it's customer base by class, and not necessarily by race, in order to bring in more business. I was trying to throw DWB a bone (not that being classist is any better than being racist, mind you, but at least classism has an economic reality that could have made sense in the context of discussing a restaurant's efforts to bring in more business by lowering its prices on certain dinner specials).

Picking up on his other comment, I said that it was hard for me to believe that the presence of a black person in the Hamptons would be a rare thing. The Hamptons are a place where the wealthy go to escape the crush of the city, no question about it, and for a very long time (i.e. Slavery, Segregation, Pre-Civil Rights Movement) "wealthy" meant "white," or more accurately, "not people of color." But, times have changed. There are tons of extremely successful, highly educated, wealthy black people, and the idea that they wouldn't be making their way to the Hamptons just like all the other rich people in New York seems more than a little bit incredible. Maybe DWB doesn't see people of color in his circle, but I have no doubt that they frequent the Hamptons, just like their wealthy white cohorts. When I brought this up to DWB, he commented that there were probably some wealthy black people in the Hamptons, but it was rare to see a group of "fat" black people, and then nodded again in the direction of the group sitting at the bar.

By "fat," he meant "not stick thin" (which is what most of the women I saw looked like in the Hamptons), but he also meant "lower class." Apparently, in DWB's circle, all the women are supposed to be perfectly fit, focused on their figures, and pretty. Fat women - even white women - are not appreciated. Men, on the other hand, can look like this, as long as they're loaded. It's despicable.

Several times now, when I've spent any time with DWB, I've noticed how judgmental he is of the women around him. I've also started to see how it affects Rumi, who just the other day commented that "It's so easy to get fat." My roommate is about 5'6" and just over 100 pounds. She exercises almost every day and watches what she eats. It would take force-feeding her buckets of lard to make her fat. Me, I've been eating chocolate, marshmallows, ice cream, and all manner of other comfort/junk food, and it's made me unhappy and a bit squishier than I would like, but it's not made me fat. As my friend Pele said about ten years ago when we were both studying at UVA, "your body wants to stay at the weight that it's comfortable with." I'm beginning to think Rumi might have some body issues, and that DWB might be contributing to them, and I don't like it.

While I'm on this topic, Rumi also said that tofu is fattening and that I had been eating "a lot" of ice cream. For the record, since moving into this apartment two months ago, I have consumed exactly two pints of ice cream. One pint of Sharon's chocolate sorbet and one point of Chocolate Chip Mint ice cream. I can't believe she's been watching what I eat and I can't believe she thinks 2 pints is a lot! And, what of this business about tofu being fattening. I've heard of tofu not being as good as animal protein (a common argument of my brother's), but fattening? I don't think so. Comments?

Getting back to the issue of race, DWB's comments made me uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. First, I don't like racists and I don't like racism. Second, I believe in equality of all women and I'm certainly not going to watch any of my sisters getting sold down the river, especially not for an old, rich white man, who at the age of 71 is making his 34-year old girlfriend feel self-conscious about her body. Third, half of my family are black. Fourth, about half of my friends are people of color. Fifth, prejudice on the basis of any reason, whether it be race, class, or sexuality, is wrong, close-minded, and ignorant, and I have no time or patience for any of that. Sixth, as a women living in this still male-dominated society, I often feel that I have a lot more in common with people of color than I do with white men, or at the very least that there is a common shared experience between women and people of color (noting that women of color are tagged twice in this) to which white men are excluded unless they take the time to learn and understand, which thankfully, many of them do.

That night, after we got back from dinner, I took the earliest opportunity to let DWB know that my Dad was married to a black woman, that my step-family was black, and that I had an adorable niece and nephew by my black step-sister and her white husband. While DWB was processing this information, I also informed him that my last boyfriend was Indian, and that I had recently gone on dates with a black lawyer, an Indian lawyer, and a finance guy of Indian, Chinese, and Jamaican descent. I was seeking to make DWB question some of his assumptions, and I think I succeeded, albeit only marginally. DWB found it somewhat interesting that my father had married a black woman, but he found it absolutely remarkable that I would entertain, as he put it, marrying into a "minority" group. It aggravated me when he used that term because he obviously meant it in a pejorative sense. I emphasized that I had been brought up in a family where who the person is, not the color of their skin or their cultural background, is what's important (color and culture can be incredibly attractive, but it's never a negative). Obviously, DWB was raised in a very different environment.

From DWB's perspective, women generally seek to "marry up" (keep in mind he's really old, which is not an excuse but it provides some explanation for his antiquated notions of dating, if not his lack of social awareness) and he was surprised that a woman like me (white, educated, smart, attractive) would be willing to marry "down" by putting herself into a minority group. I'm not making that up. He actually said that a white woman would be marrying down by marrying into a minority group. I had never heard that before, and was frankly shocked that anyone educated still thought along those lines.

God, did that piss me off. It didn't piss me off for me, and it didn't piss me off on behalf of my possibly brown or black future husband, because I'm sure he'll be tough enough to laugh off the absurdity and idiocy of those types of comments, like EXBF once did. However, it did piss me off on behalf of my friends and family, and it really pissed me off on behalf of the future brown or black children I might one day have. It pissed me off on behalf of all the beautiful multiracial children - including my sweet niece and nephew - born into this fucked up society that still persists in viewing the races as divided from one another, with whites as the privileged race, and everyone else as the "other." That perspective is fucked up.

I don't think DWB is racist. If I had thought that, I wouldn't have stayed the weekend, and I certainly wouldn't have made small talk with him while helping him in the kitchen. I think he's a privileged white male from an older generation who is ignorant on a host of issues relating to gender and race. When I made my points countering his statements, he listened to me with a seemingly open mind, and said nothing which lead me to believe that he thought that whites and people of color were not inherently equal. He's a Jew for god's sake; he should know about prejudice and be sensitive to the evils that come from it. I don't think DWB is a racist, but he should know better.

If playing rich girl means more of this ignorance, in the future I'll pass.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I had a whole post written about how I was on the brink of flipping out today because I'm so STRESSED about my job search, my impending decision, trying to work while being absent and preoccupied, preparing for my trial on Thursday, and feeling an overwhelming sense of failure at my inability to get it together in terms of physical and spiritual health. Not to mention the fact that I keep having dreams about robbers trying to kill me and keep seeing people who look like the two muggers all over the city.

But, then it hit me. It could be a lot worse. Instead of a lawyer with two job offers, surrounded by loving friends and family who is about to be an Auntie for the first time, I could be a former superstar who seems single-mindedly determined to flush her career, reputation, modesty, money, family, health, looks, and all prospects of a comeback down the toilet.

Things aren't so bad after all!

Monday, February 19, 2007

President's Day

In 1776, Abigail Smith Adams (November 11, 1744-October 28, 1818) the second First Lady of the United States, and wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States, wrote to her husband requesting that he and the Continental Congress:

"...remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."

On this day of remembering two men who shaped the history of America, let's also remember that there were women working alongside them, though perhaps unseen or obscured in history, to build this country and to keep the male powers in check.

Women may have a history of being subordinated to the whims of men, yet they also have a history of being active agents, fiercely fighting to shape their own destiny. For every man that has ruled or lead a revolution, there has been a woman next to him, whether it be his mother, sister, daughter, lover, or wife. We have always been there, and we will continue to be. Men would do well to stop underestimating us on all levels, including our ability to be the next President of the United States.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Hamptons Rule

I'm having a wonderfully relaxed weekend. I'm staying at a gorgeous house that won best architectural design in 1983 in which I have basically my own wing. I have a private bath, the most comfortable bed ever, black-out shades that work, and a beautiful view of the lake, rolling hills, and mansion-esque homes far off in the distance. Did I mention the sky? In Manhattan, you never see the sky. Here, at night there are billions of stars, and in the day an endless blue, cloud-dotted expanse above you. I have the sense that I'm on the edge of the planet, surrounded by things larger than myself that make me feel strangely relaxed and protected; very different than being surrounded by the glittery, super-charged embrace of Manhattan.

I've been spending my days sipping coffee, napping, and assisting Rumi's bf in the kitchen. He's an incredible cook, and I've been picking up tips left and right. I've probably learned more about cooking in the last two days than I have in the last thirty years. No offense intended Dad and Mom. We've made chocolate mouse, slow-cooked salmon with a watercress sauce, mussel soup with a brandy-saffron base, parsnip-mashed potatoes, seafood salad with a cognac sauce, ceaser salad, and a delicate asparagus soup. I've been photocopying recipes and jotting down cooking tips in my journal. I finally get why people love cooking. I finally see how relaxing and enjoyable it can be.

Later this afternoon, Rumi and I are going to drive through some of the other towns and go shopping in East Hampton. We might also catch a movie before dinner, and then perhaps grab a drink with my girl friend Pele and her boyfriend, who also happen to be out her for the weekend. I'm so glad I left the city this weekend! Bravo to all of you for your excellent advice!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Off To The Country

The majority spoke, and the Hamptons it is! I'm leaving in a few hours and I'm looking forward to it. The wisdom of my decision was confirmed when, twenty minutes ago, Rumi's bf called to ask whether I liked lobster. Um, yeah!

I have mild anxiety about leaving for the weekend, but I'm countering that by bringing some work with me. My contested divorce case is once again set to go to trial next week, so I want to do some additional research on equitable distribution, which I can very easily do from Rumi's bf's computer in between relaxing, shopping, bubble baths, runs on the treadmill, and getting wined and dined. How cool is my roommate for inviting me along? She's awesome.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday night, and stay tuned for a Hampton's update. If you're lucky, I'll replace my digital camera and upload some photos. (Curses to the evil thieves that are messing up my blogging!).

P.S. Question: I need a category title to describe my general going out activities in New York, including bars, restaurants, clubs, etc. "Fun" and "NYC" are too general, and "dating" doesn't cover all the non-boy fun I've been having in the city. It could also include daytime activities like museums, etc. Does anyone have a good category name? I know, my life is so rough to have to worry about such questions. :)

To Hampton or Not To Hampton?

Thanks to all of you for being so supportive! You guys are awesome. I felt better today. I saw CG, didn't get scared on the subway, and went in to work for a few hours, where I proceeded to listen to Alien Ant Farm's "Annie Are you OK?" on repeat while chucking half of my office into a recycling bin. It was productive, and all I could manage in terms of working. It's impossible to work when I feel like I'm in the midst of a garbage heap. I also talked to Prue which was awesome. I miss you Prue!

Once I was back at the office, I started to worry about normal things like: which law firm's offer I should accept, how soon could I give my two week's notice, where was I going to go on vacation, did I have to finish that last project (that I haven't even started) before I quit, would my new firm let me start in April, and how was I going to make sure I was in the country in time for Bean's baby's birth? So many questions, and so few answers at the moment.

Meanwhile, my roommate ("Rumi") invited me to go to the Hamptons for the weekend to stay in her boyfriend's gorgeous home, walk around the shops in Sag Harbor, and laze around the house reading and relaxing. Rumi's bf loves to cook, and I'm sure all of the food would be amazing. It would be me, Rumi, her bf, and bf's friend, an older gentlemen who has absolutely no designs on me (I swear). Rumi has emphasized that there are "no rules" and that I could sleep in and laze around all I liked. And, the house has internet access.

Sounds like a dream, right? Then, why can't I decided whether I should go or not? I have this mild feeling of anxiety (I'm so sick of feeling anxious!) when I think about going, but a similar feeling when I think about not going. The cons are that I need to do laundry, I might feel trapped all the way in the Hamptons, I'm feeling like I just want to stay close to home - probably a side affect of last weekend's anxiety-provoking incident, and I have some work that I should do in preparation for a hearing/trial next week.

On the other hand, it's the Hamptons, it's a lovely invitation, a change of scenery might do me good, I could do work on the computer at the house, I have no plans in particular for this weekend, and if I get antsy I can hop on the jitney back to Manhattan. (Omg, I can't believe I just used the word "jitney" in a sentence!). Plus, it might be nice to be around people. If I stay, I will no doubt end up hooking up with or thinking about hooking up with a boy. In addition, I could do some shopping in Sag Harbor and replace some of the belongings the nasty thieves took from me. I'm not ready for the East Village any time soon, but Sag Harbor could be fun.

What do you think? A) The Hamptons, or B) Laundry and Potential Boy?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #28

Thirteen Things Stolen From Me

1) Black Kenneth Cole purse ($100).

2) Purple Hobo International wallet ($100).

3) Eye glasses and case ($400).

4) Digital Camera ($400-500).

5) Memory stick containing months of pictures that I hadn't yet downloaded, including pictures of Bean's baby shower.

6) My social security card.

7) Assorted make-up including this, this, this, and this (approximately $75).

8) All of my credit cards and my ATM card.

9) My expired MI license, frequent flyer cards, health insurance cards, gift cards to Pottery Barn and Bed Bath & Beyond, and an unused merchandise credit.

10) Recently purchased unlimited rides monthly metro pass ($76).

11) My journal, which thankfully contained only two entries.

12) Approximately $60 in cash ($60).

13) House keys, mail key, Legoland wizard key chain, Tar Heels bottle opener key chain, NYSC pass, and assorted other keys.

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, February 14, 2007

To The Scum Of The Earth That Robbed Me

Dear Scum-of-the-Earth,

Until our paths crossed on Sunday evening, I had been having a really spectacular weekend. I had gone out with friends on Friday and Saturday night and had had a great time. I'd made out with a cute boy on Friday night, and then met the same boy for brunch down in Soho on Sunday afternoon. I had enjoyed myself at brunch, and then had a delightful time walking around Soho with the boy window shopping and stopping at random chocolate shops. I know this is of no interest to you because you're a junkie who, until you stole my purse, probably didn't have any money to shop at chocolate stores in Soho. But, since you're not pointing a knife at me right now, I really don't care whether you're interested or not.

I had been to the fragrance shop on East 7th Street, between 2nd and 3rd, many times before, and I had always had a lovely time. The owner of the store and the women who work there are wonderful women, filled with positive, calming energy. The first time I went to the store, my little sister, Bean, and I discovered it together. She's pregnant now, and I'm about to be an Auntie. Since Sunday night, I've thought at least 1000 times how grateful I am that Bean wasn't with me on Sunday. The thought of you putting her in danger makes me nauseous, and it also makes me want to kill you. I would have done my best to kill you, even though you were holding that knife, if you had done anything threatening towards her.

Before I found the store on Sunday, I had been wandering around trying to remember it's address, talking on my cell phone and not paying terribly close attention to my surroundings. If I had paid close attention, I would have seen that it appeared to be a normal, chilly, sunny winter afternoon in the city. People were moving quickly through the streets, bundled up in great big puffy coats, scarves, and mittens. I didn't have my mittens on because I had been holding my phone, and my hand was red and chapped from the cold wind.

I had had an argument with my Dad about an hour before I met you. I was telling my Dad how happy I was, and how much fun I had been having the last couple of months. I also told him that I was excited about quitting my job and that I was looking forward to going on a trip for a couple of weeks. I got frustrated with him because he said that maybe I was having too much fun, and that I should settle down first and then go on a trip together with someone. You probably don't think that's annoying, because as you so eloquently conveyed, you care nothing for me, my personal safety, or the sanctity of my things, but I thought it was super annoying. Listening to him tell me that I should settle down made me feel like I had demon claws scratching down the surface of my eyeballs like nails on a chalkboard.

It was offensive and it made me angry. You don't know this, but just a few short months ago I got out of a bad relationship, where the boy in it didn't treat me well. He made me sad a lot of the time and prioritized everyone and everything else above me. Since the break-up, I've been awesome, though. I've been so strong. I've been letting myself heal, giving myself space to deal with my emotions, making positive changes in my life, and even dating. I have not been drinking too heavily, I have not been having destructive meaningless sex with boys, and I have not been trying to rush into another relationship just for the sake of having a relationship. My Dad should be proud of me for everything I am doing and for everything that I'm choosing not to do. And, when I'm fucking happy, he should be happy for me. He certainly should not crush down my happiness by telling me that I'm doing everything wrong, that I'll regret my life "passing me by" because of all the boyfriend-less-fun I'm having right now, and he sure as fuck should not do everything possible to remind me that there are negatives to being single and 32. Not when I'm so god-damned happy about it.

Newsflash: I know what it means to be a woman. I know that fertility rates go down after 35. I'm aware that, ideally, I would like to fall madly in love with someone and have a crop of babies with them; preferably beautiful little girls with long braids in their hair, but I'll also take boys, just as long as their healthy, happy, and open to feminism. But, guess what, try as I might, I can't just snap my fingers and make Mr. Amazing appear before my eyes. And, guess what - and this is what I think my Dad just doesn't quite get - even if I could, I wouldn't do that right now because I don't want a freaking boyfriend right now. I just got out of a fucking relationship. What is so god-damned wrong with having fun being an independent, happy woman?? Frankly, unless you're a cute, sweet boy-toy with no strings that doesn't make me cry, I'm just not that in to you at the moment.

After I got off the phone with my Dad, I called my brother but he wasn't at his computer, and then my mom so that she could look up the address of the fragrance shop. I was really proud of her because she looked it up on Google with no problem, and in just a few minutes I was only blocks away. During the ten minutes of our interaction, you didn't know this, but I have a lot of people in my life who love me, and who I love. I have a mom, a dad, two brothers, a little sister, an Aunt, cousins, and some of the most amazing friends, all of whom would have been hurt if you had hurt me. I'm about to have a nephew. You could have deprived him of one of the coolest Aunts ever, and for what? Because you wanted enough cash to get another hit? You're pathetic and you make me sick. You had a mom and dad once. What happened to them? Where were they and while you were threatening me with a knife and your partner was rifling through my purse?

I had been in the fragrance shop for about a half hour before you and your partner came along. It was just chance that I was still there when you arrived. I might not have been there at 6:00 pm on a Sunday afternoon if I hadn't gone to brunch in Soho that day, if I had gone to only one chocolate store with River instead of two, or if I hadn't been feeling so happy and energized that day and been in such a mood to walk around the city, despite the cold. I had been chatting with the salesgirl about what scent to get, and then another customer came in and I let her go ahead of me. She was a small woman who loved the scent of roses. I was in no rush, so I browsed while the salesgirl helped the other woman. She left the store about two minutes before you arrived. I'm glad she wasn't there when you got there.

As you saw, probably from casing out the place prior to deciding to hold it up, the fragrance store is a tiny boutique filled with pretty things. The walk space in front of the door, between the wall and the cash register is only about two fee wide, and the store in its entirety is only about 12 feet deep. There's not a lot of room in there. Because of all the delicate perfume bottles and sparkly lights blocking the windows, it's hard to see into the store from the street if you're just passing by. But, you weren't passing by. You were there for a reason.

I was standing right in front of the door when you buzzed to be let inside. I had been leaning on the glass in front of the cash register, letting my eyes wander around the store as the salesgirl mixed up my scents. Your partner, the short one, passed by behind me and I glanced to my right at him. He seemed out of place in a fragrance shop. He was dressed in a big, black puffy jacket that looked a little shabby, and he looked poor. I told myself not to stereotype. I thought to myself that he was probably getting something little for his girlfriend. He was looking away, and he said "We don't want any trouble," just as the salesgirl said, "Can I help you?"

Then I heard you say, "We're not gonna kill you," and turned to look at you. You were standing right next to me, with your back against the door, blocking it, and you were holding a knife out in front of you pointed at me and the salesgirl. The knife wasn't that big; it only had about a three-inch blade, but you were still pointing it at me, and you had brought up the subject of my death. That wasn't nice of you. You were calm and serious, and your eyes looked flat and vacant to me. Your face was light-skinned and you were Hispanic, like your partner, and you looked gaunt and weathered. I feel like you had something rough on your face, like salt and pepper scruff or maybe a scar, but even 15 minutes after you were gone, I couldn't remember exactly what you looked like. I remember the emptiness of your eyes, I remember the knife, and I remember how big you were.

My first thought when I realized what was happening was "you've got to be kidding me," but I obviously didn't say that. Instead, I backed away slowly until I was out of range of the knife and kept my eye on you. When you told your partner to take my bag, I felt like crying, mainly because it had my digital camera in it and it had tons of pictures on it that I hadn't downloaded yet. I just bought that camera a few months ago! For a second, I thought about resisting. I thought about grabbing one of the perfume bottles and smashing it across your face. I calculated the few feet that separated us and considered what the chances were that you would be able to slash me with the knife before I could smash you in the face. Then I realized that my eyes were level with the middle of your chest. I was wearing 2 1/2 inch heels, which means that you were at least 6'4". Your arms were longer than mine, and you were too tall. You would have likely killed me, if I had lunged at you, so I didn't resist. I told myself not to be stupid and let your partner take my bag from me. It made me sad.

You're partner was a dick, by the way. He grabbed my purse and started rifling through it and obviously saw that there was a lot of stuff in there that wasn't worth anything to you, but he took it all anyway. I asked him a couple of times not to take my camera, but he just replied, "Sorry, mamie." Please tell him when you see him next that I'm not his fucking "mamie," and that he can go fuck himself.

I can understand that you took my cash and my digital camera (even though you could have left the memory card for me), and I can even understand that you took my wallet with all of my credit cards in it. But, I'm really fucking pissed that you took my entire bag. I liked my Kenneth Cole black bag with the silver buckles, and I really liked my cute little purple Hobo wallet. In addition, I can't fucking see long distance without my glasses. Do you have any idea of how expensive glasses are? Mine cost about $400, and you're not going to be able to sell them for anything. They were my first pair and they came in a really cute half purple and half yellow case. You're also not going to be able to get any money for my half-used bottle of origins eye cream, my lip-fusion lip gloss, my chocolate flavored lip gloss, my journal (that thank god I had been remiss in writing in since I started blogging, so ha!), or any of the other random things that I had thrown into my purse as I rushed to get ready to go meet River that day for brunch.

And, what about my keys? What kind of a sick fuck are you that you had to steal my fucking keys. We're you trying to terrify me further? We'll, you'll be disappointed to know that I changed the locks to my apartment late Sunday night, so even if you do crawl out of your drug-infested hole down in the East Village and scrape together enough of my cash to come all the way up to the Upper East Side you're not going to be able to get into my apartment. You would be able to check my mail - which I currently can't since you have the fucking mail key - but that's going to be fixed shortly, so don't get too excited.

The keys are replaceable. What's not replaceable is the Lego wizard key chain that I bought in Legoland ten years ago while visiting my relatives in Sweden, or the big orange tar heel bottle opener that my brother got me several years ago. I really loved that wizard, and I liked my bottle opener. And, what about my gym card? You were big, but you didn't look like the New York Sports Club type. You could have left that and saved me a little bit of the effort I've had to go through to replace everything that you took.

While your friend was going through my bag, I felt helpless, but very calm. All I could think of was my camera, and all of the pictures I hadn't downloaded. There were pictures of Bean's baby shower where she looked radiant and beautiful. While I was watching your friend handle my things, I could see you talking to the salesgirl, telling her to open up the register and give you the money. You were only four feet away, but I don't remember the sound of you speaking, except for a few bits and pieces. I was concentrating so hard on the knife, and on my stuff. I heard the salesgirl say, "Sir, I don't understand Spanish," which didn't make any sense to me because when you had come inside the first thing you did was tell us, in English, that you weren't going to kill us. The salesgirl told me later that you told her to give you her cell phone and she told you she didn't have one. Then you told her, "If I go back there and I find a phone, we're going to have a problem." That wasn't nice to threaten her like that. She was 5'5" and sweet, and you scared her badly. By the way, she did have a cell phone. It was in her pocket, and as soon as you and your asshole friend left, we used it to call the cops.

During the time that you were in the store, the only time I felt a flicker of fear was when you told us to go to the back of the store and get down on our knees. When you said that, it was the first time I thought that this might get ugly, that I might actually have to fight for my life. I was still calm. I knew I was going to fight, and I knew there was no way in hell I was going to the back of the store or getting down on my knees. I felt vulnerable enough as it was, thank you very much. Neither the salesgirl nor I moved to do what you had said, which was the first time we had resisted in any way. We acted like we didn't understand, moved farther away from you, and kept watching you.

When you and your friend moved to the door, I realized that you had wanted us to go to the back, not to kill us, but so that you and your friend could get a head start. When you pushed against the door and it wouldn't open, things could have gotten dangerous, because I don't think you realized that when you rob boutiques with buzzers, someone will have to buzz you out in order for you to escape. Maybe that will make you think twice about robbing little boutiques in the future. I'll tell you candidly that after this experience, I think the whole buzzer system is completely fucked up. When the salesgirl buzzed you and your friend in, we were all basically locked in there together. God forbid you had forced us to go the back and we had started to scuffle. God forbid I had tried to run away from you, had made it to the door with you behind me, and then couldn't get out because there was no one there to work the buzzer. These are some of the thoughts that are going through my head three days later thanks to you.

When you and your buddy ran out of the store, the salesgirl and I stayed frozen for a few seconds. You left the door swinging wide open, and by then it was dark so I couldn't see what was happening outside. I couldn't see where you were, and I was scared that you were going to come back. I didn't want to move because, though I don't remember you saying anything, you had made it clear that we were not supposed to call the cops. I didn't want to give you a reason to come back inside and hurt me.

After only a second though, I yelled to the salesgirl to call the cops, and she yelled at me to shut the door. I ran to the door and slammed it shut, shouting to the salesgirl, "Is it locked? Is it locked?" My body was suddenly shaking. I still had my cell phone in my coat pocket, and I got it out and looked at it for a second feeling dazed. I didn't know who to call because the salesgirl was calling the cops. I called River, because I had just seen him, and then I called my brother Frey. They were the closest big, strong boys that came to mind.

The cops arrived in a matter of minutes. They were on top of things, trying to get my information and all of the details of what had transpired. One of them made me tea. I tried to hold the cup but my hand was shaking too badly. I started to cry a couple of times. I remember Frey telling me over the phone that the important thing was that I was OK. I dutifully told the cops everything I could remember, while other cops talked to the salesgirl. She was freaking out and crying, and telling me how sorry she was. I kept telling her that it wasn't her fault. The cops put me in a squad car and searched the neighborhood. They know your type. They're pretty sure that you're a junkie from the area that was either living in one of the homeless shelters or the projects farther down on the East Side. Unfortunately, we didn't see you. Later, I walked with another cop around the neighborhood trying to find my purse that the cops were sure you ditched shortly after leaving the store, but again, we had no luck.

The rest of that night I was detached and disoriented, but on top of things. I looked at mug shots, filled out paperwork, cancelled all my credit cards, and arranged with my room mate to have the locks to our apartment changed that night. I kept thinking that it could have been worse and that the important thing was that the salesgirl and I were OK.

The next day, Monday, I felt fine, but very disconnected from what had happened. I also felt exhausted. I emailed my friends to let them know what had happened and where, to remind them to be cautious. I'd lived in this city for over two years with nothing like this happening to me or my friends; I had gotten very comfortable and felt very safe. My friends start calling and emailing me back right away, wanting to know how I was doing, and I told them all the same thing: I'm OK, I'm shaken up, but it could have been a lot worse. I must have told thirty people on Monday that it could have been a lot worse.

On Tuesday, I went to an interview at a law firm. Unlike you, who believes in stealing, I have a work ethic, and I've been working at a job that I hate for over 2 years. However, in January, I started looking for a different position, and because I'm smart, educated, confident, and about 100,000 other things that you're not, I quickly discovered that I had options. By the way, since we're on the subject of our differing backgrounds, I'd like to point out how ironic it is that you chose to rob me. I'm a liberal. I actually buy into all that shit you hear about the sociological causes of crime. I feel sympathy for people like you who were maybe abused growing up, who might be addicted to drugs, who, for whatever reason, have not had the privileges and opportunities that I've had in my life. I should say, I felt sympathy for people like you, because now, not so much. I'm aware that I'm stereotyping, but guess what, I don't fucking care.

Poverty, drugs, and a lack of choices are not excuses to take what's not yours. There are good people and there are bad people, and you're a bad one. I don't care if you're poor. I don't care if you're addicted, and I don't care if you were abused as a child. You are a fucked up individual how had no right to do what you did on Sunday. You had no right to rob a store, to take my purse, or two threaten two people smaller than you with a knife. You probably aren't aware of this, but you're going to have really, really bad karma for what you did, and I'm glad. Maybe that will make me have bad karma, for being so unforgiving of you at the moment, but right now I don't give a shit. You are dangerous, you are violent, you do not abide by the laws of a civil society, you could have seriously hurt me or the salegirl, and I hope the cops nail your fucking ass. This whole experience makes me realize once again how I could never be a public defender. Public defenders play an important role in our justice system, but it's not the role I'm meant to play.

In terms of how I'm doing now, the last two days have been rough. After my interview yesterday, I went to the bank and changed all of my accounts. Good luck using those cards, Asshole. In between my interview and going to the bank, I stopped at a Starbuck's to get a coffee. I've been in Starbuck's probably thousands of times in my life, and before yesterday I've never been afraid in a single one. Yesterday, though, I felt anxious the minute I stepped inside the store. I looked at everyone in the store for a few seconds, staring many of them in the eye until they looked away. I'm sure I looked mean, but what they don't understand is that I have no intention of having more pieces of me stolen away. There was one man in particular, a shortish, heavyset Hispanic man in workclothes and a thick coat, that made me nervous. He was standing right behind me in line, and I kept looking at him. When I ordered my coffee, I stood on an angle so that I could watch him. I have no intention of letting another psycho with a knife or gun sneak up behind me.

The sense of anxiety and hypervigiliance stayed with me throughout the day. It was hard walking through the crowds, and it was very difficult to take the subway. People made me nervous when they walked up quickly behind me, as every single New Yorker does in their rush to get to where they need to go. It's winter and everyone in the city, including me, are wearing big puffy black coats. A few times, I saw men that matched your build and stopped dead in the street to watch them, trying to see if they were you, or if they were up to something bad. One guy stopped suddenly in front of me on the sideway and I nearly jumped out of my skin. On the subway, I started feeling nauseos because I was standing next to a big guy who kept looking at me. By the end of the ride, I was pushed up as close to the glass as I could get. My entire body was clenched tightly, ready to punch him in the face if he made a move against me.

I don't like this. I don't like that because of you, I felt scared walking around the city yesterday. I don't like that I'm watching myself act like a stereotypical trauma victim. Yesterday, when I started crying in Grand Central, the rational part of my brain was telling me that I had been in shock and that the experience was finally hitting me. The logical part of me was saying that it would be ok, and that I would feel better as soon as I processed the experience. But, the other part of me, the part of me that's actually somewhat traumatized - if I can even say that word - doesn't give a shit about rationality or logic. That part just feels scared, upset, and wants someone to come hold me while I lie curled up in my bed crying.

Today was a tiny bit better. I spent most of the day in my bed, crying in the morning, and then sleeping in the afternoon. I'm not worried about myself because I know that I'm just processing what happened and that I have to give myself space to do that - even if I do end up looking to myself like a stereotypical trauma victim. I'm not sure if I'm going to go to work tomorrow, but I'm going to see my therapist. I don't want to be outside at night, so I'm going to a morning appointment.

Here's what I don't understand: You didn't do anything to me. You threatened my life, you pointed a knife at me, you stole everything of value that I had on me, and you made me feel scared, but you didn't do anything to me, at least not physically. Nothing really happened. You didn't physically hurt me. You didn't even touch me. So why am I upset? I could understand anger because you are a fucking asshole, you made me feel scared, and you took all my stuff, but I can't understand feeling afraid when I walk into a store, or worried that someone else is going to do the same thing that you did. It seems to my judgmental mind like I'm having a somewhat illogical reaction to all of this. Logically, I know that your are abnormal, and that most people are not like you. Most people I see on the streets of New York are not planning to hold up a store or steal someone's purse. But, nonetheless, you've made me afraid.

I feel scared. I don't want to walk on the sidewalk and have to wonder about the person walking behind me. I don't want to have to eye the escape routes in a store before going into them, and I don't want to know that I would be trapped in a store that had a buzzer on the door if another pair of men one day decided to rob it while I was inside.

I don't think I have anything else to say to you at the moment. I think you are a worthless human being, and I'm really angry that you stole my stuff and made me feel afraid. You're a total fucking asshole for taking my camera and for robbing me of my pictures, and you're a total dick for taking my glasses. I mean, who robs someone of their glasses? Could you be more of a of pathetic bully if you tried? I have no doubt that you already have a miserable life, and from the looks of things, you deserve it. I hope that the cops catch you, and throw your ass in jail. I really hope that they catch you before you try to pull something like this again. You made the wrong choice when you decided to rob that store and me, and you will suffer for it. Even if you don't believe in Karma, I do.


P.S. Thank you to the universe for protecting me and the salesgirl. Even though these dicks have made me afraid, temporarily, I am extremely grateful that we were not hurt and I know that I will feel better eventually. I also know that in time I will get over being pissed and sad that my purse and all of my cute little belongings are probably lying in some snow-covered ditch right now. ASSHOLES. Thank you also for the NYPD. They did a great job and they were all quite sweet and attentive.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Friday Night Notes

Here are a few things that I learned last night:

1) Stripper poles can be a lot of fun, but it's really hard to master them.

2) Bahama-Mamas taste so good that you can drink 5 of them and not even realize it.

3) A girl who will run downstairs with you to the restroom of a bar so that she can give you her cute black shirt and change into your sweaty, cowl-neck sweater so that you can look cute for a boy that you may or may not want to get close to later in the evening, is a true friend.

4) This is a cool place.

5) It's not always bad to recycle boys, particularly if the boy in question is a smoking hot black man with a shaved head, smooth skin, and big muscles, and snuggling with him always makes you think of candy because it's so damn delicious.

6) Soho looks eerily beautiful at dawn.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Job Hunt Angst

I had another interview yesterday, with Bachelor #5, the firm that my friend Em is going to. She just came back from volunteering in the Philippines, and she starts work on Monday. I talked to her today and she is so excited to not be coming back to our firm. It was wonderful to hear the happiness in her voice. I want that.

My interview yesterday took about 3.5 hours and I met 5 people, all of whom seemed genuinely nice and seemed to have lives outside of work. Two excellent signs. One recruiter found Bachelor #1 and a different recruiter found Bachelor #5, so now the two recruiters are getting a little antsy. In this game it's expected that you work with at least two recruiters, but now each of them is trying to sell their find. It's slightly annoying, especially since one of the recruiters did way more work. If I end up going with Bachelor #5, that recruiter will get a windfall.

This job hunting thing is stressful. Ever since Bachelor #1 gave me their offer, I've been a ball of anxiety. I know that it's fear of the unknown, but knowing that doesn't make it easier to deal with. My mom, dad, and brother all say that if I pick a place and don't like it, all I have to do is quit. Although I could do that, I would prefer, for once, to feel like I have chosen a law firm wisely.

My major fear is that I'll get into a place that's as bad or worse as my current firm. Some might think that would be difficult, but on the contrary, it's a big risk. Most firms in NY work their associates like dogs, and most expect ridiculous hours. In addition, things haven't been that bad for me lately at my firm. I've been coming in between 10 and 11, Dragon Lady doesn't bother me anymore, I've been doing a lot of pro bono, and since a case that I was on settled, I've kind of been coasting. This last week, I hardly billed anything. Instead, I logged a ton of hours on blogging and checking out celebrity sites.

Not that I want to continue down that path of unmotivated slothfullness, wasted potential, and mediocrity. Ideally, I would like to feel invested and engaged in my work. But, I sure as heck do not want to leave my firm under the current circumstances for a place in which I'll be expected to work hours comparable to what I should be working at my current firm - if I was a good associate.

I'm still filled with ambivalence about the idea of going to another firm. I know it's strategic and I know it makes sense for me right now, but I still worry that it's a step backwards or sideways, as opposed to forwards. Forwards being the public interest job of my dreams where I could do women's rights work full-time.

Today, I reached out to two other contacts about public interest work, and asked one of my friends to forward me more information about a potential reproductive rights job. I wouldn't feel right about hopping to another firm without at least giving any available public interest opportunities/connections a shot. Assuming they don't pan out, I will most likely have to choose one of the firms I've been interviewing at. They all want bright-eyed bushy tailed hard workers who want variety, responsibility, and the chance to develop their legal skills.

Two years ago, I was exactly what they now want. Now, I only pretend to be that. According to my recruiters, the one truth I can't say is my main reason for leaving my firm: I want to work less hours, in a better environment, and have a better, more balanced life. I'm not allowed to say that because the law firms I'm interviewing at might assume that I'm lazy and just want to go to their shop to loaf around.

It's ridiculous that saying you want a balanced life means to many that you are a slacker. The fact is, under their definitions, I am a slacker. I came into the firm being the total opposite, I gave them my blood, and I got nothing worthwhile in return. So, I'm not interested in doing that again. I want to leave at 7:30 most nights and I want my weekends for myself. I want to work to live, not live to work. Maybe I won't be able to do that as a corporate lawyer in New York. Maybe it's silly for me to even try. But, for the moment, that's what I guess I'm trying to do.

This just in: The recruiter who is poised to get a windfall just called. Bachelor #5 really likes me and wants me to come meet their managing partner on Tuesday. That's actually flattering that they're moving so quickly. Hmmm.... Bachelor #5 might be pulling ahead.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #27 (Lost)

Thirteen Thoughts/Questions About The Season Premier of "Lost"
Spoilers Below !!

1) I'm so happy it's back!

2) Couldn't they have shown a little bit more of Kate and Sawyer making out in the recap? I missed it the first time around. I'm deprived!

3) It was interesting how they pointed out that all of the characters are lost in their own lives, in addition to being lost on the island.

4) Why do the Other's leave the Frenchwoman alone? Remember, she hasn't seen Others, except for Alex, but she's heard them whispering. Although, now that we've seen the Others, I don't think that they're the ones who have been doing the whispering. Maybe that's the island instead.

5) Who is the leader of the Others? Is it Ben? Is it Tom? Someone else?

6) Is Alex the Frenchwoman's daughter?

7) If so, does that mean the Frenchwoman's husband (and Alex's Dad) - who she supposedly killed - is alive and running the Others? Or, perhaps the Others took Alex from the Frenchwoman when she was young and the leader raised her as his own.

8) Juliet appears to have been involved in fertility experiments, including an experiment on her sick sister. If the Others were planning to destroy the world, except for themselves, maybe they thought it would be a good idea to have a fertility doctor around who could help them reproduce in a post-apocalyptic world? Her ex-husband was such an a#%hole.

9) Judging by the timely demise of Juliet's ex-husband, apparently the Others were as seemingly all-powerful and all-knowing off the Island as they are on it.

10) Juliet's captivity explains her confusing behavior towards Jack, and the fact that she told him to kill Ben on the operating table. So, the Others are working on some kind of top secret project, so secret that they forcibly recruit people and then keep them prisoner? But, how can they trust Juliet to do the work she's supposed to be doing? I finally feel sympathy for Juliet and a spark of interest in her character.

11) They didn't show enough of Sayid, so right now this guy is still at the top of my list of super hot Indian men. Don't worry Sayid, I'm confident that will change after next week's episode when you race off to save Jack and remind everyone how dangerously sexy you are.

12) I don't think the Others were conducting a real experiment on Alex's boyfriend. It looked to me like they were punishing him and trying to drive him crazy. Or, perhaps it's a way to break him down psychologically to make him more pliant?

13) Why did Jack make Kate recite the story of that surgery? It was a little too neat and contrived, with her reciting and him performing a similar surgery at the same time. There was no reason for the Others to hear about a time that he had been afraid but ultimately successful.

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, February 07, 2007

Spider Solitaire Will Be The Death Of Me

About a year and a half ago, around the time that I had just gotten back together with EXBF (Part II), when I was really struggling with my job and feeling depressed, I decided to go on the anti-depressant Lexipro. I didn't notice anything at first, but after a few weeks I realized that I had gotten into the habit of playing spider solitaire. I don't mean just a few games. I mean playing games and games of spider solitaire for hours at a time. I remember one night where I played almost 4 hours. I kept losing and trying again, or winning and trying to beat my score. This was before blogging and knitting, and before I understood how to identify when I was feeling anxious.

After a couple of weeks, I happened to mention to CG what had been going on. She was immediately interested in my sudden change of behavior, a change that had corresponded with going on the medication. Prior to Lexipro, I had played spider solitaire on occasion, but usually only when I was visiting my Dad in Texas. It's an addictive and competitive game and he loves it. During that time, when I got totally hooked, I was really anxious. I was so stressed out about work that I couldn't really work. I was overwhelmed and instead of tackling each piece step by step, I played spider solitaire and ate up hours of my days. I'm not sure if it was the stress or the Lexipro that was responsible for all the solitaire playing, but I do know that the Lexipro didn't help matters. Soon after discussing it with CG, I went off of it and my solitaire playing calmed down.

Since then, I've been off and on another low-dose anti-depressant from time to time. I'm not a fan of taking pills, and I believe firmly in the idea of working through problems in therapy, as opposed to drugging oneself, as a long-term solution. However, after trying medication this past year, I now understand the benefits of medication. Not as a long-term solution, but as a temporary solution that can help you work through all of the junk you need to in order to get to a better psychological and emotional place.

One of my friends recently said, while we were discussing the topic of medication, that she would not want to be drugged in order to deal with her problems. Her view of medication, I think, is that it temporarily eliminates feelings, and creates an alternate, less stressful or less painful, make-believe reality. From that perspective, medication is not something that helps one deal with reality, but rather something that hides truth under a layer of artifice.

I was afraid of something similar when I first tried medication, and in the early months I questioned how I was experiencing being on medication all the time. For example, when I felt less anxious and less sad, I doubted my feelings and talked to CG about my fears that what I was feeling was not real. I worried that I was "not sad" not because I was actually happy, but because I was on drugs. It was a scary thought because I don't want to live my life in a delusional la-la land, and I certainly didn't want to be figuring out serious life issues like the fate of my relationship and my career with emotional blinders on.

When EXBF and I broke up, I had just recently gone back on an anti-depressant. Between all of my problems with him, and all of the stress from my job, I had been in a bad place and I had been crying on an almost weekly basis - usually because of things he had done that made me feel insignificant and unimportant. One of the things I'm still angry about is that he kept hurting me, even though he saw what his actions were doing to me. He was so selfish and unkind. But that's a different subject. I'm glad I was on an anti-depressant during the break-up because, looking back on it now, I realize how fragile and vulnerable I was at the time. Thankfully, I had a lot of support, mainly from my family and friends. But, therapy and medication were also a part of that support.

At no point have I felt like being on medication has dulled or obscured any of my true feelings. It hasn't irrevocably changed me, turned me into someone else, or blinded me to things in my life that are a source of happiness or pain. I was on medication when EXBF and I broke up but I still cried for weeks. I still felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest when I thought about losing the future I had thought we would share. The medication also didn't stop me from getting annoyed and angry with my brothers over Christmas when they drank too much, getting sad for one of my friend's recent losses, or feeling a ton of anxiety about work. Nor has it stopped me from feeling incredibly happy about all of the positive changes going on in my life, and all of the wonderful people I'm lucky enough to have in my corner.

The medication helps me muddle through my emotions, and helps me keep my anxiety in check, but it doesn't eliminate anything. Everything I would feel were I not on medication is still there, and I still feel it. That's why, on occasion, I find myself picking up my mouse and starting up another marathon game of spider solitaire, as I did tonight.

This afternoon, I learned that I had received an offer from the law firm that I liked the best (Bachelor #1). The firm will want an answer by 3 weeks at the latest, so suddenly I'm back to having a countdown. If I decide to go with this firm, I will give my two weeks notice in less than 21 days. I could give my two-weeks notice next week if I wanted to. Initially, when I got the call, I treated it like I usually do really good news: I felt relieved. A few minutes later, I felt a rush of elation and started thinking, I'm almost free!!! Then, a few hours later, the feelings of panic and uncertainty set in.

In addition, I have to admit that the dating thing is also making me feel a little anxious. What about if I actually end up liking someone? Do you understand that my heart is still crushed? Although in practice (so far) dating has been fun, no one knows what's going to happen. Likewise, no one knows what's going to happen in this new job, in the event that I decide to take it. It could be a wise choice, or it could be a stupid one, but there's no way to know except to just do it. It's intensely nerve wracking. Where are the spinners of my destiny when I need them to drop me a few hints?

So there you have it. I'm slightly anxious about the idea of dating, and I'm really anxious about making a change at my job, even though a part of me has wanted to leave for over 2 years. Even though everything is going well, and I'm making great progress, I'm so anxious that I've been playing spider solitaire, in my chilly bedroom, for over an hour and a half while the TV is playing downstairs. Clearly, I need to be more heavily medicated. That, or I need to start going to yoga on a regular basis, get a new book, buy those 7-sized knitting needles so that I can start my new project, or go to the gym instead of waiting for the handymen who don't show up to repair my skylight.

I know what CG is going to say already. She's going say, "Change is very stressful; even good changes bring stress. Don't you think it makes sense that you were feeling a little anxious once you found out that you were going to have to make a decision about a new firm?" She's so smart.

For tomorrow: Pilates, running, another interview, a NEW LOST (!!!!!), and no spider solitaire.