Thanks

November 30, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Massholes, weekend, wine | 1 Comment
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Despite my decrepit cold, which refuses to go away, I’m grateful I had a long weekend to lounge around and try to recover.  Witness the scene below:  after seven (out of nine) Murphys descended on my house for pre-dinner cocktails — a whirlwind of wine bottles, wise cracks, and tales of teenage-Murphy woe (they were bad! Bad!) — I found myself alone on the couch (Tim had gone with them, of course; I stayed home with my Little Bug and my poor coughing self), and partaking in the most delightful night a tired girl could imagine:

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Yes, that would be the SATC movie — which I’d not yet seen!! — and, yes, that would be a bottle of wine, despite my illness (because what is Nyquil, really? I figured I’d just begin the process a little earlier, and with the real deal). And that would be our fireplace, the reason — despite drafty windows and the occasional mouse — I could stay in our apartment forever.

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What I’m reading

November 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm | Posted in read this | 1 Comment
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Sadly, I’m not really reading anything that’s not a weekly magazine (US Weekly, People, New Yorker — a few articles, at least — and Newsweek, which has had such spectacular election coverage that it’s back on my must read list…). Before I was a real lawyer (i.e., a student who could surf the web during class), I read a ton of blogs. A TON. But when the “unread” list on my Google Reader climbed to more than 1,000, I knew I had to cut it down. Now I do a quick check first thing in the morning and then usually while I eat my lunch at my desk. You’ll see I read mostly design blogs (have significantly paired down my list to a few favorites) and blogs by people I know. I also check the New York Times website all day long and sometimes Above the Law, but the comments on that blog are so hostile that I kind of want to boycott it out of protest. Since my office desk is positioned so my back is to the door — and everyone walking by can thus see my computer screen — I hardly ever read Perez anymore, and feel much, much less well versed in trashy gossip, which leaves me feeling exposed. Anyway, below is my current reading list:

  • A Design So Vast (written by a very close friend from college — a beautiful snapshot of motherhood and life)
  • Absolutely Beautiful Things (a design blog by an Australian woman who I would like to come decorate my house — her taste mirrors mine almost exactly!)
  • Corpette (a blog about fashion and such for “professional” women — they always have links to good sales)
  • Decorno (a snarky design blog, although it’s not really solely about design. It’s just pretty much snarky. I love it.)
  • Dr. French Fry (the life of a second-year med student who may or may not be related to me)
  • eating sushi with impunity (about the life of a first-year, “big-law” associate — written by a good law school friend)
  • elements of style (my favorite design blog written by an up-and-coming Boston decorator who someday will design my dream house!)
  • girl meets glamour (design blog)
  • Habitually Chic (design blog)
  • milk and honey (design blog by someone I’d also like to have design my home someday — and since I know her, she might actually do it!)
  • Past the Bar (although because she just passed the California bar, I noticed upon checking it today she has changed the name to “Passed the Bar.”  Anyway, it’s a witty blog written by another law school friend, who also has a companion blog, Fortune’s Feast, about rediscovering her Chinese heritage through cooking. It makes my mouth water.)
  • Pax Arcana (words cannot even describe the theory behind this blog, but suffice it to say, it’s hilarious. And also may or may not be written by someone to whom I’m related.)
  • The Kids Want a Camel (written by a friend from college — a once and perhaps future attorney who was until very recently a stay-at-home mom in Florida. In the past month, however, she has packed up her three small girls and her father and moved to join her husband Dubai for his job. Fortunately, she’s a wonderful, funny, and prolific writer, and it has been fun to learn about life with a driver and, yes, those malls…)
  • The Elmo Wallpaper (written by woman with whom I went to college, who left a glamorous Hollywood career to stay at home with her three small boys in, again, Florida. She too is prolific and has a wry sense of humor which makes the mundane seem real and poignant.)

I also have on my Google Reader another friend’s blog, but since it consists solely of the most precious, adorable pictures of her new baby, I won’t link to it here (I think it’s really only for family and friends), although I must say that looking at those new pictures every morning brightens my day. I have one more friend who keeps a password protected blog about her fabulous ex-pat life, which recently has become less fabulous and more exhausted with the arrival of her new baby.

And you wonder why it’s difficult to bill 8.25 hours a day…

“Working” from home

November 26, 2008 at 11:41 am | Posted in little bug, the firm | Leave a comment
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I have a cold. Another one. The second in almost as many weeks. When I started my internship last January and was back in an office setting, I also immediately came down with cold after cold. I think I have a lousy immune system to begin with (because I was formula fed baby? my predisposition to a million allergies?), exacerbated by not enough sleep or water on a daily basis. (Or, for that matter, vegetables or fruit?  I have a horrible diet these days of Starbucks, pasta, and cheese.) I actually stayed home from work yesterday — I felt the cold coming on Monday, and tried to stave it off with Airborne, but didn’t want to subject my office-mate to another day of sneezing and sniffling.  It was a good thing I stayed home, too:  I slept for almost the entire day.  Went back to bed as soon as our nanny arrived at 8 a.m., woke up close to noon and got on a brief phone call with a senior associate (who told me to take care of myself and that nothing was an emergency — that was nice), and went back to bed until nearly 5 p.m. And then was asleep again at 8 p.m. I felt like I could have slept even more, too. Today I have forced myself out of bed and across the bedroom to my desk, but so far have not really managed to get much work done. Which means I have 16.5 hours to make up, although as a friend pointed out, it’s highly doubtful that there will be any significant 2009 bonuses (if any!), so one shouldn’t stress about hitting that 1900 hour target. Nevertheless, the super-achiever/need-to-please student in me still feels guilty/nervous about the missed time.

Working from home is, in theory, a lovely idea. Wake up at a normal hour and then hit the gym (at, say 7:30 or 8 a.m. as opposed to 5:30 a.m.). With no commute, you can be sitting at your computer at 9 a.m., unshowered and in sweats. However, I find it difficult to stay motivated, especially with a Little Buggy knocking on the bedroom door, “Mama!” “Mama?” She knows I’m in here, and I feel terrible ignoring her. Once she’s in school (someday), I can see how working at home would be a nice option, especially as it would leave room to drop her off and pick her up, but, for now, I actually do like getting dressed (up) and heading into my fancy office.

Sunday night dinner

November 23, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

elliehatplate

Wednesday night: this is all I’ve got

November 19, 2008 at 10:03 pm | Posted in politics, read this | 2 Comments
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Why doesn’t Obama consider Hillary for a Supreme Court Justice? Is it such an obvious non-starter (i.e., she would never tie herself up in a lifetime appointment thereby forever eliminating a possible presidency) that no one will write about it? I emailed Maureen Dowd this morning (for real) and told her to get on it.

I pass the bar and get called for jury duty for the first time in my life. How does this work for lawyers? Can I say that my mother is a district attorney and so therefore I’ll be a bad candidate? That as someone who very recently crammed all the Mass. and Federal Rules of Evidence, along with a (now fading, admittedly) mastery of the sixth, seventh, and eighth amendments, into her little brain for the bar, I’d be too fair? Too biased? I’d actually love to serve on a jury.  But not now.  All I can think about is, “My hours!!!!!!!!”

Also: we’ve been killing mice over here in Back Bay. Glue traps, plastic garbage bag, dumpster. I’m afraid it’s actually the same mouse who escapes from the garbage bin in the basement and crawls back up here. It’s awful when they get caught in the trap and squeal. Tim is preying on my sensitive side and keeps telling me I’m killing a whole family. Someone once told me that rats and mice do not co-exist, so if you have mice, consider yourself lucky. And since I read either “Goodnight Moon” or “Goodnight Gorilla” (if you have a small child — run, do not walk and buy the latter — it’s nothing like “Goodnight Moon,” per se, but is a wonderful, new bedtime classic!) every night, and a little cute mouse figures prominently (on every page) in both, I have sort of a soft spot for them now. I just don’t like the thought of them running around the baby’s room. Would they ever crawl up in the crib? Eeeew it makes me shiver.  Now I keep thinking I see mice out of the corner of my eye, wherever I am.  Such as in a conference room at work today.  Maybe I need to lay off the caffeine.

Monday morning happiness

November 17, 2008 at 8:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

This made me happy this morning.  It comes on the heels of this article in yesterday’s NYTimes Styles Section about how all the Washington D.C.-schools are lobbying to get the Obama children to attend, and quotes an African-American mother:  

It’s the first time, she said, that she has seen Washington’s power people utterly agog over two black schoolgirls.

“Here are two little girls that everyone is fawning over, and they look like my kid,” Ms. LaRue-McAfee said. “That’s why I’m excited.”

Also, on a crisp Monday morning (when my little girl is in the emergency backup daycare downstairs because our nanny finally succumbed to the cold that ran rampant in our small apartment last week — I just love knowing Little Buggy is in the building), a few other small items of happiness:  the view out my window, a fresh flower in the bud vase my sister so thoughtfully gave me for graduation, and of course, the cozy, red Christmas cup of soy chai heaven.

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Addiction

November 16, 2008 at 8:51 pm | Posted in law school, the firm | 1 Comment
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For those few readers who, fortunately for them, are not lawyers, here is some background:  Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw the two legal research services out there.  It’s hard to overstate how much you use them (and it’s difficult to comprehend the time when they weren’t on line — you had to go to the library and look up cases or subjects in an index and then cross-reference them in huge binders. Actually, I’m not even really sure what you had to do since, fortunately, I was in the law school section with the legal research professor who eschewed teaching us the “old-fashioned” way, as some professors still did. On a side note: my father always swore that it was his idea to put Lexis online but that he just never knew how to get it done. That would have been nice for us, no?)

Anyway, in law school, access to both of these services is free.  You can search as much as you want for as long as you want. In addition, each service has representatives at every law school in the country, who set up tables almost daily in the lunch room or the student center, passing out water bottles, highlighters, and candy, or who lure you to free “training sessions” replete with pizza or Thai food. And when you’re a poor law student you tend to hit a lot of those trainings…

And now, as I sit here conducting a search which is getting me nowhere — so I know I need to both redefine my search terms and Shepardize anything I find (a little trick by which you look up cases that have themselves cited to the case you’re looking at) — I realize that Lexis and Westlaw are crack. They’re doled out for free in law school, along with all sorts of other fun gifts, in order to attract your loyalty to one brand or another (I’m a Lexis girl. In part because it’s Lexis-Nexis — Nexis is the journalistic equivalent of Lexis, to which every reporter becomes addicted, so I was indoctrinated a long time ago…). So then you’re hooked, and you search and search, and you get used to the high of always finding exactly what you’re looking for because you can go back and hone your search terms, and hit that “Shepardize” button. And then you get to your firm and learn that every search costs like $225 and every time you Shepardize it’s like another $85. So you sit at your keyboard, almost physically shaking from the withdrawal as you waiver: “Do I just do the search? Will the client get mad? I need that search! I NEED it!” And then you feel slightly guilty, but oh, so satisfied when you find your case…

I got nothin

November 13, 2008 at 5:46 pm | Posted in tax law is sexy, the firm | 1 Comment
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Warning: the following post may sound like a whine. I realize I haven’t written in ages but have been suffering from: post-election let-down, a cold, and some other stuff. Turns out that when you are trying to bill 8.25 hours a day, and trying to spend qualify time with your child as well (away from Sesame Street), it leaves you very little time to do things like write on your blog, as meaningful as that is. I am having difficulty getting those 8.25 hours in — I can get in maybe 7 at work, if I’m really, really efficient (e.g., no Gmail or Facebook — yeah right!). So those extra 2 or 3 hours have to come between 7:30 and whenever I go to bed. So no time to blog, until I get more efficient. Which, of course, I’m going to become tomorrow! I swear!

Election Day 2008

November 4, 2008 at 7:36 pm | Posted in little bug, Massholes, politics | Leave a comment
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As I settle in with MSNBC (we are addicts) and my laptop (to work while watching returns) on this historic night, a few pictures from the day. 

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The one-and-a-half hour line to vote at the Boston Public Library at 7 a.m.

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Little Bug and her dad stand in line.

I spent the afternoon at WilmerHale answering an Election Protection hotline, where voters (mostly in Massachusetts) called in with questions such as “If I moved and didn’t re-register at my new address, can I still vote?” (If you’ve moved in the last 18 months, you can go to your old polling place. If you moved less recently than that, you need to go to your new polling place and fill out a provisional ballot. Which, unfortunately, probably won’t be counted.)  There was a mishap in Cambridge this morning where the election workers showed up with the wrong voter registration lists, so people who had voted in the same place for years were told they were not registered.  That was solved, but a lot of people had to cast provisional ballots (although those most likely will be counted).  Some people were kind of crazy (“Can you see if I’m registered? I’m not? Well, I’d like to register now and say I’m voting Republican!”) The lawyer working the phones next to me (someone I know from my PPLM work) kept getting really interesting calls: four-hour waits in Chinatown, white powder discovered at a polling place in Rhode Island.  My calls were fairly tame.

I’m giddy with excitement.  I love election night, even when it’s just a year of Congressional races.  I remember spending 2004 with the Blocks in Jamaica Plain, a rather glum night. 

I received an email yesterday from a Boston lawyer I know — a successful Renaissance man whom I might have guessed was, like many successful lawyers I know, lured into the Republican fold by his distaste for having his hard-earned wealth taxed.  Instead, he wrote this eloquent request:

“The time is finally here to cast our votes to elect our finest President since Franklin Roosevelt.  One equipped, as FDR was, to return America to a Republic placing its citizens’ welfare above that of the wealthy and the powerful.  An America where “sweet reason” is the coin of discourse and we regain the respect of our fellow nations.  I believe we all want to say to our children and grandchildren, “we stood with Obama on election day” and therefore I hope and trust you will!  
PS:  For my Republican friends, its not a vote for either Party, but for a fresh start for America.

Exactly.

eloisevote12

Obama baby.

What to wear: Lady Lawyer edition (follow up)

November 4, 2008 at 10:47 am | Posted in read this, the firm | Leave a comment
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Until my posts last week on the impending Massachusetts bar exam results, my previous most-viewed posts have been, as I’ve mentioned before, on clothes — what to wear while nursing and what to wear to work when you are a new associate a corporate law firm.  One of the struggles I have when buying clothes is finding flattering tops.  While I’d love to fill my wardrobe with colorful cashmere crewnecks and pretty cotton button down blouses, they just don’t flatter a woman with an, um, ample bosom.  My sister and I have known for years that we must stay away from the dreaded crewneck, gaping buttons, and the like, but we’ve also gradually learned what does work:  v-necks, boat necks, camisoles. 

To my delight, the blog Corpette (which focuses on fashion for the professional woman and is more interesting than that description makes it seem — it’s a new blog feed for me thanks to MissJillEsq) remarked on just this issue today.  You can read about it here — they have some pretty good tips for how to dress for work while minimizing your, um, bosom.  I’m just glad that a site devoted to fashion at least acknowledges that not all of us can blithely sweep into JCrew and buy every top there (as much as we long to!)

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