You say Ploof, I say Pluff

November 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Posted in politics, read this, the media, wine | 1 Comment
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David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, spoke last night at the First Parish Church in Cambridge as part of his book tour for The Audacity to Win.  I was told that the church was not quite as packed as it had been for John McCain’s (pre-election) talk or even Harold Bloom’s, at which people were packed into the rafters, but there was a solid and obviously sympathetic crowd.  I finally put a face to the man who has sent me dozens and dozens of emails over the past two years. I also learned how to pronounce his name. Not “Ploof,” but “Pluff.”

See? There he is!

He spoke broadly of the several threads in the book.  First, he emphasized that throughout the election, the campaign refused to judge itself by the news coverage of the moment.  Instead of focusing on the split-second media, it tackled small, daily demographic goals — for example, how many undecided females in Terra Haute should be contacted and registered to vote.  Plouffe pointed out (helpfully!) that this is still Obama’s tactic.  Plouffe explained that the president knows that coming to the right decision on Afghanistan is more important than whatever beating he is taking in the press that day; he ignores the “winds of Washington” (as Plouffe put it) and focuses instead on what his goal was for that day. To talk to a certain general? Read a certain report? Likewise the beating he took just yesterday in the Times over his trip to China. Plouffe assured us that Obama does indeed have the big picture in mind.

Another thread Plouffe elaborated on was the power and the novelty of the grass roots campaign. I didn’t realize that before Obama made the decision to run, he had absolutely no infrastructure. No pollsters, no advance fundraisers. Plouffe pointed out that Obama had been to New Hampshire for a book signing, but otherwise, not to either Iowa or South Carolina (states in which potential candidates tend to find themselves often, for whatever reasons, in the months before declaring their candidacies). And the decision to go “grass roots” was entirely Obama’s. People thought the campaign was crazy to be holding rallies in, say, Michigan in the month before the South Carolina primary, when Michigan’s was months away. But as Plouffe explained, these rallies got people talking far ahead of time. People who would invite their friends to another rally, or to a call center, or to knock on doors in the coming months. Or, of course, to donate money. The Obama campaign had 4 million individual donors, giving an average of $85.

“Why are you giving away all your secrets?!” I kept wanting to jump up and ask him. But towards the end of the talk, the man who regularly sends me emails that begin “Dear K –” finally read my mind. This election obviously will be studied for years to come as a turning point in the use of technology, data, and strategy in a grass-roots setting. Still, by 2012, technology will have rendered many of the 2008 campaign’s tactics obsolete or slow — how many more people will have iPhones? Plouffe wanted to memorialize the election in his own words before others could spin it. Don’t worry, he assured the crowd, I didn’t give away all my tricks.

Once again, my dear friend Erin was my ambassador to culture.  Somehow, she knows when interesting authors are popping up on book tours (she has brought me to hear Ann Patchett read at the Athenaeum and has invited me to countless other readings).  I have long been fascinated by David Plouffe (and am of course now going to buy his book…) — probably lingering idealism from my lost dream of working on a campaign, something I never managed to do,  maybe because I always thought of myself more as a journalist than an real activist.

I love, too, these outings with Erin, often bookended by dinner and a glass of wine somewhere fun (last night: Upstairs at the Square. White Rioja for Erin, envy for me!) Our conversations range from contemporary fiction to comments such as “You know how Puplicious isn’t as good as Pinkalicious, and Goldilicious is even worse?” to our toddlers’ verbal skills to creative writing classes.  I got home late (for me), long after both Tim and Little Bug were asleep, but invigorated by a crisp cold night in Cambridge.  This city of intellectualism, liberalism, culture, and craziness was my first home in Boston — and for all these things I’ll always love it.

Review (phew?)

November 18, 2009 at 10:19 am | Posted in little bug, Starbucks, tax law is sexy, the firm | 4 Comments
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I was so sure I was going to be let go/laid off/fired (or whatever the current euphemism is for what is happening at BigLaw performance reviews these days) on Tuesday that I booked a painter to begin working on Thursday. Rumors were rampant at work about cuts to be made, not based on performance, but based on hours. Although due to no real fault of my own I’d like to think (I’m a tax lawyer, I don’t work on deals, I don’t do document review), my numbers were, by BigLaw standards, atrocious. So, by Tuesday morning I had done some cursory research of Massachusetts employment law as it relates to maternity leave (can your maternity leave be halted once you have begun it?) and also had consulted with former colleagues who had been downsized right before their maternity leaves to compare what sort of severance they had been given. I was prepared.

I walked into my review with a truly racing heart. My nerves were tingling in a way they had not since I opened up that letter from the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners. I also had convinced myself that being laid off right now would be great, actually. I would have three months at home with my Little Bug before the baby arrived. I could get the house decorated, prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas, cook, watch Oprah. Tim could truly focus on his increasingly demanding job for awhile. I’d have the baby, and in the spring I’d think about what came next.

At the same time, I was thinking about how and with whom I’d network. I’d try to start freelancing for the Boston Bar Journal. I’d join some professional groups. I’d get my references lined up. And I had already started to do some soul-searching: why were my hours so low that I was laid off? What sort of message was I putting out – consciously or subconsciously – into the universe about my desire to work full-time at a big firm? What could I have done better? And, worse, I had started asking myself: was this really an hours-based layoff? Was I really a good lawyer?

In the end, I had a glowing performance review. I was truly stunned when, after the first few moments, it became clear that not only was I not going to get fired, but that people actually appreciated my work. “Come on, you didn’t really think they were going to let you go,” was the chorus from my family and friends. But I did – I truly did. See, I’m not sure I’m world’s greatest tax lawyer. This stuff is difficult, and not only do I not take to it as intuitively as others, I’m also quite sure I don’t work as hard. I get Starbucks with my colleagues. Most nights, I rush out of here to get home before 6, and I don’t work from home unless I really need to. I write on my blog, I read the news, I watch crappy TV. If they were going to have to let the lowest-producing lawyers go for economic reasons, why not me?

Oh, I am so lucky to have a job – any job – right now. I have stimulating, supportive colleagues. A caring nanny whom my child adores. A husband who rarely travels and will get home in lieu of me almost any night I ask (and when he can’t, family who can step in.) And, the bottom line is: I could stay home if I wished. I am acutely aware that I have this choice. But, historically, I’m also really bad with choices: I second-guess to the point of anxiety. (I’ve written about this before, of course.)  I am extremely satisfied and proud and grateful in the wake of this review that my choice to become a Big Law attorney seems to have been a good one, but it doesn’t make walking out the door each morning any easier. I am supporting my family and (hopefully) becoming a role model for my daughter, who can now say, “I want to be a lawyer!” But is that any better than being home with her, reading to her, making her lunch? I just don’t know. I can’t know. As irrational as it seems, maybe the choice should have been made for me.

It has come to this: CONDO for SALE, Milton, MA

November 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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All you Google searchers looking for the perfect place to live in Milton, you have found it. 

There isn’t a better location in the Boston area if you want easy access to the city while living a peaceful lifestyle in an historic suburb. This new-construction condo at 88 Wharf Street is literally steps from the red line into Boston. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a view of the Neponset River and Milton Yacht Club. Walk around the corner to Milton Village and its bank, yoga studio, post office, coffee shops, antique shops, hardware store, hair salon. The restaurant 88 Wharf has opened up in the building to rave reviews.

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The condo itself has a spacious layout with a breakfast bar opening on to a living/dining area, all with a spectacular view of the water.

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Master suite with three closets (including a linen closet and walk-in closet), double-sink, glass-door shower, and whirlpool tub. Second bedroom has an enormous walk-in and a spectacular floor-to-ceiling panorama of the water view. 

The condo building boasts a cozy common room/library for social gatherings, as well as a gym and concierge. The condo has two deeded parking spots.

For more information, click here.

The owners are highly motivated to sell. To view, please contact
Kevin Keating at GKR residential
kevin”at”gkrresidential.com
617-698-3300

Me, circa 2004

November 13, 2009 at 9:58 am | Posted in celebrity obsession, wine | 1 Comment
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Coldplay

I found this venn diagram today, here.  How brilliant — because how true.  (In fact, see my prior post on why drinking wine while listening to Coldplay is maybe not a good idea…) Oh, how this sums up a good two-year period of my life! My sisters will confirm that they almost staged a Coldplay intervention, almost flung all CDs out of my home and car. But Chris Martin, you felt my pain. I know you did. I can laugh now at the cliché I must have been, driving around in my old green stick-shift Accord for hours, with Coldplay in the CD player, or huddled in my cold living room with a bottle of wine, the song “Amsterdam” on repeat.

 

Decor!

November 12, 2009 at 9:22 am | Posted in decor | 2 Comments

I wish I could redo our entire house tomorrow, even though I know I’d want to change things in a few years — because then I could just redecorate all over again! As you might know, I am a bit obsessed with interior design. I hope we’ll be here for years — decades — however, so I’m forcing myself to take my time. Tim would like to hang all the pictures and just pick some chairs for the family room tomorrow, but I want to live here for a bit and slowly consider what will work for spaces, both color-wise and practically for a house that will have small children in it for awhile (the day my sister took a purple paint pen to my mother’s newly upholstered x-stools is seared into my memory). 

My sister is the artist in the family: she has an inherent sense of color and scope and scale (and degrees in studio art, art history, and graphic design…) But over the year or so I’ve been obsessed with my design blogs, I’ve learned a few things: what resonates with me (white and wood, orange and pink); design techniques (symmetry, piping), brands (Madeline Weinrib, Jonathan Adler, Ruby Green), and even “famous” designers. I know how I want our home to feel: a mix of casual and formal that is, most important, exquisitely inviting. When I come home I want to feel as I do when I go home to my mother’s — a sense of calmness and ease, but with delights to the eye and senses. 

I have inherited some beautiful pieces of furniture from my mother and aunt: a marble console for the living room, a needlepoint rug for the bedroom, a dining set, a perfectly proportioned couch. some gorgeous lamps (this is not an exhaustive list, Mom!). I also have purchased a few things I really love: my turquoise Robert Abbey lamps, my West Elm kitchen chairs, my Parsons desk. And now the fun part is putting them all together, slowly choosing the palette and filling in the gaps.

Here is my first big purchase for the house, being installed even as I post:  a runner for the front stairs.

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The sample

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The inspiration

When the previous owners added on to the house, they added a “back stairs,” which really are the main stairs in the house now. So my thinking is that when you do pass these less-traveled front stairs, or happen to actually use them, the print will be an unexpected, stylish surprise. I’m so thrilled about this — I’ll post some pictures of the installation tomorrow!

I’m also pondering:

  • These chairs for the living room.

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Note that the walls are not staying red!

The living room is very narrow, so the furniture has to be proportional. I have always loved slipper chairs. These are a bit more formal and substantial, in that the backs are higher than normal slipper chairs (see the white chairs with much lower backs flanking the fireplace in the inspiration photo, below?)

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The fabric is a gorgeous pink mohair. Not sure if the fabric will work with the overall color scheme (not to mention, is pink mohair practical for a home with kids? I could have them recovered, but as is I can get them very very inexpensively — if I reupholster, it will sort of negate the economic argument buying them in the first place — they’re on loan for now). My idea is to arrange the room like the one above. 

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  • This wallpaper for my office.

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The office is the smallest “bedroom” — there is no closet, so it really isn’t a true bedroom. My white Parsons desk will be in here, and I’m planning to get some white bookcases from Ikea. I want my office to be a place I want to be in, so that when I have to work from home, working in my office will make me happy (is that too idealistic?). I just fell in love with this print — the color, the scale. But is it too overwhelming for the room? Will it be inspiring or distracting? My gut says that it will be perfect. But this sample is going to sit on my wall for awhile. 

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What do you think? Stay tuned for updates…

What don’t you do?

November 11, 2009 at 8:56 am | Posted in read this | 3 Comments

Two friends whose blogs I read regularly recently wondered what would happen if the oft-asked, “What do you do?” were turned on its head. (See here and here; they were musing on a question initially posted here.)  Instead of the cliche, what if your cocktail party introductions started with “What don’t you do?”

The universal premise, I suppose, is that asking someone “What do you do?” is an inadequate way to start a conversation. Certainly, it can make the person being asked feel inadequate when responding (indeed, I’ve been there  — see below).  Putting myself in the position of the asker, however, I actually don’t find the “What do you do?” question particularly loaded. If I ask people this, I do it with a journalist’s hard-wired and genuine curiosity. Oh, you’re a landscape architect? Commercial or residential? Oh, you’re a physician? What’s your specialty? My sister is in medical school and is loving her E.R. rotation. You’re a personal trainer? Who are your typical clients? How did you get into that field? Are you, like, super athletic? Oh, you stay at home with your kids? You know what? I’m kind of jealous. Let’s talk some more about our children and our choices and what your favorite part of the day is.

I see the question as a way to connect with people. Whatever we “do,” we do for 80% of our waking hours, and I’m truly interested in that which fills most of your days. If what you “do” is not representative of who you are or think you are or would like to be, I’m also interested that. Let’s talk about it. What are your avocations and the books you read and your dreams? Maybe I need to be more imaginative about how to get to that deeper level, but asking, “What do you do?” seems a direct and logical place to begin. I promise I will maintain a journalist’s objectivity and will not rush to judgment without asking a foll0w-up or two.

On the other hand, for most of my life, if you had invited me to your cocktail party and asked me “What do you do?” I likely would have (a) hightailed it to the bar; (b) started to cry; (c) left; or (d) all of the above, in that order.  Today, I’d take a hard-won delight in telling you that: I’m a lawyer and married and a mother (and I admit that at a cocktail party I’d probably answer in that order). And I’m a writer (or, used to be. Or, am still? Depends on the day). I might even get around to telling you that I’m a daughter and friend and niece (and oenophile and yogi and pop culture junkie).  Though my answer to your question may be cocktail-party minimalist, it is — however surface-skimming — true and clear, and this is a relief.  There’s more to me, to be sure (much more than you probably want to know) but having fought to the surface, I’m just happy to rest there for awhile.

Still, I’m surprisingly intrigued — to the extent I’ve spent the past few days actively thinking about it — by the “What don’t you do?” question because I find it more difficult to answer. Not because I’m particularly self-confident, but, rather, as a (hopefully reforming?) perfectionist, it’s disturbingly easy for me to turn this question around into “What should you be doing that you don’t do?”, and, thus, an opportunity for even more self-improvement. (Because if you don’t do something, that’s a character flaw that must be corrected, right?) For example, here is what immediately sprang to mind: I don’t lift weights; I don’t volunteer enough; I don’t thank people or actively connect with them as much as I’d like on the phone or email; I don’t think before I speak sometimes; etc; etc. The “enoughs” and the “as I’d likes” and the “sometimes” slip in much too quickly. It is difficult to own up to not doing something without trying to right it.

So I’ll try again: As an inherent part of my personality — attaching no judgments or negative connotations or resolutions to change — what are things I just don’t do, period?

I don’t:

  • Go to the movies
  • Deal with the car (oil changes, car wash)
  • Open my mail until there is a significantly unavoidable pile on the hall table
  • Put the toilet paper on the roll
  • Count calories
  • Throw out the plastic tab on the milk or orange juice cartons after I open a new one
  • Assemble things
  • Close the cabinet doors or dresser drawers
  • Take constructive criticism very well
  • Make photo albums or baby books
  • Confront people
  • Eat chicken in restaurants, or pork, duck, or game anywhere
  • Buy my child toys (not out of principle; I just don’t have time/think to do it)
  • Drink hard alcohol
  • Do crafts

I actually don’t care about “righting” any of these things, to the extent they are things to be righted (e.g., closing the dresser drawers or opening my mail). As it turns out, this admission is liberating. For a time, my mother read a lot of self-help books. I remember one was called something like, I’m OK, You’re OK. What do you do? What don’t you do? I’m OK, you’re OK.

What does it mean to be an attorney

November 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Posted in tax law is sexy, the firm | 4 Comments
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I passed the bar just over one year ago, and today was the first day I entered a courtroom on real, lawyerly business. I realize some lawyers never go before a judge. My father, an M&A lawyer, was one such attorney.  Everyone else in my family who is a lawyer, however (and most of them are*), has spent a a lot of time in court as a criminal or civil attorney. My aunt shepherded major women’s civil rights litigation through the appellate courts, my uncle has argued in front of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and my mother and stepdad were career prosecutors.

I was nervous and clueless. I wore my black maternity suit. I got to the courthouse way too early. My clients and I were the first ones in the courtroom at the appointed time of 9 a.m. I knew that I was supposed to check in with the judge’s clerk up at the bar, and I did that promptly. But then it was another 45 minutes until the judge even took the bench. Case after case was called. At 11 a.m. my clients were restless — they had to get back to work. I asked the clerk if my clients needed to be in the courtroom for the hearing of our petition. Not only did they not need to be there, but our case file was lost. “Don’t worry,” said the clerk. “It’s on someone’s desk somewhere. We’re recreating it.” (I later learned that this is not atypical…) My clients left. I stayed. The bailiff woke up a snorer in the back row (I’m not making this up) and shooed out people who were talking, standing, or trying to drink coffee in the courtroom. As I grimaced at every cough and sneeze (the H1N1 vaccine supposedly needs two weeks to become fully effective), I texted my assistant-district-attorney mother with my questions and observations. “So the judge just takes the bench whenever she feels like it?” “She is reading each file just before she hears the case?” “Why do all the attorneys know each other?” “Why do they keep coming and going out of the courtroom?” Was I supposed to be coming and going?

I spend my days so so isolated and sheltered up in my glimmering office building, surrounded by the tax code. Once again, the contrast between my relatively easy position (yes, we work long hours, but we’re not exposed daily to murders, drugs, and abuse, not to mention decaying courthouses…) and the “real” justice system inbues in me a deep admiration for my mother and for Henry, both of whom commuted daily from our tony suburb into an entirely different world at the county courthouse in Elizabeth, N.J. I felt kind of like a fraud sitting in that courtroom in my expensive maternity jacket and Kate Spade heels: I’m not really an attorney, I just go into work with over-educated, over-paid people and pretend to be.

Finally, my docket number was called. I had met my client through one of our firm’s pro bono initiatives.  She was seeking legal guardianship of her 18-year-old daughter, who is severely mentally disabled and unable to make decisions for herself. Not only are the guardianship rules new and tediously complicated, but the process of getting a petition filed in Probate Court is equally so. I explained the daughter’s condition to the judge. My guardianship petition was granted.

Maybe a small burden was lifted from the shoulders of a Dorchester family. But does my paltry 60 seconds in front of a judge legitimize my role as a lawyer? Perhaps in the context of my litigation-experienced family, but perhaps not so much in the grand scheme of things.

*Only one, however (I believe), has the distinction of having passed two state bar exams! Congrats to my aunt, namesake (no, wait, I am her namesake?), and godmother, who, after practicing law in New York state for 30+ years, moved to one of only four states into whose bar you cannot ever waive, and today received her victorious NJ bar results! Not that she was ever not going to  — but that great feeling of relief is still fresh in my memory. It just cannot be underestimated.

Weekend

November 8, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Posted in little bug, Starbucks, the 'burbs, weekend | Leave a comment
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Saturday

First stop: haircut.
The before shot:

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The after shot:

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Haircut was followed by breakfast at our “old” Starbucks on Newbury St.:

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Afterwards, we strolled a few blocks to visit our “old” playground:

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Being at CSP made me a bit nostalgic. I logged a lot of hours at this playground.  As we walked down Commonwealth Ave. towards Clarendon, Little Bug got so excited when she realized where we were going. 

Sunday

Four families, six children for brunch. Kara, Lindsey, and I were close friends/roommates in college. Tennessee and Emily are married. Kara’s brother and Tennessee were roommates in college. I went to Columbia J-school with Tennessee. Lindsey and Emily met when they were 7-years-old and went to middle school together in Cambridge. Emily used to be a lawyer at my firm. Lots of connections.

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This is exactly why we bought a house with a swingset in the suburbs. 

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Riding the wave of my kitchen ambition, I made two casseroles to freeze, one for Thursday or Friday night and one for another week. Ingredients: sauteed onion, spinach, browned turkey, penne, Classico sauce, gruyere, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. I just made this recipe up. Nothing fancy (and I feel almost embarrassed divulging it knowing sarabclever will be reading it…), but on a Friday night it is absolutely delicious. (For brunch, by the way, I made this strada and banana bread from a Martha Stewart recipe.)

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Buggy’s little 9-year-old “friends” came over. There are a half dozen fourth- or fifth-grade girls in the neighborhood, and they absolutely adore her. I think they think of her like a pet. They knock on the door and give her big hugs and play with her for a bit but then clearly grow a bit bored of a barely literate 2-year-old and eventually send her on her way. Buggy, however, worships them. “There are my friends!” she cries happily whenever she sees them out on the sidewalk rollerblading or drawing with chalk.

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Finally, we went to our condo to take some pictures for our upcoming all-out marketing blitz. Someday, if I’m completely devoid of inspiration, I’ll tell the long tale of the condo that we thought we sold and so therefore contracted to buy our new house, but the buyer backed out and now we have two mortgages (hello, mortgage interest deduction!) If you, or anyone you know, wants a new construction two-bedroom, two-bath next to the red line in Milton, MA, with a water view, let me know… I couldn’t be more serious.

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See how nice the view is?

Swine flu update: update

November 6, 2009 at 9:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Mission accomplished. I procured a swine flu vaccine, no thanks to Harvard Vanguard. I’m sure it’s not really their fault. But here is what is their fault: misinformation.  The nurse at my ob’s finally — after 15 minutes on the phone during which I implored her to explore some options with me — told me about a clinic being offered to pregnant women today at the Brigham, but then recommended I not get the vaccine there because it was not Thimerisol free. “But the CDC recommends that pregnant women get this vaccine regardless, and says that the vaccines are safe,” I pointed out. “Well, we just don’t know what the effects are,” she said. I pointed out that we also don’t know the effects of Tamiflu on the unborn child. “You’d rather I risk getting swine flu than risk the vaccine?” I asked. “I think you should wait until we receive the Thimerisol free vaccine,” she said. Since Harvard Vanguard apparently has not received any vaccines yet for their high-risk patients — while Wall Street bankers and lawyers are being vaccinated in their offices — you’ll understand why I was no longer prepared to be patient.

Moreover, I think her advice was misinformed and incorrect. I consulted with my cadre of “private physicians” — i.e., three very good doctor-friends whose expertise and medical advice I trust completely. One of them told me that the amount of mercury in the flu vaccine was less than what is in a tuna sandwich. In addition, the concern about preservatives in vaccines stems from a time when there was thought to possibly be a connection between the mercury and autism — something that has not been at all substantiated by research. (For the record, my sister and brother-in-law’s dear nephew is autistic, so this is not something any of us take lightly.)

People can and will have their own opinions on this, and I respect them. Your health decisions are up to you (which is why I am so pro-choice). But I also think this is a scenario in which anxiety and rumors can get and have gotten out of hand. (I’m not immune: I admit I became somewhat all-consumed with my inability to get vaccinated.) In the end, I did my own research: I read the CDC website, and I consulted with other doctors. But, ultimately, I do have faith in Western medicine. A clinic held specifically for pregnant women — at one of the best hospitals in the country, no less — just would not offer a vaccine that would be unsafe. As it turns out, the shot I received this morning was the “low dose” vaccine — completely mercury-free vaccines are not widely available at this time. This particular one had one participle/milligram (whatever the measurement they used was) of preservative as opposed to 20 participles/milligrams.

Anyway, I’m relieved. It only took three or four phone calls a day (to both branches of  my obstetrician’s office, my primary care physician, my pediatrician, various departments of public health), three days a week, for six weeks or so, plus 45 minutes on Tuesday chasing down this flu clinic lead (emailed to me by many people who had read my blog — thank you!), two hours yesterday driving to the Brigham during rush hour so that I could register as a patient in order to attend the clinic, a 45-minute drive in rush hour this morning and a 30 minute wait (I was sixth in line — a bit bummed that I was not actually first, as had been my intent!)

Ambition in the kitchen

November 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Posted in gastronomy | 3 Comments
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I’m not sure what came over me*, but I got super inspired/organized on Sunday and sat down with some cookbooks and came up with a menu for the week and went shopping and prepped all the food and put it in Tupperware and in the fridge (like a walking advertisement for a women’s magazine!). This week’s menu:

Monday: Barefoot Contessa Indonesian ginger chicken with roasted sweet potato and squash and brown rice (mostly for Tim — see footnote). Verdict: I made the marinade Sunday and let the chicken sit in it overnight. Melting the honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic wasn’t really any different from marinating in Soy Vey with some extra fresh ginger, which would have been much easier. Also, this is the problem I have with baking chicken: by the time I’m satisfied that it’s fully cooked, it’s rather dry. The roasted sweet potatoes were delicious though — just tossed in salt and pepper, roasted at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Tuesday: Turkey chili. On Sunday I sauteed onions and the chili spices, browned the ground turkey, and diced red and yellow peppers. In the morning, it all went into the crockpot with two cans of crushed tomatoes. I ended up working late, so nearly 12 hours later I served it over the left over brown rice from Monday. Verdict: Delish delish delish. I used the Barefoot Contessa chicken chili recipe (halved the onion and replaced the baked chicken with the ground turkey). To make it a little less healthy, I topped it with sour cream and shredded cheddar, of course.

Wednesday: Tim was out, so I had left over mac and cheese that Janet had made for Buggy (with chopped broccoli, so it’s healthy! Right?) and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from last Friday. (Cookies not helping the blood sugar — see the footnote, below…)

Thursday: Sunday’s dinner was Barefoot Contessa’s butternut squash apple soup (I also added to her recipe some fresh ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon).  I put two Tupperware’s full in the fridge for tonight, and three in the freezer for future dinner emergencies. I’ll serve it with leftover refrigerated French bread, warmed in the oven with some Fontina cheese. Actually, I’ll probably be working late tonight, so Tim can heat up his little Tupperware whenever, and I’ll have nuke mine when I get home. The perfect who-knows-what-time-you’ll-be-home meal

Proof (aside: I don’ t know why this picture is so huge!)

Friday: Costco whole wheat raviolis, which I will pluck from the freezer, and steamed broccoli, which I had cut up Sunday night. This obviously will not be an earth-shattering culinary experience, but at least I didn’t have to chop the broccoli, something I hate doing so much that it keeps me from eating broccoli (which, generally, I like) more frequently.

*I do know what came over me. Two things: (1) Ellen and Wildon came to dinner on Saturday night, and I made the Barefoot Contessa’s roast chicken with lemon. We were talking about the movie Julie and Julia, and Ellen said she would have to find herself a cookbook to make her way through. I have most of the BC’s cookbooks — she really can do nothing wrong — and so I decided to just dive in to those instead of getting myself overwhelmed on Epicurious. (2) I have my glucose test next week. I had gestational diabetes during my first pregnancy, and was on a restrictive no-carbs/no-sugar diet. This time, I was really good during my first trimester with my carb/sugar intake, but once the doctor told me how good I was doing I immediately got lazy and started baking cookies every week and resorting too often to our weeknight standard: pasta with Classico sauce. I’m not a big meat-eater and so don’t often think to cook it, but really do need to eat more protein and less carbs if I want to avoid gestational diabetes again. So while we’ll have rice with the chicken and the chili, it will mostly be for Tim (I can have like 1/3 of a cup per meal…)

Overall verdict:  

  • It took a bit of work on Sunday to get this all organized. We didn’t really have anything else going on (it was rainy, we were all still tired from Halloween on Saturday night), so I’m not sure it’s realistic to do this every week. In addition, I’m not yet sure all the effort was balanced by the end result, although it may end up being so once/if I become more efficient at planning and prepping. 
  • But it is nice that I have some chili and soup in the freezer.
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