Perfection

January 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Posted in Starbucks, wine | 11 Comments
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I woke up this morning inspired by this. You see, I was at the doctor again yesterday, getting another prescription for another ear infection. I really want to feel healthy again, to feel inspired, to feel fun, to stop complaining and being short-tempered at home. I’ve been thinking that maybe I should tweak my diet a bit — less lattes and red wine and cheese and Wheat thins, more spinach and almonds.  So I skipped the coffee this morning.  I didn’t have any immediate or debilitating caffeine withdrawal symptoms, but it was sort of a bummer nonetheless. 

I mentioned this to a friend over email this afternoon. Knowing that my health and the general winter malaise had me sort of in the dumps, she generously and genuinely pepped me up over the course of a lengthy back-and-forth.  She said: “Don’t be crazy, girl. You love your cup of coffee on your way to work. You write essays about it. You have a blog category dedicated to it.” Well, she didn’t actually write this, but it was the subtext of her much more articulate message, which was: hang in there, make time in your day to exercise (which I have not been doing, of course), and don’t deny yourself some pleasures. And then she sends me this:

Does the sight of a Starbucks cup make anyone else’s heart race, just a little bit? (If not, do I have a real problem?) Thanks for bringing me back to my senses, E — erstwhile champion of smart dialogue and smart women. This picture perfectly captures — on so many levels — why we are friends.

In all seriousness, though, has anyone else ever given up caffeine and found it worth the short-term (long-term?) denial of pleasure? Have you ever changed your diet and found it made you healthier (please say no)? What else are you doing to stay healthy and peppy in this grim winter grayness?

We’re, like, in the future

January 19, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in Massholes, read this, Starbucks | 1 Comment
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Oh my goodness the weather is depressing. During last week’s blizzard, all the snowplows in our town converged to push all the snow from our street — yes, all of it — into our yard. (Our Christmas tree was on the curb — I do not think we will see it again until April.)  Yesterday at work, I was startled at my desk several times as huge chunks of ice fell off the skyscraper office building and hurtled into my window. Today as I drove into the city, it was just wet and gray, the skyline covered in clouds. I’m sick, Tim’s sick, the kids don’t sleep through the night (if one does, the other does not). I mean, I could go on with the boring complaints, but everyone in the Northeast is singing the same tune. And we don’t even have playoff football to look forward to on the weekends.

But guess what? Guess what happens today? Read here for a more technical explanation, but, in short, I can now buy Starbucks with my iPhone. My two most coveted modern luxuries have joined forces, and so it’s like I’m getting my coffee for free. Or, at least I’m not forking over a debit card, which makes it seem free. Remember when we were younger and movies depicting “the future” would have people looking at each other as they conversed over television screens? We were like, Whoa, no way.  Now I can do that over my phone — my phone that is not attached to a cord and that I carry around with my everywhere and with which I buy Starbucks. How did the future get here? Sometimes it still gives me a little thrill. And right now I’ll take them where I can.

The juggle

January 17, 2011 at 8:39 am | Posted in little bug, Little O, SAHM, the 'burbs, the firm, Uncategorized, weekend | 6 Comments

Yesterday morning, I drove the children to a suburb north of the city for a playdate. My friend has three children — a little girl just a week younger than Little Bug, and twin 17-month-old boys. She and I were classmates in college, and while we were friendly then, we didn’t know each other well. We reconnected a few years ago when our girls were infants — we lived just blocks from each other in the Back Bay and were both attorneys. Because she went right from college to law school, she is now a partner at her firm. Nevertheless, we have many of the same experiences being mothers and lawyers. Our girls play really well together, and Little O had fun chasing after the “big” boys. As the kids traipsed around her sunny playroom, we caught up in bits and snatches, and I found myself saying, “Now that we have such a great nanny, it’s really pretty doable.” And I believe that: with quality, reliable daycare, the working parent is free to pursue his or her career with much less anxiety. If the children are happy and well cared for, you can spend your days at work focusing on work, as opposed to worrying about what is going on at home. Our excellent nanny has made that possible for me.

But, then, there are the weekends. And holidays, such as today. When there is no nanny and, yet, because of the nature of our particular careers, we still have work to do. On weekends, Tim and I find ourselves in a seemingly never-ending negotiation about who gets to work when. Today, for example, he is going into the office from 10-3. He asked his mother to come over and help me out, which just means she and I will probably take the children to lunch at the local diner, and maybe she can stay with the baby while he naps and I can take Little Bug to the market with me or something. Fine — I’m grateful for the company and the ability to get some errands done. But I also have about three or four hours of work that I should do before tomorrow — two hours of which I absolutely have to do before tomorrow. When will I do mine? Before 10 or after 3, I suppose. When Tim works on weekends, I don’t begrudge him the time away from our family so much as I feel guilty that I should be working and I’m not. I don’t actually work all that often on weekends — but I always feel like I should be doing so (everyone else at my office seems to be) — and so when Tim steals away to put in a few hours himself, it reminds me that I’m probably slipping behind.

If I weren’t working at all, would these weekend tensions ease? Maybe not because I might feel like the weekends were family time or my time — a break, perhaps, from a long week spent taking care of the children. That would be a different negotiation between my husband and me. But I wouldn’t feel this constant sense of inferiority to my own colleagues, one that I fear manifests itself in my relationship with my hard-working spouse. In a two-career family, does one spouse’s career necessarily take priority over the other’s? And is that the career of the highest earner? It seems that things would shake themselves out this way, but I don’t feel like I’m in the type of job — junior associate at a big law firm — where my career can take second fiddle and maintain any sort of longetivity. Just as I’m starting to feel like maybe I am doing the right thing (and have the childcare to make it possible, at least during the week), I’m reminded that — while many of my colleagues are in the office on weekends and holidays — that will never be me, and I’ll probably never really measure up. This is frustrating, and I feel terrible that sometimes my family bears the brunt of this frustration.

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