Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A poem

A friend sent this to me from The Writer's Almanac.  It reminds me of my mom and her sisters.  And it makes me smile.

Clara: In the Post Office
by Linda Hasselstrom

I keep telling you, I'm not a feminist.
I grew up an only child on a ranch,
so I drove tractors, learned to ride.
When the truck wouldn't start, I went to town
for parts. The man behind the counter
told me I couldn't rebuild a carburetor.
I could: every carburetor on the place. That's
necessity, not feminism.
I learned to do the books
after my husband left me and the debts
and the children. I shoveled snow and pitched hay
when the hired man didn't come to work.
I learned how to pull a calf
when the vet was too busy. As I thought,
the cow did most of it herself; they've been
birthing alone for ten thousand years. Does
that make them feminists?
It's not
that I don't like men; I love them - when I can.
But I've stopped counting on them
to change my flats or open my doors.
That's not feminism; that's just good sense.

"Clara: In the Post Office" by Linda Hasselstrom from, Roadkill.

Monday, September 20, 2010

So far, my quest for simplicity and loving my home has resulted in a clean and very organized laundry room and pantry (I realize I've done this before and even posted on here about it, but this time it's better) and an organizing for a yard sale I plan to have next weekend.  My kitchen countertops are also starting to get clearer.  I LOVE clear countertops.  Baby steps.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Cathartic Rant About Big Law

When you leave a big law firm, it's amazing how people begin to come out of the woodwork and tell you about their desire to leave, how much they admire you and how miserable people really are.  I don't want to over-generalize and I've known this reality for some time, but the farther I get from it, the more perspective I gain and the more I recognize the alternate universe people live in. 

I've tried for a long time to explain the cutlture to people and it's very hard for people on the outside to understand.  It seems like the culmination of success as the world defines it.  The job is "prestigious" and it pays well and people respect you, but for most people it is empty.  And the wrench in it is that there is this weird psychology that goes on that has caused a whole generation of people 50 and older to believe that they love it.  Even when they know deep down inside that they don't.  Sometimes it's not even all that deep down.  I have had partners look me in the eye and tell me that they regret it, that they wish they had spent more time at home with their children, that they wish they had gone to the prosecutor's office or hung their own shingle or practiced with a plaintiff's firm or done something completely different all together.  Then these same partners have given me or others who have chosen to leave, to pursue their own dreams and spend valuable time with their families, speeches - guilt trips really - about loyalty and passion for the profession and money, of all things.  I guarantee these people can't see the irony or the dischord in what they are saying at any given time.  And frankly, I believe that when they are saying it, whatever position it is they are advocating, they believe it. 

I would love to study the psychology behind the brainwashing. I cannot tell you how many times either I have heard this rant or I have heard it reported to me from another tired, bewildered associate: "you don't know what it is you want.  You should be grateful for all this firm has done for you, all we have given you - there are so many people who would give anything to be in your position - to be paid what you are paid, to get these experiences.  The rest of us put in our time and we didn't complain and we didn't expect more money or to have cases or clients handed to us or to be "trained" in marketing.  We did what we were asked and the rest of it fell in place."  And apparently, they walked uphill to work both ways in the snow in no shoes.  Give me a break. 

To those partners, here are some things your associates want to say to you:

First, I am worth what you pay me because you pay it.  If I wasn't -  if I really wasn't making you money - you wouldn't pay me.  Stop with the bullshit about how you lose money on me.  I don't believe it.

Second, times have changed and I want more.  I am demanding more.  I am sorry you made the choices you did, but this isn't a sorority or fraternity rush.  I don't have to be hazed because you were.  As a matter of fact, because you were, I see the consequences of giving your life to a law firm and I don't want it.  Thank you for showing me what not to do, but stop trying to displace your regret on me.

Third,  I don't owe you anything and you haven't done me any special favors. You hired me specifically for a reason.  There are people just as smart as me and there are better lawyers than me, but I am unique - I bring something unique to the table. I have value - either because I am a good laywer, I am a woman, I know a particular client, I am a minority, I am the son or daughter of someone important, etc.  Stop trying to make me feel like I am expendable.

Fourth, other people want me and will pay me.  And even if they won't pay me as much, money isn't everything.  I'm sorry that you didn't recognize that you had options, but I do and I will explore them. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I'm making a commitment to make my home a place I love.  I've been waiting for a while, thinking that we would be able to afford a bigger and nicer house soon, but hasn't happened and realistically, it's going to be a while.  Frankly, I don't even know where to start.  I just know that I need some order and I need to actually want to be in my house.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Today is my 35th birthday.  I love birthdays and I expect celebrations (yes, plural) for mine.  And I generally could care less about the number - I never really feel old.  But this year is a little different.  I am having a moment of evaluation.  Of knowing that I am headed toward 40 and being closer to the second half of my life.  Maybe I'm already in it. And I don't feel as accomplished as I thought I would.  I never imagined being buried in debt or living in a house with a whole list of things that need to be fixed and in need of more space at 35.  I never really imagined that I would still be trying to figure out what exactly I really want to do with my life.  I am generally a very positive . . . and hopeful person.  But I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and a little bit discouraged.  Even so, I am acutely aware that I am blessed.  That I have more materially than 95% of the world and that may people would give all they have to be with their husband and children and have both of their parents and their beautiful sister and her children alive and well.  So, today, I thank God for those blessings and I ask for peace, contentment and discipline to improve the things making me feel discouraged.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I came home from a dinner with some girlfriends a few nights ago and my husband was sitting on the couch watching Hotel Rwanda.  We've owned this movie for over 2 years now and have never watched it.  Every time he suggests it, I say that I just can't handle something that heavy right now.  And that night was no different.  I saw that it was on and I bolted out of the room as fast as I could.  I absolutely did not want to see, hear or experience something that would make me feel so many emotions.  I think this is a common sentitment among people with intellectually challenging jobs.  We spend our whole days thinking and analyzing and really don't want to spend our valued personal entertainment time thinking more.  But I feel guilty about this and also wonder if it's something to be further discussed in a therapist's office.  One, it makes me miss out on some valuable experiences with husband and two, I wonder how long I can go without feeling certain emotions.  Am I avoiding something more than the stress of work and thinking too much?