Random Blog A Musing Farf: September 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Grrr. Seriously. What the f*ck??? Wondering what has me so riled? That would be the NY Mets. You know, the first team in MLB history to be 7 games ahead in the division standings on September 12th to lose the division and not make the play offs.

I would love to write some metaphor about life and how a fast start does not necessarily lead to success, but I am too depressed…

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Well it’s about time. After sliding into second place and perhaps beginning the biggest collapse in Major League Baseball history, the Mets finally won a game. And Philly is currently losing in the sixth inning. Thank freaking g-d. Seriously.

I laugh because, in a slight switch of traditional gender roles, Husband cleaned the apartment so I could watch the game. But then, as I stressed over the fact that the Mets could blow it again, I made cookies in order to relieve that stress and Husband drank beer. So, not only are the Mets likely responsible for any high blood pressure, they are also responsible for Husband and I getting fat. If they make it into the playoffs, all will be forgiven though.

Actually, I made the cookies because Sister made me feel guilty. Husband and I are having a little barbeque at our place tonight (likely the last one since we are now officially in contract on the new place and hopefully moving right after the new year) and when I told Sister that I was thinking of not serving dessert because, really, no one need it, she told me she is always a little sad at the end of a party when there is nothing sweet to eat. And, since I hate serving store bought desserts, I figured I would make cookies. She better eat 10 and gain a few pounds….

Plus, Husband made burgers (with all sorts of spices), is marinating chicken, made a salad and sautéed onions as a topping for the burgers. And, he made a corn soufflé as a side. I can’t let him get all the credit if we have amazing food. It’s funny, because as much as we pretty much eschew any pretense of splitting chores down typical man and woman chores, I can’t help but get defensive when Husband does all the cooking.

I am a really good cook. I come from a long line of really good cooks. My mother and grandmother both make amazing dishes and are master bakers. I can cook a Rosh Hashanah meal for 10 and have made Passover Seders on one-day notice. But since Husband and I have been dating, he does all the cooking and I do the baking. And we are watching our weight, so it has really turned into Husband doing all the cooking and me just eating and offering to do dishes.

Why does this bother me? I can’t figure it out. Why do I care if Husband is considered the cook in the family? I thought it was because I was being sidelined in a skill, but that’s not it. Husband really enjoys cooking and I don’t really love to do it as much. After a little soul searching, I really think it’s because I feel like less of a wife when Husband does all the cooking. I want to cook for my husband. I certainly don’t want to clean or sew or do other typical “girly” things. (Well, I want to learn to knit, but Sister mocks me for that so I have been reluctant to learn).

I did cook once for Husband. I made a trout when we were first dating. I like fish to be simple – maybe a little salt and pepper – but Husband likes things very spiced and with tons of different flavors. So, he offered his “advice” on how to make it better. I have never made him dinner since. Since then, he has cooked for me and I have been the dishwasher and occasional sous chef.

But, as much as I want to cook for Husband, maybe my current deal is not so bad. After all, I am the one watching the Phillys lose to the Nationals in the 7th inning and Husband is out making sure the chicken is properly scored.

Friday, September 28, 2007


You know all those movies where the bad guys set up a bomb with a digital timer and the good guys cut the wires and stop the clock? Well, the question is: Have you ever seen a film where the good guys cut the wires and the timer keeps going to zero, but the bomb does not diffuse (since you know, they are cutting the wires to the bomb and not the timer itself)?

A friend bet a colleague $50 that such a movie existed, and offered me half if I helped him find the answer. So, anyone know? I could really use $25 toward my “quit being a lawyer and be a dog trainer” fund….

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I used to think I was brilliant. Sure, there were things I was not good at (like foreign languages and fractions), but even while I struggled with those subjects, teachers all universally agreed that I was smart. And, with some private tutoring, I even excelled at subjects like Hebrew, French and Math. But, where I used to think I was really smart, I am now convinced I am not intellectual at all.

I got to Small Liberal Law Firm almost two years ago and realized that I am not smart at all. At first, when I got here I thought I was smart and doing a great job, but then, after about a year of working really hard, I was formally reviewed and told that I need to pay attention to detail and think things though more. I started thinking things through as much as possible and was told that I am a bad writer and my ideas don’t make sense. I listened to other people talk at meetings and heard the questions they asked. You could have given me an unlimited about of time and those questions would not have occurred to me.

My current boss, Evil Partner, perpetuates this. He has not liked me from my first day and tells everyone else every time I make an error. He does not think I am smart and I have begun to believe him. The problem is, once I begin to think I am an idiot, it permeates the rest of my life.

But the thing is, there are things I am good at: I am really good at “people skills.” Generally, people like me a lot and I excel in social situations with men and women. If you give me a task (i.e. get this impossible to find document), I can accomplish it and easily get people to “bend the rules, just this once” when I need them to do so. I love animals and after my second Dog Trainer Training class, I am convinced I can be really good at it. I was an awesome SCUBA instructor before I was forced to quit teaching because it was costing me more to teach than I was being paid.

But, I am starting to think that being a lawyer is one of those things that I am not good at. I do okay in hearings, but apparently can’t write a legal brief in a way that people like them to read. So again, the people aspect of law (client development, relationship building) is all fine, but the “real” work causes a problem.


What’s weird is that I used to be smart. This original brilliance lasted until I was fourteen and finished Eighth Grade. Starting in Ninth Grade, I went to Loomis Chaffee, a private school in Connecticut. While there, my self confidence and social life flourished, but my grades foundered and no one was going to accuse me of being brilliant. On the other hand, for the first time in my entire life, I started to think of myself as pretty and popular.

On to college, where I did well enough in classes I liked, and poorly enough in mathematics for my professor to offer me a “D” in the required course if I promised to never take another class in the department again. My grades were not very good overall, but I had a kick-ass internship at the White House that eventually turned into an actual staff job.

I loved working in politics. Senator Dodd, in a televised speech, called me the “best Research Director” he had ever had. People thought I was great at political research and I felt like a fraud. It was so easy and mindless – how could people be so easily impressed? But, I enjoyed it so there seemed to be no problems. People (myself included) thought I was brilliant.

Then, in 2000, the political research jobs on the Democratic side pretty much dried up. I was sick of living out of suitcases and jumping from campaign to campaign. I had seen what that life did to friends – high divorce rate, no connection with family, no possessions of any value, few hobbies – and I did not want that for myself. So, I went to law school.

Law school was pretty much high school all over again. I loved living in New York and made amazing friends that I think I will have for a lifetime. I was confident, happy and content. Except, no matter how hard I tried or how well I thought I knew the material, I could not seem to do well on exams or papers. In election law – of all subjects! – I received a B- on the final paper. I could not figure out how that happened. After all, I was clearly the professor’s favorite, spoke during class and asked questions. I did all the readings and was always prepared. I tried to make an appointment to speak with the professor to discuss where I went wrong, but he never made himself available. And, if no one thought I was brilliant, they certainly did not think I was an idiot either.

Then, I got a job at Local Union. I loved my boss and felt like I was fighting the good fight for workers, but the job was basically dead end and I pretty much hated everyone there except Wuzi and Stitch (my boss). Wuzi and Stitch both left (although Stitch eventually went back) and so I left and went to Small Liberal Law Firm. Stitch used to tell me that I was the smartest young lawyer he knew.


So what happened during all those times that people told me (either directly or through a formal grading process) that I was not smart? Reading this, it appears that my self perception of my own intelligence is based entirely on what other people think. Well that’s not right. And yet, I can’t help it and dream daily of giving up the law, becoming a full time dog trainer and…. Well, that’s the thing. I can’t figure out the “and.”

I love training dogs, but want a lifestyle that costs more than dog training will pay me. I want to not work very hard at a job I don’t really like, and I want people to think I do a good job. But I would be willing to work really hard at a job I loved.

Why is this so hard?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


When I was eighteen, my high school commencement speaker asked all of the graduating seniors to write letters to their 28-year old selves. In that letter, we were supposed to predict what we would be doing in ten years, and mention any goals we had for ourselves. In the ten years between 18 and 28, I forgot all about that letter.

The letter arrived in my mailbox right around the time of my 10-year high school reunion. Nothing I predicted was accurate and none of the goals I had so carefully considered 10 years prior were even close to anything I had a desire to accomplish. Married? Still single. Kids? At 28 I couldn’t begin to imagine. Television writer? Zero interest.

And my goals! Ha! I wanted to be an amateur Marine Biologist (I think it had not yet occurred to me that marine biology involved more than SCUBA diving in cool locations) and learn to sing. Of course, both of those things involve some level of natural talent – say an affinity for science or the ability to carry a tune – and needless to say, neither goal was seriously pursued.

At twenty-eight, I was happily single (although dating a spectacular guy who I would later marry) and childless by choice. I still loved to SCUBA dive and sing in the shower, but my real goal was to be a Union-side labor lawyer and if asked to predict what I would be doing in 5 years (and trust me, in many a job interview, I was asked to do just that) I would confidently answer, “work as an attorney for a Union and help to make the workplace a better place.” My goals were to be successful in my career and land a great job.

And now, at 32, I have learned to stop predicting where I will be in five years, because the answer is, I have no clue: I want to be a dog trainer. I want to be a teacher. I hate being a lawyer. I can’t live on a teacher or a dog trainer’s salary and in a couple months, I will have a mortgage to think about. And I want to have a baby so I definitely need a job with health insurance and paid maternity leave. So my goals have been reduced to the following: I just hope to have kids, not have the bank foreclose on my new apartment, and not get headaches thinking about my job.

But really, maybe I should reexamine where I was at 18. After all, this shift in priorities may make for a good Lifetime television series.

Monday, September 17, 2007


So I have been lagging behind lately. And, mostly, I blame the apartment hunting. First, the good news is that our offer was accepted and if Husband can stop diddling around with the contracts (seriously, this is a man who would even make edits to the contract language on the back of a baseball ticket) we should be signing this week. That would be a good thing since they are still showing the apartment and that is making me really angry. Why are they letting strangers walk around MY apartment??? The upside is that I really love this place and have already mentally decorated it.

And really, I can’t blame poor Husband too much. I have no desire to be involved in the mortgage process or contract negotiations and have removed myself from the process. I already told Husband that I want nothing more to do with anything until it’s time to pick out paint colors. And, little does he know, I have pretty much already picked them. Hahaha.

But, the stress of apartment hunting is also causing me to fail on my diet. I want to lose 10 pounds by December 31st and yet I had two Oreo cookies today and it is taking all my effort not to walk back to the kitchen for a third one. Sister and I are going to start seeing a personal trainer, but not until after Yom Kippur and by then I will have likely gained 10 pounds from all the noodle kudgel and brisket. Yum. But, the upside is that after we buy this apartment, we will have no money and I will be unable to afford all the food that is making me fat…

So, in light of it being the Jewish New Year, I have decided that this is as good a time as ever to make New Years’ resolutions. Here they are:

1. Stop overextending myself. Between my training to be a dog trainer, NYCSR, work and desire to see my friends in person, I find myself annoyed that I have no time to myself. I am going to say “no” more often.

2. Make more time to see my friends. This goes along with number one, above, but I am already booked with activities this entire week, and none are with my friends. I need to make an effort to actually see people…

3. Eat healthier and lose 10 pounds. Nothing tastes better than thin. Ugh, who am I kidding? The third Oreo would taste better!

4. Be nicer. Ado will appreciate that I made this resolution once before and it lasted approximately 10 seconds when I called Dick Clark’s female co-host a skank.

5. Be more sincere. I will not tell someone I love their shirt when I think its only okay. I will be honest in my opinions, when asked, and keep my mouth shut otherwise. This sort of goes along with being nicer, but in a different way.

I really am hoping that this year brings along good things such as a new apartment and figure. I could say I was wishing for world peace, but then I would already violate resolution number 5. Of course, my not wishing for stuff for others, maybe I am violating Resolution 4. Screw it. I give up. I am eating a cookie.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Last weekend was amazing. Husband and I spent the weekend in Seattle visiting Much Ado About Nothing ("Ado") and T. We went kayaking and explored farmer's markets. It was heavenly.

And, I had other good news this weekend. First off, I was one of the winner’s of Peg’s essay contest on feminism. Yippee. Second, I won a second, non-internet writing contest titled, “The best chef.” I think you are supposed to write about famous people, but I wrote about Husband who makes some of the yummiest food I ever tasted. I will retype that post and publish when I have a second.

The cool thing is that in both cases, the prizes were books. From Peg, I won a copy of “Full Frontal Feminism” and from the Chef contest, I won a book on cooking. I gave the cooking book to Husband but I am keeping Full Frontal Feminism for myself.

But, I am also really excited because my quest to become a dog trainer is officially beginning. On Sunday I will attend my first class as an observer and after I observe a few classes, they may let me assist. Even better, this class is puppy kindergarten so I get to spend 90 minutes on Sunday playing with puppies and watching them be generally adorable. And, even better, Cody gets 50% off the class I am taking with him, which means we save money.

It’s going to be a dog-filled weekend, actually. On Saturday, Tiki, Cody, Husband and I are going to Animal Haven for a meet-up with other Shibas and then Snickers (one of Tiki and Cody’s friends) is coming over for a sleep-over as a trial run before JG allows us to baby-sit for a weekend this winter. Husband is obsessed with Snickers and is already planning a dinner menu of salmon, oats and cheese. See, Husband is not only a good chef for people, but for dogs too.

Now to get through the rest of the week at work….