Category Archives: ohmygod i’m a lawyer

.happiness is two kinds of ice cream.

This is me.

Happy.  :)

Work is going well.  Really well, actually.  Chief Judge telling me “You’re already better than half the attorneys on staff and I think you should think seriously about becoming a Judge in a few years” kind of well.

The windows are open, the weather is gorgeous.  I hope it holds.  Finn and I splurged on some patio furniture for our deck, which should be arriving this week or next, and I am pumped.  I have this dream of waking up Saturday mornings, taking my tea onto the deck, and whiling away the day reading.  Also, we’re planning on lots of outdoor dinners, and it’ll be great when we have friends or family over.  We’ve been here for 7 months, but we’re finally getting into gear and making this place feel more like a home.

Finn’s brother and sister-in-law and the baby (who I should probably start referring to as “the toddler,” because (a) she walks and talks and (b) she’s SO TALL for her age) are coming in a few weeks.  I think one of my brothers and his girlfriend and her son (also young-but-not-a-baby) are coming in June.  July is my birthday.  We’ve got a wedding in late July, and another in early August to attend.  (What about our wedding, you ask?  Excellent question; no answers forthcoming.  We’ll get to it eventually, we’re in no rush.)  Anyway, what I mean to say is: there is a lot to look forward to.  Things are good.  I am happy.

Sometimes it’s hard to post when you’re happy – and busy – but I’m still here, alive and well.  Hoping the same for you, wherever you are!

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Filed under Finn, love, manythanks, marriage, new leaf, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, stuff pomegranates like, sunshine, the beauty of the in-between, The Fam

.out of the darkness and into the workforce.

Yup: I am, once again, joining the ranks of the full-time employed!  As those of you who have followed my sad little unemployment saga know, this is a HEE-YUGE relief.  March brings us to Month Seven of my unemployment, and it was beginning to feel like I would never get a job… I was okay at fending off discouragement most days, but I’m not sure how much deeper that well of optimism ran.  Suffice to say, this is awesome timing.

I’ll be working for the federal government, which will be an interesting turn for the girl who has only ever done legal services work.  It being the Fed, I probably won’t give too many details about my job, but I think it’ll be interesting work that keeps me challenged and interested.  (Now if we could just get Congress to overturn DOMA so that when Finn and I get married she could be on my health insurance, that’d be greaaaat.  Obama’s executive order stopped just short of that, and I am not happy.  You hear me, Mr. President?  Not.  Happy. At. All.)

But today is not the day to let discrimination rain on my parade.  I am employed, it is a job I think I’ll enjoy, and I no longer have to live in a state of constant fear that I’m not going to be able to pay my bills.  It’s a good day.

Before I go, I’d like to give a slow-clap shoutout to everyone who helped keep me emotionally afloat the last 6 months.  (In particular, I’m looking at you Finn / Rev – particularly with your well-timed reminder of J.K. Rowling’s discussion of the benefits of failure / Cali / Rala… I don’t know what I would have done without you.)

Yay!

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Filed under anticipation, Cali, Finn, if you call it "funemployment" i will smack you, manythanks, new leaf, Obama, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, queering the binary, Rala, Rev, righteous rage

.oh, however.

I should note that I am not as bummed as I come across in that last post.

Sister is fully recovered, rockin’ her bikini despite the laproscopic incisions she received.  All is well with the world on that front.  And again, so so many thanks to everyone who sent good thoughts/prayers.  Seriously, that shit really works.

I am madly in love with Finn.

My supervisor at work is going to call one place where I’m applying to work – a job I think I’d be perfect for – to talk me up.  AND that job pays better than the one I have now.  (Though, honestly, most jobs do.  Ha.)

I leave for the beach in 3 weeks, and I’m working it out so that I’m flying to Rev and we’re going to road trip there together, as her family happens to be staying at the same beach the same week my family and I will be there.  Sweeeeeet.

So, there are good things too.  :)

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Filed under love, manythanks, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, Rev, The Fam, vacation all i ever wanted

.worthwhile, remotely.

Maybe Twitter is eating my brain, but I’ve felt utterly unable to come up with anything even remotely worthwhile to post here lately.  (Could be Twitter… could be SWINE FLU AHHHHH!!!!!!!!)  I make no promises that this will be “remotely worthwhile” but I promise there will be some words.  And maybe a picture.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy.  I actually wish I had taken the time to write some of it down, because I can’t really remember what it is I’ve been up to.  Lots of running around in the sunshine (!!!) and spending time with lovely people last weekend.  Finn and I spent the first half of Saturday with her good friend (and co-midwife) and her husband and their 4 (FOUR) sons, all under the age of eight (FOUR UNDER EIGHT!).  I admire them so much – they are some of the most relaxed and laid back parents I’ve ever seen.  (My future children should envy that, because I get the feeling I am going to be a little more uptight than that in my parenting… ah well, something to aspire to.)  And the boys are incredibly adorable and kind and all around wonderful.  It was so much fun to just sit in their kitchen and nibble on food and talk while a whirwind of children ebbed and flowed around us.  Reminded me of how insane my house was when I was growing up, actually.  An example of their adorable kindness: they were outside playing truth or dare for a while, and all the dares involved things like coming up to one of us and saying, “You look really nice today,” or, “Daddy, I love you so much.”  Warmed my heart, I tell ya.

Finn and I spent the rest of the day in Plymouth, seeing sights and walking along the waterfront and just generally enjoying the beautiful weather.  I bought a huge set of iron keys on a ring from an antique store that was going out of business.  I’m not sure why or what I’m going to do with them, but I have a soft spot for keys without locks…

Work has been insane lately, lots of deadlines and hearings and appeals.  Still going through the “I can’t believe this is my life, why did I ever choose to become an attorney” thing about once every three days.  I just feel so young and inexperienced to be trusted with these very real problems that have very real consequences in my client’s lives.  I’m going to say the thing that no one around me seems to be saying, though I can’t be the only one thinking it: this amount of responsibility is overwhelming, and many days I am scared shitless.  Granted, none of my clients are going to end up in jail (see i.e. Cali’s job as a public defender) but if I screw up or drop the ball or don’t advocate as zealously as I possibly can, they may end up homeless, or hungry, &etc.  And sure, sometimes that happens even when I do everything right and work as hard as I can.  But I don’t feel okay about it even then.  I just never ever ever want to let any of them down, so I have to be on top of things all the time.  And since there’s only one of me and 40-50 of them at any given moment… well, it feels like a lot.  Anyone else feel occasionally (or often) terrified of their job and willing to admit it?  It’d make me feel a lot better… ha.

Okay, complaining about my job was not my intention when I started writing this post.  I’ve just been feeling overwhelmed lately and haven’t had much time to process that.  Oooookay, gotta shake it off and get into a better mental place:

That one never fails to get a giggle out of me.

Okay, so it was a long week.  But!  This weekend!:

Friday

Invited to dinner and a concert, totally ditching to stay home alone and relax.  Hermit FTW!

Saturday

Wake Up The Earth festival in JP

Saturday Seder @samfeasor’s

Sunday

Finn/Pom lazy morning (most likely will include bacon)

Dinner with one of my best friends from law school who I hardly ever get to see any more (super excited)

…can we postpone Monday?

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Filed under @samfeasor, anxiety, Finn, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, type A personality: check

.h’update.

This week hit me like a ton of bricks.  Or a Mack truck.  It hit me hard enough that I can’t even locate the appropriate cliche, for God’s sake.

Anyway.  I’m not complaining; I love to be busy.  But I’ve been neglecting everything but work, food, and sleep this week, for the most part, and that doesn’t make me feel like a very good girlfriend or cat-mom or friend.  Or blogger!  Need… long… weekend…

Oh hello, Patriot’s Day!  *bats eyelashes*

Busy or no, one of the highlights of my week was Tuesday, when I spent most of the day at a conference on Structural Racism to learn about ways legal services attorneys can try and make combating it more of a priority.  (As promised, here’s your write-up, RunningAwayWiththeSpoon!  *grin*)

The keynote speaker was professor john a. powell, who was amazing.  He was funny and touching and on-point and very, very so much very smarter than I could every hope to be, and he repeatedly utilized one of my favorite methods for presenting abstract and sometimes hard-to-follow material, which is to tell lots of stories.  The purpose of his keynote address was to outline for us the concept of structural racism, to set the stage for our many small-group conversations throughout the rest of the day.  Structural racism, as he presented it, is something more than the concept of individual racism (which is how most people tend to think of racism – as regarding the motives and actions of individuals).  It’s also more than institutional racism (which shifts focus from individuals to the practices and procedures within insitutions).  Structural racism is concerned with inter-institutional arrangements and interactions, and how they are arranged – deliberately or not – in ways that result in racial inequality.

Because Americans often take individual people to be the main vehicles of racism, we fail to appreciate the work done by racially inequitable structures. But, in fact, all complex societies feature institutional arrangements that help to create and distribute the society’s benefits, burdens and interests. These structures are neither natural nor neutral, as Harvard Law Professor Roberto Unger argues. And just as we cannot account for or address the impact of institutional racism by only considering a given individual’s actions or psychological state, we cannot adequately understand the work structures do simply by looking at the practices and procedures of a single institution, as political philosopher John Rawls underscores. Iris M. Young uses Marilyn Frye’s bird-in-the-birdcage metaphor for illustrating the works of structures. If we approach the problem of durable racial inequality one “bar” at a time, it is hard to appreciate the fullness of the bird’s entrapment, much less formulate a suitable response to it. Explaining the bird’s inability to take flight requires that we recognize the connectedness of multiple bars, each reinforcing the rigidity of the others. In confronting racism we must similarly account for multiple, intersecting and often mutually reinforcing disadvantages, and develop corresponding response strategies.

“Toward a Structural Racism Framework” by Andrew Grant-Thomas & john a. powell

(Shoutout to Marilyn Frye!)  Ahem.  Anyway.  So for professor powell, what’s most important in combating structural racism is outcome. A social system is structurally racist to the extent that it promotes racially unequal outcomes; thus, the goal of any change should be outcome-oriented.  In the context of legal services, he focused a great deal on the social opportunities afforded our clients, where they are socially situated, and how structurally racist systems affect them in multiple ways.

For instance, take health care.  In MA, we have nearly universal healthcare – health insurance is mandated by the state.  This is a plan that is meant to be universal – it should, the thinking goes, result in the same outcome for people of color that it would for white people: improved healthcare.  However, the healthcare institution is only one part of a much larger structure.  If you look only to that, you most likely wouldn’t see anything particularly racist in MA’s healthcare mandate.  However, the outcome is racially inequitable.  This is because the universal healthcare system isn’t taking the whole structure into account – that people of color in MA are more likely to lack reliable transportation, for instance.  If you can’t get to the doctor, it doesn’t matter how fantastic your health insurance is.  Well-meaning people injected change into an institution, without trying to create a racially inequitable outcome.  However, because of the structure of inter-institutional arrangements (healthcare  + city planning) the outcome was, nonetheless, racially inequitable.  Structural racism, ta da!

(I would like to note here what may or may not be clear from my blogging thus far regarding my own social situatedness: I am a young white educated middle-class lesbian woman.  And about a million other things.  But I think it’s important to acknowledge that in any discussion of race.  I’m doing my best to summarize professor powell’s thoughts, and I am very much simplifying what is a pretty huge concept.  I freely admit that I don’t know what it feels like to be racialized, marginalized because of my race, or to struggle in my daily life against structural racism, so to the extent that this is or is not ringing true to any of you as you exist in your own social situatedness, I can only hope you will speak up, because I’d love to hear reactions.)

So that’s the (incredibly pared down) gist of professor powell’s address.  Unfortunately, there’s obviously no easy solution to the problem of structural racism, so we continued our day by breaking up into smaller groups and trying to work out ways in which we as attorneys could incorporate this concept of structural racism into our own work.  They weren’t easy discussions – again, there are no easy answers – but I think we all left feeling as though we at least had a much better framework for understanding the challenges many of our clients are facing.  It was helpful to have some language to use in articulating why so often a one-size-fits-all “solution” so often doesn’t help clients who are socially situated within racially inequitable structures.  I think for myself, I walked away with a commitment to watch for opportunities to advocate for clients for whom universal plans are not working.  In other words, I’m excited to sue some people.

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Filed under new leaf, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, quotables, righteous rage

.did you know?.

Apologies for the lack of posting lately – I’ve been alternately exhausted and avoiding the internet.  However, saw this video today and it kind of blew my mind (and explained both why I feel like I might have ADD, and also why I often feel much less intelligent and capable than my forebears):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Kind of mind-boggling, yes?  Makes me feel slightly overwhelmed, but a little better for not being as well-versed in lifethings as I feel I ought.  Who could know all that, right?  (She tells herself…)

Anywho, I digress.   What have you missed, what have you missed…  well, last week was insanity.  Had a brief due by Friday afternoon that took over my life, though in the end it was actually pretty fun to write.  (It was an appeal of an Administrative Law Judge’s decision, and it was easily one of the worst-written decisions I’ve ever seen.  Also, the Judge inserted snarky footnotes throughout, several of which blatantly insulted the Decision Review Board, to whom I was addressing my appeal.  Good times.)

Weekend was fabulous.  We’re finally getting some decent weather ’round these parts – I’m pointedly ignoring next week’s forecast of ice/snow early in the week – and I spent most of Saturday outside.  First I went to the local library and got a library card, because I’ve been recycling books on my bookshelf lately and am desperate for some new material.  After that, however, I went on a hike with QS (who I haven’t mentioned here yet because we’ve not been hanging out as much since I moved out of the city proper…) and had a picnic.  We also ran errands (yay new watch!) and – because we are eerily suburban at times – skipped around a mall for a while.  (Tried on some hipster clothes while we were there.  My first pair of skinny jeans.  No, I did not buy, I could never pull that look off, but it did lead to some hysterical laughing in the Forever 21 dressing room.  Aannnnnnnd there’s a sentence I hope to never type again.)

Sunday I spent most of the day in my PJs, in bed, reading and watching movies.  I needed some recovery time following the week of insanity (and the excursion into Forever 21).  That evening, went on a fabulous dogwalk with Cali, and then off to dinner with @samfeasor, my old roommate, whom I adore and don’t see often enough.  (She gets that nickname for being a twitter addict… and for the record, I blame my own addiction on her, because I wouldn’t even know twitter existed if it weren’t for her.)

Wow I’m rambling.  That’s what you really missed, eh?  :P

This week is looking less crazy than last, thankfully.  I spent about 4 hours at the local Social Security office today, because beauracracy is slow and stupid and doesn’t care that I have better things to do.  I was super grumpy when I got back to my office, but then I checked my mailbox and saw that I got a favorable decision for one of my clients who DESPERATELY needed the benefits, so – just like that! – life was good again.

Now if only Finn would come home… Cali mocked me for being so vocal about missing her, but honestly, things are just better when she’s around.  It’s not like I’m a pile of jello when she’s gone – can we talk about how I’m actually cooking for myself, which was previously unheard of?!?!? – but there’s a reason I want to spend the rest of my life with this girl.  She lights me up.

3 more days…

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.malaise.

It has been a while since I’ve last posted… mostly because nothing of any real note has been happening lately.  There are some weeks where I feel like all I do is get up, go to work, come home, eat, go to bed.  It’s the same litany my father uses when I talk with him on the weekends.  “How was your week?”  “You know.  Got up, went to work, came home, ate, went to bed.”  I never realized, until now, how suffocating that sentence is.

[On a sidenote, I feel the need to clarify something.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am a Cancer: ruled by the moon, a bundle of contradictions, emotional, &etc.  Which is to say that I am aware that sometimes I write about how I adore my job and I’m lucky to be there, and sometimes I write about how I can’t believe I work a 9 to 5 and have to wear a suit.  There are days when I couldn’t be more satisfied, and days when I am ready to quit.  This is probably true of most people in most jobs, but it is particularly true of me and mine.  Do I contradict myself?  Very well, then, I contradict myself.  I am large, I contain multitudes.  Thank you Mr. Whitman.]

In any case, to move on to happier things… Finn and Cali and another friend and I went out dancing last weekend.  For some reason there is no longer a “ladies night” around here on Saturdays, so we ended up going to this little club in the middle of nowhere which drew quite the colorful clientele.  There were the hipsters, who clearly found the place to be just ironic enough to make it worth being seen there; the older lesbians, who made us all grin ear to ear with their unabashed just-wanna-have-fun dancing; and, oddly, one shirtless gay man who was hired to walk around offering us all test tube shots.  I was exhausted and had been hesitant to go, but Finn never agrees to go out dancing so I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity.  (Finn broke her foot when we were walking to my apartment one day, very early in our relationship, and – despite the pain, not knowing it was broken – continued to walk around on it for another 3 months before she got an X-ray.  It didn’t heal properly, and it still hurts her sometimes… so that was the end of dancing for her.  OR WAS IT????  Word on the street is, she might have gotten her mojo back last weekend.  To be confirmed.)

So anyway, dancing was good.  Then came this week of boredom and lethargy, broken only by my attendance at Holiday Handjobs, a queer craft fair.

And so here I am.  Taking a mental health day (because of the boredom, and because it will give me a four day weekend, and because we get so many vacation days that it’s a wonder anyone is ever there at all.)   Plans for the weekend include helping our friend Gem pack and move, brunch with Cali, sleep, and writing.

Oh, and last but not least, shoutout to Rev who just started what promises to be a pretty kickass blog about her adventures and misadventures trying to get ordained as a big ‘ol queer in the Presbyterian church.  Should be lots of good reflection about the intersection between religion and spirituality, so if you’re interested in reading or being a part of that dialogue, you should head that way.

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Filed under Cali, Finn, Gem, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, queering the binary, Rev