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We just returned from Maine/New Hampshire. We were providing “ground support” to our boys’ boyscout troop which was on a canoeing/camping trip for the boys’ canoeing merit badges. They canoed from Wilsons Mill, Maine to Errol, NH over two days in the pouring rain and munching mosquitos. I have never seen children with so many mosquito bites. Shoot, I don’t think that I have ever had quite so many mosquito bites at the same time and we were not even camping!
The boys did an admirable job. It was their first real time canoeing after much practicing in a local lake.
While we were there, we stumbled quite by accident on an excellent Thai restaurant in a quaint town called Rangeley Maine, which is equi-distant between the equator and the north pole.
Thai Blossom Restaurant has some awesome Thai food and I highly recommend it to anyone who is in that area or anywhere near that area since there are long stretches of nothingness that is supposedly inhabited by Bullwinkle and Company, but none of them saw fit to saunter out of the woods for us once we were there. The restaurant was pretty much store front chinese takeout style restaurant but with the best Thai food and an owner who is truly a one man show. The day we were there he was running the entire place and I do mean the entire place solo. He was chief cook and bottle washer. He took our order, brought our beverages, cooked our food, served it and cleaned up after us. We learned that there was a death in his family and his family members that work with him were all in Thailand and had been for 3 weeks. Admirable and delicious!
Speaking of the moose, we did get a glimpse of a cow and calf in the woods only because it had literally caused a traffic jam on the roadway on our way into town. About 25 cars and a bus were stopped with people all over the place sporting cameras to photograph the moose. Coming from Jersey, all those cars stopped on the roadway with people milling about could only mean one thing, dead bodies! But no, no traffic fatality, only a moose mommy and baby.
Now, only a day in and back at home (oh, in Dorothy’s words “there’s no place like home”) we are off at the crack of dawn tomorrow to NJ to see Emily for the first time! While we are really quite content to lounge here, everyone’s schedule and the upcoming holiday don’t permit much rest, so we have to take advantage of it now.
Off we go…………
These last few days, well since last week, has been a series of rainy days interspersed with occasional sun. Great for the garden, not so good for psyche. We have all been battling colds of one variation or another. I have had a sore throat with that general cold, achy feeling and a maddening tickle in my throat. Tom and Timmy have been coughing and stuffy. Tyler and TJ are fighting it, but I think that they will too succumb.
On the bright side, all of this rain has made things grow like mad, which is good. It saving watering, which is also good. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer in the 80s and we are heading off for the boys to canoe in Maine for scouts.
Our niece was born on Friday evening. Emily Rae came into this world on Friday at 7:09 p.m. weighing 6 pounds, 6 oz and a nice 19 1/2 inches long. She is the FIRST girl in the family and has a half dozen boy cousins to keep any male suitors in check when she reaches dating age. We are thrilled that she has made it into this world safely and that her mom and her dad, my brother, are all well and excited to take on parenting.
Colds have prevented us from seeing her in person for a little while, but the picture of the new family speaks volumes. I could not be happier for my brother, he has found an awesome wife and now he has another woman in his life, his beautiful daughter. This is a long awaited and much anticipated moment in my brother’s life and I wish him nothing but all of the best. Parenthood is an awesome ride and he has always been an awesome uncle, I know he will make a great dad.
Welcome to the world, Emily! We love you!
I miss my dad….a lot. He passed away unexpectedly on this exact date 7 years ago. It was only a few days after Father’s Day. And I will regret it for the rest of my life. I couldn’t see him, although I did talk to him on the phone. The boys were sick with Fifth’s Disease and the pediatrician suggested that I stay away since both my parents were down with some type of bug and with compromised immune systems and my dad’s other medical issues, it was not worth the chance. To this day, I think that maybe I should have disregarded the doctor’s advice and gone see him, at least just me, for Father’s Day. I didn’t and when I did get to the hospital that morning after my brother called, he had already sunk into unconsciousness, from which he never recovered. He never knew that I was there, I never got to say goodbye and tell him that I loved him one last time and I will regret that for the rest of my life. And every time I think about it, it makes me cry. I guess that you never really miss someone, like a parent or a spouse, someone that you take for granted every day, until they are no longer there. And then all you can think about are the things that you will never be able to hear them say, or do, ever again. For instance, there is no one, absolutely no one who will ever call me his “baby” or “sweetheart”. That was my dad who used those terms with me and only him and I can still hear his voice saying those words during that last conversation I had with him on Father’s Day. It makes me really sad and it took a LONG time before I could even bring myself to go to the cemetery, although I felt really guilty about that too.
I yearn for the opportunity for that “one more day” geez even one more conversation or hug or to let him see my boys and what great kids they are turning out to be and how he would be so proud. We often talk, Tom and I about how much my dad would love our house here in Vermont and how much he would enjoy our neighbors and friends and chatting with all of them. My dad loved to talk and gosh, there are so many great people here that I would just have LOVED him to meet and for them to meet him.
That day, 7 years ago, a part of me died along with him, because I know that I am a different person because of what happened. I cannot change that, but I can make sure that the same mistake does not happen again. Life is fragile and such a gift, our life can turn on its end in seconds and usually when we expect it least. Trust me, I know what I mean. I love you Daddy, and I miss you a lot.
The other day there was a chicken in my flower box. My flower box with its really good looking flowers. What’s a woman to do? We suspected that the chicken had used the ATV which was parked parallel to the flower box as a stepping stone and a few minutes of quiet observation proved that theory correct. So we moved the ATV and figured that was the end of it, but no, took her a little longer but she made her way back up there.
As I left I thought well, at least, she not using it as a nesting box…..WRONG. Came home to find an egg in the box. Yesterday, there was another chicken in the box. What is this, Grand Central Station?
We put wooden skewers in the box which is supposed to deter them from using it since they don’t like getting poked. (I don’t know anyone, person or chicken that does). So we will see how this works.
One of my last duties as president of my bar association is to write my last “President’s Message” which will appear in the next newsletter. I thought that it would be neat to write something that I thought was relevant to me and perhaps some words to live by. So, for any of you that might be interested, here it is:
Justitia, the Roman goddess of justice, is the personification of the legal profession. She is an infamous symbol of the fair and equal administration of law. She is the legal system’s personification of balance. The blindfolded woman in the flowing robes balancing the scales with the double-edged sword is depicted throughout the world in courtrooms, legal publications and courthouses. We see her so often that we seldom think about what it is that Justitia symbolizes. She carries a set of scales that balance the justice in a case, weighing the pros and cons of each litigant’s position and a double-edged sword, which is wielded to dispense justice and reason as necessary to the deserving party. She is blindfolded to indicate that justice should be meted out fairly without regard for who is involved. Justitia is a befitting symbol not for our profession but also for us, individually, as attorneys. Female attorneys must be well balanced. Just as Justitia, we are constantly battling to keep equilibrium in our lives. We endeavor to balance our professional and our personal lives. This balance that the goddess of justice manages so effortlessly, is not easy to maintain, particularly if you are a woman attorney raising young children. You are often torn between family commitments, family issues, career related choices and commitments. We find ourselves all too often judged unfairly by those who have little insight into our personal lives. We sometimes have to justify to total strangers why one may be more important than the other at any given instance in time.
A woman who puts her family before her legal career, particularly in the area of litigation, is usually referred to as taking the “Mommy track” when she is a part of a firm and thought to be less than motivated when she practices elsewhere. In either instance, she is judged by where her values lie at that moment in her life and the end result is usually less than desirable. Women who choose to put their legal career before their families are often thought to be obstinate and referred to by many people in less-than-complimentary terms. In a truly “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario, we are constantly battling the external prejudices that fly in our face everyday. We are, nonetheless, usually our own worst enemies, making ourselves jump through hoops to attempt to be everything to everyone.
There are some people that might view my decision to forego a second term as President with incredulity. I view it as a proverbial “fork in the road” in my life. As I write this to you I have relocated out of state to a much more rural area. Primary in that decision, I will not deny it, is the beneficial aspect this decision will have on my children. My husband and I are raising three boys and have chosen to do it in what we consider a much better environment for them; presented with opportunity to have that choice. I am fortunate enough to have chosen a legal path that has given me the opportunity to do what I do, what I can say I actually enjoy doing, from where I would like to do it. I realize that I am luckier than most and for this I am very grateful. I am the editor of two nationally recognized legal publications, National Jury Verdict Review & Analysis and New England Jury Verdict Review & Analysis. In this capacity, I enjoy the ability to speak with attorneys, both male and female from all over the United States about their jury trials. Most often than not, I speak to the winning side, but there is on occasion the “losing” attorney who is more than willing to discuss the case as well. I have a great opportunity to constantly learn not only the laws relevant to the jurisdictions to which I am admitted but to jurisdictions, both state and federal, across the entire country. I enjoy the ability to learn about different aspects of each case that I write about and in the process learn new trial techniques or new things that I would most likely never venture to explore if this were not my career.
My career has taken many twists and turns along the way in the almost twenty years that I have been admitted as an attorney, with my family life tied closely to each of those decisions. I know many other women who are doing the same “give and take”. We cannot look back on each decision and speculate “what if….” otherwise we lose the ability to enjoy the good fortune that we have been given in each of our choices. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new and different experiences, you never know where the path you choose may lead you.
The field of law is constantly evolving and there are many opportunities for women at all different stages in their lives to have a freedom and a flexibility that was not available to us just 10 or 15 years ago. We must open ourselves up to these new choices and tread ahead unafraid. We are the pioneers for the women that will come after us, just as many of the older women attorneys have carved pathways that enable us to do what we are able to do today. For example, when I had my first son, I was working in a firm and there was no flextime or part-time positions available. Now, flextime and part-time positions are more common, yet not as prevalent and well received as they could or should be. I know an enormous number of women my age with families that could do more legal work in a part-time or flex schedule situation while raising their children and in doing so, could put some “full-timers” to shame. And as one of my dear friend and colleagues put it, when you leave your legal work for the day, most of us are just starting our “mommy work”. We are used to being on duty, to be working 24/7, it is an inherent part and parcel of our make-up, we should just be able to do it on our own terms, and enjoy it.
The “fork” I have taken is that which best suits the person that I have become over the years, not just the lawyer that I am. As women, we should never shove aside our personal lives to pursue our professional lives. We are a package, a composite of our experiences. We are the professional women that we are today because of the personal women we are. Our femininity, our friends, our colleagues, our spouses and our families define us and shape us. None of us should have to apologize to anyone for who we are. I enjoy being a lawyer, I worked very hard to become a lawyer, I am very proud to be a lawyer, however being a lawyer does not define who I am. Celebrate your uniqueness, go forward to carve new and exciting pathways for those women who will follow us. Walk through life free of the blindfold that Justitia dons, explore your opportunities looking straight ahead to the future, not down and never back.
My best to all of you,
As I sit here a storm is brewing on the horizon. The wind has kicked up and gotten really cool which is good since it has been another hot and humid day. I love the anticipation of a good summer thunder storm. It is a nice thing. The far-off rumble of thunder and the occasional flash of lightning. The winds kick up and the sounds of the thunder get closer and longer and lower. We have an awesome porch from which to watch the storms come in. Reminds me of when I was young and we used to go to my Aunt Mary’s house and sit on her screened in porch and do the same thing. I can remember some of the sights and smells associated with that house. Some really good memories. Some really good people.
Well I am officially a former president. A has-been. The former president known as Tammy is what I am going to start calling myself. After that other famous person that was a former too. Seriously though, I am done with my bar association obligation. I missed my middle son’s graduation in the process and learned a very valuable lesson, never trust a man with your plants or your camera. I just looked at the pictures of the graduation which I begged, pleaded and made everyone in the house promise to take plenty of pictures of my son for me. Plenty of pictures obviously is not a term of art. These are men I keep forgetting and you have to be literal. I should have said please take 25 pictures for me. Some concrete number. I have 13 pictures three of which are some great pictures of the ground. Geez. And my seedlings are mostly dead, my husband forgot to water them. I mean, I was only gone not even 2 whole days. What is with this man and plants? Every time I go away something dies. Last time it was my pot of newly seeded basil and parsley, this time my tomatoes and tomatillos. ARGHHH. I know that it was not intentional but still….nuts. Good thing he remembers the kids at least they’re still alive, gotta look to the positive right?
Tomorrow marks the end of a fairly unsatisfying year in my role as president. To mark the occasion, the last official act that I have to attend conflicts with my middle son’s elementary graduation. I have rattled around in my mind, whether I should have declined to attend, but that somehow riddles me with guilt. But I am more riddled with motherly guilt. I hate having to decide and the sad part is the winner of the battle of guilt is not the true winner. I really don’t care much whether or not I attend the function and except for a few friends that I will be glad to see, I could miss the entire night without a second thought and sadly without a second thought from most of those I will see tomorrow. Under other circumstances, the end result would be different. The school changed the night of graduation due to scheduling with snow days and this caused the conflict with this event which was already scheduled and invitations sent and acknowledged.
I am saddened these last few days as to how little regard I hold with this group. They do not realize the magnitude of the sacrifice that I am making to be there tomorrow night, and frankly I am sure as a collective, they wouldn’t care even if they did know. I really don’t know what I was thinking when I signed on for this some 5 years ago. It has given me personal and marital strife and a great deal of agitation overall. Somehow, even last June, I thought I could change the world, or at least our group’s little part of it. How sadly mistaken I have been. You cannot change those that do not want to be changed. Or those that don’t see a need for change. I think I work best changing a person at a time, rather than a group. I wish them the best, but I think we are better off without one another. We see things differently, that group and I. I see the world and the profession of law in a different light than most of them, probably because we are different stages in our lives; lawyer is my job, it is my career choice, it is something I am proud to be, but it does not define who I am.
Well, the chickens appear to have kicked into overdrive. Tonight, the boys pulled 22 eggs from the coop. Yesterday was 18 eggs. We thought that they might be missing Tom since the day before they only laid 6 which was a paltry amount compared to 14 they were laying on a consistent basis before he left.
I picked the first official garden crop for dinner tonight….bok choy seedlings that were incorporated into our stir fry.
Tomorrow I am heading to Shelburne Museum. I hear that it is a pretty neat place. We’ll have to take the camera with us. I know I have been slacking on the pictures and haven’t even gotten to trying the photoblogging yet.
Right now I am baking a Quesadilla Salvadorean, for my son’s international buffet at school tomorrow. Silly me, I figured quesadilla is like you get in the mexican restaurants or whip up for a quick lunch, but this evidently is a cake. Made with fresh eggs, I might add. It does smell mighty good in the oven. A pretty simple recipe. If it looks edible I might upload the picture and recipe for those that might be as adventurous as I was in making it. Bummer is, I won’t get to taste it so I will have to rely on the epicurious opinion of a 12 year old. Hmmmmm…..
I am investigating purchasing whole wheat berries and a grinder to grind our own flour and have an emergency stash that will keep a whole lot longer than flour already ground. Opinions welcome on this subject, although all those I have mentioned it to think its a great idea. Keep you posted.
WHITE DOG UPDATE: She did it. I knew that she couldn’t help herself but rip apart the garbage when Tom is away. I thought we had it licked this trip since she has been so good all week, but tonight, come home to find garbage EVERYWHERE……..
Well, we shall see how the White Dog and I fare this week. Tom is away on business so it is woman vs. dog. I have secured the trash after I figured out that the White Dog was so busy chicken watching this evening that she forgot to come inside. Yes, 10:02 and lucky for her I happened to come back downstairs for some water and heard her scratching at the door. We are off to a fabulous start.
Chickens laid a high of 17 eggs this week and today’s total is 14.
Many tasks to do around the homestead. Hope to accomplish a lot this week. Time will tell…