Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Birthday Wishes, No Cake and wait - you're Jewish?

So much birthday love on my Facebook page and alot of it before 8 a.m.!  Thank you!

When I was a kid, I would have to wait until I got home from school to see what cards were in the mail before I knew if anyone remembered my day.  These days, with the internet and Facebook and "my calendar" applications, people are easier to reach out and touch.  It may seem like a small and  bit impersonal thing, but when you wake up on your birthday and find 30 messages in your inbox, it feels good.  (I do still like to get "snail mail" cards also.  Doesn't everyone like to get "real" mail?)

Growing up, my birthday would sometimes fall on days marked "Rosh Hashana" or "Yom Kippur" on the calendar.  I had no idea what those days were, but always thought that it was "cool" or "neat" that my birthday fell on a holiday.  It was not until I began studying Judaism that I realized how "cool" or "neat" it really was.  My 30th was particularly interesting, as it fell on Yom Kippur which is a fast day.  That means that I did not get to eat anything, all day long, until after sundown.  This birthday will be an interesting one because it is Kol Nidre - pretty much the holiest date of the Jewish year.  I get to eat until sundown, so I'll be sure to cram as much cake and ice cream in before then as I can, and that should help me get through the following 25 or so hours of not eating anything at all.

As I get closer and closer to 40, and as my friends and family get to and pass 40 (don't worry, I won't name names), I find myself spending more time looking back and considering where my life is and where it is going.  No, I won't bore you with the details.  Suffice to say that I think it has been pretty good and I'm looking forward to where it is going.  Skydiving, anyone? 

I read a blog post a few months ago by someone who made a list of things she wanted to do before a big birthday.  I tried to make a list of 40 before 40, and found that many of the things I would have put on the list (such as visit London or go on a cruise) were already checked off.  So my list is around 20 things and some of them may not get crossed off before 40 - we'll see.  As of today, I have exactly 2 years, or 730 days.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

In any event, my celebration this year will be put on hold for a few days of personal reflection and atonement (the purpose behind Yom Kippur) and my annual efforts to be sealed in the Book of Life.  A friend's post on her facebook page today rang particularly true.  She said "As I take a few minutes before Kol Nidre tonight and a day of repenting and looking within myself...I want to ask all of those that I may not be able to talk to/see before Yom Kippur is over for forgiveness...I sincerely apologize for anything I may have done to hurt you this year, intentionally or unintentionally. I also want to tell those who may have done the same to me...all if forgiven. G'mar Chatimah Tovah - may we all be written in the book of life!"  (Thanks Stephanie, I hope you don't mind I borrowed your words - very well said.)

To my fellow Members of the Tribe (of Israel), I wish you an easy fast.  Have a piece of cake before sundown for me in celebration.  For my friends who are not "MOT" - have a piece of cake for me (throw some ice cream on top if you dare!) and celebrate something - your family, your health, anything worth smiling about.  As for me, I am hanging on for the weekend, which will find me sitting under an umbrella on a beach, with a drink in my hand and an umbrella in my drink.

Now if only my Dodgers could pull out a few more wins and clinch a Wildcard spot.... is that too much to wish for on "my" day?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Because I'm a Woman, you Nit-Wit!

I was recently told by someone (a man) that sometimes when he communicated with me, he got the impression that he was bothering me or that I did not want to talk to him.  In discussing this with a friend (male), he said that he knew a few others (2 men) who could see where the first man was coming from.  Then he asked if we hadn't previously discussed the possibility that I might need to "soften up" in the business world.  (A conversation that I do not remember.)

Are you kidding me?

First, let's put aside the fact that the man I was communicating with sent me a one word email.  Yup, that's it.  One. Word.  Can you say "cryptic"?  I can.  Cryptic.  Let's also set aside the fact that his email came at 10 a.m. on a SATURDAY.   Yes, I am an attorney.  No, I do not practice criminal law, therefore I do not take calls from clients, associates, or anyone else business related on the weekends (unless they've eaten dinner in my house, in which case I consider them a friend and it's o.k.)  I am also not a nurse or an ER doctor or any other manner of career choice which would lead to a requirement of 24-7 availability.   I am also a wife and a mother of two young children who do not always understand the idea of "business" versus "personal" and will do their damnedest to get my attention when I'm on the phone, no matter who I'm talking to.  So I tend to try and limit my business calls to normal business hours.  This man has no such boundaries in his life and apparently expects all around him to conform to his style.

Second, let's clarify something.  We (the man and I) were communicating via email.  There was no "tone" or "inflection" or even a "voice."  It was words, typed on a small hand-held device, albeit briefly, sent over the waves of communication, to his small, hand-held device.  It always amazes me when people forget that they are reading plain words on a machine and try to imply some sort of tone in my writing.  I am not in front of them, speaking to them, so how can they possibly know what I am thinking or feeling at the time I am typing it and then read that into my message.  It is simply not possible.  What made this even more amusing is that when we (the man and I) discussed this situation the following Monday morning, he acknowledged that "we have to be careful with emails".  I would say "DUH!" but would that be condescending?

Finally, let's discuss this idea that I need to "soften up."  When did it become necessary for me to change who I am because I make men uncomfortable?  This is not a new thing, that some men are threatened by strong women.  It is also not a new thing that in some businesses, a woman who is tough, takes a stand and refuses to take crap from anyone is viewed as a "bitch" or another 4-letter word that starts with "c" and rhymes with "runt."  I hear it myself from some men, when talking about opposing counsel on cases who are women.  9 out of 10 times, they will say that she is a "bitch" or use the other word, then turn to me and say "no offense."  Oh, none taken, really.

The simple fact is that I am who I am. (Insert  Popeye voice here.)  I get along well with clients (both male and female) and some of my clients even go so far as to tell me that they LOVE me or prefer to work with me over the men in the office.  As far as I know, I have never had a client complain that I was unapproachable or acted like I did not want to work with them.  Until that time, I think I am o.k. sticking with what works for me (and my clients.)

Circling back to men in the office and the man who started this whole conversation - yes, there are times when you contact me that I might seem distracted or frazzled or frustrated or just plain pissed off.  First, do not take it personally.  Unless I am cursing your name to your face, odds are good that I am distracted by something else, or pissed off at someone else.  You (men) tend to operate in black and white.  Women (at least the ones I know well), as a general rule tend to operate in several shades of gray (or pink, purple or red, you pick.)  Nothing is ever as cut and dry as you would like. 

Perhaps when you asked me to look at that document, I just got off the phone from a fifteen minute conversation with a court clerk that accomplished nothing.  Perhaps just as you walked into my office, my computer crashed and I lost an hour's worth of work.  Maybe I was up all night with a sick toddler and am trying to function on a few hours of sleep.  To quote a familiar "chick flick" - "Maybe she's praying because the elastic's shot in her pantyhose."  You just never know what it is that set us off. 

And you cannot have it both ways.  As men, "women problems" freak you out, so you do not want to know what is bothering us.  You expect us to leave our personal lives (and female emotions) at home.  Womens' tears are your kryptonite and you do not want breakdowns or screaming or *gasp* PMS in the workplace.  You (men) expect us to be professional and not to come to work covered in spit up or smelling like yesterday's dirty diapers.  We come to work with debilitating headaches and cramps and yet we still function.  These are the things that you do not want to (or can't) see.  In order to do that, we must become tough as nails and leave the "soft" stuff at home.

It would seem then, that the choice is ultimately up to you.  If you prefer that I "soften up," I'm sure I can do that.  But with that softening comes a reduction in productivity for at least one week each month when I've got cramps and a headache that could drop a rhino in its tracks.  I will be reduced to tears at least once a week when I get a run in my stockings or break a nail, or any other trite thing happens, just because my hormones are out of whack.  I will smile sweetly when you walk into my office, but the walls will be covered with my babies' artwork (scribbles in bright colors) and my suit will probably be wrinkled and have some strange substance stuck on it from the little one's breakfast.  My hair may not be brushed either, or it will be strangely styled because I played "salon" with my 6 year old.  

Or, I can come to work looking "together" and keeping it all inside.  You won't know when I have a headache, other than when you look closely and see the pain behind my eyes.  You won't be troubled when I have PMS, although my responses to your questions might be a little shorter or snappier than usual.  I will continue to get my work done in a professional manner and won't bore you with the details of the latest flu bug to circle the elementary school.  You will have an employee/associate/partner who is businesslike in manner and who gets the work done (and done well) and who the clients like.

And I won't cry in front of you at the office.  Probably.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Healthy Dose of Mommy Guilt... and my Penance

As parents, we hope that we will always have the appropriate answer at the right time.  We want to be there for our kids, always striving to maintain "hero" status, able to resolve all conflicts, fix all broken toys, answer all questions and dry all tears.   Sometimes, we fall short.

Sometimes, in the heat of the moment we forget ourselves, and only do the best we can, with what we have on hand, and hope to pick up the pieces when things calm down.  Last night was one of those times.  I didn't know it before (who ever does?) but it was the perfect storm of heat, ice cream, water, dehydration and a cough.  Only now, 16 hours later, do I think I have most of it figured out.  But I still feel guilty about how some of it when down.

My weekly basketball game in the Burbank league played out as usual at 4 p.m. in an incredibly hot gym.  Rob and the girls came because the team and families were planning to go out to dinner afterward.  They sat with me for about 15 minutes before game time and Rob had enough.  He decided to take them to find some ice cream, anything to cool off and escape the sauna in the gym.  I played, we won and my family returned towards the end to take me to dinner.  B ran up and down the court one or two times and Kensi wandered around a bit as well.

Dinner was at a burger joint, nothing too out of the ordinary.  Kensi did not seem too interested in the food or juice and mostly sat in her chair.  Brooklyn ate everything.  As we were finishing up, Rob said his stomach was bothering him.  A short while later, we made a brief stop just a few minutes from dinner because his stomach was still bothering him.  Back on the road and believing all was right with the world, we headed home, air conditioning blasting.

Trouble started about 2/3 of the way home, when B started to quietly cry in the back seat.  Asking what was wrong, we learned that she was hot.  We didn't understand because we were both a little chilly in the front seat.  We adjusted the air and she started to cool off.  She asked to take her shoes off and I said "no," since we weren't that far from home.

Just off the freeway and heading to our neighborhood, B make a strange noise.  Rob turned and looked (I was driving) to find that she had started to throw up.  She caught some of it in her hands.  I think at one point, she may have even asked "what do I do?"  (Just a warning, the faint of heart or queasy of stomach may want to skip down a few lines, or turn away for a few minutes.)  Driving and not being able to see what was going on behind me, my first thought was to keep driving and drive faster.  We weren't that far from home.  I heard another wave of cookies being tossed, but having witnessed B get sick a few times before, I thought it might just be more sound than substance.

Kensi had started to cry shortly after B got sick, whether from the smell or because B was crying, I don't know.  Skipping the red lights at the left turns, I kept going straight, thinking only to keep the car in motion.  I knew I had to make a left at some point, but kept hoping that the light would be green when I got there.  A few minutes of crying, a few green lights (but no left turns) later and Kensi started to cough, and then - projectile vomit. 

I now had two little ones in the back seat, crying and throwing up.  It was a scene straight out of Poltergeist, the only thing missing was the spinning heads. (Do I have the right movie image?)  Worried that Kensi would choke on something, because of the angle of her car seat or because she wouldn't understand or know to spit, I decided to pull into the parking lot of a park and get her calmed down.   As I then realized, you never realize what you might need in an emergency situation, until there is one.

When the girls were babies, I always had extra clothes, burp cloths and wipes handy.  As they got older, I stopped carrying so much around, and even now, as Kensi gets close to age 2, I have stripped down the diaper bag and pretty much just have diapers and wipes. (Hey, my camera has to go somewhere, right?)   Normally, this would not be a problem, but when you have a daughter that managed to drink several bottles of water in the course of the afternoon, and had lunch and dinner and ice cream, and more water.... and then threw it all up, you find yourself wishing for a clean shirt and a towel or two... or three.

After those few moments of panic, my brain finally kicked back in.  I remembered the wipes in the diaper bag and we started to use those to clean the girls hands and faces up.  Brooklyn still literally had hands and a lap full of "yuck" and so as Rob opened her door, he had her turn and try to dump everything out as she hopped out.  Remembering my towel and extra shirt in my gym bag, I directed Rob to those to help B clean up.  I also got her out of her dirty shirt and put her into my old jersey.  He moved her booster seat only to find a pool (yes, a pool) of liquid sitting on the seat.  (Thank goodness for leather seats!)  Kensi had not stopped crying since B first got sick and just continued to cry and hiccup while I tried to clean her up.

Once we got them as clean as we could, we drove the last 5 minutes home, finally having to make that left turn and Rob begging me to run the light (I didn't.)   We stripped them down in the service porch and filled the tubs.  While washing Kensi off, I started to rethink my actions and immediately felt guilty (see title above.)  It seems to me that the smart thing to do when B started to get sick would have been to pull over and open her door and let her get sick outside of the car.  Unfortunately, caught up in the moment, the "smart" thing did not occur to me and my little girl was sitting there holding her.. o.k., well, you get the picture.  I still feel guilty, even this morning for not thinking to pull over.   Strangely, just before she went to sleep, B apologized to me for getting sick in my car.  Just about broke my heart.

So, my penance... Kensi decided that last night would be a perfect time to not want to go to sleep.  We weren't sure if she got sick because she had some of the ice cream that Rob and B had (if that is what caused B to get sick) or because she smelled B's mess, or if she got sick for some other reason.  Regardless of her reasoning, she was inconsolable.  Rob and I tag-teamed for several hours, trying to get her to relax and go to sleep.  She seemed fine when we let her sit on the couch with us, or in the recliner, or wander around my office - but the minute we tried to put her down to sleep, she would cry.  At some point after 1 a.m., that switched to her sleeping, but waking up and crying when she saw that we were out of the room.  Around 1:30 a.m., I thought I had her down and started to creep out.  I made it 1/2 way down the hall before she started up again.  I then dozed off sitting next to her crib until she finally fell asleep around 2 this morning.

Up again at 8 and crying, we decided to take her to the doctor.  Turns out, she may have croup, which the doctor said would explain the weird hiccuping sound when she cries and the barking cough.  Doc also said that the crying leads to coughing and sometimes leads to throwing up, which may be what caused her to get sick last night.

As I said, it was a perfect storm of way too much coincidence and weird stuff that ended with the car seat and booster seat covers in the washer, girls in the tub, Rob and I in the shower and my car badly in need of a shampoo and wash.  (It doesn't help that it's about 90 outside again today and my car is currently sitting in the sun baking while I'm at the office.)

Just when we think we've got it all figured out, just when we think that as parents, we are doing a pretty good job and things are going pretty smoothly, those crazy kids throw us a curve ball or two, just to keep us on our toes.  From now on, barf bags in the back seat and a roll of paper towels hidden somewhere in the car.  I'll have to work on the guilt I feel for not pulling over, but a few hugs from my girls should be a step in the right direction.  Until the next small disaster hits...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Few Thoughts on the Upcoming Election

The election is still 2 months away and already I'm sick of it.  Just as the new fall season of all of my favorite shows starts up, I will have to endure 60 second sound bites of why one guy sucks at his job and why the other one should take over instead of the usual fare of commercials about the aging process and men's erectile dysfunction.

By the way, can someone tell me if there is a way to hide from some of my friends on Facebook?  Really, I love them to death, but I don't think that I can stand another two months of posts about why one party is better than the other, why the current President has messed things up so terribly and why the opponent is the country's savior.  If there was a way that I could just hide their posts until after the election, I'd be happy.  Better yet, save them all somewhere in a cache of sorts and after the election, whichever side lost, I can then pull those friends' posts out and wave them in their faces.  O.k., so I wouldn't do that.  But I would like to hide the comments for a few months.  No, really.  Hide them.  I'd much rather hear that your cat did a flip off the couch or look at pictures of your kids at Disneyland.  Trust me on this.  Besides - no matter what you think or what you say, I will not change my own political position based solely on your 150 character post.

Separation of Church and State- this is a good one lately.  It seems that Romney's running mate has a particular position on abortion and conception.  I would guess that his position is based, at least in part, on his religion.  So, if we allow Congress to legislate abortion when the positions of those voting would be a result of their religious beliefs, wouldn't that be allowing Church to influence State, and isn't that a bad thing?  Yes, our money says "In God we Trust," but at the same time, I don't think I want a Bible-belt fundamentalist telling me what I can do with my body.  I had to laugh today - a friend was posting her political views following the DNC events last night, cataloging the list of Democratic wrongs.  Whether or not she is correct, I have no idea - I don't have the time (or inclination) to do that type of research.  What struck me as funny, was the comment of one of her other friends, that while the information she posted may have been correct regarding the state of the economy, this friend could never side with the Republicans unless and until they got out of her "Vaj-j-j."  I paraphrased a bit, forgive me. 

I am a Democrat.  I would have voted for Hillary had she not caved and acquiesced to Obama, and he was not my first choice, but there you have it.  Oddly enough, I remember thinking that Reagen was a great man and a good President.  Could be that I was too young to be cognizant of the economy and other things that affect a presidency, but I recall thinking that I liked him.  I also liked Clinton, despite his peccadilloes.  Where was I?  Oh yes - I am Democrat, mostly because there are a few things that the Republicans stand for that I cannot support, most importantly my right to choose whether or not to have a child.  I won't get into the vagaries of other topical Republican issues, suffice to say that when you lead in with the right to choose and my control over my own body, I don't have to go much further, regardless of the state of the economy.

I digress.  My reason for this post was to pose some questions to some of my friends who have such vehement views on politics these days and feel it necessary to vilify the current President in their posts (following the media, Romney and others of the right-wing bent.)   First, do you honestly think that the problems of this nation were created overnight (or in 4 years?)  If not, why do you think that they could be or should have been solved overnight (or in 4 years)?   Wasn't the previous President a Republican?  Have we already forgotten the slew of problems that he left in his wake?  Also, do any of you remember anything of your civics classes in junior high and of your government class in high school?  I continue to be baffled as to why the President is paraded out as the bad guy, when Congress is just as involved in the process.  I seem to recall something called.... what was it?  Oh yes!  "Checks and balances."  That meant that the President was never so powerful that he couldn't be held in check by another branch of the government.  If that's the case, and he's being "checked and balanced," then why is all blame being placed at his feet?  If you truly feel that strongly about policy, why don't you get on the phone with your Senators and Representatives and ask them what they have been doing for you in Washington.

That brings up another point.  Congress is not innocent in this whole mess.  If the executive branch is subject to the checks and balances of the Legislative branch, then who is checking them?  Of course, you have the Judicial branch deciding when laws are unconstitutional, but I'm talking about keeping tabs on who has their hands in Congress' pockets - better yet, who is lining Congress' pockets?  We all know it is happening, but we, as a people seem to be powerless to stop it.  Our lawmakers -Democrat or Republican, are controlled by whoever puts the most money into their war chest - Big Tobacco, Oil, Unions - anyone who has enough money to sway our representatives votes.  It is no wonder that our education system is in the toilet and swirling fast - our lawmakers could care less.  They have enough money to send their kids to private school so they can't see first hand what is happening to everyone else, and the teachers and parents don't have enough money to sway anyone back to their court.

I think we need to strip everything down and start over.  Turn back the clock and find a simpler way to do things.  Get the lobbyists out of the government.  Make our representatives go back to their home states and really talk to their people, find out what it is that their states need to function and survive.  Then take that information back to DC and work on it.  Once the dollar sign is taken out of the equation, some real work might get done.  Oh sure, they may claim that they need money for their next election campaign.  But I say that they need to do some work first.  Rather than electing someone based on how much money they can raise, why don't we look at their record.  And while we're at it, let's strip down and simplify the bills being presented.  No more hiding things in 600 pages.  Let's go back to using plain English and if it doesn't fit on 10 pieces of paper, it's out.  If it is that important, present it separately, or take something else out.

As I'm sure you can imagine, I have strong views on other aspects of the economy (pay your freakin' taxes!), the unemployment rate (go out and get a job - I worked at McDonalds, so can you!) and a few other things.  But I won't present them here, lest someone decides upon reading that they want to engage in verbal warfare with me, and I just don't want to or need to do that.  Instead, I'll sit quietly here in my corner and wait for November 6 to come and go, so that we can return to our regularly scheduled programming.