Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Naaah, I'm just keeeding! Or at least, if this is the banal servitude of forced domesticity (I am barefoot and quite pregnant at this moment, after all), I think I'm okay with it! You should see the stuff I've accomplished in the last little bit. There's been the tempest of cooking, plus the dinner I've made almost every single night, plus lots of what Josh likes to call "deep cleaning," like pulling all the DVDs out of the drawers and dusting them. Fun times, and I mean that with only a teeny bit of sarcasm. Obviously if this were my every day, all the time job, it would get pretty old pretty fast, but as a novelty it's kind of fun to play chatelaine.
I am now 13 days away from my due date, but as well-meaning people keep assuring me, this means (less than) nothing. I could go weeks later than that, or I could give birth now - or I could have already given birth and no one's told me yet. Unlike most other women I know, I'm mostly okay with still being pregnant. The "get this thing out of me" urge hasn't quite kicked in yet, probably because I've had a low-key leave so far and am keeping myself fairly well-entertained. Definitely, I'm a lot more tired than I have been, my feet are painfully swollen, my hands look like I have rubber bands tied around my wrists, and the few minutes I spent on my knees scrubbing the tub and bathroom floor yesterday were probably ill-advised. But I am proud to say I walked all the way home from the OB's at 72nd and 5th (a normally 20 minute walk that took closer to 40), so I can't be as decrepit as I fear.
Now as far as keeping oneself entertained while on leave from the office (when boozing and vigorous exercise are sadly not options, and one's husband has firmly limited the number of calls one may make to his place of employment), I have found daytime television and a mix of silly/serious reading to be quite instructive. Rediscovering one's girlish love for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is always time well-spent, although watching too much of The View will destroy any remaining shred of faith you have in the intelligence of your fellow citizens. Oh, and waiting a daily celebrity news show will quickly cure you of any vague addiction you think you may have to people.com. HTH!
Monday, September 01, 2008
As of tomorrow, I am officially away with leave!! WOOT! For my first time in, well, ever, I am bossless! Until the sproglet arrives, of course. Expect to see some serious blogging!!
And I've already been pretty productive! I had some Ambitions for the weekend and was overall quite successful, if I do say so myself. We washed all the baby's clothes; got the room set up; picked up all the last minute stuff we need from Babies R Us; I cooked and froze blueberry muffins, cheddar cheese biscuits, one serving of pomodoro sauce and four servings worth of lasagne bolognese; and we still managed to squeeze in a sort of "last hurrah" fancy dinner at Perry St. last night. Hah! This baby thing is going to be a piece of cake! *ducks before lightening strikes*
Tomorrow, I'm hoping to keep up with the cooking/freezing roll I'm on and make some mushroom, spinach and ricotta ravioli, banana-chocolate bread and shrimp shumai. Aaaand then later in the week, pierogies, vegetarian chili, Mexican black beans, corn bread and pizza dough. Meep! I haven't cooked this much in ages and had kind of forgotten how much work it really is. I had to wash a sinkful of dishes like four times today, and Josh did a couple of his own too. This had better be worth it!
FYI, the lasagne I made tonight was AWESOME...seriously, one of the best lasagnes I've ever made. It makes six decent sized portions, when served with salad and/or bread. Enjoy!
12 sheets of oven-ready lasagne (the kind you don't need to boil - trust me! It works!)
1 8 oz bag of mixed shredded Italian cheeses (Kraft is good)
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
fresh basil, rolled up and snipped into little bits
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs of lean ground beef
2 stalks of celery
1 large red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 - 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
Italian herbs to taste (I used dried bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and sage)
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups whole milk
freshly grated nutmeg
1. Make meat sauce. Start by heating butter and olive oil together. Add chopped carrots, onion, garlic and celery and saute for approximately 10 minutes.
2. Add 2 lbs ground beef and saute at medium-high temperature until no longer pink (note: you may need to drain some of the fat/liquid out). Deglaze pan with white wine and simmer until almost entirely evaporated.
3. Add canned tomatoes, chicken stock and herbs. Bring to a boil, and then decrease heat to very low setting. Cook slowly for one hour, stirring periodically.
4. Add salt, pepper and sugar. Continue to cook at low temperature for another hour. Very little of the liquid should remain by now.
5. While meat sauce is cooking, make the Bechamel (aim for about half an hour before the meat sauce is ready and if you're ready to cook the lasagne, preheat the oven to 375 F). Pour milk into microwave-safe measuring cup and nuke for 2-3 minutes, or until hot.
6. Melt butter and flour together for 1-2 minutes (lots of books will say to get NO color on the flour, but I think a sliiight toast is okay). Add hot milk to this mixture very, very slowly and whisk to avoid lumps.
7. Keep the Bechamel at a low temperature and barely simmer until thickened. Add grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.
8. You're ready to assemble the lasagne now! Use a tsp of vegetable oil to thoroughly grease a large casserole dish (you want one large enough that you can fit three pieces of lasagne side by side with room to spare, since it'll expand). Put a very small amount of meat sauce on the bottom.
9. Put down the first three pieces of lasagne. Add a layer of meat sauce, a layer of Bechamel, shredded cheese and snipped basil. Repeat this step three more times, so that you have four layers in total. Note: you probably won't need all the meat sauce, so make sure to save and freeze - you can keep at least two cups aside, I would say.
10. Sprinkle Parmesan on the top layer and wrap well with foil. Bake at 375, covered, for 30 minutes.
11. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for at least five minutes.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
It all became so clear to me this week, when I was sitting peacefully in my office, chatting on the phone and suddenly realized that I was actually slightly out of breath. Being an asthmatic, that's not a totally new feeling for me, except that it usually doesn't strike when you've been sitting in a chair for hours with no allergy symptoms or cold weather or anything to trigger it. Huh. It's a little embarrassing to be panting on a conference call, but if people can't be understanding at this point I honestly can't be arsed to explain anymore. I've fully been wearing flip flops to work all week too - feet having swollen to twice their normal size - but if I'm not going to exploit my sad condition now, when will I?? I mean, I'm still waiting for someone to offer me car service into work in the mornings, and yet nothing. Inconsiderate bastards!
I have three weeks of work left and oh, what a comforting thought that is. Aside from the physical annoyances, I just feel like the psychological break is so needed . . . just to have a bit of time to be my own little individual human unit before chaos is unleashed. Part of me can't wait to get this parenthood thing started already, but thinking rationally, the nine month waiting period makes sense! Presumably to make sure that by the end you're really, really, REALLY ready! Next time I'm going to plan this whole nesting thing a little better . . . maybe with a late fall baby, or early spring due date. Something seems a lot more right about settling into domesticity in order to welcome new life at that point, you know? Instead, I fear I'll be stuck indoors, draped over the air conditioner until Oprah's on.
Switching gears for a second - for those of you who kindly inquire after Tommy (our client on death row in Alabama - some great developments on that front. The Alabama Supreme Court granted us a stay after of all things, an inmate in another institution came forward claiming that he committed the murder that Tommy was convicted of. If I'm lying, I'm dying. As I've said a million times in total disbelief, you can't make this stuff up! We can't say where this will all go, as that Court hasn't given any instructions on what they want at this point (such as a hearing, DNA testing, whatever), but where there is life, there is hope. I'm so proud of my Team Tommy!!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Has it seriously been a month since the last posting? Go ahead . . . I deserve your scorn. BUT, first, to catch you up . . . on things general and particular about being seven months pregnant, as well as petty little things from my life, of course.
1. So about being seven months pregnant. FYI? Now, it's not just jackasses who look appalled when you tell them you have a whole two months to go. No, now regular people, who generally know better, look at your belly and ask, in accents of horror, if you're really going to be getting any bigger?
2. Oh and also, when you're seven months pregnant, the assigning partner at your firm may think it's a swell time to staff you on a massive regulatory investigation/multiple class action matter. You may have heard rumors of this whole "auction rate securities" mess . . . Wall Street's latest debacle. In short, it means big-big problems for investment banks and fat-fat fees for law firm partners and long-long hours for their associates. In theory it wouldn't be such a big issue because on an individual level everyone is fairly understanding about the whole pregnancy thing, but I am also on like eight other cases . . . not to mention the fact that my death row client is scheduled for execution on Thursday. Anyway. Moral being, just as you actually start to feel shitty again, people decide that they may as well make things worse for you. Fun!
3. Getting set up for a baby is hard, y'all. I have the wonderful good fortune of having kind and generous friends and family who have been sending lovely things and supporting my online shopping habit with gift cards, and in fact had a really sweet baby shown thrown for me last week. Now I just have to make those last few purchases of Necessary Things. But with what guidance? Besides Google and mommy boards? I narrowly escaped buying a $300+ organic mattress, mostly because my husband has been threatening to separate me from my credit cards. Honestly . . . I'm not even close to the type of person who would buy an organic mattress. But then I started to think about it . . . and think about how much I had spent on my diaper bag . . . and my baby carrier . . . and my froufrou stroller . . . and my all-natural baby bath products . . . and it was like, "Am I really going to choose the neurotoxin-leaking, cancer-causing, LETHAL crib mattress just to save a couple of hundred bucks?"
4. Many popular baby books are really annoying. I picked up a few birth books that I couldn't even bring myself to finish, they were so completely inapplicable to anything I was actually interested in learning about. Apparently I haven't even gotten to the really evil ones yet - some girlfriends tell me that there are some out there that are incredibly harsh and obnoxious towards working mothers, basically implying that if you need two incomes to survive you're bad with money and should never have had kids in the first place. That particular gem was pinned on Dr. Sears, the grand poobah of crunchy parenting . . . can't say I've checked to make sure that was correct, though. I've also read that he's a conservative Christian and extremely homophobic. Some choices quotes from Becoming a Father: How to Nurture & Enjoy Your Family (which, caveat, I found online and not in the book itself):
"The growing child should see that important family matters require a mutual decision-making process that involves both mom and dad, but I believe that dad is primarily responsible for making decisions." (p. 194)
"'I don't want my son to grow up to be a pansy,' exclaimed John, a new father. His sentiments are shared by most men." (p. 200)
"I am personally concerned that our society tends to approve of lifestyles [sic!] such as homosexuality. Society sees this as an 'acceptable alternative.' I can accept a person as a homosexual without having to approve of the morality of homosexuality." (p. 208)*shiver*
I am off now to pretend to work . . . but just to address a couple of questions that came up in comments!
1. YES, childcare is a lot more expensive here than I've ever heard of it being in Canada. I'm looking to spend around $2500 a month for daycare, $3000-4000 a month for a nanny.
2. Ohhhh whoever brought up Loblaws . . . you don't even know how lucky you are. I miss grocery shopping in the commercial equivalent of an airport hangar! I even miss Sam's Club (that's right, I said it . . . lightening's going to strike me down now, right?).
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Trying to type quietly (?) in my living room as my mom is sleeping on the other couch. Yeah! My mom! She had been mildly threatening a visit all week but I hardly took her seriously, considering the prices of the flights (YYZ to LGA - $800!) but this determined woman got herself a connecting flight through Cleveland (aieee!) with some frequent flier points. So far I'd call it a successful visit! I've only had a few moments of meltdown hysteria, but, in my defence, I am six months pregnant, and she fusses. A lot. I was gripped with a murderous rage yesterday when she screamed - actually screamed, twice - when I got "too close" to traffic waiting to cross the street. Too close being like within eight feet.
But all in all, otherwise fairly laid back and non-controversial! She came bearing gifts of books and articles on mothering, and we had a fun mani/pedi afternoon yesterday. Then we went to one of my favorite Italian restaurants and spent my stepdad's money with abandon (thanks M!). Today I think I will convince all to head downtown for brunch at my most favoritest brunch place, which I never get to go to since it's allll the way down in the East Village, then perhaps on to some shopping, and then maybe we'll go see Wall-E tonight! That should make the husband unit happy and I only live to please him. Hee!
My mom leaves tomorrow morning and then I head in for my last four days before vacation! Sweet, sweet vacation. Thank goodness. I am so done with work for a bit. I was coasting along with lots of work, but nothing crazy pressing, until the last fire drill on Friday afternoon. Kind of two fire drills, really; in my one case, the senior associate just started really contemplating the work needed to be done for next week's depositions and thought he could take me along for his ill-planned ride once he figured out all that he wanted to get done. HAH! I am only slightly ashamed to confess that I kind of hung him out to dry on this one. But honestly! I have been bugging him about preparing for these deps for over a week and did everything I could to prepare on my own, considering his lack of focus and direction, and I am tired of having to pay the price for other people's poor planning - his in particulaire! The other drill was also directly and indisputably caused by the partner not paying particular attention to the regulator's deadline for production on our case and so, after gently reminding him of this point, I had an "urgent request" at 3pm, when I was planning to leave at 5 to meet my mom at my apartment. !!! Managed to get that done with lugging a box of documents home with me. Anyhow, surely you see my well-founded annoyance and frustration. And that's not even including the e-mail updates from all weekend about how my staff doesn't quite understand how to do basic administrative tasks. *clutching hair*
In toto, some of this stuff is making me seriously nostalgic for home (in case you don't know where that is for me, it's Canada...Toronto, specifically). I just miss...space! Parks. Having a freaking car of our own. Grocery shopping (Loblaws...waaaah) in a BIG ASSED STORE, as God in his infinite wisdom intended. Other people my age with children. A job that doesn't suck the life out of me a good 90% of the time. Family. Parking lots. Reasonably priced childcare. I know we're nowhere near ready to make a Big Life Decision like moving back yet but Manhattan can really weigh on a person...especially one used to malls.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Pretty much everyone knows that I have a not very seekrit obsession with online forums (not chat rooms mind you - chatting hurts my head - but more like discussion rooms). Usually these forums are about a whole lot of nothing but the parenting ones are actually pretty informative and marginally a better use of my time. I still can't shake the feeling that I'm a freak of nature in comparison to a lot of the other moms on there, though...everything from where I live, to where I work, to my plans for breastfeeding and vaccinations and child care seem to fall squarely into the minority view. It doesn't make me feel unsure of myself or afraid that I'm going about this all wrong (well, not more than usual, anyway), but it does make me wonder as to how the lack of good examples ("good" in the last loaded sense; just "good" meaning an example I would actually want to follow, that fits with my life) in my life are going to impact how I end up parenting.
Right now, I have no idea what September is going to bring. That's scary enough...and then there's the issue of five and a half months later, when I need to head back into the office. I haven't sorted out the full time vs. flex time issue, or childcare beyond the first few months, or how we're going to manage with J's increasingly stupid travel requirements, etc. Perhaps naively, I have no real fears about how my marriage will be affected. I mean, I know that logically things will be different, but having had the good fortune and sense to marry a hyper-responsible, considerate and hard-working man, it's never even occured to me that he wouldn't pull his weight and more.
This article from the New York Times, however, suggests that this assumption on my part could be a wee bit over-optimistic. It's a long article, but I'd strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in sex equality issues, especially with regard to co-parenting. It's given me a lot to think about:
- increased "flexibility" in women's work being seen as the reason why she "needs" to do more around the house: the article seems to suggest that this is an issue of perception (so, regardless of what the woman actually does outside the house, the couple perceive her work to be more "flexible," whatever that means!) and perhaps even unconscious "life choiecs" and trade-offs along the way that result in the woman working a more flexible job. I would never have thought my job to be particularly flexible, but from a comparative perspective, it is. My firm is one of the few that actually allows flex-time schedules (what they privately think of it of course is another matter...). J's job, while not quite as demanding in terms of raw hours necessary, simply couldn't contemplate a part-time schedule since he's the manager.
- women asserting control over the home: this isn't talked about explicitly as a control issue in the article but I think that it is, or at least it would be for me. The article is absolutely right in that, seeing that society still largely views the home and parenting as being the woman's primary responsibility, any perceived defects like the children being dressed a little funny or a messy house are assigned to being the woman's "fault." And so women are more invested in the results! Aside from that, however - and this is huge - many women take ownership over household and childcare duties because it sets them up as the "experts" in that particular area. I see it all the time on the mommy boards. Often the same women who complain about their husbands' lack of involvement in the households seem to be pretty smug about how their baby can only be comforted by mommy.
- setting up roles of "master" and "apprentice": I absolutely see how this has already started! It's alarming really. J, bless him, barely still understands what we hired the $1500 doula for. Fair enough; at this point his life hasn't changed quite enough for him to be fully engaged in all of this, and I don't think that's making excuses. But I'm the one who has done the reading on the diapers we'll need, and the stroller I want, and what vaccinations are important and when sleep training should start. I just assumed he'd get up to speed once I explained it all to him and the baby was here, but have we already anticipated and accepted the "helper role" for him?
Of course, the big question that looms over all of this - assuming that such idyllic co-parenting is even possible and desirable - is now...are we really willing to play ball? This isn't just about J stepping up, of course; I'm talking about me. Would sharing the household tasks mean that I'd have to start taking out the garbage? Giving the dog his baths? Learn how to make coffee that doesn't taste like hot liquid poo? The whole thing will call for some co-effort :).
Off to post the article on the mommy boards...
Sunday, May 25, 2008
That's got to be some kind of record. But I think I've figured out the secret to all of it, and that is . . . don't feel the need to wait until you have something interesting to say. Really! People will read all kinds of your ruminating crap!
I keed, I keed. I am so amazed at and grateful for the comments, so thanks to those of you who pop by! Truly, I have no expectations that anyone will actually read this, so that's a welcome surprise. Cake for all! Or try one of these chocolate cream cheese cupcakes I made last week!
Josh and I have been home since Thursday and it's been so fab, except for the fact that I haven't really done anything I told myself I'd do. Except get a mani/pedi and go grocery shopping and catch up on Vanity Fairs. Normally perfect long weekend activities for a loser homebody like myself, but actually, the purpose of taking this time off was purportedly to purchase something for our poor, as yet unprovided-for sproglet. I shit you not when I tell you that this child has nothing to his or her name except for a onesie announcing that he or she was "Made in Mexico." Great for a giggle, but seeing that that cannot be worn anywhere outside the house, fairly limited utility.
I don't know what my aversion to buying my baby stuff is! For the first three months, granted, it's that kind of scary time and you don't want to incur the attention of the gods by stockpiling too much. Then you rationalize that you have a teensy apartment and it wouldn't make sense to start getting stuff too early. Fair enough. Then you get busy at work...then you start formulating excuses...oh wait, that's just me. Most parents are chomping at the bit to get to Babies R Us while I spend hours surfing the net and bookmarking cute stuff that I never purchase. Even Josh, who is the farthest thing from a consummate shopper, is starting to be like, "Doesn't this baby need some stuff?" I think I'm just afraid of the inevitable avalanche that's going to ensue. And also, maybe, I'm sort of in denial about the whole baby thing. Or at least the imminent arrival of said baby thing.
Today. We shop! Really. Once Josh wakes up (we're lucky if it's 9am these days), I drink my coffee, eat, do my cardio and Pilates DVD, eat, check my e-mail obsessively, eat and formulate a plan of attack. Hopefully starting with brunch...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Life is so good. My darling husband, gone off to the nether regions of the world for the last six days (a/k/a Toronto, Ontario), has returned to our dusty and haphazardly maintained abode and is sleeping sweetly on the couch. And yet the dog is napping next to me! Hah! The cat is asleep on the dining room table and meanwhile, no one is sleeping in the chichi dog bed purchased only last week.
By 1pm this afternoon, I had already gotten a lovely 75 minute prenatal massage at Bliss in Soho, bought myself some new goodies from Sephora and maternity wear from - le gasp - The Gap, and visited a bag that I thought I wanted at Banana Republic. Sadly, upon seeing the bag in real life, it was immediately obvious that it was Just Not On. The thing is significantly larger than my torso (yes - even pregnant)! But otherwise, a lovely morning, and when Josh got in we took a little stroll down Second Avenue and had brunch at our favorite French restaurant. Hence the napping, bien sur.
Nerds love Saturdays. Now you know. Why? Well, the Saturday Times, of course! Already two gems and I haven't even worked my way through the Style section yet. The first article just pulled at my heartstrings, and yes, you know me so well, it's about food. Farmer's markets in San Francisco, to be precise...it's like this Sharon Otterman woman has a direct window into my soul. *sigh* And she's whispering, "Leave your fugly and frigid East Coast life...come frolic in the Ferry Building, where the Acme sourdough loaves are always fresh and the Cowgirl Creamery is just a few steps away...You could just stop in on your way back to your palatial abode in Sausalito..." *whimper* I would pick up my life and move to San Francisco for the food alone in an instant. Ocean schmocean. People who wax rhapsodic about French food have never been to California, simple as that. Culinary Philistines, really.
The other article is just funny because it's a little window into my future. Park Slope: Where is the Love? is a delightful reminder that while I may have narrowly missed the one way ticket into the suburbs of New Jersey, I am still "twee"! A cliche! Have husband...dog...soon baby...off to Park Slope we go come September when the lease our current Upper East Side pad is up. By way of background, Park Slope is an increasingly ridiculous little neighborhood in Brooklyn of all places that has, in recent years, become the place to be for yuppies and their designer dogs and overscheduled offspring. It's hilarious because, as the article points out...this is Brooklyn. A couple of years ago no one would even come to a party at your house if you lived in Brooklyn. When you hail a cab to go there you still have to be half apologetic when you tell the driver your destination. Personally, I've been there about 10 times in two years, mostly for court appearances.
Park Slope in particular is achingly fashionable and correspondingly expensive. The type of apartment that we'll need will cost about $3500 a month (really, a total bargain, compared to any desirable neighborhood in Manhattan...but still!). But despite my best laid plans the outcome is inevitable. We are a stereotype. And painfully uncool.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Anyway, yes, that's right, I'm pregnant - due in September! I'm still a little stunned by it myself. I honestly didn't even really believe it until my upper stomach started protruding and I was like, "OK...that cannot be fat (unlike Lower Stomach Situation). Right??" Now, unless something very odd is happening to my digestive system, there's really no mistaking the sensations in there. It's a little alien life form kicking up his or her feet! Very cool. In about a week's time I've have one of the final ultrasounds and get to take a better look at all of his or her little appendages and stuff. I may even be inclined to share pics, so bewarned if the contents of my uterus aren't something you'd like to take a gander at over your morning bialy.
Today my plans consist of entertaining myself with a girls' brunch at my friend L's house and then coming back here to...work. Josh just left for a six day business trip (!) to Canada and so I am free to work allll afternoon and allll evening and allll night if I really really want to. I figure, though, that the re-commencement of blogging may force me to do more things. Just out of shame if nothing else! Like, "I can't go blogging about the three hours I spent comparing strollers today. Let's go to the Guggenheim!" Hee!