Thursday, March 27, 2008

I've got to fly to Saint Somewhere. I'm close to bodily harm.*

There is a small Caribbean island nation calling my name, and I must answer.

Husband, the kids and I are going to go dip our toes in the what I dearly hope will be crystal blue waters and miles of sugary sand.

If we can get all our suitcases to fit in the car...

OH. Would you believe that Lana was telling me the truth when she said there was no purse among the birthday presents?

There were books, jammies, jewelry, Mahjong for Nintendo DS, and these, which I previously did not know existed, but, now I wonder how I survived without. Sweet Mary and Joseph they are sinfully good.

I must finish up with work and make arrangements with house sitter/cat sitter etc.

Getting away from all the (&^%! snow for a bit,

*Jimmy Buffet, Boat Drinks

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stick your heart inside of my chest, Keep it warm here while we rest*

This morning as Gabe, Lana and I got in the car, I put Tegan & Sara's So Jealous album in the CD player.

As soon as Lana heard the beginning of the first song she said, "Mommy! Play the sticky hands song!"

"Sticky hands song?" I asked, confused.

Lana started to sing, "Sticky hands inside of my pockets, keep them warm while I'm outside".

I thought for a second and realized she was singing the chorus to another song on the album (I know I know I know), which goes

"Stick your hands inside of my pockets, Keep them warm while I'm still here."

At any rate, that was my giggle for this morning. I wonder if I should send the sticky hands song lyric to this guy, who writes whole books about misunderstood song lyrics?

Anyway, here's a link to a Youtube video of Lana's favorite sticky hands song. (I didn't make the video, am not associated with Youtube - I did choose this particular video though, because whoever made it took the song and put it over clips from Veronica Mars, which is kind of a bonus. But, again, neither the song, nor the video, nor Youtube - not mine.)


Lana and Gabe both got a lesson in playing percussion instruments last night. Our friends H&L, who have been patiently, patiently waiting for their daughter's referral from China, hung out with Gabe and Lana while Husband and I went out to dinner for my birthday. L, who has the heart of musician even whilst practicing law as a day job, let the kids play his drums. They had a great time! (Photos courtesy of H~, who takes great pictures of children.)

*post title (obviously) from Tegan&Sara, I know I know I know

Bringing Sexy Back to High School Science?

Because I am a goofball...

A while ago, some of Husband's students made a small poster of Husband's head and Justin Timberlake's head, and titled it something like "Bringing Sexy Back to BHS" (the school district Husband teaches in.)

It amused me a bit at the time, but, as I was reading Yahoo! news this morning, there was a photo of Justin Timberlake, and I thought, "hmmm...maybe Husband's students were right. Maybe Husband does look a bit like Timberlake."

What do you think? Which one is the best high school science teacher in the greater midwest, and which one is Britney Spears' ex?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You say it's your birthday ~ It's my birthday too ~ yeah

I was trying to find a Youtube link to the Beatles "Birthday" song, but, all the ones I found were home videos made for guys who were, evidently, turning 60 or something. So, I didn't post one.

But, it IS my birthday, so, there you go.

Last night Lana insisted on singing "Happy Birthday to Mommy" before going to bed. That was pretty cute. (Considering that for the last month and a half she has asked me to sing "Happy Birthday to Lana" every night before she fell asleep, I thought it was a nice touch.) (No idea why she wants to commemorate her birthday nightly, but, when there is only ONE verse of Happy Birthday standing between me, a hot bubble bath and a warm bed, you can bet your patootie that I'm crooning birthday wishes as often as she wants me to.)

There were presents on the breakfast table for me this morning, with strict instructions not to open them until everyone is home this afternoon. Husband will likely not believe me when I say this, but, I didn't even peek. (Yes, me. Snoop Extraordinaire.) (Okay, I DID try to peek at one but, it was wrapped too well.)

Lana looked at the wrapped gifts this morning and said, 'We did NOT buy you a purse, Mom. We did NOT." I'm trying to figure out if that means that they DID buy me a purse and was trying not to ruin the surprise, or, if there really is no purse in the distinctly purse shaped package on the table. Hmm...

Unfortunately, my birthday is going to be marred by a trip to the dentist. C'est la vie.

Oh, and evidently I have writer's block, because I have several half-finished posts on various topics, including "My Wicked Irish Step-Mother" and "Why Can't Politicians Just Get Their Freak On With Only the Person They Are Married To?" ~ not sure any of these will ever be finished, but, the titles, at least, are pretty good. :-)


Friday, March 21, 2008

Random Lawyer Stuff

So, I went to court with my friend M~ representing me.

You know that episode of Grey's Anatomy where Meredith Grey falls in the water and drowns and the rest of the staff of Seattle Grace spends hours trying to revive her because she is one of their own?

Yeah...evidently, lawyers going to court as defendants do not get the same special kind of care as doctors going to emergency rooms as patients. But, even so, it was bargained down to a no-points violation of equipment failure, no points, no fine, court costs only. So, it cost me $78 and lunch for my lawyer. I was happy with that.


One thing I don't think that law schools do a very good job of preparing lawyers for is the fact that people are trusting you, their lawyer, with a lot. Sometimes with their lives, even. But more often, with their future, their money, their children's future. It's a lot of pressure. Sometimes it keeps me up at night, when I have someone's trust in my hands - they are trusting me to try to do the best thing for them, trusting me to fight for them. Sometimes, I feel a like I am unprepared for the responsibility of having to break extremely bad news to people. REALLY bad news. I wish law school had covered this.

Earlier this week, I had to tell two sisters that their mother was dead. It was...AWFUL. In truth, their mother has been dead for quite a long time. I was handling a matter relating to the distribution of her estate. The sisters have been missing for almost 30 years, and a private investigator I work with on occasion had been looking for them for a while. (They were owed money from the estate). So, when I finally got one of them on the phone, and asked a few questions to make sure I had the right woman, the conversation went kind of like this:

Me: Um...when was the last time you talked to your mother?

Her: 1982. My sister and I, we were stupid and teenagers, and we had an argument with her, and we just...left.

Me: I'm very sorry but, your mom passed away on _____________, 2006.

Her: (crying)

Me: I'm very sorry.

Her: (more crying and what sounds like, 'we never meant it to go on this long')

Me: I'm so sorry.

This continued for a while. Then I said, "I need to send you the money she left you" and after she calmed down a bit we discussed how I would send the money.

I guess I could have just said, "the bad news is your mom is dead but the good news is have a boatload of money for you." And maybe some lawyers would have done that. But, to me, it seemed like a huge responsibility, to be the person who had to say, "your mom is dead."

Like I said, it keeps me from sleeping sometimes. And it makes me want to say, regardless of what the person you loved did or said to you, if there's anybody you walked away from over some stupid family argument, some brother or cousin you are feuding with and regret it - end it. End it so some lawyer on the other side of the country doesn't have to tell you that the person you loved and didn't mean to feud with for so long dropped dead from cancer or had a massive heart attack or got hit by a bus, and the time for saying "I'm sorry" is long past gone.


I've been trying to write a St. Patrick's Day post for 6 days now. It's just been a crazy week - no time to write much of anything not related to work.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Strange Perspective


Remember a few weeks ago when I hit some ice and spun out and slammed my car into my neighbor's car and did $4500 of damage to the front end of my Pontiac?

Well, I was cited for a minor traffic misdemeanor, technically, "failure to control". It's not an offense that requires going to court (I could just pay the fine and let it go), except that, I might as well. I mean, if I have to be there anyway, I might as well try to bargain it down to something that won't put 2 points on my license. (In my state, if you accumulate 12 points in any three year period, you lose your license. This is the only time I've ever gotten any traffic citation, so, I'm not really worried about an accumulation of points. It's just the principle of the thing - it was icy, snowy, and there were a gazillion other accidents that day.)

One of my friends who is a criminal defense attorney is representing me. (Which is kind of ridiculous, since he usually works on big time crime - rapes, murders, drug deals, etc.) But, he offered to go and defend me, and took him up on the offer.

It's just a strange perspective, to be going to court as the defendant.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If I was a hooker, a thousand dollars would be my price, all right*

I thought about calling this post, “ROXXXXXXXAAAAANNNE, you don’t have to sell your body to the night…or to the now-disgraced former-governer of the great state of New York” but, it didn’t fit very well into the title bar…

I also briefly considered trying to come up with some pithy play off Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses” (you know the one, with the Hooker, the Preacher, the Farmer and the Teacher, and all but one of them dies in a tragic bus crash in a song that really should be in the top 10 of “Most Depressing Songs of All Time”) – but, I couldn’t come up with anything catchy enough, although I did briefly bat around “Three Federal Wire-Taps” and something about a hooker, a governor, a blind politician and grieviously wronged wife…but, it wasn’t going anywhere.

So, I went with the Rolling Stones. You can’t go wrong with a Mick Jagger quote, right?

Anyhoo, up until about 36 hours ago, I had tremendous respect for Eliot Spitzer. Husband and I were burned, badly, in the Global Crossings scandal – and as share holders we were left with EIGHT CENTS of our investment. 8. CENTS. So, it was with blissful bitter cheer that I watched then-Attorney-General-of-NY Spitzer go after fraud on Wall Street.

But, there is probably nothing I hate more than HYPOCRISY. And that is the only word I can think of to describe the Spitzer Situation.

You know what I really want to know???

I want to know what kind of org@sm is worth $4300, the governorship of the State of New York and a decent shot at the Presidency of the United States of America? What kind? Because, seriously, I hope that was one mind-blowing climax.

Actually, I take that back. I kind of hope it was mediocre. Because, yeah, I HATE HYPOCRISY. (And, it kind of boggles my mind that the call-girl in question was making something like 5.4 times my going hourly rate. I thought lawyers were expensive, but, evidently we don’t hold a candle to the cost of a well-appointed whore. And I bet they don’t have to finish 7 years of higher education!)

I don’t even have a problem with prostitution, conceptually. I have argued, in the past, that it might be better for everyone if it was legalized, regulated, and taxed as a service.

But, as I mentioned just two posts ago, I do have a problem with adultery, and, oh, I don’t know, maybe SPENDING MONEY YOUR SPOUSE DOESN’T KNOW YOU ARE SPENDING? To the tune of EIGHTY-THOUSAND DOLLARS???

Oh, and let’s not forget BREAKING THE LAW. Breaking the LAW that one was CHARGED WITH ENFORCING.

Honestly, I am flummoxed. Why can’t politicians keep their pants in their own bedrooms? Why???

And why, for Pete’s sake, is Silda Spitzer standing in front of the nation, looking shell-shocked and mortified, right next to her husband? I mean, of all people who have been WRONGED by the actions of this one man, SHE IS THE PERSON he hurt the most. I am pretty sure that, in her shoes, I would be off contemplating which very sharp object I would use in the re-arranging the offending disgraced ex-governor’s manly bits, and not standing next to him to share in his very public humiliation.

When I was a graduate student in Sociology (a Master’s Degree I started and did not finish), I wrote a huge paper on the subject of Prostitutes and Sex Workers. I read several hundred interviews of prostitutes, and at the time I was dumbstruck by the fact that many of them said that their clients generally loved their wives, and felt that by having a "business transaction" with the hooker, they weren’t actually cheating on their wives because it was "only a business transaction" and not an affair. (It’s kind of amazing the kind of ridiculous illogic you can buy into if it feels good enough.) But I kept coming back to the fundamental question, which was, “Why aren’t they just having sex with their wives, then?”

I find this mind-boggling. I wish I could find a link to a study I ready once that said wives are more likely to forgive physical infidelity than emotional infidelity, and that the reverse was true of men. It’s kind of stunning, really, what people are capable of forgiving one another for. So, I suppose it’s possible that Mrs. Spitzer will forgive her husband for this. Maybe. (Although if they would like to get divorced in an adjoining state I would gladly give her my card…KIDDING!)

But, I don’t think that Eliot Spitzer, even if he is forgiven by those nearest and dearest to him, is going to find the public, who trusted him and cheered him on and believed that he was a guy who was truthful and honorable and not your average politician – is going to forgive that it turned out he was just as corrupt as the rest of them.


*The Rolling Stones, "If I Was A Dancer"

Monday, March 10, 2008

I love lilacs and avocados. Ukuleles and fireworks.* (10 Things I Love Photo-Meme)

10. the beach
9. Raclette - a fine reason to visit Switzerland. Or at least a speciality cheese shop. Mmm...melty stinky cheese, prosciutto, potatoes, tiny pickles...heaven on earth...

8. Photo-realism. This particular painting is from Richard Estes.

7. The sound of a resonator guitar/dobro - used often in Bluegrass music - it's one of my favorite sounds

6. Books. Mountains of them.

5. Bacardi Coconut Rum. (In fact I love rum in most forms - but, Bacardi Coco is my favorite.)

4, 3, 2, & 1 - Lake Erie (there are many things I do not love about living in the Midwest - but, I do love the Lake), Lana, Gabriel and Husband. Need I say more?
*Post title from Carly Simon's "You Are The Love of My Life"

Friday, March 07, 2008

Then little by little we drifted from each other's heart*

I'm kind of in the broken heart business.

I cannot speak for other divorce attorneys, but, for me, I find it hard to forget, while I am drafting documents and filling out appropriate forms, that the papers in my hand represent the demolition of somebody's Happily Ever After. I cannot separate, when I am sitting in a courtroom with my client and his or her spouse, that when the gavel falls, the marriage contract is terminated - irrevocably broken. Often people who were quite calm through the whole process are a little over-whelmed at the public announcement that their marriage, and all the hopes and dreams that went along with it, is officially over.

I think, for the most part, they are relieved that the ordeal is ended - if the divorce or dissolution negotiations have been an ordeal, and often they are. But, usually, they are sad - a little sad, or a lot sad, depending.

I was standing outside of the family court building earlier this week, waiting for one of the partners from my firm to come around the corner with his car. (Because we had been lazy and had driven to court that morning because it was cold and slushy and we had been running late.)

I was trying to stay out of the wind, so, I was leaning up against the building. A couple came out of divorce court and wrapped their arms around each other and started kissing like mad.

At first I thought I was witnessing one of the occasional situations in which a potential new spouse has accompanied his or her still-married beloved to the divorce hearing, so that they can walk across the street to Probate Court and get married again right away.

I personally think this is in incredibly poor taste. None of my clients has actually done this, but, it does happen.

Anyway, I was watching them kiss - I mean, I wasn't staring openly, but, they were right in front of me, sucking face.

When they stopped kissing, I saw that they were both crying buckets.

The woman put her hand on the man's face and said, "I still love you, you know. I'll always love you."

And he said, "I love you too. I've always loved you."

Then they walked away from each other in opposite directions.

I can only conclude that they had just been divorced that was their farewell.

It honestly made me wonder why two people who loved each other so much were getting divorced in the first place.

I know, it's complicated. Believe me, I know.

And there are certainly a lot of marriages that have so broken down that there really is no hope to fix it. And there are actions that are unforgivable on the part of one spouse, where the only option, as far as I am concerned, is divorce. Situations I have personally seen that I felt fell into the unforgivable category - a spouse who was addicted to cocaine, a spouse who refused to get necessary and life saving medical treatment for a child, a spouse who was beating up his wife. I had no advice for those clients except, "Let's file right now. Let's get it over with."

But, there were other cases where I really wondered if the divorce was the only option. And I'm left wondering that about the two people I saw earlier this week.

So, I have compiled a list, a list of things I see in divorce court that could probably have ended someplace other than divorce court. So, without adieu, Lawmommy's ideas for avoiding divorce court:

  1. Have sex. Often. (With each other.)
  2. Don't have sex with people who aren't your spouse. (And, if you THINK you have a open marriage but your spouse doesn't KNOW and/or AGREE that you think you have an open marriage - you don't have an open marriage. You're having an affair.) (You'd be surprised the things people will tell their divorce attorney.)
  3. Don't hit each other. Ever. (Unless, you know, it's related to item number 1, and everyone is in agreement about it.) (Again, you'd be surprised what people tell their divorce attorney.)
  4. Be careful with each other. Cruel words cut like daggers. Try not to use them.
  5. Talk to each other. About your hopes, your dreams, your thoughts for the future, your thoughts regarding item number 1 on this list, your kids, your parents, whether or not the Tigers will make the play-offs. Just - TALK. About big things and little things.
  6. Touch each other in ways that are NOT related to item number 1.
  7. Talk about MONEY. How much you have, how much you need, and how much you have in the bank. Make a joint effort to keep bills paid. (This is so huge. I've seen more marriages end over money than I have seen end over anything else.)
  8. Don't spend money that your spouse doesn't know you are spending.
  9. Make time to be alone with your spouse without your kids.
  10. Don't drink too much.
  11. Don't gamble more than you can afford to lose.

That's it. That's my big list. I think every divorce I've handled (save the three I mentioned above) came crashing down because of a lack of one of the above reasons.

Be good to the people you love most. Don't end up kissing and crying outside family court. It's just too much heartbreak in a world that's already filled with heartbreak.


*Post title from Bruce Springsteen's "Stolen Car", 1980

Thursday, March 06, 2008


My children have both hit me with some stunning questions this week.

Gabriel: Why doesn't the President like Barack Obama?
Me: Wow, Gabe, that's a big question...

(Anybody care to craft an answer to that in terms an 8-year-old can wrap his head around?)

Lana: Who made all this snow?
Me: God.
Lana: How did God make snow, mommy? How?
Me: (Absolute silence as I search my head for information on precipitation long buried since 8th grade Earth Science)
Me: (finally) Ask your father (I should get some mileage from being married to a guy who TEACHES earth science, right?)

Gabe: Why isn't the Feast of the Epiphany* (this is the day which Roman Catholics and Episcopalians (and a few other Protestant sects) recognize as the day the The Three Wise Men arrived to meet Jesus. Gabe is strangely intrigued with this concept - possibly because I told him that in France it involves CAKE) always on Wednesday?
Me: It's always on January 6, Gabe. Why would that always be a Wednesday?
Gabe: I think Wednesday would be the best day to meet Jesus, that's all.
Me: Hmmm....

* Gabe pronounces this more like "the feast of Fanny" which cracks me up a little bit

Lana: Mommy? You have belly-button?
Me: Yes, I have a belly-button?
Lana: I have a belly-button!
Me: Yes, you have a belly-button, too.
Lana: All people got belly-button?
Me: Yes, all people have belly-buttons.
Lana: Mommy? How come cat got no belly button?
Me: (long silence) Ask your father.

And now I'm left wondering...all mammals MUST have belly buttons, right? Or at least a spot where the umbilical cord was attached. So, dear readers...WHERE IS a cat's belly button???


Monday, March 03, 2008


My case is settled. Well, settled-ish. Bottom line is that I am not going to trial. HURRAY!

I feel better, now.

I might need to put some happy music on.



For My Readers in Portland, OR

And I know there are at least three of you!

I am very jealous. Fabulously funny comedian Patton Oswalt is playing in your fine city on Saturday night, evidently at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival. SO SO jealous. Check it out:



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