Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On Having It All

The state capitol of PA (taken by me)  I will probably not be the governor. 

Growing up I was often taken to Bring Your Daughter to Work Day and left to talk about law with my father's female coworkers.  They were often single, childless women in pink power suits.  When I was in college, my father arranged for me to meet with three female attorneys at a top Boston firm to talk about life there.  The partner I met with woke up at 5 every morning to work out before her son got up at 6.  She made him breakfast, dropped him off at preschool and was at work by 8.  Because she was a partner in this fancy firm she had the freedom to leave work at 3 to pick up her son and take him home.  She spent the afternoon with him and when he went to bed at 7:30 she made dinner for her husband and herself and then worked from 8:30 until around 2 am.  2. am.  And then fell into bed.

"Aren't you exhausted?" I asked.
"No, I've never needed more than three or four hours of sleep a night.  I make it work." Elise smiled.

Holy shit.

I met a first year associate who told me from behind two feet of papers, "I can't keep a plant alive.  I don't have a boyfriend.  I never make it to brunch with my friends on the weekend.  Elise is a maniac."
That I had assumed.

For my last stop I met a woman who was a third year associate and working like mad to make partner.  "On a good day I see my kids.  Either in the morning or sometimes they aren't asleep when I get home."  Her wife was home with the kids fulltime.  It was hard but she loved her job and was willing to make the sacrifice.  She didn't have the relationship that her wife had with her kids.  Nothing close, she said, but for her it was worth it.*

We are always giving up something in order to live our lives.  I am married to David.  Which means I can't date anyone else or marry anyone else or sleep with anyone else.  David and I are planning on moving back to the town I grew up in, where we were married.  So David can practice the kind of law that he believes in and I can have sheep and possibly a coffee shop and hopefully we can have lots of dogs and four or five kids.  We want to be rooted in the community in a way I (who moved every five years) was not growing up.  This necessarily means that we can't move to the south of France for a few years or live in New York or Chicago for a while.  It means I can't work in politics or be an attorney at a top firm.  We want to live in the country and that means we can't live in the city.  David and I want to have four or five children which means that I can't wait until I'm thirty-five and my career is on track to start having kids.  It also means that David can't get PhD in medieval philosophy.  Because we can't be beholden to tenure track positions in whatever university in whatever godforsaked midwestern town to feed ourselves.  If getting a PhD was the only thing that David was interested in doing we would make it work but he is willing to go to law school instead.  We aren't going to Chicago or Georgia or Ithaca or Texas for law school.  We weighed our desire to be near family and friends and the financial aid available to us as well as the potential for me to get a rewarding job while he's in law school.  We are giving up going to a better school so we can pay much much less.  We are giving up living in a new, exciting city to live in the same city as my dad and sister and two hours away from my mother.  We are deciding what kind of life we want to have and then building our careers around the lives we want.   To pretend that we can have any career we want, in any location, with any amount of children, and look sexy and have a fantastic marriage and be good friends and the owners of pets who have their rabies shots up to date is insane.  I can't do it and I don't have children.

I understand what Slaughter and everyone else  is saying.  It should be as easy for women as it is for men to balance work and family.  The work place and schools and the community should be more conducive to working families given the economic realities we live in.  But the language of having it all is crazy pants.  None of us have it all.  None of us are going to.

*Men at the firm I visited didn't see their families anymore than the women did.  The women were just more bothered by it than the guys were.  Maybe that's something we should spend more time talking about.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Jewelry case at SoWa Vintage Market

After a week of oppressive heat and humidity and a Saturday of powerful storms, the break from extreme weather on Sunday was especially welcome. We ventured into the South End for brunch with friends and from there wandered over to the SoWa market. We bought a lovely 1871 map of Boston in a deep blue which, when framed in either white or birch, will look excellent in the living room. 

The most beautiful dress ever
I was rummaging through the racks in a vintage store near SoWa and found lovely, perfect party dress. A-line, cinched waist, metallic. As soon as I saw it I knew it had to home with me. Fingers crossed for alterations to be finished in time to wear to a wedding this weekend!

I hope your weekend was lovely!


Last week I didn't write anything here.  I wrote cover letters and emailed responses to apartment listings.  I scoured the interwebs for jobs in Washington that might point me toward a career instead of another way to kill a couple of years (anyone remember my brief stint as the front desk girl at a Days Inn?)

I also read the Slaughter article and am still reading Mommy Wars.  I thought a lot about what it means to be a woman in the workforce and what it means to be a woman who wants to have a lot of kids and be a mom like my mom was and still have a professional life.  It seems like this is an intractable problem and that no matter how mean we are to each other it will be an issue.  There isn't a two cent fix or we would have fixed it.

All of which is to say that I have been absent.  I'm back though.

And you are welcome for the bad cell phone picture of my knees.  It's what my weekend/week looked like.  Sometimes there was a baby.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Over Run

These blog people who organize their books by colour - these people must not need to find their books. They must not have enough books. We are over run with books. The idea of putting them all in boxes and finding an apartment to house them is daunting. I didn't remember to take a picture of the three stacks under David's bedside table or the shelf of cookbooks in the kitchen (okay, two shelves).

Friday, June 8, 2012

Early Morning Park

This morning we were the first at the park. There were squirrels everywhere and the wee girl said hello to everyone of them. We drank our banana, blueberry smoothie and pointed out birds. The dogs arrived and the wee boys with grannies and mothers.  We played on the side for an hour before coming home for a few books and a nap.  Happy Friday and have a good weekend.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Food On Sticks

Someone wanted another popsicle but the rule is one per day. As someone who has eaten her fair share of alligator on a stick I understand the appeal of deliciousness on a stick. Cantaloupe on a stick will do very nicely.

Also because someone was holding out on baby in a swimsuit pictures this little girl was in her suit in a very exciting blue pool in the front yard.  You are welcome.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Reading


My reading goes through fits and starts.  I read twelve books in three weeks then don't read at all for a month and a half.  Summer reading time is upon me though and I'm planning on rereading a few of my favourites.  Alice McDermott because she writes the most lovely things; Alice Walker because it reminds me of my year abroad when I read everything she'd written in six weeks and sobbed the whole time; and Jo Ann Beard because she has a new one I haven't yet read and she has that awesome Iowa vibe I love so hard.  Something about summer makes me want to keep the reading fiction and female.  What are you reading? Anything amazing?

 “I suppose I've never set out to write a novel in which nothing happens . . . only to write a novel about the lives of certain characters. That nothing 'happens' in their lives is beside the point to me; I'm still interested in how they live, and think, and speak, and make some sense of their own experience. Incident (in novels and in life) is momentary, and temporary, but the memory of an incident, the story told about it, the meaning it takes on or loses over time, is lifelong and fluid, and that's what interests me and what I hope will prove interesting to readers. We're deluged with stories of things that have happened, events, circumstances, actions, etc. We need some stories that reveal how we think and feel and hope and dream. ”  - Alice McDermott (because she will always be my favourite)

 A.  Charming Billy
B. The Boys of My Youth
C. The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart
D. The Dud Avocado

Apartment Crafts

Throw pillows, six made this weekend. It's really nice to have time to make pretty things again. Now that school is over for the semester I would like to make my apartment look like cool people actually live there. I think these will help.

I also need to find lovely things to hang on my walls. So far I have not found many not-heinous options. Apparently making an apartment homey is a long process.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sick Day

I am a nanny.  I've been with The Baby since she was five months old and now she's a walking babling wee person.  At seventeen months she signs like a maniac, sings, says a bunch of rad words, loves reading stories and tucking her baby doll and bear in (we did this eight times this morning);  she loves cottage cheese and will eat four apples a day if allowed.  She won't eat hamburger for love or money.   We spend eight and a half hours together a day and when either one of us is feeling extra especially sleepy or sad she spends two of those hours asleep in my arms instead of in her crib.   I saw her first steps and sometimes on sleepy days transferring her back to her mama at the end of the day is kind of rough.  And in two months I'm going to be leaving her.

When I started nannying I thought that I would be able to apply for grad school while she slept and it would give me more flexibility and take me our of my job at the douchiest university in America and it has done all that but as the adult child of a stay-at-home attachment parent I hadn't really considered what it meant to be the person spending more waking hours than anyone else with a perfect little human that you have to leave.  The very thought of leaving at the end of July so David can start law school is slightly traumatizing.  She isn't verbal enough yet for me or her parents to explain what's happening; that Hannah loves her so much but she'll write letters and we'll Skype and keep in touch and next time they are in DC we'll have lunch.  One day I will be there every morning and to take her to the park and the museum and story time and the next day she will be in fulltime daycare.  It feels like I'm getting ready to betray her and I hate that.

Obviously her parents are concerned about their well being and they know what's best for her and they are fantastically loving, wonderful people who are also pretty attachment parent-y and who adore their daughter but I'm still going to miss her and I'm still worried about her realizing I'm never coming back.

All of which is to say that this experience along with all the brouhaha about Attachment Parenting in the news recently have made me feel a little differently about what childrearing will look like in my family and appreciate what it looked like in my family of origin.

Today I am slightly the worse for wear and The Baby is a sad sick little money.  We are spending lots of time cuddling and snuggling and drinking lots of water and reading lots of books. That Little Engine is making it over the hill and back over and over again.   I can't help thinking about what happens next year when she's at daycare and her tummy hurts and she's in a sensitive mood.

Monday Night/Tuesday Morning

You know the stereotypical trope (or frozen lasagna ad) about the husband coming home from work and telling his wife that the boss is coming over for dinner?  David showed up at 5:45 last night and asked if a friend from college and his pregnant wife could come over and spend the night.  I, unlike the lady with the lasagna, was not prepared but also not mean so they came over for beer (SO MUCH BEER) and our couches.   We live so far away from our college friends and we've had a hard time building a community in Durham and I'd kind of forgotten how great it was to get a little drunk on a weeknight and talk about politics and religion and social ethics  (don't worry, the pregnant wife just had decaf tea).  I had almost forgotten.   The three hours of sleep I'm skating on until I can crash (after another dinner with the visitors and another couple of Dave's alma mater) not quite so nice.  David sent me a text this morning that just said: Praying for death.  I think that's about right

I hope your week got off with a bang too.  I hope your headache isn't quite as bad as mine.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Mary and I are playing around with layouts and various pretty things this week.  Please don't mind our mess.  Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday Night Jams

Mississippi fave Dent May.  He's the best. Well the second best. The best best are The Da Vincis (my brother's band).  Here is a reminder.  They have finished recording their second CD and you'll be able to buy it soon.  In case See You Tonight is rocking your world so hard it hurts you can buy the album here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Laid Up

My Friendly Bedfellow - this entire post was written and photographed from my bed.  I wasn't moving.

Last week after a bachelor party weekend and some hard living David came down with a sore throat/headache/exhaustion/ick factor disease and took a week of sick time and lay in bed watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. Now it seems the disease is visiting me. The same me who doesn't get sick days. So David got me take out and I'm watching Better Off Ted (because la Portia is my favourite). We had plans to roll out a pretty new layout but it's going to wait until I am not blogging from my phone under the duvet.