Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

h1

The Holidays Are Coming! That means … visitation issues.

October 14, 2012

[I started drafting this last Monday – Columbus Day.  I didn’t finish, I guess.]

 

I should be packing for my trip.  But the dryer is running, and … I don’t wanna go.*  So I’ll write a post, instead.

Jules is now 5′ 8.5″.  She grew a half inch in the past week or so.  She comes into the room, and I look at her chest, because it’s where I expect her face to be.  But it’s not.  And she’s not done, yet.  I know she has more in her.  No wonder I can’t call her Mouse anymore (although, I do – in real life – call her that all the time).

She went for a quick prep-session today with a voice coach we know.  Neither of the girls had been to see her since the spring, but we were very surprised when we contacted her this month for help with some audition prep and she said, “I really want to help them, but just to let you know, I’m 40 weeks pregnant!”   Jules got very anxious.  “Can’t I go with Emma?  Do I have to go alone?  What if she has the baby while I’m there!!!???”  I tried to explain to her that first babies come sloooowwwww.  It wasn’t going to just squirt out between notes on the piano.  But she remained anxious.

And I’m not sure why she has these anxieties.  But she does.  Not only about babies being born instantaneously, but also about getting in an airplane.

So, here we are.  It’s October.  Jules is 14, and she’s a little more fierce than she used to be in her refusals to fly.  I really do acknowledge that this fear of flying is likely something deeper, but I found myself less than 2 months from this year’s Thanksgiving visit to the Middle of the Country and her NOT in therapy to explore why she’s really afraid to fly.  Maybe the Ex would just shrug if I told him that Mouse didn’t want to go because of her fear, and that Emma wouldn’t go without her sister.  But I think that the girls will be better served by having the opportunity for a relationship with their father.  And while J doesn’t really seem [again, with the need for therapy] to care if she ever sees him again, Em really wants to go, but ONLY with her sister.  So there’s this tension/conflict.

And I don’t want to test it.  I just don’t want to figure out what to do if one of them insists they’re NOT GOING.  So.

Well.

I mean, two years ago David and I went to New Orleans for Thanksgiving.  It was a great time; we loved exploring and tasting.  So — why not do the same in the Middle of the Country?

But then, since David is working now, it wasn’t a given that he could miss work on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  And Emma wanted to play a Powderpuff football game.  But there was no way we could leave at 5 or 6 pm on Weds. and get to the Middle of the Country (Hello, 18 hour drive) in time for them to even spend Thanksgiving with their father.

So – here’s the plan:

Jules and I take Wednesday off from work and school, and we get in the car.  Probably at 5 a.m.  We will spend that night in a motel somewhere in Indiana, and get on the road again the next morning by 7 a.m., the same time that David and Emma will get on a plane.  Jules and I will get to the airport at the same time that David and Emma land, and the Ex will meet us there.  He’ll take the girls, and David and I will drive to Chicago.

We have a couple of days there, including Thanksgiving day & dinner.  We have a huge list of things to do, and not enough time to do it in.  I’m hugely looking forward to it.

Unless, of course, things don’t go my way and I need to be in the Virgin Islands – again – on the Monday after Thanksgiving.  We are asking permission to attend a conference by phone, but we don’t know that will be granted.  Fingers crossed.

 

* Oh, yes, I am a roller coaster.  First I don’t want to go, then I’m excited to go, and now I don’t want to go.  I’m missing a lot this week, and I’m not happy about it.  I’ll be  in “airplane mode” while things will be heated in my case, and I’m not happy about it. It’s one thing to be nervous about my first deposition and my first mediation, and it’s a completely different thing to be worried about all of that on top of — do I have everything I need in my suitcase?  How many binders?  How many boxes of documents?  Will I have a printer?  It’s just too much.  TOO MUCH!  not to mention the other 4 cases that I’m active on and I will be GONE!!!  And – also – the real sadness – is the home life.  It’s a crazy week here, and I’m just —- missing it.  The girls are anxious, they have play auditions, games, meets, tests, quizzes — I want to be here.  I want to give them a hug and a kiss and tell them that they’re wonderful.  I don’t want to call them on the phone and tell them that they’re wonderful.  Bummer.

h1

Virgin Islands, Wait! (And other streams of consciousness)

October 5, 2012

I had butterflies in my stomach all day today, while gearing up to head into the partner’s office to say, “YOU do the hearing on the motions, I have a trip planned.”

I felt better than I had when I first found out about our new dates, and I also had a hugely invigorating, successful, productive day.*

So I was a little surprised when I found myself choking up when I raised the issue with the partner.

I didn’t have tears – not even close.  But my voice was weird. And I had to look down at my paper.

I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth – I started, I said, “I planned a trip -”

And he cut me off.

“I’ll do it.”  Then the weird voice wanted to turn into tears, but it didn’t.

“Don’t even give it another thought, go on your trip, I’ll take care of this.”

Honestly, I’ve earned this.  I really have.  [redacted]

______________________________

Through this little crisis, this struggle over what it means to love my job and to hate my career choice, all at once, I’ve only solidified how much I love my firm.  The support, the love, the encouragement.  It’s come from a partner, a fellow associate, and 2 assistants.  They’ve checked in on me, cheered me on, and forced me to advocate for myself.  (not that it was THAT hard.)

______________________________

I don’t know what it means that I had a certain feeling of … self? [pride?] That my biggest reasons for hating this conflict, this tension (I love my job!  I want this opportunity!  This fucking sucks!) wasn’t about babies and kids and motherhood.  It was about me.

I mean, yeah.  The trip is with Emma, and that’s very important to me.  But the birthday party, and the weekend away with my husband, and the idea that we [lawyers?] have these plans, and they’re dashed, and we’re miserable.; that’s ME, it’s not a MOM.  We set these priorities, and they’re upended and we want to cry (or stomp our feet or punch the wall).

It’s universal.  It’s not only for moms.

Maybe that’s because I am 40, and I have so many childless contemporaries.  And my childless contemporaries – they have struggles.  they’re deeper, and they’re current, and they’re … childless.  Because they’re my contemporaries, but they’re partners.  Or they’re senior associates. They didn’t do what I did when they were 21, 22, 23.  [get married, have one, have a second baby].  And now, their bodies don’t wanna.

They don’t have a trip with their daughter.  They probably don’t want to hear about mine.

But I love these women and we have so much in common (because I’m not just a mom, I’m also ME), and I want to be close to them, and I don’t want this gulf between us because of what I have and what they don’t.  Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have what they want:  I have TEENAGERS.  They aren’t babies.  But I know I do.  Because they likely won’t have this, either.  And I, personally, love this.

_____________________________________

Anyway.

Things got fixed.  We may move the trial by a few days,** and that will be enough days to allow for my party (which I did not mention, by the way; I’m willing to roll the dice on that one).  I’ve been given permission to take my trip without worry.

___________________________________

In the meantime …

I’m over 5 years out of law school, and I’ve briefed the shit out of a lot of cases and issues, and I’ve enjoyed myself.  I’ve argued motions in court.  I’ve been on a BIG trial team where I did the prep stuff, but none of the examination of witnesses, and I’ve done a smaller trial, where I was able to delegate the prep stuff and did all of the witness examinations.

I’ve done stuff.

But I’ve never taken a deposition.

I know that there are a few of you who think, “what?  that’s crazy!!”

Tomorrow, I am noticing 4 depositions.  All of which are to be taken back here:

By me.  On (likely) Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, I think we’ll be holding a mediation on the same case.

And now that my trip with Emma is squared away, and my bitterness toward the locale is abating  — I’m SO EXCITED!!!

As of next Monday, I never again have to hang my head in shame and say, “I’ve never taken a deposition.”

[my mother called me fickle.  I told her she was wrong. What do YOU think?]

* a male associate came into my office today – we were both playing hooky from a firm event because of work we had to do, and we were sharing in our lament about how we had SO MUCH WORK!  He looked at me at one point and he said, “I have this impression here, that you’re at an “oh shit!” moment, because you have literally too much to do, and that you – in reality – love it.  And ‘oh shit’ or not, you’re going to get it done. And that it’s how you thrive, and that it’s what makes you happy.  Am I right?”

I smiled.  We both got back to work.

** Oh yeah, baby – I will be going back there in DECEMBER.  I’m totally going to learn to love this.

h1

Our Final Days on Vacation.

July 1, 2012

Yeah, I missed out posting Days 5 and 6.  I have less photos, because the days were a little less cooperative.

Day 5:  We planned another field trip day, and the weather was hot hot hot.  We had been lucky all week with temps in the low 80s, and on our first field trip day, mid 70s.  But then on Thursday, it shot up into the 90s, and we all wilted.  The hurricane in the atlantic (Debby) had caused some rip currents, so we weren’t too upset about not being on the beach.  The thing Lemon really wanted to do was to go and see the site of the Wright Brothers’ first flight:

“It’s only a model.”

“Da Plane!  Da Plane!”

(As if someone else wouldn’t have come up with it if they didn’t.)

The markers indicate the first 4 successful flights.  The 4th is pretty far out into the sweltering field.  We did not visit the markers.

This was on a hill.  The hill was higher than it looked.  And it was HOT.

Monument, with a Wright Head.

Mouse, however, was miserable.  “This is all the things I hate!  Museums and airplanes!”  I gave her permission to give the Wright brothers (and the first planes) the finger, but she just glared at me. Like this:

Oscar the Mouse.

“Stop taking my picture!  I am miserable! I am sweaty! I am bored! Stop!”

So, we went to Five Guys and gorged ourselves on fries.  Then we went home, and the girls played games while David and I read books.  It was nice.

Our last day at the beach was also a bit lackluster.  It was due to be another scorcher, so we planned to get up & out earlier than usual, by 10 a.m.  (Oh, the torture that represents for a nearly-16 year old!)  But when we got to the beach, very soon after our planned time, we were greeted with a very rough sea, high winds, and pelting sand:

We went in the ocean for a bit, anyway, but it lacked the serenity of days past.  So we tried to take advantage of the wind, and fly some kites:

Lemon had some success, but Mouse’s broke.  So we tried to read for a while, but the sand was pretty sharp.

So we packed up by noon, and went and watched Brave.

Seriously, I started tearing up at the opening scene!  The opening scene!  When the mom was chasing her little girl around to tickle her, and they were so sweet.  I was all, “my girls used to be that little, and we used to chase around to tickle, and they used to giggle like that!”  And then later,  I cried more.  Then, when it ended, I sobbed.

Mouse laughed at me, but Lemon also had some heart-wrenching.  (I can’t say when, because it’s kind of a spoiler.)  But then, in perfect Lemon form, she picked on the premise afterward.  God, cartoon characters are so illogical!

Then we went home and packed, and we ate yummy foods, and we packed some more.  I found myself pretty sad about leaving.  Even though I was also ready to go.  I was sad to go.

I soothed myself by choosing next year’s house in between loads of laundry.

h1

Day 4: More Sun & Swimming

June 27, 2012

Today’s real photos will come along after I get the underwater camera’s film developed.  For now, here’s a taste:

Ocean.

The end of a good, good, day.

Mouse and David – Happy people.

With a sourpuss like this, you wonder where she gets her nickname?

He’s carrying both umbrellas, because my back is f’ing killing me. 

Moving on ….

Mouse got a new hat today; after a good bit of drama involving sunscreen in the eyeballs.*  Ouch.

Leaving the beach at 6:15 p.m.  We love our beach.

Do we have to go home in 2 days?  Really?

So, the other day, we SUCKED at sunscreen.  We tried to apply it to one another, and we tried to be sure to reapply as necessary.  But at the end of the day, we were all in pain.  Mouse’s pain was primarily on her face; Lemon’s on her shoulders, mine in a weird spot on my leg, plus odd patches on my chest.  David had it on his back and arms, in stripes (my fault?).

We took yesterday off from the beach, partly because it was the coolest day of the week (and therefore the most comfortable to be wandering around), and partly so we could let our sunburns heal.

Today, we were more determined.  We coated & coated.  We allowed for extra dry time before going in the water.  We got out of the water to the shade, and went to reapply before getting back in the water when it was time.  Mouse closed her eyes, and I put the sunscreen on.  All seemed fine, but then – it got in her eyes. She cried and yelled.  I grabbed my water bottle and dumped the contents on her eyes.  She cried and yelled more, and said, “oh my god, i can’t seeeeeee!”  We all kind of freaked (on the inside).  More water, towel, water.  She could see, but still hurt.  Now it was her eyelids, her face.  So she and I head back to the house, and I’m feeling terrible, because I’m the one who put the sunscreen on her. She takes a shower, and still cries that it hurts.  I feel worse.  Then she says, “well, I think it might be my sunburn?”  and a switch flips in her head, and …. no more pain.  She gets dressed, we go to the store to get special FACE sunscreen.  We go back home, put it on a tiny spot to make sure it doesn’t sting – it’s fine.  We put it on our faces, and we had back to the amazing, fantastic, uncrowded, beautiful, 78 degree beach.

God, we love this vacation.

Stay tuned – tomorrow, we explore to the north.

xo

h1

Day 3: A break from the sun.

June 27, 2012

Slathered with aloe, we headed out for a day of exploring:

Well, after a lazy morning on the deck.  The storms cleared out the humidity, and it was breezy enough that we needed sweatshirts.

In my souvenir.  

Then, Lighthouse No. 1:

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  

We didn’t climb to the top, because there was a 1-hour wait time.  But we got plenty o’ pictures.

The tippy top.

The Hipstamatic Version

You can see Lemon’s sunburn a bit.  

David.

My camera was full of these after I asked Lemon to hold it.

A rarity.  Thanks to Mouse for taking a decent one.

What most of our day looked like.  

Then we took a ferry to Ocracoke Island (and we all had fun saying “Ocracoke” all day):

Reminiscent of the ferries to the Vineyard.

But with much warmer water.

And with non-Massachusetts names and stuff.

While in Ocracoke, we saw another lighthouse, and some ducks:

Ocracoke Lighthouse:  The oldest operating lighthouse on the East Coast.

The family, in front of the Ocracoke Lighthouse. (Mouse was in a bit of snit here, surprised I got a decent smile out of her.)

The Hipstamatic versions:

The Lighthouse.

The Lovely Lemon. 

And again.  (Blows me away how old she is looking.)

Only one of Mouse.  She was in a Mood.  

And the ducks I promised.

We saw all we really felt we needed to see on Ocracoke earlier than anticipated, and so decided to head back to our home base on Hatteras Island for dinner.  But first, I needed a couple of beach shots from the more-southern vantage point.  David stayed in the car because it was after 4:30, and therefore mosquito feeding time, and Mouse stayed in the car because her snit wasn’t over (“I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m bored.”)  Lemon and I went and peeked:

Such a pretty, cooperative girl.

Or not.  🙂  (Like her sunburn???  Her other grandmother chastised her on Facebook for it.)

Ocracoke Beach.

More beach.

The Grassy Dunes.

We got onto the ferry pretty quick (there was an hour or so wait on the way TO Ocracoke, but no wait on the way home), and had some burgers for dinner (tuna sandwich for Mouse, because she’s a veggie, and a veggie burger for David because …. he was in the mood?).  After dinner, we found this outside:

Sunset in Waves, NC

The Hipstamatic version (required, in my opinion).

Day 4 is another beach day.  I bought myself an underwater camera so I can take pics from the waves.  Sadly, though, I can’t develop them until I get home.  But I’m very excited!

In other news, I woke up on Day 3 with a very painful back.  The same back pain I experienced about a year ago, when I first started running.  Hopefully, this will go away soon.

h1

Day 2: More Beach & A Storm

June 27, 2012

Little did we know that while these photos were being snapped, skin was turning crispy.  The ocean tends to melt sunscreen right off the body.  This we have learned.

Mouse warming up before jumping back into the ocean.

David hiding from the sun.

Lemon is too cool to swim.  

David and I enjoyed tracking clouds from under our shady umbrellas.  When do we have time for that?

The girls also took refuge from the sun.  I wish I could say the combination of shade and sun screen kept us all from burning.

Book + Chips = 15yo’s idea of the beach.

The storms rolled in at around 8, and gave us a good show through 1 a.m.

We have this “crow’s nest” deck on the house we’re renting.  A little scary because it moves in the wind, but I wasn’t able to leave it when the storm was approaching.  Very cool view.  

(I climbed down well before I saw lightning, at my family’s urging.)

h1

Vacated

June 24, 2012

Morning walk to the beach.

David & Mouse in the OceanNo hurricane this year.

The path to the beach.

Private beach.

Staking out a spot. (Lemon’s in bed – it’s only 9:30, after all.)

Even crabs need shades.

h1

Inequities

June 6, 2012

The other day, I was commuting into work.  Happily, I ended up with a seat pretty early in my ride, near to the front of the train.  The train driver and another MBTA worker were chatting.  (I was on the second of 2 cars, and in that situation, my “train driver” is really nothing more than a glorified fare collector and announcement-maker; the chatting was not a safety issue).

I found myself eavesdropping.

Me, one of many people in suits or other business dress.  iPad or iPhone in hand (for many, like me, it’s both).  Well-regarded literature or magazine in hand, to read when the mindless games on said devices become tiresome.  Checking our email every moment that we get reception in the tunnels, because work may need me, they may have Important Questions.

But the eavesdropping:

Male MBTA Worker-Dude:  I just want to travel, you know?  I want to go all kinds of places and see all kinds of things.

Female MBTA Driver-Lady:  I want to go on vacation, but I don’t really care where I go.  I can’t really afford to go anywhere far away anyway.

Male MBTA Worker-Dude:  You know what would be so cool?  To go to D.C.  And you can drive there.  They say that in D.C., there’s a lot of museums.  Like tons of museums! Man, I would love that shit!  I would love to go and see all the ancient Egypt shit.  That would be cool.

Female MBTA Driver- Lady:  I don’t wanna go to no museums.  If I go on vacation, I just want to rest on my hotel bed and go to the hotel pool.

Male MBTA Worker-Dude:  Man! Are you kidding me?  What’s the point in that, you might as well stay home!  Don’t you want to see stuff?

Female MBTA Driver-Lady: [some quiet mumbling about having three babies]

Male MBTA Worker-Dude:  yeah, that’s hard when you gotta deal with all of that.  But then they’ll grow up and move out, and then you can do other shit.

And that stuck with me.  All day.  The privilege, which I don’t always see, every now and then becomes overwhelming.

 

h1

Commuting and Reading

May 14, 2012

It’s funny that it makes such a difference, my new commute from my old.

When I first started at BigFirm, we were in a less-than-easy-to-get-to location.  It was easy for some people to get to, particularly people who lived on the shore south of Boston and took a boat to work.  Some others who took the commuter rail into one of Boston’s major commuter stations.  People who lived in Cambridge had an easier time.  But my particular line of the Boston T system didn’t have a station near the old office.  I’d get off in central Boston and walk 10-15 minutes.  It was a nice walk.  If I didn’t enjoy the walk, I could have connected to another line and gotten myself a few blocks closer.  But I prefer walking to waiting for trains.  Even in bad weather.

When BigFirm moved, it cut my commute in half.  And cut my time on the train by a third or more.  Instead of riding all the way to the end of the line, I was only on the train for 3 stops.  Then I had a walk similar in length to my old one, but man, did that walk SUCK.

The old walk was through the streets of the financial district.  The path had me grazing Quincy Market/Fanueil Hall, but I knew how to avoid it, and the walk was quick.  Most important, my fellow walkers were 95% business people who were, like me, quick walkers.  We either wanted to get HOME or we wanted to get to WORK.  No dilly-dallying!

The new location of BigFirm was, literally, in the middle of a mall.  And between that mall and the T station I used was either a nasty bridge over the freeway, or Boston’s famous Newbury Street.  (I got a lot of shopping done.)  But the walk drove me CRAZY.  I was forever behind tourists, shoppers, strollers, whining toddlers.  Ugh.  It was impossible to just squeeze through them all to get to the train.  They walked 6 abreast.  They walked and just – BOOM – stopped!  Right in front of me.  To look at a coat in the window of North Face, or to think about whether or not they were in the mood for Pinkberry, or to marvel at the newest design of Chucks in the window at Converse (a frequent stop of mine, I admit).

And the shorter train ride wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be.  When I was on the train for only 10 minutes, I never settled in.  I never opened a book.

I kind of lost my reading time.

I was cranky all around.  And then if you throw in the “this job isn’t going so well . . . “, misery!

NewFirm is smack dab in the middle of Boston.  Mere steps away from the T station I used to get off.  So now I have what feels like the best of both worlds — a moderately long train ride (30 minutes), and a 3 minute walk.

I’m reading again!  Lots and lots of reading!

Here are some things I’ve read since I started my new job:

  • Peony, by Pearl S. Buck;
  • Swamplandia by Karen Russell;
  • The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan;
  • Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon;
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides;
  • The Magician and the Magician King by Lev Grossman;
  • Skippy Dies by Paul Murray.

There may have been more, but I can’t think of anything else. I’m currently reading a collection of short stories by Etgar Keret (Suddenly, a Knock on the Door), and am also reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, my Mother’s Day gift from David, after watching (and loving) the movie on Friday night.

 

h1

The Last of the Birthday Trip

February 7, 2012

First, the trip almost didn’t happen, then we had a meal that we will always remember, now – I think I can resort mostly to photos, and lay off all the blah blah.  We’ll see 🙂

On our one full day, we got up early and had breakfast at the B&B.  Then we grabbed coats (that we didn’t need, because it was 55 or so, despite being December) and hopped in the car for our day exploring the entire island, rather than just the towns.

We started out in Menemsha, which is where Mouse spent her time when she vacationed with friends, and where at least some of Jaws was filmed:

There was a fish market there that was known for its clam chowder, and I really wanted some, but we were there too early.  So we had to move on and go around the island to the Aquinnah area.  We enjoyed some overlook views and then went for a very long and very rocky walk on the beach.  I was not wearing the right shoes:

 

One of the things about the beach there is the natural clay, to wit:

Here is the cliff’s worth:

And here’s a shot of a funky little crevice in the clay:

It was tough, but we avoided applying the clay to our bodies.  (heh)

Then, because he loves me and it was my birthday, David drove me back to Menemsha for my clam chowder.

Some sites along the road:

The chowder was delicious. It was worth the zigzag. After the chowder, we drove to South Beach, not far from Edgartown.  This was my favorite beach, and if I one day win that lottery, I will buy me a house near THIS beach.  Even though I’m told it looks nothing like this during the summer, but is instead wall-to-wall people.  I don’t care:

And then, finally, we started to get chilly.  After the entire day of walking on beaches and hanging out outside, we didn’t need a sweater or a coat until 4 p.m.  First time ever for my birthday to be that warm, I’m sure.

And then our funny story of the day:

We to Edgartown for a little bit, because we’d missed a couple of shops before they closed the day before, due to early off-season closing times. We were alone in one of the shops, looking at some wallets, one of which I knew that Mouse wanted, when the door went ding-ding-ding.  An older couple walked in – a polo-clad 60-something man and his fur-drenched wife.  I did a double take and said, “Judge ______?!??!!”  It was the judge I’d worked with during my first summer of law school and his wife.  Very surreal and odd (especially when you think that my true FIRST visit to the Vineyard was the time that I flew there in this judge’s prop plane — I even got to fly for most of the trip.  It was a lot of fun).

He of course was asking me about work and practice and the Big/Old Firm, and I was just about a week out from the lay off news.  I pretended that it hadn’t happened. We just caught up in general. Still, who would have thought?

That night, David went to a more casual restaurant.  I had some oysters, and we had – other food.  I think burgers.  I know it was good, but it wasn’t like the night before.

For our last morning, we got up and did some shell-combing on the beach across the street from our hotel . . .

. . . and headed back to the ferry, relaxed and ready to delve back into our school play.  (Which I plan to be the topic of my next post, but we’ll see.  This series has been exhausting!)