Random thoughts, ideas and pictures of a multi-tasking, yarn-addicted Lady Lawyer

Yes... I really DO have 5 kids

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lazy while crazy

It was simply too cold and damp and my knees were in agony after Jenny's ballet class today. I really NEED to use my Saturdays efficiently since it's Fall and the Eagles are playing AND the Phillies too. That being said, I have been going like the Energizer Bunny on steroids for months and months and months. Work, the kids' activities, going to San Antonio and Biloxi and New Orleans (funny... I got there before Obama did as President!), wondering WHERE my son will be heading next (and losing sleep over the obvious answer to that question), politics and occasionally knitting in between. Even the knitting is pressure-oriented at this time of year between Christmas presents and the Woman's Club craft auction. Melissa and I spent two nights this week making Christmas cards to be sold at the auction and I'm doing a baby blanket too (and carrying Chip's girlfriend's socks as a portable project -- NOT posting a picture because she doesn't get to see them UNTIL Christmas; she picked the yarn out though). When I realized yesterday that I was putting February trial dates into my blackberry and it was SO raw out today, I jumped off the hamster wheel upon which I spend my life. Sort of.

One of my ongoing projects has been scanning old pictures so as to preserve them. I haven't had 30 seconds to sit and scan since the Air Force consumed my existence in March when they moved Jr's reporting date, but here and there I scan a few pictures. Today, I scanned more than a few. I went through the remainder of pictures my mother had asked me to scan, got ALL of the kids' school and activity and prom pictures scanned and scanned some of the pictures from when the older three kids were small -- the blackmail potential is tremendous!!!!! Then I took the three hours and burned pictures onto a disk -- that process seems like it shouldn't take as long as it does. It probably would have been faster if I had just burned ALL of the scanned pictures, but I knew my mother only wanted certain ones and there are a LOT of scanned pictures. So that was my cold and rainy Saturday afternoon (and evening -- I just finished!). My knees hurt more now than they did this morning because scanning sounds like a passive project, but isn't. I have to get up and down and walk around my table and put the now-scanned pictures into safer storage than they have been over the years. One of the interesting things that I learned when I started scrapbooking and card making (which is absolutely Melissa's and my FAVORITE new thing to do because the product is simply FUN) is that pictures degrade over time because of a chemical called "lignan." I'm probably spelling that incorrectly, but it's what fades and browns pictures. So as I scan the old family pictures (some of which are from WAY before I was born like my Daddy in Korea), I am re-storing all of them in such a way so as to preserve them as well as possible.

What else is new...? Phillies vs. Dodgers in the NLCS. Everything old is new again has become my mantra. It's not just from last year, but from the late 1970s. Dodgers would beat the Phillies in the NLCS and then we would cheer for the Yankees (who Daddy cheered for anyway) to beat the Dodgers. Phillies vs. Dodgers..... did I expect a repeated World Series visit to be easy???? Nope... I am FAR too realistic a Philadelphia sports fan. Last year's October 29th miracle is still fresh in my mind and spirit -- and will always be one of the most fun days of my life. The Eagles are working their usual stress on me -- I think that's why stress at work, with the kids, with all of the "stuff" I do on a daily basis isn't so big a deal. I'm an Eagles fan... always... and that brings a certain level of perpetual angst to one's life; especially in October. Especially when the Phillies are post-season as well. What we have NOT done this year is to add to the Eagles stress by inviting everyone and their cousin over on Sundays. We want to watch the games and spend quality family time -- Eagles time is about ALL the time we can make to be together. And we've taught Jenny to cheer and yell for our Beloved Birds. At three, she needed to get used to being in this house on Fall Sundays.

The kids... Jenny started preschool at Gwynedd Mercy's Hobbit House. The program is outstanding, the teachers and staff are the most incredible people on the planet and I love that she is there. SHE loves that she is there. She also doesn't show her Jenny-ness at Hobbit House. Her teacher was saying to me earlier this week how Jenny cooperates, how Jenny blesses herself and prays before she eats, how Jenny shares with the other children. On and on about how sweet and cooperative a child she is -- I almost asked "is there another Jennifer in the class?" We got into the car. Jenny waited until I got in and started yelling at me about something and telling me "my daddy says..." which is her newest thing: if she gets an answer she doesn't like, she will inform the adult giving her the non-pleasing answer that "her Daddy/Mommy/Chippy/Ryan says" the opposite of the non-pleasing answer. My youngest daughter is QUITE a handful at home. At school, at swimming lessons, at ballet class, at restaurants, at craft stores... she's the perfect child. No one believes me and Mark and Chip when we tell them she's sassy! She is taking non-recital ballet class and swimming lessons and enjoying both activities thoroughly.

Ryan is enjoying third grade (most of the time -- he IS eight after all). He also started playing the cello which I expected to make my house sound like someone was strangling a cat for at least a few weeks. Nope... he is playing beautifully and really enjoys it. He doesn't enjoy carrying the cello to and from school on Mondays for lessons and Fridays for orchestra practice, but he loves playing. Naturally, he is back into winter swimming so he's out two nights per week (with Mark -- Jenny and I are solo which is usually when I find some mindless knitting project so as to NOT listen to her watching Caillou on demand!). The moment the rain stopped today, he and his friends were outside, running around and having a good time. Eight is a challenge for parents, but it's a happy time for kids, I think.

Jr. is still in Mississippi where he says it is still hot as blazes. He told us a few weeks ago that he was being stationed in Italy once he finishes his training but this week said that he may be going to Northern England instead (both of which are his dream bases and either place would make a LOVELY vacation destination next Spring/Summer for me). From wherever he goes next, he is deployable but I really, REALLY try not to think about that overly much. I think I would lose what little sleep I still manage to get if I thought about deployments too much. He loves the Air Force and is doing well. We are very proud of him and his service to our country.

Chip was able to get a limited time, permanent building substitute position which ends the middle of November. After that, I guess he'll go back to daily subbing. However, he also got a job as the lead singer in a cover band that performs up and down the Northeast corridor. He's been in Virginia all weekend and was in New Jersey last weekend. It's pretty awesome for him to be able to use his talents since he has yet to find a full time teaching job. On that note, my husband is still working without a contract on last year's salary and without the HUGE bump he should have gotten for finishing his Master's plus 30. He'll get the retroactive pay eventually, but things are tight since we budgeted for the raise AND for my clients to pay me regularly. Thank God we don't have extravagant tastes -- we would be in big trouble if we did.

Melissa is working for the county and has also picked up a 2nd job so as to save for a car and for a wedding. Nope... no date yet (did you hear screaming from PA...? Then there's no date), but planning is starting. She and Mike have decided not to do a destination wedding so finances are in play there too. She's doing wonderfully in all aspects of her life and Mark and I are really proud of the young woman she has become -- it's funny too because all of the other criminal lawyers are always telling me how awesome she is. "Is there another Melissa working at the Clerk of Courts???" Just kidding, sweetie.

Finally, there is politics... I have been pondering how best to address my feelings about the national stuff and am just not there yet. So here's the local.... there are SEVEN opening for judges in my county due to retirements, deaths and 2 new judges. We currently have ONE woman judge on our bench (and she's a brilliant woman and a nice lady). I'm not sure I need to say more than THERE IS ONE WOMAN JUDGE IN MY COUNTY!!!! However, gender alone is not enough for me so for those of you in Montgomery County who are reading this, I will ask you to ask yourself a few questions before voting for judges for the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas: (1) Has the attorney been an actively practicing lawyer IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY for the past five years? Not a recent member of the Montco. bar association because they practice law in Philly and live in Montco. If the candidate has not been an active Montgomery County lawyer for AT LEAST five years, please do not vote for them. They will not know our rules and procedures. They are carpetbaggers and things are run more smoothly and differently here than in Philly. OUR system works because the lawyers know it. If a judge does NOT know it, it's going to be like a monkey wrench in the gearshift. (2) Has the candidate been practicing law for at least 14 years? If not, they are junior to me and I would prefer -- this time around; we have 5 more spots in 2 years -- they not be chosen as a judge. (3) Does the candidate have something to offer OTHER than gender, race, ethnicity? Has she or he been active in our community? Has she or he volunteered to chair bar association committees? Has she or he practiced in a broad range of cases OR has she or he practiced in one area for such a long period of time that the candidate could take the criminal, civil, family or probate bench IMMEDIATELY and have the knowledge to sit in judgment of issues.

I am openly supporting two candidates although I know exactly who I am voting for each of the seven spots. Patricia Coonahan and Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio meet each and every one of my requirements as a citizen, a voter and a lawyer. Both women are dear friends of mine and I have served on bar association committees and taught CLE classes and know them to be honorable, smart and fair. Pat, the chief of the DA's Appellate Division, is one of my constant adversaries and she has never treated me with anything but respect and fairness. She is probably the smartest woman I know and would make an incredible judge. Carolyn has lived her whole life in Montgomery County. She was the first woman Chief Public Defender. She's been a prosecutor, a defense lawyer a civil lawyer and now does land usage work. Her son and mine were in musical theater together a hundred years ago and she is a great mom and a better lawyer. She also single-handedly brought the Women in Law committee back from the dead back when NO ONE was part of it. Think carefully about who you vote for, but PLEASE give Pat and Carolyn your votes!

And now it's 9:20 and I'm going to have dinner and watch mindless TV with my husband. For the record, I am now eight months smoke-free (as of yesterday) and have lost 11 pounds on weight watchers (which I went back on last month). I have a LOT to go with the weight, but I feel wonderful now that I can breathe again. I can't WALK most days because of knee pain, but I can breathe.

And the Phillies and in the NLC and the Eagles play every Sunday and my children are happy and healthy and well. My life is good and no one can take that away from me no matter how hard some people have tried to do so over the years. As I read back on the 2009 posts and really recognize the journey that has occurred, I realize that 2009 has become 200-mine after all. I don't CARE what others think because I know that I am a good mom, a decent lawyer and i feel very content with where I am as this year creeps to a close.

Thanks for reading!