Mothers in the Legal Profession Roundup No. 365


Week of October 13 – 19, 2014

The big news: Full of the Dickens will be welcoming another bundle of joy at high noon tomorrow.

With a bit longer to go, Mommy and the Sin City is in the midst of an unplanned bathroom remodel, daycare plagues, and pregnancy adventures.

Meanwhile, Perspectives From a Hard Boiled Egg could use some emotional and practical support in helping Junior be able to eat well and figure out the best plan for his kidneys.

Magic Cookie plans a movie night at home. You would think that would be a heart-warming, fun, and relaxing evening. You would think.

Daisy finds herself unconsciously jingling her keys and wearing children’s hair bows in her hair. It is all part of turning into your mom and being a mom.

The Reluctant Grownup’s oldest is becoming helpful with chores, and has his own helpful method for sorting and storing groceries. Oh, and I am beginning to appreciate the coolness of our October a little more when she puts it into perspective for me.

In a Minute gets caught up in the differences between states in family law and college costs. My blood just started to boil.

Having finished law school, passed the bar, and started work as a lawyer, Cowgirl in the City is contemplating a new season for her blog. We are looking forward to see where her new direction takes her (and us)!

Husband of The Queen of Hats almost had a medical situation worthy of a journal article. Luckily, he should be on the track for recovery, now.

Lag Liv finds the joy of both not knowing catalogues are for buying things and knowing that they are for that purpose.


The weekly* Mothers In the Legal Profession Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis at the ButterflyfishGraceBJJ, Law, and Living, Mommy and the Sin CityMagic CookieThe Reluctant Grownup, and Perspectives From a Hard Boiled Egg (currently on maternity leave) blogs.

Would you like your blog to be considered in the weekly* Mothers in the Legal Profession Roundup? Leave a comment or send an e-mail to any of the hostesses listed above.

*We aim for weekly roundups, but we have our priorities straight, too. So, sometimes a week may be skipped here and there, and we are okay with that.

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Little Women, French, and Preconceived Notions

Preconceived notions.

They may be preconceived when faced in the present, blocking consideration, but they came from somewhere. They were conceived at some point based upon something. The evidence for them at their creation may have been faulty, but for some reason, they took hold. Strongly.

While I was living in Germany during my late elementary and early junior high years, I fell in love with books written by Louisa May Alcott. I think I read them all.  Of course, the first one I read was Little Women.

Occasionally, there would be a line written in French, centered, set off, in italics. It looked frilly to me. The little French I was exposed to, when compared to English and German, sounded, to me, the way it looked in italics type. Frilly.

While I like dresses, heels, make-up, jewelry, and receiving flowers–I am not frilly in other ways. I do not like arts and crafts and do not arrange flowers. I do not have a Pinterest account.

Plus, I could not understand the French in the novel. I just skipped over it. In my young, stubborn, probably easily-choosing-absolutes mind, French was not fairing well.

Then, I moved back to the States and, unbelievably, my new junior high and high school only offered two languages–Latin and French. My classmates started French in seventh grade. I moved there in eighth grade. The school probably would have accommodated me and I probably could have caught up,* but I felt it was very clear evidence of yet another negative trait of the language–its audacity to be the only one offered in junior high (Latin had to wait for high school). So, I stood my ground against being coerced into taking a language written in italics typeface in novels, and, instead, took two years of Latin in high school.

The French teacher in the high school was well liked by my classmates, and I liked him, too. He always included me when he talked with my friends (who all took French).

What I wouldn’t give to go back, realize that judging an entire language by the choice of typeface made by a printer was silly, and take French. Latin served me well. I think all knowledge serves the acquirer. But, French is a language of international organizations.

My interaction with a book I loved, which was, ironically, a book that found value in knowing French, stopped me from learning the language, at all.

But, I hold the optimistic belief that it is never too late for any skill acquisition and that consistency, even in small amounts, is the key. (Large amounts would be better, but small amounts is all I have right now. So, I believe in the power of consistency, on its own merits.)

When I need a break from work and from bar study and all the other important demands of life, I have been tackling French with Duolingo. Very considerately, the lessons are quite short.

A tiny bit at a time,
to take me back in time
to rewrite the preconceived notions of my youth.


*The school accommodated me with band, and my parents paid for private flute lessons until I caught up (although, luckily, I could already read music from years of piano lessons). Another example of my frilliness-in-moderation exists here as well–I played the flute in concert band, but I was a rifle in marching band. Not a flag. (Piccolo was a little much to ask of a beginner flautist.)


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I Did Not Know How Good I Had It

And, luckily, I still do.

At work, our group of approximately 40 people (hired on in three stages over the last three weeks of September) were brought on for a very specific project with a predicted timing of influx of cases, a hard deadline, and a case volume based on reliable data. Unfortunately, there has been an unanticipated delay in the arrival of the flood. So, our lead has been assigning out the business-as-usual cases to groups of us to work on together. There are simply not enough cases for us to each have our own.

At the same time, there have been some senior case manager vacancies that needed to be filled through internal promotions. So, we (the newly hired contract people) have not known who our seniors would be.

Therefore, our working groups have been organized geographically, by groups of nearby cubicles.

Our group of four worked well together. We all had a similar work ethic, ability to understand and follow directions, and the same theory of dividing up tasks (we simply voiced a type of task we had not worked on in awhile and laid claim to it on the case at hand, and everyone was happy).

Then, things changed. We were assigned to our seniors. Each of the four of us were assigned to a different senior case manager.

To get us used to our senior case managers’ styles, we were told to start working in the new groups made up of those under the same senior. I am lucky. So far, everyone in my new group seems to be competent and easy to work with. I miss my old group, but this group is good, too.

My senior case manager is an odd mix of appearing to be personally high strung and intense but having a style for managing others that is very laid back and mellow. As long as we are doing our work, he is not the micromanaging type. Works for me. I am so pleased to be assigned to his group.

At least one of the others in my old group was not so lucky–either with the assigned senior case manager or the new working group. The good news is that hopefully there will soon be enough cases that we will be working individually instead of in groups.


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Finding Worship Friends

I drove out through the countryside today and worshipped with a little gathering of Friends (Quakers).

cropped Quaker meetinghouse

It turns out, this state has a stronger Quaker history than I realized. While they are not an overwhelming presence, there are several meetinghouses within a reasonable distance of my home. Apparently, there is some variation among meetings styles.

Here, the first meeting of the month (today’s) has a longer portion of silent worship. They refer to it as “worshipping out of silence.” I think of it as “waiting upon the Lord.” There were additional periods of time “to center” and reflect in between segments of the service. During all of the quiet times, it was almost completely silent. Only occasionally did I hear a car go by. Before the meeting started, two young children (whose family was also attending for the first time today) were kindly told that, when the silent worship started, they were welcome to go play outside under the supervision of a regularly attending teenager.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized we did not open or close the meeting with prayer. In fact, there was no public prayer at all. But, I recalled that I did pray silently during the moments for centering and reflection that were transition points. Perhaps prayer is more of a personal endeavor, even when meeting together. Reflecting upon that idea further, I realized I like it.

No one was sitting up front, facing us, at least today. We were all simply fellow worshippers–friends, I guess. The woman who was taking her turn to conduct the meeting this week simply got up from the pew where she was sitting with her family and walked to the front when she needed to address us.

We sang one hymn, “Amazing Grace,” without accompaniment because the pianist was absent. Just a little group of us, singing. And, it was lovely and uplifting.

The grounds were beautiful. The building was both simple and beautiful. As far as I could see today, it consisted of just the room that was the sanctuary. There was another building next to it that I am guessing is used for activities.

When I got home, I noticed how calm and relaxed I felt. Centered.


[For those who read this and wonder if I am leaving my particular division of faith, I am not. This Sunday provided a wonderful opportunity to worship with others. I am glad I embraced it.]


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Gas Money, Bar Prep Time, and Loan Repayment Adjustments

Fact: As of Friday, I have worked four full weeks at my new job. In that amount of time, I have spent approximately $200 on gas. I have also bought oil for my old car.

Fact: I need more dedicated and more functional or actual in-isolation bar study time.


Attempted Solution: Last night, I researched my transit options. It takes me approximately 35 minutes to drive to work. I get to work early because of the vastness of the parking lot and because my desk is three floors up (I often re-locate my car’s position from the elevated vantage point of the hallway windows before heading downstairs to go home). Also, my route is notorious for traffic jams and travel-stopping accidents, so I like a buffer. That means I give myself between 50 minutes and an hour to get to work. If I get there early, I study. So, that is the benchmark for comparison–1 hour from picking up my car keys to sitting down at my desk.

The bus? The best option involves over 2 hours of  commute time after I would reach the park and ride and also two transfers. Not going to happen.

This morning, I looked at van shares coordinated and sponsored by the transit agency. Nothing that will work.

I looked at carpool matching through the affiliated web site. There was one promising find. I sent a site-based e-mail. I haven’t heard back yet.

Even better possibly, if I am going the carpooling route, might be another person who started in my new-hire group at work and who has the same senior case manager that I do (this is nice because we will probably end up taking the same work-at-home day when we are okayed for that). She drives from even farther out than I do, and I live very close to the interstate on and off ramps. I have noticed that we have the same theories on work arrival times–we often walk in from the parking lot at the same time. She was also recently bemoaning the amount of money she is spending on gas. But, I will have to wait until Monday to talk with her about the idea since I don’t have her contact information other than her work e-mail.

Having gathered that information and reached the impasse, I then started looking at the student loan repayment scenarios that will be staring me down next month. I cannot even say anything–it has all been said by countless others. I filled out the application to have my payments based on my income, but will wait until payday this week to send it in with the accompanying documentation. I have one paystub, but it only represents one week and I get paid biweekly. So, I got as far as I could on that.

I ran errands, too, this morning, because apparently I am now a Monday – Friday working person. I have not been one of those in a very long time (before law school, I worked alternative schedules for all but six months of my working career). That changes the Saturday vibe a bit!

So, now, after all that, I think I will do some bar study alternating with breaks consisting of housework because there may or may not be an inspection on Tuesday. Not only have I not unpacked our partially packed and divided belongings, but we also have a box springs, mattress, and frame leaning up against the walls!

Bar Study
Monday: 30 minutes
Tuesday: 0
Wednesday: 1 hour 15 minutes
Thursday: 15 minutes
Friday: 0


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Building Bunk Beds

Rosebud’s dad offered to give her the bunk beds that were in the room she was supposed to move into this summer. Her bed here has not been very comfortable lately (worn out and took a beating in the moving truck). Plus, the bottom bed of the offered bunk beds is a futon style that can swing up and fold into a couch configuration. So, she accepted the offer of the beds.

Last night, she went over there and she and her dad took the beds apart, loaded them up in and on his SUV, and brought them over here. Then, Rosebud and I took down her bed in her room and reassembled the bunk beds in its place. I am proud to say that it did not take us too long, no fingers were pinched, and no heads were bumped. The only thing we did wrong was the way we secured the split padding underneath the bottom mattress. It migrated apart last night and she could feel the metal bars in the middle of the bed last night. So, we fixed that today.

I enjoyed putting the beds together with her, and I like seeing her so happy. However, this evening, someone from church asked if they could come over this Tuesday night for just a short visit. I said no. I have to protect some bar study time. Building beds with my daughter? Yes. Almost anything else with anyone else right now? No.

Bar Study
Wednesday: 0
Thursday: 30 min
Friday: 20 min
Saturday: 30 min



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‘Tis the Season . . .

. . . to be sworn in.

While many of my friends are being sworn into the bar, yesterday Rosebud’s boyfriend Seahawk was sworn into the National Guard.



Rosebud and his family got to be there, and it sounded like there was much happiness.

Bar Study
Monday: 0
Tuesday: 30 min


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