Category Archives: Daily Life

Long time no post!

I must say, blogging is the first thing to go when I have too much on my plate (and I think that’s as it should be, right? Better for me to ignore my blog than my child, husband, or job, I imagine).

Life has been immensely crazy in the last few weeks. Anna has been sick. (She’s on the mend, assuming she doesn’t share her mama’s allergy to amoxicillin!) We are going up to the Twin Cities this weekend for the baby shower of dear friends and plenty of family time too (so excited!!!!). Seth has been busy with Santa Fe rehearsals/performance of Haydn’s Creation, in which he was the tenor soloist (and was fabulous, if I do say so).

And, work has been insane (I was on the news!). Plus, in two weeks we are appearing for oral argument before the New Mexico Supreme Court on a case I’ve been working on for over 3 years. Should be exciting!

In the midst of this, I am pausing to post some recent photos of my sweet pea! She is such fun lately: she’ll bring you a favorite book to read (there are many; we are particularly enjoying her love of a book about the Count from Sesame Street, as she will bring you the book while saying “ah-ah-ah!”) and is on the verge of walking for extended periods of time. She can walk, she just seems to prefer not to (wouldn’t you, if someone carried you all the time?). She does love tearing up the stairs, however, making parental supervision all the more important…

Here’s Anna diving into her Easter basket from Grandma & Grandpa:

Anyone want to read me a book?

Anyone?

Mischievous!

Usually all about the sippy cups; this day only a bottle would do

Fingerpainting with maple syrup

Anna + Lambie = BFF

Goldilocks

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Things That Make Me Happy Today

* Tomorrow is the first day of spring!

* Anna is really excited about walking. She’s taken several steps on her own and I think she’ll have the hang of it soon!

* If the University of New Mexico basketball team beats Washington tomorrow, they will advance to the Sweet Sixteen! (Find a printable bracket here.)

* We are working our way through the Alias series and it’s so much fun to revisit the adventures of Sydney, Vaughn, Sloane, Jack, Sark, Irina, etc., etc.

* Target’s new Liberty of London line—what could be better than flowers and vintage British prints at affordable prices?

* This week was spring break for Albuquerque Public Schools and I did not have a single phone call about it (usually holidays/vacations are very busy for divorce lawyers, since parents often disagree about how the child spends the break and/or with whom) Spoke too soon 🙂

* I had a dentist appointment yesterday and have no cavities

* We’re getting closer to finalizing plans for our summer vacation—Seth’s aunt and uncle are generously letting us use their beach house in Destin-Ft. Walton Beach, Florida and we’re meeting Seth’s parents there for some fun in the sun. Can’t wait!

* J.S. Bach’s birthday is this weekend and MPR is playing all kinds of lovely stuff all day

* We don’t have anything planned for this weekend except date night tomorrow (so nice to have eager baby-sitters nearby!) and watching the UNM game (and maybe some more Alias!)

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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Nine Things I Learned from Organizing Old Photos

This week I’m organizing all of my old college photos. Here are a few tidbits I’ve learned (or re-learned, as the case may be):

1. I was much thinner in college.

2. I look much better now. Largely because…

3. …brow wax and flat irons have been two of my greatest personal discoveries.

4. It is no wonder I did not like shoe shopping in college when Doc Martens and Birkenstocks were all there was to buy.

5. ‘90s fashions might just be even worse than ‘80s fashions.

6. Having said this, I am still loyal to: black, turtlenecks, black turtlenecks, Gap jeans, and J. Crew. Yes, it appears that I have never stopped shopping at either the Gap or J. Crew.

7. My taste in home décor has vastly improved since college, as it no longer includes any of the following: sunflowers, posters of baby animals, Disney, navy/burgundy/hunter green plaid, plastic crates, blond wood furniture from Target, or ubiquitous posters (I had both this one and this one; quite possibly everyone I knew had one or the other?).

8. I had a lot of fun in college. A LOT.

9. My college friends are probably the dearest friends I’ll ever have, not only because they are such wonderful people but also because they knew me when I dressed like that and they still love me.

Photos to come. Maybe.

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Mischievous!

I got the following photo text yesterday:

(Oh, did you think my example of eating potting soil was hypothetical??)

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The Anxiety Experiment

Right after I posted my last post about giving up anxiety for Lent, we had a scare at work involving a deadline that slid under everyone’s radar. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes my stomach churn in quite the same way as my boss asking when a brief is due when I didn’t even know I was supposed to be writing one.

Anyway, about anxiety. Like all good overachievers, anxiety is always just beneath the surface for me. In many ways it is an excellent motivator. In other ways it causes me to veer toward procrastination. (I did not fully appreciate the way that perfectionism and procrastination are inextricably linked until someone pointed out the obvious: if you are afraid of failing, you might never start. The longer you put something off, the longer you aren’t doing it wrong.)

(I admit that for me there is also an element of drama – I tend to thrive on the excitement of not knowing if I will get something done on time, so I leave things till the last minute and enjoy rising to the occasion. I always wrote my best papers in college when they were due in three hours, and it’s still true. My best briefs and motions get written at the 11th hour. I’ve learned to manage this and live with it. It probably makes my assistant crazy, but it’s my style and it works well for me.)

I have always been a worrier, and a perfectionist. But I am happy to report that the older I get, the less of a problem this is. Much of this is because I’ve worked hard to be more and more comfortable in my own skin. I surround myself with people who love and support me. I try to limit my exposure to toxic, negative people and situations. I’m mindful of spending my time and energy on people and things that are good for me. Because of that, I am confident that the people who really love me know that I’m imperfect and are okay with it. I’ve disappointed many people in my life (we all have) and I try not to beat myself up over it.

My anxiety has also decreased after my brother’s death. This might seem paradoxical to you. Wouldn’t someone who lost her only sibling in a car accident be utterly petrified of ever leaving the house again? Well, yes. And no. Life is scarier now in some ways, yes. I am painfully aware of our mortality and vulnerability as human beings. I am excruciatingly aware of how it feels to lose someone too soon. I pity Anna when she starts taking driver’s ed. And yet, I have let go of a lot. My child just stuffed a fistful of potting soil in her mouth? Eh, she’ll live. I still clean my house, I still limit her exposure to germs, but I’m not going to sweat it… because you can try to control a person’s entire life but bad things are still going to happen.

Several years ago, I was encouraged to categorize my anxiety into productive worry and non-productive worry. Productive worry is when you have some control over the outcome and so you do things that will help. For example, if I am worried about salmonella, I will choose not to eat raw meat. (If I am worried about meeting a deadline, I will make sure I start the project on time… ahem.) Non-productive worry is worrying about things I cannot control. As they say in AA, we must ask for the wisdom to know the difference… and to be mindful of the degrees of control we can have. Cleaning off your counter after preparing raw meat: a good idea. Encasing yourself in a plastic bubble to completely cut off all exposure to germs: a bad idea. (My ideas sometimes fall in between.)

My job (the lawyer one, not the mother one) is just about the best job for someone who likes drama. And it is just about the worst job for someone who has anxiety. A divorce attorney must have very, very, very thick skin. She is the scapegoat for all her clients’ problems. She is yelled at daily about things that are not her fault. Trouble is, for a long time (and still), I tend to think that sometimes, maybe, those things might just actually be my fault. At least partially. If two parties are arguing through their attorneys about what time the children should be exchanged on Christmas Eve and my side loses, I get yelled at. I cost my client Christmas Eve with his child, etc. Could I beat myself up for not being a better advocate for my client? Of course. And I do. But more often than not it has nothing to do with me. Very likely the other side was absolutely rigid and not willing to negotiate at all. My boss says, “You can’t get a divorce from a better person than you married.” And so much of my job involves managing expectations and helping my clients understand that I do not have a magic wand that will turn their ex-spouses into reasonable, cooperative people if they weren’t reasonable and cooperative to begin with.

(Speaking of my boss, he doesn’t have this problem with anxiety. AT ALL. He has a very thick skin. And I’m fortunate to have had him as a mentor, because his approach has vastly helped me thicken my own skin.)

Anyway, this all brings me to this Lent. Recently I was having a conversation with an attorney-turned-life-coach, and I was talking to her about my boss—not him specifically, but men in the abstract, and how in many ways they were more forceful advocates because they didn’t take things so personally. She suggested that I try for a month to be more like that. In fact, her exact words were, “Any time something goes wrong, blame it on someone else.” Not literally—I won’t be telling the judge that something is her fault. But it’s true that when something goes wrong in a case, I blame myself—whereas my boss says, “That stupid judge, she got it wrong.”

So I decided to turn this into a Lenten experiment. I don’t know about the blaming-other-people-for-everything part—because I don’t want to be like my clients who cast blame where it doesn’t belong. And, um, that doesn’t seem very Christlike. But it does mean that I am more honest about why things go wrong and what I can change. For some people, being honest means that they should be quicker to examine themselves and accept responsibility if they are at fault. But I tend to do this too much. (About work-related things, anyway—I’m not always so quick to be accountable in other areas, but maybe that is a different post!)

So for me, being honest means I can genuinely say, “That was not my fault” or, more often, “I am not going to worry about the outcome of this because I can’t control it.” And to me this experiment is perfectly appropriate for Lent. After all, take these words from Matthew:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Something I’ve learned in my 3+ years as an attorney: you can only do so much good. And you can only do so much bad. If someone’s divorce blows up in their face, it wasn’t because of me. It was because of the choices they made: the person they married and chose to have children with, the choices they made about parenting, how they spent their money, etc. How could I possibly have an effect on all of that? I can’t. So I must choose—every day—to let go. I am spending this Lent being extra-mindful of it, and so far it’s going okay. And surprise! None of my clients’ lives are any more or less miserable because of it.

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Do I still keep a blog?!

I confess that Facebook is much, much easier for me – it’s so simple to eke out a quick status update (especially on my phone) and keep in touch with people there. But I’m told there are still people who don’t keep up with or belong to Facebook (gasp) so I should try to be more diligent with the blogging.

It’s March! Hard to believe. It’s also a couple of weeks into Lent. This year I’m not doing anything in particular – well, Seth suggested that I give up buying magazines on impulse at the grocery store, and so far I have complied. I did not give up chocolate or soda, which is a good thing. (I don’t consume much of either, but the other day I made Mark Bittman’s chocolate mousse for a dinner party and it was divine – enough to make me like chocolate, even. And, well, I’ve been enjoying Diet Dr. Pepper now and then at work.) Actually, what I’ve really tried to give up is anxiety. And so far, I’m not doing too badly. I’ll have to post more about that later (so as not to increase my anxiety over meeting a work deadline!).

Miss Anna is doing well! She has been all about books and music lately. To wit:

(Although one could make the argument that she is more interested in the yellow highlighter than the piano.) We continue to be delighted and amazed by this little girl!

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Still here!

What a week. Last Friday Anna had her 12-month check-up, and was consequently fussy the next day. I thought it was from the shots, but then she got sick in the middle of the night on Sunday. I still thought it was from the shots… but then I came down with it. And then Seth did too. Anna recovered quickly and was blessedly snatched up by our fairy godmother my mom for a night at Nana’s (my dad was on a business trip) while Seth and I grappled miserably with the stomach flu. Think Charlotte and Harry lying on the bathroom floor. Thankfully, it’s all over now and we can turn our attention to enjoying the Winter Olympics!

And happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

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