Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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The night before the bar exam….

Posted by newlawmom on July 25, 2011

I’m calm! Eerily calm. My plan to go to the beach today got doused by the weather. Instead I went out to upgrade my cell phones and then took a three hour nap on my couch. Now its 10:30. I need to pack my bag of goodies. New pens (I LOVE new pens) and plenty of #2 pencils. One watch. A lunch to leave in the car. That’s it. I may or may not have made a mistake by not taking BarBri. And/or by not spending enough time learning the non-MBE subjects. Only time will tell. I wish everyone who is taking the bar exam the best of luck.

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law school, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

well…..I hope everything goes ok

Posted by newlawmom on July 21, 2011

It should not surprise me that with only a few days left to study (I’m stopping for good when I go to bed Sunday night) there are too many things that I don’t know yet. Too many things to know. This is why I didn’t go to BarBri. I don’t think it would have helped me. I have studied hard and am pretty confident I will pass. My confidence is going down as the date draws near, however. Trusts and Property are my weak points, both tested pretty heavily in this state from what I understand. I spent all day with trusts and property today and need to take a break from it. I’ll pick it up again on Saturday. Tomorrow is crime, negotiable interests and secured transactions. Just review. Let’s hope that is all I need.

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law mom, night owl | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

happy anxiety

Posted by newlawmom on July 18, 2011

True! I am so happy. Next week is the bar exam, people. And I am so ready to be done with it! But of course, that anxiety is kicking in. I spent 13 hours studying today, and expect to meet or beat that every day from now until Sunday night. Next Monday, God-willing, I’m hitting the beach and de-stressing before the real deal. I do my best work under pressure, so I am feeling the full beauty of the thing right NOW!

No second interview on the job I wanted. Bummer. Fight with ex-husband? Triple quadruple bummer. Casey Anthony on the loose? Frightening. Tom Coburn and his $9 trillion dollar plan? un-fricken-believable! YES! Someone who is willing to step up and do the difficult. I am for it. I applaud it. I don’t even need to know what’s in it. I mean hell, you didn’t know what was in the health insurance law, so why should I care what’s in this? The man is willing to lay it on the line, lay people off, shrink the government, mess with entitlements, increase taxes and piss of 99% of the American public. I say go…..please go…….don’t stop now. I mean, in ten years, I’ll be over 50 and my youngest child will be well into adulthood. Why should my grandkids need to deal with our deficit? So please, people, please….I need to study for the bar. Yell loudly. Put the heat on these people. Get it done! That would be the best gift ever! Have a great week. And God Bless the USA!

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law school, Parenthood, summer | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bar Prep continued

Posted by newlawmom on July 11, 2011

Ouch. Luckily, the only pain I have right now is from a sunburn. Hopefully I will still feel that way after the bar exam is over! I have done substantial amounts of studying. But I do need to try a bit harder for these next couple weeks. Sunshine, children, barbeques, street fairs, and ice cream nights have consumed large amounts of my time and I am happy about it. I’ve been to the ocean more times in the past three weeks than I went in all three summers of law school combined.

On the job search – I had an interview last week, thanks to that connection I mentioned. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get a second one, but with each passing day, my optimism fades. Still – three applications submitted, three interviews. That’s pretty good I think. Plus every interview is an opportunity to practice. If I don’t have a semi-dream job by the end of summer I’ll need to change my approach, but in the meantime I will continue to be very selective.

I’m still not smoking. That is a huge deal, but I will only commit to not smoking one day at a time. It is way to much to contemplate forever (or even a week.) I’ve been plagued with a bit of insomnia, which even for a night person is unpleasant. I don’t like looking at the clock at 4 am when I haven’t fallen asleep yet. Plus it leaves me irritable during the day.

I need to submit a few follow-up pieces for the character and fitness examination. So far, nothing too difficult or frightening. Remember, there are a few things I may need to explain. But so far, so good. Let’s see where I’m at next week at this time. Sixteen days to go.

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law mom, night owl, Parenthood, summer | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Success!

Posted by newlawmom on June 29, 2011

I have quit smoking. Haven’t had one in six days already. And I have no intention of ever having another. Confession: I am wearing a nicotine patch so I haven’t suffered any physical withdrawal symptoms yet. For right now, I have no intention of ever taking the patch off.

On prepping for the bar: It’s getting close. I’m working hard. Right now I’m working on criminal procedure, using The Glannon Guide (Aspen), Criminal Procedure from First Contact to Appeal by John Worrall, and Basic Criminal Procedure (Thompson/West). I also have the audio cassettes from Gilbert with Prof. Whitebread lecturing. He is a character. I have sample questions for old bar exams and I am using those in preparation. Tomorrow I will focus on criminal/criminal procedure essay answers. I am also using Kaplan’s MBE Review Flashcards.

On summertime and children: I have a suntan! The children are tan. I have spent two days at the ocean and two at my local beach. We have been out for ice cream. Tomorrow night we are off to a street festival in our town, with live music, street performers, a farmer’s market, and local merchant sidewalk sales. We are hosting a picnic on the 4th. Unfortunately, our town hasn’t done fireworks for the past two years, so I still need to think about that. For the most part, the kids are happy. They’ve had lots of opportunity to hang out with their friends. The teenager is still a teenager. I love him, but he is a challenge. I think it would kill him to acknowledge that life is not a chronic catastrophe. So when it is time for chores, or when there is no instant gratification, his life sucks. I take the liberty of saying he is mostly happy with life even if he denies it.

I have applied for an attorney position that would make me a very happy woman. My boss (at the legal aid organization where I am volunteering for the summer) knows the person who is doing the hiring. They have already spoken about me, so I hear. As much as I hate to think that connections matter all that much, I am hoping in this case it does. I am also told they have been overwhelmed with applications, so….keep your fingers crossed for me. And….my sister, who has been a stay-at-home mom for almost ten years, just got hired to teach first grade for a public school system in our state. That is almost miraculous, given the state of the economy here and the serious competition that exists for teaching positions. So I am hoping some of that miraculous energy will flow in my direction. Here’s hoping you all have a great holiday weekend!

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law mom, Parenthood, summer | 1 Comment »

OId habits die hard

Posted by newlawmom on June 23, 2011

I am a procrastinator. I am a night owl. I am a smoker. I am bad with money. These are my weak points. Maybe I am prone to short term addictions as well – right now, its the Anthony trial. These are all time and money wasters. They bring large amounts of anxiety into my life. They don’t help me. I have tried to overcome all of these problems at one time or another. I would like to just eliminate all my problems all at once. My life would be better for it, or so I think. The list looks pretty manageable but it’s been the same list for at least thirty years. So I must be missing something. I just want to fix the problems.

I have very good things in my life right now. Happy, healthy children. A future spouse who loves me. A beautiful home. An education. People who respect me. And for now, my own health. There are no impending catastrophes, no drama. If there is a time where I have all the support I need to fix my problems, this is it. So why is it  that I am scared shitless to even try? I am immobilized by the thought of it.

The bar exam is simple. Sit. Study. Repeat. But it would be so nice if at the end of the day I felt good about myself. So that is my current project. I need to move some money, set a budget, give up the smokes, and adopt a normal schedule. If I did all of those things I would start fresh and maybe have less reason to procrastinate. This has got to be my main goal for the summer. It simply must.

 

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, night owl, Purpose, summer | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bar Prep Update

Posted by newlawmom on June 15, 2011

I haven’t quite figured out what I want to accomplish with this blog, but I am sure I want to use it. So here is the most recent update. I’m studying for the bar on my own with no BarBri. And I’m feeling pretty good about. I have spent many hours preparing outlines, answering practice questions, outlining essay answers and searching the internet for free study aids. I found a cool site today that allows me to make flashcards to study online. I also found some bar prep sets that other people have prepared. Offhand I don’t know the name of the site, but I will get it to you if I continue to use this FREE resource.

Money is my main obstacle at the moment. I live on a tight budget and have decided not to pick up any legal work until at least September. I still have plans to open my own practice but I look all the time to see what type of work is out there. I had applied for a few summer jobs that I would have loved, but didn’t get them and figure that all things work out the way they are intended. But over the past two weeks I have spent almost $1000 on unexpected urgent expenses. This is bad. I live on cash. One car repair, a recharge to the air conditioning system, and of all things, a very unexpected asthma attack that got out of hand and all the medical/medication expenses that go with it. I am self-employed and pay for my own major medical policy at a rate of over $300 a month but until I meet my high deductible (hopefully never), I pay cash. Ouch.

My kids got out of school today. I love those boys more than life. This is certainly my last summer to spend at home with them, so I aim to enjoy it. As it works out, I have enough room in my car for each child to bring a friend practically everywhere we go. The age difference is only four years, but at 11 and 15, they don’t exactly play the same way or enjoy each others company too often. So a friend for each of them makes them happy, and if they are happy, I am happy. Tomorrow we are off to the local state park to buy a season pass. That will get me into a couple of ocean beaches and a few local lake/forest options. So far, we have very few specific plans. We will be traveling for a week immediately after the bar exam. My daughter and her boyfriend will join us for that trip, and it will be awesome. The 15 year old will be working part time, so that will complicate some things. But I’m sure it will all work out. I’m also sure the time will quickly pass by.

When I’m not with the kids, I’m combining bar prep with the Casey Anthony trial. I confess to being overly absorbed in that. Funny – I am defense minded. But in that case, I think the defense is just disturbing. Maybe I would feel differently if they were sticking to more of an “absence of proof” defense. I could live with that and maybe even buy into it. At a minimum, I would feel strongly that she was entitled to it. But to attack the grandfather, for me, is just wrong.

So that’s it. That’s all. I have nothing else to add.  I hope you all have a splendid week. I’ll write again soon.

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

summertime

Posted by newlawmom on June 1, 2011

I love summer. I haven’t gotten to enjoy one in a few years but I am making up for it. I have a sunburn and a garden. I’ve cooked out on the grill a few times, walked barefoot in the grass, driven down the road with my windows down and the radio blaring, and generally just enjoyed the beautiful weather. I’ve watched a thunderstorm, played cards outside by candlelight, and sat on my back porch sipping wine. I’ve even been able to sit outside with a good book. This is the life!

So I didn’t get either job I interviewed for. No problem. Things work out exactly as they are intended to be. Bar review? Eh. Not so much. Barbri doesn’t start until next week so why should I start early? Volunteering? Yes. That I enjoy. But even that, I could give up right about now. I think I am overdue for a break. For now, I will keep the position. But I haven’t made any long term promises. Thank God.

In other words, life is good. Life is very, very good. There will be plenty of time down the road to figure out how I’m going to make a living. It’s not in my sights right this moment. I hope everyone has a great week. Enjoy the weather!

Posted in law mom, law school, Parenthood, summer, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Uncertainty

Posted by newlawmom on May 23, 2011

I have no idea how I’m actually going to spend my summer. I really want that job I interviewed for last week. But my phone did not ring today and that is not encouraging. Tomorrow I go to volunteer. That’s my back up plan. Eh. I guess I should be patient. In the meantime, I had a beautiful weekend. My favorite summer project is going to be a garden. Actually I have turned an old horseshoe court into two miniature gardens. One pit will have zucchini and yellow sqaush. The package says compact bush. I hope so. The other pit will have peppers and tomatos. That is, after the soil dries out enough to plant.

I’m spending more time with my boys. I am enjoying it. They have mixed feelings. The video game habit got totally out of hand over the past year, especially with my 11 year old. I have put the system away for a two week break and nobody is very happy about that. Except me. I figure if I’m going to compete with a video game, I’d rather have one big short battle than a little battle every day for weeks. So I took the game out. When I give it back it will be with strict limits. They will never be allowed to put it in their bedroom again. They have a few weeks of school left. A large part of me wants to just take the summer off to spend with them. The beach, barbeques, bikes, hikes, and trips to the city. How awesome would that be? The video games would be far from their memory before the summer was over. And I would be the happiest mother on earth. I guess that isn’t such a bad back up plan.

Bar exam preparation is underway. This week is Con Law. PMBR flashcards, Sum and Subtance Quick Review, Emanuel’s Crunchtime and Inside: What Matters and Why. Creating my own long outline and answering sample questions. I also have access to Gilbert’s Law Summaries on audio cassette which I play in my car far too often. And that’s it. I hope everyone has a great day.

Posted in law mom | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A weekend!

Posted by newlawmom on May 21, 2011

Without law school? How the hell did that happen? No, no, not now dear. Just enjoy the moment. Seriously. I confess, there is wine involved in this post. The bestest wine ever, if that is possible.  Between the tragic illness of my mother, law school and legal work, I have literally not had a weekend completely and totally free for as long as I can remember. There was always something pressing. But this weekend? I have all to myself. And I intend to enjoy every minute of it.

Tonight involves serious quantities of wine. Pinot Grigio if you need to know. And one tear-jerker movie – The Other Woman with Natalie Portman. I love a good tear jerker. It gives me good reason to just let the tears flow for all of the 1010 reasons I might cry otherwise over the course of year, but manage to postpone. Graduation is a good reason to cry tears of pure happiness. I seriously feel so grateful to have this degree. It means, well, everything. Literally everything. It was a promise made to my adopted son, and I have fulfilled it. With latin honors to boot. But it is more than that. It is proof to all of the world that I am not stupid. That I have value. That I am capable of completing a task I set out to do. And it is a ticket, to be able to contribute something positive to the world. Not sure what I think I have done with the first 40 something years of my life, but I guess I haven’t contributed enough yet. So the tears are flowing. Natilie Portman, of course. You know, every woman loves a good tear jerker.

Someone told me once that I use too many commas. Tonight I say “Who the hell cares?” Who the fuck cares, really? I will use as many commas as I damn well please. And such is the story of my life. I went to a PPT the other day for a client ( and the client is always the parent, which is a problem for me.) The client should really be the student. That is the person who needs to be satisfied. But alas, the law says 16 year old children don’t have any rights. Now who decided that? And…in this case, my kid wants to go out for a smoke before school. Do we really want a child to drop out of school because he wants to leave school grounds to smoke before school? Really? We’re going to punish him and tell him that if he leaves school grounds to smoke in the morning, we will kick him out? But if he smokes on school grounds he would be expelled.  Wouldn’t it be easier to accept that we can not control him, allow him to smoke, and assure him that, notwithstanding his terrible habit, we welcome him to finish his high school education? Is this really radical? Where is the common sense? “Smoking is illegal.” “Kids leaving school grounds is a serious problem.” “We need to call the police.” Really? What planet did I step off of?

In other words, I have no idea where I fit into this legal picture I have drawn. But I sure as hell hope I find my way. And I hope clients find me. Because I am eager to figure out just where the logic actually lies. Some of these laws/rules/regulations/expectations/understandings have just gone one step too far. They no longer make sense. The big picture is more than a little bit cloudy. Dear children of the world – there is one almost, not quite, hopefully soon to be licensed attorney who is just waiting for the opportunity to protect your rights. I actually think you have some. And if that is radical of me, I am willing to accept the consequences.

And to my fellow blogger, browsers. legal professionals, and law students….while I need to protect myself long enough to pass the character and fitness portion of the bar exam, I did not end up in law school because I am a wuss. I don’t think the rapture will actually come to pass. Therefore, I expect to be alive. And for as long as I am alive, I am going to live. For so long as I am living, I will devote my life to the rights of children. All children. It might not be a direct path. But underlying everything is a belief that children do have rights. To claim otherwise is to disparage the human race. So I am coming back to the world of blogging. Because it is wholly insufficient to keep these grand ideas to myself. The wine helps, but the passion exists notwithstanding. I love my life, I love my kids, I love the law, truth, justice, and happiness. Rapture? Yeah. Come and get me.

Posted in child welfare, Child Welfare Issues, Ethics and moral values, law school, Parenthood, Purpose, Relationships | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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