Sunday, May 29, 2005

Why do people make it their business to tell you how much law school is going to suck?

It's almost as presumptious as complete strangers coming up to you and rubbing your pregnant belly in the grocery store. On occasion, I get the "wow, you're going to law school. That's really cool" comment. But usually I get people looking at me like I've grown a third head "but why, you've got a good job now. And you know, you'll never see your kid again." Ah yes. Words of wisdom, encouragement, strength. Thanks a whole heck of a lot people. You're right. I must be a total idiot.

Yeah, I've got a "good" job now. Great pay, decent benefits (although they keep shrinking every year) and no more than 50 hours a week. But, I don't like it. At All. I don't like what I do. I don't like who I do it with. And I am pretty sure that if I just got another job doing the same thing somewhere else, I wouldn't like it either. Not to mention that I live from one round of layoffs to the next. So, what's so good about a job that I don't like and isn't stable. Should I just wait around until I get laid off to make a change?

And the whole "you'll never see your kid again" or "you'll have a hard time doing well if you're going to try to be a decent mom too." Um, exsqueeze me? baking powder? Hi. um, over here, I'm not an idiot. I'm not the kind of person who packs up my family, sells my house, moves half way across the country only to shell out thousands of dollars on something that I haven't researched. Will it be hard? You betcha. Will I have to make compromises both with school and with my family? Absolutely. Now can you tell me how that's any of your damn business?

I don't really care what people think. It just gets annoying to have buttinskys continually preaching their prayer of doom. Obviously I'm doing it... since we just talked about how I close on the sale of my house on Tuesday, you great moron.

Please keep your comments to yourself or at least gossip with someone else about it after I leave. But please, just don't open your mouth near me anymore. Honestly, didn't your mother ever teach you that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Another book review and time is slipping away

Maybe I shouldn't post book reviews until I am done?? The problem is that I usually have about 6 books going at once, so it takes a while to get through any one book. Oh well. You don't have to like it, right?

Law School without Fear was recommended by my Admit school's Legal Writing profs as a good intro to law school. So far, I'm impressed. Good concise overview of courts, public vs private law. The section on briefing is really good. There's no "do it this way." Rather, it gives a good summary of what kinds of material a good brief should cover and some examples. That's as far as I've gotten so far, but I would recommend it at this point.

I realized that I am under the 30 day mark now until we move. Scary stuff. I really need to put more effort into boxing stuff up. We close on the sale of our house on Tuesday. I know that I am going to feel so relieved when that happens! You just never feel like it is final until you have check in hand. DH is going to new state next weekend. I need to pack up knick knacks and breakables for him to tote along in his car. I hate packing that kind of stuff up. Which is probably why I don't have all that much of it. I hate it so much that I am contemplating giving away a crystal hurricane lamp. So beautiful. But such a pain in the butt, and I haven't been able to display it anywhere since DD was mobile anyway. I can always get a new one later? Right?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Freaking recurring payments!

I'm so angry right now, I could spit nails. So, long story short. About 5 months ago the crappy web hosting service we used to host web site with pix of our DD died. It just up and died. No email, no warning, just one day no longer in business. Charming isn't it? Well, I thought, no big deal... they hadn't invoiced us for a little while so we weren't losing out.

Well irony and irritation. Last night I finally got around to picking a new and reputable hosting service and start the set up and this morning I got a paypal notification that I had made a payment to MY OLD HOST. What??!!! I look it up and paypal and it was set up as a recurring payment. Grr. Snarl. Snap. Damnit anyway. DH set that account up and doesn't remember doing recurring payment. In any case, while the company did go out of business, the paypal account that they used is still valid... and happily accepting my money. And paypal doesn't care. It's my job to cancel my recurring payments. Fine. And they do not have loss recovery or dispute resolution for recurring payments! Ooh I was so mad at that poor customer lack of service guy. So yeah, now I get to try to get $60 back from a phone number that doesn't work and a guy wiht a hotmail email address. Sigh. jerks

Ultimately, my bad for doing business with a hosting company that only accepts paypal and used a freaking hotmail account. Phooey!

On a happier note... all of the inspection repair items for the sale of our home are finally done. We close on Tuesday, or should we call it check day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Reading Time: Confessions and a Review

I've been seeing several posts in various forums about what to read before law school lately and whether you should bother. I'd say that I'm in the middle of the two camps: I think I'll read some law school material... but not kill myself over it. But then I really enjoy reading. Of course, if you ask me what I've read lately, I might not give you a straight answer :)

True confession: I'm a fan fiction addict... and all of the lovely novel length fan fictions that I read certainly aren't meant to count toward my list of "books recently read". I'm a closet fan fic junkie. I can't help it. I try to stop, really, but some of it is just so good. Fan fic that I follow are based off of books. I get tired of one book and cycle through some others. A lot of it is crap. But then, a lot of what I think is not worth my reading time is probably helping some 13 year old author have confidence in her writing... So let them write; I'm just choosy about what I read.

As for recent books. I've been rather fixated on several books about the constitutional convention. Oddly enough, I've never studied it before in my life. It's true. And it's pretty facsinating stuff. I've read about three books on that in the last few months. One book called the Miracle at Philadelphia is a decent read. Longish, but the author is really into characterizations. So it made the participants much more real. It's always nice to know which delegates were just your standard political ass. The author gets a wee-bit long winded at times with some description, but that is what you sign up for when you get a book that is from a fly on the wall's perspective.

I've also started reading the Nutshell book Introduction to the Study and Practice of Law by Hegland. I really like this book. It seems pretty straightforward without any of the usual 1L scare tactics about "if you don't brief this way, you will die" or "if you don't outline this way, you will die" or "if you don't study 25 hours a day, you will die." And I kind of appreciate that. I like how most of the sections on practical applications (such as exams, briefs, etc.) are all just "tips". Use 'em, don't but this is the general info about them that you can adapt to suit your individual needs. The examples are great. Really helping to introduce each area of law. And there are exercises that you can try, just to see what some of the practical application is all about. There is also a fabulous overview of legal writing. For whatever reason, that is really what is intimidating me about the first semester. Maybe it's all of the horror stories you hear about that class only being a credit or two, but you end up spending a zillion hours on it. I want to work smart for that class, KWIM? It's got something for everyone. I would highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Immunization records and other packing goodies

So is anyone else irked about retrieving immunization records. I mean, I know, it's important to verify that we are not going to wipe out our entire school with measles in one fail swoop. But hello... Some of us are older than Moses. Ok, maybe not, but when it comes to finding stuff like that, I might as well be. And it's not cheap to get your titers checked or get additional immunizations.

Well last night I had incredibly good luck. Actually I think I was deserving of said luck because I decided to be the one to pack up all of our papers/records etc. And what an icky job. Blech. Papers from 10 years ago... Manuals for VCRs that we don't even have anymore. Lease agreements from our first apartment 8 years ago. Sigh. So much freaking paper. But it did pay off. WAhoo! In the recesses of an old folder that I didn't even know I had was my beaten up, old, ugly, faded, yellow immunization booklet! Success! So now, I only have to pay to get one more measles shot... Since my Admit school requires two. That I can handle.

Immunization records for school: check!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Boxes, boxes of all sizes

We started packing last night. Hurrah! My mother always told me when you move, pack one or two boxes a day and then it won't seem so bad. And you know it's not. Last night, I packed up all but two of our book shelves. Books left out: all of DDs and my Harry Snotters and legal books. The legal books consisting of about 7 books, but still.. they're out should I have the immense desire to go to sleep... uh, I mean start reading.

After I packed the books though, I realized that that is the easy part. Poo! Now I've got to find other things that I can live without for the next few months, like crepe pans, for example.

Best and most reasonable advice I've had about packing/moving with a toddler so far is pack her room and her things last... and have them unpacked first. Buy playdough. Make an empty box for her to pack and unpack to her heart's content... so she won't keep throwing little people in my french books!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Ponderings on gmail, privacy and freebies

Yesterday I was dorking around a bit with ye old blog, browsing templates, seeing what goodies other blogs that I like have like stat counters, the creative licensing, etc. As I was looking around, I noticed that lots of bloggers use gmail addys, which makes sense since they can hold enormous amounts of data. I am all about one stop shopping.

I remember when google first announced about gmail. My initial reaction was "I don't freaking think so". What about my privacy? What happens if they fold? It kind of creeped me out. But I did some more research into it, and it really doesn't seem to invade my privacy any more than hotmail or yahoo does, at least for the ads that display in gmail. The whole "keep all my messages for the rest of my natural life", yeah that's different and not as nice, but you can't have it all. At that time I decided that it didn't really matter to me. So what? So what if advertisers see that I mentioned that my friend's new dog is named "baby" and I get ads for cribs and bibs? I generally don't like to share information on the Internet that I wouldn't want to be public... cause duh, nothing's anonymous. (Even my blog, which I would like to have anonymous wouldn't be that hard to trace back to me or at least figure out which schools I'm talking about... But for grins, we'll pretend that my blog is anonymous. )

Back to my point and reason for getting a gmail account: I was just damn tired of changing email addys fortnightly. At least it seemed that often to me. I want all my stuff in one place... and maybe it's not so bad that it is there forever. Because you never know, maybe in 20 years I'll need to contact someone I knew in law school... and I can search them in my gmail and get a hold of them... that is, if they have gmail too :) Twenty years would be a little much for anyone using aol!

I welcome other's opinions on whether gmail goes too far.

Oooh! I almost forgot. Does anyone use Picasa for their photo organization? It can host pictures up to blogger too, which appeals to me. Anyone, anyone?

BTW--Is anyone else entertained by the fact that blogger's spell check doesn't recognize the following words:
  • google
  • blogger
  • blog
  • blogs

Monday, May 16, 2005

Exciting packets from admit school and it's here!

So Saturday was good and bad for the mail. I got the official letter from Waitlist school stating that they were not sure if they were going to admit from the waitlist after all :( But then I went to the next piece of mail and cheered right up. Lovely fat packet from Admit school... asking for money, of course, but it also included goodies like summer suggestion reading list by their profs, tentative 2005-2006 academic calendar, and tentative course schedule. Naturally, I won't get my actual course schedule until Orientation day on August 15. But it looks like Admit school breaks 1Ls into 3 or 4 sections and we all have the same classes at the same time but with different profs. Um, hello, classes end at noon on Friday! Wahoo. Looks like 3 mornings a week I will have class at 9 am, but will have class the other days at 10:30. And no day am I done after 3. Whoopee! Seriously, I looked at the schedule and said a la Legally Blonde "what, like it's hard or something?"

Now before I get people saying that it's not a cake walk, I know that. But I get to arrange the rest of my time and I love love love that. Example, the two mornings I don't have class until 10:30, I plan on spending those mornings with DD, having special mommy/daughter breakfasts and play time. One of my biggest priorities is to make sure that I spend quality time with my sweet girl. Yes, I know that those days I will need to put some serious time in after she goes to bed. But it will mean a lot to me to have some mornings that are just about her and me.

The only real unknown at this point is legal research; I assume this is the writing class. In any case, they didn't have class times for that yet. So that could throw a wrench into the whole thing, but overall I'm digging the schedule.

Which brings me to an interesting contrast with Waitlist school. They actually have their writing classes usually scheduled at or after 5 pm. Phooey. This is because most of their writing profs are adjuncts that still work fulltime at firms. Again phooey. If I get in, that will be a day care challenge since DD can only stay at daycare until 6:30 and those classes don't end until 7. We'll worry about that when we get there though. Oh, and another thing, Admit school puts your classes back to back, except for lunch break, whereas, Waitlist school schedules at least an hour between classes. Yucky. I've always been a prepared girl. I don't need time between classes to finish up for the upcoming class. I just like it all packed in. That way I am free to leave campus and study at home without going back and forth a million times.

Excited. Excited. Excited. AND DH just called and glorious, wonderful, new laptop is sitting in a box for me on my desk at home Wahoo!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Shipment tracking is a glorious thing

Anyone else like I am? I must check about a dozen times a day any shipment tracker that I have on an item that is in transit coming to me. I am giddy knowing that my laptop left Hong Kong yesterday. Hurrah!

Over Christmas I watched a package coming from Maine go through Maine, Kentucky, Dallas, and various and sundry smaller cities on its way to me, actually to my DD. Very cute moose slippers from LL Bean for Christmas.

It's just fun to know where some things have been. After Christmas DH and I ordered ipod skins from somewhere in China and that was a fun tracking route too...

I'm getting really excited for my new laptop. Geekily enough, I can't wait to try out some open source software on it, which I can't do with my work laptop, freaking Microsoft lovers. *Sigh*

Anyone planning on using much non-Microsoft software in school. We already use open office at home, which is about to come out with a version 2 that looks really good.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

what's in a name?

I realized that I hadn't posted about where I got"yayarolly" from. Anyone? Anyone?

I'm a Doris Day sap. It's from her movie Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson. Lovely. Charming. Hilarious.

Other than that, I've had a stupor of thought the last few days a) my DD is sick... the up all night kind of sick, so i'm dragging and b) i am so bored at my job i could die. Things could be worse.

Monday, May 09, 2005

$1600 closer to being a law student

I ordered a new laptop this weekend for law school. I know you can frequently get financial aid money allotted for a computer if you buy it after a certain date, usually in August, but BCM actually helps me out on occasion. Nothing like corporate discounts. I have really turned into a geek because I am SO excited to get the blasted thing. It's got all the whizbangs that I wanted. So "laptop?" "check!". I'm on my way... now to find money for the other $23000 in tuition that I need to cough up this year.

And as long as we are talking about tuition and mentioning financial aid, here's a fin-aid rant: My Admit school said you had to have your SAR from FAFSA by the beginning of March in order to get priority aid. Fine. But we don't use TurboTax or other software because we have relatively complicated taxes thanks to DHs business. So, fearing that our accountant would not have everything back in time, I did estimates in the stupid online FAFSA tool. Then, when I got the real numbers, I updated the FAFSA. Now, Admit school fin-aid says I'm getting audited because I changed my FAFSA. Makes me want to scream a little bit. So I sent them copies of my tax return and my dog and my blood type and "they'll get to it when the get to it because I am NO LONGER priority aid". *snarl* *growl* *spit* URGH! I'm out of freaking state Admit school... why no, I don't happen to have wads of cash to make up the out of state cost just lying around. Argh! So we'll see what they come back with, my guess nada. Come on Waitlist school!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Short timer's disease

Ok, so we could have called it long timer's disease about 3 or 4 years ago too. Man, do I hate my job. And it has been doubly more unpalatable in the last week or so since DH and I determined when I would quit and we would move. June 17 is the big drop dead date... for big, corporate, monolith (BCM) anyway. BCM might let me work remote from our new city for 4-6 weeks before school starts. Honestly, I'm torn by the prospect. A) the project that I am working on starts getting rather nasty after about June 15 and B) I kinda want some real time off. We haven't taken a proper vacation since before my DD was born. I'm looking forward to a summer of playing with her, maybe hitting the zoo or a water park. But if BCM offers the remote deal, I think that I have to take it.

Right now, DH is a SAHD with some very part time contract work. So no benies whatsoever. If I do the remote thang, then we've got insurance for a little while longer. Sigh. I can do it right, I've been doing it for a long time, what's an extra 6 or so weeks?

And as long as I mentioned insurance, can anyone say ripoff? Holy cats! I've looked into policies from Admit school and Wailtlist school, as well as the student ABA group insurance. Um, ridiculous. For me alone it's laughable, but to insure my DD and DH, I'm not kidding, the ABA group quote was over $4000 for 6 months. And it's really crappy insurance and third-rate facilities. At that rate, we'll take our chances. Actually, Waitlist school is only $800 a semester, which is still not fab, but doable. Admit school, again, we'll take our chances. And we hope for DH to be gainfully employed with benefits ASAP, so hopefully this will all be a moot point.

Back to the original topic. To summarize: work sucks, I have no motivation, and thank God it's Friday.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Waiting and waiting... still waiting

My law school situation: About a month ago, I narrowed my school choices to two that are in the same state, and I visited them both. One school I was admitted to and i have always been really excited to go there. The other school I waffled back and forth on for a while and was waitlisted at.

The Admit school felt really good. I saw several "older" people. I talked with several women who had kids and said that they managed in school just fine. It didn't seem to be ultra competitive either. I could picture myself going there and being really happy.

If it were only about the feel of the schools, I wouldn't have put forth effort to get off of the waitlist that I am on. But it's not. It's about tuition and job prospects and cost of living and where my family would be happy. The Admit school has been dropping in the rankings, still a respectable school.

At my Waitlist school, before the visit, I had some concerns about a nontraditional law student fitting in there. And I worried that I would feel out of place and be unhappy. Everyone there seems so young and completely absorbed in themselves, which isn't unusual or wrong when you are in your early to mid 20s. I got to talk to a dean while I was there, and he really abated my concerns greatly. The tour was really great. The facilities were awesome. They actually had a separate study area in the library where they had children's books and some small, quiet toys like Lego. OK, maybe Lego aren't a quiet toy when my DD plays with them, but for most kids I think they are :) They also had some small rooms with TVs where you could watch class live if you had a sick kid or other conflict, which is really great. The Admit school doesn't have anything for you in cases where your kid might be too sick for day care that day, but OK to schlep to class for an hour.

After touring both schools and meeting students and faculty at each, I was really confused. I should also add that Admit school is lower in the rankings (and slipping) than Waitlist school. Admit school is more of a local school, and I don't want to stay local, and it is about twice the price as Waitlist school, which is a solid tier one with national job connections. *Sigh* Before the visits, I kept saying "i should really go to Waitlist school if I can because it's the responsible thing to do." But i wanted Admit school more because I thought that the journey would be more pleasant.

I spent another couple of days scoping condos and daycares in the city of each respective school and felt very down. Honestly, what is up with day care? Most of the places are no where I would consider letting DD be at for even a small amount of time. Admit school city's cost of living is higher. I don't think we could get a condo in our price range that would be decent. And I found one day care that I liked, not loved, but of course, it was about $200 more a month than the other places I looked at. And it's not a sure thing that they will have space for her.

Waitlist school city has several small cities near it (within 20 minutes drive time) and all are more affordable than Admit city. The day cares were abysmal. Seriously, I was about to say forget Waitlist school. I cannot feel good going there with my DD at any of the places I saw. Then I went to one last day care and it was fantastic. Can I be a kid again and go there? The price was awesome, the facilities fabulous, extensive outdoor areas, just overall great. AND I can get her in there, likely. And it gets better. I drove that area a bit and found some condos that I am in love with, in our price range and about 4 blocks from the day care.

And that clinched it. I am actually basing my decision of law school on superiority of day care for my DD. Which isn't really a terrible decision, you know. If you are a mom or dad in school, you've got other responsibilities and priorities. Anyway, I have pulled every string available to me to get off of this waitlist. *crossing fingers* I should know by about May 20. If they don't take me by then, I'm going to admit school. We can't wait all blasted summer. We've already sold our house, gave notice at my job, etc... DH has to get a job in new state to support us, so we've got to get there a few months before school starts.

So that's where I am at. More later.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My first post

I'm a 30-something leaving a good career as a technical writer to go back to school. Law school. I'm one of those geeky people who has "always wanted to be a lawyer". I remember in my early teens insisting that I was going to do environmental law. Then I wanted to be in entertainment law, then I think I wanted to be Jack McCoy.

At some point in undergrad, I lost my way and fell into tech writing during the dot com boom. It was a good ride. It was relatively easy for me to be a high performer. But I hate, hate, hate, hate my job.

About 15 months ago, I realized that I had to change my career or risk being really unhappy for a long time. So, I started studying for the LSAT, filling out apps, the whole shebang. I cried when I got my first acceptance. I felt such relief knowing that I wouldn't have to do what I don't like forever.

So, we've sold the house and I am dragging my DD and DH half way across the country for law school. And I can't wait to start.