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Ten Years.

Ten Years.

On January 24, 2004 at 11:19 AM, I posted these words to the internet:

Yay. I hopped on the Bandwagon. Will set up a blog, and being a copycat, I naturally had to set one up too, RIGHT AFTER HE DID.
HI WILL!
Will is working with me right now.
Poor soul.

I hate windchill.
It’s 10 degrees, yay! Double digits, but lo and behold, here comes the WINDCHILL…and makes it -2. Snow isn’t fun anymore.

Ah, and I picked out a smiley thing. I picked the ugliest one because I felt sorry for it. Poor triangle ugly thing.

Only 8 hours and 40 minutes til I get to leave DLH. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

And I have a backpack full of books….that I won’t read. I suppose I’ll update this thing about 500 times while I’m at work, just to distract myself from homework. Poo on homework. Ironically, I pay several thousand dollars every year just for the opportunity to do homework, yet I hate it.

And with that, I entered into the world of blogging.

I was a college student at the time. Obviously. And my tone, attitude, focus and even blog site have changed considerably since then, although the weather apparently has not. Those early years (all the way through 2011) are under a password now, because my writing style is exactly as immature as I was at the time I was posting. On a personal level, ten years of blogging is invaluable. I recorded friendships, relationships, successes, failures, graduations, meeting Mr. Beez, dating Mr. Beez, buying a home with Mr. Beez, marrying Mr. Beez, law school, the bar exam, law practice, the excitement and expectation of pregnancy, and Baby Beez’ entry into this glorious world.

If nothing else, I have documented myself for her. And maybe Baby Beez will eventually be interested in getting to know me as a person, separate and apart from being her mom. I’ll let her read those pages some day. Probably when I’m dead. Because I don’t think I can bear the embarrassment of her reading about my failed dates and all those f-bombs.

But here I am, and here I was, and here I will be. It’s been a fun 10 years. Let’s have 10 fun more.

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Down to 3 in my 10 to 10! Baby’s first Pens Game

Down to 3 in my 10 to 10! Baby’s first Pens Game

Littlest Pens Fan

February 15, 2012

Today I unexpectedly got free Pittsburgh Penguins tickets. I got them less than 2 hours before the game. Mr. Beez was working tonight, so Baby Beez and I just went together. I was hesitant to do this after the non-fun of taking the baby on an airplane last weekend, but figured that if she got restless, we could walk around or even leave.

I am so glad we went. She was really good, and had a lot of fun. Having her own seat was key, because it gave her room to stand up, sit down, and squirm around without disturbing everyone. We were in Section 105, Row Z, so we were fairly close to the ice. The hockey action and the video screens kept her attention. With all the cheering and hollering, Baby Beez’s own baby-shouting was no problem at all!

Baby’s first Pens game!

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Number 4 in 10 to 10, getting closer!

I wrote this post during our 2011 vacation to Myrtle Beach. Baby Beez was nearly a year old then, and the vacation was simple and lovely. Lots of sand, sun and time for snooze. Traveling, even getting around town, is SO hard during the first two years. Now that she’s three, it’s infinitely easier. No more diapers or food to carry. She has the self-restraint and maturity to sit still…if we bribe her. Even today, I’ve been terribly sick all day, but I’ve been able to convince her to sit next to me in bed and watch Disney’s Hercules over and over and over on the ipad while I sleep. My number one piece of advice to new parents: it starts off awful and hard and you won’t believe it at first, but it will eventually get easier. Really it will.

10 Thoughts on Vacationing with a Little Peanut

August 20, 2011

Traveling with a small child is difficult. I’ve got a good handle on packing and coordinating all the millions and millions of things you need to care for a baby, but even with an entire suitcase of toys and enough graham crackers to feed an entire kindergarten class, it’s hard to keep the wee one in a consistently cheery mood while traveling.

The last couple of years Mr. Beez and I have been fortunate enough to take some nice international vacations. This year, in part because of money and in part because of Baby Beez, we pared things down considerably. We visited my family in California in February to celebrate my grandparents’ 60th Wedding Anniversary, we had a long weekend in Orlando in July, and then we had a long weekend last weekend in Myrtle Beach.

The Orlando trip was so-so. We had a day in Daytona Beach that was fantastic.

Baby Beez loves the sand.

Other than driving out to the beach, Orlando doesn’t have much to offer for kids under 3. Myrtle Beach was much better for us. Our hotel was right on the beach, we went to the Outlets for a bit, and we also went for a stroll on the small boardwalk.

Between these three trips, I’ve learned a few things about traveling with infants (or at least about traveling with my infant).

1. Get a hotel room with a balcony and a nice view. Unless you’re traveling with a babysitter, you’re not going to be able to go anywhere after the baby goes to bed. Mr. Beez and I lead hectic enough lives that spending an evening watching TV in a hotel room is welcome and relaxation, but it was especially nice to sit on the balcony and watch the ocean.

2. Expect to get take out for dinner. Baby Beez usually crashes out between 7 and 8 pm. During our Orlando trip, we made a few foolish attempts to go out to dinner with Baby Beez in tow. Her meltdown inevitably came right around our entrees being served. This resulted in us taking turns shoveling food in our faces as fast as possible, and rocking and soothing the baby. Mr. Beez and I both have a very low tolerance for fussy babies, including our own, in restaurants. This was no fun. During our Myrtle Beach trip we mostly did take out. Aside from an episode where I called the wrong location of a restaurant with our order and we unnecessarily spent an hour in the car, take out worked much much better. We were able to get Baby Beez into bed when she was tired and eat like grown ups, and without the stress over disturbing other diners.

3. Expect your sleep will be interrupted. Baby Beez has been sleeping through the night probably since she was like 16 weeks old. She’s almost a year now. I’m not used to this wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night garbage anymore. When we’re traveling, she wakes up and gets disoriented and upset. I wish I had brilliant advice for coping with this, or better yet avoiding it, but I don’t. Mr. Beez and I pretty much split the middle of the night childcare, but it still sucked.

4. Bring what you need for the airplane, and buy the rest there. Unless you’re going to an all inclusive, there’s probably going to be a Target, Wal Mart, Walgreens, CVS, grocery store, whatever nearby. You can get the diapers, wipes, baby food, etc you’ll need for the whole trip once you get there. It makes things a lot easier, and you don’t have the stress over forgetting something, because you’re already planning that you’ll have to get most things there.

5. If you’re visiting family, see if they’re willing to ask around to borrow baby stuff. Smaller babies need a lot more stuff than bigger babies. When we visited my family in February, Baby Beez was small enough that playmats and exersaucers were a big part of her activity. My mom asked around and was able to borrow a pack & play, carseat, playmat, infant tub, and exersaucer. It was such a help. We could have made it fine without most of these things, but bringing them with us just wasn’t an option, and having them available made life so much easier.

6. Umbrella stroller. Best invention ever. It’s so light and easy to transport, and they’re so cheap that you don’t have to worry about it getting stolen or broken.

7. Don’t expect do a whole lot. Baby Beez naps a lot. Most babies do. She usually takes 2 naps a day that are 1-2 hours each. We can consolidate them into one nap with little objection from her, but that nap is going to be a long one. As much as I like to go-go-go-go during vacation, that’s just not an option. I used her naptime to nap, read, look at the internets, and watch TV. Going into the trip knowing we were going to have a large chunk of mandatory downtime helped me feel like we weren’t missing out on something.

8. Remember to bring the swim diapers! Swimming is probably the easiest and most accessible vacation activity. Almost every hotel has a pool. Baby Beez loves the water, and I love our swimming time together.

9. “Kid friendly” doesn’t necessarily mean “baby friendly.” I didn’t really think it through when we decided to go to Orlando. I assumed that since Orlando’s such a kid-oriented place, we’d easily find tons of things to do with Baby Beez. Well, babies can’t really do much. She’s too small to ride on much of anything at an amusement park, she’s too small to watch any kind of show, and she’s too little for most of the kid activities you’d find in hands-on kids places like children’s museums, etc. We had much more success in planning activities on our Myrtle Beach trip, because I had a much better grasp on what she can do– pretty much go swimming with me, play on the beach, ride in the stroller, and play with her toys. We focused our time on those activities, and had a much nicer trip. Here we are riding the (enclosed) Sky Wheel in Myrtle Beach!

MAMA IS SUPERIOR.

10. I want this list to be 10 items long. But I can’t think of anything else. Oh yeah, remember to take pictures. We got super cute pictures of Baby Beez when we went to Daytona Beach, but when we went to Myrtle Beach I completely forgot to take any pictures of Baby Beez on the beach. Whoops.

But here’s a super cute picture I took in our hotel room when someone was very tired but did not want to go to sleep. This picture makes me smile so big

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Number 5 in 10 to 10: Thoughts on writing, and how I’ve become a writer

Thoughts on Writing and How I’ve Become a Writer

August 21, 2011

Adjectives on the typewriter
He moves his words like a prizefighter
The frenzied pace of the mind inside the cell

“Shadow Stabbing,” Cake

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer (also a pediatrician, marine biologist, and teacher….but I frequently came back to “writer”).

In high school I was especially driven by hopes to be a fiction writer. Friends would give me ideas or themes and I would write short stories for them upon request. I was the biggest most hardcore dork in the creative writing club. My proudest feat of the 10th grade was that I wrote a story that was 45 pages long. I’m pretty sure everything I wrote was garbage. My inspirations at the time were Stephen King and Clive Barker. I was fascinated by all things dark and morbid. I often felt like an outcast. This is a perfect recipe for angst and melodrama.

Of probably 20 or so stories I wrote in high school, I believe I have a copy of only one, buried somewhere in a box I never bothered to unpack after we moved into our house 4 years ago. I recall unpacking boxes, seeing the first page of the story, and thinking “I can’t bear to throw this away, but if I actually read it, I will die of embarrassment.” Every now and then I tinker with the idea of trying my hand at fiction again. I’ll come up with a theme or an idea, but have yet to put pen to paper.

I started college expecting to focus on chemistry, but hated organic chemistry so much that I abandoned the idea. I had taken German for a few years and liked it well enough, and ended up majoring in German. There was a part of me that still wanted to write fiction or creative nonfiction, but I never got around to it. I took a few film analysis classes, children’s literature analysis classes, folklore analysis classes, and pop culture analysis classes. I loved learning and thinking about all these topics, but really did not wrap my brain around critical thinking skills. I could write a decent paper summarizing something, but I had significant difficulty deconstructing things, analyzing things, or interpreting things. My professors tried to teach critical thinking, they really did. I remember getting my final paper back in my pop culture analysis class. I wrote about Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers.” My whole paper was about Oliver Stone’s vision of our bloodlusting, media-fervored society, and how he expressed this vision through extreme gore. The professor’s comments on the paper: “That’s all very interesting about what Oliver Stone thought, but what did you think of the film?”

In my third year of law school, when I was working almost full time in a litigation boutique, I finally wrapped my brain around critical analysis. It didn’t matter how many people explained it to me, I couldn’t really understand it until I found myself in a position, day after day, where I had to take an idea, parse it, and develop it inside and out in several different directions. I had to develop winning arguments, losing arguments, counter-arguments, and novel arguments. I often found myself in a position where there weren’t any authorities directly saying what I wanted them to say, but I had to interpret what was out there, justify it, and make it work as well for me as it possibly could.

I was listening to an old episode of the fabulous Filmspotting podcast today, and one of the hosts (I think it was Matty Robinson, but honestly don’t exactly recall…) was talking about a student who asked him what he should do to make it as a film critic someday. Matty’s advice was “Write. Write every day. Write about anything and everything. It doesn’t have to be about movies. Just write.” (ok, I’m paraphrasing)

I still have occasional moments of wishing I were a novelist, or writing clever investigative nonfiction books, or even a film critic. But honestly, I’m there. I’ve fulfilled my childhood dream, I am a professional writer. As a litigator, my job is to read, interpret, analyze, and write convincingly for my client. Sometimes when I feel gloomy about the 3 sets of discovery, appellate brief, 2 complaints, and research memorandum looming over my head, I remind myself that I am a writer. It doesn’t do much to get the work done, but it makes me feel better about it.

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Post 6 of my 10 in 10: A Day of Transition

It’s easy to see why this entry has a special place in my memories.

Day of Transition

May 5, 2007

At 8:46 am yesterday I handed in my last final.
DONE with law school.
I went into work, and spent the day writing responses and motions for our upcoming trial
Then I went to the bar with the other associates for the first time
And then went to a dinner hosted by the trial lawyers association

Yesterday, I moved from the little kids table to the grown-up table.