Barbri and Chill

Oh, studying for a bar exam is its own special hell, isn’t it?  This will be my third, but of course Louisiana law is all whack, so my first two aren’t much help.  Many before have told me, if you’re switching from the common law (which is what 49 states have) to the civil law (LOUISIANA WHY), you’re basically just learning a new vocabulary for the same concepts.  But I don’t know – there’s no common law analog to “the arms of the sea,” which in the Louisiana civil code is the immediate vicinity of the open gulf which is directly overflowed by tide, and not to be confused with the seashore, which is the land up to the highest tide during winter.  Are these somehow different?  Why do I need to know that the bed of a river is everything below the low water mark, but the bed of a lake is everything below the high water mark – and why can’t they be the same, Louisiana WHY


Meanwhile, Mardi Gras is rocking and rolling right outside my window, and I’m not ashamed to note that I will study break for a parade any time!  I’d rather parade and study than study and sleep, so that means I don’t sleep much these days,  but what else is new.

It’s 6:45, time to wake the brothers.  I have Craig do it (he’s ALWAYS up first).  I’ll say: “Craig!  Time to wake up Jack and Liam!” And he will squeal with delight, throw open the door, and say “Wake up, Dak and Weem!  Wake up!” and he will climb right in their beds and sit on their heads and stick his face in their faces and smile big, all the while saying “Wake up Dak!  Wake up Weem!” And they always wake up with a smile, they’re such good sports about it.  Super cute.

(Haha. I looked up what “Netflix and Chill” actually means, and lemme tell ya, that is not what I’m driving at.  Thank God for the urban dictionary or my lameness would be on full display.)

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Holiday Monday Meal Planning

It’s a long weekend at work already! Also, because IT is doing some things, we are locked out of our systems and literally cannot go to work. So it’s sort of a for real long weekend. I brought things home on thumb drive, but at least I can do them here, and will not be frowned upon for not coming in.

I have spent a lot of the past two days house hunting. House prices are high here, of course, but there are a few things within our reach. The apartment we are in is very small and has only one bathroom, so I am eager to get us into a more permanent place. My two current obsessions are a small but gorgeous new build, and a larger older place (2300 sf) with a large backyard but really terrible bathrooms. If money were no object I would do the latter and Reno the bathrooms and kitchen before we move in -but I am afraid of the risk of hidden issues. Old roof, old HVAC, etc. The former is 1650 sf which is 1000 less than we had in AL. But it’s brand new, with a ten year warranty, and designed very well. 3 sizeable bedrooms, 2 perfect bathrooms, clever closets and a perfect kitchen. I just wish it had one more room.

I am glad we left Alabama. So. Glad. I am a progressive free spirit, and NOLA suits me. Even with its terrible roads and bad schools and crime, this is a community. It’s a place of connection, not isolation. Sometimes I really hate it, but most of the time I love it.

Having the Prof live with us full time is also wonderful. Even having all three boys share a room isn’t so bad. We put Craig to bed first, and play a game or do a puzzle or art project in the living room with the big boys, til he is settled and they can sneak in. Since they don’t have to get up at 6am any more, we can all stay up a little bit later. We have been using this time to slowly go through each of the Christmas presents they got this year. Christmas morning was chaos, and they didn’t really process the things they got as they opened them. We only got them each four things – three were left unwrapped on the couch from Santa and the last was a personalized book – one for each of the kids. But they got stuff from grandparents and aunts and uncles, and I have introduced them to each thing one at a time. I enjoy this time with them. Craig and I, meanwhile, enjoy early mornings together, as he still gets up at the crack of dawn. So I never sleep but at least I get quality time with the boys!

There are uncertainties and frustrations, but there isn’t the fundamental disconnect in the culture. On New year’s eve, we went to late dinner reservations, and then to a party at a friend’s house. They threw their arms open in delight st the sight of us, gave us sloppy drunken cheek kisses (in the French style), and said “welcome home!” The whole party toasted our arrival. Home indeed.


The week’s meals all depend on a roast turkey . . . And I foolishly forgot how long it takes to defrost a turkey. Yikes! If I can’t get it defrosted today then we will wait til the weekend and shuffle the menu.

Monday – roast turkey, potatoes, carrots

Tuesday – turkey tetrazzini

Wednesday – turkey pot pie – no recipe, I just throw cooked turkey, a bag of frozen mixed veg, a jar of gravy, and maybe some diced potatoes in a casserole, then cover with a pie crust. Boys love it.

Thursday – corn chowder with green chilies, biscuits.

Friday – sausage, potato, and kale soup

Saturday – spaghetti and chicken meatballs

Posted in Categorizing Things is Overrated | 1 Comment


I’m waiting for the laptop to download our remote software, so I have time for a three sentence update.  We have no internet at home yet, so it’s hard to update as I will not update this thing at work, of course.  The transition has gone smoothly, except that we are really in despair about the school situation here.  Unclear how to solve that – they’re set for this term, but all school spots for Fall 2016 are doled out now, so we are having to apply and do testing now (for public schools).  In fact, we’re late – they started for Fall 2016 in October of 2015.  Half of the available spots are French immersion, so our older boys cannot apply for those.  There are so few non kindergarten spots available . . . I have been told not to expect to get in for several years.

Free parent choice = 4 kids for every 1 decent spot, lotteries, corruption, and driving skilled people away because they cannot educate their kids.  FYI.  There’s no choice at all involved.  Vote against these and public charters at all costs.

I have to go work now – first week of work and working on a Sunday.  Ah, the glam law firm life.  Better start studying for that bar.  Ugh.

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2015 Year in Review

1. What did I do in 2015 that I’ve never done before?

I handled a mediation solo – several, actually.  I got a new firm job and quit the old one.  And I started to feel somewhat confident in my abilities as a lawyer, at last – they all said it would happen in the fourth year, and lo and behold here we are.

2. Did you keep your resolutions?

Largely, the answer is No.  They were ambitious, considering the job and the oft-absent husband.  However, I did pursue this move to NOLA to make life more enjoyable, and give me room to do these things that I wanted to do in 2015 and still want to do this year.  My exercise was scant – I love to work out, but it basically can’t be done with 3 little boys and no one to watch them (also caring for them alone plus job means exhaustion, leaving little energy left for anything at all).  I did improve our diets somewhat, but did not do the massages, yoga, more-frequent haircuts . . . with two households and student loans, money remained tight, but I’m hopeful it will loosen up this year.  I did not read the books I want to read, but I did get a kindle for Christmas this year and hope to make it easier to read for pleasure.  I didn’t do any of the spirit goals – blerg.

I did accomplish a few things – added to the kids’ chores, I hand-wrote letters to people as part of a Lent project, I joined a local book club (that never met bc the ladies kept canceling, but I did join!)  Billing requirements (UGH) meant I was unable to work on the professional development I’d hoped for, but the new firm seems more keen to develop associates, so we’ll see.  And I did much more volunteer work, as I’d intended – I’m proud of my involvement there.

3. What new lives brought you joy?

Hannah Beatrice, niece who has stolen my heart!  I got to meet her in a quick 24 hour trip a few days ago, and she was just as sweet and tiny a beab as ever lived.  She has my heart.

4. For whom did you grieve, if anyone?

Within a few days of one another, my little buddy Lachlan and my husband’s grandfather both passed away last spring.  Two very different lives, one very long and one very short, both ended by cancer.

5. Did you travel anywhere exciting?

I went to North Carolina twice, both trips for Tiny Beab – one was to attend her mother’s baby shower, and one to meet her all born and good-smelling and sweet – less than 24 hours, squeezed in just before the move.   We also had friends travel to visit us for Easter, which was quite lovely.  We spent time with both sets of grandparents – two weeks in Nashville over the 4th of July, and then two weeks with the other set in South Carolina over Christmas (I was only there a few days, but the littlest boys were there 2 weeks while we were homeless and then moving in). That’s it.  Having a 1 year old makes you boring.  Having a 2 year old also makes you boring.  So what I’m saying is bring on 2017!!  Perhaps we shall travel more then!

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

I’d like to have in 2016 what I had in 2015 – which is to say, a house, which I no longer have as of December 18.

7. What are your most memorable moments of 2015?




Baseball practice and games, generally.  The segue into the elementary school years has been a fun one.

Easter visits from Vern, Michelle, and Savannah.

The early hours of a May morning, when I learned Lachlan had died.

Summertime movie in the park – Big Hero Six, and Liam fell asleep.

Playing basketball with Jack on the driveway.

Sitting in the backyard with the wading pool set up, my sister and her husband visiting, boys splashing.

Berry picking with the boys in Nashville.

Going to the Nashville zoo with the boys and my mom.

My sister’s baby shower, and my dad’s recently-operated-upon foot wrapped in a pink cast in honor of tiny beab.

A lemonade (orange juice) stand with Jack, to raise money to buy new glasses after Craig broke his old ones.

The boys’ fall festival

The Halloween jazz half marathon.

Halloween with the minions.

The day Hannah was born.

Hosting Thanksgiving – what a great day, with most of my family in attendance.

Christmas with the in-laws.

8. What was your bravest moment and/or biggest achievement of the year?

Getting a new job and deciding to leave Alabama.  Stay tuned for whether that turns out to be a good move or not.  [insert nervous-looking emoji]

9. What was your biggest failure and/or disappointment?

I am so super fat right now guys. My clothes do not fit – I bought some fat clothes and very shortly, they also got too tight.  Much work on this to come.

10. Any memorable lapses in wellness?  (Illness, injury, etc.?)

Jack sprained his pinky.  Woo woo.  I’m not complaining that this is basically the height of our lack of health this year.

11. Where did most of your money go?

This move has been pretty expensive, I must say.

12. Is there a song or pop culture moment that will forever remind you of 2015?

Left shark!

13. Compared to this time last year are you (a) happier or sadder? (b) heavier or lighter? (c) richer or poorer?

(a) weeeellllll – more anxious, for sure, given the move.

(b) heavier.  see no. 9.  I have an appointment with the endocrinologist, just in case the old thyroid can be blamed.

(c) we will make more but also spend more since NOLA is more expensive, so I don’t know how to answer this one.

14. How did you spend (a) Mardi Gras, (b) Easter, (c) Fourth of July, (d) Thanksgiving, (e) Christmas, and (f) New Years’ Eve?

(a) We did the usual – a party for parades in Fairhope early in the season, a few local parades, Mardi Gras weekend parades in NOLA  (b) NC friends came to visit and it was the bomb  (c) Fourth in Nashville, but I don’t think we went anywhere given the Prof was out of town and the Dad was laid up w/foot surgery.  (d) Thanksgiving at my place!  Our home’s last hurrah before the sale.  (e) Christmas with the in-laws in SC, very wonderful.  (f) NYE here in NOLA, will happen in a few short hours – I can hear the fireworks already.

15. Any new loves/friends/positive forces in your life?

No which is partly why we moved.

16. What was your favorite tv and/or movie?

I am positive that Star Wars will be my favorite movie if I can get myself out there to see it.  Also liked Master of None.

17. What was your favorite book?

I read almost zero books, what a tragedy.  I did enjoy Ruthless, by Carolyn Lee Adams.

18. What did you want and get?

A kindle!

19. What did you want and not get?

A million dollars

20. What did you do on your 37th birthday?

The Prof was out of town, but my parents were in town and my mother made me dinner.  As I recall it was One of Those Days at work, exceedingly stressful with partner demands of immediate responses, plus the kids had a thing (baseball?  something).  So it was more stressful than I like, but so it goes.

21. Anything notable in your fashion or appearance in 2015?

I bought some bigger sizes and promptly grew out of them.  We shall reverse this trend this year.

22. What kept you sane?

A less eager to please attitude at work, to be honest.

23. Anything in the political arena you care to recall?

UGH, no.  Horrible behavior this year.

24. Who did you miss?

Far flung friends and family.

25. Closing remarks?  Life lessons/morals/catch phrases, etc.?

My phrase of the year is probably, depressingly, “my back hurts.”  😉

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Last Day

I spent a full day yesterday working, and today (Sunday) I will work about half a day in the office before scooting on up to join the family.   I will have to stop into Mobile quickly at some point to turn in my badge and such, but otherwise I shan’t be back again, except perhaps for occasional visits.

Meanwhile, a study just came out saying Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are the three worst states for working moms.  While it is nice to feel validated (i.e. I am not just being a wuss, social scientists agree that this is a terrible place for me) – the sad thing is that Alabama is # 48 and Louisiana is # 50, meaning I’m actually going down a few pegs with this move.  However . . . I think New Orleans is vastly different from the rest of the state, in a way that Mobile/Birmingham are NOT different from the more rural parts of AL. I expected that Mobile would be more cosmopolitan than the rest of Alabama.  This did not prove true.  C’est la vie.

In 9 days, we will be moving ourselves into the new/temporary place.  6 days after that, I start my new job.  And off we go, into the wild blue yonder.

Posted in Alabama, New Orleans | 1 Comment