Second Full Day

It is our third night – the evening of our second full day here.

Last night we shared one starter (pork and shrimp Asian dumplings – four of them, really good), one main (chicken stir fry – average) and one dessert (a coconut cheesecake confection with coconut ice cream and basil leaves and little pearls of sweet cream, which was an odd but perfect combo). I had a local bottled beer, he had a cocktail. We ate by the pool, under what would have been a starry night if it wasn’t so overcast. Nevertheless, the tall poolside palms rustled, the other guests murmuring discussion and the lapping water, and the flicker of the candle – it was a relaxing evening.

We went to our room and I continued to read “The Secret Chord” by Geraldine Brooks, a wonderful and difficult and brutal and lovely novel all about King David (of Biblical fame, though this is not a book you would buy at a Christian bookstore – it is historical fiction). I fell asleep, book in hand, at about 9:00, and didn’t wake til 6 the next morning – though I’m told by the spouse that I coughed through the night. My sore throat was worst this morning, but it has definitely abated through the day and is largely recovered this evening, for which I’m thankful.

I laced up my shoes and was out the door, jogging down the banana plantation path, by 6:30 a.m. I wound my way along the white gravel paths, none of which were marked, until I came to a clearing. The low palms cleared, and small mangroves stretched as far as the eye could see. I was stopped short by a gurgling, knee deep stream, wide and moving with purpose. I could have waded across if I’d wanted, but instead I took several pictures and then turned back – we were going to a yoga sun salutation class together at 7:30, and I didn’t have time to go wading.

Mangroves as far as the eye can see

Mangroves as far as the eye can see

Out of breath

Out of breath

Closeup

Closeup

A tale of adversity with an unhappy ending

A tale of adversity with an unhappy ending

 

A few happy miles later, I glanced at my phone and it was 7:16 – I was going to be late for class. I dashed back as quickly as I could, and met the Prof at the class (we went to the wrong location but eventually found it, a couple of minutes late). We did our chatarangas and downward dogs facing the west, sun rising behind us, looking out over the pool and beyond, over a short hump of scrub brush, the blue green clear ocean. As I lay in child’s pose, the instructor came and pressed on my back and shoulders. I felt tension melt away.

One hot shower later, we were once more at the buffet breakfast. Granola with berries, sliced bananas, and soy milk; an almond croissant; tapioca with diced mango; smoked salmon and ham and smoked cheddar. I drink gallons of coffee and iced water, and read the NY Times on paper instead of my phone. The Prof orders eggs benedict but I am happy with my buffet offerings. We are stuffed full of good things and slathered in sunscreen by 9:30 am, lounging at the beach.

Unfortunately these first two days have been almost fully occupied by scattered storms and, more annoyingly, a fierce and irritating wind. This morning at the beach I am constantly spitting sand out of my mouth, wiping it out of my eyes, and though I close my beach bag tight, the wind forces it into the cracks and soon our bag is full to the brim with sand. The wind draws lines on my sunscreen sticky legs with sand, tracing the less rubbed in spots, and I am sure I will be shaking it out of my hair for days. I get up to take a long walk down the limestone littered beachline to my right, opposite of where I walked yesterday, and reach the very edge of the cay, walking around it. It is just short swim to the cay next door, though I don’t attempt it, but walk back. There is a distant sandbar and most of the sea from shore to sandbar is so shallow it barely covers your ankles, so I walk out far and never get any deeper than my knees.

Limestone

Limestone

Path to the beach

Path to the beach

Stormy seaside

Stormy seaside

Luv

Luv

 

But the wind blows fierce, sea spray in my face and lungs, water splashing roughly around my legs, and I feel buffeted. I head back to sit and be buffeted by sand instead of water for a bit, and watch some adventurous folks get out the water equipment – kitesurfing, paddleboarding, some snorkel. I had wanted to wait until the wind died down, but decide that it may never happen, so I go and ask for a kayak. It’s a bit of a battle getting the thing out past the waves, and I have to paddle hard just to keep it in place – any time spent resting and the wind blew me swiftly back toward shore. I paddle around for a while nonetheless, in water choppy and unforgiving, and eventually give up and head back. We decide to decamp for the slightly less abusive poolside lounging.

Poolside

Poolside

Obligatory feet-while-lounging shot

Obligatory feet-while-lounging shot

Sitting in the poolside restaurant, looking out at the pool

Sitting in the poolside restaurant, looking out at the pool

I read and rest at the pool. It rains a bit, but not for long, and soon a pool attendant brings a pina colada and a local lager. After we linger over drinks a while, we grab a late lunch at the poolside restaurant – a burger and a jerk chicken sandwich. They seat us on a long low bench along the back wall, so we are facing the pool and ocean, behind us vented plantation shutters open to the green tropical foliage.

It is about 3:30 pm when we finish lunch and grab some bikes for a jaunt around the island. There are numerous private properties around the island, as well as much more expansive (and expensive) properties for rent, for the truly outrageously rich. We pedal around them, and through the banana plantation, eventually finding our way to the other end of the cay entirely. Our way out is along gravel roads, a bit rough on the saddle, but we come back along a neat, narrow paved road, designed for golf carts (not cars – no cars allowed on the island).

Bicycling

Bicycling

Fetching

Fetching

Outdoor shower

Outdoor shower

We park the bikes back in the bike shed and then head over to the spa to rest weary muscles in the Jacuzzi – after running several miles, morning yoga, kayaking, and bicycling, plus yesterday’s workout at the gym, I’m sore. I position each joint in turn over the jets, pummeling poor joints and muscles with hot jets of water, which is just absolutely fantastic. After this, we return to the room – and here we are, dressed in warm clothes, bathing suits draped and drying. The sun is going down before me, everything honeyed and warmly lit as twilight sets in. We won’t have dinner tonight, given our late lunch – but perhaps a drink at the poolside bar . . .

Aside from a brief check-in today, I’ve largely stayed away from social media, and aside from the printed paper at breakfast, I’ve also avoided the news. I have had the discipline not to even look at work email, and while I check personal email once or twice a day, that’s not at all stressful. I don’t count typing these memories out as “screen time” – it’s just much easier to keep a journal this way, than by hand. This has been a lovely and needed timeout from information overload, as much as anything, and also a chance to reconnect with my body, to live in it a bit more than usual. The wind appears to have died down today and I think it will be less windy tomorrow, so we hope to go snorkeling (without being battered and abused by wind-tossed seas). Here’s hoping to a perfect last full day on the island . . .

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Evening – Recounting the First Full Day

I feel nourished by the food here. This morning I have granola and soy milk, with fresh berries on top. A berry smoothie, in a small glass bottle with a rubber stopper, lined up next to others that have been plunged in an ice bath at the bottom of a silver tub. Slices of cold ham and thick square slabs of cheddar, creamy lemon pastry, coffee, toast with butter and honey. The butter is piled in circlets on a plate, the honey in a jar with a large dipper fastened on the lid. They melt and mingle on the toasted whole grain bread. Just looking at this food makes me happy.

We won’t eat again until 7:30 pm, except for the fruit piled in bowls everywhere you go, so I overfill myself. The Prof orders banana stuffed French toast. The bananas are grown on a plantation on site, as are the coconuts for the coconut tart I pop in my mouth, bite-size and zesty. We order coffee and she brings a ceramic coffee pot, a small white jug of cream. They supply photocopies of the NY Times and a British paper full of news about British tv and sports, none of which interests me but I read it anyway. I have not picked up my phone since we got here.

After a breakfast that leaves me waddling, we head down to the beach, just a short walk down a stone path from the terraced dining area. The beach attendants supply us with a fitted towel to go over our lounge chair, as well as loose towels for drying off. No umbrella today, as the wind is fierce – we’d surely lose it to a gust. Small puffs of black cloud dance around the sky, occasionally blocking the sun and once in a while pelting us with rain, for just a minute or two. The sun does come out frequently, however, and I don’t mind the weather, though many guests are grumbling. It’s been hot and sunny in New Orleans for a while now, so we are ok with mild temps and overcast skies, so long as it is warm enough to sit on the beach. We do feel a bit . . . sandblasted, I guess, and my beach bag quickly fills with sand. But no matter.

Overcast but still luminous

Overcast but still luminous

Fairly stormy weather that first day

Wind-tossed palms

Cheers

Cheers

We get sorted and then I face the water, turn to my left, and walk until I can’t walk anymore. The sand is light colored, not white but very light – the water is turquoise, taffy-colored, the water is clear and fairly cold. To my left is a short hump of dune, behind which grows foliage. Every hundred feet or so is a pathway into a private villa – we don’t have one of those, at thousands per night, but they look lovely. Up ahead is a rocky outcropping that guards a small bay, and I make my way to it, walking about forty minutes there and then forty minutes back. It feels good to walk. The rough sand on my feet, the sun peeking in and out of the clouds, the taffy-colored waves, my thoughts. No phone, no law partners, no kids, no interruptions.

Sandy toes

Sandy toes

IMG_1576

Starburst shells – in yellow, red, orange, everywhere on the beach. I pick three of my favorites for my three sons.

Upon my return, the Prof hops up and walks the other way, a rockier and probably more interesting trek – I’ll do it tomorrow perhaps. While he is gone, a Coast Guard helicopter flies overhead, someone comes running and hops into a small boat with an outboard motor, then takes off in the same direction. I wonder, but never learn, what that was about.

We lounge, we read, I do splash in up to my knees but it’s quite windy and choppy, and not really a good day for swimming or kayaking or any other sea activity. After several hours and several applications of sunscreen, we gather our things and move to the pool.

Infinity pool

Infinity pool

The pool is infinity style, with a beach-style entrance – in other words, a gentle slope from 0 depth to about 4.5 feet. It is elevated above the ocean, with several yards of riparian scrub between beachside and ocean, but from a standing position at the edge of the pool there is no clear delineation between pool’s edge and ocean, a soothing effect. We swim a few laps, and the pool is heated – tepid, but not freezing, which helps in this wind. We have been similarly set up with fitted-towels on our chairs by the pool attendant, who eventually brings us fruity beach drinks that cost an arm and a leg, and we are sipping them and reading lazily when the rain comes pouring. We make a quick dash to the nearby poolside bar, chat with the friendly bartender, who is from near Como in Italy. A Swiss couple are perched on stools near us, and they converse with the bartender in what appears to be at least three languages. They eat bananas and wrap up in the large towels, and we finish our drinks and don’t order any more. The rain eventually stops, and we take the opportunity to move along. I go to the gym for a bit, and the Prof sits by the pool and reads a tremendously boring book about multinational corporations, which I tease him about.

We have afternoon tea and coconut cookies at the hotel’s library, stocked with books in many languages and including a large muted tv playing some sort of soccer/football quarter final. After tea, we head to the on-site spa to check out the facilities. While I am tempted by a massage or facial, the price tag makes my eyes goggle and we settle for the complimentary co-ed outdoor Jacuzzi and free Evian. I use the water jets to batter my sore muscles, joints still tender from my 5.5 mile run at my parents’ place a few days ago, muscles starting to knot after a gym session. It feels good, almost like a massage.

It is raining steadily when we head back to the room, but not too chilly. The rain clears while I am inside taking a shower – taking the time to wash my hair before dinner. Now I am on the porch. Pandora plays Indian flute music and some sort of bird makes a call that sounds like a cassette tape being played backwards. (I will later learn, through tortured attempts at translation with another visitor, that this is some kind of crow. “They say ‘caw’ in America” he helpfully tells me.) The sun is peeking out behind a small knot of gray clouds, a spectacular sunset just at the roofline of the neighboring hotel building. We have 7:30 dinner reservations, and I will wear the one sweater that I brought (so glad I brought it). The restaurant serves vaguely Asian food – I think I will have pork dumplings, perhaps a lager. My throat hurts a bit, it’s hurt all trip, but it’s not getting any worse so for now we’re crossing our fingers and praying for cold/allergies and not strep, or something that requires antibiotics.

The clouds are scudding – I almost typed drifting that there is a definite scud to their movement, drifting but with purpose. There are about seven different layers of clouds, moving at all different speeds, and it is fairly spectacular to see. I’ll take a picture but it won’t do it justice, just as the picture I have taken of the red tile roof isn’t quite getting the red color right. Living in the moment, preserving the moment . . . always that tension. Off to dinner now.

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First Morning

We took a trip for our ten year anniversary. I took an internet vacation, more or less, but I brought my laptop with me and wrote descriptions of each day. I’ll publish them here, after the fact, perhaps with some editing and perhaps not (it’s been very busy, ya’ll, I billed 22 hours just this weekend). I’ll try to insert pictures. It was a special trip with my love – – – though it’s been a hard landing, coming home.

First Morning

Red clay tile roof. White trim, white railings, white building. Dark brown deck floor.

Blue sky, white clouds. Riot of foliage. A hedge, low scrub, yellow clusters of flowers. Palms to my right. Two wooden, straight backed chairs, with arms – stained a warm, orangey shade of brown. A small round table. Broad palm leaves, sawtooth palm? A battered wooden roll up shade, palm fronds peek around it.

A settee, full size, futon and several pillows.

A red roof inn, but not THE red roof inn

A red roof inn, but not THE red roof inn

Porch selfie

Porch selfie

Dawn over the roof of the building that is between us and the sea. I can only see a tiny speck of sea, between the leaves. We haven’t paid enough for a sea view, though we have paid dearly for this quiet.

Dawn

Dawn

The walkways are stone, small stacked stone walls, lined with grasses or hedges. Red flowers to my left, soft flat round leaves, very tropical. Not so different from tropical New Orleans, though some of the greenery is unique to here.

Fetching

Fetching

Tropical parasite? This flower rooted right onto the bark of the tree (it appears to be a separate organism from the tree!)

Tropical parasite? This flower rooted right onto the bark of the tree (it appears to be a separate organism from the tree!)

Dinner last night – Mediterranean night at the terrace restaurant, we are rained out of the al fresco plans. Probably good, as the bugs are relentless. As they rearrange dinner under the roof instead of on the rain-washed patio, we are served a complimentary round of drinks in the round bar upstairs. We take our wine and Jack Daniels to the second floor porch, looking out over the low slung buildings, the dark sea. Rich people, dressed to be seen, but I at last am somewhat comfortable being among them, am not ashamed that I’m not in the latest fashion (cut outs at the shoulders – this is the current thing), though it seems everyone else got the memo.

The food is wonderful. A buffet of tabouli, hummus, some sort of beet paste, two kinds of feta, olives, pickled onions, falafel, young cold white asparagus spears, roasted heads of broccoli – and stunning roasted meat, rare, flavored. Roasted Brussels sprouts and whole new potatoes, salted and buttered. Pots de crème, tiny slivers of cheesecake, chocolate mousse, mini crème broulees – I choose a mousse, a layered strawberry pastry, and a chocolate éclair.

The buildings here are one or two stories, the paths winding. No cars permitted, they brag about the silence, though I’ll note the golf carts that tootle around are none too quiet. The pathways are lit by small ankle-height lights, no overhead lighting. This first night, it’s too cloudy to see stars. We wander to the pool and beachfront just to see, and it’s pitch dark. Then to bed, in the four poster with mosquito netting. The staff have turned it down for us.

Four poster

Four poster

I made an attempt to eat that star fruit

I made an attempt to eat that star fruit

This morning I woke at 5am, to the Prof fumbling with a bottle of headache pills in the dark, and can’t go back to sleep. I take my book outside – already my second, on the plane I finished Woman on the Edge of Time (Madge Piercy) and started The Girl on the Train. I lay on the settee in the dark and finish it as the sun comes up. The Prof brings me espresso as I turn the last page – not a bad novel, though I figured out the twist less than halfway through.

Morning

Morning

 

I’ll try to wait a bit to start my next one. I may read two books a day while here – this is me on vacation with no kids. Reading relentlessly, exercising for hours, and swimming/snorkeling/kayaking every other waking second. The only thing that gets in the way is having to eat out – I’d prefer sandwiches packed (by someone else), quick hand food, so I don’t waste any time.

Today we will head over to the main hotel for complimentary breakfast on the porch. Then the beach. It’s not hot at all, might be a tad chilly to lay on the beach if wet. I don’t mind. The bugs are bad but they give us bug spray, which I will use liberally. I hope I don’t have to wash my hair once this whole trip.

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Nevertheless, She Persisted

Years ago, I actually tried to have a meeting with the male partnership of my firm, regarding the various versions of the “Billy Graham Rule” that many of them seemed to follow, whether stated or not. “I won’t ride in a car with a woman.” “I won’t go to drinks after work with a woman.” “I won’t eat alone with a woman.” I wanted to make it clear to them how this rule was harming the female associates of the firm. They weren’t interested in hearing it, and now I have left there to work at a firm where my group (NOT my firm, but my group) is 60% women, 50% African American.

Women present a pool of excellent talent – many law schools boast a predominantly female top 10% of their class. We start out at about 50-50 in law firms (the only area of law I have worked in – and I’m in the South, so the perspective I’m about to describe is distinctly southern). And yet we tend to fall out of the profession precipitously, at about the 7 year mark – and those that stick it out do not advance in the way that men do. We make less than men. Less than 20% of firm equity partners are women. See this link for the ABA’s latest statistics on women in the legal profession, and please remember throughout your reading of this three page set of charts and graphs that women make up fifty percent of the population and fifty-plus percent of the law school graduating classes.

If you’re going to argue that all women are just worse at (or less enamored of) the law and drop out because we hate it, or because all men are better than all women and this is a meritocracy in action, or women are innately better at and more suited to non-professional domestic activities such as raising babies and cleaning house, then I have nothing to say that will interest you, and you can stop reading. This attitude, flung in the face of all of my accomplishments and striving to get where I am, is one I simply have no time for. However, if you understand that I, and many of my female colleagues, are as brilliant, skilled, ambitious, and promising in our legal talent as the men we went to law school with, then please stick around for further discussion of how norms such as the Billy Graham Rule disproportionately harm us.

In many/most professional jobs, but particularly the legal field, your ability to advance is almost entirely dependent on your ability to make relationships and connections with the people in charge, so that when good, career-advancing work comes up, they staff you on it. In law firms in particular, you are running against a ticking partnership clock that will bring you up against a vote for whether you stay or go, at about year 10 (or 12, or 14 – depends on the firm and on your readiness). It’s up or out – either you make partner, or you go find another job (generally – on occasion you can be made “counsel” or “staff attorney” or something like that instead, but that is not formalized and also depends on the relationships I’m about to describe). In order to make partner, the existing partnership must vote to decide whether you get it.

The underlying issue is,  you must garner majority vote, meaning a majority of the existing partnership must know about you, and decide that you are someone with whom they want to share the profits of the law firm, and to whom they want to bind themselves legally in a business contract. Out of this singular reality, several sub-issues emerge: (1) you must have one or more cheerleader partners who will spend years evaluating the key players in the partnership, make sure your name comes up numerous times in a positive context so the others are familiar with you and see you as a valued asset to the firm, will lay the groundwork for your elevation to partnership years before the vote occurs, and will lobby for you around when it’s happening; (2) you must be known as a high achiever in one or more areas – either as a rainmaker who gets clients and brings in work, as an amazing service-lawyer who has deep relationships with clients, even if they aren’t technically “yours,” and who gets results; and/or (3) you must bill a lot of hours, bringing in a great deal of money. Another potential subset is that you have a niche practice, and while perhaps you don’t have tons of your own clients, everyone else’s clients need you when that sub-set issue arises (example: immigration. You can help process H1B visas for everyone else’s clients, a very particularized and tricky process that a generalist lawyer would struggle to do well. Losing the immigration lawyer would mean you have to outsource that work to another firm – risky, as they may decide they like the new firm better for other work as well – and so the immigration lawyer has made herself indispensable.)

For every one of these paths-to-partnership, you MUST have deep, familiar, comfortable relationships with older partners. They supply the work that lets you bill the big hours, they supply the client face-time that lets you get the client-love, they can get you access to the marketing money for you to go develop your own clients or the education money that lets you go develop your own niche, and then they do internal firm marketing to assure everyone else funnels you the niche work, knows you’re there. They figure out early who the big-deal partners are and make sure you get staffed on assignments with those people; they figure out early who the awesome clients are and share access to those people so the firm would be losing a big familiar face for a big client if you go. I cannot stress enough how vital these relationships are.

ENTER: the Billy Graham rule, and all of the subconscious, unspoken variants of same.

Older partners are 80+% men. This lopsided statistic is perpetuated for all the reasons I’m about to explain, making this a circular, self-reinforcing story. Law firm partners are also, FYI, on average about 12 years older than the CEOs/GCs of the clients they serve. This is a problem for a lot of reasons, not least of which being that law firm partnerships are dominated by strong-willed, powerful people who tend to place less value in many of the things their clients are focused on, such as technological advancement, diversity, and innovation – and they also tend to be more socially conservative than the people they serve. I won’t say that older business-people are universally dinosaurs, but law firms really could use a diversity in age, given the speed with which technology is advancing and the proven lack of interest in same by the law firm partnership – aka its business leaders, since law firms cannot be co-owned in any part by non-lawyers (thank you, pointless ethics rules). This lack of innovation causes a host of problems for business development, including that most law firm partners cannot use Microsoft Word, and still print (no joke) every single email, hole punch it, and stick it in a paper file. We pay ungodly amounts of rent on rooms full of giant drawers of  folders of emails that say “Thanks!” and “See you soon!” This is wasteful when we have redundancy in our servers that will safely save those emails in perpetuity, and can easily search them by any number of parameters in a way that poking through yards and yards of paper files will never do. Each associate probably has to bill at least 5 hours a month just to pay for all of the man-hours and storage of paper stuff we have ready access to in electronic files, because old dinosaur partners do not understand electronic storage.

It will not surprise you to learn that many of these men also tend to have outdated views about male and female relationships. In their circles, their stay-at-home-wives come to firm parties and go in a different room and chat, go shopping together, [do tons of backbreaking service in home and children that these men completely do not fully appreciate], serve on church committees and charity functions, and all in all move in separate circles from the men. The men are not entirely comfortable talking to females, outside rote small talk and little social niceties. The first two or three decades of their careers were spent in entirely male professional spaces, with female staff but no female equals.

Mix all this together, and to put it bluntly, professional women make them nervous. There are some powerful men who are openly hostile to women-as-professionals, but I’d wager a much large number of them are just not sure what to do with us. We don’t fit their very narrow view of females and female behavior, we don’t look like lawyers to them (bc for most of their career, all lawyers were men), they are not used to talking with us. Additionally, female associates are young women, which signals to them “DANGER. AFFAIR POTENTIAL.” They are keen to avoid the appearance of impropriety. For example, they would never drive a young woman from church to an event alone, or go to dinner with a former female classmate alone – these just feel inappropriate. While despite these “rules of conduct,” many of these men have nevertheless had affairs (the legal field is notorious for a high divorce and infidelity rate), they still have ingrained these rules for social interactions, as a way to broadcast fidelity, uprightness, and appropriateness. The care taken in interactions with females is as reflexive as opening a door for a woman . . . they don’t even really think about it, just do it.

This is an issue when the client is a female, of course, but it’s a greater internal firm issue. Young female associates need these relationships with older lawyers to get the work/connections/cheerleading that is required to advance, and they don’t get them because we make the men nervous. They will amble down the hall and duck in a male associate’s office daily for chit-chat, lunch, invite to a golf outing or baseball game, happy hour . . . and never us, because that wouldn’t be appropriate and besides, what would talk about? Ladies like . . shopping? Right? and manicures?

It is the aggregation of years and years of ignoring us, years of missed opportunities, that leads us to a partnership vote at year 10 where we can’t garner the votes needed because none of the people in power felt comfortable forming relationships with us. And many of us leave before year 10, because we’re tired of being passed over, tired of being ignored, tired of watching, day after day, as male partners and male associates head out to lunch and dinner and drinks and golfing and beach weekends and even sometimes strip clubs (YES), while we sit in our offices like wallflowers. Many of us (ME) try on our end to form those relationships, but the unspoken Billy Graham rule makes that a dead end. There are some partners who can talk to females without automatically treating us like secretaries or mysterious females, of course, but they are a minority – whereas the male associates have access to everyone.

This doesn’t even discuss how women disproportionately bear the cost of child-rearing, and are disproportionately penalized for parenting, nor does it discuss how often masculine traits (such as aggression, conflict, refusal to compromise) can be bad for a situation but are universally lauded, no matter the context. I’m not even hitting on how hard it is to dress as a female professional – no pantsuits, gotta be a skirt suit or the judge won’t like you, but the skirt can’t be too short OR too long, heel height is important as too high of a heel is slutty but too low of a heel is dowdy, etc. etc.

So, despite the fact that women’s brains and brilliance are readily available, that skilled, educated, and trained women are available in droves who will do good work for clients that are universally more diverse, more youthful, and more technologically savvy than the firm partnership . . . law firms are still stuck at an 80% male makeup, and will be for the foreseeable future. The Billy Graham rule is part of that. What strikes me as most irritating about this rule is that a large number of these men perform this rule (or variants thereof) as a way of broadcasting their fidelity, while simultaneously carrying on affairs. The rule is not effective, in other words – it does not accomplish what it’s supposedly designed to, which is to resist temptation and preserve marriage (link goes to a great blog post by a former evangelical minister’s wife, on why it’s ineffective).

However, the rule is effective at making my life worse. My children have fewer resources available to them because of this rule. My 401k is skinnier because of this rule. I have to work harder, longer, smarter, and more strategically than male associates because of this rule, and nevertheless I am paid less than those same associates because of this rule. In my firm, there are 121 partners. 22 of them are women. Of those women, about 4 are mothers, and the rest never married or had children (almost every one of the men is married with children – some of them have had multiple wives). All, in part, because of the stupid, BS, ineffective, fake piety of the Billy Graham rule.

And the men won’t hear it. They insist that men advance to greater degree than women on merit alone, which is a ridiculously insulting. Or because we don’t want to keep our careers, which I can guarantee you is not true. Any attempt to educate them, no matter how diplomatically presented, is met with a pretty quick pink slip. It’s demoralizing, and draining. I’m weary of it. I’m tired. I’m really, really tired.

Nevertheless. Nevertheless. She persisted.

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Productive Weekend, Ahoy!

So last week, some friends of ours were all going to see Stevie Nicks (opener: The Pretenders). We were invited, but long story short I married a miser who hates Stevie Nicks, so we ended up not joining. However, one of the spouses ended up having a work thing, and I was invited to take that spouse’s spot. So I did! Because I don’t hate Stevie Nicks, and I love friends!

We met for a spectacularly expensive and not particularly super dinner in the central business district (the raw oysters were amazing at least), and while the food was overpriced, the company was delightful. Then we walked over to the arena, I bought a tiny Coors light for $10, and we settled into our nosebleed section seats.  Chrissie Hynde was the bomb. She rocked so, so hard – she looked good, she had a total filthy mouth, and she played all the hits with an ease of someone who’s done this a thousand times and still enjoys it. Let’s just say we all had a lot of fun watching the opening act (when “I’ll Stand By You” came on, the whole crowd just wailed). Stevie Nicks, on the other hand, was a let down. Real superfans probably enjoyed it (and there were lots of people whirling around in shawls, clearly having a Really Good Time), but I found it incredibly indulgent and boring. Basically, she played a bunch of crap that never made it on any album (FOR GOOD REASON, STEVIE, THEY SUCK), and told REALLLLY long stories in between each song. Epically long, fantastically boring stories that were mostly name-dropping opportunities, to which I say – you’re Stevie Nicks! You don’t need to drop names!

Half our group left early, but I stuck it out with one couple and then we caught a cab back to their place and had a drink together. Then he dropped me home at about 1am (we live only a few blocks apart), Craig woke up shortly thereafter, and I had to wake for the day at 6am. The next day was a bit fuzzy and I definitely could have used more sleep, but it was so good to get out, see some live music, hang with friends, and all in all be neither lawyer nor mother. I don’t do that enough.

Anyway, the Prof was out the next two nights, and we were basically ships in the night the whole week. Much of the meals I’d planned didn’t get eaten as most nights it was just one parent plus some children, so they’re in the freezer waiting to be re-heated. I probably could have taken this weekend off of pre-making food, except we have a fridge full of produce that is rapidly wilting and needed cooking, so I made more cabbage stuff (seriously, enough with the cabbage!) plus a squash soup today, plus chopped a bunch of zucchini and carrots for ease of eating (with ranch, hummus, or in a salad, or cooked up like this for breakfast). I also spent about four hours yesterday deep cleaning – scrubbing the glass shower enclosure, cleaning the bathrooms, sweeping and swiffering. I really need a maid – I’m behind on billing as always and needed that time to bill – but our shower was about to grow legs and walk away, it was so filthy. I also managed to wash, fold, and put away about fifteen loads of laundry, and completely clean and organize the fridge and freezer.  I’ve got dozens of unread personal emails, I’m about two full days behind on billing, but darn it, my shower is clean, my fridge cleaned and stocked, and I got to see Chrissie Hynde be awesome.

The week’s meals:

Summer squash soup with crusty bread. I used coconut oil to saute the vegetables (instead of olive oil), and it smells divine. Although it doesn’t have curry in it, the cumin and coconut gives it a curry feel.

Ina Garten’s stuffed cabbage recipe, because I still have so. much. cabbage.

The cashew cabbage and chicken kebabs I didn’t make last week.

The slow cooker refried beans and brisket enchiladas that I made last week but we didn’t eat so it’s all frozen.

Fried chicken and homemade coleslaw, which is basically shredded cabbage plus shredded carrots plus bottled coleslaw dressing. And lots of pepper.

Pre-made refrigerated Ravioli with white wine cream sauce, and asparagus and crusty bread on the side.

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