Pretty girls don't say ugly words."

We define people by their appearances. We can't help it. Maybe we're wired that way. It's an easy determination to make, isn't it? It's an easy snap judgment. But is that how you want to be defined?

Last week when I was picking the kids up from daycare, Gabriel told me that his sister had said 'diarrhea.' And their care provider, who all in all is quite wonderful with my children, said, "That's tattling. You don't need to tattle. We took care of that already. I just told Maggie that diarrhea's an ugly word, and pretty girls don't say ugly words."
I think I may have flinched. Ken definitely did when I relayed the exchange to him.
And I haven't said anything to her about it. Partly because I don't want to complain, and nitpick about the little things. And there are always little things when someone else is taking care of your kids when you can't. Because she won't do things just like I would.  All in all, it's a really great place for my kids.

But how do you want to be defined? Does your value depend on how you look? Is that what you want your little girl -- or your little boy, your child -- to value? Her appearance, as evaluated by others? Do you want her to value herself based on things she can't change? Like the impossible standards in the magazines? The angle of her ears, perfectly good ears?

I don't want my daughter to have that voice in her head. That nagging one, that notices the too big nose. The fat, even before there was any there (ah, the blissful ignorance of youth; how I miss that face). The never quite good enough because you don't fit with those faces those bodies those masks in the media. That's not something I want to pass on to her. Or to her brother.

I want her to grow up knowing that it's how she uses her brain. It's the choices she makes. If she's beautiful, it's because she's the most healthy, strong person she can be, because she's  compassionate and kind but not a doormat.

I worry about my little girl. All the time. About how she'll value herself. About whether she'll really know how much she's worth.
I hope she always knows what her worth really is. Because if she does, she'll be pretty. Pretty amazing.

What kind of law do I practice?

So, I took the plunge. I made a monetary commitment that requires me to practice law to pay for it, at least for the next year. And everything I've read encourages me to find an area to focus on and stick to it. So have many of the people I've asked for advice. I think I know what I want to focus on: Supporting the local food and sustainability movement. I'm just not really sure how that plays out yet.

I imagine it'll involve some intersection of business support and advice, I'm sure I'll also do some estate planning. And court appointed work as soon as I get malpractice insurance and do the trainings. By next year, I hope to be able to do the ADR training and start doing mediation.

I've heard through the grapevine there's a need for advocacy for local food enterprises, especially those starting out under the new Cottage Food law, but I don't know how that would be funded.

Another area is zoning, particularly where it intersects with the Right to Farm Act. Plus the need to process local meat locally.

Do you have any thoughts about how I could practice law/advocate in this area? And how it'd get paid for? I'd love to hear it.


We actually managed to do the walk this morning. There's an annual walk on New Year's day starting at the Library Plaza and going for 30-45 minutes. I thought about doing it last year, but we didn't get to it. This year, I (again) thought it'd be a nice way for our family to start the year. So we did. We left our house a couple minutes before 11. As we approached downtown, we could see the group of ~ 20 people standing by the plaza. Then heading down the street. Then disappearing down the slope as we're walking at break neck speed, Gabriel riding on Ken's shoulders & me pushing Maggie in the stroller. Then we see them turning in to Water Street. We pass the photographer and hurry to catch up. We join the group a little ways down the path and see some familiar faces from the neighborhood. (As it happens, they made it on time but they drove down the hill. I'll admit to feeling smugly self-righteous about that.)

So that brings me to the first in my list of goals that I am remunerating on this  start of a new calendar year: Exercise everyday. The ultimate goal being a happier healthier me. The more immediate goal being the ability to view pictures of myself on my 10 year anniversary without cringing at the fat lady I've become.

Also resolved, to bring some order to the chaos in which my family currently resides. I've started working on developing routines. Am thinking about the whole flylady routine again, but possibly modified and scaled back to take into account my having two small  children and a life (because I don't believe the FL has either of  those things just a shiny sink and a shiny website and a system, which is what I really really need).

Further resolved: Professional development wherein I make enough money to support my family, reduce our debt and get us moving to some other goals such as better housing and less stress. I keep going back and forth about what this means. Does this mean I find a job that pays at the level I need? Or does it mean I develop my own business?

Right this moment, I'm leaning toward the shingle-hanging aspect, but it's really quite daunting. The idea would be to provide legal support to local, sustainable businesses. This would include being an advocate for those engaged in getting these types of businesses up and running. I'm concerned about whether there's enough paying work there. I'm concerned about making enough to make ends meet. About being able to do a good job while balancing family demands that make it pretty tough to work at home, which is my primary option right now. 

On the other hand, there are a couple job postings I've seen that are pretty interesting and would let me get into the policy side of things. That would also provide some financial stability, which would allow for planning and debt reduction. Plus there's that whole being able to leave work at the office thing. On the downside of that, there's commuting and probably having to become a two car family again. Plus not being able to be the go to mom for my kids that I have been.

Finally resolved, to keep better track of my plans and progress on these fronts. To this end, I'm aiming to post more here. It seems more efficient than developing my own blog. Plus I think I can easily link it to FB to keep people up to date on my crazy thought processes.

So, yeah. That's where it's at. More later. 

(no subject)

I need to find childcare for the kiddos for fall. I really, really hate this part. So, I sent an e-mail to almost everyone I know:
I need to find child care for the fall for Gabriel (3.5) and Maggie (10 months). So, I'm writing to see if anyone knows anyone who can help me out. It needs to be good, affordable, positive/attachment approach, cloth diapering & breast feeding friendly, preferably in walking or biking distance.

It'd be for Monday & Wednesday afternoon for both kids and either Tuesday & Thursday morning for Maggie only, or Thursday all day, w/Maggie only in the a.m. and (approximately) every other Friday.  Willingness to pick Gabriel up from preschool (in Depot Town) would also be nice. To start at the end of this month.

I'm sending this to anyone who's e-mail I have who might know people in the vicinity.
Anyone got any leads? Plleeeaassee???

Ken told me it was too restrictive; that it'd scare everyone off. But I just want to be specific. So potential care providers know where I'm coming from.

I really, really hate looking for childcare. I hate that I have to have it. I want to work. But I don't want to give my kids away, to miss so much of the day that they spend learning and growing and being. But then, when I'm here, at home alone with them I'm so often so very overwhelmed that I don't know where to begin or what to do with myself and I get nothing done, barely get the kids clean & fed and don't take care of myself let alone maintain any kind of home or pay the bills or anything like that.

Well, next week we go on vacation. Maybe that'll help?
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    stressed stressed

Can I have some cheese with this?

Having kids has been really, really, really tiring lately. This too shall pass, right? Trying to balance work and babies is, well, hard work. And yet the majority of the nation does it. Maybe not to this extent. Are we all idiots? Maybe if I didn't feel this need to keep my baby with me so much, or to continue to work while she's around it would be easier. Maybe if I could get to sleep at a reasonable time one of these days. Or took the time to plan and organize. Maybe if I could just catch up on my filing so I didn't spend all this time procrastinating on my computer when I should be doing something more productive.

Okay. Done whinging for a bit. Took Maggie to her first seminar today. She was a hit. I didn't get as much out of it as I should've. Partly because I was so tired. Partly because I was taking care of a four month old. Partly because I was late, having had to rush out of the house to also take Ken to work before leaving for Detroit when he learned his previously scheduled ride had overslept and was running late. So I left the directions to the hotel at home. And got to downtown Detroit in time to realize that if I'd brought the directions I'd only have been about 10 minutes late, not 30. That being said, it was a really great seminar on getting business sponsorships. Very, very practical. Now I'm going to find some energy to create a draft of a strategic plan to present to the board and somehow get some buy in.

Along the lines of getting energy, I recently committed to losing  50 lbs by this summer. So, the deadline is July. That makes the goal about 10 lbs down a month. First step is to exercise daily. Second eliminate most refined sugar. OK. All refined sugar. But I'm keeping a little bit in my coffee. And I got my post-pregnancy workout dvd out of the library today. Wish me luck.

Worms eat my trash!

Well, they will soon.  I went to a workshop at the City of Ann Arbor's MRF and got a worm bin, shredded newspaper, a sprayer, a spatula, about a 1/2 lb of worms, a handful of soil and the book, Worms Eat My Garbage. Maggie came with me. I put it under the sink. Ken fed them coffee grounds this morning. Gabriel insists the book is his and keeps reading to himself. Along the lines of: "Worms eat my garbage. How many worms? At least seven. Worms eat my garbage." Turn page. Repeat.


Next,  I'm planning to become a Master Composter through a class offered later this spring. 
I can't believe I'm this excited about playing with rotting food.

Hey stranger

So I seem to need to take more note of the things my kids say. And since I can't seem to keep track of a physical, paper journal I'm here back on the LJ. Just so I can note (and you can hear about) my kids.

Especially when Gabriel comes out with things like: "I'm a woman. I'm Wonder Woman. I wonder."

Of course it took me almost 40 minutes to post this because I had to see what friends who I almost never get to speak with had to say. Some of the coolest people post here. I missed you guys.

it happens so fast

So yesterday, Gabriel helped me make the biscuits. Really. I measured a cup of flour and poured it in the bowl. Then I measured another one, and handed it to him and he poured it in the bowl. They were a little light on sugar because he didn't understand scooping the tablespoon in and filling it up but there are worse things that could happen to biscuits. He helped put in the baking powder and the salt. And helped cut the butter in. Well, got in the way of putting the butter in. Sort of helped me knead the dough then roll it. Yes, this is probably getting tedious. But it was so exciting!  After that, he helped me put away a couple of pots and pans that were dry in the drainer.

The funny thing is that I asked him to help me as a distraction because he was being so clingy and saying "pick up mommy" which is also funny because I have to resist the urge to say things like, well you can try but I don't think it'll work.

And tonight I went to a talk for 1st time gardeners. Very basic, like you start by planning your garden. Which is what I needed. So now I will go to sleep and dream of my vegetables to be. Yay!

I feel scattered but I'll try not to ramble too much

Lately I've been feeling like I'm trying to do so many things that nothing gets done. Soooo, here's the long awaited update on my life:

Still no gainful employment. Plenty of work people would like me to do for free. Two of them include work that might lead to something paid eventually. And I do like grantseeking. I'm not sure why. It's pretty geeky. But my grant writing seems a little dry at this point.

On a related note, I find myself skimming a lot. I'm reading Diet for a Small Planet, which I picked up for a buck at the Friends of the Ypsi Library shop. Yay resale! I find myself reading the point and thinking okay, I buy that. And then she has to go into 20 examples and illustrations. I like the premise but it's taking way too long to ge to the point.

Here it is three weeks into the year and I might already be too late to track what I've read this year. Doesn't say much for the quality of the literature I'm reading, does it?

Right now, Ken's got this walking death cold type thing, so I'm just waiting to see if/when I get sick. I might not, which is weird since he's in so much better shape than I am.

Have the beginnings of a chub club going via my crunchy moms' group. There's definately potential there for mutual support, exercise, pining for chocolate and the like.

I seem to have run out of steam for the moment.

Avast ye scurvy dogs!

I got this from midnight_starr 

<table width=350 align=center border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=2><tr><td bgcolor="#EEEEEE" align=center>
<font face="Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif" style='color:black; font-size: 14pt;'>
<strong>Your Pirate Name Is...</strong>
<tr><td bgcolor="#FFFFFF">
<center><img src="" height="100" width="100"></center>
<font color="#000000">
Skull Crusher Left Eye Lisa
<div align="center"><a href="">What's Your Pirate Name?</a></div>

<table width=350 align=center border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=2><tr><td bgcolor="#EEEEEE" align=center>
<font face="Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif" style='color:black; font-size: 14pt;'>
<strong>You Are 65% Pirate</strong>
<tr><td bgcolor="#FFFFFF">
<center><img src="" height="100" width="100"></center>
<font color="#000000">
Garrrr, yer a true pirate down to yer bones.<br />
Yer an originial sea dog, an' ye certainly have earned yer sea legs.<br />
No one be goin' to accuse ye o' bein' a landlubber. <br />
Ye got yer eye on the prize, an' yer willin' to go pillagin' fer some booty.
<div align="center"><a href="">Would You Make a Good Pirate?</a></div>