Monday, June 17, 2013

Female Attorneys Should Wear Jackets

I came across this article today:
The Tennessean reports that Rutherford County Circuit Judge Royce Taylor has outlined in the Rutherford County Bar newsletter that women are showing too much skin while defending their clients.

“I have advised some women attorneys that a jacket with sleeves below the elbow is appropriate or a professional dress equivalent,” the letter states, according to The Tennessean. “Your personal appearance in court is a reflection upon the entire legal profession.”
It might be hard to believe, but there are more than a few female attorneys out there who think it is perfectly proper to wear sleeveless dresses to appear in court.  (And don't even get me started on the huge number of female attorneys who no longer wear pantyhose, or those who wear open toed shoes to court.)

I think this Judge is right on.  If the men have to wear suit jackets, women should have to as well.  Court is a formal, respectable place, and the required attire should reflect that.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Best "Conservative Places To Work" Clothing Stores

Does this title make sense?  Maybe.

Anyway.  I do a lot of shopping.  I mean, a lot.  A lot.  I love clothes.  You should see my closet.  Maybe someday I will take a picture and show it to you.  In fact, I should do that!  But, it is tough to find nice, work appropriate, yet cute clothes that work well when you work in a more conservative work environment.  This post is not about suits, but about business casual or more dressy business casual (one step below suits).  If you need a suit, check out this post on suits. 

So, where to begin?

You can't go wrong with a pencil skirt, shell, and cardigan or blazer.  This is a bar none, standard dressy business casual outfit.  It's all about mix and matching.  Also, dresses.  I have a ton of dresses.  Dresses are so easy in the hot summer.  Short sleeved dresses.  Yes.  So, from the perspective of a new gal, who has just graduated from college and is needing to get together a work wardrobe for the summer, what do you need, really?

1.   One black pencil skirt.

2.  One gray pencil skirt.

3.  One khaki/beige pencil skirt.

4.  One black blazer.

5.  One white blazer.

6.  One black short sleeved, work appropriate dress.

7.  One black shell or dressy t-shirt.

8.  One light gray shell or dressy t-shirt

9.  One bright colored shell or dressy t-shirt.

10.  One other work appropriate dress, short sleeved.

So, what do you get from the above?  Lots of mix and match skirts, shells, and blazers.  A couple of dresses that could also be coupled with a black or white blazer.

That's all a bit boring, right?  But, it is really all you need to start out.  So where can you get such basic items such as these?

1.  Banana Republic.  Sign up for their credit card.  If you like the fit of their clothing, it is well worth it.  Their sales are phenomenal, but depending on your size, you may not find your size on the sale racks.  Also check out the Gap, BR's sister store.  One of my favorite summer work dresses came from there, but it is really hit or miss as far as professional attire. 

2.  Ann Taylor Loft.  Super cute stuff, high turnover, high sales.  Wait it out if you can to get your desired items at cheap prices. 

3.  Ann Taylor.  More expensive and a bit more chichi than the above, but again great sales.

4.  J. Crew.  Hit the sales, although they aren't as good as the above stores.

5.  Department Stores.  Yes, this is just number five.  You know how it is.  You hit those sales racks at Macy's or Nordstrom's and just start looking for deals.  It's not easy to find.....

Introverts in Law and Government

So, I've been reading this book called Quiet, which is a bestseller and such, and all about introverts.  I've only just started reading it (off and on) and it's been quite inspiring to me, because I'm an introvert.  It's hard to be a litigator (or trial attorney) and be an introvert.  Most lawyers like to talk at length.  I don't.  This book (so far) has been completely eye opening to me.  I always felt off because I hated group projects, hated the talking and extroverted type stuff that was forced upon me in engineering school and law school.  Well, low and behold, I'm not a complete weirdo.  I'm just an introvert.  And yes, I survived through it all.  I even survive through arguing all day in court at Markman hearings and such.  I can behave like an extrovert, even though I'm not.  It is not my natural inclination at all.  I hate doing client dinners, spending all day with clients, spending all day at depositions followed by the dinners, playing the settlement dance, making small talk, talking about myself and my war stories, and all that.  I just want to write briefs and do my job.  And I am a good lawyer.  The rest...don't waste my time on calls that aren't going anywhere.  Don't waste my time on meet and confers where we know full well we aren't going to agree on anything.  It's interesting because most attorneys truly are extroverts.  I'm not.  But somehow, I've still made it work.

This book has made me really question the leadership in our country.  To get into a leadership position, you need to get elected.  To get elected, you have to be social and to network and to have a big personality.  Like, big time.  So, for the most part, this is a hard thing for most introverts to do.  Introverts are at least as smart as extroverts, right?  I mean, there is no proof that they are dumber just because they don't like to run their mouth as much, right?  But, for leadership in our country we are trapped by the process to the extroverts.  That's not to say that we haven't had introverted leaders, because I think we have. But, it is a lot tougher for them. 

I only thought about this because I would, in some ways, like to run for Congress.  But then I think about all the events and fundraising I would have to do, and that totally turns me off.  So, think about this:  the leaders of our country are essentially the famewhoring extrovert types who either like the fundraising and networking events or are led by the nose by a person who likes the fundraising and networking events.  Or they get where they are via their family names or otherwise.  So, what about the people out there who might know something about how to improve out country, but don't want to partake in all the nonsense to get elected?  Can I just put a sign up and tell people to vote for me?  No, not really.  I would have to get the word out about me.  I could do that, to a certain extent, but it would be hard on me.  Is there really a chance to elect a true introvert in this day and age?  I really don't think so.  To be completely honest, I think we are on a huge downward spiral with this country.  Everything is about celebrity and press.  I think we would be well served to find Congresspeople and a President who aren't so interested in the press and attention and are more interested in actually governing our country.          

Friday, May 10, 2013

Farrah Makes Me Sad

I must be turning into an old lady because I find the Farrah Abraham porn tape situation incredibly sad. I watched 16 and Pregnant and the first couple seasons of Teen Mom for the trash factor, and while I never liked Farrah very much, she seemed so dim that I almost felt sorry for her. Some may argue that her marketing strategy of this porn tape is genius. After all, she got people talking about it, people are still talking about it, and there was a record number of downloads. I never even heard of James Deen prior to all of this, and now I know who he is.  Somehow, though, any level of genius seems to feel accidentally stumbled upon, rather than planned.

Farrah allegedly made a million bucks doing it. (Ironic that she's continually been able to earn a living by merely having sex -- first through Teen Mom, and now through porn.)  But keep in mind that she’s only 21 years old. A million bucks (minus nearly a third in taxes) isn’t going to carry her very far or for very long. She isn’t someone who is broke and had no other options. She presumably made some money off Teen Mom. I think she was going to college. She appears to have come from a loving, if not dysfunctional, family. (But whose family isn’t dysfunctional?) No one forced her to do this. I haven’t watched the video, but from what I’ve read, it is clear this isn’t her first rodeo. In fact, it is apparently quite a raunchy video and includes all the main elements of a good porno.

If she thought this would catapult her into a Kim Kardashian level of fame and wealth, she is bound to be disappointed. I’m no fan of Kim Kardashian, but that sequence of events isn’t one that we will often see duplicated. Many other E level “celebrities” have tried to pull off the accidental disclosure of the sex tape, but none of had the results of Kim Kardashian. (Remember Laurence Fishburne's daughter trying to do the same thing?)  Why not? The sex tape got Kim the show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and her fame spiraled from there for reasons that I, quite honestly, don’t understand. I remember seeing Kim Kardashian at the airport many years ago, right around the time Keeping Up With the Kardashians started airing. She was without entourage and sitting right next to me in the waiting area. Some other passengers talked with her, and she allowed them to take pictures with her. Frankly, she couldn’t have been nicer. For her, the sex tape exposed her to the fame and proved to be a stepping stone.  For whatever reason, the show caught on, leading to multiple spin-offs, and it's gone from there.  But that is similar to the success of Justin Timberlake as compared to other members of boy bands, or Jodi Foster in the world of child actors. It happens once in a blue moon, but is certainly not the norm.

The difference between the Kardashian sex tape and the Farrah porn tape are staggering. Kim’s tape was clearly between her and her boyfriend, and I recall her being mocked because she didn’t seem all that into it and was just laying there. Kim also – despite what she knew about the leak – could validly claim that she was embarrassed the tape had leaked, and was meant to be kept private. She could validly claim that she had nothing to do with it, given that it was clearly a homemade, unprofessional tape. Farrah, on the other hand, specifically went out and made a well lit, well angled, close up porno with a famous male porn star.  (Did she really believe anyone would think it was a leaked sex tape between her and her boyfriend?)   Apparently she also comes across as a well-seasoned pro when it comes to sex.

So who would hire her to shill their product now? I heard some diet supplementary company hired her for $100,000, but that was before the release of the porno. Will E! give her show now?  Will anyone or any network want to be associated with her now? Who would hire her? What exactly do you do for a career after you film a 70 minute video of yourself getting rammed in every orifice by a male porn star and then gallivant around the country talking about it?  This isn't on the same level as even being on a trashy reality show, where some companies may want you to shill their product or show up at their openings.  It's beyond.  It's embarrassing.

Watching all this go down, including Farrah’s dim bulb interviews where she tries to insist that she did this to remember her body and celebrate her femininity should make me laugh, but it doesn’t. I feel sorry for her. The easy million she made might have made this seem like a great option, but the long term repercussions could be awful. Forever and ever she will be followed around by this video and the still shots of her getting plowed and giving blowjobs. Her daughter will see it. Her parents have probably seen some of it. Her friends have seen it.  I can't imagine.  I suppose if she wanted a career in porn, that’s one thing, but she doesn’t seem to want that. She said she isn’t planning on doing another video. We’ll see. I’m not sure what other options she is going to ultimately have.

I guess I just hate to see a young woman throw away her life. That’s what this feels like, especially considering that she had other options.  The worst part is that she doesn't even seem to realize it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

You Tubing A Workout

I recently started Turbo Fire, another Beach Body workout. It is so much fun, and I highly recommend it. But that’s not what this post is about.

One of the women on the Turbo Fire DVD reminds me of one of my coworkers. Her mannerisms, looks, everything. While at work today, I went over to You Tube to try to find a snippet of Turbo Fire so I could show her, and ….well…I found out that there are a lot of people out there who videotape themselves doing the Turbo Fire workout(s) and post them on You Tube. A little more searching showed me that there are thousands of people out there who videotape their workouts and put them up on You Tube.

I don’t understand this. Is this part of the “I’m so interesting” phenomena that leads people to Tweet or Instagram about every aspect of their life? Or is this a bunch of people who are hoping to somehow become famous?  I understand doing a video review of a product. That seems like something others might want to watch if they are trying to decide whether or not to buy a product. But, I don’t understand why you would record yourself doing the entire workout and then put it up on You Tube. Do people actually watch that kind of stuff? (I can’t imagine wanting to watch a stranger work out.)  It's amazing when you consider all the crap that is probably stored on You Tube's servers.  I swear, every day I feel like I’m getting more and more out of touch with all of this social networking type of stuff.  I just don't get it.  And I don't get how people have the time for it.

Anyway, my search for a snippet of Turbo Fire showing my coworker’s doppelganger was a bust. I’m just going to have to bring in the DVD to show her.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Old School Billy Blanks

I have somewhat been keeping up with my workouts.  However, it pains me to say that I’ve put on about 8 pounds since last fall due to all of the eating and drinking I’ve been doing with CTF.  The wine flights at Bin 36 and Webster Wine Bar are killing me, as is CTF’s constant need to share dessert with me.  I love a good wine flight.  There is something very fun about having four cute glasses of wine in front of you on top of a placemat.  It brings more excitement into the whole drinking experience. 

The good news is that I’m still wearing the same size clothing as last fall.  My clothes are admittedly a bit tighter, but somehow despite the weight gain I haven’t moved up in size.  I have been working out on average three times a week since December.  I think it’s possible that I’ve put on some muscle, as I was doing Chalean Extreme with some heavier weights.  (I can’t believe how much stronger I am.)  I also kept up with my running about once a week, and ran the Shamrock Shuffle (8k) a few weeks ago.  It has been very, very hard to stay motivated, though.  It’s honestly been raining for the entire month of April here in Chicago.  Finally this week we are getting some sun and warmer temperatures.  Now that spring is finally hitting, I’m feeling a lot more motivated to up my workouts to six days a week, as I was doing last spring and summer.  I know I can drop the weight I’ve gained fairly quickly if I just put my mind to it.  (And really I’d be happy to lose about five pounds; I had gotten borderline too thin toward the end.)

Anyway, this morning I was feeling nostalgic, so I popped in a 1998 Billy Blanks Tae Bo DVD.  (I think maybe I’ve written about this one before, but I can’t remember and I don’t feel like searching.)  I bought this DVD when I lived in Los Angeles back in 1998.  That was when Tae Bo was brand new and huge.  Billy Blanks was the man.  I loved this DVD because it includes a short Basic workout, a longer Advanced workout, and an 8 minute workout for when you are really rushed on time.  This morning I did the Advanced.  I did this video so many times back in 1998, and it's amazing how even doing it now takes me back to my little apartment in Brentwood, where I would do this in the living room.  I can’t describe this workout without first showing you a portion of it.  Here is Part 1 on You Tube:




 (If you are so inclined, the rest of it is available on You Tube also.)

The red carpet!

The circus curtains!

Billy’s red tights!

The music!

The two short haired girls on the left!  (One of whom kicks higher than a Rockette.)

The Justine Bateman lookalike on the back left!

The blonde Priscilla Barnes lookalike with the abs on the right!

Oh my God, the hilarity of this video.

Now, despite how dated it is, this is a phenomenal workout.  I was dripping with sweat by the end of it.  He does floor exercises for the butt and legs at the end that are among the best I've ever done.  But during the entire workout I found myself wondering what had happened to these people.  Obviously Billy Blanks is still releasing DVDs (and dressing much, much better), but what about all the people in the background?  What are they doing now?  How does one become a background exerciser in a workout video?  Are they in other videos?  Are they still in great shape?  And wouldn’t it be fun if there was a reunion? 

God, the things I think about when I work out. 

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Let's All Go to Cuba -- Under the Jay-Z/Beyonce License!

It takes some cojones for U.S. Citizens to take a vacation to Cuba in full view of the media.

I have to admit, part of me finds the Jay-Z/Beyonce trip to Cuba news story amusing. There they are, walking around Cuba, hanging out, eating, without a care in the world.

Oh, except that U.S. Citizens aren’t allowed to go to Cuba on vacation. Oops.

Why Cuba? Why not go to one of the many other places in the world – or even in the Caribbean general area – where it is perfectly legal for U.S. Citizens to travel? Jay-Z and Beyonce typically don’t put themselves in a position where they are getting bad press. So why do it?

Then the song came out.
Boy from the hood but got White House clearance
Sorry y'all, I don't agree with y'all appearance
Politicians never did shit for me
Except lie to me, distort history
Wanna give me jail time and a fine

***

Obama said "chill, you gonna get me impeached"
But you don't need this shit anyway
Chill with me on the beach
Ah, he’s bragging now. He’s got his buddy in the White House, and he wants us all to know. He gets special treatment now. So he throws it in our faces by going to Cuba and then rapping about it.

I bet President Obama is good and pissed off.

Here is the document that describes how to get a license (general or specific) to travel to Cuba. None of the licenses seem to cover a luxurious anniversary trip. I didn’t see any photographs of any educational activities, humanitarian projects, public performances, or other support for the Cuban people. All I saw was eating and sight seeing. I mean, consider this – Sean Penn has been to Cuba and no one complained – because he was clearly there under one of the legitimate reasons for legal travel. Many other celebrities (including Steven Spielberg and Kevin Costner) have also visited Cuba, again for legitimate reasons.

While the Treasury Department is indeed responsible for deciding who gets to go to Cuba, I find it hard to believe that President Obama – who is buddies with Jay-Z and Beyonce – knew nothing about it. This I particularly true when the Treasury Department has refused to identify under which travel provision they were allowed to go to Cuba. If it’s all perfectly above board, then why hide anything? Just tell us what they were doing there.

Apparently they can’t, because all they were doing was vacationing.

At the end of the day, I could give a crap where Jay-Z and Beyonce go on vacation. (I actually like them and thought her hair looked really cool in the pictures.)  The issue is why they get special treatment just because they happen to be good singers and are permitted to go somewhere no one else in the country is allowed to go. Can the rest of us peasants apply to the Treasury Department for the "Jay-Z and Beyonce License" for Cuban travel?  Isn’t the celebrity worship from this administration getting a bit out of hand?

Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Spring! Time for the Wildings to Begin in Chicago.

I've posted before about the wildings happening on  the Magnificent Mile, in the heart of the tourist district.  Every summer it's been the same thing.  Groups of teens take the red line train up to the Chicago Avenue stop, get off, and head over to the Magnificent Mile to either rob the stores or hassle the tourists.  They plan this out via Twitter and other social media, so there are groups of tens or even hundreds of them.  As you can imagine, this can prove overwhelming if a group of them rush a store. 

We had our first day of 50 degreeish weather over the weekend, and to no one's surprise, this brought out the obnoxious, law breaking teenagers.  Normally it is difficult to find reports of this in the news, but this weekend was different.  It was all over the media.  Apparently there was chaos on Saturday night:
CBS 2 has learned about multiple incidents in at least four different locations along the Magnificent Mile and in the Gold Coast, yielding a slew of arrests. In all, 25 juveniles and three adults were charged.


Many innocent shoppers and tourists became caught in the middle of a very chaotic situation. Hundreds of teens littered Michigan Avenue and State Street near Chicago.

Things started turn bad around 6:00 p.m. Saturday, with teens purposely bumping into people, and causing fights among themselves.
And let's not forget about this poor woman who was attacked by a group of teenage girls while riding the red line train that same evening:
"This girl started blowing smoke in my face, and she flicked her cigarette ashes at me,'' said the woman, who asked not to be identified. "I said: 'You need to put that out,' and the next thing I know there's all these girls that jumped on top of us.''
They began punching her face and then went for her hair. She believes their attackers had knives or box cutters and padlocks possibly placed inside socks.

"I put my head down between my legs so they would stop beating me in the face, but they were trying to pull my face up and hit me more,'' she said. "They ripped out chunks of my hair, and I've got a black eye and bruises on my face, and all over my back and shoulder.''
This isn't happening in the middle of the night.  It's happening at 6 or 7 p.m. at a major tourist area of the city, where people are shopping, going to dinner, and trying to enjoy the city.  This is an incredibly crowded area.  It's really infuriating to me that this subset of people wants to destroy the city.  Chicago is a place where I feel very safe; but hearing about this begins to chip away at that.   

I imagine the Mayor is furious that this is being splashed all over the news.  It remains to be seen whether the arrests will quell any of the behavior.  I doubt it -- looks like we are in for a long summer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trouble in Paradise -- I Need My Space, Man!


So…enter…a little frustration.  (Well, it can’t always be perfect, can it?) 

It’s been six months.  We are well out of the honeymoon phase and well into adapting to real life.  As in – how do I comfortably meld this relationship into my everyday life?  I’m re-discovering things about myself that I’ve forgotten – such as how much I value my time alone.  I’m an introvert.  As such, I need – need – solitude.  When I don’t get it, I get crabby.  Being around people drains me, and this goes for people I really like (and love!)  It's especially bad for me when I am around a person for hours and hours and hours with no break.   

I fully realize that I’m a little weird when it comes to relationships.  I’m independent and have been single for a long time.  As a result, I’m used to doing things alone.  More than that – I like doing things alone.  I look forward to my weekly trip to Whole Foods, to walking around the park, to shopping on Michigan Avenue, to going to the farmer’s market, to going for a run, to catching up on TV shows saved on my DVR – by myself.  I’ve always been like this, with every man I’ve dated.  (I’ve never been one to spend 24/7 with another person.  The thought of that is enough to make me break out in hives!)  It’s almost worse given my job now.  It’s so stressful that I need sufficient decompression time to myself to even feel normal.  So, give me my space, man!

I’ve explained this to CTF at least six or seven times.

But for whatever reason, it’s not sinking in.  (He’s not daft, so I don’t get it.) 

The largest problem I have is the weekends.  Because I tend to work a lot of hours during the week, CTF views the weekends as our time together.  (I typically see him for dinner one or two weekday evenings.)  Because of this, CTF wants to spend the entire weekend together.  As in, we go out Friday evening, he stays over Friday night, we spend all day Saturday together, we spend Saturday night together, we spend all day Sunday together, we spend Sunday night together, and he goes home on Monday morning.  (Oh, how awful -- a wonderful man wants to spend time with me!  Oh, I’ve got it so rough.  I know, I know.)

While I actually don’t mind doing the above occasionally, I can’t do it every weekend.  It is absolutely draining for me to do that every weekend.  We did this during our “honeymoon” stage, so I’m partially to blame for getting him used to it, but when real life hits it just is not sustainable.  Because I work such long hours, I need my weekends to clean my house, get my hair cut, run errands, paint my nails, dye my hair, and deal with life.  I can’t just “hang out” all weekend with CTF.  Could I clean my house with him sitting there?  Sure.  But why should I?  We don’t live together!  And I really, truly do need my alone time.

My main issue is – after staying the night on a Friday or Saturday, he doesn’t voluntarily go home the next day.  At all.  Like, ever in six months of dating.  He has never gotten up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and said “I have some errands to run so I’m going to go home.” or “I have plans with Matt, so I’m heading out now.”  I’ve never dealt with a situation like this before, with any man I’ve ever dated.  You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve gone over this in my brain.  Am I wrong?  Is he wrong?  Is neither of us wrong?  Why doesn’t he go home and do his own thing, at least for a few hours?  The thing is, I wouldn’t describe him as “clingy.”  I really don’t see him that much; three to four days a week.  It’s just that after a lot of together time straight (usually it hits me around 18-24 hours, and it is more apt to hit when we are doing nothing than when we are busy out doing stuff), I need to clear my mind and be alone for awhile.

This has really become an issue for me over the past six or seven weekends.  I’ve talked to him about it.  (I think communication is very important!)  He nods his head.  He says he understands.  Yet it has translated into no action on his part.  It’s like it goes in one ear and out the other.  I have had this conversation with him on a Saturday night, and then Sunday he is still sitting on my couch at 6 p.m.  It’s really unbelievable and sometimes I wonder if I’m on Candid Camera.    

I’ve tried dropping hints.  “Gee, I have so much to do tomorrow.”  “I really should do some work today.”  “I really need to get over to Whole Foods soon.”  “I really should get a workout in.”  The hints have not worked at all.  Typically after trying to drop hints for an hour or so, I’ve had to just put on my coat and stand there, and say “Time for you to go now; I need to get some things done.” 

I’ve now completely surpassed dropping hints and have gone to the blunt extreme.  I no longer see him on Friday nights, unless it is to just briefly meet up for dinner.  Would I like him to stay over Friday night?  Sure.  So why don’t I see him?  Because I like having Saturday morning to run my errands, work out, and do my thing, and I don’t want to have to kick him out.  If he would just get up in the morning and go home, I wouldn’t mind another night together.  But I can’t get him to do it on his own.  I now have to say flat out “I need my alone time, you need to go home.”

And even then it takes him on average an hour and a half to actually walk out the door.

I resent having to say this to him.  I’m at a point where I get internally angry, and it’s affecting my time with him.  Rather than having fun with him on Saturday evening, I’m wondering in the back of my mind at what point on Sunday I will hit my limit and have to tell him to leave.  I hate having to tell him to leave.  I hate it!  It makes me feel like I’m rejecting him, when really I’m not.  I just need a few hours to myself for God’s sakes!  I feel mean when I have have to say this.  He doesn’t get at all that if he would just leave for a few hours earlier in the day, I would be happy to get back together with him later on in the evening, even though I have explained this to him.    

I’m clearly going to have to bring this up with him again.  (Seriously, I've already brought it up so many times, and I hate relationship talks.)  Last Sunday he sat on my couch all day long.  I didn’t even want to deal with it, so I just cleaned my house and ignored him for hours.  This past Sunday I just told him to go home at around 5 p.m.  He leaves when I tell him to, but it does seem like it is starting to bother him.    

I’m just so frustrated with this.  He and I are so compatible in every other way and I really do have a great time with him, but I’m starting to feel as though I’m the center of his universe or something.  He has friends, he has hobbies.  So why doesn’t he do any of that on the weekends?  I am always the one who cuts our time together short, who gets off the phone first, who says “no” to getting together, who makes plans without him.  I really think this is something we can work through and figure out, but I’m losing patience with him.  And I'm sick of having to bring it up! 

ARGHHHHHH!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

What Sequestration?

Do you ever just feel like this country is going crazy?

Allegedly we are in the midst of a government sequestration – $85 billion in spending cuts, people! It was supposed to be like doomsday.

And yet, in the past week, I’ve seen the following reported in the news:

TSA signs a $50 million contract for new uniforms.

The President has begun planning his yearly Martha’s Vineyard summer trip.

U.S. government advertised 400 new jobs on the first day of the sequester.

John Kerry announced that the U.S. is going to give $250 million to Egypt.

The White House calligrapher gets paid nearly $100,000 a year.

The White House dog walker gets paid over $100,000 a year.

The government spends $1.7 billion each year for maintenance on the empty buildings it owns.

The National Science Foundation gave a $350,000 grant to Purdue University researchers on how to improve your golf game.

U.S. farmers are given $2 billion annually not to farm their land.

There are studies upon studies upon studies about all of the duplication and waste going on in our government. What’s shocking to me is that more people in this country aren’t demanding the government cut back on this waste. Why isn’t anyone paying attention to the CBO reports each year that talk about the mass duplication of efforts across agencies and the numerous areas where costs can be cut? No one talks about that; it’s all about taxing us more.

Oh, wait -- I know why.  Because it would mean government layoffs.  (You can't tell me that the government couldn't find a more efficient way to do things, with less employees.  You can't tell me that every employee who works for the government is busy for eight hours a day.)  Congress won't do anything if it means layoffs, because then they won't get reelected.  See the problem here?  The people in charge of deciding how to spend the money have a vested interest in throwing money at everyone in order to keep their jobs.  Quite the conundrum, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Haven't Abandoned You!

Wow, has it really been nearly six weeks since I updated?

Eek..oops...that is no way to keep people coming back, now is it?

Obviously I've been busy.  I taught a class again in early January, have been flying all over making extremely impressive legal arguments (ha!) and went with CTF to meet his family and friends for a week over Christmas.  Oh yes, I am still in a relationship.  Can you believe it?

Seeing as how I’ve cleared the four month point of the relationship, met the family and friends, and survived the exchange of “I love yous,” I guess I can safely tell you a little bit about CTF without feeling like I might jinx the entire thing.


So, let’s start at the beginning. We met at a Meetup.com event. I absolutely love Meetup.com. I feel like it’s opened up a whole new world of new people and things to do. There are a few groups here in Chicago I’ve found that I really enjoy. It's like a constant barrage of fun things to do filling up my Inbox.  Oh, joy!  At the outset, I joined in order to meet some new girlfriends, since all my girlfriends are having kids, so their free time is lacking. And dammit, I still like going out and having brunch and happy hour drinks and dinners and dancing! How do you meet new friends when you hit your 30s? It’s hard when you can’t just meet people through Mommy & Me class and things like that. So, Meetup.com! What a fabulous invention. And through it, I have met new girlfriends. I also – without even expecting to – met CTF. 

We met at a bar type mingling event toward the end of August. There were around 50 people who showed up, and I was in a particularly talkative (for me) mood that evening. I spoke with most of the people there at one point or another, and CTF briefly when we were walking to a different locale. But then, at around 11 p.m., I was kind of getting ready to pack it in for the night, and he sat down next to me at the bar, we started talking, and the next thing we knew it was 3 a.m. Time really flew by. I liked talking to him, and he seemed fairly normal and nice. He admitted to me later that he wasn’t looking for anything either, so before we left it was with some surprise that we both kind of said “Oh, this was fun, we should probably exchange numbers.”

For whatever reason, I agreed to share a cab with him. (I never do this with men I just meet, but I figured the cabbie wouldn’t let him butcher me in the backseat or anything like that.) When we got to my place, he completely took me by surprise by kissing me. That took some courage! I did not invite him in. In fact, he was leaving the next day to travel for 2 weeks on business, and I was going on vacation pretty much immediately when he returned, so…I didn’t expect to ever hear from him again.

But low and behold, two weeks later – on the day he told me he was getting back to Chicago – he called me. As I mentioned, I was leaving for vacation for two weeks, so I told him I’d just call him when I got home and we could get together. Throughout my vacation, I texted him a few times. Just funny, lighthearted stuff. He liked this a lot.

So, when I got home at the end of September, we had our first date. And, it’s progressed quite textbook since then. After about a month, he asked for exclusivity. “I love yous” came at three months. We see each other 2-3 times a week usually. (He travels for work during the week fairly often.) I went with him out of town at Christmas to meet his family and friends. It was our first time traveling together, and it went fine. Six straight days together did not prove to be a burden at all. In fact, we have a surprising amount in common. Best of all, he doesn’t annoy me at all. (Yet…lol.)

The thing is…it’s all been so easy. I had forgotten how relationships are supposed to be. It shouldn’t be stressful, hard, or leave you wondering. He’s never let me wonder how he feels about me, or what his intentions were. He calls when he says he’s going to call. He gives me my space when he senses I need it. (I’m an introvert, so I do tend to need my alone time, and I told him this fairly early on.) It’s so nice. He’s 46, never married, no kids, and….there is nothing wrong with him. I always considered it a red flag when I met a guy in his 40s who hadn’t been married or had kids, but CTF has proven to me that sometimes all of that just doesn’t work out for very logical reasons. He’s had relationships – he’s been engaged – but it just didn’t work out. Huh. Sounds like me. And God, it is so awesome to not have to deal with a guy who has kids and crazy exes. In fact, we often discuss how nice it is to wake up on Saturday or Sunday morning and have absolutely no responsibilities. We can do whatever we want – go to a museum, go shopping, watch TV, wander around the city, eat brunch, anything. And we do.

It’s interesting to date now, at age 38, when my goals are so much different than when I was in my 20s. I’ve pretty much decided that I don’t want kids. I’m too selfish. There is little about raising a child that is appealing to me right now. (I don’t mean to sound bitchy by saying that, but it is how I feel. My life is fantastic right now…a child would vastly change it. Would it be worth it? Parents say yes. I’m not so sure. I’ve never had the burning desire for children, so why would that change now?) Even marriage I don’t care about anymore. It seemed more important when I was in my 20s. Marriage is important if you want kids – but since I don’t, now it seems more like a piece of paper. What do I have to gain by getting married? Certainly there are legal reasons to do it, but marriage isn’t the goal for me. I want a committed relationship – someone to eat brunch with on Sunday, to travel with all over the country and world, to share a glass of wine with on Friday night, to watch bad reality television shows with, and to simply spend time with. I don’t want drama. I don’t want fights or arguments. I just want companionship. I’m not looking for the father of my children.  So, for right now things are very good.  I like how compatible we seem to be.  I'm not under any illusions, however.  I realize that we are entering "the bloom is off the rose" phase now, where things will either pan out or not.  At any rate, it's been a fun ride so far.

The only real negative is that we’ve been doing a lot of eating and drinking. I’m still maintaining my weight at 125ish fairly well, but I really have to put a lid on it or I could end up back where I started!