Friday, November 30, 2012

On Sounding Manly, Lie Training, And Laughing At Sick Pets

Apparently, my voice is too high for a lawyer's voice. I've been acutely and self-consciously aware of this fact since a partner at a prior firm mentioned this to me over a year ago. He then proceeded to give me tips on how to sound more authoritative. He quipped that an older female client doesn't sound very assured when her lawyer sounds young and high-pitchy.

His point was well made. I took it to heart. Ever since then, I've struggled to sound more authoritative. It's really hard to talk in a deeper voice on purpose and to not sound like a raspy serial killer.

Although I'm trying, I haven't quite mastered the skill. Occassionally, when I'm not thinking about it or when I'm caught off guard, I will resort to my high-pitched "phone" voice. The former partner who originally mentioned this whole thing to me over a year ago is now my current boss. And today, after a phone conferece with another attorney, he mentioned it to me again.

It's frustrating. He's 100% right. I need to sound more like a lawyer. And unfortunately, that means sounding more masculine. The frustrating thing is that it's simply not easy to change your voice and still sound natural. I need more practice or just some better tips/training.

Not only does my boss think I need to sound more authoritative, he thinks I need training on how to "lie." I have to admit that when it comes to lying, I suck. I almost always crack a huge suspicious grin when pressed. I tend to think this is a QUALITY in my character, not a deficit. But my boss decided that my "lie" training should start today. (p.s., my boss is actually a funny and awesome guy, this isn't as bad as it sounds and is mostly just in good fun). When we called up a colleague about meeting for happy hour, my boss challenged me to give the receptionist a pretent name.

"Hello, how may I direct your call."'
"Yes. Can I speak to Sarah please."
"Who may I ask is calling?"
"Wait, is this CP?"
"....giggle, giggle. YES!"

Not only did I fail at lying, but the sweet old lady receptionist sounded pretty annoyed by what she called my "prank." I immediately called her back to apologize. I was going to explain about my "lie training." Because THAT sounds completely normal, right? But as soon as I said I was sorry, she told me she had to go and promptly hung up. Now I feel HORRIBLE! I'm pretty sure it's horrific karma to eff with a receptionist. I'm sure that's in a rule book somewhere.

See. Lying is bad. It gets you in trouble. Lawyers do not need help tarnishing the reputation of their profession. I think from now on, I will stick to simply "molding the facts to fit my theory of the case."

After work, we eventually did meet up with our former coworkers for happy hour. We all used to work at the same firm about two years ago. Some of us left. Some of us left and returned. Some of us are still there. I love this group. They are my favorite people ever. If I could build my ideal law firm with all my favorite people to work with, they would be there. We're loud. We're rowdy. We're inappropriate. We're such a diverse group of individual that from the outside, we do not look like we would all be friends. It's amazing how a workplace can bring all different types of people together and give us something in common. I love it.

During happy hour I drank just one beer and that was enough to get me in trouble. By the end of happy hour, I was in an uncontrollable giggling rage. (Talk about trying to sound more authoritative!). Everything seemed funny to me and I couldn't stop laughing. Unfortunately, this is when someone started to talk about their dog having cancer. My beer was still in full force and I giggled through the whole sad story. I am SO going to hell. (On the positive: hell is more likely to have beer).

I arrived home late but with just enough time to cuddle my baby and hang out with my big kid before  bed. I'm so looking forward to spending an entire weekend with them. Even when they are cranky and whinny. Happy hours put everything into a good perspective. I guess that's why they are called "happy" hours.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flexibility Matters

I wanted to write a post about how things are going with my special work arrangements. Working 2 days a week from "home" (actually, my mom's home while she watches the kids), has been totally amazing.

I was very skeptical at first. In lawschool, every one of my attempts to study at home failed. I simply could not muster up the self discipline to hunker down and focus on school. Same thing with my first attorney job. But so far, whether I'm working on my dining room table or in my old room at my parent's house, I've been super productive. It helps to have scary court-deadlines looming over your head. Or maybe it's the fact that I still feel like I need to prove to my new employers that I can make this working from home thing work.

The days I work from "home," I get an extra hour of sleep. After work, I get an extra hour of play time with the kids. (I even took them to the YMCA yesterday after work!). When I get to my mom's, I lock myself in my old room where I am free from interruption by partners, paralegals, phone calls, etc. There's no one to entice me away from my desk with an invitation to lunch or coffee. I can take five minute breaks to raid my mom's pantry and give the kids a hug.

Mentally, just knowing that I don't have to make the 2.5 hour one way trek into Seattle everyday, has made all the difference in my attitude. I'm not stuck in traffic. I don't have to deal with extremely slow walkers clogging up the sidewalks. I don't have mini-panic attacks about missing my bus or ferry. If I'm half an hour late, no one knows (I just work half an hour later). It's so much easier to manage an unhumane commute when you are only doing it every other day. 

Plus, I get to work in my yoga pants! Or jeans. Or shorts. Or heck, my underwear if I wanted! From a wardrobe perspective, my job is perfect. Half the week I get to play dress-up and wear all my favorite work wardrobe pieces and the other half of the week I get to work in my casual clothes that otherwise get very little use.

And double bonus: I still love my job. Like, to a sickening degree of job-love. It's challenging. It's interesting. I get to write a lot of motions and briefs. I occassionally get to attend hearings and depositions ("occassionally" is the perfect frequency for these types of tasks). I get to help strategize on litigation efforts. I get just the perfect mixture of self-management/autonomy and guidance. Probably the most exciting thing of all... I get my picture on the firm website! Hey, it's the little things right?

So, the take-away? A little flexibility from an employer as far as letting you work from home or work slightly-reduced hourse can make a huge difference. Without the flexibility, the job I absolutely love would be unsustainable and implausible. I still don't know how I got so lucky!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How To Take A Professional Headshot

The key is to simply, be yourself.
Portrait of a working mom:

Driven to the brink of insanity.

And occassionally, yes, even professional.

Tweet Tweet

I FINALLY got a Twitter account. For the longest time, I was certain it was just a boring version of Facebook. I'm going to give it a try though.

And I want to follow you! Who has a Twitter .... handle? Is that what they call it?

I'm @LawAssociette. It's a work in progress.


Winter is here, but Spring is already sprouting on my clay table! :) Some more clay rings! I love how they turned out! I painted them a bright tangerine, with orange centers, and to me they look like poppies! :) A splash of color for brightening up cold winter days! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Every evening, I'm very excited to arrive home and walk through the door. The way it plays out in my head, it goes something like this: my older son runs to me and wraps his arms around my neck with a big grin. My younger son reaches his arms out for me and cuddles happily for a moment before returning to play with his toys on the floor. I whip up a quick meal while the kids entertain themselves, and then we sit down and eat together as a family as we talk about our day. Finally, we play a board game or do a quick puzzle before it's time for bed.

That's pretty much mom heaven for a weekday night.

Unfortunately, when I actually DO walk excitedly through the door, with expectations soaring high, I more often than not encounter a very different scene. One that often makes me want to step right back out the door.

First, Jacob is almost always on the couch, overly tired, and whinning nonstop. "I want a snack! I don't want dinner. I'm starving. No, I don't like chicken. I want to watch TV. Ryan is looking at me!"  He repeats this as he thrashes violently on the couch. Obviously, he did not have a nap.

Then Ryan takes one look at me, smiles with a dimply, wide grin, and reaches out for me. Finally! Some love! Something is going as imagined! But the second I pick him up, he turns into one of those miniature cling-on koala bear toys.

He won't let go. The second I put him down to change out of work clothes or make dinner, or go to the bathroom, he starts to whimper and cry. He's clearly tired as well and needs to go to bed. But I JUST walked in the door from my 2+ hour commute (which includes 2.5 miles of walkng and an hour long ferry ride). I'm exhausted. I'm freezing. I'm starving. And I'm freaking wearing panty hose!

So with a chubby human koala clutching to me and my four-year old having a major meltdown on the couch that would seriously put a pampered, indulgent celeb to shame, I throw together a pathetic dinner of pancakes with ONE HAND because I'm feeling uninspired and don't have any groceries.

Then, with both kids still crying and with pancake batter dripping from my free hand all over the floor, and over the cat, and over my nice dry-clean-only skirt, and my panty hose, I fall to the floor and just sit there for a moment. Oh look, there are run-away Cheerios under my oven. Oh look, the cat's food dish has somehow cracked in half, scattering pieces of fish-smelling catfood all over the floor. Oh look, Ryan just put a mysterious crumb in his mouth.

I sit in a pile of pancake batter and with Ryan in my lap, I scootch my butt over to my emergency candy drawer. I pull out a handful of minaiture Reese's, fling the wrappers half-heartedly in the general direction of the garbage can, and decidedly feast on a dinner of chocolate and processed peanut butter. In that moment, I almost wish some of my single, kidless friends could see me. If only for their pity. Or the entertainment of seeing the horror on their faces. Then...maybe THEN they will finally understand why it's not so easy to just show up at an impromptu invitation for happy hour.

Right in that moment, I'm thinking, man, I really deserve a "participation award" for surviving life today.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Here is a new batch of Aegean-inspired rings! Cold clay, acrylic paints, glazes and varnish. Simple, minimalistic yet colorful and striking... and very Aegean! :)

Food, Family & Fun

The past four days were so awesome. Trying at times (especially the part about not going to work and sharing a 900 square foot house with my two kids, all their freaking toys, and all their attitude), but definitely awesome

FOOD (or Carbs, Carbs, Everywhere)

For Thanksgiving dinner, we went to my Sister-In-Law's in-law's house, if that makes any sense. My husband's family all gathered there as well and it turned out really nice. Especially because I didn't have to cook OR clean! Although I didn't cook for Thanksgiving, I ended up cooking (and eating!) a whole lot of meals these past four days for just my family.

Mushroom bread pudding

Creamy apple pie with pecan crumble topping (my favorite pie...ever!)

Ginger-soy chicken. The ginger flavor comes from ginger preserves which is an unusual but fun ingredient.

My favorite recipe for homemade, from-scratch pancakes. I seriously haven't purchased pancake mix in four years.

Breakfast Quiche. I had two homemade pie doughs from the crust I made for my apple pie. I didn't want them to go the usual route of being forgotten about and thrown away 3 months later. So, this morning, I threw together a "whatever is in the fridge" quiche. The filling: fresh parmesan cheese, half a ball of fresh mozarella, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes (nuked in the microwave then pan-fried for a perfect crispy outside), onions, and garlic. Help: I still have one pie dough left!

Delicious one-pot pasta. I got this from Pinterest. Basically it's pasta, broccoli, garlic, and parmesan cheese all cooked in one big pot. Almost no dishes. And yummy.

Chicken with cream sauce. I took a Julia Child recipe and ran with it. I didn't like her method- I know, right, who am I to criticize Julia Child?!  Oh. The. Nerve.

I can't tell you how many times I scrubbed the entire surface of my kitchen counters and sink. I can't tell you how many dirty dishes I washed. I can't tell you how many times I had to pour Ryan one more handful of Cheerios to keep him happy while I was occupied. I CAN tell you how extremely DRY my hands are right now. I feel like reptile lady. But I LOVE to cook. This weekend was cooking therapy for me.


On Saturday we celebrated a friend's birthday party at a nearby public pool. I supervised Jacob while I also entertained Ryan in the pool. Ryan LOVED the water. He's always loved taking baths and, to him, the pool was one gigantic bathtub in which to splash.

Jacob really wanted to float down the lazy river so I decided to buck up and get wet. I'm not a fan of swimming or being wet or being cold so I tried my darndest to stay on the sidelines. I wasn't sure how Ryan would do in the lazy river. There were no other babies in that area of the pool. But it turned out I had no reason to worry. He's just like his big brother and loves water. I bounced along the lazy river with Ryan as Jacob hung on to floaties. Jacob grabbed Ryan's hand and the two of them giggled and splashed as we all went around and around.

Because Ryan's still little, there aren't many things the two of them can really do together. It was a special treat to see my two boys have so much fun together. I'm always worried that being nearly 4 years apart in age, the boys won't be that close as they grow up. They are proving me wrong nearly every day.

This morning Ryan started to crawl! It was more like an army crawl but it got the job done. He managed to get his knees under his body a couple times. He's been good at maneuvering around on the floor for a long time now, this was just the first time he did so in a typical "pre-crawl" method. I love that he can reach for toys on his own now. I hate that I have to start cleaning the floors more often now. I also have to be extra vigilant about removing all power cords from his reach when I leave a room. He is obsessed with power cords and, admittedly, when I'm really busy I'll give him one to fling around just because it's a sure-fire way to keep him occupied. But I definitely don't want him to have one when I'm not watching. Yikes!

Ready to see Santa!

Today, we took Jacob and Ryan to see Santa at the mall. Jacob was so excited. I kept reminding my husband and myself that we have to enjoy every ounce of his excitement. This age is pretty much as exciting and magical as Christmas gets. I was harshly reminded of this fact as we stood in line to see Santa and the pre-teen behind us was giving her mom major attitude for having to sit on Santa's lap. The pre-teen was so obnoxious I almost clocked her with my diaper bag. She kept saying that Santa wasn't real and the man in the red suit was a creepy pedophile dressed in costume. SERIOUSLY. I know we've probably all thought that at one point but you can't SAY IT. IN FRONT OF CHILDREN. AT THE MALL!

Right when I was about to turn around and tell her to shut her pimply pie-hole, her mother did the job for me. Thank goodness because I would have been less loving than her mother. And I probably would have used a swear word. Especially if Jacob had overheard anything.

Turns out, however, Ryan agrees with her.

Nope. Ryan does not like the creepy pedophile dressed in costume.

(forgive me sweet Santa man, I know you really are NOT a pedophile)
Ryan showed signs of PTSD from the experience for the rest of the day. "Hey kids, look at those cool lights in the shape of a Santa!"
Ryan: "NOOOOOOO!!!!!"

Sunday, November 25, 2012


A lovely reader "challenged" me to reveal a bit more about my "7 little facts"... so here is fact #7! :)

7. I have a little tattoo, it's a spiral sun I designed myself!

This is my spiral sun tattoo! I love suns and spirals so much that 4 years and a half ago I got my first (and only) tattoo featuring a combined design of my beloved symbols. I love symbols, and that was kind of a symbol of new life and rebirth. Needless to say, that was a very special summer and year in my life :) Spirals are a universally widespread symbol and are present in many ancient civilizations and still widely used as a decorative motif in many cultures. Spirals often show up in my work, often combined with suns.
Ok... now I hear you asking where I have my tattoo :) ... Well, it's right behind my right shoulder :)

You can read my previous post about spirals, swirls and meanders here.

- Aegean Sun 3 -

Friday, November 23, 2012


My friend Joan of God's Little People is doing wonderful, amazing, touching work to rescue cats and kittens in need on a small island of the Cyclades, Greece. Some of you may already have met her on my previous post here, for those of you who haven't I strongly recommend the read! Joan is a wonderful woman, whose heart never ceases to amaze me. Most of Joan's little rescues would never have had a chance to live if she hadn't rescued them... many of them suffering from severe health problems and denutrition. Joan is now offering wonderful cards with images of some of her gorgeous rescues. Each card is only 5$ (that's about 4€), and the proceeds go entirely towards food, medical expenses and neuterings. If you are looking for that special Christmas card... here's a wonderful way to to do so in a really meaningful way!!!

- back of cards, with quote from the Talmud -

Details directly on Joan's blog God's Little People. Rush because the number is limited!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding

To celebrate our friend's wedding the other year, we visited a winery in Osooyoos, Canada. When the waiter appeared at our table to ask if we were ready to order, my two-year-old Jacob loudly exclaimed to him, "we want the duck!" Jacob didn't sit at the table for much longer and I remember chasing him around the mini bell tower amidst freezing gusts of wind.

Somehow, I eventually wrangled him back to the table for just long enough to scarf down my meal. I don't even remember the main course. My meal was completely overshadowed by an incredible mushroom bread pudding.

When we got back to Washington, I was determined to recreate the dish. I reviewed several recipes but none of them looked just right. So I combined some of them to create a close-enough rendition. I thought of this recipe today because it's the perfect dish for Thanksgiving. It's got the texture of everyone's beloved stuffing, but it's so much richer. If you don't mention the mushrooms, I'm sure you can even get the kids to try it!

Mushroom Bread Pudding

1 loaf french bread
1 lb cremini mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
3 Tbs butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups half and half
4 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice bread into cubes. Place on baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 7-10 minutes until slighty crunchy or golden brown. (or you can use stale bread)
3. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
4. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until most of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
5. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat.
6. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add half-and-half and mix to combine. Then season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in mushrooms and bread cubes and mix until well coated.
7. Place everything into a buttered baking dish. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until firm to the touch.


A few days ago I received a lovely envelope from Switzerland... I already knew what was in it, but there were some lovely surprises inside, and everything was so thoughtful and sweet... just like Juanita! :) Juanita chose lucky me as the winner of her blog giveaway, the prize of which were these two gorgeous bracelets! She had bought them on one of her trips to Malaysia, and they truly are pieces of traditional art! Juanita said: "In the years of 2004 to 2008, Hubs and I used to spend a chunk of time in the Malaysian part of Borneo, Sabah, annually. In one of those trips, we also visited the other Malaysian region, Sarawak, and I bought these elastic bracelets as souvenir. These intricately hand-beaded bracelets were sold as traditional tribal bracelets at a museum. Looking at them now, they scream Chevron, which is such a rave these days". I commented saying how much I loved these bracelets (they are so ME!), but what Juanita didn't know is that as a young girl I used to dream about far-away, exotic places... and one of the places I was most fascinated with was Malaysia and the Borneo! :)

Juanita is a talented accessories and bags designer, a cat mom to two adorable fluffy babies called Fluffy and Pickle (they attended Zoe's Kitty Party in the spring!), and a lovely friend! Oh... and I forgot to mention -- she is a fellow Libra, which you can tell from her love for beauty and those little details which I so love... :)

Thank you so much Juanita! It's been so nice meeting you! :)
And it's going to be a great pleasure to wear these gorgous ethnic bracelets!!! :)