Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heavy on the prepositional phrases

Our financial situation has improved since I started my little job, and having rebuilt our savings, we recently invested in a Hugh Mungous flatscreen TV. Spouse had been looking for months, nay, years--whenever we were in a store that sold flatscreens, even if we'd gone in for potato chips, he'd end up in the electronics section--and found a good deal online. So we got the thing, and it now sits on the dresser in our bedroom. I stayed home to meet the delivery man, and when it got here I called Spouse and gaily announced, "It's a boy!"

I should explain that when we moved into the townhouse we rent, we had no kitchen table. We also had no couch. We did have a hodgepodge of other furnishings our parents didn't want anymore, including the aforementioned dresser. Also, before we ever slept in the new place, we went to Sam's and got a king-size mattress and box spring, and I was oddly comforted when I read on the labeling that it had been manufactured right here in our fair city. We also got an extremely basic bed frame. Since there was nothing else to sit on other than a lawn chair, we'd sit on said bed to eat dinner and watch TV or a movie, on the laptop, on the dresser.

I should also explain that Spouse has to be watching something when he eats a meal. When he was a kid, TV during family dinners was an ordinary, regular experience. (My mom is a retired reading teacher, and when we were little kids, TV was as poisonous as sugar and Liquid Plumr.) Granted, if I'm alone and eating anything that takes more than a minute to chew, I've gotta be reading something, or listening to the radio, or I feel ridiculous. But when I have company during a meal, I would just as soon have a conversation as watch MythBusters.

The embarrassing fact I'm getting at is: despite having eventually acquired both a dining room table and a comfy couch, we still eat dinner in our bed, which is why the TV is perched on our bedroom dresser, where the mirror should be, and not on the living room wall, opposite said couch. This is mostly my fault, not just because I failed to put my marital foot down, but because the table is perpetually covered in my junk. Hell, pretty much the entire dining quadrant of the living room is covered in my junk, including, Spouse informed me the other day, something like thirteen pairs of shoes. That area is my landing pad when I get home. It's where the mail gets tossed, and where the receipts and candy wrappers go when I clean out my purse, and where I sit if I'm looking through cookbooks or filling out bills. It's hot out now but there are still coats and jackets on the dining chairs. (Have I mentioned how rarely we have people over, and how if anything breaks or needs maintenance, such that the landlord has to visit, panic ensues?)

Eventually this will have to change, because eventually (I hope) we will have offspring, who will probably be even messier eaters than we are. But for now, we eat dinner in bed, and late at night when whatever we've watched on Netflix ends and the giant screen glows red, I think, "Who needs a fireplace?" And if I get sleepy before the show's over and take off my glasses, if I hear something interesting, I can look up and see it just fine.

Disaster brownies

I think if I wait until I have Something Important or Something Upbeat to say, I will continue to not blog very often.

So instead I will talk about the cookbook I recently threw out.

Many years ago I got my mom a cookbook with a charming title about how sugar-filled and butter-packed its contents were. And recently it came back to me when Mom was cleaning out her cookbooks and gave me an overflowing bag of them. Many were utter doozies (fundraising collections, heavy on mayonnaise-based cuisine), but this one was funny to read and the baked goods sounded delish.

So one evening last week I tried to make Congo Bars, basically a chocolate chip blondie, and they were a total disaster. There was a center portion that looked and tasted all right but it was surrounded by a moat of scary-looking goo that had to be chiseled out of the pan. You could see that the batter had bubbled to the very top of the pan and could easily have spilled over. My oven rack had not been centered, and I figured they must have gotten too hot.

Not twelve hours later, with the rack properly adjusted, I opened the oven to find...exactly the same thing. I was chagrined. I asked Mom if she remembered the cookbook, and she said, "Um, I think there might have been a reason it was in the giveaway pile." As in, she probably hadn't had any luck either. So I dumped the cookbook in the kitchen trash, along with most of the contents of the brownie pan.

Last night I got some Good Chocolate bars so I can make World Peace Cookies if I wanna.

My yoga teacher and probably closest friend here is moving away, and I need to find something to do exercise-wise or my new clothes aren't going to fit. I suppose I could just walk around my neighborhood but depending on the time of day, I have to beware blistering sunlight or swarms of insects. It's hard to get a good pace going to NPR. I don't have an iPod, so I wear one of those headphone radio contraptions, and as ridiculous as that probably looks, I'd feel even sillier lugging around a Discman. I might as well strap an Atari console to my back.

What is really bothering me: A couple weeks ago I had an appointment to meet with an attorney, mostly to get advice about what to do for my pro bono client. This attorney works with my therapist, who had mentioned me to her and recommended that we meet.

It was less than helpful. Mostly, she just did not have time to meet with me. She took a phone call right after we sat down, and then we spoke a bit, and then suddenly she urgently had to take her paralegals out to lunch. I'm sure she didn't mean to be dismissive or discouraging. Honestly, it's the same problem I bump into over and over again: Almost nobody, particularly practicing lawyers, can get their brain around an unemployed lawyer. People just cannot believe it. My existence messes with their heads. This is precisely why I don't go to local bar meetings. I have not found a way to describe my situation--faraway law school, extended struggle with bar exam, finally licensed, can't find job--in a way that makes people understand it and react with any sort of warmth or empathy. People react with utter incredulity and I have no idea how to respond.

If anything, meeting this lady--who just happens to look like a dang supermodel--made me feel even more awkward and incompetent, and even less equipped to deal. I'd spent the previous week applying for an internship in public-interest law, for law students and licensed attorneys, and had written all these essays about my much-vaunted experience, and how I'd gone to law school to Help People, and was finally feeling sorta motivated again...and now I'm back to wondering why I bothered applying, because I haven't heard anything yet and I'm not sure they're even going to consider me.

My part-time job, at the Day Spa for Overly Entitled Women and Occasionally Their Spouses, is...probably best not discussed here. Sigh.