Thursday, August 30, 2007

Baby Love

We threw a baby shower for Curly Fries today. Curly Fries is my oldest dearest female friend at my current firm ("oldest" as in "known me the longest," as opposed to "oldest" as in "rode dinosaurs"). She was one of my bridesmaids, and I love her to pieces. She is having a baby boy in October! Whee!

I had gone to another shower for Curly Fries earlier this month, but we needed some work love, too! Perfecta and I went to the Ralphs Fresh Fare at lunch to get some last-minute morsels and mylar.

Labor Girl supplied some super duper fancy cheese and crackers.

Here are the cookies, brownie bites, and veggies we got from Ralphs.

Some decorations:

But the true pièce de résistance of the shower (aside from Curly Fries, of course) was the Sprinkles cupcakes (chocolate almond, dark chocolate, and red velvet), which Talksa picked up for us. Here they are before...

...and after we arranged them on Perfecta's tiered plates.

Curly Fries had fun opening gifts.

Aside from these individual gifts, we presented Curly Fries with a group gift of a $450 babystyle gift card. Pretty sweet. My fave, though, was this li'l guy!

After the shower, we had some fun while cleaning up.

Later that day (unrelated to the shower, obviously), I heard a loud explosion. I looked outside my window and saw a car that exploded on the freeway! Flames raged, and black smoke swirled all around.

Definitely an interesting twist to the day. I hope the people in that car got out before it exploded.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Changing Horses Midstream

I had a rather eye-opening lunch with my friend and co-worker Ironman today. Ironman, who is a partner, asked me to lunch to discuss a number of work issues, namely the way I'd been handling one of his cases, which was less than great, to put it mildly. Sad to say, amidst all the madness at work in the past month or so, this case had gotten a bit neglected.

I've really got to hand it to Ironman. He's another person I admire at work -- a real class act. He is dedicated to his clients, his cases, and his associates, and today was one example of it. It really broke my heart that I'd let him down. Of all the people at work, he's really one of the last people I want to disappoint. He has always been there for me at my low points and has been a great supporter of not only me, but of many other low men on the totem pole who are powerless to effect change.

We had a good talk, and I'm going to make sure that this case doesn't fall through the cracks. I guess I've been having some motivational issues. Maybe I will just focus on beating the girl on the other side. I do like to beat people. ("Beat" as in "defeat" or "triumph over," not "beat" as in "to hit repeatedly so as to inflict pain." Although, truth be told, there are plenty of people in this world I'd like to beat in the latter manner. Some of them are even at work.)

Ironman observed that I don't seem to have the passion for law that Talksa and Lasagna Man do. He's right. I'm much happier prattling about fluff like celebrity gossip or the latest offerings in the world of music and movies, whereas Talksa and Lasagna Man like to talk about their cases. A lot. Sometimes I even have to stop Talksa from babbling because she goes on and on and on and on about her cases, most of which don't involve me in any way. Honestly, it even bores me to some extent, but I do love Talksa for her enthusiasm, even when I want to bang my head on my desk and say, "Enough! I'm not on these cases! I don't care!"

Yet, when I do care about a case and when I put my mind to it, I'm good at what I do. Actually, when I really work hard, I generate very good work product. A large part of any success I earn at work hinges upon whether I am putting forth a sincere effort, and, admittedly, a sincere effort from me may not happen everyday on every case. In contrast, I know that Talksa always puts her best foot forward. The law is her life. Her life is the law. I envy her for loving the law so much. Her blissful practice of law is like the equivalent of my being a paid food critic. Or travel guide writer. Or...blogger.

I left work after 10 p.m. tonight, which sucked ass, but was better than last night's near midnight departure. I often wonder why I continue doing something that I don't absolutely love. Ironman confessed that much of the first half of his career was rather unpalatable until he began working for himself and taking ownership of his cases. I guess there is something to be said about that. I do agree that I prefer working on my cases in which I have little to no direct supervision. I do feel more invested in those cases. Well, I guess I have to be if I'm the only person running the show.

I'm 30, and I've been doing this for six years now. I lost three years of my life preparing for this. That's nine years of doing something that has brought me far more misery than joy, unless you count the paychecks. I suppose money in the bank could be considered cause for joy, but it's a sad sad thing when the only thing that keeps you coming back is money.

And so I present to you the title of this post. Is it time to change horses midstream? To "change horses midstream" means to change plans in the middle of something, even when it may be risky to do so.

For now, I say nay, or, since I'm using a horse idiom, I say neeeiiiggghhh.

For now.

Until I hop on another horse, I just need to make sure I do my best on all of my cases.

Especially Ironman's.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Real Working Mom

I'm doing a quick blog from work, while I wait for Mr. Monkey to pick me up. It's 11:45 p.m. ARGH. While I was extraordinarily frustrated with certain things today, one of my co-workers really inspired me.

Rhodes is the single mother of twin 13-year-olds, and, like me, she is a full-time attorney at a busy law firm. (And, if you're wondering, Rhodes is indeed a Rhodes scholar.) She came in earlier than I did this morning and left around 5:30. Rhodes went home, made dinner for her boys, and then came back around 8:30 to resume working. She's still here, too. In fact, it was her extensive experience with electronic discovery that got me really going on my motion tonight. Even though it was late, she took the time to explain a few things to me. Rhodes really is quite awesome.

Now this, my friends, is a true working mother -- someone who genuinely cares about her obligations at the office and her little ones at home. I am amazed every day by Rhodes' juggling. She is a phenomenal lawyer and a super mom. Tonight was not out-of-the-ordinary for Rhodes. She keeps this schedule rather regularly.

If you're going to be a working mom full-time lawyer mom (i.e., not mommy-tracked and doomed never to make partner), I'm sorry to report that this is how it must be done. Anything less will shortchange your work, your mothering, or even both.

It's nights like these that make me wonder if Monkey the Baby Hater could ever be like Rhodes. At this point, I can only admire what she does and shake my head.

Monday, August 27, 2007


It's memetag time yet again. Last time, it was seven random facts about me a la Nanette. This time, the wonderfully cheery and talented Crissy Farah has tagged me for eight facts, after which I am to tag another eight peeps.

Ready? Begin!

(1) I am allergic to chocolate. It's not the horrible anaphylactic shock kind of allergy. I won't die from eating chocolate. If, however, I eat too much chocolate, I get hives all over my arms and face, and it's amazing how quickly the hives appear. Notwithstanding the hives, I still eat chocolate occasionally. A little itching is worth a morsel of sweetness. Sometimes.

(2) I lost 15 pounds last year before our wedding. In just five months after the wedding, I expanded exponentially -- 23 pounds! Yikes! Since January, I've dabbled with exercise and have modified my eating habits. I've lost 14 pounds, and I didn't gain any weight during the Monkeys' most recent getaway! Through moderation, I've been able to shed the pounds slowly and without going crazy. Just nine more pounds, and I'll be back to wedding weight!

(3) Pragmatism always wins over spontaneity or fun in my world. Sad but true. I had lunch with an old co-worker recently, and we agreed that I should be doing (and would be happier doing) something more creative with my life. Then what did I do? I walked back to my office as if the conversation had never happened and continued doing the same boring work I do every day. Why? It's safe.

(4) I own over $10,000 worth of Paul Frank paraphernalia. This has been accrued over the span of about eight years when my obsession first began. I have an inordinate number of t-shirts, hoodies, pajamas, underwear, watches, shoes, and bags. Among other things, I also have a bike, three skateboards, keychains, coasters, sheets, pillows, plush dolls, wallets, sunglasses, umbrellas, pitcher and tumbler sets, mugs, posters, stickers, wristbands, buttons, and even a collector Barbie. Actually, $10,000 is probably a low estimate, as I last took inventory in 2004.

(5) I don't like talking to strangers. I guess I was trained well as a child. I hate it when people on airplanes talk to me. I hate riding in elevators with people I don't know. I hate it so much that I actually get in the elevator and press "close door" maniacally and repeatedly. The Monkey is a total misanthrope! Sadly, I have the type of look that seems to invite random conversation. I guess I seem friendly. Oh, little do these strangers know!

(6) I played varsity badminton in high school. Hey, it's an Olympic sport! No, it's ok. You should go ahead and laugh. I had and continue to have zero coordination and athletic ability. So how did I make varsity? Two reasons: (1) I was ever so slightly less sucky than my other nerdy counterparts who also couldn't make the tennis team (the average GPA of the badminton team was above 4.0), and (2) my doubles partner was actually really good. I basically stood on the court to make it a doubles team. I would mainly just stand at the net, holding up my racket and ducking every so often when my partner would smash the birdie. Needless to say, I never got a jacket to show off my letter emblazoned with a shuttlecock. I was geeky enough without the extra fodder for ridicule.

(7) I shower twice a day and sometimes more, depending on whether and when I exercise. I know this is bad for my skin, but I just can't help it. I can't go to bed without being totally clean. It grosses me out to think of nestling in my nice-smelling clean sheets sans a proper sudsing. And then my hair is a mess in the morning when I wake up, so I have to hop in the shower again.

(8) I didn't go to my 10-year high school reunion. See #6 as to a possible explanation for this. I don't plan to go to any of my high school reunions. High school sucked donkey balls.

And now my victims: Aline, California Girl, Jen, Jessica, Joe, Lilcee, R, and Trish. Go forth, and prosper.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rumble in the LBC

rum·ble ('r&m-b&l) noun: a street fight especially among gangs.

Two gangs met head-to-head in Long Beach today, though there was no fighting on the street, and neither group donned red or blue apparel. Or brandished guns. Or wielded knives. Well, I guess we had butter knives. Hmm. This is going nowhere. Let's start over.

A few OC hags and a few L.A. hags got together for brunch at the Belmont Brewing Company today. Yes, hags. We are married old hags. (Save one -- but you will be very soon!) Mr. Monkey is currently obsessing about fantasy football and has been engrossed with his multiple drafts, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to get out to meet the girls.

Amber very graciously transported Trisha, R, and yours truly. We had a raucous cackle-filled drive, which was somewhat prolonged by our collective not-so-great navigational skills. Whee!

It turns out that only S and tater actually arrived on time. The OC carpool was also a bit tardy, evidently on account of 10YearsTogether's wardrobe indecisiveness. Cat's reaction: "You changed three times and ended up with that?!" Ahh, this group pulls no punches. That's why I love it so.

[UPDATE: Kate has the real scoop on why the OC carpool was late!]

No matter, mermosas [sic] solve all!

I had met a few of the OC girls a month ago while I was in their neck of the woods for work. We had fun that night, so I was looking forward to seeing them again, along with finally meeting my hilarious blogging buddy Kate (striking her best bad boudoir pose) and the ever incomparable Cat (clutching a Bloody Mary with the biggest celery stalk ever).

Apparently, I missed the memo about sunglasses and Veggie Scrambles because both were very popular with this group. See, e.g., Amber sporting the former and eating the latter.

tater and I had the Black Forest Eggs Benedict and the Lobster, Scallop, and Shrimp Crepes, respectively. Mmm mmm good. In light of my light brunch yesterday (and one more lost pound this morning -- I'm now down 14 pounds from my January weight and 9 pounds away from reclaiming my wedding weight), I decided to enjoy myself today, although I refrained from eating all of the scalloped potatoes. Want more? R has food pics and recap, too!

We had a jolly good time, even with 10Years not being in top form (cough*hangover*cough). I managed to capture some laughs and a lovely portrait of OC's and LA's tallest representatives, the statuesque Jessica and R.

In typical 10Years fashion, a mug of hot water was summoned to the table at the end of the meal. Something about digestion. I don't know. You'll have to ask her. Please note Cat's huge celery stalk again. That thing could poke an eye out. You could use it in...a rumble!

Our server was very cool and obliged us with a group photo at the table. We tried to take one outside of the restaurant, too. The only person around, however, was this crazy old lady with shaky hands and a cigarette. It's amazing that picture didn't come out like a Jackson Pollock painting, although it is pretty damn blurry. I thought she was going to drop my camera.

Can't wait 'til the next rumble!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

And nobody puts Wan in a corner. Mama was front and center today. Ok, really at the head of a long table, but same difference.

Today we had a cute little shower for Wan. Who are "we"? "We" are a group of girls who met online while planning our weddings who have bonded through shared vendors, frustrations, and addictions to all things nuptial-related. We started out as a handful and have burgeoned into a big bunch.

And when this bunch gets together, laughter rings throughout the city.

Kinara Spa was laugh central today. It's not just a spa and skin care clinic; it's a great little garden cafe, too. In fact, co-founder Christine Splichal is married to none other than Joachim Splichal, the man behind the Patina Restaurant Group. Good taste and good food run in the family.

The shower took place in a serene garden behind the spa -- an unexpected little wooded refuge on Robertson in West Hollywood.

What an adorable set-up! Props to Amber for her cute invitations!

We mingled a bit and all signed the cute pink Kolo album, complete with Polaroid pictures taken by tater...and her fabulous wedding shoes!

Then it was time to dine on a light brunch, beginning with an organic green salad flanked by five small tartines and culminating with fresh fruit and cookies. As the girls around me can attest, I didn't eat the cookies. Good monkey!

Everybody enjoyed the food and had a rockin' good time.

Kudos to R, who was the mastermind behind the games. Be sure to check out her recap, complete with action shots! (I was too busy participating!) Lilcee may actually have the best photos of all, as they were taken by a professional!

We all chipped in for a group gift, which was shipped directly to Wan's house, but there was a little something extra for her to open at the shower.

I'm really glad I skipped the cookies (although I'm told they were excellent), so I could eat one of Nanette's homemade cupcakes with slightly less guilt. riccimp and I shared ours, so we could sample both the cherry cheesecake cupcake and lemon chiffon cupcake with frosty lemon glaze. So good!

And what would a shower be without favors? Mrs. Shorty Cake made the most awesome favor bags in the world. Guess which one was made especially for me? The frown -- oh em gee! Too perfect for words. I heart it so! Don't miss Wan's take to see a classic photo of frowny Monkey with frowny monkey bag!

There were tasty J-treats and...butt paste inside the favor bags. Butt paste?! I think I must be on the outside of an inside joke. Right? Right?

Congratulations on the imminent arrival of Mini Wan, and thank you so much, Lilcee and riccimp, for organizing and decorating! Fabulous teamwork, all!

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