Thursday, August 2, 2012

I have been building a chicken coop for the last few days.  Or I should say, converting part of the kids' old A-frame play structure into a chicken coop in order to be more frugal. Although yesterday I was also trying out a new pasta recipe and making Scotch Eggs between measuring and cutting lumber, since I had offered to bring snacks to my mediation training class last night.

I am far from an accomplished carpenter - in fact, my carpentry skills are limited to owning a miter saw, having installed wood floors in my condo several years ago, and having built some raised garden beds.  As such, I spent more time than seems reasonable just staring at the old structure and thinking about how all the pieces would fit together around it, removing the old slide and trying to salvage the lumber, and deciding what type of lumber and hardware to purchase.  But I am happy to report that the slide is finally off, I salvaged several respectable planks of old lumber, and I have framed out the floor.  I really want to get started on the walls, door, and external nest box, but realize that installing the plywood floor  will become nearly impossible if I don't do that first.  So today may consist of building the door frame and taking measurements so that I can find/buy the necessary plywood - and making rhubarb jam!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It turns out that I have been too busy to write for the past week or so.  It is amazing how easily time fills up when one is not working.  The difference is that these days, I am actually having fun.

Last Saturday, my hubby, our 11-year old and I went raspberry-picking, and ended up with 11 pounds of raspberries that I turned into jam, a pie, several tarts, and two pints of ice cream.  Yum!

On Sunday, we dropped our 16-year old off at camp, and went for a lovely walk at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge.  Much of the boardwalk has been closed in order to break the dam and restore the wetlands to their original state, creating a somewhat surreal landscape of dead trees standing in water.  Nonetheless, it was lovely.  We saw an osprey diving into the water right in front of us and catch a fish, two eagles sitting on poles above the water, and many smaller wetlands birds.  We were scoping out the area for a possible kayaking trip, but did not find a good spot to put in.

On Monday evening, the Seattle Symphony Chorale (including yours truly) held one of its four Summer Sings, our biggest fundraiser.  Karen Thomas conducted Mozart's Mass in b minor, which was a lot of fun.  There are two more Summer Sings coming up, on July 30 and August 6, both at the Swedish Cultural Center.  Check out "" for more information, and come join us!

On Tuesday, I took hubby out for a lovely birthday dinner at Lola, to regain some of the calories I burned earlier in the day at my favorite yoga studio, Tree House Iyengar Yoga in Shoreline.  Before dinner, we stopped at our neighborhood pub, where hubby was handed a birthday "boot", a 2-pint glass of beer on the house.  Plus he received several round tuits.  (Get it?)

I am currently enrolled in a mediation class with the Bellevue Neighborhood Mediation Program, where I also volunteer once a week.  Four hours on Wednesday night were mainly review, but I was finally able to visualize the difference between the "narrow evaluative" mediations (mediator conducts shuttle diplomacy, walks into the room, and tries to get you to buy into his valuation in order to reach a purely distributive settlement) in which I have participated countless times in insurance defense litigation, and the "broad facilitative" model (mediator facilitates a conversation in joint session, encouraging parties to come up with their own solutions) that we use at the DRC.  The 8-hour class on Friday involved role playing opening statements and agenda setting, the latter of which is a bit trickier than one would think.

We went kayaking yesterday, starting at a new spot and exploring a part of our river that hubby had not seen before.  I am looking forward to picking lots of blackberries from the kayak in a few weeks!  In the meantime, I have been thinking about getting backyard chickens for several years now.  The kids are old enough to have outgrown their play structure, so we decided to use the lumber to build 1) an arbor around the patio, including the old swing, and 2) a chicken coop.  Hubby left for a 4-day conference today, so I will be having fun drawing up plans for the coop and a portable run and researching chicken breeds.  But right now, I am off to the Farmer's Market to buy someone else's eggs and some delicious free-range beef.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Check out this blog

I found this blog, and absolutely love it:

If you are considering leaving the law, check it out, because it may inspire you.  If not, check it out anyway, because it is witty and well-written.

About me:

After practicing civil defense litigation for 10 years, I decided to quit in early 2011 in order to find balance in my life and avoid complete burnout. Since then, a part-time contract litigation position that is far more interesting and flexible than my prior job found me, and have spent many hours rediscovering the excitement of the kitchen, bought a kayak, started practicing yoga again, become engaged in community service, and most importantly, become less stressed and more patient.  (At least that is what I think; you would have to ask my husband whether it is actually true.)

I decided to start a blog primarily because I find myself talking about homemade pickles, jams and breads on facebook a lot lately, which doesn't seem like the place to do it.  In trying to name my blog, it was amazing how many "recovering lawyers", "recovering litigators", and "recovering attorneys" there are out there.  Except that many of them are about "recovery", as in, recovering money in a lawsuit.  But there are quite a few who, like me, quit in order to avoid becoming - or turning their spouses or children into - one of the many casualties of the practice of law.

I still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up.  Mediation is one possibility, and I am volunteering with a neighborhood mediation center.  To counteract the bad karma of insurance defense litigation (no, I did not defend insurance companies, but trying to save insurance companies money is almost as bad), I am on the Board of 
Directors of a local non-profit organization that provides employment services for disabled and indigent individuals. I enjoy singing, yoga and kayaking, and I love to cook. I am sure I would enjoy culinary school, but I doubt I would much like working in a restaurant kitchen.  Nonetheless, since I have left full-time litigation I have enjoyed cooking for my family (who are remarkably willing to be my guinea pigs), pickling, making marmalades, and - my most recent endeavor - making dandelion wine and homemade bread.  So that is what I am focusing on at the moment.

I am not sure whether this is going to turn into a cooking blog or a diary of sorts, but feedback is certainly welcome, whether on any given post or on the blog as a whole.