alee_grrl: Groot, a very tall humanoid tree, leaning down and peering curiously at the camera. (groot)
I returned to work full time in January, starting as an office temp through Kelly Services as a way to get my feet wet after so long outside of the regular 40 hour work world, and to start having some sort of income. In the interim I took a deep breath and reached out to potential mentors for my attorney licensing requirements (Vermont requires a completed six month mentorship as part of their newly revised licensing guidelines for attorneys).

And in looking for a mentor, I managed to also find a good starting position at a law firm. So I'm happy to share that since April 3rd I've been working as an Associate Attorney for a very small law firm. I'm also the receptionist, but the firm is literally 3 attorneys (the managing partner/attorney, two associates--including myself, and a part-time bookkeeper). So we all do a little bit of everything. The pay to start isn't great, but is better than I was making as clerical staff. And it's a way to get my foot in the door so to speak. On the super happy making side of things, I really love working with my boss and the other associate. Both are very supportive regarding health issues. And the working environment and attitudes of my co-workers tend to mesh well with my own personal beliefs and work ethic. So despite the fact that being an attorney, and a new attorney at that, is a stressful thing. I'm not nearly as stressed as I could be. I get to leave work primarily at work after I go home for the day (checking email occasionally to be sure no fires have arisen that need any attention). And my efforts at the office are appreciated by both the senior associate and our boss.

Also for a bit of "yes, Vermont is a small freaking state," I actually went to law school with the other associate. He was a year ahead of me and we didn't know each other well at the time. But there was definitely I moment of "wait, you look awfully familiar" when we first met.

So things are looking very optimistic and hopeful for me right now. I'm slowly working on getting all the mentorship requirements and activities done so I can keep my license. So many arbitrary hoops to jump through to be a lawyer. It can be more than a bit ridiculous at times. I'm enjoying the work I get to do for the most part, and learning a lot which is always a good thing. I'm still slogging through Lyme treatment and still slowly improving (though some days it is harder to tell than others). I still spend most of my downtime reading fanfic.

I can't promise that I will update more frequently. I often mean to, but don't get around to doing so. My social anxiety was really bad for a while, which ate up a lot of words and spoons. That's easing somewhat. So we shall see.

Much love to my friends here. I may not be very active online right now, but I still love the hell out of all of you.


Oct. 9th, 2016 12:03 pm
alee_grrl: Image of Miranda from Devil Wears Prada holding her glasses and looking pensive. (dwp think)
As of Friday, October 8th, I am officially licensed to practice law in the state of Vermont. \o/

I retook the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam--basically the professional ethics exam) in August. Almost all states require this exam in addition to the bar, though thankfully this exam is much less strenuous. I was notified last month that my results had been passing and that the character and fitness board had approved my application (they're the lovely folks who review all that detailed background info provided during the bar exam application process), and that I was accepted for admittance to the Vermont bar. I then had 90 days to complete the licensing paperwork, pay the appropriate fees, and take the required oath. I was able to get the clerk of the Supreme Court to administer the Oath on Thursday (and get my questions about the licensing paperwork answered), and dropped off my completed paperwork and check with the licensing office. Got my official license yesterday. So I can now legally practice law in Vermont! I'll have to complete the various required CLEs (continuing legal education) and Mentorship requirements (40 hours of various supervised activities with an established member of the bar who has signed up to be a mentor), but I have two years to complete those requirements.

Not sure what my next steps are going to be, but I am considering opening a small solo practice focusing on disability law (and maybe some estate planning and elder law). As stressful as opening my own practice would be, it would also give me a flexibility of hours that I might not get working for someone else. But I have to get around my rather large insecurities and fears to get it going. I felt a bit better after running into a friend and fellow Vermont Law alum who is opening her own practice (hers will be focused on Food and Ag law). She brilliantly pointed out that we are all just making it up as we go and none of us really feel like we know what we're doing, even those who have been out in the field for a while can feel that way. So we shall see.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
[personal profile] paganaidd was reviewing helpful types of editors since she is well on her way to publishing her first novel. When she came across the concept of a developmental editor (sometimes referred to as a structural editor) she calmly noted that that is what she had me for, and then sent me an email telling me to add that title to my resume. Apparently there is a title for professional sounding board and creative brainstorming aid. I've been acting as such for her since she started working on her novel, and have been continuing on in that capacity now that she is working on the sequel.

In other news, that first novel, Night Draws In is now available for pre-order on Kindle, print versions will be available at a later date.
alee_grrl: Dread Pirate Roberts relaxing in satisfaction (Dread Pirate)
I finally got my bar exam results in the mail today. After finally convincing myself to open the terrifying envelope, I managed to read with only slightly shaking hands one of the most satisfying and happy making sentences ever "On behalf of the Board of Bar Examiners, I am pleased to inform you that you passed the Vermont bar exam that was administered in February of 2016."

I still have a few things I need to do before I can be licensed (a clerkship, retake the ethics exam), but this was the hardest of the steps needed to become a licensed attorney. So whew. I'm just gonna finish drying my tears of joy and sit and bask in the glow of accomplishment. I'd go out and celebrate but I don't have the energy. This was an antibiotic increase week, which means my spoons are pretty low. But hot damn, I passed!

This wonderful song by the Doubleclicks (and if you haven't heard of this adorable geeky duo then you absolutely should go check them out, they're great fun) sums up my feelings on the matter perfectly:

alee_grrl: From Fantasia: Demon mountain from Night on Bald Mountain (bald mountain)
I sat for the Vermont Bar on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was every bit as grueling and exhausting as I expected, but I was able to manage my anxiety loads better this go round. While it is impossible to come out of the exam feeling that you passed, I do at least feel that I did my very best. I have a feeling that if I do not pass it will be by a slim margin.

Wednesday night I was so exhausted I actually had trouble getting to sleep. I have been resting and relaxing the past few days. Heck I didn't even get out of my pajamas yesterday. Today I got dressed, but that was as ambitious as it got. :) Tomorrow I'll need to actually leave the house and do grocery shopping and such. But for now I'm just chilling. I'm tremendously glad to be done with the exam. Will probably take a few weeks to rest and relax, and then I'll start working on sorting out a clerkship (a requirement to be licensed as an attorney here in Vermont) and trying to figure out what next.
alee_grrl: Rupert Giles looking up from reading a book.  Text: bookish (giles)
The past few months have gone relatively well. My main focus at the moment is diligently studying for the upcoming Vermont Bar exam, a two day exam that will take place at the end of this month. For the past few weeks I've managed to study between four and seven hours (with five being the general average) for six days a week. I take Sundays off to veg a bit. Unlike the last time I went through this process I am feeling far less overwhelmed and my anxiety is largely manageable.

It helps that I am working at my own pace and was able to start the process earlier than I did the last go round. It also helps that I am far more aware of what works well for me and what doesn't, and able to adjust my study plans accordingly. Plus I'm generally in a better place of health than I was several years ago when I was preparing for the Virginia exam. So all very good things.

It has meant that I have not been able to be all that social online or off as I tend to have very little in the way of spoons or brain power at the end of the day. But I have been trying to keep up with all my lovely friends here, even if I'm not able to comment as much as I'd like.

I am very much looking forward to being done with this process. I have a stack of books that I'm eager to dive into (including "Karen Memory" by Elizabeth Bear, "Under the Mink" by Lisa E. Davis, "Three Parts Dead" by Max Gladstone, and "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik). I'd also like to finally get around to finishing "The Martian," which I have enjoyed so far. But for a few weeks more I will continue to imprint as much law on my memory as possible (I rather feel like legal theories are ready to start dribbling out my ears at this point), and do lots of practice questions in prep for the exam. Much love to all.
alee_grrl: Image of Miranda from Devil Wears Prada holding her glasses and looking pensive. (dwp think)
So as I stated in my last update, surgery went really well. I had my first post-op check-up and the doc was super pleased with how I'm doing. The long and short of it is that I feel loads better than I did pre-surgery. I'm actually rather amazed by how much better I feel to be honest. It has been another one of those times where I have only realized how sick I truly was after the offending organ(s) have been removed (the other being post gallbladder removal). There is some pretty impressive bruising, but everything is healing up nicely and function is returning to various gut systems.

The other thing I've discovered is that I can (for now at least) tolerate certain amounts of sugars and carbs. I've been on a low yeast diet (low carbs; no sweeteners) for about five years as part of my lyme treatment. This is the first time in a long time that I've tried adding back in a substantial amount of carbs. While it has largely been a surprisingly good experience, it has brought up the many issues I have surrounding food.

The rest of this post is mostly going to be me ruminating on those issues and putting them in writing so I can use them as a reminder to myself later. Like other posts I'm sharing it publicly because others may find it helpful to feel not so alone if they have similar issues. CW: dietary and nutrition issues; body image and weight issues; OCD traits and issues; disordered eating issues; mentions of childhood abuse/trauma resulting from a parent with an undiagnosed, and therefor untreated, mental illness. Also long post is long. )

tldr; post surgery diet triggered some brain weasels, which resulted in many thinky thoughts and ponderings (as seen above in the long post under the cut). But despite the weasels and all the thinking I am doing surprisingly well emotionally and healing from surgery quite nicely. I'm also resting like I am supposed to be doing. So go me! Hope everyone else is doing alright. <3
alee_grrl: (sleep)
Yesterday was my surgery and everything went well. I was able to come home late last night and have been resting and letting my sister take care of me (though getting up and moving about as I feel up to it as that helps speed the healing process). All in all I feel pretty good considering I just had surgery. Pain levels are manageable, and heating pads are wonderful things.
alee_grrl: Burning coals of a fire.  Text: Let us walk together and find healing beyond the flames. (firewalk)
One of my friends is going through a devastating loss right now and she has been sharing updates via Facebook to keep her wider support network in the know. She is grieving the loss of her boyfriend to a mountain climbing accident and while I cannot be out west to support her and wrap her in hugs, I have certainly done my best to support her virtually with words and jedi hugs. In one post I told her how much I admired her, and how amazed I was by her strength, and also gave her kudos for rocking the self-care (including letting herself be emotional and grieving). What she said in response floored me and made me all kinds of misty eyed.

I learn this from you. I've been meaning to write to you and tell you that I"m so thankful you came into my life and made me into a better emotional being by your example. I love you

I honestly cannot think of higher praise than that. It is incredibly hard for me to accept such compliments as I do not really feel that I am all that special. I am posting it here largely so that on bad days I have an easily found reminder that I have made a difference in this world.
alee_grrl: Little green dragon with cookie sitting on a bookshelf reading a book by candlelight (dragon)
As many as they decide I guess. Though I find myself laughing at myself rather frequently over how much tech I have. I have two laptops. One is going on five years old and a bit wonky, but still a good workhorse computer. The other is a very small lightweight (11" screen) machine that is just a step up from a netbook. It's great for travel and light work. I bought it because I was terrified that my workhorse would die in the middle of taking the bar exam. And buying it has meant that my workhorse has lasted longer.

In addition to the two laptops I have my Motorola Droid phone and a Kindle Paperwhite. My father had left me an iPad that was synced up to his Kindle account, but I found it cumbersome to use and not good for much besides reading (it was a 1st gen and most apps didn't work on it anymore). So I gave it to one of my sisters who likes to hack tech. Unfortunately this has left me with a bit of a problem. If I want to read my father's e-books on a Kindle rather than on a laptop (which is very cumbersome and not well suited for reading Kindle stuff comfortable IMO) I would have to de-register my Kindle and re-register it under his account (he made sure my brother and I had the account info), and then switch it back to read my stuff. Not a practical or workable solution. So after much thought and contemplation I decided to buy another Kindle (a simple Touch this time rather than another Paperwhite; doesn't have the built in light, but I can work around that). I also ordered a kick-ass cover for it that reminds me a bit of Dad's tattoos.

While part of me feels kind of silly to have two of the same device, another part of me is thinking about how cool it is to have two entire libraries contained in such portable format.
alee_grrl: Railroad tracks through an autumn forrest (autumn rails)
I've been slowly working on finishing the bookshelves I bought (they were unfinished maple, so I had to sand and add finish to all three). I went with a clear finish and no stain since I like the light color of the maple and didn't want to add any extra steps. :) I finally got the shelves finished last week, and today I finally managed to get the books, dvds, and knick-knacks sorted and loaded onto them. My living room feels a bit bigger without the boxes of books, and the whole space feels tidier and more comfortable. Pictures below the cut )
alee_grrl: Clint Barton holding his bow and looking down to the left, word bubble says "Aw coffee no" (clint)
Another doctor's appointment that is, am one step closer to surgery. Icon choice unrelated to contents of post, I just really like this icon. :) CW: discussions of gynecological stuff )

As an added bonus I got to spend the whole day with my sister since she took me to the doctor this morning, and then hung out with me until she had to pick her husband up from the airport (they live about an hour away, so driving home and then coming back made absolutely no sense). So we had fun hanging out.

In less fun news my bar review materials have arrived. So I can start my studying. It is a necessary evil, but...yuck. I'm doing my best to think about the things I need to do (studying, house cleaning, laying in supplies for post-op recovery) in bite-sized chunks so as not to get too massively overwhelmed. But for the rest of the evening I'm going to relax and read fan-fic as today used up quite a few spoons.
alee_grrl: 9th Doctor and Rose walking towards the TARDIS.  Text reads: home is where the TARDIS is... (Tardis Home)
So this weekend was the first Springfield Vermont Steampunk Festival, and hopefully it will be held again next year. For a first time festival/convention it was very well run (at least from the guest's perspective, and from what I heard from vendors it was mostly well run on that end as well and only suffered from a few first year con hiccups). Since the festival locations were a bit spread out, and Springfield is a mountain town full of hills which makes walking that much more exhausting, they arranged to have a shuttle bus service for the entire festival. The shuttle drivers were awesome and didn't mind making stops that weren't on the official stop list (parking lots and venues). It helped that it was a small con and very laid back.

There were a lot of fun vendors, mostly local to Vermont, upstate New York, and New Hampshire. I spent entirely too much money, but I had planned for that. Between surgery and studying for the bar I'm going to be very focused for quite a few months and not spending much on anything not related to my usual monthly expenses. So this was my birthday/Christmas present to myself. :) It helps that I tend to only attend festivals and conventions once every year or two. In addition to jewelry and various other interesting knick-knacks, I also got quite a bit of tea (three different blends). Between the new stuff and the stuff I already had I can rest assured that I will not run out of tea this winter. :D

In addition to the vendors there were musicians and other activities. I missed the tea duels, and still am not entirely sure what happens at those, but I had a blast wandering the festival. My favorite bands from the weekend were Rusty Belle, The Stringfield Springers, and The Suitcase Junket. The Suitcase Junket is actually a one-man band and that man happens to be one of the members of Rusty Belle. So I wasn't too surprised to fall head-over-heals for both acts. :D

a bunch of music videos behind the cut )
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
This week's been a pretty quiet one. Spent a bit of time visiting with family on Sunday, went to my weekly therapy appointment, and otherwise just puttered around my house. Finally got around to buying a printer since I'm going to have to print out my bar exam application and get that in the mail soonish. My Bluetooth adapter for my laptops arrived, so I can enjoy my music and movies via my Bose speaker without having to use the auxiliary cable. Tomorrow I'll head down to Springfield, VT for the Steampunk Festival.

I also watched two very sweet movies. The Hundred Foot Journey about an Indian family who move to France and open a restaurant in a small village. The restaurant happens to be right across the street from another restaurant, one with a one star Michelin rating. The amazing cast includes Helen Mirren, and the conclusion was lovely and heart-warming. The other movie was The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and it was every bit as charming as the first movie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). The cast is incredible and includes Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy among others.

Other than that, I'm enjoying the hell out of the new Delta Rae album (it's been out for a while, but I only just got it), and rediscovering my love of Jo Dee Messina and Suzy Bogguss. Hope others are having a good week.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
So I decided that there were definitely two things that will be vital for surgery recovery: a wedge pillow and a laptop tray for the bed. I remember needing to be propped up after my gallbladder surgery and I wedge pillow will help make that not only possible but comfortable. Since I don't own a tv, let alone have one in the bedroom, a laptop tray is vital for post surgery vegging.

I'll work with family members to figure out some easy meals that are low-yeast/low carb friendly for the first two weeks. And I have some comfy shorts, tanks and t-shirts that I can wear over those weeks.

So can folks think of other things that might be helpful or necessary to put in place before surgery?
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
My surgery date has been moved up to Oct. 14! Very exciting news.

In less exciting news my brain weasels suddenly decided to get worked up last night and focused on the topic of "you having surgery is going to be such a pain in the ass for your chosen family cause they will have to take time out of their busy lives to take care of you." I have reminded them that I have never found it a hardship to reorganize my own schedule to help those I love out, and that this sort of thing is how healthy families work. But it is hard to let go off those first lessons learned. The only other surgeries I've had were while I was still living with my mother. My tonsils came out at 7, and since I was still in the "young enough to pamper" stage my mother was all lovely dovey and supportive. Sadly that didn't last very long. She would still do a bit of pampering if I was sick, but usually only if she could use it to make herself look like the wonderful mother making sacrifices for her sickly offspring. It was pretty hit and miss. By the time I had my gallbladder out in my early 20s, I was pretty much expected to take care of all things on my own. And if she did help there was a lot of "oh the things I do for my children; aren't I just the best mother in the world." Basically all the things that leave you thinking that being sick, injured, or needing surgery make you more of a burden than your worth. I've untangled a lot of these responses and can now recognize them as bullshit. But the deep brain weasels still love to latch on to the old thoughts.

So I'm doing my best to focus on the positive. While surgery is never done lightly, and recovery won't be a walk in the park, it will be well worth it in the long run. It will be one less regular source of pain (physical and mental) and aggravation. And that makes it entirely worth it. Also my chosen family is awesome and nothing at all like my mother.

Other unrelated good things: There is a steampunk festival in Vermont this year (Sept 11-13) and I have treated myself to a weekend pass, tickets to the ball, and a hotel for the weekend. Doubt I'll do any cosplay this year, but it will still be a blast to go. One of my sisters and nephew will meet up with me on Saturday to hang out and enjoy things. So that is very happy making.

Good things

Sep. 2nd, 2015 01:31 pm
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
  1. Hysterectomy has been scheduled for November 3. All necessary pre-op appointments have been scheduled and I have someone to take me to various appointments.

  2. I continue to like my therapist and we've found a good time for regular appointments.

  3. I went to my second trans support group at the local Pride center despite a bout of social anxiety and being a wee bit low on spoons. Thankfully I was already downtown as I'd had a therapy appointment. So I treated myself to dinner and went on to the meeting. It was very nice and I'm glad I went.

  4. Elementary is now available for streaming on Hulu, so I can finally get around to watching it. Though my watching may go slowly as I have other things I need and want to do.

  5. The over the counter progesterone cream by PCP recommended for use on non birth control pill days (which is now every day) seems to be helping some with cramps and bleeding. This is very happy making.

  6. Heating pads are glorious inventions.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
So today was a very good day for two reasons. One, I met with a potential new therapist whom I really like that works with many trans and genderqueer folks. Said therapist is also well versed in dealing with childhood trauma and abuse. Normally she likes to do three visits for both patient and therapist to be sure that it is a good fit. I see her again on Tuesday. So that is of the good.

Two is that I met with a trans/genderqueer gynecologist today. I'm going to put the rest of this under a cut for those who are triggered by discussions of reproductive organs and issues )

So that was my busy but very happy making day. I'm going to chill for the rest of the day, and if I have the energy tomorrow I might do a bit of thrift store shopping. See if I can find some more masculine clothes to add to my wardrobe to see how it feels to let my more masculine side out to play.
alee_grrl: Happy mouse from Aristocrats nomming cookie.  Text reads: Cookies! (cookies)
New PCP was amazing. I think I spent a bit more than an hour with her. She was amazingly easy to talk with, listened to my complaints and issues, listened when I noted why a solution would not work for me, was willing to discuss multiple options of things. Plus she is Lyme literate and understands the protocol that I am on. She was able to explain why I've been having such issues with my cycle lately and offer a couple of solutions, including the name of a trans friendly gyno who can evaluate my candidacy for uterine ablation. She also had a great suggestion for a trans friendly counselor who deals with many of the issues I juggle on a regular basis. So I will be making calls tomorrow to see if I can set up appointments. She had some excellent suggestions on how to manage current hormonal and menstruation problems while we work on more permanent solutions. We set a follow up appointment for October (though I can go in sooner if something else arises).

I'm absolutely ecstatic and thanking my gods for such a good fit.
alee_grrl: Eddie Izzard pointing at his head.  Text: In my Mind. (in my mind)
I know I've been super quiet the past few months. I stepped up my Lyme treatment, which meant a lot of time spent resting. I also needed some time to focus inward and to process several things. Now I feel like I'm ready to start socializing again, and ready to catch folks up on what has been going on in my head and life. This is likely to be a long post. It is also likely to contain some fairly heavy topics. Content Warnings: Discussions of Grief and loss, discussions of mental and physical health issues, mentions of body dysphoria/body image issues, gender dysphoria, gender identity issues, abuse and trauma )

For those who do not have the spoons (emotional or otherwise) to read the whole post, I've been doing a lot of thinking and come to the realization that I'm genderqueer. Not sure where on the spectrum I fall, but I am finally comfortable acknowledging that I am genderqueer. Reasons for not acknowledging it earlier are many and discussed in depth above. The big take away is that I am okay with the realization and taking steps forward in exploring a more authentic version of myself. It's just been a lot to process. But in the end I'm gonna be just fine. I'm currently comfortable with they/them and she/her pronouns. I'll let folks know if the preferred pronouns change.


alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)

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