The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Possibly Boring Journals: Part 3

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 8, 2011

Mid-March 1997 is when I discovered Shakti Gawain and her creative visualization.  These journals have pages and pages of notes, affirmations, pictures, doodles, etc.

An example would be:

There is a spiritual paradox between being in the “here and now” vs goal-setting to plan for the future.  This is actually not a contradiction since both are important.

Or I had pictures like this one of a triangle, with the points labeled “doingness,” “beingness,” and “havingness.”

March 15, 1997, 10:35 a.m.

We are leaving for synagogue in a few minutes.  I want to attend services with increasing regularity.  I find myself getting a lot out of the Torah portion, especially.

Rabbi Alchadeff does an unusually long Saturday morning service:  from 10:00 to almost 1:00 p.m.  We don’t usually arrive ’til around 11:15 or 11:30 and we still feel like we get our money’s worth so to speak.

Tomorrow morning Sisterhood is having a brunch and presentation by the rabbi’s wife.  I plan to go.  I want to try harder to be sociable but everyone is so old.

Apparently in March, 1997,  I was working hard on my creative visualization. Here are some of my affirmations:

I sleep peacefully through the night.

I awaken feeling refreshed and energized.

My dreams are inspiring and  comforting.

If I awaken in the night, I roll over and fall back asleep easily.

My sleep is deep and relaxing.

Sleep nourished my body and mind.

This, or something better, is now manifesting in totally satisfying and harmonious ways.

I had a lot of sleep affirmations.  Sleep was a huge issue for me.  I had affirmations for my physical body, too:

I am lithe and flexible.  My limbs are long and light.  I am strong and centered.  The outdoors quiets my mind and refreshes my soul.  My muscles are toned and firm.  My body is in balance with my mind and spirit.

For my “circle of friends” goal, I had these:

I have a strong support system of friends and family.  I nurture my friendships.  I have a lot to offer and everyone recognizes it.  I am a good listener.


I am richly compensated for doing work I love.  God provides amply for my every need.  Wealth flows easily into my life.  The more I earn, the more I give.  The more I give, the more I am rewarded in return.  I have more than enough to live wonderfully.

I am not sure what “life goal” I was pursuing with one of these pages, with headlines (cut from magazines) like:  “Flexibility!” “Perfect harmony!”  “Balance!”  or simply “Luck!”  My affirmations (which I have to say, sound pretty cool!) were:  I listen to the wise voice that points me in the best direction.  Divine love is guiding me and I am always taken care of.   I am always at the right place at the right time, successfully engaged in the right activity.  Divine wisdom is my inner guide.  I am prescient.  

For Energy, I only had two:  I am filled with energy; and The more I move, the more energized I feel.

I also started recording a lot of my dreams at around this time.  There is something universal and timeless about dreams.  Here is one from March 19, 1997:

I had a dream last night that I was walking in a mountainous/foresty place with (my sister) Lily. We kept thinking that gnarled-out old sticks were snakes.  Then we saw a big snake with a blue stripe down his back.  Lily said, “That’s a sea-snake.  It’s called that because of the blue stripe.”

I wanted to ask her if it’s dangerous, but she was making her way through the path faster than I was, and I was stuck by the snake.  I couldn’t find a safe way to get across the path because the sea-snake was blocking it.  Then there was another snake, twined in some leaves and branches, camouflaged.  

Or what about this, from the very next night, also in March, 1997:

I had two dreams about rape last night.  The strange thing is in both of them I was not ME, but rather the persona of someone else.


I am a young man.  I am taking some time off (from school?) to live in a beautiful small town.  I am walking home one night, doing a little hiking along the way, when I decide to take a shortcut through a state park.  I’m in this cabin in the park, and it’s very dark.  Suddenly, a park ranger enters and warns me:  “Some BAD people are heading this way and they like young men, so you’d better leave.”  I go back the way I came but they’ve already seen me.  The dream just ends.


I am a woman this time, but not me.  She startles an intruder and he tries to rape her, but she gains the upper hand and ties him up.  Then the scene shifts to inside someone’s house, upstairs, at a community meeting. The guy is a big part of the community and they don’t believe me.  They believe him, that I attacked him for no reason.  Retelling it is like reliving it but I do so anyway.


Possibly Boring Journals: Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 6, 2011

March 11, 1997

Nightmare last night, HARD time sleeping.  Why is it that my nightmares are always set at the house on Riverview Drive?

That’s where I lived during ages 12-17.  I never have a nightmare where I’m living in the house in Orange, or the Co-Op, which are the two places that immediately preceded and followed Riverview.

In the nightmare, Scott and I are in an office of some sort.  I’ve been receiving weird, threatening notes implying that I’m being stalked.

Scott is on the phone with the person.  He’s trying not to act like he’s fazed by what he’s hearing but you can tell he is.

Suddenly the scene switches to scary images of the Riverview house.  Just flashes of the various rooms, with a scary mood.

Then Mom is there and we are talking about how this crazed stalker has actually been in the house with us, hiding.  Nobody detected his presence, though weird things happened.  Mom noticed strange smells.  Little things were either moved or missing altogether.

Okay, that’s scary!  No wonder I had insomnia.  I had years and years of very bad insomnia.

March 12, 1997

I am taking a mental health day off from work.  The pressure of this job is really getting to me.  I couldn’t sleep last night.  I kept turning the R_R_ case over and over in my head.

What shall I do with myself today?  Physically I am fine, aside from feeling tired and run down.

(So other than feeling like shit, I’m great!)

I want to take a bubble bath, sit outside in the fresh air.  I might go to the Corona library.  I will work up the R_R_ case some more.

At this point in my journal I have pasted in several clippings from newspapers and magazines including ads for The Oaks at Ojai and The Palms in Palm Springs, Glen Ivy, the International Skin & Bodycare Day Spa in Redlands, and the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage.  I also have pictures of women running and a notice about the 4th annual (it was 1997!) Revlon Run/Walk for Women.

It’s weird that I used to work out and run so much, because now, I pretty much do nothing other than yoga, chase the dog, and sit in the sauna.

I’ll go to the gym in the early afternoon for my SELF Challenge workout:  30 minutes of cardio plus weights.

Maybe I’ll do my Yoga for Flexibility tape today too.  I have yoga class tomorrow evening at Blue Mud.

Scott got a neat catalogue called “Stress-Less.”  I might order something from it.  They have audiotapes, videotapes, books, music, and more!

March 13, 1997, 6:20 a.m.

I chose an IRA!  I am raiding $1,000 from my money market to make an annual $1,000 contribution.  Then the fund will take $80/month from my checking account.  I feel really good about how I am doing financially.  When I get promoted to III I’ll get a raise to make matters even better.  

If you asked me how much I earned during any of these years I probably  could not tell you.  I muddled through.

I need to get ready for work now.  My stomach is not right.  I am having digestive problems.  I am nervous about trial.

Insert picture cut from magazine of confident looking woman in business suit striding across an intersection:

But I am just about as prepared for this case as I ever have been.  And I am more passionate about it than any case I’ve ever taken to trial.

Tonight I go to yoga.  I find myself really looking forward to doing yoga.  Tomorrow I have a dentist appointment.  Exam, cleaning.  I hate it.  

March 14, 1997, 7:45 a.m.

I have had a killer headache since yesterday.  It peaked in the evening hours; yoga did not help.  Sleep helped a bit, and I feel somewhat better this morning.  I put Tiger Balm on my temples and across the front of my forehead.

I want to stop eating refined sugar to see if that helps.  It might also be the smog.  Or general tension.

Looking at some of these cases, no wonder I was stressed all the time.

May 4, 1996

I’m in trial again (#7) against my favorite person, R_M_.  It’s weird….my client is so guilty.  He is charged with a single count of 243(d)-assault and battery with injury, against a stripper at a party at his house.  There were three strippers, two were hit, the charges are for one victim, and he swears he hit the OTHER one.  What an ass.

People who know me know sometimes think I’ve been a crunchy granola health nut forever, but back in the day, I ate out of vending machines.  Not “I buy something on occasion from a vending machine,” but I’d craft an entire meal from it at least once a day.

Work should not be bad today.  I cancelled my dentist appointment.  I was concerned because Dr O__ started talking about root canal and I don’t even have pain.  Also his x-rays are totally excessive.  It is ridiculous.  J__ found a dentist she likes so I’ll give him a try.

This weekend wraps up the first leg of the SELF Challenge.  I need to go to the gym today and tomorrow, and do some light weights at home Saturday.  I’d like to go to a bookstore and get a book on meditation.  I am going to keep a detailed “holistic health journal” to gain insight into my headaches.

Possibly Boring Journals: Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 3, 2011

I was cleaning out a closet and found some old journals from the mid- to late-90s, when I was living the life of a single young attorney.  I’d describe these diaries as Adrian Mole meets Ally McBeal.  It might be the procrastination talking (I’m supposed to be getting ready for our upcoming summer travel right now), but I am finding them strangely riveting.

You know how after you have kids, you can’t even remember what you used to do in your other, previous life?  It’s kind of like that.

Perhaps the most striking thing for me is to read these knowing that I hated (HATED) my job.  In 1997.  This is a job that I hated continually to varying degrees until I finally quit under a cloud of stress and anxiety.  In 2000!  So I HATED it and knew it was killing me, yet kept at it for over three more years.

The “me” I am today wouldn’t keep at a job I knew was destroying me for three days, to say nothing of years.

March 9, 1997

Today was a nice, relaxing weekend day.  I went on a short hike in the Sycamore Canyon wilderness area first thing.  I really like it up there.  I saw bunny rabbits, and somebody’s tail disappearing down a hole.

I am attempting to overcome my fear of going downhill on hikes.  I’m afraid of slipping and falling.  My heart pounds whenever I start to lose my footing.  I’m working on it.

We went to South Sea Chinese restaurant in San  Bernardino for lunch.  They have a large number of vegetarian dishes.  Then we went to Much Ado About Books in Redlands to browse.

I got back to find a message from L___ on our machine at home.  She and B__ are going to come to Corona tomorrow to help.  Thank God!  

I was the lone public defender of the city of Corona.  When Scott got to be one of two public defenders assigned to Banning, he had total autonomy over his work.  The Corona assignment, by contrast, was a hoodwink because you got to do all of the regular day-to-day work of a downtown deputy public defender, but your Mondays and Fridays (traditionally slower days in the downtown misdemeanor court) were huge marathons.  It was just one long, angry, sad parade of people.  I’d arrive at 7:15 a.m. with my big box of doughnuts and not leave until 6 p.m. most days, working through lunch.  Anyone who wasn’t in trial was supposed to lend support to the poor sap who drew the Corona assignment, but that rarely happened, hence the petty jealousies and resentments that brewed in this job.

I have been anxiety ridden about work.  I am now obsessed with how I have not been promoted in the office.  I don’t know why, but it sort of hit me all of a sudden how inequitable it all is.  Maybe it’s coming up on two years with the office that’s getting me thinking.

I decided on a game plan.  I pretty much came up with this after a very anguished past week.  

1.  Look at the Daily Journal every few days to see if there’s anything promising I might apply for, but be very selective.  There’s something ironic about how the best job opportunities come along when you don’t even need a job.

2.  Continue to do a good job at work, but don’t kill myself with the long hours.  When I need to do the Corona stuff, do it.

3.  Talk to G___ about my desire to move to prelims or dope court as soon as possible.  Ask if he knows when moves are likely — but he’s probably totally out of the loop as usual.

4.  Talk to M___ about my desire to move.  Go to her office when I am in a positive, self-assured frame of mind, and let her know that I am ready for a move.

5.  Enjoy where I am now and relish its benefits while I have them.  Get as much valuable trial experience as I can.  Enjoy the fact that the price of a loss is measured in days, not years.  I have no in-custodies to interview like downtown.  I have independence in the Corona office.

Anyway, I feel better now about my job, just writing about it.  I am getting training in jury trials, at least.  Who knows what I’ll wind up doing when we go back east.

We were planning to move to Boston so I thought “all of this” was temporary.  We never did make that move though we both went through the whole rigamarole of getting admitted to practice law in Massachusetts.

I was very disciplined.  To wit:

I am proud of my achievement in the SELF (Magazine) Challenge.  I need to do some weight/strength exercises tonight.  Then I need to meet next week’s goal, then I’m 1/3 finished.

And it continues.  I journaled like this, chronicling the highs and lows in a somewhat tedious fashion.  But tucked in between the “I ate a bagel” updates and “I feel angry about work” rants, are interesting insights into how life used to be, pre-kids, pre-internet, pre-marriage.

March 10, 1997

It’s early a.m., after breakfast (shredded wheat and banana with soymilk) but before getting ready for work, I will write.  Huge Corona day today – ugh.

Yesterday evening Scott talked to M__ and D__ then L__ and S__.  I got on with L__ and was amazed at how happy she sounds.  Motherhood really agrees with her.

I could not imagine that having a baby would make a person happier.  I think I thought she’d sound crazed.  I remember how satisfied she seemed.

Thursday is yoga night.  I am so pleased to have found Blue Mud.  Maybe I’ll take advantage of their other classes (meditation?)

From this journal I can see that I went to classes at this yoga studio all the time, but I have very little memory of it.  The only thing I remember, frankly, is the owner/teacher warning me that with my posture, I was at risk of becoming a “crooked old woman” when I got older.

March 10, 1997, 5:40 p.m.

L__ and B__ were surprisingly helpful at work today.  They pled just about everyone they talked to, which means several fewer files to deal with the second time around.  There were 31 actual people in our office today, not counting 977s.

A 977 is a form that lets your attorney appear on your behalf.  For one attorney to see 31 people in one day is ka-razy.  No wonder I was ripping my hair out.

I came directly home from Corona, rather than going back to the office.  I am not going to continue to put in the killer hours that I’ve been doing for the past few months.  I doubt any of tomorrow’s trials will go.  Maybe Q__ will be out sick; he looked horrible today.

I am burning a candle.  It’s one of the many grab bag candles Scott picked.

Our family has an annual “white elephant” exchange and for a few years running, Scott could reliably pick all of the candles, even if the package didn’t actually look like it contained one.  It became really uncanny, actually.  He hates candles.

I like to write in a journal even though nothing of consequence ever seems to come up.