Thursday, July 29, 2010

The salt... criticism?

The end of the story is that today, my wife confronted me after countless conversations on this topic that she feels that she is giving 100% and that I am being overly critical by telling her when something bothers me.

The most recent mini fight in which she flew off a handle was the salt.  I picked it up while preparing lunch in the morning before I ran off to my document review project, and it was slimy from the night before when she cooked the kids matzoh brei, a dish the kids LOVE.

I didn't think much about it, except that we have been married for four years and this has never happened, but I've asked her a few times to wash off the dish soap after she uses it (and the honey for that matter) so that the dish soap isn't all slimy when I pick it up to wash out the blender after using it each morning.  I just don't like sticky stuff.  I certainly wasn't angry.  I just didn't want a new habit being formed, and so I told her about it conversationally since she was standing next to me when the salt bottle slipped out of my hand.  She started yelling that I'm too critical, and that I don't think she's a good wife, and that I always have to criticize her about everything she does wrong.  I thought she was nuts because I certainly do not criticize her about everything -- moments before that, when I opened the fridge, the soy milk flew out and spilled on the floor because she stuffed it into the fridge on top of a pot of leftovers rather than putting it in its place which is on the refrigerator door.  This annoyed me because it has happened before and I've mentioned it to her to be more careful about it and it happened again.  However, with a quick swipe of a paper towel, the problem went away so I didn't say anything.

To skip ahead a bit, we've been fighting these past few days, and recently, she's been trying to be mean to me to hurt my feelings which hurt my feelings because I've never done anything to her to intentionally hurt her, ever, and here she's actively trying to hurt me.

Today she wanted me to take an extra hour off of work so that I can accompany her to the passport agency.  Yes, it's her newest necessity to visit her Safta in Israel who is ill.  No biggie.  Anyway, in the car, she started screaming at me that she is going to cause me the pain that I've been causing her, and that "you'll see what it feels like to have someone criticize you when you're already giving 100%."  As an example, she brought up the salt.  I told her that I wasn't criticizing her, and that most of the things that bother me, I let them slide and I don't say anything because I don't want to start a fight.  But when something is important, I say it.  I told her that when I say something, it's not that I am criticizing her.  There's a huge difference between telling someone that it would mean a lot to you if their behavior in a certain circumstance would be different, and telling someone that they are flawed because they neglected to do the behavior you asked them to do.  In short, I told her that I didn't want her to leave the salt shaker oily and I wanted her to clean it up after herself.  I wasn't saying she was a bad person or a sucky housewife because she left the salt shaker oily.  Obviously this is not the case.

She then started persisting why did I even marry her if she is such a terrible person, and if she does so many of these things that upset me?  I told her that had I known she did all these things, I may have considered them as factors in weighing whether I wanted to marry her, but its a little bit too late now, and one doesn't divorce his wife because she doesn't clean up after herself.  I told her that we're married now and those are things I will have to live with if I cannot convince her to change them.  She then went back into the "why do you want to change who I am?" conversation, when really I felt and still feel that asking someone to change a behavior (e.g., clean up after yourself) is not the same thing as changing who the person is.

We got to the post office, and it was closed.  She neglected to check the hours it was open.  I didn't dare say a word.  [I had to work an hour extra today because of it, but I'm pretending that it was open and we accomplished our purpose in having me go along with her.]

Shalom Bayis Issues -- Maybe because my wife missed the candlelighting time for Shabbos.

What a bad few days these past few days have been.  There has been almost no Shalom Bayis.

The issue has been my desire and my NEED for my wife to appreciate that when she comes up with a new thousand-dollar expense which "must" be done because it is a necessary, she owes me a duty to be at least sympathetic towards my feelings of loss.  Because while I've been saving up for something to further our family goals, she finds something that benefits *her* and thus we end up spending the money I saved up on her newest expense.

I usually don't disagree with her that her expense is not important, and I usually don't disagree with her or claim that it is not necessary.  But for G-d's sake, at least have some understanding that I will be sad that the thirty or so evenings that I put in five or six hours each night staying late in order to save up to pay for some goal have been lost because she found a new way to spend the money we have just finished saving up.  After all, I could have left at a regular time like everyone else and I could have come home at a normal hour, sat down by a television to watch whatever sports game is playing or play Nintendo Wii (we don't have a TV in the house or a Wii, by the way).  But no, I spent all that time saving up, and now it is lost... again.

So we had a really difficult few days.  For the first time in our marriage, my wife missed Shabbos candlelighting.  For those of you frum women, you're probably gasping.  I was horrified too.  Its not like she forgot; she just waited until the last minute and then calculated the time wrong because I told her an hour earlier that shabbos was at 5:05pm rather than 5:03pm (I was looking at the wrong week).

The gravity of this error is that according to our customs (and I believe according to Jewish law), for the rest of our lives, my wife will need to add an additional candle each erev Shabbos (Friday night) to make up for the one time she forgot as she did last week.

Naturally I was a little upset and I was embarrassed on her behalf, but I made sure not to say anything.  Her missing candle lighting (which is 18 minutes before Shabbos -- this is known and practiced by ALL JEWS, even those that are non-religious, non-observant, or reform) was the result of a long time fight of ours where I told her so many times that she is not allowed to wait until just before Shabbos to light candles.  Men typically use the 18 minutes to Shower, vacuum, and drive to shul because they do not have the candle lighting commandment to worry about because their wives are lighting.  My wife feels that she is also entitled to use the 18 minutes as she wishes.  We've fought about this so many times, but she would not listen.

Anyway, to my credit, I didn't say anything.  Not a critical word.  She started blaming me that it was my fault she missed the candlelighting time because of my error, and I told her that I would gladly take the blame for this.  Then she accused me about being so non-chalant and non-caring about this serious transgression.  I told her I was taking it seriously, but I'm staying quiet.  A few minutes later she was still going at it.  When I came into the room to see if she needed any kind words to make her feel better (I came up with some explanation that the candle she would have to add is to bring light to the world for the light that the world was denied through our error), she again accused me of taking this lightly, as if I didn't care about it.

At that point, thinking that it would be to her consolation and that it would help her to feel better about the whole situation if I was harsh to her (because I was really in a kind mood at that moment), I answered her accusation that "I'm really shocked and horrified that this happened, and I heard you vacuuming minutes before Shabbos and I thought you were psycho for waiting until the last few minutes before Shabbos came in."  To my surprise, this set her off on a rampage of screaming, the part of which that affected me was that she screamed that I am wrong for using the 18 minutes, and that she has just as much a right to use it as I do.  This was an ignition of our old fight, and I told her emphatically that woman are not allowed to delay the lighting of the candles once the 18 minutes have come up.  When she screamed something back to me, I told her she was crazy.  At that point, she lost it and started screaming that I should leave and never come back, or something like that.

I was already dressed to go to shul, and I was happy to leave, but even with my key, I believed that she would lock me out (we have two locks on our door), and I wasn't in the mood to be banging on our door looking like the guy who was kicked out of his own home.  It was also a very hot and humid evening, and I didn't want to spend it sleeping outside with the ants and the garbage in my shabbos clothes.  So I decided that I didn't trust her not to lock me out and I didn't leave.  A few seconds later, I decided again that if this is G-d's will, then I'll take the punishment.  After all, it was because I came home late in the first place [because I was taking my time] that I accidentally read the wrong Shabbos time from the calendar after I got home.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My afternoon rant. Now the bad part... Wife rant.

A little side issue that has been bugging me is that I feel as if my wife does not appreciate the time I've been spending working.  A fight we had this morning was that I told her that she cannot treat my project as a stable job because likely any day, it will end.  I also told her that when "shopping," there is nothing wrong with getting what is necessary, but if she spends money on something that is outside our budget, as a consequence of her momentary gain of pleasure by making the purchase, she is taking away from our long-term savings and my ability to provide for us.  Our agreement upon starting the project was that until we have at least six months expenses and rent saved up, any extra money that I make needs to be saved so that I can start working full time on the law firm.  So far I have ZERO saved since I've started this project. 

I also told her that even if she spends money on expensive items outside our budget, she must understand that we need to earn (and I consequently need to work for) whatever she buys.  The context of this was that we had a huge fight last week over her not being sensitive to my feelings of loss when I hesitated her taking a trip to Israel to visit her sick grandmother.  Basically, she just assumed I would come up with the money or work to pay for the trip, and I was hurt that she did not acknowledge the many hours *I alone* would have to put in to finance that trip.  I was also sad that she didn't even acknowledge that her trip would be a huge financial setback in our plans to save up to start the law firm.  She didn't even consider that I was sad about this and it took a fight to get her to acknowledge this.

So on a smaller scale and as recent as this morning, when we took the kids to the zoo on Sunday and she wanted to buy a monkey doll with the zoo's logo, "just so that our child can remember the experience," I told her that I'd rather buy that same monkey doll at Wal*Mart for $10 rather than $30 at the gift shop.  Later on as we were leaving, she disappeared and after taking a few minutes to find her, we found her purchasing the monkey doll from the gift shop.  "There we go," I thought. "That will cost me around an extra hour of work sitting at my computer in the torturous and boring document review project."  I agreed that it was a nice gift, but it wasn't until this morning that I told her that I was upset that she bought the doll after I told her not to.  "I wasn't asking for your permission," she barked back.  I told her that we are already barely making ends meet even with my project, and that the extra money she spent will force me to work extra time just to dig ourselves out of the hole that the extra $30 purchase.  I told her that I wasn't upset about the purchase, but I was upset that she was disregarding the fact that someone (namely, me) will have to work and toil to pay for that extra purchase, and I thought it was insensitive to force me to be the one that has to cover it, especially after I told her that I didn't want her to buy it in the first place.

"Well I want to live a regular life, and regular people buy things," she said.  I told her that we are not regular people; that Hashem has not given us a job, but only temporary income, and that we need to respect the money we are given and not waste it on frivolities.  On top of that, I need to work to pay for everything she's buying, and I'm not in the mood to kill myself to pay for wasteful purchases that have no value.  "Well I'm going to live a regular life," she said. 

At that point I lost it.  I asked her if she was crazy, and whether she understood that I am the one that needs to pay for everything she buys, and that she cannot live a regular life because we cannot afford to pay for the things she is purchasing.  I also told her that I was upset that she didn't acknowledge or pay any sensitivity to the fact that I am the one that has to work to pay for all this, and that I'm not working to pay for a stupid doll!

At that point, I found myself on the verge of tears, and I couldn't hold back my shaky voice.  I was about to start crying, so I walked away.  I kissed my kids goodbye, and without saying good bye to my wife, once again I walked out of the house and left to my work.

It occurred to me that she was being sarcastic this morning, especially since we had an all-out fight on this very topic just before Shabbos.  Although I wasn't sure.  I texted her shortly afterwords, "Hi honey, apparently my phone does still have some battery life.  I realized after I left that you were joking about" ...and then I left the rest of the e-mail blank because I couldn't think of a way to phrase it, and either way, I wasn't so sure she was joking.  To my unsurprise, she didn't write me back.

I hate having this distance between us.  I hate not liking her.  It hurts every time I think of our fights.  I wish she understood what was really going on.  I wish she knew how her actions affected our family and our shalom bayis.  I wish she was more sensitive to these issues.  I'm sure I'll get a "what were you talking about, I always save money" comment from her in a few days when we finally resolve this.

I just wish we were operating from the same place.  I wish we were a team, rather than me being the silent supporter of our affairs, obviously no pun intended.

My afternoon rant. First, the good part, sort of.

Much has happened these past few weeks since I wrote that chippery and overly positive piece of garbage I call a plan of action.  My document review project, which I accepted under the rationalization that I will utilize it to the best of my ability to maximize my ability to support my family while I pay the bills and start my law practice; well, let's just say that like so many things, it is not working out the way I planned.  The initial plan was to get to work each day at 7am, put in 8 hours (the required minimum).  Early afternoon, I would head off to a law library or to Starbucks to do legal research on how to practice the areas of law that I have chosen for myself and my practice.

That worked for a few days, until they ran out of documents for us to review and I was let go for a few days.  Then I was called back for one or two days, and then let go again because again.  It seems as if the people behind the document review project can't get their documents in order for us fifty attorneys to review them.  In other words, they were overzealous in their hiring so many attorneys when really they only had the workload to keep just a few of us working.

Then a week or so they called me back again, this time for a different project for the same client.  I worked my butt off to help them make their deadlines, often working well into the night.  I practically killed myself (staying all hours into the evening, and even coming in on a Sunday all in one block of time) thinking that all these extra hours would really help us out financially.  It was the financial boost I was looking for.  Then came Tisha b'Av and I had to take off that day.  I resumed the following day with the crazy hours and over the rest of the week I finished off the project.  But, it turned out that with all the days the week before that I was out because they had no work for me (I was off half of the week the week before), plus the day I had to take off for Tisha b'Av, I averaged 40 hours for each of the two weeks -- in short, the minimum number of hours I would have worked had I just shown up each morning and left at 3:30pm to work on my law practice.

Wow was that a disappointment.  On top of that, the project provides no benefits, no overtime, no soda or snacks (I really don't care about that, but it was something I noticed about the project right away), and in short, the guys next to me call the floor we work on a sweat shop.

So as of yesterday, I resolved to only work the minimum amount of hours and to resume the studying to start the law firm practice.  I hope that soon I'll be able to move from studying about how to practice to generating clients and actually practicing law.  The goal here is to get enough clients so that I can walk away from the document review project and start focusing full-time on my law practice.

Reader asks why I complain about money problems while I send my kids to daycare and offer my wife a maid.

In moderating the blog's posts, I came across a reader who made the comment that it makes absolutely NO SENSE to have a STAY-AT-HOME MOM and yet send the kids to DAYCARE (a.k.a., "SCHOOL") while at the same time complaining about money.  There was a maid comment in there somewhere also.

[The comment was a reply to my posting here.]

In short, I couldn't agree with you more.  My wife has this crazy idea that she deserves to have the kids in childcare as soon as they're old enough to walk, and that she deserves a maid to help her with the housework.  From a sympathetic point of view, I understand that with three kids under three-years-old, they could be a bit much to handle.  But then again, why have them if you are not going to take care of them?  I don't remember my parents shipping us off to daycare until at least Gan.

In my wife's defense, she does an amazing job taking care of them, and the reason we send them to daycare is because it really is too much for her to take care of all three at the same time.  So far only our oldest (now three years old) is in daycare.  In September, our oldest girl (almost two years old) will be starting daycare.  The goal here is the selfish goal to give my wife some breathing room so that she can read her books and spend more time with the youngest one, who is now trying to learn to crawl.

Additionally, the benefit of school (a.k.a., "daycare") is to develop our childrens' social skills and to get them to interact with other children.  Could she do this without me spending an arm and a leg on tuition this early on in our lives?  Of course.  Would she?  Not a chance.  She'd have regular play dates, but the truth is that if the kids are not at school, they'd be playing with their toys or watching Baby Einstein videos over and over again (by the way, no I don't recommend them).  What I omitted to say is that above and beyond the social skills, the kids benefit from being immersed in a Jewish environment where they learn Torah and are taught things they likely would not learn through osmosis in our home.  We obviously spend time with chinuch, but not for five hours a day.  Plus, I'm not even around during most of the day because for now, I'm working.

Bottom line, I am not so upset the kids are in daycare.  Really it is beyond my wife's interest level or emotional capacity to handle them full-time.  When the kids are in daycare, my wife is human and is able to eek out a smile once in a while at the end of the day.  I don't think my daughter needs to be in daycare, but she is ready to have friends to play with.

As for a maid or a sitter, we pay for one when we need one.  So far my wife has been pretty good about this and has only invoked the sitter from time to time.  She's been holding off on the maid for now.

This is the nicest answer I can answer at the moment.  I'm a bit upset at her now as we speak.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Recap: Links showing what I was doing with all this goal setting, and why I shut down the blog for these past few weeks.

Just in case you are wonder what in the world I've been doing today with all of these goal setting posts, please feel free to CLICK HERE to the "Goal Setting" post which explains everything I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

Since I'm sure you know that for a short period of time, I put the blog on hold and made it "INVITE ONLY," allow me to explain.  I actually just put a lock and a freeze on the blog because I wasn't sure whether I wanted to delete all old content or not.  A lot of what I wrote is a liability to me as an attorney, and should I ever need to divulge this blog in a law suit or in a disciplinary proceeding, I believe that much of what I wrote may be damning to me and my reputation.  Even though I have unlocked the blog and you can see this again, I am still unsure of what I should do with the old content.  My first post this morning after unlocking the blog can be found by CLICKING HERE.

I welcome your comments, and I welcome your input.  I will make the decision as to what to do with the old content in the coming days and weeks.

Warm regards,
Zoe Strickman


• Vision: I am an attorney who has successfully set up my own law practice.  I am disciplined; I work smart, and I focus my attention taking part in revenue-producing activities.  I make my own hours, and I make it a priority to let Hashem fill my coffers with cash and abundance, and I focus on doing what I need to do to return my attention to my family, Torah, and Hashem.  I *am* a dynamo.  I am a patent litigator; a patent prosecutor; an engineer.  I help people defend their homes against foreclosure, and I help them restructure their affairs through lawsuits or bankruptcy to allow them to have a fighting chance to get back on their feet so that they can life long, fruitful and meaningful lives.  I love the patent litigation cases, and I pride myself in being a federal litigation attorney.  I am an expert in federal procedure and I am an expert in the ins and outs of the areas of patent law, patent litigation, foreclosures, and bankruptcy law.  I am the go-to guy when someone gets in trouble.

I have a multijurisdictional practice in both Texas, New York, Israel, and China, and I travel back and forth to each to monitor the attorneys who are part of my firm.  I have monthly management team meetings, and I have advisers of all kinds at my meetings.

I started my practice immediately after I saved enough money working document review projects to have six months of salary to keep my family comfortable while I built my practice.  I started off in my home office which was equipped with state-of-the-art and smart technology (smart doesn't mean expensive).  I kept my files digital and electronic, and I had systems in place to handle all aspects of my practice.

Shortly after working a few cases, I built up enough savings to move into a shared office.  I worked there and grew my practice, hiring a number of paralegals and an assistant to handle my caseload. 

From there, I expanded my practice and hired one attorney in New York, and one attorney in Colorado to replace the work I was doing so that I can grow the law firm and focus on the good cases.  I went on to grow the practice with more and more attorneys until I was a functioning law firm which operated independent of my efforts.  I am financially independent, and I move into fringe areas of law which bring juice and excitement to my life and to the lives of those around me.

• Purpose: Working my own practice gives me the freedom to be the master of my own salary.  The work I put in is commensurate with the benefits I reap.  I am able to work on terms which allow me to prioritize religious holidays and family, and there are no bosses which I need to clash with to enforce my religious practices.  I am able to be near home and to be a father and a husband, and I am able to work on cases which are exciting to me in the area of law I have chosen to practice.

• Roles: Attorney, Patent Attorney, Patent Litigation Attorney, Patent Protector, Patent Protector, Giver of the Home Shield, Protector of the home, Bankruptcy expert, Litigator, Friend of the people, enemy of the banks and of  those who brake the law.

• 3 to Thrive: Learn areas of practice, Set up office & web presence, Work on client's files.

• Resources: CLE courses, other attorneys, state bar.

• Qtr Goals: Save up six months worth of expenses.

• 1yr Goals: Transition into 100% private law firm practice, cash positive, positive cash flow, steady flow of clients.


• Vision: I am comfortable with my levels of chassidishkeit and observance, both when I am alone (and standing before Hashem) and in view of my community.  I am a regular guy, and I do what every Jew should do.  I have all of the activities that a Jew should do as a habit, and I take an enjoyment with being a Jew.  I am comfortable with my relationship with Hashem, and I always strive to answer questions and to always deepen my understanding of Hashem, the spiritual and physical realms, life as we see it, and ourselves and our souls.

Every morning I wake up and say Modeh Ani, and I happily wash negelvasser which I prepared for myself and my family the night before.  I say the morning berachos and daven Shachris.  I make sure to stop each day before sundown and daven Mincha with a gartel and a hittel.  I study torah each day, including Chitas, Rambam, and each week I have a set time where I learn chassidus, nigleh, and halacha.  I take time each day to devote myself to teaching or reinforcing a law or concept to each of my children, and each evening, I daven maariv before attending to my evening activities, which sometimes includes Farbrengens, shiurim, or community events.  I make sure to go to bed while I still have energy to prepare for the following morning and to say kerias shema al ha mita.  I go to bed and review the events of the day, and I make note as to where I could have been stronger, and where I succeeded.  I thank Hashem for giving me this day, and I go to bed to sleep and dream.

• Purpose: I am a Jew, I should act and be who I am.  I have an obligation to Hashem and to all other Jews to be the person I was made to be.  I have no right to let anyone down by affecting them spiritually through my lackings.  By strengthening my observances, I bring berachos down to myself, my family, and to all around me and beyond.  I sustain the world from destruction.  I give others the ability to enjoy their lives in a world that is more friendly and kinder to its inhabitants. 

I fear G-d, and I fear retribution and punishment for my inequities.  I do not want to be punished physically or spiritually, and I fear the effects NOT doing everything I can can bring upon myself, my family, and my community. 

I desire reward.  I desire to be one of those who are helping out and who are doing what they should rather than being one throwing a monkey wrench into G-d's plan.  I desire peace of mind and peace in my heart and soul.  I want to know why Jews historically have kept their faith, and I want to contribute to the survival of my people and our covenant with Hashem. 

I want spiritual knowledge of the unknown.  I want to understand and grasp the concept of G-d so that what I learn can change me into the person I desire to become.  I want to be able to feel when something is spiritually wrong and I want to be attracted to actions, events and activities which are spiritually uplifting and beneficial to me and my family.

• 3 to Thrive: Berachos in their proper time, Torah study in all its forms, Community Activities

• Resources: Rabbi, Community, Torah

• Qtr Goals: To daven 3x/day, berachos, kerias shema; negelvasser; Chitas & Rambam, set times for learning chassidus, nigleh with a Chevrusa; to make it a habit to spend time each day teaching my children.

• 1yr Goals: AGAIN:
Wow, this goal setting thing is quite tiring.  My brain is physically exhausted.  I'm going to keep plugging and chugging along.  Let's see how much of this I can bang out. -Zoe


• Vision: I am financially independent.  I have no need to worry about finances.  The amount of money I bring in each month easily and effortlessly covers any expenses we may have.  Our lifestyle is well within our earning capacity.  We live comfortably; we take time to enjoy ourselves, and to provide for ourselves the environment to create meaningful experiences for ourselves and our children.

My bank accounts are filled with cash and our retirement accounts are funded.  We have safety accounts and money set aside for any contingencies, and life events are planned for and funded before they occur.

Financial management is simply a matter of monitoring the automated systems that are already in place.  Money comes in and goes out according to the plan we have set out, and money is spent according to our value.  We use money to improve ourselves and our lives; we do not waste it on frivolities that will satisfy a momentary urge.

• Purpose: To feel the juice of life.  To experience meaningful experiences.  To create an environment and to place ourselves and our children in scenarios which teach them about Hashem, about family, about love, and about the value of life.  To teach our children concepts so that they can be financially independent, and to be financially competent so that they will never have money worries and so they can life a life of peace of mind and peace of heart.

• 3 to Thrive: Automate income and expenses, set up monitors and tracking systems for when we are close to going beyond what we want to spend, create ways to enjoy the money we have to create meaningful experiences.

• Resources: Wife, Internet, Communication.

• Qtr Goals: To have enough capital saved up to start a working law practice that pays the bills.

• 1yr Goals: Have the law firm provide us with enough of an income to allow us to plan a vacation which will be meaningful to both my wife and my children.


• Vision: To my wife, I am the man of her dreams.  I am strong, witty, loving, supportive, caring, and I make her feel like a woman.  I help her reach her potential, and she helps me reach mine.  We lean on each other, and we care about and think about each other regularly.  My wife thanks G-d and me that I am in her life.

To my children: I am the roll model they need.  I am strong, and they know without a doubt that I love them completely and infinitely.  I support them and show them by example of who I am the kind of people they want to be.  They aspire to follow on Hashem's path, and I am a roll model to help them achieve this goal.  I take time to teach them and to play with them and to challenge them to grow and expand their minds, their hearts, and their souls to be the best they can be and to live their lives according to the principal of CANI (constant and never ending improvement). 

To my parents: I am the son they never thought they could have.  I show them that in spite of a parent's failures, children can and do correct their paths.  I inspire them and I show them that living the path of Hashem IS the correct path, and that a life with compromises leads to grief.  I show them that they are loved, and I make them desire to be better people. 

To my brother: I am an endless source of love and compassion.  I forgive when others would burn bridges.  I am kind and sharing.

To my in-laws: I am the father of their grandchildren.  I am a part of their family.  I am their daughter's other half.  They feel comfortable with me, and me with them. 

• Purpose: For my wife: To add meaning to my wife's life.  To make her feel cherished, important, and loved.  To fill her needs and overwhelm her with more than she could ever have asked for out of life.

For my children: To inspire them to be strong where I was weak, to feel comfort where I felt none, and to have such a strong foundation that they are able to confront and overcome life's challenges with ease and joy.  To teach them how to be a Jew, and how to walk the path of Hashem and to act in the footsteps of the Lubavicher Rebbe.  To inspire them to be religious, well rounded, confident, mature, and learned.

For my parents: To teach them that there IS redemption.  To teach them that love happens not because of what they do, but because of who they are.  To inspire them to each day be better.  To inspire a burning desire within them to be part of our children's lives.

For my brother: To show him the secular world that he lives in is garbage, and to inspire him to become a better, more responsible and mature person.  To lead by example and show that having a happy family while being religious is possible and is the better way to live a life.

For my in-laws: To give and enforce the notion that we are family, and that they are accepted and loved at all times.  To eliminate any fears that they are outside the family circle because of any kind of religious observance on our part, and that they will have an important role to share in the growth of our children.

• Roles: For my wife: Pillar of support, quiet speaker, unending attention giver, all ears, careful listener.  Lover, care free and calm lover of life.  Appreciator. 

For my parents: Loving son.

For my brother: Forgiving brother.

• 3 to Thrive: Stay in touch with each at least weekly.  Invite over for events; visit when possible.  Share meaningful experiences over the phone / video.

• Resources: Wife, Children, Rabbi

• Qtr Goals: To have each feel loved and accepted by me.  To smooth out any feelings of adversity felt by each.  To inspire talk of a visit for an upcoming event.  For in-laws, to maintain a feeling of equality and equal footing.  To eliminate any feelings of charity on their part, and to inspire in them a comfort that their daughter and her family will be safe in my hands.

• 1yr Goals: Have each share their meaningful experiences with me.  Have each feel close to me as if I am someone who cares about what they feel and we are part of their lives.


Now I'm going to set my vision and my goals for each category.

Vision: I am a well sculpted, strong, healthy, fit machine of a man, and I am full of life.  People call me a dynamo.  I wake up each day with pure boundless energy and breath to run in step with the physical world with a smile and with ease.  I am a carefully sculpted and am a strong powerhouse of a man, built like a tank and strong.  I am ultimately flexible, and am in the shape of my life.  At sixty-years old, I am fully of healthy pure vitality, my body is as strong and young as a thirty year old, and I am wise and well.  I love the adrenaline rush of a good run, and I love sweat while those of my age group begin to age and shrivel.  My mind is at its peak performance, and life is clear and meaningful.  I grow old gracefully, and I pass from the world with a tear and a smile that I lived my life full of purpose.

Purpose: I see my children grow up.  I see them become parents.  I see them raise their children.  I share many meaningful experiences with them -- the juice of life.  I stay a man and a pillar of support both physically, materially, emotionally, and spiritually for my wife.  I get to know my maker, and I rectify my blemishes.  At the end of life, I feel an inner calm that I have done my part to fill my purpose on this Earth, and I have protected and preserved my body so that I can do them with vigor and excitement.

Roles: Dynamo, Fitness Expert, Lover of Life, Breather of Life, Strong Father, Healthy Husband, Body-Mind Synergist.

3 to Thrive: Drink 3L of Water/Day, Daily Sprout Green Veggie Drinks, Daily Sweat and Adrenaline.

Resources: Pete Egoscue, Fitness Books, Family Support

Qtr Goals: Reach 225 lbs., Doctor clean bill of health, Daily Routine = Habit.

1yr Goals: Achieve and maintain 215 lbs., Habitualize goals.  Buy new clothes to fit new size.


So... I've been listening to taped by Dave Allen and Tony Robbins' "Time of Your Life" course that I bought years ago, and I've become a sort of "to do list" freak.  I tried and REALLY ADOPTED Gina @'s TODO.TXT software (I got it running on Windows XP using cygwin which is considerably slower than it was using .sh on Linux), but this is what I deal with using Windows now that I decided to have a law practice.  Running a law practice on the Ubuntu Linux operating system was really difficult to accomplish, so I had to switch back to the evil Windows XP (I wouldn't even try Windows 7 on my slow X41 Tablet laptop).

So the TODO.TXT works well, and I like the idea of having everything in a text file which is the crash-proof option of preserving work without relying on a piece of software's proprietary software format.  The problem is that even with tweaking the code and applying add-ons to allow for listing to-do tasks by project (+LawFirm @Home, etc.), it still doesn't allow me to work with my tasks in a way any other than a to-do list.

So in short, I'm doing a life planning session right now, and so I figured since I'm typing it anyway, I'll put it on the blog and I'll share it with you.

SO FAR, the CATEGORIES of my life (with descriptive titles to excite me) are:



Okay, now let's go into depth the areas each category covers:




AS A JEW (YIDDISHKEIT, in no particular order):


Let me know if I've forgotten anything.

We're back up and running.

Okay, so what happened... I went to an attorney seminar where they were talking about the dangers of blogging.  Usually, the attorney -- thinking his blog is private -- tells all sorts of stuff about himself that later on gets him in trouble with a malpractice suit or a disciplinary action.  Hearing this, and hearing someone in my community chide me about my feelings about my son's lack of payis the day after the upsherin, I froze the blog.

So I'm in a "what the hell" mood, so after a few e-mails from readers and an indulgence into my ego of having people enjoy what I write, I decided to put the blog back up.

I feel a bit like a failure, and yet a bit like the protector of my family.  Just days after getting admitted in New York, passing the character and fitness interview, winning and being cleared of the whole ethics / unauthorized practice of law charge that I was accused of, and being literally days away from getting my law practice started, I received a phone call from a recruiter I have been hounding for months to help me find a temporary document review position.  I couldn't turn down the offer.  The pay isn't that great, and all it will do is pay our bills and buy us months of time until the financial bad times have subsided, but what it essentially did is take me out of the solo practice business for the time being.

I'm really hurting about this because I've been gearing up to getting going for months now, and just as I was about to hit the ground running, I took the safe road to ensure that I am providing for my family and paying for our children's education.  Now with our daughter old enough to go to school, our yeshiva tuition bills just doubled which for me is a shocker because even with the scholarships, tuition for our kids is almost as much as a mortgage payment would be.

The project is hell too.  No internet, no phones, everything is locked down.  The fellow reviewers call this place the sweat shop, because the air conditioning often breaks down, we are shoulder-to-shoulder in front of our terminals, and there are no free drinks (sodas, etc.) or anything given to us.  No overtime, no dinners, no taxi cabs, etc.  On top of this, the subject matter is B-O-R-I-N-G.  I feel like wood chopper who was told that he would be paid nicely for standing in an empty room with his axe and makes the motions of chopping all day long... but with no wood.  I learned some time ago from my Rabbi that a person needs to have a purpose, and making purposeless movements all day long can drive a person crazy, even if he's well paid for it.

Anyway, the hours are limited, but we're allowed to come in early and leave early, as long as we put in the minimum 40 hours each week. So what I've been doing is coming in at 6:30am and leaving at 3:30pm (we have to take an unpaid one hour break each day), and at 3:30pm, I've been jumping on a subway and flying over to a local law library where I've been doing research on the areas of law I want to practice once I get started.

The way things look, this may be a longterm project, but I expect that I'll know when the right time is to leave and start my practice.  After I have everything set up with regard to researching the areas of law I want to practice and buying the essential law office equipment, I'll seek out clients that I can service in the afternoons and evenings, and as soon as I have enough of a client base, I'll transition over to the solo law practice.  It's a good thing I'm a patent attorney; with this area of law I'll be able to work evenings.

This is difficult on my family, but my wife appreciates the efforts I'm putting in.  I expect that it won't be for long.  She's already endured the NY bar exam study and the months of unemployment, so this is a positive change for her.  I've also told her that she can spend as much as she wants for a maid, as long as it's within reason and as long as she understands that there is only a certain amount coming in and going out, and if we want to add expenses, they have to come from somewhere.  Something's gotta give.  So she found a few corners she can cut, and for around a week, she hired a nanny to watch our kids while she took a job at a local hospital.  However, the work wasn't what she wanted and the hours took her away from the kids for too long, so she resumed the position of being CEO of our household.  I'm the CFO.  At least now she's doing it because she wants to and not because she has too.

I support her in her endeavor in trying to find outside work, but when we learned that she was doing it because she wanted the paycheck and the experience, and not to get a break from watching the kids, I told her that she was free to decide whether to work and how much to work.  As much as I was sad to have her paycheck disappear as soon as her first week's paycheck came in (it was a nice one), I was happy that it was her that made the decision to choose family over money because now I think she's come to the realization that it's not such a bad thing to live on less and to have a more meaningful relationship with our kids.  I was also happy that it was her that made the decision so that she can own it.  On my end, I was a bit saddened that the money went away, and along with the money went the freedom to work on and grow the practice.  And, on went the shackles of the J.O.B. (just over broke) document review JOB.  Now I'm forced to work as much as I can because the yoke of paying our bills and keeping us afloat is back on my weary shoulders.  But I am happy my wife is happy about being home with the kids as her profession, because my dogmatic religious training says that the wife should be home and the husband should be out working.  Of course my wife can and probably should get a part time job for her own sanity.  Many women do.

BY THE WAY, where I get this dogmatic belief:  The story happened one day two years ago when I was in the presence of a very well respected Rabbi, someone who was very close to the Lubavicher Rebbe.  Him and I had a close but awkward relationship because he wanted me to be the best I can be, and he saw my weaknesses and tried to help me overcome them but I kept stumbling and this caused him pain in his heart, and in turn, in mine.  I looked up to him as a father figure, and I trusted what he said because based on his actions and the way he lived his life, he was (and IS) a truly good man who I miss whenever I think of him.  The day this occurred, I was talking to him about my wife who wanted to accept a job.  He was saddened by this because he felt that with two children [at the time, now three] at home under three-years-old, a woman should spend all her energies benefiting the family and the home.  A career woman doesn't make for an easy chassidic home, he said in some words.  He didn't tell me this directly, but from his attempts to elicit ways for her to stay at home and NOT to take a full-time job, I got his message loud and clear.  He also meant only good by this statement.