Monday, December 15th, 2008
Monday, May 19th, 2008
Bar prep that is. I saw through my first 7 hour day of review. I think I’m beginning to see more clearly that this week is sort of a waste of time beyond doing the actual practice test that we’ll take on Wednesday. I could be wrong, I could very well be eating my words come November or whenever the results are released but right now, that’s how it appears to me. I’ve also spent a lot of time agonizing over whether or not I need to take the three day PMBR course in addition to BarBri. If I was working for a firm that was footing the bill it would be a no brainer but when the question boils down to dropping another grand out of pocket on something you’re not convinced will actually help you it becomes a stickier issue. On one hand, what’s that on top of everything else I’ve spent along the way if it means you’ll pass the first time. On the other hand, here comes loan repayment. After much soul searching I’ve decided that even though I believe that I don’t need to take PMBR I won’t be able to sleep at night wondering over the tiniest shred of lingering doubt as to my decision. So.. I hunted down last year’s materials on craigs list and I think that will take care of any lingering doubt.
I was really sad to see my time off come to an end. A week is not nearly long enough. I tried to make the most of it. I napped a lot, made those dresses for Chase, started watching The Wire and read The Kite Runner. It was a real page turner. I thought up until halfway through that it was going to strictly be a profound commentary on the human condition but somewhere around the halfway point it took a turn. I suspect that the author didn’t mean for that to happen but I closed the book thinking that this book was what I expected from The Davinci Code.. only I thought that The Davinci Code just didn’t deliver. I finished The Kite Runner in about three days. It was a real page turner but it didn’t leave me weeping and fell short, I think, of leaving a lasting impression on me.
It’s spring and our strawberries have started to ripen. Pretty exciting stuff. I guess we’ve been getting about 10 per day. I think I’ve gotten to eat about a half a strawberry total. Chase loves just eating them out of hand and that’s where most of them end up. Spring fever has also grabbed hold of our cat Francis. Last week he ran away twice and stayed out all night. On the second night he, of course, came home limping. This cat has spent more time in the emergency animal hospital than I care to think about. I have spent thousands of dollars on his medical care, xrays, days and days of hospitalization. This cat is undoubtedly down to five or six lives at most. We did not visit the emergency hospital this time. How it happens that he always seems to be injured or sick on a Saturday is just totally beyond me. The only upside to having dealt with this so often is that I am pretty well versed in various warning signs. I checked out his foot and it looked ok to me. My professional opinion is that he cut the area around his paw pad jumping the six foot fence. I didn’t see anything lodged in there and it didn’t look bad to me so home we stayed. He has luckily since stopped limping. I think we’re out of the woods here. I’m going to have him listen to Hayden’s song Woody to help him understand what it’s like to be me.
We’ve also been baking bread. I’m trying to figure out how to work that into our day to day. We made this one start to finish in the bread machine. I think this might be the way for us to go at the moment.
Tuesday, May 13th, 2008
Now that I don’t HAVE to sit at my computer it’s hard to motivate myself to post. Sunday was commencement. I still can hardly believe that they actually called my name. I was sure that at the last minute someone would rip the rug out from under me and I’d find out I was one credit short or somesuch. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. I think Erin hit the nail on the head when she said it was probably some colossal mind game on the part of the administration. I barely held it together. Only the fear of being remembered as the only person weeping at their graduation kept me from totally falling apart.
Things have been pretty low key here since then. I am fighting the customary cold that always descends upon me at the end of the semester. It comes like clockwork as soon as the last task, in this case graduation, is completed. We’ve just been hanging out. Now that the rain has finally stopped we were able to get out a little today and walked to the grocery store this morning and then to the park this afternoon. It’s been a long time since Chase has fallen asleep in my arms but she was close tonight. We’ve had a busy week but I’m inclined to think that she is having a growth spurt or something. She strikes me as unusually sleepy.
I completed another project. I loved the first bubble so much that I made her another. This fabric was so much easier to work with than the last stuff. It’s impossible to be intimidated by working with knits after having handled that… whatever that hideous gauzy stuff was. I have to give credit to my machine though, I don’t think I could have done it without my viking. That machine has totally revolutionized sewing for me. I have the base computerized model but now that I have worked with a computerized machine I will never.. ever go back… ever. The instruction manual is about 10 pages long, thus I actually read it. The most important piece of information in there is that most problems can be solved by either rethreading or using a new needle and it turns out to be 100% true. I have not yet had a problem that wasn’t solved one of those two ways. Not to mention that the thing doesn’t have to be oiled ever! I think it’s time she was given a name don’t you?
We had leftovers for dinner tonight. I kind of like leftovers, leftovers are kind of my “thing.” I have something of a reputation among my friends for coming up with creative ways to turn leftovers into something a little bit snappy. Ben grilled ribeye steaks for us on mother’s day. I have a few go to’s for leftover grilled meats but as I am feeling a little under the weather I wasn’t in the mood for any of my old standbys. I poked through the fridge and freezer and came up with several half bags of veg and a sheet of puff pastry and steak potpie was born. I made a little roux and then a sauce with chicken stock and a little milk with a little dollop of horseradish. It was quite good. I stuffed the leftover bits of pastry with frozen raspberries for a dessert treat.
Monday, May 5th, 2008
I saw Steven Raichlen making these on his show over the weekend and was salivating over them. They fit perfectly into our cooking out theme and paired with shish kabobs turned out to be something of a pantry friendly dinner. I started thinking about this way before noon while, as usual, Erin and I tried to hold off on eating lunch until a respectable hour. What better way to stifle hunger than to think about dinner? You’d think in time you would learn not to go down that road but the lesson never seems to take. We’re on about day three of chicken for dinner. It may not have been three consecutive nights but we definitely have way too much chicken in the freezer and I’m not buying any more meat until some of that is under control.
That being said, even though I started planning in the morning I forgot all about it until 4:30. The bread needs at least an hour and a half of rising time so it was a race against the clock to get things together so we could eat as close to our regular time as possible. You can find the recipe here. I mixed the dough by hand and started the kneading in the kitchenaid but it made this giant tall ball after a few minutes and had the motor straining so I finished the kneading by hand. The recipe says to punch down and to form 2″ balls to yield 15 but I was only able to get 11, I can only assume that I was rolling them too big.
I froze 6 portions to be defrosted and rolled out for grilling later and prepped the other 5 for tonight. As written I think the recipe has you butter the topside of the bread after putting it down on the grill but I’m pretty sure that he buttered the dough before slapping it down on the show. That made the most sense to me so that’s what I did. Ben didn’t have any problem with sticking it’s a really great recipe. Nothing beats hot fresh bread with dinner. I guess it really should have been lavash but hey, you take what you can get. It was quite an international feast actually. Bread from India, kabob from, where, Turkey I guess and a little condiment inspired by tzatziki or raita. Nobody cared where it came from as they stuffed their pie holes full of naan. I think Chase ate about two bites of chicken but ate an entire piece of bread on her own. The chicken marinated in a little olive oil, dijon and the juice of two lemons with a couple of cloves of grated garlic, rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper. A good supper and I’m down to one last package of chicken!
Even though I know the sooner I finish the work I have to do the sooner my summer begins I still refuse to work on anything. Like right now for example I should be working on my pretrial order but I’m writing this instead. last night I cleaned up the office in spite of its having been a total disaster for the last several months. It just had to be done last night. I added two drawers under my desk and mounted shelves that have NEVER been up on any wall even though we bought them when we moved into our last place four YEARS ago. Better late than never. I guess I’ll go get cracking on that work. Oh, so our stimulus check arrived and I guess I shouldn’t have talked about it out loud because I actually heard the water heater heave oh, thank god before it conked out.
Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
Man, that was one brutal exam. When I got home Ben said what took you so long? I almost never take the full 3 hours to complete an exam it’s only happened maybe one or two other times in the last four years. I feel totally spent and trying to do anything else today (and maybe even tomorrow) is totally pointless. I took the rest of the day to do some fun things. I couldn’t muster the energy to make lunch so we went to Five Guys which is conveniently located within a couple of blocks of Flower Mart.
We caught some live music AND a puppet show. If I had to describe what Chase thought of this no frills puppet show I would say that she thought it was magical. She clapped and pointed and was generally in awe of all of the animal puppets. It was worth the short detour for a fun and FREE, did I mention free, afternoon. Plus I scored a free ticket to the zoo. The ticket is up for grabs, it’s good for a child’s admission through the end of the year. Chase will still be under two by then so we won’t be able to use it. Just let me know if you want it and it’s yours.
Ben finished building the other raised bed this afternoon. I must say his use of materials otherwise destined for the dump was quite ingenious and the whole thing is quite artistic. All we have to do is fill it up with some dirt. Hopefully we’ll get to that tomorrow and then maybe I can get a picture or two.
I gave Chase two teeny tiny pigtails today. She asked for them. She picked up a tiny hair tie and tried fruitlessly to put it into her hair over and over again until finally I decided to intervene. She stood still for it so I figured what the heck. You know I’m biased but it was so stinkin’ cute.
My big idea for today was using a leftover disposable table cloth as drawing paper. I just covered the top of the picnic table and let her have at it. The table cloth is long enough that it can be refolded and reused on a different day. I had a big pack of vanity fair brand which appears to be coated with something on the back, a plain paper table cloth would obviously work too. I can’t speak to how they would hold up to having a stolen red pen jabbed into them though. I can say that vanity fair holds up quite well :)
Friday, April 25th, 2008
So they did have wi-fi at the courthouse.. for the small fee of 6 bucks a day! Believe me, I shelled out the cash because I like to make sure that I don’t have any new email like 10 or 11 times a day. The good news is that I learned a lot today and will never fear jury duty again.
I arrived at 8:15 as instructed and took my seat in the jury waiting room. The staff it surprisingly nice and handle their duties with lighthearted humor.. what’s up with happy civil servants? It’s not very plush but they showed a movie and even though it was a crappy one it was an acceptable distraction. I did learn later that the quiet room was a lot more comfortable and had abundant electrical outlets for charging things.
I wasn’t called until about 11:30. They herded us all into the courtroom where we had to rise one at a time so that counsel could look us over. It was very livestock at the state fair like. Then the judge asked a bunch of questions to evaluate whether or not you thought you could be an impartial juror. He also asked if you thought serving would be a hardship. Initially I thought that the prospect of finding childcare for several days would pose a hardship but when I got into the courtroom and saw the defendants and looked around at the other jurors I got to thinking maybe I do need to serve on this jury. I did tell the judge that I have exams and that I knew his intern from school to which he responded, thank you and told me to go park it. In the end my number wasn’t called so my duty was fulfilled by just showing up today. It was really interesting to watch the attorneys go through the jurors whose numbers were called to see which ones they objected to. It might seem obvious but you can look at the defendants and then look at the jurors and figure out in a matter of seconds who’s going home and who’s not. The prosecution will strike anyone who they think will be overly sympathetic, in this case anyone who was too young and/or ‘too black’ was stricken. The defense took the other extreme striking all the bluehairs and blue collar looking white guys. Anyone who looked young, hip and/or liberal was in it for the long haul. The only attorney in the crowd was released too, I don’t think it was any mistake that he wore his best khaki/blue blazer combo today, feigning shock when he was asked to sit down.
We didn’t get to eat lunch until almost 2 o’clock a few more minutes and they would have had to scrape me off the bench. My 15 bucks was plenty to cover lunch at Suzie’s Soba. I’ve heard good things about the location in Hampden and we just happened upon the one downtown by chance. The spring rolls were better than any I’ve had in a long time. As good or better than taste of home on U street! Homemade limeade was on the house for jurors too so that was a nice perk.
I was pleasantly surprised to arrive and find a familiar face was also called to serve today. I ran into a woman we know from the library and from a neighborhood playgroup. It was nice to have someone to have lunch with. Ironically, we would have otherwise seen each other at the library this morning. Ben took Chase to the library since I couldn’t and I felt good that she got to go because we missed last week too for her doctor’s appointment.
Thanks for all your kind words about getting through the semester. I have not been focussed on the fact that I still have exams. I have to give an oral argument bright and early tomorrow morning for which I am not prepared and at this point never will be. I look forward to putting it behind me even if it’s painful and awkward to get through. It’s causing me more stress to have it hanging over my head than any exam ever could. The other event on the horizon this weekend is the Feist concert! I can’t wait, I listened to both albums today to get in the mood.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
We are so loving this weather. I like to get together with my friend Wendy on Tuesdays so Chase can play with her little girl. We met in a prenatal yoga class and our babies were born only one day apart. The girls interact so well together, it’s terribly cute that their personalities mesh well. This was our first visit to the zoo. I’ve never been to the Maryland zoo before and I thought it was pretty nice. The last zoo I visited was with my class to the Philadelphia zoo. That place is enough to put you off zoo’s forever. They should append “the saddest place on earth” to the sign out front. It’s been a while but that’s how it’s embedded in my memory. Anyway, the zoo was nice and is only a stone’s thrown from our house. I think it took us less than 10 minutes to get over there. It’s set right in Druid Hill park which is really nice. The paths meander through woodland and even though it’s kind of hilly there’s shade in lots of parts and the trees help to keep it cool. I’ll bet it’s scorching in the heat of summer all the same though. Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, April 14th, 2008
So I feel like I haven’t been writing real posts, not like the old days. (Way more than) half the time I feel like my attention is split. Even when I’m not working on another immediate task I’m almost always thinking about one. That being said, I got another big project off my desk for the time being and thought I’d take the time to focus my attention here. This weekend was fun. It was good to be away from home for just a little while. It was actually a well timed trip because the power was out here all night on Saturday which would surely have driven Ben and I both completely mad. I’ll be back up that way in two weeks for the Feist concert. I haven’t looked forward to anything like this for a while, it’s going to be fabulous, I’m so excited.
I’ve been baking from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Book with pretty good results. I made banana muffins on Friday that are by far the best I’ve ever made. I will never go back to making whole loaves muffins are the way to go. This is going to be my recipe from here on out. It’s made completely from whole wheat flour, either white or traditional. I used mini chips (I always only use mini chips) and white whole wheat. I didn’t measure the nutmeg either I just grated right over the bowl. Whole nutmeg has completely changed me, I’m a nutmeg convert. I had completely written it off. I would hear how different whole grated nutmeg is but have just now gotten around to trying it and it’s true, you CAN believe everything that you hear about it. Someone has already posted the recipe here.
Other than that we haven’t been up to much. Just trying to keep motivated to get through the next two weeks. Can you believe that after all this time, I’m down to the last two weeks… EVER, not of the semester… EVER. I like to repeat this to myself several times a day. The thought always cheers me up. I picked up some of my bar review materials today. I enjoyed carrying the box around it was like a badge of honor. I’m graduating.. see? See?? I have a few random pics that have been saved in my phone for a while. I like to call this one Ahh, Java or ask me again after my cuppa.
Seriously though it’s just milk and even though the new Starbu brew is good after all the hooppla and retraining, we’ve ben drinking coffee from Zeke’s. The Montebello Reserve is right up our alley. The switch was supposed to be a money saving endeavor. It didn’t quite work out that way but the coffee’s good and we’re supporting local business. Here’s a picture of Chase cavorting in the beans.
The smell in this place is unbelievable. It was kind of like the first time I tasted coffee at La Colombe in Philly. That was one of the first time something food related very nearly blew my mind. I wish I could remember the girl’s name that brought my there in the first place. That was the real deal, no signs, nothing. You had to know what you were there for and hurry up and order it at the bar without getting in anyone’s way.
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008
I ate it and it tasted great. UB hosted a reception tonight for a professor with a recently published book. To celebrate they ordered a huge likeness of the book fashioned from chocolate cake and fondant from, you guessed it, Charm City Cakes of Ace of Cakes fame. News spread throughout the building like wildfire. Sure, I and others talk a lot of smack about how it’s not as cool as everyone makes it out to be and I was in class but you know I had to check it out. I sneaked down there to check it out, the cake was cordoned off being doled out by two nondescript women. They could have been law students or shop lackeys it was impossible to tell. I got my piece and a can of coke and scurried off to put it to the test. Much to my surprise it wasn’t tainted by rice krispie treat or pieces of wooden dowel. It was simple, tasty and moist chocolate cake and I didn’t have enough of it. I was suspicious of the frosting however which looked exactly and I mean exactly like the cover of the book. Read the rest of this entry »